Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Judaization / Restrictions on movement
Israel tightens grip on E. Jerusalem with $90m plan
JERUSALEM (AFP) 29 June – The Israeli cabinet on Sunday approved a $90 million dollar socio-economic development plan for annexed east Jerusalem which focuses on increased security and police presence in the area, the municipality said. “One of the main goals of the plan that was approved is to bring about a significant decline in violence by means of integrated activity to reduce gaps in infrastructure, employment, education and social welfare and by boosting enforcement and personal security,” said a statement from city hall. The plan involves an increase in the number of policemen on the beat as well as a greater number of security cameras … Figures provided by the municipality said there were about 306,000 Palestinians living in east Jerusalem, whose civil status is that of residents, not citizens. They account for 38 percent of the city’s overall population. Israel seized control over the Arab eastern sector of Jerusalem during the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community. It refers to the entire city as its “united, undivided” capital. But the Palestinians want the eastern sector of the city as capital of their promised state, with the city’s future one of the biggest issues of the conflict. By choice, almost all Palestinians living in east Jerusalem hold permanent residency status, meaning they have Israeli IDs but not passports … The action plan was put together by an inter-ministerial committee which did not make any connection between the rise in violence and the deadlock in peace moves, Haaretz said. There are more than 200,000 Israelis living in settlement neighbourhoods in annexed east Jerusalem and the Israeli government does not see construction there as settlement building. [See also Analysis near the end of this compilation]
Israeli bulldozers ‘level Palestinian land, uproot trees’ near Salfit
SALFIT (Ma‘an) 29 June — Israeli bulldozers on Sunday leveled Palestinian lands in the Salfit district in the central West Bank, locals said. Witnesses said bulldozers uprooted dozens of olive trees and fruit trees in the Thahir Subih neighborhood of Kafr al-Dik. Local researcher Khalid Maali said that an Israeli court had approved confiscation of 3,000 dunams (750 acres) of private Palestinian land, but that the bulldozers had leveled an area of more than 10,000 dunams (2,500 acres). A spokesperson for Israel’s civil administration said in an email to Ma‘an that ”works are currently taking place at the site for the agricultural development of the region with the state’s approval. No tree uprootings were registered at the site…” Israeli authorities regularly declare private Palestinian lands or historically communal lands used by Palestinians in the West Bank as Israeli state land for settlement construction and expansion.
Settler grazes cattle on Palestinian crops
IMEMC 29 June by Chris Carlson — An Israeli settler, today, decided to graze his cattle on Palestinian-owned crops at Wadi Al-Rakhim in Yatta, to the south of Hebron, according to a local activist. Ratib Jabbour, who is a coordinator for the Anti-Wall and Settlement Popular Committee, said that a heavily armed settler from the illegal Susia settlement, to the south of Hebron, raided a vacant house and released his cattle to graze on nearby lands. According to WAFA, the settler made use of the presence of Israeli troops who have been deployed in the area for over two weeks, under the pretext of searching for three missing settlers.
Drab West Bank home could be first to fall as Israel revives demolition policy
IDNA, West Bank (Christian Science Monitor) 27 June by Ben Lynfield — A drab two-story house in this town could become the first casualty of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to revive the controversial practice of demolishing the homes of Palestinian militants, a form of collective punishment. The house was formerly occupied by Ziyad Awad, a Hamas operative whom Israel has arrested over the Apr. 14 killing of an Israeli police officer. On Tuesday, the Israeli army gave notice to relatives of Mr. Awad that it planned to ”confiscate and destroy” the building where the murder suspect lived with his wife and five children. The targeted structure also houses, in a separate apartment, Awad’s brother, Mohammed, and his wife and their six children as well as the brothers’ mother. Under Israeli law, the family has the right to contest the demolition notice. HaMoked, an Israeli human rights group representing the Awads, has filed an appeal to the army. If, as expected, this is unsuccessful, the family has 48 hours to petition Israel’s Supreme Court. Dalia Kerstein, executive director of HaMoked, says the court has never completely cancelled a demolition. In some cases it has ruled that only part of the targeted house can be destroyed or that the house be sealed so that it cannot be inhabited, she says.
Israel lifts ban on international travel for Hebron residents
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 29 June — Israel has ended a ban on the international travel of Palestinian residents of Hebron beginning Sunday, the Palestinian general director of crossings and borders said. The ban on Hebron residents using the Allenby Bridge [or King Hussein or Karama crossing] — the only connection to the outside world for West Bank residents under military occupation and banned from using Israel’s nearby Ben Gurion airport — was imposed on the 800,000 residents of Hebron two weeks ago after three Israeli teenagers went missing from the Jewish settlement of Gush Etzion … The ban was imposed as part of wider restrictions on the movement of all Palestinians from Hebron
Israel announces Ramadan permit plans for Palestinians
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 June — Israeli authorities on Thursday announced preliminary plans to facilitate Palestinian movement and visits to Jerusalem during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which begins Saturday, Israeli media sources reported. All Palestinians above 60 years old will be allowed to enter Jerusalem for the entire month without special permits, while women of all ages and men above 40 will be allowed to enter on Fridays without any permits, Israeli news site Ynet said. Women and men below the age of 35 will be given special permits to enter Jerusalem, on the condition that only 20,000 Palestinians will be allowed to pass per day. Children under 12 will be allowed to enter with their parents without a permit. Palestinians from the West Bank will be given special permits to be able to visit “first-degree” relatives in Jerusalem, and those under 16 will be allowed to enter without a permit … Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are subject to a strict permit regime by the state of Israel that limits their freedom of movement and largely prevents them from entering East Jerusalem, which is part of the Palestinian territories. During Ramadan, however, Israel traditionally eases these restrictions for West Bank residents, allowing them to enter to the city in order to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam, as well as to mark the festivities at the month’s conclusion.
Settlers continue to storm al-Aqsa courtyards
IMEMC 29 June by Chris Carlson — This morning, 22 Israeli settlers stormed al-Aqsa Mosque via the Moroccans’ gate under the protection of Israeli police, according to witnesses. Palestinian worshipers were determined to stay inside the courtyards to confront the settlers, should they attmept to invade the mosque, Al Ray has reported. In recent months, this has been a frequent scenario at al-Aqsa, often leading to violent confrontations. Earlier in the week, the “Temple Mount” organization, affiliated with militant Israeli rabbi Yehuda Glick, called for a general campaign against al-Aqsa as Ramadan arrives for the Muslim community, with violations occurring at al-Aqsa and other Muslim sites of worship. Through the course of the week, Israeli forces in the al-Aqsa compound assaulted a teacher, Randa Abu Sneineh, and her student, Meslah Naser Shhadeh, upon which they were transferred to a nearby hospital. The previous day, four children, aged between 11 and 14, were taken from the grounds after flying a kite constructed with a plastic bag. Israeli forces abducted, on Thursday, Ziad Abu Rahal, a Palestinian student from Nazareth, as he attempted to prevent the settlers from storming the compound.
Violence / Raids / Attacks / Illegal arrests
Army carries out an extensive invasion into Hebron
IMEMC/Agencies 30 June by Saed Bannoura — On Monday at dawn, dozens of Israeli military vehicles continued the extensive military operations, and home invasions, into the southern West Bank district of Hebron, broke into and violently searched dozens of homes, and kidnapped one Palestinian … Local sources in Hebron have reported that dozens of soldiers invaded the home of Marwan al-Qawasma, allegedly behind the disappearance of the three missing Israeli settlers, and searched it for more than two hours, causing excessive property damage, and confiscated the family’s car. The soldiers also invaded and searched dozens of homes in different parts of Hebron city, causing property damage, and interrogated several families. At least 40 military vehicles invaded Ein Sarah neighborhood, in Hebron, surrounded the al-Hussein Ben Ali Mosque, broke into a local print shop and several homes, and violently searched them. The soldiers also kidnapped a young Palestinian man from his home, in the Habayel Riyah area in Hebron, and ransacked his property. Another invasion took place in Bab az-Zaweya area, in Hebron, where the soldiers invaded several homes that belong to members of the al-Qawasma family, and searched them.
In Halhoul nearby town, soldiers searched a number of areas, especially west of the town, and fired dozens of rounds of live ammunition. The army also invaded Doura town, installed a roadblock on the main road between Doura and a number of villages, and searched dozens of cars while investigating the ID cards of the passengers. Soldiers also invaded the town, and fired several gas bombs and concussion grenades, some of them directly hitting homes causing several Palestinians to suffer the effects of tear gas inhalation. Furthermore, at least three military vehicles invaded Deir Samet village, and conducted military searches of homes and property.
In related news, soldiers invaded Betunia, west of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and kidnapped one Palestinian identified as Anas Qert, after searching his home. Soldiers also invaded several homes in the area, and installed roadblocks. Local youths hurled stones at the invading soldiers who fired gas bombs, concussion grenades, and rubber-coated metal bullets.
Escalating attacks, abductions continue in WB
IMEMC 30 June by Chris Carlson — Four Palestinians, today [Monday], including a teenager, were kidnapped by Israeli forces in the West Bank districts of Bethlehem, Hebron and Nablus, according to reports by local and security sources. Settler attacks occurred on farmlands near Bethlehem, causing extensive financial loss and property damage. WAFA Palestinian News & Info Agency reports that the army invaded the village of Beit Fajjar, to the south of Bethlehem, where they arrested two Palestinians, aged 17 and 20, after raiding their homes and destroying their furniture. In the nearby village of Taqu‘, soldiers raided and searched several homes, with no abductions reported. Israeli soldiers also searched areas in the nearby villages of Nahhalin and Za‘tara. Meanwhile, in the city of Hebron, Israeli forces stormed and searched several areas before taking with them a 55-year-old individual. In Nablus, this evening, the army raided the village of Madama, where they kidnapped one youngster, age 22, after breaking into his home and wrecking the furniture.
Late last night, WAFA further reports that Israeli settlers attacked large areas of Palestinian-owned land and destroyed crops in the village of Husan, west of Bethlehem. According to a security source, a group of individuals from the illegal “Beitar Illit” settlement destroyed large areas of planted land in the village, in addition to sabotaging irrigation pipes. WAFA notes that residents of Husan have been subjected to frequent attacks by the settlers from Beitar Illit, with the latest attack taking place nearly ten days ago when settlers set fire to vast areas of land, chopping down trees and attacking local farmers.
The Israeli army’s polite raid on a Palestinian graphic-design business
Haaretz 30 June by Amira Hass — What were the soldiers looking for when they stormed a small firm in Ramallah that publishes ads for the U.S. Consulate and articles about herbal remedies, musicians and travel? — It was a polite raid — compared to the reports on the destruction left behind by Israeli soldiers in the hundreds of homes and institutions they’ve raided over the past two weeks. This time, at the offices of graphics firm Turbo Design, the 10 soldiers involved (including at least one woman) didn’t break anything, cut any cables or overturn tables and cabinets. “They had a gentlemanly commander,” said the head of the firm, Sani Meo, a Jerusalem resident who pays taxes to the State of Israel. “They only confiscated two servers and five computers,” he told Haaretz late last week, sarcastically. … But for those who heard that the office of yuppie Turbo Design was targeted, it was another piece of proof that the IDF and Shin Bet security service were exploiting the disappearance of the three Israeli teenagers this month to terrorize an entire population — simply because they can. … As a result of the raid, the firm’s work declined to about 20 percent of the usual volume. Its rich database of old and new photos and customer files is now buried somewhere between the IDF and the Shin Bet. Who knows if it will ever be returned … The IDF Spokesman’s Office responded: “Information increasingly indicated that propaganda and incitement materials linked to Hamas were being printed at this place. In the operation, a search of the office was conducted. A decision on the return of the equipment will later be considered by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories.
Palestinian workers hospitalized after ‘assault’ at Israel checkpoint
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 28 June — Three Palestinian workers were hospitalized Saturday morning after being assaulted by Israeli soldiers at Zaatara checkpoint south of Nablus in the northern West Bank. One of the victims, Tariq Abdah, 26, told Ma‘an that he and 20-year-old Thaer Abu Salih and 21-year-old Salih Abu Salih were travelling from Ramallah to Nablus when Israeli troops stopped them at the checkpoint. “The soldiers ordered us to step out of the car, then they started to kick us and hit us with a steel chair and with rifle butts. We were beaten for more than an hour before they released us, suffering bruises all over our bodies,” Abdah told Ma‘an.
Child injured, four kidnapped in Bethlehem
IMEMC/Agencies 28 June by Saed Bannoura — Palestinian medical sources have reported, that a child was injured in the Deheishe refugee camp in Bethlehem, on Saturday at dawn, and four Palestinians were kidnapped in the district, as dozens of soldiers invaded the camp and other parts of Bethlehem. Medical sources said a 15-year-old child was hit by fragmentation of a concussion grenade fired by soldiers invading the camp, and was moved to the Beit Jala Hospital. Several Palestinians suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation, and received treatment by local medics. Eyewitnesses said the soldiers broke into and ransacked several homes in the camp, and kidnapped two Palestinians identified as Nidal Naim Abu Aker, 47, and Shady Issa Ma’aly, 38. In addition, several Israeli military jeeps invaded Saff Street, in Bethlehem, broke into and searched several homes, and kidnapped one Palestinian, identified as Walid Mohammad al-Bostanji, 40. Soldiers also invaded Mrah Rabah village, south of Bethlehem, and kidnapped Ahmad Qassem ash-Sheikh, 40, after breaking into his home and violently searching it.
Israeli forces invade Awarta, ransacking teacher’s home
[with photos] AWARTA, Occupied Palestine (ISM Nablus Team) 28 June — During the early morning hours of June 26, the Israeli army invaded the village of Awarta, 8 km south of Nablus in the northern part of the West Bank. According to witnesses, between 150 and 200 soldiers entered Awarta just after midnight and raided approximately 300 houses before leaving several hours later. Some residents mentioned that the soldiers knocked on their doors and asked for identification, however this was not the case for Mahmud Awad, a local schoolteacher, and his family. At midnight approximately 15 soldiers entered Awad’s home and demanded that Awad show them the location of his guns. Were he not to obey, he could be confident that the house would be destroyed. Awad replied that Israeli soldiers had already been to his house many times and had never found anything. He had no guns, he assured them. The soldiers blindfolded and handcuffed Awad’s 20-year-old son and took him outside for an interrogation that lasted three hours. They herded the rest of the family, which included an eight-month old baby and several other children, into the living room. Again they asked Awad about his guns. “Watch what we will do if you don’t give them to us!” An Israeli soldier yelled. The children listened in terror as the soldiers proceeded to ransack the house. They ripped apart sofas and chairs, threw the contents of shelves on the floor, knocked over electrical appliances, destroyed two computers, and slashed the family’s water tank on the roof. Awad begged the soldiers to allow the baby a drink, but this request was denied. Sometime during the night, Awad’s 13-year-old son was taken outside the living room and interrogated for half an hour. A soldier held his rifle to the boy’s face and demanded the location of the guns. He held a piece of cloth (chloroform, a family member assumed) to the boy’s mouth until he became dizzy. The soldiers finished searching the house, having found no weapons. They released both of Awad’s sons and left the house at approximately 4 a.m. [More descriptions of such behavior can be found on the ISM site for the villages of Hares and Madama.]
VIDEO: Palestinian shepherd detained by Israeli soldiers
SADDITH THALA, Occupied Palestine (Operation Dove) 29 June — On June 27th, Israeli soldiers detained a Palestinian shepherd from the South Hebron Hills village of Saddith Thala. He was accused of throwing stones towards a setter’s car, passing on the Bypass road 317. He was released, as there was no evidence to support the charges. A Palestinian shepherd and a group of children were drawing water from a Palestinian-owned well nearby the illegal settlement of Carmel. While they were crossing the bypass road 317, settlers saw them and immediately called the Israeli soldiers. When the army arrived, they stopped and detained the only adult in the group of shepherds, and accused him of throwing stones in the direction of the road. At about 2pm, when Palestinians from the South Hebron Hills Popular Resistance Committee and international volunteers arrived, the shepherd was handcuffed by a plastic band and had been waiting an hour in the sun for the police to arrive.
Interview with 15-year-old Awne Shamsiyeh: ‘The camera is like a weapon, so I can resist nonviolently’
TEL RUMEIDA, Occupied Palestine (ISM, Khalil Team) 29 June — In Al-Khalil (Hebron) in the Tel Rumeida area, 15-year old Awne Shamsiyeh lives with his family … Awne is one of the many Palestinians living inside H2, door-to-door with Israeli settlers, checkpoints, army bases, and the Israeli military. Over the years, ISM activists have worked with the Shamsiyeh family and spent time with Awne in Tel Rumeida, who experiences many problems with both settlers and the Israeli military. ISMers met with Awne to interview him, and hear his story of growing up under a military occupation …What experiences have you had, living door-to-door with Israeli settlers? In the beginning I didn’t know how to behave around them. Now I’m 15 and have had a lot of experience so I know how to deal with them. I’ve had so many troubles with them (settlers) but I’ve learned from it and know how to fight them. I’ve even learnt Hebrew just from my fights with the settlers and from talking to the Israeli soldiers.In what way does the constant presence of the Israeli army affect your daily life?I like to look at it in a positive way; I have become more brave and I now know how to control my fear. I can speak Hebrew now and I know how to deal with my oppressors …What are your personal experiences with the Israeli army and the settlers? I will give you one example. A year ago or something, Israeli settlers went on to the roof belonging to my family to look at the view. My family and I went up to them and told them they were trespassing and that they should leave. They started spitting at us and claimed that our house belonged to them. We said “no this is our house”. The settlers were very aggressive and a fight broke out. The Israeli army came and defended the settlers. The settlers beat me and my father. They beat me unconscious so I don’t remember more. But it’s all on video.[below]
IDF forces arrest 18 Palestinians in ongoing West Bank operation
Jerusalem Post 28 June — IDF forces arrested 18 Palestinians on Saturday in continued West Bank operations aiming to retrieve three Israeli teenagers kidnapped over two weeks ago.Since the beginning of Operation Brother’s Keeper, security forces have detained more than 400 Palestinians suspected of terror activity. The most recent arrests came at the end of the week during which the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) revealed the identity of two chief suspects wanted for involvement in the abduction. IDF soldiers maintained their search for Eyal Yifrah, Gil-Ad Shaer and Naftali Fraenkel on Saturday as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan sets in. On Friday, a senior security source said the IDF was prepared to continue operating in full force during Ramadan to search for the kidnapped youths.
The Israeli Occupation Forces arrest 4 Palestinians in the West Bank
PNN 29 June — The Israeli Occupation Forces arrested four Palestinians [Sunday?], including a minor. from the West Bank cities of Bethlehem, Hebron and Nablus. Palestinian security sources reported that the Israeli army arrested two Palestinians from Beit Fajjar, southeast of Bethlehem. The arrested have been identified as Hassan Ali Deryeh, 17 years old, and Iyad Sami Taqatqa, 20 years old. Also in the Bethlehem area, the IOF raided Tekoa [or Taqu‘] and Nahaleen, breaking into several houses for inspection. Moreover, local sources reported that the Israeli army was firing tear gas and stun grenades to several houses this morning in Irtas village, which caused a big fire in a chicken farm. In Hebron, the IOF arrested Omar Abu-Aesheh, 55 years old. He is the father of Amran Abu-Aesheh, who was accused by the Israeli intelligence of being responsible for the kidnapping of the three settlers near Hebron las 12th of June. In Nablus, the Israeli army arrested Mohammad Faraj, 22 years old, from Madama village, south of the city, after breaking into his parents’ home.
Shin Bet rendering ‘price tag’ protagonists incommunicado
Haaretz 27 June by Chaim Levinson — Security service denies suspects contact with lawyers in attempt to reveal their partners in crime, with few positive results — Since the Shin Bet security service has deemed “Price Tag” activities an “unpermitted association,” it has released a relatively high number of orders rendering individuals incommunicado. In essence, this has been the only result of the Shin Bet’s declaration. In the past, an act of injury-causing violence, such as murder or firebombing, was necessary in order for the Shin Bet to issue such an order … The State Prosecutor’s office has employed a new policy, however, by which incidents of arson, which can endanger lives, can warrant orders to render such incommunicado orders. Acts of vandalism in holy sites or puncturing tires, however, do not warrant such orders. The Shin Bet generally tends to question suspects on a wide range of crimes, including arson, which makes it possible to issue such orders against them. Yakir Eshbal, an 18-year-old resident of Yad Binyamin, was questioned by the Shin Bet on numerous suspicions, but was eventually released without charges. He was held incommunicado for 10 days … Three brothers suspected of spraying graffiti on the monastery in Beit Jamal were not allowed to communicate for a few hours, until the State Prosecutor’s office ordered that they be allowed to contact an attorney … In these cases, the tactic did not yield significant results for the Shin Bet. Only in one case did a suspect break down under questioning. Last February, three youths from Havat Gilad were arrested on suspicions of setting vehicles on fire in a nearby Arab village. One of them, Yehuda Landsberg, was prohibited from meeting with a lawyer, and he implicated his two partners in crime.
Palestinian killed, two injured, by army missile in southern Gaza
IMEMC/Agencies 30 June by Saed Bannoura — Palestinian medical sources have reported that one Palestinian was killed, and two were injured, on Sunday evening, after being struck by an Israeli missile, east of the al-Qarara town, northeast of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Local sources said that an Israeli drone fired a missile targeting a Hamas fighter, while driving his motorcycle, killing him and wounding two bystanders. The slain Palestinian, Mohammad Ziad Abu Rezeq, 22, is a member of the al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas. In addition, Israeli tanks fired three shells into the al-Qarara town, just as the residents were breaking their fast, on the evening of the first day of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan. In a press release late on Sunday at night, the al-Qassam Brigades said its fighters responded to the assassination by firing six homemade shells into a number of Israeli areas in the Western Negev. It added that the fighters also fired a number of shells into Netivot, and that the Israeli Iron Dome system intercepted two shells. Israeli sources said 14 shells were fired from Gaza, on Sunday at night and Monday morning, and that the shells landed in open areas in the Eshkol regional council of settlements.
On Sunday evening, Israel said shots were fired at an Israeli military vehicle, driving across the border fence, east of the al-Qarara town, north of Khan Younis in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, no injuries were reported.
Two Palestinians injured by Israeli fire in southern Gaza
IMEMC 29 June by Saed Bannoura — Palestinian medical sources reported, on Saturday evening, that two civilians were injured when the Israeli army fired rounds of live ammunition and shells into a Palestinian area east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. The sources said that the two suffered moderate injuries and were moved to the Nasser Hospital, in Khan Younis.
On Saturday night, the army fired artillery shells into an agricultural area east of Deir al-Balah, in central Gaza, and several shells into farmlands in Beit Hanoun, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.
Meanwhile, armed resistance groups in Gaza fired a number of shells into Sderot, Asqalan and the Western Negev, while Israeli medical sources said one man was injured in Sderot.
Army carries out several air strikes against Gaza
IMEMC/Agencies 29 June by Saed Bannoura — The Israeli Air Force carried out, on Sunday at dawn, a series of air strikes targeting different areas in the besieged and impoverished Gaza Strip, causing excessive property damage. The Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA) has reported that an F16 Israeli fighter jet fired a missile into an area, northwest of the Nusseirat refugee camp, in central Gaza, causing excessive property damage and anxiety attacks among the residents, especially the children. The area has been repeatedly targeted, over the last few days. Two more missiles were fired into an area east of Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, causing damage to several buildings and homes. The Israeli Air Force also fired two missiles into what is believed to be a resistance camp, in the al-Boreij refugee camp, in central Gaza, causing damage but no injuries. Another site was also shelled in the Zeitoun neighborhood in Gaza City, causing excessive property damage. WAFA said the army also fired a missile at a hothouse in a land located close to the al-Farouq Mosque, also in the Zeitoun neighborhood, causing damage and anxiety attacks among the residents. [IMEMC: a 14-year-old child girl and a man in his mid-forties suffered injuries when an Israeli warplane bombed a populated area near Al-Farouq Mosque in Az-Zeitoun neighborhood to the southeast of Gaza City.] In Khan Younis, the Israeli Air Force fired missiles into two areas, causing excessive property damage to a number of homes.
Video: Gaza cameras catch assassination by IAF
Ynet 28 June by Elior Levy — Security cameras located in the al-Shati refugee camp in the Gaza Strip documented the targeted assassination by the Israeli Air Force on Friday. The two, both senior members of Al-Nasser Salah al-Din Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, were killed while driving in a civilian vehicle near Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh’s home.
PRC claims responsibility for rockets fired from Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 29 June — Al-Nasser Salah al-Din Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, on Sunday claimed responsibility for launching rockets from the Gaza Strip toward southern Israel. The group, which has no connection to the local popular resistance committees that exist throughout the West Bank, said in a statement that its fighters fired four rockets toward Eshkol regional council, three rockets toward Sderot and three toward other Israeli towns. The shelling is part of “our retaliation to the Israeli crimes against our Palestinian people in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and the ongoing violations against prisoners,” according to the statement. The statement marks the first time a Palestinian faction claims responsibility for the upsurge in rockets launched from Gaza since Israel launched a massive military deployment across the West Bank in mid-June in pursuit of three missing Israeli teenagers … The Israeli military said earlier on Sunday that 25 rockets from Gaza had hit southern Israel in the last two weeks, hitting a home and a factory but causing no injuries. Although Hamas and Israel have maintained a fragile ceasefire since Nov. 2012, other militant groups in the besieged Palestinian coastal enclave frequently launch rockets into Israel.
Gaza rocket hits factory in southern Israel, causing fire
[photos] BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 June — Four rockets fired from Gaza landed in southern Israel Saturday evening, one of them hitting a factory and causing a fire, Israeli media and the Israeli army said. “At least 2 rockets hit the city of Sderot in the Sha’ar HaNegev Regional council. The rockets hit an industrial factory causing a fire,” the army said in a statement. “Rescue and emergency teams are on the site,” the statement said. Israeli media said that no injuries were immediately reported. Another rocket fell in an open area near the city, without causing any damages or injuries, the Israeli news site Ynet reported. Later, two more rockets from Gaza fell in Sdot Negev Regional Council, without causing injuries or damage, Ynet said.
Sderot man wounded in fire after  direct rocket strike on his home
Ynet 29 June by Yaron Kellner & Matan Tzuri –Yaron Shadadi was walking with his dog near the paint factory when it went up in flames after a rocket attack from Gaza; he and three others were wounded in the blaze … “I live in the area,” says Shadadi. “We were walking on the sidewalk a hundred yards from the factory, about half an hour after the rocket strike. Suddenly, there was an explosion in the factory and flames started rising. A fireball flew a distance of 200 meters from the plant into Sderot (and) there was a sudden heat wave, something terrible. The blast knocked me over and I was wounded on the hands and feet. I could feel I was burning in all the exposed parts of my body, and I have a terrible headache.” … The fire set off secondary explosions as cans of paint combusted, as 10 firefighting and rescue teams successfully battled to prevent the fire from spreading to nearby factories. Meanwhile, the four factory workers inside were able to flee the flames.
Israel PM warns Gaza over rising rocket fire
JERUSALEM (AFP) 29 June — Israel is “ready” to expand its operations in Gaza, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Sunday after the air force struck 12 targets overnight following a surge in militant rocket fire. Speaking to ministers at the weekly cabinet meeting, the Israeli premier said the almost-nightly military strikes on Gaza could be expanded should the need arise … Speaking to army radio ahead of the cabinet meeting, Israel’s hawkish Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned a limited response would only strengthen the Islamist movement Hamas, which held power in Gaza for the past seven years but stepped down earlier this month when a unified government with the West Bank was sworn in. “We have seen that, at the end of the day, limited operations only strengthen Hamas so the alternative is clear,” he said, repeating his long-held assertion that Israel should re-occupy the Gaza Strip, which it left in 2005. Hamas is currently observing a ceasefire with Israel reached in in 2012, after they fought an eight-day war that left 170 Palestinians and four Israelis dead. The military wings of other Palestinian factions, however, regularly fire rockets from Gaza into Israel, with most of the projectiles landing in open areas without causing injuries or damages.
Despite UN finding, Israeli defense official insists seized ship was Gaza-bound
Haaretz 28 June by Gili Cohen — A defense official said Saturday the evidence “left no room for doubt” that the mid-range missiles and other weapons on the Klos C ship that Israel seized in March were destined for Islamic Jihad in Gaza. According to a report obtained by Reuters on Friday, a UN panel concluded that the weapons came from Iran and violated the UN arms embargo on Tehran, but were heading for Sudan, not Gaza. “It was clear to us that [the shipment] was meant for terrorist organizations in Gaza, and was meant to reach them over land,” the Israeli defense official said. “The intelligence was clear and left no room for doubt, so we seized the ship.”
Aid convoy arrives in Gaza
GAZA STRIP (Ma‘an) 29 June — The “Miles of Smiles 28” aid convoy arrived in Gaza Strip on Sunday through Rafah crossing, a Palestinian official said. Alaa al-Din al-Batta, deputy director of the governmental convoy-welcoming committee, told Ma‘an that the convoy included 18 people from European and Arab countries. The convoy will stay in Gaza for 24 hours, and will check on humanitarian projects in the area, al-Batta said.
Egypt to open Rafah crossing for pilgrims
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 June — Egyptian authorities will open the Rafah crossing with the Gaza Strip for two days starting Sunday, a Palestinian official said. Awad Abu Mathour told Ma‘an that the crossing would be open for pilgrims traveling from Palestine to Saudi Arabia on Sunday. Around 800 pilgrims will be heading to Mecca on Sunday, Abu Mathour said. He added that the crossing would be open on Sunday and Monday for pilgrims returning from Saudi Arabia.
Sewage at the beaches, piles of garbage mar Gaza’s summer
GAZA (Reuters) 29 June by Nidal al-Mughrabi — When Palestinians in the Gaza Strip seek some relief from the grind of life in an enclave plagued by conflict and hardship, they usually need to look no further than their sandy beaches. But this summer access to the cooling waters of the Mediterranean is gradually being closed off to Gaza’s 1.8 million residents, due to pollution stemming from the fuel shortages that have halted work at sewage treatment facilities. The blighted shoreline adds to the grind of Gazan life so far unrelieved by the reconciliation pact which the dominant Islamist group Hamas signed with Western-backed President Mahmoud Abbas. One Hamas official mooted retaking charge of the territory if the Abbas-led new government did not wade in with remedies … “Swimming is prohibited” signs have gone up at several beaches. But at one of Gaza’s most popular beaches, dozens of people, including children, splashed in the water over the weekend despite the posted warning.
Egypt’s closure of most of the estimated 1,200 cross-border smuggling tunnels run by Hamas has virtually stopped cheap Egyptian fuel coming into Gaza. Israel has its own blockade on Gaza, allowing in fuel and restricted imports since Hamas took control in 2007. But the Israeli fuel costs twice as much as Egyptian imports. Gazan residents said they had little to celebrate at the start on Sunday of the Muslim month of Ramadan – traditionally a time for worship but also for family feasts in the evening at the end of a daily daytime fast. Garbage has been piling up on the streets, with some 75 percent of sanitation trucks idled by the Gaza municipality’s inability to pay high fuel prices. “Tunnels are closed, crossings are closed, there is no sea port … and now they are telling us the beaches are closed? Wouldn’t it be easier if they just let us die in peace?” asked Ali Abu Hassan, a 46-year-old taxi driver.
Activism / Solidarity
Brandeis gave up on Al Quds. Its students didn’t.
The Forward 29 June by Eli Philip & Catie Stewart — Talking about the Israeli occupation of the West Bank is difficult. Seeing it firsthand is harder. Living under it is nearly impossible. We learned this while leading a trip for a group of Brandeis students to Al Quds University in the West Bank this June. The purpose of the trip, organized entirely by students, was to open up a channel of dialogue between both universities and to establish ties on a student level. After one of our long days of touring and dialoging, we, like any other group of students, wanted to have a bit of fun. Someone plugged their phone into the speaker system on the van from Jericho to Ramallah, and an impromptu dance party was born, complete with everyone singing and dancing in the aisle. Out of nowhere, the van came to an abrupt stop. A young face covered by a green helmet peered through the window and glanced at our group of American and Palestinian students, and then promptly demanded we all disembark and hand over our IDs. Outside, a group of Israeli soldiers stood by their jeep, stopping vehicles marked by Palestinian license plates. The music was shut off, and the laughter and singing disappeared. In the heavy silence, we did as we were told, obediently filing off the bus. We were no longer treated as individuals, but rather as faceless suspects. The soldiers’ gaze did not meet our eyes … Brandeis University is deeply connected to Israel. It is a historically Jewish university, and 50% of its students are Jewish. Israel activism on campus is vibrant and ubiquitous. Brandeis historically has also taken a stance dedicated to maintaining communication and relationships with Palestinian institutions such as Al Quds, and working towards a peaceful resolution to the conflict … This all changed last November, when Brandeis President Fred Lawrence suspended the partnership as a response to what he deemed intolerant acts: an Islamic Jihad-affiliated political rally on the Al Quds campus and the response from Al Quds’ then-president Dr. Sari Nusseibeh … It is clear to us that we — as individuals, as a university, and as the Jewish community — must take steps to work towards a better reality. Progress is only achieved when we work with partners such as the administration and students at Al Quds University who seek similar goals.
Israel drops anti-Hamas lollipops on West Bank cities
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 28 June — Israel has dropped hundreds of anti-Hamas lollipops in two of the West Bank’s largest cities, in a renewed attempt to incite Palestinian popular opinion against the Islamist political group. Palestinian residents of Nablus and Ramallah noticed on Sunday morning that hundreds of lollipops had been dropped in the streets and alleyways of the city, decorated with the phrase “Ramadan Kareem … Some sweets, after Hamas has made life in the West Bank bitter.” Witnesses in Nablus told Ma‘an that they saw Israeli soldiers throwing the lollipops in the streets. The Israel military has deployed heavily across the West Bank in the last two weeks, as part of an operation to find three missing Israeli teens that has led to the deaths of seven Palestinian civilians, injured more than 130, and resulted in the detention of nearly 600 after more than 1,350 military raids. Onlookers Ma‘an spoke to believed that the passing out of the lollipops is part of a “psychological warfare” by Israeli occupation forces to incite the Palestinian people against Hamas, which it accuses of having “kidnapped” the three Israeli teens. Others, however, said that they thought the “strange behavior” indicates that the Israeli military operation in the West Bank has failed to find a clue about the missing Israeli teenagers, and are hoping to reach out for potential information.
The lollipops are not the first anti-Hamas “gifts” Israeli forces have passed out in the West Bank in recent days. During a military raid in Nablus on Thursday, Israeli forces dropped matchboxes in the streets with a phrase in colloquial Arabic reading “Beware! Hamas is inflaming the West Bank.”
Photo of man holding up lollipops distributed by Israeli soldiers
29 June — JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP/Getty Images
Palestinian refugees in limbo
3 Palestinian families living in desert at Iraq-Jordan border
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 June — Three Palestinian families have been living in the open on the border between Iraq and Jordan for the last seven days after fleeing a refugee camp near Syria, a member of the group told Ma‘an. Speaking to Ma’an via telephone Saturday afternoon, Salih Ahmad appealed to Palestinian authorities to help his and two other families who have been stuck on the border since fleeing the al-Walid refugee camp due to nearby fighting. Ahmad said that the three families had spent eight years living in al-Walid refugee camp, which was set up in 2006 by Palestinian and Iraqi families who were stranded at the Iraqi-Syrian border due to the intense civil conflict in Iraq that began following the US invasion. Ahmad said, however, that the three families left the camp for the Iraqi-Jordanian border fearing Iraqi army shells, which landed at the edge of the camp as the Iraqi military launched a new offensive aimed at combating the spread of ISIL, a Wahhabi militant group which recently invaded the country from Syria. Ahmad added that the families do not have any official documents that could enable them to return to Iraq, a fact which also limits the possibility of their repatriation to Jordan. About 34,000 Palestinians lived in Iraq before the US invasion, the descendants of Palestinians who were given Iraqi army protection as they fled during the 1948 Nakba when Israel was created and 750,000 Palestinians were expelled or forced from their homes. As Iraq fell into civil war following the US invasion, however, many of the Palestinians in Iraq were forced to flee their homes, but lacking proper documents beside Iraqi residency cards they were unable to gain admittance to other countries and many ended up in desert refugee camps near the border.
Young Palestinian man found hanged in Ramallah field
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 26 June — A young Palestinian man was found hanged late Wednesday in a field on the outskirts of Beit Surik, south of Ramallah, police said. Muhammad Khalid Khalil Mansour, 23, disappeared nine days ago from the neighboring village of Biddu. Residents of Beit Surik discovered his body hanging from a tree. Police have opened an investigation and the body has been sent to the Institute of Forensic Medicine at al-Quds University.
Palestinian man found hanged in Hebron village
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 30 June — A Palestinian man was found hanged in the Hebron village of Sa‘ir on Monday, locals said.Tariq Dawood al-Aramin, 21, was found by relatives in his family home moments before Iftar, a traditional evening meal for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.Security officials said the body will be kept at a morgue in Hebron before being sent to the Institute of Forensic Medicine at al-Quds University.
Millions of Palestinians welcome the beginning of Ramadan
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 June — Palestinians of the Muslim faith welcomed the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan on Saturday evening, as millions prepared for 30 days of fasting beginning Sunday morning. Cities and villages across historic Palestine festooned homes and roads with bright lights and lanterns, with the Jerusalem District Electricity Company saying that despite Israeli threats of a West Bank blackout, the provider would do its utmost to keep the lights on … Ramadan is considered sacred by many Muslims because it tradition says that the Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed during this month, and the fast is widely observed. In Palestine, where Muslims comprise more than 90 percent of the population, the consumption of electricity is expected to surge throughout the month as many sleep longer during the day and stay up throughout the night following the nightly fast-breaking Iftaar meal.
Poll: Palestinians overwhelmingly reject two-state solution, want Palestine ‘from river to sea’
Haaretz 30 June — However, clear majority also opposes violence to achieve goals, favors Abbas over Haniyeh — By more than a 2-1 margin, Palestinians oppose the two-state solution, favoring instead the goal of a Palestinian state “from the river to the sea,” according to a recent poll by the centrist Washington Institute for Near East Policy. At the same time, though, the poll found that a large majority of Palestinians favored the tactic of “popular resistance” – such as demonstrations and strikes – over violence to achieve their goals, Globes reported Sunday. Interestingly, Gazans were more moderate when it came to tactics, but more hardline about the goal. The survey also found that West Bank leader Mahmoud Abbas was a much more popular leader than Gazan leader Ismail Haniyeh – both in the West Bank (28.1 percent to 6.9 percent) and in the Gaza Strip (32.4 percent to 11.7 percent). The poll, which questioned a relatively large sample of 1,200 respondents, was taken June 15-17 – following the abductions of three Israeli teenagers, the formation of the Fatah-Hamas unity government, and the collapse of the Kerry peace talks. However, it was conducted just before West Bank protests arose against Abbas for his cooperation with Israel’s search for the kidnapped boys and crackdown on Hamas.Asked what political goal they favored over the next five years, 60.3 percent replied “action to return historic Palestine, from the river to the sea, to our hands,” while 27.3 percent answered “end[ing] the occupation of the West Bank in order to reach a two-state solution.” Another 10.1 percent said the goal should be a “one-state solution, for the entire region, from the river to the sea, in which Jews and Arabs enjoy equal rights.” [see also al-Ghoul article in the Opinion section here]
Hamas calls on Gaza unity government ministers to quit
GAZA (Xinhua) 29 June — A Hamas official on Sunday called on four Gaza Strip ministers to resign from the unity government as a move to protest against the neglect of Gaza people’s needs, as well the failure to improve their living conditions. Yehya Mussa, a senior Hamas leader in Gaza, told reporters “leaders in Ramallah are not enabling Gaza unity ministers to do their job properly, and help their people getting their simple basic needs for living.” Mussa also said that “nothing” has changed after the formation of the unity government. Earlier this month, Islamic Hamas movement and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah Party ended more than seven years of internal division and formed the first ever interim unity government. However, tensions with Israel resurfaced and have been growing after three Israeli teenagers went missing in West Bank in June 12. The salary crisis has also undermined the trust between Fatah and Hamas. After Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, the Islamic movement employed 50,000 new employees and paid their salaries.
Hamas official to Abbas: Don’t make us take over Gaza
Ynet 30 June by Elior Levy — Mousa Marzook addresses PA leader in Facebook post: ‘You’ve abandoned the West Bank’; ‘Even if we gave him Gaza, he wouldn’t take it.’ — Deputy Head of Hamas’ Political Bureau Mousa Mohammed Abu Marzook sent a threatening message to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Sunday about the fragility of the Palestinian reconciliation agreement. Marzook addressed the difficult financial situation in Gaza and warned Abbas of a situation in which Hamas would have to reclaim control of Gaza, “in order to provide security to the people of our nation. “The letter for Palestinian leader Abbas appeared on Marzook’s Facebook page where he stressed that Hamas is not currently responsible for Gaza. Sources from the Palestinian Authority (PA) expressed outrage at the comments, calling them “dangerous”. Marzook’s statements come as Hamas faces immense financial pressures due to tens of thousands of former government officials who have not been paid for several months. The government of Qatar volunteered to create a fund for the official’s paychecks, but at the moment the money remains caught in the wheels of the bureaucracy. Marzook hotly blamed the PA and the unity government for only governing in the West Bank as if they had no need for the Gaza Strip. “The PA has imposed a blockade on Gaza long before others (Israel) besieged the city.”
Officials deny presence of ISIL fighters in Gaza, Sinai
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 29 June — Both Egyptian and Palestinian officials denied on Sunday the presence of any fighters affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in the Gaza Strip and the neighboring Sinai Peninsula. In Gaza, spokesman for the Palestinian Ministry of Interior Iyad al-Buzm said that earlier claims by an Egyptian security source that 15 fighters affiliated with the Wahhabi militant movement had entered Sinai from the Gaza Strip via smuggling tunnels were “false and baseless.” “These were lies and fabrications,” he said, “seeking to defame the Gaza Strip.” Al-Buzm said all smuggling tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip had been destroyed by the Egyptian army, making such a journey impossible. The spokesman added that Palestinian national security forces are deployed along the borders with Egypt to prevent any attempts to cross the border. All militant groups operating in Gaza are affiliated with Palestinian factions and there is no presence of ISIL, which is based in Iraq and Syria, he said. Egyptian military sources also denied the news reports being broadcast on Egyptian media regarding the crossing of 15 ISIL fighters from Gaza into Sinai.
Knesset committee postpones vote on ‘Zoabi bill’
Ynet 29 June by Tova Tzimuki — The Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee postponed a vote scheduled for Sunday on a bill proposal dubbed the “Zoabi bill.” The bill would enable 80 Knesset members to impeach an MK who supports an enemy country or a terrorist organization, incites to racism, makes statements against the existence of Israel, or operates against it. The bill is a proposed amendment to an existing law allowing the Knesset’s Central Elections Committee to reject the re-application of current MKs for the next Knesset term if they are found guilty of the aforementioned criterions. Bayit Yehudi MK Ayelet Shaked, who proposed the amendment, said that it was submitted to the Knesset after Zoabi claimed the kidnappers of the three teens were not terrorists, which also landed Zoabi with a police investigation on grounds of incitement. Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein was expected to decide on the matter in the coming days.
Palestinian judges denounce attack on Habash
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 28 June – The Palestinian High Judicial Council on Saturday strongly denounced an attack against Supreme Judge of Palestine Sheikh Mahmoud al-Habbash and his escorts inside the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on Friday. In a statement, the High Judicial Council described the assailants as “a tyrannical group who don’t show any respect to the sacredness of religion, clerics or even holy places, especially the al-Aqsa Mosque.” … Media reports said Friday that some Palestinians in the mosque were angry when al-Habbash visited, citing controversial religious rulings. They shouted at the minister and forced him to leave the mosque.
Jordanians ‘disappointed’ with response to killing of judge at Israel border
AMMAN, Jordan (Haaretz) 29 June by Aaron Magid — Immediately following the fatal shooting in March of a Jordanian judge by an Israeli soldier at the Allenby Bridge border crossing, tensions ran high in Jordan. Angry protesters gathered outside the Israeli Embassy in Amman, denouncing the attack. “After the investigations, tough measures should be taken against those responsible for the shooting,” Jordan’s Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications, Mohammad Momani, said. Khalil Atiyeh, a veteran member of the Jordanian parliament, said he and his colleagues would apply “maximum pressure on the government to expel the Israeli ambassador from Amman.” … Despite the fiery rhetoric immediately after the incident, nearly four months after the March 10 shooting, ties between Amman and Jerusalem are virtually unchanged, with no concrete action taken against Israel.
Opinion / Analysis
The agonies of being an Arab democrat in the Knesset / Awad Abdelfattah
972blog 29 June — When establishing the Knesset’s Palestinian democratic party, the founders of Balad had to shift their discourse and terminology: from the liberation of Palestine and the establishment of one inclusive democratic state, to the reinvention of Israel as a democratic state, the party’s secretary general writes. But has such a shift paid off? On the eve of the 2009 Knesset elections, as I stepped off a platform following a political debate, an Israeli journalist approached me. “Is it true that you don’t vote,” she asked, “even though you are secretary general of a party that takes part in elections?” I smiled. She was wrong – or rather her information was out of date. But at least she alluded to something that few Israeli Jews are aware of. For a Palestinian democrat and nationalist, participating in the Israeli Knesset is an agonizing compromise with one’s principles. I have never envied the Arab Knesset members from my own party, Balad, who are trying to promote a democratic and humanist vision for those who live in Palestine/Israel. All of this has been underscored to me in recent days by the vilification of one of our legislators, Haneen Zoabi, since three Israeli teenagers went missing on June 12. She has been misquoted, her comments misrepresented and her real arguments ignored. As a result, she faces death threats and widespread incitement from Jewish legislators and the Israeli media … Before we established our party in the mid-1990s, most of the founders of Balad – or the National Democratic Assembly, as it is known in English – had to undergo a long and traumatic intellectual journey. The question before us was whether we could best effect change by engaging with the existing political system or by remaining outside it, focusing on our grass-roots activity.
Israeli plan for East Jerusalem: a trial run in annexation / Nir Hasson
Haaretz 30 June — The government’s plan to inject funds into East Jerusalem to ‘strengthen’ the area is really a means to take this part of the city off the diplomatic agenda and further secure Jewish enclaves there — The government plan to strengthen Israel’s control over East Jerusalem, approved Sunday by the cabinet, did not emerge from a vacuum. It’s the product of a right-wing perspective that’s shared by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, who also holds the Jerusalem Affairs portfolio. The essence of this approach is breaking down the issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the status of Jerusalem into components including economics, education and infrastructure. It’s no coincidence that both Barkat and Bennett came to politics from the world of business, from which they apparently brought the notion that if you can’t beat them, you can buy them. They believe that the best way to take Jerusalem off the diplomatic agenda is to add funding and improve the economy in the eastern part of the city … But the government plan also reflects a growing desire on the part of East Jerusalem’s Palestinian residents to integrate into the State of Israel. Everyone who deals with East Jerusalem talks about how the “young generation of al-Quds” differs greatly in its approach to Israel from that of their parents. This process is expressed in increased demands for Israeli matriculation certificates and for full citizenship, in the rising number of Palestinians enrolled in Israeli academic institutions, and in the growing cooperation between the East Jerusalemites and the Jerusalem Municipality and state authorities. This trend can also be seen in the capital’s entertainment and shopping centers, where there are more Palestinians than at any time in the history of the united city. These changes are also reflected in public opinion polls showing that in the event of an Palestinian-Israeli peace agreement, more East Jerusalemites would prefer to remain on the Israeli side of the border than to become citizens of the new state of Palestine. There are many reasons for these developments, most important of which is the completion of the separation barrier that has cut off East Jerusalem from its natural social and economic backyard – the villages and cities of the West Bank. The many years of occupation and the despair surrounding the negotiation process has resulted in an entire generation growing up in East Jerusalem for whom the united city is all they know.
Hamas gains in backlash to Abbas speech
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 26 June by Asmaa al-Ghoul — As time passes, the negative effect of President Mahmoud Abbas‘ June 18 speech to the foreign ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Jeddah is getting worse. As soon as Abbas finished his speech, social media was abuzz with shock and anger. Social media activists promoted the hashtag “Abbas doesn’t represent me” and the video of the speech, writing angry comments. In particular, they criticized Abbas for saying, “Security coordination between us and Israel is in our interest to protect our people. … We will not restart an intifada that would destroy us. … The Israeli government is escalating a lot. The reason is that three young men were abducted from one of the settlements,” in reference to the disappearance of three settlers June 12. After the speech ended, anger poured onto the street. On June 23, Palestinian youths threw stones at the headquarters of the Palestinian police and smashed the windows of two police cars to protest the security coordination between the Palestinian Authority (PA) security apparatus and the Israeli occupation. In a speech during the opening ceremony of a conference in Ramallah on June 19, Abbas said, “I wish I could find [the kidnapped settlers] alive because we are humane, and we don’t accept the kidnapping or killing of any innocent person.” In contrast, Hamas’ cachet rose and the hashtag “Meshaal represents me” spread after the head of the Hamas political bureau, Khaled Meshaal, said on the evening of June 23 in a news conference broadcast live by Al Jazeera: “I cannot confirm or deny the kidnapping … by any party. But in any case, blessed are the hands that kidnapped them because our prisoners should get out of the occupation’s prisons.”