Extra-judicial execution

VIDEO: Islamic Jihad militant eliminated by IAF while riding a bike

19 Jan — Video shows blast which Gaza sources say was result of IDF’s Sunday airstrike on Gaza, in retaliation for rocket fire on Israel’s south [note that this is in a public street, with other vehicles and pedestrians nearby]

3 Israeli airstrikes on Gaza injure motorcyclist, child

GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 19 Jan — A young Palestinian man and a child were injured on Sunday morning after Israeli air forces launched three strikes across the Gaza Strip. An Israeli airstrike in the northern Gaza Strip hit a motorcyclist on Saftawi Street near Jabaliya, injuring the driver and a number of passersby … Spokesman for the Gaza Strip Ministry of Health Ahraf al-Qidra told reporters that the motorcyclist was a 22-year-old man, and that he was taken to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City after he sustained serious injuries. Al-Qidra added that a 12-year-old boy was taken to Kamal Udwan Hospital in Jabaliya, and that doctors said he suffered moderate wounds. A statement by Israeli forces said that they had “successfully targeted a terrorist operative” named Ahmad Saad, who they described as “a senior operative in the ‘Palestinian Islamic Jihad’” organization. The statement added that Saad was a specialist “in rocket launching” and is “personally responsible for the launching of 5 rockets towards Ashkelon” on Thursday.

Also on Sunday morning, Israeli air forces bombed two sites in the central and southern Gaza Strip used as training sites for Palestinian militants. Witnesses told Ma‘an that at least three missiles hit a military training site in the town of Bani Suheila east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. The site and neighboring civilian houses sustained material damage, but no injuries were reported.

Less than 10 minutes later, another Israeli airstrike targeted a training site of the Hamas’ military wing the al-Qassam Brigades near Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. No injuries were reported in that strike either. An Israeli military spokesperson said the attacks came after a homemade shell fired from the Gaza Strip landed in the Western Negev.

The airstrikes come only days after four Palestinian children and a woman were injured in Israeli bombing in the Gaza Strip early on Thursday, and a day after after Israeli forces opened fire on Palestinian protesters near the border, injuring two.

Falafel stop ‘saves’ Gaza man from Israeli missile

GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 19 Jan — A Palestinian man survived an Israeli airstrike on Sunday after he jumped off his donkey cart to eat falafel and fool in a popular restaurant in the northern Gaza Strip. The donkey, however, was not so lucky, and wound up a casualty of an Israeli missile strike that also injured a motorcyclist and a 12-year-old child passing by. Saad Dabour, a garbage collector, told Ma‘an that seconds before an Israeli airstrike hit a motorcyclist on Saftawi Street near Jabaliya, he stopped his donkey cart on the roadside and jumped down to treat himself to a breakfast of falafel and fool, a dish made of fava beans, from a popular roadside restaurant. “Only a few seconds later, I heard a blast, and when I turned back to see what had happened, I saw the motorbike ablaze and its driver was lying on the ground.” He added that after he recovered from the shock, he noticed that his donkey was riddled with shrapnel from the missile. Dabour told Ma‘an that he uses Saftawi Street every day to collect garbage on his donkey cart.

PCHR condemns Israel’s ‘extra-judicial execution’ attempt in Gaza

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) 19 Jan — A Palestinian human rights organization on Sunday condemned what it called an “extra-judicial execution attempt” by Israeli forces on the same day. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights said in a statement that an Israeli airstrike that targeted a member of a Palestinian militant group serves “to escalate tension in the region and (threatens) the lives of Palestinian civilians.” The statement said that an Israeli drone strike seriously injured al-Quds Brigades member Ahmad Saad while he was riding his motorcycle in northern Gaza. “Additionally, a passing child, 11-year-old Salah Fareed al-Ghuf, was injured by shrapnel to the right foot,” the statement said. The strike also damaged a Palestinian family’s house and two buses, the PCHR statement said.

It said the attack was the first of its kind in 2014, and the second since April 2013. “On 30 April 2013, an Israeli drone targeted and killed Haitham al-Mish‘al, from Gaza City,” the PCHR said. “Since 2004, 636 Palestinians, including 392 civilians (this number includes 184 children and 14 women), have been killed and 438 others, including 401 civilians (this number includes 364 children and 4 women) have been wounded in attacks launched by Israeli drones.”

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

Palestinian youth shot by Israeli forces in East Jerusalem

RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 18 Jan  — A young Palestinian man was seriously injured after Israeli forces shot him on Saturday evening in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of ‘Anata.  Private sources confirmed that the young man was suffering from a critical injury and extensive bleeding after being shot in the thigh with expanding dum-dum bullets by Israeli forces during clashes in the neighborhood. He was reportedly transferred to Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital in Jerusalem due to his condition.

In photos: Bethlehem remembers teen slain by Israeli forces

BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 18 Jan by Graham Liddell — Hundreds gathered in Bethlehem’s ‘Azza refugee camp on Saturday to commemorate the anniversary of the shooting death of a teenager by Israeli forces last year. Saleh al-Amarin was a 15-year-old boy from ‘Azza who was shot in the head by an Israeli soldier during clashes in nearby ‘Aida refugee camp on Jan. 18, 2013.  He died of his wounds five days later. His posters hang in perpetuity throughout the crowded refugee camp just off Bethlehem’s Manger Street, and his visage and name grace countless walls in the surrounding neighborhoods, a constant reminder of the heavy toll the Israeli occupation has taken on the holy city’s youth. On Saturday afternoon, Palestinian mourners came from across Bethlehem and nearby Aida and Dheisheh camps to join ‘Azza residents on the small camp’s narrow main street, where a stage and speaker system were set up for speeches, poetry, songs, and dancing.

WATCH: Where kids are arrested for not having a mailbox

Social TV 19 Jan — The occupation doesn’t only takes its toll on Palestinian adults; in even more ways, it affects Palestinian children. In occupied East Jerusalem, children as young as six are snatched from their beds or on their way to or from school in order to give testimony or be questioned. Why don’t the police simply send summonses to the children’s homes instead of arresting them in the middle of the night? Because the Israel Postal Service doesn’t operate in East Jerusalem. The logic of occupation. [Video 'From the school to the detention room' which includes interviews with children. 'Some of them need medical follow-up after their release. They are having problems [such as] bedwetting, nightmares, insomnia and anxiety’]

Settlement guard assaults two children near Jenin

IMEMC 18 Jan — An Israeli settlement guard assaulted, on Friday [January 17 2014] evening, two Palestinian children from Ya‘bad town, near the northern West Bank city of Jenin, medical sources have reported. The sources said that the two children were in a Palestinian land close to the Hormesh illegal settlement, built on Palestinian lands in the area. An Eyewitness said that a guard of the Hormesh settlement, held the two children, Ahmad Ghassan and Ahmad Abu Rmeila, 15 years of age, before assaulting them. The guard said that the Palestinians are not allowed to approach the settlement fence, and threatened to use live rounds if he sees them, or any other Palestinian, “approach the settlement”.

Israeli ministers to decide whether ‘price tag’ attacks are terrorism

Haaretz 19 Jan by Jonathan Lis — New legislation would target Jews who commit acts of vandalism and violence against Palestinians and peace activists — The Ministerial Committee for Legislation is expected to decide Sunday whether to support a bill defining “price tag” acts as terrorism. The term “price tag” has been coined by Jewish extremists to describe their acts of vandalism and violence that usually target Palestinians and Israeli peace activists. Defining such attacks as terror would let the authorities take firmer action to stop them and hand out harsher punishments. The bill’s sponsor, MK Eitan Cabel (Labor), said he intends to submit another bill soon making perpetrators of such acts liable to up to 20 years in prison.

Israeli forces arrest 4 Palestinian teens near Qalqiliya

QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 19 Jan — Israeli forces late Sunday arrested four Palestinian teenagers near Qalqiliya, taking them to an unknown location, locals said. Residents of the village of ‘Azzun told Ma‘an that Israeli forces arrested Yahia Muhammad Abu Haniyeh, 16, Yaza Bilal Radwan, 17, Muhammad Yahia Suweidan, 16, and 16-year-old Saleh Yacoub Suweidan. The four were arrested while walking along a road east of the village, locals said. Thirteen young men from the village were arrested last week, they added. A spokeswoman for the Israeli army confirmed the arrests. She said the four had hurled rocks at Israeli forces

One Palestinian and one international activist arrested in peaceful protest in the Jordan Valley

JORDAN VALLEY, Occupied Palestine (ISM Nablus Team) 16 Jan — A Palestinian activist and an international were arrested today whilst peacefully protesting in the Jordan Valley. The international activist is falsely charged by Israeli forces with endangering people’s lives on the road, assaulting a soldier and trying to grab his rifle. The march held in Jiflleck Adam Junction saw around 60 people gathered to protest against the ongoing demolition of Palestinian houses in the area. The protesters started their demonstration by chanting against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and in opposition to Benjamin Netanyahu. When the march was almost over and protesters were walking back to the buses, a group of 15 Israeli soldiers standing nearby followed the crowd and initiated clashes. Two international activists attending the march were pushed to the ground and handcuffed by Israeli forces while successfully preventing the arrest of a Palestinian youth. One of the activists managed to escape from detention, but the other one was blindfolded and forced to kneel for over an hour on the ground. Before scattering the protest, the military arrested the Palestinian youth, 20-year-old Ahmad Walid, whose arrest had been previously thwarted; he and the international activist were taken in a jeep to Male Akon Military Base and later transferred to Shomron Police Station in the illegal settlement of Ariel where they are currently being held. Overall, around 40 Israeli soldiers, police and border police were present during the non-violent demonstration in which 60 people demonstrated peacefully.

Israeli forces detain Palestinian who ‘opened fire’ toward settlement

BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 18 Jan — Israeli forces reported that they detained a Palestinian man on Saturday afternoon after he “opened fire towards the entrance” to the settlement of Migdal Oz south of Bethlehem. No Israeli soldiers were wounded in the attack, which was described as being carried out with a homemade weapon. The unidentified Palestinian assailant was “transferred to questioning,” according to an Israeli army spokeswoman. Migdal Oz is built at the entrance of Beit Fajar, a Palestinian village just south of Bethlehem.

Israeli forces ‘mistakenly’ detain man, injure his elderly mother

QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 18 Jan — Israeli forces raided the northern West Bank village of Kafr Qaddum on Saturday afternoon and detained a man after firing a large number of tear gas canisters towards the village, injuring his elderly mother. Eyewitnesses said that several military vehicles raided the town while firing tear gas canisters towards local youths, who were throwing stones and empty bottles at the Israeli forces. The Israeli forces subsequently detained Bakr Ali, a 27-year-old local. His elderly mother was also injured as she choked on the large amounts of tear gas released by canisters fired by the soldiers at the village. An Israeli spokesman said that Israeli forces detained a suspect “for hurling rocks” but subsequently realized they were “mistaken” and released him. [Is this a first?]

Soldiers kidnap 13 Palestinians

IMEMC 19 Jan — Israeli soldiers kidnapped twelve Palestinians in the West Bank districts of Bethlehem, Hebron and Nablus. The army also kidnapped a recently released veteran Palestinian political prisoner in occupied Jerusalem.  Eyewitnesses said that several armored Israeli military jeeps invaded the West Bank district of Bethlehem, violently broke into and searched several homes, kidnapping eight Palestinians, including seven in the Al-Obeydiyya town, east of the city. The kidnapped have been identified as Eyad Yousef Hasasna, 26, his brother Waleed, 18, Younis Mohammad Safy, 18, Sa’ad Mohammad Al-Asa, 35, Majed Aqeel Rabay’a, 38, Falah Issa Abu Sarhan, 25, Hisham Daoud Radayda, 33. Furthermore, soldiers invaded Doha town, west of Bethlehem, broke into one house and searched it before kidnapping a resident identified as Firas Ahmad Al-Odah, 32.

In related news, soldiers in several armored Israeli military jeeps invaded the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and kidnapped three Palestinians.  Eyewitnesses said that the soldiers invaded the Ras Al-Ein neighborhood, Al-Jame‘a (University) Street, and the Balata refugee camp, violently broke into and searched several homes before kidnapping three Palestinians. Two of the kidnapped have been identified as Malek Abdul-Nasser Sobeh, 22, and Abdul-Jabbar Imad Skakhsheer, 22.

Furthermore, several Israeli military jeeps invaded Sa‘ir town, east of the southern West bank city of Hebron, kidnapped one resident, and violently assaulted two others. The Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA) has reported that soldiers kidnapped Fady Ishaq Jaradat, 33, at the entrance of Sa’ir town, and violently assaulted Shady Mahmoud Ja’abra, 17, and Morad Ja’abra, 15; the two were moved to a local clinic, suffering various cuts and bruises.

Furthermore, soldiers invaded Ethna and Bani Ne‘im towns, west of the city, and installed a roadblock at the entrance of the al-Fawwar refugee camp, south of the city.

Israeli police detain recently released prisoner over ‘unpaid taxes’

JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 19 Jan — Israeli police detained a recently released Palestinian prisoner who had been held for over 20 years over allegedly “unpaid taxes” on Sunday. Mahmoud Da‘ajnah, a 66-year-old veteran prisoner who was released three weeks ago as part of an agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, was handed a summons at a checkpoint in Jerusalem on Saturday and taken into custody on Sunday, according to a prisoner advocacy group. A spokesperson for the families of Jerusalem prisoners in Israeli custody Amjad Abu Asab told Ma‘an that Da‘ajnah was stopped by Israeli forces on Saturday at a military checkpoint near Shu‘afat refugee camp north of Jerusalem. He was released after an hour and a half of detention, but was handed a summons demanding that he appear at a police station in Beit Hanina to settle unpaid taxes. Da‘ajnah went on Sunday to the Neve Yakov police station, where he was interrogated, added Abu Asab. Israeli police then telephoned the family to inform that Da‘ajnah had been taken into custody. The family was told he could be released if he signs a pledge to pay all his unpaid taxes, and if he or a third party pays bail.

Israel frees prominent Hamas member

i24 News 20 Jan — Hassan Yousef’s release coincides with release of movie by his son about his life as an Israeli secret agent — Israel released a prominent leader of the Islamist movement Hamas on Sunday after he spent more than two years in prison, Palestinian officials said. Hassan Yousef, who is also a member of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Legislative Council, told reporters after his release he would work with Hamas rivals “Fatah and other Palestinian factions to achieve reconciliation.” Dozens of Hamas supporters received Yousef at the Palestinian West Bank town of Beituniya. Yousef was arrested in November 2011 for belonging to an illegal organisation. Apart from being one of the founding members of Hamas, Yousef’s claim to fame is that the eldest of his five sons, Mosab Hassan Yousef, was the Shin Bet’s most important agent inside Hamas from 1997 to 2007. He subsequently recounted his experience spying for the Shin Bet in a memoir “Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices.” The movie adaptation of the book, entitled “The Green Prince,” was first screened at the Sundance Film Festival several days ago. Mossab relocated to the US, changed his name to Joseph and converted to Christianity. Yousef disowned his son in a letter sent during a previous term in an Israeli prison.

Gaza under blockade

VIDEO: Protesters in Gaza’s ‘buffer zone’ under fire from Israeli forces

GAZA (Institute for Middle East Understanding) 17 Jan — They are young, and they are fearless. In Gaza, a growing nonviolent movement, led predominantly by youth, is challenging Israel’s ongoing occupation of Palestinian lands in the so-called “buffer zone” — a unilaterally demarcated and militarily patrolled area that, according to Harvard researcher Sara Roy, now absorb[s] nearly 14 percent of Gaza’s total land and at least 48 percent of total arable land.” The zone officially extends 300 meters into Gaza’s territory, but attacks against civilians take place anywhere up to approximately 1.5 kilometers inside the border fence,” according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights. (That’s about a mile into a strip of land that is seven miles at its girth.) In this video, some 300 protesters are shown under fire from Israeli guns, too far to see but no less lethal for it. The protesters’ crime? They were planting citrus trees to replace those destroyed by Israel’s ongoing occupation….

Egypt destroys 8 smuggling tunnels under Gaza border

CAIRO (Ma‘an) 18 Jan — Egyptian border guards demolished eight smuggling tunnels underneath the Egypt-Gaza border in Rafah on Saturday, Egyptian army sources told Ma‘an … At least 1,113 smuggling tunnels have been demolished since January 2013, the army source said … The tunnels had been a lifeline for the flow of food, clothing, building materials, and fuel into Gaza, which Israel has blockaded since 2006.

Rafah border terminal closed for 9th day running

RAFAH (PIC) 18 Jan — The Egyptian authorities continued to close the Rafah border crossing with Gaza Strip for the 9th day running on Saturday. The general department for crossings and borders in Gaza said in a statement on Saturday that it was holding contacts with the Egyptian authorities to re-open the crossing but to no avail. It said that there is no official word on a new date for re-opening the crossing, noting that the number of stranded citizens on both sides of the border was increasing.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/

Gaza briefly invaded by Israel

IMEMC 18 Jan by Chris Carlson – Four Israeli artillery vehicles crossed briefly, on Friday evening, into the Shuhada Cemetery lying east of Jabalya, in the northern Gaza Strip. A reporter from Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency said that “four vehicles moved 150 meters into the bordering cemetery amid heavy flying of helicopters over Sodaniya district in Beit Hanon town.” Israeli forces stationed north of Beit Lahia town fired towards Palestinian land and homes in Abu Samra border area, earlier on Friday. No injuries were reported.

Israel warns Hamas in Gaza: Rein in rocket fire for good

Haaretz 19 Jan by Amos Harel — Israel has passed a message with a severe warning to the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip, warning them to immediately stop the deterioration of the situation along the border with Israel. Israel sent the message via Egyptian channels over the weekend to tell Hamas to stop all rocket fire against Israel immediately. Despite the warning, a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel exploded late Saturday in an open area in the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council. No damage or injuries were reported. In response, the Israeli army struck two targets in Gaza overnight. The military said that both targets were hit. The defense establishment feels that the joint warning from Israel and Egypt will have a restraining effect on Hamas, and that the leadership of the organization intends on acting to prevent the firing of rockets from Gaza at the Negev. Over the weekend Hamas arrested a number of members of small organizations in the Gaza Strip in an attempt to rein them in and prevent rocket fire. Late Wednesday night six Grad rockets were fired from the north end of the Gaza Strip at Ashkelon. Five Katyusha rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system, and the sixth rocket fell inside the Gaza Strip. No one was injured. In response to the rocket fire, the Israel Air Force attacked positions of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza. Militants from the Islamic Jihad in the northern Gaza Strip were responsible for  launching the rockets. But as far as is known, the Hamas leadership did not approve of the firing and it is doubtful whether the Islamic Jihad leadership even approved the launching of the rockets. Most of the recent rocket launches against Israel seem to have been local initiatives of “rebel” activists, who are not following the orders of the central leadership of the organizations they belong to.

Israeli gunboats fire on Palestinian fishermen

IMEMC Sunday morning 19 Jan by Chris Carlson — Israeli gunboats opened fire, Sunday morning, on Palestinian fishermen off the Gaza coast near al-Sodania area, to the north of Gaza. Al Ray reports that the Israeli navy forces fired shells on Palestinian boats, with no injuries reported. The Israeli occupation fires at Palestinian fishermen on a daily basis, preventing them from doing their work.

Coffee in Gaza is a ritual for grief and creativity

GAZA CITY 17 Jan by Asmaa al-Ghoul — Young Jabar Abu Houli pours coffee from a copper pot for his guests and then waits for them to finish drinking. If they shake the empty cup or put two fingers above it, it means they are finished and do not want anymore. If they hand him the cup in a normal manner, he will pour them more of the black coffee. This ritual takes place every morning and evening in the sitting room of the Abu Houli family home in Deir al-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip. They are one of the few families who still follow the ancient traditions associated with coffee. Al-Monitor’s correspondent visited them on the evening of Jan. 9 … The head of the family, Abdel Qader Abu Houli, 85, whose picture hangs on the wall along with ones of Yasser Arafat and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, says that like other Bedouin families in Gaza, rituals surrounding coffee have brought them together for more than 100 years. “I have never for a single moment given up roasting and drinking coffee, since it is a symbol of love and unity. Coffee has a special luster when it is prepared in front of guests, as the fire remains lit for 24 hours with the coffee pot above it,” said Abdel Qader … Coffee production in Gaza ranges from the old traditions to the latest production methods in the Badri and Haniyeh Coffee Factory, which was the second coffee production line in the Arab world, according to plant manager Mohammed Haniyeh …  the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish mentions coffee in “Memory for Forgetfulness,” which was written during the siege of Beirut in 1982. “Conquerors can do anything. They can aim sea, sky, and Earth at me, but they cannot root the aroma of coffee out of me. I shall make my coffee now,” he wrote.

Unemployed Gazans turn to Facebook for income

GAZA CITY 14 Jan by Rasha Abou Jalal — At first it was just a passing idea that young Karim Shehadeh, 24, proposed during a chat with two of his friends. They were all trying to find a job and get out of the ranks of the unemployed, which they had found themselves in since graduating from university. Yet, with a little effort and hard work, the idea was transformed into real work that generated profits … The three friends’ idea is based on using Facebook as a tool for marketing and promotional advertising. They attract customers to clothing retailers through a Facebook page they called “Shoping.ps“ to link these stores with consumers. Speaking to Al-Monitor, Shehadeh explained that they professionally photograph the clothing, and list the type of clothing, color, price and store location on the page. Facebook then plays the role of linking the site’s users and transforming them into customers for the commercial shops Shehadeh cooperates with. He pointed out that, today, the page has about 96,000 likes from users in Palestine.

Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Judaization / Restriction of movement

Radio: Israel wants to annex fourth settlement bloc

JERUSALEM (AFP) 19 Jan — Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told US Secretary of State John Kerry that he wants to annex a fourth bloc of West Bank settlements, army radio reported on Sunday. Until now, Israel has always spoken of its intention to annex three blocs of settlements in any future agreement with the Palestinians: the Etzion bloc in the south; Maale Adumim to the east of Jerusalem; and the Ariel bloc in the north. The report said Netanyahu was proposing that Israel also keep hold of a group of settlements deep in the West Bank — Beit El, Ofra and Psagot — which lie to the north and east of Ramallah, the radio said. A settlement bloc is an area where clusters of settlements have been established in relatively close proximity to one another, in which the majority of the West Bank’s 367,000 settlers currently live. If Israel was to keep hold of the “Beit El bloc” as well as the others, it would mean annexing a total of 13 percent of the occupied West Bank, the radio said, describing it as a “very large percentage” of the territory. “In the negotiating room, Netanyahu is talking about 13 percent of territory,” the radio’s diplomatic correspondent Ilil Shahar said, quoting sources close to Netanyahu. “Netanyahu is proposing a (land) swap of three to four percent then paying for the rest,” she said.

Despite ban, illegal settlement outposts getting millions in state funds

Haaretz 19 Jan by Chaim Levinson — The Mateh Binyamin Regional Council in the West Bank has disbursed 51 million shekels ($14.6 million) over a five-year period to several unauthorized settlement outposts both within and beyond its jurisdiction, even though such actions are expressly prohibited, Haaretz has learned.  Like all the local councils in the West Bank, Mateh Binyamin operates at a deficit and receives tens of millions of shekels each year from the national government. That means it is in practice using state money to help maintain the outposts.

Israel to demolish homes, property in Jerusalem

IMEMC 20 Jan — [Sunday, January 19, 2014] Officials of the Jerusalem City Council, accompanied by dozens of soldiers and police officers, invaded the Silwan town, in occupied East Jerusalem, and handed orders targeting Palestinian homes and structures in the town. Local sources in occupied Jerusalem said Israel intends to demolish three Palestinian stores, a playground, and four privately owned Palestinian homes, in Wadi Hilweh in Silwan. The Wadi Hilweh Information Center said that the orders are against homes and property in Wadi Hilweh, ‘Ein Al-Loza, Be’er Ayyoub, and Wad Yasoul. It added that the soldiers also removed several water meters of a number of homes in the Wad Yasoul area.  The Center also reported that the City Council in occupied Jerusalem wants to destroy and bulldoze Silwan’s 900 square/meter soccer field. Israel previously threatened to destroy the field in order to build homes and property for its settlers. [Ma‘an: Resident Said Nasser said he was handed demolition orders for three car repair shops he owns in the Ein al-Lawza neighborhood. He said he was notified that he would be fined 150,000 shekels ($43,000) for the shops' "illegal" construction. The shops were built 20 years ago, he said]

In related news, a number of extremist Israeli settlers of the Nahal Naghot illegal settlement, built on Palestinian lands that belong to residents of Doura town, south of Hebron, blocked the main road linking between Doura and nearby towns. The settlers blocked the Beit Awwa Junction, southwest of Hebron, and prevented Palestinian traffic. They also harassed several Palestinians, eyewitnesses said.

Video: Controversial homes stoke tension in West Bank

Al Jazeera 16 Jan — Jewish settlers who lost land to Israeli army bulldozers reportedly take out their anger on Palestinians in West Bank — The Israeli army says the settlers are planting on Palestinian land and bulldozed the area. But instead of responding against their own army, the settlers attacked Palestinians in nearby Qusra. Nick Schifrin reports from the occupied West Bank [Qusra and Esh Kodesh]

Israel’s Channel 10 reveals Jewish preparations to raze Aqsa Mosque

NAZARETH (PIC) 19 Jan — Israel’s channel 10 has aired a report talking about preparations being made by Jewish groups to demolish the Aqsa Mosque and build the alleged temple on its ruins. In a recent report, the channel said that Israeli temple activist Uni Tasduq had gone to the Dead Sea area to collect the oldest rocks in the history to use them for the building of the temple. The channel added that Yehuda Etzion, founder of the temple group Hai Vekayam, is the mastermind behind the idea of destroying the Aqsa Mosque and building the temple in its place, noting that he had tried to demolish the Mosque in the 1980s and had been jailed for that. “We are planning and have to demolish things to build the third temple, and the Aqsa Mosque must be removed in order to achieve that. The existence of the Dome of the Rock is something reprehensible, so it must be knocked down. Let the Muslims go to Makkah and the Christians to Rome, but leave Jerusalem for the Jews,” channel 10 quoted Etzion as saying. Architect Yoram Ginzburg, who drew blueprints for the alleged Jewish metropolitan Jerusalem and the temple, told the channel that he awaits impatiently the building of the temple, which he said would be a paradise on earth and millions of people would come to visit it. The channel’s report also unveiled other preparations being made by Jewish settlers for the temple and showed, for instance, that Gush Etzion settlers in the West Bank are raising cattle in order to sacrifice them at the temple.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/

Palestinian officials condemn rightist Israeli visits to Al-Aqsa

JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) updated 18 Jan — A PLO Executive Committee member spoke out against visits by rightist Israeli Jewish groups to the Al-Aqsa compound on Thursday. Ahmad Qurie warned of “catastrophic” consequences if the Jewish groups continued to visit Al-Aqsa, saying the visits violated international law. Qurie said Israeli police arrested Palestinian youths who were attempting to stop the groups from entering the compound. He criticized the police for making such arrests.

Earlier, the director of the Al-Aqsa Mosque told Ma‘an that the visits were a “provocative and dangerous intrusion by extremists.”

Azzam al-Khatib said extremist lawyer Yehuda Glick, who chairs the Temple Mount Heritage Fund, entered the mosque compound through the Moroccan Gate and later “climbed to the roof of the Dome of the Rock and verbally assaulted the guards.” Also Saturday, Palestinian security spokesman Adnan al-Dumieri told Ma‘an that Israeli rightists “ascending to the roof of the Dome of the Rock” was a provocative action that would have a negative impact on Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. But Israeli police spokesman Rosenfeld said he was unfamiliar with the roof-climbing incident.

Hundreds of settlers raid Joseph’s Tomb

IMEMC 19 Jan by Chris Carlson — Hundreds of Israeli settlers, escorted and protected by soldiers, stormed the eastern area of Nablus and performed religious rituals in Joseph’s Tomb. Eyewitnesses said that around 10 buses carrying settlers and rabbis, escorted by military vehicles, arrived to the area at midnight, on Friday, and headed to Joseph’s Tomb, where clashes erupted with the Palestinians in the area and its surroundings, the Palestinian News Network has reported. Israeli forces fired sound and tear gas grenades during the clashes before withdrawing from the area.

Israel bans lawmaker from travel

RAMALLAH, January 18, 2014 (WAFA) – The Israeli border authorities Saturday prevented lawmaker Qais Abdul Karim from traveling to Jordan across Karameh (Allenby) Bridge and turned him back, according to a press statement by Abdul Karim’s office.

It said the lawmaker from the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine was heading to Strasbourg in France to attend a meeting for the Parliamentary Assembly for the Council of Europe. Abdul Karim said the border authorities prevented him from travel and ordered him to return back. He said the Strasbourg meeting was supposed to discuss partnership with the Palestinian Legislative Council

Palestinian refugees in Syria

Relief convoy reaches besieged Yarmouk following landmark agreement

DAMASCUS (Ma‘an) 18 Jan — Palestinian Authority Minister of Labor Ahmed Majdalani said that a convoy with food and medicine had entered Syria’s Yarmouk camp on Saturday afternoon as part of a relief agreement for the camp reached on Friday. Majdalani said that the convoy includes 200 parcels weighing 30 kg each, consisting of basic foodstuffs to help Palestinian refugees in Yarmouk after seven months of siege imposed by regime forces. UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness confirmed that the aid had been successfully received inside the camp as part of a “trial phase” of the agreement. Majdalani said during a press conference at the national information center in Ramallah on Saturday that some of the non-Palestinian armed factions had left the camp starting Friday evening, and that the rest of these factions would leave the camp on Saturday and Sunday. He said that their departure would be followed by more aid convoys on Sunday, including food and medicines, while the evacuation of the sick, injured, and the elderly would begin today in collaboration with the Syrian Ministry of Social Affairs, which will provide shelters for the evacuees. Majdalani also explained that bulldozers began to remove roadblocks and barriers that had previously blocked major roads linking the camp to the outside world in order to facilitate the delivery of relief convoys and to return life to normal inside the camp … UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said that “Syrian authorities sought UNRWA’s support as the neutral, humanitarian agency with a mandate for Palestine refugees. It is important to emphasize that the contribution of UNRWA was a small contribution to the effort of others, such as the Palestinian groups, to test an arrangement … The announcement came after the 14 militant factions involved in the fighting, the national reconciliation committee, and Palestinian militants inside the camp had agreed to allow the introduction of aid into the camp from the Rama Road entrance on Saturday. The agreement was the result of a long meeting that took place on Friday between the parties involved in the clashes in the camp

Four Palestinian refugees killed in Syria

DAMASCUS (PIC) 18 Jan — Four Palestinian refugees were killed in Syria on Friday as a result of the ongoing shelling and siege on their refugee camps and due to starvation. The work group for Palestinians in Syria said in a statement on Saturday that Mohammed Sehabi from Yarmouk camp, south of Damascus, was killed at the hands of a sniper in Al-Hajar Al-Aswad nearby area where he was collecting vegetables. It added that Zaher Hasan was killed in the shelling on the Yarmouk camp. Ismail Abdullah died of health complications due to the absence of medical services in Yarmouk camp while the woman Najah Mohammed died of dehydration and malnutrition, the group said.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/

Action group: Six [more] Palestinians have died, three of hunger

DAMASCUS (PIC) 19 Jan — The action group for the Palestinians in Syria said Saturday that six Palestinian refugees were either killed or died of hunger in Al-Yarmouk refugee camp during the past 24 hours. In a press release, the action group said that two aged man and woman named Yasin Abu Madi and Najah Al-Biqai as well as a young man called Ismail Abdullah had died of hunger and malnutrition as a result of the tight blockade imposed on the camp for more than 189 days by the Syrian regime forces and their militias. The group added that three other Palestinian refugees from the camp were also killed, one was shot dead by a sniper and another was killed during armed clashes, while the third one was tortured to death inside a Syrian prison.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/

Impeding aid to besieged civilians in Yarmouk camp in Syria may amount to war crime

GENEVA 17 Jan — UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Friday strongly condemned the repeated obstruction of convoys trying to bring supplies to a besieged population of some 18,000 people in the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in Syria, saying that “impeding humanitarian assistance to civilians in desperate need may amount to a war crime.” “Over the past four months numerous attempts by the UN and other organizations to bring convoys of food and medical aid to malnourished children, women and elderly people close to starvation in Yarmouk, have been thwarted, and very little aid was getting through during the nine months prior to that,” Pillay said … Pillay highlighted that starvation of civilians as a method of combat is prohibited under international law and may amount to a war crime. She stressed that objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works, are protected under international law. Attacking, destroying, removing or rendering useless such objects are prohibited.

Solidarity / BDS

Boycott goes prime-time in Israel

972mag 19 Jan by Larry Derfner — On Saturday night the boycott of Israel gained an impressive new level of mainstream recognition in this country. Channel 2 News, easily the most watched, most influential news show here, ran a heavily-promoted, 16-minute piece on the boycott in its 8 p.m. prime-time program. The piece was remarkable not only for its length and prominence, but even more so because it did not demonize the boycott movement, it didn’t blame the boycott on anti-Semitism or Israel-bashing. Instead, top-drawer reporter Dana Weiss treated the boycott as an established, rapidly growing presence that sprang up because of Israel’s settlement policy and whose only remedy is that policy’s reversal. In her narration, Weiss ridicules the settlers and the government’s head-in-the-sand reaction to the rising tide.

Hundreds rally in London to protest Gaza blockade

IMEMC Sunday 19 Jan by Chris Carlson — On the 6th anniversary of Operation Cast Lead, carried out by the Israeli military in 2008, over 500 hundred people gathered, opposite the Israeli embassy in London, to protest against the continued bombing and blockading of Gaza. The rally was attended by Baroness Jenny Tonge, Labour MP, Andy Slaughter, Mahmoud Sarsak, a former Palestinian footballer and hunger striker, and Hugh Lanning the chairman of Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency reports … Kamel Hawwash, Vice Chair of Palestine Solidarity Campaign, added: “We will not forget the war crimes that were committed against Palestinians in Gaza. The Israeli war criminals should not sleep easy at night, as they will be facing charges at the International Criminal Court.”

Other news

US draft agreement omits Palestinian right of return, officials tell Haaretz

Haaretz 19 Jan by Jack Khoury — Officials add: Proposal makes no mention of Jerusalem being capital of future Palestinian state — The United States has proposed absolving Israel of any responsibility for the fate of the Palestinian refugees in the forthcoming framework peace agreement, senior Palestinian officials told Haaretz over the weekend. Instead, the draft framework agreement, which is due to be presented by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to Israel and the Palestinians toward the end of the month, will propose a solution based on the naturalization of the refugees in the countries in which they currently reside, as well as financial compensation. The American proposal to omit mention of the refugees’ right of return from the document has outraged Palestinian officials. Both the proposal regarding the refugees and the American proposal on Jerusalem fail to meet the minimum requirements of the Palestinian Authority and have been rejected, a senior Palestinian official told Haaretz.

Abbas: Palestine has gotten nothing out of peace talks

BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 19 Jan — President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday that despite US Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts, Palestine has so far gotten nothing out of the ongoing peace negotiations with Israel. “The problem is with the Israeli side and not with us,” Abbas said in an interview on Moroccan television following the Al-Quds Committee meeting in Marrakesh. He spoke the same day Israeli army radio announced that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had proposed to Kerry that Israel annex a fourth settlement bloc within the West Bank, amounting to approximately 13 percent of the internationally recognized Palestinian territory. Abbas called this kind of shift in borders “unacceptable.”

Jerusalem panel urges pressing Israel over settlements

AFP 18 Jan — Muslim nations urged the international community Saturday to put pressure on Israel to stop building Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, at the end of talks in Morocco. The call was issued by the Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Committee amid heightened concern that the settlements undermine US-brokered peace talks that resumed in July after bogging down three years earlier over the construction drive … The committee was founded by the pan-Muslim Organization of Islamic Cooperation in 1975 to resist the confiscation of Palestinian land and assets in Jerusalem. Chairman King Mohamed VI of Morocco opened the meeting Friday by calling for “a strong mobilization of our own means and resources…to defend the Holy City.”

PA debt to East Jerusalem hospitals causing serious hardships

JERUSALEM (WAFA) 18 Jan — Growing Palestinian Authority (PA) debt to the East Jerusalem hospitals has created major cash flow problems and is threatening services these hospital provide to thousands of patients, a statement by the East Jerusalem Hospitals Network (EJHN) said late last week. Accrued debt from the Palestinian Authority (PA) for specialized patient care exceeded $40 million as of December 31, said the network. The PA’s debt to the East Jerusalem hospitals has persisted over the last 18 months, contributing in major delays in staff compensation and supplier remuneration, said the statement. The EJHN includes six facilities — Makassed Charitable Hospital, Augusta Victoria Hospital, St. Joseph Hospital, St. John Eye Hospital, Palestine Red Crescent Society Hospital and Princess Basma Rehabilitation Center, — which serve as the main centers for specialized care within the Palestinian health system. Patients needing services and procedures that are not available in the West Bank and Gaza are referred for treatment in the EJHN facilities by the Palestinian Ministry of Health … In 2013, a total of 26,850 referrals were sent for treatment by the ministry to East Jerusalem, representing 43.5% of all referrals.

Israel to return the remains of 36 Palestinians

BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 18 Jan — Israel will return the remains of 36 Palestinians currently held in Israeli “numbered graves,” a Palestinian committee spokesman told Ma‘an. Salim Khillah, a spokesman for a committee to retrieve Palestinian remains from Israeli custody, said Friday that Israel had agreed to release the remains as a gesture to encourage the PLO to continue with peace negotiations. He said the remains would be delivered next Sunday.

Israel to return remains of 2 Palestinians on Tuesday

RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 19 Jan — The remains of two Palestinians currently held in Israel will be delivered to the West Bank on Tuesday, a statement said Sunday. A campaign to retrieve the remains of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces said in a statement that the remains of Fathi Jihad Ameera and Ata Ibrahim Samhan Samahna would be delivered to Taybeh checkpoint near Tulkarem at 8 p.m. Ameera, from the village of al-Nasiriya near Tubas, was killed on March 30, 2002, the statement said. Samahna, from Nablus, was shot dead in 2004 at the age of 60, it added. The remains of one Palestinian killed by Israeli fire in 2002, Majdi Abd al-Jawad Khanfar, was returned on Sunday at 8 p.m at the same checkpoint, a Ma‘an reporter said.

Campaign spokesman Salim Khillah said that Israel’s decision to return the remains was a gesture to encourage the PLO to continue with peace negotiations. The spokesman for HaMoked, an Israeli human rights group, told Ma’an Thursday that the decision was the result of a Supreme Court decision.

Israel ‘threatens arrest’ of PA anti-corruption head

RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 19 Jan — The head of the Anti-Corruption Commission says he was threatened with arrest by Israeli forces unless a man detained for forging car customs stamps and documents was released.  A statement from the commission, headed by Rafiq Natsheh, said it would commit to the law until its investigation with all suspects is complete regardless of whether they hold Palestinian or Jerusalem IDs. The law applies to all Palestinians, the statement added. The statement did not specify when or how the threat was communicated.

Ashrawi denounces statements of Australian FM

IMEMC 20 Jan — Member of the Executive Committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, strongly denounced statements made by Australian FM, Julie Bishop, who criticized what she called “European pressure on Israel’. Bishop recently lashed out on officials and countries of the European Union for trying to pressure Israel into halting its settlement construction and expansion activities in occupied Palestine.  Dr. Ashrawy said that the shift in Australia’s Foreign Policy is very serious, and contradicts international resolutions and treaties, including International Law and the Fourth Geneva Convention, regarding the illegality of Israel’s settlements … She urged Australia to reconsider its stances

Palestinian Armenian community celebrates Christmas

BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 18 Jan — Armenian Christians in Palestine are celebrating Christmas on Saturday with a procession through the streets of Jesus Christ’s birthplace. The Armenian patriarch of Jerusalem Nourhan Manougian arrived before noon in Bethlehem and marched to the Church of the Nativity, the site in the city’s historic center where Jesus is believed to have been born … Palestinian Armenian Christians who follow the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem mark Christmas nearly two weeks after the majority of Armenian and Eastern Orthodox denominations, who mark the holiday on Jan. 6 or 7, and more than three weeks after Western Christians mark Christmas, who celebrate on Dec. 25. The differences in dates of celebration are due to the use of different calendars … Groups of Armenians began moving to Palestine beginning in the fourth century and mainly settled in Jerusalem, where, in the seventh century, they established a Patriarchate Complex which has since attracted Armenian pilgrims. Thousands of Armenians also arrived fleeing the massacres in the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century, after which many settled in Palestine. According to Armenian sources, some 7,500 Armenians today live across the Holy Land.

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