Israeli court sentences Palestinian man to 13 months in prison for Facebook post

Palestinian sentenced to 17 months over Facebook posts
IMEMC 22 June — The Israeli District Court in occupied Jerusalem sentenced, on Sunday morning, a young Palestinian man to 13 months of imprisonment, with an additional four months suspended, for what the court called “incitement” on his Facebook page. Mohammad Mahmoud, a lawyer with the Ad-Dameer Prisoners’ Support and Human Rights Association, said Odai Mofeed Bayyoumi, 23 years of age, was taken prisoner on December 16, 2014. Mahmoud said the court sentenced Bayyoumi to 17 months, and added four months suspended, “because he is a former political prisoner.” Bayyoumi, from Kafr ‘Aqeb neighborhood, in Jerusalem, was transferred to different detention centers since his abduction.
On Tuesday, May 19, an Israeli court sentenced a Palestinian man to eight months of imprisonment, with an additional six months suspended, for activity on social media. The Jerusalem detainees’ families committee said that the Israeli magistrate’s court had handed the sentence to Sami Jamal Faraj Ideis, 28, from Shu‘fat after he was convicted of inciting anti-Jewish violence and supporting “terror” in posts and comments on Facebook.

In the West Bank, Facebook posts can get you arrested, or worse
National Public Radio (U.S.) 18 June by Emily Harris — In the waiting room of a courthouse in the West Bank city of Ramallah last week, a clerk called defendants to pick up their files while loudspeaker announcements blared courtroom assignments. A skinny young man in jeans and a blue T-shirt waited to hear his name. Ayman Mahareeq, who just turned 24, faced charges of insulting officials based on comments he’d posted on Facebook. “One of my posts was about how Palestinian security forces act whenever Israeli forces enter the West Bank,” Mahareeq says. “They withdraw and hide.” He characterizes the post — which he has since taken down — as harshly critical. In another post, Mahareeq wrote: “May the rule of the Palestinian Authority collapse,” referring to the governing body with certain administrative powers over Palestinians in the West Bank. Both caught the eye of the Palestinian police. Officers arrested him in a coffee shop last November. He was interrogated — and beaten, he says — and imprisoned for a month. – Conflicting Laws – One Palestinian law promises freedom of expression. But another bans people from insulting any official, from the head of state on down. The indictment against Mahareeq says he illegally insulted the Palestinian Authority and police force with his Facebook posts….


Violence / Clashes / Raids / Arrests

Israeli forces shoot, injure Palestinian teen near Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 21 June — Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian teenager during clashes in al-Tawil Hill neighborhood in al-Bireh city in the central West Bank Saturday night. Locals said clashes broke out between Palestinian youths and Israeli soldiers deployed around the illegal Israeli settlement of Psagot. Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition at the Palestinians, hitting a 15-year-old boy twice in the leg, witnesses said. He was evacuated in a private car to the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah. An Israeli army spokeswoman confirmed that Israeli forces had shot a Palestinian. She said that after he approached the settlement with “a Molotov cocktail,” Israeli forces fired warning shots in the air. When he continued to advance, they fired at his lower extremities.So far this year, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says that Israeli forces have injured on average 39 Palestinians per week. They have killed a total of 13 Palestinians, including two since the beginning of this month.

Palestinian shot, injured after stabbing policeman in East Jerusalem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 21 June — A Palestinian stabbed and seriously wounded an Israeli border policeman at Damascus Gate outside East Jerusalem’s Old City on Sunday, before the officer then shot his attacker, leaving him in critical condition. Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld said that the policeman had received stab wounds to his neck and been moved to hospital in critical condition. Although the Palestinian — identified by prisoners’ rights group Addameer as 18-year-old Yaser Yasin al-Tarawah — was initially reported dead, Rosenfeld later said he had been moved to Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem. A Hadassah Medical Center spokeswoman said that he was “in a very, very bad condition,” but that he was still alive and undergoing surgery. Witnesses told Ma‘an that he had been shot six times by the policeman, and a paramedic confirmed seeing “gunshot wounds to his upper body.” Coming from the village of Sa‘ir in Hebron, the Palestinian had entered Israel illegally and was not among the tens of thousands of Palestinians given Israeli permission to enter East Jerusalem over the holy month of Ramadan … Israeli forces later raided al-Tawarah’s family home in Sa‘ir, where they interrogated family members before leaving without any arrests.

Israel announces punitive measures for Palestinians after stabbing
Times of Israel 22 June by Itamar Sharon — Israeli leaders ordered several punitive measures against Palestinians on Sunday night, and threatened further possible action, after a Border Policeman was critically wounded in a Jerusalem stabbing attack earlier in the day. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon instructed security officials to revoke Israeli work permits from residents of the assailant’s home town, the West Bank village of Sa‘ir, near Hebron. In addition, they said 500 permits for Palestinians to fly abroad through Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport, a special measure announced days earlier in light of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, would be annulled.

Israeli settler runs over child
IMEMC/Agencies 21 June — An extremist Israeli settler ran over a 3-year old Palestinian child in occupied Jerusalem, Saturday. The child was identified as Yasser Shammas from Wadi al-Hilwa, in the village of Silwan, occupied city of Jerusalem. Witnesses said, according to Days of Palestine, that the settler, who was driving a mini-car, approached the Palestinian child while he was waiting with his mother to cross the street. Palestinian paramedics rushed to the scene and evacuated the child to Hadassa Hospital, in Silwan. According to medical sources, the child sustained light injures, but bruises are spread all over his body. The child is still under continuous observation, medical sources added.

IDF reaches dead end in search for terrorist who shot dead Israeli driver
Ynet 20 June by Yoav Zitun, Itay Blumenthal — IDF troops have reached a dead end on Saturday night after completing searches in Palestinian villages near the settlement of Dolev in the West Bank, failing to lay hands on the terrorist who shot dead Israeli Danny Gonen in a deadly attack the previous day. Troops were scanning the area and questioning locals from the villages of Ein Kinya and Dayr Ibzi, which are near the site of the attack. The army has reopened the access roads leading to the villages, which were closed the previous day. The focus of the investigation will now shift to the intelligence realm, and will be led by Shin Bet investigators. A primary inspection of the victim’s vehicle shows that the assailant fired at least 10 rounds, four of which hit the car, and ran away. Shin Bet investigators collected 9mm shell casings found near the vehicle, which suggests the shooter fired from point-blank range. The casings were passed on to forensics.,7340,L-4670564,00.html

Israel minister to turn spring near West Bank attack into tourist site
RAMALLAH (AFP) 21 June — The Israeli Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel on Saturday pledged to turn a West Bank spring an Israeli hiked to before he was fatally shot into a tourist site. Ariel made the comments at the funeral of 25-year-old Danny Gonen, who was shot dead in his car by a Palestinian gunman on Friday after hiking with his friend near the village of Ras Karkar in the occupied West Bank. “The murderers who didn’t want to see even a few hikers there will now see how thousands of other Jews flock to it,” said Ariel. The funeral took place in Gonen’s central Israeli hometown Lod. The Israeli army said on Saturday that it was searching Ramallah for the attacker but had so far made no arrests. While a number of Palestinian factions have praised the deadly shooting, there have been conflicting reports over its responsibility …
If Minister Ariel’s pledge to mark Gonen’s final hiking destination as an Israeli tourist destination materializes, it will join swathes of other areas throughout the occupied West Bank barred from use by Palestinian locals. Palestinian residents living throughout the West Bank are often prevented by Israeli forces from enjoying the springs and scenic areas the land has to offer. A few months ago, Israeli forces expelled nearly 200 Palestinians swimming in a natural pool in Palestinian-controlled Area A south of Hebron. The pool had been renovated and the surrounding area turned into a park by the Palestinian municipality of the region.

Palestinian wounded near site of fatal West Bank attack
RAMALLAH (AFP) 20 June — A Palestinian woman was lightly injured after stones were thrown at her car late Saturday near the site of a recent fatal West Bank shooting, medical and security sources said. According to Palestinian medics, the woman was taken to hospital but her condition was “not very bad”. A spokesman for the Israeli army confirmed they had received a report about the incident and dispatched a medical team, but the woman was evacuated before it arrived. The stone-throwing took place near Ras Karkar, a village northwest of the Dolev settlement, near which on Friday 25-year-old Israeli Danny Gonen was shot dead in his car by a Palestinian gunman, after hiking with a friend in the area. Palestinians said Saturday’s incident could have been an act of revenge by settlers for Gonen’s death, although the stones could also have been thrown by Palestinians mistaking the woman’s vehicle for an Israeli one.

Factions: West Bank attack a ‘natural response’ to occupation
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 20 June — Several Palestinian factions and military groups on Saturday applauded the shooting attack near Ramallah Friday which left an Israeli man [Danny Gonen] dead and another injured. The military wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) said in a statement that the shooting was a “natural response to the Israeli occupation’s crimes in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.” “The Palestinian people have a legitimate right to practice resistance of every type using any means,” the statement added. Similarly, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) released a statement describing Friday’s shooting as a message to challenge  the current Israeli government. The group said the Israeli government would be surprised at the shooting, as the rightwing cabinet “counted on its crimes and escalation against Palestinians to cultivate a spirit of frustration and desperation among them.”  Friday’s shooting was also supported by the Islamic Jihad group.

Soldiers kidnap two children in Hebron
IMEMC/Agencies 21 June — Israeli soldiers kidnapped, late on Saturday, two Palestinian children in Hebron city, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank … Media sources in Hebron said the soldiers kidnapped Fadi Nader an-Natsha, 15, and Mahmoud ar-Rajabi, and took them to the Etzion military and security base. The army claimed the two were taken prisoner following clashes between Israeli soldiers and local youths.
In related news, Israelis living in illegal outposts in the Old City of Hebron, hurled stones at Palestinian homes and cars, causing property damage, including damage to children’s toys displayed by a street vendor, identified as Tha‘er Jaber.

Army kidnaps five Palestinians
IMEMC 21 June — Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Sunday at dawn, two Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem, after invading the al-‘Eesawiyya town leading to clashes with local youths. The army also kidnapped two Palestinians in Nablus, and a woman in Hebron. Member of the Follow-up Committee in Jerusalem, Raed Abu Ryala, said several Israeli military vehicles invaded the al-‘Eesawiyya town, south of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, broke into and searched a few homes, and kidnapped two Palestinians. The two kidnapped Palestinians have been identified as Adham Mheisin and ‘Ata ‘Obeid. Abu Ryala added that the soldiers attacked several Palestinian cars, and smashed their windshields, leading to clashes with dozens of local youths. The army fired rounds of live ammunition, gas bombs and concussion grenades.
In addition, soldiers invaded Beta village, in the northern West Bank district of Nablus, and kidnapped Khaled Marwan Bani Shamsiyya, 20, after searching his family’s home.
Another Palestinian, identified as Mahmoud Tawfik Qawareeq, 44, was kidnapped at the Huwwara roadblock, south of Nablus. The Palestinian is from ‘Awarta nearby town.
Soldiers also kidnapped a Palestinian woman, identified as Seham Issa al-Battat, after invading her home in the ath-Thaheriyya town, south of the southern West Bank city of Hebron. The woman is the mother of a Palestinian detainee identified as Haitham al-Battat. The soldiers also broke into several homes in the town, and violently searched them, causing property damage.

Palestinian kidnapped, many injured, in Jerusalem
IMEMC 22 June — The Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan (Silwanic), in Jerusalem, said the army kidnapped a young man, while many residents suffered cuts and bruises, after being attacked by the soldiers. It added that the clashes took place as Israeli extremists marched in Bab al-‘Amoud, protesting the stabbing of an Israeli soldier, earlier on Sunday, and chanting slogans against the Palestinians. On Sunday evening, soldiers attacked a group of young Palestinians walking in the Bab al-Amoud area, and fired concussion grenades at them, leading to clashes. The soldiers also fired rubber-coated metal bullets, and sprayed the Palestinians with waste-water mixed with chemicals. Medical sources said four Palestinians were injured, including a young man who was shot in the left eye, and was moved to a local hospital suffering a moderate injury. Three Palestinians were also injured by shrapnel of concussion grenades, one of them, identified as Mohammad Salah, suffered an injury in his back.
Silwanic said the soldiers also kidnapped Sameh ‘Ayesh, 18 years of age, from the Shu’fat refugee camp, in Jerusalem; the army claimed he hurled stones on army vehicles.
Clashes also took place in the al-‘Eesawiyya town, Ras al-‘Amoud neighborhood, and the Central Neighborhood in Silwan, while the police installed roadblocks in different parts, and main roads, in Silwan.

WhatsApp messages show Israeli soldiers knew they were about to kill a child
EI 21 June by Patrick Strickland — In March 2014, Israeli soldiers were ordered to use live ammunition to ambush three Palestinian teens in the southern region of the occupied West Bank, according to an investigation by the Israeli rights group B’Tselem. Yousef al-Shawamreh, 14, was fatally shot in the back and hip as he and two friends attempted to cross Israel’s wall inside the West Bank from their village of Deir al-Asal al-Fawqa on the morning of 19 March. According to B’Tselem’s investigation, al-Shawamreh was shot and killed “in broad daylight, although he posed no danger.” The rights group obtained a partial copy of the investigation file and a video of the shooting from the Israeli military. The video, above, shows the soldiers methodically carrying out an ambush that resulted in the killing of a child. Messages exchanged between the soldiers throughout the incident on the messaging service WhatsApp ”showed that at least some of the soldiers believed the three Palestinians to be minors,” B’Tselem states. A: ‘They’ll be through in a second’ B:”How old are they?” A:”They’re cutting the fence” B:”Aha” A:”Boys’

Israeli rights group blasts army for failing to protect Palestinians from settlers
Haaretz 22 June by Gili Cohen — Yesh Din report details failures of training and enforcement, as well as ‘culture set by commanders that denies army’s policing duties.’ — A recent report by the human rights organization Yesh Din claims that the Israel Defense Forces does not do enough to protect Palestinians in the West Bank. The study focused on the practice of what it terms “standing idly by,” of Israeli soldiers not moving to protect civilians from violence by Jewish settlers. Over a period of 18 months Yesh Din, together with Breaking the Silence, another rights group, collected statements from soldiers as well as 65 questionnaires about the practice, and also analyzed relevant protocols and instructions that were distributed to soldiers. According to the report, the picture that emerges from these materials is of a tone set by commanding officers that “denies the army’s obligation,” including under international law, “to carry out the routine and daily policing and law enforcement activities that are among the main duties of an army that has held occupied territory for nearly five decades.” The researchers found that the IDF conducts limited training in handling violence by Israeli citizens, passing responsibility for this to the Israel Police. Their report quotes a captain in the Kfir Brigade as saying: “During basic training, a soldier is taught to fight, to attack… The only time he is taught to deal with the civilian population is in the last week of training. How much time does he spend on it ultimately? Five or six days?… The officer said an entire chapter of the 70-page regulations is devoted to circumstances designated as “a red line” that, if crossed by settlers, should lead to a response: causing bodily harm to Palestinians or damaging their property, hurling stones at Israeli security forces, verbal or physical violence directed at them, damaging IDF or police property. The report notes that “standing by” is not a violation of military law and no soldier has ever been prosecuted for this or for related inappropriate behavior.


Egypt continues to ease restrictions on Gaza border
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 21 June — Egyptian authorities will re-open the Rafah border for traffic crossing both ways for three days this week, officials say. The Palestinian Authority was informed of the decision to open the crossing after President Mahmoud Abbas had contacted his Egyptian counterpart on the matter, General Director of the PA’s Crossings and Border Department Nathmi Mhanna told Ma‘an. Mhanna thanked the Egyptian president and Egyptian security parties, emphasizing that the PA is continuing its efforts to ease the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza and hopes the crossing remains open for the duration of Ramadan and after. The decision was made shortly after Egyptian security sources reported Saturday that the country’s president Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi would soon make decisions towards opening the Rafah crossing in the southern Gaza Strip on a more regular basis. Sisi opened Rafah during the first week of Ramadan to “ease the humanitarian situation of the Palestinian people in Gaza,” according to Egyptian border officials.

Israeli Arab MK Ghattas to join Gaza-bound flotilla
Haaretz 21 June by Jack Khoury — MK Basel Ghattas (Joint Arab List) announced on Sunday that he will be joining a new flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip, as part of a campaign to lift the naval blockade on the coastal enclave and mark the fifth anniversary of the Mavi Marmara affair. Nine activists died when Israel Defense Forces troops boarded the Turkish ship back in May 2010. Ghattas said he would be joining the flotilla in Athens, together with other parliamentarians and public figures from around the world, including Swedish-Israeli composer and activist Dror Feiler and Spanish European Parliament member Ana Maria Miranda Paza. In a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Ghattas beseeched the Israeli leadership to allow the Palestinian activists to enter the Gaza Strip by sea …  Criticism of Ghattas’ move came from a key activist in Balad, one of the parties that makes up the joint Arab faction within the Knesset. The activist said the issue of the Gaza siege was an international matter and the fact that international figures were joining the flotilla made it unnecessary for an Arab MK to be there. Doing so could provide an excuse for the right-wing to continue inciting against the Arab community, the activist added … MK Haneen Zoabi (Joint Arab List) previously attracted a raft of criticism for her participation in the 2010 Gaza flotilla.

Live Ships Map
Marianne av Goteborg (listed as a ‘pleasure craft’) has left Messina, Italy and is making for Crete. Follow Marianne’s progress at this site.

Gaza Christians offer Muslims iftar on roads
GAZA (OnIslam/Agencies) 21 June — Pictures showing Palestinian Christian youth standing in Gaza street at the time of Iftar [the evening fast-breaking meal] to hand over bottles of water to fasting Muslims have gone viral on the internet, as a symbol of centuries-old interfaith unity in the district. “When you see christians distributing water 2 muslims who can’t make it for Iftar, #ProudToBeAPalestinian #Palestine,” Mohammed Matter, Palestinian journalist and writer, who tweets @AbuYazan_Gaza, wrote, The News Teller reported on Saturday, June 20. Matter posted photos showing Christian youth giving water to Muslims stuck in traffic during Iftar. Similar pictures were tweeted by Jamal Dajani, an award-winning news producer, journalist, filmmaker and Middle East analyst.

Gaza: land of the trapped
Belfast Telegraph 20 June — Last summer’s 50-day bombardment left thousands dead and many more maimed and homeless. Kevin Doyle visits the scarred, war-weary territory and finds a people living in constant fear, but praying for salvation too — …This is Gaza: land of the trapped. One of those places in the world like Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan that we have come to know, but fail to understand. It is still being pieced back together after last summer’s 50-day war that killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, including around 500 children and 250 women … The damage was catastrophic, and yet, there are still flashes of colour. A beautiful pier dotted with small fishing boats in uniform yellow, blue and red. The sandy beach overlooked by the boutique al-Deira hotel is teeming again at the exact spot where, less than a year ago, a missile attack killed four children. Life goes on. The city is humming as cars compete with donkeys for road space. The animated urban pulse is balanced by laid-back rural villages. The children are like butterflies, feeding their boredom with dreams of Messi and Princess Elsa. The whole place has a ‘back to the future’ charm and its own iris blue sky that any tourist agent could literally sell as ‘out of this world’. But blink and refocus – it’s a warzone; a prison for 1.8 million people. On one side, a 25ft-wall blocks sight of the sunflowers. On the other, the Mediterranean stretches to a horizon marshalled by gunboats… [includes photo gallery of the war and aftermath – 200 pictures, many stunning]

The living martyr, a visit to the Bakr family in Gaza
Mondoweiss 19 June by Dan Cohen — Last week, the Israeli military absolved itself of wrongdoing in the killing of the four Bakr boys during the war on Gaza last summer … I recently visited the Bakr family in their home in Gaza’s Shati refugee camp. Sharifa Mustafa Bakr, 48, is the mother of 9-year-old Zachariah and grandmother of Ahed, two of the four boys killed.  “Zachariah was my favorite because he was the youngest one,” she said pointing to the poster above her that commemorates his brief life. “He was the sweetest – so innocent and playful,” she told me as tears began to stream down her cheeks. Sharifa Bakr suffers from heart problems and had just returned from the hospital on that fateful day … After lying down to watch the news, Sharifa Bakr read on the ticker that four children had been killed on the nearby beach. She knew that the children typically play soccer on the beach because the refugee camp has no parks or open spaces. Upon seeing the news, she ran to Al-Shifa hospital where she encountered a friend who informed her that the dead children were in fact from the Bakr family. 12-year-old Muntasir Bakr was one of the four boys who narrowly survived the airstrikes. “We call him the living martyr,” Sharifa Bakr told me. Muntasir was hit with shrapnel which still remains in his head and causes him headaches. He has severe trauma that remains undiagnosed and untreated, and has violent episodes which have caused him to attempt suicide and attack his siblings. I sat with Muntasir in his family’s home. He was polite and good-natured but the trauma from last summer was visible on his young face and audible in his voice. He spoke like a man who had lived many lifetimes – not like a child nearing his teenage years.

The ice-cream maker of Gaza
GAZA (BBC) 21 June by Roger Hearing — In the heart of Gaza city, one man is making and selling ice cream that is famous among Israelis and Palestinians alike — “First time in Gaza?” said the tall, suited man who caught up with us as we heaved our body armour onto the motorbike trailer, and began to wheel the rest along the concrete walkway towards the entry checkpoint. Ashraf Abushaban then tagged along. His holdall was full, he said, of small denomination shekel coins for his shop. He had just been on a course in Tel Aviv about making Italian ice cream. He was in fact the owner and manager of the celebrated Kazem Ice Cafe, purveyor to Gaza, for more than half a century, of ice creams, sundaes, and slush of the most lurid colours and extravagant flavours you’ve ever seen. It’s hard to give you a sense of quite how odd that seems. Ice cream, to me, is about happy days in the sunshine, holidays, beaches and laughing children. It is, above all, about safe normality. There isn’t a lot of that right now in Gaza.Of course there are lots and lots of children. The beaches are certainly long and golden, and in fact Ashraf has just opened a new branch by the beach in Gaza City. And, despite the apocalyptic destruction in parts of the city from last year’s war, you do also see a lot of giggling, playing children among the ruins. And every last one of them knows about Kazem’s ice cream. The group of five we found sitting on a pile of rubble with small empty tubs, shrieked in approval when we asked if Kazem’s was the place to go for such treats. “They’re so used to war,” Ashraf says. “Gelato and the beach are maybe the only way to express their feelings.”

Gazans tune into airwaves to cut through static of war
RAFAH, GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 19 June by Mohammed Othman — As soon as Israel wages a war against the Gaza Strip, usually accompanied with a blackout, Gazans gather around radios to listen to local radio stations tracking the course of events, the radio broadcast becoming the first and main source of information. Mohamed Abdel Razek from Rafah sees radio as his companion in times of war. “In addition to being a radio audience in times of peace, my family and I, just like all the residents of the Gaza Strip, rely on radio stations during war times to accurately keep track of the developments,” he told Al-Monitor. “We live in constant wars. Radio stations are the only efficient means of information in light of power outages, to elicit news or deliver certain messages.” Radio stations, be they private or governmental, started broadcasting in the Gaza Strip as of March 2000, when the Palestine Broadcasting Corp. started Voice of Palestine’s second program (the first program is broadcasted from Ramallah in the West Bank). In 2002, Sawt al-Horreyah Radio was opened as the first private radio station.

Refugee youth in Gaza make the most of UNRWA job creation programme opportunities
UNRWA 19 June — The UNRWA Maintenance Office in Jabalia, northern Gaza, is full of old blue UNRWA school doors waiting for a makeover, piles of window glass, large white paint buckets, and other material necessary to keep UNRWA facilities in good working condition. Standing amid the material are two 20-year-old Palestine refugees – Jamil Jabir and Fares Sani. The young workers have both successfully completed a 24-month-long vocational training programme for over-aged students (those who have previously failed two or more years in school) in the UNRWA Gaza Training Centre. They were soon after hired by the Agency for a six-month Graduate Training Programme (GTP) to further build up their capacities. The GTP is a one-time opportunity and part of the Agency’s Cash for Work Job Creation Programme (JCP); it targets graduates who have completed their vocational education within three years of starting the programme. “We have both already completed five months of our job placement,” said Fares, who is employed as an aluminium worker in the Maintenance Office. “In one month, we will face difficult times – there are so few job opportunities due to the blockade.” He added, “Besides, there is not enough material entering the Strip to allow for more work.” … both young men know that dreams can easily be crushed in a place like Gaza, where youth refugee unemployment rates are skyrocketing and, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, stood at 70.1 per cent in 2014 and at 66.3 per cent for male refugee youth.

Prisoners / Court actions

Palestinians make urgent plea to save Khader Adnan as more join hunger strike
EI 21 June by Ali Abunimah — Palestinians are calling for urgent international intervention to save the life of Khader Adnan who has been on total hunger strike for almost 50 days to protest his detention without charge or trial by Israel. Last week, Adnan’s family sent a letter to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini urging pressure on Israel to free him. Meanwhile, at least three more Palestinians jailed by Israel have started open-ended hunger strikes. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) has also urged the “international community to put pressure on Israeli forces for the immediate release of Adnan who has been under administrative detention without a trial.” But previous appeals to Mogherini on behalf of Palestinian prisoners, including by dozens of European Parliament members, have not resulted in the staunchly pro-Israel EU breaking its complicit silence … Earlier this month, Budour Youssef Hassan visited Adnan’s family in their home village of Arrabeh, near Jenin, and reported for The Electronic Intifada on the “arduous journey” his wife Randa, his young children and his elderly parents have taken with him as a result of Israel’s persecution. Adnan’s father, Adnan Mousa, told The Electronic Intifada that while the family had received messages of solidarity from all over the world, the Palestinian Authority had done nothing to support his son. He also reaffirmed his son’s love of life and freedom. “Khader is not a nihilist,” Adnan Mousa said. “He’s not doing this because he wants to die and because he wants to hurt himself. On the contrary, he’s going through this because he loves life and believes that this is the only way to achieve freedom.”

Khader Adnan enters 48th day of hunger strike
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 21 June — The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society denied reports on Sunday that Khader Adnan had died, as the 37-year-old prisoner entered his 48th day on hunger strike. The director of the society’s legal unit, Jawad Bolous, quoted the head of Asad Arofeh hospital as saying that Adnan’s health was stable and there had been no changes. However, Bolous added that the Israeli prison service’s judicial adviser had said that Adnan’s condition was very serious. The prisoner’s society head, Qaddura Fares, urged all Palestinians to support Adnan by any means possible. Bolous said on Wednesday that “new dangerous symptoms” had appeared indicating that Adnan’s health had seriously deteriorated. “He suffers severe pains all over his body with blue spots on his shoulder and clear speaking problems.”

Shirin Issawi suspends her hunger strike
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 20 June — The Jerusalemite female prisoner Shirin Issawi suspended her hunger strike that lasted for a week after the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) vowed to end her solitary confinement and to improve her detention conditions. IPS promised to end Shirin’s isolation and to allow her family visits, in addition to improving her detention conditions. Her detained brother Medhat Issawi also suspended his hunger strike declared in solidarity with his sister. Israeli sanctions and restrictions against Palestinian prisoners have increased during the holy month of Ramadan in total violation of their human rights and religious freedom.


Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Hostility toward religions other than Judaism

Israeli forces demolish Palestinian structures in Salfit
SALFIT (Ma‘an) 21 June — Israeli forces on Sunday demolished two Palestinian structures in the northern West Bank district of Salfit, locals officials said. Salfit’s governor, Abdul Hamid al-Dik, said that bulldozers escorted by Israeli troops had entered Khirbet Susiya on the outskirts of Kafr al-Dik village, where they demolished an agricultural storage room belonging to a local identified as Najih Harb. Al-Dik said that Israeli authorities told Harb the room had been built without permits required from the Israeli authorities to build in Area C. Separately, al-Dik said that Israeli forces had raided the village of Haris and demolished a structure used as a car wash for the same reason. The governor condemned the demolitions, which he said were carried out under “illegal pretexts” in an attempt to “empty the land of its indigenous owners” and pave the way for settlers to expand their illegal settlements … As a result of rarely-approved permits, Palestinian residents are forced to build structures without permits, which are liable to be torn down later by Israeli forces.

Defense chief said to okay West Bank church’s conversion to Jewish compound
Times of Israel 21 June by Judah Ari Gross — Ya’alon reportedly allows right-wing group to refurbish abandoned Presbyterian complex near Etzion settlement bloc, but no permit requested for habitation — Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon approved the ongoing renovations of a former church complex and its conversion into a possible Jewish settlement in the West Bank last week, the Haaretz daily reported Saturday.  The complex was purchased by US millionaire and right-wing philanthropist Irving Moskowitz through a series of shell corporations and charitable organizations in 2008, when it was sold by a Presbyterian church. The 10-acre property sits across from the al-‘Aroub refugee camp on Route 60, between the Etzion settlement bloc and Hebron. If it were populated, the outpost would help create a Jewish corridor between the two areas, making a two-state peace deal more difficult to negotiate. The compound has been undergoing repairs for the past few months. A new fence was built despite a stop-work injunction by Israel’s Civil Administration in the West Bank, which cited the lack of a building permit for the fence.

Thousands protest Galilee church ‘arson’
Ynet 21 June by Ahiya Raved — Thousands of Christians from the Galilee and around Israel gathered at the Church of the Loaves and Fishes in Tabgha on Sunday afternoon to protest the apparent arson that heavily damaged the house of worship days earlier. The demonstration began at around 4 PM and drew an estimated crowd of more than 3,000, many holding the flag of the Vatican and crosses. At one point, around 100 youths blocked an adjacent road. Abbot Gregory Collins, head of the Order of Saint Benedict in Israel, urged the Christian community to respond to the incident according to their faith. “A few nights ago we suffered a severe attack here,” he said. ” A fire that endangered human lives.  All residents of the area – Christians, Druze, Muslims, and Jews should protest against this deed. But we are Christian and must react like Christians. “We are in the place where Christ performed his miracles, and we the monks have hosted invalids here for years. We will replace the terrible fire with the fire of God’s love and forgiveness.”,7340,L-4671061,00.html

Chief rabbi: Church arson contradicts values of Judaism
Ynet 21 June by Itzchak Tessler, Tali Farkash — Rabbi David Lau harshly condemns suspected arson at Church of Loaves and Fishes on Sea of Galilee. Rabbi Yuval Cherlow: It breaks my heart to see what is allegedly done in name of religion — Israel’s Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi David Lau has issued a harsh condemnation of the suspected arson at the Church of the Loaves and Fishes on the shore of the Sea of Galilee on Wednesday night, calling it “a black warning sign to the entire world.” The rabbi clarified that “this act, which was allegedly committed by radical elements, contradicts the values of Judaism and human ethics.”… Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, head of the Petah Tikva Hesder Yeshiva, joined the condemnations. “Judaism has a battle against idolatry, as a faith which claims to have a historic mission of bringing a blessing to the world,” he said. “Torching churches is the exact opposite of that. It’s a barbaric act which harms people, pulls the rug from under the moral claim which forbids harming Jews around the world, and mainly does nothing to promote the battle against idolatry.”,7340,L-4670949,00.html

Why Israeli police find it so difficult to solve church arson attacks
Haaretz 21 June by Chaim Levinson — Setting fire to Christian institutions is a relatively insignificant incident by the standards of Israel’s extreme right, but it constitutes a major challenge to the Judea and Samaria District Police and Jewish department of the Shin Bet security service, due to the elusive nature of the perpetrators. The profile of Christian-haters is found at the seam between ultranationalist racists and religious-theological groups. To date, no arsonists involved in setting fire to religious sites have been caught, but the Jerusalem police has some experience with those who spit on priests in the alleyways of the Old City. Some come from extreme-right circles, with an ideological origin in religious-Zionist groups. Others, meanwhile, are Haredim from the margins of ultra-Orthodox society, who read one too many books about Christians and missionaries in their childhood. These two groups connect in Jerusalem. The former bring with them their violent methods of operation; the latter the theological seal of approval. Along with the familiar groups, figures from Israel’s periphery, easily influenced young people with social problems, are also drawn into the conflagration. The Shin Bet is most concerned with members of the last group, who are not known to intelligence organizations and are more daring than more experienced agitators….

Haaretz editorial: Till when will Israel lets its churches and mosques be burnt?
21 June — The torching of the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish at Tabgha, near Tiberias, on Thursday is the 18th arson attack on a church or mosque over the past four years. Not one of these cases has been solved, none of the perpetrators identified and, obviously, no one charged for the offenses. These are part of a wider range of actions, including hate graffiti sprayed on mosques and churches, spitting at Christian priests in Jerusalem, and the issuing of edicts by assorted rabbis against “gentiles.” Damaging holy sites is not just a criminal act or a regular hate crime. Protecting the freedom of worship is one of the basic universal precepts included in all international treaties and constitutions, making up a central feature of cultural identity. Even countries that define themselves according to their prevailing religion, such as some Islamic states, view religious institutions of other faiths as holy sites, persecuting and punishing people who defile them …  The government of Israel, rightfully, wouldn’t have ignored the torching of synagogues, the destruction of tombstones in Jewish cemeteries or assaults against Jews in other countries if governments were lax in investigating such crimes. Now, it must show determination to uproot such hate crimes from areas under its jurisdiction, defining perpetrators as terrorists who endanger Israel’s security, no less than those who send car bombs into city centers.

Restriction of movement

‘So long, Israel, and thanks for nothing’
Haaretz 15 June by Carol Daniel Kasbari — As a Palestinian Israeli married to a Palestinian, we’ve been waiting for Israel to grant us permission to live together. 15 years later, forced to choose between homeland and family unity, we have finally left — …I am a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship, raised in Nazareth. My husband is also a Palestinian, but unlike me, he is not a citizen of Israel. In fact, he is not a citizen of any country. I met my husband, Osama Kasbari, in Ramallah in 1997 when I was a student at the Hebrew University, and the connection was immediate. After that first meeting, we spent three hours talking on the phone – about life, identity, language, home – and within a year, we were married. We began the process of building a normal life, applying for “family unification,” a process under which non-citizens married to Israelis could gain temporary residency status and further on down the line become permanent residents or citizens. At the Interior Ministry office in Nazareth, we were told that the process would be quite simple: We were to live inside of Israel’s borders, pay taxes, obey the laws and within four years, my husband would be granted permanent residency. This is what we were told, and this is what we believed, so this is what we did … In 2003, weeks before my husband was scheduled to receive permanent residency, our dreams were shattered, along with other Palestinian couples like us. On July 31st, 2003, then-Interior Minister Eli Yishai successfully passed the “Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Order)” which categorically denied Palestinians from “the hostile areas,” meaning, Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza, the ability to receive residency or citizenship as a result of their partnership with a citizen of Israel.   The initial reason provided was purportedly connected to security: One man in such a situation had been involved in a bombing in Haifa.

Activism / BDS

Meet Israel’s boycotters
Al Jazeera Magazine 8 June by Carlo Gianferro — Israeli members of the BDS movement and pro-Palestinian activists explain why the world should stop supporting Israel — … Michal: “I was born into a very Zionist family. My parents were born here, they fought for this country, they’re devoted Zionists and they’re also right-wing. They’re a bit militant: my father is a colonel in the army.  I could have been a normal Israeli – loving my country, being proud of it and supporting it by hook or by crook. I like my parents, but I know what’s going on. I know that Palestinians also have rights. I heard about the demonstration in Bil‘in and I thought: ‘Come on, you can’t be a supporter of Palestinian rights and a Palestinian state and peace and love and everything and just not do anything.’ The first time I went to a demonstration in Bil‘in, I was by myself, and it was like when Alice fell into the rabbit hole and found herself in a strange and alien land. That was exactly how I felt because nothing was normal. My first time was kind of extreme, because the violence inflicted upon the peaceful demonstrators by the army was really extreme: they went into the village and started shooting tear gas and stun grenades. That was the first time I was shot by a stun grenade. I was shocked and started to wonder how people had been going on with this uprising for so long. I began talking to people- leftist activists and Palestinians – and started looking for the truth myself. I realised that for my whole life the truth had been hidden from me; I was intoxicated, I was lied to.

Israel Police issues formal apology to West Bank activists for wrongful detention, questioning
Haaretz 20 June by Amira Hass — Three men from the Taayush organization were held in a police station for more than five hours in 2013 before being released without charge — The Israel Police has officially apologized for detaining and questioning left-wing activists who documented illegal construction near the West Bank settlement outpost of Avigail. The written apology was part of a compromise between the state prosecution and two activists from the Taayush organization, who had sued after police opened an investigation and detained them for no good reason. The state also paid the activists 12,000 shekels ($3,150) in compensation. Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court last week gave the agreement the force of a verdict. The suit – whose description of events wasn’t challenged by the prosecution – accused the police of arresting the activists mainly to please the illegal outpost’s security coordinator. The incident started on March 30, 2013, when Palestinian farmers informed Taayush – a grassroots movement of peace-seeking Arabs and Jews – that illegal construction was proceeding near Avigail, even though Israel’s Civil Administration in the West Bank had issued a stop-work order. The authorities “made no serious effort to enforce the order,” the suit said.

Other news

Fatah says Hamas threatening national aspirations
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 20 June — The Fatah movement said Saturday that the Israeli government is aiming to separate the Gaza Strip from the West Bank and East Jerusalem via “secret talks” with the Hamas movement, removing the possibility of establishing a Palestinian state on 1967 borders. The remarks came after Hamas sources said earlier this week that the group has been holding indirect exchanges with Israel to cement a long-term truce in the Gaza Strip. The alleged exchanges raised concerns among other Palestinian factions that unilateral long-term agreements between Hamas and Israel could further political and geographical separation between the Hamas-run Gaza Strip and Fatah-dominated West Bank, preventing the future establishment of a unified Palestinian state. Fatah spokesperson Ahmad Assaf said in Saturday’s statement that the PLO is the only legitimate representative of the Palestinians, referring to any deal resulting from Hamas’ efforts to act as a representative of the Palestinian people as part of “an Israeli conspiracy to kill the Palestinian cause.” … Assaf called on Hamas to end its dialogue with Israel and support efforts to form a national unity government.

Rise of suicide rates: Gaza youngster strangles himself Saturday
GAZA (PNN) 21 June — A Palestinian youngster from Khan Younis refugee camp south Gaza Saturday evening has strangled [hanged] himself in his family home, committing suicide. Reporters quoted witnesses saying that (M. M) aged 25, was moved to Nasser hospital a dead body after the incident. The victim was said to have psychological disorders. There is still no further information on the case. -Rise of suicide rates- According to governmental statistics, 2014 recorded a 68.4% rise in suicide rates, since it witnessed 39 suicide cases in the West Bank and Gaza. The rate in besieged Gaza was lower than the West Bank despite the higher populations. In Gaza, 2014 carried the suicide of 12 people. The West Bank had 27 similar cases, adding 8 people to the list of 2013. However, Al-Shifa governmental hospital which was destroyed during the Israeli offensive last summer, said that in Gaza, at least one person attempted suicide on a daily basis. In 2014, about 350 people in Gaza attempted suicide but were saved. -Reasons- The reasons behind the boost in suicide rates in the West Bank were referred to the psychological disorders which the victims suffer as a result of the worsening social, political and financial situations.

Rooftop gardens give refugees room to breathe
[with photos] Dheisheh Refugee Camp (EI) 9 June by Silvia Boarini — In the narrow alleys of Dheisheh refugee camp in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, Muaath Atef points to a rooftop. “There, that’s a nice bit of plastic,” he laughs. Behind that bit of plastic lies a garden set up by Karama, a volunteer community organization in the camp. Atef works with Karama, which runs after school activities and summer camps for local children. Three years ago, the group began setting up “micro-farms” on the rooftops of some 20 families in the camp. “There was a need and we tried to address it,” Yasser Al-Haj, Karama’s director, explains, adding that projects are chosen and implemented according to the demands of the community and not according to the whims of foreign funders. “We don’t go looking for funding and then make up a project that fits that call. If there are conditions attached to money, usually we say no,” he says … Dheisheh is home to roughly 15,000 people living in less than one square kilometer. The average density in the United States is 35 people per square kilometer. The cramped conditions, Al-Haj explains, leave people quite literally without room to breathe. “The gardens create more space but they also help maintain our connection to the land,” he adds. “The people here have land in villages they can’t reach. Their parents knew how to tend trees or grow vegetables but that knowledge has been lost. We wanted to reconnect people to the land.”

Arab theater asks EU for funds after Israel cancels subsidies over play about terrorist
JPost 20 June — An Arab theater in Haifa plans to appeal to the European Union for funding its productions after Education Minister Naftali Bennett announced that the state would no longer subsidize its activities in protest of a play that he claimed glorifies terrorism, Channel 2 reported on Saturday.  The Al-Midan Theater made headlines in recent weeks after Bennett ordered a halt to funding due to the staging of A Parallel Time, a play based on the life of Walid Daka, an Israeli Arab who is serving a life sentence in prison for the murder of IDF soldier Moshe Tamam. The artistic community in Israel has been up in arms over Culture Minister Miri Regev’s vow to slash state subsidies to cultural institutions that “delegitimize” the state. Regev told the Knesset plenum on Monday that anyone who wants to defame Israel will do it without the government’s help or funding.

Abbas sees no place for Hamas in new govt, says French FM
JERUSALEM (AFP) 21 June — Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on Sunday told visiting French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius that any new Palestinian unity government should not include Hamas, France’s top diplomat said. The remarks came on the eve of a key meeting of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) to discuss forming a new cabinet after the government collapsed this week amid a deepening rift with Hamas, the de facto rulers of the Gaza Strip. Abbas is thought to be seeking to replace the government of technocrats — formed last year to overcome rivalry between Palestinian factions — with a government of politicians. “(Abbas) told me this government of national unity could only include women and men who recognise Israel, renounce violence and who are in agreement with the principles of the (Mideast) Quartet,” Fabius said at a press conference in Jerusalem after holding talks with Abbas in Ramallah. Noting that those conditions ruled out Hamas, Fabius added: “And that suits us perfectly.”

Israeli PM rejects ‘dictates’ as French FM visits
JERUSALEM (AFP) 21 June — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected “international dictates” as France’s top diplomat visited, with Paris advocating a UN resolution laying out parameters for peace talks. With negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians stalled for more than a year, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius met Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and Netanyahu on Sunday. The separate meetings in Ramallah and Jerusalem were part of a regional tour by Fabius aimed at reviving peace talks. France has argued in favour of a UN resolution that would guide negotiations leading to an independent Palestinian state and which could include a timeframe for talks. Ahead of Fabius’s arrival in Jerusalem, Netanyahu hit out at international diplomatic efforts to impose proposals which he said neglected to address vital Israeli security concerns, saying his government would reject “international dictates”.

Egypt names new ambassador to Israel
CAIRO (AFP) 21 June – Egypt on Sunday appointed a new ambassador to Israel to fill a post that had been vacant since ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi recalled the previous envoy in 2012. State news agency MENA said that Hazem Khairat, a former ambassador to Chile, was appointed by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. It did not say when he will take up his post. Khairat’s appointment was immediately “deeply” welcomed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu … Egypt was the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979. Jordan followed suit in 1994. Ties between the two neighbours soured after Morsi’s June 2012 election as president following the ouster of his predecessor Hosni Mubarak in the 2011 uprising. Morsi recalled Egypt’s envoy to Israel in November 2012 to protest against a series of Israeli air raids on the Gaza Strip that killed top Hamas militant Ahmed Jaabari.

WATCH: Israel wishes Egypt ‘Ramadan Karim’ for first time
Haaretz 22 June — For the first time since Israel and Egypt established formal relations, Israel publicly extended its best wishes to Egypt on the occasion of the month of Ramadan in new YouTube video released by Israel this Sunday. In the video, Israel’s ambassador to Egypt Haim Koren addressed Egyptians, saying in Arabic: “On my behalf and on behalf of the people of Israel, and in marking of the holy month of Ramadan, we wish the Egyptian people Ramadan Karim,” Army Radio reported Koren as saying.

Israel raid destroys own crashed drone in Lebanon: security source
BEIRUT (AFP) 21 June – Israel carried out an air strike in eastern Lebanon on Sunday targeting a drone belonging to the Jewish state that crashed in the area, a security source told AFP. “An Israeli air strike was launched this morning to destroy one of their drones that crashed in the mountains outside Saghbine yesterday,” the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Images published by Lebanese media purported to show the remains of the drone that was targeted, including what looked to be a wing and twisted pieces of metal. The Israeli army had no comment on the claims. Lebanon’s official National News Agency said Lebanese armed forces were investigating at the site of the incident. Israel occupied parts of Lebanon for 22 years until 2000 and the two countries are still technically at war … Israeli warplanes and drones regularly enter Lebanese airspace.

Mofaz lands in London, is met by Israeli embassy staff
Ma’ariv Hashavu’a 20 June by Dana Somberg — Former IDF chief and defense minister Shaul Mofaz landed in London late Saturday, where he was met by Israeli embassy staff who escorted him to his hotel. Mofaz, who arrived in London on a British Airways flight from Tel Aviv, went through customs and border control without any problems. Earlier on Saturday, Israeli television reported that Mofaz is at risk of being detained on possible war crimes charges since Israeli authorities had tried and failed to secure diplomatic immunity for him on his trip to London. The former defense minister, who retired from politics and is thus a private citizen, is in London to appear at a conference.

Ex-Israeli foreign minister granted diplomatic immunity
Press TV 19 June 2015 — An anti-war activist has slammed the British government for what he calls protecting war criminals — “It is a disgraceful policy intended to protect criminals on all levels not just the war criminals and crimes against humanity,” peace activist Kenneth O’Keefe told Press TV on Friday. He was reacting to a recent decision by the British government to grant diplomatic immunity to former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni. The Zionist Union politician traveled to London earlier this week to take part in the Fortune Most Powerful Women International Summit in London. “What we see in UK is that there is concerted effort on behalf of the government here to protect war criminals especially from Israel. The policy of the UK government is to harbor people like Tzipi Livni, Ehud Barak, Netanyahu, or any other criminals from Israel that have committed the most atrocious crimes including using weapons like white phosphorus against the people in Gaza,” the former US marine reiterated. Anti-war activists and pro-Palestinian campaigners had called for the arrest of Livni over alleged war crimes against the people of Gaza. Back in 2009, pro-Palestine activists had petitioned a court in the UK to issue an arrest warrant for Livni for her involvement in Israeli war crimes against the Palestinian people. As Israeli foreign minister, Livni was involved in Tel Aviv’s decision to launch military strikes against the Gaza Strip at the turn of 2009.

Israeli top brass plays Gaza war crimes blame game
Haaretz 20 June by Amir Oren — The Israel Defense Forces, the Shin Bet security service and the upper echelons of the government are all trying to ensure they’re not the ones being called to international justice for potential war crimes — Israel’s fight against the upcoming UN Human Rights Council report, and claims from other international organizations about harming Palestinian civilians during last summer’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza is not the real story. It’s only a front. Forget the international arena. The fiercest battle is an internal one. It’s the Israel Defense Forces against the Shin Bet security service and those above it (in the government). When suspicions of war crimes abound, what is the practical significance in the chain of command? Where does the buck stop? Who are the responsible ones that are liable to be arrested should they set foot in a foreign airport? What was sufficient during the time of Baruch Goldstein is insufficient in the age of Richard Goldstone. Israel handled the investigation of the 1994 Cave of the Patriarchs massacre internally, after Goldstein, an armed captain in IDF uniform, murdered 29 Muslim worshippers in Hebron. The world left alone and showed restraint after Ehud Barak, the chief of staff at the time, declared that the country and its army was struck by “thunder on a clear day.” No one foresaw it and no one was condemned as responsible. It was an internal matter, like the 1956 massacre in the Arab-Israeli town of Kafr Qasem. Not only that: the 20th century was filed away. The current century, however, is characterized by invasive probing à la the UN’s Goldstone Commission, which followed Operation Cast Lead six years ago….

The Green Line: serving Israel’s racist policies since 1967
Al-Araby al-Jadeed 15 June — Comment: The Green Line offered the fictive promise of two states. In reality, it sustains a racist regime and the judaisation of the West Bank, says Neve Gordon — About 50 students sat on the concrete floor of a makeshift shack, absorbing the desert heat as they listened to Salim talk about the imminent destruction of Umm al Hiran and ‘Atir, two unrecognised Bedouin villages located 20 minutes from my flat in Beer-Sheva. In May 6, the Supreme Court ruled that the villages could be destroyed, paving the way for the government to proceed with its plan to build a Jewish settlement called Hiran in place of Umm al-Hiran as well as to replace the adjacent village ‘Atir with a Jewish National Fund forest. If these plans are actualised, approximately 900 Palestinian Bedouin citizens will be forcefully relocated from their homes … – Why no united action? – At one point I turned to Salim and asked him why the residents of Umm al-Hiran did not join forces with the nearby residents of Susya, who were also being threatened with eviction and demolition? Just 20km separate Umm al-Hiran from the small Palestinian village Susya. For over two decades Susya’s residents have been struggling against the efforts of Jewish settlers and the civil administration to dispossess them of their small swath of land … Salim turned to me and answered: “They are in the West Bank and we are in Israel, they are living under occupation and we are citizens. We have rights as citizens. We are not the same.” Only 20km separate Umm al-Hiran from Susya, and yet somewhere along those 20km lies the Green Line. If once the Green Line was conceived as a border that could provide a just solution between Israelis and Palestinians, currently the Green Line serves as a very effective mechanism of colonial control. It operates primarily as a separating device that has, since 1967, produced the fictive promise of two states. In reality, however, this Green Line helps sustain a racist regime. After all, the Green Line serves to obfuscate that the logic motivating the effort to uproot the residents of Umm al-Hiran and the residents of Susya is one and the same: the judaisation of space…. (listserv) (archive)

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