Nov 14, 2010
And more news from Today in Palestine:
Settlers / Land, property, and resource theft and destruction / Ethnic cleansingWatchdog: Israel started 1,650 new settler homes since freeze end (AFP)
Jewish settlers have started building 1,649 homes since the end of a freeze in construction on 26 September, watchdog Peace Now said Sunday, more than making up for the 10-month ban on new building. Figures compiled in a new report by the Israeli group show that in more than two-thirds of the cases, building work had begun on the foundations for new homes, with work being carried out in 63 separate settlements. During 2009, construction work began on 1,888 new housing units, the report said, citing data from Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics. “Had the construction continued at the same speed without the freeze, work would have begun on 1,574 units during the 10 months of the moratorium,” Peace Now said. “In the six weeks since the end of the moratorium, the settlers have managed to start construction on a similar number of units.”
Post-freeze: Settlers build with frenzy
Yesha Council official says Netanyahu ‘prone to pressure’, so ‘it is obvious that this is a temporary recess’ as settler leaders struggle to build as many homes possible before another construction moratorium takes hold
Settlement mayor sought tax cuts for city ‘not ruled from Israel’
The message Ariel’s Mayor Ron Nachman and the Ariel municipality have been trying to stress over the past few months regarding the refusal of some artists to appear at the city’s new cultural center because it is not within Israel, is that the residents of Ariel are Israeli citizens just like anywhere else … However, it has recently come to light that in 2001, the municipality of Ariel petitioned the Tel Aviv District Court against the tax authorities to return the Value Added Tax it paid between 1994 and 1998, arguing that it is not part of Israel according to the law, because “the Ariel Local Council and the municipality, composed of residents of the region, convenes in the region and is managed from Ariel,” and the city is not governed from Israel.
Massive protest in Sheikh Jarrah against displacement of Palestinians
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– Dozens of Jerusalemite citizens and foreign activists participated in a protest in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood against Israel’s plan to displace Palestinians from their homes and Judaize the neighborhood. A large number of Israeli troops stormed and cordoned off the neighborhood to prevent other Palestinians from joining the protest.
Israel unanimously approves immigration of 8,000 Falashmura from Ethiopia
Unlike Ethiopian Jews, Falashmura are not allowed into Israel under the Law of Return and will convert during absorption process.
Palestinians say settlers torched their olive trees (AFP)
SALEM, Palestinian Territories – Palestinians said that Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank burned about 200 of their olive trees on Sunday and also torched surrounding grazing land. Settlers denied the allegations. The alleged attackers were seen heading in the direction of the nearby Elon Moreh settlement after setting fire to the trees on land owned by the Palestinian village of Salem, village council spokesman Adli Ishtayeh said.
Destroying Palestinian olive trees / César Chalala
Olive trees have been mentioned in the Bible, the Qur’an and the Torah. Olive oil is a key product of the Palestinian national economy, making up 25% of the total agricultural production in the West Bank. César Chelala explores why the Israel Defense Forces have been accused of uprooting olive trees to facilitate the building of settlements … What do settlers actually want? To destroy Palestinians’ livelihood with impunity? To create a barren land, unfit for trees and people?
Activism / Solidarity / Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions
ISM: Weekly demonstration report – High velocity tear gas canisters used in An Nabi Saleh
(with photos) Al Nabi Saleh demonstrators assaulted with high velocity tear gas canisters and rubber bullets … Some canisters were shot directly at demonstrators. High velocity tear gas canisters were used despite their illegality for the danger they pose: high velocity tear gas canisters have killed and seriously injured many demonstrators in the past … Also: Bil`in, Al Walaja
ISM: Beit Hanoun commemorates 2006 massacre, Israeli forces shoot Gaza rubble collector
…The Israeli operation was called ‘Autumn Clouds’. One day after the Israeli army declared that it had finished the operation in Beit Hanoun after international pressue, 20 people were killed and at least 45 were injured as a large number of shells were fired at the town. Many of the victims were women and children and 11 were from the same Al-A’athamein family. The massacre took place after a siege and street occupation by Israeli ground troops between the 2nd and 8th of November 2006 … A group of 1500 unarmed women demonstrated during the 7 day siege of the town in an effort to free men gathered in a mosque, only for Israeli troops to open fire on them too. 2 of the women were killed and a further 20 injured, highlighting that however the peaceful the resistance is, the same brutality applies.
Israel detains 5 international activists in West Bank Saffa Valley
Five internationals were arrested this morning (14 November) in the West Bank’s Saffa Valley near the village of Beit Ummar, where they were working with local Palestinian farmers to clear the land. Four Israeli army jeeps descended on the group of volunteers at 10 a.m., only one hour after they had started working. The soldiers told the Palestinians to leave the area, and proceeded to arrest the internationals, according to Mousa Abu Maria, co-founder of the Palestine Solidarity Project (PSP), a non-violent direct action group that organizes the Saffa Valley replanting project. “The people every week they go two times, Sunday and Thursday. They clean the land and the rubbish because we have a program to plant 5,000 olive trees,” Abu Maria said. “We have all the documents. We don’t work against any law.”
Gary Moore supports boycott: is summer on the way?
As winter falls, some glimmers of hope. The news earlier this month from the Irish section of the cultural boycott is that Gary Moore, a name beloved – or at least vaguely familiar to aficionados of ‘70s and ‘80s hard rock/blues, is joining the boycott of Israel. On tour in Russia, he declared that he wouldn’t visit the ‘criminal state’ of Israel ‘because of its racist policies against the Palestinian people’ . This is one of the straightest statements of support for boycott from an artist. Nice in itself, nice also to add another name to the roster. But I think someone like Gary Moore joining the boycott has wider resonance. Here’s why
Action: Help Women in Black documentary fundraising campaign
If I don’t make my goal I will lose all the pledges. We Are Still Standing – Stories of Women in Black. Go to Kickstarter (http://kck.st/aCBNEs) for GREAT REWARDS View the trailer at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h96QzVUORoU Women in Black is the largest grass-roots women’s peace group in the world and a small pledge will help us reach our goal to complete this important documentary.
‘Gaza aid ship crew released in Greece’
14 Nov – “The convoy members, who were abducted then detained in Greece, have been released following examination of video footage. The captain has been arrested,” Press TV broadcaster Lauren Booth said on Saturday after receiving contact from the Road to Hope convoy members.
Activist on Gaza-bound boat denies hijack, claims trapped (AFP)
LONDON (Sat 13 Nov) – One of several activists hoping to take aid to Gaza on board a Greek ship denied Saturday they had tried to hijack the vessel and said they had been trapped on board without food and water for several days. Irish filmmaker David Callander, 35, said the activists had paid 82,000 dollars through an agent to hire the Strofades IV to take aid to Gaza, but the ship’s captain “went mental” as they tried to set off earlier this week.
Authors speak out against cultural boycott
Joseph Finder and Jeremy Blachman says Israeli citizens should not be punished, international media and Israeli government are to blame … Are authors set to join musicians, and most recently, filmmaker Mike Leigh in boycotting Israel? After a wave of cancellations from musicians like the Pixies and Elvis Costello, who decided to boycott Israel, the question on everyone’s lips is what will happen, if anything in the book market?
Netanyahu: Cultured people don’t boycott
Netanyahu told the weekly cabinet meeting that calls against participating in cultural events in the West Bank’s Jewish communities must come to an end and noted that “anyone who considers himself a person of culture should not engage in boycotts and tongue-lashing against a minister or city in Israel.”
Ada Yonath: Why I didn’t join anti-boycott campaign
Israel’s most recent Nobel laureate, Professor Ada Yonath, refused to sign a Nobel laureate petition which calls for opposition to an academic boycott of Israel. Many were surprised to find her name missing from the list. On Sunday she clarified that she is opposed to any and all boycotts, saying “it only gives others ideas”.
Siege / Restriction of movement / Humanitarian issues
GEDCO: Power failures expected in Eid
GAZA, (PIC)– The Gaza Electricity Distribution Company (GEDCO) announced on Saturday that the sole power plant in Gaza Strip was suffering acute fuel shortage and would be forced to cut electricity supplies during Eid Al-Adha. GEDCO director general Suhail Skeik said in a press statement that the power plant needs 9.6 million liters monthly to operate its two turbines while last month only 8.1 million liters were admitted into Gaza.
2 Israel-Gaza crossings partly open
Israeli authorities told Palestinian officials that two crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip would be partially open Saturday for the transfer of goods, humanitarian aid and fuel.
Almost 6.000 cross Gaza border at Rafah [in past week]
Border administrators said 2,239 Palestinians returned to Gaza, most of whom were patients who had received treatment in Egyptian hospitals, while 3,680 left Gaza through the terminal. Officials said 255 Palestinians were refused permission to cross. Pilgrims leaving the Strip for Mecca to perform Hajj account for the unusually high number of residents departing over the week.
European campaign warns of believing Israel’s lies about easing Gaza’s siege
BRUSSELS, (PIC)– The European campaign to end Gaza siege warned of believing Israel’s lies about alleviating its blockade on the Gaza Strip, affirming that the visiting international delegations are witnesses to the escalating destructive impacts of the siege on all aspects of life in the Strip. Member of the campaign Mohamed Hanoun said that the reports issued by the UN institutions operating in Gaza and the Palestinian health ministry confirm that Israel’s siege is still stifling more than one and a half million Gazans.
Gaza blockade hasn’t eased
Despite Israel’s promises, Palestinians are still being denied basic necessities of life
Book: Gaza Mom: Palestine, Politics, Parenting and Everything In Between / Laila El-Haddad
With Gaza Mom: Palestine, Politics, Parenting, and Everything In Between, El-Haddad takes us into the life and world of a busy Palestinian journalist who is both covering the story of Gaza and living it—very intensely. This book is El-Haddad’s self-curated choice of the best of her writings from December 2004 through July 2010.
Violence / Detention
IOF tanks fire shell, machine guns at Palestinian houses
GAZA, (PIC)– Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stationed at the borders of Gaza Strip fired a shell at a deserted area in Juhr Al-Deek northeast of Breij refugee camp in central Gaza Strip on Sunday. Security sources said that the IOF tanks fired the shell then opened heavy machine gun fire at citizens’ homes east of the refugee camp. They said that no casualties were reported but women and children were frightened at the sound of the explosions.
Israeli forces detain teenage girl in Hebron
Israeli forces detained a Palestinian girl in Hebron’s Old City on Sunday, the director of the local detainees’ society said. Amjad Najjar said 15-year-old Hadeel Talal Issa Abu Turky was detained near the Ibrahimi Mosque and taken to a police station. Hadeel was previously detained in 2009 accused of attempting to stab an Israeli soldier in the same area, but Ofer military court found her innocent and she was released on bail, Najjar said.
National campaign: 120 missing Palestinians held by Israel
RAMALLAH, (PIC)– The national committee to restore the bodies of missing Palestinian martyrs announced that it documented 120 names of missing Palestinian bodies held by Israel. Nasha’at Al-Wahidi, the campaign’s spokesman, said in a press release on Saturday that some of those Palestinians were missing for more than 25 years. He added that the names of those missing persons would be published within the few coming days.
Israel mulls US settlement deal (AJ)
The US has offered Israel an incentive package to reinstate a 90-day moratorium on West Bank settlement building, in an effort to revive stalled peace talks with the Palestinians, diplomatic sources said. The proposed moratorium, which would not include building in occupied East Jerusalem, was discussed in Israel’s weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, but Binyamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, said final details of the plan were still being worked out.
Netanyahu: US proposal not final
PM tells cabinet American incentives package offered in exchange for 90-day construction freeze in West Bank ‘undergoing consolidation process’ … Ahead of the meeting, four ministers from the Likud party … expressed their opposition to the three month renewal of the settlement construction freeze. Ya’alon called the US offer a “honey trap” that would eventually result in another crisis with the US once the three-month freeze expires, or “perhaps even earlier.”
What does the American package offer in return for ‘one final freeze’?
*US agrees to veto all UN Security Council and international resolutions that are critical of Israel or unilaterally advance Palestinian statehood and boost efforts to fight against Israeli de-legitimization.