Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing
Raping the land they do not own: Kufr ad-Dik resists
[with photos, video] 30 May by IWPS Team — It was so different this time around. It had gotten much worse. There was not one occupation bulldozer but four; the whole hilltop to the East of the Palestinian village of Kufr ad-Dik (Salfit governorate) had been flattened, huge rocks stacked to the side to make way for a new illegal Israeli colony intended to fill the gap between the illegal colony of Ariel and others in the area. Only a week ago the village achieved a small yet meaningful victory, when an occupation bulldozer was made leave the hilltop without raping the land. However, it came back three days later accompanied by some 40 soldiers to protect the large number of illegal Israeli colonists who started drilling the land they do not own. Villagers estimate at least 600 dunam (600,000 sq m [150 acres]) of land is currently being stolen, in addition to the thousands already confiscated for Israeli settlement expansion. At least 400 Palestinians from the neighbouring villages of Biddiya, Sarta, Bruqin, and Kufr ad-Dik itself gathered this morning to pray on their land in protest of Israel’s colonialist project of land theft. The villagers outnumbered the Israeli soldiers present by at least 10:1, yet it was the heavily armed military who attacked unarmed civilians with sound grenades and tear gas canisters. One person was hit in the stomach with a tear gas canister and had to be taken away for medical assistance; seven people were treated for tear gas inhalation. However, the shebab [youth] claimed their own symbolic victories today. They staged sit-ins next to the machinery that razed their land and put up the Palestinian flag on top of one drilling vehicle; they managed to take off one Israeli flag and get rid of it; and, working quietly behind the soldiers who were busy aiming their rifles at children, they tore down a colonist tent where land thieves gather for their break with a Coca-Cola. Today’s demonstration in Kufr ad-Dik will probably not change the course of events in the larger Israeli colonial project; yet by resisting it, the Palestinians reinforced their dignity, once again.
Communities demand end of ethnic cleansing in Jordan Valley
Alternative Information Ctr 29 May — Palestinians protested Wednesday in front of the United Nations office in Ramallah against the latest wave of home demolitions and displacement of the Palestinian Bedouin community in the village of Abu al Jaj. The community was evicted on May 21, 2014, rendering 71 Palestinians homeless. The demonstration demanded the United Nations and international community end their silence on the ongoing ethnic cleansing of the Jordan Valley. They also called upon international civil society to boycott the Hyundai Motor Company due to the company’s involvement in the displacement of communities in the Jordan Valley. The eviction in Abu al Jaj is the latest episode in an ongoing policy of displacement and population transfer, particularly in the West Bank’s Jordan Valley. The demonstrators handed a letter addressed to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon asking for immediate and effective action.
Israeli demolish Naqab village for 69th time
IMEMC 29 May by Chris Carlson — Israeli soldiers demolished the Bedouin village of al-Araqib, in the Naqab (Negev), for what amounts to the 69th consecutive time, on Thursday, say witnesses … The villagers of al-Araqib, near Beer Sheba, have called upon the international community and all relevant human rights organizations to intervene and stop the systematic measures against them, by the Israeli government, WAFA reports. Violations against the Bedouin community are frequent and ongoing. By such attacks, Israeli authorities seek to displace the residents living in the area as prelude to seizing their land for the benefit of settlement expansion.
According to local sources, a number of Jewish vandals, most likely belonging to a “Price Tag” gang, punctured the tires of 8 civilian Palestinian-owned cars parked at al-Qasmi college, Baqa-Gharbia town, where they defaced the bodies of the vehicles with sharp tools. After the vandals carried out the attack, Al Ray Reports, they escaped from the area in a Toyota car, according to witnesses.
Destroyed Palestinian village outfitted with 1,000 JNF trees memorializing couple’s dead dogs
Mondoweiss 30 May by Allison Deger — When Ron Werner, head of the board for the Jewish National Fund (JNF) Mountain States region, turned 50 this week he wanted to celebrate by planting 1,000 trees in Israel to commemorate his late dogs – Samson, Zach and Lucy. The problem is Werner planted the trees on top of a destroyed Palestinian village. The dead dogs’ trees were rooted in Neot Kedumim, an Israeli bible park off of highway 443, a notorious settler-only road that runs between the West Bank and Tel Aviv. Neot Kedumim is located on the western edge of the Green Line near Modi’in Ilit. But before there was the “bible themed” nature reserve, there was the Palestinian village of Hudtha. In 1945 Hudtha’s population was 10,310 and after the Nakba it was only 600 according to Zochrot, the Israeli NGO committing to remembering the Palestinian Nakba. Zochrot says Hudtha was expelled on December 5, 1948. If that weren’t bad enough, in a press release sent out by the JNF Werner goes on about how it’s important to remember the tragedies of the past. Of course he’s talking about his tragedy (both the dogs and the Holocaust–because, why not?), and not the one that befell the Palestinian people….
Settlers invade Ush Ghrab area, near Beit Sahour
IMEMC/Agencies 30 May –A number of fanatic Israeli settlers invaded the Ush Ghrab area, east of Beit Sahour, apparently preparing to install a new illegal settlement outpost. The area, a former military base, is subject to frequent attacks by soldiers and settlers. Local sources said that a large number of settlers invaded the area, and started preparing for what seems to be yet another “new settlement outpost”, in an attempt to push the Palestinians away, especially since a public recreation park has been set up by the Palestinians. Ush Ghrab area is legally and officially Palestinian property, but the army and militant Israeli civilian groups are trying to confiscate it, and prevent the Palestinians from entering it.
Discrimination against non-Jews and their religions
Church leaders livid over Israel’s mistreatment of Iranian, Iraqi delegates
Haaretz 29 May by Judy Maltz — Six Iranian refugees, all British nationals who arrived for Jerusalem conference, incarcerated near airport — Leaders of the Anglican Church have expressed intense outrage over a decision by Israeli authorities to prevent two-dozen Middle Eastern delegates from participating in a Christian conference held in Jerusalem earlier this month. Six of the delegates were detained when they landed in Israel and held under conditions described as “sub-standard” by the conference organizers, all but one of them subsequently deported, while the others were either denied entry visas into the country or their visa requests were only approved after the conference was over. The group of delegates included 10 Iraqis, six Iranian refugees living in England, two Kurdish parliamentarians (the only Muslims in the group), and a high-ranking Coptic lawyer from Egypt … Earlier this week, Richter sent a letter to Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar expressing his outrage at the treatment received by the delegates. “What was supposed to have been a joyous week of triumph and bonding with Israel turned into a disgraceful exercise in mistreatment and humiliation for too many fledgling friends of Israel,” he wrote. “The news about the shabby mistreatment of the visitors in the Lod Detention Center has ricocheted throughout the entire Middle East and beyond. Your ministry’s mishandling and mistreatment of the applicants has caused strategic damage to Israel’s name and its standing the Christian world. The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Manchester have already filed complaints with the Israeli Embassy regarding your ministry’s mistreatment of the Iranian UK Christian refugees.”
Christians’ life in Israel not so wonderful / Farid Jubran
Ynet 30 May — Op-ed: Pope’s visit was an opportunity to highlight distress and discrimination suffered by Christian community in State of Israel — …On the background of the religious persecution in many of the region’s countries, there is an impression that the Christians’ situation in Israel is good. In his latest AIPAC address, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu boasted that Israel was “the one country in the Middle East that protects Christians,” and Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor elaborated on the wonderful treatment of Christians in an article in the Wall Street Journal … There are some 140,000 Christians in Israel, 1.7% of the population. A minority of a minority, exposed to waves of hatred. How can anyone forget the image of Knesset Member Michael Ben-Ari ripping the pages of the New Testament at the Knesset and throwing them into the garbage while uttering harsh words of incitement? Jews in Israel fire gunshots inside churches and set fire to monasteries, spray-paint malicious graffiti and slash the tires of Christians’ cars. In the Old City of Jerusalem, religious Jews spit on monks, and in Christian cemeteries gravestones are shattered. Death threats are sent to bishops and heads of Christian communities … The state itself restricts the churches’ activity immensely by imposing a strict and discriminating regime of visas for Christian clerics. A priest who wishes to stay in Israel in order to serve in one of the Christian communities will be forced to undergo a humiliating via dolorosa on the part of the authorities until he receives the stay permit, if at all … The Christian schools that have existed in this country for centuries, in which generations of Christians, Muslims and Jews have been educated, are suffering from discrimination in the form of significantly low budgets compared to the state schools and a lack of Christian supervisors. In addition, their identity, nature and the autonomy they have always enjoyed are constantly undermined.
Leaflets calling for demolition of al-Aqsa distributed in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 30 May – An extremist Jewish organization on Thursday disseminated leaflets in the Old City of Jerusalem calling for the demolition of the al-Aqsa Mosque, Palestinian residents said. The residents told Ma‘an that as they left their homes in the morning they found thousands of leaflets in Hebrew scattered in all roads and alleys including the alleys leading to al-Aqsa Mosque. The leaflets were signed by an extremist Israeli organization called “Going back to the (Temple) Mount”. “In respect of the Jerusalem Day, let’s all ask the government of Israel to tear down all mosques on Temple Mount [presumably including the Dome of the Rock, though it is a shrine rather than a mosque] in order to be able to rebuild Beit Hamikdash (the Holy Temple) and renew sacrifice works,” the leaflet reads.
Hundreds pray in Jerusalem streets amid new Al-Aqsa restrictions
[with photos] JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 30 May — Hundreds of Palestinian Muslim worshipers were forced to pray in the streets of Jerusalem’s Old City on Friday after Israeli authorities imposed strict regulations on those wishing to enter the Al-Aqsa mosque compound for noon prayers. Eyewitnesses said that scuffles broke out between worshipers and Israeli police guarding checkpoints in East Jerusalem as they pushed crowds trying to enter the mosque back with batons, leading to cruises but no major injuries. Israeli police on Friday imposed strict regulations on the entrance of Palestinians into parts of East Jerusalem since the early morning on Friday in a bid to enforce the new rules, which prevent any Palestinian man under the age of 45 from entering the compound. Additionally, the rules only allow Palestinians with blue identity cards — either those who are Israeli citizens or East Jerusalem residents — from entering, meaning even Palestinians over the age of 45 who are from the West Bank or elsewhere are unable to enter.
Earlier in the morning dozens of East Jerusalem Palestinians and those with Israeli citizenship, along with a number of Turkish pilgrims, had also been forced to pray dawn prayers at the gates of the mosque compound after they were prevented from entering. Clashes took place with Israeli police forces at that time around Bab al-Sahera (Herod’s Gate) and Bab al-Hutta (Gate of Remission), and sound bombs were thrown toward worshipers.
Violence / Attacks / Raids / Suppression of protests / Illegal arrests
Fortnight of bloodshed leaves two children dead, one paralyzed and others injured
RAMALLAH (Defence for Children International Palestine) 29 May — The fatal shootings of Nadeem Nawara, 17, and Mohammad Abu Daher, 16, that prompted widespread criticism of the Israeli military were followed by a fortnight of violence resulting in injuries to at least seven other children. Defense for Children International Palestine (DCI–Palestine) collected sworn testimonies from children injured by Israeli gunfire in the weeks following the shootings of three teenage boys in the West Bank on May 15, two of whom died from their wounds. At least five other children were wounded, including one paralyzed, across the Occupied Palestinian Territory over the course of two weeks. The youngest was 13 years old. “The fatal shooting of two teenagers last week and the international outcry that followed did not dissuade the Israeli military from using excessive force against children in the days that followed,” said Rifat Kassis, executive director of DCI-Palestine. “Palestinian children have recently experienced violence at an alarming rate, increasingly being shot by Israeli forces while unarmed and posing absolutely no threat to life.” On May 23, Mohammad S., 16, from central Gaza, was shot by Israeli soldiers as he and his brothers gathered hay 150 meters (492 feet) from the border fence. As he ran to protect his younger brothers, a live bullet entered through his right shoulder and severed his spinal cord, paralyzing him from the waist down.
Some important details: Ben Ehrenreich on the Nakba Day shootings
Mondoweiss 29 May — …One thing is worth noting: the bullet that killed Nadim Nuwara was almost certainly not fired by the soldier caught on the CNN video. It was almost certainly a coincidence that he fired his weapon at approximately the same moment that Nuwara was hit. And he almost certainly was shooting rubber-coated bullets: the video is hazy, but his rifle appears to be equipped with the sort of extension that is attached to the barrel of an M16 to allow it to fire rubber-coated bullets. Mohannad Darabee, one of the witnesses I interviewed, told me repeatedly that he was sure the shot that killed Nuwara did not come from the group of Border Police who had gathered on a driveway just uphill and slightly back from the road. Darabee walked me to the spot where Nuwara fell, and to the spot from which the Border Police (and the now-suspended soldier) had been firing. The corner of a building stood in the way: there was no line of fire that would have allowed those soldiers to hit Nuwara. However, another, larger group of Israeli soldiers had gathered behind a concrete blast wall on the edge of a parking lot about 200 meters from the spot where Nuwara was hit. (See image above.) It was there, Darabee said, that he saw a commander choosing targets through binoculars. Those soldiers had an unimpeded shot at Nuwara. Forgive me if this is all a bit hard to visualize: The Guardian produced a graphic that maps it all out. But I want to make this very clear, because the waters have been muddied considerably, both through deliberate obfuscation and by speculation about a video that reveals less than it appears to….
VIDEO: Israeli soldiers beat elderly Palestinian
IMEMC 29 May by Chris Carlson — Israeli soldiers have again surfaced in recently publicized video footage, on Wednesday, as they violently beat a Palestinian elderly in al-Aqsa mosque compound, occupied Jerusalem. A number of soldiers appear in the footage as they surround a helpless elderly man in the compound, Al Ray reports. One of the soldiers is actually seen punching him before toppling him to the ground with the other soldiers. The man tried to escape. However, the soldiers violently restrained him amidst massive outrage and protest from Palestinian civilians gathered in the compound.
Two Palestinians kidnapped, beaten in Hebron
IMEMC 30 May by Saed Bannoura — Eyewitnesses have reported that Israeli soldiers attacked, on Thursday evening (May 29, 2014], two young Palestinian men on Ash-Shuhada Street, in Hebron city, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank. The two have been identified as Mohammad al-Jamal, 22, and Diab al-Karaky, 20; the soldiers stopped the two Palestinians at the roadblock, and violently assaulted them before one of them lost consciousness. Imad Abu Shamsiyya, a local volunteer with the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (B’Tselem) stated the soldiers tried to prevent the B’Tselem team from documenting the assault. Abu Shamsiyya added that such attacks became a daily occurrence in Hebron, especially on Ash-Shuhada Street. He said the soldiers refused to allow local medics to provide treatment to the two Palestinians, and insisted on arresting them. Imad al-Atrash, a local activist, said the attack was the third on Thursday alone, adding that Israeli military assaults and attacks by Israeli settlers take place on a daily basis. Al-Atrash added that the settlers also repeatedly attack international solidarity activists, and Israeli activists [ISM adds: Later, a settler from a nearby illegal settlement present at the scene, attempted to assault one of the Palestinians who was filming the incident. He began shouting; he then got into his car and attempted to drive straight through the crowd of Palestinians, running over the foot of one of them. Neither the Israeli soldiers nor police present attempted to take any action against him.]
Dozens injured as Israeli forces disperse West Bank protests
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 30 May — Dozens of people were injured on Friday as Israeli forces dispersed non-violent protests across the occupied West Bank. In Bil‘in, Israeli forces fired rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas and stun grenades at protesters as they marched towards land confiscated by Israel’s separation wall. Participants raised Palestinian flags, posters of prisoners, and signs condemning the practice of administrative detention. Ahmad Ratib Abu Rahma, 20, was hit in the foot with a tear gas canister, Mohammad Adeeb Abu Rahma, 20, was hit in the hand, and a female Danish activist was struck in the leg and required stitches. The injured were taken to the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah for treatment … In Kafr Qaddum, near Qalqiliya in the northern West Bank, a man was shot in the back with a rubber-coated bullet while dozens suffered tear gas inhalation. Protesters had gathered to show solidarity with hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners and demand that Israeli forces re-open the village’s main road, which has been closed for over 13 years.
The occupation never sleeps
DEIR ISTIYA, Occupied Palestine (International Women’s Peace Service) 30 May — Over seven families in Deir Istiya were rousted from their beds in the early morning today, some to the sounds of banging on their doors, others to fully armed soldiers in their bedrooms. Approximately 200 soldiers entered the village, closing off the main road and conducting raids until from 1:30 till 4:00am. The soldiers entered in various homes, in groups numbering from nine to over fifty, all heavily armed. These families believe that their houses were randomly selected for the raids, which they suspect serve a twofold purpose. The primary reason for these raids, in the estimation of the villagers, was to train new soldiers; the military is well known for raiding houses, or closing checkpoints as training exercises. The families who were attacked thought the mannerisms of the soldiers, as well as the amount of soldiers present were evidence that this was not a serious raid. They were also suspicious since there were no arrests, meaning that the military did not have specific victims in mind. Additionally, the raids are a form of psychological warfare, reminding the Palestinians that they are never safe, even in their own homes. House raids are a traumatic event for young children in particular, and often serve as a lifelong reminder of the power of the Israeli military. All of the raids followed a similar approach: soldiers first surrounded the house in question, often coming over walls or onto the roof by ladders, before banging on the doors, and telling the residents to open up. If the family refused, the soldiers would break down the door. Often, the army brings dogs to intimidate the families. Once the soldiers were inside, the army corralled the family into one room, usually a bathroom or living room. If children, or even infants, were asleep in the house, the army insisted on waking them up and moving them into a different room – at this point the soldiers confiscated all personal belongings, including cell phones and medication, and took the IDs of the family members. In several of the homes in Deir Istiya, children were locked in a separate room from their parents for the duration of the raids, which varied from half an hour to two hours in length.
First Aid Society warns of Israeli systematic targeting of medical crews
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 29 May — Head of the First Aid Arab Union Society Mohammad Gharabli slammed the Israeli police for having deliberately targeted Palestinian medical relief staff and warned of a potential transformation of such aggressions into systematic deadly tactics. Gharabli’s warnings were released as seven ambulance personnel were left severely injured during the clashes that broke out in Occupied Jerusalem on Wednesday evening, following the provocative rallies staged by hundreds of extremist Israeli settlers. “Our emergency paramedics have been deliberately targeted by the Israeli police forces, paving the way for a potential systemization of such deadly tactics to thwart our relief mission. A law issued by the Israeli Health Ministry outlawed any potential reluctance by an experienced person to treat a wounded. But the law is not obviously observed by the Israeli police.”
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/
Military police dragging their feet on probing 18 Palestinians killed by soldiers
Haaretz 24 May by Gili Cohen — Only one soldier charged but five verdicts expected soon — The Military Police has opened investigations into the circumstances of the deaths of at least 18 Palestinians in the West Bank in the last two years, but has completed only three of these probes. In only one case was an Israeli soldier charged and convicted. In that case, a combat soldier in the Home Front Command was convicted in March 2013, in a plea bargain, of negligent manslaughter in the death of Uday Darwish, a young Palestinian man who was shot to death while trying to enter Israel illegally near a gap in the separation fence in order to work in Israel. The soldier was sentenced to seven months in military prison. His company commander was given a hearing, a decision which is expected later this week. In two additional incidents, the investigations were closed by the Military Advocate General without any charges filed. The first of those incidents involved the shooting deaths of Amer Nassar, 17, and Naji Belbisi, 18, by soldiers in the Haredi Nahal Brigade in April 2013, after Molotov cocktails had been thrown at a nearby guard post. The investigation determined that the shootings were justified and the soldiers had complied with the rules of engagement of the Israel Defense Forces….
Israel army: Settler car hit by gunfire near al-Ram
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 30 May — The Israeli army said on Friday afternoon that a car belonging to a Jewish settler was hit by “small arms fire” while traveling in the central West Bank. No injuries were reported as a result of the two shots, which hit the car while it was traveling near the Jewish-only settlement of Geva Benyamin near the Palestinian village of al-Ram, the army said in a statement.
Israeli forces prevent suspected suicide bomb attack
JERUSALEM (The Guardian) 30 May by Peter Beaumont — Israeli forces have prevented what they say was the first attempted suicide bombing in more than six years, at a West Bank checkpoint south of the Palestinian city of Nablus. A man, described as being in his 20s, was stopped after arousing suspicion when he tried to approach soldiers at the Tapuah junction checkpoint wearing a heavy coat on a hot day. After being stopped he admitted he was wearing an explosive belt and allowed himself to be disarmed. It was not clear whether the explosive belt, apparently comprising 12 pipe bombs connected by wires, was a viable device, but police and military spokespeople suggested they had prevented what could have been the first suicide attack in years. Video footage, shot from behind a fence, showed the man – who had been told to undress – being led away by soldiers. The last suicide bombing took place in 2008 at the end of a period when such attacks had become a grim hallmark of the second intifada. The police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said border police near Nablus had been suspicious about the man wearing a coat on an exceptionally hot spring day … In the aftermath of the incident security sources suggested the man may not have been attached to any group but rather operating on his own.
Israeli forces detain 4 Palestinians near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 29 May — Israeli forces detained four young Palestinian men in the southern West Bank town of Tuqu‘ east of Bethlehem on Thursday, local sources told Ma‘an. The sources said large numbers of Israeli troops stormed the town and detained Suleiman Khalid al-Umour, 19, Mahmoud Audallah al-Umour, 25, Bilal Habis al-Umour, 23 and Bahaa Arif al-Umour, 18, during the raid. The sources added that Israeli troops ransacked more than 15 houses belonging to members of the Umour family during the raid.
Detainees / Hunger strikers / Court actions
Lawyer: All prisoners on hunger strike since April 24 hospitalized
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 29 May – All Palestinian prisoners who have been on hunger strike in Israeli custody since April 24 have been evacuated to hospitals after their health deteriorated seriously, a lawyer said. Jawad Bulous, who works for the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society, said that most Israeli hospitals from Soroka Medical Center in southern Israel to Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba in central Israel, received prisoners. The Israeli prison service, added Bulous, has been exerting serious efforts for two days to work out a settlement with hunger strikers in light of the ongoing deterioration. Several officers representing the Israeli prison service visited hunger strikers for talks. The officers suggested a meeting with leaders of Palestinian prisoners at Rimon prison, but the request was turned down because the Israelis did not want a representative of hunger strikers to join the talks. Over 200 Palestinian prisoners are currently on hunger strike in Israeli jails in solidarity with dozens of administrative detainees who have been refusing meals since April 24.
25 Palestinian prisoners join hunger strike
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 29 May — Twenty-five Palestinian prisoners serving life sentences on Thursday started open hunger strike action in support of administrative detainees, a prisoners group said. Ahrar Center for Prisoners Studies and Human Rights said that a senior Hamas leader and 24 other prisoners in Rimon jail have begun refusing food in solidarity with administrative detainees on hunger strike. “We won’t allow the Israeli occupation to break or disfavor our clerics, lawmakers and cellmates, and so we decided to join the hunger strike in support of the demands of administrative detainees,” Muammar Sharour said.
Israel denies family of hospitalized hunger striker right to visit
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 30 May — Israeli prison officials on Thursday rejected a request made by the family of a hunger striker to visit him in hospital, nearly a month after he stopped eating in protest against his detention without trial. The Palestinian prisoners’ rights association Addameer filed a request for the family of Abdulrazzaq Farraj, 51, to visit him at Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba inside Israel, where he has been held since he was recently hospitalized. Israeli prison officials said they were denying Farraj visitation rights until June 5, without providing further details. [See his story here – article includes an interview with him]
Israel court extends detention of hunger-striking Jerusalem woman
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 29 May – An Israeli magistrate court in Jerusalem on Wednesday decided to keep a hunger striking Palestinian woman in custody until Friday, a local committee speaker said. Amjad Abu Asab of a committee representing families of Jerusalem prisoners highlighted that Umm Muhammad, wife of Ahmad Ubeid, who is serving life sentence in Israeli custody, was detained last Friday. She was in court to attend a hearing for her son Anas who was detained a day before, when an Israeli intelligence officer asked her to accompany him to an office for a couple of questions. Surprisingly, the officer notified Umm Muhammad that she was under arrest without giving any explanation. The same day, Umm Muhammad announced an open hunger strike protesting her detention without charges.
Hunger strike is the only choice left for Palestinian prisoners
Middle East Monitor 30 May by Jessica Purkiss — Ahmed Rimawi was arrested at the age of 17. He has been in an Israeli prison for 1 year and 7 months- kept behind bars without charge and without trial. He is now the youngest of an estimated 125 to 200 Palestinian prisoners residing in Israeli jails on a mass hunger strike – Israel’s access restrictions means an exact number is difficult to ascertain. They are protesting the practice of Administrative Detention – a policy that has ensured Ahmed, and many other prisoners, remain incarcerated with no idea why. “On his way to the school the Israeli soldiers stopped him,” said his mother Um Ahmed from her home in a village outside Ramallah, West Bank. “After holding him at the checkpoint for 24 hours, they took him to prison. They kept him there for 6 months, then 6 months, then another 6 months, and we still don’t know why,” she said.
Israel charges two Jews over racist attacks
JERUSALEM (AFP) 29 May — Two suspected Jewish extremists have been charged with racially motivated attacks against Arab-owned property, the justice ministry said Thursday, after a spate of vandalism. A 16-year-old arrested earlier this month for scrawling graffiti on and smashing the door and windows of a dentist’s practice in Yokneam, an Arab Druze town in northern Israel, was charged on Thursday, the ministry said. The minor’s name was not made public, in accordance with Israeli law.
On Wednesday, prosecutors filed charges against Adir Yosef, 26, for damaging an Arab-owned car in Yokneam earlier in May.
Gaza under dual blockades
Israeli forces shoot, injure Palestinian fisherman off Gaza coast
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 30 May — A Palestinian fisherman was shot and injured by Israeli military boats in the sea of the coast of the northern Gaza Strip on Friday, medical officials said. Spokesman for the Gaza ministry of health Ashraf al-Qidra said that a 22-year-old fisherman was moderately injured after Israeli naval forces deployed off of the al-Sudaniya shore in northern Gaza city opened fire at his boat. The victim was taken to Kamal Adwan hospital following the incident.
4 Palestinian fishermen kidnapped by Israeli navy in Gaza waters
GAZA (PIC) 29 May — Four Palestinian fisherman were kidnapped by the Israeli navy in Gaza waters on Thursday morning at a time when a series of mock raids have been rocking the Gaza Strip. According to chairman of the Palestinian Fishermen’s Syndicate, Nizar Ayyash, an Israeli gunboat kept chasing a Palestinian fishing boat off Gaza waters and arrested the four fishermen on board before carrying them all, along with their boat, to the Israeli Ashdod airport, north of the Gaza Strip. An upsurge in Israeli violations targeting Palestinian fishermen at this very stage aims at denying them the right to earn a living during the summer sardine season and triggering economic losses besides of the swift rise in fuel prices, Ayyash added. Palestinian fishermen have increasingly been targeted by the Israeli navy forces off Gaza waters. Several have been wounded while others arrested in less than a week’s time. Other Palestinian fishermen were arrested and wounded following gun shootings by the Egyptian navy off Rafah waters…
Meanwhile, a series of mock raids were launched on the Gaza Strip on Thursday morning. Blast sounds rocked the entire city, an on-the-spot reporter told Quds Press.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/
Women journalists seize initiative in Gaza
GAZA CITY (IPS) 29 May by Marjut Helminen — “We let the men participate in the workshop discussions, but the training sessions are only for women journalists,” says Mona Khadir, who coordinates the activities of the Filastiniyat Women Journalists’ Club in Gaza. The meeting hall at a hotel in Gaza is full of journalists, both women and men. What catches the eye is the row of TV cameras and microphones behind the audience. They are there for the workshop organised by Filastiniyat, a non-governmental advocacy organisation committed to ensuring and supporting the equitable participation of Palestinian women and youth at all levels of the public sphere.
Hamas denies ISIS presence after Gaza jihadist killed in Syria
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 28 May by Rasha Abou Jalal — A Palestinian jihadist militant fighting for the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) was killed last week in Syria, reflecting the rise of Salafist militants in Gaza, but Hamas remains adamant that the radical group does not exist in the Gaza Strip — On May 25, it was announced that a 21-year-old Palestinian man from the Gaza Strip was killed during a battle in Syria while he was fighting in the ranks of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). The story revived the debate about the presence of Salafist groups in Gaza, the breadth of their activities and the priorities to fight in the framework of their military ideology … Al-Monitor spoke with Wadi’s father, Nafedh Wash, about how his son died. Nafedh said that his son was killed during a battle between ISIS and Syrian regime forces in Deir el-Zor, Syria. “My son left Gaza to Egypt about nine months ago through an underground tunnel,” he said. “When he was in Egypt, he then informed me via a mobile phone message that he and his comrades were going to fight in Syria for ISIS, which he had joined three years ago.” … Nafedh said that his son traveled to Syria because he was being pursued by security agents in the Gaza government for launching rockets at Israel. “Hamas’ Internal Security Agency arrested my son more than six times. The last time, he was severely tortured in prison and required physical treatment that lasted two months,” he said.
Activism / Solidarity / BDS
Act! Second prison term for CO Uriel Ferera
Alternative Information Ctr 28 May by New Profile — Uriel Ferera, 18 years old from Be’er Sheva, reported to Tel Hashomer military induction base, accompanied by a demonstration of support for his refusal to serve in the military. Uriel declared his refusal to serve for reasons of conscience due to his opposition to the occupation of the Palestinian people and discrimination against Palestinians inside Israel. On 25 May 2014 Uriel was sentenced to 10 days in military prison number 6 near Atlit. During the last days of his first prison term, he was denied phone calls, including calls to his lawyer from New Profile, and was denied receiving letters of support. Important to mention that Uriel appealed in advance to the military conscientious objectors committee, but was rejected by the committee. You can find more news items regarding Uriel’s refusal: https://www.facebook.com/refusingIDF His prison address is: …Since the prison authorities often block mail from reaching imprisoned objectors, we also recommend you to send them your letters of support and encouragement via e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org, and they will be printed out and delivered during visits.
Gates Foundation begins to divest from occupation profiteer G4S
Mondoweiss 29 May by Annie Robbins — On April 17, ahead of of Palestinian prisoner’s day, Addameer Prisoner Support, Human Rights Association, War on Want, and over 100 Palestinian and international organizations issued a Call to action asking Bill Gates to divest from the British security company G4S, the largest private military and security company in the world. Addameer issued a press release today informing us the Gates Foundation has sold the bulk of its shares in G4S:
Hamas: Delay in unity government due to foreign and detainees ministries
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 29 May — Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said on Thursday evening that the delay in announcing the unity government is being caused by a dispute over the appointment of the ministers of foreign and detainees’ affairs. Abu Zuhri said that despite the fact that Hamas and the PLO had agreed on the majority of cabinet positions in the national unity government they are currently forming, a dispute remains regarding the appointment of Riyadh al-Malki as minister of foreign affairs. Abbas has insisted on al-Malki’s appointment to the position, but a source close to Hamas earlier said that the movement wanted the post to be held by Ziyad Abu Amer, one of two deputy premiers currently serving under Hamdallah. Abu Zuhri said that President Abbas’ desire to replace the ministry of detainees with an independent body was also causing hold-ups in the commission’s work. Abu Zuhri said in a post on his Facebook page that Hamas had rejected the dissolution of the ministry of detainees’ affairs, which oversees the issue of more than 5,000 Palestinians currently being held in Israeli jails as well as the tens of thousands prisoners who have been released, for ‘nationalistic’ reasons, without elaborating.
Palestinians stumble on selection of foreign minister / Daoud Kuttab
Al-Monitor 29 May — The last thing anyone following the Palestinian reconciliation talks expected was to have the PLO and Hamas negotiators disagree on who should be the foreign minister in the six-month interim period preceding elections. Most expected trouble with agreement on the Interior Ministry (solved by having Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah double up as interior minister) or the Finance Ministry (solved by keeping on current Finance Minister Shukri Bishara). Hamas has been extremely cooperative — some would say capitulating — in the reconciliation talks, but apparently balked on granting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas the trifecta of interior, finance and foreign ministries. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said on his Facebook page, according to the Ma’an News Agency, that the delay in the agreement is due to the naming of the foreign minister. Foreign ministers are always in precarious positions: They are part of a cabinet, and therefore subservient to the prime minister, yet the president, who runs the country’s foreign policy portfolio, usually wants the foreign minister to report to him directly.
Hamas warns West Bank arrests could derail reconciliation
Al-Monitor 30 May by Adnan Abu Amer — As Azzam al-Ahmad, the Fatah official responsible for the reconciliation file, arrived to Gaza on the evening of May 26, two young men from Hamas in the West Bank, Thaer Shalalada from Halhul and Nour Ahmad from Qalqilya, were summoned by the Preventive Security Forces for questioning on security cases. Hamas members in the West Bank are disappointed because the reconciliation agreement did not stop the arrests of their members. Instead, the arrests increased, according to the Arab Organization for Human Rights. Statistics that Al-Monitor received from the Hamas committee charged with following up on arrests in the West Bank indicate that the arrests have increased and, since the beginning of 2014, there have been more than 200 arrests and over 500 summons issued. Meanwhile, since the April 23 reconciliation agreement, more than 20 Hamas members have been arrested, with others being summoned, according to the Hamas committee.
Mahmoud Abbas: Collaboration with Israeli army, secret police is ‘sacred’
Electronic Intifada 30 May by Ali Abunimah — Mahmoud Abbas, the de facto leader of the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank, has told Israeli journalists and business people that his collaboration with Israeli occupation forces is “sacred” and would continue even if the PA forms a “government” backed by the Palestinian military resistance organization Hamas. “The security relationship … and I say it on air, security coordination is sacred, is sacred. And we’ll continue it whether we disagree or agree over policy,” Abbas told about 300 visiting Israelis at his headquarters in Ramallah this week. Abbas can be seen making his remarks in the video above, published by Al-Quds newspaper. Known euphemistically as “security coordination,” US-financed PA intelligence and security forces work closely with Israeli occupation forces and Shin Bet secret police to suppress any Palestinian resistance to occupation. This close collaboration between occupier and occupied was recently praised by Martin Indyk, the career Israel lobbyist put in charge of the “peace process” by US President Barack Obama. The “IDF [Israel Defense Forces] and the Shin Bet now highly appreciate” Abbas’ ongoing work with them, Indyk said at an Israel lobby think tank in Washington earlier this month. This is not the first time Abbas has publicly committed himself to fighting against Palestinians. In 2012, he pleaded with a visiting Israel lobby delegation to help him secure weapons from Israel to stop resistance, which, using Israeli and American terminology, he termed “terrorism.”
Palestinian media adjusts to reconciliation deal
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 29 May by Hazem Balousha — The divided Palestinian media has toned down its factional rhetoric in line with the reconciliation deal, but doubts remain about whether the new cordial atmosphere will stick — The future of Palestinian media seems ambiguous now that the unity government is to assume power in the Gaza Strip. New media outlets set up by the Hamas government have emerged amid bias on the part of most local media outlets to the political factions that fund or support them. The official and partisan media outlets that are affiliated with the two political adversaries, Hamas and Fatah, have changed their discourse with each other upon the signing of the reconciliation, and have started hosting figures from the opposing camp in their news programs and talk shows. Moreover, the two governments have allowed the newspapers printed in Jerusalem and Ramallah to be distributed in the Gaza Strip, and the newspapers published in Gaza to be printed and distributed in the cities of the West Bank.
Netanyahu: US pressure behind West Bank planning freeze
JTA 30 May — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he suspended construction in West Bank settlements because of American pressure, an Israeli news site reported. Netanyahu told a group of settler leaders that the activity of the planning council of Israel’s Civil Administration, the body responsible for authorizing construction in the West Bank, had been partially suspended because the United States demanded it, the news site nrg.co.il reported. Netanyahu, who met Thursday night with mayors from 20 West Bank settlements, said the United States recently demanded that the Civil Administration not only refrain from issuing tenders for construction, but also freeze the activity of its planning committee altogether and not approve new projects that would later require tenders.
Livni says will leave government that annexes land in West Bank
Jerusalem Post 29 May — Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (Hatnua ) said on Thursday that she would not be part of a government that annexes land in Area C of the West Bank. Livni told Israel Radio that although there are ministers in the current government who prefer a greater Israel over a Jewish and Democratic state of Israel, they represent a minority. “We must continue to strive for peace in the days when it seems that there is no chance to achieve it,” she told the radio station. [End]
PCHR weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory
30 May — In its Weekly Report … for the week of 22 – 28 May, 2014, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) found that Israeli forces wounded 8 Palestinians, including 7 civilians and a child. Four of the aforementioned Palestinians were wounded in the West Bank, and the other four ones were wounded in the Gaza strip. Israeli naval forces fired at and chased Palestinian fishing boats in the Gaza Strip Sea. In addition, Israeli forces conducted at least 65 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. During these incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 46 Palestinians, including 10 children and a woman. Full Report
Palestine wins AFC Challenge Cup Final, secures spot in Asia’s top football tournament
[with video] SMG 30 May by Sami Kishawi — Ashraf Nu’man Alfawaghra was right on the money when he scored off of a free kick in the 59th minute. His goal would prove to be the game winner against the Philippines, securing Palestine’s first ever international trophy as well as a trip to Australia for Asia’s most prestigious football tournament, the 2015 AFC Asian Cup. Both Palestine and the Philippines went into this match with high expectations. Neither team has won the Challenge Cup in the past, and neither team has ever qualified for the Asian Cup … Watch full highlights of the game below.
Video: Hop on board with the West Bank’s first female bus driver
BBC News 30 May — Najlaa Asia surprised many people in Palestinian society when she decided to turn her much-loved hobby of driving buses into a career, becoming the first female bus driver in the West Bank city of Tulkarm. In the Palestinian territories’ patriarchal society, it is unusual for women to take on such professions. But Najlaa says that since earning her licence in April, passengers have been getting used to seeing a woman behind the wheel – and many now are even supporting her. Hadya Alalawi reports. Video produced by BBC Arabic’s Eman Ouriqat
Turkish tourism to Jerusalem increasing, despite obstacles
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 29 May — Thousands of Turkish citizens are visiting Islamic religious sites in occupied East Jerusalem on a yearly basis despite the obstacles they face, and the numbers are only set to increase in coming years. Thousands of Turks visit the Al-Aqsa compound in particular each year, especially during Islamic holidays, despite the intensive and invasive searches they often face by Israeli security personnel. Around 3,000 Turkish citizens recently came to Jerusalem to celebrate the day in the Islamic calendar that marks the Prophet Muhammad’s ascension [visit] to heaven, known as Isra and Miraj, a member of the Graduates’ Committee of Turkey told Ma‘an recently.
Opinion / Analysis / Special interest
Haaretz editorial: Simply because he was bored
30 May — The Nakba Day shooting sums up the crime of occupation, which has turned the IDF from the people’s army into a hothouse of violence — The report in Haaretz (Chaim Levinson and Amos Harel, Thursday) that a non-combat soldier attached to the Border Police force fired, contrary to regulations, at Palestinian protesters during the riots in Beitunia – apparently because of “boredom” – does little to advance the investigation into the death of two young Palestinians at the Nakba Day protest. However, it raises other troubling questions, which are no less serious. The soldier, whose job and unit cannot be disclosed due to a military gag order, is connected primarily to communications. It is assumed that at a certain point he too wanted to shoot at the demonstrators and took a gun from a Border Policeman. Sources in the Chief Military Defense office, which is representing the soldier, said that as far as they know the soldier fired only two rubber bullets, and did so according to orders and with the approval of the commanders in the field. This response not only underrates the events’ seriousness, but clouds the picture even more. Commanders of troops shooting people, even if “only” with rubber bullets, let a “visitor” accompanying them target human beings to increase his “enjoyment” of the mission? The awful moral failure underlying this incident requires the IDF to take a thorough account of itself, not only regarding the moral norms….
Was the Iranian threat fabricated by Israel and the US? / Shemuel Meir
Haaretz 31 May — In a new book and in a conversation with Haaretz, U.S. historian Gareth Porter charges that U.S. and Israeli policies on Iran have been based on fabricated evidence — A narrative is a story that we tell ourselves, and not necessarily what happened in reality. For example, the “Iranian threat” narrative, which has become the common wisdom in Israeli public discourse. A new book by Gareth Porter, an American historian and researcher specializing in U.S. national security, shows how the actual state of the Iranian nuclear program does not match the Iranian threat narrative. The book’s title, Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Nuclear Scare (Just World Books), already tells us that it is going against the current. Porter appears to be the only researcher who has read with an unprejudiced eye all the reports of the International Atomic Energy Agency from the past decade. He also had access to American intelligence reports on the Iranian issue from recent decades. In addition, Porter interviewed generations of American officials and analyzed the testimony of senior officials before Congress. The result is a highly detailed and well-documented book for all interested in understanding how we arrived at the Iranian nuclear crisis, and the “attack scenarios,” and invented facts and intelligence reports whose purpose was to support the preconceptions.
‘My village was attacked and burned down’: a Nakba survivor speaks
NUSEIRAT REFUGEE CAMP (Electronic Intifada) 29 May by Wafaa H. Aburahma — Earlier this month The New York Times referred to the “destruction of Arab villages in battles that led to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.” The testimony of Ahmad al-Haj, however, exposes that paper’s version of events as dishonest. Rather than being the victim of “battles” — a term that implies fighting between two armies of similar strength — this octogenarian was forced from his home in a carefully planned campaign of ethnic cleansing by Zionist militias. The ethnic cleansing is known to Palestinians as the Nakba — Arabic for catastrophe. Al-Haj was just 15 in 1948. Like many other young Palestinians, he was already working in agriculture. One day in April that year, he was returning to his village, al-Swafer al-Sharqia, after going to an area market. To get home, he and his mule had to pass through nearby Julis, which, he was told by a passerby, had been taken over by Zionist forces. “I thought nothing would incite those people to try to kill an unarmed, small boy passing peacefully on his way,” he told The Electronic Intifada. He was mistaken. The only way he could survive was to throw himself off his mule and sprint. “The mule ran faster than me,” he said. “The machine gunners stopped shooting when their bullets could no longer reach me.”
Jerusalem’s light railway: commuting with a rifle through the conflicted city / Harriet Sherwood
JERUSALEM 29 May — What can a train ride tell you about a city? Quite a lot in Jerusalem, where the city’s new light railway trundles its way along the contentious green line and many holy sites — The four teenage boys on the Jerusalem light rail belonged to the global brotherhood of lads. Dressed in jeans, hoodies and trainers; they slouched in their seats, lanky legs stretching halfway across the carriage, joking around, rolling an empty water bottle between their feet. Nearby, another passenger was visibly irritated. He was perhaps 10 or 15 years older, wearing a neat beard, sunglasses, shorts and a faded t-shirt – and drumming his fingers on the magazine of a battered assault rifle lying across his lap. The man was Israeli, possibly from the settlement of Pisgat Ze’ev where he had boarded the train. The boys were Palestinian, most likely from Beit Hanina, an Arab neighbourhood. From opposing sides of one of the world’s most enduring conflicts – and the city at its epicentre – the young man and the teenagers eyeballed each other for 10 uneasy minutes until the boys spilled out of the carriage, laughing and giving the finger as they went. Provocative behaviour, a machine gun, a city built on tension and conflict – this was a potentially explosive mix. But it passed … There are few places where the distinct tribes of Jerusalem mingle: the main hospital, the shopping mall, the Biblical zoo, sometimes even at McDonalds. Latterly, there has also been the light railway. The different groups rarely interact, or even make eye contact, but they attain an uneasy co-existence. Men dressed in ultra-orthodox monochrome, under hats and coats even in the Middle Eastern summer, squeeze on board, averting their eyes from young women tourists in shorts and skimpy t-shirts. Religious Jewish mothers, hair bound in long winding scarves, with a brood of small children clutching at their ankle-length skirts, stand alongside Palestinian women in skinny jeans and elaborate hijabs framing carefully made-up faces and groomed eyebrows. Israeli soldiers in uniform, some armed with guns and all apparently armed with smart phones, lounge on seats opposite Palestinian labourers heading for jobs in Jewish areas of the city.