7- 10 September,  2014

Israel’s own tunnels of dread in Jerusalem

972 blog 6 Sept by Orly Noy — While everyone is preoccupied with the Hamas tunnels in Gaza, Israel continues to dig under Palestinian houses in Jerusalem. The excuses are questionable, residents are angry and fearful, and a religious conflagration appears imminent — With the Hamas tunnels dominating the Israeli narrative for the past several weeks, their inherent danger horrifying the entire state and sometimes leading to apocalyptic visions, the state of Israel persistently continued digging its own underground tunnels – in Jerusalem. These tunnels, like those of Hamas, are being dug under a heavy cloak of secrecy. As with the Hamas tunnels, they serve as a tool for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They are also being dug under the houses of uninvolved civilians, in this case Palestinians. However, while the Hamas tunnels are described as serving terrorist purposes, these tunnels have been authorized by the Supreme Court of Israel, and all the relevant arms of the state have been mobilized in their support. What follows is a conversation with archaeologist Yonatan Mizrahi from Emek Shaveh, an organization that focuses on the role of archaeology in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, about what is going on underground in one of the world’s most volatile places, the historical heart of Jerusalem … Mizrahi: …The inhabitants of Silwan live in a village where Israeli settler activity has been ongoing for 20 years, and then one day they discovered that there had been digging going on underneath them. They always knew they were being “dug under” in the metaphorical sense, and one day they discovered it was physical, too. And so, they say the most humane thing possible, something that Israelis today can perhaps empathize with more: “We are afraid. Someone is digging under our house, we do not know who is digging, how much, how deep, how this threatens the house, what will happen tomorrow.” They know nothing. They also do not know if tomorrow a settler will emerge from under their house and say, “This room is mine.” This is valid, given the way the Abbasi family house was taken over. There they rappelled on ropes into the house from the roof.Correct … What is your understanding of the ultimate purpose of this entire project? I think the ultimate goal of these tunnels is to create an Israeli-Jewish Jerusalem. This is how I understand the excavations: digging under reality, strengthening the national narrative. They understand that the tunnels are a central tool to prevent a political solution in the area of the Historic Basin. For the Elad association, Silwan is the City of David; this is what it has come to do and this is what it is doing, above ground and underground … How do you view the potential of conflagration due to these excavations under such a brittle reality? If we take a look at the activity around the Temple Mount, we see that Israel has actually succeeded in blocking the Temple Mount on the western and partially on the northern side through the tunnels. On the southern side it is all excavations, of course. If I am a Muslim who sees this map, I freak out. It is terribly close to the Temple Mount. Exactly. It is meters, less than meters. The state of Israel has excavated the entire area adjacent to the Temple Mount. It’s terribly difficult to say what is volatile and what is not here, there are lots of things happening, including inside the Temple Mount compound itself and around it, for example the recent renovation of the Mughrabi Bridge, etc. On the other hand we know that the situation in East Jerusalem has been volatile for a long time, and there are confrontations all the time. On the face of it, these tunnels are, in my view, a basis of existential danger and it is not possible to know when this will erupt and how high the flames will reach….

Arab states neglect Al-Aqsa, says head of Jerusalem Waqf

JERUSALEM (Al-Monitor) 5 Sept by Khalil Assali — If Israel attacks Al-Aqsa Mosque, it will lead to a new uprising, warned Azzam al-Khatib, director of the Islamic Waqf (Religious Endowment) and Al-Aqsa Affairs in Jerusalem. “Muslims will not allow any attack on Al-Aqsa Mosque, whether from inside or outside,” he said. In an interview with Al-Monitor, Khatib said calls had been made to Israeli parties to return the tourism file to the Endowments organization after Israel took control of tourism to the mosque in 2000. Jordanian King Abdullah II, who is responsible for the mosque, also received reassurances from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that nothing would change in Al-Aqsa, according to Khatib. “Jordan is playing an effective role by overseeing the Muslim and Christian sanctities and managing the Endowments and their properties in Jerusalem,” he said. Tension has escalated over Al-Aqsa with Palestinian and Jordanian concerns that Israel is increasingly allowing Jewish extremists to enter the mosque area, disrupting prayer services. Some speculate about an Israeli agenda to take control of the mosque. Khatib said, “We are not against the entry of non-Muslims into Al-Aqsa, but we are against those who enter it and say this is their temple. Those are our enemies and the enemies of the Jews themselves.” He also accused Arab states of neglecting Al-Aqsa Mosque, calling for them to at least throw their support behind Jordan’s role. The text of the full interview follows: … Al-Monitor: What is the estimated budget of the Islamic Endowments? How much of that budget does Jordan finance? Khatib:  Jordan fully funds the Endowments. It gives us everything we need. We have around 650 employees. A few days ago, I personally asked the king for an official letter to appoint 50 guards. He responded immediately, and ads were published in local papers to appoint these guards. All the salaries are provided by Amman. The Jordanian Ministry of Endowments pays around 10 million dinars [$14.1 million] from its budget as salaries….

Israel refuses to allow Palestinians to build on own land near Yatta

HEBRON (Ma‘an) 6 Sept — Israeli authorities have refused to allow locals near the village of Yatta to build on lands they own, citing a previous order for “military purposes” despite the fact that the area is still open, a local activist told Ma‘an. Coordinator of the popular and national local committees in the region Rateb al-Jubur told Ma‘an that locals had asked to build on privately owned land near the village but on Saturday authorities confirmed the previous confiscation and refused to allow them to do so. Al-Jubur said that Israeli authorities issued the original confiscation orders in 1997 and accused authorities of attempting to “displace residents.” According to al-Jubur, the lands — which cover around 500 acres (2,000 dunums) — are located in the Wadi Ibn Zaid area, close to the village of al-Deirat east of Yatta and to the west of the Israeli settlement ofKarmel. He said the lands are privately owned by the al-Hamamdeh, Abu Aram, al-Naamin, al-Jabbarin, and Muhammad families. He said the owners of the lands have started to take legal action to cancel the confiscation order. According to al-Jubur, locals were planning to plant the lands with olive trees and winter crops ahead of the coming season.

Israeli military order allows seizure of Palestinian land near Hebron

HEBRON (WAFA) 6 Sept – Israeli occupation forces handed Saturday a military order to the Palestinian residents of Bani Zeid Valley to the northeast of Yatta in southern Hebron informing them of their intentions to seize 2,000 dunums of land for military purposes, said a local activist. The residents of Bani Zeid Valley community received the Israeli military order which was actually issued in 1997, said Rateb Jabour, coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements in southern Hebron, and noted that residents had not been informed about the order. Jabour added that the 2,000 dunum-sized land is planted with olive trees and several homes belonging to the landowners are built over it, noting that the order states that these homes must be evicted.   The lands are owned by the Na‘amin, Jabarin, Muhammad, Abu ‘Arram, al-‘Adra and al-Hamamda families.

Faculty dismayed by Israel’s bulldozing of trees on West Bank farm owned by Palestinian graduate’s family

Eastern Mennonite Univ. (Virginia) 1 Sept — A large boulder rests beside the dirt road at the entrance to the Nassar family farm southwest of Bethlehem. On it the following phrase is written, in English, German and Arabic: “We refuse to be enemies.” It is a motto that has been put to the test over and over, most recently in May when Israeli bulldozers destroyed orchards on the farm, some with trees planted by Eastern Mennonite University groups. The family estimates that 1,500 apricot and apple trees and grapevines, many bearing fruit almost ready for harvest, were uprooted. “They are telling us, ‘We don’t want you here. We want you to give up,’ but we’re not giving up,” said family member Bshara Nassar, a 2014 graduate of EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding. He is Christian, as is his family. “We try to separate the people from their actions. The people are not our enemies, but we don’t like their actions.” In the midst of their decades-long struggle the Nassar family decided to make their land a place of cooperation and understanding in the West Bank. In 2000 they formed Tent of Nations, bringing visitors from around Israel, Palestine and the world onto the farm for learning, understanding and reconciliation by hosting workshops, seminars and summer camps. Tent of Nations hosts between five and seven thousand visitors annually. They and thousands of others stay informed via the Internet.

Violence / Raids / Suppression of protests / Illegal arrests (West Bank / Jerusalem)

Palestinian youth dies of wounds inflicted by Israeli police

[with nice photo of him taken before the fatal incident] IMEMC/Agencies 7 Sept — Palestinian teen Muhammed Sunuqrut, who was critically wounded last week during a protest, in occupied East Jerusalem, died on Sunday. According to Al Ray, the boy’s relatives said the 16-year-old was shot in the head at close range with a rubber-coated bullet. On Thursday, doctors from Hadassah University Hospital, in Ein Karem, told the family that the boy was clinically dead. The incident occurred on August 31, in the Wadi Joz neighborhood, not far from the family’s home. Motabi Sunuqrut, Muhammed’s uncle, said that the boy had not even taken part in the demonstrations, and that the area was quiet at the time of the incident: “Ten minutes earlier I returned home and nothing was happening. He left home and was talking to his aunt on the phone, when suddenly he was shot at close range. After he fell the soldiers went on beating him and wouldn’t let anyone come near him to treat him,” he said.

Autopsy of Jerusalem teen set for Monday

JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 7 Sept — The autopsy of a Palestinian teenager who succumbed to his wounds Sunday after being shot by Israeli forces days before will take place on Monday, the teen’s family lawyer told Ma‘an. Minem Thabit said the autopsy for 16-year-old Muhammad Abd al-Majid Sunuqrut would be carried out at Abu Kabir forensic center. The autopsy is particularly important because Israeli police claim Sunuqrut was shot in the leg, though medics have said the youth died from complications after a rubber-coated steel bullet hit his skull, Thabit said. He added that the autopsy would be done under the supervision of Saber al-Aloul, the director of the Palestinian Institute for Forensic Science. Muhammad was shot last Monday by Israeli forces as he was talking on the phone in Wadi al-Joz in what his father at the time told Ma‘an was an “unprovoked attack.” The youth suffered a fractured skull as a result of the attack and at the time underwent surgery at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem in order to stop bleeding and remove fragments caused by the impact of the bullet.

Palestinians clash with E. Jerusalem police after teen’s death

Reuters/Nir Hasson of Haaretz 7 Sept — Scores of Palestinians rioted in East Jerusalem on Sunday after hearing that a youth from their neighborhood haddied of wounds suffered in a clash with Israeli police last week. Protesters in the neighborhood of Wadi al-Joz close to the walled Old City threw rocks, firebombs and flares at passing cars, and riot officers responded with rubber bullets during an afternoon of clashes that lasted for several hours. There were no reports of serious injury. Jerusalem emergency services said two firebombs were thrown at pumps at a gas station in the French Hill neighborhood, and that rioters broke into a nearby convenience store, causing heavy damage. A police spokesman said a man was lightly wounded in the A-Tur neighborhood after rocks were thrown at his vehicle. The spokesman added that youth threw rocks in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya. Mohammed Sunuqrut, 16, succumbed to a head wound suffered during a protest a week ago … Street clashes with police in riot gear, military-style raids on homes late at night and stone-throwing at Israeli vehicles have marked the most serious outbreak of violence in Jerusalem since a Palestinian uprising a decade ago. The violent protests in the city have been raging almost nightly beyond the spotlight on the Gaza war, leading to a crackdown by Israeli police in which hundreds of Palestinians have been detained.

Police threaten to destroy memorial for slain Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu Khdeir

972mag 8 Sept by Mairav Zonszein — As clashes and riots break out over the death of another Palestinian teen shot by Israel police, authorities order the family of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, who was burned alive this summer, to dismantle their memorial — Israel Police on Sunday threatened to destroy a memorial for murdered Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir, who wasburned alive by several Israeli Jews on July 2. Mohammed’s father, Hussein, said police instructed him to dismantle it or they would, according to Tamar Fleishman, an Israeli activist who met with the Abu Khdeir family on Sunday.Hussein reportedly told police that if they destroyed the memorial the entire family would return in the middle of the night and build a larger one in the middle of the street of their Shuafat neighborhood, on the tracks of the light rail. +972 requested comment from the Jerusalem police who replied that it is a municipal matter, so inquiry has been deferred to them. It has been just over two months since Abu Khdeir was kidnapped and burned alive. Since then, Palestinian residents of the area have been protesting and rioting in the biggest display of opposition to Israeli occupation in Jerusalem since the Second Intifada. Israeli authorities have beefed up police presence and have been detaining large numbers of Palestinians on a nightly basis. According to the Addammeer prisoner rights group, over 770 Palestinian Jerusalemites were arrested in July and August, including roughly a dozen members of the Abu Kheir family. (Muhammed’s American cousin, Tarek, was famously filmed being severely beaten by Israeli police.) In addition, East Jerusalem neighborhoods such as Silwan and Issawiya have been regularly closed off by Jerusalem police effectively barring residents from entering and exiting freely.

Twilight Zone: ‘The war is over — and Hassan is dead’

Haaretz 4 Sept by Gideon Levy & Alex Levac — A teenager was shot by an Israeli soldier at a demonstration near Nablus against the war in Gaza, just before it ended — On the day after his death, his pen pal in the Gaza Strip, Abdullah, wrote on his Facebook page: “Are you joking? You’re really joking. Please, please, tell me it’s not true. God … oh, God … oh, God. Don’t tell me Hassan was killed. Please tell me it’s a mistake.” But it was no mistake. Hassan’s pen pal, with whom he corresponded throughout Operation Protective Edge via Facebook, finally had to come to terms with the fact that Hassan had been killed – far from the killing fields in the Strip. Another friend wrote Hassan, “I’m so happy that there is a cease-fire and the war is over” – to which the bereaved family replied, a few days later: “The war is over – and Hassan is dead.” Hassan [‘Ashour] was seriously wounded on Friday, August 22, and died three days later, on the eve of the cease-fire. He was 16, the only son among the five children of Hazem, a tailor, and Nasrin, a kindergarten teacher. About to enter 11th grade, Hassan spent the summer working in a restaurant in Nablus, his hometown, as a junior waiter, to help with the family’s livelihood.

OCHA: Sharp decline in injuries following open-ended ceasefire

JERUSALEM (WAFA) 6 Sept – This week witnessed a sharp decline in the number of injuries following the open-ended ceasefire agreement, said the UN Office for the Coordination  of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). OCHA stated in the Protection of Civilians weekly report issued Thursday that this week witnessed a sharp decline in demonstrations and clashes with Israeli forces across the West Bank, largely due to the open-ended cease fire agreement reached between Israel and Palestinian factions in Gaza, which came into effect on 26 August. The report, which tackles protection issues in the occupied Palestinian Territories, covered the period from 26 August to September 1. Main highlights included that 38 Palestinians were injured, marking the lowest  number in eleven weeks, that 16 homes were demolished in area C and East Jerusalem, displacing 76 Palestinians, and that 3,799 dunums in the vicinity of Gush Etzion settlement block were declared ‘state land’. Regarding settler violence incidents, the report showed that there was a drop in their number, noting that three incidents of settlers’ violence resulting in damage to property were recorded this week compared to a weekly average of seven incidents resulting in both casualties and damage to property in 2014. … The report also tackled the displacement of 76 Palestinians following demolitions and the advancement of plans for the ‘relocation’ of Bedouin communities. It reported that during the week, a total of 15 structures, including eight residential structures were demolished by the Israeli occupation authorities in the Jerusalem and Hebron governorates in addition to a residential structure that was self-demolished. In total, 76 people, including 48 children, were displaced, and seven others affected.

Palestinians march across West Bank against Israeli occupation

BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 5 Sept — Hundreds of Palestinians took part in marches across the West Bank on Friday calling for an end to the Israeli occupation and in protest against the continued confiscation of Palestinian land and construction of Jewish settlements. Protests took place in Wadi Fukin village near Bethlehem in the southern West Bank as well as Nabi Saleh and Bil‘in villages near Ramallah in the central West Bank … Since 2005, Bil‘in villagers have protested on a weekly basis against the Israeli separation wall that runs through their village on land confiscated from local farmers. Previous protests by Bilin activists have forced the Israeli authorities to re-route the wall, but large chunks of the village lands remain inaccessible to residents because of the route. Israel began building the separation wall in 2002, and the route has been the target of regular demonstrations by border towns whose land is cut off by its path. [description of each march follows, with some photos}

One injured in Kufr Qaddum protest

[with photos] Kufr Qaddum, Occupied Palestine (ISM Nablus Team) 7 Sept — Since 2011, villagers from Kufr Qaddum demonstrate each Friday against the Israeli military. The village of Kufr Qaddum has had much land stolen by the nearby illegal settlement of Qedumim and in 2003 the main road connecting Kufr Qaddum to city of Nablus was closed to Palestinians. It is this road that villagers attempt to march down every Friday, regularly facing extreme violence from Israeli soldiers and border police offices. During the protest on Friday, 5th September, a Palestinian youth was shot in the leg and rushed to a hospital in a Red Crescent ambulance. Dozens of protesters and solidarity activists suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation, which soldiers fired in large quantities. Later on in the protest, multiple tear gas canisters were repeatedly fired from a military vehicle. Many of the tear gas canisters were fired directly at demonstrators, both highly dangerous and in contravention to Israeli military procedure, which is shooting them up into an arch to lower the impacted velocity. Throughout the protest villagers burned car tires, the thick black smoke enveloping the illegal Qedumim settlement as well as Israeli army vehicles positioned at the closed road, which included a bulldozer and a ‘skunk’ (chemical) water vehicle….

Jerusalemite students start open-ended strike to condemn Israeli negligence of school needs

JERUSALEM (WAFA) 8 Sept – Around 7,000 students in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukabbir started on Monday an open-ended strike in protest of the Israeli municipality’s deliberate negligence to several of their demands, according to local sources. In the meantime, Bassam Sarkhi, a parent, told WAFA that an Israeli Police unit arrested two of the students’ parents who are members of the Parent Involvement Committee (PIC) at the school, and led them to a nearby interrogation center. Sarkhi said the strike will be open-ended until the Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem meets their demands, on top of which increasing the number of classrooms which are currently falling short to absorb the increasing number of enrolled students.

Israeli troops invade Beit Sahour town

IMEMC 7 Sept — Israeli forces invaded on Sunday afternoon the town of Beit Sahour, near the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem. Troops surrounded the old part of town, detained around 10 youth who were at a barbershop and, then, interrogated some of them.  “The soldiers took our phones and searched them, then asked us questions like where we work, what are we doing here, and asked us how much we make,” one of the detained youth told IMEMC. “They gave us no reason for their actions,” the young man added. Troops stopped people and journalists from reaching the invaded area and detained IMEMC’s reporter, took his ID card for some time and, then, gave it back before leaving. Israeli army invasions and kidnappings targeting local youth are reported daily across the occupied West Bank. Last week, Israeli forces conducted at least 77 military invasions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) reported. During these attacks, Israeli troops kidnapped at least 60 Palestinians, including 5 children. Fourteen of these civilians were taken from Jerusalem.

Israeli army arrests 7, summons 2 in West Bank

HEBRON (WAFA) 7 Sept – Israeli army on Sunday arrested seven Palestinians and summoned two others for interrogation during night and predawn raids in the West Bank districts of Hebron and Bethlehem, according to local and security sources.
Army forces stormed the town of Beit Ummar, to the north of Hebron, and arrested a youth, 27, whereas army arrested two others, both in their 25 years of age, during a raid on the nearby town of Bani Na‘im. Meanwhile in Hebron City, Israeli forces arrested three Palestinians, including two brothers. One of the two brothers was filming an Israeli settlers’ assault when he was nabbed by the army. Army further set several checkpoints across Hebron Governorate, yet no more arrests were reported. In the meantime, army stormed the villages of Taqu‘ andShawawreh, to the east of Bethlehem, and handed summons to two youths, 22 and 34, to appear for interrogation.

Six Palestinians kidnapped in the West Bank

IMEMC/Agencies 8 Sept by Saed Bannoura — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Monday at dawn, several Palestinian districts in the occupied West Bank, and occupied Jerusalem, broke into and searched many homes and property, and kidnapped six Palestinians. One of the kidnapped was shot and injured by the soldiers. The Jericho office of the Palestinian Prisoner Society stated that several Israeli military vehicles invaded the al-Far‘a refugee camp, and nearby areas, and kidnapped a Palestinian security officer. It said the soldiers kidnapped Abdul-Qader Mohammad Abdul-Qader at a roadblock near Jericho, and took him to an unknown destination. Abdul-Qader is a Lieutenant working at a Training Department of the Palestinian National Security Forces.
Medical sources in Ramallah said a young Palestinian man was injured by Israeli army fire, after several military vehicles invaded Shoqba village, west of Ramallah. Eyewitnesses said undercover forces of the Israeli army, driving a car with Palestinian license plates, invaded the western area of the village, and opened fire at resident Mohammad Fadel, wounding him in the leg, before kidnapping him. They added that dozens of soldiers invaded the village after the undercover forces kidnapped Fadel. In addition, Israeli soldiers stationed at theContainer Roadblock, north of Bethlehem, kidnapped one Palestinian identified as Mohammad Khaled al-Jondi, 18.  Al-Jondi is from the al-‘Arroub refugee camp, in Hebron. Several Israeli military vehicles also invaded ‘Aida refugee camp, north of Bethlehem, broke into and searched a number of homes, and kidnapped two Palestinians identified as ‘Odai Abdul-Fattah ‘Odeh, 20, and Ya’coub Hammad Ya’coub, 19. The soldiers also invaded Hindaza area, east of Bethlehem, and kidnapped Mohammad Ahmad Salama, after searching and ransacking his home, and another home belonging to Abdullah ‘Obeiyyat.  Also in Bethlehem, soldiers invaded the al-‘Azza refugee camp, north of the city, and violently searched two homes belonging to residents Nawwaf al-Qaisy and ‘Omar Mohammad Attallah.

127 Palestinians detained in last week alone

RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 7 Sept — Israeli forces detained 127 Palestinians across the West Bank during the first week of September alone, a prisoner rights watchdog said Sunday. The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society said in a statement that the largest number of detainees were from Hebron district, where 28 Palestinians were taken by Israeli forces. The statement said that 23 of the detainees were from the Jenin district in the northern West Bank, 21 from Ramallah, 20 fromJerusalem, 12 from Bethlehem, eight from Tulkarem, six from Nablus, three from Qalqiliya, and six from the Tubas/Salfit district. The statement also said that Israeli forces detained 10 Palestinians overnight Saturday, of whom seven were taken from Hebron, one from Bethlehem, and two from Beit Sira village in western Ramallah district. More than 7,000 Palestinians are currently being held in Israeli prisons, including around 2,000 detained during Israeli arrest campaigns over the last three months alone.

PCHR weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (28 Aug – 03 Sept)

Full Report: 4 civilians, including a child and a woman, died of wounds they sustained during the latest Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip. ·A baby died inJerusalem because of tear gas inhalation. 8 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children and an elderly woman, were wounded in different shooting incidents. Israeli forces continued to use force against peaceful protests in the West Bank.A reporter of Palestine TV was wounded during Bil‘in weekly protest. A protester was wounded during a peaceful protest at the entrance of Selwad village, northeast of Ramallah. Israeli forces conducted 77 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank.  60 Palestinian civilians, including 5 children, were arrested….


Lawyers: Israeli prison authorities neglecting Palestinian prisoners

RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 7 Sept — The Palestinian Department of Prisoner’s Affairs accused Israeli prison authorities in a statement on Saturday of widespread “neglect” toward the health needs of ill Palestinian prisoners. The statement by the department, which recently replaced the Ministry of Prisoner’s Affairs, focused on a number of cases of sick detainees who had been denied proper treatment. Lawyer Hanan al-Khatib was quoted in the statement as saying that 18 Palestinian prisoners currently being held in Ramla prison are seriously ill and their conditions are worsening from day to day. Adnan Abdullah Muhsin from Bethlehem area, she said, is an example of negligence by the Israeli prison services. Detained since Jun. 18, Muhsin uses a wheelchair as a result of a previous work accident. He has serious back pains and recently has been able to feel his right leg. Despite this, Israeli prison authorities only give him pain killers. Another case she highlighted was Rabee Rizq Sbeih, also from Bethlehem, who is serving 22 months. The lawyer said he has been suffering severe pains as a result of inflammation of the heart muscle, and has lost 13 kilograms recently.


Palestinian man succumbs to wounds sustained in Gaza assault

GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 6 Sept — A Palestinian man on Saturday died of wounds sustained in Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip, medical sources said. The man was identified as Mahmoud al-Sheikh Eid al-Zamili. Medical sources said al-Zamili was seriously injured after Israeli forces targeted Rafah with heavy artillery shelling in early August. He was then transferred to a hospital in Egypt. On Saturday, his body was brought back to Gaza through the Rafah crossing in preparation for his funeral.
[He is possibly #2,155. This may be an undercount, since there are more badly wounded people who may yet die, and people still missing in Gaza who may be under rubble.]

Exclusive: Israel’s video justifying destruction of a Gaza hospital was from 2009

Truth-out 6 Sept by Gareth Porter — A video distributed by the Israeli military in July suggesting that Palestinian fighters had fired from the Al Wafa Rehabilitation and Geriatric Hospital in Gaza City was not shot during the recent Israeli attack on Gaza, and both audio and video clips were manipulated to cover up the fact that they were from entirely different incidents, a Truthout investigation has revealed. The video, released by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on July 23, the same day Israeli airstrikes destroyed Al Wafa, was widely reported by pro-Israeli publications and websites as proving that the hospital was destroyed because Hamas had turned the hospital into a military facility. But the video clip showing apparent firing from an annex to the hospital was actually shot during Israel’s 2008-09 “Operation Cast Lead,” and the audio clip accompanying it was from an incident unrelated to Al Wafa. The misleading video was only the last in a series of IDF dissimulations about Al Wafa hospital that included false claims that Hamas rockets had been launched from the hospital grounds, or very near it, and that the hospital had been damaged by an attack on the launching site. The IDF began to prepare the ground for the destruction of Al Wafa hospital well before Israeli ground troops entered Gaza on July 17. On July 11, the IDF fired four warning rockets on the fourth floor of Al Wafa, making a large hole in the ceiling – the standard IDF signal that a building was going to be destroyed by an airstrike. On July 17, the hospital was hit by a total of 15 rockets, according to Dr. Basman Alashi, Al Wafa’s director. After the first few rockets, a phone call from the IDF “asked how much time do you need to evacuate?” he told Truthout. After the second and third floors were largely destroyed, the patients’ rooms were filled with smoke and the hospital lost electricity, he gave the order to evacuate the hospital. An IDF spokesman told Allison Deger of Mondoweiss that Hamas rocket launches had come “from exactly near the hospital, 100 meters near.” A slide show released by the IDF August 19 includes an aerial view of Al Wafa Hospital with two alleged rocket launching sites marked that are clearly much farther from the hospital than the 100 meters. Even if that IDF claim of 100 meters were accurate, however, it was more than sufficient to allow the IDF to hit the launch site with precision-guided munitions without damaging the hospital….

AP Photos: Thousands of Gazans living in schools

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) 9 Sept by Khalil Hamra — Thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are still living in schools where they took refuge during seven weeks of fighting between Hamas and Israel that ended late last month … With nearly 100,000 Palestinians in Gaza having no home to go back to, the U.N.-run schools are still housing thousands just one week before the school year is scheduled to begin, posing a challenge to authorities. Here are a series of [25] images by AP photographer Khalil Hamra of the daily life of Palestinians sheltering in Gaza schools.

PHOTOS: Living in the ruins of a shattered Gaza neighborhood

Activestills 7 Sept Photos by Anne Paq and Basel Yazouri Text by Anne Paq —Palestinians struggle to survive among the rubble of their neighborhood, Shuja‘iyeh, which was leveled by Israeli shelling during last month’s offensive.

Krahenbuhl to request emergency aid in Cairo

UNRWA 6 Sept by Chris Gunness — In a speech to be delivered tomorrow (Sunday), to Arab League Foreign Ministers in Cairo, UNRWA’s Commissioner General, Pierre Krahenbuhl, will ask for 47 million dollars for 4 weeks emergency work in Gaza. In his first major policy address since the ceasefire, Krahenbuhl will tell the ministers that “there is a crying need for financial support now, today. Longer term reconstruction must be addressed but will depend on the outcome of negotiations on access for building materials. My main message to you today is please do not wait for weeks before providing support.” He will argue that “with funds, now, immediately, UNRWA can facilitate minor repairs like new doors and windows for hundreds of houses before the winter. With funds now we can give cash to thousands of homeless in order to rent temporary rooms, and to others to buy essentials to find again their feet.” … Krahenbuhl will thank those Arab League members who have contributed to UNRWA’s work in Gaza and across the Middle East: “I am well aware that several of them already give generously for refugee housing, new schools and clinics and emergency relief. We are grateful for that. But our programme costs – the money to keep our 710 schools, 138 health centres and 40 food distribution centres running – exceed our ability to pay, so that we face a deficit of $50 million this year, even after imposing severe austerity measures. I cannot overstate the precarious state of UNRWA’s finances.”

WHO thanks donors for aiding the Palestinian health system in Gaza, and urges continued support for recovery interventions

World Health Organization 6 Sept — On 10 July 2014, just days after the escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip, the World Health Organization raised concern about the ability of the Ministry of Health of the occupied Palestinian territory to cope with the new emergency and its increased burden on the health system, given the high levels of shortages of medicines, medical disposables and hospital fuel supplies, and rising health care debt. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Palestinian Ministry of Health, and with UNRWA coordination, called on local and international donors to support the Ministry by providing US$ 40 million for medicines and medical supplies, and $US 20 million for referral costs, to protect the health and welfare of Palestinians during the emergency … According to the Ministry of Health, which together with WHO, is coordinating with donors to ensure that aid is targeted to needs and that delivery is facilitated into Gaza, a total of US$ 12.6 million from 39 donor agencies, governments, humanitarian organizations and other donors has been delivered to the health sector in Gaza. Two thirds of these donations (US$ 8.35 million) were targeted to Ministry of Health facilities. Ninety-two per cent of the donations to the Ministry of Health were medicines and medical disposables, especially for trauma treatment. The remaining donations were for medical equipment, fuel supplies to hospitals, and meals for patients and staff in hospitals. In addition, US$ 5.3 million in donations from 28 donors are in process or in the pipeline for delivery to Gaza. Almost all is for drugs and medical supplies and destined for the Ministry of Health facilities. In total, the WHO appeal for $US 40 million for medicines and medical supplies for the Ministry of Health in Gaza has achieved a response rate of 45%, considering both medical supplies delivered and those in the pipeline, as reported by the Ministry of Health up to 3 September….

PA to implement 3-stage plan to fix Gaza water crisis

BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 5 Sept — The Palestinian Authority is working to implement a three-stage plan to solve the water crisis in Gaza after Israel’s assault caused over $34.5 million worth of damages to water networks. Deputy head of Gaza’s water authority, Ribhi al-Sheikh, told Ma‘an that the first stage will include a six-month humanitarian intervention to deliver clean drinking water to homeless Gazans and those displaced during Israeli attacks. The second stage will require rebuilding damaged water networks and reservoirs, which will take over a year if the Gaza crossings operate on current levels of construction material allowed in. The third stage will be to build water treatment and desalination plants, which would cost in the region of $800 million. Al-Sheikh said that the EU, Islamic Bank, and World Bank would support the plan financially. At least 17 kilometers of water supply networks were completely destroyed and another 29 partially destroyed during Israel’s offensive. Gaza’s health ministry said skin diseases and rashes have been reported in housing shelters across Gaza due to a lack of water.

Palestinians stranded in Egypt allowed to return to Saudi Arabia

GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 4 Sept — More than 100 Palestinians from Gaza stranded at Cairo International Airport for over four weeks were allowed to travel to Saudi Arabia on Thursday. Muhammad Abu Hamad, one of the passengers, told Ma‘an that the Palestinian Embassy requested that Saudi Arabia allow the stranded travelers to receive special permits to enter the country. The passengers are Palestinians from Gaza who work in Saudi Arabia. Egypt denied them the right to continue their travel onto Saudi Arabia because they visa permits had expired due to their inability to leave Gaza during Israel’s seven-week offensive. The 100 or so Palestinians managed to escape to Egypt following a temporary ceasefire agreement but Egyptian authorities prevented them from traveling to Saudi Arabia.

Official: Journalist delegation to Gaza delayed by Egypt

GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 5 Sept — A trip by the International Federation of Journalists and the Federation of Arab Journalists to Gaza has been delayed “for logistical reasons,” deputy head of the Palestinian Journalists Union said. Tahsin al-Astal told Ma‘an that the visit has been delayed for logistical reasons on the Egyptian side even though the federation has finished all preparations for the visit. Sharif al-Nairab, member of the General Secretariat of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, said that the group was “well-prepared despite the time constraints and we eliminated all obstacles, especially taking into account that the delegation includes an international fact-finding committee.”

Palestinian lawyers to attend Cairo conference on Israeli war crimes

BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 6 Sept — A delegation of 15 Palestinian lawyers will join in a conference in Cairo next week to discuss atrocities during Israel’s recent offensive on the Gaza Strip, one of the lawyers said Saturday. Hussein Shabana told Ma‘an that the lawyers would attend the conference on Sept. 11 and 12 and would return to Palestine with recommendations and reports to present to the Palestinian Authority. A delegation of lawyers will then meet with Palestinian lawyers in the Gaza Strip on Sept. 13 to document Israeli war crimes during its assault, Shabana said. Additionally, on the sidelines of the Cairo conference, the lawyers will meet with legal experts from Egypt and Latin American to discuss the PA’s potential bid to join the International Criminal Court.
Hamas and other Palestinian factions have signed a document urging PLO leadership to join the ICC, “but so far there hasn’t been any official move,” Shabana said. “The Palestinian leadership must join the ICC in order to file complaints against the leaders of Israel,” Shabana said.

Israeli official: Hamas has begun repairing Gaza tunnels

Haaretz 7 Sept by Barak Ravid — Israel has received intelligence indicating that Hamas has begun reconstructing the attack tunnels that were destroyed during Operation Protective Edge, a senior Israeli official said on Sunday. Two weeks have passed since the cease-fire went into effect, the official said, and Hamas has already begun preparing for the next confrontation with Israel and is focused on replenishing its arsenals.  The senior official said that Hamas militants have returned to arms smuggling through several tunnels that remain intact under the Philadelphi Route in Rafah. He said that the smuggling continues despite the Egyptian security forces’ more concentrated and effective efforts to stamp out the tunnels. The official added that production of the M75 rockets – capable of reaching the Gush Dan region in central Israel – has resumed in factories inside the Gaza Strip. He said that even after Operation Protective Edge, 40 percent of Hamas’ capability to produce rockets locally remain intact. Senior security officials denied the claim. “We are unaware of such information and it’s unclear to us what the quoted official is basing [his claim] on, and where he received that information,” they said.

Who are Israel’s Palestinian informers?

GAZA CITY (Al Jazeera) 6 Sept by Mohammed Omer — Israel relies on information provided by a network of Palestinian collaborators. But how does the system really work? — The public execution of alleged Palestinian informants for Israel in the Gaza Strip, known locally as collaborators, drew international attention recently, a few days before the end of Israel’s seven-week military offensive in the coastal territory … At least 18 Palestinians were executed on August 22 in Gaza, accused of providing information to Israel during its recent war. But what exactly motivates a Palestinian to collaborate with the Israeli intelligence services, and how does the phenomenon work? … According to political researcher Hazem Abu Shanab, several of the men who were recently executed in Gaza had spent about one month in prison, where they confessed during interrogation to giving information to the Israelis or planting surveillance equipment in Gaza. “One of the methods of recruiting collaborators is by shutting down Rafah crossing [between Gaza and Egypt] and allowing Palestinians to travel through Erez [crossing between Gaza and Israel], so that it can pressure, blackmail and tempt them to work as collaborators,” Abu Shanab said. For years, Israel has relied on Palestinians to gather information. Often, Israeli officials threaten peoples’ families or livelihoods, or offer incentives, such as difficult-to-secure travel permits or cash, in order to get people to collaborate …Collaborating with an occupying power has long been considered a shameful act in many places around the world. In tight-knit communities across Palestine, families and extended relatives of collaborators are often shunned … Mohammed Abu Hassira, 30, told Al Jazeera that social media has become a place where Israeli intelligence officials seek out collaborators from Gaza. With an unemployment rate of 40 percent in Gaza – the highest since 2009 – offers of money and other perks are tempting, Abu Hassira said. “Many are innocent, naive youngsters who don’t know they are collaborating,” he added. Indeed, according to Gaza security services interrogator Abu Ahmed, who didn’t give Al Jazeera his full name, the information requested often appears inconspicuous. “One of my collaborators was asked for simple information: look from the balcony and see what types of clothes are hanging there,” he told Al Jazeera. “The request appears very innocent, but in that case, it was an apartment of a Hamas leader and Israeli intelligence wanted to know if men’s clothes were drying on the balcony, indicating that the occupant was asleep inside.” In other cases, Gaza security officials have caught merchants asked to bring small bags of sands to the Erez border crossing with Israel. “It turned out he [was taking] this sand to be tested by Israeli intelligence officials… to figure out location of [Palestinian] tunnels.”


The unpublicized impact of a successful BDS action

Al-Akhbar 4 Sept by Roqayah Chamseddine — There is no question as to how immensely successful the Block the Boat protest at the Port of Oakland, led byArab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC) and arranged with the help of countless organizations, was. Unless you are a supporter of Israel or a journalist at the Oakland Tribune. Thousands of protesters, including an estimated 5,000who marched on the Port of Oakland on August 16, prevented the Zim Piraeus from unloading by keeping workers from crossing their picket line to enter the port for a historic four days, making it “the longest blockade of an Israeli ship” according to AROC. The Oakland Tribune, Haaretz, and a number of other outlets, reported that the Israeli-owned Zim Piraeus unloaded its cargo after “delays” but after speaking to a number of distributors whose cargo was being transported by Zim Piraeus I found this to be unmistakably false and misleading … Esteson Co., a direct food and beverage importer and distributor in California, posted on their Facebook page that their “garlic is now rotting on its way to Russia to be offloaded unto (sic) another vessel,” and when contacted for comment it was mentioned that a container of Zeos beer never arrived due to the Port action. All in all, Esteson Co. has not received any of their products as of September 3. Good Stuff Distributors, located in San Francisco, California, toldAl-Akhbar English that not only did they not receive their shipment of Zadona cucumber pickles as of September 3 they do not know where the cargo is and are still waiting to hear from Zadona as to where the items are….

Political and other news

Palestine’s Abbas slams Hamas for running ‘shadow govt’ in Gaza

RT 7 Sept — The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, has lashed out at Hamas, saying they are running a “shadow government” in Gaza and Fatah will “not accept the situation.” Hamas has hit back saying the allegations are “baseless.” “They have 27 directors-general of ministries and they are running the Gaza Strip,” said the Palestinian President. “The national consensus government can’t do anything on the ground.” Abbas made the statement in Cairo, as he prepares to meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. “We will not accept the situation with Hamas continuing as it is at the moment,” Abbas said on Saturday evening, in remarks published by the official Palestinian news agency WAFA. President Abbas also accused Hamas of carrying out mass executions of Palestinian youths living in the Gaza strip, while Israel was bombing the area. The Jerusalem Post reports that Hamas killed 120 youths. “More than 120 youths were killed [by Hamas] because they did not abide by the house arrest imposed on them,” Abbas said. “This is in addition to the extra-judicial execution of 30-40 people during the Israeli assault.” Abbas also claimed that Hamas had lost “only” 50 of its men during the war, while 861 men belonging to his Fatah faction were killed. He did not say how the Fatah men were killed and by whom. However, Hamas has hit back at Abbas’ allegations, saying they are “baseless.”

Haniyeh calls for follow-up committee on ceasefire deal

GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 7 Sept — Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh called on Sunday for the formation of a committee to follow up on the Aug. 26 ceasefire deal with Israel. Haniyeh said in a conference at the Rashad al-Shawa Cultural Center in Gaza that a committee to ensure Israel’s implementation of the agreement should be formed by Palestinian factions, the PLO, and the West Bank-Gaza unity government. He also demanded that the unity government expand its work in the West Bank and Gaza, a day after President Mahmoud Abbas accused Hamas of running a “shadow government” in Gaza and not respecting the unity government’s jurisdiction. All political tiffs must stop, Haniyeh said.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said on Sunday that Abbas should stop conducting dialogue through the media. “President Abbas’ remarks against Hamas and the resistance are unjustified and the sources of information and figures he relied on were incorrect and have nothing to do with the truth.”

Palestinians face boycott threats over Hamas wages: PM

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories (AFP) 7 Sept by Hossam Ezzedine — The international community has threatened to boycott the Palestinian leadership if it pays the salaries of former Hamas employees in Gaza, prime minister Rami Hamdallah told AFP on Sunday. In an exclusive interview, Hamdallah said he had been warned he would face problems if he visited the Gaza Strip without first sorting out the salaries issue … Hamdallah, who heads the Palestinian government of national consensus which took office on June 2, said the question of wages had become the main stumbling block to an intra-Palestinian reconciliation deal. “This unity government should control both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip but there are many things blocking its work,” he said. “Putting Hamas employees on the government payroll is the main problem which is preventing the government from working in the Gaza Strip.” Since signing the agreement in April, Hamas has demanded that the new government take responsibility for paying its 45,000 employees, some 27,000 of whom are civil servants, he said. The rest are understood to be members of the Hamas police and security forces. Before the Hamas government stepped down in June, it had been unable to pay their wages for months because of a biting economic crisis. But Hamdallah said his government had been warned against channeling money to anyone employed by Hamas, which is blacklisted by the United States and Europe as a terror organisation. “The government and the banks operating in the Palestinian territories were warned that if they make these payments to former Hamas government employees in Gaza then the government and the people will be boycotted,” he said. “If this happens, the Palestinian banking system will face a huge problem that will threaten the Palestinian situation in general,” he told AFP. The Palestinians are heavily dependent on international aid, with a boycott likely to have a devastating financial impact on its financial viability. At the end of August, a senior Palestinian official told AFP the government wanted to pay the wages in question, but was looking for “guarantees” that doing so would not jeopardise international aid. But he said an unidentified “third party” was working to solve the crisis by delivering the payments, with “positive indications” it would be resolved soon. In June, Qatar said it would contribute a total of $60 million (44 million euros) towards the payment of the Gaza salaries, although so far no money has been transferred.
Hamdallah’s remarks came a day after president Mahmud Abbas lashed out at Hamas for effectively running a parallel administration and preventing the consensus government from operating in Gaza. Hamdallah, a 56-year-old former academic, said some ministers in the consensus administration had been unable to exercise their authority in Gaza. “President Abbas and myself want ministries in Gaza to work as they do in the West Bank, but for that, staff need to take their instructions from the minister,” he said. “Some of them continue to follow the instructions of ministers of the former Hamas government.”

Minister: PA will not pay Hamas wages in Gaza

BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 Sept — Palestinian Authority Deputy Prime Minister Muhammad Mustafa said Sunday that the PA will not pay the salaries of Hamas civil servants in Gaza, but may provide financial assistance. “We are looking for a temporary solution to send money through non-governmental organizations such as the United Nations or any other entity,” Mustafa told Ma‘an. “We want to avoid any legal confrontation with the United States whose law prohibits channeling money to Hamas because it’s blacklisted as a terrorist organization according to American law.”

Hamas official: Hamdallah government neglecting Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 4 Sept — Deputy speaker of the Palestinian parliament Ahmad Bahar on Wednesday accused the Palestinian national consensus government and its prime minister Rami Hamdallah of “negligence” towards the besieged Gaza Strip. In a symposium held in Gaza City, Bahar urged the government to fulfill its duties in Gaza, particularly the reconstruction of buildings destroyed by Israeli forces and the payment of monthly salaries to civil servants who were employed by the former Hamas-run government. “We still want the national consensus government and we will support it in its work especially the reconstruction of Gaza,” he added, but called for the government to carry out its duties in return. Bahar also called upon Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to deploy PA security officers at Gaza crossings and along the borders with Egypt in order to speed up the promised opening of the Rafah crossing into Egypt. The comments come after a more than 50-day Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip left more than 2,000 dead and 100,000 homeless, with some accusing the PA government in the West Bank of looking the other way.

Hamas calls on Hamdallah to visit Gaza, ‘stop making excuses’

BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 7 Sept — Hamas on Sunday called on unity government Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah to visit the Gaza Strip and take the responsibility his position requires. “Hamdallah’s refusal to come to Gaza because of alleged threats is an unacceptable position,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement. “He is the Minister of Interior, and all the police are under his command to provide his people with security,” Abu Zuhri said. “Hamas invites him to come to Gaza, take responsibility for its people, and stop making excuses.”

DFLP: Gaza negotiations to continue in Cairo in 2 weeks

BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 6 Sept — Indirect negotiations between Palestinian factions and Israel will continue in two weeks in Cairo, a leading member of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine said Saturday. DFLP leader Qais Abd al-Karim, a member of the Palestinian negotiations delegation, told Ma‘an that negotiations regarding Gaza in the aftermath of the Israeli assault were expected to continue on Sept. 20 or 21. The negotiations will focus on the entry of construction material into the Gaza Strip, as Israel has not yet implemented an agreement to ease the siege and allow building supplies in, Abd al-Karim said. A more specific agenda for the meeting will be agreed upon as soon as the Palestinian delegation arrives in Cairo, he added. There is no set end date for the negotiations. On Monday, Israel’s Channel 10 TV said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would not send a delegation to Egypt for further talks.

Fatah convention will not be held without Gaza officials

BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 6 Sept — Deputy secretary general of the Fatah revolutionary council Fahi al-Zaareer said on Friday that the movement’s seventh general convention will not be held without the participation of Fatah leaders in Gaza and other countries. Al-Zaareer told Ma‘an that the convention holds major strategic importance as it renews the groups’ leadership, adding that there is still a possibility of holding it this year. Al-Zaareer added that revolutionary council leaders stressed the importance of establishing a new vice presidential position in the Palestinian Authority, who will be elected at the same time as the president.

Egypt’s Sisi offered Abbas creation of Palestinian state in Sinai Peninsula

Int’l Business Times 8 Sept by Jack Moore — Egyptian President General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has offered Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas the chance to create a Palestinian state in the Sinai Peninsula, according to local Israeli media. The offer to the Palestinian President which, reports say Abbas has denied, would have seen 1,600 square kilometres of the Sinai Peninsula given to the Palestinian Authority, creating a Palestinian state five times the size of Gaza. According to IDF Radio, the offer would see Abbas relinquish demands that Israel return to the 1967 borders. In the new and enlarged Gaza, the territory would be demilitarised and Palestinian refugees, many who were unable to return to their towns after the creation of Israel, would have been able to settle there. As part of the proposal, Palestinian cities in the occupied West Bank would have been autonomous and continued to be under Palestinian Authority control. Sisi allegedly said to Abbas in the meeting: “You are now 80 years old, if you don’t accept this proposal, your successor will.” The Palestinian Authority is yet to publicly comment on the initiative but unnamed sources said that Abbas rejected the deal in a meeting with Sisi. The Israeli military radio station said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had knowledge of the offer and that the United States had given its approval to such an idea. An idea along the same lines was introduced years ago by Israeli academics but Egypt rejected the proposal.

Abbas’ office denies reports of Egypt Sinai land offer

RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 8 Sept — President Mahmoud Abbas’ office on Monday dismissed reports that Egypt offered part of the Sinai peninsula to the PLO as part of a Palestinian state. Secretary-general of Abbas’ office, al-Tayyib Abd al-Rahim, said the reports were “fabricated” and the Palestinian leadership would not accept any alternative to a Palestinian state on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital … “This news is completely false and the proposal is an old one suggested by former head of the Israeli National Security Council Giora Eiland, who suggested to establish a Palestinian state in Gaza and parts of Sinai with autonomy in the West Bank,” al-Rahim said. Both Egypt and the Palestinian leadership have the same political position, which is the two-state solution based on 1967 borders, he added. Israeli media reported that several Israeli MKs, including Yesh Atid’s Yaakov Peri and hardline Jewish Home MK Ayelet Shaked, praised the plan.

For 1st time, Hajj pilgrims from Israel to be able to fly

JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 7 Sept — For the first time ever, Palestinian Muslims who live in Israel will be able to travel to Saudi Arabia for hajj pilgrimage by air instead of having to make the journey by bus. Owner of the Ramla-based Milad Aviation Company Ibrahim Milad told Ma‘an Sunday that flights would be organized from Ben Gurion Airport to Amman and then onward to Jeddah Airport in Saudi Arabia. “We have contacted the Israeli and Jordanian civil aviation authorities and obtained all the needed permission to organize flights for hajj pilgrims,” he said. In the past, he said, it used to take pilgrims about 24 hours to travel from Israel to Amman due to the situation at the Israeli-controlled Allenby Bridge into Jordan, but the journey has now been reduced to a 20-minute plane ride. An initial group of 766 hajj pilgrims will fly Sept. 23-26, and the flight will cost about $600.

Israel rejects New Zealand’s new ambassador

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) 8 Sept by Nick Perry — New Zealand officials said Monday that Israel has rejected their new ambassador because he is also an envoy to the Palestinian Authority. Since 2008, New Zealand’s ambassadors in Turkey have been responsible for covering a large swath of territory [Jordan, Georgia and Azerbaijan]. But the officials said Israel has refused to accept their latest appointment to the post, Jonathan Curr, who was due to travel to Jerusalem in the coming days to present his papers. “A few days ago, Israel advised New Zealand that it would not accept as ambassador a person who was also a representative to the Palestinian Authority,” Foreign Minister Murray McCully said in a statement. The Israeli Embassy in Wellington said the matter is a “protocol principle” applicable to all ambassadors to Israel. “The issue in question is totally unconnected to the good relations between the two countries,” the embassy said in a statement.

Israeli spy device blast kills Hezbollah man in Lebanon

Beirut (AFP) 6 Sept  – A member of Lebanon’s Hezbollah was killed when an Israeli listening device exploded in the south of the country, the Shiite militant group said on Saturday. On Friday, the army said that a “suspicious device” had been found near the town of Adlun, and that “the Israeli enemy blew it up remotely, killing a civilian who was in the area”. Hezbollah confirmed that the man killed was in fact one of its own. “With pride, the Islamic Resistance announces the death of the hero Hassan Haidar Ali, a native of the town of Ansariyeh in southern Lebanon,” the group said in a statement. It added that Haidar had discovered the device “placed in the communications network of the Resistance” and had been working to dismantle it. Lebanon has frequently reported Israeli espionage devices being destroyed in the south of the country since Hezbollah and the Jewish state fought a devastating war in 2006.

Analysis / Opinion

Otherwise Occupied — The reversible blockade / Amira Hass

Haaretz 8 Sept — As a service to the Palestinian negotiators and the diplomatic intermediaries, here is a list of major components of the siege of Gaza that the Palestinians should demand to have lifted — This summer’s terrible war again focused the world’s attention on the blockade of the Gaza Strip – or, more correctly, the closure. It’s therefore important to write about it again and again while the iron is hot (for the millionth time) until it is totally lifted. Just as Israelis do, Hamas has also been confusing and blurring the facts. So let it again be said in a loud voice that the closure doesn’t only involve barring the import of raw materials into the Strip, and the export of agricultural and industrial goods, and the absence of a port in the territory. Above all, the closure affects the right of people to freedom of movement and to study where they choose and to live in their own country. It affects their right to be with family and friends, to look for work and to weekend recreation at a location of their choice in their homeland. Therefore these are the major components of the closure that must be lifted:

* “Permits to stay” for Gazan-born Palestinians permitting them to stay in the West Bank: It’s a kind of twisted tourist visa allowing people to be in their own country. It’s yet another outrageous document that was devised at the end of 2007 by the Defense Ministry’s Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories without any legal process or advance notice. And here for the first time, I will disclose the background behind the document. To its shame, it was actually the Palestinian Ministry for Civil Affairs, the counterpart of the Israel Defense Force’s Civil Administration, that asked Israel to create it…
* “Residency Procedures in the West Bank,” a policy developed in 2009, is a means through which Israel bars Palestinians who were born in Gaza to move to the West Bank unless – and this is not a joke – they are orphans or chronically ill elderly people in need of custodial nursing care and have no family in Gaza. Marital and parental ties are not considered reasons justifying residency in the West Bank. [and she lists 5 more important points; the last one is this:]
* The sweeping ban on Israeli citizens, both Jewish and Arab from entering the Gaza Strip. All the bureaucratic inventions (on the premise that “Israel has the right to decide who enters its territory”) as well as security-related ones (on the premise that it is dangerous to be in Gaza) have one purpose: to sever the Gaza Strip from the entire world, particularly from other Palestinians.

Hey right-wingers, the Arabs are staying / Gideon Levy

Haaretz 7 Sept — The ultra-nationalists are dreaming about ethnic cleansing, Armageddon, anything. Any miracle will do. But no miracle will happen – The main news first: The Arabs are here to stay, even if our most ultra-nationalist politicians keep rising. They’re here even if Avigdor Lieberman becomes president and prime minister; Naftali Bennett becomes foreign and defense minister; Yariv Levin becomes minister of justice, enlightenment and morality; Itamar Ben-Gvir becomes interior and public security minister; Miri Regev becomes culture minister; and “the Shadow” — rapper Yoav Eliasi — becomes strategic affairs minister. Even if all this happened, the Arabs would stay. The Arabs of 1948 are staying, as are those of 1967. The Arabs in Israel, the West Bank, Gaza and the entire region – they stay where they are. Israel’s dream for them to somehow wither away will never happen. They won’t leave, they won’t be expelled. They’re here forever. It’s their sumud, their steadfastness. With the demise of the two-state dream, brought about in part by the characters listed above, Israel should consider what to do. It’s the ultra-nationalists, those Arab-lovers, who are doing everything to ensure the establishment of one big state including Arabs. It’s they who should be concerned about this shocking news. They should be spearheading attempts to improve relations with the Arabs in order to be accepted in the region. They, who didn’t want two states and will most likely get only one, must understand that this state will be like Yugoslavia, if not Somalia, unless they quickly take action to become more accepted by their unwanted neighbors, the steadfast ones. They should be the legions fighting in defense of the language — Arabic, naturally. They should be imparting the heritage — that of the Nakba, obviously. By all means possible, they should be combating the discrimination against Israel’s Arabs and the displacement of Arabs in the occupied territories. As soon as they realize that the Arabs are here to stay, they should think about our shared future, shouldn’t they? … This, of course, is wishful thinking. The ultra-nationalists still believe that if only they made Palestinian lives more miserable, abusing both Israeli citizens and subjects of the occupation, beating and humiliating them, killing and arresting them, maybe a miracle would happen and they’d disappear….

Israeli army lags in reforming probes into Palestinian deaths

Haaretz 8 Sept by Gili Cohen — A year and a half after the Turkel Commission published recommendations for improving the way Israel investigates suspected violations of the laws of war, the army has yet to implement key suggestions. The Military Police, for example, hasn’t set up a special division to investigate incidents that occur during operations in the West Bank, nor has the Military Advocate General’s Corps set precise deadlines for how long such investigations should take. As a result, the B’Tselem and Yesh Din human rights groups say they have no confidence in military probes into suspected crimes against Palestinians, charging that the system suffers from “serious systemic problems that make it unable to conduct professional investigations.” B’Tselem even took the unusual step of refusing the MAG Corps’ request for information on potential crimes by Israeli soldiers during the recent war in Gaza. B’Tselem director Hagai El-Ad said that based on experience after previous rounds of fighting in Gaza, his group does not believe that the corps’ investigations will get at the truth or make sure soldiers responsible for violations are punished … One significant change, instituted in April 2011, is that the Military Police now automatically investigates all killings of Palestinians by Israeli forces in the West Bank that don’t occur during “actual combat.” Yet in May, Haaretz found that of 18 probes into Palestinian deaths opened in the last two years, only three had been completed. According to Yesh Din, the Military Police opened 199 investigations in 2013, mainly for violence against Palestinians, yet these probes produced only six indictments … Yesh Din and B’Tselem are especially critical of the army’s investigations of incidents during previous operations in Gaza.  After Operation Cast Lead in 2009, for instance, the IDF examined around 400 suspected violations of the laws of war. Of these, 52 resulted in Military Police investigations, including one in which a colonel was investigated for negligence over an air strike that killed 21 members of the Samouni family. Few trials after Cast Lead But these investigations produced only three trials. One soldier was sentenced to seven and a half months for stealing a credit card, two soldiers received a three-month suspended sentence and were demoted for using a 9-year-old boy as a human shield, and one soldier was sentenced to 45 days in jail for killing a Palestinian after being convicted in a plea bargain for illegally using a weapon. The Samouni case was closed. ….

Report: Killers use honor as excuse for leniency in femicide cases

BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 6 Sept — Despite a 2011 decision by Abbas to end the practice, the director of a major Palestinian forensic institute told Ma‘an in a recent interview that killers were receiving leniency by claiming reasons of “honor” in the slaying deaths of young women. Dr. Sabir al-Aloul, director of Al-Quds University’s Institute of Forensic Medicine, said that examinations of the bodies of the vast majority of women who were slain by family members in so-called “honor crimes” showed no signs of previous sexual activity. “It seems the killers use family honor as a pretext to benefit from an article in the Palestinian laws that suggests leniency for men who kill to protect their family honor,” al-Aloul said. In 2011, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas ordered a legal amendment to end leniency in courts for men who kill women from their families under the pretext that they “dishonored” their families, presumably through sexual activity … However, legal experts say Abbas’ move was not enough to prevent the killing of women over issues of so-called family “honor.” They say that there are other gaps in the law through which killers have managed to gain leniency by claiming reasons of honor.  In February, PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi condemned the use of the term “honor killings” to refer to forms of domestic violence against women, stressing: “The woman is not an emblem of honor for the man or her family; she is an equal member of society. “The categorization of such crimes under misleading labels constitutes the exploitation of women, and in turn, it safeguards the offenders and promotes more crimes of this nature,” she added. Campaigners have urged the adoption of the term femicide to refer to violence perpetrated by partners or relatives of a woman, encompassing primarily lethal forms of domestic violence. The total number of victims of “femicide” in the West Bank and Gaza in 2013 amounted to 28.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *