Israeli settlers raid two Palestinian villages, destroying 70 olive trees

Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem

Extremist Israeli settlers uproot olive trees in Nablus-area village
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 13 Sept — A group of Israeli settlers from the infamously extremist Yitzhar settlement in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus uprooted a number of olive trees near the village of Burin on Wednesday. Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who tracks Israeli settlement activities in the northern West Bank, told Ma‘an that a number of Israeli settlers from Yitzhar uprooted 27 olive trees in Burin. The trees belonged to Ratiba Qadous, and were planted tens of meters away from the settlement. Daghlas added that the settlers escalate attacks on neighboring Palestinian communities during olive picking season, as villagers’ olive trees are oftentimes located on lands taken over by Israel closer to the Yitzhar settlement. Some residents are permitted to enter their lands to access their olive trees only during olive harvesting season. Settlers from Yitzhar are well-known to be some of the most extremist Israelis living in the West Bank, and have burned hundreds of Palestinian-owned olive trees over the years. On Friday, Israeli settlers from the Rechelim settlement uprooted and sawed down 43 olive trees in al-Sawiya area of the southern part of Nablus city.

Army injures a Palestinian, abducts him along with two others, in Tubas
IMEMC 13 Sept — Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded, on Wednesday at dawn, the city of Tubas, in the northeastern part of the occupied West Bank, and clashed with many youngsters, before shooting one, and abducted him along with two others. Medical sources in Tubas said the soldiers shot Laith Daraghma with a live round in his left leg, and abducted him after allowing Red Crescent medics to provide him with the urgently needed treatment. The soldiers also stormed and violently searched many homes in the city, and abducted No‘man Sawafta and Hamad Abu Jabara.

Israeli forces shoot, injure 13-year-old Palestinian during alleged attack in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 13 Sept — Israeli forces shot and wounded a 13-year-old Palestinian east of Hebron city outside Israel’s illegal Kiryat Arba settlement in the southern occupied West Bank on Wednesday for allegedly attempting to commit a stabbing attack at the gate of the settlement. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that the Palestinian teen had ran toward a bus station at the Elias junction near the entrance of Kiryat Arba and attempted a stabbing attack. The Israeli army “responded to the immediate threat by firing toward the instigator, who was then injured,” the spokesperson said. Hebrew-language media also reported that when the Palestinian had approached the bus stop near the settlement, it “aroused the suspicions” of a group of Israeli settlers in the area, who then called over an Israeli soldier. The Palestinian then allegedly ran toward the settlers with a knife, and the soldier shot him in the stomach. The army spokesperson added that the Palestinian was taken to a hospital in Jerusalem for medical treatment. No injuries were sustained among soldiers or Israeli settlers in the area.
Local Palestinian sources later identified the Palestinian as Hasan Issa Jaradat, 13, from the village of Sair in the Hebron district. The sources added that his injuries were serious.
Meanwhile, a video [below] was later released of the incident after the teen was shot. An Israeli officer in the video asked Jaradat what he was doing in the area, the teen replied that he came in order to commit suicide. “Why?” the officer asked him, but Jaradat only replied that he wanted water. The officer asked him if he had come to the area to commit an attack. The boy did not answer and instead continued to ask for water.  The video has prompted some to comment that the teen was attempting suicide, rather than actually seeking to commit an attack on Israelis. Since Palestinians are almost always killed by Israeli forces during attacks, there has been rising suspicion that some Palestinian youth, facing extreme hopelessness from years living under a brutal military occupation or experiencing problems at home, decide to carry knives and approach Israeli soldiers with the knowledge that they will be shot to death….

Palestinians reportedly thwart settler attack on newly rebuilt school
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 11 Sept — Local Palestinians in the village of Jubbet al-Dhib reportedly drove away Israeli settlers threatening to attack a school in the remote village, located east of Bethlehem in the southern occupied West Bank, days after the school was rebuilt following its demolition at the hands of Israeli authorities. Palestinian Authority-owned Wafa news agency reported Monday that more than 30 Israel settlers approached the school “with an intention to harm the students,” but locals pushed them back, according to Hassan Breijiyeh, from the Committee Against Settlements in Bethlehem.
Israeli forces seized mobile classrooms in the isolated village last month, the day before the first day of school. Activists and employees from the Palestinian education ministry rebuilt five classrooms overnight Friday. Israeli forces then stormed the village Saturday evening, surrounded the construction site, and attacked activists with tear gas, stun grenades, and bullets, sparking fears that Israeli authorities would destroy the school once again. However, Israeli forces only confiscated a work vehicle as a result of the raid. According to Wafa, Palestinians were able to obtain a court order preventing Israeli authorities from demolishing the new school, at least temporarily. The Israeli demolition of the school has prompted strong international condemnation….

Racist, anti-Arab graffiti found among damaged Palestinian property in Nablus
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 11 Sept — Racist, “Anti-Arab” graffiti was founded spray-painted in Hebrew in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus overnight Sunday, according to an Israeli police spokesperson. Luba al-Samri said the graffiti was found in the al-Mahjar area of Nablus, and that Palestinian property in the area also sustained minor damages. Israeli police were investigating the incident, she said.
Attacks on Palestinians and their property by ultra-nationalist Israeli settlers is common in the occupied Palestinian territory. The UN reported last month that the first half of 2017 showed a major increase in such attacks, with 89 incidents being documented so far this year, representing an 88 percent increase compared to 2016. The attacks during this time period have led to the deaths of three Palestinians. The majority of attacks took place in the Nablus district, which is a hot spot for settler violence and known for its ideologically extreme illegal Israeli settlements and outposts.

Soldiers confiscate a truck, force farmers out of their lands in Tubas
IMEMC 13 Sept — Israeli soldiers illegally confiscated, Wednesday, a Palestinian truck in the ar-Ras al-Ahmar area, south of Tubas, in northeastern West Bank, and forced many villages out of their farmlands. The army also invaded many villages west of Jenin, in the northern part of the West Bank.
Media sources in Tubas said the soldiers stopped the driver, Ammar Wakhayma, and confiscated his truck, loaded with fresh fruits and vegetables. The soldiers also invaded many farmlands in the area, and forced the Palestinians out. In related news, the soldiers invaded the villages of Rommana, Taybeh and ‘Aneen, west of Jenin, leading to clashes with local youngsters, who hurled stones at them, especially in Taybeh. There have been no immediate reports of injuries or abductions. In addition, the soldiers invaded Beit Ummar town, north of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, searched homes, and abducted a former political prisoner.

Army invades homes in many villages and towns in Hebron, confiscates cash
IMEMC 14 Sept — Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded, on Thursday at dawn, several villages and towns in the southern West Bank district of Hebron, broke into and searched homes, and illegally confiscated a large sum of cash from one home. Media sources in Hebron said the soldiers invaded Jabal al-‘Arous area, in Yatta town, and searched the home of Tha’er Makhamra, before summoning him for interrogation at the Etzion military base and security center, north of Hebron. They added that the soldiers invaded the home of Abdullah Ed’eis, who was abducted by the army two days ago, and confiscated more than 48.000 Israeli Shekels. Abdullah is the father of Morad, 16, who was killed in January of last year after he reportedly killed a settler woman, in Otneil colony, south of Hebron. The soldiers also invaded and violently searched many homes in Abu al-’Arjan area, south of Hebron. The homes belong to Maher Shawamra, Yasser Shawamra, Riyad Shawamra, and Riyad Namoura; the soldiers claimed they were looking for weapons, but did not find any.

Israel buries Palestinians in ‘cemetery of numbers’ in defiance of ongoing appeal
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 13 Sept — The Israeli state announced on Wednesday that the bodies of four Palestinians have already been buried in so-called cemeteries of numbers, despite an ongoing appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court by which the families of the slain Palestinians have demanded the bodies be released for proper burial.
“The Israeli government has made a political decision to bury four bodies of slain Palestinians without waiting for the Supreme Court to decide. The expected Supreme Court decision will still include these four bodies, which the Israeli government moved from morgues to the cemeteries of numbers,” lawyer from the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs Muhammad Mahmoud said. Mahmoud told Ma‘an after the Supreme Court hearing on Wednesday that the court ordered to postpone making a decision on the appeal to release the bodies of nine Palestinians who died while allegedly or actually carrying out attacks. The appeal regarded the remains of Abd al-Hamid Abu Srour, Muhammad Tarayra, Muhammad al-Faqih, Rami Awartani, Misbah Abu Sbeih, Fadi al-Qunbar, Adel Ankoush, Baraa Ibrahim Saleh Taha, and Osama Ahmad Dahdouh — which have been withheld by Israel for between three and 17 months. The Israeli prosecution announced during the hearing, attended by Ma‘an, that Abd al-Hamid Abu Srour, Muhammad Tarayra, Muhammad al-Faqih, and Rami Awartani have already been buried in the cemeteries — mass graves comprised of marked and unmarked plots of mostly Palestinians killed by Israeli forces over the past 60 years….

One night’s detentions
Israeli forces detain 19 Palestinians in West Bank, East Jerusalem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 Sept — Israeli forces detained at least 19 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem between Monday night and Tuesday morning. Local sources in occupied East Jerusalem said that Israeli forces detained an employee of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, Mahmoud al-Anati, from inside the walled holy site on Tuesday morning, as some 57 right-wing Israelis and settlers toured the compound. The sources added that another Al-Aqsa employee, Anas al-Dabbagh, was banned from entering the compound for two weeks by Israeli authorities on Monday. Local sources in the town of Beit Fajjar in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem said Israeli forces detained 18-year-old Muhammad Mansour Thawabta and 19-year-old Baraa Nabil Thawabta from their homes in the town. In the southern Hebron district, locals said that Israeli forces detained Jalal Jamal Yaghmour from his home in the Bir al-Mahjar area in Hebron city.  In the northernmost West Bank district of Jenin, locals said Israeli forces detained Muhammad Abdullah Jaradat, who is in his twenties, at an Israeli military checkpoint in Haifa Street in Silat al-Harithiya village. The sources said that Jaradat is a student at the Arab American University. Israeli forces also raided Jenin refugee camp overnight and detained 20-year-old Afham Muhammad Jabarin and 21-year-old Wasim Iyad Matahin after ransacking their homes in the camp, local sources said.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that a total of 18 Palestinians were detained in predawn military raids in the West Bank, including four in the southern Bethlehem district near the illegal Israeli Etzion settlement bloc, and three in the northern West Bank.
According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, 6,279 Palestinians were detained by Israel as of August. The group has estimated that some 40 percent of Palestinian men will be detained by Israel at some point in their lives.

Court actions

Israel rules against revoking Jerusalem residency of Palestinian parliamentarians
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Sept — The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (Adalah) and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) announced on Wednesday that the Israeli Supreme Court had accepted a petition issued by the groups amid a 10-year legal battle where Israeli authorities attempted to revoke the Jerusalem residency of four Palestinian parliamentarians on the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). Four Jerusalem residents — Muhammad Abu-Teir, Ahmad Attoun, Muhammad Totah, and Khaled Abu-Arafeh — were elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) in 2006. Several months later, according to a statement released by Adalah, Israeli Interior Minister Roni Bar On attempted to revoke their Jerusalem residency owing to a “breach of loyalty” and claiming that the four, who ran on the list of the Change and Reform Movement, were members of Hamas.
His claims were based on the reasoning that the four Jerusalemites were active in a foreign parliament, and were therefore breaching their loyalty to the Israeli state. According to Adalah, the four men and their families were deported to Ramallah city in the occupied West Bank at the time. The groups’ joint petition was based on the fact that such a revocation “violated the legislators’ constitutional right to continue to live in their place of residence and homeland without the threat of expulsion.” Adalah noted that the groups had emphasized that Palestinian residents in occupied East Jerusalem were not considered immigrants. Thus, “their residency status was never made conditional to any terms, and there is no justification for its cancellation.” … Adalah announced that the Supreme Court on Wednesday finally rejected the revocation of the four Jerusalemites’ residency permits, as Israeli law does not allow a minister to cancel residency for the reasons provided by Bar On. The revocation of the parliament members’ residency permits would be suspended for six months, Adalah said, and the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, would be permitted to attempt to change the law according to Israel’s Basic Law in order to allow revocation of residency in the future….

Settler charged with assaulting Arab man he believed was dating Jewish woman
Ynet 11 Sept by Yael Freidson — Yehiel Weisenstern, 18, was charged Sunday with aggravated assault and committing a racially motivated hate crime, after attacking an Arab he suspected was dating a Jewish woman. Weisenstern, a resident of the West Bank settlement of Modi’in Ilit, allegedly beat the victim with his fists, allegedly knocked the Arab man to the ground and kicked him until a passerby stopped him. Weisenstern’s lawyer stated his client claims he was the one who was attacked. Last Monday, the injured party, whose first name is Mohammad, walked on Agripas Street near the Mahane Yehuda market area in downtown Jerusalem, along with a woman who works with him at one of the market’s shops. The two then ran into Weisenstern and two other men. Weisenstern reportedly asked Mohammad for a cigarette, to which he replied that he had none. The three men followed Mohammad and the woman as they went on their way. They then asked her if she was Jewish and asked Mohammad why he was dating Jewish girls. Muhammad responded that they were only co-workers, at which point either the suspect or one of the other men allegedly took out a knife from his pocket and told him: “You’re dating Jewish girls. We’re going to f*** you up today!” At this point, one of the three men suspected of the attack then “punched the plaintiff twice in his shoulder.”  According to the indictment, the plaintiff began to walk away but Weisenstern and the men others followed, who cursed him and told him that he wouldn’t be allowed to work in the market anymore, and that they would screw him.”  The three then surrounded Mohammad and began beating him until he fell to the ground, at which point they began to kick him. A passerby who noticed the incident stopped the violence. Mohammad suffered multiple wounds to his head and across his body….,7340,L-5014790,00.html

Three Palestinians involved in deadly Rosh Hashanah attack convicted of manslaughter
Ynet 11 Sept by Yael Freidson — The group’s members — Muhammad Abu Kaf, Walid Atrash and an unnamed minor — are convicted of manslaughter by J’lem District Court for throwing rocks at car of Alexander Levlovitz, causing him to lose control, swerve into ditch and eventually die of his wounds; last year, the group’s fourth member — Abed Dawiat — was sentenced to 18 years in prison — The Jerusalem District Court convicted Muhammad Abu Kaf, Walid Atrash and an additional unnamed minor of manslaughter for the killing of Alexander Levlovitz on Rosh Hashanah eve two years ago, in an attack marking the beginning of the lone-wolf wave of terrorism. After the holiday meal, Levlovitz drove two guests home, and was later killed when Palestinians pelted his car with rocks. Abu Kaf and Atrash, both residents of east Jerusalem, were part of the group that carried out the attack. The convicted minor acted as their lookout….,7340,L-5015020,00.html

Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements

Israeli State panel proposes special status for ‘Jew-ish’ non-Jews — letting them stay longer in Israel
Haaretz 28 Aug by Judy Maltz — New move to recognize people with Jewish roots, emerging communities and groups of Crypto-Jews, is meant to allow them to explore their Jewish heritage and learn about Israel — A government-appointed committee recommends that Israel create a new status for individuals around the world who have Jewish roots or belong to “emerging Jewish communities,” but are not eligible to immigrate to Israel or spend any length of time there. The new status would allow these individuals to stay in Israel longer than the three months allowed by tourist visas, so they could explore their Jewish heritage and learn about the country, Haaretz has learned. This is the key recommendation of the committee appointed by the Diaspora Affairs Ministry to formulate guidelines on how Israel should relate to individuals with a connection to the Jewish people or Judaism, but who do not qualify as Jewish under Israeli law or halakha (Jewish religious law). Millions of people worldwide could potentially benefit from this new status. The report, whose recommendations were made available to Haaretz in advance of its expected publication in the coming weeks, stops short of recommending changes in the Law of Return, which determines who is eligible to immigrate to Israel. However, if adopted by the government, it could certainly open the way to such amendments. The Law of Return provides citizenship only to individuals who have at least one Jewish grandparent or a Jewish spouse, or who have converted to Judaism….

Opinion: Are Palestinians ‘lost Jews’ too? / Ori Weisberg
Haaretz 7 Sept — An Israeli government committee wants to ease entry requirements for non-Jews claiming descent from Jews. It’s a blatant attempt by a right-wing, pro-annexation minister to tip the Jewish demographic balance – but there’s a catch — Last week, a committee in Israel’s Diaspora Affairs ministry advocated a new visa status for non-Jews claiming descent from Jews, and for members of “emerging Jewish communities.” The latter comprises non-Jews around the globe who have adopted some Jewish religious practices, with or without converting. Apparently, the already available extendable three-month tourist visa available to Jews and non-Jews alike, who visit Israel to learn about the country and about Judaism, is insufficient. People coming for year-long programs of study, who often stay longer, simply renew their tourist visas. But this committee wants to create a new extended visa status for these “Jew-ish” non-Jews. The implications of this new status are potentially significant for Israel’s identity, for this new status certainly seems like a new outreach initiative to shift the demographic balance by locating new sources for aliyah, Jewish immigration.But in this case, Israel seems to be seeking out people who are only potential Jews. Is Israel truly a Jewish state if it needs to continue to manufacture a Jewish majority? Or is it a state run by a particular Jewish regime with a specific national-religious ideology?
Most significant for the demographic tournament, in which this and all previous governments have engaged, is the question of the Palestinians. If we are going to extend special status to people who claim descent from Jews who converted centuries ago, one might note that a very high percentage of Palestinians claim descent from the ancient Israelites, with the support of DNA evidence. Are they also lost Jews? And as such, shouldn’t members of the Palestinian diaspora be eligible for extended visas and special status?

Israeli authorities demolish parts of Palestinian cemetery in Jerusalem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 11 Sept  — Israeli forces on Monday morning demolished parts of the outer wall of a Palestinian cemetery in occupied East Jerusalem, according to local sources. Mustafa Abu Zahra, head of the committee for the preservation of Islamic cemeteries in Jerusalem, told Ma‘an that bulldozers escorted by officers of Israel’s Nature And Parks Authority (INPA) demolished the western section of the al-Shuhada, or ‘martyrs’, cemetery, which is an extension of the al-Yusifiya cemetery located at the Lion’s Gate entrance of the Old City. According to Abu Zahra, after demolishing the outer cemetery wall, bulldozers continued to work in the area before a group of Jerusalemite Palestinians arrived and “coerced the bulldozers to stop leveling the land.”…
Abu Zahra told Ma‘an that the demolition, which Israeli officials had attempted to carry out last month, was part of an ongoing campaign by the Israel Land Authority (ILA) to level the lands of the cemetery in order to build a national park in the area. Fatah official Hatem Abed al-Qader described Monday’s events as an “attack on the cemetery,” saying the demolition was “part of Israeli plans to turn Jerusalem into a Jewish city.” In addition to the al-Shuhada cemetery, which houses the graves of people killed by Israeli forces in the 1967 war — after which Israel illegally occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the Bab al-Rahma cemetery [in use for over 1,000 years] has been subject to demolitions after Israeli authorities announced plans to seize parts of the cemetery for a national park trail in 2015….

Israel delivers demolition warrants to Palestinian families in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 12 Sept — Inspectors from Israel’s Jerusalem municipality delivered demolition warrants to Palestinian families in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of ‘Issawiya on Tuesday, while a homeowner near the Old City has managed to delay an imminent demolition order by a few more days. Muhammad Abu al-Hummus, representing a local follow up committee in ‘Issawiya, told Ma‘an that inspectors stormed the neighborhood under Israeli police protection and posted demolition warrants, stop-work orders, and court summonses on the walls of several structures, under the pretext that they were built without the nearly impossible-to-obtain Israeli permits. However, Abu al-Hummus said some of the buildings that were targeted were licensed and built long ago, suggesting that inspectors were “distributing warrants haphazardly.” He said that a warrant directed to Dirbas family was erroneously posted on a fully licensed building owned by the Mustafa family. The warrants were mainly delivered to buildings near the entrance to ‘Issawiya and in the center of the neighborhood. Abu al-Hummus added that the municipality inspectors took photos of several buildings and streets. The raid came as the latest in a spate of demolition warrants delivered to Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem.
Separately, a lawyer representing the Abu Farha family has managed to postpone for five days the demolition of their home in the Ras al-‘Amud neighborhood east of the Old City. Muatasim Abu Farha told Ma‘an that the Jerusalem magistrate’s court granted the postponement on Tuesday morning, when the demolition was initially scheduled to be carried out. He highlighted that his family started to evacuate their belongings from the two-story building on Monday night. Since the building was built a year ago, Muatasim Abu Farha and his brother Muntasir have been trying to obtain a construction license from the Jerusalem municipality, who have refused their every attempt. Eight people live in the building.[but see next article]

Israeli municipality demolishes two-story building in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 13 Sept – The Israeli West Jerusalem municipality Wednesday demolished a two-story apartment building in Ras el-‘Amoud, a neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem, under the pretext of construction without a permit. WAFA correspondent said a 200-strong Israeli police force cordoned off the area as bulldozers proceeded to knock down the building owned by two siblings, Mutasem and Muntasir Abu Farha. The family had appealed the demolition order, but a court rejected the appeal and upheld the demolition forcing the family to evacuate its home and move elsewhere in anticipation of the demolition.

When the walls of your home come crumbling down
+972 blog 13 Sept by Sahar Vardi — In East Jerusalem, entire families have their homes demolished and are thrown into the street. Just a few miles away, Israelis live without having to worry about losing everything they have — Two children in uniform came down from the second floor to say hello to us before our ride left. With broken Arabic I asked the older one, who was all smiles, what his name is and his age. He is four, his younger brother is three. I tried to ask the younger one for his name, but he only stared at me. His mother tried to convince him to answer me, but all he could say was “I just want my home.” And that’s it. That’s all the three-year-old had to say. He wants his home.
Hours before, at 4:30 a.m., I woke up in my West Jerusalem home. At some point I found myself staring at the kitchen while trying to fight my desire to go back to bed and make up hours of lost sleep. Suddenly I noticed how many objects make up my kitchen. Not only furniture, but hanging cups, magnets on the refrigerator, memories, smells, millions of colors and shapes that create the feeling I wait for every time I come home from a long ride. Home. For a moment I tried to imagine how everything would look when destroyed. I tried to imagine the long arm of a bulldozer smashing through counter and colorful cups….

Israel cuts off water to Palestinian village for a week
Activestills 11 Sept Photos and text by Ahmad Al-Bazz — Some 50 Palestinians from the northern West Bank village of Ein al-Beida staged a protest last week against an Israeli decision to cut off the water supply to their village for over a week. The protest, which ended with no violence or arrests, was held by mostly local farmers. Mustafa Foqaha, head of the village council, said the amount of water the Israeli water company, Mekorot, allocates to the village has been decreasing over the years, reaching as little as 245 cubic meters per hour prior the full cut-off last week. By the time water was restored on Monday, the supply was even less, a village spokesperson said. He described it as “not enough” amount for a village of 1,600 inhabitants that is mostly dependent on agriculture. Ein al-Beida is one of only a few villages in the Jordan Valley area of the West Bank that are even connected to the water grid. Other Palestinian villages are forced to truck in water at considerable expense, or drill their own wells or connect unauthorized connections to existing water infrastructure. Foqaha suggested that the cutoff this past week was a result of Israeli authorities deciding to punish the residents of the area after discovering unauthorized water connections in the nearby village of Bardala. An Israeli military spokesperson told +972 Magazine that the cutoff was indeed part of an operation to remove pirated connections in the area … “Although, no [unauthorized] connections were found in our village, the Israelis want to punish the whole area,” one farmer from Ein al-Beida said. “What they call ‘stealing’ is not a real stealing. It’s an attempt from those who lost their water resources to get more amounts due to the limitations by the Israeli occupation.”….

Israeli forces demolish 15 structures, including 8 homes, in Jericho outskirts
JERICHO (Ma‘an) 13 Sept — Israeli forces demolished 15 Palestinian-owned structures, including eight homes, in a Bedouin community southwest of Jericho city in the occupied West Bank’s Jordan Valley region early Wednesday morning. Local sources told Ma‘an that Israeli forces raided the Esteih al-Duyuk area southwest of Jericho before dawn and demolished eight residential structures and six drystone retaining walls, used to protect agricultural land in the area from water and soil pressure. The buildings were also located in Area C — the more than 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli civil and military control. Demolitions of Palestinian infrastructure and residences occur frequently in Area C, with the Jordan Valley’s Bedouin and herding communities being particularly vulnerable to such policies … In response to a request for comment, a spokesperson for the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the Israeli agency responsible for enforcing Israeli policies in the occupied Palestinian territory, told Ma‘an that a total of 15 structures were demolished in the area, due to their proximity to “the archaeological site of the Hasmonean palaces in Jericho.” Israeli authorities regularly use archaeology to justify the demolition of Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Cattle and water tanks seized from Jordan Valley community
IMEMC/Agencies 13 Sept — Israeli authorities, on Tuesday, confiscated a number of cattle and water tanks belonging to Palestinians in the village of Um al-‘Ubor, in the Jordan Valley region of the West Bank, according to local sources. Aref Daraghmeh, who monitors Israeli settlement activities in the area, told WAFA that staff from the so-called Israeli Civil Administration, an arm of the military government, accompanied by a military force, confiscated a number of cows belonging to Jamal Daraghmeh. He said the army also confiscated dozens of water tanks, which are badly needed for the local community who live off farming and herding.
Earlier this year, according to B’Tselem, Civil Administration personnel arrived with a military escort at Um al-‘Ubor, upon which forces uprooted date palms and ruined melon and fakus [Armenian cucumber] crops on a 0.4-hectare field, all on land privately owned by a Tubas resident.

Israeli law and banking in West Bank settlements
Human Rights Watch 12 Sept — Introduction  The activities of Israeli banks in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank raise serious human rights concerns. By providing services to and in settlements, which are illegal under international humanitarian law (IHL), and partnering with developers in new construction projects, Israeli banks are making existing settlements more sustainable, enabling the expansion of their built-up area and the take-over of Palestinian land, and furthering the de facto annexation of the territory. All of this contributes to serious human rights and IHL abuses. When faced with such concerns over their banking activities in and with Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Israeli banks have said that they are required by Israeli law to provide those services. However, Human Rights Watch can find no Israeli domestic law that requires Israeli banks to provide many such settlement-related activities. In other words, Israeli banks could stop many of their settlement-related activities – notably financing new construction, providing mortgages, and operating service points — branches and ATMs – without necessarily incurring adverse domestic legal consequences….


In Cairo, Hamas declares readiness to form Palestinian unity government
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 Sept — Head of the Hamas movement’s politburo Ismail Haniyeh and other high-ranking Hamas members met with Egyptian intelligence officials in Cairo on Monday night, with talks focusing on cross border security and a readiness for Palestinian national reconciliation. The delegation told the Egyptian intelligence minister Khaled Fawzi that Hamas is ready to hold meetings with the Fatah movement, Hamas’ rival and head of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA). Hamas said in a statement it was ready to “immediately” sign an agreement with Fatah, and also reiterated claims it was ready to disband its administrative committee — formed earlier this year to the outrage of the PA, which accused Hamas of attempting to form a shadow government and run Gaza independent of the occupied West Bank. The PA has since been accused of deliberately sending the impoverished Gaza Strip further into a humanitarian catastrophe — by slashing funding for Israeli fuel, medicine, and salaries for civil servants and former prisoners — in order to wrest control of the territory from Hamas.
Hamas leadership told Egyptian intelligence officials they would allow the Palestinian national consensus government to take charge and carry out elections, on the condition that all Palestinian factions hold a conference in Cairo afterwards to elect a national government responsible for the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem. Previously, Hamas’ offers for reconciliation have called on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to put an end to recent policies imposed on the besieged coastal enclave. Abbas has meanwhile threatened to undertake further repressive measures against the impoverished territory should Hamas not unconditionally abide by the PA’s demands to end the administrative committee, relinquish control of the enclave to the PA, and hold presidential and legislative elections.
The Hamas delegation also pledged to Egyptian intelligence officials that Hamas would continue to support the safety and security of Egypt, “and would never allow that the Gaza Strip be used to harm Egypt’s security by any means,” according to the statement.

Fatah delegation visits Cairo to discuss completion of Palestinian reconciliation
MEMO 14 Sept — Today, Cairo has declared that it would welcome a delegation from the Palestinian movement Fatah on Friday to discuss ways to complete the Palestinian reconciliation. Fatah delegation includes Azzam Al-Ahmad, member of Fatah Central Committee and head of its parliamentary bloc, Hussein Al-Sheikh, Minister of Civil Affairs in the Palestinian Authority and member of the Central Committee, and Rawhi Fattouh, member of the Central Committee and the movement’s international relations commissioner. It is not known whether Fatah leaders will meet up with Hamas delegation, which paid a visit to Cairo last Thursday headed by Ismail Haniyeh, head of the movement’s political bureau … Earlier today, Nasser Al-Qudwa, member of the Central Committee of Fatah movement, stated that “his movement has not yet received any Egyptian initiative about any reconciliation with Hamas.”….

Egyptian-Emirati efforts to reach agreement between Hamas, Dahlan
CAIRO (Asharq al-Awsat) 13 Sept — Hamas and the dismissed Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan are close to reaching a deal that would grant the Palestinian official a role in the administration of the Gaza Strip. In return, he will receive Egyptian assistance to ease the blockade on Gaza residents, as well Emirati financial support. A Hamas delegation is currently present in Egypt to hold the first direct meeting of its new bureau after previously holding such meetings through a video-conference system. Egyptian and Palestinian sources participating in the talks currently held in Cairo said that a Hamas delegation discussed with officials from Dahlan’s Democratic Reformist Current a plan to dissolve the Hamas administrative committee ahead of holding general elections and forming a new national unity government. The sources told Asharq Al-Awsat on condition of anonymity that Hamas hopes in return to receive Egyptian help, such as lifting the Gaza siege by reopening the Rafah border-crossing, in addition to financial support from the United Arab Emirates through a new mechanism called “Solidarity and Services Fund.” …

Hamas finds itself at Egypt’s mercy
Al-Monitor 12 Sept by Shlomi Eldar — The leaders of Hamas gathered in Cairo on Sept. 9 for a high-level meeting. It was their first face-to-face encounter since Ismail Haniyeh’s election to head the group’s political bureau and the selection of Yahya Sinwar to lead the movement in Gaza. The two men were joined by Saleh al-Arouri, expelled from both Turkey and Qatar and now based in Lebanon; Sinwar’s deputy Khalil al-Hayya; and Mousa Abu Marzouk, considered the Hamas leader closest to the Egyptian regime. The one person who did not receive permission from Egypt to pass through the Rafah border crossing to participate in the meeting was Fathi Hammad, former interior minister in the Hamas government. A security source in the Palestinian Authority told Al-Monitor that the Egyptians suspect Hammad of having cooperated with jihadist forces in the Sinai, making him persona non grata in Cairo …
After the summit in Egypt, Haniyeh set off for meetings with Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. On the other hand, he did not pay a visit to Tehran, as much as he may have wanted to. It is clear to Haniyeh and the rest of the Hamas leadership that Egyptian consent for their leaving Gaza through the Rafah crossing excludes “layovers” in Tehran. Cairo has yet to comment publicly on the renewed friendship between Hamas and Tehran, but Haniyeh and Sinwar, and even Hamas “bad boy” Arouri, know that they cannot dance at two weddings. “It’s all a kind of game,” the Palestinian security source told Al-Monitor on the condition of anonymity. According to him, declarations concerning renewed relations with Tehran and the reinstatement of Iranian aid to Gaza are effectively meaningless….

Soldiers invade agricultural lands in Khan Younis
IMEMC 12 Sept — Many Israeli military vehicles invaded, on Tuesday morning, Palestinian agricultural lands east of the al-Qarara town, northeast of Khan Younis in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, and uprooted them while firing live rounds. The WAFA Palestinian News Agency has reported that at least three armored bulldozers and three tanks left the Kissufim military base, across the border fence northeast of Khan Younis, and advanced approximately 100 meters into the farmlands. WAGA added that the soldiers bulldozed some sections of the invaded lands, especially near the border fence, and installed sand hills, while firing many live rounds at random.

15-year-old boy from Gaza produces computer games
MEMO 12 Sept — A 15-year-old Palestinian boy from the Gaza Strip has taught himself to produce professional-standard computer games, Safa News Agency reported on Monday. Bilal Shahin has developed 20 games over the past three years, one of which — Flappy Attack Crush — is available on Google Play Store. “My love of computer games prompted me to learn the production languages on the internet,” Shahin told Safa. His English and Hebrew language skills, as well as his Arabic mother tongue, helped him with this. The young man’s IT teacher encouraged him in his choice of profession. Producing a game starts with an idea, he explained, which is developed from one stage to another until it becomes a game. He generally uses two software programmes, Unity and Visual Studio. Shahin’s first game took four or five months to develop, but now he can get one ready for use within a month or less. Most are combat or adventure games. As you might expect for someone trying to work in this field in the Gaza Strip, Shahin said that his main obstacle at the moment is the severe shortage of electricity. He also said that the lack of a specialist training centre in Gaza is another challenge. His father called for the authorities to provide more facilities and opportunities for Shahin and others like him to develop their skills even further.

Sharing Gaza’s lighter side
EI 8 Sept by Maram Humaid — Kholoud Nassar, 26, armed only with a smartphone camera, is trying to create something from nothing. Nassar launched her first Instagram account in 2013 with the idea of showing the “bright side” of Gaza City by posting photos of her daily trips through its streets. She said the account was one of the first established by a woman in Gaza, and the idea came to her while she was looking for work after finishing her media degree at the Islamic University of Gaza. “I’m passionate about our historic places. I want to show people outside Gaza that this city didn’t appear suddenly with its conflicts and wars, but has a long history marked by beautiful old places, shrines, mosques, churches and old palaces,” Nassar told The Electronic Intifada. She’s not alone. In an attempt to tackle the widespread frustration in the occupied Gaza Strip – isolated from the world by a 10-year-old Israeli economic and military siege – a group of young women who are acquainted but work independently from one another have turned to social media platforms to present the unseen sides of their home. The Electronic Intifada has spoken to some of these women about their motivation and experiences on social media. They’ve designed these accounts to post photos, videos, news and publicize events that show a lighter side of life in Gaza, explain its history and its ancient sites. And they’ve found a ready audience: Together, their “followers” number in the hundreds of thousands and come from all over the world….

Gaza’s old Turkish Delight factory sticks to tradition
Al-Monitor 11 Sept by Amjad Arafat — The smell of roasted almonds, pistachios and peanuts fills the air on one of the streets off the main square in Gaza City. Al-Fawakheir Street is known for its old shops, where traditional handcrafts such as pottery are still practiced in shops with clay ovens, gas cookers and old furniture. The source of the smell is a confectionery factory that makes “rahat lokum” — or “rahat al-hulqum” in Turkish — which is translated as “the ease of the throat.” The sweet is referred to as “lokum” or “halkoum,” better known in English as Turkish delight. Even though the confectionery machines of the factory are old, it is the main lokum supplier in the Gaza Strip, particularly at times when the demand for the sweets made of sugar, starch and nuts increases before Islamic and Christian holidays, as well as large weddings and family events. Lokum, offered with coffee, is a gesture of hospitality toward visitors … Sawan claims his factory is the oldest of its kind in the Arab world, and that the basic equipment has not changed for over a century….

Workers are weakest link in Gaza’s garment trade
EI 11 Sept by Mousa Tawfiq — Khalil is being paid less now than he was 30 years ago. During the 1980s, he used to travel from Gaza to work in the textile factories of Tel Aviv and Bir al-Saba, cities inside Israel. By sewing garments, he could earn 250 to 300 shekels per day. Today, Khalil – not his real name – receives 50 shekels ($15) per day, an income shrunk considerably compared to three decades ago. Israeli restrictions mean that he is no longer able to travel outside Gaza for employment. Khalil is acutely aware that his wages are about one-tenth of what workers inside Israel receive for doing the same or broadly similar jobs. “It’s really unfair,” the 48-year-old said. “I know that workers in Israel with half of my experience receive 400 to 500 shekels a day. This is discrimination and exploitation.” Khalil added that he had “no choice” but to accept lower pay in Gaza than he had received in Israel. “I have seven children, two of them are university students,” he said. “My wage isn’t enough but it’s better than nothing.”
Revival   Gaza’s textile industry is being revived after years of decline. The siege, which Israel imposed on Gaza a decade ago, has been so severe that even cloth and thread were banned from being imported to the territory and sending clothes abroad was often impossible. Recently, Israel has made an exception for textiles, while it still enforces restrictions on the flow of other goods into and out of Gaza. Following a deal reached with local factory owners, Israel has allowed exports of clothing from Gaza to resume. Economic factors may explain why textiles have been singled out for preferential treatment … Low wages are a major reason why clothes processed in Gaza have proven attractive to Israel, according to Hamada. Proximity is another factor. Israeli businesses have lately outsourced some work to Gaza’s factories, rather than to distant China, a dominant player in the global textiles trade….

Other news

In color: Amazing photos of Jews and Muslims in the Holy Land from 1900
Haaretz 8 Sept by Chen Malul, National Library — The then-revolutionary photochrom method gave the world its first color pictures — based a lot on the imagination of the employee working the printing plates — …This brings us to those two albums in the National Library in Jerusalem. The first album, produced in 1900, is a collection of photos from a pilgrimage by Austrians to the Holy Land. But it wasn’t the tourist-pilgrims who took the photos. At that time there were several professional photographers in Ottoman Palestine. These guys took the photos, and the coloring was done by Photochrom Zurich … In this album, the entrance plaza to the Al-Aqsa Mosque was given wonderful colors, with Jaffa Gate, Lions Gate and the Foundation Stone in the Dome of the Rock also getting their colors back….

Palestinian Authority backtracks on attempt to gain membership in UN tourism body
Haaretz 13 Sept by Barak Ravid — The Palestinian Authority decided Wednesday to backtrack from its decision to put to a vote in the UN’s tourism agency a resolution that would accept Palestine as a member state in the organization. The chairman of the UN’s tourism body announced during a meeting on Wednesday in Chengdu that the Palestinian proposal will be postponed until the organization’s next plenary meeting in two years. A senior Israeli official noted that the Palestinian decision to pull the initiative was taken following heavy U.S. pressure. A senior White House official said the decision to backtrack from its decision was an internal Palestinian Authority decision. According to the official, during recent visits by U.S. President Donald Trump’s special adviser Jared Kushner and Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt, the two met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who promised them they wouldn’t renew their attempts to push through unilateral decisions against Israel in the UN….

Plummeting aid worsening Palestinian crises: UN
GENEVA (AFP) 12 Sept by Nina Larson — A sharp fall in international aid reaching the Palestinian territories due in part to Israel’s occupation is worsening humanitarian and economic crises in Gaza and the West Bank, the UN’s development agency said Tuesday. The agency also said a spike in Israeli settlement building and confiscations of Palestinian land, water and other resources were keeping poverty and joblessness at intolerable levels. In a report, the agency said international donor support for Palestinian territories fell by 38 percent between 2014 and 2016, “due in part to the fact that occupation (has prevented) previous aid flows from translating into tangible development gains.” … Settlement boom Palestinians have for the past 50 years of occupation faced “suppressed human potential, … (leaving the) economy incapable of employing one-third of its workforce,” the report said. Lacking access to land and water, as well as an import ban on suitable fertilisers and other restrictions, for instance helped shrink agricultural output in the West Bank by 11 percent between 2015 and 2016. “The fact that today, real GDP per capita in the (West Bank) is at the same level as in 1999 is a clear indication of the human cost and lost economic potential resulting from the occupation,” the report said … Despite international demands for Israel to halt its settlement activity, Tuesday’s report said that the country had sped up development this year, following a 40 percent hike in 2016 over 2015. “In recent years, population growth in settlements has not only surpassed population growth in Israel but also that of the Palestinian population,” it said….

World Bank calls for steps to bolster Palestinian economy
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 11 Sept by Jeffrey Heller — Even in the absence of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, steps can be taken now that could significantly brighten a gloomy Palestinian economic situation, the World Bank said on Tuesday. In a new report it said addressing external constraints on the Palestinian economy “is the most important factor” in any turnaround, but the Palestinian Authority, which administers limited self-rule in the occupied West Bank, also had to do its part to cut red tape stifling business activity. Removing Israeli restrictions on Palestinian movement in so-called Area C in the occupied West Bank — where Israel maintains civil and security control — could boost the size of the West Bank economy by one-third in eight years, the World Bank said. “Such growth would not only be enabled by better access to critical scarce resources, notably land and water, but also other natural resources that would allow Palestinian businesses to take advantage of Area C’s comparative advantages in agriculture, mining and quarrying, and tourism,” it said.
Area C, designated by interim peace deals signed in the 1990s, represents 61 percent of West Bank territory, and Israel cites security concerns for the restrictions it imposes there. According to the World Bank, currently less than 1 percent of Area C, which is already built up, is designated by the Israeli authorities for Palestinian use, while the remainder is heavily restricted or off-limits to Palestinians. The report noted recent “encouraging but limited measures” announced by Israel to allow a Palestinian industrial zone and the municipal boundaries of the Palestinian city of Qalqilya to expand into Area C. As for the Hamas Islamist-run Gaza Strip, where Israel and Egypt maintain tight border restrictions, alleviating restrictions on the movement of goods and people would allow critical trade to rebuild the territory’s infrastructure and economy following the 2014 war. Conflict in Gaza and a drop in foreign donor aid combined to slow real average annual GDP growth in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to 2 percent between 2013 and 2016. It dropped to 0.7 percent in the first quarter of 2017, the World Bank said….

Lack of public schools in Ramallah fuels boom in private education
RAMALLAH (Al-Monitor) 7 Sept by Aziza Nofal — The family of first-grader Jalaluddin Abdul Hadi was still hunting for schools a week after the school year started on Aug. 23. They managed to find a place for him at a public primary school close to their home in central Ramallah, just a quarter of an hour away by car, though it would be hard for the little boy to get there by foot. It was not the first time the family has faced this challenge. In 2011, they had to register their older son in a private school so he could get there by bus. Ramallah suffers from a lack of public schools, especially in residential areas, while private schools that offer bus transportation to the students abound in the city. Jalaluddin’s father Mustafa bemoaned the expense of private education. He currently pays around 10,000 shekels ($2,800) in fees per year for his older son. These fees increase $100 every year. There are also registration fees, the cost of school uniforms and other expenses. He cannot afford to pay double now that his younger son has reached the first grade … The Abdul Hadis are not alone. Many families rely on Ramallah’s growing network of private schools. An average of one new private school opens every academic year, while government schools are not being built to meet the demand created by the city’s rapidly growing population. Ramallah now has around 120,000 residents, many of them transplants from elsewhere, but only eight government schools. There are 15 private schools, including the recently opened Lycee Francais de Ramallah….

Foreign ministry says Africa-Israel summit postponed due to Palestinian pressure
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 11 Sept — The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Monday it was instrumental in leading a boycott campaign against the Africa-Israel Summit planned for next month, after organizers of the summit announced the event was “postponed” without providing a future date. Last month, reports emerged that several African countries were planning to boycott the summit. South African Ambassador to Lebanon and Syria Sean Benfeldt reportedly said that the country would not take part because the summit was viewed as a step by Israel to normalize relations between Africa and an “occupation state.” Sudan, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Mauritania also decided to boycott the gathering. A statement released by the Israeli foreign ministry Monday morning said that the decision to “postpone” the event, set to take place in Lome in October, came “following the request of the President of Togo and after mutual consultations with the Prime Minister.”….

Reports Israeli government plans to retaliate against Amnesty International over settlements campaign
Amnesty International 12 Sept — Responding to reports circulating in Israeli media today suggesting that the Israeli Finance Ministry is planning to take action against the organization and its donors under Israel’s controversial 2011 anti-boycott law, over its campaign calling on governments to ban imports of Israeli settlement products, Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International said: “The reports that the Israeli government plans to punish Amnesty International over its settlements campaign are deeply alarming.  While we have not been officially informed of any such action by the authorities, if true, this would be a serious setback to freedom of expression and an ominous sign for the ability of human rights NGOs in Israel to operate freely and without arbitrary interference.”  Amnesty International has received no official notification about whether any action is to be taken and is seeking confirmation from the Israeli Ministry of Finance. Israeli media have reported that the Israeli authorities will change the status of Amnesty International’s Israeli section so that donations to the organization will no longer be tax-deductible. Amnesty International’s Israeli section only became eligible for the tax benefit last October….

Israeli justice minister: Hire Palestinians to replace African infiltrators
i24NEWS 11 Sept — Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked asserted on Monday that Palestinians living in the West Bank should be able to work easily in Israel where they could replace African migrants in the workforce. Speaking at the annual international conference held by the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism held in Israel’s coastal city of Herzliya, Shaked affirmed that Palestinians from the West Bank should be commuting daily to take part in Israel’s labor force and be employed in Israeli businesses, which would contribute to coexistence between the two sides and help improve the Palestinian economy. “It should take an hour for a person living in Jenin,” Shaked said, referring to the West Bank city, “to get to (the central Israeli town) of Kfar Saba.” The justice minister said that the checkpoints Palestinians have to cross in order to enter Israel should be improved. Speaking to a crowd of academics, counter-terrorism experts and students from across the world, Shaked referred to the ongoing crisis involving migrants from Eritrea and Sudan, which some maintain are entering Israel as economic migrants, with others saying they are refugees. “Take Palestinians with work permits instead of Eritrean and Sudanese infiltrators,” was Shaked’s advice. Shaked went on to claim that if Israel hadn’t constructed a wall and created legislation to prevent migrant workers from crossing into Israel from Egypt, millions of Africans would have crossed the border to find employment in Israel. The international community should also help the Palestinian economy advance and develop, according to Shaked, as economic development could be the key to preventing future acts of terror….

Israel soccer official fired for saying he ‘wouldn’t accept a Muslim player on the team’
Haaretz 13 Sept — A consultant for the Beitar Jerusalem soccer club, who was hired only about 10 days ago, was fired on Wednesday after saying he “wouldn’t accept a Muslim player on the team” in an interview with the daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. Beitar has never had an Arab player, and in the one season it hired a pair of Muslim players, hardcore fans reacted with violence. The statement by Eli Cohen was not taken well in the club, which has been making efforts to combat its fans’ racism and change the team’s image. Cohen apologized and offered to resign, and club chairman Eli Ohana accepted his resignation. Beitar has never hired an Arab player, as its violently racist La Familia fan club has made it clear it will not tolerate such a move.  In the 2012-2013 season, after Beitar’s then-owner Arcadi Gaydamak brought two Muslim players of Chechen origin to the team, La Familia members burned down the team’s clubhouse in Jerusalem. Cohen, a veteran coach, is quoted in the interview as saying: “I’m a realistic person. I’ve experienced personally what happened when Muslim players came five years ago, so I won’t take a Muslim player to Beitar. I’ve had numerous Arab and Muslim players on teams I’ve coached, from Hadera through Hapoel Tel Aviv to Maccabi Haifa. Anyone stupid who wants to label me a racist for it, can say whatever he likes.” ….

Pango to the rescue? Not for residents of the West Bank
Jerusalem Online 11 Sept by Chelsea Mosery Birnbaum — As Israel struggles with international companies unwilling to work beyond the Green Line, some Israeli companies seem to have joined the boycott: Pango, for example, refuses to provide repair and rescue services to drivers on the wrong side of the fence — The Pango app, which provides parking services through smartphones, is one of the most popular apps in Israel. These days, the app will help you find a parking spot, enable you to pass through parking lots quickly and even provides rescue services to drivers in need- unless, that is, the unlucky driver found his or herself stuck in the West Bank. A resident of Kiryat Arba recently received a phone call from a Pango employee who offered him repair and rescue services at a cost of NIS 7.90, around $2.24, a month. However, when she realized that he lived beyond the Green Line, she quickly clarified that the service did not apply to him. “We do not come to Kiryat Arba,” she explained. “We don’t provide service in what’s considered ‘undeclared territory.’” The refusal of private companies and suppliers to provide services to residents of the West Bank is a familiar phenomenon and residents who sue such companies have occasionally received funding from the Samarian Settlers’ Committee. In such cases, the ‘Yerucham test’ is used as a sort of litmus test for companies and suppliers; if they are prepared to provide goods and services to the southern city of Yeruham, there is no legitimate justification for them not to do the same in the West Bank.

UN’s list of companies linked to settlements to be published despite Israeli, US pressure
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 Sept — The United Nations Human Rights Council reportedly plans to go ahead with the publication of a list of companies operating in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory and the Golan Heights, in spite of immense diplomatic pressure from the United States and Israel. According to a report published Tuesday by Israel’s Channel 2, the full list will be published in December, and will include some of the biggest firms in the Israeli industry as well as major US companies, a translation of the report from Times of Israel said. Some of the international companies on the list reportedly include Coca-Cola, TripAdvisor, Airbnb, Priceline, and Caterpillar, in addition to Israeli companies such as pharmaceutical giant Teva, the national phone company Bezeq, bus company Egged, the national water company Mekorot, and the country’s two largest banks, Hapoalim and Leumi. The list was recently delivered to the Foreign Ministry, the report said….

Tillerson State Dept. demanding Israel hand back millions in US military aid
Free Beacon 11 Sept by Adam Kredo — Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has been pushing the Trump White House to demand that Israel give back to the United States millions of dollars in military aid, prompting pushback in the West Wing and further fueling ongoing tensions between Foggy Bottom and the White House over a range of key diplomatic issues, according to multiple sources briefed on the situation. The Washington Free Beacon first reported on Friday that the State Department has been lobbying the White House to call for Israel to hand back some $75 million in U.S. military aid that was awarded to the Jewish state above the Obama administration’s financial request in 2016. The former administration came under fire from congressional leaders and the pro-Israel community for conditioning U.S. military aid — a cornerstone of the U.S.-Israel alliance — on a provision that bars Israel from lobbying Congress for increased aid as a range of conflicts in the Middle East develop. While Congress initially rebelled against this provision, and held up the Obama-era aid package in revolt, Tillerson is said to be lobbying for Israel to give back the additional aid to keep the country in line with the Obama administration’s 2016 agreement, known as the Memorandum of Understanding, or MOU. Multiple sources who spoke to the Free Beacon said Tillerson’s chief of staff, Margaret Peterlin, personally called White House National Security Council official Dina Powell to relay Tillerson’s position, which is said to have conflicted with the advice of career State Department officials who work on the Israel portfolio…. (listserv) (archive)

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