Archive for May 31, 2013

May 31, 2013

Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid / Restrictions on movement

Israel to build 1,100 new settler homes in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (AFP) 30 May — Israel is preparing to build 1,100 new settler homes in occupied East Jerusalem as the United States strives to revive dormant Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, an NGO said. Danny Seidemann, director of Jerusalem settlement watchdog Terrestrial Jerusalem, told AFP that contracts for 300 homes in the northeastern settlement of Ramot were signed and another 797 plots were to be offered for sale in the southern Jerusalem settlement of Gilo, near the West Bank city of Bethlehem.
Both are in Palestinian areas of the holy city which were occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day war then annexed, in a move still unrecognized by the international community.
link to www.maannews.net

Housing starts down nationwide, up sharply in Judea and Samaria
Globe 1 June — Housing starts in the Jerusalem Municipality rose 87% to 913 apartments in the first quarter from 504 apartments in the corresponding quarter. Housing starts in Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria [West Bank] rose 176% to 865 units in the first quarter from 313 units in the preceding quarter and rose 355% from 190 units in the corresponding quarter.
link to www.globes.co.il

Israel razes home of 13-member family
Beit Hanina (EI) 31 May by Patrick O. Strickland — On a massive pile of rubble that used to be a two-story home, Badwan al-Salaymeh’s cat paced back and forth searching for her two missing kittens. “The human rights organizations will probably care more about the pets — even animals have more rights than us Palestinians,” al-Salaymeh said as he climbed the mound of concrete and metal. The front yard gives the impression of a miniature war zone: the collapsed home in the center, the metal fence dented and bent, the garden uprooted, the trees flattened under the bulldozers. Early in the morning on Wednesday (29 May), approximately 100 Israeli police officers arrived at his home in the Beit Hanina area of Jerusalem, accompanied by two bulldozers. According to witnesses, two minors were arrested for throwing stones, one of whom was said to be around 12 years old. Another was injured after inhaling tear gas. The al-Salaymeh family had stayed in the nearby West Bank village of al-Ram the night before, where they were celebrating a wedding. When officers swarmed the neighborhood and began the assault, one woman and two children were in the home …”Everybody was crying, and some of [the police] were laughing at us,” said 40-year-old Osama, Badwan’s son-in-law, who arrived during the middle of the demolition.
link to electronicintifada.net

Israel imposes heavy fine on owners of building threatened with demolition
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 31 May — An Israeli court in Jerusalem decided to postpone implementation of demolition order against the Manara building in ​​Tel al-Foul neighborhood in Jerusalem, and imposed a fine of one million and 400 thousand shekels on its inhabitants … The Manara building was built more than ten years ago, and is inhabited by more than 200 people.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

[Soldiers demolish car repair shop]
IMEMC 29 May …Also on Wednesday, soldiers demolished a car repair shop that belongs to resident Awad Hussein Sbeih, in Hizma village, northeast of occupied Jerusalem, under the pretext that the shop was built without a construction permit. The local village council in Hizma has reported that Sbeih did not receive any prior notice, and was surprised to see the army and bulldozers demolishing his store without even allowing him to remove his equipment.
link to www.imemc.org

Occupation demolishes 9 homes in the Negev
NEGEV, (PIC)– Palestinian sources in the Negev in southern 1948-occupied Palestine said the Israel Lands Administration teams demolished on Thursday Palestinian homes in the unrecognized village of Atir in the northern Negev. The head of the village Khalil Abu Qian told Quds Press that this demolition is the second in two weeks. He noted that the occupation authorities demolished 9 houses inhabited by 180 people and a protest tent set up in protest at the demolition of the village’s houses. Abu Qian added that teams of the Israel Lands Administration (ILA), accompanied and protected by Israeli occupation forces, have also uprooted a number of planted trees in the village and confiscated power generators and agricultural machinery. He asserted that the villagers are determined to rebuild the destroyed houses.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

Settlers attack a Palestinian home in Jerusalem
IMEMC — Thursday evening, May 30 2013, a number of extremist Israeli settlers broke into the home of a Palestinian family in Shu‘fat, in occupied East Jerusalem, and attacked family members while attempting to occupy their home. Approximately 10 settlers broke into a four-story residential building that belongs to Jaber Palestinian family, and claimed that “they came to help a Jewish-Israeli tenant”, the Radio Bethlehem 2000 has reported. Nida’ Al-Ja‘bary, a family member, stated that the building in owned by her father, Mohammad Yousef Jaber … The Jewish renter died of old age last year, but his housekeeper stayed in the apartment and refused to leave.
link to www.imemc.org

Settlers puncture tires of Palestinian cars in Jerusalem
IMEMC Wednesday May 29 2013, in a second attack since Monday, extremist Israeli settlers punctured tires of a number of Palestinian vehicles in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, in occupied East Jerusalem, and wrote racist graffiti. Local sources reported that the settlers “Death To Arabs” and other racist graffiti on the cars, and some walls. The sources added that settler attacks have significantly escalated targeting Palestinian homes and property in occupied Jerusalem, as well as in several parts of the West Bank.
link to www.imemc.org

Palestinian Christians seek return to ruined village of Iqrit
Al-Monitor 26 May by Mohammad Younes Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab)Residents of Iqrit, a Palestinian Christian village destroyed by the Israelis in 1951, have occupied the ruins of the village’s church, calling for the implementation of a 1951 Israeli court decision supporting their return — As though it happened yesterday … Lutfallah Atallah, 70, stood in front of a photograph hung at the entrance to the ruins of a church in his hometown of Iqrit in Upper Galilee. The photo was taken during the exodus of the town’s residents upon the occupation of Iqrit in 1948 … Despite the fact that the residents of Iqrit remained close to their village, the dream of return was not achieved, even though the Supreme Court of Israel ruled in their favor in 1951. The head of the Iqrit Residents Committee, Ibrahim Atallah, said: “In July 1951, [the court] decision allowed us to return to the village, yet authorities refused to carry out the decision issued by the highest judicial authority. Only months later, the Israeli army demolished the houses one after the other.” What was even more painful is that the Israeli authorities decided to demolish their village on Christmas eve. Father Suhail Khoury spoke on that issue: “Choosing Christmas eve to demolish our village holds religious connotations; they wanted to insinuate that this land is for the Jews only.”
link to www.al-monitor.com

‘Price tag’ in Jerusalem’s Dormition Abbey
[photos] Ynet 31 May by Noam (Dabul) Dvir — Unknown vandals spray-painted anti-Christian graffiti on the Dormition Abbey and a car parked nearby overnight Friday. The slogans read, “Christians are monkeys”, “Christians are slaves” and “Havat Maon” referring to a settler outpost in the West Bank. The car’s tires were slashed. Jerusalem District Police have launched an investigation. Six months ago, vandals sprayed graffiti defamatory to Jesus on the walls of a Franciscan Dormition monastery on Mount Zion in Jerusalem.
link to www.ynetnews.com

IDF commander visits Palestinian village which came under price tag attack
Israel Hayom 31 May — Members of the Tag Meir (“Bright Tag”) coalition met Friday with the residents of the Palestinian village of Zavidat, following a “price-tag” act that occurred there earlier in the week. They were accompanied by Israel Defense Forces Jordan Valley Brigade Deputy Commander Lt. Col. Lauren Partusch. Tag Meir is an umbrella organization comprising of some 40 non-profit organizations, working to counter violence against Palestinians. Zavidat’s residents discovered four torched cars, a vandalized tractor and graffiti reading “price tag” and “revenge” on the walls of several homes on Wednesday morning. The vandalism is believed to be the act of right-wing extremists.
link to www.israelhayom.com

Israeli settlers seek to legalise West Bank settlement by building new homes
MEMO 29 May — Israeli settlers have begun construction of new buildings in the illegal Israeli settlement of Amona in the north of the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, Israeli sources said on Wednesday. The sources said: “The settlers constructed two new buildings in the Amona outpost, which was built on land owned by Palestinians.” Constructing more buildings, the sources said, might be used to push for legalising the outpost and thwarting efforts aimed at evacuating settlers there. The Amona outpost was built in 1996 on private Palestinian land on a hilltop north of Ramallah. It began with ten caravans inhabited by young settlers from the Ofra settlement. By 2005, some thirty settler families were living in Amona. The Israeli government officially considered it illegal. However, it has been expanding under the support of senior officials such as acting ministers.
link to www.middleeastmonitor.com

Arson attack on Asira village by illegal settlement of Yitzhar
Asira (ISM) 30 May by Nablus Team — At 1.30pm today, 30th May, thirty settlers from the illegal settlement of Yitzhar trespassed onto land above the village of ‘Asira, lighting fires and throwing rocks at around seventy villagers who came to extinguish the flames and defend their village. Israeli military and Border Police cooperated with the settlers whilst standing in front of them, firing teargas and blocking the Palestinians and fire service from putting out the spreading fires that in total burned 200 dunams of village land over the course of two hours. After setting fire to the village land above Asira the settlers then stood and threw rocks at any villagers who came near. Several youth from Asira were injured after being hit by rocks during the attack. Twenty five Israeli soldiers and Border Police were present at the scene throughout the course of events.
link to palsolidarity.org

Villages of Hares and Kifl Hares resist insult and injury from the ‘Ariel Finger’
International Women’s Peace Service 30 May — …At 03:00am on Monday 27th May four boys were arrested from Kifl Hares village, all from one family, including two brothers, their cousin and neighbor. At the same time the Israeli military came to Hares and served two boys a note instructing them to come to Qalqiliya for court that same morning. The boys obeyed, attending their court hearing where their work permits were made invalid. Without these papers they are unable to legally access their place of work. This nightly terrorizing of the people of Hares and Kifl Hares by the Israeli military is constantly exacerbated by the expanding presence of the neighboring illegal settler colonies of Ariel, Revava, Yaqir, and Immanu’el. The rapid growth of these illegal settlements and their aggressive populace, known as the “Ariel finger” [see map], threatens Hares and Kifl Hares on a daily basis. The events of this morning are a part of a larger effort to defeat the Palestinian people of this region.
link to palsolidarity.org

Settlers uproot olive trees near Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 29 May — Israeli settlers uprooted over 300 olive trees near the village of Awarta southeast of Nablus on Wednesday, a local official said. The Israeli liaisons office told its Palestinian counterparts that over 300 olive trees inside the fences of Itamar, settler-monitoring official Ghassan Daghlas told Ma‘an. He said the trees were within the settlement’s boundaries but belonged to Palestinians. Daghlas described the incident as a “new crime” against Palestinians and accused the Israeli army standing by instead of protecting civilians under occupation.
link to www.maannews.net

Extremist settlers burnt olive trees, farmlands near Qalqiliya
IMEMC 30 May – -A group of extremist Israeli settlers burnt, on Wednesday evening, several Palestinian olive trees and farmlands planted with wheat, in an area located between the villages of Far‘ata and Jeet, east of the northern West Bank of Qalqilia. Eyewitnesses have reported that the settlers came from the Gilad illegal settlement … They added that local residents and firefighters rushed to the scene, and managed to extinguish the fire before it spread to adjacent lands.
link to www.imemc.org

Palestinian workers say daily journey to Israel ‘tortuous’
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 28 May — Around 4,000 Palestinian workers from the Hebron district face an arduous journey everyday as they try to cross into Israel via the Tarqumiya checkpoint. The luckiest workers can make it through the airport-like security inspection in a few hours, while some return home after hours of waiting, and others decide to spend the night in the open air near the checkpoint so they can be first to cross over. “This is an Israeli policy aimed at creating chaos and confusion amongst the workers, who sometimes end up going to hospital to treat bruises and fractures or asphyxia resulting from the incredibly heavy jam and pell-mell at the crossing every morning,” one worker told Ma‘an reporters. Hussein Amir Abu Zuneid said that he leaves his home in Dura, south of Hebron, at 2 a.m. to arrive at Tarqumiya crossing to “prepare for the torturous and humiliating journey inside the terminal, which opens its gates at 4 a.m.” He arrives at the crossing, begins to take off his shoes, belt and other items for the metal detector, and then waits as Israeli forces scrutinize his ID and work permit. These procedures can take hours, according to Abu Zuneid, who says workers who arrive at the Palestinian side of the terminal at 2 a.m. often reach the Israeli side at around 8 a.m., “feeling they are reborn.”
link to www.maannews.net

Did Kerry offer Palestinians an airport?
Al-Monitor 29 May by Daoud Kuttab — Rumors that US Secretary of State John Kerry offered the Palestinians a new airport has brought the issue of restrictions on Palestinian movement back into the spotlight. The Israeli website that broke the story is not well known, but the content was so appealing that Palestinians jumped all over it. The site, Debkafile, claims that US Secretary of State John Kerry offered to help the Palestinians build their long-awaited airport and to get Israel to turn over a large section of land that includes part of the Dead Sea. The US offer, reportedly the first in a series, aims to encourage the Palestinian leader to go back to face-to-face talks with the Israelis without the latter stopping settlements or defining the eastern borders of Israel. The reason that the report from a totally unknown site has received so much attention, including from Palestine’s Maan News Agency, is because it touches a nerve among the movement-restricted Palestinians, especially those living in the West Bank. The only exit and entry from this landlocked area is the King Hussein (Allenby) Bridge, which is under the total control of the Israeli army.
link to www.al-monitor.com

The Nakba

Updated: al-Aqsa Foundation discovers mass graves of Palestinians killed during the Nakba in Jaffa
Mondoweiss 31 May by Annie Robbins — Update: Agence France-Presse – (AFP) report includes the recollection of ‘hasty burials’ in the final months of fighting in ’48: “Jaffa fisherman Atar Zeinab, 80, says that as a teenager during the final months of fighting in 1948 he helped to collect the Arab dead in the area south of Jaffa and bring them for hasty burial in the cemetery, the area’s main graveyard…” The al-Aqsa Foundation issued a report on Wednesday (Arabic) titled Jaffa mass graves for victims of the Nakba and the revolution of 1936. The mass graves support documented oral histories collected from Palestinians who lived through the Nakba. Historians have documented testimonies recounting scenes of massacres in Jaffa and the surrounding area from eyewitness who saw piles of bodies scattered thoughout neighborhoods of Jaffa. Al Akhbar: “During [the foundation’s] repair and maintenance work on the [Kazkhana] cemetery, we discovered nozzles to dig into the ground where we found the mass graves…including hundreds of skeletons and human remains of rebels, martyrs and civilians who perished during the Nakba,” head of the Islamic Movement in Jaffa, Sheikh Mohammed Najem, said in the report.
link to mondoweiss.net

Mass graves discovered in Jaffa
Al-Monitor 29 May by Amjad Samhan translated from As-Safir (Lebanon). …Researcher and historian Mahmoud Obeid, a Jaffa resident, told As-Safir, “We discovered six mass graves, two of which we dug up. Our estimate is that they contain around 200 bodies, with an unknown additional number in the other graves. The remains belong to people of different ages, including women, children and the elderly, some of which bear signs of violence.” But he indicated that “the bodies were buried following Muslim traditions, and were therefore probably victims of the nakba. But, in truth, we lack any other evidence [as to the nature of these deaths].” According to Obeid, the coming days will reveal more about the victims buried in these graves. He stated that Jaffa residents await a legal decision by the religious affairs court to open the rest of the graves in order to ascertain what their contents are. He pointed out that “upon opening them, we might discover documents that would indicate the identities of those buried in the graves.” Obeid also quoted one of the city’s residents as saying that he remembered his father being summoned by the Israeli military governor of the city following its occupation, who asked him and a group of other residents to “collect the bodies scattered around the city and bury them.” As a result, Obeid thinks that “this place undoubtedly contains those remains.” ….
link to www.al-monitor.com

The lost city of Gaza (Part 1)
Mondoweiss 30 May by Jehad Abusalim — …Gaza is neither a refugee camp nor a heap of cement as always portrayed in the media. On the contrary, Gaza is a historic city with a 5,000 years old history, making it one of the oldest cities in the world [1]. The coastal city which overlooks the Mediterranean Sea witnessed continuous settlement from the Bronze Age [2]. Indeed, one small piece of writing will never be sufficient to even summarize the story of Gaza’s history in few lines. Gaza is almost there when we read the history of every well-known civilization in mankind’s history: Canaanites, Hyksos, Ancient Egyptians, Philistines, Israelites, Phoenicians, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Roman Byzantines, Arab Muslims, Crusaders, Ottomans and many others. So, if Gaza has this long history with all these civilizations passed by, why we only see cement, cement, and cement in Gaza? Where did the archeological and ancient face of Gaza go? Who is responsible for losing huge parts of the “old city of Gaza”? What really happened?
link to mondoweiss.net

Violence / Attacks / Raids / Clashes / Arrests

PCHR Weekly Report: 3 civilians wounded, 41 abducted by Israeli forces this week [23-29 May]
IMEMC 31 May — …Israeli forces conducted 73 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 5 limited ones in the Gaza Strip. 41 Palestinian civilians, including 5 children and a woman, were abducted in the West Bank … In the Gaza Strip, Israeli navy forces continued to pursue the Palestinian fishermen in the sea. On 23, 26 and 27 May 2013, Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats that were sailing within the 6 nautical mile limit off al-Waha resort, in the north of the Gaza Strip.
Full report
link to www.imemc.org

From displacement in the Negev to ‘price tag’ attacks: A week in photos, May 23-29
31 May by Activestills
link to 972mag.com

Israeli forces shoot child in fact during clashes near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM, May 30 (WAFA) – An eleven year old Palestinian boy Thursday was shot in the face and injured during clashes that erupted between Palestinians and Israeli forces in the town of al-Khader, south of Bethlehem, according to WAFA correspondent. He said that Mohammad Isa, 11, was shot in the face with a rubber-coated bullet fired at him by Israeli soldiers during clashes that erupted in the town. He was transferred to hospital for treatment. His condition is still unknown.
link to english.wafa.ps

Child seriously injured in Bethlehem
IMEMC 1 June — Palestinian medical sources have reported that a Palestinian child was seriously injured by Israeli army fire, late on Friday evening, at the entrance of the ‘Aida refugee camp, north of the West Bank city of Bethlehem. Medical sources have reported that Israeli soldiers, stationed at a military tower, near the Bilal Bin Rabah Mosque, shot the child in the chest causing serious injuries. The child has been identified as As‘ad Darwish, 15. Eyewitnesses have reported that no clashes or confrontations were taking place during or even before the attack.
link to www.imemc.org

Palestinian shepherd injured near Hebron
IMEMC — Thursday May 30 2013, Palestinian medical sources have reported that a shepherd was attacked by a number of Israeli soldiers, near Yatta city, south of the southern West Bank city of Hebron. Rateb Jabour, coordinator of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Hebron, stated that the soldiers violently attacked, Ja‘far Ali Al-Jabareen, 17, causing various cuts and bruises. The attack took place in Khallet Al-‘Abeed area, east of Yatta.
link to www.imemc.org

Increase of military and settler violence against Palestinians in the South Hebron Hills
ISM 31 May Khalil Team — The international accompaniment of children of the Al-Fakheit primary school continued until yesterday, which was the last day of school and the final exam for the children. During the last week the military presence has increased dramatically in the area which Israel designates as firing zone 918, in the occupied West Bank. In the recent days, military vehicles and helicopters have been surrounding the villages, including an incident on Sunday, when a helicopter landed in the village of Jinba, terrifying the inhabitants… The harassment of the locals did not end with the intrusive presence of the Israeli military. Last Monday night, the Israeli soldiers invaded Jinba and beat a shepherd from the village. Two more beatings of shepherds have been reported in the nearby villages of Mirkez and Halaweh, also in the ‘firing zone’ … [On Wednesday] the occupying forces, who are responsible for accompanying Palestinian children from At-Twani to school, did not show, leaving school children at risk as they had to walk home alone pass the illegal settlement. In the past, Israeli settlers have violently attacked children on their way to school in this location. When international human rights observers asked the military commander why the accompaniment was canceled, he answered that it was too dangerous for the soldiers, as they fear the settlers themselves [ed. emphasis] (see also Operation Dove report here).
link to palsolidarity.org

Twilight Zone: A battered house, a shattered Palestinian family
Haaretz 31 May by Gideon Levy & Alex Levac — Four months after their son was killed by the IDF, the Awad family awoke this week to find their home being stormed by soldiers and another son being dragged away — As if flung there, Najela Awad lies on a thin mattress on the floor in a corner of her room. Her blanket covers every inch of her − even her wounded, bandaged head − as she whimpers in pain. The 26-year-old was hit in the head by a concussion grenade, one of many the soldiers fired into her house. She was taken to the hospital with three wounded sisters; she needed eight stitches to close up the cut to her forehead. This was the conclusion of another Israel Defense Forces arrest, in which soldiers rampaged through a house for two hours in the dead of night, kicking, punching, yanking and destroying. They outdid themselves this time… one of the neighbors heard a commanding officer instructing the soldiers before they entered: “This is where Samir lived. There’s to be no mercy in this house.” And the soldiers acted accordingly.
link to www.haaretz.com

Soldiers hurl stones, bottles at Palestinians in Hebron
IMEMC Wednesday May 29 local sources in Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank, have reported that a number of Israeli soldiers hurled stones and empty bottles at a number of Palestinians in the Ash-Shallala neighborhood, in the center of the city.
The sources said that the army invaded the neighborhood, and occupied a rooftop of a local home, before throwing stones and bottles from the rooftop; no injuries have been reported.
In related news, the army invaded the towns of Yatta, As-Sammoa‘, Halhoul and Bani Ne‘im near Hebron, after blocking their main entrances.
link to www.imemc.org

Soldiers invade Nablus, kidnap several Palestinians
IMEMC29 May — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Wednesday at dawn, the northern West Bank city of Nablus, Sorra village, and the Balata refugee camp east of the city, and kidnapped four Palestinians, including a former political prisoner who was released a few months ago. Local sources in Balata refugee camp have reported that the soldiers invaded the camp, and kidnapped former political prisoner, Yasser Al-Badrasawy, after searching his home. The man was previously held under Administrative Detention for several months without charges. Furthermore, the soldiers invaded the Al-Jabal Ash-Shamaly area, in Nablus city, and kidnapped Ziyad Mresih, and Mousa At-Tanbour, after breaking into their homes and searching them. Soldiers also invaded Sorra village, near Nablus, and kidnapped one resident identified as Yasser Abdul-Latif Toraby, 45, after breaking into his home. Late on Tuesday at night, the army invaded Beit Forik village, east of Nablus, and kidnapped four Palestinians….
link to www.imemc.org

29 Palestinians kidnapped in Jerusalem
IMEMC — Thursday at dawn, May 30, dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded the As-Sa‘diyya neighborhood, in the Old City in occupied East Jerusalem, and the nearby towns of Al-Ezariyya and Abu Dis, broke into and searched Palestinian homes, and kidnapped 29 residents, including children. Local sources in As-Sa‘diyya neighborhood stated that the soldiers violently broke into several homes after smashing their doors, and searched them before kidnapping 12 Palestinians, including children …. They were taken to a police station and were placed under interrogation allegedly for throwing stones and fireworks at the army, and at surveillance cameras. Furthermore, soldiers invaded Al-Ezariyya town and searched several homes before kidnapping Palestinians, including Mohammad Hasan Matar, a Fateh official in Jerusalem … Soldiers also broke into and searched the home of Al-Ezariyya Local Council, Sufian Naim Bassa. Furthermore, several military jeeps invaded Abu Dis town, before the soldiers broke into homes and kidnapped four residents identified as Abdullah Abu Hilal, Mahmoud Erekat, Ali Sa’id Qablawy, and Hamza Ayyad.
link to www.imemc.org

IOF arrests a leader in Jihad movement
RAMALLAH (PIC) 29 May — The Israeli forces stormed at dawn on Wednesday Jalazoun refugee camp north-east of Ramallah and arrested a leader in Jihad movement and its representative in the National and Islamic Forces Commission. Jihad movement confirmed in its statement that the IOF stormed the camp and arrested the leader Sheikh Saeed Nakhla, 55, after storming and searching his house. Nakhla is one of the well-known political leaders. He was arrested more than one in Israeli and PA prisons where he served 17 years in Israeli jails. Nakhla’s arrest came few hours after his participation in sit-in in solidarity with Palestinian patient captives in Israeli jails.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

PA security services arrest 2 brothers, summon 2 others
WEST BANK (PIC) 31 May — PA security services continued the arrest campaign in various parts of West Bank, where 2 brothers were arrested in Bethlehem, and 2 others were summoned in Nablus and Ramallah. In Bethlehem, the Preventive Security Service (PSS) arrested yesterday night, the brothers Nasser and Neser Gibran two weeks after the transfer of their detained brother to hospital due to his hunger strike. It is noteworthy that the three brothers are liberated prisoners and former political detainees in PA prisons.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

Detainees / Court actions

Sheikh Ayyash sentenced to 4 months
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 31 May — Salem Military Court has sentenced Sheikh Atta Ayyash to 4 months and a fine of 30 thousand shekels (about $8150) on charges of providing services to “hostile parties”. Sheikh Ayyash’s family has strongly condemned the court’s unjust decision considering it an illegal court order that violates the international laws and conventions … The occupation authorities arrested Sheikh Atta while he was returning to Jordan from a short visit to his hometown of Rafat in Salfit, at Karama crossing on 13 April. Sheikh Atta Ayyash is the uncle of the martyr Yahya Ayyash, the military leader in Hamas movement who was assassinated by the Israeli occupation in 1996.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

Israel escalates administrative detention under the pretext of secret file
RAMALLAH (PIC) 31 May — Palestinian Statistical data reported that the Israeli authorities have recently sentenced to administrative detention dozens of Palestinian prisoners, under the pretext of “secret file.” Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) said in a statistical report on Thursday that the occupation has recently moved 50 Palestinian prisoners to administrative detention for different terms that vary between 3 and 6 months that could be renewed. PPS pointed out that among the administrative detainees there are four Palestinian Hamas MPs.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

IDF to release conscientious objector after 177 days in prison
[with video] 973mag 30 May by Haggai Matar — Conscientious objector Natan Blanc will be exempted from military service and allowed to volunteer for civil service after more than half a year in prison. Shortly after Blanc’s family and supporters started a campaign for his release, which included several demonstrations and increased media presence, Blanc was summoned earlier this week to the army’s unsuitability committee for the second time. As opposed to the previous interview, this time the committee decided to exempt Blanc from service, and on Thursday morning he was informed by prison staff that his current, 10th incarceration (breaking the record for number of times a conscientious objector has been sentenced) will be his last. Blanc had repeatedly demanded conscientious objector status, but was repeatedly denied as his refusal to join the army is based on opposition to Israeli occupation policies rather than all use of violence.
link to 972mag.com

Gaza blockade

Yes, Gaza is still under siege
EI 30 May by Ali Abunimah — We stood on the wooden planks of a large, circular platform, big enough to park two cars. The operator pressed the button and a warning horn sounded. A few seconds later the platform began to descend down the deep cement-lined shaft, guided by well-engineered steel rails, cables and motors on two sides. In less than a minute we were at the bottom of the shaft, some 30 meters below, the bright sky a mere circle high above. The air was cool and clammy and got cooler still as we walked off the platform into the tunnel mouth which was wide enough for one car. Reinforced every few feet with arches made from steel I-beams and lit with electric lamps, this is one of the famous tunnels that connect the Gaza Strip to Egypt. My trip underground, a few days ago, along with other members of the Palestine Festival of Literature (palfest.org) delegation in Gaza, was coordinated for us by community members from the border city of Rafah.
link to electronicintifada.net

Dozens of soldiers invade central Gaza
IMEMC 29 May — Wednesday morning, May 29 2013, several armored Israeli military vehicles invaded Palestinian farmlands, east of the Al-Boreij refugee camp in central Gaza, and opened fire at Palestinian farmers forcing them out of their lands. Eyewitnesses have reported that three tanks and four military bulldozers advanced hundreds of meters into the Palestinian territory, and fired rounds of live ammunition and gas bombs at the farmers who were forced to leave their lands.
link to www.imemc.org

Israeli army, navy damage farmland in Gaza Strip
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 30 May — Israeli forces briefly entered the Gaza Strip overnight Wednesday, damaging land near the border, as Israel’s navy fired at the coast, setting fire to farm land. Five military bulldozers entered the southern Gaza Strip near al-Qarara village east of Khan Younis as army planes hovered above. The bulldozers dug up agricultural fields near the border, damaging the crops, before withdrawing, a Ma‘an correspondent said. Meanwhile, Israel’s navy opened fire at farmland in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip, causing a fire to break out, a Ma‘an reporter said.
link to www.maannews.net

‘This time we were not forced to swim naked in the sea’: Gaza fishermen left jobless after illegal arrest in Palestinian waters
Mondoweiss 31 May by Petra Stastna — A young Palestinian fisherman was arrested together with his brother within Palestinian waters on 19 May 2013 by the Israeli navy and released the following day. Their boat and all equipment were confiscated by the Israelis, leaving them with no means to make a living. This is another serious blow to the livelihoods of individual Palestinians whose lives depend on fishing, not to mention the whole population, which has been for years subject to siege as collective punishment, illegal under international law. The interview was facilitated by and took place in the office of the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) in Gaza City.
link to mondoweiss.net

Gaza fish farms face closure
Al-Monitor 30 May by Abeer Ayyoub — When Hassan al-Shaer wandered around the Gaza Strip four years ago looking for his favorite kind of fish, gilt-head bream, he was surprised to find the coastal enclave no longer as rich in fish as it once was. With a decent amount of capital on hand, Shaer decided to invest in a large fish farm to compensate for the fish shortage in Rafah … Today, Shaer produces 150 tons of bream annually, which he sells primarily to Gaza restaurants. He also offers it at the farm’s own restaurant … Despite the initial success of Shaer’s project, it has met with many challenges, to the disappointment of the owner. With Gaza constantly suffering electricity outages, Shaer has had to buy two generators to ensure the water at the farm continues to move like sea waves, adding to the cost of running the business. Shaer said that although blackouts are a constant problem, competition from imports is his real concern. He said that he does not sell fish at the markets, as they prefer the cheaper Egyptian fish [brought through the tunnels]
link to www.al-monitor.com

Iran cuts Hamas funding over Syria
Gaza City (Telegraph) 31 May by Robert Tait — Iran has cut up to £15 million a month in funding for Hamas as punishment for the movement’s backing for the uprising in Syria, the Palestinian Islamist group’s leaders have admitted — The two former close allies have also ceased military cooperation, effectively ending a warm relationship that saw Tehran provide weapons, technical know-how and military training to Hamas fighters. The rupture has been caused by Hamas’s refusal to toe the Iranian line by supporting President Bashar al-Assad, whose Alawite regime is religiously loosely related to the Shia Islam practiced by Iran’s ruling theocracy.
link to www.telegraph.co.uk

My family died for nothing
PCHR 30 May — At approximately 20:30 on 14 January 2009, during ‘Operation Cast Lead’, Israeli forces carried out a drone strike at the house of Ezz Eddin Wahid Mousa Family, in Gaza City. At the time of the attack, the Mousa family members were sitting in the tin-roofed front yard of their house and had just finished having dinner. As a result of this attack 6 members of the Mousa family were killed and another member was seriously injured. Mahmoud Ezz Eddin Wahid Mousa (28) was severely injured in the attack, when several shrapnel from the missile pierced his body … In January 2010, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) filed a civil compensation case before the Israeli court on Mahmoud’s behalf but, on 27 February 2013 the case was arbitrarily dismissed on the grounds that certain Israeli legal provisions, in particular a 2012 amendment to the Israeli Civil Tort Law, absolve the State of Israel of any liability arising from the damages caused by Israeli forces during a ‘combat action’.
link to www.imemc.org

‘Terrible mistakes’: Gaza’s cycle of revenge
ABC 31 May by Sophie McNeill — In November 2012, war came once again to the Gaza Strip. For eight days Palestinian militants fired off hundreds of homemade rockets across the border into Israel, while the Israeli army launched over 1,500 air strikes on the small territory. By the time a ceasefire was declared three Israelis were dead and 174 Palestinians. Triple J Hack presenter Sophie McNeill travelled to Gaza to investigate the heavy price civilians paid in the conflictIn the maze of stalls, I found a modest spice shop owned by the Al Dalu family, where 20-year-old Abdullah is serving customers. He was working the same shift six months ago when his mobile rang. “I looked at my phone and my friend was calling and thought this is weird why is he calling me now? And my friend said ‘where are you? Hurry your home has been destroyed,'” the university student tells me quietly. It was Sunday November 18, 2012 and the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) had already carried out hundreds of air strikes on the densely populated area as part of their latest confrontation with Hamas. For some reason on that particular morning, an IDF fighter jet high in the sky above Gaza focused its missile target system on Abdullah’s house and pressed fire. In one swift moment the 20-year-old lost his mother, aunty, two elder sisters Yaara and Raneen, elder brother Mohammad, his brother’s wife and their four sons. When Abdullah left the house just hour before the attack, his nephews had been sleeping on his bed. “I loved them a lot and they loved me a lot,” says Abdullah. “We played together all the time.”
link to www.abc.net.au

Gaza press freedom in spotlight after columnist arrested
Al-Monitor 30 May by Hazem Balousha — The summons and arrest of Palestinian political writer Ibrahim Abrash by the internal security apparatus of the Hamas government speaks volumes about the state of civil liberties in the Gaza Strip and the extent to which one can criticize Hamas, its policies and its alliances. While its opponents believe that Hamas is intolerant of criticism, supporters argue that Abrash had in fact caused incitement and used terms that went beyond constructive criticism.
link to www.al-monitor.com

Parliamentary committee questions Gaza Interior Minister on security and freedom
MEMO 30 May — The Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) in Gaza has questioned the Interior Minister over alleged security transgressions and violations of basic freedoms. The PLC’s Monitoring and Inspection Committee said that it asked Fathi Hammad about the escape of three criminals from the Central Prison in Gaza and listed several complaints from individuals and human rights groups. The complaints included arbitrary detention without recourse to lawyers and citizens being prevented from leaving the Strip.
link to www.middleeastmonitor.com

Cairo, Rafah, Gaza
HuffPost 29 May by Hani Almadhoun — Seeing my family in Gaza is a priceless experience, but the journey there has always been a nightmare from hell. It isn’t possible for Palestinians to enter either the Gaza Strip or the West Bank through the Israeli airport, and the only functioning airport in the Palestinian territories closed after the Israelis razed it in 2001. Now, the only way for Palestinians to access the Gaza Strip is through Egypt, and people entering the West Bank must go through Jordan. I was a bit uncertain about going through Egypt — I’m writing this at a time when the word “Palestinian” has become an insult in Egypt, thanks to the shot first, ask questions later Egyptian media. However, the experience wasn’t as painfully difficult as it used to be under the former regime.
link to www.huffingtonpost.com

Video: Rare public hip-hop performance in Gaza City
EI 31 May posted by Ali Abunimah
link to electronicintifada.net

Activism / Solidarity / BDS

Video — Theodore Bikel: It hurts that the descendants of Anatevka expel Israeli Bedouin
Rabbis for Human Rights — Fiddler with No Roof — Theodore Bikel: “It Hurts that the Descendents of Anatevka Wish to Expel 40,000 Israeli Negev Bedouin”
link to www.youtube.com

Alice Walker pens open letter to Alicia Keys about Israel
Rolling Out 29 May –“Dear Alicia Keys, I have learned today that you are due to perform in Israel very soon. We have never met, though I believe we are mutually respectful of each other’s path and work. It would grieve me to know you are putting yourself in danger (soul danger) by performing in an apartheid country that is being boycotted by many global conscious artists. You were not born when we, your elders who love you, boycotted institutions in the US South to end an American apartheid less lethal than Israel’s against the Palestinian people….”
link to rollingout.com

Alicia Keys to go forward with Israel concert despite pressure from BDS movement
Haaretz 31 May — Keys rejects calls from activists, among them author Alice Walker, to boycott Israel and tells New York Times: ‘I look forward to my first visit to Israel.’
link to www.haaretz.com

Canadian visa refusal for Palestinian poet overturned after social media campaign
Guardian 31 May — A social media victory is being claimed on behalf of the leading Palestinian poet Ghassan Zaqtan after his visa to enter Canada to attend a prestigious poetry award ceremony – initially denied – was granted on Thursday. Zaqtan was shortlisted for the C$65,000 (£41,000) Griffin poetry prize in April for his 10th collection Like a Straw Bird It Follows Me, described by judges as poetry which “reminds us why we live and how, in the midst of war, despair, global changes”. But the Palestinian poet and novelist, who is also founding director of the House of Poetry in Ramallah, found that his request for a visa to travel to Canada to attend the ceremony was denied by the Canadian embassy in Cairo, according to his translator Fady Joudah, on the grounds that “the reason for the visit is unconvincing”.
link to www.guardian.co.uk

BDS Roundup: Alice Walker, Roger Waters call on Alicia Keys to cancel Tel Aviv show
EI 30 May — In this latest roundup of news from the global boycott, divestment and sanctions movement: Celebrated author Alice Walker urges singer Alicia Keys not to perform for apartheid Israel; Vermont students stage checkpoint action, call for divestment; Advertisements on San Francisco Bay Area buses call for an end to Israeli apartheid and US aid to Israel; Belgian activists stage die-in to protest EU funding of Israeli military industry; Activists protest Sodastream in London; PACBI calls on International Society for Political Psychology to pull upcoming conference from Israel
link to electronicintifada.net

Palestinian refugees outside Palestine

Palestinian pawns: Egypt’s refugees
Al Jazeera 27 May by Sarah Mousa — Author visits the “informal village” of Palestinians with no basic rights – not even official refugee status The Egyptian role in Palestine has historically differed from its Arab neighbours. In 1948, Egypt was the only country to close its borders to Palestinians, out of a principled interest in keeping Palestinians within their nation. The policy was in some ways long-sighted, as many of those who fled in 1948 have not been allowed to go back. It has often been suggested that the relative dearth of Palestinians in Egypt, or the higher socio-economic status of this group, could be attributed to this policy. Recently, however, Arab activists have stumbled upon a sizeable group of 1948 Palestinian refugees in Egypt. A few months ago, a group of four Palestinian and Egyptian friends came across the mention of a mass exodus of Palestinians from Bir il-Saba’ village in 1948; the refugees were said to have gone to Egypt. The friends found it strange, as they and others had persistently inquired about the existence of Palestinian refugee groups in Egypt at the Palestinian embassy and organisations in Cairo. They called on others to help them locate this community, which they eventually tracked down.
link to www.aljazeera.com

Israeli racism

Palestinian medical school grads protest exclusion from Israeli hospitals
Haaretz 31 May by Nir Hasson — The Al-Quds School of Medicine, east of Jerusalem, is considered neither Israeli nor foreign, leaving its graduates ineligible to take the Israeli licensing exam — Dozens of graduates of a Palestinian medical school gathered outside the Health Ministry in Jerusalem on Thursday to protest their continuing ineligibility to work in Israeli hospitals. The graduates of the Al-Quds School of Medicine in Abu Dis, east of Jerusalem, had hoped new Health Minister Yael German would reverse her predecessors’ policy on the matter. The policy, which has been in place for seven years, is political.
link to www.haaretz.com

‘Superland’ and the normalization of segregation in Israel
972mag 31 May by Mairav Zonszein — An Israeli amusement park found itself in hot water after being caught segregating Jewish and Arab school groups. But instead of being an aberration, the incident is reflective of the dominant culture of segregation and discrimination that permeates Israeli society from the bottom up.
link to 972mag.com

Sailing on a wave of racism: A nautical tale
972mag 29 May by Yuval Ben-Ami — When a pleasant tour of the Sea of Galilee turns into a display of potentially deadly racism, life becomes even more complicated for an Israeli representative.
link to 972mag.com

‘The police shot me, then cuffed me’, says victim of bank attack
IMEMC 31 May — A young Palestinian man from the Negev, who was shot and seriously injured by Israeli Police fire when an armed Israeli man attacked the Hapoalim Bank in Beersheba, on Monday May 20, stated that the Israeli Police shot and cuffed him, after instantly profiling him as the assailant. The Israeli man killed four persons, and then killed himself, after the bank refused to give him a 6000 NIS loan. The Arab man, Omar Al-Waleedy, 22, was shot by four live rounds leading to serious injuries.
link to www.imemc.org

A year in review: Anti-African racism and asylum seekers in Israel
972blog 29 May by David Sheen — While most Israelis were focused on the latest war on Gaza or the last election, verbal incitement, physical attacks, incarceration without trial and forced deportation of Africans continued unabated. A timeline of Israel’s war on African asylum-seekers between November 2012 and May 2013.
link to 972mag.com

Political and other news

Israeli land grab policy ‘destroying US peace efforts’
Ramallah (AFP) 31 May — Israeli plans for 1,000 new settler homes in annexed east Jerusalem are “destroying” efforts by Washington’s top diplomat to revive the peace process, a Palestinian official charged yesterday. “We consider the recent decision of the Israeli government to build a thousand homes in east Jerusalem as effectively destroying the efforts of Kerry,” top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat told AFP. He accused Israel of having “a systematic plan for destroying Kerry’s efforts which involves an escalation of settlement building, a displacement of the population of the Jordan Valley, an increase of settler attacks against our people and confiscation of our land.”
link to www.arabnews.com

Hamas and Fatah agree to release public freedoms in WB and Gaza
CAIRO (PIC) 31 May — Hamas and Fatah movements agreed to release the public freedoms in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, during Public Freedoms Committee meeting, held on Thursday in Cairo under the auspices of the Egyptian General Intelligence. The sides agreed to ensure political freedom for all factions on their controlled territories, end political arrests and respect “principles of a free society, including freedom of speech and opinion.”
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

Israel’s tax policies suffocate Palestinian Jerusalem
Jerusalem (IPS) 28 May by Jillian Kestler-D’Amours — Thick locks hug the front gates of shuttered shops, now covered in graffiti and dust from lack of use. Only a handful of customers pass along the dimly-lit road, sometimes stopping to check the ripeness of fruits and vegetables, or to order meat in near-empty butcher shops. “All the shops are closed. I’m the only one open. This used to be the best place,” said 64-year-old Mustafa Sunocret, selling vegetables out of a small storefront in the marketplace near his family’s home in the Muslim quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City.
link to electronicintifada.net

Israel denies West Bank mining permits
Al Jazeera 30 May — US Secretary of State John Kerry says he wants to inject $4bn into the Occupied West Bank economy. But Palestinians say that instead of foreign aid, lifting Israel’s constraints on their economy is what’s needed. In the West Bank, Israel has refused to grant more permits for mining, denying tens of thousands of unemployed Palestinians the chance to work. Al Jazeera’s Jane Ferguson reports from the occupied West Bank.
link to www.aljazeera.com

Former US attorney John McKay to aid Palestinian courts
Seattle Times 30 May by Mike Carter — Former U.S. Attorney and Seattle University law professor John McKay is moving to Ramallah on the West Bank, where he will spend the next two years helping the Palestinian courts and law-enforcement system prepare for eventual statehood. McKay, 56, said he will be the U.S. State Department’s “chief of team” and rule-of-law coordinator over a 30-member Palestinian staff that includes lawyers, law-enforcement professional, technicians and project managers working with an eye toward bringing the Palestinian justice system up to speed and help establish the rule of law.
link to seattletimes.com

Soccer — Blatter to help solve Palestinian soccer problem
Port Louis, Mauritius (Reuters) 31 May — FIFA President Sepp Blatter told the Palestine FA on Friday that he would personally intervene to try to end their long-running sporting problems with Israel. The head of soccer’s world governing body said he would go to the region in July to speak to politicians and sporting authorities to find a solution to Israeli travel restrictions on Palestinian players and visitors to the West Bank.
link to sports.yahoo.com

Palestinian film a Cannes winner
JWeekly 30 May — A film funded by the Palestinian Authority won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. “Omar,” directed by Palestinian filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad, was filmed in the West Bank and presents Israel and its military in a negative light. It tells the story of three Palestinian childhood friends. The Jury Prize is considered the third most prestigious award at the festival, which closed May 26.
link to www.jweekly.com

High Court justice removed from panel hearing petition against his West Bank settlement
Haaretz 30 May by Amira Hass — Supreme Court Justice Noam Sohlberg, whose appointment to the court stirred up a public storm because of his residence in a West Bank settlement, almost adjudicated on Wednesday on a petition filed against his settlement, Alon Shvut, but was replaced on the bench before the deliberations began by Supreme Court President Asher Grunis. The petition dealt with harassment of Palestinians from a nearby village and incursions onto their agricultural lands. Justices Grunis, Zvi Zylbertal and Miriam Naor ordered the state to take “additional and effective measures considering the complaints” and required it to update the court on June 29 as to what steps it has taken.
link to www.haaretz.com

Golan Heights villages brace for war as tensions rise between Syria and Israel
Majdal Shams (Guardian) 31 May by Phoebe Greenwood — Food and medical supplies are stockpiled and bomb shelters prepared as Bashar al-Assad threatens to open new front
link to www.guardian.co.uk

Analysis / Opinion

Haaretz editorial — Basic Law: Apartheid in Israel
30 May — The proposal put forth by Coalition Chairman Yariv Levin is nothing short of an apartheid law, aiming to provide a solid legal basis for the exclusion of Israel’s Arab minority — The exclusion of the Arab minority in Israel has until now lacked a vital basis to its institutionalization. There is no law discriminating against Arabs, limiting where they may settle, negating their language as an official language or determining that they are challenging the state’s Jewish identity. Israel has been forced until now to rely on tricks, excuses and winks to prevent Arabs from working in so-called sensitive places of work, delay building plans in their communities, limit how many of them reside in Jewish communities and not enforce the use of Arabic in official correspondences. Only in a few instances did the High Court of Justice intervene and the government had no choice but to obey the ruling. Coalition chairman MK Yariv Levin decided to put an end to this murky reality and provide the unofficial apartheid policy a legal basis. Levin is proposing the Basic Law: State of the Nation, which is nothing short of an apartheid law. If it will be accepted, Israel will be able to proudly hold the tile of a Jewish and racist state, a unique political creation, which will certainly astonish the family of nations.
link to www.haaretz.com