Israeli authorities encircle Qalqiliya land with fence
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 28 July – Israeli authorities have started to install a fence around the southern side of Azzun Atma in Qalqiliya in the northern West Bank. A two-meter high spiral fence was installed on around 1,500 meters of land running from the settlement of Oranit to the crossroads of Kafr Qasim and route 505, according to Abdul-Karim Ayyoub, the secretary of the local council. “With this fence, Israel is isolating the area known as Beer al-Shilla, the artisan well, and about 800-1000 dunams (over 8,000 meters squared) of different groves. Farmers will not be able to access their fields even after they pass the gate on the northern side of the road,” he added. Hani Amer, who is in charge of the artisan well in al-Shilla said that neither the well nor the groves could be accessed anymore, as the Israelis have not left openings or gates leading to the well or to the dirt roads.
Ultimate goal of Israeli policies in Hebron: ethnic cleansing
ISM 28 July by ‘Markus Fitzgerald’ — …Demolitions In 2006, Palestinian landlord Fayiz Arajar began the construction of a large building intended to house a dozen shops and several families. The building is formidably situated, overlooking the olive grove of the ar-Ras area and the distant white houses of Al Khalil, flickering in the heat. In 2007, as the project was nearly completed, Israeli settlers occupied the building. Subsequent to a high court decision to evict them, settlers from across the West Bank gathered in the house ready to defend their illegal takeover of the building. The eviction deadline was set to December 4, 2007 by the high court. The week leading to the deadline was tense. Israeli settlers vandalized the Palestinian cemetery, burned Palestinian cars, and attacked Palestinian houses. The escalation in such attacks came due to the arrival of thousands of illegal settlers in support of the squatters. They succeeded in fighting the eviction force. Israeli authorities simply refrained from further attempts to remove them and, as seen before, allowed the story to twist from that of property theft to a question of security (of the settlers). In recent years, Israel has even decided to erect a military checkpoint for Palestinian pedestrians in the interest of ‘protecting’ the settlers.
Palestinian voice from Susya, a Palestinian village that existed before the establishment of the state of Israel
[with photos] InGaza blog 30 July by Eva Bartlett — Five years ago, I met Nasser Nawaja and his family, and the community of Palestinian Susiya (not to be confused with the illegal Zionist colony of Susiya, in the same south of Hebron, West Bank area, whose colonists regularly viciously attack and aggress Susiya Palestinians, including elderly, children and women). When in 2007 I met Nasser, his parents, his wife, brothers and extended family, they had been enduring for years, almost two decades, aggressions by the Israeli army and by Zionist colonists. They had been forcibly moved from their very functional, cool in summer, and innovative cave homes to arid desert land on which, periodically, the Israeli occupation army would invade and destroy the ramshackle homes these displaced families had constructed.
Attili: Israeli settlers draining Palestinian water supply
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 29 July — Israel allocates 70 times more water to each settler than to the average Palestinian in the West Bank, the head of the Palestinian Water Authority said Sunday. At a press conference in Ramallah, Shaddad Attili said Palestinians received 105 million cubic meters of water, less than the amount allocated in the 1995 Oslo Accords and around a quarter of the 400 million cubic meters needed according to international standards … The Palestinian Water Authority has had to buy water and is billions of shekels in debt, Attili said. The Palestinian Authority, in the midst of its own fiscal crisis, has not helped with the debt, he added.
The court postponed the eviction of Migron until after Ramadan
Settlement Watch 27 July — Today, 27/7/12, the Supreme Court partially accepted the request of the State to postpone the eviction of Migron. The court instructed that all preparation for the eviction continue as planned, and set the time for another hearing after Ramadan. Peace Now: “the Government surrenders to the settlers’ threats of use of violence and uses them as an excuse to postpone the eviction. We believe that the police investigation will soon show that the papers of the alleged land deal were forged.” The court had to rule in two different requests, one by the State and another by the settlers...
The bottom line is that the settlers got a postponement of three weeks but Migron still should be evicted. In addition, the police are investigating the alleged land deal, and for now, the request of the settlers to exclude 17 houses from the eviction is not accepted neither by the State nor by the Court.
Haaretz editorial: Pyromania in the Hebron Hills
29 July — Defense Minister Ehud Barak last week took a break from his urgent work on the Iranian crisis to heat up the relatively quiet eastern front as well. Barak told the High Court of Justice he had decided to demolish eight Palestinian villages in the southern Hebron Hills, in Area C, where some 1,500 people reside and make their living. Barak said he had made the decision because it encompasses an area known as “Firing Zone 918,” which is essential for Israel Defense Forces training. The state expressed concern that the residents would gather information about IDF methods and use them for terrorist purposes. The declaration of Palestinian lands as “firing zones” was used during the era of military government over areas in Israel as a common method to take over tens of thousands of dunams of land belonging to Palestinian citizens of Israel, and to confine them to a smaller region. With the conquest of the territories in 1967, the new military government that was established there also adopted the method … According to international law, the land under contention in the Hebron Hills – like all the land in the West Bank – is occupied land. The eviction of hundreds of farmers and shepherds using the pretext of “firing zones” is pyromania.
Witnesses: Israeli forces arrest 2 in Al-Aqsa compound
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 29 July — Israeli forces entered the Haram al-Sharif compound overnight Saturday and arrested two worshipers, witnesses said. Dozens of police officers entered the compound and used physical force to evacuate worshipers, leading to clashes. Two men from Jerusalem were arrested, witnesses told Ma‘an. Hundreds of Muslim worshipers have been attending overnight prayers in the Haram al-Sharif compound, the Al-Aqsa Foundation for Waqf and Heritage said. “Israeli authorities are trying to prevent this rite,” it added. [IMEMC adds: The Foundation added that hundreds of worshipers remained in the Al-Aqsa Mosque for the third night in a row, and that their stay was facilitated by the Islamic Waqf Department while the Israeli military and police are trying to prevent any worshiper from staying overnight at the mosque or its yards. (It is normal to pray all night in mosques during Ramadan)]
Aqsa foundation videotapes Israeli excavations at Maghariba Gate
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 28 July — The Aqsa foundation for endowment and heritage revealed a report backed with photos and a video recording proving that the Israeli occupation regime is embarking on demolishing Al-Maghariba Gate ramp at the western wall of the Aqsa Mosque. The Aqsa foundation said it saw dozens of workmen demolishing Al-Maghariba Gate with digging tools and their bare hands, and piling up the soils and rocks aside before motortrucks take at night the piles to an unknown destination. In addition to these excavations, the foundation says, some kind of construction work is taking place beneath Al-Maghariba Gate. It expressed its belief that repairs are being made to the ruins of Al-Afdel Mosque under the Gate to turn it into a synagogue for Jewish women. The foundation monitored these excavations for three days, but it said that some aspects of these diggings are still unclear.
Israeli police summon 14-year-old from Jerusalem for questioning twice in three days
AIC 29 July — The Israeli police summoned 14-year old Muhammad Ziad Zidani from the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwan, for investigation two times in three days. Zidani’s father was arrested at the Al-Aqsa Mosque after completing his dawn prayer, and was told to bring his son Muhammad in for investigation or the police would raid the family home. During investigation, Muhammad was questioned about youth activities in Silwan. Muhammad had just been released from police custody following a 22 July dawn raid on their family home.
IOA forces Jerusalemite to demolish part of his home, arrests another
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) forced a Palestinian Jerusalemite, Yacob Rasheq, to demolish an annex in his house in the town of Silwan in Jerusalem. Eyewitnesses confirmed that the IOA obliged Rasheq to demolish a part of his house in Al-Bustan neighborhood under the pretext that he did not obtain a construction license from the municipality. The Israeli municipality of Jerusalem forced the Palestinian civilian to demolish his house giving him seven days to demolish it by himself or the municipality would do it and he would pay a fine of at least 17 thousand dollars.
Meanwhile, Israeli occupation police arrested last night a citizen from the town of Silwan. Local sources said that the policemen arrested a citizen from Sirhan family from the town of Silwan after storming the Panorama Hotel in Ras al-Amud town and prevented the establishment of a collective Iftar banquet under the pretext that the organizers are affiliated with Hamas!
Tisha B’Ar: Temple Mount closed to Jews
Ynet 29 July — …Police said that the site has been closed to all visitors, both Arabs and Jews, but that Muslim worshippers will be allowed in. Jewish extremists recently posted calls to hold provocations at the Temple Mount on various websites. Muslim clerics said in response they will not be dragged into clashes and threatened to hold riots of their own. Police then decided not to take any chances and bar prayers at the site.
IOF soldiers arrest two citizens in occupied Jerusalem
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 29 July — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested two Palestinians in Aisawaye village in occupied Jerusalem on Sunday, locals said. Abu Mousa Darwish, an inhabitant of Aisawiye, told the PIC that IOF soldiers broke into the village and arrested a citizen at dawn Sunday. He added that the soldiers returned at noon and nabbed another citizen of the same family.
Violence / Raids / Arrests / Provocations
Israeli border police shoot Palestinian dead in East Jerusalem
Haaretz 30 July — Israeli troops opened fire at a Palestinian car at a checkpoint in the occupied West Bank early on Monday, killing one person and wounding two others, Palestinian officials said. A spokesman for Israel’s border police, which is stationed at checkpoints in the area, said that the border policeman stationed at the checkpoint called out for the vehicle to stop and were forced to fire when the car failed to comply. One of the policemen was hospitalized after sustaining light wounds from shrapnel.
According to Palestinian medical workers, the man in his 40s who was shot dead and the two others were traveling to pray in Jerusalem. Two additional Palestinians also traveling in the vehicle were taken to Palestinian hospitals to treat light wounds.
Settlers terrorize child, attack activists
HEBRON, July 29 (WAFA) – Israeli settlers from Havat Ma’on illegal outpost in the south Hebron hills Saturday terrorized a Palestinian child and attacked international activists in Humra valley in the area, according to a press release by Operation Dove. It said the activists were called to accompany the child on his way from one village to another in the area. The activists arrived at Humra valley to find out that five masked settlers have chased after the child. Settlers threw rocks and used a slingshot against the activists. One of the child’s relatives said the child was transferred to hospital after being traumatized by the attack, added the press release.
Hebron: Escalation of Israeli army aggression
[photos, video] ISM — posted 30 July by ‘Selina Khalil’ and ‘Hakim Maghrib’ — For several days this past week, the Israeli army has assaulted Palestinians and conducted raids in Palestinian residential areas of Hebron. The raids have taken place in both the Israeli-controlled area H2 and the Palestinian-controlled area H1
Military training in H1 In the afternoon of July 23, more than 30 Israeli soldiers participated in a half hour training operation in Bab a-Zawiya neighborhood. The neighborhood is located in H1, the supposedly Palestinian-controlled area of Hebron. Close to a dozen armed Israeli soldiers ran out of Checkpoint 56, advanced 300 meters up the street, and sealed off traffic. There they met with over 20 other soldiers who had taken positions on the rooftops of Palestinian residential homes. After forcing their way in between the homes, soldiers conducted some closed activities before retreating back into the H2 area. The operation is presumably another military training drill.
Later that evening, 20 Israeli soldiers again entered the H1 area, this time in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood. Bringing with them a dog, weapons, and other military equipment, the soldiers proceeded with an hour long training operation.Combat-like positions were assumed in different locations of the neighborhood. Some soldiers unfolded a compact ladder and climbed an earth mound, despite a parallel road. Other soldiers stopped a young Palestinian man in his car with loud shouting, forced him out at gunpoint, and searched him. A second young Palestinian man was pushed against a wall and body-searched.
When neighborhood residents left the local mosque after Isha, the evening prayer, Israeli soldiers forced them back into the mosque with aggressive shouting. Several houses were raided by soldiers, for reasons unexplained….
Hebron: Settlers gas-attack Palestinians; victim arrested and refused aid
ISM posted 30 July by ‘Hakim Maghribi’ — On the afternoon of July 27, brothers Ibrahim Abeidu, 17, and Mohammad Abeidu, 19, were carrying water for their neighbor in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood of Hebron. There is a current drought and water is often shared between households. Walking on the hills above the Muslim cemetery, 20 Israeli settlers from a nearby illegal colony appeared on the same path. As the brothers passed by, one settler suddenly turned to them and sprayed a form of nauseating gas in the faces of the two teenagers carrying water. The brothers became dazed, and fell to ground. The 20 settlers proceeded to throw stones at the Abeidu brothers as they lay on the ground. This attracted a Palestinian crowd who came to intervene … Some 60 Israeli soldiers arrived on scene, only to show aggression against the Palestinians rather than the gas-spraying illegal settlers. Unusually, a Palestinian ambulance was able to get permission from Israeli forces to enter Shuhada Street and help the two brothers who remained in weak condition on the ground … Israeli soldiers prevented the two victims from entering the ambulance on the basis that they were not carrying their ID cards on them….
Activists: Man hospitalized after Israeli army raids Nabi Saleh
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 29 July — Israeli forces raided the village of Nabi Saleh on Saturday evening and fired tear gas and live ammunition, a local committee said. Soldiers entered the village just before Iftar, the Ramadan meal to break the fast, and raided several houses without warrants, the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee said. One man was hospitalized with internal bleeding after being beaten by soldiers and another man, Abd Alrazeq Tamimi, fainted after inhaling tear gas. Abd Alrazeq Tamimi’s son Mustafa was killed in Nabi Saleh last year when an Israeli soldier fired a tear gas canister directly at him from close range. Saturday’s raid was the fifth day in a row that the army entered Nabi Saleh at the time of Iftar, the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee said. [IMEMC adds: …soldiers broke into and searched dozens of homes before kidnapping resident Majd Taha At-Tamimi, 16]
An Israeli military spokeswoman said soldiers entered Nabi Saleh on Saturday evening during “routine activity” and fired tear gas. She was not aware of any injuries.
PCHR Weekly Report on Israeli human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory 19-25 July
26 July —IOF delivered to the Palestinian side the body of a Palestinian whom they killed at the Egyptian-Israeli border. IOF use force to disperse peaceful protest organized by Palestinian civilians in the West Bank … IOF conducted 22 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and a limited one into the Gaza Strip. IOF arrested 6 Palestinians, including two children, in the West Bank. IOF leveled areas of Palestinian land in the southern Gaza Strip …IOF have continued settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property. IOF stopped establishing water pipelines and confiscated a digger near Qalqilya. Israeli settlers uprooted 102 trees and seized a 5 dunum-area of land in Hebron. IOF razed a 14-dunum area of agricultural land in al-Khader village near Bethlehem. 4 Palestinian civilians sustained bruises as they were attacked by Israeli settlers.
Locals: 5 Palestinians detained in Bethlehem village
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 July — Israeli forces detained a man and his four sons in Beit Sakarya village south of Bethlehem, locals said. Soldiers took Mohammad Mahmoud Abu Soai and his four sons to the Etzion detention center, they said.
An Israeli military spokeswoman was not familiar with the arrests but confirmed four people were detained in other areas.They were from Qalqiliya, Nablus and two from Hebron, she said. Meanwhile she said Palestinians hurled rocks at an Israeli vehicle near the Huwara area south of Nablus. The bus suffered damage and soldiers searched the area, she said.
Clashes as Israeli forces raid Nablus, 5 detained
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 28 July — Nineteen Palestinians were hospitalized in Nablus in the northern West Bank overnight after they inhaled large amounts of tear gas during clashes between young Palestinians and Israeli troops who stormed the city overnight. Locals said military vehicles along with special forces raided the city’s Ras al-Ayn, Khallat al-Eiman and Khallat al-Amoud neighborhoods 2 a.m. Saturday and detained five young men. Meanwhile, the invading forces demolished the interior of the house of Omar al-Kharouf which became a ramshackle, and was evacuated as a result.
Among the detainees were 23-year-old Thaer Subih and Abdullah Omar al-Kharouf, 24. Al-Kharouf was beaten and the interior of his family home was demolished. Undercover Israeli forces entered the Ras al-Ayn neighborhood in a white bus before they broke into home of Hannoun and detained Sami Hannoun and his brother Shadi, locals said.
Red Crescent officials told Ma‘an that 19 people were taken to public hospitals after they inhaled tear gas which the soldiers fired heavily. They said the tear gas was fired at ambulances while they evacuated people.
Two young men were also hit by a stun grenade. They were identified as Jihad Ghalaby and Wael Sbayyan.
Israeli forces detain 16 in raids across West Bank
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 28 July — Israeli forces detained 16 Palestinians early Saturday morning across the West Bank including five teenagers and a minor, officials said. Palestinian police said in a statement that the detainees were from Ramallah, Nablus, Qalqiliya, Hebron, and Bethlehem areas.
The statement identified the detainees as Majd Fahmi Abbas, 15, Iyad Khamis Abbas, 16, Jad Salman Abdul-Raoof, 18, Yamin Hani Mahmoud, 18, Asaad Muhammad Asaad, 18, and 12-year-old Salah Yasin, all from the village of Kafr Ein in Ramallah district in the central West Bank.
In Nablus, the statement added, Israeli forces raided Ras al-Ayn area and detained Shadi Hani Hannoun, Shadi Ibrahim Hannoun, and his brothers Hani and Muhammad.
The statement added that in Qalqiliya in the northern West Bank, Israeli forces stormed the village of Isla and detained 20-year-old Jamal Radi and his brother Nur, 16.
Meanwhile, In Hebron in the southern West Bank, Israeli forces detained Rajab Ubeido, 16.
In Khirbit Zakariyya, a small village amidst Israeli settlements of Gush Etzion south of Bethlehem, Israeli forces detained 44-year-old Muhammad Mahmoud Abu Swayy, and his sons, Mahmoud, 24, Nidal, 22 and Iyad, 15.
IOF launches new arrests and raids in West Bank and Jerusalem
WEST BANK (PIC) 27 July — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) launched at dawn Friday a raid on the city of Jenin and arrested a citizen at a military checkpoint in the northern Jordan Valley. Eyewitnesses said that IOF soldiers stormed Jenin city at dawn Friday, stationed in the Suetat neighborhood and launched combing operations until six in the morning.
IOF soldiers were also deployed in the vicinity of the Arab American University and the road to park Hadad in the town of Zabadeh in southern Jenin.
On the other hand, the occupation forces arrested Orwa Daraghmeh at the Hamra military checkpoint in the northern Jordan Valley while returning to his home in Tubas.
Meanwhile, IOF decided on Thursday to renew the detention of two citizens from the town of Silwan in occupied Jerusalem, and at the same time handed a summons to a liberated prisoner … The occupation raided the house of the liberated prisoner Moataz Hijazi in Thawri neighborhood in the holy city and handed him a summons. Hijazi was released in early June last year after spending more than 11 years in occupation prisons
Several wounded in nonviolent anti-wall demonstrations in West Bank
IMEMC 27 July — In central West Bank, Palestinians organized anti-wall and settlements protests in the villages of Bil‘in, Ni‘lin and al-Nabi Saleh. Israeli troops used chemical water in addition to tear gas to suppress protesters … In northern West Bank, at the village of Kufur Qadduom, villagers accompanied by international supporters were attacked with tear gas as soon as they reached the road block isolating the village form the surrounding villages and towns. Local sources said that several residents were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation. Meanwhile on Friday, in southern West Bank, several residents were also treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation when Israeli soldiers attacked the villagers of Al Ma‘sara as they organized their weekly anti wall and settlements protest which called this week for boycotting Israeli products.
MK Zahalkha: Palestinian cars sprayed with ‘chemical material’
AIC 29 July — MK Zahalkha (National Democratic Assembly) submitted a parliamentary question to Minister of Defence concerning a chemical that Israeli soldiers spray on cars of Palestinian citizens of Israel who enter the West Bank. Several Palestinian citizens of Israel contacted MK Zahalkha to enquire about the spray, which they said was sprayed on their cars as they entered the northern West Bank city of Jenin. They asked to know what the chemical is and what its possible health implications are.
Israeli prison guards beat detained Palestinian MP
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 28 July — Israeli prison guards beat Palestinian MP Dr. Mohammed Al-Natshe during his transfer on Friday to a court hearing, the ministry of prisoners said. Minister of prisoners Dr. Attalla Abul Sabh, commenting on the assault on Al-Khalil lawmaker Natshe, said that the Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) had recently escalated assaults against Palestinian prisoners and detained lawmakers … Israel was no longer apprehensive of violating the international laws and doctrines as all its crimes against legally elected Palestinian MPs went unpunished, Abul Sabh said.
Human rights organizations condemn attack on lecturer Mohammed Ghazal
RAMALLAH (PIC) 27 July — Ahrar center for prisoners’ studies and human rights and Tadamun foundation for human rights denounced the attack on Dr. Mohammed Ghazal, a leading figure and a lecturer at Najah University, during his return from a hearing in the Israeli court of appeal. Fouad Khuffash, the director of Ahrar center, said in a statement on Thursday that Dr. Ghazal, 55, who is suffering from several diseases most notably high blood pressure, was attacked by the soldiers of the Nahshon unit. Khuffash revealed that the occupation authorities have been transferring the prisoners from Megiddo prison to Ofer prison under severe conditions in order to exhaust and humiliate the prisoners in such hot weather.
Political prisoner in PA prison begins fifth day of hunger strike
AIC 29 July — The Committee of Political Prisoners’ Families in Hebron stated that Qatada Duvesh commenced a hunger strike in a PA prison in protest of his incarceration without charges. Duvesh family members are affiliated with the Hamas movement.
Haniyeh: Rafah to open 12 hrs daily
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 July — Egypt will follow a new policy on the Rafah crossing between it and the Gaza Strip, and the people of Gaza will experience changes in travel procedures and times, says prime minister of the Hamas-run government in the Gaza Strip Ismail Haniyeh. Speaking to the Gaza-based Hamas-affiliated Palestine newspaper following a meeting with Egyptian President Muhammad Mursi, Haniyeh said that the crossing would operate 12 hours a day, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Further, the number of travelers leaving the enclave will rise to 1,500 a day, and all arrivals from abroad will be let in. “Sixty percent of the Gazan citizens blacklisted by Egypt and denied entry have been removed from the list,” Haniyeh added. In addition, he said, an agreement has been reached that any Palestinian citizen who arrives in Egypt from other countries will be granted a 72-hour visa, so as to make travel arrangements and avoid being deported.
The electricity crisis was also discussed, he said….
Gaza’s only commercial crossing remains closed despite Israeli promise
AIC 29 July — The Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip remains closed on Sunday for the Tisha B’Av Jewish holiday, despite Israeli promises to reopen it today. Israel closed the crossing last Wednesday, ostensibly to conduct infrastructure work. Kerem Shalom is the only crossing for the transfer of goods from Israel to the Gaza Strip. Among other goods, food products, fuel, vehicles, agricultural equipment and humanitarian goods are transferred through Kerem Shalom.
Occupied lives: Fishing in troubled waters
PCHR 25 July — Fishermen in the Gaza Strip have to deal with more than just the typical occupational hazards. Instead of just worrying about holes in their nets or fuel for their motors, fishermen, like Fadel Abuwarda (30), also have to think about the regular illegal attacks, arrest, detention and confiscation of their fishing equipment they are subject to by Israel’s naval forces. It does not matter whether they are within the 3 nautical miles that Israel has unilaterally declared Gazans are allowed to fish in. Nowhere in the Gaza Sea are fishermen safe. On 20 June 2012, at around 19:30, Fadel and a friend came under Israeli fire while they were fishing a mere 1700 meters from the Gaza Strip shore: “We had just thrown our nets in the water when we saw an Israeli gunboat speeding towards us. We then tried to pull our fishing nets out of the water and retreat, but they started shooting at us. Each time we made attempts to pull the nets in, they fired at our boat.” After opening intensive fire on the 2 men, the initial Israeli gunboat left and was replaced by a number of other smaller gunboats with soldiers on board: “The soldiers ordered us to remove our clothes and jump into the water…”
Israeli report: ‘Four shells fired from Gaza’
IMEMC 29 July — Israeli sources reported that resistance fighters in Gaza fired on Friday and Saturday evening, four shells into the Eshkol Regional Council of Settlements, in the Western Negev, and Sderot; no injuries were reported.
Video: War, blockade traumatize Gaza children
PressTV 29 July 2:36 minutes — The children of Gaza continue to bear the brunt of Israel’s wanton aggression during the Gaza war and its frequent air-strikes and incursions. Israel ended its war on Gaza in 2009 , an all-out war which claimed the lives of many people including innocent children and injured thousands others. According to psychiatrists, Children who make up nearly 60 percent of Gaza population are still traumatized and psychologically scarred. Due to the ongoing Israeli blockade of the tiny coastal enclave Gaza lacks enough centers and specialists to deal with the high volume of traumatized children.
Video: Occupied lives: Fishing in troubled waters
PCHR 25 July 1:33 minutes — This week’s video links to a narrative given by Fadel Abu Warda, a Gazan fisherman arrested while working within 3 nautical miles of the Gaza Strip shore, in violation of international law.
New campaign challenges blockade a year after Greece blocked flotilla to Gaza
Mondoweiss 26 July by David Heap and Ehab Lotayef — …Launched in May 2012, Gaza’s Ark (GazaArk.org) is a new campaign in cooperation with organizations and individuals in Palestine, Canada, Australia and the U.S. which aims to build hope on the ground in Gaza in order to sail from Palestine against the blockade. It is not an ‘aid’ project but rather an affirmation of the ability of the Palestinians of Gaza to rebuild their productive export economy, once they regain their freedom of movement. We are funding a boat to be sailed out of Gaza (the only Mediterranean port closed to shipping) by internationals and Palestinians to transport Palestinian products to complete trade deals with international buyers. Importantly, outbound export trade from Palestine cannot be portrayed as threatening anyone’s security.
Syrian forces ‘take control’ of refugee camp hospital
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 July — Syrian security forces took control of a hospital in the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk on Friday, sources in the camp told Ma‘an, as fighting continued across the country. Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad detained injured patients from the Palestine Hospital in Damascus, taking them to an unknown destination, sources said. On Thursday, Syrian forces shelled the hospital twice, causing extensive damage. Palestinians in Yarmouk told Ma’an that the Syrian army was targeting the hospital because medics were treating wounded from all sides, while Assad’s regime only allowed its own soldiers to be treated. A Red Crescent medical complex also suffered widespread damage from shelling. There is now only one functioning hospital in Yarmouk camp, home to over 110,000 Palestinian refugees.
The Palestinian dilemma over Syria
Guardian 27 July by Sharif Nashashibi — Palestinian leaders, organisations and officials were generally silent at the start of Syria’s revolution, mainly out of concern for the fate of the half million Palestinian refugees in the country. However, that has now changed, and not in President Bashar al-Assad’s favour. Attacks on Palestinian camps by Syrian forces loyal to him — most recently last week against the Yarmouk camp — have resulted in killings, injuries, and the displacement of thousands. This has angered Palestinian refugees, many of whom are now openly supporting the revolution, as well as taking in Syrian refugees. This is particularly damaging for the Assad regime because it has long regarded itself as a guardian of the Palestinian cause.
Palestinians welcome end to permit system in Lebanon camp
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 July — Palestinians in Lebanon’s Nahr al-Bared refugee camp on Friday welcomed a decision by the Lebanese army to cancel a permit entry system for residents, a PFLP statement said. Camp residents celebrated the recent decision during a festival held in the camp, which was attended by PFLP members and the leader of its branch in Lebanon Marwan Abdel-Al. “Palestinian people are mighty people, and Palestinian youth are the center of resistance. We love Nahr al-Bared, but we have a date to meet the Galilee and all villages of Palestine,” Abdel-Al told the crowds. The permit system, which controlled entry and exit from the camp, was scrapped two weeks ago, Lebanon’s Daily Star reported. Residents complained that it was humiliating, unnecessary and stifled economic activity in the camp. Checkpoints at the entrance to the camp are still in place.
Solidarity / BDS
Alameda County proclaims Palestinian Cultural Day despite opposition
Indybay 29 July by Sharat G. Lin — Alameda County became the second California county to recognize Palestinian residents as a people, having a rich culture, and contributing to the community. An earlier attempt by opponents to scuttle the proclamation in June was overcome by negotiations between residents and county supervisors. Supervisors Nate Miley and Wilma Chan presented the proclamation on behalf of the entire Board on July 24, 2012 … The proclamation is a victory for Palestinian residents who have long sought recognition as a community despite sometimes fierce opposition. It recognizes Palestinians as a people who “trace their roots back to this historic land of Palestine” and that “Palestinian residents of Alameda County now number approximately 20,000 and continue to make major contributions to the County.”
Video: Three Little Birds: talented Ottawa band takes principled — and musical — stand against apartheid
InGaza blog 28 July by Eva Bartlett — Very pleased to come across this Ottawa-based band, a trio of three talented and lovely women who use their talents to promote awareness of various social justice issues, including…Israeli Apartheid: The Birds have predictably become the target of Zionist defamation organizations, particularly for their performance of ‘Apartheid’ on CTV. In their words: Our song ‘Apartheid’ was originally written in response to the banning of a poster at Carleton University that depicted the bombardment of Gaza in 2008-2009, which killed over 1,400 Palestinians. A year later, we learned that the Carleton University pension fund invests in and profits from the very weaponry that is depicted in the poster.
Political / Economic / Diplomatic News
Japan grants PA $10M in budget support
RAMALLAH, July 29 (WAFA) – Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Japan’s Representative to the Palestinian Authority (PA), Naofumi Hashimoto, Sunday signed an agreement, by which Japan grants PA US $10 million in budget support, according to a statement by the Representative Office of Japan. It said the grant was extended as part of the international support to alleviate PA’s financial difficulties.
Fayyad meets British deputy prime minister in London
LONDON, July 29 (WAFA) – Prime Minister Salam Fayyad Sunday met British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg during Fayyad’s visit to London as head of the Palestinian Olympic delegation. Fayyad also met the Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell, and FCO Minister for the Middle East, Alistair Burt. Clegg said, “Fayyad and I discussed the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and agreed on the urgent need for progress in the Middle East Peace Process.”
Hamas ‘briefly detains’ Fatah spokesman in Gaza
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 29 July — Hamas security forces briefly detained Fatah’s spokesman in Gaza on Sunday, a Fatah official said. Fayez Abu Aita was detained by Hamas forces for four hours, Fatah’s West Bank-based spokesman Ahmad Assaf said in a statement. Abu Aita was arrested after making remarks about national reconciliation and elections, Fatah said. Hamas is refusing to hold elections in Gaza despite agreeing to a vote in the reconciliation treaty it signed with Fatah. Assaf said Abu Aita’s arrest showed an escalating crackdown on Fatah activists and confirmed Hamas’ efforts to thwart all efforts for national unity.
Factions maintain presence in Syria
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 July — Most Palestinian factions have remained in Syria, with the exception of Hamas whose leaders have relocated, officials in Syria said Thursday. Most Hamas leaders have fled Syria despite the movement’s insistence that it was not seeking to move its politburo from Damascus. Only some local Hamas leaders in refugee camps remain, local officials told Ma‘an. Meanwhile, leaders of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Fatah and Islamic Jihad stayed in Syria amid the bloody 16-month uprising against President Bashar Assad, the officials say.
Palestinians cheer to sight of flag at Olympics
RAMALLAH, July 28 (WAFA) – Hundreds of Palestinians from across the West Bank who gathered Friday night through early Satruday at Yasser Arafat Square in the center of Ramallah to watch live coverage of the opening ceremony of the London Olympic Games cheered as the Palestinian Olympic team walked in carrying the Palestinian flag. Mixed feelings of pride and happiness swept through the crowd who waited for more than three hours to watch the Palestinian Olympic team and the flag flying high among 205 flags of countries from around the world.
KTH delegation inspires a new generation of Palestinian youth in diaspora
PNN 28 July — …Vowing to return to explore and visit Palestine, the delegation of Palestinian diaspora youth leaders concluded their visit to Jordan, Palestine and Israel. For two weeks, July 6 through July 21, 2012, these youth embarked upon the journey of a lifetime as they were immersed in their heritage, strengthening their knowledge of their Palestinian identity, culture, history and traditions – as well as their understanding of Palestinian economic environment, political landscape, social structures and conditions. This is the mission of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation’s (HCEF) KTH program. “The most important goal achieved by KTH is that of connecting Diaspora Youth with their roots in Palestine,” said Sir Rateb Rabie, KCHS.
Israel/Palestinian Authority: Theater group hit from both sides
Jerusalem (HRW) 27 July — The Palestinian Authority and Israeli military authorities should both end abuses against members of the West Bank-based Freedom Theater, Human Rights Watch said today … “Israel and the Palestinian Authority are trampling on the rights of Freedom Theater’s staff,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “A theater should be able to offer critical and provocative work without fearing that its staff will be arrested and abused.”
Israel’s Bedouin are opting for West Bank universities
Haaretz 29 July — Hundreds of young Bedouins from the Negev are flocking to universities in the Palestinian Authority, mainly Hebron and Jenin. According to data released by the Knesset Research and Information Center, some 1,300 Israeli citizens study in the PA. In 2006-2007 there were 14 Israeli students in Hebron University, 70 by 2009-2010, and in the past two years the number has risen to 502. The Arab-American University – Jenin is also gaining popularity among Bedouins, from 252 students in 2009-2010 to 800 last year. The report states that the Bedouins mainly opt for Muslim studies (Sharia) and education. http://www.haaretz.com/news/
Shin Bet detains Irish woman, prevents her from reunion with Israeli boyfriend
Tikun Olam 26 July by Richard Silverstein — Ynet reports (Hebrew) that the Shin Bet detained a 26 year-old Irish woman at Dublin airport when she arrived three hours prior to flight time (in order to go through the security check). She’d hoped to fly to Israel for a romantic reunion with her Israeli boyfriend, Alon, who she’d met in South America. It was to be her first visit to Israel. When the Shin Bet security interrogators asked her why she was flying to Israel and she told them, they actually called her boyfriend in Israel to confirm this. They asked personal questions about the nature of their relationship. But that wasn’t enough. At first, she was told she could board the flight, but without any personal electronic devices. Then, she was told she couldn’t bring any luggage at all. When offered this option, after the decidedly chilly reception she’d experienced from the Israeli security apparatus, she said: thanks, but no thanks. The distinct impression she got from her inquisitors was that the only reason she was treated this way is that she isn’t Jewish … During her trip to South America, she’d met many Israelis who told her about the bad rap that Israel got in the world media. They assured her that the real Israel was something else entirely.
US sees Israel, tight Mideast ally, as spy threat
AP 27 July — …Despite inarguable ties between the U.S. and its closest ally in the Middle East and despite statements from U.S. politicians trumpeting the friendship, U.S. national security officials consider Israel to be, at times, a frustrating ally and a genuine counterintelligence threat. In addition to what the former U.S. officials described as intrusions in homes in the past decade, Israel has been implicated in U.S. criminal espionage cases and disciplinary proceedings against CIA officers and blamed in the presumed death of an important spy in Syria for the CIA during the administration of President George W. Bush. The CIA considers Israel its No. 1 counterintelligence threat in the agency’s Near East Division, the group that oversees spying across the Middle East, according to current and former officials.
Brothers jailed by US and expelled to Gaza speak out
PNN 28 July by Joe Catron — When Basman Elashi reported to Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Dallas, Texas on 9 July, he expected nothing unusual. He had visited the federal agency regularly since his release from its custody in March 2009. “At first I was only reporting every six months,” he said over tea in his family’s Gaza home. “Then they reduced it to three months. Then, the last time, they asked me to report the following month.” “They held me for three hours,” he said of his final visit. “I asked them why they were holding me so long. As it turns out, they were waiting for [my brother] Bayan to come in the afternoon. Then five people surrounded me, told me they were deporting me, and handcuffed me. I didn’t see Bayan until we were in the van.” Unlike his brother, Bayan Elashi had been forced to wear a monitoring anklet and report every week after his April 2009 release. “When I reported to them on Monday, 9 July, as I always do, they arrested me and said that I would be leaving the country within 24 to 48 hours,” he said. “At the detention center, they said we had two hours to call our families to bring us anything we needed for our deportations,” Basman said. “This was the only window we had to call or see them.”
Egyptian anger at Israeli TV insult to Morsi
MEMO 27 July — Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi has told his Ministry of Foreign Affairs to respond formally to an Israeli TV commercial in which young Israelis are seen standing on the president’s photograph. The advertisement was promoting a Jewish temple to be built on the ruins of Al-Aqsa Mosque. The advert claims that “the youngsters of Israel will succeed in building the temple after the failure of the parents’ generation to do so.” A father is seen to throw a newspaper onto the ground with President Morsi’s photograph on it very clearly.
Report: PA official visits Auschwitz camp memorial
NEW YORK (Ma‘an) 27 July — A Palestinian Authority official visited the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz on Friday to pay respect to the victims, The Associated Press reported. Ziad al-Bandak, an adviser to President Abbas on Christian affairs, visited the camp after an invitation from a private Polish foundation which promotes tolerance … In 2007, the Palestinian and Israeli ambassadors to Poland made a joint visit to the camp.
Analysis / Opinion / Human interest
Tales from the West Bank: Palestinian Raja Shehadeh chronicle life during occupation
The Independent 28 July — The author and lawyer has kept a diary since the 1967 Israeli invasion of his homeland …19 July 2009 — I took the shared taxi to the office this morning. Walking down from the last stop I saw that the Grand Hotel gate was open. It was a hot day. The air was totally still and the sunlight seemed to be beaming straight down in white-hot, stifling rays. The only cool shaded place in Ramallah would be under the trees in the large garden of this lonely place that has been closed for the past 28 years. I expected the main gate would be locked but I was surprised to find it open. Maybe there had been some emergency and they took Aida, the proprietor, now in her late eighties, to the hospital, omitting to close the gate. Should I go in? I did.Our old house was a few minutes’ walk from the Grand Hotel, where my grandmother Julia used to spend most of her summer afternoons.
And how Muslims hold the key to Christ / Pierre Klochendler
JERUSALEM, July 29 (IPS) — “A prayer knocks till the door opens,” a songster from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre sings from outside the door. Inside the Church, Abuna Nicholas, the Greek monk on duty, limps towards the door, crosses himself along the Stone of Unction where tradition says Jesus’s body was prepared before burial, unlocks the loophole, and checks who knocks.
“Ismail Somrei!” announces the songster. The monk pushes a ladder out through the porthole. Somrei props it against the stone wall, climbs up. He still needs the keys, that are handed over to him by Adeeb Jawad Joudeh. Joudeh is from a prominent Palestinian family. He is custodian of the keys of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. And, he’s a Muslim. If doors are emblems of ownership, keys are symbols of custodianship. “Since 1187 till today, we hold the keys,” Joudeh says.”My whole family stands with me at this door. This is home, my second home.”
Institutionalizing the occupation / Louis Frankenthaler
972mag 27 July — Universities are meant to be institutions of higher learning and safe places for students to challenge the system, or support it as they see fit. In a democratic society we must accept and promote these principles zealously. In Israel, these principles are constantly threatened, most recently by the preposterous idea to upgrade the already established academic settlement in Ariel. A settlement university, our government has decided, is indispensable to promoting the ‘peculiar institution‘ of the Occupation. Universities are normal parts of healthy societies. Therefore the University of the Occupation’s function is to contribute to Israel’s delusion that the occupation is natural, normal and sustainable.