UNESCO lists Church of Nativity as heritage site
Saint Petersburg (AFP) 29 June — The UN cultural body UNESCO overrode Israeli objections Friday to urgently grant world heritage status to a church in the Palestinian city of Bethlehem worshipped as the birthplace of Jesus. UNESCO’s 13-6 secret vote to add the Church of the Nativity and its pilgrimage route to the prestigious list was received with a round of rousing applause and a celebratory fist pump by the beaming head of the Palestinian delegation at the meeting in Russia’s second city of Saint Petersburg.”These sites are threatened with total destruction through the Israeli occupation, through the building of the separation wall, because of all the Israeli sanctions and the measures that have been taken to stifle the Palestinian identity,” the Palestinian delegate said after the vote.
Israel, US blast vote on Palestinian heritage sites
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 29 June — Israel and the United States blasted the UN cultural agency Friday after it recognized holy sites in the city of Bethlehem by adding them to a world heritage list. “This is proof that UNESCO is motivated by political and not cultural considerations,” Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in a statement following the decision … The US ambassador to UNESCO, David Killion, said he was “profoundly disappointed by the decision”.
Israeli sources claim 80% of Migron lands have been bought
IMEMC 29 June — The Israeli Today (Israel Hayom) Newspaper claimed that it received information stating that more than 80% of the lands where the illegal Migron settlement is built were recently purchased from the Palestinians in the West Bank, in an attempt to avoid the implementation of a High Court order for the settlement’s evacuation by August 1st this year. The paper said that a source involved in what it called the “transaction”, said that the lands in question are currently completely legal, as the purchase was allegedly made in a valid legal manner.
It added that the alleged Palestinian sellers and the Israeli purchasers have kept the identity of the American Jewish Millionaire who donated the money for buying the lands, anonymous.
The paper added that the “only fear now is for the lives of the Palestinians who sold their lands to the settlers, as they will likely be considered to be traitors to their people”, and added that the Police spokesperson of Migron settlement, confirmed the purchase and said that Israeli Education Minister is aware of the deal.
West Bank’s Route 60 a ‘road of death’ for Palestinian children
Ramallah (Guardian) 26 June by Phoebe Greenwood — Palestine-Israel bureaucratic hold-ups and emergency services delays turned an accident on a dangerous road into a tragedy — …Since Israel’s separation wall was built to divide Israeli territory from Palestinian soil, road 60 has become the sole route out of Ramallah to Nablus in the north and Jericho in the east. Only the few Palestinians who have Jerusalem ID cards and those with rarely bestowed Israeli permits can pass through the wall. Before Israel’s occupation of the West Bank began in 1967, its roads ran as they had since biblical times, like a fishbone from Jenin in the north to Hebron in the south. Now they travel east to west along newly built highways, or “bypass roads”, connecting the settlements. Many Palestinian roads are unpaved and take circuitous routes to avoid the separation wall and settlements. Mohammed Shtayeh, the Palestinian Authority’s minister for homes and public works until 2010, says the Israeli authorities’ refusal to allow the Palestinian Authority to repair and maintain roads running through Area C can be linked to a rise in road accidents in the West Bank.
Susiya defiant against threat from namesake settlement / Noah Browning
SUSIYA, West Bank (Reuters) 27 June — Susiya the Israeli settlement enjoys well-watered lawns, humming electricity, and the protection of a mighty state. One rocky hill away, Susiya the Palestinian village is parched and doomed … Little but a name and mutual contempt bind the 1,200 conservative Jewish and 350 Bedouin neighbors, their imminent divorce reflecting the mismatched strength and the despair for coexistence in a divided land. “They’re thieves and aggressors, living on stolen ground with the help of a criminal government,” said Muhammad Ahmed Nawajah, a greying goat herder in flowing robes and white headress who prides himself on being older than the state of Israel. Nuwajah and his kin used to roam freely with their flocks and pick olives even after Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War and slowly began to sow Jewish settlements there. But after the Susiya settlement was founded a quarter century ago, he says settlers began attacking the Bedouin as they went about their daily work, and the Israeli army, citing security reasons, limited their olive harvest to one day a year.
Israel freezes plan to move East Jerusalem Bedouins to site near garbage dump / Amira Hass
Haaretz 29 June — Civil Administration pushed for plan’s approval, despite opposition from green, human rights groups — The state has suspended a plan to forcibly relocate Bedouin from East Jerusalem to a site next to a city garbage dump. The state told the High Court of Justice two weeks ago it was putting off the plan until surveys were conducted to assess the environmental repercussions and hazards involved. Some 2,400 Palestinian Bedouin of the Jahalin tribe petitioned the High Court against the state’s intention to evict them from their village and relocate hundreds of them, against their will, to a neighborhood barely 75 meters from a landfill site in Abu Dis, east of Jerusalem.
Palestinians in Negev accuse Israel of using thirst as a weapon to displace them
MEMO 26 June — A Palestinian official in the Negev region has accused Israel of using thirst as a weapon to displace them from their homes and land … Hundreds of Palestinians from the villages held a demonstration on Sunday in front of the Israeli water company Mekorot in Beersheba. Their protest was not only against the lack of supplies but also the cost of water. In a media statement, Mr Al-Wakely added that for every hundred requests filed by Arab citizens in the Negev to get water supplies, the Israelis approve one or two at best. He claimed that there is a racist motive behind this. “The Israelis sell water to Jewish citizens at much lower prices than they do to Palestinian citizens in the Negev.” There is no practical reason for Palestinians to be denied water, he said. “Water is abundant, with water pipes passing through Arab villages taking water to Jewish townships and settlements.”
PA says in talks with Israel over water shortages
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 June — The head of the Palestinian water authority said Wednesday that discussions with the Israeli side were ongoing to increase quantities of drinking water without raising prices. Israel seeks to increase the price of one cubic liter of water from 2.60 shekels to 3.70 shekels, which will cost the Palestinian treasury around 700 million shekels, Shadad al-Ateli said. Al-Ateli told Voice of Palestine radio that Israel was not committed to water agreements under the Oslo Accords and the quantity of water the Palestinian side received this year was less than it received in 1995.
Jewish settlers burn hundreds of dunums of cultivated land
SALFIT (PIC) 30 June — Jewish settlers set on fire hundreds of dunums of cultivated land in Wadi Qana west of Salfit on Friday as part of their systematic sabotaging of Palestinian land and property. Local sources said that the settlers came from Aman’il settlement with the intention to start a big fire in the Palestinian land and crops. They said that the blaze destroyed hundreds of trees in the area and was controlled after four hours.
Uprooting olive trees: Nature or politics?
Haaretz 28 June — Palestinian farmers say discrimination, not a concern for the land, are at the root of an order to uproot olive trees in a northern nature reserve … Last week, residents of the Palestinian village of Deir Istya, including village council head Nazmi Salman, asked the High Court of Justice to halt an order to remove 1,400 olive trees from the nature reserve. In response to their petition, submitted through Attorney Alaa Mahajna, the court ordered that the removal be put on hold until justices have a chance to discuss the petition. The Wadi Kana [Qana] Nature Reserve, one of the largest reserves in the region, features typical Mediterranean woodlands, unique habitats centered on natural pools and privately-owned Palestinian farmland on which Palestinians have worked for generations. According to the bylaws of the reserve, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority must allow the continuation of all farming that was practiced on the site before it was declared a nature reserve in 1983.
Despite this, two months ago, the INPA and the Civil Administration ordered the Palestinians to remove their trees, because the authority said the trees represent a creeping expansion of cultivation at the expense of natural growth, which is being destroyed.
Ulpana eviction to be completed by December
Ynet 28 June — The eviction of Ulpana, the contested neighborhood in the West Bank settlement of Beit El, is set to be completed in December, a Defense Ministry report which was released on Thursday said. The report further provided details on the eviction schedule and the various phases in the process … According to the report, the Defense Ministry has successfully completed the first phase of resettling the families into temporary homes in another part of town. During the first phase, some 100 Defense Ministry officials were divided into teams and paired up with the families, with the aim of offering them the logistic assistance necessary.
Violence / Raids / Arrests
PCHR Weekly Report: ‘4 killed, 32 wounded by Israeli fire’ [21-27 June]
The PCHR stated that the Israeli army continued its military escalation and the systematic attacks targeting the civilian population and property in the occupied territory. It added that Israeli soldiers carried out 51 invasions into Palestinian cities, towns and refugee camps in the West Bank, and kidnapped 19 Palestinians, including six children. During the reported period, Israeli soldiers carried out numerous air strikes targeting several areas in the Gaza Strip, leading to the death of four Palestinians, including one civilian. The air strikes caused 32 injuries among the civilians, including one child and two women. The bombardment also led to the destruction of several houses and shops. Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank continued their systematic attacks against the Palestinians and their property and lands in the West Bank, and one resident was injured by Israeli settler fire at the entrance of a settlement in occupied East Jerusalem. Full Report
Thursday: IDF takes over Palestinian village for live fire training
Mondoweiss 29 June by Donna Baranski-Walker — For the past month, a massive Israeli military training exercise has been underway in the northern Jordan Valley. Israeli troops entered al-Aqaba village last night and conducted live-fire training exercises adjacent to the mosque, al-Aqaba Guesthouse, and the mayor’s home. Crackling rifle fire and rocket fire continued into the early morning, well past 2:00 AM. These live-fire training exercises ignore guidelines for the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) set by the Israeli High Court in 2001, which state that the center of the village cannot be used for training with live ammunition. Yesterday’s training, documented by Swedish visitors staying in the Guesthouse, is a clear violation of the state’s own commitment.
Thursday: IOF soldiers round up four Palestinians in a new sweep of arrests
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 28 June — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) rounded up four Palestinians at dawn Thursday, two in occupied Jerusalem and two in Al-Khalil. Hebrew sources said that IOF soldiers arrested two Jerusalemites in Aisawiye to the north east of occupied Jerusalem on the alleged charge of starting fire in a number of locations in Jerusalem a few days ago. They said that the Israeli occupation authorities were still looking for more Jerusalemites who took part in those attacks.
Meanwhile, IOF soldiers stormed the family home of a teen in Al-Khalil village of Yatta, locals said, adding that the soldiers took away Ahmed Al-Adra after blindfolding and handcuffing him. They said that the soldiers searched the home of Issa Duais in the same town without making arrests.
In Edhna village to the west of Al-Khalil, IOF soldiers arrested Zeid Basarwa, 25, after chasing the youth in his car in the village streets and firing at it. The soldiers then took Basarwa to his home and searched it before taking him in, local sources said.
They pointed out that one of the children in the house was taken to hospital after the search after he suffered a nervous breakdown.
Friday: Israeli forces raid house in Hebron
PNN — On Friday, 29th June, Israeli forces raided at dawn, a house in the village of Surif, West of Hebron, searched it and rummaged with the contents. Security sources said that dozens of Israeli soldiers raided the house of Mohammad Ahmad Eghnimat and searched it. Israeli patrols also raided the villages of Abu al-Asja and al-Thahiryeh, south of Hebron and roamed the streets and neighbourhoods for several hours. Israeli forces placed a military checkpoint between Ethna and Tarkumya villages, west of Hebron, stopped the Palestinians’ cars and checked their IDs.
Friday: Activist: 2 arrested in Beit Ummar [and settlers attack a man and his 9-year-old son]
HEBRON (Ma‘an) — Israeli forces detained two young Palestinian men at a checkpoint at the main entrance to Beit Ummar near Hebron in the southern West Bank on Friday, a local activist said. Muhammad Awad identified the detainees as 23-year-olds Ahmad Muhammad al-Alami and Mahmoud Abdul Hamid al-Alami.
Separately, settlers attacked a vegetable peddler and his son while they were driving their truck back from Nahhalin village to Beit Ummar, according to Awad, who is on the local popular committee. Settlers obstructed Salem Sabarnah, 40, and his son Samir, 9, and smashed the windshield of their truck, he said. He added that the settlers then attacked the man and his son causing bruises before Israeli forces arrived. A Palestinian ambulance also arrived and took Sabarnah and his son to the public hospial in Hebron, Awad added, highlighting that Israeli soldiers “did nothing at all to the attackers.”
Silwan welcomes home prisoner Anwar Samih Al-Abassi
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 30 June — Palestinian prisoner Anwar Samih al-Abassi was released from Israeli custody on Sunday 24 June, after five months in detention. A large crowd of relatives and friends greeted Abassi on his return. One told Silwan that “people here in Silwan enjoy welcoming their prisoners home in the biggest celebration possible: it sends a message to the occupation forces that we honour the prisoners as our heroes, and our love stands as a candle in the middle of their dark cells.” Abassi was accused by undercover Israeli officers of throwing stones during clashes in his neighborhood of Ras al-Amoud. During his incarceration he was regularly beaten, and transferred between Askalan, Eshel, Rimon and Maskobiye prisons.
Young member of Odeh family turns self in
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 30 June — A young resident of Silwan, wanted by Israeli intelligence, has turned himself in to police. Ramah Odeh, 20, turned himself in yesterday, 26 June, after being pursued by Israeli officers for several days on suspicion of belonging to an underground cell known as The Third Group. Odeh’s lawyer Muhammad Mahmoud states that twelve people from Silwan are accused by Israeli intelligence of forming the cell, comprised of three sub groups. The cell, in which Odeh is accused of membership to the third sub group, is alleged to have been involved in throwing nine Molotov cocktails at Israeli military jeeps in Silwan on 15 May. The Odeh family of Silwan is commonly targeted by Israeli intelligence, with Ramah Odeh’s uncle Mousa Odeh currently serving five months in prison and his cousin Muhammad Odeh nine months.
Parents of youth summoned for investigation
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 30 June — Investigations summons were issued to the parents of three youth from Silwan yesterday, 26 June. Residents report that the summons were issued as Israeli forces entered Silwan in heavy numbers, surrounding settlements and strategic locations throughout various neighborhoods.
15-year-old beaten by officers at Dung Gate
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 30 June — Israeli forces arrested a 15-year old boy from Silwan after beating him near Dung Gate entrance to Jerusalem’s Old City. Muhammad Minzer Baidoun was physically assaulted by Israeli officers, who claimed Baidoun was supposed to be serving a house arrest term. Baidoun’s parents reject the claim, saying their son has received no such sentence. Dung Gate is a site of common harassment for Palestinian youth due to Israeli officers’ presence there, with many children often ambushed and beaten.
Israel arrests two Palestinian minors for torching fields
JERUSALEM, June 28 (WAFA) – Israeli police arrested two Palestinian minors, 15 and 17 years old, from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya under the pretext of torching fields near a military base on the outskirts of their neighborhood in the French Hill, reports said on Thursday. Plice claimed that one of the two youths confessed during interrogation to being responsible for burning the fields and said the torching might be related to “nationalist motives.” The two minors are expected to be referred to the Israeli magistrate’s court to extend their arrest in order to continue interrogation.
MADA report on the targeting of Palestinian media outlets by the IOF
PNN 29 June — Since the occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in June, 1967, the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) has pursued a policy of silencing the Palestinian press in its efforts to show the bitter reality of living under the continuing violations committed by the occupation forces.
Israeli violations against journalists and media institutions have continued throughout the long years of occupation. The most grave violations include the killing of 18 Palestinian journalists as well as two foreign journalists in the last decade. In addition, serious physical assaults have permanently disabled other journalists. In the latest incident, Ma‘an News Agency correspondent Mohammed Othman became paralyzed after being shot by the IOF in the Gaza Strip while covering a Nakba Day march last year.
The General Director of the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA), Mousa Rimawi, noted that Israeli attacks are not limited to the targeting of journalists as they perform their professional duties. The IOF also attempts to paralyze the work of media institutions by raiding, confiscation, and even complete destruction of their equipment, causing temporary or permanent halt to their work as well as substantial financial losses.
Prisoners / Court actions
Israeli courts fine prisoners to compensate settlers, says official
RAMALLAH, June 30 (WAFA) – An Israeli military court imposed fines on Palestinian prisoners to compensate Jewish settlers it claimed were hurt by the Palestinians, Minister of Prisoners Issa Qaraqi‘ said on Friday. He said the military court started for the first time and in obvious violation of international law and conventions to force Palestinians held on charges of attacking settlers to pay fines to compensate the settlers for whatever harm was caused to them. If the prisoners or their families refuse to pay the fine, said Qaraqi‘, the prisoners will spend more time in prison over their term. “This is a new policy aimed at empowering the settlers to continue with their attacks against the Palestinians instead of arresting them,” he said.
22 elected legislators still imprisoned by Israel
IMEMC 29 June — Head of the Census Department at the Palestinian Ministry of Detainees, Abdul-Nasser Farawna, reported that the current number of elected Palestinian legislators imprisoned by Israel dropped to 22 after Israel released, on Thursday afternoon, two legislators, the Palestine News Network, PNN, reported.
The two legislators who were released Thursday are Khalil Ar-Rabaey from [Yatta,] Hebron, and Nasser Abdul-Jawad from Salfit. Farawna said that Israel released, over the past five days, [three] legislators identified as Anwar Zboun, Ayman Daraghma, and Mohammad At-Til, in addition to Ar-Rabaey and Abdul-Jawad.
He added that 22 legislators are still imprisoned by Israel, 19 of them are members of the Hamas Change and Reform parliamentary bloc, in addition to the Secretary-General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, legislator Ahmad Saadat, legislator Marwan Barghouthi and legislator Jamal At-Terawi, both members of Fateh movement.
Arrests of Palestinian children — ‘a boy in leg irons’ — is becoming a big story in the UK
Mondoweiss 29 June by Annie Robbins — When I first read Joseph Dana’s article of last year, “Israeli army targets and arrests children in order to repress Palestinian dissent in the West Bank,” it sent chills up my spine, and I was sure that someday, somehow this story would get out onto the world stage. Today we’re one step closer. The Independent’s Terri Judd is reporting that the UK is ready to take on Israel over fate of children clapped in irons: ..Judd’s article chronicles a delegation of senior British lawyers and their report, Children in Military Custody. But one thing it does not do is provide context for a lot of these arrests. It doesn’t mention they take place in villages across the West Bank involved in non-violent struggle and in areas where village lands are targeted for annexation to nearby settlements and the settlers are pushing Palestinians off their lands. People cherish their children. That is one thing all societies share in common. argeting the children of a village so as to stop residents from protesting the confiscation of their village land or for the theft of resources or expansion of settlements is, as the Independent says, unconscionable — and it is happening right before our eyes in villages all across the West Bank including Bil‘in, Nabi Saleh, Beit Ommar, Beit ahour, the Jordan Valley as well as in East Jerusalem. .
Occupation violates captive agreement, bars visits
GAZA (PIC) 29 June — Tadamun Foundation for Human Rights confirmed that the Prison Service administration postponed family’s visits to prisoners from Gaza until further notice. Ahmed Betawi, a researcher at the foundation, stated that the Prison Service administration informed the prisoners’ leadership about the visits’ delay until further notice due to the recent escalation in Gaza strip. He pointed out that this decision came as a punitive measure to the people of Gaza in response to rocket fire from Gaza. The Prison Service administration is still procrastinating in the fulfillment of all the agreement’s items,
Prisoners in Etzion prison go on hunger strike in protest at their conditions
MEMO 29 June — Palestinian prisoners in Israel’s Etzion Prison started an open hunger strike on Wednesday in protest at the conditions of their detention. According to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club, 25 prisoners have gone on hunger strike because their food rations have been reduced by the Israeli authorities, they are treated very badly by their guards and their break time has been cut to 30 minutes a day.
A press release from the prisoners’ club also claimed that the authorities are still using solitary confinement as a punishment for Palestinians, without any justification. Trials have also been delayed due to overcrowding in the courts, meaning that prisoners are being held on remand in very poor conditions.
Hunger striking detainee in critical health condition
IMEMC 28 June — The Ad-Dameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association reported that detainee Samer Al-Barq, who started his hunger strike 34 days ago, is currently in a critical health condition, suffering from arrhythmia, ongoing fatigue and other serious health issues. The Association reported that its lawyer visited Al-Barq at the Ar-Ramla Prison Clinic, and stated that he insists on continuing his hunger strike as the prison administration backed down on an its agreement that ended a long hunger strike conducting by the detainees by renewing his Administrative Detention for three more months.
ICHR demands release of prisoners in PA jails
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 June — The Independent Commission for Human Rights says it is concerned about the lives of prisoners who are on hunger strike in a detention center of the general intelligence in Bethlehem. The commission visited the center this week to check up on the detainees after several announced a hunger strike as they have not been released despite court decisions. The commission said in a statement that it was following up on the cases and noted that refusing to release a detainee in contradiction to a court decision is a crime according to Palestinian law.
Israeli attorney general refuses to prosecute Jilani police killers
Tikun Olam 30 June by Richard Silverstein — Yesterday, Israel’s Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein announced his refusal to prosecute Border Police officers Maxim Vinogradov and Khir Al-Din Shadi, who executed East Jerusalem Palestinian Ziad Jilani in 2010, after a minor traffic accident on the city’s crowded streets. A lower court had earlier found insufficient evidence to prosecute Jilani. His widow, Moira, appealed to the Attorney General and his response today further confirms the impunity of Israeli security forces when it comes to the murder of Palestinian civilians.Jilani was the father of three young daughters (see accompanying picture). He’d met and married Moira, a woman from Texas, and was making a life for himself in Palestine. One Friday afternoon after prayers, he was making his way home to take his family for an evening out, when he accidentally side-swiped a police vehicle. Thinking they might be under a terror attack, officers pursued Jilani, wounded him and, when he was immobile on the ground, fired shots into his brain at point-blank range.
PA preventive security detain father of liberated captive
TUBAS (PIC) 29 June — The PA preventive security detained, in Junaid prison in Nablus, 63-year old Muhammad Besharat, father of liberated captive Said Besharat who has been exiled to the Gaza Strip. The Nablus magistrates courts extended the detention of Besharat for 15 days. Meanwhile, the PA security continued to target Hamas supporters in the West Bank and arrested three of them in Bethlehem and Tubas. The PA courts postponed looking into the cases of 15 political prisoners in Nablus. The detainees who are Hamas supporters hail from Nablus and surrounding villages and the courts postponed looking into their cases until September and October.
PA police say detained 147 at Jordan crossing in June
JERICHO (Ma‘an) 30 June — Palestinian Authority forces arrested 147 people at the West Bank border crossing with Jordan in the past month, a police statement said Saturday. Border police said those detained at the Allenby crossing were wanted on criminal charges, and were among 85,107 passengers who entered Jordan and 80,212 arriving in the West Bank via the terminal during June.
Israeli forces prevented 244 Palestinians from leaving the West Bank in June, citing security reasons, the statement said.
Further, 103 patients traveled in both directions by ambulance over the month, it added.
Israel deploys spy balloons over Gaza, Sinai
Jerusalem – Sona al-Deak (Arabs Today) 30 June — Israel has developed monitoring equipment to reportedly ensure the security of its soldiers and its borders on the Gaza Strip and Egypt’s Sinai peninsula. The intelligence devices consist of a balloon carrying cameras capable of monitoring movements at a height of 400 metres … Israeli media sources quoted a security official as saying that Israel would “not stand idly, indifferent to the new era of the country of the Nile”. The official added. “The rise of Egyptian President-elect Mohammed Morsi, in place of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, has made senior security officials lose sleep, who devote much of their time to think deeply on our southern neighbour.”
Spain: Palestine Solidarity Campaign
PNN 29 June — During the celebration of solidarity, which was held on Wednesday, 27th June, in the cultural center at the municipality of San Sebastian in Spain, as part of events held by the solidarity campaign ‘the road to Gaza’, in order to publicize its third voyage to contribute to lifting the siege on Gaza. The Palestinian Deputy Ambassador to Spain, Mohammad Amr, praised of the international solidarity movement which includes the Spanish civil society organizations, in order to lift the siege on Gaza Strip and to assist the Palestinian people in their steadfastness on their land. The participants in the celebration have confirmed their support for the campaign of solidarity, which will begin in two weeks, where the sloop ‘Steel’ will stop at many ports in Spain, on its way to the port of Gaza.
Gaza: JUG celebrates alive and dead graduates
PNN 28 June by Yousef M. Aljamal — The Islamic University of Gaza (IUG), the biggest university in Palestine, ranked the 14th in the Arab World, celebrated yesterday, 26th June, the graduation of a group of students from the Faculty of Arts. The graduates attended four-year programs in various fields, majoring in English Literature, Mass Communication, History, Geography, Arabic Literature and Geographic Information System (GIS). This is the 31st group to graduate from IUG since its establishment. The total number of graduates this year is 3,658 and the number of graduates since the establishment of the university in 1978 exceeds 46,000, studying in more than 100 majors. On June the 26th, IUG celebrated the graduation of the first group of students from the Faculty of Medicine, which was established in 2006. The graduates completed a six-year program. The faculty faced numerous difficulties during the time of the Israeli siege, yet efforts were made to overcome the obstacles….
IUG was established in 1978 to allow students who were prevented from traveling to neighboring Arab countries and who had financial problems to study in the Gaza Strip.
VIDEO: Gaza’s Interior Ministry publishes confessions of collaborators
IMEMC 29 June — The Ministry of Interior and National Security of the Hamas-led government in Gaza has published a video of what it called “serious confessions of dangerous collaborators” who helped Israel assassinate several fighters and political leaders including senior Hamas leader, Dr. Abdul-Aziz Rantissi, who was assassinated on April 17, 2004. The Ministry said that some of the collaborators have worked as informants for Israel since the 1960’s and 1980’s.
The collaborator labeled as the most dangerous collaborator in Gaza is believed to be part of most of assassinations carried out by the Israeli military against senior Hamas leaders, including Rantissi, Ismail Abu Shanab, and Minister of Interior Sa‘id Siyam. Rantissi became the leader of Hamas after Israeli assassinated the wheelchair-bound spiritual leader of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, on March 22nd 2004.
Several collaborators confessed on video tape of how they became informants for Israel and the methods used to recruit them, including blackmail and through Israeli female officers that used to contact them. The video also includes names of Israeli security officers responsible for running collaborators networks in different parts of the Gaza Strip.
The Ministry of Interior claimed that some of the collaborators confessed that “security coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, led to an increase in the number of collaborators, including a Palestinian Lieutenant”, according to the report.
Activism / Solidarity / BDS
Nabi Saleh protesters reach confiscated spring
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 29 June — A weekly Nabi Saleh protest achieved what activists called Friday a historic victory as they reached confiscated lands despite the presence of Israeli forces. The demonstrators were able to reach a spring that was confiscated for the use of settlers, two of whom were bathing in it when a group of protesters arrived at the site. Large numbers of Israeli forces arrived in the area and closed it in order to stop the demonstrators and secure it for settlers. The protesters placed a Palestinian flag at the site despite the anger of settlers and soldiers, and clashes broke out between the Palestinians and forces stationed in an army tower. Israel’s forces fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the demonstration.
Soldiers attack Bil‘in’s weekly protest
IMEMC 30 June — The Friends of Freedom and Justice (FFJ), In Bil‘in village, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, reported that two nonviolent protesters were injured, and dozens suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation, after Israeli soldiers attacked the weekly nonviolent protest against the Wall and Settlements.
It is worth mentioning that the nearby villages of Ni‘lin and Nabi Saleh, and the Al-Ma‘sara village, near Bethlehem, held their weekly nonviolent protests against the Wall and Settlements, and the army attacked them with batons and rifle-butts, and fired gas bombs.
Voluntary work in Dura al Qare‘
[photos] Stop the Wall 25 June — Around 80 volunteers attended a day of environmental and solidarity activities, organised by Stop the Wall, in the village of Dura al Qare‘ in Ramallah district. The volunteers cleaned the water springs of the village and helped farmers irrigate their crops … Springs that are located in Area C, the areas of the West Bank that are under full Israeli control, are often cut off from the villagers as the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) and settlers use them for recreation and water supply. Area C is constantly the focus of such policies from Israel, aimed at ethnically cleansing the entire area of Palestinians. Such actions as these aid the villagers in reclaiming the land and affirming their right to access the resources that Israelis try to steal from them. Such actions are being carried out by volunteers, particularly Palestinian youngsters, in a number of threatened areas such as al-Walajeh and Wadi Qana.
The Center for Freedom’s 2nd annual summer camp begins
PSP 28 June — On Monday June 25th, the Center for Freedom and Justice began its third annual summer camp for Palestinian youth from the Arroub refugee camp and the neighboring village of Beit Ommar. The camp, which will run for 21 days and serves 150 Palestinian children ages 7-15, was created in response to the problems faced by Palestinian children: During the summers, most of the children in Beit Ommar have nothing to do and end up spending the majority of their time on the streets without supervision or engaging activities. At the same time, they continue to suffer from the effects of the Israeli occupation- such as night raids and demolitions of their homes- without having a healthy way to deal with their anger, fear, and frustration.
S. Africa hailed for ‘Made in Palestinian Territories’ tags
AFP 29 June — A top Palestinian government official on Friday praised South Africa’s plans to stick “Made in the Palestinian Territories” labels on goods from the area. “We welcome South Africa’s stand to plan labelling products from the area with ‘Made in the Palestinian Territories’ labels,” said agriculture minister Walid Assaf during a visit to neighbouring Namibia. South Africa wants to introduce the tags for goods to distinguish them from those identified as “Made in Israel” and will make a decision after a public consultation process that ends on July 10. “Israeli agricultural produce should be boycotted as they are illegally and cheaply produced on stolen Palestinian land with stolen water of Palestine,” said Assaf.
WATCH: ELAL, Israel’s national airline, now part of state PR efforts
972mag 28 June by Mairav Zonszein — You know a country is in serious trouble when it decides to have its national airline’s pilots and flight attendants doing its Hasbara (PR) work for them. El Al “Ambassadors” will now be “at the forefront of Israeli diplomacy in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Los Angeles and Toronto,” as part of a joint initiative with the Jewish Agency for Israel, the Foreign Ministry and Stand With US … Talk about whitewashing Israel’s occupation. I think this project calls for a new term: ‘Air-washing?’ ‘Sky-washing?’
4 Palestinians killed in Syria refugee camp
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 June — Four Palestinians were killed in Syria on Tuesday when President Bashar Assad’s forces shelled a Palestinian refugee camp, local sources said. Government forces fired artillery shells at Deraa refugee camp killing Subhi Abu Khaled, Yassin Rideif, Nassim Assalti and Muutaz Assalti, sources in the camp told Ma‘an. Another Palestinian was seriously wounded and 15 homes and a mosque in the camp were damaged, they said.
Palestinians in Syria are reluctantly drawn into vortex of uprising
BEIRUT, Lebanon (NY Times) 30 June — The body of a Hamas official was found in his home on Wednesday night, bearing marks of torture. A colonel in the Palestine Liberation Army was sprawled in his car on Tuesday, fatally shot near his home. Three Palestinians were shot down in the alleyways of a refugee camp late last Sunday by a group of unidentified gunmen. None of these deaths happened in the Gaza Strip or the West Bank, but in Syria, where Palestinian refugees are being pulled into that nation’s dark struggle. All are still a mystery, a testament to the uneasy circumstances for the half-million Palestinian refugees caught in an uprising their leaders have desperately tried to sidestep.
Under the ruling Assad family, Syria has long defined itself as a champion of resistance to Israel, providing a haven for Palestinians, granting refugees full civil rights and hosting radical militant groups like Hamas. But the brutal crackdown on the opposition by President Bashar al-Assad’s government, with more than 10,000 killed since the uprising began in March 2011, has put the Palestinians in a difficult spot, forced to choose between the popular mood and their benefactor. The top Hamas leadership chose to leave, while other groups stayed behind, laying the groundwork for an emerging battle for the Palestinians.
Calm returns to refugee camp after clashes
SIDON, Lebanon (Daily Star) 30 June — Calm returned to the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain al-Hilweh in Sidon Saturday following clashes that left three people wounded. Members of the Islamist group Jund al-Sham exchanged fire with an official in the Fatah movement Friday night, prompting the Palestinian Follow-Up Committee to convene for an emergency meeting.
Video: Nahr al-Barad refugee camp residents describe life under Lebanese army
Elect. Int. 27 June — No space to bury the dead: In this video we see an elder from the camp elaborating on the second wave of clashes that erupted in Nahr al-Bared camp on 18 of June. Clashes started when thousands of people marched in a funeral procession from Baddawi camp, 15 kilometers away, to Nahr al-Bared to bury Ahmad Qassim, a bystander who was killed by the Lebanese army when they stopped a motorcyclist at a checkpoint. Clashes between the Lebanese army and the protesters broke out during Qassim’s funeral when Foad al-Loubani, sitting on his balcony, was shot by the Lebanese army. His brother was also shot in the leg while trying to drag the wounded man inside the apartment. In the video, the camp resident expresses frustration at the severe injustice the Lebanese army shows towards the Palestinian residents of the camp. He emphasizes the influence of the Arab revolutions on the people of Nahr al-Bared camp, galvanizing the people to take to the streets to demand an end to the military siege on the camp.
Analysis: The predicament of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon / Ramzy Baroud
28 June — When Lebanese security reportedly killed 18-year-old Ahmad al-Qasim over a documentation dispute in the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, the camp’s Palestinian refugee population erupted in anger and dismay … Palestinian refugees in Lebanon exist on the margins of a larger political question concerning the country’s irreconcilable sectarian, factional and familial divides. This makes it somewhat difficult to place the tragedy of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon within a single political context. Lebanon’s enduring conflicts and political alliances are in a constant state of flux … Some 450,000 United Nations-registered refugees live in Lebanon. They subsist in poverty, living in 12 concentration camp-like physical entities. They are denied basic rights and lack even nominal political horizons. Most of the refugees were forced out of Palestine between 1947-48 by Zionists militias, who later became the Israeli army.
Lebanon’s Palestinian refugees continue to be victimized by a bewildering political landscape and unmistakable discrimination by the state. Their treatment is often justified by the pretense that Palestinian refugees are temporary “guests” in Lebanon. Now even third generation “guests” of a UN-registered population of nearly 450,000 refugees are denied home ownership, inheritance of land or real estate. They are also barred from many professions. The state of near complete economic stagnation has resulted in socioeconomic regression, placing Palestinian refugees in Lebanon at a very low standing with little hope for the future.
Political / Diplomatic news
Official: Abbas-Mofaz meeting postponed indefinitely
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 30 June — Sunday’s meeting between President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli vice premier Shaol Mofaz has been postponed indefinitely, an official said Saturday. The senior Fatah official, who asked not to be named, told Ma‘an the meeting was postponed for several reasons including public opposition under the current circumstances … Palestinians reacted overwhelmingly negatively Thursday and Friday after news of the expected meeting between Abbas and the Israeli vice premier, taking to Facebook to denounce the visit. The leaders were to meet Sunday in Ramallah, but Palestinian youths began preparations to hold protests and some even called on the Palestinian Authority to arrest the official upon arrival.
Netanyahu torpedoed Abbas-Mofaz meeting, claim sources close to vice PM
Haaretz 30 June — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered his adviser to request Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas cancel his upcoming meeting with Vice Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz, said Mofaz’s associates on Saturday. According to the sources, Netanyahu and his advisers, including attorney Isaac Molho, acted to cancel the meeting as part of a struggle over the replacement of the Tal Law, and the tension that has erupted between Netanyahu and Mofaz over the issue.
PLO seeks emergency UNSC meeting on settlements
AFP 30 June — The PLO announced Saturday that it has begun proceeding to call an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss Israel’s settlement policy. “The PLO Executive Committee decided to call the Security Council to convene an emergency meeting to discuss settlements… in home of getting a resolution saying that the colonization must stop,” a PA statement said.
Hamas leader ‘assassinated’ in Syrian capital Damascus
BBC 28 June — Kamal Ghanaja was reportedly shot dead by gunmen who burst into his home in the Syrian capital’s northern suburb of Qudsaya earlier this week. Hamas has not formally blamed anyone for the killing but one official told the AFP news agency that the Israeli secret service, Mossad, was behind it. Israel’s defence minister described the accusation as not “necessarily true”. “He was not really personally familiar [to me],” Ehud Barak told Israeli Army Radio on Thursday. “According to all the background published, he was no saint and I don’t want to add anything or comment about this incident.” … The group’s political leader, Khaled Meshaal, now lives in Qatar. His deputy, Moussa Abu Marzouk, is based in Egypt.
Thousands attend funeral of slain Hamas figure Kamal Ghannaja
AMMAN (PIC) 30 June — Thousands of Palestinians and Jordanians attended in Amman on Friday the funeral of Hamas figure Kamal Ghannaja who died under mysterious circumstances at his home in Damascus. Head of Hamas’s political bureau Khaled Mashaal was among the mourners who attended the burial ceremony of Ghannaja. Chants in favor of Hamas and the resistance were heard during the funeral procession. After finishing the burial, Mashaal mourned the death of Ghannaja and prayed to Allah to make him among the righteous people and martyrs. Kamal Ghannaja is believed to have been assassinated by unknown parties during his presence in his house in Qudsiya district of Damascus. Hamas initiated investigation into the incident and intends to declare the results soon.
Jordan king hosts Hamas leader in Amman
AMMAN, Jordan (Ma‘an) 28 June — Jordan’s King Abdullah met Thursday with Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal and a delegation of party leaders in the capital city Amman, Jordanian media reported. Jordan’s Petra news service said Mashaal and his delegation discussed developments in the region and issues of common interest, and Abdullah reiterated the kingdom’s support for Palestine.
Fatah prepares for voter registration in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 29 June — Fatah’s election committees in Gaza met Thursday to discuss preparations for voter registration in the Hamas-run enclave. Fatah official Issac Muhhemer led the meeting, held to coordinate the committees ahead of voter registration, a party statement said. The Central Elections Committee is due to start updating the electoral register in the Gaza Strip on July 3. Fatah has formed election committees across Gaza to follow up on the process. Fatah is expected to launch its election campaign in Gaza to coincide with voter registration.
Election officials to launch awareness campaign in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 27 June — The central elections committee will start Thursday an awareness campaign to update the electoral register in 256 centers in the Gaza Strip, an official said Wednesday. Hisham Kahil, the executive director of the central elections commission, said that the campaign was the first such initiative to update the registers since the last local elections were held in January 2005.
Morsi: We’ll help Palestinians get legitimate rights
Ynet 30 June — New Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, who was sworn in on Saturday, said after the ceremony that his country “stands by the Palestinian people” and will “work so that they obtain all their legitimate rights.” Morsi also pledged to promote internal Palestinian reconciliation, adding that the Palestinian nation will “retrieve its land and sovereignty.”
PA agriculture minister signs Namibia cooperation deal
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 30 June — The Palestinian Authority minister of agriculture on Saturday concluded a two-day visit to Namibia, after signing a cooperation agreement with his Namibian counterpart … Later, President Pohamba told delegates Namibia would continue to support Palestinians, noting their right to establish an independent and sovereign state.
Sweden upgrades Palestinian mission to embassy
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 29 June — Sweden on Thursday upgraded Palestine’s diplomatic representation to the status of an embassy, the Swedish Consulate in Jerusalem said. Sweden has not recognized Palestinian statehood, but Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and Palestinian ambassador Hala Husni Fariz signed an agreement Thursday to upgrade the Palestinian mission in Stockholm to an embassy, a consulate statement said.
Israeli Racism / Discrimination
Report: Police intelligence told to target Israeli Arabs joining social protests
Haaretz 29 June — Police intelligence officers have been told to collect information about Israeli Arabs who join the social justice protests, Channel 10 reported last night. Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino issued a directive to the police top brass ordering them to document every “involvement of the Arab community in the protests.” Unlike the directives about Jewish demonstrators, which focus on rioters and anarchists, the section about Arabs does not specify which type of demonstrators police should watch out for, referring only to Arabs in general.
‘Immigration inspectors assaulted me because I am Asian’
Ynet 29 June — Justin Tang, the son of Hong Kong citizens who holds permanent residence in Israel, claimed that an Immigration Authority enforcement unit assaulted him in his workplace in Tel Aviv … Tang’s shift manager, Shimon Harush, reinforced the complainant claims, saying that the inspector employed exaggerated force. “The inspector strangled him and handcuffed him. He was irritated and impatient. I was stunned. This behavior seemed unusual and violent to me,” Harush noted. “I didn’t try to resist, I was just trying to look for my ID, but he didn’t care,” Tang maintained … every Israeli resident and citizen must carry an ID at all times.
Israel gives Ivorian migrants 2 weeks to leave
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 28 June — Israel on Thursday gave undocumented migrants from the Ivory Coast two weeks to leave the country, the latest step in its crackdown on Africans who have entered the country unlawfully. “Whoever leaves in this period will receive a stipend, those who do not will be sent away,” Interior Minister Eli Yishai said in a statement announcing the deadline … The ministry said there were around 2,000 Ivorians in the country illegally, out of a total of some 60,000 African migrants who Israel says are mostly job-seekers and threaten to upset demographics in Israel.
Eritreans: US, save us from deportation
Ynet 29 June — Hundreds protest outside US embassy in Tel Aviv, call on Washington to pressure Israel into granting them refugee status
LISTEN: The song of the ‘threat’ to the Zionist project
972mag 28 June by Mya Guarnieri — A few weeks ago, I was in south Tel Aviv on a Friday night conducting research. As I walked down Salame Street, I heard a chorus singing above me. It was coming from the second story of a low-slung, dilapidated apartment building. I saw a few latecomers entering the building — Eritrean women draped in white; Eritrean men, also wearing white, and carrying what looked like large walking sticks. As I listened to the music, I realized the sticks were being struck against the floor for percussion. I guessed that the singing was probably some sort of prayer. There was something deeply moving about the hope and devotion I heard in the voices. Amid the poverty and desperation of south Tel Aviv; amid the growing threats to and violence towards the refugee community; as the government incites against Africans; on the eve of the deportation of south Sudanese–still, these people had faith. No, it was more than faith. Their voices carried joy.
Arab MKs: Service for all is declaration of war
Ynet 29 June — Having announced that ‘Arab citizens must carry their equal share of the burden’ Netanyahu speaks to Arab MKs who vow to resist draft. ‘Arabs shouldn’t be the victims of a Jewish war,’ MK Tibi says — Arab Knesset members are outraged over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision require Israeli Arabs to perform military or national service as part of the Plesner Committee debates.
Muslim woman: Arabs must enlist in IDF
Ynet 28 June — “Arabs, not just the haredim, must also carry their equal share of the burden, stop complaining and begin serving in the IDF – or at least join the national service program,” an Arab-Israeli woman said Wednesday.
Arab volunteers firmly against service for all
Ynet 29 June — Many young Arabs joined their MKs in condemning Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s call to make national service compulsory and threatened to leave the program if national service is forced upon them. There are currently 2,400 Arabs in national service, 15% of which are into their second year. Fifteen percent of the volunteers serve within the Arab community and the rest in corresponding positions across Israel. Ninety percent of the volunteers are women.
Bringing the benefits of yoga to the West Bank
HuffPost 28 June — DC yoga teachers will travel to Ramallah this July to empower community members and build sustainable programs … The training, which will be the first of its kind in the West bank, will serve to build resources and establish new yoga-based wellness programs to schools, community centers, and refugee camps. Many of the participants already assume service roles in the community and will incorporate yoga techniques into their work to better address physical and mental wellness and relief of stress disorders.
Israeli army asks for extensive deployment on Egyptian border
IMEMC 28 June — Israeli paper, Maariv, reported Thursday that senior leaders of the Israeli army are demanding the government to grant the army $15 billion over the coming five years, in order to deploy the military in full capacity along the border with Egypt. Maariv said that the army conducted a study about the current situation in Egypt, especially after the overwhelming victory of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Egyptian parliamentary and presidential elections. Israeli military sources reported that the army should be deployed at full capacity along the border with Egypt “before it is too late”.
Egypt seizes Grad rockets ‘smuggled from Libya’
CAIRO (AFP) 30 June — Egypt has seized a large weapons consignment, including Grad rockets, that had been smuggled from Libya and could have been headed to the Gaza Strip, press reports said on Saturday. The haul, which included 138 Grad rockets and a further 139 Grad warheads, was made in the Mediterranean coastal town of Marsa Matruh, not far from the Libyan border, Egyptian newspapers reported. The interior ministry said that police were searching for two men suspected of trafficking weapons “to the Sinai Peninsula or towards Palestine.” Libya has been awash with weapons since last year’s armed rebellion
IDF fears terror attack on Syrian border
Ynet 28 June — Army officials say global jihad may take advantage of possible regime change in Damascus to launch cross-border attacks from remote region
US sends message to Israel, Iran, schedules joint military exercise with IDF
Haaretz/Reuters 30 June — In an apparent attempt to signal to Israel and Iran that the United States means business with regards to Israel’s security, a top U.S. military officer said on Friday that the United States and Israel are expected to hold a delayed, joint military exercise sometime around October or November, after postponing it earlier this year. In addition to the military exercise, the U.S. Senate voted for a bill affirming U.S. commitment to Israel as well as calling for an array of further actions to be taken to this end, some of which could be seen as direct support for an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear program in case the diplomatic negotiations currently taking place fail to get Iran to cooperate with the west.
How the Israel lobby erodes US sovereignty / Ahmed Moor
AJ 29 June — From writing laws to funding presidential campaigns, conservative Israelis have a strong pull on US politics — The United States is a sovereign country. That is sometimes hard to remember … In summary: a senator who suffered crippling neurological damage received legislation from an Israeli politician by way of AIPAC before he slipped it into a US bill that eventually became law. In other words, an Israeli politician helped write a US law. Then she boasted about it.”I have nothing against the descendants of refugees and I’m not asking them to give up of their dream of returning,” Haaretz quoted Wilf as saying. “But if we want a two-state solution, UNWRA can’t continue to aid an inflation of refugees … It ends up harming peace.”
But that’s probably not worth getting overly excited about. Foreign politicians have always written laws for their US counterparts (not really). What they haven’t always done is finance US presidential races. Sheldon Adelson is an American casino billionaire and owner of conservative Israeli daily newspaper Israel HaYom. He is famous for spending $10m on Newt Gingrich’s presidential bid. A veteran, he is also famous for saying, “the uniform that I wore in the military, unfortunately, was not an Israeli uniform”.
Analysis / Opinion
Mursi win to distract Hamas from unity, analysts say
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 June — Egypt under a Muslim Brotherhood presidency is unlikely to alter its foreign policy outlook, but could impact Palestinian politics by encouraging Hamas to seek international recognition, political analysts told Ma‘an … The ongoing reconciliation efforts between Hamas and secular rivals Fatah are unlikely to go anywhere soon due to this development, political analyst Tall Ukal told Ma‘an. “I believe Hamas will fight for legitimacy and seek to represent the whole Palestinian people, leaving behind all the big slogans used before Mursi came to power,” he said, referring to the party’s professed commitment to implementing the May 2011 reconciliation deal. Hamas will be motivated by the success of Egypt’s Brotherhood — its parent movement — not just in securing a majority of votes, but its acceptance by the US and other world governments.
Haaretz editorial: Occupation sciences
29 June — An Israeli university on the West Bank would be a university for the occupation sciences; it must not happen — …The college in Ariel must not be allowed to become a university because of its location, in the heart of the occupied territories. There is no place for an Israeli university there, in the land of the West Bank, and its establishment would only further entrench the creeping annexation, the blurring of the Green Line and the process of making the territories of the occupation an indivisible part of the State of Israel. That is what the university presidents should have protested, and explicitly. These figures, who are battling an ever-expanding academic boycott against Israel abroad, should have been the first to take alarm at the harm their institutions and the state would suffer were a university to be established in the territories.