| Hubris: Palestinian teen abducted, killed in suspected revenge attack!

Palestinian teen abducted, killed in suspected revenge attack ~ Ma’an News Agency.

 

Palestinian teen abducted, killed in suspected revenge attack
Published today (updated) 02/07/2014 12:07
The mother and family of 16-year-old Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir,
kidnapped and killed in possible revenge attack early Wednesday
(MaanImages)
JERUSALEM (AFP) — A Palestinian teenager from occupied East Jerusalem was kidnapped and killed early Wednesday in a suspected act of revenge for the killing of three Israeli youths, Israeli army radio reported.Locals identified the victim as 16-year-old Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir from the Shufat neighborhood.

Witnesses told Ma’an that footage from surveillance cameras shows Israelis stepping out of a Hyundai in front of Abu Khdeir’s house and forcing the teen inside before speeding off.

The murder sparked a wave of clashes in East Jerusalem where around 200 angry young Palestinians threw stones at police, who responded with sound bombs and rubber bullets, an AFP correspondent and police said.

Quoting witnesses, the radio said the youth was seen being forced into a car in the Palestinian eastern half of the city.

A body was found shortly afterwards in another part of the city, the radio said, describing it as a “suspected revenge attack” for the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers from the southern West Bank on June 12.

Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir, 16

Israel has blamed Hamas for their killings in an incident which has triggered calls for revenge.

Hamas has denied involvement in the incident.

Several hours after they were buried on Tuesday, around 200 Israelis rampaged through Jerusalem, stopping cars and the light rail and shouting “Death to Arabs,” police and witnesses said. Police said 47 people were arrested.

Police spokeswoman Luba Samri confirmed they were investigating reports of a kidnapping and said they had found a body but refused to say whether the two incidents were connected. She did not give details on the victim’s identity.

“In the early hours of Wednesday morning, police received a report of a person being forced into a car in Beit Hanina,” Samri told AFP, referring to a well-heeled East Jerusalem neighborhood.

“Within an hour, a body was found in Jerusalem that has still not been identified. We are looking to see if there is a connection between the two incidents.”

Quoting witnesses, army radio said a black car had stopped next to a youth who was hitchhiking and he was forced inside. The car then took off.

Some time later, the family of the youth reported him missing, it said.

Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat denounced the murder and called for calm.

“This is a horrible and barbaric act which I strongly condemn. This is not our way and I am fully confident that our security forces will bring the perpetrators to justice,” he said in a statement.

“I call on everyone to exercise restraint.”

The body was discovered in a forest in Givat Shaul in southwest Jerusalem. An AFP correspondent said police had sealed off a large area around the neighborhood.

Ma’an staff contributed to this report.

GEN 2

 

| Kleptomaniac Israel approves 558 new homes in occupied East Jerusalem!

Israel approves 558 East Jerusalem settlement homes ~ BBC.

Israeli officials have given final approval for 558 new apartments in Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem.

Jerusalem city council said its planning committee approved building permits in three neighbourhoods.

The units are to be erected on land Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war and later annexed, a move not recognised internationally.

Settlements built there are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.

A construction worker works at a site of a new housing unit in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Har Homa in November 2011Officials said apartments were approved in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Har Homa

‘Provocation’Building permits were granted for the neighbourhoods of Har Homa, Neve Yaakov and Pisgat Zeev, according to the city council.

Palestinian officials said the decision undermined fragile US-brokered peace talks, which resumed in July.

BBC map showing location of Jerusalem

“Israel is engaging in the deliberate provocation of the Palestinians, to drive them to leave the negotiations in protest of Israeli violations, and therefore should be blamed for the destruction of the peace process,” senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi said in a statement.

A dispute over settlement construction led to the collapse of the last talks.

There has been little sign of progress from the latest direct negotiations, mediated by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

A city council spokeswoman said the plans for the apartments were approved “years ago” and that new building in Arab areas of Jerusalem was also approved on Wednesday.

About 500,000 Jews live in more than 100 settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

An estimated 200,000 settlers currently live in East Jerusalem, alongside 370,000 Palestinians.

Israel regards Jerusalem as its eternal and indivisible capital. However, Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of their future state.

From other news sites

pizza last slice1

  1. kleptomaniac – The Free Dictionary

    klep·to·ma·ni·a n. An obsessive impulse to steal regardless of economic need.

    [Greek kleptein, to steal + -mania.] klep′to·ma′ni·ac′ (-nē-ăk′) n.
  2. Kleptomania – Merriam-Webster Online

    a mental illness in which you have a strong desire to steal things. Full Definition of KLEPTOMANIA. : a persistent neurotic impulse to steal especially without 

| Action Alert: Open letter to Daily Mail – East Jerusalem is NOT the capital of Israel!‏

FOA open letter to Daily MailEast Jerusalem is NOT the capital of Israel! ~ FOA.

FOA responds with an open letter to the Daily Mail following the publication of a highly misleading Travel article on Jerusalem.

 

Dear Editor,

Re: Holy Amazing? A Conspicuous Absence of Context and Truth

Frank Barrett‘s article on travel in Israel is rather like an Alice in Wonderland tale where fact and fiction have been weaved together to produce a dreamlike destination which travellers would be foolish to believe. But our concern is more with the factual errors and the clearly misleading propositions which Mr Barrett states without apology or exception.

The article leads by stating that Tel-Aviv is Israel’s second city. This imbues that Jerusalem is Israel’s first city which is a pretence being promoted by Israel in every sector possible, including tourism. Jerusalem is in fact split into East and West, and the holy religious sites to which Mr Barrett refers are in Palestinian East Jerusalem. While Israel maybe illegally occupying this land, it is not the custodian of these sites as Mr Barrett misleads readers into believing. The control and ownership rest with Palestinian Christians; just as the Islamic holy sites’ rests with Palestinian Muslims.

Jerusalem has religious significance for all three of these faith groups and the international community has made clear its position on Israel’s illegal attempts to annex East Jerusalem by refusing to move their embassies from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem. Thus, despite that fact that all embassies are in Tel-Aviv, Mr Barrett still suggests Tel-Aviv is Israel’s second city.

The article is a clear journey through Israel by someone who is determined to see a peaceful nation without a troubled past or present. He rather naively suggests that no conflicts exist between Jews and Arabs (Muslims and Christian) and that there is very little security presence. In actual fact, each year, the former Bishop of Jerusalem Riah Hanna Abu El-Assal, makes a call to Christians around the globe to stand up against the oppressive Israeli controls which are preventing Christian tourists from visiting Bethlehem, leaving it a ghost town while the world marks Christmas with lights and celebrations.

Further, it is clear from ethnic travellers’ experiences that a proviso should in the least be included: If you are a Christian or Muslim tourist from an ethnic background, expect to be delayed at Tel-Aviv airport and harassed for hours with benign and aimless questioning until you are either barred entry or allowed onwards on your journey.

Mr Barrett’s article is false and misleading in a number of places and a correction should be printed forthwith.

Yours faithfully,

Ismail Patel

Chair, Friends of Al-Aqsa

 

Take Action

Please write to the Daily Mail asking for a correction to their article.

Email: corrections@mailonline.co.uk and editorial@dailymailonline.co.uk

You can also write in to: Managing Editor, Mail Online, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT

A suggested letter can be found below:

Dear Editor

Re: Holy amazing: Why Israel an amazing place for a holiday, and far more than a bible story (22 December 2013)

Frank Barrett’s article on travel in Israel is highly misleading. It suggests that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and its first city while relegating the true capital (Tel-Aviv) to second city status. Jerusalem is in fact divided into East and West, and East Jerusalem is Palestinian territory wherein you will find the holy sites which Barrett speaks of.

The Daily Mail is misleading readers into believing what is basically Israeli misinformation which seeks to undermine the rightful Palestinian heritage within Jerusalem. Both the international community and international law uphold Palestinian rights to East Jerusalem.

An apology and correction should be published as soon as possible.

Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

 

 

Friends of Al-Aqsa Donate to Friends of Al-Aqsa Friends of Al-Aqsa Facebook Friends of Al-Aqsa Twitter


Friends of Al-Aqsa is a UK based non-profit making NGO concerned with defending the human rights of Palestinians and protecting the sacred al-Aqsa Sanctuary in Jerusalem. This vision is supported by various international groups and organisations. Friends of Al-Aqsa was first established in 1997 and now has an international support base.

ZionismRaisonDetre1

 

| West Bank demolitions continue even as Kerry visits Israel!

West Bank demolitions continue even as Kerry visits Israel ~ , Mondoweiss.

Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing

Landslide threatens 40 homes in East Jerusalem
[photos] BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 Dec — Landslides occurred Friday in an East Jerusalem neighborhood as a result of heavy snow accumulation, threatening at least 40 nearby houses located on lands previously weakened by Israeli authorities’ excavations nearby, a local group said. Landslides led to the degradation of hillsides in the Ain al-Lowza neighborhood of Silwan, opening cracks and threatening 40 nearby houses with potential destruction, the Wadi Helwa Information Center said. A statement from the group said previous excavations by Israel to build a wall through the area have caused extensive damage to the ground, and the effects of the storm have exacerbated the negative effects. The majority of the landslides occurred in a large plot of land owned by local resident Abu Tayeh where 40 homes have been built. Abu Tayeh said it was the first time he had experienced such a severe problem on his land, blaming Israeli authorities for failing to complete work they had started on a neighborhood wall.
link to www.maannews.net

IOF soldiers raze Palestinian house in Jordan Valley
JORDAN VALLEY (PIC) 11 Dec — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) razed a Palestinian house inDuyuk village in the central Jordan Valley near Jericho city afternoon Wednesday. Local sources said that IOF soldiers in a number of army vehicles escorted a huge bulldozer into the village, adding that they encircled the home of Nidal Bililat and destroyed it at the pretext it was built without permit in area C. Bililat told the PIC reporter that the Israeli occupation authorities did not notify him of the demolition beforehand as is the practice.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

In West Bank, Arab home faces demolition while Jewish ones get stamp of approval
Haaretz 12 Dec by Chaim Levinson — Defense Ministry changes housing regulation according to whether the houses belong to Jews or Palestinians — The Defense Ministry’s Civil Administration on Tuesday rejected a request to legalize a Palestinian house, claiming it was too close to a main West Bank road. A day earlier, the administration approved the construction of homes in the West Bank settlement of Ofra, after revoking the very ban on which the Tuesday decision was based. The administration’s planning heads, architects Natalia Averbuch and Daniel Halimi, said their considerations were purely professional. But observers maintain that the administration’s planning is politically motivated and aimed at pushing the Palestinians off their land … The administration is in the process of legalizing some of Ofra’s illegal construction, in terms of a new master plan it has drawn up for the settlement. Ofra was built without a master plan, as required, and most of its houses were built without permits on private Palestinian land. The objective of the new plan is to legitimize some 200 illegal houses and authorize the construction of some 50 new homes.
link to www.haaretz.com

UN slams demolition of West Bank properties
AFP 11 Dec –The United Nations Wednesday slammed Israel’s demolition of 30 Palestinian properties in the West Bank, saying it displaced some families for the second time in less than two weeks. “I am concerned about the destruction of Palestinian structures in the Jordan Valley yesterday (Tuesday),” UN Humanitarian Coordinator James Rawley said in a statement. “The demolitions resulted in the displacement of 41 people, including 24 children, and affected another 20. Both refugee and non-refugee families were affected.” the statement said.  “Some of the families were displaced for the second time this month and a number of donor-funded structures were among those demolished.” The civilian administration of the West Bank had no immediate comment on the demolitions. A group of 36 NGOs last week urged Israel to stop demolishing Palestinian homes, hours ahead of a visit by US Secretary of State John Kerry aimed at revitalizing Middle East peace talks.
link to www.ynetnews.com

Susia inhabitants make urgent appeal for relief
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 12 Dec — Inhabitants of Susia village, east of Yatta town to the south of Al-Khalil, appealed for bringing them relief after their tents flew away due to the high winds and heavy rain that hit the region on Wednesday night. Jihad Nawaja, head of the village council of Susia, appealed in a press statement for offering help to the residents of the area of Msafer Yatta. “There are 45 families living in the region. Many lost their tents last night and we fear that the rest of the tents will also fly away”, he said, pointing out that the great majority of the populations are children.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

Bedouin face eviction as Israeli builds new towns
UMM AL-HEIRAN (AFP) 13 Dec — Some 50 years after Israeli authorities gave them the land, the Bedouin of Umm al-Heiran village face eviction to make way for two modern towns. Located in the Negev desert, the village is home to some 150 Palestinian Bedouin families — 1,000 inhabitants — who live in small, concrete buildings, relying on solar panels for electricity and raising livestock. But more than half a century of calling Umm al-Heiran home now looks set to end. On Nov. 10, the Israeli cabinet approved the establishment of two new communities in the Negev — Kesif and Hiran — that will almost exclusively cater to Jews. In order to make way for the two new towns, the Bedouin village, which is currently unrecognized by the authorities, must first be removed.  “In order to build Hiran, (Israel) will accelerate the demolition of the unrecognized village of Umm al-Heiran in the Negev and evict its residents,” said Suhad Bishara, a lawyer for the Arab-Israeli rights group Adalah. The village is on some 1,700 acres of land an Israeli military governor gave to the Bedouin after the tribe of Abu al-Qiyaan was displaced in the 1950s … The Supreme Court has for now frozen demolition orders on Umm al-Heiran’s structures pending the filing by Dec. 15 of additional documents by Adalah. But should the court rule against them, their case will be lost … Ghiyahib Abu al-Qiyaan, 73, remembers the day when Israeli forces moved the family onto the land which would become Umm al-Heiran in 1956, eight years after the creation of the Israeli state. “I was about 16 years old. Israeli patrols came and evicted us from our homes (in nearby Zubala) to make way for a kibbutz, and put us here without shelter, in the desert,” she said. “But we built and we’ve made it our home with the land they gave us.”
link to www.maannews.net

Israeli government kills plans to uproot Bedouin
Mondoweiss 12 Dec by Alex Kane — The “Day of Rage” protests held last month by Bedouin Arabs and their allies to protest the Prawer Plan were met with defiant rhetoric from Israeli officials.  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to move forward with the Israeli government’s initiative to demolish Bedouin villages, uproot their inhabitants and build Jewish towns on top of them. But two weeks after the protests, the plan has been scrapped.  In a big reversal, Netanyahu’s office announced today that the plan has been killed after Benny Begin, the co-author of the plan, recommended that course of action … The big question mark hanging over the news that the plan is scrapped, though, is what comes next.  The drive to solve the “Bedouin problem,” in the rhetoric of Israeli officials, won’t be stopped because the Prawer Plan has been scrapped.  Likud’s Levin has suggested that a new plan should be implemented: … Meanwhile, the status quo for unrecognized Bedouin communities – unconnected to water or electricity and bracing for demolition orders to make way for Jewish National Fund forests and new Jewish communities – holds steady.
link to mondoweiss.net

Sheikh Sayah returns to his village
Alternative Information Center 11 Dec by Carolin Smith — Skeikh Sayah Atouri returned Tuesday to his home in the Naqab (Negev)-area village of Al Araqib after winning his appeal in a Be’er Sheva court. For the past three weeks Sayah has been prohibited from entering his village following a court order issued after Sayah’s detention during a home demolition. “I feel like a newborn”, said Sheikh Sayah as he entered his village late Tuesday morning, after nearly three weeks away from home.  Sayah was held in an Israeli jail for ten days before spending a further ten days in a protest tent pitched near a police station in the Naqab town of Rahat. His release from jail was contingent upon him not re-entering his village until the court had reached its verdict. “This case establishes precedence”, states Sheikh Sayah Atouri about his current success before the Israeli court. He hopes that in future, judges will acknowledge the right of Bedouins to remain on their land and fight for their rights. “But the next time”, he adds, ”I would rather go to prison than agree to stay away from my village”.
link to www.alternativenews.org

For the first time since 1948, Christmas tree lit in displaced village
IMEMC 12 Dec — For the first time since Israel was established in the historic land of Palestine, in 1948, and the resulting destruction and displacement of hundreds of villages and towns, there, a group of Palestinians managed to set up a Christmas tree in the displaced village ofKufur Birim, in the Galilee … Four months ago, a group of young Palestinians started sleeping in the village, as part of an extended campaign to affirm their right in their own lands, and recently installed a Christmas tree in the yard of a local church, affirming their Right of Return following 65 years of displacement. Talking to the Sonara News Agency, Zatam Zahra, a member of one of the displaced families, said that this Christmas tree, the first in 65 years, is a symbol for the Right of Return for all refugees displaced from their lands, villages and towns.  He added that the tree is also a symbol of hope to the millions of externally displaced refugees living in dozens of refugee camps in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and several Arab countries.
link to www.imemc.org

Video: Rampant agriculture in the Jordan Valley
Israel Social TV 11 Dec — Settlement agriculture in the Jordan Valley is prosperous, but it critically undercuts the water and land resources of the Palestinians …”Springs that were once natural springs and were once used, don’t exist today because they were dried up by Mekorot’s (national water co.) drainage system and other private companies working in the settlements”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zR5m2S2XuWc

Violence / Raids / Attacks / Suppression of protests / Illegal arrests

PCHR Weekly Report: Israeli forces kill one child, wound 4 people including a child
IMEMC 13 Dec — In its Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the week of 05-11 December 2013, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) found that Israeli forces killed a Palestinian child at the southern entrance of al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah. Also, a Palestinian child was wounded in Hebron. Israeli forces have continued to open fire at the border areas in the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces opened fire 4 times at the east of Khan Yunis, but no casualties were reported. Israeli forces have continued to use excessive force against peaceful protesters in the West Bank. 3 Palestinian civilians and an international journalist were wounded … During the past week, Israeli forces conducted 56 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, abducting at least 27 Palestinians … As part of using military checkpoints and border crossings as traps to arrest Palestinian civilians under the pretext they are wanted, Israeli forces abducted at least 8 civilians, including 3 children, in the West Bank … Israeli forces have continued to support settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property. Israeli forces demolished a house and 3 livestock barns in Samadi area, north of Jericho. Israeli settlers demolished 9 residential tents, 5 tents to shelter livestock, 2 kitchens, a store and a cow barn in the northern Jordan Valley. Full report
link to www.imemc.org

Despite snow, hundreds gather for funeral of man shot by Israel
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 Dec — Hundreds of mourners from the Bethlehem district on Thursday gathered for the funeral of a man who succumbed to wounds inflicted by Israeli forces nine years ago. Despite heavy rain and snow, dozens of vehicles led a funeral march for Muin al-Atrash, from Duheisha refugee camp, who was shot by Israeli soldiers on Mar. 22, 2004. His body was buried in Artas village near Bethlehem. Al-Atrash died late Wednesday at al-Maqasid Hospital, where he was taken a week ago after a sudden collapse into critical condition. Israeli forces shot al-Atrash in 2004 during a demonstration against Israel’s assassination of Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmad Yasin.
link to www.maannews.net

Soldiers invade Shweika village near Tulkarem
[Friday, Dec 13] Despite the extreme snowstorm hitting different parts of occupied Palestine, dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded the Shweika village, near the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem, broke into a home and violently searched the premises. The Palestine News Network (PNN) has reported that the soldiers invaded the village at approximately 1:30 AM, and raided the home of Yahia Mahdawy. PNN said that the soldiers conducted violent searches in the home, causing anxiety attacks amongst family members, especially the children, as the soldiers were shouting and pointing their guns at them before forcing them into a room, as they searched the rest of the property for several hours. Mahdawi told PNN that the soldiers left his home at approximately 5:30 AM, leaving excessive damages to furniture and family belongings. He added that the soldiers did not even allow the family to ask them about the cause of the raid, or what they were searching for … Such invasions frequently end with several arrests and excessive property damage to dozens of homes and cars. Israeli soldiers frequently detonate the doors of the invaded homes, instead of knocking or simply breaking the doors.
link to www.imemc.org

Israeli forces disperse protests in Kafr Qaddum
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 13 Dec — Dozens of Palestinian protesters braved inclement weather in Kafr Qaddum to protest against the Israeli occupation and separation wall on Friday, before being dispersed by Israeli forces. Dozens suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation as Israeli forces attacked the protest in the northern West Bank city with tear gas canisters, amid record low temperatures as a storm front moved south across the region. Israeli forces erected a checkpoint at the entrance of the village in the morning and declared it a closed military zone, a tactic used frequently to prevent the weekly march from taking place. The closure prevented crews of the Palestinian Red Crescent from entering the village and providing necessary first aid to the injured during the march.
link to www.maannews.net

IOF soldiers round up five Palestinians
NABLUS (PIC) 12 Dec — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) rounded up five Palestinian citizens in Nablus and Jenin at dawn Thursday in line with its daily arrest campaigns in lines of West Bankers. Local sources said that IOF soldiers stormed the village of Beita, south of Nablus, shortly after midnight Wednesday and took away three young men. They said that the soldiers terrorized civilians, especially women and children, with their savage break-ins into their homes. The sources said that two of the arrestees were teenagers. Meanwhile, local sources in Jenin said that IOF soldiers raided five villages south of Jenin and nabbed two Palestinians.
They said that the soldiers roamed the streets of Qabatiya, Maythalon, Zababde, Sanur, and Seer villages before taking away the two citizens from Qabatiya after breaking into their families’ homes.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

Israeli forces detain 6 in ‘Aida refugee camp
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 11 Dec — Israeli forces detained six Palestinians in Bethlehem overnight Tuesday, locals said. Witnesses told Ma’an that several Israeli military vehicles stormed ‘Aidarefugee camp after midnight and detained Khalil Abu Akar, 21, his brother Mustafa, 24, Hamdi Ali Ayyad, Muhammad Adil Jado, Jawad Muhammad, 20, and Khadir Akram Abu Khdreir, 18 … Eyewitnesses said that at least 50 Israeli soldiers were seen entering Bethlehem near Aida camp just after midnight.
link to www.maannews.net

IOF detains citizen to force his sons to give themselves up
RAMALLAH (PIC) 12 Dec — Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) detained on Wednesday morning the citizen Mahmoud al-Kadhi, 47, in order to force his sons to give themselves up to Israeli Intelligence. IOF soldiers stormed on Monday the al-Kadhi family house, in Bireh city in Ramallah, to arrest Mahmoud’s two sons Baraa, 21, and Mohammed, 18, but they were not at home. The family confirmed that IOF detained the father for several hours and obliged him to call his two sons to hand themselves over; however they refused to do so.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

PA security forces continue political arrest campaign against Hamas members 
West Bank (PIC) 13 Dec — The Palestinian authority security forces have continued their arrest campaign against Hamas cadres, especially university students, in the occupied West Bank. PA security forces have continued targeting senior members of the Islamic bloc at West Bank universities, especially Birzeit university, where they stormed two of its leaders’ houses, renewed the arrest of another one, while they continued to detain another member of the bloc. In Ramallah, the PA preventive security apparatus broke into and ransacked the house of Mohammed Kadoumi, the Islamic bloc coordinator at Birzeit university, in a failed arrest attempt. Mohammed’s family confirmed that the PA preventive forces violently searched their house and confiscated three computers and Mohamed’s personal items … Meanwhile, the PA intelligence agency continued to detain Ahmed Barghouti, a student at Birzeit university, for nearly a month, without leveling charges. In Tulkarem, a PA court extended the detention of Moeman Hattab, a student at Birzeit university, for 15 additional days, pending investigation. The faculty of engineering at Birzeit university have organized few days ago a protest against the continued detention of Hattab. In Nablus, the magistrates’ court rejected an appeal for the release of four members of the Islamic bloc at Najah University.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

Gaza under blockade

Israel ‘opens dams’ flooding Gaza Strip near Deir al Balah
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 Dec — The Gaza Government’s Disaster Response Committee announced late Friday that Israeli authorities had opened up dams just east of the Gaza Strip, flooding numerous residential areas in nearby villages within the coastal territory. Committee chairman Yasser Shanti said in a press conference that Israeli authorities had opened up dams just to the east of the border with the Gaza Strip earlier in the day. He warned that residential areas within the Gaza Valley would be flooding within the coming hours. He said that the move by Israeli authorities would flood areas in Moghraqa and other parts of Deir el-Balah in central Gaza, and he called upon residents of areas near the Gaza Valley to evacuate their homes in preparation for the anticipated flooding. The Gaza Strip is currently under a state of emergency due to severe weather conditions caused by a historic storm front moving south across the Levant.
link to www.maannews.net

Widespread flooding in Gaza forces thousands to flee homes
[with photos] BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 Dec by Alex Shams — The Gaza Strip was pounded by fierce winds and rain again on Friday as flooding reached dangerous levels in many areas, forcing thousands to flee their homes amid widespread power outages as temperatures plunged into the single digits. The flooding was worst in the northern Gaza Strip, where hundreds fled their homes and water levels reached 40-50 cm in some parts, forcing residents to use boats to navigate their neighborhoods. The Gaza government said in a statement on Friday that so far 2,825 people have been evacuated from their homes, reaching a total of 458 families. The evacuated were being sheltered in schools across the Strip, the statement was reported by Gaza-based Safa News Agency as saying, as Hamas civil defense authorities rushed to evacuate flooded homes. Gaza Minister of Health Mufid al-Mukhalalati declared a state of “extreme emergency” as all emergency devices and ambulance crews were put on a state of high alter in all regions of the Gaza Strip … Ezz al Zanoon, a photographer based in central Gaza, described to Ma‘an how the flooding was affecting daily life in the Strip … Zanoon stressed that the storm had compounded the already dangerous conditions Gaza residents were living under as a result of severe fuel shortages over the last few months. “Electricity is only on for one or two hours a day,” he said, pointing out that in the days before the storm’s arrival daily electricity availability had dropped drastically from previous levels of six to 12 hours. “People are suffering as they wait up all night for the electricity and water to come on,” he added, pointing out that water availability was dependent on the availability of electricity with which to pump it. “There is no movement, no one goes out. Even those who work can’t go out.” “The people hold Hamas and Fatah responsibly, both Haniyeh and Abbas,” he added. “How could they let the situation of the children in this country become like this?”
link to www.maannews.net

Photos: Gaza Strip flooded after torrential rains, blustery storm
Vancouver Sun 13 Dec — Hundreds of houses were flooded following a rain storm in Gaza forcing the closure of schools and banks. Early snow has surprised many Israelis and Palestinians as a blustery storm, dubbed Alexa, brought gusty winds, torrential rains and heavy snowfall to parts of the Middle East.
link to www.vancouversun.com

Israel transfers water pumps to Gaza due to flooding
Ynet 13 Dec by Yoav Zitun – Israel set up a joint command center with Palestinian security in the West Bank to handle storm-related traffic and electricity problems. Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories verified a Mekorot transfer of water pumps to the Gaza Strip due to heavy flooding across the strip. Pumps were transferred through the Kerem Shalom crossing following UN request (see video). Flurries of snow surprised residents in the Gaza Strip, but heavy rain also hit the Palestinian territory, making many roads impassable. Emergency workers used fishing boats to evacuate 700 people from their homes and provide food, blankets and torches to hundreds of others caught in high water …  The IDF said on Friday it had opened a crossing with Gaza in response to a UN appeal to let in aid supplies. UN relief teams offered emergency services to the worst-hit communities in the West Bank and Gaza. In Gaza, which was experiencing its first snow in a decade, more than 500 people were evacuated from their homes, according to Hamas spokesman Ihab Ghussein.
link to www.ynetnews.com

Freezing and canoeing in Gaza
[with video and photos] Mondoweiss 13 Dec by Fidaa Abuassi — …Gaza is drowning today. You will see people kayaking and canoeing not the type of fun activities the world knows. Houses are flooded by water. People are freezing there. No power. No water. No heat. No fuel. This is a catastrophe. A CATASTROPHE. I need to do something to help. I felt so helpless that I wanted to call 911, Red Cross or Amnesty International. Anyone! I want to tell the world that Gaza is living an unspeakable disaster and in a bad need for your help. I cannot be silent. You cannot be silent. Please we need to take action to stop this inhuman punishment of an entire population!
link to mondoweiss.net

Soldiers kidnap two Palestinians in Gaza
IMEMC — [Wednesday Dec 11] Israeli sources have reported that the army has kidnapped two Palestinians who crossed the “border fence” between the Gaza Strip and Israel. The sources said that the two were unarmed, and likely tried to enter Israel searching for work. The two have been moved to an interrogation facility in an Israeli settlement close to the border with the besieged and impoverished Gaza Strip.
link to www.imemc.org

Video: Gazans with disabilities ‘lost between 2 governments’
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 11 Dec — On the International Day of People with Disabilities, Palestinians in Gaza marched in solidarity with over 100,000 disabled fellow citizens, who are regularly denied basic services. According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, a law passed in 1994 requires that the government provide people with disabilities access to education, employment, rehabilitation, and health services. However, the law has not been implemented on a grand scale in Gaza or the West Bank. Disabled Palestinians in Gaza in need of regular treatment say they feel lost between the Hamas government and the Palestinian Authority government in the West Bank, regimes which routinely duck healthcare responsibilities and point the finger at one another.
link to www.maannews.net

Under Israeli fire, Gaza fishermen plan protest tent to ‘free the Holy Land sea’
GAZA (Free the Holy Land Sea) 12 Dec — On Tuesday, 17 December, Palestinian fishermen will pitch a protest tent in the Gaza seaport. The structure, which will stand for three days and be decorated with pictures of fishermen attacked or captured by the Israeli navy, is a demonstration against Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip and its military attacks on Palestinian fishermen. Fishermen who have previously been attacked or captured, as well as representatives of fishing and human rights organizations, will be available for interviews. Palestinian and international supporters speaking Arabic, Catalan, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish will also participate. “As fishermen, we want people to stand in solidarity with us, to free Gaza waters and guarantee our full enjoyment of the fundamental right to sail freely, and to stop Israel’s massive violations against us,” said fisherman and activist Zakaria Baker. “It’s time to stop all kinds of war crimes against fishermen. It’s time to end the illegal siege, a form of collective punishment forbidden under international humanitarian law.”
link to palsolidarity.org

Rafah crossing open Wednesday, Thursday
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 11 Dec — Egyptian authorities will keep the Rafah crossing with Gaza open for two days this week, Gaza’s Ministry of Interior said Wednesday. [On Monday, the first of three days of a planned opening,  the crossing was shut down early because of a computer malfunction]
link to www.maannews.net

Hamas cancels Friday events
GAZA (PIC) 13 Dec — The Hamas Movement said it cancelled all marches and popular activities it had planned to hold on Friday in different places of the Gaza Strip to mark its 26th anniversary due to the stormy weather. In a brief press release, Hamas called on the Palestinian people to help those affected by the storm. The Palestinian weather service warned that the Palestinian territories will witness strong winds up to 70 kilometers per hour, torrential rains and floods in low areas accompanied by a cold spell.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

Mockupation Israel: IDF trains in Ashkelon playground because it ‘looks like Gaza’
Mondoweiss 12 Dec by Allison Deger — In late November the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) ran a Gaza ground invasion training exercise by occupying an Ashkelon playground—explosions by the swing set and all. The mock raid was a surprise to suburban residents who awoke to find their town invaded. Haaretz journalist and artist Roy Chicky Arad was tipped off in advance the military would practice a ground incursion for the besieged coastal Mediterranean strip near a manicured recreational play area. [Says Arad:] …It wasn’t clear why a playground had been chosen as a place to establish a position in occupied Gaza, as it were. I assume it was someone’s bad joke. The very fact of the exercise demonstrates aggression, given the relative quiet lately; we certainly wouldn’t be pleased to know that in Gaza or in any other Arab city they were practicing the conquest of Ashkelon.” We’re reported extensively on IDF training exercises in the West Bank. Large swaths of villages in the Jordan Valley are frequently used for live-fire exercises. As one would imagine, these exercises terrify local Palestinians who are unable to immediately distinguish between an actual raid, and a mock raid. Mock raids include parachuting soldiers, tents in the village’s mosque, and even shooting Palestinian residents.
link to mondoweiss.net

Gaza’s women have karate moves
GAZA STRIP (The Media Line) 10 Dec by Omar Al-Ghraieb — Women in this densely populated area have a surprising new hobby — karate. Women of different ages, heights, social classes and backgrounds can be found at Gaza’s Karate Sports Club dressed in the classic white karate uniforms (known as Karategi in Japanese). They stand tall and barefoot. Some wear headscarves, some don’t. They all have different colored belts around the waists, marking their progress. Emad Hammad, Gaza’s most famous and prominent karate instructor — or master, as many call him — studied the martial art while living in Egypt. “I started teaching karate in Gaza 12 years ago. I was known by then, too, and people trusted me so they sent me their children to learn discipline, self-confidence and self-defense,” Hammad told The Media Line. “Teaching girls started a number of years ago but only spiked and bloomed recently, in the past couple of years or so. At first, it was hard to assemble a group of girls to form a class, so I trained them with the boys. Their parents trusted me enough to do that. Compared to now, I can easily form a class of 25 girls in a month or so. Times have changed.” Now, Hammad teaches all kinds of classes, both mixed and separated by gender.
link to www.themedialine.org

Detainees

Administrative detainees to go on strike
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 11 Dec — Palestinians in administrative detention in Israeli jails will hold a hunger strike on Thursday in protest of their detention, the minister of prisoners affairs said. Issa Qaraqe‘ said that detainees will continue their protest steps despite the arbitrary punishments imposed on them by the Israeli prison administration. Over 300 Palestinians are held without charge in administrative detention in Israeli prisons, using laws dating back to the British Mandate period.
link to www.maannews.net

Prisoner visits canceled due to clashes in Israeli jail
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 11 Dec – Family visits for Palestinian detainees in Israel’s Megiddo jail were canceled on Wednesday after clashes broke out between prisoners and Israeli prison guards. Relatives of prisoners told Ma‘an that their visits were canceled due to the clashes, with witnesses saying that Israeli guards fired tear gas into prison courtyards. Israeli media reported that detainees began throwing objects at guards and set a laundry room on fire in protest against the transfer of two inmates from a wing of the jail. Three detainees were injured during the clashes.
link to www.maannews.net

IPS deprives Raddad of chemotherapy doses
RAMALLAH (PIC) 11 Dec — The Israeli Prison Services deprived cancer patient Mutassim Radad, held in Hadarim prison, of his dosage of chemotherapy for 20 days, the prisoner’s mother said. During a sit-in in solidarity with patient prisoners, Radad’s mother pointed to her son’s serious health deterioration … In their turn, the participants demanded the international community and human rights institutions to work for the release of patient prisoners held in Israeli jails under inhuman detention conditions. On the other hand, Palestinian prisoners in Ashkelon prison called for providing them with winter supplies in light of the fierce winter storm that is sweeping the region, pointing out that depriving them of covers was part of the Israeli penalties imposed on them over two months ago. The prisoners said they were suffering from overcrowding within the prison rooms in addition to the presence of cockroaches and rodents.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

BDS

Dutch water firm cuts Israel ties after tense PM visit
THE HAGUE (AFP) 11 Dec — Dutch water supplier Vitens has ended a partnership with Israeli water company Mekorot due to the “political context”, the Dutch company said on Wednesday. The abrupt decision comes days after a visit to the Mekorot offices in Israel by the Netherland’s trade minister Lilianne Ploumen was abruptly canceled. In a statement, Vitens said it had come to the conclusion that it was “extremely hard” to work with Mekorot on future projects “because they cannot be taken out of the political context.” … Mekorot, which provides water to Israeli towns and to Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, has been accused by Dutch media of denying water access to Palestinians. According to the World Bank, a third of Palestinian territories are cut off from the Israeli water system and Israelis draw out a far bigger share of the water supply than agreed in the 1995 Oslo 2 accord. Israeli deputy Foreign minister Zeev Elkin said he was “blindsided” by the pullout “and a few more European companies have made similar decisions in the past months, which have blindsided us exactly in parallel with the peace process.”
link to www.maannews.net

Thousands of students ‘evicted’ in pro-Palestinian solidarity campaign
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 11 Dec by Graham Liddell — Thousands of University of Michigan students woke up Tuesday morning to faux eviction notices slipped underneath their dorm room doors. “If you do not vacate the premises by 13 DEC 6PM, we reserve the right to demolish your premises without delay,” the notices read. “We cannot be held responsible for property or persons remaining inside. Charges for demolition will by applied to your student account.” The mock eviction was orchestrated by the student organization Students Allied for Freedom and Equality to raise awareness about the actual Israeli-directed evictions that are carried out on a regular basis in the Palestinian West Bank and East Jerusalem, in addition to the Negev. “When Palestinians lose their homes to unjust and illegal demolition/eviction notices, they are also robbed of their dignity, human worth, and livelihood,” SAFE said in a statement. Michigan students carry some responsibility for Israel’s “unjust” actions, the statement said, as portions of the university’s hefty endowment fund are invested in “companies that profit from housing demolitions and all other aspects of the illegal Israeli occupation.”
link to www.maannews.net

Analysis | | Swell of boycotts driving Israeli into international isolation
Haaretz 12 Dec by Barak Ravid — Western activists and diplomats are gunning for Israel’s settlements in the Palestinian territories, and if peace talks fail, the rain of boycotts and sanctions could turn into a flood — A senior European diplomat met with an Israeli counterpart a few weeks ago and one of the topics they discussed was the continued European Union sanctions against the settlements. They raised in their conversation the possible scenario that Israeli produce from the West Bank would be marked as such in European supermarkets. The conversation points to one of the gravest threats Israel will face in the coming year, namely its growing international isolation. “The marking of produce from the [Palestinian] territories is on hold at this stage,” the European diplomat said to his Israeli interlocutor. “However, should the negotiations with the Palestinians run aground you should expect a deluge of sanctions.” The Israeli official was taken aback by the sharp words.
link to www.haaretz.com

Refugees

Group report death of 8 Palestinian refugees including mother and her child
DAMASCUS (PIC) 12 Dec — The Action Group for Palestinians in Syria announced that six Palestinians were killed in Syria on Wednesday while a mother and her child drowned while trying to reach Greece in a boat. The group said in a statement on Thursday that six Palestinians were killed in an attack by armed men on a roadblock manned by the Palestinian Liberation Army in Reef Damascus on Wednesday. It said that in another incident Palestinian refugee Maha Al-Saadi and her child Abdulrahman drowned off the coasts of Greece after Greek coastguards forced a boat carrying refugees to return back to Turkish regional waters.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

Sinai

Civilians caught up in Egypt’s counter-terrorism operations
AL-MOQATAA/AL-MEHDIYA, SINAI (IRIN) 10 Dec — Despite the Egyptian government’s deployment of additional troops to its restless northern Sinai region, attacks by Islamist militants continue, and almost inevitably civilians are being caught in the violence. Last month, a suicide bomber rammed his car into a bus carrying off-duty soldiers, killing 10, including the civilian driver. Although no one claimed responsibility, the attack bore the hallmark of the al-Qaeda inspired militants the Egyptian army has been trying to suppress. The marginalized Sinai Peninsula has been unstable for years. Growing Islamist militancy announced itself with a string of sabotage strikes on gas pipelines to Israel in 2011, and attacks on security forces. After attackers killed 16 Egyptian soldiers at the border with Israel in August 2012, Israel allowed Egypt to send additional troops to the area, a measure usually forbidden by a peace agreement between both countries. A period of relative calm under former president Mohamed Morsi ended with his ousting in July, leading to a spike in violence. The government stepped up its military response after the attempted assassination of Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim in September. But the army has struggled to locate its enemy in Sinai – a combination of Egyptian or foreign jihadists and local Bedouin tribesmen with grievances. Army sweeps through some villages have been accused of killing and injuring civilians uninvolved in the insurgency.
link to www.irinnews.org

Economic life slows to a crawl amid crackdown in North Sinai
AL-ARISH (IRIN) 12 Dec — This is the third installment of a four-part series on the impact of militancy and counter-terrorism in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. A state of quasi-war in Egypt’s North Sinai Governorate has brought economic life to a standstill, residents say. Many people in the impoverished Sinai Peninsula have been out of work since the army began a crackdown on armed groups in the area, following the July ouster of President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood movement. Both militants and local people depended on the smuggling of goods to and from the neighbouring Palestinian enclave of Gaza as their main source of income, but security forces have in recent months targeted the area’s smuggling tunnels, which numbered an estimated 1,200 at their peak. “There is no work,” said an inhabitant of the border town of Rafah, who refused to give his name for fear of reprisal. “It depended on smuggling, and now it has stopped.”
link to www.irinnews.org

Other news

EU set to offer massive aid to Israel, Palestinians for peace deal
Haaretz 13 Dec by Barak Ravid — The European Union is expected to announce on Monday that it will offer an unprecedented assistance package to Israel and the Palestinians, if the two parties sign a final-status agreement. The organization also promised to upgrade relations with both parties to the highest level possible for nonmember nations in the event of a peace treaty … The draft resolution, a copy of which was obtained by Haaretz, details the economic, political and military aid the EU hopes will encourage Israel and the Palestinians to agree to the painful compromises that a peace agreement will inevitably entail … The proposed EU assistance package to Israel and the future Palestinian state will include the following incentives: 1. Increased access to the EU market. 2. Closer cultural and scientific ties to the EU. 3. Facilitation of trade and investment. 4. Promotion of business-to-business relations. 5. Enhanced political dialogue with both states. 6. Enhanced security cooperation with both states. The value of the European package of incentives to Israel is genuinely priceless. In addition to its monetary worth, which has been estimated in the billions of euros, the deal would vastly improve Israel’s international standing, rescuing Jerusalem from the international isolation from which it is suffering. The package will also provide international guarantees on such crucial security issues as Iran, the war against terror, intelligence cooperation and much more.
link to www.haaretz.com

Kerry ‘hopeful’ can strike final Mideast peace deal
JERUSALEM (AFP) 13 Dec — US Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday he hoped to help achieve a peace agreement encompassing Israeli security needs and Palestinian sovereignty, as he wrapped up his regional visit … “We are working on an approach that both guarantees Israel’s security and fully respects Palestinian sovereignty,” Kerry told reporters in Tel Aviv before boarding a plane to Vietnam. Kerry insisted the goal remained for the sides “to reach a final status agreement – not an interim agreement”, and said Israel will release as planned a new group of Palestinian prisoners on December 29 … But Abbas rejected US proposals for Israel to keep a military presence in a future Palestinian state along its strategic border with Jordan, a source close to the president told AFP … Israeli and Arab media reports say the plan envisaged by Washington would see Israel maintain a military presence on the border after a peace agreement with the Palestinians. According to pan-Arab daily Al-Quds al-Arabi, the plan also includes the deployment of early warning stations on the highest point in the West Bank, an Israeli right to deny entry to anyone through the Jordan Valley border crossing and joint Israeli-Palestinian patrols in the area. An international force would be acceptable to the Palestinians, but Israel opposes such a solution.
link to www.maannews.net

Israel negotiator warns right-wingers seeking to derail peace
JERUSALEM (AFP) 12 Dec — Israel’s chief peace negotiator on Thursday accused a key coalition partner of deliberately seeking to sabotage talks with the Palestinians by ramping up settlement construction. Speaking just hours before the arrival of US Secretary of State John Kerry on his second visit within a week, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni accused the far-right national religious Jewish Home of deliberately promoting settlement projects in a bid “to derail” the ongoing negotiations. “More building, more announcements of building in isolated settlements are meant to prevent us reaching peace,” she told an audience at Tel Aviv University in remarks broadcast Thursday on public radio. “That is their deliberate intention, to derail the negotiations. To cause the other side to walk out of the room,” she said. Jewish Home controls the housing ministry, giving it a key role in promoting Israeli construction on land the Palestinians want for a future state.
link to www.maannews.net

At Mandela funeral, Abbas says he opposes boycott of Israel
Al-Monitor 13 Dec by Daoud Kuttab — The question to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was appropriate in time and place. At a news conference in Johannesburg where he was attending Nelson Mandela’s funeral, Abbas was asked about his position regarding the international campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) of Israel. Abbas’ answer, while not surprising for many considering that he’s involved in negotiations, angered supporters of the BDS movement. The Palestinian leader said flat out that he doesn’t support the boycott of Israel, but that he calls for people around the world not to deal with Israeli settlers and their products. “No, we do not support the boycott of Israel,” Abbas said. “But we ask everyone to boycott the products of the settlements. Because the settlements are in our territories. It is illegal.” The distinction puts Abbas in the same camp as former Israeli Knesset member Uri Avneri, whose movement Gush Shalom makes this difference loud and clear.
link to www.al-monitor.com

Auditors: EU aid to PA needs ‘overhaul’
BRUSSELS (AFP) 11 Dec  — EU aid to the Palestinian Authority worth billions of euros needs an “overhaul” and major changes in some areas, the bloc’s Court of Auditors said Wednesday. If the circumstances are difficult, there are still “a number of aspects of the current approach in need of an overhaul,” said Hans Gustaf Wessberg, who wrote the report for the court. “There is a need for major revisions such as encouraging the PA to undertake more reforms, notably in relation to its civil service,” Wessberg said in a court statement. Additionally, a way needs to be found so that Israel takes “the necessary steps to help ensure (the aid program) is effective,” he added. “Both parties remain committed to fulfilling their obligations to stay at the table and negotiate hard during the nine-month period that we set for that” when talks were launched at the end of July, said Kerry.
link to www.maannews.net

EU ‘must stop paying Gaza officials – auditors
BBC 11 Dec — European auditors say the EU should stop paying the salaries of thousands of Palestinian civil servants in the Gaza Strip who are not going to work. The auditors examined about 1bn euros (£840m; $1.3bn) of EU spending in Gaza between 2008 and 2012. They called for a major review, saying money spent on civil servants there should go to the West Bank instead. Many Gaza civil servants had not worked since the Islamist movement Hamas came to power in 2007, the auditors added … When Hamas took control of Gaza, President Abbas decided to keep paying the salaries of the estimated 61,000 civil servants and members of the security forces who stopped reporting for the jobs, so long as they stayed home and did not work for the rival administration. The European auditors did not have overall figures for the number of civil servants in Gaza who were currently not working, but they found that in one office 90 out of the 125 staff were absent.
link to www.bbc.co.uk

PA says still sending patients abroad despite costs
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 11 Dec – Sending Palestinian patients to receive medical treatment abroad at the expense of the Palestinian Authority’s treasury is a costly process but necessary due to a lack of local hospitals and medical centers. The Palestinian Authority has been trying to rely on local medical centers and skilled specialists have reduced the financial burden of referrals to hospitals abroad and in Israel which costs the PA millions of shekels, says Midhat Taha, who heads a health committee affiliated to the president’s office.
link to www.maannews.net

‘Worst storm in decades’ batters Jerusalem
Times of Israel 13 Dec — Jerusalem on Friday night was in the midst of a storm feared to be “three times worse” than the snows that had hit Thursday and earlier Friday, and much of the rest of the country was grappling with stormy conditions expected to last into Saturday … Beginning at approximately 16:00pm local time, heavy snow began to fall in the capital after several hours of respite. Municipality officials told The Times of Israel that it would be “three times worse” than the storms of previous days. They urged all residents of Jerusalem and the surrounding areas to stay indoors as weather conditions worsen. As the city turned white at nightfall, most of the streets were completely empty. Earlier, the Israel Electric Corporation declared a nationwide state of emergency as tens of thousands of homes in Jerusalem and the surrounding region remained without power amid the severe winter storm besieging the area. The Mateh Yehuda Regional Council in the Jerusalem district said it was preparing to evacuate thousands of people in the area who have been without power since Thursday night.
link to www.timesofisrael.com

And in the US, for example, about 1500 women a year are killed by their husbands or boyfriends…what is the solution?
Palestinians see worrisome trend in ‘honor’ killings rise
AQQABA, West Bank (Reuters) 11 Dec by Noah Browning –  A silvery green olive grove set in the red soil of a Palestinian village is a crime scene – testament to a practice so sensitive that it is spoken of only in whispers. One night in late November, Rasha Abu Ara, a 32-year-old mother of five, was beaten to death and strung from a gnarled tree branch as a gruesome badge of “family honor” restored. The woman’s alleged sin was adultery, and her killer was either her own brother or husband, security sources told Reuters. Both are behind bars while an investigation continues. Her murder brought to 27 the number of women slain in similar circumstances in Palestinian-run areas this year, according to rights groups – more than twice last year’s victims. The rise has led Palestinians to question hidebound laws they say are lax on killers, as well as a reluctance to name and shame in the media and society, which may contribute to a feeling of impunity among perpetrators …  A week after the crime, Aqqaba mayor Jamal Abu Ara, who is a member of the victim’s extended family, and his brothers sat in their village home, smoking cigarettes and choosing their words carefully.  “This act has no religion – it comes from closed, tribal thinking left over from an age of ignorance. People here are walking around in a haze; they want to know who did it and why. Of course, it’s the first time it’s happened here,” he said.
link to www.reuters.com

Ethiopian community outraged after MK refused blood donation
Ynet 12 Dec — Members of the Ethiopian community were bewildered and outraged after Knesset Member Pnina Tamano-Shata was refused a blood donation on the grounds she had ” the special kind of Jewish-Ethiopian blood.” … Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid issued a harsh response: “Pnina Tamano-Shata is very upset. We’re trying to figure out how in 2013 Israel, a Magen David Adom volunteer can tell her she won’t draw blood because she’s from Ethiopia. “She just came returned from South Africa, where she represented Israel in the memorial for Nelson Mandela, the man who taught the world you cannot stay silent in the face of racism. We will not stay silent. Whoever needs to be fired will be fired.”
link to www.ynetnews.com

IOA shuts down local radio station in al-Khalil
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 11 Dec — Israeli Occupation Authorities (IOA) decided to shut down a local radio station in al-Khalil under the pretext of jamming on planes at the Ben-Gurion airport. Director of Dream Radio Station affirmed that the Palestinian liaison office informed the local station of the Israeli decision to storm and close its office under the pretext that its radio signals were affecting communications of planes at Ben-Gurion airport in Tel Aviv. The radio station’s staff decided to leave their offices in order to avoid the confiscation of their equipment or their arrest till solving the problem by the Israeli-Palestinian liaison office. He underlined that Dream Radio Station has been broadcasting in al-Khalil for ten years after obtaining permit from the Palestinian Authority.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

Israeli forces exchange gunfire on Lebanese border
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 Dec — Israeli forces exchanged gunfire on the Lebanese-Israeli borderon Thursday after shots were fired from the Lebanese side, Israel’s army said. “Fire was opened near the Lebanese-Israeli border in the northern Galilee. Israeli soldiers responded with fire to the source of the shooting,” an Israeli army spokeswoman said. No injuries or damage was reported.
The source of the gunfire was most likely Lebanese poachers, the spokeswoman added.
On Saturday, a bomb was detonated along the border in the Golan Heights as patrolling Israeli troops passed by. No casualties were reported from the explosion, which Israeli media said occurred on the Syrian-held side of the fence separating it from the Israeli-occupied zone. Israel seized 460 square miles of the strategic plateau during the 1967 Six Day War and annexed it in 1981 in a move not recognized internationally. Syria has always insisted on its return as part of any peace treaty with Israel.
link to www.maannews.net

Opinion / Analysis

What does ‘Israeli apartheid’ mean, anyway? / Amira Hass
Haaretz 9 Dec – What do those who say “Israeli Apartheid” mean? They definitely don’t mean the official and popular biological racism that ruled South Africa. True, there is no lack of racist and arrogant attitudes here, with their attendant religious-biological undertones, but if one visits our hospitals one can find Arabs and Jews among doctors and patients. In that regard, our hospitals are the healthiest sector of society. Those who say “Israeli Apartheid” refer to the philosophy of “separate development” that was prevalent in the old South Africa. This was the euphemism used for the principle of inequality, the deliberate segregation of populations, a prohibition on “mixing” and the displacement of non-whites from lands and resources for their exploitation by the masters of the land. Even though here things are shrouded by “security concerns,” with references to Auschwitz and heaven-decreed real estate, our reality is governed by the same philosophy, backed by laws and force of arms. What, for instance? 
There are two legal systems in place on the West Bank, a civilian one for Jews and a military one for Palestinians. There are two separate infrastructures there as well, including roads, electricity and water. The superior and expanding one is for Jews while the inferior and shrinking one is for the Palestinians. There are local pockets, similar to the Bantustans in South Africa, in which the Palestinians have limited self-rule. There is a system of travel restrictions and permits in place since 1991, just when such a system was abolished in South Africa. Does that mean that apartheid exists only on the West Bank? Not at all, it exists across the entire country, from the sea to the Jordan River. It prevails in this one territory in which two peoples live, ruled by one government which is elected by one people, but which determines the future and fate of both. Palestinian towns and villages suffocate because of deliberately restrictive planning in Israel, just as they do in the West Bank.
link to www.haaretz.com

The real cycle of violence / Roger Sheety
Palestine Chronicle 12 Dec — On December 7, 2013, two seemingly dissimilar events occurred, an ocean apart. The first was that a Palestinian teenager, Wajih Wajdi al-Ramahi, was murdered by the Israeli “defense” forces at al-Jalazun refugee camp near Ramallah, occupied Palestine.  As reported by Ma’an News Agency, “Wajih Wajdi al-Ramahi, 14, was shot with live bullets in the back by an Israeli sniper in front of his school.” … There was hardly any mention of the murder of al-Ramahi in the world press.  Although the Telegraph, the BBC, and Haaretz, among a few others, did indeed report the story, all these accounts without exception attempted to justify the killing of al-Ramahi in some way.
That same day, December 7, 2013, John Kerry, the current Secretary of State and mouthpiece of U.S. President Barack Obama, spoke at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy (a Zionist “think tank”) in Washington, D.C … “Now, I want to come back to the peace process for a moment, because there is another existential threat to Israel that diplomacy can far better address than the use of force. And I am referring to the demographic dynamic that makes it impossible for Israel to preserve its future as a democratic, Jewish state without resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a two-state solution” … In plain language, Palestinians having children — certainly a basic right to all peoples of the world — are an “existential threat” to poor, nuclear-armed Israel; they are a “demographic time bomb.”  Additionally, according to Kerry, Palestinian children are merely the second major “existential threat” to poor, U.S.-funded and protected Israel, the first being Iran, a state which has never attacked or invaded another in its modern history … However, unlike the killing of Wajih Wajdi al-Ramahi, Kerry’s racist anti-Palestinian rant was, in fact, widely reported on by “serious” journalists, none of whom bothered to ask Kerry this most basic of questions:  “Would you ever speak of any other national, ethnic, or religious group as a demographic time bomb and an existential threat?” The dehumanization of Palestinians has, of course, been a mainstay of Zionist thought from its very beginnings.  The use of zoological terms, in particular, to describe Palestinians has been common among Israeli leaders over the years.  For example: • Menachem Begin:  “[The Palestinians] are beasts walking on two legs.” • Yitzhak Shamir:  “[The Palestinians] would be crushed like grasshoppers…heads smashed against the boulders and walls.” • Ehud Barak:  “Palestinians are like crocodiles, the more you give them meat, they want more.” • Moshe Dayan:  “We have no solution… You [Palestinians] shall continue to live like dogs, and whoever wishes may leave, and we will see where this process leads.” • Raphael Eitan (former Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defence Forces):  “When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle.”
link to www.palestinechronicle.com

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PalHomeMakhool1

 

housewoman1

| Protest: Apartheid Israeli army assaults Arafat memorial march!

Israeli army assaults Arafat memorial march ~ International Solidarity Movement (ISM),

Kafr Qaddum, Occupied Palestine.

The residents of Kafr Qaddum held their annual anniversary demonstration marking Yasser Arafat’s death, despite strong repression from the Israeli army.

At approximately 2:30 pm, Palestinian demonstrators and international activists assembled in front of the illegal settlement of Qedumim. After about 30 minutes, the Israeli army began shooting a huge amount of tear gas into the fields and on the main road, trying to prevent the demonstrators to exercise their right to protest and express their opinion.

After one hour of sustained tear gas fire, part of the demonstration slowly moved back to the middle of the street as the soldiers were taking position on the top of the hill in order to better target the demonstrators. A few demonstrators stayed on the road, facing the rest of the soldiers. Suddenly, the Israeli army started throwing stones, followed by more stun grenades and tear gas rained down on the Palestinians citizens of Kafr Qaddum.

Despite the continued Israeli assault, the demonstration lasted until 5:00 pm. Two Palestinian citizens were injured, both on the legs. One of them, directly hit by a tear gas canister, has been admitted to Nablus hospital.

A cloud of tear gas in Kafr Qaddum

A cloud of tear gas in Kafr Qaddum.

ALSO SEE:

House Demolition, Beit Hanina, East Jerusalem. Read more below.

About the photo

House Demolition, Beit Hanina,
East Jerusalem, 29.10.2013

The belongings of a Palestinian family scattered in the street as Jerusalem municipality workers use bulldozers to demolish a residential building the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina.

 

Photo by: Activestills.org (link)

Photos: Gaza’s weekly rally in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners

11th November 2013 | International Solidarity Movement, Rosa Schiano | Gaza, Occupied Palestine

Photos: Gaza's weekly rally in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners

Families and supporters gather weekly in the Red Cross courtyard. (Photo by Rosa Schiano)

On Monday morning, many relatives of Palestinian detainees, …

Read more.

South Hebron Hills‘ outpost of Havat Ma’on continues to expand. Despite documentation, Israeli officials deny knowledge of expansion

11th November 2013 | Operation Dove | At Tuwani, Occupied Palestine

South Hebron Hills' outpost of Havat Ma'on continues to expand. Despite documentation, Israeli officials deny knowledge of expansion

The Israeli outpost of Havat Ma’on (Hill 833) in the West  Bank’s South Hebron Hills is growing at a phenomenal rate since the  beginning of October. On Saturday November 9, the activist group of  Ta’ayush (an Arab and …

Read more.

Settlement expansion in Hebron encroaches on Palestinian land

10th November 2013 | International Solidarity Movement, Khalil Team | Hebron, Occupied Palestine

 

This is the newest settler house to beThis is the newest settler house to be constructed on what was previously Palestinian farming land (Photo by ISM) constructed on what was previously Palestinian farming land (Photo by ISM).

Read more.

Join Palestinians on November 30th to protest against the Prawer plan

10th November 2013 | Prawer Won’t Pass Campaign | Occupied Palestine

Day of Rage against the Prawer Plan.

Day of Rage against the Prawer Plan.

On 24th of June, the Israeli Knesset approved the Prawer-Begin plan, which if implemented will result in the destruction of more than 35 unrecognized …

Read more.

ABOUT THE ISM

The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) is a Palestinian-led movement committed to resisting the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land using nonviolent, direct-action methods and principles. … Continue reading

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| Quisling: Appeasement dooms Palestinians to misery!

Appeasement dooms Palestinians to misery ~Stuart Littlewood, Redress Information & Analysis.

UN’s precious gift empowering legal action is squandered while Israel, with US/UK/EU acquiescence, continues to seize land and resources with impunity.

PALESTINE, UN observer state

PALESTINE, UN observer state

Later this month Palestinians will be celebrating an important anniversary, namely the decision by the UN General Assembly a year ago to recognise Palestine as a non-member observer state.

But not with much joy, I suspect.

Its upgraded status enables Palestine to now take part in UN debates and join bodies like the International Criminal Court (ICC). Predictably, Israel flew into a rage at the prospect and said the move pushed the peace process “backwards”, while the US said it was “unfortunate”.

So what has the Palestinian leadership done with this precious gift of empowerment from the international community?

Nothing.

RUSSELL TRIBUNAL ON PALESTINE - MARCH, 2013

RUSSELL TRIBUNAL ON PALESTINE – MARCH, 2013

In March this year the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, concluding four years of investigations, called for the ICC to investigate “crimes” committed by Israel in the occupied territories. The Tribunal said it would “support all initiatives from civil society and international organisations aimed at bringing Israel in front of the International Criminal Court”. Since Palestine was awarded observer status at the UN the previous November, it could file complaints on its own behalf against Israel with the Court.

The tribunal also called on the ICC to recognize Palestinian jurisdiction and for an extraordinary session of the United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid, set up for South Africa, to examine the Israeli case.

The International Criminal Court

The International Criminal Court

Also in March the United Nations Human Rights Council said Israeli settlements in the West Bank were  a “creeping form of annexation” and the international community should take steps to halt business ties with those communities.  Their report claimed that Israel could be culpable for these acts before the International Criminal Court. The mission asked Israel to withdraw its settlers from the West Bank and East Jerusalem and urged the international community to comply with their obligation under international law to act.

In April senior Palestinian officials were saying that if Israel began construction in the area designated “E-1″ , a piece of land in the West Bank adjacent to Jerusalem seized by Israel in 1967, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas would join the ICC and seek indictments on war crimes charges. It is believed that Israel’s administration had just given provisional permission to build some 3,300 Jewish homes on E-1.

Palestinians say that Israeli construction there would make an independent Palestinian state virtually impossible because it would cut off East Jerusalem (which is Palestinian) from the rest of the West Bank.

But why is Abbas waiting for the bulldozers to go into E-1 when there’s a long list of other examples of criminal settlement building and atrocities that Israel ought to be charged with?

Palestinians say the Israelis' attempt to paint them as consenting in any way to settlement expansion are fallacious.

Palestinians say the Israelis’ attempt to paint them as consenting in any way to settlement expansion are fallacious.

In June Dr. Saeb Erekat, Palestine’s chief negotiator, was criticizing the policies being pushed by Israeli PM Netanyahu “including aggressive settlement activity, home demolitions, evictions and ID revocations. This is part of Israel’s plan to destroy any possibility for a Palestinian State, by annexing and changing the status quo of Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley and other vast areas of the Occupied State of Palestine”.

The Israeli government, with its destructive policies, was determined to make US Secretary Kerry’s efforts fail, he said. Israel’s actions made it clear they were declaring the end of the two-state solution. The international community should be pushing Israel to implement previous agreements and adhere to international law instead of calling for a resumption of negotiations. 

“There is a new urgency to face reality and finally hold Israel accountable for destroying the prospects of justice and peace.”

Israel was turning up its aggression against the Palestinian people while we were trying to reach a negotiated solution, grumbled Erekat. “After the announcement to intensify negotiations made by US Secretary John Kerry, Israel destroyed the village of Khirbet Makhoul for the fourth time and approved further settlement expansion aimed at sealing Occupied East Jerusalem from Ramallah.”

Palestinian leadership shows no sign of starting the justice ball rolling

Israeli settlements in Palestine are illegal…  and undermine the prospects of a negotiated two-state solution. If Israel is serious about peace, they must cease all settlement activities.” Erekat again demanded action by the rest of the world “to make Israel pay the price for its institutionalized defiance of international law and UN resolutions”.

But there was still no sign of his own people – the Palestinian Authority and the PLO – taking action on their own account, or at least starting the ball rolling, even though the international community had given them the wherewithall to do so.

Now I hear that Israel is drilling into 3.5 billion barrels of oil reserves straddling the armistice  ‘green line’, most of it lying under the West Bank. According to official agreements, says Al-Jazeera, “Israel is obligated to coordinate any exploration for natural resources in shared territory with the Palestinian Authority, and reach agreements on how to divide the benefits.”

Ashraf Khatib, an official at the Palestinian Authority’s negotiations support unit, described the oil field as part of Israel’s “general theft of Palestinian national resources…  the occupation is not just about settlements and land confiscation. Israel is also massively profiting from exploiting our resources. There’s lots of money in it for Israel, which is why the occupation has become so prolonged.”

And, of course, the world knows how the Palestinians are prevented from benefiting from their offshore gas field and how, if Israel has its way, they’ll never get a sniff of their own gas either.

‘Life in Palestine is subject to the rule of the jungle’

Since the beginning of the Oslo process over 20 years ago, the rights of the Palestinian people have been sacrificed on the altar of so-called political progress, the glittering prize being ‘peace and security’. But that was never really on the cards. All we’ve seen is a continuous slide downhill for the Palestinians while the Israelis’ colonisation and expansion programme goes from strength to strength. “In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the expansion of settlements continues relentlessly, while the illegal Annexation Wall creates a situation that is completely at odds with both international law and the stated goals of the peace process,” says Shawan Jabarin in an excellent article Time for the ICC to act on Palestine http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/10/time-icc-act-palestine-20131015113944266410.html

“Life in Palestine is subject to the rule of the jungle: generals and politicians know that they can violate the law with impunity, fuelling a continuous cycle of violations and suffering. The result has been an increase in war crimes committed against innocent civilians. Throughout Palestine we are struggling for the right to live, and the right to live in dignity.”

Palestine children Obama hope

Talking of the right to live in dignity, only today I was reading how some of the Palestinian villages are used by Israel for military training exercises in which soldiers enjoy virtual impunity with regard to their cruel behavior in the Occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, the pretext being that the Israeli military is the sovereign authority over the whole territory. “This edict contradicts international law and numerous United Nations resolutions that question the Israeli claim to sovereignty over all Palestinian land,” reports IMEMChttp://www.imemc.org/article/66358.

The Israeli military frequently invades Palestinian towns and villages, with soldiers running through streets and alleys with loaded automatic weapons, ransacking homes and terrorizing residents, for the purposes of ‘training’. Residents and the human rights groups representing them have provided numerous examples of the soldiers tearing through homes and yards, breaking into houses, running up and down stairs and taking over rooftops of family homes as part of these exercises.

It’s bad enough that villages experience actual Israeli military invasions on a regular basis. Now, since the military makes no attempt to differentiate between an invasion and a ‘training exercise’, the villagers are just as terrorized as they are during real raids.

Wasting that all-important empowerment on a dumb promise

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. Photo by Max Koot Studio

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.
Photo by Max Koot Studio

International justice remains out of reach for millions of civilians because the corrupt US, UK and EU political establishments conspire to ‘persuade’ Palestine not to join the ICC or press war crimes charges and other complaints against racist Israel.

The Office of the Prosecutor at the ICC, meanwhile, is waiting for Palestine to ratify the Statute of the International Criminal Court and become a full member if it wishes to commence proceedings.

To pretend there is something wrong with pursuing a brutal oppressor for war crimes through the proper channels – that is, the ICC – while talking peace, is absurd. No peace is sustainable unless it’s underpinned by international law and justice.

So a week ago I sent a ‘press enquiry’ to the Palestinian Embassy in London, addressed to Ambassador Hassassian. It said:

“What is the PA/PLO doing, please, to regularise its position regarding the ICC statute and satisfy any remaining requirements for exercising its membership rights and bringing charges against Israel for its crimes?

“What still remains to be done and why the continuing delay after the international community cleared the way and unpgraded Palestine’s status?”

No reply, no acknowledgement, despite follow-up phone messages. Silence speaks volumes and is par for the course when dealing with Palestinian officials.

However, I’ve heard it said that Abbas promised Kerry not to seek justice through the ICC during the nine months or more the going-nowhere peace talks will be… well, going nowhere. That takes us by my reckoning to May next year, or beyond. And he gave the undertaking without wringing from the Israelis a corresponding promise to halt settlement planning, construction and enlargement.

Welcome to the Palestinian School of Appeasement.

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| Insatiable Israel orders more demolitions of Palestinian flats in Jerusalem!

Israel orders more demolitions of Palestinian flats in Jerusalem ~ BEN LYNFIELDJERUSALEM, The Independent.

Israel is planning to destroy hundreds of Palestinian apartments in occupied East Jerusalem in the single largest proposed demolition there since it annexed the area after the 1967 war.

The proposed demolition of structures deemed illegal in the Ras Hamis area, adjoining Shuafat refugee camp, was announced in posters put up on apartment buildings last week.

Standing in front of the 11-storey building where he lives, which sits on a dusty, unpaved street with no pavement in Ras Hamis, Issam Mohammed Ali, a civil engineer, said that 44 families in the block stood to lose their homes. “People don’t have money for another home. If our home is destroyed we can only buy a tent,” said Mr Ali, who is married with two children.

A descendant of refugees from one of the villages destroyed during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Mr Ali said that if the demolition went ahead, it would not be the first time his family had lost its home to Israel. “We are ready to die for our home,” he added.

A friend of Mr Ali, who also stands to lose his flat, asked a reporter if the demolitions really would take place, adding: “Who will stop them? Obama? Cameron? Of course not. They do whatever they want.”

Daoud Sabha, who has been a maintenance worker at the Jerusalem Post for 19 years, said he had used all of his severance pay and gone into debt for four years to buy his flat in Ras Hamis. “This is racism against poor people who need their homes,” he said.

Israel says the homes are illegal and were built without permits. “The municipality has a clear policy against building illegally whether done by Arabs or Jews in every part of Jerusalem,” said Brachie Sprung, a spokeswoman for the local authority. She stressed that the demolition plans did not constitute a “new policy” and the timing of the orders was dictated by court rulings.

The demolition orders add to Israeli-Palestinian distrust that threatens to impinge on a visit by the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, who is due to meet separately with the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, today in an attempt to encourage reconciliation between the two sides.

They have been engaged in what appear to have been fruitless negotiations since peace talks were revived in July. Israel also recently disclosed plans for thousands of new settler housing units to be built in East Jerusalem, where Palestinians hope to establish their capital, and in the West Bank.

“Israel is destroying every chance for peacemaking,” said Abdullah Abdullah, the deputy commissioner for international relations of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement. “The demolition orders are a slap in the face of Kerry and go against all his efforts to revive the peace process.”

Mark Regev, a spokesman for Mr Netanyahu, took issue with that assessment. “The Palestinian leadership is being disingenuous. This round of peace talks is based on understandings which Israel is keeping scrupulously. The Palestinians knew that settlement building would continue [during the negotiations],” he said.

Ms Sprung said the demolition orders were for 11 high-rise buildings, but Palestinians said a larger number had been issued. The blocks of flats lie beyond Israel’s West Bank separation barrier but within territory annexed to the Jerusalem municipality in after the Arab-Israeli war of 1967.

Yehudit Oppenheimer, the director of the peaceable Ir Amim group, said that in recent years the municipality had forced people to relocate to the new high-rises by severely restricting construction in other Arab areas of Jerusalem.

She said the demolition orders would be virtually impossible to implement “without causing a disaster” since they involved high-rises that are close to one another.

Instead, Ms Oppenheimer said,  the orders were probably meant to “threaten” residents.

Related articles

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| Germany threatens ties with Israel ignoring UN human rights review!

Germany threatens ties with Israel over UN human rights review ~ AFP, www.albawaba.com.

Germany cautioned Israel Sunday that diplomatic ties could be damaged if the Jewish state failed to attend a periodic UN human rights review on Tuesday, according to AFP’s sources.
Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported that, “On Friday, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle sent a personal letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, warning that Israel’s failure to attend the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review would cause the country severe diplomatic damage and Israel’s allies around the world would be hard-pressed to help it.”
Israel has previously “cut all ties” with the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council who conducts the periodic review in March 2012. The decision to cut ties followed the council’s announcement that it was planning to investigate how Israeli settlements may “infringe” on the rights of Palestinians.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office had no official comments for AFP at the time of the report’s release.
An Israeli official told AFP, under the condition of anonymity, that Tel Aviv has not yet officially decided whether or not to attend Tuesday’s periodic review in Geneva, but that a final decision would likely be made later Sunday.
Israel is the first country to boycott a council review of its human rights record. Israel has frequently accused the council of bias against the Jewish state, saying that it is the only country to have a specific agenda item dedicated to it at every council meeting.
Despite such criticism, Tel Aviv released statements in June that suggest that it may reopen relations with the council in the upcoming months.
Israel’s renewed calls for “ramping up” settlement construction in the West Bank has come under widespread criticism, particularly after last week’s announcement that settler houses in Hebron would be doubled within the year. Under international law, it is illegal for Israel to build settlements in the West Bank and the occupied East Jerusalem, but over 500, 000 Israeli settlers currently reside in the teorritories.
Ma’an news agency also reported that Israeli forces seized a Palestinian house near Jenin Saturday and turned it into a military base to “monitor children throwing stones at Israeli vehicles traveling” between nearby illegal Jewish settlements.

Israel has previously boycotted the UN Human Rights Council periodic review after it told the Jewish state that it planned to investigate illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as an infringement on Palestinians' rights (Ammar Awad/Reuters)
Israel has previously boycotted the UN Human Rights Council periodic review after it told the Jewish state that it planned to investigate illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as an infringement on Palestinians’ rights (Ammar Awad/Reuters)

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| EU calls on Israel to ‘recognize in writing that the West Bank settlements are not part of Israel!’

In ‘earthquake’ diplomatic move, EU calls on Israel to ‘recognize in writing that the West Bank settlements are not part of Israel’ ~ Annie Robbins, Mondoweiss.

 

Update: Haaretz is reporting a “hasty and urgent” meeting took place at the Israeli Prime Minister‘s office today, and a statement was released “blasting the European Union over its decision to condition future agreements with Israel on the latter’s recognition of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights as occupied territories. ”

“We will not accept any external edicts on our borders,” Netanyahu said in a scathing response.
…..

“As the prime minister of Israel, I will not let anyone harm the hundreds of thousands of Israelis living in Judea and Samaria, in the Golan Heights, or in Jerusalem – our united capital,” he said. “The issue of borders will be determined only in direct negotiations between the sides.”

And this certainly has hit a nerve with Danny Dayan. Dimi Reider’s  +972 has been following Dayan’s twitter feed and look what’s popped up : Dani Dayan compares EU move to death camp selection !

(End of update)

Huge news out of Europe. Effective Friday, a new European Union directive with a “territorial clause” bans all EU funding of projects in territories occupied by Israel since the ’67 war: the West Bank including East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights. The new directive, which covers all areas of co-operation between the EU and Israel, culture, academia, sports, economics and science, requires the Israeli government to “recognize in writing that the West Bank settlements are not part of Israel.”

Harriet Sherwood reporting for the Guardian: EU takes tougher stance on Israeli settlements

Future agreements between the European Union and Israel must include the explicit exclusion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank or East Jerusalem, according to a new EU directive described by an Israeli official as an “earthquake”.

The EU guidelines, adopted on 30 June, will prohibit the issuing of grants, funding, prizes or scholarships unless a settlement exclusion clause is included. Israeli institutions and bodies situated across the pre-1967 Green Line will be automatically ineligible.

The Israeli government will be required to state in any future agreements with the EU that settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are outside the state of Israel.

The directive, part of the 2014-20 financial framework, covers all areas of co-operation between the EU and Israel, including economics, science, culture, sports and academia. It does not cover trade, such as produce and goods originating in settlements.

An EU statement said the guidelines “set out the territorial limitations under which the commission will award EU support to Israeli entities … Concern has been expressed in Europe that Israeli entities in the occupied territories could benefit from EU support. The purpose of these guidelines is to make a distinction between the state of Israel and the occupied territories when it comes to EU support.”

So, the rules do not apply to trade in the private sector, which includes settlement produce. Nonetheless Palestinian legislator Hanan Ashrawi characterized the new rules as “significant“:

“The EU has moved from the level of statements, declarations and denunciations to effective policy decisions and concrete steps which constitute a qualitative shift that will have a positive impact on the chances of peace,” said Ms Ashrawi.

Israeli officials sound stunned. “We are not ready to sign on this clause.”

And: “the result could be a halt to all cooperation in economics, science, culture, sports and academia.”

Barak Ravid reporting for Haaretz:

A senior Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, described the new ruling, which was published on June 30, as an “earthquake.”

….

“This is the first time such an official, explicit guideline has been published by the European Union bodies,” the senior official said. “Until today there were understandings and quiet agreements that the Union does not work beyond the Green Line [the pre-1967-war border]; now this has become a formal, binding policy.”

The official noted that the significance of the regulation is both practical and political: From now on, if the Israeli government wants to sign agreements with the European Union or one of its member states, it will have to recognize in writing that the West Bank settlements are not part of Israel.

In the Prime Minister’s Office and Foreign Ministry there is great tension and anxiety over the new regulation and its implications for Israeli-EU relations. The efforts of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin to stop the move have all failed. Senior EU officials say they would like to hold talks with Israel concerning the new guideline, but since it will go into effect by the end of this week, the chance of its being amended is extremely slim.

“We will have to decide what to do from this day forward,” a senior Israeli official said. “We are not ready to sign on this clause in our agreements with the European Union. We can say this to the Europeans, but the result could be a halt to all cooperation in economics, science, culture, sports and academia. This would cause severe damage to Israel.”

In a separate article Ravid also reports, according to US officials, the EU will go further likely requiring the labeling of “settlement goods,” if John Kerry’s efforts to “kick start the peace talks” fail. And that would impact economic trade.

Omar Barghouti, in communication with Mondoweiss, welcomed the new directive while reminding the EU is “obliged, morally and legally, to do much more”:

Given the EU’s profound complicity at all levels in maintaining Israel’s regime of occupation, colonization and apartheid, these guidelines constitute a bare minimal step in the right direction that may open the door to more effective boycotts against Israel in the future. We welcome them, but we also must soberly remind the European establishment that it is obliged, morally and legally, to do much more on the ground to atone for its role in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people.

Coming on the heels of Israel’s “moment of truth” that we reported yesterday, in which Europe is “exploring” sanctions against companies tied to the occupation, it feels as though the ground is shifting in immeasurable ways.

Will this directive hold? It remains to be seen. But we all know change is inevitable. We’ve known for a long time there would be a breaking point; this could signify the beginnings of a radical departure from business as usual. Europe is leading. Where is the United States?

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| Does Netanyahu Really Support The Two-State Solution?

Does Netanyahu Really Support The Two-State Solution? ~ IMEU.

 

Opposition to the Oslo Accords & the Gaza “Disengagement”

  • In the 1990s, while leader of the Likud party in opposition, Benjamin Netanyahu was one of the most prominent critics of the series of agreements between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) that became known as the Oslo Accords, which began under the Labor party government of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Following Rabin’s assassination in 1995 by a right-wing Jewish extremist, some Israelis, including members of Rabin’s family, even blamed Netanyahu for being complicit in Rabin’s murder by fanning the flames of incitement against him. In particular, his critics point to rallies that Netanyahu addressed at which Rabin was portrayed on signs in a Nazi uniform and accused of being a traitor.

 

  • Taking power in 1996 for his first term (1996-1999) shortly after Rabin’s death, Prime Minister Netanyahu proceeded to drag out the negotiations begun by the previous government while delaying or refusing to implement provisions of already-signed agreements, including redeployments of Israeli troops, antagonizing Palestinian negotiators as well as US President Bill Clinton. Following his first meeting with Netanyahu, in 1996, a frustrated Clintonexclaimed angrily to his aides: “Who the f–k does he think he is? Who’s the f—ing superpower here?”

 

  • While drawing out talks with Palestinian negotiators, Netanyahu increased settlement construction, following the advice of his Likud predecessor, Yitzhak Shamir, who said after losing power in 1992 that if he had remained prime minister: “I would have conducted negotiations on autonomy for 10 years and in the meantime we would have reached half a million [settlers in the occupied West Bank].”

 

  • In 2001, back in the opposition, Netanyahu was caught on video bragging to a group of Jewish settlers that he had undermined the Oslo process while prime minister, stating: “I de facto put an end to the Oslo Accords.” Regarding pressure from the US, Netanyahu said: “America is a thing you can move very easily.” In the video he also told the settlers that the way to deal with Palestinians is to “beat them up, not once but repeatedly, beat them up so it hurts so badly, until it’s unbearable.”

 

  • In 2005, then-Finance Minister Netanyahu resigned from his post in Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s Likud government in protest of Sharon’s plan to withdraw settlers and soldiers from Gaza and four small Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Remaining on the fence until the last minute, Netanyahu resigned despite the fact that Sharon assured his right-wing critics that the withdrawal from Gaza would actually help prevent the creation of a Palestinian state rather than hasten it, by alleviating international pressure and allowing Israel to continue settlement expansion in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. As top Sharon advisor Dov Weisglass put it in 2004, the Gaza withdrawal supplied the “formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians… until the Palestinians turn into Finns.”

 

The Bar-Ilan University Speech & Netanyahu’s Vision of a Palestinian “State”

  • Returning to power in March 2009 for a second term as prime minister (2009-2013), Netanyahu once again came under pressure from a US president, recently elected Barack Obama, and the international community, to enter into serious negotiations with the Palestinians based on the two-state solution.

 

  • In June 2009, Netanyahu gave a speech at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University where he said for the first time that he supported the creation of a Palestinian state, in a move heralded by his supporters as a bold and historic moment. However, he attached numerous conditions that effectively stripped the proposed state of any real sovereignty, and others that no Palestinian leader could accept even if they wanted to. These conditions included:

 

  • The state would be demilitarized and its borders and airspace would be controlled by Israel.

 

 

  • Palestinians would have to recognize Israel as the “state of the Jewish people,” thereby formally endorsing the institutionalized discriminationthat Palestinian citizens of Israel (who make up about 20% of the population) face living in a state that privileges Jews over non-Jews.

 

  • Palestinian refugees expelled during Israel’s creation and their descendants (also refugees) would not be allowed to exercise theirinternationally recognized legal right to return to the land they were forced to leave when Israel was established in 1948-9.

 

  • In his speech to a joint session of the US Congress in May 2011, Netanyahu reiterated and elaborated on his vision of a Palestinian “state,” saying:
    • He would refuse to base negotiations on Israel’s internationally recognized, pre-1967 borders, the foundation of previous talks and international efforts to make peace going back decades.
  • Israel would retain large so-called settlement “blocs” in and around East Jerusalem, which jut into the West Bank (the heartland of the proposed Palestinian state), effectively cutting it in two.
  • Israel would maintain “a long-term military presence” in the Jordan Valley, meaning Israel would control all entry in and out of the Palestinian “state” along with some of its most fertile agricultural land.

 

  • In late December 2012, Likud Knesset member (MK) Tzipi Hotovely told a panel discussion that the Bar-Ilan address was merely a “tactical speech for the rest of the world,” declaring: “We are opposed to a Palestinian state.”

 

Creating “Facts on the Ground”

  • During both his first (1996-1999) and second (2009-2013) terms in office, Netanyahu accelerated the building of Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinian land, part of an effort to create “facts on the ground” designed to prevent the creation of a contiguous and genuinely independent Palestinian state in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

 

  • In 1997, a year after taking power in his first term, Netanyahu gave the final go-ahead for construction of a new settlement between East Jerusalem and Bethlehem, Har Homa, which forms part of a ring of Jewish settlements around East Jerusalem, cutting it off from the rest of the West Bank. Attempting to minimize the diplomatic and public relations damage done by the announcement, Netanyahu claimed that green lighting Har Homa was an insignificant matter and that construction probably wouldn’t begin for many years to come. Today, 16 years later, around 15,000 Jewish settlers live in Har Homa.

 

  • From the time that Netanyahu returned to power for a second term in March 2009 until July 2012, the number of Jewish settlers living illegally on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank grew by 18% according to the Israeli Interior Ministry. In November 2012, following a string of new settlement expansion announcements, including in the highly sensitive “E-1” corridor of East Jerusalem, the US State Department issued an unusually strong rebuke of Israeli settlement policies, with a spokesperson describing them as a “pattern of provocation.”

 

  • On January 16, 2013, Israel’s Peace Now, which monitors settlement growth, released a report condemning Netanyahu’s settlement policies, alleging they “disclose a clear intention to use settlements to systematically undermine and render impossible a realistic, viable two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

 

Likud & Coalition Partner Opposition to Palestinian Statehood

Likud

  • Inspired by the Revisionist Zionism of Zeev Jabotinsky, who advocated the creation of a Greater Israel that included all of historic Palestine as well as Jordan, Netanyahu’s Likud party has historically opposed Palestinian statehood in the occupied territories and is strongly supportive of Israel’s settlement enterprise. In previous years, Likud’s platform explicitly prohibited the creation of a Palestinian state “west of the Jordan River.” During the most recent election, the combined Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu party electoral list released no platform, with some observers speculating that it was because neither party supports the two-state solution but didn’t want the diplomatic headaches that would be created if they declared it in their electoral platform.

 

  • Despite Netanyahu’s supposed acceptance of Palestinian statehood as detailed in his Bar-Ilan speech, his party and its rank and file members have never accepted the idea of an independent Palestinian state in the occupied territories. Key Likud members named to Netanyahu’s new cabinet who oppose Palestinian statehood include Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon, and Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin. During the previous government Ya’alon criticized his predecessor, Ehud Barak, for not approving settlement construction quickly enough, while Danon and Elkin, a settler considered one of the most right-wing members of Israel’s previous parliament, want to annex “Area C” of the occupied Palestinian West Bank (about 60% of the total area) which, according to the terms of the interim Oslo Accords falls under full Israeli security control. (See here for a UN map of Area C.)

 

Yisrael Beiteinu & HaBayit HaYehud

  • In October 2012, Netanyahu allied Likud with former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s ultranationalist Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Our Home) party to run on a joint parliamentary ticket in the upcoming election. Yisrael Beiteinu and Lieberman were important players in Netanyahu’s previous government and will be again for his third term. Lieberman, a settler, has a long history of opposing peace negotiations and agreements signed with the Palestinians, and has said on numerous occasions that peace isn’t possible for at least ageneration. (See here for more on Lieberman and Yisrael Beiteinu.)

 

  • Naftali Bennett’s ultra right-wing, pro-settler HaBayit HaYehudi (Jewish Home) party is another key member of Netanyahu’s new government. While not a settler himself, Bennett is a former head of the main political body that represents Jewish settlers living in the occupied Palestinian territories and also supports annexing the 60% of the Palestinian West Bank known as Area C. In January 2013, Bennett told an interviewer: “I will do everything in my power, forever, to fight against a Palestinian state being founded in the Land of Israel.” As part of the coalition agreement signed between the governing parties, HaBayit HaYehudi added a provision requiring the government hold a national referendum on any peace agreement that involved returning occupied Palestinian land. (See here for more on Bennett and HaBayit HaYehudi.)

 

What Others Think of Netanyahu

  • In January 2013, columnist Jeffrey Goldberg of Bloomberg news reported that US President Barack Obama was fed up with Netanyahu and his partners in the previous coalition government, and that he believed “Israel doesn’t know what its own best interests are.”

 

  • In October 2012, former US President Jimmy Carter, who brokered the Camp David peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, accused Netanyahu of having “abandoned” the two-state solution by refusing to halt settlement construction.

 

  • In April 2012, Yuval Diskin, the former head of Israel’s internal security agency, the Shin Bet, blamed Netanyahu for the impasse in the peace talks with the Palestinians, stating:

    “Forget the stories they tell you about how [PLO Chairman Mahmoud] Abbas is not interested in negotiation… We are not talking to the Palestinians because this government has no interest in negotiations.

    “I was there up to a year ago and I know from up-close what is happening. This government is not interested in solving anything with the Palestinians, and I say this [with] certainty.”

 

  • In May 2012, a leaked report revealed that officials in the British Foreign Office also blamed Netanyahu for the lack of negotiations. The report stated: “Netanyahu has a history of using the incitement issue as a delaying tactic in peace talks.” Regarding Israeli claims the Palestinian Authority (PA) school system incites hatred and violence, the Foreign Office report added: “Authoritative studies agree that PA textbooks are not inciting hatred of Israel.”

 

  • In November 2011, former French President Nicholas Sarkozy was caught on a microphone complaining to President Obama that Netanyahu was a “liar,” stating: “I cannot stand him. He’s a liar.” Seeming to agree, Obama replied, “You’re fed up with him? I have to deal with him every day.”

 

  • In September 2011, former US President Bill Clinton blamed Netanyahu for the failure of peace talks, adding, “The real cynics believe that the Netanyahu government’s continued call for negotiations over borders and such means that he’s just not going to give up the West Bank.”

 

  • In February 2011, a senior German official told Haaretz newspaper that Chancellor Angela Merkel, a strong supporter of Israel, had expressed her frustration with Netanyahu during a phone conversation, complaining, “You haven’t made a single step to advance peace.”

 

  • In March 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton harshly criticized Netanyahu in a phone call after the Israeli government announced the construction of 1600 new settlement units in occupied East Jerusalem during a visit by Vice President Joe Biden. According to a State Department spokesman, during an angry 45-minute conversation Clinton told Netanyahu that the announcement sent a “deeply negative signal about Israel’s approach to the bilateral relationship and [was] counter to the spirit of the vice president’s trip… this action had undermined trust and confidence in the peace process and in America’s interests.” The same day, Clinton told CNN: “The announcement of the settlements on the very day that the vice president was there was insulting.”

 

Influences on Netanyahu’s Views Towards the Palestinians

  • Netanyahu’s views on the Palestinians were heavily influenced by Zeev Jabotinsky, the founder of the Revisionist Zionism movement and ideological father of Netanyahu’s Likud party. Jabotinsky, who died in 1940, advocated the creation of a “Greater Israel” that encompassed not only what is today Israel, but the occupied Palestinian territories and neighboring Jordan.

 

  • Netanyahu was also deeply influenced by his father, Benzion, with whom he was close until the latter’s death in April 2012. The elder Netanyahu (who was born Benzion Mileikowsky before emigrating to Palestine from Warsaw, Poland, in 1920 and changing his name to Netanyahu) worked for a time as a secretary to Jabotinsky in the late 1930s and held uncompromisingly harsh, racist opinions of Arabs. In a lengthy 2009 interview in which he described in detail his views towards Palestinians and other Arabs, Benzion Netanyahu told the Israeli newspaper Maariv:

    “The Bible finds no worse image than that of the man from the desert. And why? Because he has no respect for any law. Because in the desert he can do as he pleases. The tendency toward conflict is in the essence of the Arab. He is an enemy by essence. His personality won’t allow him any compromise or agreement. It doesn’t matter what kind of resistance he will meet, what price he will pay. His existence is one of perpetual war.

    “The two-state solution doesn’t exist. There are no two peoples here. There is a Jewish people and an Arab population… There is no Palestinian people, so you don’t create a state for an imaginary nation… They only call themselves a people in order to fight the Jews.”

    When asked what he thought the solution to the conflict was, the elder Netanyahu replied: “No solution but force…  strong military rule. Any outbreak will bring upon the Arabs enormous suffering. We shouldn’t wait for a big uprising to start, but rather act immediately with great force to prevent them from carrying on.”

  • Asked how his views had influenced his son’s policies as prime minister, in the same 2009 interview the elder Netanyahu stated:

    “Bibi might aim for the same goals as mine, but he keeps to himself the ways to achieve them, because if he gave expression to them, he would expose his goals.

    “Because he is smart. Because he is very careful. Because he has his ways of handling himself. I am talking about tactics regarding the revealing of theories that people with a different ideology might not accept. That’s why he doesn’t expose them – because of the reaction from his enemies as well as from the people whose support he seeks. It’s an assumption, but it might be correct.”

  • In a televised interview with Netanyahu and his father after the Bar-Ilan speech in 2009, the elder Netanyahu said of the caveats that his son (who was sitting next to him) had placed on Palestinian statehood:

    “He supports the kind of conditions they would never in the world accept… That’s what I heard from him. Not from me. He put forth the conditions. These conditions, they will never accept them — not even one of them.”

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NYahu Oslo1 

BDS Activist