Archive for March 6, 2017

March 6, 2017

Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem

Basil al-Araj executed by Israeli occupation forces after PA imprisonment and months in hiding
Samidoun 6 Mar — In a pre-dawn raid attacking a home in el-Bireh, Basil al-Araj, 31, Palestinian youth activist and writer pursued by Israel for nearly a year, was assassinated by invading Israeli occupation forces this morning. Al-Araj, from the village of Walaja near Bethlehem, fought back and resisted the invading forces for two hours before the attacking occupation soldiers broke into the home where he was staying and executed him at close range. They then seized his body and took it to an unknown location. The attack on the home included rocket fire as well as al-Araj’s extrajudicial execution in a hail of bullets. Al-Araj’s family home in al-Walaja had been repeatedly raided by occupation forces for months. Al-Araj, a writer and activist involved in a wide array of Palestinian grassroots struggles for liberation, was among the Palestinian youth dedicated to reviving the Palestinian national liberation movement. One of six Palestinian youth released from Palestinian Authority prisons after nearly six months of detention when they launched a hunger strike, Al-Araj and other youth had been seized in April in what was touted as a victory for security coordination between the PA and Israel. While they were imprisoned by the PA, they were subject to torture and ill-treatment by PA security forces. After their hunger strike and widespread attention to their case, including protests after reports of their torture, secured their release, four of the youth – Mohammed al-Salameen, Seif al-Idrissi, Haitham Siyaj, and Mohammed Harb – have been seized by Israeli occupation forces. All four have been ordered to administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial. The extrajudicial execution of Basil al-Araj is yet another example of the ongoing use of “arrest raids” as assassination raids against Palestinian strugglers, including the killing of Abdullah Shalaldeh in the hospital and the murder of former prisoner and struggler Muataz Washaha. It also highlights once again the devastating and deadly reality of “security coordination” between the Israeli occupation and the Palestinian Authority for Palestinians struggling for their liberation, pursued and imprisoned through this coordination up to the point of their execution….
http://samidoun.ca/2017/03/basil-al-araj-executed-by-israeli-occupation-forces-after-pa-imprisonment-and-months-in-hiding/

another account:
Palestinian activist ‘executed’ by Israeli forces after 2-hour gun battle
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 6 Mar — Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian activist early Monday morning, culminating a two-hour-long gun battle in the Ramallah area of the central occupied West Bank, after Israeli forces had been pursuing the man since he was released from Palestinian prison last September. The raid sparked clashes, which left two Palestinians shot and injured by Israeli forces. No Israelis were injured in the incident. Israeli police identified the slain man as Basel al-Araj, who was wanted for “planning terror attacks against Israelis.” Al-Araj was detained without charges or explanation by Palestinian security forces in April last year along with Haitham Siyaj and Muhammad Harb. The controversial case made headlines when the three men joined three other detainees in a hunger strike in Palestinian prison, amid reports of torture and mistreatment. After being released in September, Palestinian activists had feared that Israeli forces would immediately detain the six men, as the Palestinian Authority (PA) has been widely criticized for its security coordination with Israel through what critics have called a “revolving door policy” of funneling Palestinians from PA jails into Israeli prisons. Muhammad Harb and Haitham Siyaj, along with two of the other hunger striking detainees Muhammad al-Salamin and Seif al-Idrissi, were eventually detained by Israeli forces and ordered to administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial, while a video was released by Israeli media showing Israeli forces beating Siyaj in custody. However, Israeli forces were unable to immediately apprehend al-Araj, and the months-long manhunt continued until the Monday morning raid, when forces from the Israeli army, Israeli border police, Israeli intelligence, and Israel’s counter-terrorism unit surrounded a house in the outskirts of the refugee camp of Qaddura, where al-Araj was allegedly staying. … Eyewitnesses told Ma‘an that gunfire was exchanged between Israeli forces and a Palestinian man for around two hours until he ran out of ammunition, after which Israeli forces raided the house and “executed” him by shooting him at close range with several bullets.
A video [below] shared by Israeli police showed Israeli forces entering a home and firing heavily towards an overhead crawl space. It remained unclear whether the video showed the exact moment when al-Araj was shot and killed, and whether he first opened fire, as per Israeli claims. Israeli forces also fired an Energa anti-tank rifle grenade into the building, causing the destruction of parts of the house, witnesses said. Witnesses said they saw Israeli forces dragging a man’s body by his feet outside of the house. Meanwhile the Palestinian Ministry of Health has reportedly confirmed al-Araj’s death, according to online media reports, while his body was taken by Israeli forces to an unknown destination….
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=775810

In final letter, slain Palestinian activist Basel al-Araj ponders looming death
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 6 Mar — In a final letter written before he was killed by Israeli forces in a two-hour shootout, Palestinian activist and writer Basel al-Araj revealed his thoughts over his seemingly ineluctable end … “Greetings of Arab nationalism, homeland, and liberation,” the letter, shared on social media by al-Araj’s family, read. “If you are reading this, it means I have died and my soul has ascended to its creator. I pray to God that I will meet him with a guiltless heart, willingly, and never reluctantly, and free of any whit of hypocrisy.” Al-Araj went on to ponder the initial difficulty of writing a last testament, like many other Palestinians who were killed by Israeli forces. “How hard it is to write your own will. For years I have been contemplating testaments written by martyrs, and those wills have always bewildered me. They were short, quick, without much eloquence. They did not quench our thirst to find answers about martyrdom,” he wrote. “Now I am walking to my fated death satisfied that I found my answers. How stupid I am! Is there anything which is more eloquent and clearer than a martyr’s deed? I should have written this several months ago, but what kept me was that this question is for you, living people, and why should I answer on your behalf? Look for the answers yourself, and for us the inhabitants of the graves, all we seek is God’s mercy.”
In a lengthy statement released on Monday, the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) described al-Araj as a freedom fighter, intellectual, and theorist, who was “one of the most prominent young Palestinian strugglers” to resist the Israeli occupation, and who “worked to chronicle the history of Palestine and confront all attempts to liquidate the Palestinian cause.” The group said the killing laid bare “an urgent need to confront all forms of security coordination, political arrests, and prosecutions” by the Palestinian Authority (PA), describing security coordination with Israel as “a betrayal” of the principles and values of Palestinian resistance….
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=775829

VIDEO: Aftermath of  Israeli raid into al-Bireh/Ramallah resulting in one martyr and two injured
Quds News 5 March 22:44
https://www.facebook.com/QudsN/videos/1458806990862864/

Palestinians protest against Basil al-Araj’s killing
Al Jazeera 7 Mar — Protesters have marched in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank calling for justice after Israeli security forces killed a 31-year-old Palestinian activist. The march came late on Monday, a day after Basil al-Araj was killed by Israeli troops in a house in al-Bireh, on the outskirts of Ramallah. Two other Palestinians were wounded by gunfire in subsequent clashes with Israeli security forces, according to Palestinian hospital sources. Seen as “close to Islamists”, Araj, who was from al-Walaja in Bethlehem, had spent several months in a Palestinian Authority prison, according to a Palestinian security source.  Mustafa Barghouti, a Palestinian non-violence activist and the head of the Palestinian National Initiative political party, told Al Jazeera that Araj’s death was “nothing but an act of extrajudicial killing and assassination” … In remarks on Twitter, Micky Rosenfeld, an Israeli police spokesman, said: “Palestinian terrorist killed in border police CT [counterterrorism] operation in Ramallah was planning an attack against civilians and security forces.” Another Israeli police spokesperson said Araj was “the head of a cell planning attacks against Israeli targets”. However, Khalid al-Araj, an uncle, said Araj did not fit the typical profile of an attacker. He said his nephew was an intellectual who devoted much of his time to reading and research, particularly about the history and geography of Palestine …
For his part, Barghouti, the independent Palestinian politician, said he visited the house in Ramallah where the Israelis said a firefight occurred. “The said there was a fight and clash, but what I found was that the only side that was shooting was the Israelis,” he told Al Jazeera. “If Araj had any chance to shoot, he would not have been able to shoot more than one bullet. The house was completely bombarded with Israeli bullets. The Israeli side is trying to claim there was shoot back.”  ‘No safety or security’   Barghouti said it was “really amazing” that the Israeli army entered the centre of Ramallah, which is supposed to be under the Palestinian Authority’s control. Regular raids by the Israeli army and police units in the occupied West Bank are controversial because they often involve incursions into Area A, which was designated as solely under the remit of Palestinian security forces in the Oslo peace accords. “Usually the Israeli army claim that they inform before entering the area, but they came into the centre of Ramallah, which shows that they have full military control there,” Barghouti said. “This means that there is no safety or security for any Palestinian anywhere.”….
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/03/palestinians-protest-basil-araj-killing-170306153319219.html

Israeli army leans toward appealing lenient sentence for Hebron shooter
Haaretz 6 Mar by Gili Cohen — Military prosecutors plan to appeal the lenient 18 month prison sentence given to Elor Azaria last month who was found guilty of manslaughter in the shooting and killing of an immobilized terrorist in Hebron last year. Military sources, who said this seems to be the direction the prosecution is taking, said a final decision will be made in the coming days. Those pushing for the appeal argue that Azaria’s sentence was not congruent with the ruling of the judges, which was very critical of him. Prosecutors had asked for a three-to-five year sentence. In the end, the military court, headed by Col. Maya Heller, decided on 18 months, which seemed to be the lightest sentence to fit the verdict. The minority view, apparently that of Col. Carmel Wahabi, held that Azaria should have been sentenced to two and a half to five years in prison.  If the prosecution wants to appeal, it will have to do so within the next few days. Last week, Azaria, through attorney Yoram Sheftel, filed an appeal of his conviction, and the military appeals court ruled that the start of his sentence would be delayed until that appeal is heard….
http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.775413

Violent detention raid in East Jerusalem sparks clashes
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 6 Mar — A predawn Israeli police raid to detain five Palestinians in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of ‘Issawiya sparked clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian youth on Monday morning, according to local sources who said police violently assaulted the five Palestinians before apprehending them. Three other Palestinians were also detained in the East Jerusalem raids. Member of a follow-up committee in East Jerusalem Muhammad Abu al-Hummus said that Israeli soldiers raided ‘Issawiya several times on Sunday and were heavily deployed at all entrances to the neighborhood. He said Israeli forces fired sound bombs and rubber-coated steel bullets in the neighborhood and removed posters hung in the area celebrating the release of local Palestinians from Israeli prison. Lawyer Muhammad Mahmoud identified the five detainees as 52-year-old Ahmad Moussa Darwish, 42-year-old Ibrahim Moussa Darwish, 29-year-old Mansour Hassan Darwish, 25-year-old Muhammad Nihad Darwish, and 23-year-old Saeb Kayid Dirbas, as quoted by local organization the Wadi Hilweh Information Center.
Separately, Israeli forces also raided the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. According to Wadi Hilweh Information Center, named after an area in Silwan where the organization is based, Israeli forces searched several houses in Silwan and detained two Palestinians, identified as 20 year-old Moussa Muhammad Odeh and Diya Odeh. Three Palestinian minors, all aged 17, were also ordered to appear for interrogation with Israeli intelligence. Wadi Hilweh Information Center identified them as Muslim Moussa Odeh, Muhammad Issa al-Qaq, and Ahmad Muhammad Froukh. The center had reported Sunday that Israeli police also extended the detention of Khalid al-Zir, an activist affiliated with the center who was detained for “obstructing police work” after he filmed Israeli forces raiding houses in Silwan earlier Sunday evening.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=775809

Israeli settlers attack Palestinian farmers, injure woman in northern West Bank
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 6 Mar — Israeli settlers assaulted and injured a Palestinian woman who was working on her agricultural lands in the northern occupied West Bank on Monday, Palestinian and Israeli sources said.  Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma‘an that more than 20 Israeli settlers from the illegal settlement outpost of Havat Gilad attacked Palestinian farmers working in their lands in the nearby village of Fara‘ata in the Qalqiliya district. Daghlas said that the settlers attacked the farmers despite the fact that the Palestinians had coordinated with Israeli officials in order to access their lands in the area. He added that Israeli settlers destroyed an agricultural tractor owned by Abdullah Shanaa, causing clashes to erupt, during which 55-year-old Mariam al-Salman suffered from bruises on her upper body after settlers threw rocks at her.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that Israeli forces were “alerted to a dispute” in the area and “dispersed” those involved in conjunction with Israeli security guards from Havat Gilad. The spokesperson said they were not aware of anyone being injured in the assault, nor of anyone being detained or investigated. While no Israelis seemed to have been detained in this incident for having thrown stones at Palestinians, Palestinians risk prison sentences for up to 20 years for throwing stones at Israelis.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=775820

One Palestinian arrested after stone throwers assault IDF vehicle
Haaretz 5 Mar by Yotam Berger — Palestinians threw stones at a Border Police vehicle parked in the West Bank town of Nabi Saleh on Friday. The border policemen employed riot control gear to disperse the stone-throwers. There were no reports of casualties on either side. The Border Police said they arrested one person and expect to arrest others in the near future. A video clip documenting the incident was posted Saturday on Palestinian social media networks. It shows the police jeep stopping for about half a minute at a gas station in town. As soon as the engine was turned off, Palestinians approached and began pelting the jeep with stones. They fled after one of the policemen fired a riot-control weapon. MK Oren Hazan (Likud) said on Saturday that “every one of the terrorists who attacked the IDF jeep with the soldiers inside should have got a live bullet in the head! Of course, that isn’t what happened in reality … and between us, how could it happen if the soldier who gave the terrorist in Hebron the bullet he deserved is about to enter jail?!” [WATCH: Israeli newscast with video from better angle]
http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.775254

Israeli forces detain 2 Palestinians over knife possession in Nablus area
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 5 Mar — Israeli forces detained two Palestinians in the northern occupied West Bank on Sunday for allegedly being in possession of a knife, Israeli police reported. Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement on Sunday afternoon that Israeli border police stopped the two Palestinians on a road near the Nablus-area village of Za‘atara, searched them, and detained them after finding a knife in their possession. Al-Samri added that one of Palestinians was found to have been observing Israeli soldiers in the area before the second Palestinian arrived at the scene with a knife, allegedly intending to carry out a stabbing attack.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=775806

Israeli forces detain 10 Palestinians in West Bamk raids
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 5 Mar — Israeli forces carried out predawn military raids across the southern occupied West Bank on Sunday, detaining at least 10 Palestinians, according to local sources and the Israeli army. In the Hebron district in the southern occupied West Bank, Israeli forces stormed the town of Beit Kahil and detained 20-year-old Muhammad Mahmoud Asafira, according to locals. An Israeli army spokesperson claimed he was a Hamas operative. In the town of Beit Ummar north of Hebron, Israeli forces detained 22-year-old Sabri Ibrahim Awwad after ransacking several homes in the area, according to local activist Muhammad Ayyad Awwad …. Also in the south, Israeli forces detained five Palestinians from the villages of Marah Rabah and Husan in the Bethlehem district … In al-Duheisha refugee camp in southern Bethlehem, Mahmoud Karim Ayyad was detained, according to locals and the Israeli army. The raid sparked clashes in the camp as well as in the nearby town of Doha, according to locals sources who said two young men were shot in the foot during the clashes … According to the spokesperson, two Palestinians were also detained in overnight raids in the central occupied West Bank, one in the town of al-Sawahira and one in al-Zawiya.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=775800

Israeli soldiers abduct two Palestinian legislators in Bethlehem
IMEMC 6 Mar — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Monday at dawn, the West Bank city of Bethlehem, and abducted two Palestinian legislators, and another Palestinian, from their homes, after invading and violently searching them. The two Palestinian legislators, member of Hamas’s Change and Reform Parliamentary Bloc, have been identified as Khaled Tafesh and Anwar Zboun. The soldiers also invaded the home of Hasan al-Wreidan, a political leader of Fateh movement in Bethlehem, and abducted him. In related news, the soldiers invaded the al-Hawouz area, in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and confiscated a car belonging to the father of a political prisoner, identified as Tareq Ed’eis. It is worth mentioning that the abduction of the Tafesh and Zboun brings the number of imprisoned legislators to nine; seven from Hamas, one from Fateh and one from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
http://imemc.org/article/israeli-soldiers-abduct-two-palestinian-legislators-in-bethlehem/

Israeli forces detain Palestinians, shut down workshop in predawn raids
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 7 Mar — Israeli forces conducted raids in multiple areas across the occupied West Bank before dawn on Tuesday, detaining at least four Palestinians and shutting down a metals workshop that the Israeli army said was used to manufacture weapons.  Israeli soldiers stormed the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron, and ransacked approximately 20 houses belonging to Palestinians who have previously been imprisoned by Israel.  Locals identified a number of former prisoners whose houses were raided as Fayiz Misk, Shadi Uweiwi, Mahmoud Yusri Uweiwi, Yahya Ismail Qawasmi, Raed Natsha, Rasmi Dufish, Hashim Abu Turki, Yaqub Zaarir, Hisham Hmeidan Sharabati, Thaer Ziad Fakhouri, Bilal Salhab, Anas Zghayyar, and Fadi Shawar.  Israeli soldiers briefly detained Fayiz Misk for a few hours before releasing him. Sources told Ma‘an that Israeli forces “violently” inspected the houses and “turned furniture upside down.” [photo]
Meanwhile, an Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that three other Palestinians were detained overnight in the occupied West Bank, saying two were detained in the village of Husan in the southern Bethlehem district and one alleged Hamas operative was detained in the village of Qabatiya in the northernmost district of Jenin.
The spokesperson added that Israeli forces seized “weapons manufacturing machines” at a metals workshop during a raid into the town of Jama‘in south of Nablus in the northern West Bank early Tuesday morning. The workshop’s owner Mansour Majid Gheith told Ma‘an that Israeli forces stormed Jama‘in and broke into his workshop after breaking open the main door.  The Israeli soldiers, he said, destroyed the contents of his workshop, before they notified him that it had been shut down by military order. He said that the Israeli raid was carried out without any prior notice, and that the workshop was worth hundreds of thousands of Israeli shekels. An Israeli spokesperson told Ma‘an that a “illegal weapons and explosives manufacturing workshop” was uncovered, and that “more than one” machine was confiscated.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=775833

Otherwise Occupied — Baseless arrests in the holy kingdom of Judea and Samaria / Amira Hass
Haaretz 6 Mar — Someone fed the Israel Defense Forces spokesman’s office with lies claiming that two young West Bank Palestinians caught by Israeli soldiers were suspected of breaking a see-saw owned by West Bank settlers — We won’t publish S.’s full name because at 17 years old, he is a juvenile. Unidentified soldiers from an unidentified IDF unit arrested him and his neighbor, Saif-al-Din Ibrahim, on February 28.  They fired shots to scare them, slapped them, inflicted pain and left them bound and blindfolded out in the cold for several hours. Then the police were called in on a baseless pretext to finalize the abuse. The arrests without cause of S. and Saif al-Din Ibrahim are two more of those unreported run-ins, an entirely normal circumstance in the holy kingdom of Judea and Samaria. That’s how a junta that forces itself on a civilian population conducts itself. Humiliation and the infliction of fear, the demonstration of superiority and harassment are the necessary ammunition that the soldiers employ. Along with lying.Ibrahim, 21, was herding sheep that were munching on the fresh grass of the terraced landscape just a few meters below his house, when suddenly, at around 2:30 P.M., he heard the sounds of gunfire to the west and saw two people running away. He then spotted soldiers on their way down the slope. Two were on foot with a jeep close behind. An armed civilian, apparently a security coordinator, showed up as well. “They called out to me to come down to them from the terrace,” Ibrahim told Haaretz. “I understand Hebrew. I didn’t know what they wanted from me. I asked them: ‘How do you want me to come down when I’m with the sheep?’ They shot near me into the air. I was forced to come down. Three of them grabbed me. One held me by the head and slammed me against the terrace’s stones. The second one pulled my hands to the side and cuffed them, and the third held my legs.”  Then they beat the major criminal and dragged him to the jeep. The girls in the house saw what was happening and started screaming. The soldiers entered the house and pushed one of the girls against a wall, as they screamed out their threats….
http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.775383

VIDEO: Israeli forces simulate Palestinian home demolitions, clashes for military training
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israel’s Channel 2 news released a video on its website showing new training practices of Israeli forces in which soldiers trained under the conditions of a simulated demolition of a Palestinian home and clashes that erupted as a result. According to Channel 2, Israeli forces have been conducting trainings and maneuvers for the last week in order to prepare “to face Palestinian protesters while demolishing houses in Palestinian villages.” The trainings were conducted in fake towns that embodied Palestinian villages, where Israeli soldiers were training on how to face protesters, raid the homes and conduct the demolitions.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=775811

Prisoners / Court actions

Women’s Day: 56 Palestinian women imprisoned by Israel
IMEMC/Agencies 6 Mar — As the world soon marks, on March 8, International Women’s Day, 56 Palestinian women, many of whom are mothers of young children, are currently serving time in the Israeli penal system for resisting the occupation. Among them are 16 individuals under 18 years of age, the Prisoners’ Affairs Commission said on Monday.  It said, according to WAFA, that Israel has detained some 15,000 Palestinian women since its occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in 1967. The commission said that one of the detainees, Sabah Faroun, from Izzariyeh, east of Jerusalem, is serving time under administrative detention (without charge or trial) which has been renewed for six months, and for the second time in a row. Another prisoner, Lena Jarbouni, from inside Israel, is considered the oldest woman prisoner and is serving a 17-year sentence. She is scheduled for release in April. Underage prisoners also recently received heavy sentences with Shatila Abu Ayyad, from inside Israel, and Shorouq Dwayyat, both sentenced to 16 years in prison, Maysoun Jabali, from Bethlehem, sentenced to 15 years in prison, and Marah Bakir, eight years and Marah Showbaki, six years, both from East Jerusalem.
http://imemc.org/article/womens-day-56-palestinian-women-imprisoned-by-israel/

Freshly released Palestinian prisoner set free by Israel after hours of interrogation
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 6 Mar — After being interrogated for several hours by Israeli forces, former Palestinian prisoner Moussa Darwish was freed from Israeli custody on Sunday night. Darwish was first released from Israeli prison earlier on Sunday after completing a 12-year sentence, but the newly freed man found Israeli intelligence officers waiting for him outside the prison, who immediately redetained him.  Jerusalem Committee for Families of Prisoners head Amjad Abu Asab told Ma‘an that Israeli forces had also prevented Darwish’s family from going near him, after they had traveled to Ktziot prison in southern Israel to welcome him home. However, after several hours of interrogation, Israeli forces again released Darwish. Darwish spent 12 years in jail for his alleged role in a plot to kill Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the leader of Shas, an ultra-Orthodox religious political party in Israel….
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=775826

After being chained to hospital bed, Palestinian boy to be released to house arrest
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 6 Mar — Israeli authorities were expected to release 14-year-old Abdullah Haroun al-Anati from detention to house arrest on Monday, after the boy was shot in the chest with a rubber-coated steel bullet during a violent raid last Monday in occupied East Jerusalem’s Shu‘fat refugee camp and then handcuffed to a hospital bed. The Wadi Hilweh Information Center, a local organization in Jerusalem, said Sunday night that an Israeli magistrate’s court had extended the boy’s detention until Monday, while Israeli daily Haaretz reported that al-Anati was expected to be remanded to house arrest upon his release. Abdullah’s mother Abir al-Anati told Ma‘an the day after he was shot that Israeli soldiers guarding the hospital room would not allow her to speak to or go near her son, adding that an Israeli interrogator questioned the 14-year-old boy for approximately two hours, despite the fact that under Israeli law, parents are entitled to be present when their minor children are questioned. She denied Israeli police’s claim that al-Anati was throwing rocks when he was shot, and insisted she was walking him home from school when they were forced to pass through clashes that had erupted at the entrance to Shu‘fat refugee camp.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=775825

Palestinian human rights defender Salah Khawaja sentenced to 12 months in Israeli prison
Samidoun 5 Mar — Palestinian human rights defender and boycott activist Salah Khawaja was ordered to 12 months imprisonment by the Ofer military court on Sunday, 5 March. Khawaja, a member of the Secretariat of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee and a leader of the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign (Stop the Wall Campaign), was also ordered to pay a fine of 5000 NIS ($1250 USD). Khawaja was seized from his Ramallah home on 26 October 2016 in a pre-dawn military raid by Israeli occupation forces. During his lengthy interrogation, he was subjected to torture, ill-treatment, beatings and denied access to his lawyer. He was eventually charged with contact of an “agent of an enemy state,” an allegation frequently leveled against Palestinians who travel to other Arab countries and meet Arab or exiled Palestinian activists and media figures from countries like Lebanon, Syria or Algeria. Similar charges are frequently used against Palestinians who attend conferences and public political events in Lebanon, the home to hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees, or other Arab countries. In Khawaja’s case, the charge was quite weak; he was accused of meeting an unspecified person in Jordan, reported the Stop the Wall Campaign. In order to bolster the weak allegations, military prosecutors submitted a “secret file” to supplement the charges, to which Khawaja and his lawyer were denied access.
http://samidoun.ca/2017/03/palestinian-human-rights-defender-salah-khawaja-sentenced-to-12-months-in-israeli-prison/

Israeli court sentences Palestinian citizen of Israel to year in prison over ‘incitement’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 6 Mar — The Israeli magistrate court in Haifa on Monday sentenced Palestinian citizen of Israel Khalid Ibrahim Muasi, 20, to one year in prison for social media “incitement,” according to Hebrew-language media. Hebrew sites reported that Muasi, a resident of the Galilee in northern Israel, published a Facebook post in 2016 expressing support for an attack conducted by a Palestinian against Israelis inside the illegal Hebron-area settlement of Kiryat Arba, and “calling for conducting more attacks (against Israel).” In addition to the one-year prison sentence, the court ordered a 10-month suspended sentence against Muasi in the event that he committed any “acts of incitement” after his release.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=775828

Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements / Judaization

Negev crops destroyed by Israeli bulldozers
IMEMC/Agencies 5 Mar — Israeli occupation bulldozers raided, on Sunday morning, several Palestinian villages in the Negev desert region, and destroyed thousands of planted crops. Activist Khaled Abu Kharma said, according to Al Ray, that Israeli soldiers raided the Negev and began destroying crops in various villages. He stressed that Israel exterminated crops in the land near the village of Lakiya, and hundreds of dunams were destroyed owned by Nasasrh Abu Darwish. Abu Kharma explained that the Israeli vehicles plowed and destroyed crops of civilians near Nafroq Om Baten. Israeli soldiers raided nearby lands last week, as well, destroying thousands of wheat crops. They deliberately attacked Palestinian lands in the time when plants are still growing. It is an Israeli policy to displace and uproot the people from their villages, which the occupation government considers “unrecognized”.
http://imemc.org/article/negev-crops-destroyed-by-israeli-bulldozers/

Palestinians live in caves as Israel destroys their homes
Days of Palestine 2 Mar by Ali abu-Rezeg, Anadolu — Majid Hanani, a 64-year-old Palestinian, has been forced to live the life of a caveman after his home in the West Bank was razed by Israeli occupation bulldozers. Located in the village of Tana east of the West Bank city of Nablus, Hanani’s home — along with 300 other modest Palestinian homes — was razed by Israeli bulldozers early this year, prompting displaced residents to seek refuge inside nearby caves. The Israeli authorities, for their part, attempted to justify the demolitions by saying the homes had been built without state permission. “Life is difficult in the caves,” Hanani told Anadolu Agency. “We lack most basic requirements.” “But we have no alternative,” he said bitterly. “We build our homes out of corrugated iron and Israeli bulldozers eventually come and demolish them.” “I’ve seen it happen more than 20 times,” he added. While watching an old television set powered by solar energy, Hanani said: “I fear difficult days ahead; harassment by the Israeli army — and the Jewish settlers — will continue.” He pointed to an outpost on a nearby hilltop, saying: “That’s a [Jewish] settler who came several years ago with his caravan. Today, he runs a farm for breeding cattle.” “He established a settlement outpost there,” he explained. “Now he wants to extend the boundaries of his property to include land on which we were living before the 1967 occupation.” … Hanani owns some 200 sheep and lives off the money he makes selling the milk they produce and the cheese his wife makes. Describing the cave in which he and his wife now live as “our modest kingdom”, Hanani said: “It’s a simple life. We only want to live in safety and security.” Their cave contains two small beds, a television set perched on a rickety table, and a simple cooking oven….
http://www.daysofpalestine.com/features/fleeing-israel-bulldozers-palestinians-resort-caves/

Khan al-Ahmar village scheduled for demolition
IMEMC/Agencies 6 MarIsraeli Civil Administration in the occupied West Bank announced, on Monday, that it has decided to demolish the Palestinian village of Khan al-Ahmar. The village is located in Area C, according to the Oslo Peace Accords signed between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in 1993. This area is under Israel security and administrative control. Israel newspaper Haaretz reported, according to Days of Palestine, that the Israeli Civil Administration in the West Bank had issued 42 demolition orders. According to local Palestinian villagers who have been living in this village since before the Israeli occupation of 1948, the demolition of 42 homes means that more than two thirds of the village would disappear. Earlier, the villagers appealed against Israeli demolition orders, but the Israeli courts failed to prevent occupation authorities from carrying out the demolitions. Hundreds of the Palestinians live in the village without the basic infrastructure. They rejected an Israeli proposal to move to another place, stressing this is their own land and no one will oblige them to leave it. The Israeli occupation is planning to confiscate the land of this village in order to build facilities serving nearby illegal settlements.
http://imemc.org/article/khan-al-ahmar-village-scheduled-for-demolition/

Israeli soldiers demolish a Palestinian home near Hebron
IMEMC/Agencies 6 Mar — Several Israeli military vehicles, including bulldozers, invaded on Monday morning an area east of Hebron city, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, and demolished a Palestinian home. The WAFA Palestinian News Agency said the soldiers surrounded Mazare Al-Baqar area before invading it, and demolished the property under of the pretext of being built without a permit. WAFA added that the property was owned by a local man, identified as Badwan Abu Mayyala, and his family.
http://imemc.org/article/israeli-soldiers-demolish-a-palestinian-home-near-hebron/

Protesters denounce ‘racist’ planned closure of Beersheba Bedouin market
BEERSHEBA (Ma‘an) 5 Mar — Dozens of Palestinian and Jewish citizens of Israel protested in front of the municipality of Beersheba on Sunday against the mayor’s decision to close the city’s Bedouin market. Mayor Ruvik Danilovich decided to close Beersheba’s traditional Bedouin market, which had been in operation for some 120 years, by the end of the month. An appeal has already been filed against the decision to postpone the closure of the market, known colloquially as the “Thursday market.” Danilovich said that the decision to close the market was made after experts found that the market did not “represent real Bedouin heritage,” and said that the location of the market could be turned into a touristic, educational or entertainment center. However, protesters expressed their anger towards the decision, arguing that the market was an important institution for the merchants working there, as well as for low-income customers who could not afford shopping at other more expensive locations. Protesters held signs reading “Ruvik, how much did they pay you to kill us?,” “struggling to make a living,” “racist Ruvik,” or otherwise calling the closure a “death sentence against 1,000 families” dependent on the market. Israeli authorities have cracked down the Bedouin community in Israel since the beginning of the year, as home demolitions have come into the limelight….
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=775802

Arab Israeli leader defends Arafat street sign
AFP 6 Mar — A top Arab Israeli politician on Monday defended naming a street in northern Israel after the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to remove it. The small Arab Israeli town of Jatt recently inaugurated Yasser Arafat Street in honour of the former Palestinian president, a hero to Palestinians and many Arab Israelis but loathed by many Israeli Jews. On Sunday, the Jatt council decided to remove “all the controversial street signs”, including the Arafat sign, and replace them with different names, according to a report on Channel 10 television. The local municipality did not comment on Monday, but Israeli media reported signage had been removed after Netanyahu’s threat. Ayman Odeh, head of the predominantly Arab Joint List coalition in the Israeli parliament, said Arafat was a “symbol”. “He is a leader of the national liberation movement and he chose peace and negotiations and he won the Nobel Peace Prize,” Odeh told journalists. “It is completely your right to say ‘I am completely against this man’,” he added, but said streets in Jewish neighbourhoods had sometimes been named after far-right politicians and even assailants. “I cannot accept this is OK but calling a street after Yasser Arafat is not OK.”… Speaking at the start of a Sunday cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said “no street in the state of Israel will be named after murderers of Israelis and Jews”. “We will make the arrangements, including new legislation if need be, so that this does not happen here.”
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/afp/2017/03/israel-palestinians-conflict-arab-politics-arafat.html

Gaza

One Palestinian injured by Israeli army fire in northern Gaza
IMEMC 7 Mar — The Palestinian Health Ministry has reported that one Palestinian was injured, on Tuesday morning, after Israeli soldiers, accompanied by tanks and bulldozers, invaded farmlands in northern Gaza, and bulldozed them, while firing live rounds and a few shells. The ministry stated that the Palestinian, 22 years of age, was injured by fragments of an artillery shell, and was moved to the Indonesian Hospital, suffering minor wounds. The Palestinian was injured after the tanks and bulldozers advanced into Palestinian agricultural lands, and bulldozed them, close to the border fence, east of Beit Hanoun.
http://imemc.org/article/one-palestinian-injured-by-israeli-army-fire-in-northern-gaza/

Sources: Egypt planning to open Rafah crossing with Gaza twice a month
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 6 Mar — Top Egyptian security officials told Ma‘an that the Egyptian government had plans to open the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the besieged Gaza Strip twice a month in both directions. Sources told Ma‘an that the decision came directly from Egyptian President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi, who ordered to continue the opening of Rafah crossing in both directions twice a month for all Palestinian humanitarian cases, “as an attempt to lessen the suffering of Palestinian people in Gaza Strip.” “Egypt is planning to lift the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip by opening the crossing twice every month, achieving Palestinian national reconciliation, conducting strategic projects in the Gaza Strip and securing the Palestinian-Egyptian border,” sources added. Egyptian authorities announced on Saturday evening that the Rafah border crossing would be opened in both directions on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, according to spokesman of Gaza’s crossings committee Hisham Udwan. Since the beginning of the year, Egyptian authorities have opened the crossing in both directions twice, most recently in mid-February.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=775814

Israeli forces open fire at Palestinian fishermen in Gaza
GAZA (Ma‘an) 6 Mar — Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip on Monday morning, local sources said, with no injuries reported. Palestinian sources said the fishermen were forced to sail back ashore for safety.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=775815

Gaza kids fly kites to mark Japan quake
GAZA CITY (Japan News) 6 Mar by Hiromi Uechi — About 1,000 children flew kites in the Gaza city of Khan Yunis on Sunday to express hope for the recovery of disaster-stricken areas hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake. The kite-flying event was hosted by the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Residences and a hospital were built with aid from Japan in Khan Yunis, which has given residents a consistently strong affinity with Japan. Later, the children arranged themselves on the ground to spell out the words “Gaza loves Japan” to express their solidarity with Japan.
http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0003560093

Restaurant serving up Egyptian fare is buzzing in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 5 Mar by Amjad Yaghi — In 1987, Egyptian national Osama Hassan left his homeland for Rome at the age of 26 in search of a job. He spent 26 years in Italy, first working as a sous-chef in several pizzerias and then, after eight years, Hassan opened his own pizza restaurant. Within a decade, the ambitious chef had opened three restaurants in Rome offering Italian-style pizza, meat dishes and all types of pasta. However, Hassan, now 55, yearned to return to the Arab world. He sold his restaurants, left Italy and headed to Gaza, where he opened a restaurant that specializes in kushari, a traditional Egyptian dish made of rice, macaroni and lentils. The move was a success, and his decision to relocate to Gaza appeared to be much more profitable than heading back to Egypt. On Omar al-Mukhtar Street in the center of Gaza City, hundreds of customers from all over the Gaza Strip head to Hassan’s Nile Kushari restaurant, which is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day. The restaurant is decorated with photos of prominent Egyptian landmarks, such as the pyramids, the Qasr El Nil Bridge and the Nile River, to give the place a genuine Egyptian character….
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/03/palestine-egypt-kushari-restaurant-gaza-success-story.html

Haaretz Editorial: Our punching bag in Gaza
4 Mar — Attacks on and from the Gaza Strip have become more frequent recently, to the point where it seems Israel must once again prepare for a military operation. Faithful to Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s view that “our orders to the Israel Defense Forces are to act with full force until the other side cries uncle and raises a white flag,” Israel has responded aggressively to the launch of every lone rocket from Gaza – bombing Hamas command posts, but also civilian buildings. Israel acknowledges that Hamas isn’t the one launching occasional missiles at its territory, and that the guilty parties are Salafi organizations close to or affiliated with the Islamic State. Despite this, it holds Hamas responsible for the rocket fire and demands that the organization, which it doesn’t recognize and which it defines as a terrorist group, fight the Salafists. These are the same groups that launched missiles at Eilat from Sinai in early February, but Israel doesn’t operate in or bomb Egyptian territory – at least not publicly. It leaves the work to the Egyptian army. Nor does it denounce Egypt or hold it responsible for the rocket fire on the grounds that it is the sovereign power in Sinai.
The paradoxical situation in which Israel views Hamas as the sovereign, and therefore holds it responsible for what happens in Gaza yet at the same time fights against it, cannot produce the quiet it seeks. Residents of border-area communities around Gaza shouldn’t have to endure a “trickle” of rockets. But brutal clashes with Hamas – at the very moment when the organization is strengthening its ties with Egypt and cooperating with Cairo in the battle against terrorist organizations in Sinai – don’t demonstrate wisdom …one can only be amazed by Hamas’ ability to maintain comparative quiet, and the steps it has taken against the organizations that seek to undermine its authority by launching rockets at Israel. Given the absence of any intent to conduct negotiations with the Palestinians in general and Hamas in particular, the government must immediately consider other ways of halting the deterioration in Gaza – first and foremost by alleviating the wretchedness of life there.
http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/editorial/1.775247

Solidarity / BDS

Are British universities silencing critics of Israel?
MANCHESTER, England 6 Mar by Shafik Mandhai — On a gloomy afternoon outside the University of Manchester Students’ Union, pro-Palestinian activists took turns to man a small stall collecting signatures in support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, or BDS. Huda Ammori enthusiastically helped students asking how to get more involved in pro-Palestinian activism, as her colleagues considered the best way to move a mock two-metre high Israeli separation wall behind them. “They want us gone by half three,” Ammori told Al Jazeera, explaining the agreement she had made with the union to vacate the area before it became too busy. A local of the nearby town of Bolton, Ammori, a British citizen of Palestinian and Iraqi heritage, has spent the week drumming up support for Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW). The event is held at universities across the world to shine a light on Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in the occupied territories and within the state itself. The University of Manchester has allowed the series of talks marking the event to go ahead, but that approval has only come after several meetings and email exchanges with Ammori, and is subject to a strict set of conditions. “The university has heavily scrutinised every single detail of each event … the number of conditions the university has placed on us is unheard of,” Ammori said, adding: “Other societies and groups do not face the same problems.” The conditions, listed in emails seen by Al Jazeera, relate to the impartiality of event conveners and scrutiny of speakers. The university vetoed Ammori’s choice of academic to chair an IAW event on BDS, citing concerns over her “neutrality”….
http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/03/british-universities-silencing-critics-israel-170305010803829.html

New York City protest demands freedom for Lena Jarbouni, all Palestinian prisoners
[with photos] Samidoun 5 Mar — Protesters in New York City gathered outside the Best Buy at Union Square on Friday, 3 March to protest the imprisonment of Lena Jarbouni and fellow Palestinian women prisoners and urge Hewlett-Packard (HP) corporations to get out of the business of profiting from occupation, apartheid and colonialism. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network organized the protest in advance of International Women’s Day to highlight the situation of approximately 51 Palestinian women held in Israeli jails, among nearly 7,000 Palestinian political prisoners. They include 13 minor girls under the age of 18, and Palestinian women prisoners have recently escalated complaints regarding their conditions of imprisonment, especially for the 14 women prisoners who are injured, shot by Israeli occupation forces and requiring extensive medical care and personal assistance, provided mostly by fellow women prisoners.  In particular, protesters highlighted the case of Lena Jarbouni, the longest-held Palestinian woman prisoner. Jarbouni, from Akka, is a Palestinian citizen of Israel who worked in sewing workshops and was arrested in 2002. She is ill and suffers from a number of diseases. Lina is the spokesperson and representative of women prisoners in HaSharon; sentenced to 17 years, she has three years remaining in her sentence. She received this lengthy sentence for “aiding the enemy” – Palestinian resistance. She was denied essential medical treatment until her fellow women prisoners launched a strike for her treatment. She has played a critical role in advocating for the educational rights of imprisoned Palestinian girls …
The demonstration also focused on the complicity of Hewlett-Packard (HP) corporations in Israeli occupation, apartheid, colonialism and oppression, including the imprisonment of thousands of Palestinians. Participants distributed flyers and leaflets calling on HP to end its contracts with the Israel Prison Service along with other Israeli entities, and urging shoppers to boycott HP products, including computers, printers and ink, until the corporation stops profiteering from the jailing of Palestinians.
http://samidoun.ca/2017/03/new-york-city-protest-demands-freedom-for-lena-jarbouni-all-palestinian-prisoners/

Other news

Palestinian prisoner held by PA dies after 2 days on hunger strike
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 6 Mar — A Palestinian prisoner held by the Palestinian Authority (PA) died on Sunday, reportedly from health complications after two days on hunger strike. Ghalib Abdullah Daraghma, a 48-year-old resident of the occupied West Bank city of Tubas, died in the Palestine medical complex in Ramallah on Sunday evening after his health deteriorated less than 48 hours after launching a hunger strike. A Palestinian police spokesman told Ma‘an that Daraghma started his hunger strike on Saturday after he had been taken to the hospital on Feb. 26. The reason for the hunger strike remained unclear as of Monday. Palestinian security sources said that Daraghma had been held in a Palestinian prison for the past two years after being charged with killing five Palestinians, including two police officers, in Tubas, adding that he however had not been sentenced in court. Palestinian prosecution said it has opened an investigation to uncover the circumstances of his death. Daraghma’s death comes amid renewed outcry against the PA’s incarceration system as Palestinian activist Basel al-Araj, who had been detained by the PA for five months in 2016, was killed by Israeli forces on Monday.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=775816

Palestinian journalists protest al-Quds newspaper’s ‘normalization’ of Israeli occupation
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 6 Mar — Dozens of Palestinian journalists gathered on Monday outside offices of the Palestinian Journalists’ Union in the town of al-Bireh adjacent to Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank, to protest what they called the “promotion” of illegal Israeli settlements in the al-Quds newspaper. Protests against al-Quds newspaper began after the paper published an interview with the extreme right-wing Israeli Minister of Defense Avigdor Liberman, covering a wide range of political topics, including the issue of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. The newspaper has also come under fire in the past for publishing announcements by the Israeli Civil Administration. Head of the union of Palestinian writers Murad Sudani delivered a speech on behalf of writers unions and federations affiliated to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), confirming their rejection of al-Quds newspaper’s “approach and insistence” to “continue to promote the Israeli narrative and settlements.”  “All unions and federations,” Sudani said, “are unanimously against normalization and we will continue to fight all its aspects.” He went on to urge al-Quds newspaper to “apologize to the Palestinian people and to journalists.”….
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=775830

13-year-old Palestinian boy found hanged to death in Jerusalem-area town
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an)  7 Mar — A teenage Palestinian boy was found dead in a tent in the town of al-Eizariya in the central occupied West Bank’s Jerusalem district, according to Palestinian police. Police spokesman Luay Irzeiqat told Ma‘an that police were notified of a dead body found in a tent in the town, and that officers from the nearby Abu Dis police station rushed to the place to find the body of a 13-year-old boy lying on the ground inside a tent which served as a children’s playroom. The victim was identified as Ali Salih al-Umour. His brother told police officers that he found al-Umour hanged inside the tent. Police said traces of a rope were clear on the victim’s neck. The Palestinian prosecution decided to keep the body until a forensic doctor examines the body to try and determine the cause of death.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=775832

Israel passes law barring entry for supporters of boycott of Jewish state
JERUSALEM (AFP) 6 Mar — Israel’s parliament has passed into law a bill barring entry into the country to those supporting a boycott of the Jewish state. “The Knesset [parliament] passed on its second and third readings the entry into Israel bill,” it said in a statement on Monday night. “A visa will not be granted nor a residence permit of any kind to any person who is not an Israeli citizen or permanent resident if he, or the organisation or body in which he is active, has knowingly issued a public call to boycott the state of Israel or pledged to take part in such a boycott,” the statement said. Israel has been faced with a boycott movement over its nearly 50-year occupation of the West Bank but it has lately intensified the diplomatic and legal fight against it. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement campaigns for a global boycott of Israel until, among other demands, the country withdraws from all occupied Palestinian territories. Israel sees the movement as a strategic threat and accuses it of antisemitism – a claim BDS denies. Haaretz newspaper said the wording of the new law left open the possibility that it could be used against Palestinians living in Israel as temporary residents while their applications for permanent residence were being considered. Such a process is required by Palestinians seeking right of abode with their Israeli-Arab spouses. Last year, Israeli authorities refused to renew the travel documents of prominent BDS campaigner Omar Barghouti. His family are Palestinian but he was born in the Gulf state of Qatar. He is married to an Israeli-Arab and as such has permanent resident status, although not full citizenship. But interior minister, Aryeh Deri, has been considering revoking Barghouti’s residence permit, the ministry has said.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/06/israel-law-barring-entry-supporters-jewish-state-boycott

Trump’s Israel envoy pick gave funds to settle Jews in Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City
Haaretz 7 Mar by Judy Maltz — David Friedman’s leadership role in an organization that raises funds for the West Bank settlement of Beit El is frequently cited as grounds for disqualifying him from becoming U.S. ambassador to Israel. It now emerges that Friedman’s financial ties to the settlement movement run deeper than Beit El. Friedman has also made contributions over the years to Ateret Cohanim, a right-wing organization that buys land in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City and Arab East Jerusalem for creating a “Jewish presence” there … The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled to vote on Friedman’s appointment Thursday. If Friedman is confirmed as expected, the vote will go to the full Senate. In his Senate confirmation hearings several weeks ago, Friedman tried to play down his connections to the settler movement … According to Peace Now, an Israeli organization that monitors settlement activity, Ateret Cohanim owns 59 properties in the Muslim Quarter and Arab East Jerusalem. Since its establishment in 1987, it has settled 1,100 Jews in these areas, including hundreds of yeshiva students … Ateret Cohanim’s latest project, approved in December, is a new three-story building in the middle of the crowded Silwan neighborhood. Opposition members in the Jerusalem City Council have been fighting the plan. “Ateret Cohanim is known as an organization that tries to make the most provocative purchases possible right in the heart of East Jerusalem,” said Laura Wharton, a city council member for the left-wing Meretz party. “They are seeking to incite as much conflict as they can.”….
http://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-1.775611

Israeli lawmaker: Only Palestinians who serve in army would be able to vote in binational state
Haaretz 6 Mar — Israeli lawmaker Miki Zohar (Likud) laid out his vision for Israel’s future after annexing the West Bank. In an interview on Sunday, he said that Palestinians would have the full benefits of citizenship except the right to vote, which they would have to earn by fulfilling a term of national service. “The two-state solution is dead,” Zohar, a member of Israel’s governing coalition, told news Channel i24News, while insisting that the one-state alternative would be democratic even though Palestinians would not automatically be allowed to vote in elections. “They will get full rights and all the needs to get to prospect and to succeed here in this country.” There would however, be a path for Palestinians to vote for their representatives, said Zohar. “My idea [is] that we can let them vote for the Knesset with only three things that they need to do like every other citizen: One, to go the army or to go to serve the country like everyone here in Israel is obligated to do,” Zohar said before being cut off. “You want 2.5 million Palestinians going and serving in the IDF army?” asked journalist Tami Molad. “I promise you, they won’t serve in the army, they will let go of the option to vote,” replied Zohar. “They would prefer not voting and not donating to this country, believe me.”….
http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.775453

US warning to Israel signals new backpedaling by Trump
JERUSALEM (AP) 6 Mar by Josef Federman — The Trump administration has explicitly warned Israel against annexing parts of the occupied West Bank, saying it would trigger an “immediate crisis” between the two close allies, Israel’s defense minister said Monday. It was the latest indication that President Donald Trump is returning to more traditional U.S. policy and will not give Israel free rein to expand its control over the West Bank and sideline the Palestinians, as Israeli nationalists had hoped. Speaking in parliament, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said U.S. officials had been clear in their opposition to Israeli annexation of West Bank land — a notion that has gained steam in far-right Israeli circles since Trump’s election. “We received a direct message — not an indirect message and not a hint — from the United States. Imposing Israeli sovereignty on Judea and Samaria would mean an immediate crisis with the new administration,” Lieberman said, shortly before departing for a working visit to the U.S. Judea and Samaria is the biblical term for the West Bank, which Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians seek the West Bank as the heartland of a future state, a position that has wide international backing. The angry U.S. reaction was sparked by comments by Miki Zohar, a junior lawmaker in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s nationalist Likud Party….
http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/israeli-minister-us-warned-israel-annexing-west-bank-45934561

Survivor of the attack on the USS Liberty to address USAO students, public
University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma — The USAO history department will host retired United States Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Bryce Lockwood on Thursday, March 9, as the second in a series of guest speakers this semester. Beginning at 6 p.m. in the USAO Ballroom, Lockwood will discuss the attack on the USS Liberty and then lead an open-ended discussion about foreign relations in the United States. The event is free and open to the public.  The USS Liberty was a technical research vessel under the United States Navy. The ship was attacked by Israeli aircraft and torpedo boats on June 8, 1967, during the Six-Day War. The combined assault resulted in the deaths of 34 crewmen, 171 wounded, as well as severe damage to the Liberty. Israeli forces claimed that the attack was a case of mistaken identity, believing the ship to be Egyptian. The true intentions behind the incident and the U.S. government’s response to it have remained a source of controversy to the present day.  “The attack on the USS Liberty makes the Gulf of Tonkin incident look like nothing,” said Dr. Kevin Crow, professor of history at USAO. “There aren’t many people who still remember that this happened—much less lived through it—so having Sgt. Lockwood on campus may well be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the public to hear about what really occurred that day from someone who was actually there.”…
https://usao.edu/news/survivor-attack-uss-liberty-address-usao-students-public

groups.yahoo.com/group/f_shadi (listserv)