Saturday, December 31, 2011
Palestinian sources reported that a group of armed fundamentalist Israeli settlers broke on Friday into the Solomon Pools site and the Conference Palace Archeological areas in Al Kahder town, south of the West Bank city of Bethlehem.
The sources stated that approximately 200 settlers broke into the area, and said that they will never leave because “it is a Jewish land”, according to the settlers.
Dozens of Israeli soldiers are also at the scene allegedly to provide “protection” to the armed settlers.
Armed settlers could also be seen around the area, while some sources stated that they blocked some roads or obstruct Palestinian traffic.
QAIRO, (PIC)-- The Arab League called on the UN and the international quartet on the middle east to work on ending Israel's inhuman blockade on the Gaza Strip.
This came in a statement issued by the League on the third anniversary of Israel's wanton war on Gaza.
The statement emphasized the need to bring Israeli war criminals to international justice for the serious violations they have committed against the Palestinians.
The statement also highlighted that Gaza still suffers from the implications of the war which destroyed its infrastructure, claimed the lives of more than 1,400 Palestinians and caused injuries to about 4,000 others.
The League underlined that Israel is persistent in violating the international law by its refusal to end its blockade on Gaza people, which led to the deterioration of their health, living and educational conditions and obstructed reconstruction efforts.
It pointed out that despite three years after the war, there are still growing voices inside Israel, encouraged by the international passivity, calling for a new devastating war on Gaza.
In a related incident, protestors from Egypt and Arab countries participated on Friday in the march and ceremony that were organized in Cairo by Al-Azhar Mosque on the third anniversary of Gaza war.
The protestors chanted slogans attacking the Israeli occupation regime and its violations in the occupied territories, and demanding an end to Gaza blockade.
Arab League demands UN, quartet to end Gaza siege
In its Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the week of 22- 28 December 2011, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) found that a Palestinian resistance fighter was killed and 5 others were wounded in two extra-judicial execution attempts by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip. 6 additional Palestinian civilians, including two children, were wounded by Israeli forces.
Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip:
The 27th of December marks the third anniversary of the commencement of Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s 27 December 2008 – 18 January 2009 offensive on the Gaza Strip. The PCHR believes that Israeli forces committed serious violations of IHL and IHRL over the course of the offensive. Violations entailing individual criminal responsibility include – but are not limited to – the crimes of willful killing, the extensive destruction of civilian property, the direct targeting of civilians and civilian objects, the use of human shields, and the launching of indiscriminate attacks.
The PCHR calls upon the UN Security Council, acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, to refer the situation in Israel and Palestine to the International Criminal Court. The PCHR also reminds States, as High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention, of their pressing legal obligation, to search for and prosecute all those suspected of committing war crimes, regardless of their nationality.
During the reporting period, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian resistance fighter and wounded 10 Palestinians, including two children in the Gaza Strip.
On 27 December 2011, Israeli forces extra-judicially executed a Palestinian resistance fighter and wounded another one and 3 civilian bystanders, including a child. An Israeli drone fired a missile at two fighters of a Salafist group who were traveling on a motorcycle opposite to Concorde Gallery near Abu Sharekh Square in the northern Gaza Strip town of Jabalya. As a result, one of the fighters was killed, and the other one was wounded by shrapnel to the chest. Additionally, 3 civilian bystanders, including a child, were wounded. Two houses and 4 shops were also damaged, and a civilian car was completely destroyed.
On the same day, an Israeli aircraft fired a missile at a civilian vehicle, in which 4 Palestinian resistance fighters were traveling, in al-Jalaa’ Street in the north of Gaza City. As a result, the four fighters were wounded, one of them sustained a serious wound. Additionally, a civilian bystander was lightly wounded.
Also on the same day, a Palestinian child was wounded by Israeli gunfire in the central Gaza Strip.
On 23 December 2011, Israeli forces fired 3 artillery shells at agricultural areas to the east of the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis. No casualties were reported.
Israeli attacks in the West Bank:
During the last week, Israeli forces conducted 32 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, during which they abducted 28 Palestinians, including 4 children and a university professor.
In addition, Israeli soldiers abducted two Palestinian civilians at various checkpoints in the West Bank.
In an example of this week’s invasions, on Thursday, 22 December, at approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Beit Ummar town, north of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Wajeeh Hmaid Abu Maria, and abducted his two sons: Ahmed, 18; and Mohammed, 17. At the same time, Israeli forces raided a house belonging to the family of Mohammed Saqer Abu Maria, 20, to abduct him but he was not there. Israeli soldiers attempted to hold his sister as a hostage to force to him to surrender, but the family intervened and prevented them. So, Israeli soldiers confiscated the ID card of his brother, Napoleon, 25.
On the same night, at approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Jenin refugee camp. They raided and searched a number of houses and abducted 8 Palestinian civilians to question them in regard to the death of a Palestinian theatre director who held Israeli citizenship, Juliano Mir Khamis, who was shot dead on 04 April 2011. The detainees were released a few hours later.
These are just two examples of this week’s 32 invasions by Israeli forces into West Bank towns and villages, most of which occurred in the early hours of the morning while people were sleeping.
Israeli settlement activities:
Israeli forces have continued settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.
On 28 December 2011, the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem approved the construction of 130 settlement units in “Gilo” settlement, south of Jerusalem. It also approved the establishment of a large tourist project in Silwan village to the south of the old town of Jerusalem. On Tuesday, 27 December 2011, the Israeli daily Maariv reported about a planned settlement project in Silwan village to the south of the old town of Jerusalem. This project is planned by the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem and “Elad” settlement association. The Israeli newspaper reported that “the large tourist project” is a joint project planned by the settlement association, the municipality of Jerusalem and “Nature and Gardens Authority.” It includes the establishment of archaeological centers, pools and basins. According to the newspaper, the local committee of planning and construction of the municipality of Jerusalem is expected to approve presenting the plan for any possible objections. The project is planned on a 5,400-square-meter area of land. According to “Elad” association, a car park absorbing about 250 cars will be established.
During the reporting period, Israeli forces demolished a house and destroyed 5 wells, 4 water tabks and 4 agricultural rooms in Ethna village, west of Hebron, claiming that they were established without licenses. They also confiscated some agricultural equipment.
Israeli forces also destroyed a well and 9 agricultural pools in Dura village, southwest of Hebron. They also confiscated some agricultural equipment.
Israeli Annexation Wall:
During the reporting period, Israeli forces used force against peaceful demonstrations organized by Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders in protest to the construction of the Wall and settlement activities in the West Bank, and in protest to the establishment of a buffer zone in the Gaza Strip. As a result, a Palestinian civilian was wounded. Additionally, dozens of Palestinian civilians and human rights defenders suffered from tear gas inhalation. Israeli forces also abducted a Palestinian civilian.
Following the Friday Prayer on 23 December 2011, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders organized a peaceful demonstration in Bil'ein village, west of Ramallah, in protest to the construction of the annexation wall and support for efforts to achieve national reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah movements. They raised the Palestinian flag and called for ending political division. They then moved towards areas of Palestinian land, which the Israeli High Court ordered to be returned to their Palestinian owners. Israeli soldiers stationed in the area fired rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the demonstrators. As a result, a number of civilians suffered from tear gas inhalation.
Also following the Friday prayer on 23 December 2011, dozens of Palestinian civilians and Israeli and international human rights defenders gathered in the center of al-Nabi Saleh village, northwest of Ramallah, to start the weekly peaceful protest against the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activities. The protesters walked towards the gate erected by Israeli forces near the entrance of the village and leading to Palestinian lands that Israeli settlers from the nearby "Halmish" settlement are trying to seize. Israeli soldiers who had been extensively deployed in the area and near all the entrances of the village since the morning, began to confront the protesters who wanted to walk towards the affected lands. Israeli soldiers fired live and rubber-coated bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the protesters. As a result, Waleed Yousef al-Barghouthi, 22, was wounded by a bullet to the foot, and dozens of civilians suffered from tear gas inhalation.
Also following the Friday Prayer on 23 December 2011, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international and human rights defenders organized a peaceful demonstration in Ne'lin village, west of Ramallah, in protest against the construction of the annexation wall. They clashed with Israeli troops positioned near the annexation wall. Israeli soldiers fired rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at demonstrators. As a result, a number of demonstrators suffered from tear gas inhalation.
Recommendations to the international community:
Due to the number and severity of Israeli human rights violations this week, the PCHR made several recommendations to the international community. Among these was a recommendation that the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention comply with their legal obligations detailed in Article 146 of the Convention to search for and prosecute those responsible for grave breaches, namely war crimes.
In addition, the PCHR called for the immediate implementation of the Advisory Opinion issued by the International Court of Justice, which considers the construction of the Annexation Wall inside the West Bank illegal.
The PCHR recommends that international civil society organizations, including human rights organizations, bar associations and NGOs, participate in the process of exposing those accused of grave breaches of international law and urge their governments to bring the perpetrators to justice.
For the full text of the report, click on the link below:
International Middle East Media Center
Fatah officials said assailants fired five gunshots at Muhammad Sartawi's car while it was parked outside his home in Rafedia south of Nablus. No injuries were reported.
Sartawi is a member of Fatah's regional committee in the Nablus district.
The incident comes days after gunmen opened fire on another Fatah leader's car in the Nasiriyya neighborhood of Nablus.
Maan News Agency
Campaign against Israeli drones
A petition launched by Campagne BDS France urging the government to end the deal and calling for an immediate military embargo on Israel has already garnered more than 1300 signatures. The text states:
No to the purchase by France of 318 million euros worth of Israeli drones!
An immediate military embargo against Israel!
On 20 July the French Ministry of Defence took the scandalous decision to buy from Israel more than 318 million euros worth of war weapons. When this outlaw state is guilty, day after day, of grave violations of international law, when there is a climate of austerity, when there are calls for demilitarization and for sanctions against Israel’s impunity, we are outraged by the disgraceful choice made by the Ministry of Defence.
Israel has a well established record of violations of international law and human rights, on display in its various military operations and aggressive attacks, incursions and occupations of Palestinian territories and other Arab countries, in its abusive and indiscriminate use of force and in the deliberate targeting of civilians and infrastructure. All of which result in a ceaseless repetition of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The BDS French Campaign joins the Palestinian BNC in calling for an immediate military embargo against Israel, similar to that imposed upon South Africa in the past. We demand the immediate cancellation of the contract to purchase drones from Israel.
Decision to buy Israeli drones “surprises” French Senate
Earlier this month, the vice-chairs of the foreign affairs and defence and armed forces committees of the French Senate wrote an open letter in Le Monde strongly opposing the decision. The four senators, two from President Nicholas Sarkozy’s UMP party and two from the Socialist opposition, wrote (my translation):
On July 20, the Minister of Defence, Gérard Longuet, chose to equip our forces with the Heron TP, manufactured by the Israeli company IAI [Israel Aircraft Industries] and imported by Dassault. This decision caused surprise in the Senate. When a state undertakes to equip its forces it must be done impartially, in a rational, that is to say, measurable manner: at what price, what specifications, and what industrial sovereignty? If possible it must reconcile all these objectives, otherwise it must prioritize the security of its soldiers and the effectiveness of its armed forces.
The senators added that the Israeli drone was unsuited to French needs. The Heron TP, they wrote, is “big, slow and vulnerable in degraded weather conditions.” They advocated purchasing the US-made Reaper drone instead.
Their support for the Reaper underscores that the senators, while strongly opposing the Israeli drone, did not raise any ethical concerns about the purchase. Their opposition – according to their words – is strictly on technical merit.
Nonetheless, with a significant core of opposition to buying from Israel already in place it may well be easier for BDS campaigners to bring more public pressure to abandon the deal.
Campaign launched against French purchase of Israeli drones | BDSmovement.net
Leaders of the Palestinian prisoners’ movement in Israeli prisons and detention facilities stated that the situation all political detainees are facing is at its worst, adding that, right now, detainees sentenced to life-terms are thinking about launching an Irish-Style Hunger-Strike, while the rest of the detainees likely to follow their lead.
In a statement that reach the Palestinian Ministry of Detainees, the detainees stated that their conditions are declining from bad to worse, and that their issue, and their release, must be a top priority to the Palestinian Authority.
They said that Israel must be held responsible for its ongoing violations, ongoing attacks and illegal conditions it imposed on the detainees, especially since International Law and all related human rights resolutions guaranteed the rights of all political prisoners.
They added that they support the stance of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in refusing to resume peace talks with Israel until it stops its violations and settlement activities, and that the Palestinian leadership must always act on ensuring the release of all Palestinian detainees without any preconditions.
In their letter, they also stated that “the battle of empty bowels is the most effective method the detainees can use to achieve their legitimate rights”, and that they are willing to sacrifice and risk their own lives by launching an open-ended hunger strike based on the Irish style in order to achieve the following rights;
1. Israel must treat us as prisoners of war, in accordance with the Fourth Geneva Conventions.
2. We support the position of the PLO in refusing to resume peace talks with Israel until it stops its violations and settlement activities, and we affirm the right of all detainees to be released, especially those who spent many years behind bars.
3. We refuse any attempt to delay talks on the detainees’ issue until the final stage of peace talks.
4. Our case is a top priority, and no final peace agreement should be reached without our release.
5. We demand a fair resolution to our cause, especially the old detainees, those who spent years behind bars, and we demand that the leadership should not resume peace talks unless our issue is resolved.
Meanwhile, Palestinian Minister of Detainees in the West Bank, Issa Qaraqe’, warned that Israel is planning further attacks against the detainees at the Negev Detention Camp, where 1200 Palestinians are held, adding that Israel is planning to vacate the detention camp after confiscating all belongings of the detainees and sending them to other detention facilities.
Qaraqe’ added that Israel pushed thousands of soldiers around the Negev Detention Camp, boosted the number of soldiers on monitoring towers around the camp, and that the soldiers are readying for a possible, large-scale, offensive against the detainees.
The minister further stated that during the most recent talks between the representatives of the detainees in the Negev, and the administration at the camp, the director of the prison threatened that he would instruct the soldiers to use excessive force to vacate the camp and send the detainees to different prisons, in order to weaken them, and scatter their leaders in different prisons.
He further stated that the detainees made a decision to resist the Israel plan, adding that Israel want to remove the entire prison population in order to replace them with Sudanese and African illegal migrants.
The situation at the Negev Camp is on edge, and fears of an imminent attack are increasing.
The detainees are demanding Israel to respect its own vows to reduce their suffering and stop the attacks and violations against them.
Qaraqe’ said that in 2011, Israeli soldiers carried out 200 attacks against the detainees, and that the majority of these attacks were carried out after midnight. Hundreds of detainees were injured, and illegal sanctions were imposed on them, including placing dozens in solidarity confinement, depriving them from their visitation rights, imposing fines on them and depriving them from accessing the prison canteen.
“2011 witnessed dangerous attacks against the detainees, their dignity and their living conditions, hundreds were deprived from access to education”, Qaraqe’ stated, “More detainees were forced into solitary confinement, deprived from visitations; Israel is acting above the law, challenging the International Community and the basic principles of human rights”.
International Middle East Media Center
leader Mohammed Badie before their meeting at the headquarters of the
Muslim Brotherhood movement in Cairo Dec. 26.
(Reuters/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany)
Some 59 members of Hamas' Shura Council met in Khartoum to discuss creating a separate branch of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine, the report said.
Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh met Muslim Brotherhood chairman Muhammad Badie on Dec. 26 during his visit to Cairo.
A Hamas delegation, including Haniyeh and Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal, is in Khartoum and met Sudanese President Omar Bashir on Thursday.
In October, a Muslim Brotherhood delegation visited the Gaza Strip for the first time. The party had been curbed by US-aligned Hosni Mubarak but it has been empowered by a strong showing in elections since the president's ouster.
Maan News Agency
On Friday, a group of armed settlers raided Solomon Pools area in al-Khader village, south of Bethlehem, started to explore the place from all its sides and took pictures for the conference center. Settlers headed to one of the pools and centered there, and started to do their rituals
The activist against the wall and settlement, Awad Abu Sway, said that around 200 settlers from Efrat settlement, which was built near al-Khader village, raided Solomon Pools area, and surrounded the conference center, with intensive Israeli security procedures, as they were accompanied by the Israeli army.Abu sway also said that the settlers started to take some pictures for the center’s surrounding area, before they centered in the third pool and in al-Attan area’s lands. They also started to do Tehilim rituals: reciting Psalms at the place.
PNN - Palestine News Network
RAMALLAH, December 31, 2011 (WAFA) – President Mahmoud Abbas Saturday received a letter from Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov regarding the situation in the region, especially in Syria.
The Russian ambassador to the Palestinian Territory, Alexander Rudakov, handed Abbas the letter, which addressed the need to support and increase the number of Arab monitors in Syria, as well as to find a way to end the current crisis to reunite Syria and avoid a civil war in the country.
Abbas briefed Rudakov on the Quartet efforts and of his upcoming visit to Moscow in January.
He stressed that Israel must uphold its obligations to halt settlements, accept the principle of the two-state solution, and release veteran Palestinian prisoners to resume negotiations by the next Quartet meeting in January 26.
Volleys of tear gas, rubber coated steel bullets and live ammunition is how the Israeli Army met a small demonstration in remembrance of 2 martyrs, in Ni’lin today. Starting after Friday prayers approximately 25 Palestinians and 6 internationals made their way from the village through olive groves to the Apartheid Wall to commemorate the murder of Mohammed Khawaje and Arafat Khawaje on the 28th December 2008. Mohammed was shot in the forehead with live ammunition and Arafat was fatally shot in the back when attempting to rescue another villager who had been shot by an Israeli sniper.
The protest was immediately greeted with the full arsenal of the weapons available to the Israeli military. There was nearly as many heavily armed soldiers as demonstrators. A Palestinian demonstrator pleaded through a megaphone in a fog of tear gas for the soldiers to “Stay Human.” The reply was a callous round of live ammunition fired at the demonstration. As the demo drew to a close, an armored Humvee packed with soldiers taunted the protest before a final set of shots were fired.
Ni’lin has been holding these weekly demonstrations since the Aparthied Wall was first planned. The Wall has annexed over 30% of the land of Ni’lin and has cost the lives of 5 martyrs. The protest continues weekly.
Paying the Price: Ni'ilin Commemorates its Martyrs | Popular Struggle Coordination Committee
(MaanImages/Hatem Omar, File)
Ashraf al-Qidra told Ma'an that medics in the besieged coastal enclave had to cope with shortages of medicine and medical equipment on a daily basis, affecting over one-third of patients.
Patients with chronic diseases such as cancer, kidney failure and neuritis were the worst affected, al-Qidra said.
Hospitals and health centers have totally run out of 145 basic medicines and 150 types of medical equipment, he added.
Al-Qidra noted that medical shortages coincided with Israeli threats to launch a large scale offensive on the Gaza Strip.
The head of the Israeli army's Southern Brigade Tal Hermoni told reporters on Wednesday that forces were ready for a new military operation on Gaza.
"We are preparing and in fact are ready for another campaign, which will be varied and different, to renew our deterrence," Hermoni said.
On Tuesday, Israel's army chief Benny Gantz marked the three-year anniversary of Israel's last war on Gaza by hailing the invasion as "an excellent operation." Around 1,400 Palestinians were killed in the devastating three-week attack.
Gantz told Army Radio that Israel should initiate another invasion of the Gaza Strip and that it must be "swift and painful."
In 2011, Israeli forces killed 124 people in Gaza including 20 children and two women, al-Qidra said. Over 600 people were injured in Israeli attacks, the health ministry official added.
Meanwhile, residents and hospitals had to cope with 8-hour power cuts most days in 2011 due to diesel shortages.
Maan News Agency
RAMALLAH, December 31, 2011 (WAFA) – The three Palestinian Arabic dailies Saturday highlighted the death of a Palestinian in an Israeli airstrike on the Gaza Strip on Friday.
Al-Hayat al-Jadida’s front page reported on the death of Moumen Abu Daf, apparently a leader in the radical Army of Islam group, in an Israeli airstrike that targeted a group of Palestinians in Juhr al-Dik neighborhood, southeast of Gaza City. Another Palestinian was injured in the strike.
The headline also reported that a group of Jewish settlers attacked Palestinian and Israeli activists during a weekly demonstration against settlements in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.
The front page featured a picture of a Palestinian resident in Jerusalem raising the Palestinian flag and in the background two settlers raising Israeli flags. Al-Quds, reporting on the same news, printed on its front page a picture of a Jewish settler unleashing his dog at the protesters.
Al-Quds reported that a photojournalist working for al-Hayat al-Jadida newspaper was injured along with another three Palestinians and 11 were arrested in the weekly protests against the Apartheid Wall and settlements across the West Bank.
Al-Hayat al-Jadida focused on statements by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman slamming a secret European Union report on the gaps between the Jewish and Arab communities in Israel, and describing it as “anti-Semitic.”
The main headline quoted Lieberman ruling out a solution of the Palestinian cause anytime soon and supporting swapping the predominantly Arab populated areas of the Triangle area in northern Israel to Palestinian territory in the West Bank populated by Jewish settlers.
Israeli reports on a recent Hamas cessation of military operations against Israeli targets following talks between President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal were highlighted in al-Quds daily.
The three papers featured on their front page news on the ongoing violence in Syria stating that the reported number of civilians killed on Friday ranged from 32 to 38.
Al-Quds editorial criticized Hamas practices against Fatah members and its violation of the freedom of the press in the Gaza Strip, which contradicts with the recent reconciliation efforts between Hamas and Fatah.The paper particularly slammed Hamas decision to prevent any celebrations in the Strip commemorating the 47th anniversary of the start of Fatah military operations against Israel.
Palestine News & Info Agency - WAFA - Newspapers Review
BETHLEHEM, December 31, 2011 (WAFA) – The Israeli military authority informed a Palestinian family from al-Khader, a town south of Bethlehem, of its intention to take over its land located near the settlement of Eliazer, an official in al-Khader town council said Saturday.
He said the landowners found a notice by the military authority left in their land stating its intention to seize 20 dunums of their land.
He said this was the second time in less than a year in which Israel decides to seize Palestinian land in that area, pointing out that al-Khader is being subjected to a vicious attack by the Israeli military authority to build the Apartheid Wall in the area.
Friday, December 30, 2011
GAZA, (PIC)-- A Palestinian resistance fighter was killed on Friday morning while five others were wounded in an Israeli occupation airstrike to the east of Gaza City.
Eyewitnesses told PIC that an Israeli drone on Friday morning fired at least one rocket at a group of resistance fighters in the village of Juhr al-Deek to the east of Gaza City killing Mo’men Abu Daff and wounding five others.Palestinian medical sources confirmed the death of Abu Daf as his body and the wounded persons were taken to Shifa hospital in Gaza City.
A resistance fighter killed, 5 wounded in Israeli airstrike
On the third anniversary of the Israeli assault on Gaza that killed 1,400 men, women and children, and devastated the lives of an already-besieged population, an open letter from dozens of organizations calling on the international community and "the Arab street" to demand the liberation, finally, of the Palestinians. In Gaza, meanwhile, between the rubble, life goes on.
"'We want to tell a story about a home with broken lanterns
About a lonely farm and about its fruits that weren’t picked
About a picnic that wasn’t enjoyed
About a baby girl that didn’t grow up
About a fire that consumed a child
About a classroom that wasn’t attended
About a wedding that wasn’t celebrated
About a football that wasn’t kicked
About a spirit that cannot be defeated
And about a stubborn flag that refuses to lie down.'"
incursion of Israeli tanks. (MaanImages/Hatem Omar, File)
Locals reported hearing huge explosions. Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said no injuries had been reported.
An Israeli military spokeswoman was not familiar with the incident.
Maan News Agency
"Israel will retaliate fiercely against any abduction of a soldier of the defense army in future just like what happened to Gilad Shalit," the Israeli radio quoted what it called "senior" political source as saying.
He was referring to Shalit's abduction by three Palestinian factions in Gaza. The Israeli soldier was kept in an unknown location in Gaza and was released in exchange of 1,055 Palestinian prisoners.
The Israeli source said the Israeli mini-cabinet has recently taken a decision to launch a military offensive against any abductee.
He said the "rules of the game have changed," and the price would be very high.
Shalit's exchange deal has encouraged more Palestinian factions to consider capturing Israeli soldiers.
A number of Hamas senior officials have recently threatened to kidnap more Israeli soldiers to bring about release of Palestinian prisoners.
Meanwhile, the Israeli artillery bombarded the eastern outskirts of Zaitoon neighborhood in southeast Gaza City. No one was hurt.
RAMALLAH, December 30, 2011 (WAFA) – A photojournalist and three people were hurt and many others suffered from tear gas inhalation during the weekly Friday protests in several West Bank areas, according to activists.
The weekly protests took place in Nabi Saleh, Bilin, Nilin, and Qalandia, all in the Ramallah area, al-Masara near Bethlehem, Kufr Qaddoum, near Qalqilia, and Kufr al-Dik, near Salfit.
In Nabi Saleh, where protests have been taking place every Friday for the past two years and where a Palestinian was recently killed when a tear gas canister fired by Israeli soldiers hit him in the face, a photojournalist and three other people were injured from tear gas canisters and rubber bullets fired at the protesters.
The photojournalist, Issam Rimawi, was hit by a tear gas canister in the leg and another protester was hit in his hand. The others were hit by rubber bullets.
Nine people were arrested, including two members of the international solidarity movement, said local activists.
The army had closed off the area to prevent activists from reaching Nabi Saleh and earlier in the day raided the village and arrested international activists and took them to an unknown destination.
In Nilin and Bilin, protesters suffered from tear gas inhalation when soldiers fired several volleys of tear gas at the protesters who attempted to reach the wall the army was building on land belonging to the villages to separate them from Jewish settlements built on village land.
At least one Palestinian was hit by a rubber bullet in the neck in Bilin and dozen other local, international and Israeli activists suffered from tear gas inhalation.
In Qalandia, where protests started recently as Israel began building a wall on village land to separate it from Jerusalem, dozens were hurt by tear gas inhalation.
Activists said Israeli soldiers raided the village and fired tear gas directly at homes causing serious harm to residents.
The army also cracked down hard on protesters in Kufr Qaddoum, Kufr al-Dik and al-Masara, where dozens suffered from tear gas inhalation.
Palestine News & Info Agency - WAFA
LONDON, December 30, 2011 (WAFA) – Britain Friday condemned Israeli plans to build housing units for Jewish settlers in Jerusalem and its area settlements.
British minister for the Middle East and North Africa, Alistair Burt, condemned in a statement issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office the Israeli decision.
“I condemn the decision by the Jerusalem Local Planning and Building Committee to build additional structures in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan, and housing in the settlement of Gilo,” he said.
“This is another provocative and deeply counter-productive step, the latest in a series by the Israeli authorities,” said Burt, adding that “continued systematic settlement construction makes it ever harder to achieve the common goal of international efforts: a contiguous Palestinian state living side-by-side with a secure Israel, with Jerusalem as a shared capital.”
BETHLEHEM, December 30, 2011 (WAFA) – Around 200 armed Israeli settlers paraded in the town of al-Khader, south of Bethlehem Friday morning and walked around the convention center and nearby Solomon’s Pools, said local activists.
Awad Abu Sway, member of the local anti-settlements committee, said the settlers, protected by Israeli soldiers, took pictures of the convention center and the pools and held prayers in the area.
The settlers then left the area and went to another neighborhood of al-Khader, where a settlement outpost was erected.
Another area activist, Ahmad Salah, said settlers have increased their activities in that area of al-Khader. The Israeli army declared on Thursday dozens of dunums of al-Khader closed military zone.
He said area farmers are regularly harassed by settlers who prevent them from working on their land.
Palestine News & Info Agency - WAFA
Witnesses said a missile hit a group of Palestinians in Juhr al-Dik neighborhood southeast of Gaza City killing one and injuring five others but only one required hospitalization, according to medical sources.
The dead was identified as Moumen Abu Daf, apparently a leader in the radical Army of Islam group.
The Israeli army admitted the attack and said it targeted a group of Palestinians who were getting ready to fire missiles at southern Israeli towns.
Palestinian Killed in Israeli Airstrike on Gaza
Dec 28, 2011 | Richard Silverstein | Tikun Olam-תיקון עולם: Make the World a Better Place
For those who have a long memory here, one of my earliest prolonged blogging battles was with a far-right wing Islamophobic Australian-Israeli blogger who used the pseudonym, Aussie Dave and wrote an especially putrid blog, Israellycool. Originally, I went head to head with him over his Jewish blogging contest which he organized under the sponsorship of the Jerusalem Post. In taking him to task for the far right wing nature of the vast majority of the blogs nominated, I earned his eternal enmity. He’s now organizing a new version of the contest, the Pro-Israel Blog-Off, for only the farthest right of pro-Israel blogs. To ensure the Zionist ideological kashrut of the project, the judges include the CEO of the pro-Israel media advocacy group, Honest Reporting (“Honest” should be in square quotes) and “the Embassy of Israel in Dublin.” Don’t ask how an entire embassy can judge a blogging contest. The nominees are a very veritable hate-fest of the right-wing Anglo-Israeli blog world including CIF Watch, Elders of Ziyon, My Right Word, etc.
Ever since the days of his first contest, he’s taken every chance he could to attempt (invariably unsuccessfully) to shame, embarrass, humiliate or insult me. I won’t go into the specifics since they’re so puerile and sophomoric. Davey has threatened to sue me and warned me that he was a lawyer. But somehow, being the bully he is, he talked a good game never following through. I’ve always wondered why he refused to reveal his real identity, especially since he’d published my home address, phone number and my wife’s employer name and work phone at his blog. It seemed especially hypocritical under the circumstances.
Now, due to a sloppy error on his part (thanks to an Israeli who finds him as repellant as I, who caught it), Aussie Dave has exposed his real identity. And since I believe that hypocrites deserve their comeuppance and that their dark secrets deserve to see the light, I’m exposing him for what and who he is: David Loeb, 23 Rashi Street Beit-Shemesh, Israel. In his Facebook profile he notes some sort of affiliation with Virgin Megastores, which may mean he works there. If anyone knows, I’d like to find out. Loeb’s FB photo indicates he likes to gamble as it shows him at what appears to be a casino blackjack table.
The last straw that determined my decision to expose him was his feeble attempt to link me to a couple from my home city sharing my last name, who were charged with welfare fraud. Loeb hoped at the very least that the cheat might be my brother or some other close relative. It’s bad enough when they implicate me personally in their scummy revenge fantasies. But when they attempt to ensnare innocent family members, that goes too far.
So Dave, I’m throwing you the coming out party you so richly deserve. Enjoy your moment the sun. Now that you’ve been outed you won’t have any more protection than the rest of us, who blog under our own name, have. I daren’t believe it will make you any more responsible or any less bilious. You and leopards, after all, cannot change your spots.
NOTE ABOUT CHANGES TO COMMENTING: I’ve been innundated by spam lately and disappointed that the Akismet anti-spam plugin, which had been doing a great job, began to perform so shoddily. I’ve implemented a new system that requires commenters to check boxes before their comment is sent to the queue. I didn’t want to implement a Captcha plugin because I thought that was too intrusive. I hope this is a reasonable compromise.
Source and more at Tikun Olam-תיקון עולם: Make the World a Better Place.
Dec 29, 2011 | Richard Silverstein | Tikun Olam-תיקון עולם: Make the World a Better Place
The Sad Case of Aussie DaveYesterday, I reported in a post that I believed I had exposed the real identity of Aussie Dave, author of the Israellycool blog. It appears that he invented a fake identity in order to perpetrate a hoax on me. It boggles the mind that he went to the immense amount of trouble he did to perpetrate this hoax. It tells you how much free time he has on his hands to engage in all the subterfuge that was necessary to fool me. It tells you precious little about me, but quite a lot about him.
Dave thinks he’s a genius because I fooled me. What he doesn’t realize is that in his blog post, he proudly admits that he created a hoax Facebook account for a non-existent person using the photo of a real person, a clear violation of Facebook rules. Here’s how he bragged about it:
David Loeb is a fake name. The photo in the Facebook profile I set up is of basketballer Jordan Farmar…I used his photo deliberately…I’ve reported him to Facebook for doing this. I hope there will be repercussions and that he doesn’t have a real Facebook account. If he does, perhaps Facebook will express its displeasure with idiots like him exploiting company for his own tomfoolish purposes.
I included in the profile my supposed address (Beit Shemesh)…as well as the URL of this blog to connect David Loeb to it.
Dave moans in his post that I not only violated his privacy by posting what he wanted me to believe was his home address, but that I potentially endangered him. Which is funny because he doesn’t mention that he not only published my home address and phone number, but my wife’s employer and her work phone.
He and his allies are trying to embarrass Jillian York, a staffer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who correctly warned me that his Facebook account appeared to be fake. They’re claiming that I exposed the private details of an individual in violation of EFF guidelines and that York is somehow guilty of violating her employer’s mission statement in protecting the privacy of bloggers. This is yet more nonsense since Aussie Dave created a publicly accessible Facebook account to which anyone had access and which displayed his alleged address for anyone to see. Not only that, but the account is fake as is virtually all the information in it.
Dave of course doesn’t mention the recent incident when he hoaxed himself, seeking to believe that my brother had been arrested for being a welfare cheat. The only truth to his fantasy was that someone with my extremely common last name had been arrested for such a crime. He created an entire post in which he gleefully and hopefully speculated that the perpetrator might be my brother. He even searched through my online photo galleries finding a photo of my brother-in-law and speculating that because he had the same first name as the welfare cheat that he might be the same person. He wasn’t. Not a word from Dave about this violation of the privacy of my brother-in-law, a totally innocent party in his charade.
There’s a larger point here as far as I’m concerned. It’s that doing what I do is complicated because I have to trust my sources and go with my gut about their credibility. Yes, I can do some elementary research to determine their credibility. But in the end, you have to decide whether or not to take a jump. Usually, the times when I’ve been hoaxed are when I decide to trust people I’ve never dealt with before and whose bona fides aren’t clear. That’s what happened in this case.
I’ve said before that I’ve made mistakes in trusting a few hoaxsters (luckily only two as far as I know). Luckily those mistakes have been few. Now we can add this one to the previous ones. When you report stories that I do, there is always the chance that you will make mistakes. Some will involve discrete points in an overall story. Others will be larger and more serious errors. I’ve never claimed to be perfect. In fact, I think conceding mistakes shows readers that you are human and have nothing to hide.
Dave wrote in his post that he believed I would take down my earlier post exposing him. I certainly won’t. Both because I want readers to know that I’m transparent; and because I want people to see what he has done and judge him for it. I want people to understand the pains that the pro-Israel Islamophobic blog world takes to smear its opponents. And the nastiness of their methods and outcomes.
Source and more at Tikun Olam
Aussie Dave Exposed ~ by Richard Silverstein (including update) | Occupied Palestine | فلسطين