Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Judaization
Settlers ‘occupy 23 homes’ in East Jerusalem neighborhood
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 30 Sept — Israeli settlers early Tuesday occupied 23 houses in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan south of the Old City of Jerusalem, a local information center said. Wadi Hilweh Information Center said in a statement that “settlers of the Elad (Ir David) Association” stormed Silwan at 1:30 a.m. escorted by Israeli soldiers and forcibly evicted the residents of an apartment and occupied it, in addition to several vacant homes. The houses belong to the Baydoun, al-Karaki, Abu Sbeih, al-Zawahra, al-Abbasi, al-Khayyat, Qarain and al-Yamani families, the statement said. The Wadi Hilweh Center called the act an “unprecedented settlement attack.” “Even if the houses have been bought stealthily, this is still an illegal seizure of Arab houses by the Elad settlement association.” … Ir David Foundation is an organization that promotes a Jewish connection to parts of the Silwan neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem, including the “City of David” archaeological site. East Jerusalem is internationally recognized as Palestinian territory, but Israel occupied it in 1967 and later annexed it in a move never considered legitimate abroad.
Committee: Israel ‘creates fake cemetery’ to steal land in Jerusalem
[with photos] JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 30 Sept — The head of the Jerusalem committee for Islamic cemeteries told Ma‘an Sunday that the Israeli municipality had recently created a fake Jewish cemetery on Muslim-owned property in order to confiscate Palestinian land. Hajj Mustafa Abu Zahra said Israeli municipality workers in Jerusalem had installed seven “false graves” on a piece of land near the southern wall of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and installed gravestones with a Star of David and a large sign reading “Jewish Cemetery” in Hebrew. “These graves are only an attempt to confiscate the land,” Abu Zahra said. “We are more entitled to use the land as an Islamic cemetery, especially after no room has been left in our cemeteries which we have been using for 1,400 years.” As the Israeli workers were installing the graves, others demolished 20 Islamic graves at Martyrs cemetery in the area, Abu Zahra said.
More than 140 settlers attack the Aqsa mosque this morning
PNN 30 Sept — Once again, more than 140 Israeli settlers broke into the courtyards of The Aqsa mosque this Tuesday morning. The Israeli police also arrested one extremist settler who threw himself on the ground, shouting and protesting “why the mosque has not been demolished yet”, to set the reclaimed temple mount on it. The guardians of The Aqsa mosque said that the situation is nervous, after the successive storming in campaigns and restrictions upon the worshipers’ entrance into the mosque. Al-Aqsa mosque witnesses daily assaults by Israeli army and settlers. Last Sunday, the mosque was attacked and worshipers were denied access into the mosque. Soldiers threw teargas bombs [and] the assault resulted in the injury of 15 worshipers by black metal [shrapnel?].
Israeli forces destroy power grid in Nablus village
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 29 Sept — Israeli military forces on Monday destroyed an electricity network in the Nablus village of Aqraba, a Palestinian official said. Ghassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settlement activity, told Ma‘an that Israeli military bulldozers raided the Khirbet al-Tawil area of the village and demolished the main power line established in 2004. Israeli soldiers destroyed over 80 electricity pylons and wires, he added. Israel is using demolitions to “pressure residents to leave their houses for the sake of nearby settlements.” In August, Israeli forces demolished four houses in the al-Tawil neighborhood, some of which were over 100 years old. The al-Tawil neighborhood is on the outskirts of Aqraba and locals say Israeli forces have targeted several properties in the area under the pretext that they were built without a permit.
Israeli forces demolish 5-story residential building in Abu Dis
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 29 Sept — Israeli forces demolished three floors of a residential Palestinian building in Abu Dis overnight Sunday on the pretext that the owners lacked building permission, locals said. Witnesses told Ma‘an that five Israeli bulldozers accompanied by Israeli forces surrounded a five-story building in Abu Dis after midnight and began demolishing three floors at around 1:40 a.m. Israeli forces closed all roads leading to the building before the demolition. Owner Muatasim Adilah, a lecturer at Al-Quds University, said that Israeli forces ordered him and his family to leave the building without being allowed to remove any belongings. Neighbors and local residents were not allowed near the area during the demolition. Three of the five floors were destroyed, with the other two floors left uninhabitable. Adilah said that the first two floors were built in 1959 while an additional three floors were constructed several years ago after obtaining a license from the Palestinian Authority. Israel’s Jerusalem municipality issued a demolition warrant for the additional three floors on April 30, 2013 after claiming that the building is located within the municipality’s boundaries. Adilah then tried to obtain a construction license from the Jerusalem municipality but it was rejected. The building is 1,000 square meters and built on privately owned land. Clashes broke out following the demolition, and Israeli forces shot three youths with live fire, witnesses said. The demolition lasted four hours.
Israel distributes demolition notices to homes in Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (PNN) 29 Sept — The Israeli Occupation Authorities distributed today, Monday, demolition notices to a number of houses in Wadi Al-Nes village south Bethlehem. The popular resistance against Occupation and apartheid wall committee coordinator in Al-Ma‘asara village told PNN that the Israeli forces this Monday morning, started distributing demolition notices and construction halt commands to a number of houses in Wadi Al-Nes, adding that the ‘civil administration’ officers were photographing the houses and sticking demolition notices to their walls. Background information: Wadi Al-Nes is a village neighbouring the apartheid wall. The occupation has been targeting the village since very long through preventing the inhabitants from using the historical road that connects it to Bethlehem city, after the illegal construction of Efrat settlement. The villagers of Wadi Al-Nes also suffer from having no lands or license to build, because of the Israeli policies that aim to tighten the screws on the village. This led the inhabitants to build on the eastern side of the village, where occupation forces followed them with the demolition notices.
Is Israel trying to force Palestinians into the Sinai?
NAZARETH (Counterpunch) 30 Sept by Jonathan Cook — What is Israel’s endgame in Gaza? It is a question that has been puzzling analysts and observers for some time. But indications of the future Israel and Washington may have in mind for Gaza are emerging. Desperately overcrowded, short on basic resources like fresh water, blockaded for eight years by Israel, with its infrastructure intermittently destroyed by Israeli bombing campaigns, Gaza looks like a giant pressure cooker waiting to explode. It is difficult to imagine that sooner or later Israel will not face a massive upheaval on its doorstep. So how does Israel propose to avert a scenario in which it must either savagely repress a mass uprising by Palestinians in Gaza or sit by and watch them tear down their prison walls? Reports in the Arab and Israeli media – in part corroborated by the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas – suggest that Egypt may be at the heart of plans to solve the problem on Israel’s behalf. This month the Israeli media reported claims, apparently leaked by Israeli officials, that Egypt’s president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, had offered the Palestinian leadership the chance to annex to Gaza an area of 1,600 sq km in Sinai. The donated territory would expand Gaza fivefold. The scheme is said to have received the blessing of the United States. ‘Greater Gaza’ plan According to the reports, the territory in Sinai would become a demilitarised Palestinian state – dubbed “Greater Gaza” – to which returning Palestinian refugees would be assigned. The Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas would have autonomous rule over the cities in the West Bank, comprising about a fifth of that territory. In return, Abbas would have to give up the right to a state in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The plan, which would most likely result in significant numbers of Palestinians moving outside the borders of historic Palestine, was quickly dismissed as “fabricated and baseless” by Egyptian and Palestinian officials. Tayeb Abdel Rahim, a spokesman for Abbas, accused Israel of using the proposal to “destroy the Palestinian cause”, referring to Abbas’ efforts at the United Nations to win recognition of Palestinian statehood on parts of historic Palestine. But Abdel Rahim’s denial raised more questions than it answered. While rejecting suggestions that Sisi had made such an offer, he made a surprising claim: a similar plan, to resettle Palestinian refugees in Sinai, had been advanced briefly by Sisi’s predecessor, Mohamed Morsi.
Israel’s West Bank Prawer plan?
Alternative News 29 Sept by Elizabeth Austwick, Eddie Scherler — Campaigns are being mounted by local and international groups against Israeli plans to expel 12,500 Bedouin-Palestinians from their homes in Jerusalem’s so-called E1 area. Israel contends the expulsion is to improve Bedouin lives, although Israeli designs to expand area settlement are explicit — The Israeli government released six plans earlier this month to forcibly displace the Bedouin-Palestinian communities in the Jerusalem periphery in favour of settlement expansion which could connect the existing West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Adumim with Jerusalem. Under these plans, Israel would expel the 12,500 Bedouin-Palestinians who live in this area and move them to the existing villages of Fasayil and al Jabal, as well as to the new township of Nweima, planned for north of Jericho. Around 80% of the Bedouin-Palestinians living in E1 are refugees from the Negev, who were forced out their homes and lands in 1948. This latest plan will once again displace them from their land with the aim of annexing the area into greater Jerusalem … The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that the Israeli Civil Administration presents the expulsion plans as appropriate to the “dynamic changes” that Bedouin society is undergoing as it moves from an agricultural society “to a modern society that earns its living by commerce, services, technical trade and more”. The Bedouin-Palestinian communities in question, however, were not consulted about these ‘dynamic changes’ proposed to their way of life. Abu Suleiman, head of the Jerusalem Bedouins’ Community Cooperative, asks “why do they not let us build here if they want to improve our living conditions” … Abu Khamis, from Khan al Ahmar, stated that “the Bedouins have a very different kind of lifestyle, they need land and space for sheep and herding; this new township (Nweima) is designed for lawyers and doctors”. Each family is to be allotted a housing plot of 250 square metres, a small area unsuited for the rearing of livestock … a similar plan was carried out in 1997, in which several West Bank Bedouin communities were transferred to the al Jabal area of the Jerusalem-area town of Abu Dis, where they were allocated small areas of land with permanent housing units. A report conducted by the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem concludes that “this transfer resulted in the collapse of their pastoralist economies and irreversible damage to their social fabric and rural way of life.” As Abu Khamis remarked, “if you take a fish out of water it will die, and if you put Bedouins off their land they will fall”.
Report: Hole found in Israeli separation wall near Shu‘fat
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 30 Sept — Israeli forces on Tuesday found a hole in the separation wall near Shu‘fat refugee camp north of the Old City of Jerusalem, Israeli media reported. The Hebrew-language news site 0404 reported that the hole was large enough for individuals to pass through easily. An Israeli police spokesman did not answer calls seeking comment. The separation wall, the construction of which began in 2003, contributes to massive Israeli restrictions on Palestinians’ freedom of movement within their internationally recognized territories.
Violence / Raids / Clashes / Illegal arrests
Child seriously injured by explosive device dropped by the army
IMEMC/Agencies 1 Oct by Saed Bannoura — Palestinian medical sources in Bethlehem said that a child was seriously injured, on Tuesday evening, when an explosive device dropped by the Israeli army during training detonated near him as he was herding the family sheep. The sources said Malek Abu Dayya, 12 years of age, was injured in the al-Manshiyya area in Teqoua’ town, southeast of Bethlehem. He was first moved to a local clinic before he was moved to a hospital in Bethlehem due to the severity of his injuries. The area is frequently used by Palestinian shepherds for grazing, while the army largely uses it, as well as other areas in the West Bank, for military drills using explosives and live ammunition. There have been dozens of similar incidents, many leading to fatalities, mainly in the Plains area of the Jordan Valley, where the many military bases are located, and the soldiers use the surrounding areas for training. Many Bedouin communities have been repeatedly displaced for settlement activities, and for the army to build bases, and conduct live fire training.
Israeli police arrest 2 Palestinian women, man at Aqsa compound
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 29 Sept — Israeli police on Monday detained two Palestinian women and a man at the al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem, witnesses said. Eyewitnesses told Ma‘an that Rania Abu al-Hawa, Islam Abu Sneineh, and her husband were detained at the holy site and taken to the Chain Gate police station. They were later transferred to the al-Qashla police station in the Old City. Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told Ma‘an three suspects were arrested while “groups (were) visiting on the Temple Mount.” He said stones were thrown at police officers and that there were “cries of ‘Allahu Akbar,’ et cetera” from Palestinians in the area. Israeli forces regularly escort Jewish visitors to the Al-Aqsa compound, leading to tension with Palestinian worshipers.
Israeli forces detain teacher in Hebron town
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 29 Sept — Israeli forces detained a 55-year-old man in the Hebron town of Idhna on Monday, relatives said. Israeli forces broke into the home of Nabil Suleiman Tmeizi before dawn and arrested him, family members told Ma‘an. Tmeizi is a teacher at a local school and supports a family of eight.
Soldiers invade coffee shop, bakery in Jenin; kidnap 10 in West Bank
IMEMC/Agencies 29 Sept — A number of Israeli military jeeps invaded, on Monday at dawn, the northern West Bank city of Jenin, and broke into a coffee shop and a bakery. Local sources said that the soldiers invaded Baladna Coffee Shop, in the center of the city, and ‘Abboud Bakery, violently searching them while interrogating the workers and the customers. The invasion led to clashes between the invading soldiers and local youth, who threw stones and empty bottles at them, while the army fired gas bombs, rubber-coated metal bullets and a number of rounds of live ammunition. Soldiers also invaded Ya’bad town, southwest of Jenin, and installed a military roadblock on its main entrance before stopping and searching dozens of cars, and investigating the ID cards of the passengers.
In related news, soldiers kidnapped at least ten Palestinians in different parts of the occupied West Bank, including seven in Qarawat Bani Hassan village, near the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia. One Palestinian was kidnapped in Tulkarem city, also in the northern part of the West Bank, at least one in Doura town, south of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and two in the al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah. In addition, the soldiers invaded the towns of Ethna and ath-Thaheriyya [or al-Dhahiriya], near Hebron, and withdrew after driving around for a few hours.
Army kidnaps 10 Palestinians in West Bank
IMEMC/Agencies 30 Sept by Saed Bannoura — Israeli soldiers invaded on Tuesday, at dawn, different parts of the occupied West Bank, invaded and searched several homes, and kidnapped at least 10 Palestinians. Local sources in Hebron have reported that several Israeli military jeeps invaded Deir Samet town, west of the city, broke into and searched at least one home, and kidnapped Ezzeddin Jabr al-Hroub, 19. The soldiers also invaded the al-‘Arroub refugee camp, north of Hebron, and kidnapped three Palestinians. They have been identified as Ahmad Yousef Abu Naseef, Nayef al-Badawi, and Tareq Abu Sham’a … Three more Palestinians have also been kidnapped from their homes in different areas of Hebron City. The army claims the kidnapped Palestinians are members of Hamas. In addition, two Palestinians were taken prisoner from their homes in Husan town, west of the West Bank city of Bethlehem. Local sources said the soldiers invaded and ransacked several homes before kidnapping Ibrahim Nassar, 25, and Mahmoud Khalaf Zaghloul, 20. The soldiers also invaded the Solomon Pools area, in al-Khader town, south of Bethlehem, violently searched and ransacked several homes.
On Monday evening, several Palestinians suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation during clashes with Israeli soldiers invaded Teqoua’ [or Taqu‘] town, east of Bethlehem. Head of the Teqoua’ local council Taiseer Abu Mfarreh stated the clashes took place near the town council, and that the soldiers fired dozens of gas bombs and concussion grenades.
Israeli forces arrest 21 Palestinians overnight, clash with locals
JENIN (Ma‘an) 1 Oct — Israeli forces arrested 21 Palestinians in the West Bank overnight and clashed with locals, sources said Wednesday. In the Salfit district, Israeli forces detained ten Palestinians. The Fatah movement said in a statement that six of its activists were arrested in Qarawat Bani Hassan in the district, saying they were detained for protest action during the recent Israeli assault on Gaza. “Israeli forces, after the war on Gaza came to an end, started to target different West Bank neighborhoods and towns seeking to take revenge on activists who joined protests in support of the Gaza Strip,” the statement said … Locals added that Israeli forces stormed the village of Deir Ballut in the Salfit district and detained Ahmad Abd al-Khaliq Rashid Mustafa, 26, his brother Wahib, 22, Yousef Shofan Yousef Mousa, 21, and Muhammad Said Theib Abu Kheir, 21. Meanwhile, witnesses said an undercover Israeli squad raided the Conference Palace near Solomon’s Pools south of Bethlehem and detained a security guard, Amir Sami Hajajra, 33. Israeli forces also detained a university student, Khalil Ibrahim Uqeila, 22, at the Container Checkpoint between Bethlehem and Ramallah. Separately, Israeli troops raided the Jenin-area town of Qabatia and detained Luay Ahmad Mustafa Sabaana, 21, and Yousef Ali Kamil, 25. Israeli forces also stormed al-Fara refugee camp near Nablus and detained 25-year-old Zakariyya Mahmoud al-Abbadi after ransacking several homes, locals said. The sources said clashes broke out between the soldiers and local youths in the camp. Israeli soldiers fired tear gas and stun grenades and Palestinians threw stones and Molotovs. Clashes also took place in the town of Deir Abu Daif east of Jenin, with several residents suffering from excessive tear gas inhalation and another lightly injured after being hit by shrapnel from an Israeli stun grenade.
Israel police arrest suspected IS supporter
JERUSALEM (AFP) 30 Sept — Israeli police said they detained on Monday a Palestinian citizen of Israel suspected of supporting the Islamic State group, in one of Israel’s first arrests related to the organization. The 24-year-old from the village of Kafr Kara, in northern Israel, was picked up near Tel Aviv, police spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP, without naming him. Israeli public radio said that he was a teacher of Islamic studies at a Kafr Kara high school. Police said that a search of his home turned up an IS flag and “jihad materials.” Haaretz newspaper reported last week that another Palestinian citizen of Israel, Ahmad Shurbaj, was charged in May for fighting for the group in Syria. Israel borders Syria where IS controls a swathe of territory in the east including most of the war-ravaged country’s main oil fields. Israel this month added IS to its list of outlawed organizations, including its members, financial backers and sympathizers. Samri said that although the teacher arrested Monday was the first person taken into police custody for alleged IS links, the Shin Bet domestic security service is investigating others.
Video: Israeli soldiers train children to use weapons in the Negev
IMEMC/Agencies 29 Sept — A footage release from Hebrew TV Channel 1, on Sunday, [in Hebrew] shows armed Israeli children training with weapons at one of Israeli military sites in the Negev Desert. Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency reports that some of the children came with their parents from the United States to donate for Israeli military. Violating established rules, soldiers at the site allowed the children to hold guns and trained them how to shoot. The video shows the children training with Israeli-made Tavor and sniper rifles. The TV anchor interviewed Carmela Menashe, correspondent for military affairs on Israel’s public TV Kol Yisrael. According to the Israeli report, the children in the video are between the ages of 10 and 15. They were allowed to use firearms and military-issued rifles at the military base, accompanied by military soldiers and commanders. Menashe said those in charge, and allowed this to happen, should be prosecuted for violating rules and safety codes: “The children are using weapons in a military base; we are talking about children between the ages of 10 and 15, and they are using weapons issued to the soldiers, without even elementary measures of safety….
Prisoners / Court actions
IOA slaps three-month visit ban on prisoner Ahmed Saadat
RAMALLAH (PIC) 30 Sept — The Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) barred prisoner Ahmad Saadat, the secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, from receiving prison visits for three renewable months. Saadat’s wife, Abla, said in press remarks on Thursday that the Israeli prison authority did not state the reason for its decision. The detainee, currently held in Gilboa prison, is regularly transferred to different jails as part of the ongoing punitive measures taken against him. The wife said the Israeli jailers always prevent her and her children from visiting their father, but the difference this time was that the visit ban decision was issued in writing.
link to www.palestine-info.co.
PPS: Prisoners return meals protesting restrictions on family visits
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 29 Sept — Palestinian prisoners at Ofer prison returned meals on Monday in protest against policies preventing family visits, a rights group said. The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society said in a statement that Israeli authorities in the prison had confiscated visitor permits from prisoners’ families. Jawad Boulus, head of PPS’ legal department, said in the statement that in another incident, the wife of Palestinian prisoner Munther al-Jaaba was prevented from visiting him after waiting for hours outside the jail. Prisoners at Ofer told Boulus during his recent visit to Ofer that if there were not any clear changes to the Israeli policies against them, they would continue protest measures.
Israeli court to consider appeal of 6 rearrested prisoners
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 30 Sept — An Israeli court in Nazareth will hold a session on Thursday to consider an appeal submitted by six Palestinian prisoners who were rearrested this year after being released in the Shalit deal, a committee said Tuesday. Amjad Abu Asab, the head of the committee of prisoners’ families in East Jerusalem, said in a statement that Israeli authorities had re-sentenced the prisoners for “violating the terms of their release.” He identified them as Alaa al-Din al-Bazian, Nasser Abed Rabbu, Jamal Abu Saleh, Rajab al-Tahan, Ismail Hijazi, and Adnan Maragha. Over 60 ex-prisoners who were released as part of the 2011 Shalit exchange were rearrested in June during a military search campaign for three Israeli teens in the West Bank.
Infographic: When the fighting stops
Institute for Middle Eastern Understanding 29 Sept — Standards of living in Gaza during periods of calm — according to international law, Israel remains the occupying power in Gaza, and is responsible for the welfare of the people living there. Although Israel’s latest military assault on Gaza has ended, its 47-year military occupation of the Palestinian territories persists, and the Palestinians who remain in Gaza face no relief from the harsh living conditions imposed by Israel’s eight-year military blockade of one of the most densely populated areas in the world. This infographic offers a breakdown of how Israel’s policies – which predate Operation Protective Edge and have been internationally criticized for their systematic human rights abuses – continue to obstruct Palestinians in Gaza from their most basic needs, making their daily lives a struggle.
Israeli military vehicles enter Gaza; soldiers open fire at farms
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 1 Oct — Israeli military vehicles entered the southern Gaza Strip early Wednesday and soldiers opened fire towards Palestinian agricultural areas, locals told Ma‘an. Twelve military vehicles entered Gaza from a gate east of the town of al-Fukhari in the Khan Younis district, witnesses said. The vehicles reportedly crossed some 200 meters into the Strip, and soldiers scanned the area before shooting towards Palestinian farms in an apparent ceasefire violation. Agricultural workers were forced to leave their fields when soldiers shot at their farms, the witnesses told Ma‘an. No injuries were reported.
The hardest first day: Gaza kids return to school
TIME 29 Sept by Jon Gerberg — WATCH as two teenagers brought TIME along on their first day of school after seven weeks of war — About half a million Gaza children returned to school two weeks ago, after a summer of war. But the restart has faced many challenges including supply shortages, limited facilities and widespread trauma among students and faculty alike, according to a UN report. As teachers read attendance sheets on the opening day last week, their roll call also served as an account of the dead. 500 children were killed in Gaza during the 50 days of fighting, according to UN figures. “Many of our friends were not in school,” Khetam Kafarna, a 17 year-old shelter resident, said after her first day of classes in Beit Hanoun. “Some have moved. Some of the girls died. Now we are all strangers to each other.”
Not a single child untouched by recent Gaza conflict, says UN rights expert
UN News Center 29 Sept — There is not a single child who has not been adversely affected by the recent conflict in Gaza, where children suffer from bedwetting, difficulties in sleeping, nightmares, a loss of appetite, and display more aggressive behaviour at school, an independent United Nations human rights expert said today. At the end of his first mission to the region, Makarim Wibisono, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, expressed alarm at the terrible cost paid by Palestinian civilians, especially children in Gaza, as a result of Israel’s military operation that lasted 50 days in the summer of this year. According to a press release on his findings, the latest round of violence from 7 July to 26 August 2014 has left 1,479 civilians, including 506 children dead. A staggering 11,231 Palestinian civilians, including 3,436 children were injured, many now struggling with life-long disabilities. Tens of thousands of children live with the trauma of having witnessed the horrific killings of family members, friends, and neighbours before their own eyes.
Overcoming loss in the rubble of Gaza
GAZA, State of Palestine (UN Children’s Fund) 29 Sept by Catherine Weibel — Ten-year-old Shaima lives in Shuja‘iyeh in eastern Gaza City, a crowded neighbourhood now mostly reduced to a vast expanse of rubble. The threat of explosive remnants of war looms around every corner … On piles of what once were homes, banners bear the former occupants’ names and phone numbers, in case someone wants to reach them. At the end of a dusty street filled with sewage, a different kind of banner hangs on a wall. With a life-size image of a smiling man and a little girl, it marks the entrance to the home where they were killed. Inside, a slightly older girl prepares for school, putting on the standard green uniform with white lace collar used by students here. Ten days into the conflict, as the neighbourhood was being pounded with heavy artillery, mortars and air strikes, Shaima’s family moved to her grandfather’s apartment on the ground floor, which was thought to be a safer place. “Early morning, the shelling got closer,” Shaima says. “Suddenly a bomb fell nearby. Everyone ran out, except for my father and younger sister. I heard people scream that he was dead.” Her father, Adel, was on the sofa in the living room with her 2-year-old sister, Dima, in his arms, trying to rock her to sleep, when a shell struck the neighbour’s house. Both Adel and his daughter were killed by shrapnel that came bursting through the walls. “I saw my uncle carrying my sister,” Shaima says. “I realized her head was cut off in the shelling. I didn’t look at my father’s body, because I was afraid his wounds were as bad. I ran away.” In shock Shaima is visited regularly by a counsellor from the Palestinian Centre for Democracy and Conflict Resolution (PCDCR), a UNICEF partner that specializes in child trauma. The counsellor sees her at home and helps her talk about her experience. “I was not able to say goodbye to my dad,” Shaima tells the counsellor. “I don’t want to be an orphan, I want my dad to be with me….
Medical waste piles up in Gaza hospitals as cleaning staff strike
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 29 Sept — Medical waste in Gaza hospitals is piling up as cleaning staff remain on strike, leading to worries that infectious diseases could break out, the Ministry of Health warned Monday. Majdi Dhuheir, director of the ministry’s preventive healthcare department, warned that patients, visitors and medical teams face added risks due to a lack of cleaners. Intensive Care Units, operation rooms, and infant nurseries are particularly at risk, he said. Around 700 hospital cleaners are on strike due to unpaid salaries dating back five months. Palestinian officials in Gaza and Ramallah have blamed each other for the wage crisis.
Union expects Gaza civil service salaries before Eid al-Adha
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 29 Sept — Gaza civil servants are likely to receive their salaries before the upcoming Eid al-Adha holiday, a spokesman for the civil servants’ union said Monday. Khalil Zayyan told Ma‘an that there have been “positive indications, but we are waiting for an official announcement from the government.” Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said Saturday that an unnamed international body is willing to pay the salaries of civil servants in Gaza who were employed by the former Hamas-run government in the Strip. He did not provide further details. Since the new government was officially sworn in in June, Hamas has demanded it take responsibility for paying its 45,000 employees, 27,000 of whom are civil servants. But the unity government has been noncommittal, and earlier this month Hamdallah said he was under pressure from the international community not to pay Hamas employees’ salaries.
Gaza sweet potatoes exported to Europe for 1st time since siege
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 29 Sept — Thirty tons of sweet potatoes were exported from Gaza to Europe for the first time since Israel imposed a siege on the Strip, the Ministry of Agriculture said Monday. Ministry official Tahsin al-Saqqa said “this small quantity” of potatoes were exported after it was permitted by Israeli authorities. Al-Saqqa said he hoped the Israeli decision would be the beginning of a policy to allow continuous exports of farmers’ goods from Gaza. The Israeli siege has severely limited imports and exports as well as movement of people, crippling Gaza’s economy. According to the Israeli rights group Gisha, exports have been reduced to two percent of their previous levels, leading to widespread unemployment and poverty. Ending the devastating siege was the primary demand of Gaza militant factions as they fought Israel in a 50-day war that left nearly 2,200 Palestinians dead, mostly civilians. The blockade was imposed following the victory of Hamas in the 2006 Palestinian elections and the subsequent 2007 clashes between Fatah and Hamas, which left Hamas in control of the Strip and Fatah in control of parts of the occupied West Bank.
Egypt opens Rafah crossing for special cases
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 29 Sept — Egypt opened the Rafah crossing with the Gaza Strip on Monday for special cases, a Palestinian official said. Mahir Abu Sabha, the director of Gaza border crossings, told Ma‘an that the crossing would be open for humanitarian cases and Palestinians who work or study in other countries. The Rafah crossing is the principal connection between Gaza’s 1.7 million people and the outside world, but Egypt largely keeps it shut as part of the jointly-enforced Israeli blockade.
Turkey to send Eid al-Adha meat to Gaza and Syria
KAYSERI, Turkey (Daily Sabah) 1 Oct — Animals donated as part of the upcoming Eid al-Adha celebrations will go to needy families in Gaza and Syria, Turkey’s IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation has announced. IHH Vice President Yavuz Dede said on Saturday that 10,000 animals slaughtered during the Feast of the Sacrifice next week would be distributed to the two stricken regions. The figure represents around a fifth of the animals that are to be sacrificed during the celebrations, which mark Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his first-born son to God. Dede said, “Thousands of people are left homeless. There are orphans and women without husbands. They are in need of a helping hand. We want to be their hope.” IHH delivers sacrificial meat to 70 countries, Dede added. The donation is aimed at helping Syrians who have suffered three years of civil war and Palestinians who lost their homes during Israel’s recent attacks, he said.
Competition heats up for Gaza reconstruction contracts
Al-Monitor 30 Sept by Adnan Abu Amer — Palestinians in Gaza are looking forward to the donors conference for Gaza’s reconstruction, scheduled Oct. 12 in Cairo at the invitation of Egypt and Norway and under the auspices of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The conference will be attended by representatives of countries all over the world, as well as businessmen and local and global organizations. The donor conference has spawned a competition between businessmen and companies for contracts to reconstruct the Gaza Strip … A senior Palestinian minister who asked not to be named told Al-Monitor about “rapid developments secretly taking place in preparation for the reconstruction of Gaza,” saying, “Some economic institutions want to get the lion’s share of the funds allocated to this reconstruction. So they market themselves to the donor countries — both Arab and Western — and demonstrate their ability to implement reconstruction projects in compliance with international standards.”The minister described intense competition between the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction (PECDAR), headed by Fatah Central Committee member Mohammad Shtayyeh, and the Palestinian Investment Fund, headed by Economy Minister Mohammed Mustafa. Both institutes have prepared competing reconstruction plans for Gaza.
OCHA: Gaza power plant to resume operations depending on fuel supply
IMEMC/Agencies 1 Oct — “Resuming the operations of Gaza power plant (GPP) is contingent on securing the necessary fuel,” the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) announced Monday, in its weekly ‘Protection of Civilians’ report. The report explains, according to Al Ray, that the GPP shut down on July 29th, after being hit several times by Israeli attacks, subsequently rendering the Gaza Strip to be exclusively dependent on electricity purchased from Egypt and Israel. Also noted was the fact that, even if fuel is secured, it will be difficult to provide service to the areas most affected from the last Israeli aggression on the region, such as Beit Hanoun, Al-Shuja‘eyyah, Khuza‘a and eastern Rafah. The facility is Gaza’s only power plant and electricity outages now exceed 18 hours per-day, severely disrupting the provision of basic services including health and water throughout the region. Prior to the assault, residents in the Gaza Strip were surviving on some 8 hours of electricity per day.
3 Israeli soldiers commit suicide due to ‘psychological trauma’
PNN 30 Sept — Maariv newspaper announced on its website today the suicide of three Israeli military soldiers who were involved in the recent 51-day assault on Gaza. An investigation file was opened regarding the case. The newspaper said that the three soldiers committed suicide using their personal weapons. The soldiers shot themselves and were found dead with their arms next to them. One suicide took place in Tel-Aviv, and two others on the borders of Gaza Strip. Israeli military psychiatric officer said that “the past year of 2013 witnessed the suicide of 8 soldiers, whereas 3 soldiers committed suicide the past few weeks alone, though the army refused to provide an exact number of military suicides for this year.”The three soldiers reportedly participated in the land assault on Gaza
Gaza lions misplaced by war make trip across Israel to new home in Jordan
Jerusalem Post 30 Sept — Three lions, including a pregnant lioness, from the Al-Bisan Zoo in northern Gaza were transferred to Jordan on Tuesday morning, after the Strip’s only zoo was heavily damaged during 50 days of fighting between Hamas and Israel. The lions will be moved to a more suitable home in the Hashemite Kingdom and heal from the war-induced trauma. The Beit Lahiya zoo saw massive bombardments and airstrikes over the course of the seven-week operation, resulting in the death of over 80 of its animals. Twenty animals remain alive but have sustained physical and psychological damage, prompting the manager of the zoo to reach out to animal charities for help. The international animal welfare organization FOUR PAWS, which has helped protect animals in war-torn countries since 1988, came to the rescue, arranging the transfer of the lions. In mid-September, an emergency team from the welfare charity arrived in Gaza to try and help save the animals that did survive, providing much-needed food and medical care, including surgeries and vaccinations. (See included video)
Activism / Solidarity / BDS
Video: Jews Against Genocide: Blood bucket challenge at Yad Vashem
Occupied Palestine (Jews Against Genocide) 29 Sept — Jews Against Genocide held memorials for the victims of Israel’s recent genocidal attack on Gaza during which the speakers poured buckets of blood like liquid over themselves at Yad Vashem holocaust museum in Jerusalem, the US embassy in Tel Aviv, The Israeli Supreme court in Jerusalem, The Israeli military radio station in Tel Aviv, and at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem.
7,000 people call for removal of BBC journalist from reporting on Palestine
PNN 30 Sept — An open letter signed by 7,000 people was today sent to the BBC calling for the removal of the broadcaster’s Head of Statistics from all reporting on Palestine and Israel. The demand followed an article published on the BBC website, in which the Head of Statistics, Anthony Reuben, used Palestinian casualty figures in an attempt to back up Israel’s claims that it had not targeted civilians during its July/August assault on Gaza. Reuben used the article to try and discredit the UN Human Rights Council’s assertion that the Israeli attacks, which killed more than 2,000 Palestinians, were indiscriminate. In its letter to Lord Hall, the BBC’s Director General, Palestine Solidarity Campaign said that the article showed that Reuben’s impartiality and journalistic integrity on the subject of Palestine and Israel could not be guaranteed. It also pointed out that Reuben had previously interned at the right-wing Israeli newspaper, The Jerusalem Post, and added: “The views which are apparent in that Israeli newspaper appear to have seeped into Reuben’s reporting for the BBC.” The letter continued: “We therefore call on the BBC to assure its audiences that Reuben will no longer be assigned to reporting on Palestine and Israel, as his impartiality and journalistic integrity on this subject cannot be guaranteed. We believe that this is the very least the BBC can do if it truly believes in its Royal Charter commitment to producing, and being seen to produce, balanced and impartial journalism.” The letter gathered 7.000 signatures from members of the public in less than two weeks, and was delivered to BBC Broadcasting House today.
Occupation profiteer Veolia excluded from $750 million contract in Kuwait
Electronic Intifada 1 Oct by Charlotte Silver — The Palestinian-led movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) has netted two victories against Veolia — the multinational Paris-based corporation that is involved in several Israeli projects in Palestine. The Kuwait City Municipality has heeded Palestinian and BDS appeals and decided to exclude Veolia from a waste management contract with the city that was valued at $750 million. Like the other member countries of the Arab League, Kuwait formally boycotts Israeli companies and Israeli-made goods. But applying that principle to multinational companies complicit in Israel’s occupation of Palestine is inconsistently implemented or enforced. A press release issued by the Palestinian BDS National Committee described the municipal decision as the “the tip of the BDS iceberg in the Arab world.” In addition to cutting Veolia out of the waste management contract, the municipality ruled to exclude Veolia from “all future projects” in the city, and specifically invoked its illegal projects on Palestinian land. According to the press release, after the municipality voted to boycott Veolia, the company withdrew its tender for expanding an existing wastewater facility that was worth $1.5 billion.
Christian evangelicals increasingly support Palestinian human rights
Counterpunch 29 Sept by Alison Weir of If Americans Knew — An article in Middle East Quarterly, a pro-Israel publication, reports that support for Israel is eroding among American evangelical Christians, with only 30 percent in a recent survey stating support for Israel above Palestinians. This trend is even more pronounced among youth, according to an article by David Brog, Jewish-American executive director of “Christians United For Israel (CUFI), a major pro-Israel organization. Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu has called CUFI “a vital part of Israel’s national security” and columnist Charles Kauthammer has said, “I do not know of an organization in the world more important to Israel than CUFI.” Brog’s article, “The End of Evangelical Support for Israel?” is largely pitched as a wake-up call to Israel partisans who, according to Brog, “must take this threat seriously.”
Are Gaza protests coming to the NBA Preseason?
The Nation 29 Sept by Dave Zirin — When Israeli sports teams travel to Europe, they are often met with protest. Palestinian solidarity and human rights organizations, such as Red Card Israeli Apartheid, have argued that such spectacles “normalize” the military occupation suffered by Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. They also argue that it is fantasy to pretend that these games do not carry a strong political as well as symbolic weight. Now the specter of a pro-Palestinian protest at an Israeli sporting event is coming to the United States. This will happen next month when the most celebrated basketball team in Israel’s history, Maccabi Tel-Aviv, will return to the United States and play two NBA preseason games against the Brooklyn Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers. As Euroleague Champions, this will be the fifth time in nine years that Maccabi has played in the United States. But coming on the heels of the summer bombardment of Gaza, there are many activists in New York City arguing that it can no longer be hoops as usual. I spoke to Tsvia Thier, an Israeli citizen now living in New York, who plans to be a part of whatever protest assembles outside the Barclays Center on October 7th. She said to me, “Israel dropped thousands of pounds of weapons on Gaza. More than 2,000 people died. More than 500 children were killed. There has been no justice for this. We cannot allow for these games to go forward without bearing witness…as if these criminal acts did not just take place. Our memories cannot be that short.” Thier was on her way to a meeting of the group Jewish Voice for Peace to raise plans to protest when I spoke with her.
WATCH: Israeli, Palestinian pop stars join Alicia Keys on stage in NY
Haaretz 28 Sept — Singer-songwriter Alicia Keys, who defied the BDS movement in July 2013 by performing in Tel Aviv, seemingly tried to balance things out at Sunday’s Global Citizen Festival in New York’s Central Park. Billboard reports that Keys performed her latest song, the peace-oriented “We Are Here,” on stage with two other musicians – Israeli musician Idan Raichel and Palestinian Ali Amr, a vocalist and virtuoso on the string instrument qanun. The song cites Iraq, Nigeria and other world trouble spots, and includes the words, “Let’s talk about Gaza … Let’s talk about Israel.”At the end of the number, Raichel and Amr beamed at each other and slapped hands. Upwards of 50,000 fans were in the park
Poll: Palestinian support for Hamas drops one month after Gaza war
DPA 29 Sept — Support among Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for Hamas has dropped one month after the Gaza-Israel war, a survey published Monday showed. Immediately after the conflict ended with an open truce on August 26, Hamas held a 15 per cent lead over the secular Fatah party of moderate President Mahmoud Abbas, said the Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research. That lead has shrunk to some 3 percent, according to the PSR poll. Some 39 percent of those surveyed said they would vote for Hamas if parliamentary elections were held today, compared to 46 percent one month ago. In contrast, those who would vote in favor of Fatah has risen to 36 percent from 31 percent one month ago, the poll showed. Before the Gaza war, Fatah led against Hamas in the poll, 40 to 32 percent. If presidential elections were held today and the only two candidates were Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and Fatah leader Abbas, Haniyeh would be favored by 55 percent of those surveyed, down from 61 percent one month ago. The survey showed that 38 percent would vote for Abbas, up from 32 percent last month.
West Bank arrests won’t eliminate Hamas
RAMALLAH (Al-Monitor) 29 Sept by Ahmad Melhem — Since early June, Hamas has been subject to waves of arrest by the Israeli army in the West Bank, targeting the movement’s most prominent leaders. This resulted in a vacuum in Hamas’ leadership and a brief lack of communication with the public before Saed Abu Baha was appointed as the movement’s spokesman in the West Bank at the beginning of the Gaza war. These arrests targeted the first leading ranks in Hamas, represented by members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), university professors, social figures and former prisoners who were released following the Wafa al-Ahrar deal in 2011. According to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society’s statistics, 26 deputies from the movement have been arrested since the beginning of June, five of whom were later released. The rest joined 11 deputies who were previously detained in Israeli prisons, nine of whom are Hamas members … Throughout its history, Hamas has witnessed the emergence of new leadership each time it has been targeted … “Arresting Hamas’ leaders is not a severe blow to the movement, which has survived the absence of its leaders in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip [in the past],” Moudallal said. “This did not break Hamas, but in many cases has led to the emergence of young, efficient leaders in leading positions.” As Hamas is approaching its 27th birthday on Oct. 14, it has proven resilient despite all the blows it has received. And although it has been admittedly hurt by the arrest campaigns, eliminating it entirely from the West Bank seems an unobtainable ambition of its foes.
PLO officials divided before Abbas UN speech
NEW YORK (Ma‘an) 29 Sept — Palestinian officials were divided on the approach President Abbas should take before his Friday speech at the United Nations during the 69th annual General Debate. A source close to Palestinian officials in New York told Ma‘an that the delegation had discussed three approaches to address the assembly. The first camp was in favor of unambiguously declaring that the PLO would hold Israel accountable for war crimes at the ICC, based on the belief that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and his right-wing coalition would never allow peace talks to bear fruit. Officials supporting this position said that Netanyahu would continue settlement expansion and would never return Palestinian land to the PLO. The second camp urged Abbas to move slowly on going to the ICC and use neutral language to avoid angering the United States, believing that a Palestinian State will eventually be established. The third position, which had most support, was to strongly condemn Israel’s actions without upsetting the US administration. Officials said that Abbas should use international relations and Arab allies to direct the “Palestinian public’s anger against the Israeli occupation while keeping the door open to understandings with the US administration.” In his speech, Abbas said that a return to direct negotiations was impossible and accused Israel of committing “genocide.”
Dr. Ashrawi’s response to Netanyahu’s speech
PNN 30 Sept — PLO Executive Committee Department of Culture and Information September 29, 2014 Dr. Ashrawi on Netanyahu’s Speech: “Blaming the victim has always been the failed policy of the politically and morally bankrupt, and Netanyahu is no exception” Responding to the speech delivered by Israeli PM Benyamin Netanyahu at the United Nations, PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi stated the following: ““Netanyahu’s speech at the UN was a blatant manipulation of facts and attempted at misleading the audience through a combination of hate language, slander and argument of obfuscation. On the one hand he attempted to create an image of an unreal polarized world in which the “forces of evil” are lumped together under the title “militant Islam” blurring any distinctions among different players, including Hamas and Iran, while placing Israel in the opposite pole as a force for “light, morality and justice.” Obviously Netanyahu has lost touch with reality, particularly in refusing to acknowledge the fact of the occupation itself or the actions of the Israeli army of occupation in committing massacres and war crimes, which has been a longstanding manifestation of Israeli “double talk.” Rather than attacking President Abbas and the UN Human Rights Council for calling things by their name and deploring the horrific actions of the Israeli occupation, he should have acknowledged the enormity of the crime and taken responsibility for the actions themselves. The UN podium would have been the most appropriate place for Netanyahu to announce his acceptance of all relevant UN resolutions and his adherence to international law and universal human rights. Instead, he persisted in compounding the error by justifying Israeli violations and launching a vitriolic attack against the victims of the ongoing occupation…”
Palestinian official likens Netanyahu to IS leader
RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories (AFP) 30 Sept – A senior Palestinian official on Tuesday likened Benjamin Netanyahu to the leader of the Islamic State group, after the Israeli prime minister compared Hamas to the jihadist organisation. “Netanyahu is trying to disseminate fear of the Islamic State led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, but Netanyahu forgets that he himself leads the Jewish state,” said Saeb Erakat, the Palestinians’ chief negotiator in peace talks with Israel. “He wants us to call Israel the Jewish state and supports terrorist settlers who kill, destroy and burn mosques and churches… like Baghdadi’s men kill and terrorise,” Erakat told AFP.
Inauguration of UNRWA Shu‘fat basic girls’ school
WEST BANK 30 Sept — UNRWA celebrated the inauguration of Shu’fat Basic Girls School in Shu’fat camp, a project that was funded by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB). Guests at the celebration included UNRWA Director of Operations in the West Bank Felipe Sanchez, Hani Abu Diab from the Islamic Development Bank and the Head of the UNRWA Arab Partners Unit, Peter Ford. Also present were senior UNRWA officials along with officials from the Department of Refugee Affairs, school staff, and local community representatives. Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Mr. Sanchez said, “We are pleased to see this unique school up and running and filled with students – 341 students in the elementary school and 632 in the preparatory school. I extend my gratitude to IDB for this generous donation that allows UNRWA to address the educational needs of Palestine refugees, especially in Jerusalem area, where the Palestinian presence is under continuous threat. We hope that this school can be a safe haven for the girls of Shu‘fat camp.” Mr. Ford said, “UNRWA is grateful to the Islamic Development Bank for funding this new school. Obviously this school, like any UNRWA school, is important for the education of hundreds of Palestinian refugee children and their future chances in life. However Shu’fat school is also important because a school is an institution of society, and supporting Palestinian institutions in the Jerusalem area is a vital need…”
Israeli Muslims to tone down Eid celebrations on Yom Kippur
Ynet 30 Sept by Hassan Shaalan — This year, the Jewish fast and holiest day of the calendar coincides with Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, which marks Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Ishmael — With the Jewish high holiday of Yom Kippur coinciding this year with the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice) Muslims in mixed towns and cities in Israel were concerned that there would be confrontations between members of the two faiths. With this in mind, representatives from the two communities have met in Ramle and agreed to make every effort to preserve the calm over the holidays, including a reduction in volume for the loudspeakers in local mosques. “Eid al-Adha is a festive day marked by the slaughter of sheep and visits to family members. Yom Kippur is the opposite,” said Hassan Abu Abid, a member of the local council … Abu Abid expressed his desire for both holidays to be marked harmoniously. “On this day we will spread the message of coexistence,” he said. “We have even agreed not to light grills if the next-door neighbor is Jewish. In neighborhoods in the town this is very important.” The meeting, however, was met by indifference from some residents, who expressed a desire to celebrate without restrictions. “We always respect the Yom Kippur War. This year, our holiday falls on the same day. There is no such thing as not celebrating,” said Ahmed al-Obara. “The Jews are the ones who must give in and respect our holiday undisturbed. Just as we do not ask them to close their restaurants during Ramadan, so they must also not ask us to go out and celebrate properly.”
Saudi Arabia transfers $60 million to PA
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 30 Sept — The Saudi Fund for Development has transferred $60 million to the Palestinian Authority, the desert kingdom’s Ambassador to Egypt and the Arab League said Monday, according to Saudi media. Ahmad Ibn al-Aziz was quoted by the official Saudi news agency as saying the money was a lump sum of Saudi Arabia’s monthly donations to the PA for July, August, and September. He said the country was committed to giving the PA $20 million per month.
‘Museum without borders’ to open in Palestine
Electronic Intifada 30 Sept by Daryl Meador — In the hills of the occupied West Bank town of Birzeit, near the city of Ramallah, construction began earlier this year on the Palestinian Museum. Using an innovative approach in space and exhibition design, the project breaks away from traditions in museum practice. Besides showcasing Palestinian art and culture, the museum hopes to create a space that generates conversation and ideas for the future. While its main hub will lie in Birzeit, the museum is building a network of partnerships and satellites abroad, with aims to extend beyond the geographic borders of Palestine, which are under restrictive Israeli control, to its expansive diaspora.
Watch: Palestine’s youngest table tennis player
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 30 Sept — A three-year-old boy from Hebron is gaining attention as international coaches say he could be one of the youngest table tennis players in the world. Yousif Kamil Doufish, 3, comes from a family of avid table tennis players. His father, Kamil, was twice crowned table tennis champion of Palestine in 1995 and 2008 and ever since Yousif was born has dreamed of him becoming the youngest player in the world. “Only half an hour after he was born, I placed him in a basket of balls and since then I have been working to make him the youngest tennis player in the world, and the dream finally came true.” “I am now working to develop this talent so my son can become a world champion,” he told Ma‘an….
Opinion / Analysis
What Abbas should have said in his UN address / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 29 Sept — ‘Thanks for being so sure you are the chosen people. Thanks for never seeing the Palestinians as human beings. Belated thanks for the Nakba, too.’ — Here’s what Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas should have said in his address to the UN General Assembly on Friday: “I stand here before you, at the end of yet another inevitable defensive war of Israel, a weak and tiny state struggling to survive, in order to convey my gratitude toward it. We say thank you to the Israeli David who once again defeated the Palestinian Goliath. Thank you to the meager band that defeated the Palestinian armies, and applaud it for having done so. Thanks to the most moral army in the world, which once again proved its ethical superiority. Thank you for the ‘knock on the roof,’ for employing the Hannibal Directive in Rafiah, for Shujaiyeh, for the hundreds of dead men, women and children, most of them innocent civilians, all of them marked for death. Thank you for killing just 2,200 people instead of 22,000. Thanks for bombing only some of the UN Relief and Works Agency schools, not all of them. Thanks for leveling only some of Gaza City’s high-rises and leaving a few for the next war. Thanks for bombing the power station and the only candy factory in the Gaza Strip. That was vital to your security. Thank you on behalf of all Palestinian children. And special thanks on behalf of the Dalu family, for leaving one cousin alive; thanks for your consideration and sensitivity … Thanks for the home demolitions, for the ethnic cleansing attempt in the Jordan Valley and the south Hebron hills. Special thanks to the Hebron settlers for existing. Thanks for the separation barrier, the blockade and the cruel separation of the West Bank from the Gaza Strip. Thanks for the ongoing brutal shooting at fishermen off the Gaza coast, which of course is not considered a violation of the cease-fire. Thanks for the nighttime arrests, and for the daytime arrests too … Oops, Abbas never said such things. Instead, he told the truth. When he said the Palestinians had been “uprooted from … their good land,” the Israeli television commentator explained that this was a “harsh speech of incitement.” The entire nationalist chorus, from the Labor Party on, with the backup singers of the United States, broke out in shrieks of shock and condemnation. Honestly! How dare Abbas, that ingrate!
Why Abbas screamed / Amira Hass
Haaretz 1 Oct — We tend to scream when people aren’t listening to us. Israelis are experts at not listening — The use of the word “genocide” by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in his United Nations speech indicates verbal distress – not only in describing the latest war (and those that preceded it) in Gaza, but also in defining Israeli control over the Palestinians (on both sides of the Green Line.) Without getting into the question of whether Abbas meant what he said or simply understood that he needed to convey his people’s feelings better than he had in the past, the entire speech boiled down to a scream. And because he couldn’t scream in the auditorium, he used high-decibel words instead. We tend to scream when people aren’t listening to us. Israelis are experts at not listening. So, instead of talking about their failure to listen, they divert the discussion to the scream. That is the trap inherent in every scream, or in every deviation from the respectable conventions of what we call normative. The scream elicits condemnation from those cultured people who don’t scream. They do many other things – destroy, kill, expel – but they behave appropriately at cocktail parties … Anyone who doesn’t make do with slogans or clichés ends up in verbal distress. Write about one man’s eviction from his house and land, and Israelis see it as an isolated, unrepresentative example. Write about evictions and expulsions, and it will fade into statistics that we can’t connect with. Tell about one child killed by soldiers, and Israelis’ hearts go out to the soldiers, whose lives were in danger. Tell about hundreds of Palestinians children killed by the Israel Defense Forces, and Israelis will talk about the rocket that landed in an empty Israeli kindergarten. When the details and the facts and the significance are erased, the words that conceptualize them turn into slogans and clichés in the ears of those who hear them. Therefore, we have to reinvent the wheel every time – to tell the same story in a different fashion. The past 25 years can be summarized as follows: All the methods used by the Palestinians to express their resistance to the foreign rule imposed on them have failed. Israel didn’t listen to the message; it merely improved and escalated the methods used to suppress it (yes, stones and rockets, like speeches and essays, are ways for the subjugated to say they’ve had it.) It improved and escalated – such a cultured country – and then complained that the Palestinians continued to resist.
On Israel’s insanity defense and the world’s shared delusion / Samah Jabr
Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs Sept 2014 — Once the surveillance cameras of Palestinian shopkeepers in East Jerusalem’s Shuafat neighborhood revealed the images of the Israeli abductors of Muhammed Abu Khdeir, the fabricated Israeli propaganda that the 16-year-old Palestinian boy had been gay and the victim of an honor killing perpetrated by his own people became completely unsustainable. Soon after, hoping to contain the resulting clashes that erupted in Shuafat and extended to many nearby neighborhoods, Israeli police announced that they had captured six suspects involved in the crime. Just days later, however, it was announced that three of them already had been freed. The others were described as two minors and a mentally unstable adult with a dominating personality who is on psychiatric medication, according to Yediot Ahronot. That has a familiar ring to it! In 1969 Dennis Michael Rohan, an evangelical Protestant from Australia, set fire to the al-Aqsa mosque in order to hasten the second coming of the Messiah and create an opportunity to rebuild the Jewish Temple. Rohan was later declared mentally ill and exonerated for his actions. In 2007 Julian Soufir confessed to having murdered Palestinian taxi driver Taysir Karaki, saying he did not feel guilty because he considered Arabs the equivalent of cattle and he was simply slaughtering one … At his 2008 trial, the court accepted the testimonies of two defense witnesses who claimed that Soufir was not fully “conscious” at the time of the murder — despite the fact that he had explained his motive for murdering Karaki — and Soufir was acquitted. A few years ago, I testified as an expert witness at the Jerusalem district court regarding the case of one of my psychiatric patients who, while suffering an acute psychotic episode, stabbed an Israeli soldier. My patient was 30 years old; after sustaining severe injuries during his arrest, which required 12 surgeries and left him handicapped, he was sentenced to 30 years in prison! The insanity defense certainly did not do my patient much good. It is one of many pretexts used to avoid the prosecution, imprisonment or punishment of Jewish Israelis who murder Palestinians — but not the other way around….