PM tours the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo, which lies beyond the Green line, ahead of talks with EU foreign policy chief on Israel’s plan for 797 additional homes in the area.
link to www.haaretz.com
JERUSALEM (Reuters) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu paid a visit to the illegal settlement of Gilo on Tuesday in a defiant prelude to talks with the European Union’s top diplomat, who has condemned Gilo’s expansion. Israel issued a detailed plan last week for 797 additional homes in Gilo, an urban complex built in a part of the occupied West Bank that it captured in a 1967 Middle East war and later annexed to Jerusalem.
In weekly meeting with Likud ministers, PM says awaiting Weinstein’s reservations on the Levy report before bringing it before the government; sources: Meeting to be held in one week.
The YMCA-YWCA Joint Advocacy Initiative (JAI), in cooperation with the Alternative Tourism Group (ATG), has ended its annual Olive Picking Program. The 90+ activists/participants of the program come through Christian organizations, Churches and solidarity movements from 16 American, European and Asian countries. The program lasted from the 13th to the 21st of October 2012, through which participants helped to pick olives with Palestinian farmers and landowners in the Bethlehem area. The lands and farms selected are under threat of confiscation by the Israelis, are attacked by settlers, are located beyond the apartheid wall or have Jewish colonies constructed adjacent to or on part of the land.
In the West Bank’s Jewish settlements, ‘facts on the ground’ entrench divisions between Israel and the Palestinians.
Residents of Batir say construction would threaten ancient agricultural terraces and contravene a historic agreement made after the 1948 war.
Soldiers, police are required to see permits and stop work if they’re not produced.
Israeli & Egyptian Siege on Gaza
JERUSALEM, October 23, 2012 (WAFA) – Israel denied in September 16 Gaza patients, including one child, the right to travel to the West Bank to receive medical treatment, according to the World Health Organization’s monthly report on referral of patients from the Gaza Strip published Monday. It said that 705 patients applied to the Israeli District Liaison Office (DCL) to cross Erez to access hospitals in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in Israel or Jordan. The Israeli authorities gave permits to cross Erez checkpoint to 647 patients but denied them to 16 patients – seven females and nine males, including one child, said the WHO report. It said six of the patients denied permit were seeking orthopedics treatment, four ophthalmology, two neurosurgery, and one each for gynecology, nuclear medicine, nephrology and neurology. Of the 16 denied patients, nine had appointments at Makassed hospital in East Jerusalem, four in Ramallah and three in other areas of the West Bank. In addition 42 patients, including 12 children, received no answer to their applications and missed their hospital appointment date. Of the delayed patients, six waited more than two weeks for their application to be studied, three waited more than one month. The report said 12 patients, including two females and 10 males, were requested to appear for Israeli security interviews…..
GAZA CITY (IPS) – It’s being taken as an antidote to the stress of occupation. But the prevalence of the painkiller Tramadol in the Gaza Strip has more to do with its ease of availability than its singular effectiveness as a reality-numbing substance. Under siege since early 2006, means of relaxation are scarce in Gaza, and even some of the most resilient and educated people in the strip have sought in Tramadol a break from the dire realities of trauma, manufactured poverty and continuous tension. A synthetic drug often prescribed for pain-related ailments, the pill comes in a second, more potent and potentially lethal variety: the illegal black market kind.
The 18-year-old from Gaza’s Jabalya refugee camp last spring applied for a US-sponsored scholarship to study mathematics at Birzeit University in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The two-year-old scholarship programme for academically talented but financially strapped Palestinians has become the sole opportunity for Gaza youth to enrol in West Bank universities, which are viewed to have more highly-qualified teachers and better facilities than those in Gaza, and offer more study programmes. Palestinians from Gaza have not been allowed to study in the West Bank since 2000, except for three students who won the US scholarship programme when it began in 2010. So when scholarship officials who interviewed Ms Abu Rokba indicated she had been accepted, she bought new clothes and told her family and friends about her departure from Gaza.
Updated 4:43pm: Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh on Tuesday said the visit of Qatar’s emir to the Gaza Strip had helped lift Israel’s blockade of the enclave. Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani on Tuesday was the first head of state to enter Gaza since 1999 in a visit that broke the isolation of its rulers Hamas. “You are today, by this visit, declaring the breaking of the unjust blockade,” Haniyeh told the Qatari leader in a speech at the site of a new town to be built with Gulf money. “Today we declare victory against the blockade through this historic visit,” he said. “We say thank you, Emir, thank you Qatar for this noble Arab stance … Hail to the blood of martyrs which brought us to this moment.”
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma’an) — Egyptian authorities on Tuesday delivered eight tankers of Qatari fuel to Israel to be transferred to the Gaza Strip, a PA official said. Omar Hadhoud, PA representative at the al-Auja crossing, told Ma’an that Israel will transfer the fuel to Gaza via the Kerem Shalom crossing. The 450,000 liters of diesel donated by Qatar was scheduled to be pumped in limited quantities to Gaza on Sunday, a Gaza official said this week, but Egypt delayed the delivery to improve security coordination. Delivery of Qatari fuel began in July, but was cut off after a border attack on Egyptian officers on Aug. 5.
Qatar University’s professor of political science, Dr Mohammed Al-Mesfer, has stated that the Qatari Emir, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani’s visit to the Gaza Strip represents a turning point in Arab politics and a shift from mere talk to taking real steps to break the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip. He also expressed hope that it would be a starting point for visits from other Arab leaders, thus putting an end to the international blockade on Strip.
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli fire killed a Palestinian man and injured three others late Tuesday after Israel’s army said six rockets fired from the Gaza Strip landed across the border, a medical official said. Ashraf al-Qidra said three Palestinians were transferred to Kamal Adwan hospital in Jabaliya for treatment of injuries sustained in the attack in the northern Gaza Strip. One person was seriously hurt and the others sustained moderate injuries, al-Qidra added.
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A group of settlers assaulted a Palestinian man in a gas station in Etzion settlement on Tuesday, witnesses said. Adel Khader Atallah, 35, was attacked by four settlers while working at the gas station, and was taken to Beit Jala hospital, locals told Ma’an. Atallah said he notified Israeli police and they arrested the attackers.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility for an attack Tuesday morning in Gaza that left an Israeli officer severely wounded along a border fence with Israel. The leftist group said in a statement that it had planted an explosive device that wounded an “officer in the Givati brigade.” The attack took place around 7am east of the southern town of Khan Younis. Hamas security sources said the explosion occurred as troops mounted an incursion into Gaza territory.
In response to the continued crimes of the occupation against the Palestinian people and their brave resistance, the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, the armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, claimed responsibility for detonating a roadside bomb near Kissufim on the Gaza border east of Khan Younis, which seriously injured an occupation military officer from the Givati unit at 7:16 am on October 23, 2012. The fighters involved returned home safely.
On Tuesday 23rd October, Israeli occupation forces arrested a Palestinian from Tubas Governorate in the northeastern West Bank. Eyewitnesses told Palestine official news wire WAFA that Israeli soldiers arrested Safwat Fawaz Daraghmeh, 23, and transferred him to an unknown location.
International Solidarity Movement in Hebron said in a press release that on Monday 22nd October, a group of seven settlers from the illegal settlement of Tel Rumeida arrived at Hasham Azzeh’s olive grove in Hebron, yelling for everyone to get off of “their” land. Hasham was on his land harvesting his olives for the first time in 5 years after being granted permission from the District Civil Liaison. He was accompanied by members of his family as well as several International Human Rights volunteers. The situation quickly escalated as settlers pushed the Palestinians in order to try and enter Hasham’s house.
Other Prisoner News
Samer al-Barq ends hunger strike
LATEST: Addameer can confirm that #Palestinian detainee Samer al-Barq has stopped his third #hungerstrike as of the evening of 18 October 2012. More details to follow.
IOA postpones al-Issawi’s trial
An Israeli military court on Monday postponed a hearing for the Jerusalemite prisoner Samer al-Issawi who has been on hunger strike for 83 days.
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A prisoner being held in an Israeli jail underwent heart surgery last week, a lawyer from the Palestinian Authority ministry of detainees said. Riyad al-Amour, 42, underwent the surgery on Wednesday and is in a stable condition, lawyer Fadi Adedat said. Al-Amour is from Tuqu village near Bethlehem and was arrested in 2002. He is serving 11 life sentences.
Palestinian minister says 16 Egyptians are in Israeli prisons
The Palestinian Authority prisoners’ affairs minister said that 16 Egyptians, out of 46 Arab captives, are in Israeli prisons. Issa Qaraqe said there are 4,600 Palestinian male and female prisoners in 17 prisons and camps inside Israel. Qaraqe left Cairo Monday morning to Jordan after a one-day visit. He had come from Ramallah to attend an Arab League meeting preparing for a conference for solidarity with Palestinian and Arab captives on 11 December in Baghdad that will seek to draw international attention to the prisoners’ issue.
Zionist Racism & Discrimination
A new poll (if anyone can find the full poll results please let me know) of Israeli Jews by Camil Fuchs and commissioned by the New Israel Fund has alarming findings concerning the deterioration of democratic values in Israel. Gideon Levy writes in Haaretz that Israelis (Jews) have largely shed their previous veneer of democratic values and now hold views that can only be described as authoritarian-racist, if not fascist.
‘Hatred and racism are permeating Israel at a rapid pace’ –victim of racist attack writes in ‘The Hill’, Annie Robbins
We’re racists, the Israelis are saying, we practice apartheid and we even want to live in an apartheid state. Yes, this is Israel. As elections draw near, the season of public opinion surveys is upon us. But here is a survey that is more disturbing and significant in its revelations than those informing us whether Yair Lapid is taking off or Ehud Barak is crashing in the polls.
Haaretz has reported that an Israeli Council for Higher Education report reveals that only around 11 per cent of undergraduate students are Arab citizens of the state, a figure that constitutes less than half of their overall percentage of the population. Of post-graduate doctoral students, only 3 per cent are Arabs, it is claimed. The internal report obtained by the newspaper at the beginning of the new academic year shows that Israeli Arabs are “disadvantaged” from the start. “While 44 per cent of Jewish students meet the minimum requirements for university acceptance, only 22 per cent of their Arab peers do,” said Haaretz. “Even those who do meet the requirements are less likely to get a place at university; 32 per cent of Arabs who apply to institutions of higher education are not accepted, compared to 19 per cent of Jews.”
The Chicago Jewish Star, a twice-monthly Jewish paper, has endorsed Romney as “the better bet for our country.” The phrasing indicates some defensiveness about the dual loyalty charge. The Star is emphasizing that Romney is better for America. And yes, the Star talks about jobs. But the Star does talk about another country several times. It begins with the Iran threat and later endorses Romney for his racist statements in Jerusalem in August, when he said that economic disparity between Israel and Palestine can be explained by Jews’ superior “culture.” Also, the editorial accuses Obama of “divisiveness.” Divisive toward Netanyahu?
Protests / Solidarity / Activism / BDS
Israel Deports Nine Solidarity Activists
Israel officials reported that the Israeli Immigration Authority deported nine solidarity who were on the Estelle solidarity ship, that was boarded by the Israeli Navy in International waters on Sunday, 21 October 2012.
Tens of thousands of students and teachers on Tuesday morning refrained from going to their schools in the West Bank causing a state of inaction on the streets.
Below is the full notice of a precious opportunity to persuade the American Association of University Professors to endorse the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel. The AAUP notice implies that it wants to be persuaded that it should endorse BDS, and even join the academic boycott, but still needs a lot of help to get there and even more help in defending such a decision, if it does get there. Please accept the invitation to submit requested papers, if you’re able, and ask qualified others to do the same.
Four of five speakers pull out of UNESCO conference honoring Israel’s Peres at University of Connecticut, Ali Abunimah
A “human rights” conference honoring Shimon Peres at the University of Connecticut was in disarray after almost all the speakers pulled out.
Bahrain rights defender Maryam Al-Khawaja pulls out of UNESCO ceremony over honor to Israel’s Peres, Ali Abunimah
“Whilst I am honored that you chose my father, I am also utterly disappointed that you would honor him alongside a person who has been responsible for many human rights violations and should be put on trial.”
Open Letter to Edinburgh University Politics and International Relations Society Regarding Invitation of Israeli Ambassador. Edinburgh University Students for Justice in Palestine are writing to the Politics and International Relations society to object in the strongest possible terms to the invitation on to campus of Israel’s ambassador to the UK, Daniel Taub. We believe that by inviting a representative of a state which practises occupation, colonization and apartheid you are showing a blatant disregard for universal principles of human rights and justice and we urge you to reconsider your decision.
Earlier this month, 15 prominent church leaders sent Members of Congress an historic letter in which they decried “widespread Israeli human rights violations committed against Palestinians.” The church leaders wrote that “unconditional U.S. military assistance to Israel has contributed to this deterioration, sustaining the conflict and undermining the long-term security interests of both Israelis and Palestinians.” We fully support their call for “an immediate investigation into possible violations by Israel of the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act and the U.S. Arms Export Control Act” and for the “withholding of military aid for non-compliance” with these laws. This letter is huge—our demand for accountability for Israel’s misuse of U.S. weapons is now going mainstream!
The Futility of Waiting for Change from Israeli Society without Outside Pressure, Anna Baltzer
Many anti-occupation skeptics of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) and the three rights associated with the BDS call — (1) end to occupation, (2) equality for Palestinians inside Israel, and (3) right of return — claim that BDS alienates rather than appealing to Israeli society. But this survey, conducted by Dialog on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, exposes anti-Arab, ultra-nationalist views espoused by a majority of Israeli Jews and the futility of waiting for change from Israeli society absent significant outside pressure. Below are excerpts from an article in Haaretz, and Israeli mainstream newspaper, entitled: Most Israeli Jews would support apartheid regime in Israel.
On a hot Friday afternoon, I am sitting on a lovely balcony high on a hill in the village of Nabi Saleh, whose population is descended from local villagers and refugees from Lyd, Ramle, and surrounding villages destroyed in 1948. We are looking out over a breathtaking landscape, creamy yellow Palestinian homes tucked between rocky terraces and olive trees on the left, boxy white homes of the Jewish settlement of Halamish in semicircles up the opposite hill on the right. In front of us are a military guard tower and a check point, followed by a curving road into the village which is blocked by three rows of stones, several hundreds of feet apart. Three military vehicles are parked at the checkpoint and a group of boisterous protesters is marching toward them, waving flags, carrying handwritten banners, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter,” “A man can’t ride your back unless it’s bent.” MLK is alive and well in this West Bank town.
Political Developments / Other News
PM says Israel knows nothing of New York Times report on negotiations, but stresses that Iran using talks to advance its nuclear program; White House and Iran both deny the report.
Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs, Moshe Ya’alon, has revealed that Egypt recently requested that Israel re-negotiate the terms of the peace agreement signed between the two states. However, Israel has rejected the request explaining that Egypt must accept Israel’s position or risk losing American aid. Israel Today quoted remarks from Ya’alon in which he stated that Israel would not be carrying out any further major strikes in the Sinai which may give terrorists greater freedom to launch offensives from the territory. He stressed Israeli demands that Egypt find a solution to the problem and step up imposition of their sovereignty in the area explaining Israel’s refusal to reconsider the convention’s military annex.
Qatari emir on historic visit to Gaza Strip
The Emir of Qatar is in the Gaza Strip. He’s the first head of state to visit the territory since Hamas took control in 2007. But his visit won’t be taking him to the West Bank to meet Fatah. And as Nicole Johnston reports, that’s causing quite a regional stir.
link to www.youtube.com
Qatari emir urges Palestinians to reconcile
The emir of Qatar received a hero’s welcome during a landmark visit to Gaza on Tuesday, becoming the first head of state to visit the Palestinian territory since the Islamist militant Hamas seized control of the coastal strip five years ago.
The results announced today add to mounting concerns that Fatah – and the broader Palestinian leadership – is losing its legitimacy.
Mavi Marmara lawyers file case against Israel for seizure of Gaza-bound Estelle, Ali Abunimah
The complaint says Turkish courts have jurisdiction over Israel’s international piracy.
The Israel’s Channel 2 reports (Hebrew) that the IDF intends to double the manpower of its Unit 8200, which is charged with waging cyber-war on Israel’s enemies. It plays a role akin to the NSA here in the U.S. and was responsible for creating Stuxnet, Flame and the other cyber-viruses which have decimated Iran’s nuclear and oil facilities.
On Monday 22nd October, United States confirmed that the American law states on Cutting financial aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and close the Palestinian Liberation Office (PLO) in Washington if the PA head to the General Assembly to obtain a non-member state in the United Nations or in any of its organizations. This confirmation came after Palestine submitted its request through the UN General Assembly to seek non-member state status for Palestine. The request will be submitted middle of November, after the U.S. elections that will be held at the beginning of the next month.
Israel and US launch joint military drill
The three-week joint military operation involves 3,500 US troops and 1,000 Israeli soldiers.
A few hours before the presidential debate on foreign affairs, DNC Chair tells Haaretz Jews will vote ‘overwhelmingly’ for Obama, but Bush’s former spokesman asserts: if 30% of Jews vote for Romney, he will win the elections.
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — US President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney mentioned the Palestinians only once and in passing in their final presidential debate Monday. Israel came up repeatedly in the debate on foreign policy, the final face-to-face encounter between the candidates before voting in early November. Romney accused Obama of failing Israel, which the Democrat has not visited since taking office four years ago. Both men declared they would defend Israel if it were attacked by Iran and both vowed to pursue tough policies against Tehran’s disputed nuclear ambitions and keep military action as a last resort.
From cables sent by diplomats at Israeli embassy in Paris to Jerusalem after Yacimovich’s visit to France, it emerges that the Labor leader has the same stance as PM on negotiations with the Palestinians.
Jerusalem-area sector commander Nissim Edri neglected to report suspected wrongdoing, then lied about it under investigation.
Analysis / Op-ed / Human Interest
In the lead-up to the final presidential debate, which will focus on U.S. foreign policy, two major new polls track U.S. opinion on issues related to the Mideast. The first poll was conducted for the Brookings Institution, usually a pro-Israel think tank (funded by Haim Saban). But the actual research was conducted by University of Maryland’s Shibley Telhami who has conducted many Middle Eastern polls and is himself Palestinian-American. For that reason, I find it to the be the more intriguing of the two reports. The second is by the Pew Center for the People and the Press. Both polls cover similar terrain, but the first appears to offer more hopeful (i.e. progressive) results and the second more pessimistic ones. On some issues, they appear to contradict each other (though there are subtle differences in the way questions were articulated on these particular ones).
One striking impression of this debate was that out of some 17,000 words uttered by both candidates and the moderator, about half of them were about domestic policy. Neither candidate wanted to talk about foreign policy — because the differences between them are negligible.
The death of the Israel-Palestine two-state solution brings fresh hope, Rachel Shabi
With many Palestinians and Israelis coming round to the idea of a bi-national state, it’s possible to glimpse a peaceful future. We could argue over who killed it, but what’s the point? It’s increasingly obvious that a continued insistence on zombie peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians is deluded, because the two-state principle framing them is dead. To précis: it’s now impossible to remove half a million Jewish settlers and infrastructure from the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem; the international community is opposed to settlements on paper but does nothing in practice, and after 19 years of failed two-state talks, the fault plainly lies in the plan, not the leadership.
Exclusive: As Obama and Romney Agree on Afghan War, Israel and Syria, Third Parties Give Alternative
In the last of our exclusive “Expanding the Debate” series, we bring you highlights of our coverage of last night’s final presidential debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney, with the added voices of third-party candidates. As Obama and Romney faced off for the last time before the general election, we once again broke the sound barrier by inserting Jill Stein of the Green Party and Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party into the discussion. In an evening focused on foreign policy, both Obama and Romney shared wide agreement on issues including support for the Israeli government, the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan, and opposition to U.S. military involvement in Syria. But they clashed over a few key points, including military spending, negotiating with Iran, and responding to the Libyan embassy attack. Before a live audience in San Rafael, California, we aired the Obama-Romney debate and paused the tape to give Stein and Anderson a chance to respond in real time to the same questions put to the major-party candidates. [includes rush transcript]
Sprinkling the rolling, and at this time of year rather arid, hills of the West Bank are olive trees, everywhere. They and their succulent little fruit are the lifeblood of the Palestinian people. At the beginning of each October – in Ramallah, Jenin, Nablus, Bethlehem, Jericho and Hebron, and in every tiny village in between – Palestinians of all walks of life set aside their daily occupations and tend to their trees. Off go the suits and out come the tarps and the ladders, the pick-up trucks and the donkeys.
A group of six sisters in Gaza have started their own business selling embroidery that combines traditional Palestinian patterns with modern trends.
The full story behind the war against free speech in Israel’s universities
Is Ben Gurion University being punished because its head has opposed upgrading the status of a college in an Israeli settlement?
Speaking of Intifada: Munir and His Friends
Munir Naim Hamed can no longer be seen near the checkpoint or at his parents’ home at the refugee camp. Fifteen year old Munir hasn’t been back since he was arrested by soldiers during a protest. They say it will be a while until Munir gets back. They say he is probably at Ofer, that he will get two years, maybe more. And the teenagers tell personal stories from their imprisonment and from jail houses, one of them was accused and found guilty of throwing stones: “Here, at the checkpoint”, his friend was taken in for throwing a Molotov bottle: “Also here, at the checkpoint…”, one of them had seen Ofer from the inside, his friend had been to Nafha prison and another was taken to the Moskovia (the Russian Compound).
‘Unto the Breach': Palestinian Dance Aadaptation of Shakespeare’s Play
The UK-based Palestinian dabke theatre group Al Zaytouna will present its new production entitled Unto the Breach, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry V set in modern-day Palestine. The show, directed by Ahmed Masoud and co-directed by Hadjer Nacer, will be performed in London in November 2012. Al Zaytouna board member Souraya Ali gave the following interview ahead of the full production’s debut.
I would have suspended all aid to Israel when it refused to stop its settlement policy on the West Bank…So let me just reiterate something that has no chance of ever happening, but I might as well put on the record: we should treat Israel as any other recipient of US aid. If a country is occupying and settling land conquered through war, if it’s treating a minority population with inhumanity, the US should stand up for Western values. It should not single Israel out; but we have to stop treating Israel as the exception to every other US foreign policy rule.
Reflections on Noam Chomsky’s visit to Gaza, Rana Baker
To have the father of modern linguistics and one of the world’s most celebrated public intellectuals cross into Gaza is a success that deserves to be acknowledged.