Today in Palestine! ~ Monday, 1 August 2011 ~

Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid

Municipality attempts eviction of Wadi Hilweh tent and surrounding land
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 1 Aug  — Jerusalem Municipality officers attempted to evict the Wadi Hilweh protest tent today. Several horses who have grazed on the surrounding land for many years were also ordered off by officials. The Municipality and local Israeli settler groups have a long-running campaign to convert five plots of land belonging to local Palestinian families into parking lots. A detailed report is to follow

Israeli military raids again, man and 10-year-old boy arrested
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC)  1 Aug — A child and a young man from Ein Eluza district of Silwan were kidnapped by a large unit of Israeli forces this evening. Murad Issa Abbasi, 24, was taken by officers on the pretext of participation of recent clashes between Palestinian youth and Israeli forces. Ten-year-old Mohammed Zaytoun was also taken by an undercover unit on accusation of participation in stone-throwing at Israeli forces.

Palestinians fear for ancient West Bank water source / Tom Perry
RASHAYIDA, West Bank (Reuters) 28 July — Hewn from rock, the cavernous cisterns which dot the desert beyond Bethlehem have for centuries harvested winter rain to provide shepherds and their flocks with water through summer. Under a baking sun, an elderly Bedouin explains how cisterns he remembers from childhood, many of them restored to full working order in the last few years, are once again helping his goat-herding community to survive. That, he concludes, is why the Israeli authorities who control the West Bank have demolished at least three in the area since November.

Israel: Opportunity gulf between Bedouin in the Negev
TEL AVIV (IRIN) 1 Aug — More than 180,000 Bedouin live in Israel’s Negev desert, but there is a big gap in terms of life opportunities between those Bedouin who live in 35 unrecognized villages, and those luckier ones for whom Israel has created seven towns or who live in seven officially recognized villages, say human rights workers. Those in unrecognized villages face a constant threat of eviction, and are cut off from even basic services … The conditions for women living in unrecognized villages are dramatically worse than for their counterparts in Israeli-built Negev towns, she said. “Today 75 percent of the Bedouin students [largely from recognized Negev towns] in university are women. But in the unrecognized villages the situation is very different – 65 percent of girls are out of school because there are no schools.” …  Khadra El Saneh is the director of Sidreh, the only NGO of its kind in Israel working to educate and promote the rights of Bedouin women. A mother of four, El Saneh overcame initial opposition from the traditional elements in her community to set up a weaving centre. The centre now employees 70 local women to make rugs that sell in boutiques across Israel and are exported as far afield as New York and Tokyo.


Jewish settlers burn 150 dunums of Palestinian land
NABLUS (PIC) 1 Aug — Jewish settlers set alight tens of dunums in the Palestinian village of Jallud in the Nablus province completely damaging 150 dunums of land lots. [reported yesterday from WAFA]
Meanwhile, dozens of Jewish settlers stormed the village of Awarta, southeast of Nablus, at dawn Monday and performed Talmudic rituals at alleged shrines. The Israeli occupation forces in 15 armored vehicles provided protection for the settlers who offered the rituals at three “shrines” then left the village before dawn prayers. [This statement is quite odd, since the three shrines are supposed to be Islamic and to date to the Mamluk era. See this site, which has photos of the shrines and information about a previous, much worse incursion in January, 2010: “The  colonizers attacked and destroyed a number of gravestones without regard to the sanctity and dignity of the dead, and dumped bottles of alcohol and some remnants of food on the graves adjacent to the shrine of the Seventy Sheikhs which was, also, partially burned. In addition to this, the attackers wrote some outrageous statements against the Islamic religion and people of the village on the walls of the profaned tombs.”

Palestinian hurt in hit-and-run near Qalqiliya
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 1 Aug — A Palestinian man sustained injuries in a hit-and-run near Qalqiliya on Sunday, medics said. Rauf Abu Hajla, 37, was walking on the side of a road when a car driven by an Israeli national struck him and sped off. A Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance took Abu Hajla to the Darwish Nazzal hospital for treatment of head injuries. [Settler? Maybe not. But some Israeli who doesn’t care about Palestinian life.]

Israeli forces – incursions, raids, arrests

Report: 6 Palestinians killed, 250 others arrested in July
NABLUS (PIC) 1 Aug — The International Solidarity Foundation for Human Rights in Nablus has issued a report detailing the murders, arrests, and raids that Israeli occupation forces carried out in the occupied Palestinian territories in July 2011. The figures presented are in addition to the attacks by the state and Jewish settlers on Palestinians, which at times amount to confiscation of land or home demolitions or vandalism or the tightened siege on the Gaza Strip.

PA: ‘Alarming’ rise in Israel’s attacks on Palestinian children
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) — The Palestinian Authority on Sunday warned that Israel’s attacks on Palestinian children were escalating at “an alarming rate” and urged the UN to step in.
Israeli soldiers and settlers have killed nine children so far in 2011, and almost 200 children have been injured by settler violence and the Israeli military, a statement by the Government Media Center said. “Hundreds of children are being illegally rounded up monthly by Israeli forces and detained, abused, and imprisoned without due process of law and in direct violation of international, Israeli, and Palestinian laws,” the PA added. The statement referred to a recent event caught on camera in which young Palestinians were kidnapped by masked, armed Israeli forces while playing football.

Soldiers kill 2 in raid on refugee camp
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) — Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinians during an arrest raid near Ramallah in the central West Bank early Monday, onlookers and medical officials said.  Witnesses told Ma‘an that soldiers stormed Qalandiya refugee camp at dawn and as they ransacked homes, confrontations erupted between the army and local residents. The soldiers began to shoot indiscriminately and 22-year-old Mutasim Issa Udwan sustained a gunshot wound to the head. He died immediately. Another young man, Ali Khalifa, was shot in the stomach and died in hospital in Ramallah. A third young man, identified as Maamoon Awwad, suffered a back injury. The two who were killed were Palestinian military intelligence officers, according to locals. Medical sources in Ramallah hospital confirmed two young men were killed, yet they did not give further details. The soldiers eventually detained two men, Wajih Ayman Al-Khatib and Anas Manasrah.  [on the first day of Ramadan, no less, though the army has never had any respect for Ramadan – see this Washington Post article from 2002 about their killing of the Ramadan drummer in a refugee camp near Nablus]

Israelis kill 2 as West Bank raid goes awry / Ethan Bronner
NYTimes 1 Aug —  [‘goes awry’??? But this article is interesting for the following part] “Kalandia, near Ramallah, is part of the West Bank known as Area A, which is policed and secured during the day by Palestinian Authority forces. The Israeli military reserves the right to enter it at night. In a recent interview, a top Israeli military commander said his troops made about half a dozen nightly raids in Area A. “For intelligence dominance and freedom of action, this is the minimum number of entries we have to make per night,” he said. A year or two ago, the number of nightly raids was more like a dozen. To reduce the raids further, he said, would require a political decision that would involve a security risk. He said he favored such a decision but it was not his to make. He added that in recent months the Palestinian Authority forces were arresting fewer suspects, especially those affiliated with Hamas, because of the unity agreement the Palestinian Authority and Hamas were negotiating.”

Many arrested in West Bank sweep
NABLUS (PIC) 1 Aug — Israeli occupation forces arrested Monday morning brothers Badr, 25, and Khalid, 21, Abu Namous, from the Ein Beit al-Maa refugee camp in western Nablus, in an arrest sweep in the occupied West Bank. Witnesses said a massive Israeli military force invaded several areas in the camp. The force proceeded to raid and vandalize the Abu Namous residence, also searching the garden before taking the two brothers into custody.
Elsewhere, heated clashes erupted as an Israeli force raided the same morning several neighborhoods in Al-Syoukh in Al-Khalil governorate … The force managed to arrest one man from the town during a similar raid early yesterday. Also arrested was honor student Mohammed Abdu Rabo Halayka alongside his father. The arrest came just hours after he gave a speech at a party that the Fatah party sponsored in the town to honor outstanding students. …
Reports also show that Israeli authorities have arrested a 70-year-old man from Shyoukh as he visited his son who is currently held prisoner in the Israeli Ramon prison.

Israeli soldiers detain Bethlehem teenager
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) — Israeli forces detained a teenager from Bethlehem on Monday, witnesses said. Salih Zoul, 17, was taken during a raid on his family’s home in Husan west of Bethlehem. An Israeli military spokeswoman said soldiers detained six Palestinians overnight. [End]


Video: Ni‘lin village commemorates the 3rd anniversary of the killing of Ahmed Mousa 29.7.2011
Ni‘lin Sons 31 July — It has been three years since the brutal killing of nine year old Ahmad Mousa by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF). Ahmad was struck by a single bullet from an M16 assault rifle. The bullet entered his forehead and exited the back of his head. Ahmad was part of a peaceful protest demonstrating against the building of the apartheid wall in the West Bank on the land of the village of Ni’lin on the West Bank. It was 29th July, 2008.


Gaza’s boat-building tradition dying under siege / Eva Bartlett
InGaza 1 Aug — “My father was a boat-builder and I learned from him, worked on boats all my life. Now there’s no work at all.” Abu Fayez Bakr, 64, is one of two boat-builders in the Gaza Strip, the last of a dying trade, despite Palestinians’ penchant for the sea and its bounty. “My sons learned a little about boat repairs, but not actual building. They were young when I had regular building work, but now that they are older the work has dried up.” In Gaza’s simple harbour, Bakr sits beside a hefty boat he built nearly a decade ago, one of his last projects. “We received funding from Denmark to make this research boat, equipped with special oceanography equipment. I built it about nine years ago, but it isn’t much use now. You need to go out into the sea to use it properly, not just a couple of miles,” he says, referring to the Israeli lethal imposition of a three- mile boundary on Gaza’s sea, despite the Oslo agreements according Palestinian fishermen 20 miles.

Israel unveils special guided missile used in Lebanon, Gaza
JPost 1 Aug — For years, Israel has been rumored to have classified missiles, but on Monday, for the first time, the IDF unveiled a special guided missile system that has been used successfully in action in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. Called Tamuz, the missile is based on the Spike Long-Range Missile developed by Rafael and is operated by Meitar, an elite unit which operates under the Artillery Corps. The missile was opened to foreign exports last year.

Woman lightly wounded by Gaza rocket in southern Israel
Haaretz 1 Aug — 50-year-old woman sustains shrapnel wounds to her legs as rocket explodes in Hof Ashkelon Regional Council.


Situation of Palestinian refugees in Iraq the worst
IMEMC 1 Aug — The Palestinian ambassador in Iraq, Daleel Al Qassous, stated that the situation of the Palestinian refugees in Iraq is the worst compared to any other place on earth … Al Qassous stated that the refugees in Iraq are being attacked for being Sunni Muslims, and for allegedly supporting the former Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein … “There are only 7,000 refugees in Iraq now, they are living in At-Tweija, Al Za‘faraniyya, Al Doura and the city of Al Hurriyya,” the ambassador stated, “They are living in extreme poverty due to high living costs and the lack of work, the UN provides some services to them but their situation is very miserable.” Dozens of attacks were carried out against the Palestinian refugees since the war on Iraq in 2003 leading to the death, injury and abduction of hundreds of refugees.

Political / Diplomatic / International news

Hamas FM: Unity government must be formed urgently
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 1 Aug — A united Palestinian government must be formed urgently ahead of Palestine’s bid for membership of the United Nations in September, Foreign Minister in Gaza Muhammad Awad said Monday … Attempts to form a unity government have stalled over a leadership row, as Hamas rejected Fatah’s nomination of PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to lead the new government.

Palestinians plan mass demonstrations against Israel on eve of UN vote
AP 1 Aug — Palestinian officials said Monday they plan to begin mass marches against Israel’s occupation of the West Bank on September 20, the eve of a largely symbolic UN vote expected to recognize their independence. Palestinian official Yasser Abed Rabbo said leaders hope to attract millions, and the protest will be the first of a prolonged effort. He said the campaign would be called “Palestine 194,” since the Palestinians hope to become the 194th member of the United Nations.

Arab League likely to turn to UN Security Council for Palestinian statehood
Haaretz 1 Aug — UN sources say Arab League due to approve proposal to simultaneously appeal to UN General Assembly and Security Council for recognition of Palestinian state.

President condemns deadly Israeli army raid
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 1 Aug — President Mahmoud Abbas has condemned an Israeli army raid that left two Palestinians dead early Monday in the Qalandiya refugee camp near Ramallah, a spokesman said. Nabil Abu Rudeina told government media that the raid amounted to “an Israeli attempt to escalate things ahead of September,” when the PLO plans to seek recognition of statehood from the United Nations. “The Israeli government is responsible for this escalation,” he added. [End]

TV: Israel agrees to negotiate over pre-’67 lines
JERUSALEM (AP) 1 Aug — In a dramatic policy shift, Israel’s prime minister has agreed to negotiate the borders of a Palestinian state based on the cease-fire line that marks off the West Bank, a TV station reported Monday. Up to now, Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to spell out his plan for negotiating the border. A senior Israeli official would not confirm outright that the prime minister was now willing to adopt the cease-fire line as a starting point, but said Israel was willing to try new formulas to restart peace talks based on a proposal made by President Barack Obama.

Israel, Lebanon armies exchange fire at border
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma‘an) 1 Aug — The Israeli and Lebanese armies exchanged gunfire early Monday across their shared border, security officials and media reports said. Israel’s Haaretz newspaper said soldiers traded fire in the Mount Dov region on the border … The Israeli military said its troops had been fired upon as they worked on the Israeli side of the Blue Line, the UN-drawn border with Lebanon. But a Lebanese army official said troops opened fire only when Israeli soldiers crossed the border line, which was established in 2000. Both sides have challenged the accuracy of the Blue Line in several locations … The flare-up in violence was the worst clash between the two sides since Israel’s devastating 2006 war in Lebanon against the Shiite Hezbollah militia.

UNIFIL: IDF troops didn’t cross border
Ynet 1 Aug — UN force sides with IDF, says Lebanese army’s fire on troops patrolling border was uncalled for; but Lebanese president slams Israel for aggression, tells troops: Enemy tried to revert to provocations, but you stood guard,7340,L-4102681,00.html

Der Speigel probes link between Israel, Norway killer
Ynet 1 Aug — German paper warns Europe’s right-wing Islamophobes have found willing allies in Likud,7340,L-4102754,00.html

Israel’s housing crisis

Ben-Eliezer: Israel headed for disaster
Ynet 1 Aug — Former minister warns Palestinian UN bid will clash with housing crisis to create ‘chaos’, urges Netanyahu to ‘take matters in hand’ by cutting defense budget, transferring funds from settlements to housing within 1967 lines,7340,L-4102967,00.html

Stay in your tents / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 31 July –The protest transferred the center of power from the politicians to the public, and that public is speaking now – for perhaps the first time – in terms of individual and society rather than in terms of state and army… Do not trivialize this. The protest has also transferred the focus of strength from domineering minority groups to the previously silent majority. Now the talk is of concern for the majority, not for an extortionist minority.

Netanyahu’s trump card against Israeli protests: Peace / Bradley Burston
Haaretz 1 Aug — As protests over social welfare sweep Israel, the PM has to go the one way no one is looking: Move immediately – and sincerely – for peace negotiations with the Palestinians — Early Monday, when the news broke of the IDF trading fire with the Lebanese army, everyone in this house, and undoubtedly many others in Israel, had the same thought: That’s it. Netanyahu’s decided to solve the protest crisis by going to war … You needn’t look far for precedent. There is ample evidence that Ehud Olmert could have, and certainly should have, avoided the Gaza war as a means of halting rocket fire from the Strip. But, in the wake of his disastrous conduct of the Second Lebanon War and the sewn-on shadow of graft allegations, Olmert had something to prove and much to hide. We went to war because Olmert needed to.

Palestinians’ low salaries also linked to Israeli social struggle / Amira Hass
Haaretz 1 Aug — “A financial crisis in the Palestinian Authority” – that is a convenient description of the situation where, on the eve of Ramadan, the Ramallah government is (again ) unable to pay the full salaries of its 150,000 public sector employees. This is a short, but very inaccurate description, however. The crisis, says economist Raja Khalidi, is in the status quo that Israel has enjoyed since the Oslo Accords: Israel is in control of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip – and Palestinian society and the donor countries finance the cost of this domination.

Most Israeli municipalities declare general strike in solidarity with housing protests
Haaretz 1 Aug — PM scrambles to quell nationwide protests as he faces a setback in the resignation of Finance Ministry Director General Haim Shani; Moshe Terry, former chairman of Israel Securities Authority, likely to take over treasury — Most municipal authorities have declared a one-day strike scheduled for Monday, in sympathy with popular protests spreading throughout Israel. Municipalities will not be giving services to government offices or holding public office hours today, streets will not be cleaned and garbage will not be collected.

Knesset to take summer break despite growing social protests across Israel
Haaretz 1 Aug — Proposal by Interior Minister Eli Yishai voted down; Speaker Reuven Rivlin: Government should deal with the crisis, not the Knesset.

IDF chief warns budget cuts may impede Israel’s defense abilities
Haaretz 31 July — Benny Gantz says IDF will agree to cuts in defense budget in favor of increased spending on social services, but warns that it may impede IDF’s ability to counter threats.

WATCH: Netanyahu in recent interview: No protests in Israel (+ Remix!) / Noam Sheizaf
+972mag 1 Aug — A common mistake for a leader is to take pride in things which he can’t anticipate or have little control over. This is Israel’s Binyamin Netanyahu, in his much publicized YouTube interview, celebrating the absence of popular protest in Israel… Protesters are having lots of fun with this bit lately. Here is a nice mix by former entertainment journalist Noy Alooshe that’s circulating around the net today. The chants in the back say “the people want social justice.” The bit at the End shows Likud MK Miri Regev chased away from the Tel Aviv tent camp.

Peres to leaders of Israeli social protest: It’s time for discussions, not negotiations
Haaretz 1 Aug — Daphni Leef and Stav Shafir, who initiated the protests for affordable housing, meet the president to discuss their demands.

Israeli settlers largely back housing protests but wary of left-wing slant
Haaretz 1 Aug — Settlers agree the burden on the public must be eased, but see current housing protests as an effort by left-wing activists to piggyback on justified grievances in order to promote the broader diplomatic agenda of the left.

Analysis / Interviews / Human interest

Three lives in the West Bank / Sophie Elmhurst
MEMO 1 Aug — 1. Samer, Jerusalem – If you live in Ramallah and work in Jerusalem, the time your journey will take to the office is an unknown quantity. It could be an hour, it could be three. — 2. Nabil, Sheikh Jarrah – On a wide street in Sheikh Jarrah, the Arab area in east Jerusalem, live Nabil and his family. To enter their house you walk through a gate, through a makeshift tent constructed out of sheets and tarpaulin, and into a back yard, where Nabil sits with his mother and friends drinking coffee and smoking. On the other side of the tent, living at the front of the same house, are Nabil’s neighbours, a group of young Israeli settlers. — 3. Hashem, Hebron – …Hashem, a physiotherapist by training, has lived in Hebron all his life, born in the house he lives in now with his wife Nasreen and four children. He is one of the few Palestinians still living in H2. Their home is perched on a hillside above the deserted market street, and to get there he has to climb over walls and clamber through gaps in hedges – the direct road has been blocked and is used only by the settlers who live further up the hillside.

From East Jerusalem to Ramallah / Kazim Ali
HuffPost 1 Aug — …The Palestinian people have been divided in four and none of the four can meet, create cultural commerce or find political unity as a people. Scattered by war, they are now scattered by “peace.” There are the Palestinian-Israelis who live inside the “green line,” the internationally recognized borders of the State of Israel. There are the Palestinians who live, sealed up in Gaza, without adequate construction supplies to repair any damage caused in the siege of Gaza, many of them living without electricity, access to fresh water or medical care. There are the Palestinians who live in the cities and towns of the Occupied West Bank and then of course there are the approximately 4 million members of the Diaspora who have no legal status as Palestinians per se. Though legally some are permitted to travel, the onerous system of checkpoints makes a twenty minute drive turn into a three or four hour journey. [and those in E. Jerusalem]

‘Peace is good business.’ Author and historian Gershom Gorenberg sits down with PNN
PNN 1 Aug — …Gershom, an Israeli-American historian and journalist and himself an Orthodox Jew, has written extensively on the moral failure at the heart of Israel’s settlement enterprise and the threat that it poses not only to Palestinians, but also to Israelis. He sees the settlements as not only a direct assault upon Israeli democracy, but also a threat to the existence of the Israeli state itself … The folly and the danger of the settlement enterprise will be a topic discussed at length in Gershom’s forthcoming book, entitled The Unmaking of Israel and to be published in November by HarperCollins.


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