Archive for October 31, 2014

October 31, 2014

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

Palestinians claim fraud in settler buy of Jerusalem landmarks
JERUSALEM (AFP) 29 Oct by Majeda El Batsh– A Palestinian family has gone to court claiming fraud over the partial purchase of two landmark east Jerusalem properties, including the home of the Palestinian national theatre, by Jewish settlers. The move is part of a growing battle over property in occupied east Jerusalem, where hardline Jewish settlers are seeking to expand their presence in the face of vehement opposition from the Palestinians, who want the city’s eastern sector as capital of their future state. The case surrounds two large buildings in the heart of east Jerusalem located very close to the famed American Colony boutique hotel in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood. One houses Al-Hakawati, the Palestinian national theatre, and the other is the Nuzha building, which is currently leased to a branch of Israel’s Mercantile Bank and the offices of several law firms and human rights groups. According to court documents seen by AFP, the Jerusalem District Court has issued a temporary injunction freezing the partial purchase of the buildings by a company called Golden City (Jerusalem), following a complaint filed by a Palestinian family alleging that it was fraudulent. The court ordered the defendants to file a response by the end of October. Golden City, a private company owned by an Israeli called Yehiel Klein, is based in the West Bank settlement of Beitar Ilit … Hani Tannous, the Palestinian family’s lawyer, told AFP the complaint had been filed in the name of Wafiqa Freitekh, whose late husband Ali Assad Freitekh owned both buildings. In his will, Freitekh bequeathed 50 percent of the property to his wife and the other 50 percent to his children, on condition that the buildings not be sold without authorisation from the Sharia Court, an Islamic civil institution whose decisions are enshrined in Israeli law, Tannous said. The property transfer was registered with the Israeli land registry in 2009. But the family has since discovered that Golden City has registered itself as the partial owner of the buildings….

Israeli forces demolish Palestinian home, structures in Silwan
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 29 Oct — Israeli bulldozers on Wednesday demolished structures in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem, witnesses told Ma‘an. The sources said Israeli forces entered the al-Abbasiyya area of Silwan and forced local resident Khalid al-Zeir to evacuate his property, saying the structures were built without a permit. They then proceeded to demolish the small home in which al-Zeir lived in addition to steel structures that housed his sheep and horses. Israeli forces then took him and another member of his family, Fahmi al-Zeir, into custody, the witnesses said. They added that during the demolition, Israeli officers used police dogs to scare the family … In 2013, Israeli forces demolished another structure where al-Zeir had been living on the same piece of land. Locals told Ma‘an that for a time after that, al-Zeir lived in a small cave on land slated for Israeli confiscation, before building the structure that was demolished on Wednesday.

Israelis raze land near Salfit at new Leshem settlement
SALFIT (Ma‘an) 29 Oct — Settlers from the Israeli settlement of Leshem in western Salfit on Wednesday razed Palestinian agricultural lands and tore up rocks near archaeological sites between the villages of Kafr al-Dik and Deir Ballut near Khirbet Deir Samaan, witnesses said. The incident suggests that residents of Leshem — a neighborhood of nearby Ale Zahav settlement inaugurated in Aug. 2013 and considered one of the first major new settlements in the last twenty years — are poised to expand by snatching up land in nearby Palestinian villages. Local researcher Khalid Maali told Ma‘an that Israeli settlers used jackhammers to break rocks to be used for paving the street as well as construction in the settlement, nearly encroaching on ancient historical sites. Maali said that bulldozers broke rocks less than 10 meters away from the Khirbet Deir Samaan area, which he says is a “real danger on the historical site that was built and carved in stones more than 1600 years ago.” The Leshem settlement was constructed in 2013 on Palestinian lands from the nearby Kafr al-Dik and Deir Ballut villages, and at the time Maali told Ma’an that three major architectural sites in the area were damaged by construction. Maali added that some 12 thousand dunums were confiscated from the Kafr al-Dik village out of the original 20 thousand dunums that the space had, leading to a severe lack of land for local farmers. [Note on place names: ‘khirbet’ means (archaeological) ‘tell’ or ‘ruin’ and ‘deir’ means ‘monastery’]

Army demolishes homes and structures near Hebron, wounds several residents
IMEMC/Agencies 29 Oct — Coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements Rateb Jabour told the Palestine News Network that a large military force invaded Khashm ad-Daraj village, and demolished a cave, an external toilet, sheds and barns, and homes belonging to three residents identified as Mustafa Salem at-Tanbi, Ahmad Awwad at-Tanbi, and Eid at-Tanbi …  Around 1200 Palestinians live in the Khashm ad-Daraj village, facing daily hardships due to ongoing attacks carried out by Israeli soldiers and settlers targeting farmlands, livestock, sheds and structures.

Israeli forces demolish traditional Palestinian oven near Yatta
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 29 Oct — Israeli forces on Wednesday demolished a Palestinian traditional oven in the village Umm al-Kher east of Yatta in the southern West Bank after Jewish settlers from the nearby Karmel settlement complained about smoke from the oven. Coordinator of a local committee Rateb al-Jubur said that Israeli forces demolished the traditional oven “for the second time this week” and assaulted villagers who attempted to prevent the demolition. Umm al-Kher has been targeted repeatedly by Israeli forces for the traditional ovens used by locals, called “tabun,” to make bread. The ovens produce smoke and as a result are a frequent target of Israelis who have built settlements on confiscated land in the area. In February, local Salim al-Hathalin told Ma‘an that a settler in Karmel had launched a lawsuit against him asking for a compensation of 250,000 shekels ($72,000) for the smoke from the oven, less than two months after Israeli forces tried to demolish the oven and assaulted three villagers in the process. The oven reportedly makes bread for between 40-50 members of one extended family in the village.

Settlers destroy Palestinians’ property under the protection of Israeli soldiers
International Solidarity Movement 29 Oct — Today at approximately 1:30 PM in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood of occupied al-Khalil (Hebron), the head of security for the illegal settlements in the area attempted to destroy the property of a Palestinian man named Muhammad Knebi. Settlers have been destroying the newly built fence owned by Muhammad Knebi since October. The fence was built to protect the Knebi family’s olive trees. Settlers have made several attempts to cut and break down the fence. This afternoon, the head of settler security arrived on Muhammad’s land with a small tractor. He was accompanied by several soldiers from the Israeli army in addition to another settler from a nearby illegal settlement. They came in order to remove the large stones that were put behind the fence poles for added support. The settlers also cut the fence with scissors. Jawad Abu Aisha, an activist from the Palestinian group Youth Against Settlements that helped Muhammad build the fence, sat on a stone to prevent the settlers from moving it. Jawad was detained for his actions for around half an hour.

Olive harvest in Palestine – photos and video
Electronic Intifada 31 Oct by Maureen Clare Murphy — In Palestine, the month of October is synonymous with the annual olive harvest. According to the United Nations monitoring group OCHA, nearly half of all cultivated land in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip is planted with olive trees, and the olive oil industry constitutes 25 percent of the territories’ agricultural income. Though the olive harvest is traditionally a festive time, the hostile presence of Israeli settlers who attack Palestinian farmers means that it has also become one of violence. From 2006 to the end of September 2014, OCHA recorded 2,300 settler-related incidents of violence against Palestinians or their property in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. And from 2009 through the end of August this year, “nearly 50,000 fruit-bearing trees, mainly olive trees, were destroyed or damaged in such incidents,” according to the agency. Meanwhile, Israel’s wall in the West Bank, and its regime of closure, checkpoints and other forms of movement restrictions, prevent farmers from accessing their land. Instagram user Zalameh, also known to The Electronic Intifada’s readers as @BDS4Justice on Twitter, has been documenting this year’s olive harvest. His photos and video give an evocative look at the practice which is threatened by Israeli land confiscation and military and settler violence.

Sa’ar urges gov’t to renew aliyah of Falashmura, as number of requests triples
Haaretz 30 Oct by Anshel Pfeffer — Twenty-three years after Operation Solomon, the airlift that was supposed to bring all the Jews from Ethiopia to Israel, Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar announced yesterday (Wednesday) that the saga of the Falashmura, descendants of Jews who converted to Christianity a century ago, is to continue. Saar, who is to resign next week, asked the government to extend by an additional year the mandate of a special exemptions committee that has been examining the cases of relatives of Ethiopian-Israelis who have not been allowed to emigrate to Israel. In effect, Sa’ar has left to his successor the difficult decision of whether to end aliyah from Ethiopia or reopen large-scale immigration to Israel. The surprising detail in his request from the government is that in the year since the “final” aliyah operation from Ethiopia ended, the number of those asking to emigrate has jumped from around 1,900 to 6,000.

Jerusalem light rail a symbol of Israeli oppression
Electronic Intifada 30 Oct by Adri Nieuwhof — In July, sixteen-year-old Muhammad Abu Khudair was kidnapped and killed by a group of Israelis who forced petrol down his throat and burnt him alive. Muhammad lived in Shuafat near a station of the Jerusalem light rail. Palestinian protesters immediately responded to Muhammad’s tragic death with attacks on the light rail because it is hated as a symbol of the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem since it was designed to connect the illegal settlements in the West Bank with West Jerusalem. It is painful for residents to see settlers pass their neighborhood on the train en route to settlements built on stolen Palestinian land. Meanwhile, Palestinians cannot circulate freely, even within Shuafat. The light rail line was constructed in the middle of the main road in the neighborhood, leaving only one tight lane for Palestinian traffic. Eight traffic lights along the Shuafat light rail stretch — one every 300 meters — have further slowed down the traffic. The lights are a burden because they are only green for about ten seconds. It’s unsurprising that the traffic lights were the second target the protesters destroyed

What does preventing a wedding have to do with Israel’s security? / Khaled Amayreh
PIC 9 Oct — Yes, I would like to receive an honest and convincing answer to my frustrating question. What does preventing a Hebron fiancée from being wed to her Gaza fiancé have to do with Israeli security? Does it constitute a security risk? Does it compromise Israeli security in any real manner? In recent months, I have left no stone unturned in order to obtain a real answer to my question from Israeli officials, but to no avail. Yes, I heard all sorts of prevarication and mendacious justifications and pretexts to justify the unjustifiable. My daughter Azhar, 19, was engaged to Abdullah Abu Allaban, 23, from Jabalya in the Gaza Strip last year. Their marriage certificate was officiated at the Islamic Sharia court in Dura near Hebron where we live. Ever since, she has been trying in vain to travel the 30 mile-distance from Hebron to Gaza to join her husband. (It is like the distance between Oklahoma City and Norman). We contacted the civil administration of the Israeli occupation and army and were told to contact the Palestinian Authority (PA) liaison office. However, when we did, we were told that the PA had no authority or power over these matters.  At the Israeli liaison office, a young female soldier told us rather sarcastically to “see Mahmoud Abbas, perhaps he could help you,” Mahmoud Abbas is the helpless chief of the helpless entity known as the Palestinian Authority. He is always at Israel’s beck and call. My daughter and her fiancé have never been involved in any wrong doing or security violations. However, Israel is so notorious for invoking the security mantra to justify denying Palestinians their basic rights….

1948 Palestinians

Thousands commemorate anniversary of Kafr Qasim massacre
KAFR QASIM (Ma‘an) 29 Oct — Thousands of Palestinians participated in a march on Wednesday in Israel commemorating the 58th anniversary of the Kafr Qasim massacre, amid a comprehensive strike across the city. Thousands marched to remember the deaths of nearly 50 Palestinian citizens of Israel shot dead in 1956 when a curfew was imposed on the village with no warning, a memory that evokes strong feelings in the 1.2 million strong Arab community.  Participants in the march dressed in black as a group of students performed a representation of the massacre dressed in Israeli army uniforms and carried guns as they set a checkpoint in the center of the city below a sign announcing a mock curfew. A statement released by a local popular committee marked the 58th anniversary of the massacre, highlighting that Israeli border guards killed “youths, elderly, women, and children as they were returning home” from the fields … The 1956 massacre took place on the first day of the Suez Canal war, as Israel expected Jordanians to launch an attack in solidarity with Egypt and thus imposed a 24-hour curfew on all Palestinians inside Israel on Oct. 29, 1956 with no prior warning. Residents of the village who returned from their nearby agricultural lands after curfew were slaughtered on sight by Israeli border guards, and the police officers who were found responsible for the deaths were never held responsible. The incident occurred only eight years after the 1948 Nakba in which around 800,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes in what is today in Israel, and it provoked fears that the slightly more than 100,000 who had managed to remained would be forced to flee as well. Until 1966, all Palestinians inside of Israel lived under martial law, and today continue to face widespread discrimination in all sectors of society.

Young Palestinians protect history and heritage in Galilee village
TARSHIHA (Electronic Intifada) 30 Oct by Yara Hawari — On Friday, 24 October, the village of Tarshiha in the upper western Galilee region of present-day Israel commemorated its fall to Zionist forces during the Nakba. Palestinians marked remembrance of the forced expulsion from their homeland in the late 1940s, in an event that they call Yom Tarshiha (Tarshiha Day). Yom Tarshiha has become an important day on the calendar for Palestinians in the Galilee. Nizar Hawari, one of the local Tarshiha Day organizers (and this reporter’s aunt), explained that the annual event is an attempt to make sure that the new generation in Tarshiha remembers the village’s history through the sharing and passing on of historical narratives. “Tarshiha is special,” she said. “It is an example of what happened to Palestine as a whole. Remembering what happened to our village is also important because time is running out for the older generation. We need to make sure their stories do not die with them.” The village was subjected to aerial bombardment and relentless artillery barrage on 28 October 1948. Many homes and buildings were destroyed and dozens of people were killed. By 1 November, most of the villagers had been forced to flee their homes into neighboring countries. According to historian Ilan Pappe in his seminal work The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, the order was given by the Zionist forces to “clear” Tarshiha. However some of the villagers remained close by to the village and were eventually allowed back to settle …  Today, the village has a population of approximately 5,000 including both Muslims and Christians. It is encircled by Jewish Israeli towns which are encroaching on their land and trying to marginalize the Palestinian identity of the village.

Talab Abu Arar: Israel’s demolition policy will push the 1948 Arabs to explode
NAZARETH (PIC) 30 Oct — Knesset member Talab Abu Arar said that Israel’s persistence in demolishing homes and Mosques in the Arab towns of the 1948 occupied lands would push the Arabs to explode in the face of the occupation. In a speech to the Knesset on Wednesday, Abu Arar stated that during one year, Israel had demolished several mosques with its premises in the 1948 occupied lands, the last one was in Al-Zarnuk village. He added that during the same period, hundreds of Palestinian homes were also razed in unrecognized Arab villages in the Negev desert. “The occupation’s actions has created wide resentment among the Palestinian youths, and the situation is on the verge of explosion any moment,” the lawmaker said.

Violence / Raids / Clashes / Suppression of protests / Illegal arrests

Official: Settler car knocks over 13-year-old Palestinian teen
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 29 Oct — An Israeli settler car knocked down a Palestinian teenager south of Nablus on Wednesday evening, a Palestinian official said. Ghassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settler activities in the norther West Bank, said 13-year-old Ibrahim Odeh was knocked down by the car on the Huwwara road. He was taken to Rafidia public hospital to be treated for moderate injuries. The settler fled the scene of the incident, although it is unclear whether it was accidental or intentional.

Shin Bet believes Yehuda Glick’s shooter had an accomplice
Haaretz 31 Oct by Yaniv Kubovich & Nir Hasson — The Shin Bet security service increasingly believes that the man suspected of shooting right-wing activist Yehuda Glick did not act alone. The agency surmises that Muataz Hijazi, the suspected shooter who was killed by Israeli police, planned the details of the assassination attempt. However, they believe it is likely an accomplice helped him perpetrate the attack on Wednesday. The Shin Bet is investigating the possibility that the accomplice waited outside Jerusalem’s Menachem Begin Heritage Center for the conference about Jewish rights on the Temple Mount to end, and for its participants to exit. Glick was shot in the chest and stomach by an assailant on a motorcycle who fled the scene. He remains in serious condition at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, where he underwent surgery following the attack.

Autopsy shows Hijazi shot more than 20 times
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 31 Oct — The initial autopsy report of a Palestinian man slain by Israeli soldiers early Thursday shows that he was shot all over the body at least 20 times and that his death was caused by severe bleeding from his chest, neck, hands, legs, lungs, and heart. The report is expected to add fuel to allegations by Palestinians that Israeli officers charged with arresting Mutaz Hijazi, 32, on suspicion of potential involvement in the shooting of a right-wing Jewish activist late Wednesday, instead executed him. A lawyer for the Addameer Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Muhammad Mahmoud said on Friday that he had received the autopsy reports from Sabi al-Alul, the director of the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute, where the autopsy was held. Mahmoud said that four of the bullets had struck Hijazi in the chest area, including heart and lungs, six hit his neck area, one hit his shoulder, one hit the right thigh, two hit his right arm, one hit his pelvis, three hit his right leg and four hit his left leg. Mahmoud said that the bullets in his arm had “deformed and crushed” his bones, and that the autopsy showed that different types of bullets had been used, presumably from a number of different weapons. Earlier reports said that Hijazi was shot and immobilized by Israeli police officers while on the rooftop of his home. The officers then ascended to the rooftop and reportedly dropped a water tank on his body, crushing him. The autopsy suggests he subsequently bled to death while on the roof, while Israeli soldiers reportedly prevented locals from reaching his body. Israeli police officers then allowed an ambulance to come but subsequently forced the driver to stop and stole Hijazi’s body from the back.  ‘Extrajudicial killings’  The killing of Hijazi set off a torrent of anger across Jerusalem, and is considered by many to be the second extrajudicial killing of a Palestinian in a week in the city by Israeli forces.
The first was Abd al-Rahman al-Shaludi, 21, who was shot in the back and killed by a policeman after he had exited his vehicle after driving it into a crowd of people near a light rail stop, killing a child. The killing, and the ferocious Israeli response, which included it deeming it a “terrorist attack” almost within minutes and launching raids across Palestinian neighborhoods of Jerusalem, spurred riots across the city.

Anger and doubt as hundreds march in Hijazi funeral
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 31 Oct — Around 300 Palestinians took part in the funeral of Mutaz Hijazi, 32, late Thursday, despite an Israeli court order that mandated that only 45 would be allowed to participate. The high participation in the nighttime funeral, held after Israeli forces returned his body after allegedly confiscating it from an ambulance the day before, reflected widespread anger in the neighborhood of al-Thawri in Silwan where Hijazi lived. Hijazi was killed early Thursday by Israeli forces who said he was a suspect in the shooting of right-wing Jewish activist Yehuda Glick. But the killing during what was presumably an arrest raid has raised tensions across Jerusalem and outraged many Palestinians, many of whom saw it as an extrajudicial killing. Hijazi’s mother told Ma‘an that she last saw her son Wednesday afternoon before he went to work and that she was in the nearby city of al-Eizariya when she heard the news that the al-Thawri neighborhood where they lived had been shut by police … Hijazi’s mother added that her son was detained when he was 17 years old for “participating in intifada activities” and that he was first sentenced to six years and held in solitary confinement before his detentions was renewed for another three years, and then another two.” “He spent 10 years in solitary confinement,” she added. “Why did not they detain and interrogate him? Why did they deliberately shoot and leave him to bleed to death?”

Thousands march across Gaza in solidarity with Jerusalem
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 31 Oct — Thousands of Palestinians marched on Friday across the Gaza Strip to condemn Israeli violations against the Al-Aqsa mosque compound and against policies of discrimination against Palestinians in Jerusalem. In the Jabaliya refugee camp Palestinians affiliated with the Hamas movement marched holding pictures of Mutaz Hijazi, a Jerusalemite slain by Israeli soldier early Thursday, and chanted slogans in support of Palestinian rights in Jerusalem. Hamas leader Fathi Hammad said that the Palestinian resistance would not remain silent toward violations against Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa mosque, which was closed for the first time since 1967 by Israeli authorities on Thursday. In Gaza City, meanwhile, Islamic Jihad-affiliated Palestinians and dozens of armed al-Quds brigades fighters took part in a march condemning Israeli violations in Jerusalem.

The fraud that is the Temple Mount movement
972mag 31 Oct by Larry Derfner — Following the murder attempt on Yehuda Glick, the claim is being made – and getting a more sympathetic hearing than usual – that he and his colleagues have been leading a civil rights movement for Jews. Don’t believe it — Ten years ago I interviewed Likud Knesset member Moshe Feiglin in his office in the West Bank settlement Karnei Shomron. On his wall was a framed aerial photograph of the Temple Mount – but the Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock didn’t appear. In their place stood an illustrated, rebuilt Jewish Temple. I’ve heard that this photo and others like it are big sellers in Jerusalem.Feiglin was at the Wednesday night conference in Jerusalem’s Menachem Begin Heritage Center where Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick was shot and critically wounded by a Palestinian. Also present was Yehuda Etzion, who was imprisoned in the early 1980s for leading a plot within the “Jewish Terror Underground” to blow up the Dome of the Rock. Feiglin wasn’t the only extreme anti-Arab Likud MK at the gathering; Miri Regev and others were there too. The conference was titled “Israel Returns to the Temple Mount.”

Islamic Jihad: Glick shooting ‘natural response’
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 30 Oct  — The Islamic Jihad movement said Thursday that Palestinians in Jerusalem are in a “defense state” facing Israeli forces and settlers who aim to control Jerusalem. Daoud Shihab, Islamic Jihad spokesperson, told Ma‘an that the apparent assassination attempt of Israeli right-wing activist Yehuda Glick was a “natural response” to defend Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa mosque. Shihab added that “Glick deserved what he got; he encouraged killing Palestinian children and was an associate in killing Palestinian child Muhammad Ahu Khdeir.”

Qaraqe: Glick shooter ‘hero’ of Palestinian prisoner movement
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 30 Oct — Chairman of the Palestinian Department of Prisoner Affairs Issa Qaraqe on Thursday defended the legacy of a man killed by Israeli forces the day before after being accused of shooting a right-wing extremist, calling him a “hero” who had “defended freedom.” Muataz Hijazi was shot dead in his Silwan apartment by Israeli soldiers after a brief gun battle, only hours after Israeli authorities say he opened fire and wounded Yehuda Glick, a US-born extremist rabbi who has called for the destruction of the Al-Aqsa mosque. Qaraqe noted in a statement that Hijazi had served nearly a dozen years in Israeli prisons, stressing that he had “faced death slowly in Israeli occupation jails where he was savagely tortured.” “Hijazi was one of the heroes of the Palestinian prisoners’ movement who defended freedom and dignity,” he added.

VIDEO: Shut out of al-Aqsa, Palestinians pray in the street
posted 31 Oct by Sawt El Ghad

Jordan: Temple Mount closure = Israeli terrorism
Ynet 30 Oct by Roi Kais — Condemnation rains on Israel from its Arab neighbors; Jordanian minister says al-Aqsa won’t be closed to Muslim worshipers under any excuse — Closing Temple Mount for Muslim worshipers was “a dangerous escalation by the Israeli authorities and state terrorism that is unacceptable and we cannot keep quiet about it,” Hael Abd-el Hafiz Daud, the Jordanian Minister for Sacred Properties and Islamic Holy Sites said Thursday.  T he decision to close the holy site – that houses the al-Aqsa mosque – to both Jewish and Muslim worshipers came in the wake of an attempt on a Temple Mount activist’s life on Wednesday night in Jerusalem. The Jordanian minister warned that al-Aqsa must not be a victim to the attempted murder on Rabbi Yehuda Glick … Egypt’s Grand Mufti Shawki Ibrahim Abdel-Karim Allam strongly condemned Israel’s decision to bar entrance to the Temple Mount, saying it was an offense to Muslim sensibilities all over the world and a blunt violation of international decisions.,7340,L-4586342,00.html

Closure of al-Aqsa a ‘declaration of war’: Abbas
RAMALLAH (AFP) 30 Oct — Israel’s closure of the flashpoint al-Aqsa mosque compound to all visitors following the shooting of a Jewish hardliner is tantamount to a “declaration of war,” Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said Thursday.  “This dangerous Israeli escalation is a declaration of war on the Palestinian people and its sacred places and on the Arab and Islamic nation,” his spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina quoted him as saying.

Muslim men over 50 pray at Jerusalem’s Aqsa mosque amid tight security
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 31 Oct by Luke Baker — Muslim men over 50 prayed at the Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City on Friday amid intense security, a day after Israel closed all access to the sacred compound for the first time in more than a decade following violence on the streets. More than 1,000 Israeli police were deployed around the Old City’s cobbled streets and the ancient gates that lead to al Aqsa, a spokeswoman said, in addition to undercover anti-riot units and observation balloons floating in the sky.

Analysis: The political orphans of Jerusalem revolt / Daoud Kuttab
Ma‘an 30 Oct — For years, governing powers in the Middle East have worked hard at decimating the leadership structure of any opposing group. Experts credit the success of various revolts and protests during the past three years to a leaderless revolution that governments were unable to predict or to stop. In a strange way, this is what is happening in Jerusalem today. The city’s 300,000 Palestinian Arabs are political orphans and totally leaderless. Israel physically separated the Palestinians of East Jerusalem from their natural connections to their brothers and sisters in outlaying areas, in Ramallah and Bethlehem and throughout the West Bank and Gaza. Political leaderships have been regularly annihilated and any connection to the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah has been outlawed. This is often seen by the ridiculous Israeli decisions to ban a children’s puppet festival or the launch of a film on the problems of drug use in the Old City simply because it received funding from or through the Palestinian government in Ramallah. The Palestinians of Jerusalem are totally stateless. Unlike the rest of Palestinians in the occupied territories, they are prevented from holding a Palestinian passport. Most carry a Jordanian passport without having Jordanian citizenship. Some have opted to apply for Israeli citizenship, an option available to them after Israel’s unilateral annexation of the city in 1967, but even this option is not automatic. Palestinian institutions like the Orient House and the chamber of commerce have been ordered closed by the emergency regulations. Except for Faisal Husseini, who died “seemingly” from a heart attack in Kuwait in 2001, no other Palestinian leader has been allowed to emerge to represent this orphaned Palestinian population…
The attacks on Al-Aqsa have also encouraged newly unrecognized leaders of sorts. The Tahrir Party is now one of the strongest in terms of sheer presence in the mosque. Another group that has drawn the attention and anger of the Israelis is the Islamic movement from the north of Israel, which is headed by Sheikh Raed Salah. He is often imprisoned or denied for months entry or even proximity to the Old City of Jerusalem. A new phenomenon has been successful to a certain extent in defending the mosque from attempts by Jewish radicals to claim sovereignty in it: The Women of Al Aqsa. These women, referred to as murabitat, literally hold daily teachings in the mosque’s courtyard and shout out religious hymns or slogans if the infiltrating Jewish radicals attempt to pray on the grounds of Al Aqsa, which is a clear violation of the status quo.

Jerusalem Palestinian youths ready for new intifada
JERUSALEM (AFP) 30 Oct by Sarah Benhaida– Fourteen-year-old Hisham, who was born around the start of the second Palestinian intifada, dreams of a new uprising so he can play his part in “defending” Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque. Al-Aqsa, situated in the heart of Jerusalem’s Old City, is the buzzword for Hisham and his contemporaries — most of whom refuse to give their real or full names — since it once again became the focal point of the intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Al-Aqsa mosque compound, the third holiest site in Islam and Judaism’s holiest — known to Jews as the Temple Mount — represents for Palestinian youngsters the Israeli occupation and the oppression it brings. For Hisham, who peers with hazel eyes from beneath his grey hooded sweatshirt, the increasing number of Jewish visits to the site is the same thing as the more and more frequent arrest raids by Israeli security forces around his home in Shuafat refugee camp of annexed east Jerusalem. “At 3:00 am, the soldiers come into the camp, impose a curfew, search the area, and then break and enter” into the houses of their targets. “We’re used to it. All the young people go in and out of prison on a regular basis.” …  ‘Only God on our side’ And the ritual, daily humiliation of passing through checkpoints, being searched and sometimes abused, quickly begins to take its toll. Abu Mussa, a scout, was recently roughed up at a checkpoint. “You have to be totally submissive, like a sheep, not to have problems with them (Israeli soldiers),” he said. No one stands up for the Palestinians, said Abu Mussa — “neither the Israeli courts, nor any Palestinian institutions. We only have God on our side.”

8 Palestinians injured as Israeli forces open fire on Qalandia march
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 31 Oct — Eight Palestinians were injured on Friday after Israeli forces opened fire on demonstrators during clashes following Friday prayers near the Qalandia checkpoint north of Jerusalem. Several Palestinians were also injured by rubber-coated steel bullets and dozens suffered from suffocation from inhaling tear gas as Israeli soldiers fired large number of tear-gas grenades at the crowds. The march of hundreds to the flashpoint military checkpoint on the road between Ramallah and Jerusalem came as part of a Day of Rage across the West Bank in protest against Israeli authorities’ killing of a man early Thursday and the day-long closure of the Al-Aqsa mosque — the third holiest site in Islam — for the first time since 1967. Following Friday noon prayers, hundreds of Palestinians marched towards the Qalandia military checkpoint. Soldiers deployed heavily, firing tear-gas bombs and stun grenades towards Palestinian youths who responded with rocks and Molotov cocktails. Medical sources at the Palestine Medical Center in Ramallah named one of the victims as Youssef Muhammad al-Khatib, 26, who was critically injured with four bullets across his body … An Israeli military spokeswoman told Ma’an that around 400 Palestinians were taking part in a “riot .. hurling rocks, molotov cocktails, and burning tires.” She said she was aware of a number of injuries but that these had been caused by border police, not the military.

Palestinians injured as Israeli forces disperse march
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 31 Oct — Three Palestinians were injured with rubber-coated steel bullets, and dozens choked on tear gas as clashes erupted at the western entrance of Silwad in eastern Ramallah. Dozens of Palestinians took part in a march that set off from the mosques of the town toward the western entrance in support of Jerusalem. Israeli soldiers deployed in the area fired tear-gas bombs heavily to disperse the march as Palestinians threw back rocks and Molotov cocktails.

Six Palestinians kidnapped in Jerusalem, West Bank
IMEMC 31 Oct — Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Thursday evening and on Friday at dawn, at least six Palestinians in different parts of the occupied West Bank, and occupied Jerusalem. One of the kidnapped is the head of the Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan. Local sources in Zababda town, south of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, have reported that the soldiers kidnapped one Palestinian and searched several other homes. The sources said the soldiers kidnapped Aysar Ibrahim Turkman, 30, after storming and ransacking his home, and several nearby homes, and took him to an unknown destination. Several soldiers also surrounded the home of former political prisoner Ahmad Sharqawi, and interrogated him while searching and ransacking his property.  They also conducted searches in different parts of the town.  The Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan, in occupied Jerusalem, has reported that the soldiers kidnapped the center’s head Jawad Siyam, his nephew Yazan Siyam, and two other Palestinians identified as Mahmoud Gheith and Montaser Faraj. The Center said the kidnapped were moved to the al-Maskobiyya interrogation center in West Jerusalem. On Thursday at night, soldiers invaded the Sawahra ash-Sharqiyya town, east of Jerusalem, and kidnapped a young man. Israeli sources said the soldiers searched the house of the kidnapped Palestinian, and allegedly located two Kalashnikov rifles and a pistol.

Soldiers kidnap seven Palestinians in West Bank
IMEMC 30 Oct by Saed Bannoura — The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) has reported that Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Thursday at dawn, at least seven Palestinians in different communities in the occupied West Bank. The PPS said many military vehicles invaded Qarawat Bani Hassan town, in the central West Bank district of Salfit, broke into several homes and violently searched them, and kidnapped five Palestinians … Soldiers also invaded the Jenin refugee camp, in the northern West Bank city of Jenin, and kidnapped ‘Aseed Haitham Abu Zeina, 24, after ransacking his home. The army further installed a number of roadblocks around the Ya‘bad village, west of Jenin. In addition, several military vehicles invaded Deir Abu Mashal village, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and kidnapped a Palestinian identified as ‘Odai Yahia al-Barghouthi, 21. The soldiers handed several Palestinians military warrants for interrogation at a nearby military and security base.
On Wednesday evening, soldiers handed two Palestinians military warrants ordering one of them to demolish his home, and the other to stop the construction. Coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements, Ahmad Salah, told the WAFA news agency that the soldiers, and personnel of the “Civil Administration Office,” invaded Om Rokba area, and handed resident Khaled Saleh Salah a military order to demolish his 140 square/meter home.  Resident Mohammad Ali Mousa, 38, received an order to stop the conduction of his 100 square/meter home.  The army previously demolished the home of Mousa three times before, while many homes in Om Rokba are facing the same threats.

Prisoners / Court actions

Israeli court decides to keep manager of Al-Aqsa TV in custody
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 30 Oct — An Israeli military court has decided to jail the West Bank manager of the Hamas-affiliated al-Aqsa TV channel for four more months without trial under so-called administrative detention. Family members of Aziz Kayid, 50, told the Ahrar center for prisoner studies and human rights that the family was disappointed “though they expected the decision.” Kayid was detained on June 17 from his house in Ramallah in the central West Bank and since then he has been held without trial.


Young man shot by Israeli navy off northern Gaza
IMEMC/Agencies 31 Oct — The Israeli navy opened fire on Wednesday morning, against Palestinian fishermen, and shot a young man off Beit Lahia shores, in the northern Gaza Strip. According to Al Ray correspondence, he sustained moderate injuries after being shot in the thigh and transferred to al-Shefa hospital. The Israeli navy has attacked Gaza fishermen several times since the Gaza ceasefire took effect, although the terms of the truce deal provide Israel stop its attacks and expand the fishing zone. By mid-September, some 26 Israeli violations of the ceasefire had been documented.

Egypt starts work on Gaza buffer after bombing
CAIRO (AFP) 29 Oct by Jay Deshmukh — Egypt began demolishing houses along its border with Gaza on Wednesday to set up a buffer zone to prevent militant infiltration and arms smuggling following a wave of deadly attacks. The move, which will see about 800 homes razed, comes after a suicide bomber killed 30 soldiers in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, which borders the Palestinian territory, last Friday … The authorities want to establish a 500 metre (yard) wide buffer zone along the 10 kilometre (six mile) long border with Gaza. Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab issued a decree on Wednesday formally ordering the establishment of the buffer zone. “If any resident of the area earmarked to be closed off does not move out voluntarily, his property will be confiscated,” said the decree, carried by state news agency MENA. In the town of Rafah, which straddles the Egypt-Gaza border, witnesses reported seeing dozens of families leaving homes on the Egyptian side, their furniture piled into trucks. Bulldozers began razing abandoned houses along the border as military helicopters hovered overhead. The authorities said those whose homes were demolished would receive compensation, but not all residents were convinced … An analyst said the buffer marks a shift in Egypt’s strategy to confront militant attacks. “It is an operation to isolate terrorists in an area empty of people, in turn facilitating targeting of terrorists and also reducing civilian casualties,” said Eman Ragad, an expert on regional security at Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. “But we are not sure whether this area is a stronghold of terrorists or just an operational base.” Egypt suspects Palestinian militants of aiding attacks that have increased since the army ousted president Mohamed Morsi last year.

Reconstruction material enters Gaza via Kerem Shalom
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 30 Oct — Israeli authorities on Thursday allowed several trucks of reconstruction material to enter the Gaza Strip via the Kerem Shalom crossing. Director of the Kerem Shalom crossing Munir al-Ghalban said in a statement that reconstruction material for the private sector entered Gaza for the private sector in order to be distributed to those whose homes were damaged. Al-Ghalban added that four cement trucks, seven steel trucks, and fifteen aggregate trucks entered through the crossing. Israel allowed 75 trucks full of reconstruction material to enter the strip in mid-October. An estimated 110,000 Palestinians were left homeless by Israel’s massive assault on Gaza over the summer, and Palestinian leaders and the international communities have decried Israel’s refusal to crossings into Gaza to allow a sufficient amount of reconstruction material to enter.

Crossing to Cairo: A Palestinian diary / Rana Baker
Electronic Intifada 31 Oct — Each time Egyptian president Abdulfattah al-Sisi, at his whim, or the whim of the Zionists to whom he seems to have pledged the only truthful allegiance he thus far has made, declares the Rafah crossing to be “closed until further notice,” I am whisked back to September last year, when I, like many students, was locked up in Gaza unable to exit to pursue my graduate studies in London. The episodes I had gone through were outrageously hilarious. The keyword was wasta — unofficial, but life-saving, connections. At the time, the Hamas government in Gaza had closed down its registration chambers because they could not accommodate the number of people who were restless to leave the Strip to whatever country that awaited them, to the prosperous outside world. I wanted a ticket too and was anxious to get news of any new Egyptian whim which would allow the Rafah crossing to be re-opened. Instead, the news that kept flowing was all variations of “the internet network has collapsed, we will re-open the ma’bar once it has been fixed.” Assholes, I thought. A couple of weeks later, the Egyptians indeed re-opened the crossing for a day or two and there was finally some space for new travelers to acquire the glamorous tickets. Ill-tempered Hamas employees greeted us, but we were not any less ill-tempered. Those with European visas were treated as more “urgent” cases than those without; the visas were proof of something I do not remember. I was an obliging member of this lot and, sweat streaming down my face as if in a battlefield, I got my ticket with a triumphant look on my face, or so I thought. In the queue, an exasperated woman behind me declared that she was “never ever” going to visit Gaza again. She explained that she would not be willing to go through this “garaf,” dirt, again. I nodded in agreement. “You shouldn’t have come in the first place”, I said. She nodded back, which felt like a collusion precisely because we both expressed what we would have been ashamed to express in public….

Nobel-winning schoolgirl Malala donates her latest $50,000 prize to help rebuild schools in Gaza damaged in fighting
MailOnline 30 Oct by Chris Pleasance — Malala Yousafzai, the schoolgirl shot in the head by the Taliban for championing girls’ right to education, is donating $50,000 to help rebuild schools in Gaza. Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala, 17, is using cash she was given for winning the World Children’s Prize to rebuild U.N. schools destroyed by fighting between Israel and Palestine. Malala, who was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen on a school bus two years ago, praised the U.N. agency for ‘performing heroic work to serve children in Gaza, in very difficult circumstances.’ She added: ‘The needs are overwhelming – more than half of Gaza’s population is under 18 years of age. They want and deserve quality education, hope and real opportunities to build a future. ‘This funding will help rebuild the 83 schools damaged during the recent conflict. Innocent Palestinian children have suffered terribly and for too long.

World Bank approves $62 million for Gaza reconstruction
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 31 Oct — The World Bank on Friday endorsed a new assistance strategy for Palestine and approved $62 million in grants for post-war reconstruction in the Gaza Strip. In a statement, the bank said its new strategy would focus on supporting state-building through service delivery and job creation. “The Strategy will balance short-term stabilization and Gaza reconstruction activities with operations and analysis that promote sustainable growth,” Inger Andersen, the World Bank’s vice president for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement … According to the statement, the projects will include $41 million in budget support to the Palestinian Authority and $21 million toward the reconstruction of Gaza infrastructure.

International observers witness the impact of ‘Operation Protective Edge’ on Gaza
GAZA/STOCKHOLM (Right Livelihood Award Foundation 30 Oct Press Release — On October 28th, a five-member delegation from Europe and Guatemala entered Gaza. They included the European President of the World Council of Churches and Former Archbishop of Uppsala, Church of Sweden, Archbishop Emeritus Anders Wejryd, Founder and Co-Chair, Right Livelihood Award Foundation Jakob von Uexkull, Guatemalan Right Livelihood Award winner, Helen Mack Chang (RLA 1992) and Deputy Director of the International Legal Assistance Consortium (ILAC) Agneta Johansson. They went to Gaza to reaffirm their fullest solidarity with Raji Sourani and his colleagues at the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), and to inquire into the threats and restrictions Raji Sourani and his colleagues face….

Rocket fired from Gaza hits southern Israel
JERUSALEM (AFP) 31 Oct — A rocket fired from Gaza hit southern Israel on Friday, the Israeli army said, although there were no reports of casualties or damage. “A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit the Eshkol area in southern Israel,” said the spokesman for the army, adding that it was the first rocket to strike Israeli territory since September 16.

Gazans ‘liberate Palestine’ in new computer game
Haaretz 30 Oct by Oded Yaron — A new computer game developed in Gaza, “The Liberation of Palestine,” invites players to liberate Palestine by all means at their disposal, including force. In a promotional Arabic-language video trailer that was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute, the game is depicted as teaching players that force is preferable to negotiations. Players are also required, however, to forge diplomatic alliances within the region and arrange prisoner swaps. The game’s broader aim, the developers say, is to develop “a spirit of resistance among Palestinian children.” Games dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have aroused a great deal of controversy. During last summer’s fighting between Israel and Hamas and its allies in Gaza, Google removed from its Play Store several downloadable computer games featuring the bombing of the Gaza Strip. Among them were “Bomb Gaza” and “Gaza Assault: Code Red.”

Activism / Solidarity / BDS

IDF refusenik goes on hunger strike
Haaretz 30 Oct by Gili Cohen — Udi Segal, a conscientious objector who has already spent 50 days in a military jail, has launched a hunger strike. Segal was due to be sentenced to a further jail term on Thursday afternoon by commanders at the army’s induction center, for refusing to be drafted by the IDF. “I’ve decided to go on a hunger strike since I believe that my imprisonment is illegitimate,” Segal told Haaretz. “My refusal is based on ideological grounds, mainly because of the occupation. I decided to refuse to be inducted since I object to being part of any military apparatus. I attended a Jewish-Arab school and before being drafted I realized that doing so would throw to the winds everything I had learned, since coexistence and occupation do not go together.”

Bay Area activists declare victory after Israeli carrier cancels all ships
Electronic Intifada 31 Oct by Charlotte Silver — On 28 October, San Francisco Bay Area activists organizing to block the unloading of Israeli shipping vessels declared their most significant victory yet: Israel’s Zim Integrated Shipping Services appears to have cancelled all future shipments to the Oakland Port. This past summer, at the peak of Israel’s brutal bombardment of Gaza, the Bay Area’s Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC) mobilized the community in response to the military assault. Deciding to focus on a tangible, highly-visible and big-money target, the group set its sights on Israel’s Zim lines, determined to block the company every time it tried to dock a ship at the busy Port of Oakland. But they didn’t know it would take only three months to send Israel’s largest shipping company packing — possibly for good — in what looks like an effort to avoid the tireless activists who have consistently out-maneuvered the cargo ships.

Boycotters declare victory as SodaStream retreats from West Bank
Electronic Intifada 30 Oct by Asa Winstanley — Israeli drink machine company SodaStream announced yesterday that it will close its settlement-based factory in the occupied West Bank in 2015. The move was instantly hailed as a victory by campaigners for the boycott of Israel, who said they would continue to target SodaStream for its other human rights violations. In a press release, Rafeef Ziadah, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), said the announcement “shows that the BDS movement is increasingly capable of holding corporate criminals to account for their participation in Israeli apartheid and colonialism.”

Rights abuses make AHAVA a tough sell
Electronic Intifada 31 Oct by Maureen Clare Murphy — The same week that carbonated drink machine manufacturer SodaStream announced that will close its West Bank factory next year, it was confirmed that the upscale online shopping website Gilt no longer carries AHAVA Dead Sea cosmetics. Both SodaStream and AHAVA are targets of consumer boycott campaigns in support of Palestinian rights. Like SodaStream products, AHAVA Dead Sea Laboratories cosmetics are manufactured in an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank. The company also excavates minerals and mud from Palestinian land for its products. Both of these practices are in violation of international law. Ugly reality A video released this week by the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq, which can be viewed at the top of this page, breaks down how AHAVA profits from Israel’s colonization of the West Bank.

Other news

Egypt has right to build Gaza buffer zone: US
WASHINGTON (AFP) 30 Oct — Egypt has the right to use a Gaza buffer zone to boost its security, but should also be concerned about the impact on local communities, the United States said Thursday. “Certainly we believe that Egypt has the right to take steps to maintain their own security. And we understand the threat that they are facing from the Sinai,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. Egypt began demolishing houses along its border with Gaza on Wednesday to set up a buffer zone to prevent militants sneaking into the Sinai desert, and to curb arms smuggling following a wave of deadly attacks. The move, which will see about 800 homes razed, comes after a suicide bomber killed 30 soldiers on the Sinai Peninsula, which borders the Palestinian territory, last Friday. Washington has long insisted that Egypt is a key ally in the regional fight against jihadists. “We also continue to encourage them to take into account those that would be internally displaced by this,” she added.

Kerry calls Netanyahu to apologize for insults from American officials
Ynet 31 Oct by Attila Somfalvi — US Secretary of State John Kerry called Primer Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, to apologise for the derisory comments made about him by US officials and published earlier this week by The Atlantic. The Prime Minister’s Office confirmed Friday that the conversation had taken place. In an article published Tuesday, columnist Jeffrey Goldberg quoted several American officials who insulted Netanyahu, including one who called the prime minister “chickenshit”. Another said that he was interested solely in his own political future. According to Goldberg, over the years Washington officials have described Netanyahu as recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, and pompous – but none of these insults were as surprising, he says, as “chickenshit.” … Kerry said Thursday that the comments were “outrageous and unacceptable.”,7340,L-4586572,00.html

UN watchdog slams Israel abuses, demands Gaza war probe
GENEVA (AFP) 30 Oct — A UN human rights watchdog on Thursday urged Israel to respect the rights of Palestinians, and demanded the country probe violations committed during repeated assaults on Gaza. With tensions soaring in East Jerusalem, and months of almost daily clashes, the UN Human Rights Committee published conclusions Thursday from its review earlier this month of Israel’s human rights record. The committee lamented continued punitive demolitions of Palestinian homes in the West Bank, excessive force by the Israel Defence Forces and decried reports of the use of torture and ill-treatment of Palestinians, including children, in Israeli detention facilities. It also slammed the “continuing confiscation and expropriation of Palestinian land and restrictions on access of Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.” The body, which oversees global rules on civil and political rights, and submits governments to regular reviews, also voiced concern over alleged human rights abuses during three Israeli military operations in Gaza since late 2008

Sweden recognizes Palestinian state, Israel recalls envoy
STOCKHOLM (AFP) 30 Oct by Camille Bas-Wohlert– Sweden on Thursday officially recognised the state of Palestine, becoming the first EU member in western Europe to do so, prompting Israel to recall its ambassador to Stockholm. “We are not picking sides. We’re choosing the side of the peace process,” Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstroem told reporters as she explained the controversial decision. Just hours after the Swedish announcement, Israel said it was recalling its ambassador to Stockholm for “consultations”. “This indeed reflects our irritation and annoyance at this unhelpful decision, which does not contribute to a return to (peace) negotiations,” Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon told AFP … Wallstroem wrote Thursday in the daily Dagens Nyheter that recognition “is an important step that confirms the Palestinians’ right to self-determination.” “We hope that this will show the way for others.” … Sweden’s announcement brings to 135 the number of countries that recognise the state of Palestine, including seven EU members in eastern Europe and the Mediterranean — Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, Poland and Romania. Non-EU member Iceland is the only other western European nation to have done so.

Israel backing out of US V-22 aircraft sale
JERUSALEM (AFP) 30 Oct — Israel’s defence minister is dropping the purchase of US V-22 Osprey aircraft, raising concerns that this could further chill already frosty relations with Washington, Israel Hayom daily said Thursday. The mass-circulation freesheet, considered close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said Moshe Yaalon’s decision went against the Israeli military’s wishes. The paper linked the move to budget constraints, lessons learned from the 50-day summer war in the Gaza Strip and the recent conclusion of an agreement to buy a second batch of costly Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighters.The V-22 Osprey is an advanced vertical takeoff and landing transport aircraft.Israel Hayom said the planned purchase of six Ospreys would have made Israel the first country outside the United States to deploy them (listserv)