Today in Palestine! ~ Friday, 9 September 2011 ~


Settler security chief: September infiltrators will be shot
JPost 9 Sept — IDF urged to clarify “open-fire” regulations during expected protests ahead of PA UN state bid — Palestinians who try to force their way into West Bank settlements during the mass protests in favor of statehood anticipated for September 20 “will be shot,” chief settler security officer Shlomo Vaknin told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday. The protests are expected to accompany the Palestinian unilateral bid for recognition of statehood at the United Nations …The IDF and settlement leaders are preparing for the possibility that in key hotspots, Palestinians overwhelmed by the emotions of the moment might try to march en masse against settlements with hopes of forcing their way inside.

Jewish settlers demand legal cover for killing Palestinian demonstrators
MEMO 9 Sept — A member of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council Fatah has revealed that settlers in occupied East Jerusalem are demanding the right to shoot and kill Palestinian protesters in front of the properties that have been occupied illegally as part of Israel’s Judaisation programme in the holy city. According to Dmitry Dliani, settlers will use the so-called “Dromi law” to justify such murderous acts of violence. Shai Dromi was an Israeli who shot and killed a trespasser in 2007 and the eponymous law was enacted thereafter. In a press statement Dliani said that this demand came from settlers’ spokesman Yoni Yosef at a meeting attended by the leaders of settlement groups and members of the Israeli Knesset.

settler self-defence / Max Ajl
9 Sept — This is belated, but the IDF has announced plans to allow settlers to shoot tear gas, and then live ammunition, at Palestinian demonstrators if they cross a “red line” near settlements during protests timed to coincide with the UN consideration of Palestinian statehood. As Haaretz politely puts it, “the soldiers will be allowed to open fire at the legs of the demonstrators, as is also standard practice if the northern border is crossed.” Is centrist-liberal Haaretz blithely equating the northern “border” with the barriers around the illegal settlements? The northern “border” — or whatever it is, Israel doesn’t really have borders, it has places where it cannot put its troops for various military or geopolitical reasons and places where it can put its troops — is only located where it is because Hezbollah pushed Israeli troops back. And this is the message the thoughtful liberals of Israel are implicitly passing on without comment.

Activist: Settlers vandalize family tent
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 9 Sept — Settlers vandalized a family tent in a village south of Hebron at dawn on Friday, a human rights worker said. No one was seriously injured. Naser Nawaja, a field researcher at B’Tselem, an Israeli rights group, said the settlers burned the tent while a man was inside. He was taken to a hospital in Yatta to be treated for shock.

Suspicion: ‘Price tag’ graffiti in Birzeit University
Ynet 9 Sept —  Palestinian sources reported that Hebrew slogans against the profit Muhammad and graffiti calling for the death of Arabs have been sprayed on one of the exterior walls in Birzeit University, near Ramallah, as well as on a mosque in a nearby town.,7340,L-4120126,00.html

Settlers write racist graffiti on BZU walls / Linah Alsaafin
[photos] 9 Sept — On Friday morning around 2am, settlers made their way to up to Birzeit University and spray-painted racist slogans on the walls just outside the West Gate. Below are the translated phrases under each picture, taken from the university’s own Facebook page.

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

Mayor Barakat opens Palestinian school year in cynical media move
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 8 Sept — In a change of tactics, Jerusalem mayor Nir Barakat and a member of Knesset attending the opening event for the new education year at Al-Amal School for special needs children in Assawiyeh. Residents of East Jerusalem have expressed surprise at the move, considering Barakat’s track record: “the Jerusalem Municipality shuts down the Ahmad Sameh Khaldi School in Abu Tur neighborhood and engages in torture of prisoners in Silwan. Meanwhile, Barakat heads to Abu Tur — much of which has been annexed by the Municipality to build settlements and roads connecting Hadasa Hospital and the Hebrew University — to open a school!” commented one resident.

Silwan youth sentenced to 5 months, after years of Israeli witchhunt
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 9 Sept — Two young residents of Silwan have been sentenced to 5 months in prison, after a two year long legal battle against Israeli authorities. Omar Ameen Siyam and Mahmoud al-Bana, both 23, weathered two years of prison, house arrest, interrogation and torture. The economic impact of their ongoing cases has been extreme: legal fees and rental costs (to serve their house arrests outside their home neighborhoods, as ordered by the court) amounts to 140,000 NIS (US$37,800) Siyam and al-Bana’s lawyers have also come under attack, with authorities lodging accusations of conspiracy to kill settlers at the City of David archaeological settlement in Silwan.

Tareq Oudeh is returned
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 8 Sept — After spending  six months in the Israeli prisons the youth Tareq Oudeh from the town of Silwan  was released, but is still under house arrest. On the night of his return, he was received enthusiastically by his family, relatives and friends in his town in Silwan.

Activist: Farmers kept off land near settlement
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 8 Sept — Israeli forces banned a number of villagers from approaching their lands in the Wadi Qashash area north Beit Ummar on Thursday, landowners said.  Farmer Ghazi Abu Ayyash and his brothers were not allowed to enter about eight dunoms of land, said Muhammad Awad of Beit Ummar’s popular committee. He said the lands [are] near the illegal Gush Etzion settlement close to a Rami Levi store. Troops pointed guns at the farmers and told them to never return to the area, he said.

South Hebron Hils: Israeli army threatens village of Umm al Kheer with demolitions
CPT 9 Sept — During the night of 4 September, the Israeli army delivered a demolition order for a small taboun oven to the inhabitants of the Bedouin village of Umm Al Kheer. A lawyer representing the village obtained a two-day stop-demolition order from the Israeli High Court, temporarily delaying the demolition. In addition to the taboun oven, where the villagers bake their bread, the Israeli military has slated eleven other structures in the village, and residents of the village fear that the military may destroy those structures, and possibly others during the demolition of the oven.  “The army has come to our village twice before to demolish houses,” said a resident of Umm al Kheer who wished to be identified only as Suleiman.  “Whenever they come, they destroy five or six buildings.  They won’t come and destroy just an oven, and then leave.”

Another round of Israeli military vandalism at Umm Al Kheir
[photos] TOD 9 Sept — Yesterday morning, Thursday September 8 2011, around 7 AM, the IDF military regime’s “Civil Administration” officials arrived at Umm-Al-Kheir, accompanied by a bulldozer and military forces, to destroy homes. The residents of Umm-Al-Kheir – situated in the West Bank, roughly 8km north of its southernmost border – are Bedouins, originally living on land that became part of Israel. They were driven out following the 1948 war (see more details here), and in the 1950s purchased the land on which they live, which was then under Jordanian rule. the 1980s the nearby Karmel settlement was established and subsidized by the Israeli government. Like all settlements, Karmel continues to expand and encroach on more and more Umm-Al-Kheir lands. The “Civil Administration” – which, on land matters, is little more than the executive arm of the settler movement despite being formally part of the IDF – always does the settlers’ bidding

Israeli soldiers demolish homes near Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 8 Sept — …Security sources told WAFA that Israeli soldiers arrested a Palestinian man, raided another’s home and ransacked its contents in Samu‘ town, south of Hebron. They said a large number of soldiers raided Palestinians’ homes in the locale of Khirbet Umm al-Khair, east of Yatta town south of Hebron, and declared it a closed military zone before demolishing homes and tents that belong to Palestinians.
A local official said that Israeli soldiers raided al-Gowin [Ghuwein?] and Wad al-Amair locales south of Samu‘ town, where they removed and seized about 30 electricity poles.

Israeli army threatens journalists covering EU visit to al-Walajeh
PNN 9 Sept — Israeli soldiers threatened to assault an al-Arabiya cameraman in the southern West Bank village of al-Walajeh on Friday as he covered a visit by 11 EU dignitaries. The Israeli army did not act on the threats, however, and allowed journalists into a dredging site near the Cremisan Monastery in al-Walajeh, where Israel plans to erect the wall. The EU delegation, invited by Oxfam International, was accompanied by PA spokesman Ghassan al-Khatib, al-Walajeh mayor Saleh Khalifeh, and Shireen Araj and Mahmoud Zawahiri, members of the local popular committees. Araj said in a preliminary speech to the dignitaries that if the wall were to be built at all, it would have to be along the 1967 boundaries and that the actions of the Israeli army in al-Walajeh, which falls on the Palestinian side of those lines, constitutes a land grab.

Israeli forces

PCHR Weekly Report: 3 civilians, 6 fighters killed by Israeli forces this week 25 Aug-7 Sept
IMEMC 8 Sept — …the Palestinian Center for Human Rights found that 5 Palestinians, 2 of whom were civilians, were killed by Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip. In addition, the bodies of 3 workers who were missing in a tunnel in the southern Gaza Strip that had been bombarded by Israeli warplanes were found. Also, a Palestinian child died of a previous wound in the Gaza Strip. 28 Palestinians, including 13 children, 7 women and an old man, were wounded by Israeli forces the Gaza Strip, and one civilian was wounded in the West Bank …
Israeli attacks in the West Bank: Over the last week, Israeli forces conducted 68 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, during which they abducted 28 Palestinians, including two children and two members of the Palestinian Legislative Council… [IMEMC has most details and the original PCHR report is here.]

2 arrested in raid on village near Qalqiliya
QALQILIA (Ma‘an) – Israeli forces detained three men from Qalqiliya late Thursday, local witnesses and the Israeli military said, in the third such raid in 48 hours. Seventeen jeeps were counted in Jayous village as forces fired stun grenades, locals said. They broke into houses and detained Murad Qadumi, Muhamad Abu Sada and Rasem Ash-Sheikh. An Israeli military spokeswoman said police forces had arrested three Palestinians.
Six Palestinians were also arrested by the army in the Ramallah area, she said.
On Thursday, five Palestinians were taken from the Kufr Qadum village in Qalqiliya, Palestinian police said. Three others from the same village were arrested on Wednesday.

Israel police question six children for hours without parents present
Haaretz 8 Sept — The boys, aged 11 to 13 were all suspected of vandalism in Jaffa’s Old City during the recent Muslim holiday of Id al-Fitr, were taken from school straight to the interrogation room.

Israel prevents clown show in East Jerusalem school
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 8 Sept — The Israeli police Thursday prevent the joint Spanish-Brazilian Festiclown group from performing at a  school in Sheikh Said village, South of Jerusalem, according to witness. Festiclown director, Ivan Prado, said … the ban will only increase their determination to continue the show in the Palestinian Territory … The show, titled “red nose soldiers,” came to Palestine to face the Israeli occupation with laughter by carrying out street performances as well as acts in schools, theaters and hospitals throughout the West Bank.

Mer-Khemis investigation staging the shutdown of Freedom Theatre / Taghrid Atallah
Al Akhbar 8 Sept — Israel is apparently using the investigation into the assassination of Palestinian artist Julian Mer-Khemis, which has dragged on for months, as a pretext to hamper the operation of the Freedom Theater where he taught and performed … Repeated Israeli raids on the theatre have kept students away. For many it was like a second home. In time, they found an alternative space, al-Qasbah theater, where they could resume their rehearsals for the play Waiting for Godot.


New Israeli raids – east Jabaliya
Jabaliya (PNN) 8 Sept 14:07 — Hazar Khalilieh (Trans.) — Israel continues its attacks on Gaza strip. Israeli bombardment attacks were regenerated on Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza on Thursday morning. The attacks targeted a group of civilians, causing several deaths and injuries. Locals said Israeli attacks are leaving no chance for a ceasefire.
The air raids happened less than an hour after the assassination of Al-Quds Brigades military wing of Islamic Jihad movement member, Rumah Al-Hassani, in an air raid that targeted central Gaza strip.

Israeli army razes land in Gaza Strip
RAFAH (WAFA) 8 Sept 14:09 – An Israeli army unit of four Israeli bulldozers and five tanks Thursday entered the Gaza Strip and raided Palestinian land to the east of Rafah, razing the area under heavy military air cover and sporadic shooting, according to local sources. Israel has escalated its attacks on the Gaza Strip in the past few days, killing two Palestinians and injuring several others in Israeli airstrikes that targeted civilian areas.

Gunshots fired at western Negev homes; no injuries
Ynet 9 Sept — Palestinian snipers from the northern Gaza Strip fired at least 10 shots at houses in Netiv Haasara on Friday. No injuries were reported, however damage was caused to several houses. The residents were ordered to stay indoors as the IDF canvassed the area and were allowed to leave an hour later.,7340,L-4120011,00.html

Qassam operative dies in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 7 Sept — A member of Hamas’ armed wing died Wednesday during a ‘Jihad’ mission near Ash-Shati refugee camp west of Gaza City, the Al-Qassam Brigades announced. Muhammad Rushdi Aqbalan, 52, died after suffering an electric shock, the group said.

Blockades – Gaza and West Bank

Hummus starts trickling past Israel’s blockade on Gaza / Amira Hass
Haaretz 9 Sept — Documents released show Israel lifted restrictions on the importation of legumes into Gaza — Maj. Gen. Amos Gilad, formerly acting Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT ), permitted bringing processed hummus into the Gaza Strip in July 2009, for the first time in two years. However, Gilad did not permit bringing hummus with extras, such as pine nuts or mushrooms, into the strip … These details appear in documents COGAT released following a petition filed by human rights groups to the Tel Aviv District Court in February this year.

PA: Israel to allow cars into Gaza
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 8 Sept — Minister of transportation in Ramallah Saadi al-Krunz said Tuesday that cars would resume entering Gaza from the West Bank starting next Monday. Al-Kurnoz said the ministry of transportation has made increased efforts to reverse an Israeli decision which stopped the transfer of vehicles from the West Bank into the Gaza Strip. Krunz said 60 new cars will enter Gaza weekly.

Gaza car traders protest customs increase
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) updated 7 Sept — Traders in the Gaza Strip on Monday protested a 25 percent increase in import taxes on cars entering the coastal enclave. President of Gaza’s Automobile Association Ismail Al-Nakhaleh said the Hamas Ministry of Transport would raise import taxes on cars from 50% to 75%, increasing custom duties by up to $15,000 … Gaza transport ministry officials said revenue from the 25% rise would be used to pave the roads in Gaza.

Crossing borders / Linah Alsaafin
5 Sept — I stared at the dull curtain in front of me. Moments later, a female Israeli security guard pulled the curtain back and entered the cubicle, drawing it to a close again. She had on plastic gloves and began patting me down, tapping my knees to stand more widely. She slipped her fingers through the top of the inside of my jeans, lest I should have anthrax rolled up in plastic baggies Velcroed there. She told me to take my shirt off. I stared at her, bewildered. She snapped her fingers impatiently … Gaza has the Rafah crossing, and the West Bank has the jisir. Our gateways to the indifferent world beyond. Two years ago the Israelis discovered that my father has a Gaza ID which meant that he cannot come back to the West Bank. For now he’s staying in Amman, and whenever we can, my family in Ramallah crosses borders (the Allenby bridge on the Israeli side, the King Hussein bridge on the Jordanian one) so we can indulge in a couple of weeks of family normalcy. Needless to say, I’ve crossed the border way too many times for my liking … It shouldn’t be called the Israeli/Jordanian crossing. It should be called the Israeli crossing, period. They have all the control over who gets in and out, and coordinate with the Jordanian side accordingly.

Activists / Solidarity

Nabi Saleh rally holds mock funeral for Oslo Accords
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 9 Sept — The village of Nabi Saleh near Ramallah held a mock funeral for the Oslo Accords as part of its weekly demonstration on Friday … Participants waved flags with the logo of “The state of Palestine 194” as they marched through the village carrying a black coffin with the words “Oslo Accords” written on it. The protesters were met by Israeli forces who fired tear gas and sound grenades at the rally. The activities were organized as part of the upcoming anniversary of the signing of the Oslo Accords on Sept. 13 1993, a statement from the popular resistance movement said. Israel has killed the accords, it added, saying that they were now just “ink on paper.”

One Palestinian arrested at al-Ma‘sara demonstration
9th Sept: PSP joined residents of the Al Ma‘sara village in Bethlehem district for their weekly demonstration against the Israeli occupation. Around fifty Palestinian protesters — accompanied by Israeli and international activists — marched from the town and attempted to cross an Israeli-built road to access their fields. The march was met by around 25 Israeli soldiers, who prevented the villagers from crossing the road to reach the Palestinian fields. Protesters chanted in support of Palestine’s September bid for statehood at the UN, and demanded an end to the occupation. The entirely peaceful protest was then pushed back by the heavily armed soldiers, who arrested Muhammad Brijiyeh without any provocation.

Vittorio Arrigoni trial, Day One
ISM Gaza 8 Sept — The trial of four surviving defendants in the April 14 kidnapping and murder of Italian journalist and International Solidarity Movement activist Vittorio Arrigoni began today in a Gaza military court. The hearing, which began at 10:30 am, was open to the public. Two International Solidarity Movement members, along with a number of Vittorio’s Palestinian and international friends, observed it. It was held in a light, airy hall in Gaza’s military court compound. The four defendants, Abu Ghoul, age 25, Khader Jram, age 26, Mohammed Salfi, age 23, and Hasanah Tarek, age 25, appeared to be in good health, occasionally smiling or waving to family in the courtroom.

Prisoner exchange

Report: Israel compromises on demands in Shalit deal
Ynet 9 Sept — [London-based] Al-Hayat newspaper quotes ‘reliable sources’ as saying Israel reduced number of prisoners it refuses to release, agreed to free all female prisoners … as well as Arab-Israeli security prisoners. The report further stated that Israel has also reduced the number of prisoners it refuses to release, from 120 to 40. Jerusalem is also reportedly willing to reduce the number of prisoners it refuses to allow back into the West Bank.,7340,L-4120030,00.html


Knesset’s Defense Committee summons PM over terror probe ambiguity
Ynet 8 Sept — In an unusual move, Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee issues official summons for Benjamin Netanyahu after he apparently instructs top defense officials to remain mum on Eilat terror attacks probe — Is pertinent information regarding the series of terror attacks which took place near Eilat in mid August being kept form the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee?,7340,L-4119900,00.html

Egypt to allow Sinai Bedouin to join police force
AP 8 Sept — Bedouins have long complained that they face arbitrary arrest simply because they live close to the volatile Gaza Strip and Israel. Positions in the nation’s security forces were previously not open to Bedouins whose fathers had been arrested, barring many from such jobs.

Egypt police: Migrant says organ traffickers operating along border
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma’an) 9 Sept — Organ harvesting gangs are operating along the Egyptian border with Israel, an African migrant told police on Friday. An Eritrean immigrant told Egyptian police that he had escaped from a gang of smugglers in Egypt who African immigrants had paid to enter Israel illegally, a Ma‘an correspondent in El-Arish reported … The immigrant, who had handed himself in to police in El-Arish, north Sinai, said he saw several of his friend’s bodies being put into the trunks of smuggler cars.

Statehood bid

Palestinians rally in Ramallah, PA leaders meet
RAMALLAH (AFP) 9 Sept  — Palestinians on Thursday began a campaign in support of their UN membership bid, as their senior leaders met to fine-tune the plan to become the UN’s 194th member state. The launch of the campaign, dubbed “National Campaign for Palestine: state 194,” is part of the build-up to Sept. 20, when President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to submit the formal membership request.

UN Secretary-General: Palestinian statehood is long overdue
Haaretz 9 Sept — Ban Ki-moon says supports two-state solution for Middle East peace, adding that it was up to UN members whether or not to recognize an independent Palestinian state.

US vows to veto Palestinian statehood bid
WASHINGTON (Reuters) 8 Sept — The United States said explicitly for the first time on Thursday it would veto a Palestinian bid for full UN membership, drawing an immediate rebuff from the Palestinians who vowed to press ahead.

Palestinian Observer Mission assures skeptics: Statehood will not endanger refugee rights
PNN 9 Sept — In a memorandum dated September 2011 and prepared by the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations, Palestinian diplomats claimed that the September bid for statehood would not render the PLO obsolete or endanger the right of return for Palestinian refugees. Skeptics of the statehood bid, most notably the Oxford professor of public international law Guy Goodwin-Gill, have said the upgrade in Palestinian representation would replace the current PLO with a State of Palestine and since the PLO is the “sole representative of the Palestinian people,” including the nearly five million stateless refugees worldwide, if it was to be replaced, its responsibility for their right of return would disappear.

Sweden receives Palestinian ambassador
AP 9 Sept — Stockholm holds first official welcoming ceremony for a Palestinian representative, expresses support for efforts toward Palestinian statehood,7340,L-4119944,00.html

Tunisia confirms support for Palestinian statehood bid
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 Sept — Tunisia confirmed on Friday that it will support the Palestinian UN bid for statehood in September.

Palestinian envoy to US ‘disappointed’ with J Street’s objection to UN bid
Haaretz 9 Sept — Maen Rashid Areikat, head of the PLO General Mission to the U.S., told “Haaretz” he is “disappointed” by J Street objection to the Palestinian UN bid, but added he understands their concerns. “I am disappointed, because we thought J Street was going to be a different U.S. Jewish organization and play a different role, take a more courageous position, and understand why we are going to the UN, but I understand their reasons.

Israel to establish ‘dialogue tent’ outside UN to counter Palestinian initiative, Durban III
AIC  Sept — Israel’s Ministry of Public Affairs and the Diaspora will pitch a “dialogue tent” near the UN in NY to counter the planned General Assembly meetings on recognizing a Palestinian state and commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Durban Declaration (‘Durban 3’). Topics of ‘dialogue activities’, according to a press release issued by the Ministry, include ‘the importance of dialogue in the Middle East’, ‘disadvantages of unilateral moves’ and ‘pluralism, democracy and free speech in Israel’.

Israel – Turkey

Erdoğan: Turkey warships will escort any future Gaza aid flotilla
Haaretz 8 Sept — Turkish PM also says that his country had taken steps to stop Israel from unilaterally exploiting natural resources from the eastern MediterraneanLast Saturday, Turkish officials told Hurriyet Daily News that the Turkish navy will significantly strengthen its presence in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, as one of the steps the Turkish government has decided to take following the release of the UN Palmer report on the 2010 Gaza flotilla.

Israel: Turkey threat of warships ‘grave’
JERUSALEM (AFP) 9 Sept — A top Israeli minister on Friday described as “grave and serious” a threat by Ankara to send warships to escort any aid vessels trying to reach the Gaza Strip in defiance of Israel’s naval blockade … Meridor also said that Ankara “would be violating international law” if it tried to break the naval blockade by force, which a UN report into the flotilla incident declared to be legal.

Report: Turkey obtains names of flotilla raid soldiers
Ynet 9 Sept — … a lawyer affiliated with IHH — the Turkish group that organized the flotilla — claimed the organization handed the prosecutor a list with over ten names of IDF soldiers that were on board the vessel, Turkish newspaper al-Zaman reported on Friday. “We have handed the list to Istanbul’s prosecutor and are now waiting for arrest warrants,” said Attorney Ramzan Türk, adding that the list is based on information received by other IDF soldiers who “regretted the incident and gave me the names of the soldiers.”  Ramzan noted that the soldiers who provided the names did not take part in the raid.
Meanwhile, Ankara diplomats on Friday stressed that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s north African tour will not include a visit to the Gaza Strip. “Turkey doesn’t want to enrage the Egyptian authorities,” an Ankara official explained the move.,7340,L-4120091,00.html

Israel’s Lieberman ‘plans to punish Turkey’
TEL AVIV (Ma‘an) 9 Sept — Israel’s foreign ministry has prepared a series of “harsh measures” to “punish” Turkey’s leadership for diplomatic slights, Israeli media reported Friday.  Israel will facilitate cooperation with the Armenians, Turkey’s historic rivals, and may even lobby for international recognition of the Armenian holocaust, the Hebrew-language daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported.  Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is also planning to meet with Kurdish rebels in Europe in order to “cooperate with them and boost them in every possible area,” Yedioth’s English website said.

Netanyahu’s office distances itself from foreign minister’s planned measures against Turkey
Haaretz 9 Sept — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office released on Friday a statement regarding Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s “plan” to take retaliatory steps against Turkey … Sources in the foreign ministry who were involved in the discussion told Haaretz that the recommendations made were the opposite of what was published in the media Friday. “There were various ideas,” a senior foreign ministry official said, “but the foreign ministry’s main recommendation to Lieberman following that discussion was to take steps to prevent a further escalation with Turkey.”

Israel rejects Turkish claims of ‘disloyalty’
AJE 8 Sept — Israel’s defence ministry has rejected Turkish claims that it lacks “trade ethics”, saying it was still fixing drone parts that were not delivered on schedule. The Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, had accused Israel of lacking “trade ethics” in bilateral military contracts.

Maccabi Tel Aviv players serving in IDF barred from Turkey soccer game
Haaretz 8 Sept — IDF says Maccabi players who currently serve as soldiers cannot travel to Istanbul for historic Europa League game due to security concerns.

Turkey: Ties could be restored if Israel apologizes for Gaza flotilla raid
AP 8 Sept –Ankara has expelled Israeli diplomats and cut military ties in response to UN report, but ruling party say ‘not all bridges are burned’.

Egypt – Israel

Egypt navy briefly arrests Israeli security crew
Haaretz 9 Sept — …The four security men and three other crew members were arrested on a yacht Wednesday after they reportedly threw their personal weapons overboard in a fright upon noticing a nearby Egyptian naval patrol. This latest turn of events caused an Egyptian Navy vessel to suspect that the small ship was harboring terrorists, which prompted their eventual advance and arrest of everyone on board the Israeli ship.

In Pictures: Egypt — A nice Friday to tear down an Israeli wall
[many AP/Reuters photos] Occ. Palestine 9 Sept — Egyptian military and policemen stand alert as hundreds of Egyptian activists demolish a concrete wall built around a building housing the Israeli embassy in Cairo, Egypt, to protect it against demonstrators, as they raise national and Palestinian flags Friday, Sept. 9, 2011. Israeli flag which they prepare to burn seen at left….

Egyptians tear down Israeli flag as hundreds storm Cairo embassy
dpa 9 Sept — Protesters use hammers and poles to bring down wall built earlier this month following public demands for the expulsion of Israeli ambassador.

Video: Egypt succeed in getting the Israeli flag down the embassy for 2nd time
Occ Palestine 9 Sept A; Jazeera video

Political / Diplomatic / International news

Muhammad Awad appointed deputy PM in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 9 Sept — Ismail Haniyeh, leader of the Hamas-run authority which rules the Gaza Strip, has appointed Muhammad Awad as his deputy prime minister, officials said Thursday. Awad had served as foreign minister and secretary-general of the government in Gaza City. It was not immediately clear who would be replacing Awad once he takes office.

Egypt envoy: Zahhar statements do not reflect official policy
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 9 Sept — Egyptian ambassador to the Palestinian Authority Yasser Othman said Friday that a Hamas leader’s comments about the possibility of moving its headquarters to Cairo were not officially discussed with Egypt. Mahmoud Zahhar said Friday that the Islamist movement was considering moving its headquarters to Cairo from Damascus in light of the security situation in Syria.  “There are a number of options and Egypt is one of them,” he said. But Othman told Ma‘an that communications between Egypt and Palestinian political factions did not include opening Hamas’ headquarters in Cairo, especially as the PLO embassy in the city represents the Palestinians. Egypt will not take any steps that deepen Palestinian division, he said. [End]

Egypt to stop issuing tourist visas on arrival
CAIRO (AFP) 9 Sept — Egypt is to stop issuing visas to tourists on arrival, a government official said on Friday, although allowances will be made for those traveling in groups. The new regulations have not yet come into effect, and the cabinet is still fine-tuning them, spokesman Mahmud Higazi told AFP … “We are asked for visas everywhere and it is our right to ask for visas. No airport in the world would give me a visa on arrival,” he said.

Racism / Sectarianism

We didn’t come here to live in ghettos / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 6 Sept — Ethiopian immigrants are all settled in distressed neighborhoods in Petah Tikva. The divisions are legion: whites versus blacks, veteran immigrants versus new ones, ‘proper’ Jews versus Falashmura, all of them longing to be Israeli.

Throwing blows in Beit Shemesh
Haaretz 8 Sept — Tensions rise as ultra-Orthodox extremists fight religious Zionist girls school ... The small police force guarding the school did not make much of an impression on the 40-or-so ultra-Orthodox Sicarii, who ambushed the girls after school at the top of the street, 300 meters from the school gate, and blocked both sidewalks. They shouted “shiksa” [non-Jewish girl], “pritzas” [prostitute] and “gevalt” at the terrified girls..

Other news

Hebron farmers say market flooded with Israeli grapes
HEBRON (Ma‘an) updated 7 Sept — Hebron governor Kamel Hemaid on Sunday met members of the local grape council to discuss losses resulting from the import of grapes from Israel … Director of the Hebron office of the agriculture ministry Badr Hawamdah said farmers in the district produced around 40,000 tons of grapes annually but around 15,000 tons went to waste. Hawamdah assured the farmers that his office would liaise with Palestinian officials to confiscate grapes imported from Israel.

Shakespeare in the West Bank: British troupe savour ‘Elizabethan’ crowd
Guardian 9 Sept – Harriet Sherwood — Raucous audience at Bethlehem refugee camp see closing performance of The Tempest by Jericho House theatre — It was, said the director, an Elizabethan atmosphere. People came and went throughout the play. There was chatter and laughter and crying babies. One boy kicked a football, another swung from an overhead metal bar near the stage.

Israelis really can’t make ends meet
Haaretz – The Marker – 8 Sept — The average household took home NIS 12,020 after taxes in 2010, but spent NIS 13,496, the statistics bureau said on Wednesday.

Evacuation of Israel’s tent cities leaves the poor stranded / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 9 Sept — The middle classes have packed up and left their tent cities, but the genuinely homeless have nowhere to go.

Analysis / Opinion

Analysis: Israel facing perfect storm in shifting region
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 8 Sept – Crispian Balmer — Militarily strong, Israel is battling a diplomatic storm as Arab uprisings upset once-stable relationships and worsen the Jewish state’s isolation in its conflict with the Palestinians. Domestic political pressures are exacerbating the problems, as is the perceived weakness of Israel’s main ally, the United States, which is itself struggling to adapt to the consequences of the turbulence that has swept the Arab world this year … “I am very concerned by the daily deterioration of Israel’s strategic balance,” said Oded Eran, head of Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies and a former ambassador. “We have seen a deterioration of our relations with Turkey and Egypt, and we have witnessed problems in our relations with America. The absence of any viable peace process and the specter of a U.N. resolution (on Palestinian statehood) is only making things worse.”

Rare sign of Palestinian backbone / Daoud Kuttab
HuffPost 8 Sept — The Palestinian leadership is experiencing a unique situation. Its insistence on going to the UN to seek recognition for statehood despite pressure from Israel and the US is beginning to bear fruit at the local level … Not that many expect immediate and tangible results from going to the UN or from a positive declaration itself. However, after years of caving in to every pressure, the fact that the head of the PLO and the Palestinian Authority is insisting on a strategic decision seems to be helping the demoralized Palestinians. This positive popular support is also reflected in the position of the various political factions. Radical PLO factions and Hamas leaders who are constantly second guessing and questioning the Palestinian leadership’s political direction are left speechless. They cannot possibly oppose the move at the UN when the Israelis and the Americans are daily heaping pressure on the Palestinian leader and over 130 countries are publicly supporting it.

Haaretz editorial: Perhaps Israelis need humiliation to respect others
9 Sept — Israel should view the harassment of Israeli Turkish Airlines passengers humbly as it serves as an embarrassing reflection on us.

Israeli pyromaniacs are setting the Mideast on fire / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 8 Sept — Autumn 2011 is teeming with disasters and our fate has been entrusted to a handful of cynical politicians, headed by Benjamin Netanyahu

Double standards: The case of Itamar Awarta / Charlotte Silver
WEST BANK (IPS/Al Jazeera) 8 Sept — Last March, a vicious crime occurred in the occupied Palestinian territories. Five members of an Israeli settler family were slain in their home in Itamar, a settlement in the northern West Bank. A mother, father, two young children and a three-month-old were all stabbed to death. Now, two men stand accused of the crime and await trial in a military court. However, given the investigative practices and “justice” system of the military courts that preside over the West Bank, there is scant confidence that justice will indeed prevail. This has profound implications for Palestinians and, in this case, the victims themselves.

The makings of history — Septembers to remember / Tom Segev
Haaretz 2 Sept — Twenty member states of the United Nations celebrate the anniversaries of their day of independence in September – and this year it is likely they will be joined by Palestinians celebrating theirs, which for some reason is making this a month to be afraid of. This could have been a wonderful September: President Shimon Peres, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, could have flown to New York equipped with suitable quotations from Ben-Gurion – for example, some comments from September 1934.

‘I love my son more than ever’ – 9/11 terrorist’s mother who won’t give up
Independent 8 Sept — Zacarias Moussaoui, the ’20th hijacker’, will spend the rest of his life in a US jail. His mother wants to make amends. John Lichfield meets her  — In the photograph on his mother’s sitting-room wall, Zacarias Moussaoui is a cheerful 20-year-old boy with an open, trusting face. In the photographs on Aicha el-Wafi’s side-board, he is a sweet seven-year-old shouting with joy as he tumbles with other children down an earthy bank in Alsace … To the world, Zacarias Moussaoui, 43, is the “20th hijacker”, a sinister-looking man with a round, sullen, bearded face. He is the man who cursed America and Jews during his often bizarre trial in Alexandria, Virginia, in 2006. He is the only person ever to be tried specifically for playing a part in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States. Considerable doubts have since been raised about the role that he played in the conspiracy — if any.

9/11’s forgotten victims / Imran Khan
AJE 9 Sept — Tahira is typical of many people in Pakistan’s urban middle class. She is a successful businesswoman with a loving family … “When 9/11 happened I thought that it had nothing to do with us, they were blaming an Arab living in Afghanistan, not a Pakistani living here, but look at our lives now… We live like prisoners in our own home, nervous of anyone we don’t know.” … Tahira’s words are a poignant reminder that the effects of 9/11 have been felt most acutely not in the West, but on the dusty alleyways of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Daily bombings, murderous intent and religious rhetoric have turned the events of that fateful Tuesday into what Tahira calls a “horrific reality”. I know exactly what she means. Throughout my years of reporting from the front lines of the so-called “War On Terror” -from the streets of London to the remote tribal regions of Pakistan and beyond – I have felt the disconnect between how the West feels and how the East feels … Yet for those innocent victims in Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan, politicians of all hues remain silent. In all of those countries the blood continues to spill daily on our television screens.


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