Thursday, January 31, 2013

Israel must pull all settlers: UN

Israel must pull all settlers: UN
Israel must immediately stop all settlement activity and start to withdraw its settlers from the Palestinian territories, a United Nations report said yesterday.
"Israel must ... cease all settlement activities without preconditions (and) must immediately initiate a process of withdrawal of all settlers" from the occupied territories, a UN fact-finding mission concluded.
Because of the settlements, Palestinians' human rights "are being violated consistently and on a daily basis," the three independent experts said in a report commissioned by the UN's Human Rights Council last March.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Sources: Israel hits target in Syria border area

Maan News Agency
Published today (updated) 30/01/2013 14:24
The remnants of an Israeli tank pictured in the Golan Heights.
(MaanImages/File)
LONDON (Reuters) -- Israeli forces attacked a target on the Syrian-Lebanese border overnight, a Western diplomat and a security source said on Wednesday, at a time of growing concern in Israel over the fate of Syrian chemical and conventional weapons.

The sources, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue, had no further information about what might have been hit or where precisely the attack happened.

Earlier, the Lebanese army reported a heavy presence of Israeli jets over its territory throughout the night.

"There was definitely a hit in the border area," the source said.

An activist in Syria who works with a network of opposition groups around the country said that she had heard of a strike in southern Syria from her colleagues but could not confirm.

Israel's vice premier Silvan Shalom said on Sunday that any sign that Syria's grip on its chemical weapons was slipping, as President Bashar Assad fights rebels trying to overthrow him, could trigger Israeli intervention.

Israeli sources said Tuesday that Syria's advanced conventional weapons would represent as much of a threat to Israel as its chemical arms should they fall into the hands of Syrian rebel forces or Hezbollah guerrillas based in Lebanon.

Israel has sent its national security adviser, Yaakov Amidror, to Russia and its military intelligence chief Major-General Aviv Kochavi to the United States for consultations, Israeli media said.

In Jerusalem, the Israeli military declined any comment.

"We do not comment on reports of this kind," an Israeli army spokeswoman said.

Vice Premier Silvan Shalom, on Israel Radio, was asked if there was unusual activity on the northern front.

"The entire world has said more than once that it takes developments in Syria very seriously, developments which can be in negative directions. And therefore the world, led by President Obama who has said this more than once, is taking all possibilities into account and of course any development which is a development in a negative direction would be something that needs stopping and prevention."

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Settlers Starts Building Settlement Outpost near Qalqilia

Palestine News & Info Agency - WAFA -
QALQILIA, January 29, 2013 (WAFA) – Settlers Tuesday began building a settlement outpost on the land of the village of Jayyous, near the city of Qalqilia, said local sources.

Head of Jayyous Village Council Ghassan Harami told WAFA that a number of settlers and under the protection of the Israeli army put up seven caravans on land that belongs to a Palestinian family.

He said that army vehicles razed the land in the area and connected the caravans with electricity in preparation for the settlers to reside there.

The separation wall, constructed on the land of Jayyous in 2002, confiscated over 8600 dunums of land that belongs to the residents of the village, depriving them their primer source of living.

They filed a lawsuit to amend the separation wall’s path and regained about 6200 dunums of land, which didn’t go well with the settlers, who put up the caravans in response.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Do not let settlers expel us from our home in Sheikh Jarrah

Mondoweiss
by on December 28, 2012 7

To whom it may concern,
My name is Ayoub Shamasneh and I live in Um Haroun, Sheikh Jarrah. My wife and I are living here with our son, Mohammed, his wife Amaal, and their six children ranging from the ages of 11 to 22 years old. We have lived in this house since 1964, it is where we built our family and raised our children. In 2009, after decades of living in our home, the Israeli General Custodian’s Office informed us that our rental’s agreement will not be renewed. They have now sued us in order to take ownership of the property via individuals whom they claim are the descendants of the original Jewish owners pre-1948. Our case has been reviewed by an Israeli court in two separate hearings and judges have refused to accept evidence we have submitted to show proof of our residence in our home since 1964. Therefore, they are claiming that we are not eligible for protected tenant status. Consequently we have been ordered to evacuate the property by 2pm on December 31st, 2012. As far as we know, the property will be handed over to a right wing settler organization that has previously taken over properties in the neighbourhood.
Now more than ever we are aware of the double standard of the Israeli law that does not lend Palestinian refugees or their children a claim to property they owned before 1948, yet allows children of Jewish Israelis to sue and evict Palestinian families from homes they have lived in for decades. As a result of this discriminatory double standard of the Israeli law we are about to lose our home and be thrown out onto the street.
Forced eviction from our home will not only be a human tragedy but also a political maneuver which aims to strengthen and expedite the settlement project in East Jerusalem, specifically in Sheikh Jarrah. Israeli Jewish settlement takeover in Sheikh Jarrah serves to interrupt the presence of a continuous and connected Palestinian community in East Jerusalem. Numerous families have already lost their homes and 30 more are living, day-to-day, under the eminent threat of eviction. Our case will set yet another precedent that will play directly into the hands of the settlement project and will be another nail in the coffin of a viable East Jerusalem.
We are turning to you, as writers, activists, public figures, artists and concerned citizens of the world, to do all that you can to call on the Israeli government to instruct the General Custodian not to evict our family from our home and thereby facilitate the agenda of extremist settlers who are destroying all chances for a peaceful and just future in Jerusalem.
Sincerely,
Ayoub Shamasneh

Palestinians plan to take Israel to ICC

ArabNews
Linda Gradstein
Sunday 27 January 2013
Last Update 27 January 2013 1:13 am
Palestinians may soon have a new weapon in their arsenal against Israel — the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague. Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riad Malki said Palestinians may turn to the court to stop Israeli construction on land Israel acquired in 1967, especially on a controversial piece of land on the outskirts of eastern Jerusalem called E-1.
“If Israel would like to go further by implementing the E-1 plan and the other related plans around Jerusalem then yes, we will be going to the ICC,” he said referring to the International Criminal Court. “We have no other choice. It depends on the Israeli decision.”
Israeli officials quickly responded.
“Israel continues to propose the immediate resumption of direct peace talks with no preconditions whatsoever,” government spokesman Mark Regev said. “If the Palestinians choose the path of unilateral provocative steps they will be acting to undermine any chance of moving forward.”
The Palestinians’ ability to appeal to the court comes after the United Nations General Assembly upgraded “Palestine” to a non-member observer state in November. In retaliation, Israel announced a series of punitive measures, including dusting off plans to build in E-1, a corridor of land between East Jerusalem and the large Jewish community of Ma’ale Adumim.
Palestinians say building there would make a contiguous Palestinian state almost impossible and impede movement from Ramallah in the north to Bethlehem in the south. The international community has also sharply criticized the planned Israeli construction.
The International Criminal Court prosecutes charges of genocide, war crimes and other human rights violations. “Palestine” would first have to apply to join the court and then, if accepted, charge Israel.
The ICC has already ruled that the barrier that Israel is building in and around the West Bank, which Israel calls a “security barrier” and Palestinians call a “wall” is illegal. The Court ruled that Israel confiscated Palestinian property to build the barrier and that it impedes freedom of movement. The ICC decision is not binding and Israel has continued building. “Even if the decision on the wall or E-1 is not applied it sets an important precedent,” Saleh Abd Al-Jawad, a Palestinian historian at Birzeit University, said. “I think it is a good idea, even if it is a dream that anything will change.”
Malki spoke after the UN Security Council held a special session on Israeli construction in the “West Bank”— the first discussion since the Palestinian UN upgrade. The nameplate for the Palestinian delegation read “State of Palestine,” a moniker attacked by US Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Islamic Jihad member killed in central Gaza 'mission'

Islamic Jihad member killed in central Gaza 'mission' | Maan News Agency: Published today 12:33
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- A member of Islamic Jihad's armed wing died Saturday in a "mission" in the central Gaza Strip, the group announced in a statement.

Jihad Yousef al-Sos, 22, was from al-Nuseirat refugee camp, according to the statement which did not elaborate on the circumstances of the man's death.

Friday, January 25, 2013

PCHR Weekly Report: 10 civilians, including 3 children, wounded by Israeli forces this week


For the full text of the report, click on the link below:
http://www.pchrgaza.org/portal/en/index.php?option=com_...d=183

International Middle East Media Center
 author by PCHR Gaza Report post
In its Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the week of 17- 22 January 2012, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) found that 4 civilians, including 2 children, were wounded in the northern and central Gaza Strip. 5 Palestinian civilians were wounded in al-Nabi Saleh and Kofur Qaddoum peaceful protests in the center and north of the West Bank. Also, in an Israeli invasion, a Palestinian child sustained severe wounds in Ayda refugee camp, north of Bethlehem.
Israeli soldiers attack non-violent demonstrators in Al Masara (image by PCHR)
Israeli soldiers attack non-violent demonstrators in Al Masara (image by PCHR)
Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip:

This week in Gaza, a 2-year girl was wounded by Israeli shrapnel while she was playing in front of her family's house in al-Salqa valley in the central Gaza Strip, in addition to 3 other civilians wounded by Israeli gunfire.

In the Gaza Strip, on 17 January 2013, 2 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded. The first one was wounded when the Israeli forces positioned along the border fence, east of Jabalya, opened fire at a group of civilians and farmers, who were 100 meters to the west of the fence. Five minutes later, the second person was wounded when the Israeli forces positioned along the border fence, north of Beit Lahia, opened fire at a group of civilians and farmers a few meters to the west of the fence. It should be mentioned that Palestinian farmers, following the truce signed between the armed groups and Israel after the latest offensive on the Gaza Strip, went back to the buffer zone, which is 300 meters along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, in order to carry out the decision made by the Israeli forces and to help farmers have access to their lands after being denied the use of them.

On 19 January 2013, a 2-year girl was wounded when the Israeli forces positioned along the border fence, east of Wadi al-Salqa village in the central Gaza Strip, opened fire at the agricultural lands. The girl was playing in front of her family's house that was 1,000 meters away from the fence.

On 21 January 2013, a Palestinian boy was wounded when the Israeli forces positioned on watchtowers, northwest of Beit Lahia, opened fire at some workers who were collecting plastic, gravel and firewood a few meters away from the fence. The Israeli forces claimed that they fired at a group of boys who attempted to damage the fence in the northern Gaza Strip. It should be noted that the Israeli forces had fired at farmers and gravel collectors in the vicinity of al-Shuhada' cemetery, east of Jabalya, but no casualties were reported.

In the context of targeting fishermen, the Israeli gunboats positioned off al-Waha resort, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats 6 times on 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22 January 2013. As a result, the fishermen were frightened and fled back to the shore for fear of being wounded or abducted. Neither material damage nor casualties were reported.

Israeli attacks in the West Bank:

The Israeli forces conducted 50 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank.

At least 37 Palestinian civilians, including 5 children, were abducted. 10 farmers, including 3 women and a mother with her baby in her arms, were abducted in eastern Yatta, south of Hebron. At least 5 Palestinian civilians were abducted at checkpoints in the West Bank.

In one example of this week's 50 incursions, on Thursday January 17th, an Israeli undercover unit in civilian clothes moved into Kofur Ra'i village, south of Jenin. They seized a small Mercedes truck carrying a Palestinian registration plate and abducted Jalal Jamal Raja Melhem, 26, an ex-prisoner and a member of the Islamic Jihad. The Israeli forces moved later into the village and surrounded and raided a house belonging to Belal Nabil Sa'id Diab, 27, a member of the Islamic Jihad. They damaged the contents of the house and abducted the aforementioned person. The Israeli forces raided houses of Mahmoud Matar Mohammed Melhem, 26, and Majdi Ma'moun Khalil Melhem, 26, members of the Islamic Jihad. They abducted them and transported the 4 abducted persons to an unknown destination. It should be noted that this incursion was conducted in the context of a large-scale arrest campaign against members of the Islamic Jihad in Jenin and Tubas.

In the context of efforts to create a Jewish Majority in the Occupied East Jerusalem, the Israeli forces continued to confiscate lands, demolish houses and built new settlement units. PCHR stresses that these measures come in the context of isolating East Jerusalem and annexing it to Israeli according to the Israeli policy that is in violation of the international humanitarian law. PCHR calls upon the international community to promptly take action and reiterates its call upon the High Contracting parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations under Article 1 of the Convention.

On 20 January 2013, the Israeli forces started leveling Palestinian lands in Shu'fat village, northeast of Jerusalem. Local sources stated that these works were conducted for the benifit of road "21" that connects the center of the city with the settlements established around the city.

Israeli attacks on non-violent demonstrations:

In the West Bank, the Israeli forces continued to use excessive force against peaceful protests organized by Palestinians civilians and international and Israeli activists in protest of the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activities in the West Bank. As a result, 6 Palestinians, including a child, were wounded; 3 of whom were wounded in al-Nabi Saleh weekly protest, northwest of Ramallah and 2 others were wounded in Kofur Qaddoum weekly protest, northeast of Qalqilia. The child was wounded at the northern entrance of Ayda refugee camp, north of Bethlehem.

During the reporting period, Israeli forces used force against peaceful demonstrations organized by Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders in protest at the construction of the wall and settlement activities in the West Bank. As a result, 6 Palestinians sustained injuries, including a child whose injury was described as critical. Dozens of demonstrators ALSO suffered from tear gas inhalation and some sustained bruises. PCHR keeps the names of the victims in fear of subjecting them to arrest by the Israeli forces.

On 19 January 2013, Israeli forces abducted 10 Palestinian farmers and activists, including three women and an infant who was with her mother, and transported them to Susyia Military Camp, southeast of Yatta, south of Hebron. This took place during a peaceful protest organized by Palestinian civilians, Israeli and international human rights activists and civilians against the Israeli land confiscating policy for settlement expansion.

Following the Friday Prayer on 18 January 2013, 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. The demonstrators gathered in the streets of the village, chanting slogans calling for national unity. The protesters aimed to stress the need to adhere to national principles and the right of return, to resist the occupation and to call for the release of all Palestinian prisoners. The protesters raised Palestinian flags and made their way towards the lands adjacent to the annexation wall. The Israeli forces had closed all ways and entrances to the village since early morning hours, to prevent Palestinians, journalists and international activists from joining the protest. Upon their arrival to Abu-Lemon reserve, they attempted to cross the separating fence, adjacent to the wall. The Israeli forces positioned behind the new wall on the western side fired rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the demonstrators. As a result, dozens of demonstrators suffered from tear gas inhalation and others sustained bruises.

Also following the Friday Prayer on 18 January 2013, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders organized a peaceful demonstration in Ne’lin village, west of Ramallah, in protest at the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activities. The demonstrators moved towards areas of the annexation wall. Immediately, Israeli soldiers stationed in the area fired rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the demonstrators. As a result, dozens of demonstrators suffered from tear gas inhalation and others sustained bruises.

Around the same time on Friday, 18 January 2013, dozens of Palestinian civilians and Israeli and international human rights defenders gathered in the Martyrs Square in Nabi Saleh village, northwest of Ramallah, to hold a weekly peaceful protest against the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activities, entitled: "On the Anniversary of the killing of Samir Ahmed Awad." The protesters walked towards the gate erected by Israeli forces near the entrance of the village, which leads to Palestinian lands that Israeli settlers from the nearby "Halmish" settlement are trying to seize. Israeli soldiers fired live and rubber-coated bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the protesters. As a result, dozens of demonstrators suffered from tear gas inhalation and others sustained bruises.

At the same time on Friday, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international human rights defenders gathered in Budrus village, west of Ramallah and al-Bireh, for a peaceful protest against the annexation wall and settlement activity. The demonstration was entitled: "On the Anniversary of the Killing of Samir Amed Awad." The demonstrators walked through the village streets and headed towards the wall. The Israeli forces closed the wall gates with barbwires, and when the demonstrators attempted to cross the wall to the lands behind it, the Israeli forces stopped them, so the demonstrators threw rocks at them. The Israeli soldiers fired tear gas canisters and rubber-coated metal bullets. As a result, 3 Palestinian civilians sustained bullet wounds; the first (50) sustained a bullet wound to the left leg; the second (25) sustained a bullet wound to the right thigh and the third (20) was hit in the head by a tear gas canister. Also, dozens of demonstrators suffocated from tear gas inhalation.

Also following the Friday Prayer, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international human rights defenders organized a peaceful demonstration in the center of al-Ma’sara village, south of Bethlehem, in protest at the ongoing construction of the annexation wall. As the protestors moved towards the gate of the village, the Israeli forces closed it to prevent the demonstration from gaining access to the confiscated land and attacked the participants; as a result, some demonstrators suffered from tear gas inhalation and others sustained bruises.

At approximately 12:15 on the same Friday, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international human rights defenders organized a peaceful demonstration in the center of Kuffor Kadoum village, northeast of Qalqilya, in protest to the continuous closure of the eastern entrance of the village since the outbreak of al-Aqsa Intifada. The demonstrators moved towards the entrance of the village. Immediately, Israeli forces, stationed in the surroundings of the steel gate established at the entrance, fired tear gas canisters and rubber-coated metal bullets. As a result, two Palestinian civilians sustained bullet wounds; the first (36) sustained a bullet wound to the right thigh and the second (44) sustained a bullet wound to the back. Dozens of demonstrators also suffered from tear gas inhalation. It should be mentioned that the number of tear gas canisters and sound bombs fired by the Israeli forces exceeded a few hundreds.

At approximately 14:30 on the same Friday, dozens of children and teenagers gathered at the eastern entrance of 'Ayda Refugee Camp, north of Bethlehem. They threw stones at the Israeli soldiers stationed on the watchtower in the vicinity of Bilal Bin Rabah Mosque (Rachel's tomb), north of the city. Following that, the Israeli forces stationed at the main entrance of the camp and fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the protesters, and then opened fire at them. As a result, Saleh Ahmed al-'Amaryn (15) sustained a bullet wound to the head. He was transported to Beit Jala Public Hospital for treatment; however, he was transported later to Hadassah Medical Center where his condition was described as critical.

At approximately 07:30 on Saturday, 19 January 2013, dozens of Palestinian civilians, Israeli and international human rights activists and civilians from Qwaiqis village, east of Yatta, south of Hebron, gathered for the organization of a peaceful protest against the Israeli land confiscation policy for settlement expansion. The demonstrators marched in the streets of the village, chanting for national unity. They later headed to the farmlands threatened by confiscation in Um al-Arayes area, east of Yatta. Upon their arrival at the area, the Israeli forces attacked the peaceful demonstration, under the pretext that the area was a closed military zone. The Israeli soldiers severely beat the demonstrators and abducted 10 of the farmers and human rights activists, including 3 women and a baby who was with her mother.

Israeli settlement activities:

Israel has continued settlement activities in the West Bank, and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.

37 residential tents were damaged and confiscated in al-Maleh area in the northern Jordan Valley, due to which 115 persons became homeless. 6 houses and a water well were demolished and new demolition notices were issued in Hebron. The settlers uprooted 60 olive seedlings in areas south of Bethlehem.

On 17 January 2013, the Israeli forces used bulldozers to demolish tents that offered shelter to 12 families of 115 members in al-Maleh area, east of Tubas, in the northern Jordan Valley. Moreover, the Israeli forces demolished stockyards belonging to the abovementioned families.

On the same day, settlers uprooted 40 olive seedlings in Housan village, west of Bethlehem.

On 19 January 2013, a 200-member infantry unit moved into al-Maleh area for the second time. They damaged 37 tents that were given to the same families in the area. 14 tents of them were provided to the families by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

On the same day, a group of settlers from "Sidi Boaz" settlement outpost, south of Bethlehem, uprooted 20 olive seedlings in Ein Qessis area.

On 21 January 2013, the Israeli forces demolished an agricultural room inhabited by Mosa Ibrahim Abu 'Eram, in addition to a water well in She'eb al-Maghara area, east of Yatta village, south of Hebron.

On the same day, the Israeli forces demolished an under-construction house in al-Rifa'iya area, east of Yatta village.

On the same day, 4 tin-made houses in al-Rahwa area, south of al-Daheriya village in the south of Hebron, were demolished.

In the same context, on 20 January 2013, the Israeli forces submitted notices to 6 Palestinians in Wad al-Naqi area, west of Ethna village in the west of Hebron, to suspend their work in 3 houses and 3 barns under the pretext of not having obtained construction license from the Israeli authorities.

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 were 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.

Also, the PCHR calls 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.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Israel to Demolish two Houses in Jordan Valley

Palestine News & Info Agency - 
JERICHO, January 23, 2013 (WAFA) – Israeli forces Wednesday handed a number of Palestinians demolition notices for two houses and several agricultural structures in al-Zbaidat village, north of Jericho, according to local sources.
Village residents said the demolition is usually implemented immediately and without giving residents any time to file an objection to the order.
Israel is trying to prevent Palestinians from building in the scarcely-populated Jordan Valley area, which it plans to annex.

Azza teen dies of Israel gunshot wounds

Maan News Agency

Published today (updated) 23/01/2013 14:47
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A teenager shot by Israeli forces during clashes in Bethlehem last week died on Wednesday, the boy's family said.

Salih al-Amarin, 15, from Azza refugee camp, was shot in the head Friday during clashes in Bethlehem's nearby Aida camp, leaving him critically injured, a Ma'an reporter said.

Al-Amarin was taken to the Arab Society Hospital in Beit Jala, where medics said he was in a critical condition. He has been on life support since the incident.

An Israeli military spokeswoman did not return a call seeking comment at the time.

Last Tuesday, 17-year-old Samir Ahmad Abdul-Rahim was the fourth Palestinian shot dead by Israeli forces in less than a week.

He was shot four times by Israeli soldiers in Budrus, near Ramallah.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Palestinian president warns of more settlement building if Israeli PM re-elected

AP Exclusive: Palestinian president warns of more settlement building if Israeli PM re-elected - OrlandoSentinel.com
 
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — The Palestinians have long complained that Israel's right-wing government is killing peace prospects by settling the West Bank with Jews, but now there is something new. The Palestinian president is warning that Benjamin Netanyahu's expected victory in next week's election could lead to an Arab-majority country in the Holy Land that will eventually replace what is now Israel — unless he pursues a more moderate path of a two state solution to the conflict.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has been careful not to intervene in Tuesday's Israeli election, but it is no secret that the Palestinians hope that Netanyahu will either be ousted or at least soften his position in a new term. He has shown no sign of doing so, and opinion polls showing hard-line, pro-settlement parties well ahead days ahead of the vote have led to a sense of despair among the Palestinians.


During Netanyahu's current term, the Israeli leader has pressed forward with construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, which along with the Gaza Strip were captured by Israel in the 1967 war from Jordan. Abbas says he wants to set up a state in the territories that would exist peacefully next to Israel.

The international community considers settlement construction illegal or illegitimate. And the Palestinians have refused to negotiate with Netanyahu while he continues to allow settlements to be built, saying it is a sign of bad faith.


Israeli backers of creation of a Palestinian state say relinquishing control of the Palestinian territories and its residents is the only way to ensure Israel's future as a democracy with a Jewish majority.

Mohammed Ishtayeh, a top aide to Abbas, told The Associated Press on Friday that his boss has been warning that won't be possible if settlement building continues and Israel could end up with a Jewish minority ruling over an Arab majority.

He warned Israel could end up with "an apartheid style state, similar to the one of former South Africa."

"In the long run it will be against the Israeli interests because ... we Palestinians will be the majority and will struggle for equality," he said, adding that Abbas had met repeated this message in meetings with several Israeli leaders in the past year.

Abbas "told them frankly there are Palestinians who are now calling for the one-state solution, because they no longer see the two-state solution viable," Ishtayeh said.

Abbas's office said the Palestinian president spoke with multiple leaders in 2012 from Israel's centrist opposition, including lawmakers from the Labor, Kadima and Meretz parties, along with mayors, university professors and social activists. He said a mayor from Netanyahu's Likud Party was among them.

Labor parliamentarian Daniel Ben-Simon told the AP he met with Abbas in Ramallah recently and was warned that time is running out for a two-state solution.

"Abbas said the two state solution benefits both nations but he warned that if there is no two state solution within the next two or three years then it won't be practical anymore," Ben-Simon said. "Abbas told me explicitly ... the idea of a one state solution is escalating among Palestinians."

Palestinian officials have been closely following the Israeli election campaign, fearing Netanyahu's ambitious plans for settlement construction over the next four years could prove lethal to their dreams of a state, Ishtayeh said. More than 500,000 Israelis already live in settlements that dot the West Bank and ring east Jerusalem, the Palestinians' hoped-for capital.

Some in Abbas' circle are holding out hope that President Barack Obama will re-engage in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and, freed from domestic electoral considerations in his second term, get tougher with Netanyahu on settlements. Another aide, Nabil Shaath, suggested Europe is ready to jump in with its own peace plan if Washington is not.

But short of trying to rally international opinion, it seems Abbas can do little if Netanyahu wins Tuesday.

Israeli polls indicate that a majority of seats in Israel's 120-member parliament will go to right-wing, pro-settler or Jewish ultra-Orthodox religious parties. Likud is the largest among them. Netanyahu could comfortably form a coalition government with these parties, seen as his natural ideological allies. Likud's new slate of candidates is headed by hard-line lawmakers who oppose territorial concessions to the Palestinians, and a likely coalition partner, the pro-settler Jewish Home, even advocates annexing large chunks of the West Bank. Even if Netanyahu adds a centrist party to the mix, he's unlikely to shift course from the pro-settler policies of his current government

Under Netanyahu, construction reportedly began on nearly 6,900 settlement homes in the West Bank.

That's a bit less than what was started by Netanyahu's predecessor Ehud Olmert, but many of the new homes are deeper in the West Bank, the Israeli anti-settlement group Peace Now said this week. Thousands more apartments are in various stages of planning, Peace Now said, predicting an "explosion" of settlement construction in coming years.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended his position on settlements Friday in an interview with Channel 1 TV.

"I don't believe that settlements are the root of the conflict, I don't believe that territorial dimensions are the root of the conflict, the root of the conflict was and remains the refusal to recognize the Jewish state within any border, Netanyahu said. "I am not in favor of a binational state. We need to reach a solution. I don't want to rule the Palestinians and I don't want them to rule us and threaten our existence."

"We believe the two-state solution is still possible, but Netanyahu and his current and upcoming coalition are killing this solution, they...will be intensifying the buildings in the settlements, and they have no peace platform," Ishtayeh said.

The conflict with the Palestinians has largely been missing from Israeli political discourse this campaign season in Israel. The centrist Labor Party, which led peace talks with the Palestinians in the past, has shifted almost exclusively to domestic concerns, such as growing income gaps.

Just one party, The Movement led by former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, has focused on peace talks. Livni has warned that Israel's existence could be threatened without a peace accord, yet her message has not gained much traction.

Palestinians believe hopes for their state are slipping further away with each new settlement home, and that partition of the land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River may soon no longer be possible.

Settlements are at the core of the paralysis in peace efforts talks since late 2008. Netanyahu refuses to freeze construction, rebuffing Abbas who says there is no point in negotiating while settlements steadily gobble up more of the occupied lands.

The standoff is likely to continue, though the Palestinians believe their diplomatic leverage has improved.

In November, the U.N. General Assembly recognized a state of Palestine in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem. The vote, while largely symbolic, affirmed the 1967 frontier which the Palestinians want to be the base line for future border talks. Netanyahu, while willing to negotiate, won't accept the 1967 lines as a point of reference and wants to keep all of Jerusalem and parts of the West Bank.

Some Palestinian officials hope Obama will now be tougher with Netanyahu after what they considered a disappointing first term.

The Americans "keep talking about negotiations and the need to restart the negotiations," Shaath said. "But what is needed is for the U.S. to pressure Israel to stop settlement activities and to go to real negotiations, to reach an agreement within six months."

___

Associated Press writer Dalia Nammari in Ramallah contributed to this report.

IOA renews the leader Ghanem Sawalmeh's administrative detention

IOA renews the leader Ghanem Sawalmeh's administrative detention


NABLUS, (PIC)-- The Israeli Occupation Authorities (IOA) renewed on Thursday the administrative detention of Hamas leader Ghanem Tawfiq Sawalmeh, 47, for a period of 6 months for the fourth time.
Sawalmeh's family told PIC reporter that they were surprised by the military court's decision to renew the administrative detention of the leader Sawalmeh on "the same day he was due for release from the Megiddo prison, without giving legal reasons for the extension".
The prisoner Sawalmeh spent over eight years in Israeli jails, mostly in administrative detention, and was deported to the Gaza Strip in 2004 for two years, then returned to the West Bank where he was re-arrested many times.
He was detained for two years in Jneid PA prison in 2009 for being affiliated with the Hamas movement and his leadership to Change and Reform Bloc's election campaign in Nablus.
Ghanem is a prominent leader in Change and Reform in Nablus, he is a resident of the Balata refugee camp. He is originally from Yaffa which was occupied in 1948.

Rights Group Worried about Life of Striking Detainees

Palestine News & Info Agency - WAFA 


RAMALLAH, January 17, 2013 (WAFA) – The human rights group, Addameer, expressed deep concern for the lives of four Palestinian hunger strikers as their health continues to deteriorate, a press statement by the group said Thursday.
It said its lawyer, Fares Ziad, recently visited three hunger strikers - Jafar Azzidine, Yousef Yassin and Tarek Qa’adan - who have been on hunger strike for two months.
All three were arrested on November 22 and were placed in administrative detention, which is a procedure that allows the Israeli military to hold detainees indefinitely on ‘secret information’ without charging them or allowing them to stand trial. All three began their hunger strike on November 28 and are only drinking water, said Addameer.
Fares reported that Yousef Yassin is are being held in isolation in a glass, sound proof cell at Ramleh prison clinic, with a guard placed outside their door 24 hours a day, and are subject to daily inspections.
All three are also being denied family visits. They have also had most of the belongings, such as clothes, cigarettes and electronics confiscated.
As a result of their continued detention and treatment by the Israel Prison Service all three have refused any medical treatment or tests since December 21, said the statement.
Another striking prisoner, Samer Issawi, has been on partial hunger strike for 167 days.
Ayman Sharawna suspended his hunger strike on January 3 after 180 days.
Addameer called on the international community to pressure the Israeli Prison Service for the immediate release of the hunger striking prisoners and ensure that Israel upholds international human rights and humanitarian law

Israel Demolishes 70 Structures in Jordan Valley

Palestine News & Info Agency - WAFA AL-MALEH, JORDAN VALLEY, January 17, 2013 (WAFA) – Israeli forces Thursday demolished around 70 structures, including residential sheds and animal barns, belonging to 12 Palestinian families in Wadi el-Maleh north of the Jordan Valley, according to an official.

Aref Daraghme, head of al-Maleh village council, told WAFA that Israeli soldiers provided protection to bulldozers as they demolished the structures that were used by local shepherds.

Israeli soldiers shoot, critically injure Bethlehem teen

Maan News Agency
 
GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories: Israeli soldiers shot and wounded a Palestinian youth as he approached the border fence in the northern Gaza Strip on Friday, Palestinian medical officials said.
The 17-year-old was shot in the leg east of Beit Lahiya, after the soldiers had fired warning shots in the air, said the medics, adding he was being treated at the town's Kamal Adwan hospital.
The Israeli military had no immediate comment on the reported shooting.
On Monday, Israeli fire killed a 21-year-old Palestinian farmer near Beit Lahiya, the fourth such dead in Gaza since a November 21 truce between the Jewish state and the Islamist group Hamas ended eight days of hostilities.
As part of the truce agreement, Israel has allowed Palestinians to enter what was previously a 300-metre (yard) deep no-go zone on the Gaza side of the border.
Farmers have been allowed to move up to 100 metres from the border, but Israeli troops have opened fire multiple times at Palestinians they say have come closer than that.
The youth wounded on Friday was not a farmer, according to the Palestinian sources.

Israeli gunfire wounds Gaza youth: medics |

 News , Middle East | THE DAILY STAR

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories: Israeli soldiers shot and wounded a Palestinian youth as he approached the border fence in the northern Gaza Strip on Friday, Palestinian medical officials said.
The 17-year-old was shot in the leg east of Beit Lahiya, after the soldiers had fired warning shots in the air, said the medics, adding he was being treated at the town's Kamal Adwan hospital.
The Israeli military had no immediate comment on the reported shooting.
On Monday, Israeli fire killed a 21-year-old Palestinian farmer near Beit Lahiya, the fourth such dead in Gaza since a November 21 truce between the Jewish state and the Islamist group Hamas ended eight days of hostilities.
As part of the truce agreement, Israel has allowed Palestinians to enter what was previously a 300-metre (yard) deep no-go zone on the Gaza side of the border.
Farmers have been allowed to move up to 100 metres from the border, but Israeli troops have opened fire multiple times at Palestinians they say have come closer than that.
The youth wounded on Friday was not a farmer, according to the Palestinian sources.

Activists set up new protest village northwest of Jerusalem

| Maan News Agency

Published today (updated) 18/01/2013 16:08
Palestinian activists on Friday established a new tented protest village
northwest of Jerusalem. (MaanImages/HO)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian activists on Friday established a new tented protest village northwest of Jerusalem, the second such initiative against Israeli settlement building in as many weeks.

Activists set up three tents and a small building in the area near Beit Iksa, naming the village al-Karamah (Dignity).

Locals said around 400 Palestinians performed Friday prayers in the open area.

Saed Yakrina, an activist from nearby village Beit Liza, said the camp was "a message to Israel and all democratic societies that we are human, and we want peace."

Activists from across the political spectrum, mainly from nearby villages, have gathered and will sleep in the tents overnight, he told Ma'an.

Beit Iksa, surrounded by Israeli settlements, is set to be entirely encircled by Israel's separation wall, cutting it off from Jerusalem.

Israeli authorities ordered the confiscation of 500 dunams of the village's land three weeks ago, and do not permit any new building in the town, Yakrina said, noting that Israeli settlements were still expanding.

"We are looking for a life without checkpoints, walls and settlements," he said.

Israeli forces immediately shut down the military checkpoint at the entrance to Beit Iksa to prevent more activists and supporters from accessing the protest site, witnesses said.

On Wednesday, Israeli forces tore down the tented village Bab al-Shams, set up to protest Israel's plans to build the "E1" settlement on the land, severing the West Bank from Jerusalem.

Palestinian lawmaker Mustafa Barghouthi on Friday said Bab al-Shams and al-Karama were a new dimension in the Palestinian struggle and that more protest villages would be established.

"The spirit of popular resistance which Bab al-Shams disseminated is being strengthened today in other areas including Izbat al-Tabib and Beit Iksa," the secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative said in a statement.

A rally was held in Izbat al-Tabib in the Qalqiliya district of the northern West Bank on Friday to protest Israeli plans to demolish a school in the village.

The rally showed that popular resistance against Israel's occupation is spreading, Barghouthi said.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

“The view of these children will never leave my mind, it is just too horrible.”

Palestinian Center for Human Rights
 
Jamal Dayem Sehwail (55) in a Civil Defense room with fire fighting equipment, Gaza.

“Ever since I was a child I loved the work of the Civil Defense. I would follow the fire trucks through the streets on my bicycle”, says Jamal Sehwail (55), who is now the Director of Evacuation and Development in Gaza’s Civil Defense.
 
“I am in charge of complex incidents, for example where cooperation between fire fighters, paramedics and rescue workers is necessary”, explains Jamal. “I am also responsible for the maintenance and development of our equipment and facilities. Due to the closure we are lacking resources and supplies but we manage to deal with the situation creatively. For example, we are now able to produce our own fire extinguishing foam and face screens for the fire fighters.”

During Israel’s most recent military offensive on the Gaza Strip, which lasted from 14 to 21 November 2012, Jamal coordinated several rescue and recovery operations. According to PCHR investigations 171 civilians were killed and more than 1,250 were injured, of whom 650 sustained moderate to severe injuries. Jamal speaks about the conditions under which he and his colleagues had to work: “The last war was very difficult; the bombing went on continuously and was very intense. Journalists were targeted. It was a war to instill fear into the people. We remember what happened in the 2008-2009 war.” Jamal refers to incidents over the past years, especially during ‘Operation Cast Lead’, Israel’s 27 December 2008 – 18 January 2009 offensive on the Gaza Strip in which 1,419 Palestinians were killed. “Paramedics, journalists, and us, civil defense staff, are supposed to be protected under the Fourth Geneva Convention. But we are attacked by the army nonetheless. In reality the Geneva Conventions do not exist. Israel has conveyed that message very clearly to us by targeting our staff and buildings; there is no safety from the Israeli army attacks. Whenever tensions rise we have to evacuate our offices because we know they might be targeted. We live in constant worry and never take a break from our work. We are always on call which means we might have to leave our home in the middle of the night if anything happens.”

During the last offensive Jamal and his colleagues worked around the clock to save lives. Some memories of those days will stay with them forever. Jamal remembers one incident most vividly; the attack on the Dalou family: “I was working in an apartment tower in Gaza that had just been bombed when I saw a rocket come from the sky a few hundred meters away. I heard a huge explosion and immediately rushed to the home that was hit by the bomb. My colleagues and I spent three days there trying to recover people from under the remains of the house. The children we found dead were in the same age as my children. After the war we found two remaining bodies, including one of a girl. The most difficult thing I have to do during my work is pulling children from under the rubble. The view of these children will never leave my mind, it is just too horrible.”

There is no psycho-social support for Jamal and his colleagues in order to deal with their trauma. “After a war we speak about our experiences”, says Jamal. “We talk to each other; that is the only way we can psychologically deal with it. We also thank all members of our team and visit the families of our colleagues who were injured or killed.”

Since 2007 Jamal has participated in around 1,500 rescue operations. He says “The rescuing of people and recovering of bodies remains in my memory like a film, even though I often don’t know the names of the victims.”

The targeting and severe injuring or killing of civilians, a protected person, is a war crime, as codified in Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and Articles 8(2)(a)(i) and (iii) Article 8 (2)(b)(i) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

IOF artillery blasts Gaza open area in fresh violation of calm

IOF artillery blasts Gaza open area in fresh violation of calm


GAZA, (PIC)-- Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stationed to the east of Breij refugee camp in central Gaza Strip opened artillery fire at open fields on Wednesday.
Local sources told the PIC reporter that three artillery shells slammed in open fields east of the refugee camp and no casualties were reported.
IOF troops have systematically violated the calm agreement with resistance factions in Gaza reached with Egyptian patronage. A Palestinian farmer working in his field in northern Gaza was killed at the hands of those forces on Monday.

Jewish settlers storm Nablus village, perform rituals

Jewish settlers storm Nablus village, perform rituals



NABLUS, (PIC)-- Jewish settlers stormed at dawn Wednesday Orta village, south east of Nablus city, under Israeli army protection and performed Talmudic rituals.
Eyewitnesses told Quds Press reporter that a number of coaches carrying dozens of Jewish settlers arrived at the village at dawn with heavy Israeli military escort.
They said that the settlers broke into a number of historical sites and performed rituals for a few hours before leaving the village.
The settlers claim that those sites are Jewish sacred sites.

IOF assault, detain Palestinian activists en route to Bab Ashams village

IOF assault, detain Palestinian activists en route to Bab Ashams village
Pictures from Bab Ashams village before and during the Israeli raid on the camp

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- Dozens of Palestinian citizens marched on Tuesday to the area of the evacuated Bab Ashams village in east Jerusalem, but they were intercepted by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) and 40 of them were detained.
Some activists said that immediately upon their arrival in the village, the IOF violently attacked them and forced them out of the area, adding that the Israeli troops kept attacking them even outside the village.
The physical attacks by the soldiers led to the injury of 17 activists, including six Palestinian and foreign journalists.
Wadi Hilwa information center said the IOF closed the roads leading to Bab Ashams village and prevented paramedics from entering the area to provide first aid for the wounded. The IOF also fined the cars which headed to the village.
As part of the popular resistance movement in Palestine, a group of Palestinian activists established last Friday the village of Bab Al Shams on a piece of confiscated land in east Jerusalem, called by the Israeli occupation regime as E1 settlement project.

For its part, the Palestinian media forum strongly denounced the IOF for assaulting the journalists during their work on covering the military raid on Bab Ashams village in Jerusalem on the night of Sunday.
In a press release on Tuesday, the forum said that the IOF attacked and detained journalists and used force to prevent them from doing their jobs.
It added that the Israeli troops also focused their flashlights on the cameras to prevent the journalists from recording the violations that happened to the activists.

Man found dead in Gaza tunnel

Maan News Agency

Published today 12:12
The entrance of a tunnel in Rafah city which supplies Gaza with gravel
for construction. (Reuters/File)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The body of Bassam Khader was recovered from a tunnel under the Gaza-Egypt border on Wednesday, after an 8-day search, relatives said.

Khader, 42, was last seen working in a smuggling tunnel in Rafah which was thought to have collapsed during extreme weather conditions last week.

On Sunday, Ali al-Fadi, 20, died and three others were wounded when a tunnel partially caved in near Rafah, civil defense spokesman Muhammad al-Maathneh said.

An Egyptian official said this week that many of the tunnels under Gaza's border with Egypt have flooded or collapsed due to heavy rainfall.

The tunnel network developed as a vital source of goods under Israel's blockade of the coastal strip and Egyptian restrictions on the official Rafah crossing point.

Settlers Prepare Land for Settlement Expansion in West Bank

Palestine News & Info Agency - WAFA 

NABLUS, January 16, 2013 (WAFA) – Israeli settlers Wednesday began work on expanding two illegal settlements north of the West Bank, said local sources.
Witnesses said that settlers began razing land near the settlement of Maskiot, north of the Jordan Valley, and Elon Moreh, northeast of Nablus.
Head of al-Maleh village council, Aref Daraghma, said settlers have razed land in the area surrounding Maskiot in order to add housing units to it.
Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activities in the north of the West Bank, said that five bulldozers were seen working in the area surrounding Elon Moreh clearly to expand the illegal settlement.
He said the settlers opened fire at the residents who gathered near the land and drove them away from the area.
The French news agency AFP said the Israeli Ministry of Housing has published tenders for the construction of 198 housing units in West Bank settlements one week before national elections in which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to win.

Settlers Prepare Land for Settlement Expansion in West Bank

Palestine News & Info Agency - WAFA 
NABLUS, January 16, 2013 (WAFA) – Israeli settlers Wednesday began work on expanding two illegal settlements north of the West Bank, said local sources.
Witnesses said that settlers began razing land near the settlement of Maskiot, north of the Jordan Valley, and Elon Moreh, northeast of Nablus.
Head of al-Maleh village council, Aref Daraghma, said settlers have razed land in the area surrounding Maskiot in order to add housing units to it.
Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activities in the north of the West Bank, said that five bulldozers were seen working in the area surrounding Elon Moreh clearly to expand the illegal settlement.
He said the settlers opened fire at the residents who gathered near the land and drove them away from the area.
The French news agency AFP said the Israeli Ministry of Housing has published tenders for the construction of 198 housing units in West Bank settlements one week before national elections in which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to win.

Attorney Objects to Appearance of Striking Prisoner in Two Courts

Palestine News & Info Agency - WAFA 
 JERUSALEM, January 16, 2013 (WAFA) – An attorney representing hunger striking prisoner Samer Issawi objected Wednesday to the appearance of his client in two different courts on the same charges and asked the judge at the Jerusalem District Court to allow Issawi’s appearance in only one court, according to relatives of Issawi.

The judge rejected the request and set February 5 as the date when the District Court will review the state charges against the striking prisoner.

Issawi was arrested on charges of entering the West Bank in alleged violation of an agreement following his release on October 18, 2011 in a prisoners exchange deal between Hamas and Israel.

He appears at the Jerusalem District Court, which tries Issawi because he is a resident of occupied East Jerusalem, and he also appears for the same charges at a military court in Ofer prison and army camp near Ramallah.

Issawi went on hunger strike in August to protest his re-arrest following his release in the exchange.

Report: Israel approves 198 new settlement homes

Maan News Agency
Published today (updated) 16/01/2013 14:46

Jewish settlers carry wooden planks as they build a structure at an
unauthorized outpost near the settlement of Kiryat Arba outside the
West Bank city of Hebron in 2012. (Reuters/Baz Ratner, File)

TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma'an) -- Israel's housing ministry released government tenders for the construction of 198 new settlement units in the occupied West Bank, Israeli media reported Wednesday.

Noting the timing before national elections, Israel's Ynet news site reported that the announcement invited developers to bid on two projects in Efrat and Kiryat Arba.

Both settlements are in the Hebron area of the occupied Palestinian West Bank and considered illegal under international law.

The announcement came two weeks ahead of an Israeli election the incumbent prime minister's joint party list is expected to win. Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly promised to hold on to settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and expanded them during his term.

A centrist challenger, former Foreign Minister and peace negotiator Tzipi Livni, has made Israel's international isolation under Netanyahu the focus of her campaign.

Israeli anti-settlement group Peace Now said meanwhile that approval for construction in 2012 far exceeded by a "record level" the counts for the previous two years.

Israeli authorities issued 3,148 such tenders in 2012 - the highest single-year figure in a decade - compared with 1,321 in 2011 and 663 in 2011, Peace Now said.

Netanyahu's settlement policies, Peace Now said, "disclose a clear intention to use settlements to systematically undermine and render impossible a realistic, viable two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict".

Almost 40 percent of the new building sites were in what Peace Now called "isolated settlements", and not the more built-up blocs which the government says Israel will keep in any deal with the Palestinians.

Also Wednesday, Netanyahu's office declined comment on an un-sourced column by US writer Jeffrey Goldberg, which described Obama as frustrated at West Bank settlement building.

"Obama said privately and repeatedly, 'Israel doesn't know what its own best interests are'," Goldberg wrote in the column published Tuesday by Bloomberg.

The president "seems to view the prime minister as a political coward, an essentially unchallenged leader who nevertheless is unwilling to lead or spend political capital to advance the cause of compromise", added Goldberg.

Some Israeli commentators saw the column as payback for Netanyahu's perceived back-room lobbying on behalf of Republican Mitt Romney in his failed run against Obama in November's US election. Netanyahu has denied any such meddling.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Israeli soldiers, Palestinians clash near Bethlehem

 Maan News Agency:
Published today (updated) 16/01/2013 15:59
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli soldiers and Palestinians clashed on Wednesday in the village of Tuqu, southeast of Bethlehem, locals and Israel's army said.

Locals told Ma'an that Israeli forces fired rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at Palestinians who were throwing stones at settler cars.

An Israeli civilian was injured by a stone, they added.

An Israeli army spokesman said that "at approximately 1 p.m. Palestinians hurled rocks at a vehicle, injuring an Israeli child. He was evacuated to hospital and soldiers searched the area for suspects. Palestinians hurled rocks at the IDF soldiers, who responded with riot dispersal means."

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Israeli Forces Shoot Teenager Dead near Ramallah

Palestine News & Info Agency - WAFA
RAMALLAH, January 15, 2013 (WAFA) – A sixteen year old Palestinian was shot dead on Thuesday when Israeli soldiers attacked Palestinians protesting against settlement expansion in the village of Bodrous, west of Ramallah, according to witnesses.

They told WAFA that soldiers attacked a demonstration against settlement expansion in the village, firing live ammunition and tear gas canisters at the protesters, leading to the killing of Samir Awad, 16, after he was shot in the chest and legs, and causing several suffocation cases among them.

Settlers Attack Palestinian Farmers near Bethlehem

Palestine News & Info Agency - WAFA
BETHLEHEM, January 15, 2013 (WAFA) – A group of Jewish settlers Tuesday attacked Palestinian farmers in the town of Taqou, east of Bethlehem, injuring many, according to an official.

Taqou mayor, Tayseer Abu Mfrah, told WAFA that farmers were surprised to find a mobile home on their land put there by settlers in addition to several animal barns when settlers, protected by soldiers, attacked them to force them to leave their own land leading to confrontations and the injury of several farmers.

Forces also fired tear gas and acoustic bombs at the farmers causing several suffocation cases among them.

Municipality Demolishes House in East Jerusalem

Palestine News & Info Agency - WAFA 
JERUSALEM, January 15, 2013 (WAFA) –The West Jerusalem Municipality Tuesday demolished a house that belongs to a Palestinian in Sur Baher, south east of Jerusalem, under the pretext of building without a permit, said the house owner.

Aref Amera, 71, told WAFA that the municipality workers accompanied by Israeli police demolished his two-storey 120 square meters home, which houses seven family members.

He has received a demolishing notice about a month ago and was demolished before the ending of the 90-days deadline stated by the law.

Amera said, “My father built this house, and I renovated it to protect it from falling down.”

He explained, “We applied for a permit several times, but failed to obtain one especially that it costs about $100,000.”

Confrontations erupted between the police and the residents of the neighborhood following the raid of Amira’s house and fired tear gas canisters at them.
 
Residents of west Jerusalem tend to build houses without permits because the Municipality do not grant them any construction permits, forcing them to break the law.

Challenging Israel’s Occupation, Palestinians Create ‘Gate of the Sun’ Village

Challenging Israel’s Occupation, Palestinians Create ‘Gate of the Sun’ Village
January 15, 2013 at 10:42 AM
By Amnesty International Campaigner Saleh Hijazi
Israeli border policemen guard the Bab al-Shams (Gate of the Sun) ‘outpost’ after evicting Palestinian protesters from the site on January 13, 2013 © Uriel Sinai/Getty Images
Israeli border policemen guard the Bab al-Shams (Gate of the Sun) ‘outpost’ after evicting Palestinian protesters from the site on January 13, 2013 © Uriel Sinai/Getty Images
In the small hours of Sunday, more than 500 Israeli police surrounded around 130 Palestinian activists at a protest camp on the hills opposite the illegal Israeli settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, east of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank.
The camp, which the activists called the village of Bab al-Shams (Gate of the Sun), was set up on privately-owned Palestinian land two days before to protest against the Israeli occupation and continued expansion of illegal settlements, which goes hand in hand with forced evictions in the West Bank.
Heavily armed police moved into the village to remove the peaceful activists on orders from the Israeli government, despite a High Court ruling on Friday not to remove the camp.
Eventually the video stream I was watching was cut off, but it was still possible to follow Twitter, where activists reported on the arrests and eviction moment by moment.
When I woke up in the morning, I began making phone calls to check on the activists.
I reached Zaid, an activist I met last year when he was beaten up by Palestinian Authority police forces for peacefully protesting in Ramallah.
He asked me to call later as he was in the hospital with his brother who was suffering internal bleeding near his eye because of police violence during the eviction; so much for the media reports and Israeli claims that the eviction had been carried out “peacefully”.
I tried others and eventually talked to Sameer via a video link. It was about 6 pm Jerusalem time and he had just woken up.
“I feel my body is one large bruise,” he said. “They beat me hard and the cold only made it worse.” He groaned with pain as he reached to grab a cigarette before describing what happened. He blew smoke and said:
“It was completely dark and extremely cold. There were hundreds of small lights – flashlights the riot police were carrying, coming from all directions. It was surreal, as if we were in a sci-fi film.
“At about 2 am they began to remove us. There were hundreds of riot police. With their equipment and body armour they looked like super cops, and there were only 130 of us huddled in the middle of the village.
“We did not resist the eviction, but we did not cooperate either. The soldiers began to remove us one by one, they kicked to separate us and then four to six soldiers would carry each of us away.
“I was repeatedly kicked so hard on my left leg that I felt it had broken. Three soldiers dragged me away, and when I was out of the journalists’ sight they started beating me with their elbows and kicking me on the back and then threw me on some rocks. Two of the soldiers kicked me while I was on the ground. I was hit on the neck and on my left leg again, and on my back.
“I was then put in a police bus with around 40 others activists, we were all on top of each other and some of us needed urgent medical attention. I could see the ambulances next to the detention bus, but they refused to treat anyone despite our repeated calls.”
Sameer lit another cigarette and continued:
“I need to go for a meeting now to discuss our next steps, but let me tell you: we will return to Bab al-Shams. Just like all Palestinian refugees since 1948 should return to their homes. This is only the beginning,” he said.
“The village represents non-violent and meaningful resistance – a practical challenge to Israeli oppression and injustice. It was created by young Palestinians without affiliation to any group or party. It is only natural that Israel wants to stop us. We expected the eviction, but this will never stop us from defending our human rights.”
The action was indeed inspiring. It presented a new and creative example of how Palestinians are peacefully defending their human rights. But the story of Bab al-Shams also reflects the wider experiences of many other Palestinians.
Near Bab al-Shams, in scattered communities in and around the area known as E1, live around 2,300 Palestinian refugees from the Jahalin Bedouin tribe. They have been there since they were forcibly displaced by Israel from their original homes in the Negev desert in the early 1950s. Some of them were also forcibly evicted again in the late 1990s to make way for the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements.
Today, the Jahalin live in the fear of forced eviction yet again as Israel announced in 2011 a plan to transfer them from the area to make way for new settlements. The majority of their houses, their schools, and other infrastructure have demolition orders which can be executed at any time.
The eviction of Bab al-Shams reflects the fate that the Jahalin tribes may face very soon if Israel goes ahead with its plans, confirmed last November and again on Sunday morning, to build more settlements in the E1 area.
The eviction of Bab al-Shams is a stark reminder that although Palestinians, and not Israeli settlers, have the right under international law to build and plan villages in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, every day the Israeli government continues to deny them those rights.
The international community should take this as a warning that if action against the expansion of illegal Israel settlements – especially the E1 plan – is not taken immediately,  whole Palestinian communities will be forcibly evicted from their homes. Amnesty International will continue supporting these communities, and Palestinians’ right to peaceful protest.
This entry was posted in Middle East and North Africa and tagged , , , , by Guest Writer. Bookmark the permalink.

Monday, January 14, 2013

EU urged to ban Israeli settlement products

CLICK HERE>> EU urged to ban Israeli settlement products - Features - Al Jazeera English

Turkish delegation heads to Gaza to document Israeli crimes

Turkish delegation heads to Gaza to document Israeli crimes
14 January 2013 / TODAY'S ZAMAN, ANKARA,
A Turkish legal delegation comprising lawyers from the International Lawyers Association traveled to Gaza on Monday to collect evidence on the Israeli offensive on Gaza last November which resulted in the loss of numerous Palestinian lives.
The delegation of 10 lawyers, including seven Turks, two Egyptians and one Saudi Arabian, will hold talks and make observations in Gaza over their two-day trip.
Members of the delegation told the Anatolia news agency that if sufficient and convincing evidence is found, legal procedures will be launched against those who committed the crimes, adding that the delegation would prepare a detailed report on Gaza and submit it to the relevant Turkish authorities.
Necati Ceylan, secretary-general of the International Lawyers Association, is leading the delegation.
The latest surge in the long-running conflict between Israel and Gaza began when the former killed Hamas military mastermind Ahmed al-Jaabari in a precision air strike on his car last November. Israel then began shelling the coastal enclave from land, air and sea on Nov. 14.
The Israeli offensive unleashed 1,500 air strikes on Hamas-linked targets, destroying key symbols of Hamas power, such as the prime minister's office, along with rocket launching sites and Gaza police stations.
A cease-fire was agreed after eight days of conflict which left 162 Palestinians dead, of which more than half were civilians, including 37 children and 11 women.
Turkish leaders have strongly condemned Israel for the series of strikes on the Gaza Strip.
Turkey launched other diplomatic efforts in the international arena in an attempt to reduce the escalation of Gaza tensions. As part of these, Turkish officials visited Egypt and worked in close cooperation with their Egyptian and Qatari counterparts to forge the truce.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davuto─člu joined Arab ministers in a visit to Gaza in a show of solidarity with Palestinians under Israeli attack.

Palestinian shot by Israeli troops on Gaza border: medic

MIDEAST - Palestinian shot by Israeli troops on Gaza border: medic

Israeli soldier fires a tear gas canister at Palestinian protestors during clashes in the northern West Bank village of Qusra on January 1, 2013. Israeli security officials have noted a rise in the number of violent incidents in the West Bank since last month's United Nations vote to raise the Palestinians' diplomatic standing. AFP PHOTO / JAAFAR ASHTIYEH
Israeli soldier fires a tear gas canister at Palestinian protestors during clashes in the northern West Bank village of Qusra on January 1, 2013. Israeli security officials have noted a rise in the number of violent incidents in the West Bank since last month's United Nations vote to raise the Palestinians' diplomatic standing. AFP PHOTO / JAAFAR ASHTIYEH 

A Palestinian man was in serious condition on Monday after being shot by Israeli troops in northern Gaza near Beit Lahiya, Palestinian medical sources said.

Health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra named the man as 21-year-old Mustafa Abu Jirad, a farmer, saying he was shot in the head in an area near Gaza's border with Israel, in the northern part of the territory.

Qidra said Abu Jirad was in serious condition and had been taken to the Kamal Adwan hospital in Beit Lahiya.

The Israeli military said it was checking on the report and had no immediate comment.

On Friday, Israeli troops shot dead one Palestinian and wounded a second in northern Gaza along the border with the Jewish state, according to local medical sources.

The military said only that one Palestinian was hit in the leg after trying to damage the border fence.

That fatality was the third time a Palestinian in the Gaza Strip was killed by Israeli forces since a November 21 truce between the Jewish state and the Islamist group Hamas ended eight days of hostilities between the two sides.

As part of the truce agreement, Israel has allowed Palestinians to enter what into what was previously a 300-metre deep no-go zone on the Gaza side of the border.

Farmers have been allowed to move up to 100 metres from the border, but Israeli troops have opened fire multiple times at Palestinians they say have come closer than that.

IOF soldiers round up three Palestinians in Nablus

IOF soldiers round up three Palestinians in Nablus


NABLUS, (PIC)-- Israeli occupation forces (IOF) rounded up three Palestinian citizens in Nablus before dawn Monday after storming a number of suburbs in the city.
Reliable local sources said that the soldiers invaded the town from several axes before focusing on Ta’awon street.
Qayem family living in the street said that the invading troops broke into their building and savagely searched all its apartments, breaking furniture and belongings in the process.
They said that the soldiers said they were looking for “weapons” but did not find any, adding that the soldiers left after arresting Emad Al-Qayem.
The soldiers also served a summons to one of the families in the same building that their son, who was not available at time of the storming, should give himself up before 10 am Monday.

IOF troops go on the rampage again and raze Palestinian property in Al-Khalil

IOF troops go on the rampage again and raze Palestinian property in Al-Khalil

[ 14/01/2013 - 01:03 PM ]


AL-KHALIL, (PIC)-- Israeli occupation forces (IOF) destroyed Palestinian property to the east of Yatta, south of Al-Khalil, on Monday.
Eyewitnesses told the PIC that IOF soldiers burst into Um Al-Khair area and bulldozed animal pens and agricultural barns.
The soldiers claimed that those installations were threatening security of settlers in the nearby Karma’il settlement, which is built on Yatta village land, the sources said, adding that a big number of IOF troops were deployed in the area.
The IOF told citizens in Susiya village, also in Al-Khalil province, on Sunday that a number of utilities and rooms would be demolished at the pretext the area was under complete Israeli control according to the Oslo accords.