Friday, 1 July 2011

Today in Palestine! ~ Thursday, 30 June 2011

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

Palestine Crisis Map

This site was created in late May, 2011, to begin mapping news reports of human rights violations, along with rebuilding efforts, in Palestine/Israel. The site is not comprehensive in either the categories covered, or the stories archived. The articles here point to but a fraction of the ongoing civil and human rights violations occurring daily in Israel and the Occupied Territories.

Jordan Valley settlements double in size / Dimi Reider

972mag 29 June -- The government and the Zionist Federation casually double the size of the Jordan Valley settlement project, to very little attention from Israelis or the international community. Israel’s de-facto annexation of the West Bank’s only bridge to the rest of the Middle East takes a giant leap ... Naturally, this massive expansion – doubling the settlements in size overnight – is meant precisely to cement the future and ensure the Jordan Valley will remain forever under Israeli control. This does not bode well for those of us who still believe anyone has any intention of allowing a sovereign Palestinian state with control of its own borders and economy to appear here ... On top of that, the casual appearance of the doubling of the size of settlements in a such a strategically vital area in a financial daily rather than on the front pages of the newspapers teaches us a great deal about just how normalised the occupation of the valley has become in the Israeli mind.

Israel: No place for Bedouin / Jillian Kestler-D'Amours

AJE 29 June -- Bedouin living in the Negev desert often lack even basic services, something Israel appears to promote -- ...Today, nearly half of the entire Bedouin population in the Negev - approximately 80,000 people - lives in 45 Bedouin villages that are unrecognized by the Israeli government. Despite being Israeli citizens, the state views the Bedouin residents of these villages as illegal squatters and does not provide them with basic services or infrastructure, including electricity, water, sewage systems, roads, schools or hospitals. On June 5, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled on an appeal filed five years ago on behalf of 128 Bedouin families living in six different unrecognized villages, including al-Atrash, who asked to be connected to the area's water distribution network.

Israel bulldozes ancient Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem

[23 Aug 2010 -- this is the part that was to become a 'Museum of Tolerance', but the destruction goes on - see next video] -- Israeli authorities continued bulldozing dozens of graves in the historic Islamic Ma'man Allah cemetery, and have bulldozed dozens of graves on Wednesday, while preventing journalists and photographers from filming the bulldozing and demolition, and assaulting some of them. Israel deliberately carries out the demolitions at night to avoid encountering journalists and Palestinians. Graves that were still standing were marked to complete their demolition on the following night ... The cemetery - which lies between east and west Jerusalem - contains the remains of more than 70 thousand, including notable historical and sacred religious figures buried more than 1400 years ago.

Israeli bulldozers smash more Muslim graves in Jerusalem

Al Jazeera 29 June 2011 [in Arabic] -- Quite shocking video of Israeli bulldozers smashing more Muslim graves in Mamilla [Ma'man Allah] Cemetery last weekend - Saree Makdisi tweet. Report: Elias Cram - Broadcast Date 27/06/2011

Hamas: Banishing native Jerusalemites racist policy

DAMASCUS (PIC) 30 June -- Hamas hailed the steadfastness of the Jerusalemite lawmakers who have been staging a sit-in at the Red Cross in occupied Jerusalem for the past year to abort the Israeli policy of banishing Jerusalemites. The movement said, in a statement on Thursday on the occasion of the first anniversary of the sit-in staged to protest the Israeli occupation authority’s decision to exile three Jerusalemite MPs and a former Jerusalem affairs minister, that the sit-in would eventually thwart the IOA decision.

PA: Farmer ordered to uproot trees

RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 30 June -- Israeli authorities handed military orders Thursday to a resident of Nabi Samwil, northwest of Jerusalem, ordering him to uproot 100 trees on his land, a Palestinian Authority statement said. Israeli authorities say that the land is part of 1,100 dunums declared as a national park, despite the farmer claiming ownership, the PA said.

Heavy fire in Baten el Awa burning a section of the settlers' building Beit Yonatan

Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 26 June posted 30 June -- We can still hear the sounds of live bullets being fired from Baten el Awa neighborhood by the militia of the settlers. The private security guards and police officers are working to ensure the protection of the inhabitant of a settlement called Beit Yonatan, as well as soldiers from the military barrack erected on the roof of a Palestinian housing building. Clashes erupted earlier this evening and Beit Yonatan have been the target of some Molotov cocktails causing the fire of an external part of the building.

Abduction of minors from Issawiya - taken to an unknown destination

Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 26 June posted 30 June -- This evening a large troop of undercover police kidnapped some minors from the town of Issawiya and took them away to an unknown destination for hours without reporting advising the parents of where their children were taken. After conducting some recherche, the relatives of one witness discovered that they had been taken to a police station called Mekpalan. As the troops who kidnapped the two minors had covered their faces, the witnesses could not recognized them and therefor cannot be investigated about their actions. The two minors are from the neighborhood of Abu Ghosh: Ahmed Muheisen 15 years and Ali, 16 years old.

April and May Report

[photos] Mada information center in Wadi Hilwa - Silwan during the months of April and May recorded the following: Arrests and detention: ...53 cases of arrest, and detention in addition to 33 cases of the interrogation among them for kids under 16 and scored 13 arrest of a failed attempts by the undercover unit. four young men from Silwan, ranging from five to ten years claiming the text of their illegal activities ... Confrontations and clashes: There wasn’t any day went by during the months of April and May without confrontation or clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces ... Burning houses and the refusal of fire stations to participate to put out fires: The center registered burning four houses of Palestinians in Silwan because of the heavy and indiscriminative use of tear gas and one fire vehicle rejected to put off the fire justifying that it was barred from entering the town of Silwan... Keeping hostages: The center also recorded one case at least of arresting a child as a hostage until his child brother handed over himself into police on the grounds that it involved the clashes in Silwan Town.... [the translation is hard to understand, but the article is worth reading]

15-year-old injured after attack with stones in Hebron

ISM 30 June -- On Sunday June 25, 15-year-old Muhammed Jabari was attacked by settlers throwing stones in Hebron, causing injuries to his wrist and leg. The land and house of the Jabari family is situated between the illegal settlements of Kiryat Arba and Givat Ha’avot in east Hebron, making the family exposed to harassment and attacks by settlers as reported previously. On Sunday settlers from Givat Ha’avot took one duck and four goslings from the land of the Jabari family, stealing them away to the illegal settlement. Muhammed and his younger brother were allowed by settler guards to go inside and get the birds. Bystanders were prevented from filming by soldiers guarding the illegal settlement. They returned after they heard the 15 year old boy screaming in pain. Approximately seven teenage settlers threw stones at him, injuring his wrist and his leg. No one interfered when the boy was attacked. At least one soldier was watching the attack, and there are several surveillance cameras covering the area. Additionally, the site of the attack is about two minutes away from the Israeli police station of Kiryat Arba. Muhammed was taken to hospital after the attack.

IDF pardons soldiers photographed with pro-settler shirts

Ynet 30 June -- GOC Northern Command Gadi Eizenkot decided Thursday to pardon five IDF soldiers after they were sentenced to 20 days in jail for photographing themselves wearing t-shirts that read "The Golani Brigade does not evict Jews." ... Furthermore, it was reported that the leniency with which the case was handled was due to the fact that a group of settlers, rather than the soldiers, were behind the incident. An investigation indicated that the ones responsible are a family in Alon Shvut of the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, as well as a former resident of Homesh (a settlement that was demolished as part of the 2005 disengagement plan from the Gaza Strip and the Northern West Bank).

Violence / Incursions

Troops assault local official

BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 30 June -- Israeli forces entered the village of Husan, west of Bethlehem, Wednesday evening and physically assaulted the head of the village council Adli Hamamra, witnesses said. Village residents told Ma‘an that Israeli jeeps entered the Husan on in the late evening and began asking for the identity cards of local residents. Hamamra tried to prevent a confrontation between the Israeli army and local youths but was attacked by soldiers and assaulted, according to witnesses in the village.

Activism / Solidarity

New neighborhood in Bil‘in after Wall moved

RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 30 June -- Bil‘in residents are due to start the construction of a new neighborhood on land returned to them following the re-routing of Israel's separation barrier. Villagers will start building "Bil‘in West" on Friday as part of the weekly demonstration against the wall, a statement from the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee said Thursday. The Popular Committee announced a new strategy of building community and public buildings on lands that were returned as a way to assert their possession of them.

UK Minister for Middle East met in Nabi Saleh: 'We defend the right to protest'

PS 30 June -- Alistair Burt, the Foreign Office Minister for Middle East, attended a meeting with community organizers and wives of political prisoners, Bassem and Naji Tamimi, in the village of Nabi Saleh today ... During the meeting, the minister said that "From what I have seen the IDF have acted extremely strongly against peaceful protesters including chasing children and, in one instance striking a woman. We entirely defend people's rights to peacefully protest and the role of the international community in helping protect this..."

Volunteers needed to rebuild Fasayel Wasta

JVS 29 June -- Today, JVS, with fundings of the Danish Churches, will build new houses for the families who faced Israeli demolitions two weeks ago. At 3pm we will start building new structures for the 18 families who remained homeless after the Israeli army demolished 21 structures. JVS is calling all its friends and supporters to join the rebuilding.


NGO: Israel responsible for Gaza aid crisis

TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma‘an) 30 June -- The focus on humanitarian aid by flotilla organizers is misleading and neglects the real obstacles to development in the Gaza Strip, Israeli organization Gisha said Wednesday in a statement. "The problem in Gaza is not a shortage of food but rather a violation of the right to productive, dignified work" executive director of Gisha Sari Bashi said. "There is just one solution that will respect the rights of Gaza residents to freedom of movement and livelihood while protecting Israel's legitimate security interests: Israel must lift the ban on construction materials, exit of goods and travel between Gaza and the West Bank."

Making points in Gaza / Paul Pillar

Nat Int 29 June -- The story of Palestinian Arab refugees forms a backdrop to an interesting observation in a story by Ethan Bronner in Wednesday's New York Times, about the revival of agriculture in a portion of the Gaza Strip that used to be occupied by an Israeli settlement bloc. Israel extracted its 9,000 settlers when it left Gaza in 2005. According to Bronner, "Many of those settlers remain in transitional housing inside Israel and in West Bank settlements. The failure of the Israeli government to resettle them properly has been yet one more argument offered in Israel against settler withdrawals for a Palestinian state." There is no moral or legal equivalence between the fate of refugees forced by a conquering army from homes their families had occupied for generations, and the status of settlers installed by a conquering regime that later pulls them out. Nonetheless, it is ironic that the Israeli government appears to be employing the same technique -- of using displaced persons to support an argument about an international dispute -- that Israelis have long accused Arab regimes of utilizing.

Videos: The free runners of Gaza / Mariam Shahin

AJE -- For young, often unemployed Palestinians in Gaza's Khan Younis camp, parkour has become the ultimate means of escape -- In the narrow sandy alleys of the Khan Younis refugee camp Mohammed al-Jakhbeer and Abdallah Enshsi, both 22, navigate their path out of the camp and into the many corners and open spaces of the tiny strip of land which is famous for being the most densely populated in the world.


Watch: Palestinians await the Gaza flotilla

Haaretz 30 June -- Gaza residents say the hope the current attempt of pro-Palestinian activists to breach the blockade will bring international attention to their situation.

Irish Ship to Gaza: MV Saoirse sabotage photos and video

30 June -- On Monday the ship's 3 crew members, Shane Dillon, John Hearne and Pat Fitzgerald; along with Clr Gerry MacLochlainn, Charlie McMenamin (both from Derry) with John Mallon and Phil McCullough (both from Belfast) set sail on the MV Saoirse for re-fueling and a test run. On the way back to port Pat Fitzgerald, ship’s engineer, noticed that something was very wrong with the boat. Upon returning to the dock the first inspections began, it was then we realised that sabotage had been done to Ireland’s boat. Pat and the crew then hired experts to dive down and inspect the damage closer, upon their return to land it was noted that the boat has very serious damage done and that a piece was missing from one of the propeller shafts.

Irish ship will not sail to Gaza after 'sabotage'

Irish Times 30 June -- AN IRISH ship, the MV Saoirse , will not take part in the planned freedom flotilla which is preparing to sail to Gaza because it has been sabotaged, according to one of the ship’s intended passengers ... “This was the type of sabotage that endangered human life,” Mr Lane said last night. “They put divers under the boat who cut a piece out of the propeller shaft. That means that the damage would have happened gradually and what would have happened eventually is that the propeller would have come up through the bottom of the boat, caused a flood in the engine room and would have caused the boat to sink.”

Gaza flotilla organizers claimed Israel sabotaged second vessel in Turkey's territorial waters

[photo] ISTANBUL (Hurriyet DN) 30 June -- Organizers of a flotilla to Gaza accused Israel on Thursday of sabotaging the Irish aid ship Saoirse (Freedom) in Turkey’s territorial waters, the second allegation of its type this week. The engine of the Irish vessel was damaged in such a way that the ship would have sunk in the middle of the ocean. The ship was docked in Turkey’s territorial waters when the tampering occurred, according to an activist. Earlier this week, activists accused Israel of sabotaging the Greek-Swedish ship Juliano in Piraeus, Greece.

Irish aid ship to Gaza sabotaged -- Mac Lochlainn calls on Taoiseach to demand answers from the Israeli prime minister

Sinn Féin 30 June -- Following reports from the crew of MV Saoirse, the Irish aid ship to Gaza, that their boat has been maliciously and recklessly sabotaged, Sinn Féin spokesperson for Foreign Affairs, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, TD, has called on An Taoiseach [prime minister of Ireland] to immediately demand answers from the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu ... "The Irish Government has a solemn responsibility to ensure the safety of its citizens and the only party with an obvious interest in sabotaging this boat and recklessly endangering the lives of those on board are the Israeli Government".

Ireland: Avoid harming flotilla activists

AFP 29 June -- PM Kenny urges Israel not to take any action that could cause injury or harm to people seeking to challenge naval blockade of Gaza. Despite his 'sympathy' for Gazans, his government's advice is not to travel to Strip at this time, he adds,7340,L-4089029,00.html

Flotilla organizers: Greece complicit with Israel in delaying departure / Joseph Dana

972mag 30 June -- Athens -- At a press conference held at 3pm local time on Thursday, organizers of the US boat to Gaza, The Audacity of Hope, unveiled their ship to international press corps. Roughly 70 journalists , including a news crew from Israel’s Channel 10 as well as other Israeli journalists, were in attendance. Organizers defiantly called on the government of Greece to allow their boats safe deployment and passage. Former US army colonel Anne Wright, speaking on behalf of the US ship, demanded that the Greek government follow through with inspection of the ship, following an Israeli legal organization’s accusation that it is not seaworthy. Wright insisted it is seaworthy and that “The Greek government is complicit with the Israeli government in delaying and trying to stop our boat from sailing.” During the press conference, all 35 passengers of The Audacity of Hope stood in front of the ship draped in American flags. Wright specifically called on the Greek government to protect the US boat from acts of “state terrorism,” referencing the alleged sabotage of Irish boat. According to Wright, the Irish boat has 20,000 Euros worth of damage and would have sunk if it left port.

Live update from Aaron Maté and Hedy Epstein on US ship in Gaza flotilla

Democracy Now 30 June (with transcript) Democracy Now! producer Aaron Maté and 86-year-old Jewish Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein are on the U.S. ship, “The Audacity of Hope,” as it sits moored in an Athens port, draped in American flags, waiting to set sail for Gaza, joining nine other ships in a humanitarian flotilla to challenge the Israeli naval blockade of Palestine.

Video: Canadian aid convoy to head for Gaza
GTV 30 June - A Canadian aid convoy prepares to set sail for the blockaded Gaza Strip despite Israeli threats to confront activists aboard a Gaza-bound international flotilla. The Canadian boat, Tahrir, is now under a 24-hour security watch before its planned journey to the impoverished coastal sliver, as another vessel in the Freedom Flotilla II was sabotaged while docked at Greek ports, a Press TV correspondent reported on Wednesday.

Flotilla passenger on why she's sailing to Palestine / Mya Guarnieri

ATHENS, Greece (Ma‘an) 28 June -- At 33, Megan Horan is one of the younger passengers on the US Boat to Gaza. She admits that she is also a newcomer to the issues surrounding Israel and the Palestinians. After attending an interfaith conference last summer, soon after the Israeli raid on the flotilla that left nine activists on the Mavi Marmara dead, Horan's interest was piqued by a Palestinian speaker who mentioned the attempt to break the blockade [and] Ann Wright who spoke of her experience on last year’s US boat, the Challenger 1. "When I returned to Seattle, I started to really dig," says Horan, who works in hi-tech. Because it was important to Horan to get a "balanced" look at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, she explored many sources on different sides of the issue.

Constituents aboard Audacity of Hope challenge Sen. Mark Kirk's call for US to disable flotilla vessels / Lizzy Ratner

Mondo 30 June -- Several weeks ago, Mark Kirk, the Republican senator from Illinois who inherited Barack Obama's seat with the help of wads of pro-Israel cash, called for the American government to supply special ops forces and “naval support” to Israel to help stop the flotilla. In a report titled “The Future of Israel’s Security and the U.S.-Israel Relationship” that Kirk drafted this past June after a junket, er, trip to Israel with the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago, the senator urged the US to "... make available all necessary special operations and naval support to the Israeli Navy to effectively disable flotilla vessels before they can pose a threat to Israeli coastal security or put Israeli lives at risk" This is a stunning comment, not only because it blithely puts US lives at risk to protect Israeli ones, but because it bluntly advocates that the US break international and maritime law by knowingly endangering civilians and assaulting foreign flagged boats in international waters.

Israel army uses fabrications to assert flotilla financial links to Hamas / Ali Abunimah

EI blog 30 June -- The Israeli military claimed today that it had “uncovered financial links” between the Gaza-bound flotilla and the Palestinian movement Hamas. But their claims are based on unsubstantiated assertions and outright fabrications. In a press release, the Israeli military made the following sensational claim: According to Israeli military intelligence, the terrorist organization Hamas and several organizations behind the 2011 Gaza flotilla have similar funding sources. Three Islamic charity funds from the Hamas-affiliated Charity Coalition directly fund Hamas and some of the organizations connected to the 2011 Gaza flotilla

AG to rule on MK Zoabi probe soon

Ynet 29 June -- Weinstein still waiting for legal clarifications before deciding whether to launch criminal investigation against Arab lawmaker for participating in Gaza-bound flotilla last year,7340,L-4089132,00.html

Racism / Discrimination / Incitement

Haifa café to compensate soldier for discrimination

Ynet 30 June -- Court orders restaurant that refused service to uniformed IDF soldier to pay him NIS 15,000 -- ...When Sergeant Major Raviv Rot arrived at the Hillel Street restaurant Azad [apparently an Arab restaurant] in Haifa in February 2010, the hostess refused to allow him to enter because he was wearing his uniform. The incident caused a public outcry,,7340,L-4089544,00.html

Police using kid gloves in Rabbi Yosef inquiry

Ynet 30 June -- Rabbi Dov Lior arrest, riots that followed lead police to take different approach in arrest of Rabbi Yosef who is also suspected of incitement -- After the storm that broke out when Rabbi Dov Lior was detained for questioning, police are using kid gloves in their handling of Rabbi Yaakov Yosef who has so far evaded a police request that he present himself for questioning with regards to the "Kings Torah" affair.,7340,L-4089568,00.html

Political / Diplomatic / International news

Palestinians defy US warning to drop statehood bid

RAMALLAH (AFP) 30 June -- The Palestinians on Thursday brushed off pressure from the US Senate to drop their bid for UN recognition of a future state, saying it sprang from pro-Israel bias.

Abbas inclined to put off unity talks with Hamas until after UN vote
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) 30 June -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas might put off the formation of a unity government with the Islamic militant group Hamas to avoid alienating his Western allies ahead of a U.N. vote on statehood, a senior PLO official said Thursday. Palestinian leaders apparently underestimated international opposition, particularly from the U.S., to any Hamas involvement in government and are afraid that will derail efforts to win the U.N. nod to establish a Palestinian state.

Abbas urges Israel to reciprocate recognition

BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 30 June -- President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday that Israel should recognize a Palestinian state "in response to our people's recognition of Israel's right to exist," the official Palestinian Authority news agency Wafa reported. In a speech to the Dutch parliament, Abbas reiterated his commitment to the two-state solution, which he said must be achieved through talks and not violence.

'Israel tries to strike deal with Europe, US'

Ynet 30 June -- Government sources on Wednesday confirmed that Israeli and American officials are continuing their efforts to jump-start negotiations with the Palestinians, while Jerusalem is hoping to secure France and Britain's objection at a United Nations vote on the declaration of a Palestinian state. Germany and Italy have already announced that they will object to a unilateral declaration of statehood, while France and Britain are eager to push Israel and the Palestinians back to the negotiations table.,7340,L-4089191,00.html

In numbers: How does the US embassy in Israel celebrate the Fourth of July?

Haaretz 30 June -- Join at 7 P.M. on Thursday as we stream live the biggest U.S. Independence Day Bash in Israel 2,200 guests ... Who's going to be there? President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Members of the government and Knesset, IDF, the diplomatic corps, top local and international media, senior academics, non-governmental organizations, and more…

Obama may be losing the faith of Jewish Democrats / Ben Smith

Politico 29 June -- David Ainsman really began to get worried about President Barack Obama’s standing with his fellow Jewish Democrats when a recent dinner with his wife and two other couples -- all Obama voters in 2008 -- nearly turned into a screaming match. Ainsman, a prominent Democratic lawyer and Pittsburgh Jewish community leader, was trying to explain that Obama had just been offering Israel a bit of “tough love” in his May 19 speech on the Arab Spring. His friends disagreed -- to say the least. One said he had the sense that Obama "took the opportunity to throw Israel under the bus." ... If several dozen interviews with POLITICO are any indication, a similar conversation is taking place in Jewish communities across the country.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

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