Archive for November 28, 2016

November 28, 2016

Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem

PPS: 2 Palestinian teens assaulted by Israeli forces during detention
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 28 Nov — Two Palestinian minors have accused Israeli forces of assaulting them while in custody, a lawyer from the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said on Sunday. Ammar Tawfiq Abu Hilal, 15, and Jihad Elayyan, 16, who were both taken to the Ofer detention center in the occupied West Bank, told PPS that they were severely mistreated by Israeli soldiers. Abu Hilal said that Israeli soldiers held him by his neck and tried to strangle him when they detained him from his home in the village of Dura in the Hebron district, adding that the soldiers deliberately escalated violence after he told them he was sick. Abu Hilal suffers from pulmonary fibrosis and trachea inflammation, and needs injections twice a day. Abu Hilal added that Israeli forces then took him to an Israeli watchtower and continued beating him to force him to confess that he had thrown rocks. The teen was then left outdoors under the heat for two hours, and was not given food nor water for 12 hours. Meanwhile, Elayyan told PPS that Israeli soldiers assaulted him during his detention on Oct. 31, hitting him deliberately in the legs and causing fractures in his ankle and toes. The teenager was then taken to Ofer, before being transferred to the Hadassah medical center for treatment.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=774158

Shop owner in Hebron got both his front windows smashed by celebrating settlers
HEBRON 27 Nov by ISM, Khalil Team — This weekend in al-Khalil brought thousands of extremist Jews and settlers from all over Israel and abroad to celebrate the week’s Torah study on Chayei Sara  (Life of Sarah), where Abraham purchases the cave of Machpelah (which they think is in al-Khalil) in order to bury his wife Sarah.  On Friday evening, a group of settlers coming from the illegal settlement Kiryat Arba attacked one of the two remaining Palestinian shops on their way to the Ibrahim Mosque in Hebron, which partly serves as their synagogue since the settler terror attack on February 25 1994. The Israeli soldiers present did not prevent them from committing this crime. After threatening the shop owner and his customers, and smashing both shop-front windows, they continued on their way to the religious festival, loudly shouting and singing.  Although some Israeli forces along the street clearly witnessed this criminal incident, they let the settler-group go unhindered, leaving the traumatized shop-owner with the damage and the costs. Attacking shops isn’t a rarity for colonial settlers….
https://palsolidarity.org/2016/11/shop-owner-in-hebron-got-both-his-front-windows-smashed-by-celebrating-settlers/

Israeli forces detain 2 teenage Palestinian girls in Hebron area
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 28 Nov — In two separate incidents, Israeli forces detained two teenage Palestinian girls in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron on Monday evening. Local sources told Ma‘an that Manar Khalid Ahmad Abu Madi, 18, was detained near the illegal Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba allegedly having a knife in her possession. Israeli forces also detained Aya Salim Abu Markhiyah, 16, near the al-Shuhada street checkpoint in Hebron’s Old City. It remained unclear why Markhiyah was detained.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=774180

Army abducts eight Palestinians in the West Bank
IMEMC 27 Nov — Israeli soldiers abducted, overnight and at dawn Sunday, at least eight Palestinians, including former political prisoners, in different parts of the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported. The Jenin office of the PPS, in the northern part of the West Bank, said the soldiers invaded and violently searched many homes, and abducted three Palestinians, identified as Tareq Oweiss and Mohammad Zeidan al-Jada‘, both former political prisoners, in addition to Akram Malalha. In Nablus, in the northern part of the West Bank, the soldiers also searched homes and abducted Mohammad Jamil Khatatba, from Beit Forik town, south of Nablus city. In Jerusalem, the soldiers abducted Monther Suleiman, 19, after holding him under house arrest for two years. In Bethlehem, the soldiers abducted Omran Yousef Najajra and Abdul-Karim Mohammad Shakarna, after invading their homes and searching them. In Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank, the soldiers abducted Mohammad Ahmad Najjar, from the al-Fawwar refugee camp, south of the city, after searching his home. Najjar is a former political prisoner who spent many years in Israeli prisons, and is a known activist in detainees’ rights. The PPS stated that the soldiers have abducted more than eleven Palestinians over the past two days, in different parts of the West Bank.
http://imemc.org/article/army-abducts-eight-palestinians-in-the-west-bank/

Israeli forces detain 17 Palestinians in overnight West Bank, Jerusalem raids
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 Nov — Israeli forces detained at least 17 Palestinians between Sunday evening and Monday dawn across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, Palestinian and Israeli sources said. According to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS), six Palestinians were detained in the southern West Bank district of Hebron. PPS identified the detainees as Palestinian lawmaker Azzam Nuaman Salhab, Anas Hatem Qafisha, Asim Amr Ubeido, Ayman Qawasmeh, Islam Deib Maslama, 13, and Adham Akram al-Rujbi, 19. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that Israeli forces detained five “Hamas operatives” in the city of Hebron, and another Palestinian in the village of Beit Awwa. In the Bethlehem district, PPS reported that Israeli forces detained Qasim Mahmoud Ayesh, 18, and Hamza Ibrahim Malash. The army spokesperson said that one Palestinian was detained in the Bethlehem-area ‘Aida refugee camp, while another was detained in the village of Artas. In the central West Bank district of Jerusalem, Israeli forces detained 20 year-old Raed Anwar Shihda al-Khatib, 20, Muhammad Fahmi Yaqoub, and 21 year-old Yousif Nazmi Shamasna, the brother of slain Palestinian Muhammad Shamasna, PPS said. The army reported one detention in the village of Qatanna, and one in the Qalandiya refugee camp in the Jerusalem district. Elsewhere in the central West Bank, PPS reported the detention of Nour Fayiq Ghazawi in the al-Jalazun refugee camp, and of Imad Sawarqa in Jericho. The army confirmed one detention in al-Jalazun, but did not give any information regarding detentions in the Jericho area. Meanwhile, in East Jerusalem, PPS reported that Israeli police detained Mutasem Miswida, Yousif al-Natsheh, Ibrahim al-Natsheh, and Muntaser Siyam on Sunday evening….
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=774168

Bethlehem student unions urge Israel to return bodies of slain Palestinians
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 Nov — Three student unions from universities in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem announced on Sunday that they would be “launching activities” in support of Palestinian families whose slain children’s’ bodies are being held by Israel. In a joint statement released Sunday, the student unions of Bethlehem University, Palestine Ahliya University, and al-Quds Open University – Bethlehem, slammed the Israeli government for holding the bodies of slain Palestinian alleged attackers” to punish their families and silence their voices.” The government’s policy, the statement added, was a “type of war crime that the Israeli occupation adds to its criminal records.”  The statement was released after representatives of the unions and represents of the Fatah youth movement met with families whose children’s bodies are being held in Israel. Israeli authorities dramatically escalated a policy of withholding Palestinian bodies killed by Israeli forces following the emergence of a wave of unrest across the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel in October 2015, having repeatedly claimed that funerals of Palestinians had provided grounds for “incitement” against the Israeli state….
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=774163

Sentences  / Court actions

Israel police release Bedouin activist arrested over satirical Facebook post about fires
Haaretz 27 Nov by Jack Khoury — ‘Police should stop using Google Translate,’ lawmaker says after Anas Abudaabes freed on bail. — Israel Police released on Sunday a Bedouin activist who was arrested on suspicion of inciting to arson because of a satirical Facebook post he wrote. Anas Abudaabes, 29, an activist from the southern Bedouin town of Rahat, was arrested Thursday after he posted two Facebook posts that were critical of Arabs who see the fires plaguing Israel as punishment for a bill that seeks to silence mosque loudspeakers. Abudaabes says the police mistranslated one of his posts, reaching the mistaken conclusion that he encouraged on Arabs to set fires. The police’s decision to release Abudaabes came only a few hours after they had asked the Be’er Sheva District Court to deny his appeal of a lower court decision. In a hearing on Saturday, the court ruled Abudaabes could be held in detention until Monday. After the court ruling on Sunday, the police obtained further material about Abudaabes’ Facebook posts, including responses that showed others understood his posts to be satirical, which lead to his being freed on bail. Under the terms of his release, Abudaabes, who was freed on bail, will remain under house arrest for five days and will not be allowed to use Facebook for 15 days.”The police should stop using Google Translate,” Knesset member Osama Saadia (Joint List), who accompanied Abudaabes in court in Be’er Sheva, said, adding that they made a mountain out of a molehill….
http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.755627

Israel sentences wounded Palestinian woman to 3 years in prison for attempted stabbing
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 27 Nov — An Israeli military court sentenced a wounded Palestinian woman to three years in prison for attempting to carry out a stabbing attack nearly a year earlier in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) reported on Sunday evening. According to PPS lawyer Akram Samara, the Ofer military court sentenced Abla al-Adam, 45, after convicting her of attempting to stab an Israeli soldier on Dec. 20, 2015 in the Old City of Hebron. Samara added that al-Adam, a mother of nine, was shot in the head with a rubber-coated steel bullet and seriously injured during the stabbing attempt, and has since undergone several surgeries in the Hadassah medical center before being transferred to the HaSharon prison. According to prisoners rights group Addameer, 7,000 Palestinians were detained by Israel as of October, 64 of whom were women. Al-Adam’s sentencing came as the Palestinian Prisoners’ Center for Studies (PPCS) released a report on Sunday denouncing the use of violence and torture against female Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody. The center added that injured and sick Palestinian female prisoners were facing deliberate medical negligence, and that the Israel Prison Service (IPS) didn’t provide the detainees access to gynecologists or most medicines. PPCS estimated that more than 15,000 Palestinian women had been detained by Israel since the beginning of the occupation, and that Israel had detained 1,600 women since the beginning of a wave of unrest in October 2015.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=774159

Palestinian sentenced to life in prison over killing of two Israelis
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 Nov — A Palestinian man received two life sentences on Monday after being convicted of killing two Israelis last year, Israeli media reported. According to news outlet Ynet, Raed Khalil, a 36-year-old resident of the village of Dura in the occupied West Bank district of Hebron, was found guilty of stabbing and killing Aharon Yesayev, 32, and Reuven Aviram, 51, in Tel Aviv on Nov. 19, 2015. Aviram’s brother Alex was quoted by Ynet as saying that “the murderer, according to the requests made by the family, should not leave prison or see the light of day or his family … He killed Jews and his place is in prison for his entire life.”
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=774176

Palestinian sentenced to 16 years, $26,000 fine for wounding Israeli in stab attack
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 28 Nov — An Israeli court sentenced a young Palestinian man to 16-and-a-half years in prison for injuring an Israeli in a mall in Israel in 2015, a Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) lawyer said on Monday. According to Ruslan Muhajna, Tamer Yunis Wreidat, a 26-year-old resident of the village of al-Dhahiriya in the occupied West Bank district of Hebron, was also fined $26,000 for carrying out a stabbing attack at a mall in the Israeli town of Petah Tikva on Oct. 7, 2015. One Israeli was lightly wounded in the attack.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=774173

Israel hands down administrative detention sentences to 11 Palestinian prisoners
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 28 Nov — An Israeli military court in the Ofer prison sentenced 11 Palestinians to be imprisoned under administrative detention, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society reported on Monday. Israel’s policy of administrative detention — internment without charge or trial for three- to six-month renewable intervals based on undisclosed evidence — has been widely condemned by the international community … The orders were as follows: 1. Khalid Muhammad al-Fasfous, six months 2. Munir Naim Hamad, six months 3. Ahmad Muin Suboh, six months 4. Afif Salama Awawda, five months 5. Mahmoud Muhammad Salah, four months 6. Mahmoud Khalil Ghneim, four months 7. Mahmoud Muhannad, four months 8. Khalid Mansour Abd al-Nabi, four months 9. Ahmad Sami Warda, four months 10. Muhammad Izzat al-Khatib, three months 11. Ali Mahmoud Shawabka, three months.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=774169

Prisoners

Israel is threatening to force-feed two hunger striking detainees
IMEMC 27 Nov — The head of the Palestinian Detainees and Ex-Detainees Committee Issa Qaraqe‘ has reported that Israel is threatening to force-feed two detainees who are ongoing with their hunger strikes they started 65 days ago. Qaraqe‘ stated that the two detainees, Anas Shadeed and Ahmad Abu Fara,  from Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, are demanding an end to their illegal and arbitrary Administrative Detention, without charges or trial. In a press release Saturday, Qaraqe‘ held Israel, its legal and security systems, responsible for the lives of the detainees, and called on the international community to intervene and stop the Israeli violations against them. He added that Shadeed and Abu Fara are facing serious deteriorations in their health conditions, and that Abu Fara was moved to an intensive care unit at an Israeli hospital. The two detainees could die at any given moment, but are determined to continue their hunger strikes, protesting being illegally held without charges or trial, the official stated….
http://imemc.org/article/israel-is-threatening-to-force-feed-two-hunger-striking-detainees/

Hunger striking detainee forced into solitary confinement
IMEMC 28 Nov — The Israeli Prison Authority has forced, Monday, a hunger striking Palestinian detainee into solitary confinement as he continues his strike for the ninth consecutive day, the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) said. The PPS identified the detainee Ammar Ibrahim Hammour, 27, from Jaba‘ town, south of the northern West Bank city of Jenin. It added that Hammour suffers from asthma and high blood pressure, but is not receiving the needed medical attention, in addition to facing constant violations. The detainee is held under arbitrary Administrative Detention orders, without charges or trial.
http://imemc.org/article/hunger-striking-detainee-forced-into-solitary-confinement/

Gaza

Egyptian power line malfunctions, parts of southern Gaza left without electricity
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 29 Nov — Parts of the southern Gaza Strip were left without electricity on Tuesday morning, after a main Egyptian line feeding southern Gaza malfunctioned hours after it was reported as fixed. Spokesman for the Gaza Electricity Company Muhammad Thabet confirmed to Ma‘an that an Egyptian electricity line known as ‘Gaza 2’ malfunctioned on Tuesday morning, causing outages across the southern besieged coastal enclave. He pointed out that the line was fixed on Monday evening after it, along with an Israeli power line, had been damaged on Wednesday.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=774182

Gaza hospitals amidst fuel crisis again
IMEMC/Agencies 28 Nov — Palestinian hospitals in the besieged Gaza strip are in an acute crisis because of a severe shortage of fuel that is needed to run the generators, threatening lives of many patients. Fuel crisis in Gaza has embittered the lives of medical patients from time to time. They live in constant fear that the electricity will suddenly be cut suddenly, and medical devices will cease to function, aggravating the health conditions of the patients and putting their lives at risk of death. Dr. Nabil Albrkona, the supervisor of children’s nurseries and hospitals in Gaza, said to Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency that Annaser hospital for children is affected with an acute shortage of fuel for a week, and the amount of fuel that it has is only sufficient for a day. He explained that the ICU units in the hospital are most affected, as premature babies need incubators which require electricity around the clock. He went to say that the emergency department in the hospital receives, daily, many cases of respiratory disease which need nebulizers that run on electricity. He also said that the hospital suffers a shortage in many types of medicines and medical equipment. Dr. Ayman Sahbani, director of the ambulance and emergency department at Shifa Hospital, warned of running out of the fuel in the hospital, which will affect all departments, noting that the amount of the fuel is only sufficient for three days. He noted that the most affected units in the hospital are the ICU and dialysis department….
http://imemc.org/article/gaza-hospitals-amidst-fuel-crisis-again/

UNRWA tenures 185 teachers in Gaza in response to union strikes
GAZA (Ma‘an) 28 Nov — The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is set to tenure 185 teachers in the besieged Gaza Strip, according to a statement released on Monday by the organization. The tenure offers will be made “to guarantee the continuation of the educational program in Gaza as part of the UNRWA’s commitment to provide good quality education for Palestinian refugees,” the statement said, noting that all the teachers had passed the UNRWA employment examination and interview. The statement added that, as was required in previous years, applicant must have graduated with a bachelor’s degree that included the study of Arabic, English, Math, Science, Religious studies and social studies.  UNRWA also conditioned that applicants must have Bachelors’ degrees of an average of at least 75%. About 18,788 people applied for the initial exams, while only 1,410 were summoned in late August for interviews, and 185 were eventually chosen for the positions. The union of local employees for UNRWA declared on Sunday that it would suspend its strike against the agency’s administration for 10 days after the administration had responded positively to the union’s demand to fill a number of job vacancies and had hired 200 new teachers, with 200 others to be hired in January. Suheil al-Hindi, the head of the union, told Ma’an at the time that the union was also calling for an end to UNRWA service cuts across the Middle East, and an increase in salaries for local staff.Al-Hindi added that the union would escalate its strikes and protests if an agreement was not reached in the coming 10 days….
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=774174

Israeli navy fires at Gaza fishermen
GAZA CITY (Ma’‘an) 28 Nov — Israeli army ships opened fire at Palestinian fishermen off the coast of Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip on Monday morning. Fishermen said they were sailing only three nautical miles off the coast, within the designated fishing zone of the besieged Palestinian enclave, when Israeli naval forces opened fire at them. They added that Israeli forces chased them, forcing them to sail ashore. No injuries were reported.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=774165

Israeli forces detain 2 Palestinians crossing from Gaza into Israeli
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 Nov — Israeli forces reportedly detained two Palestinians who crossed the border line between the besieged Gaza Strip and southern Israel on Saturday. Israeli news outlets reported that the two Palestinians had reached a kibbutz in the Eshkol regional council in southern Israel when they were detained and transferred for interrogation … Several Palestinians have attempted to escape the dire conditions of the Gaza Strip by crossing illegally into Israel — often to find work — a number of whom have been shot dead by Israeli forces while crossing the border.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=774138

Egypt to implement a five million dollar project to develop Rafah crossing
Palestine Chronicle 26 Nov — Hasan Abdu, a member of the Palestinian press delegation to Cairo said Egyptian sources confirmed that Cairo would take new measures to improve the conditions at the Rafah Crossing, including implementing a three-phase-five-million USD project to enhance the border crossing. He wrote on Facebook, “Egyptian officials confirmed that the isolation of the Gaza Strip will end and Egypt will change its policy towards Gaza. Egypt will adopt new measures that will allow Palestinians get in and out of Gaza.” “The Rafah Crossing is now being developed to serve this purpose with a budget of 3.5-5 million$,” he added. He noted that he first stage will include increasing the number of working days at the crossing and allowing more Palestinians in and out of Gaza, the second phase will include building a duty-free zone between the Gaza Strip and Egypt and the third phase will include opening the Rafah crossing permanently and buildings facilities, including a hotel, to facilitate the passage of passengers. A Palestinian press delegation ended a four-day visit to Cairo at the invitation of Al-Ahram Institute. The last few weeks have seen improvement in the Palestinian-Egyptian relationship with Cairo opening the Rafah crossing with Gaza for more days and Egyptian officials making remarks that suggest a new policy towards Gaza. The relationship between Egypt and the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has seen a setback after the latter refused an Egyptian proposal to end the rift with the former Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan. Many observers believe that this is the reason why Egypt is adopting a new policy towards Gaza, which is run by Hamas, Abbas’s rival.
http://www.palestinechronicle.com/egypt-to-implement-a-five-million-dollar-project-to-develop-rafah-crossing/

Palestinians in Gaza hunt birds near Israeli border fence despite risks
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 26 Nov — As winter fast approaches, Gaza’s bird hunters take their claptraps and approach the so-called “buffer zone” near the Israeli security fence, where Palestinians are routinely met with Israeli live ammunition. Zuheir, a bird hunter in the besieged Palestinian enclave, told Ma‘an on Saturday that he has practiced bird hunting for some 29 years. However, his decision was not driven by a particular affinity for the job, but instead by the prevailing unemployment among Palestinians in Gaza. Bird hunting is a seasonal job in the Gaza Strip, with Palestinian bird hunters risking their lives during the winter months as they advance unarmed toward the Israeli security fence, surrounded by Israel’s unilaterally declared buffer zone, despite their knowledge of Israeli forces stationed at the watchtowers …  At any moment the bird hunters know that Israeli forces will either open live fire on them to chase them away from the security barrier, or with the intent to hit them. Zuheir added that bird hunting can bring in a good source of income if the weather is moderate, saying that he can sell each bird for 150 to 200 shekels ($39 to $52). “On a successful hunting day, you can even earn 1,000 shekels ($258).” According to Zuheir, the demand for birds in the Gaza Strip is high, saying that if he had 100 birds he could easily sell them all immediately …  The Gaza area has dozens of bird types, including regional and migrating birds. However, according to Gazan bird hunters, some of the birds have become rare and are facing threats of extinction.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=774144

Palestinians, Israelis at odds over withholding corpses
Jerusalem (Washington Post) 24 Nov by William Booth and Ruth Eglash, with contributions from Sufian Taha and Hazem BaloushaIt has been more than two years since Hadar Goldin disappeared down a dark hole. The young Israeli lieutenant was last seen being dragged into a Hamas tunnel during the 2014 Gaza war. Bits of his equipment were recovered, stained with blood and tissue – enough evidence for forensic pathologists and army rabbis to declare him killed in action. But Goldin’s body is still being held by Hamas, the Islamist militant movement that controls the Gaza Strip. His mother, Leah Goldin, said, “We have no way to come to an end of our mourning until we bring him home.” It is a terrible thing to have nothing to bury, and in this the Goldin family is not alone. The corpse of a second Israeli soldier, Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul, also is being held by Hamas. Israelis consider the Hamas practice of hoarding bodies to be barbaric. But the reality is more complicated. Both sides are withholding bodies. Israel has not returned the remains of 19 Hamas fighters killed during the 2014 war. And Israel now routinely holds the bodies of Palestinian assailants who have been shot dead while attacking or threatening Israelis during a year-long wave of violence in Israel and the West Bank. According to the Palestinian Prisoners Society in Ramallah, which tracks the cases, Israel withheld more than 130 bodies over the past year, for periods of days to weeks to months … Both sides accuse the other of using bodies as bargaining chips. Both decry the practice as inhumane and a violation of international law. Hamas holds on to the bodies of Israeli soldiers in hopes of forcing Israel to release hundreds of Hamas prisoners. Israeli officials say they hold on to bodies to deter future attacks or to deny Palestinians the flag-waving funerals that glorify their martyred heroes and incite their public. n both cases, a macabre reality remains: Families cannot bury their dead….
http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/11/palestinians_israelis_at_odds.html

Gaza risks becoming easy launchpad for Islamic State: Qatari minister
DOHA, Qatar (Reuters)  27 Nov by Tom Finn & William Maclean — Palestinian infighting and years of an Israeli blockade could turn the impoverished Gaza Strip into an easy “launching pad” for Islamic State recruiters, Qatar’s foreign minister says. The small gas-rich Gulf state is a major backer of Hamas, the armed movement which has maintained its control over the coastal enclave for almost a decade despite conflicts with Israel and a rift with Western-backed President Mahmoud Abbas. Foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said in an interview in Doha on Saturday that a blockade imposed on Gaza’s borders by Israel and Egypt had turned the territory into an “open-air prison.” “If we will leave them as they are, people from Daesh can recruit them easily. They can start operations from there easily,” he told Reuters, using an Arabic acronym for the group. “It (Gaza) can transform also as a launching pad for extremism and for terrorism … That’s why we need to put an end to this,” he said. Cut off from trade, many of Gaza’s 2 million people live in poverty and struggle to find work. Israel and Egypt have accused Hamas of being a terrorist group exploiting Gaza’s suffering for its political gain – charges the group denies. Hamas, an Islamist movement that shares the Islamic State’s hostility to Israel but not their quest for a global religious war, deny the jihadists have a presence in the territory. Pro-Islamic State social media accounts have accused Hamas of arresting their supporters in Gaza.
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-qatar-palestinians-islamic-state-idUSKBN13M0IN

Israeli 3G SIM cards all the rage in Gaza
GAZA CITY 28 Nov by Ahmad Abu Amer — After almost completely disappearing from Gaza Strip markets in the 1990s, Israeli SIM cards are once again available because of a demand for 3G services, an option not offered by Palestinian telecommunications companies, which only have 2G technology. The cards have swept across the Palestinian market after entering Gaza through unknown channels, while Palestinian officials and security agencies warn against using them because of the security risk they potentially pose. The Al-Majd website, which is close to Hamas, reported that the cards are being smuggled into Gaza either through the border crossings or through the border fence with Israel. The website added that the cards allow calls to be more easily tracked and phones tapped by Israeli companies and authorities. The pay-as-you-go SIM cards can be purchased for 50-70 shekels ($13-$18). After inserting the card into a phone, the user sends a short text message to the company providing service. The company then deducts a service fee from the card credit to activate 3G service. Compared to 2G technology, 3G technology is faster and has better bandwidth, making it more compatible with smartphone functions, including access to GPS (the Global Positioning System), mobile TV, video calls and video transfers. Ziad Dib, licensing director general at the Communications Ministry in Gaza, told Al-Monitor that the Palestinian Authority has prohibited the use of Israeli communication devices, including SIM cards, since the establishment of the Palestinian Telecommunication Company (Paltel) in 1997. He said that Israeli SIM cards almost disappeared from the market when Paltel began operations, but have recently reappeared despite his ministry’s efforts to prevent the smuggling of any type of communication devices connected to Israel….
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/11/israel-phone-chips-gaza-3g-service.html

Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements

One month ahead of evacuation, Amona remains a city of two tales
[with map] AMONA, West Bank (Times of Israel) 27 Nov by Raphael Ahren — Palestinians recall Jews forcefully taking away the land their families owned for decades, but settlers insist hilltop was empty when they arrived — Mariam Hammad still remembers helping her father harvest the beans and tomatoes on the family plot that once belonged to her grandfather. “Since I was seven, I spent most of my time in the fields,” said the now 82-year-old woman. “I want my land. I spent my entire childhood there,” she said, referring to one of the most disputed pieces of land in the West Bank. Today, the Israeli outpost of Amona sits on that contentious hilltop, nestled between the Palestinian city of Silwad and the Jewish settlement of Ofra — and Hammad hopes she may soon get it back. She is one of the petitioners in a legal case that is currently roiling Israel’s political system, after the High Court of Justice ruled that Amona was built on private Palestinian land and ordered the government to have it evacuated by December 25. If last-gasp legislative efforts fail — as even staunchly right-wing coalition members predict — Amona will no longer exist one month from now. In some ways, the story of Amona — which was established in 1996 — is a metaphor for the larger Israeli-Palestinian conflict: it’s a clash of narratives impossible to resolve because each side remains utterly convinced that historical truth, justice and practical considerations are on its side.
http://www.timesofisrael.com/one-month-ahead-of-evacuation-amona-remains-a-city-of-two-tales/

Surge in East Jerusalem home demolitions leaves Palestinian children sleeping rough
Palestine Monitor 24 Nov by Matt Matthews –Mohammed Jaabees reclined on a sofa among the rubble of what was once a four-storey home, housing 30 Palestinians. “The municipal authorities kept trying to pay me off and I said no, no,” said the unemployed 32-year-old. “So eventually they said I was going to pay.” Like an estimated 20,000 Palestinians in East Jerusalem, Mohammed was unable to secure planning permission for his apartments in the Wadi Hilweh district. So the Israeli authorities offered him a choice: pay 150,000 shekels for a fleet of bulldozers, laborers and armed guards, or take it apart himself, brick by brick. Like an estimated 20,000 Palestinians in East Jerusalem, Mohammed was unable to secure planning permission for his apartments in the Wadi Hilweh district. So the Israeli authorities offered him a choice: pay 150,000 shekels for a fleet of bulldozers, laborers and armed guards, or take it apart himself, brick by brick. Now the building Mohammed helped to build with his own hands is gone, and the four families who shared it sleep rough under a fly-blown tarpaulin. An icy November wind already laced through the debris: it was cold enough sitting there with a cup of coffee at midday, let alone for Mohammed’s preschool-aged children in the night. “I had to demolish my own home,” he said. “And doing it destroyed me.”
Palestinians living in the Holy City are facing an escalating campaign of home demolitions and evictions. Over 180 households in East Jerusalem are currently scheduled for further demolition. More than 800 Palestinian Jerusalemites, and nearly 400 children, are living under immediate threat of homelessness as the bitter winter months come round. East Jerusalem is seen as the only viable capital for a future Palestinian state but is currently under Israeli occupation, in defiance of international condemnation. This means building permits are difficult or impossible for Palestinians to come by, as Israeli authorities and settler organizations seek to tighten their illegal grip on the land. Even if a permit is granted, it can cost up to 300,000 ILS ($80,000), a sum unaffordable for the 82% of East Jerusalemites who live below the poverty line. It can take several years to secure authorization, and only 7% of permits granted go to the Palestinian 40% of the Jerusalem populace.
http://www.palestinemonitor.org/details.php?id=6z4zita14489yl4kglix61

Jordan Valley: Israeli settlers attempt to cultivate Palestinian lands
IMEMC/Agencies  27 Nov — Israeli settlers, on Sunday, attempted to cultivate Palestinian-owned lands in the village of Sakout, near Tubas in the Jordan Valley, according to local sources. Muataz Besharat, who monitors settlement activity in the Jordan Valley, said that Israeli settlers, accompanied by agricultural equipment, broke into a land near the village and attempted to cultivate it. The land belongs to a local Palestinian villager, according to WAFA correspondence. The ownership of the land, which comprises an area of 3,500 dunams, was  reinstated to its original Palestinian owners earlier this year, after being illegally seized by Israeli settlers.
http://imemc.org/article/jordan-valley-israeli-settlers-try-to-cultivate-palestinian-lands/

Wildfires in Israel and the West Bank

Israel douses fires that forced mass evacuations
AFP 27 Nov — Firefighters have extinguished blazes that ravaged Israel and the occupied West Bank for five days and forced tens of thousands to flee, authorities said Sunday, blaming arsonists for some outbreaks. There were no deaths but 122 people were treated for injuries, mainly smoke inhalation, medical officials said. Around 700 homes were damaged or destroyed as the flames fed by high winds ripped through thousands of hectares (acres). Firefighting planes from a list of countries flew low over the hills of the occupied West Bank and Israel, dropping tonnes of water and retardants. At one point last week, flames towered over an area near Jerusalem, and residents on Sunday surveyed charred homes and businesses. “There are no active sites left,” fire and rescue service spokesman Yoram Levy told AFP. “Since last night (Saturday) it’s pretty calm. We have no new activity.” Levy said firefighters dealt with about 2,000 fires in Israel and the West Bank, 20 of them major. Israeli authorities suspect some were set deliberately and linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Sunday 17 of 110 fires in the West Bank were so far determined to be arson, without elaborating. Speaking at the Israeli settlement of Halamish, where dozens of homes were damaged at the weekend, he said Israel should respond to any arson by building more settlement homes. Police have arrested 23 people suspected of setting fires and interrogated others. However, Palestinian authorities also joined in the massive international firefighting effort and have pointed to damage to their crops and land. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a rare phone call to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on Saturday to thank him for those efforts. Levy noted forces were still “on high alert” because of dry conditions and high winds not expected to change before rain expected on Wednesday. Highlighting the continued risk, a forest fire was extinguished Sunday near Kiryat Malakhi in southern Israel … Fires in Palestinian areas of the West Bank were also extinguished by Saturday night, with the Ramallah-based Civil Defence saying it had dealt with 143 blazes which burned crops and trees but caused no casualties….
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/afp/2016/11/israel-fire-conflict-palestinians-israel-fire-conflict-palestinians-israel-fire-conflict-palestinians.html

Fire contained in Palestinian village, as Israel continues probe into suspected arsons
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 27 Nov — A fire broke out in a three-story building in the village of al-Ram in the occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem on Sunday morning, while Israeli authorities extended the detentions of four Palestinians with Israeli citizenship suspected of being involved in arsons in Israel. Firefighters evacuated eight Palestinians residing in the building before extinguishing the fire in the factory. The Palestinian Civil Defense said in a statement that the fire started in a part of the small factory where the raw material — such as plastic and rubber — used for shoemaking were being produced, but that firefighters controlled the flames before they reached machinery or other parts of the workspace. The civil defense did not indicate if the fire was considered to be an accident or if there were suspicions of arson … Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement on Sunday that Israeli courts had extended the detention of four Palestinian citizens of Israel who were accused of starting fires. She stated that the a magistrate court in Tabariyya had extended the remand of a 22-year-old youth from Kafr Kanna to Nov. 29, while a magistrate court in Akka had extended the detentions of three suspects aged 22, 21, and 17 from Deir Hanna to Nov. 30 pending further investigation … In many cases, notably in Haifa, Israeli security forces did not yet confirm suspicions of arson as the initial cause of the fires, nor were there serious indications that the arsons were politically motivated attacks against the state of Israel. Meanwhile, at least 35 people were detained over suspicions of arson or inciting others to commit arson, Israeli media said, at least 10 of whom were Palestinians with Israeli citizenship and others Palestinians from the occupied Palestinian territory. It remained unclear on Sunday how many of these dozens of people were arrested for actual arson versus incitement….
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=774150

Opinion: Israel fires raise burning questions about occupation / Amira Hass
Haaretz 28 Nov — Question: Why haven’t we heard about the arrest of Jews calling for the murder of Arabs? Answer: Jews are exercising their right to free speech — Is a fire started intentionally for political, or “nationalist,” motives worth more than an ordinary fire? Will the criteria for government compensation to Israeli citizens whose homes were damaged last week be set based on the source of the flames, creating a hierarchy of reparations and assistance? Will a fire classified as a hostile terrorist act provide its victims with faster and higher reimbursement than those unfortunates whose houses, photo albums and computers were consumed by a fire caused by a police flare or a carelessly discarded cigarette whose combustion was fanned by the winds? Why aren’t we hearing about the mass arrest of Jews whose social media posts called for the murder of Arabs and who expressed joy at their misfortunes, but have heard about a social activist from Rahat who was arrested for mocking those who welcomed the fires? Some answers: * Jewish incitement isn’t news. * Jews say what they think and are exercising their right to free speech. * Hatemongering Jews who incite to murder Palestinians aren’t arrested. Or they are in the governing coalition or Knesset. * Declaring that arsonists’ citizenship will be revoked is not incitement, but part of a long-standing expulsion policy …
We have to acknowledge that there were Palestinian arsonists, just as there were also false accusations. But if we want to prevent similar sabotage, we need to understand the motives … Where are Beit Meir, Nataf and Canada Park, three locations where fires blazed? One answer is that they lie west of Jerusalem. Another is that Beit Meir sits on the lands of the destroyed Palestinian village of Bayt Mahsir, which in early 1948 was home to 3,000 people. Nataf lies where the village of Beit Thul once stood, and which we also destroyed so that its 300 fleeing residents could not return … The fires last week sketched out three maps of the country. One is the imaginary map of pure Jewish territory from which Palestinians have been erased. The second is the painful map of the invader and occupiers, where we find the few arsonists who presumably caused some of the fires and those who were pleased by the conflagrations. The two maps are amazingly similar. The third is that of people who are attached to their homes, who have lost or are losing them, of those who will return to them after they’re rebuilt, and of those who haven’t returned….
http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.755612

PA firefighters return home after battling blazes in Israel
Times of Israel 27 Nov — After 36-hour joint effort with Israelis against the fire, Palestinian team members say they now have hope the future can be different — Palestinian firefighters returned home Saturday after working alongside Israeli firefighters for 36 hours to fight the nationwide fires that raged since Tuesday, forcing thousands to flee and destroying or damaging hundreds of homes. Israeli crews were joined Thursday night by the PA firefighting teams, who joined the battle to contain massive blazes in Haifa and at Sha’ar Hagai on the main Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway. Palestinian firefighters from Ramallah also swung into action in the early hours of Saturday to help douse the flames at the West Bank settlement of Halamish, where dozens of houses were damaged or destroyed. “It’s our duty to help,” Muhammad Amayra, one of the veteran firefighters on the PA firefighting team, told Israel Radio. “This is a humanitarian situation.” “The Israeli firefighters welcomed us very nicely,” Amayra said. “They helped us with everything, and always asked if we needed anything. Israeli firefighters are excellent firefighters. Maybe they lack big things like planes or supertankers but they are excellent firefighters.” He added that he was touched when Israeli families with children came out to shake their hands and thank them for their hard work “in Hebrew and Arabic and all the languages.” That gave us a great feeling and it gave me hope that in the future we will be alright,” he said. Palestinian firefighters also had to contend with blazes that broke out near West Bank cities Saturday, including in the village of Qusim, near Nablus, according to Ma‘an News Agency.
http://www.timesofisrael.com/pa-firefighters-return-home-after-battling-blazes-in-israel/

Forest fires in Israel will only get worse in coming years, experts warn
Haaretz 29 Nov by Nir Hasson — ‘Winter is beginning later, and the months of November and December have become very dry, with strong winds,’ Hanoch Tzoref of JNF says — The forest fires of the past few years will only get worse in the years to come, experts warned Sunday. In the Jerusalem Hills area alone, the past week’s fires have so far destroyed more than 5,000 dunams (1,250 acres) of forest, and as of Sunday night, firefighters were still battling blazes. The Jerusalem Hills also suffered fires in 2014 and this past May. Israel is not the only country experiencing an upsurge in fire damage. Forest fires of similar magnitude or worse have recently been raging annually throughout the Mediterranean basin, including in Spain, Portugal, Greece and France, as well as in other parts of the globe, such as California and Australia. Data from Israel’s fire-fighting service shows that the number of forest fires hasn’t risen in recent years, and over the past two years has even declined. But the magnitude of the past few years’ fires – especially those occurring in autumn – is unprecedented, as is the damage they have caused. “It’s connected to climate change,” explained Hanoch Tzoref, Jerusalem regional director for the Jewish National Fund (Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael)….
http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.755665

Other news / Opinion

Fatah congress to go ahead despite Israeli curbs
AFP 28 Nov — Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement will go ahead with a rare congress despite Israel preventing dozens of delegates leaving the Gaza Strip to attend the event, a spokesman said. The 1,400 delegates were due to convene in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah from Tuesday and Fatah spokesman Mahmoud Abu al-Hija told reporters that enough of them had already arrived there to constitute the required quorum. “Around 1,200 members have arrived in Ramallah,” he said. Of the 380 Fatah members supposed to come from Gaza, “250 have arrived,” he said, adding that he hoped others could join them in Ramallah, “even after the opening of the congress.” He did not comment on why Israel was blocking passage to the Gaza delegates, nor did the Israeli authorities responsible for the crossing….
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/afp/2016/11/palestinians-politics-fatah-israel.html

Hamas, Islamic Jihad invited to attend Fatah conference
GAZA (Ma‘an) 27 Nov — The Hamas movement is currently discussing the possibility of attending Fatah’s seventh conference later this week, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasim told Ma‘an on Sunday. The announcement came almost a week after Hamas denied reports that it had been invited to attend the congress. Qasim said that Hamas had recently received an invitation to attend the Nov. 29 event in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Meanwhile, Islamic Jihad spokesman Daoud Shihab told Ma‘an that the political faction had also received an invitation to the conference, and that it would send a representative to participate.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=774155

Fatah congress to usher in new generation of Palestinian leaders
Al-Monitor 24 Nov by Daoud Kuttab — The 1,500-plus delegates of the seventh Fatah congress, the next generation of Palestinian leaders, will be relatively younger (in their 40s and 50s) and more representative of the occupied territories than the current leadership. The congress, to be held Nov. 29 in Ramallah, will agree on a political platform and an action plan for the Palestinian struggle and elect the new members of the movement’s Revolutionary Council and the Central Committee. Currently, the 22 members of Fatah’s Central Committee and 100 members of the Revolutionary Council are older and represent leaders who returned to Palestine after the 1993 Oslo Accord such as Mahmoud Abbas, Abu Maher Ghneim, Abbas Zaki and Mahmoud al-Aloul. Notably, the sixth congress was held in Bethlehem in 2009 after a 20-year lull in meetings. Congressional delegates vote using secret ballots. The once secretive liberation movement published the names of its delegates to the Nov. 29 congress, giving the world a glimpse at the next crop of Fatah leaders. The most prominent feature of the list was its exclusion of renegade Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan and his supporters. A quantitative look at the delegates shows that about 1,100 of the 1,500 voters, or 73%, come from the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip. Less than 400 delegates reside outside Palestine. Furthermore, 167, or 11%, of delegates are women, and 33, or 2%, are Christian. One delegate, Uri Davis, an Israeli Jew, was elected to the Revolutionary Council during the sixth congress in 2009. The delegates also include 151 current or former members of the military (50 are retired), 44 members of Palestinian diplomatic missions and 66 prisoners who will vote via proxies (50 are from the West Bank)….
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/11/palestinian-fatah-congress-young-leaders-founding-generation.html

PA owes 2 East Jerusalem hospitals 240 million shekels in unpaid bills
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 29 Nov — Two major Palestinian hospitals in occupied East Jerusalem have reported having serious financial difficulties, alleging that the Palestinian Authority (PA) owed them around 240 million shekels ($62,459,337). The al-Maqasid and Augusta Victoria hospitals in occupied East Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives neighborhood — which serve thousands of patients referred by the PA Ministry of Health from the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip — released a joint statement on Monday saying that the PA owed the hospitals both a total of 240 million shekels in unpaid bills. “The hospitals are ready to accept installment payments from the PA in order to be able to pay back their debts to the companies who supply the hospitals with medicines and medical equipment, and to pay salaries among other accumulative debts,” the statement said. The statement warned that if the PA continued to delay payments, both hospitals would not be able to buy the medical equipment they urgently needed, and consequently would not be able to receive patients who needed surgeries starting on Tuesday. In coordination with the hospitals’ employees unions, a protest was scheduled for Monday in front of offices of the Palestinian Ministry of Finance in Ramallah, but were postponed after the hospitals “received positive signs” from the ministry.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=774171

PA forces arrest 2 ‘top fugitives’ in Jericho
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 28 Nov — Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces arrested two men described as “top fugitives” in Jericho on Sunday evening. An official PA security source confirmed to Ma‘an that two residents of the Nablus-area refugee camp of Balata — identified as Muhammad al-Masmi, also known as al-Nus, and Mahmoud Abu Siris, also known as al-Lahlouh — were arrested on Sunday evening in the central occupied West Bank. The two men were wanted by the PA for “illegal activities,” as well as for having opened fire at Palestinian security forces on several occasions. A security forces spokesman in Jericho, Nabil Taqatqa, said that al-Masmi and Abu Siris were unarmed when they were spotted in an industrial facility in northern Jericho, and were then surrounded and detained.
Meanwhile, armed men closed a road near Balata on Monday and seized an ambulance belonging to Palestinian military medical services, Nablus district governor Akram al-Rujoub told Ma‘an. Al-Rujoub added that Palestinian security forces were able to reopen the road after small armed clashes with the gunmen. No injuries were reported on either side, and the governor said that the ambulance was later recovered. The Nablus district — and Balata in particular — has been the site of violent clashes involving Palestinian security forces since a massive security crackdown was launched across the West Bank, which turned deadly in August when two policemen were killed during a raid in the Old City of Nablus to uncover weapons and make arrests.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=774164

Israeli soldiers enter Tulkarem ‘by mistake’, escorted out by Palestinian forces
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 Nov — Four Israeli soldiers mistakenly entered Tulkarem on Monday and were escorted out of the city by Palestinian security forces, an Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an. According to the spokesperson, the soldiers entered the northern occupied West Bank city by car “by mistake” on Monday, and were escorted out by Palestinian Authority security forces. The army spokesperson added that rocks were thrown at the Israeli army vehicle as it exited Tulkarem, and that one soldier was lightly wounded. The Israeli army was reviewing the incident to see how the soldiers accidentally entered Tulkarem, which is located in Area A, the 18 percent of the West Bank which Israelis are officially forbidden from entering. The incident marked the second time in the span of a couple of months that Israeli soldiers mistakenly entered Tulkarem. Two Israeli soldiers were using the GPS navigation application Waze in September when they entered the city….
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=774172

UN says help needed for suffering Hebron
AFP 28 Nov — The UN’s Middle East envoy on Monday warned of a new “spiral of violence” in the flashpoint West Bank city of Hebron unless daily life for its Palestinian residents improves. Nickolay Mladenov said during a visit that while the city was the main Palestinian economic hub in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, little trickles down to those who live there. “It is also the city with the highest rate of unemployment and poverty compared to the rest of the West Bank,” he told a news conference, alongside the Palestinian governor, Kamil Hmeid. “About 30 percent of people in all the governorate are classified as poor compared to 18 percent in the rest of the West Bank,” he said in English. “Given the spiral of violence that we saw last year,” he said, there is a pressing need for a strategy “that addresses the human rights aspects of the situation here, that addresses the access to services… looks how to create more economic opportunities for people.” With 200,000 Palestinian inhabitants, Hebron is the largest city in the West Bank and the only one where 500 Israeli settlers have moved into enclaves in its heart. They are guarded by thousands of Israeli soldiers who scan the streets from watchtowers and from behind concrete slabs….
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/afp/2016/11/israel-palestinians-conflict-un-hebron-economy.html

Parliamentarians for Palestine conference in Istanbul
Europalforum 19 Oct 2016 — The UN General Assembly called in 1977 for the annual observance of the 29th of November as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Parliamentarians for Al Quds (Jerusalem) Association will be holding a conference for parliamentarians from across the world to observe the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People and discuss important topics of international interest for further understanding and connection between the East and West and across the world. The conference will be hosted by the Speaker of the Turkish Parliament and attended by a number of Parliamentarians’ Speakers and hundreds of parliamentarians from around the world. It is essential for highlighting the centrality of the Palestinian cause that has received less attention in the recent years. The conference will take place in Pullman Hotel in Istanbul on the 29th- 30th November 2016.
http://europalforum.org.uk/en/post/1700

Like hero Tupac, Israeli Arab rapper’s music provokes
AFP 28 Nov — Israeli Arab rapper Tamer Nafar’s politically charged lyrics have sparked the same kind of controversy that may have made his hero Tupac Shakur proud. Nafar, from the pioneering political rap group DAM, has touched a nerve with songs like “Who’s the Terrorist?” skewering what he and others say is discrimination against Arabs in Israel. He has become a star among Israel’s Arab population and Palestinians, but Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev, a former military censor with a combative style, is not a fan. She has singled him out for criticism, accused him of incitement and sought to have one of his recent performances cancelled, helping make him a target of rightwing protesters. Speaking to AFP in a recent interview, the 37-year-old, who wears a hoodie, baggy pants, and simple gold chain, dismissed her remarks, saying: “Regev is nothing but a government mouthpiece spreading racist poison.” Speaking after a concert in the Arab-Israeli city of Sakhnin attended by about 1,000 people, many of them teenagers, he pledged to continue with his strident lyrics matched w ith infective beats. Regev accuses Nafar of taking it too far, reportedly saying he “chooses at every opportunity and before every possible audience to come out against the idea of the state of Israel and its existence as the state of the Jewish people.” She charges that some of his lyrics justify “terrorism.”….
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/afp/2016/11/israel-palestinians-music-rights-politics.html

Watch: Palestinians rescue Israeli settler who fell into pit 6 days ago
Times of Israel 26 Nov — An Israeli man was rescued on Saturday in the West Bank by members of the Palestinian Civil Defense branch from a pit he had been stuck in for six days. According to Channel 10, the man — a resident of the settlement of Avnei Hefetz in the northern West Bank — reportedly descended into the pit on Sunday to seclude himself but couldn’t get back out after his rope ripped. He was found on Saturday, dazed and dehydrated. In a clip from the rescue, the man climbs out of the pit using a ladder and is helped out by the Palestinians who encourage him in Hebrew to keep calm and “hold tight.” After inquiring if he’s injured and providing water, a member of the team then went back into the pit to retrieve the man’s wallet which had fallen in. He was transferred to Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) and was being treated by Magen David Adom paramedics. A probe was launched into the incident.
http://www.timesofisrael.com/palestinians-rescue-israeli-settler-who-fell-into-pit-6-days-ago/

Opinion: It’s fun being an Arab in Israel / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 27 Nov — Arabs in Israel demonstrate amazing restraint and loyalty, but are the victims of appalling treatment by the state and other Israelis. One day, this is all going to explode — It’s fun being an Arab in Israel. If you’re a pharmacist at a high-street drugstore, you can wake up to discover that you’re a potential arsonist. A nursery-school teacher in Shfaram gets up and finds she’s a member of the Islamic State group. Every construction worker from Taibeh is part of a fifth column, and every nurse at the Hadassah hospitals in Jerusalem is a demographic threat. That hummus vendor may just be a hummus vendor, but he could be spreading poison, too; that dishwasher could come out of the kitchen with a knife. And you can’t even count on an Arab doctor, which is reason enough to ask for a Jewish one. Whether they’re an educator, insurance broker, banker or technician, every Arab citizen on the street is considered an object of suspicion. Better that they not speak their language – and anyway, the day is fast approaching when it will be made illegal to speak it in public. It unnerves the Jews and scares them. Some are even disgusted by it. And then there’s that proposed bill to silence the Muslim call to prayer from mosque loudspeakers. It’s fun being an Arab in Israel, a state the Arab citizens are a lot more loyal to than it is to them. Your country is abusing members of your people. It’s fun to be an Arab in Israel, because you can’t even define your identity as you would wish. You’re an “Israeli Arab,” and there’s no argument about it. Palestinian? That’s only if you live in the occupied territories. Even if he’s your first cousin, he’s not the same. You can and must be an American Jew and work on Israel’s behalf. But you are not allowed to be an Israeli Arab and work on behalf of the Palestinians. You’re not a member of the same people….
http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.755453

Israel bombs alleged IS militant hideout in Syria
[with photos] JERUSALEM (AP) 28 Nov — Israel carried out an airstrike in Syria on a building used by Islamic State militants to attack Israeli forces, the military said Monday. The overnight air strike targeted an abandoned United Nations building that Israel said was used as a base by the militants. There were no immediate reports of injuries. Israel has been largely unaffected by the Syrian civil war raging next door, suffering only sporadic incidents of spillover fire over the frontier that Israel has generally dismissed as tactical errors of the Assad regime. Israel has responded to these cases with limited reprisals on Syrian positions in response to the errant fire. But on Sunday, Israeli aircraft struck a machine gun-mounted vehicle inside Syria killing four Islamic State-affiliated militants inside after they had opened fire on a military patrol on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights, the military said. No Israeli troops were hurt, but it was a rare attempt by IS-affiliated militants to ambush Israeli forces.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-3977604/Israel-bombs-alleged-IS-militant-hideout-Syria.html

From Palestine to Cuba: Palestinian leaders remember the late Fidel Castro
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 26 Nov — Palestinian leaders expressed their condolences on Saturday for the death of Fidel Castro, a Cuban leader and revolutionary who passed away late Friday at the age of 90, and remembered his staunch support for the Palestinian people and their struggle for freedom and independence. The head of the Palestinian National Council (PNC), Salim al-Zanun, highlighted in a statement the historical relationship between the Palestinian struggle and Cuba, and recognized the late President Yasser Arafat’s relationship with the deceased Cuban leader, who broke off diplomatic ties with the state of Israel in 1973 and was one the first countries to recognize the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) after its founding in 1964. Al-Zanun added that Cuba today still believes in the justice of the Palestinian cause and continues to support the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination, return, and an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) eulogized the late leader in a statement, underscoring that Castro had “consistently stood with the oppressed peoples of the world in their confrontation with imperialism, Zionism, racism, and capitalism.” … The Palestinian cause was a central issue during the whole of Castro’s political life. Diplomatic ties between Cuba and Palestine began in the same year that Castro became prime minister in 1959 following the Cuban revolution, when Raul Castro and Che Guevara visited the Gaza Strip.
According to Al Jazeera, Arafat and Castro developed close diplomatic and personal ties, with Castro inviting Arafat to Cuba at least eight times. Palestinian authorities have noted that during each visit Castro “always welcomed [Arafat] like he was a head of state.” Cuba publicly condemned Israel at the United Nations for the first time during the aftermath of the Six-Day War in 1967….
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=774141

There is only one struggle
OCCUPIED PALESTINE & STANDING ROCK 28 Nov by ISM al-Khalil Team — Sometime after 9-11 U.S. police departments (state, local, & sheriff’s departments) along with many U.S. governmental law enforcement agencies such as Homeland Security, the FBI, and Border & Customs Police began to send their officers to Israel for training with the Israeli Police and the Israeli occupation forces. Training has included counter-terrorism measures, crowd control, and protests. Much of the training takes place not in Israel proper but in the illegal settler-colonized West Bank. There’s many similarities between what is happening in Palestine and what is currently happening in Standing Rock in North Dakota to the Water Protectors. Many of the law enforcement officers at Standing Rock have been trained in Israel. The weapons and tactics are identical. The use of high pressure water cannons, rubber bullets, rubber coated steel bullets, the use of attack dogs, and sound grenades are the same in both places … There are many internationals working with Palestinians here in the West Bank and Gaza. At the same time there are a number of Palestinians who have traveled to Standing Rock in solidarity with the Water Protectors. One who recently arrived at Standing Rock stated that on his way there he thought a great deal about the similarities and conditions between Palestine and Standing Rock. Upon arrival he “no longer thought about the similarities. I felt them in my bones.”….
https://palsolidarity.org/2016/11/there-is-only-one-struggle/

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