Archive for December 31, 2013

December 31, 2013

Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Judaization

With Kerry in town, minister to expand Jordan Valley settlement
Times of Israel 31 Dec by Raphael Ahren — A top minister is scheduled to attend a Thursday dedication ceremony for a new Israeli neighborhood in a Jordan Valley settlement while US Secretary of State John Kerry is to be in the region, a move that could threaten to further complicate the ongoing peace process. Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar and other lawmakers are scheduled to visit the Jordan Valley community of Gitit and attend a ceremony during which “actual construction… on a new neighborhood” will take place, according to the organizers. Sa’ar’s move is liable to embarrass Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Kerry, who is slated to arrive in Israel Wednesday to advance stalling peace talks by advocating for Israelis and Palestinians to sign on to a proposed “framework agreement.” A senior Likud minister who ran the Likud’s 2013 election campaign, Sa’ar is billed as patron of an event organized by the Caucus for Eretz Israel, a Knesset caucus dedicated to fortifying Israel’s presence in all parts of the West Bank.
http://www.timesofisrael.com/with-kerry-in-town-minister-to-expand-jordan-valley-settlement/

Yeshiva planned for contentious East Jerusalem neighborhood
Haaretz 1 Jan 2014 by Nir Hasson — City pushing plan for Jewish learning center in Arab neighborhood despite objections from its own experts and likely opposition both internationally and at home — The Jerusalem municipality is promoting a plan to construct a new nine-story building for a yeshiva in the predominantly Arab East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, despite objections from some of the city’s own employees who say the plan would not serve the area’s local population. Ohr Somayach, a yeshiva that has operated in Jerusalem for decades and serves mostly newly religious students, recently submitted the plan to the city’s local Planning and Building Committee. The building is planned for an empty lot, most of which belongs to the Israel Lands Authority, and is located behind a neighborhood gas station. In addition to the nine stories, the new yeshiva building would also consist of three more floors underground, spanning a total of 9,615 square meters … Sheikh Jarrah has become a symbol of the Palestinian popular struggle in Jerusalem in recent years, and a flash point where local residents and left-wing activists have protested the entry of Jewish settlers into the neighborhood and the evictions of Palestinian families from their homes.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/.premium-1.566396

Legal challenges mounted against planned visitor center in East Jerusalem
Haaretz 1 Jan 2014 by Nir Hasson — Proponents say it will bring much-needed development to Arab neighborhood, while critics argue plan could hurt residents, alter city’s character and ignite religious tensions — Plans for a massive new visitor center in East Jerusalem have pitted local Palestinian residents and Israeli public intellectuals against a government-backed, right-wing organization. The project is spearheaded by Elad, a right wing organization that administers the City of David archaeological park outside the Old City. The group’s presence in the Arab neighborhood of Silwan — and the fact it recruits Jews to live near there — has already drawn the ire of locals … The complex will include an entire floor to display antiquities from the City of David digs, including some of the most ancient Jewish artifacts unearthed in Jerusalem. It will come complete with classrooms, exhibition halls, an auditorium, a gift shop, a restaurant and a 250-car garage. The structure will provide access to the ancient underground street dating the time of King Herod that runs between the City of David and the Western Wall plaza. Opponents of the plan, including architects, archaeologists, writers, academics and public figures, say that the project would alter cityscape – and character – around the iconic Old City walls …  Four legal petitions now hope to put a spoke in the wheels of the project From one:  “[Silwan] is a crowded and neglected Palestinian residential area where more than 30,000 residents live. The neighborhood residents desperately need kindergartens, parks, playgrounds and other facilities,” the petition says. “In the necessary balance between the desire for heritage preservation and the setting for the plan, responsiveness to the needs of the residents is necessary and not a building of immense proportions.”
http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/.premium-1.566455

Mosque and homes in Silwan threatened with destruction
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 30 Dec — An Israeli municipal crew raided under military protection on Sunday the Palestinian district of Silwan in occupied Jerusalem and notified its residents of some demolition orders issued against structures, including a Mosque, at the pretext of unlicensed construction. According to the information center of Wadi Hilwa, the municipal crew put up and handed demolition warnings against a mosque, homes and parking lots in Bir Ayyub and Ein Loza neighborhoods. The center said that the Palestinian owners of these structures were given 30 days to officially object to the demolition decisions. Eyewitnesses reported that the municipal crew photographed the structures to be razed in addition to entrances of some neighborhoods in Silwan.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/

Report: 2013 saw an escalation in Israel’s Judaization activities in J’lem
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 31 Dec — The Islamic Christian authority for patronizing Jerusalem and holy sites said that 2013 has seen an unprecedented escalation in Israel’s Judaization activities in the occupied city of Jerusalem. In a report on Monday, the Islamic Christian authority said that during the outgoing year, the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) had seized more Palestinian lands, demolished scores of Jerusalemite homes, displaced hundreds of Palestinian natives and intensified its raids and desecration campaigns against the Islamic and Christian holy sites, especially the Aqsa Mosque. The IOA has also taken multiple measures and actions to Judaize occupied Jerusalem and its holy sites and erase their Arab identity. Secretary-general of the authority Hanna Isa said that the daily desecration of the Aqsa Mosque by Jewish settlers, troops and officials was the most prominent challenge which the Palestinian natives in the holy city had faced during 2013.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/

Abbas threatens legal action against Israeli settlements
AFP 31 Dec — Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas threatened diplomatic and legal action against the “cancer” of Israeli settlement building, a day ahead of a visit by US Secretary of State John Kerry. “We will not remain patient as the settlement cancer spreads, especially in (east) Jerusalem, and we will use our right as a UN observer state by taking political, diplomatic and legal action to stop it,” he said during a speech in Ramallah to mark the 49th anniversary of the founding of the Fatah party. Abbas said that the Palestinians “will agree to anything that fulfills their demands and rights” during negotiations with Israel, “but will not hesitate to refuse any diplomatic offer that compromises Palestinian national interests, regardless of pressures.”  “We have entered negotiations amid Israeli escalation on all fronts — the Israeli army steps up its hostilities against the Gaza Strip and in the West Bank, leading to the killing of dozens of citizens in the last few months,” said Abbas.  “These actions show a lack of seriousness on the Israeli side in the negotiations and threaten to destroy the two-state solution.”  Kerry is due in the region on New Year’s Day for his 10th visit since becoming the United States’ chief diplomat in March, in an effort to revive faltering talks.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4471774,00.html

Debunking the ‘dead Negev doctrine’
Haaretz 1 Jan 2014 by Oren Yiftachel, Ahmad Amara and Sandy Kedar — Israel continues to accuse the Bedouin community of ‘trespassing’ on state land in the Negev. Here’s why it’s wrong — Who do the lands of the Bedouin Arab villages belong to? In the heated debate over the Prawer bill, which threatens to destroy and relocate many Bedouin villages in the Negev, the argument repeatedly has been made that these villages, which occupy a mere 3 percent of the Negev’s land, are trespassing on state land. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman took his usual extreme stance accusing the Bedouin of “robbing our lands.” Is that so? A comprehensive, first-of-its-kind study that we are conducting actually shows otherwise: that these lands never belonged to the state, and many of the Bedouin claims stand on firm historical and legal grounds. There is abundant evidence attesting to the recognition of Bedouin land ownership during the Ottoman and British eras, both in terms of traditional law and also formal land registration (known in Israel as “Tabu”). Most modern-day Bedouin villages sit on land the villagers inherited from their ancestors, who in turn inherited or bought it legitimately during the Turkish or British eras. Any reasonable person would therefore conclude that the Bedouin are, in fact, not trespassers … The state is ignoring the history of Bedouin land and settlement. It claims the Bedouin had an opportunity to register their lands until April 1921, as required under the British Mewat Land Ordinance (the so-called “dead land” ordinance), but failed to do so, becoming trespassers. Is this claim credible? Our research refutes it.
http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.566357

Palestinian Authority to invest $4 million in Jordan Valley
Haaretz 31 Dec by Jack Khoury — Palestinian cabinet holds symbolic meeting in Jordan Valley village after Israeli ministerial committee approves bill to annex the valley’s settlements — The Palestinian Authority cabinet held its weekly meeting Tuesday in the Jordan Valley village of ‘Ein al-Beida, two days after Israel’s Ministerial Committee on Legislation approved a bill to annex the valley’s settlements. The authority would not cede control and sovereignty in the Jordan Valley to Israel under any circumstances, the ministers said. The cabinet is headed by Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah. In a statement after the meeting, the cabinet announced that 15 million shekels ($4.32 million) would be invested in infrastructure and agricultural projects in the Jordan Valley, in addition to preparing tens of thousands of dunams of agricultural land and assisting farmers to buy tractors. The statement also called on Arab and donor countries to support the PA’s economic and political policies, so as to implement the decisions as soon as possible.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.566417

Amman rejects Israeli decision to annex Jordan Valley
AMMAN (PIC) 31 Dec — Jordanian government spokesman Mohammed Al-Mawmani has reiterated his country’s position considering the entire lands of the West Bank and Gaza Strip as occupied Palestinian land that should be part of any future Palestinian state. Mawmani, also state minister for information affairs, said in a statement published by the Jordanian daily Al-Ghad on Tuesday that any practices that threaten the two-state solution and contravene the international law and international legitimacy resolutions might endanger the entire peace process.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/

Israel and the West Bank build a bridge over murky waters
The Foreign Report 30 Dec by Francis Aumonier — The new Memorandum of Understanding signed between Israel and West Bank in December 2013 goes some way to addressing Palestinian water shortages but it does not address the root causes of this shortage and the disparity in water supply between Israel and the West Bank. The memorandum signed between Israel and the Palestinian Authorities stipulates that the Israeli water authority, Mekorot, will supply the West Bank with 20-30 million cubic metres of desalinated water a year. This will help to alleviate severe water shortages that currently beset the West Bank. In 2009 the World Bank reported that litres per capita availability in many areas of the West Bank fell far below WHO’s recommended guideline. WHO recommends 100 litres of water per capita per day (lpcd), but for a quarter of the population connected to the water supply network availability fell to below 50 lpcd. The new supply of water that the West Bank will receive represents a 21.5% increase upon its current total supply of 139.6m cubic metres. This has the potential to increase water availability for each person in the West Bank by approximately 47 litres per day. Such an increase could bring the average total water supply in the West Bank closer to WHO’s optimal water supply recommendation.
http://www.theforeignreport.com/2013/12/30/israel-west-bank-build-bridge-murky-waters/

Immediate threat of eviction of a Palestinian community in the Jordan Valley
B’Tselem 30 Dec — Khirbet ‘Ein Qarzaliyah is located in the northern Jordan Valley, some three kilometers southwest of Al Jiftlik and some twenty kilometers east of ‘Aqraba, on lands belonging to ‘Aqraba. For about 25 years, it has been home to three families originally from the village of‘ Aqraba, comprising ten adults and 15 minors . The families make their living from farming and herding, and rely on a nearby fresh water spring. The children attend school in nearby Al Jiflik. Together, the families own three tents, six pens, five livestock sheds, two chicken coops and three flocks, totaling 750 sheep and goats. The families occupy the site nine months of the year, from September to May, and spend the summer months in Aqraba, because of the excessive heat and water shortage. During this time, the flocks are kept in pens near the village … On January 19, 2010, Civil Administration officials presented the families with orders instructing them to vacate the area within 72 hours, on the grounds that it was a closed military zone used as a firing zone. The families petitioned the High Court of Justice … The Court rejected the residents’ petition on December 3, 2013, about four years after it was filed … The Court extended the interim injunction by three days to allow the families to evacuate their belongings from the site and try to reach an understanding with the State. Since no such understanding was reached, the three families living in ‘Ein Al Qorazalia may be expelled from their homes at any time beginning Thursday, January 2, 2014.
http://www.btselem.org/jordan_valley/201312_deportation_threat_in_khirbet_ein_al_qarzaliyah

Israeli army confiscates land in Qusra
QUSRA, Occupied Palestine (ISM Nablus Team) 26 Dec — Israeli soldiers have declared a road south of Qusra, in Nablus District, a security zone, thus denying villagers access to over 500 dunams of their farmland. At 10:00 this morning, Israeli soldiers positioned themselves at various strategic points around the village. The commander then held a meeting on the farmland with the mayor of Qusra. It was in this meeting that the Israeli army officially appropriated the land, claiming “security reasons.” Farmers have been told that they may apply for permits to access their land. However, Palestinian farmers state that these applications are frequently ignored. One farmer stated: “I’m sure they will not give anything to the farmers. This is a military order: it will pass.”
http://palsolidarity.org/2013/12/israeli-army-confiscates-land-in-qusra/

IOF soldiers level land south of Jenin, arrest two citizens
JENIN, (PIC)– Israeli occupation forces (IOF) bulldozed land south of Jenin on Monday night and arrested two citizens in Burqin village to the west of Jenin. Local sources said that two IOF bulldozers leveled land of a former Israeli army base that was evacuated in 2005 under protection of dozens of soldiers, adding that they continued work on the area until Tuesday morning. Meanwhile, eyewitnesses reported that IOF soldiers detained two young men in Burqin village after raiding a number of homes and shops on Monday evening. They said that the first youth was taken from his home while the other was taken from a coffee shop, which he owns.
In another incident, IOF soldiers raided Seelat Al-Harithiya village, west of Jenin, and searched its land for water wells. Local sources said that officers of the so-called Israeli water authority accompanied the soldiers and broke into the home of lawyer Baha’a Ziyad and questioned him about presence of water wells in his house’s backyard. The sources said that the soldiers searched the backyard and dug in several places amidst dismay on the part of the lawyer before leaving the house and the village.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/

This article refers to the same events as the preceding one, but each has different though important information
Soldiers invade village near Jenin
IMEMC — Army Uproots Lands — [Tuesday at Dawn, December 31, 2013] Dozens of Israeli military vehicles invaded Sielet Ath-Thaher [Silat al-Dhahr] village, south of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, broke into homes and searched them, handing one resident a military order for interrogation.
In related news, several Israeli military bulldozers have uprooted Palestinian agricultural lands close to the Mabo Dotan evicted Israeli military base, near ‘Arraba town, south of Jenin. Eyewitnesses said that the soldiers conducted military training using live ammunition, in the area, causing panic among the residents, especially the children.
http://www.imemc.org/article/66656

Jewish settlers bulldoze land west of Salfit
SALFIT (PIC) 30 Dec — Jewish settlers leveled land of Kufr Al-Deek village, west of Salfit, to annex more Palestinian land and expand their settlement. Khaled Ma’ali, a researcher in settlement activity, said in a press release on Sunday that the settlers of Lishim settlement put on signs clearly indicating the establishment of their new settlement. He pointed out that the new settlement was announced during the recent round of PA-Israeli negotiations. Ma’ali said that the Jewish settlements were rapidly spreading in Salfit governorate.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/

Restriction of movement

Thousands of Jerusalem children denied basic services by Israeli apartheid
JERUSALEM (Electronic Intifada) 30 Dec by Patrick O. Strickland — In Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem, thousands of Palestinian children born to parents who hold different types of identity cards often live their entire youth unregistered and without any form of citizenship or identity documents. “It’s very hard … we walk around paranoid all the time,” said Fidaa Shweiki, whose four children are unregistered. “Because Israel has not allowed me to register the children, it has caused us a lot of problems in many areas of our lives.” The Civic Coalition for Jerusalem has estimated that around 10,000 Palestinian children in East Jerusalem are unregistered (“Jerusalem: General facts and statistics” [PDF]). Considered stateless under international law, Palestinian residents of Jerusalem hold a special Israeli-issued identity card, as well as Jordanian travel documents.
Shweiki comes from the al-Thuri area of Jerusalem, where her children — two boys and two girls aged between 18 months and nine years — were born in a local hospital. The children have no identity documents other than a slip of paper acknowledging that they were born in Jerusalem. The document is not a birth certificate and does not include an identification number. Shweiki’s late husband Anwar Khalil Abed Rabbo was from the town of Yatta in the occupied West Bank and held identification documents issued by the Palestinian Authority.  Abed Rabbo, just 27 years old at the time, was with another Palestinian man when both were shot and killed by an Israeli truck driver in al-Samu‘, a village near Hebron, in 2012. The Israeli military claimed that the two were trying to rob the driver. Yet Shweiki insisted that Abed Rabbo was on his way to join her in Jerusalem for the birth of their youngest child that same day. Because Israel continuously denied him entry permits to visit his wife, he used to sneak into Jerusalem.
http://electronicintifada.net/content/thousands-jerusalem-children-denied-basic-services-israeli-apartheid/13043

IOf cuts off Jenin village from the outside world for 9th day
JENIN (PIC) 30 Dec — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) have continued their siege of Ya‘bad village, south of Jenin, for the 9th day running. Local sources said that the IOF soldiers had closed all entrances to the village and barred traffic in and out of it. Samer Abu Bakir, Yabad municipality chairman, told the PIC reporter on Monday that the soldiers were imposing mass punishment on the village inhabitants. He said that the soldiers persecute villagers at all roadblocks surrounding the village, adding, “We are paying the price for the presence of settlements on our land”. The mayor charged settlers with creating tensions then the IOF blames the village youths for their reaction to the settlers’ hostile practices.
An old man from the village died on Sunday due to the soldiers’ delay in allowing him to pass a roadblock at the village’s entrance en route to hospital.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/

European legislators threatened with arrest by Israeli authorities
IMEMC 31 Dec — Israeli Minister of Defense Moshe Ya’alon declared, on Tuesday, that former British International Development Secretary Clare Short and three other European legislators would be arrested if they try to come to Israel, due to their involvement in a European-Palestinian organization calling for an end to the Israeli siege on Gaza. The Israeli government, last week, outlawed the organization, Council for European Palestinian Relations (CEPR), which allows the Israeli government to seize its assets and arrest any members of the organization. Clare Short is a member of the Board of Directors of the non-profit group, and is a British Parliament member with the Labour Party, as well as a former Cabinet member in the British government. In response to Ya’alon’s declaration, she said, “Given Israel’s track record, the Defence Minister’s action is not surprising, but it is yet more evidence that Israel’s claim to be a democracy is eroding very fast.” … Although Israel has declared the organization to be a threat to its national security, it has yet to provide evidence of the group’s involvement in any terrorist activity. In his statement, Ya’alon referred vaguely to the group’s opposition to the Israeli siege on Gaza as the reason for its being declared illegal. [Haaretz: CEPR (is) a Belgian non-profit organization that serves as Hamas’ representative in Europe.]
http://www.imemc.org/article/66658

Violence / Raids / Clashes / Illegal arrests

B’Tselem reviews 2013: 5-year high in number of Palestinian fatalities in West Bank
Press release 30 Dec – No progress made in investigation of most of this year’s fatalities– Palestinian fatalities: Three times as many people were killed in the West Bank in 2013 as were in 2012. This calculation is based on data compiled by Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem. In contrast to the situation from 2003 to 2012 when most Palestinian fatalities occurred in the Gaza Strip, in 2013 the majority of Palestinian fatalities occurred in the West Bank. According to the data for the past year, Israeli security forces killed 27 Palestinians in the West Bank in 21 separate incidents and nine Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in seven incidents. The incidents that resulted in fatalities in the West Bank include the following instances: *In nine incidents, Israeli security forces entered Palestinian communities for the purpose of what the military calls arrest operations  *In three incidents, soldiers fired while lying in wait to capture stone-throwers.  *In four incidents, soldiers discharged lethal gunfire when Palestinians were throwing stones.  *Five incidents occurred under other kinds of conditions: …
Of the Gaza residents killed: four were taking part in the hostilities when they were killed; three were not; regarding one, it is unknown whether or not he was taking part in the hostilities; and one was killed in a targeted assassination. In addition, two Palestinians were killed in Israel this year, one a resident of the West Bank and the other of the Gaza Strip.
Investigations of killings: Two years and eight months have passed since the new investigative policy of the MAG Corps went into effect. In that time 35 Palestinians were killed by soldiers in 28 separate incidents. The Military Police Investigation Unit (MPIU) launched an investigation of 23 of the fatalities which occurred in 19 incidents. To date, the MAG Corps has made a decision regarding only five of all incidents
http://www.btselem.org/press_releases/20131230_2013_fatalities_statistics

2013 was a deadly year in Israel-Palestine
972mag 31 Dec by Michael Omer-Man — Regardless of how they were killed, by whom, how it was justified or who mourned them, each person who died in the Israel-Palestine conflict this year has a name — …Forty-four people were killed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in 2013. The vast majority of them (38) were Palestinian, six were Israeli. Five of the Palestinians were minors and one was a woman. The youngest was two years old, the oldest was 61. Some were actively involved in hostilities or were members of armed groups and armies, others were civilians who were uninvolved in hostilities. Those are the numbers. Of course, it’s almost gratuitous to mention that there are far-more-deadly conflicts taking place just a few hours’ drive from Israel and Palestine. The point of this post is not to show how deadly the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was in relation to other conflicts this year, or even compared to years past in Israel and Palestine. Compared to previous years, 2013 actually saw a relatively small number of civilian casualties. May 2014 see less killing. The point is simply to remind that every person who was killed, regardless of how or by whom, has a name. Here are their names (in chronological order): (Data compiled from B’Tselem.) Anwar Muhammad ‘Alian al-Mamluk, 19 Resident of Gaza City, killed on 11 Jan 2013 next to Jabalya Refugee Camp, North Gaza district, by gunfire bullets. Additional information: killed about 50 meters from the perimeter fence, while with a group of people trying to approach the fence….
http://972mag.com/2013-was-a-deadly-year-in-israel-palestine/84728/

Israeli soldiers attack and seriously wound Palestinian workman near Al-Khalil
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 30 Dec — Israeli soldiers on Sunday brutally attacked a Palestinian workman from Beit Ummar town as he was on his way to his workplace, while others kidnapped a young man at the entrance to Beit Ummar town, north of Al-Khalil city. Mohamed Awad, a spokesman for the popular committee against the wall and settlement activities, said that Israeli soldiers brutally beat Mahmoud Alami, 22, as he was walking along with other fellow workmen to his workplace in Harjiya area near Wad Foqin town and occupied Jerusalem. Awad added that the soldiers took Alami on their military jeep and then dumped him in the Tunnel area to the north of Bethehem before Palestinians on a Red Cross vehicle spotted him and took him to Al-Hussein hospital in Beit Jala. He noted that the workman suffered serious bruises and fractures in different areas of his body.
In a separate incident, eyewitnesses reported that the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) kidnapped yesterday a young man identified as Khalil Abu Mariya, 27, at the entrance to Beit Ummar town and took him to the nearby military post of Etzion.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/

Settlers attacked member of the South Hebron Hills popular committee
Press Release At-Tuwani, Occupied Palestine (Operation Dove) 30 Dec — On December 28, a group of settlers attacked Palestinians who were plowing a field in the South Hebron Hills village of At-Tuwani. Hafez Huraini, a member of the South Hebron Hills Popular Committee (SHHPC), was injured in the attack. According to Huraini, at about 2.45 p.m. five settlers, of whom four were children and one an adult, came out from the illegal outpost of Havat Ma’on  (Hill 833) and attacked four Palestinians who were working their field, which borders the illegal outpost. The adult settler approached Huraini and hit his head with a stone. Numerous At Tuwani residents subsequently gathered in the field, thus scaring the settlers away. However, the settlers continued to throw stones from the Havat Ma’on woods for an additional fifteen minutes, after which they left. Huraini immediately called the Israeli police to register a complaint about the attack, but the police did not arrive immediately. The injured thus went to the hospital in the nearby town of Yatta to be treated. The Israeli police arrived only at 4.15 p.m., while Huraini was still in the hospital. The police stayed close to the outpost without speaking to the Palestinians. District Coordination Office (DCO) officers also arrived on the scene and spoke with the police, before leaving at around 4.30 p.m. After an additional ten minutes the police also left without waiting for Huraini.
http://palsolidarity.org/2013/12/settlers-attacked-member-of-the-south-hebron-hills-popular-committee/

Settlers torch Palestinian vehicles after prisoner release
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 31 Dec  — A group of extremist settlers torched three Palestinian vehicles in Ramallah near the Israeli settlement of Beit El early Tuesday, apparently in protest at Israel’s release of 26 Palestinian prisoners. Hatim Subuh, a local resident, told Ma’an that a group of settlers set fire to a BMW, Peugeot, and Reno parked in front of his neighbors’ houses. Subuh highlighted that it was the third time settlers torched vehicles and sprayed racist slogans in his neighborhood.  The vandals also spray-painted “blood will flow in Judea and Samaria” and “this is war” on the wall of a house nearby, just hours after Israel freed the inmates, Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=661622

2 boys arrested, south of Bethlehem
IMEMC 31 Dec — Israeli occupation forces arrested two students from the Greens, on Tuesday, after chasing them on the way to their homes, following school. According to Ahmed Salah, coordinator of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and settlements in al-Khader village, south of Bethlehem, Israeli soldiers attacked the students as they were walking near the area of ​​the hill, in the Old Town. After firing tear gas and sound bombs, they arrested Wael (14), and Omar (13), Radio Bethlehem 2000 reports. Greens school students are regularly exposed to considerable harassment by Israeli soldiers stationed near the school.
http://www.imemc.org/article/66657

Israeli forces detain 9 in overnight arrest raids
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 30 Dec — Israeli forces detained nine Palestinians in the Hebron district overnight Sunday, locals and Israel’s army said. Israeli forces raided two homes in Hebron and detained Nidal and Rajih al-Juneidi, witnesses told Ma‘an. Raed Ali Zuhur was arrested in Beit Kahil, Khalil Sabarnah in Beit Ummar and Jihad Sharawnah in Deir Samit. Zuhur and Nidal and Rajih al-Juneidi are affiliated to the Islamic Jihad movement, locals said. Sharawnah was detained after Israeli military and intelligence officers raided and searched his home before taking him to an unknown location.
An Israeli army spokeswoman said nine Palestinians were detained overnight, three in Hebron, two in Jenin, one in Nablus, one in Ramallah, one in Tulkarem and one in Beit Ummar.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=661308

10 arrested in Hebron, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem
IMEMC — [Monday Dec 30] Israeli forces have arrested six Palestinians in the West Bank cities of Hebron and Bethlehem, in addition to four others from Jerusalem, according to security sources, the Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA) has reported…
Israeli forces arrested 22-year-old Atef al-Kamel, in central Bethlehem, after raiding and searching his house. Forces confiscated al-Kamel’s laptop and severely beat his uncle during the arrest, pushing him down the stairs and causing a severe fracture in his hand, in addition to several bruises throughout his body. He was transferred to the hospital for surgery on his hand.
Israeli special police units arrested four Palestinians from the Jerusalem area, including three minors between the ages of 6 and 8, from the yards of Al-Aqsa Mosque.
http://www.imemc.org/article/66650

Olive harvest 2013: 27 cases of abuse of harvesters and property damage indicate military’s preparation inadequate
[with map] B’Tselem 25 Dec — During the most recent olive harvest, B’Tselem’s field researchers documented 27 incidents of settler violence towards Palestinians and of damage to property. In six of the incidents, settlers attacked harvesters with stones, threatening them with weapons, or physically assaulted them. The most severe instance was an attack on B’Tselem volunteer Yasser Na’asan and his uncle, Ghatib Na’asan, while they were harvesting their olives. The other 21 incidents involve property damage. Settlers chopped down, burned and poisoned olives trees; they sawed off and broke branches; and stole olives and agricultural equipment.  The olive harvest season officially began on 10 October 2013 and lasted approximately forty days. However, as in previous years, settler vandalism of Palestinian-owned olive groves began even before the season. Consequently, this review begins on 30 September 2013 … Eight of the 21 cases of vandalism to trees this harvest season took place in areas to which the military denies Palestinian access for most of the year, as the land lies near or within areas defined as part of settlements, including in Special Security Areas surrounding settlements.
http://www.btselem.org/settler_violence/20131225_olive_harvest

Prisoner release / Detainees

In Video: 26 Palestinian prisoners return to their families
Wadi Hilweh Information Center 31 Dec
http://silwanic.net/?p=45321

In Photos: 26 Palestinian prisoners return to their families
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 31 Dec [many photos, quite a few very affecting]
http://silwanic.net/?p=45299

PHOTOS: Palestinians are released from Israeli prisons after 20 years
Activestills 31 Dec — By: Oren Ziv, Yotam Ronen, Tali Mayer, Ahmad Al-Bazz — Twenty-six Palestinian prisoners from Gaza, Jerusalem and the West Bank were released early Tuesday morning in the third stage of a prisoner release deal secured by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to facilitate peace talks. A total of 104 Palestinian prisoners, all jailed before the start of the Oslo peace talks 20 years ago, are slated to be released during the course of the talks, which are scheduled to continue through mid-2014.
http://972mag.com/photos-palestinians-are-released-from-israeli-prisons-after-20-years/84734/

26 veteran Palestinian prisoners freed
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) – Israel released 26 veteran Palestinian prisoners Tuesday at 2.15 a.m. completing a third stage of the release of 104 prisoners held in Israeli jails before the Oslo Accords of 1994. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to set the prisoners free before peace talks between Israel and the PLO were resumed in July. Eighteen prisoners from the West Bank were released from Ofer detention center near the Ramallah-area town of Beitunia, while five prisoners from Jerusalem were set free at al-Zaytouna checkpoint near al-Ezariya in East Jerusalem. Three inmates from the Gaza Strip were freed at Erez checkpoint on the borders between Israel and the northern Gaza Strip. The West Bank prisoners headed immediately to the presidential compound in Ramallah where they were welcomed by President Mahmoud Abbas along with PA officials and thousands of citizens. The prisoners laid flowers at the tomb of late Palestinian president and leader Yasser Arafat in the courtyard of the presidential compound. In the presence of the freed veteran prisoners, Abbas lighted a torch commemorating the 49th anniversary of Fatah movement and the Palestinian revolution. When prisoners were released from Ofer detention center, Israeli forces fired tear-gas canisters at the crowds who gathered outside to celebrate the release.  Similarly, Israeli troops dispersed with stun grenades hundreds of Jerusalem residents who crowded near al-Ezariya to celebrate. Israeli intelligence asked families of Jerusalem prisoners to wait at Zaytouna checkpoint, while five prisoners were taken to a military base near Isawiya.  Each family was then allowed to send one vehicle into the military base to receive prisoners before leaving.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=661632

Freed Gaza prisoners: All detainees should be released
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 31 Dec — Palestinian prisoners from the Gaza Strip among 26 that Israel released after midnight called Wednesday for serious efforts to free all Palestinians held in Israeli jails. “I wish I could see all my fellow prisoners set free,” Rami Barbach who was freed before he completed a 25-year sentence told Ma‘an. He pointed out that all prisoners in Israel’s custody are in danger. Ibrahim Abu Ali, another freed prisoner from the Gaza Strip, says feelings are indescribable, however, happiness can’t be fully achieved unless all prisoners are freed. “From the land of Gaza, the city of Hashim, the land of heroism and revolution we dedicate this release to our Palestinian people everywhere in Gaza, the West Bank and the 1948 territories (Israel).”  A third Gaza prisoner, Mahmoud Salman, highlighted that the last moments before the release were moments of watching and tension as the Israeli prison service tried to provoke prisoners.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=661666

New bill: Allow judges to deny potential terrorists’ pardons
Ynet 31 Dec by Moran Azulay — At the conclusion of the third prisoner release Tuesday morning, members of Knesset were already trying to form legislation to thwart any further releases. A bill proposal, formed by Knesset Member Ayelet Shaked of Habayit Hayehudi and MK David Tzur of Hatnua, will give judges the option of removing the possibility of any future pardon of the culprit, already at the time of the sentencing. Coalition head MK Yariv Levin (Likud) and Yisrael Beiteinu faction leader Robert Ilatov also signed on the proposal. The bill is meant in theory to prevent any future prisoner releases, but the MKs have insisted that the current wording of the bill applies to any “despicable murder,” even those occurring on criminal background.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4471565,00.html

Israelis appeal against release of Palestinian prisoners
JERUSALEM (AFP) 30 Dec — The families of Israeli victims of Palestinian attacks appealed Monday against the imminent release of long-serving Palestinian prisoners as part of US-brokered peace talks, media reported. The Supreme Court has always rejected such appeals. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had agreed to the phased release of 104 Palestinian prisoners in line with commitments to the US-backed talks, which resumed in July, and previous batches were freed in August and October. The 26 prisoners expected to be released late on Monday were jailed before the signing of the 1993 Oslo accords, which formally launched the Middle East peace process, and have served 19 to 28 years for killing Israeli civilians or soldiers … Emotions run high on both sides over the issue of Palestinian prisoners, with Israelis viewing jailed militants as murderers and Palestinians hailing them as heroes imprisoned for fighting against the occupation.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=661543

IOA continues interrogation of journalist Dofesh despite his health condition
RAMALLAH (PIC) 31 Dec — Tadhamun Foundation for Human Rights said that the Israeli intelligence officers are still interrogating the doctoral student and journalist Bilal Dofesh, who is held in Petah Tikva interrogation center, despite his suffering a nervous breakdown. Dofesh, 35, from al-Khalil, is a doctoral student at Cyprus University and works in the field of photography and production of documentaries. Lawyer at Tadhamun Foundation Mohammed Abed, who visited the detainee, said that Dofesh suffered a nervous breakdown during his arrest on November 24, 2013, and that he did not eat for 3 days because of the ongoing daily interrogation. He pointed out that the Israeli investigators placed Bilal on a lie detector three times, and subjected him to psychological torture and sleep deprivation. The journalist will appear before the Israeli court in Ofer on the first of January. Munther Dofesh, Bilal’s older brother, told Tadhamun Foundation that the occupation forces arrested his brother at the Karama border crossing, between Jordan and the West Bank, as he came with a Cypriot media delegation to film a documentary in the city of Ramallah.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/

Gaza under blockade

IOF soldiers fire shells at central Gaza
GAZA (PIC) 31 Dec — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) fired two artillery shells at Juhr Al-Deek area in central Gaza Strip on Monday night. Local sources said that the two shells exploded in the amidst of citizens’ homes, but no casualties were inflicted. The Hebrew radio had claimed earlier that a rocket was fired from Gaza Strip at the western Negev. The broadcast said that the rocket was fired Monday night and exploded in an open area in Sha’ar HaNegev without inflicting any casualties or damages.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/

Turkish agency delivers four generators to Gaza
World Bulletin 30 Dec — The Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA), which is responsible for offering progress assistance to developing countries, delivered four generators used for sewage pumps in the Gaza. A series of attacks on the Gaza strip has led to an insufficient infrastructure, causing the floods in December to increase and leaving thousands of suffering Gazans in need of help, TIKA reported. In a meeting attended by TIKA, the Palestinian Ministry of Social Affairs and Gaza municipalities to help Gazans from the flood disaster, the officials concluded that new generators, used to pump clean water and sewage, must immediately be supplied to Gaza. Gaza Mayor Refik Mekki thanked Turkey for its help in an emergency period.
http://www.worldbulletin.net/?aType=haber&ArticleID=125950

Haniyeh: Egypt will not declare Hamas a ‘terrorist group’
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 31 Dec — Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh on Tuesday ruled out the possibility that Egypt would declare the Hamas movement as a “terrorist” group. Speaking to reporters in Gaza City, Haniyeh said that various media outlets have been trying to promote a link between Hamas and Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. “Though we oppose this characterization in the first place, nobody can drive Hamas to renounce its ideology, history, dimensions and its depths, no matter what influence they have,” he said. “It is unlikely that any Arab country, and Egypt in particular, could categorize an effective and influential Palestinian resistance movement as a terrorist movement.” Egypt has always sponsored the Palestinian struggle and embraced the Palestinian people, Haniyeh said, adding that the country has sacrificed thousands of men for Palestine.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=661733

Gaza residents visit relatives in Israel’s Nafha prison
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 30 Dec – Dozens of family members of Palestinian prisoners from the Gaza Strip on Monday morning left the coastal enclave for Israel via Erez crossing to visit relatives in Nafha prison. A representative of the Red Cross confirmed that 93 Gaza residents including 23 children left for Nafha prison to visit 49 relatives held in Israel’s custody. The official, Nasser al-Najjar, highlighted that visitors were loaded in buses near the committee’s headquarters in Gaza City. Some 420 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip are held in Israeli jails and they were deprived of family visits for several years after Hamas took over the coastal enclave.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=661314

Thousands celebrate Fatah anniversary in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 31 Dec — Tens of thousands of Fatah supporters rallied in Gaza City on Tuesday to celebrate the 49th anniversary of the Palestinian nationalist movement’s founding. Supporters gathered in al-Jundi al-Majhoul square and waved Fatah flags and sang songs celebrating the political faction. Fireworks were also let off and Fatah leader Zakaria al-Agha lit a torch to mark the start of festivities. Last year, Hamas allowed Fatah to hold anniversary events for the first time since it took power of the Gaza Strip in 2007, in an event attended by hundreds of thousands of people, according to Fatah leaders.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=661844

Palestinian refugees in Syria

UNRWA: 15 Palestinians dead from hunger in Syria camp
BEIRUT (AFP) 30 Dec — At least 15 Palestinians have died of hunger since September in a besieged refugee camp in the Syrian capital Damascus, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees told AFP on Monday. “Reports have come in over the weekend that at least five Palestinian refugees in the besieged refugee camp of Yarmouk in Damascus have died because of malnutrition, bringing the total number of reported cases to 15,” UN Relief and Works Agency spokesman Chris Gunness told AFP. He warned of a deteriorating situation in the camp, where some 20,000 Palestinians are trapped, with limited food and medical supplies. “Since September 2013 we have been unable to enter the area to deliver desperately needed relief supplies,” Gunness said. “The continued presence of armed groups that entered the area at the end of 2012 and its closure by government forces have thwarted all our humanitarian efforts.”
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=661450

3 Palestinian refugees die of hunger in Syria, 5 others killed
DAMASCUS (PIC) 30 Dec — The working group for Palestinians in Syria said that eight Palestinian refugees died in Syria on Sunday as a result of the Syrian shelling and siege of refugee camps. The group said in a press release on Monday that three refugees, including a 16-year-old boy, were killed when they tried to leave the Yarmouk refugee camp on Sunday but were met with a barrage of bullets that instantly killed them. It said that two other refugees, including a 60-year-old man, succumbed to serious injuries sustained in a shelling that targeted Yarmouk camp a couple of days earlier. The group said that three refugees, including two women, died of hunger
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/

Report: 1,869 Palestinian refugees killed in Syria
DAMASCUS, (PIC)– The working group for Palestinians in Syria announced that 1,869 Palestinian refugees have been killed in Syria since the crisis in that war-torn Arab country started.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/

A year in photos: Palestine-Israel in 2013
31 Dec — It is difficult to summarize and reflect on 365 days, especially in a place as eventful as Palestine-Israel. This year, Activestills photographers covered hundreds of events, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. The following selection is a narrow peek into the amazing struggles and troubling events that took place in 2013. For a wider selection of 2013′s best photos, visit ActiveStills’ new website. Photos by: Oren Ziv, Yotam Ronen, Keren Manor, Anne Paq, Ahmad al-Bazz, Ryan Rodrick Beiler, Hamde Abu-Rahme, Shiraz Grinbaum
http://972mag.com/a-year-in-photos-palestine-israel-in-2013/84754/

Minister: Islamic Relief organization to support PA health sectort
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 31 Dec – The International Islamic Relief Organization is set to fund projects to develop the health sector in Palestine, the Palestinian minister of health said Monday. Jawad Awwad told Ma‘an that he met in his office in Ramallah with a delegation representing the organization and agreed with them that his ministry would submit project proposals about urgently needed projects. The Islamic Relief Organization, he said, agreed to allocate 226 million euros to provide hospitals in the Jenin and Tulkarem areas with more than 10 hemodialysis machines in 2014.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=661655

Union: Finance Ministry ‘mismanagement’ could result in fuel crisis
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 31 Dec — Owners of gas stations across the West Bank may be obliged to shut down their stations due to problems with the Palestinian ministry of finance and the General Petroleum Corporation, the speaker of the union of gas station owners said. The ministry is “imposing unachievable terms” by stipulating that gas stations pay the Palestinian Authority in cash in advance before they can receive fuel, Ghassan al-Shakaa told Ma‘an. He highlighted that gas station owners had paid the PA 300 million shekels two months ago to help end a financial crisis between the PA and Israeli companies which provide the PA with fuel. Since the recent crisis began, gas stations have been paying in checks that could be cashed in 15 days,
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=661339