Today in Palestine: UN reports increase in ‘forced displacement’ of Palestinians under occupation (and 2500 Bedouins at risk in Jerusalem)

UN reports increase in ‘forced displacement’ of Palestinians under occupation (and 2500 Bedouins at risk in Jerusalem)

from Mondoweiss by Kate

 and other news from Today in Palestine:

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

IDF Civil Administration pushing for land takeover in West Bank / Akiva Eldar
Haaretz 22 July — Inclusion of Jordan Valley, northern Dead Sea and area surrounding Ariel in ‘settlement blocs’ whose takeover the administration is advancing, would prevent establishment of Palestinian state with territorial contiguity … Until now it was not known that the administration, which is a military agency, was charged with distinguishing between the blocs Israel is demanding to annex as part of a final-status agreement and the rest of the settlements … the scope of land in question thwarts the possibility of exchanging areas in a peace settlement, according to the formula presented by U.S. President Barack Obama on May 19. This is because on the western side of the Green Line there is not enough open land to compensate the Palestinians for such an extensive annexation
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UN: Marked increase in forced displacement of Palestinians
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 21 July — The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs released a report Thursday documenting alarming trends in the forced displacement of Palestinians in Area C. The OCHA report found that more demolitions have taken place so far in 2011 than in all of 2009 and 2010 combined. The Khan Al-Ahmar village [see Al Jazeera video about this threatened village] near Jerusalem received four stop work orders last week, the report said, and there are ongoing demolition orders against another two hundred and fifty structures in surrounding communities. Around twenty Bedouin communities with a population of 2,353 people live in the Jerusalem periphery with over 80 percent of them at risk of displacement due to the expansion of the Maale Adumin settlement and the separation wall … Thousands are at risk of displacement, the report added.

West Bank village: Home demolitions by Israel have risen
Press Release: United Nations –– New York, Jul 21 2011 – Two senior United Nations officials today visited a Bedouin community in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) amid increasing home demolitions by the Israeli authorities, who have control over security, planning and zoning in the area. Maxwell Gaylard, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for oPt and David Hutton, the acting Director of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), visited the village of Khan Al Ahmar where more homes have been razed this year than in the previous two years.
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Law would put settlement museums under Israeli law
JPost 21 July — Wednesday threw its support behind a Knesset bill regarding museum funding, which, according to its creator MK Uri Ariel (National Union), was designed to start a legislative process that would take a step toward annexing Judea and Samaria. The move comes amid failed attempts by right-wing politicians to generate legislative and governmental support to fully annex Judea and Samaria, which is under military rule. As such, Israeli law does not fully apply there.
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Palestinian National Trail to open over weekend
JPost 22 July — Over 10,000 km. of trails crisscross Israel, and most are marked with simple dots or shapes to guide hikers. But the Palestinian National Trail, a new footpath in the West Bank to be unveiled on Saturday, is lined with a more detailed — and political — symbol. Small Palestinian flags painted on large boulders now demarcate the 15-km. trail, which starts near the Green Line (across from Meitar northeast of Beersheba), and runs to Khirbat Zenuta, south of Hebron. The trail was created by Israelis and Palestinian affiliated with Combatants for Peace, a movement of Israelis and Palestinians committed to “ending the cycle of violence and the occupation.” The organizers hope that the trail will become a Palestinian alternative to the Israel National Trail, which runs 940 km. from Dan in the Galilee panhandle to Eilat. They view the new trail as a statement of the Palestinian’s right to independence and of Israeli’s right to be free from the cycle of violence. On Saturday, about 100 Israeli and Palestinian activists plan to complete the path and meet Arab villagers who may face eviction. All participants must vow not to act violently or even shout, event organizers said.
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IOA to confiscate 136 dunums of OJ land
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 22 July — The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) has declared intention to confiscate 136 dunums of Palestinian land in occupied Jerusalem. The organization and construction committee in the IOA-controlled Jerusalem municipality said that 102 dunums would be expropriated in the Ras Al-Amud and Wadi Qaddoum areas. It said that another 34 dunums would be confiscated south of Silwan town. Municipality teams escorted by security forces glued orders to that effect on houses in those districts.

Israeli authorities to demolish three Palestinian dwellings
SALFIT (WAFA) 21 July — The Israeli authorities Thursday handed three Palestinians demolition orders for one house and two shacks in Zawyah village in Salfit in the northern West Bank, according to mayor of Zawyah, Khadr Shqair. The mayor said a resident of Zawyah received an order to demolish his house near the northern entrance of the village, even though the house has been built for about 25 years. Two other residents also received orders to demolish their shacks, built more than 10 years ago and adjacent to other houses in the village.

Israeli bulldozers uproot olive trees in Jerusalem
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 21 July — Israeli bulldozers early Thursday uprooted dozens of long-standing olive trees belonging to three Palestinian families southwest of Beit Iksa, a village in Jerusalem, according to witnesses.  Farmers told WAFA that Israeli bulldozers uprooted the olive trees planted in the lands adjacent to Ramot, a Jewish settlement illegally built on Beit Iksa land, to build a wall around the remaining south and west parts of the village after sealing it off with the Apartheid Wall. Hamada Gaith, one of the land owners, called upon all parties concerned to intervene and pressure the Israeli authorities to stop destroying agricultural lands, the main source of livelihood for village residents after they were banned by Israeli authorities from working in Israel … Meanwhile, Israeli authorities arrested Palestine TV crew as they were covering the incident, in addition to a number of Beit Iksa residents who were trying to stop the bulldozers.

No place for Muslims to pray in Beer Sheva / Jillian Kestler-D’Amours
EI 20 July — Encircled by a grey, metal fence, the Big Mosque in Beer Sheva is an impressive Ottoman-era structure with a towering minaret, white dome and intricate metal detailing on its many windows. Closed off by the Israeli authorities since 1991, it is suffering from neglect. And after the Israeli high court ruled last month that it should be turned into a museum of Islamic culture instead of being open to prayer, the mosque is once again at the heart of a battle between the area’s Muslim residents and the municipality.   “All the Arab citizens in Beer Sheva don’t have a mosque or place to pray. They asked the city to renovate the mosque so that they can use it to pray and the city refused,” explained Jaber Abu Kaf, a resident of Umm Bateen, a Bedouin village just south of Beer Sheva and a representative of the Regional Council for Unrecognized Bedouin Villages (RCUV) in the Negev.
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Brother of Sarhan martyr arrested at Bir Ayyub checkpoint
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 21 July — Residents of Bir Ayyub district of Silwan were targeted by Israeli forces on the pretext of traffic control yesterday. Palestinian drivers were stopped and searched at a Bir Ayyub checkpoint, with Samah Sarhan, 17, arrested from inside his vehicle. Sarhan is the younger brother of martyred Samer Sarhan, who was killed last year by an Israeli settler guard amidst intense riots

fascinating take on Israeli destruction of Mamilla cemetery:
Work resumes on removal of 500 fake gravestones in capital
JPost 21 July — After nearly a year, the Israel Lands Authority this month resumed work removing 500 fake tombstones from the Muslim Mamilla Cemetery in downtown Jerusalem, prompting furious condemnation from Muslim groups. Last August, Jerusalem municipality officials, working in conjunction with the ILA and the Israel Antiquities Authority, removed around 300 counterfeit tombstones, calling their erection “one of the largest acts of deception in recent years.” … The issue started in 2007, when members of the Islamic Movement appealed to the Jerusalem Municipality for a permit to renovate and clean graves in the cemetery. The request was granted, but authorities are accusing the Islamic Movement of hastily erecting new gravestones in an effort to “illegally seize state land,” the municipality said last summer …
Dr. Said Khalidi, a leader in the Campaign to Preserve the Mamilla Jerusalem Cemetery, agreed that some of the tomb renovations were hastily done and insufficient, but argued that the new gravesites still marked hallowed areas containing the remains of local Muslim families dating back 800 years … if you have an old tomb that’s renovated with new stones, it doesn’t look old,” he said. But the gravestones are not the most important aspect of the site, Khalidi argued. “It doesn’t matter what’s on top, it matters what’s beneath the ground…” [I suppose the repaired/replacement gravestones in the 17th-century cemetery near my US town are ‘fake’ too….]


Settlers attack shepherd in Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 22 July — Israeli settlers on Friday attacked a Palestinian shepherd in Qusra village in the northern West Bank and killed two of his sheep, witnesses said. Ma‘an’s correspondent in Nablus said minor clashes broke out after the incident as locals tried to defend the shepherd, and Israeli forces detained 17-year-old villager Mazen Muhsen.
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Settlers start fires across the West Bank
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 22 July — Palestinian firefighters have been battling blazes across the West Bank as Israeli settlers set fire to land in multiple locations on Thursday night. Reports earlier on Friday said that settlers had torched agricultural fields near the village of Burin in the West Bank city of Nablus … Reports also emerged that fires had been started by settlers in the districts of Nablus, Salfit, Tulkarem and north of Jerusalem. After nine hours, firefighters finally managed to extinguish a blaze started by settlers in Al-Badhan village, north of Nablus, which destroyed 150 dunams of land and olive trees, the Palestinian Civil Defense said Friday. Fires in other West Bank districts also reportedly destroyed hundreds of dunams of Palestinian land.
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Jewish settlers return to evacuated settlement
JENIN (PIC) 22 July — Jewish settlers returned to the evacuated settlement of Homesh, south of Jenin city, at dawn Friday and offered Talmudic rituals, as Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrived to the scene to provide protection for them. Local sources said that the settlers spread in the olive groves between Burqa and Seelat Al-Dhaher villages. Herds of settlers routinely storm the same area during which they attack Palestinian civilian property ever since Homesh was evacuated in 2005.
The IOF troops at dawn Friday stormed Yamun village, west of Jenin city, and combed the area between it and Burkin village and intercepted farmers while on their way to tend to their fields.

Settlers rally at Migron ahead of demolition of 3 homes
JPost 22 July — Settlers said they expect a massive show of resistance against any attempts by the state to demolish three permanent structures at the Migron outpost in Samaria. They spoke with The Jerusalem Post as they gathered Thursday night at the outpost in advance of an anticipated move against the three outpost homes. The state has promised the High Court of Justice it would remove the homes by Sunday, July 24. As of late Thursday night, all attempts to broker a compromise to stave off the demolitions had failed.
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Might some stay?
NABI SALAH (The Economist) 21 July — Every Friday and often after school on other days, Israeli soldiers fire tear-gas and sonic bombs at the Palestinian children as they approach a spring. It sits in a valley that separates Nabi Saleh, an Arab village of 500 people half an hour’s drive north of Jerusalem, from Halamish, a religious Jewish settlement. On most nights jeeps roll through the village; over the past 18 months the Israeli army has detained 32 of its children, some as young as eleven. Many have been taken from their beds, kept in pre-trial detention for months, and brought to court in shackles, there to be convicted of stone-throwing. For some of Halamish’s settlers, irritated by the tear-gas that wafts into their living rooms from across the hill, this is not harsh enough. “The soldiers don’t maim enough Palestinians,” complains Iran Segal.
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Palestinian sources deny allegations that settler was shot at
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 22 July  — Palestinian sources denied allegations that an Israeli settler was shot at near the town of Azzun on Friday, east of the West Bank city of Qalqiliya. The sources confirmed that a settler had passed nearby the town while a wedding was taking place, during which time fireworks had been set off in celebration. Gunshots were not fired, the sources said. An Israeli settler claimed earlier on Friday that he came under fire while passing near the Palestinian town in the northern West Bank.
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Israeli forces

PCHR Weekly Report 14-20 July: One civilian killed, ten wounded by Israeli forces this week
IMEMC 22 July — …Israeli forces conducted 32 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank this week, during which they abducted 13 Palestinian civilians, including a child. In one example of this week’s 32 incursions, on Sunday July 17th, at approximately 13:00, Israeli forces moved into Qaryout village, southeast of Nablus. They patrolled in the streets and violently beat Yazid Sarham Kassab, 30, who is physically disabled. At approximately 17:00, they stopped two children: ‘Abada Mo’men Mousa, 14; and Hamza Mohammed Mousa, 14. They handcuffed and blindfolded ‘Abada. His mother intervened to prevent them from arresting him, but they told her that they would release him in 10 minutes. However, they later took him away from the area. See Full Report
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Twilight Zone: Blood on the tracks / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 22 July — Ibrahim Sirhan bled to death after being shot by Israeli soldiers last week in al-Fari’a, a refugee camp near Nablus that can’t escape its tortured past…. Our two escorts … take us to the rear wing of the prison, which hasn’t been renovated — the wing where the Shin Bet security service conducted interrogations and perpetrated torture. Anyone who wants to know how the Shin Bet interrogated Palestinian detainees, how they tortured them and with what appalling instruments they pressured them to become collaborators, is invited to visit this place. Words are inadequate. The sights are straight out of Abu Ghraib, where Iraqi prisoners were tortured by members of the U.S. army. Here, in the courtyard, is where Abu Rob was tied to the wall and, bound and blindfolded, spent nine successive days, with two one-minute toilet breaks a day. Here are the solitary confinement cells, excruciatingly narrow; here the concrete cubes on which the lucky prisoners were made to stay for days and nights at a time, bound hand and foot, two of them on each cube, back to back, in rain and sun. Here are the isolation rooms, the ‘asfurs’, and here, in a tiny hut in the inner courtyard, under a pine tree, is where those being interrogated were tied to a hook by their hands for protracted periods, until they agreed to talk.
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Israeli soldiers severely beat Palestinian worker in Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 21 July – Israeli soldiers Wednesday severely beat and injured a Palestinian worker near checkpoint 300, north of Bethlehem. Israeli soldiers stopped Mohammad Harizat, 52, a resident of the town of Yatta in Hebron, south of the West Bank, as he was returning from his workplace in Jerusalem and severely beat him, causing him multiple injuries. He was transferred to Beit Jala hospital for treatment. A medical source at the hospital said Harizat sustained a head injury and a broken left hand.

3 bombs dismantled in Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) — Explosive experts from the Palestinian Authority police department were able to dismantle three unexploded bombs Wednesday in the village of Taluza near Nablus. The police received a phone call from a villager who reported the discovery of an unexploded bomb on village land. They then searched the area and found three unexploded bombs which were dismantled and removed to protect the public. Nablus police urged people to stay away from any ambiguous objects and to call the police. It is believed the bomb was of Israeli origin and likely a remnant from a previous incursion.

Is the IDF becoming an Orthodox army? / Amos Harel
[see photo of ‘Ceremony marking the end of basic training of a Nahal Haredi battalion’] Haaretz 22 July — Documents drawn up by high-ranking army officers show that IDF regulations aimed at accommodating religious male soldiers are restrictive and even damaging vis-à-vis female soldiers — …According to the IDF journal Ma’arachot last year, the proportion of religiously observant cadets in infantry officers courses leaped from 2.5 percent in 1990 to 31 percent in 2007. Zamir provides a complimentary statistic: Between 1994 and 2009, the proportion of graduates of state-religious schools who are serving as majors in combat units rose from 6.9 percent to 20 percent. ‏
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Al-Qassam Brigades fighter dies in tunnel collapse
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 21 July — The military wing of Hamas, the Al-Qassam brigades, announced the death of one of their members Thursday in a tunnel collapse in the Gaza Strip. The military wing told Ma‘an that Muhammad Junid, 25, from Jabalia died at dawn on Thursday as a tunnel used for smuggling goods collapsed.

Israeli gunboats fire at Palestinian fishing boats in Gaza
KHAN YOUNIS (WAFA) 21 July — Israeli gunboats fired at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of Khan Younis south of Gaza, in the early hours of Thursday, according to witnesses. No injuries were reported.

Video: Gazans fear more Israeli offensives
PressTV 21 July — Residents in the besieged Gaza Strip fear that Israel might escalate attacks on the impoverished enclave when Palestinians request statehood at the United Nations in September … Palestinians will attempt to obtain recognition of a sovereign state when the UN General Assembly meets in September. Washington and Tel Aviv remain opposed to the initiative. Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon has claimed that such a decision could lead to “disappointment and maybe violence” in the occupied territories and Tel Aviv might “dissolve agreements with the Palestinians.”

Israeli restrictions ensure slow pace of Gaza reconstruction
RAMALLAH (IRIN) 21 July — The housing crisis in the Gaza Strip is not going to be resolved any time soon: Only a small number of the 40,000 units needed to meet natural population growth and the destruction of homes in Israeli military operations are being built, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Israel restricts the import of building materials deemed to be of potential military benefit to Gaza’s Hamas government. A limited number of international, mainly-UN-backed, building projects are being allowed to go ahead, but the Israeli checking process is causing delays. Israel’s spokesperson for the Coordinator of Government Activities in the (Palestinian) Territories (COGAT), Guy Inbar, told IRIN that COGAT reviews all international projects due to security concerns. “COGAT wants to have supervision that the projects are not being implemented near Hamas facilities, and to ensure that construction material goes only to the [Israeli-approved international] projects and not to Hamas.”

Egyptian authorities thwart smugglers at tunnel
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 21 July — Egyptian authorities thwarted an attempt on Thursday to smuggle building materials into Gaza via a tunnel south of the Al-Barahmeh neighborhood in Rafah. “Egyptian security departments in Rafah had received information on a group of Egyptian and Palestinian smugglers trying to transport large amounts of cement and metal into Gaza via a tunnel in Al-Barahmeh neighborhood on the border,” Egyptian security officials told Ma‘an.

MB: Open Rafah border without hindrance
CAIRO (PIC) 21 July — The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has called on the Egyptian foreign ministry to shoulder its responsibilities regarding the Palestinians and open up the Rafah border crossing without hindrance. The group, a major constituent of the Egyptian revolution, urged Egyptian foreign politicians to lead other Arab states into supporting Palestinian rights, and at least open the Rafah crossing for people and goods.

Israel sees Libya as new source of smuggled weapons for Gaza
Reuters 21 July — Libya has become a new source of smuggled weaponry for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, a senior Israeli official said on Thursday. With eastern Libya largely held by rebels who rose up against Muammar Gadhafi in February, arms were being brought across the border, through neighboring Egypt, to the Islamist Hamas-ruled territory, Vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon said.

OPT: NGOs in standoff over Hamas audit demand
GAZA (IRIN) 19 July — Various international NGOs working in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) have questioned a demand by the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip to audit their books, saying the move could jeopardize vital operations. “We have nothing to hide but obviously there are concerns about what other information they may want to look at or have access to, including beneficiary lists and contact details for staff, which are normally kept in HR folders,” said one aid agency employee who requested anonymity. According to aid workers, the motives behind the audit are unclear … Some suspect the demand could be a pre-emptive move by Hamas to begin collecting income tax from agency staff in Gaza. Currently, under a presidential decree from Ramallah, Gaza humanitarian staff do not pay income tax.

UNRWA headquarters closed off for second day
GAZA (PIC) 21 July — Dozens of Palestinian refugees have closed the doors of the UN Relief and Works Agency headquarters in Gaza city and sat in there for the second day to protest the agency’s decline in services and removal of the words ”relief and works” from its title and logo … UNRWA stopped giving aid to tens of thousands of Palestinians claiming that its budget could not provide for that.

UNRWA threatens Palestinian refugees with halting operations
GAZA (PIC) 22 July — The UNRWA threatened Thursday that it would mull halting all of its operations in Gaza Strip if popular protests against reducing its services to the Palestinian refugees continue, drawing wide condemnation from the refugees committee in the Strip. Chris Gunness, the spokesman of the UNRWA, warned that if gates of UN agency remained blocked by the protesters then the UNRWA would completely halt its operations in the populated Strip within one week.

New Gaza mall opens despite Israeli blockade
Xinhua 21 July — Dozens of people entered the Al- Andalusya mall in Gaza City after the automatic sliding door opened, looking up at the ceiling where cool air came from and then down at their feet trying carefully to stand on the escalator.  The people fanned out across the supermarket and the clothes store in the first and second floors of the shopping center. The third story is designated to have a restaurant, cafe shop, children cinema and a video games corner, but it is not yet ready. Calling it a mall might be possible in Gaza, but it is too exaggerated when comparing it to some major shopping centers in nearby Egypt for example. It has no underground parking, and it is good to visit only when you want to buy clothes and food. But for the owners of the enterprise, a group of private investors, this project challenges Israel’s blockade that has been imposed in the Gaza Strip since 2007.

Gaza passengers await the unknown / Mohammed Omer
Al Jazeera 22 July — Despite Egypt “opening” the Rafah crossing, Palestinians living in Gaza have seen no change in border restrictions — The morning sky is blue and bright at 7am in the southern Gaza Strip. More than 30 people wait patiently at the door of Lieutenant Colonel Ayyoub Abu Shaar’s house – their suitcases, duffle bags and gear strewn haphazardly at their feet. Abu Shaar is the man in charge of the Rafah Crossing and, thus, the man in charge of each person’s fate. Collectively, the small crowd turns as they see his black government Hyundai vehicle approaching. Restlessness descends. Tentatively, they move forward holding their passports, visas, medical records and flight reservations. Abu Shaar sees this scene every day. Families, students, those seeking work outside of Gaza, the elderly and the infirm – silent, waiting and hoping … Abu Sahaar says he regularly requests more people be allowed through. Egypt, however, is steadfast: 400 people each day and no more.
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Rafah crossing to be closed Saturday as Egypt marks 1952 revolution
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 22 July — Egyptian authorities have announced that they will close the Rafah crossing on Saturday as the country marks the anniversary of the July 23 revolution in 1952. “The Rafah crossing will be closed on Saturday by the Egyptians because of the holiday and will be re-opened Sunday,” Palestinian head of the Rafah crossing Ayoub Abu Shaar said Friday.  The number of registered [actual or would-be?] travelers has surpassed 30,000 and is increasing due to the large number of Gazans on summer vacation.
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51 Palestinians arrive in Gaza from Libya
GAZA (PIC) 22 July — The Egyptian authorities said on Friday that 61 Palestinians who were stranded in Libya had returned to the Gaza Strip last night via the Rafah border crossing. A responsible source said that the group assembled at the Sallum crossing between Egypt and Libya before being taken to Rafah then into Gaza. Another batch of 44 Palestinians crossed into Gaza a few days ago. Egyptian statistics indicated that 48,825 Palestinians crossed the Rafah border terminal both ways since its re-opening on 28 May. [how can that be if only 400 are allowed each day, and some days no one can cross? Need some clarification here.]

British charity sends Gaza aid via Egypt
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma‘an) 11 July — Four tons of medical equipment donated by a British charity arrived Thursday in Egypt’s Alexandria port en route to the Gaza Strip, head of the Egyptian Red Crescent Jaber Al-Arabi said. Al-Arabi said the UK-based Palestinian Center for Justice sent five truckloads of aid, including 35 hydraulic beds and electrocardiogram equipment, to be delivered by the Red Crescent via the Rafah crossing … Meanwhile the Islamic Relief Committee in New Zealand sent 100 tons of meat to Gaza and Egyptian companies sent four tons of aid for pregnant women and children, Al-Arabi said, adding that the goods would arrive Friday. Al-Arabi said the union of Egyptian doctors also donated around 25 tons of medicine and medical equipment which would be delivered to the coastal enclave in the coming days.
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UNRWA visit to Gaza denied by spokesman
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 22 July — UNRWA spokesman Adnan Abu Hasneh has denied reports that a delegation from the organization visited Gaza on Thursday.
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Detention / Court actions

Court won’t allow Gaza couple to testify by video in suit
JPost 22 July — The Abu Azers should travel to a neutral country to give evidence, says Nazareth court judge says on couple’s lawsuit against the state. Khaled and Adia Abu Azer, residents of the Gaza Strip, are suing the state in a civil suit in the Nazareth Magistrate’s Court over the death of their daughter. The couple claims that the girl, named Amira, was killed by IDF gunfire in the northern Gaza Strip in 2007. The state says that the death occurred in a war zone, and therefore there is no need to pay compensation to the family … In upholding the state’s appeal to disallow the videoconferencing, Judge Avraham Avraham noted the state’s policy to refuse residents of Gaza, an enemy territory, entry into Israel except in extraordinary cases. Because of this policy, the Abu Azers cannot enter Israel — even though they are required to testify about events connected to their lawsuit.
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Israeli forces detain 7 people in Nablus
HEBRON (Ma‘an) — Israeli forces detained seven people from Al-Thahriyeh village south of Hebron on Wednesday night after raiding their houses. Israeli forces entered the village and broke into the home of Muhammad Al-Batat detaining him and his two sons Haitham and Adham, local witnesses said. Israeli forces also detained Rateb Samara, Mutab Wridat, Rasem Al-Tal and Ashraf Wridat and took them to an unknown destination.

IOF soldiers detain 16 Palestinians including Hamas leader, children
NABLUS (PIC) 21 July — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) rounded up 16 Palestinians in various West Bank areas at dawn Thursday including Hamas leader and well-known reformist Ghanim Sawalme. Relatives of Sawalme told the PIC reporter that more than 30 IOF soldiers broke into the family home in a pre-dawn raid and ordered his brother Ghalib, after detaining all other family members in one room, to lead them to Ghanim’s home under gunpoint. They said that the soldiers then stormed Ghanim’s home and took him away blindfolded and handcuffed after checking his ID…
The Israeli radio said that the IOF troops arrested 16 Palestinians in the West Bank for questioning including four children form Kober village near Ramallah.
The IOF troops had detained on Wednesday 150 Palestinian workers including 30 women while heading to their workplaces in 1948 occupied Palestine from the West Bank.

Shabak agents kidnap Palestinian prisoner from his jail cell
RAMALLAH (PIC) 21 July — Israeli Shabak officers stormed a room for Hamas prisoners in Hadarim jail and kidnapped Akram Jibrin after handcuffing him in front of his jail mates in the first such incident in Israeli jails.  Reliable sources in the jail told Ahrar Baladna website that the incident took place on Tuesday evening, noting that it was the first time Shabak agents storm prison cells and take away prisoners.

Soldiers break into room of detained Fatah leader Barghouthi
IMEMC 21 July — Palestinian Ministry of Detainee at the dissolved government in Gaza reported Thursday that Israeli soldiers broke, on Wednesday at night, into the room [cell] of detained Fateh leader, Marwan Barghouthi, before forcing him into solitary confinement.The Israeli Prison Administration claimed that Barghouthi was using a mobile phone, yet, did not confirm the claimed phone was ever located. [that’ll teach him to urge mass protests]

Strike to be organized in solidarity with prisoners
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 21 July — The Palestinian Center for Detainees announced Thursday that it is organizing a general strike in solidarity with detainees on hunger strike. The strike also aims to bring attention to the poor health of two detainees currently on hunger strike, Yousef Skafi and Atef Rweidat, who are in Ramla prison hospital. The date of the strike is to be announced. A lawyer who visited the two detainees on Tuesday told Ma‘an that both were confined to wheelchairs and in poor health.

PA security arrests two Hamas supporters, summons others
RAMALLAH (PIC) 21 July — West Bank security agencies have continued to persecute Hamas’s supporters at a time when the political leadership of the Fatah party, which governs the West Bank, has issued statements on its commitment to reconciling with Hamas.

Israel forces detain Palestinian businessman in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) — Israeli forces on Thursday detained a Palestinian businessman at a checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah, a prisoners’ society said. Mohammad Turman, 31, was detained at Qalandia checkpoint and taken to a police station in Ariel settlement, the society said in a statement. Turman owns Ojan restaurant, where he held an event to honor the families of Palestinians held for over 20 years in Israeli jails. The society denounced the arrest, which it said aimed to thwart popular participation “in our just causes.”
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Mother of 2 detainees dies
JENIN (Ma‘an) 22 July — A mother of two detainees died Friday in a refugee camp in Jenin in the northern West Bank, a prisoners’ rights group said. Two of Hajjeh Najiyeh Sibani’s children are held in Israeli prisons. The 78-year-old was devastated when she learned that her daughter was on hunger strike in jail, the organization said. The center said the parents of detainees lived in a constant state of grief at Israel’s imprisonment of their children.
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Activism / Solidarity

3 arrested and 2 injured in Nabi Saleh rally
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 22 July — Two people were injured and three others arrested in a weekly rally in the village of Nabi Saleh on Friday. Israeli soldiers had tried to raid the village but were confronted by local residents. Soldiers then fired stun grenades and canisters into the crowds, injuring dozens who inhaled the tear gas. “Anan Najeh At-Tamimi, 11, and another resident were lightly injured when an Israeli soldier fired a stun grenade at them,” a member of the popular youth committee said. There were reports of tense scenes in the the village of Nabi Saleh on Thursday as Israeli soldiers attempted to remove a protest tent erected by young people from the Popular Resistance movement. “Dozens of Israeli soldiers had tried to raid the village but the young men who were in the tent confronted the soldiers and prevented them from proceeding to the center of the village,” locals told Ma‘an. The tent is seen as a symbol of popular resistance against Israeli occupation.
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One injured, dozens treated for tear gas in Bil‘in
IMEMC 22 July — A Palestinian journalist was wounded in his right foot in the village of Bil‘in near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, on Friday. Haitham Al-Khatib, cameraman working for the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem was hit by a tear gas canister fired by Israeli troops to disperse nonviolent protesters during the weekly nonviolent protest in the village. A group of Italian supporters joined the villagers and marched to the land, recently retrieved by the court ruling. When they reached the new section of the wall, Israeli soldiers showered them with tear gas; many were treated for tear gas inhalation.
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IOF soldiers quell peaceful Palestinian marches
RAMALLAH (PIC) 22 July — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) quelled peaceful anti wall marches in Ramallah, Bethlehem, and Al-Khalil villages using rubber bullets and tear gas canisters. Local sources in Nabi Saleh village, Ramallah province, said that two citizens were slightly injured while three others were arrested by the IOF troops including a paramedic. Similar confrontations were reported in Bil‘in and Ni‘lin villages in addition to Ma‘sara in Bethlehem and Beit Ummar in Al-Khalil.

Israeli army acquires new weaponry to combat slated September protests for Palestinian statehood
Bethlehem (PNN) 22 July  – The Israeli army has worked diligently to strengthen its arsenal of military weapons in preparation for the wide scale demonstrations that are set to occur in the West Bank as the Palestinian Authority takes its case for statehood to the United Nations. The army has recently purchased a device called the ‘scream’ that emits bursts of sound at such levels that it leaves those nearby nauseated. The army also plans to use a new device; similar to the ‘skunk cannon’ that sprays a foul smelling liquid at demonstrators, but in the form of a bomb. Along with new weapons the army has stocked up on tear gas and rubber bullets, according to a report in the Israeli news source the Jerusalem Post. The army has also began to issue a new receiver for the M-16 semi-automatic rifle that takes .22-calibre rounds, which are less deadly than the traditional 5.56 mm bullet.
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Beit Hanoun: 63 and 500 meters later
ISM 19 July — The Nakba, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, happened sixty three years ago.  The theft of Palestinian land continues even today.  Every Tuesday, for the last three years, the people of Beit Hanoun have protested both the occupation and Israel’s three hundred meter “buffer zone” which Israel has declared on Palestinian land near the border of Gaza .. Local farmers warned us that for the last couple of days Israeli forces had been camped out in the abandoned houses near the border.  Just as their grandfathers were driven from their homes by Zionist violence, so these farmers were driven out of their homes by Zionist violence.  Sometimes, the more things change, the more they stay the same.  Over the weekend six were injured in Beit Hanoun when Israel bombed a well in the middle of a residential district.

Personal testimony — Arrested and beaten yet Palestinians remain in prison
ISM 20 July — Today, Friday 15 of July, the Israeli army violently repressed the weekly non-violent demonstration of the Palestinian city of Nabi Saleh. During the repeated attacks on the peaceful demonstrators four activists were arrested: two Palestinians, one Italian and one Israeli.  The following is the testimony of the Italian activist … I resisted being put into the Jeep. There were many of them trying to force me into the vehicle and they started using violence on me. They were hitting me on the legs and the soldier next to me first showered me with water using the little water pipe coming out of his helmet, then he elbowed my groin. Another soldier put his fingers on my throat, trying to prevent me from talking. He then threatened to pepper spray my face, if I wouldn’t tuck my legs in the vehicle. But it was an empty threat he did not carry out. They couldn’t manage to place me in the jeep fully, so they began to move the vehicle with the back door open and my legs dangling out. They brought me to the junction or entrance of the village, where the rest of the troops were gathered and loaded me on another military jeep. A man with a camera filmed everything and from the second jeep I managed to describe to him what they did to me during the arrest, stressing that I was a peaceful demonstrator and I did nothing illegal. The soldiers did not like that and as soon as the jeep moved and they closed the backdoor the physical abuse began.

Refugee children rally to save Bethlehem playground / Abla Darwish
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 20 July —  “I have a right to play”, “I have a right to live in a clean environment”, “I have a right to express myself.”  Those were some of the signs and slogans carried by children at a recent protest at ‘Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem. Some of these young protesters were barely five years old … We got a clearer picture of the situation after conversing with some youths who were guiding the summer camp in Laji Center. They explained that the owner of the land allowed the children to play there, because there were no other space for them to play inside the camp. The children’s efforts in planting and taking care of the land prevented Israel from confiscating it with the wall, they say. However, serious problems began with the landlord and he closed off the playground anyway.

Freedom Flotilla II

Ship to Gaza website in ‘cyber attack’
IceNews 22 July — Activists on the Swedish Ship to Gaza have claimed that a cyber attack on their website is the latest attempt to sabotage the aid mission of the Freedom Flotilla II … “Since Friday morning our server supplier has been under attack, which means that our website is down. We can’t say for sure if it is directed against us, but it is obviously an advanced attack,” Ship to Gaza wrote in a statement. Information from the organisation, which is undertaking a second attempt to break the Israeli-enforced blockade on Palestinian Gaza, has been moved to a temporary blog page. The activists are considering whether to report the matter to the police, but claim the action has not disrupted their progress.
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Interview: Amira Hass reports on Israeli navy seizure of only Gaza-bound ship to sail in aid flotilla
Democracy Now 21 July 7:32 minutes long — Democracy Now! interviews Ha’aretz correspondent Amira Hass, one of the few journalists who was aboard the ship. Hass is also the one of the only Israeli journalists to have spent several years living in and reporting from Gaza and the West Bank.

Racism / Sexism / Discrimination / Repression of dissent

‘Full integration of women into IDF would be good for Israel’s security’
Haaretz 21 July — In Wednesday’s Haaretz, Amos Harel reported on a document written by the outgoing head of the Israel Defense Forces’ Personnel Directorate, Avi Zamir. In it, Zamir called for stemming the army’s rising tide of religious extremism, which is expressed to a large extent in excluding or otherwise discriminating against women. This trend was confirmed by a recent report by the chief of staff’s advisor on women’s affairs.

Activists: Housing problem is far worse in Arab sector
JPost 21 July — Galilee Society NGO says housing issues have been a concern for the Arab sector for years but received scant media coverage.

Tibi petitions High Court over ‘Nakba deniers’ bill
Ynet 21 July — MK demands explanation into Knesset presidium’s decision to dismiss debate on bill proposing to take way funds from groups denying ‘Nakba’ … Tibi admitted that the bill has no chance of being approved by the Knesset but said he regards it as an essential part of his role as an MK.,7340,L-4098354,00.html

NGO Monitor smear video comes straight from the sewer / Benjamin Doherty
EI 20 July — A new video from NGO Monitor promotes a project to expose the network of funding behind the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. NGO Monitor is an extreme right-wing Israeli organization with close ties to the Israeli government, the West Bank settler movement, the military and notorious Islamophobes in the United States.They say the European Union funds Human Rights Watch, the Alternative Information Center, Amnesty International, BADIL, Coalition of Women for Peace, Mada al-Carmel: Arab Center for Applied Social Research, PACBI, and The Electronic Intifada, and all of these organizations work to delegitimize Israel through “campus activity, holocaust rhetoric and flotillas.” The video was posted to YouTube today, but the “BDS Sewer System” was launched in March 2011 to respond to Israel Apartheid Week activities around the world. In typical NGO Monitor style, they provide no evidence to back up these claims.
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Political / Diplomatic / International news

Ashrawi slams US for imposing Israeli position on Quartet
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 July — PA official Dr. Hanan Ashrawi issued a statement Tuesday strongly condemning a draft statement the United States tried to impose on Quartet members during their meeting in Washington last week.  “Not only has the United States adopted wholesale the extreme positions advocated by Israel’s current hard-line government, it is also trying to bring the other members of the Quartet into acquiescence by adopting these same unjust positions and distorting their own official policy,” Dr Ashrawi said in a statement released by the PLO Executive Committee.

Abbas: UN bid will not affect peace process
BARCELONA (AFP) 21 July — Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said his efforts to seek UN membership for the Palestinians would not affect negotiations “that we want to continue to have” with Israel … The speech came hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel was willing to hold peace talks with the Palestinians immediately.

Abbas in Turkey for Palestinian envoys’ meeting
AFP 21 July — Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas arrived here on Thursday for a gathering with his envoys abroad ahead of a Palestinian bid for UN recognition, Anatolia news agency reported. ‘Abbas is to meet with Palestinian ambassadors, convening in Istanbul at the weekend, before leaving Turkey on Saturday afternoon, a Turkish diplomat said earlier Thursday. He is also to have talks with Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who have been invited to the meeting.

Israeli PM turns to Arab TV in call for peace
JERUSALEM (AP) 21 July — With a September deadline looming, Israel’s prime minister turned to the Arabic media Thursday for the first time since taking office two years ago in an attempt to lure the Palestinians back to peace talks, saying “everything is on the table.” Benjamin Netanyahu’s interview with the Al-Arabiya satellite channel reflects Israeli concerns over Palestinian plans to seek U.N. recognition of their independence this fall. But it also highlights Netanyahu’s new strategy of engaging directly with the Arab public.

Fayyad: Salaries won’t be paid if financial crisis continues
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) — Palestinian Authority prime minister Salam Fayyad confirmed Thursday that if the financial crisis affecting the PA is not solved soon there will be difficulty in paying salaries to civil servants this month.

Israel urged to stop faking passports
Ynet 21 July — Various countries send strong message to Israel saying they are aware their passports are being used by Mossad agents,7340,L-4098315,00.html

AG to Netanyahu: Apologize to Turkey or face indictments for IDF troops
Haaretz 21 July — Sources say Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein believes apology would convince Turkey not to file lawsuits against IDF officers who took over the Mavi Marmara in 2010.
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Senior Israeli ministers to decide next week whether to accept reconciliation with Turkey
Haaretz 22 July — The senior ministers’ “Forum of Eight” will convene next week to decide whether to accept a reconciliation agreement with Turkey, entailing Israel’s apology for killing nine Turkish nationals during its raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla in May 2010. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has withdrawn twice at the last moment from signing a similar agreement over the past year, due to Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s strong objection,

Israeli media warns of escalation in international legal action against senior officials
MEMO 21 July — Media sources in Israel have warned about the escalation of international legal campaigns to pursue Israeli officers and officials on charges on war crimes against the Palestinian people. According to Channel 10 television, three new lawsuits have been filed recently against senior Israeli officials in the Spanish Courts by participants of the 2010 Freedom Flotilla. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Minister of Defence Ehud Barak all face legal action, as does the Commander of the Israeli Navy and various other government ministers, the papers against whom were all filed earlier.

‘Israeli commandos enter South Lebanon’
PressTV 21 July — Israeli commandos have reportedly advanced into Tel Aviv-occupied territory in southern Lebanon, conducting sweeping operations there. On Thursday, 20 of the crack forces changed positions from the Ruweisat Alam village to the Sheba‘a Farms, a Press TV correspondent reported. Tel Aviv retains a state of hostility with Beirut by refusing to return the Farms, which it occupied alongside vast expanses of other Arab territories in 1967. The forces carried out military operations over great swathes of land for an hour. The military did not cross the United Nations-drawn Blue Line. However, Israel’s unmanned reconnaissance aircraft flew for more than two hours over the occupied area and the Lebanese territory.

Over 100 Palestinian NGOs call for political reconciliation
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 22 July — Over 100 Palestinian NGOs issued a call on Wednesday urging the implementation of political reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah … The signatories urged both parties to develop the agreement and form a government of technocrats and professionals without delay, noting that the longer the process dragged on the more negative the effect would be on the Palestinian people. The statement called for the reactivation of the Palestinian Legislative Council, the reopening of non-governmental societies and unions, and an end to restrictions on press freedom, publishing and peaceful gatherings.
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PA to appoint ambassador to South Sudan
ISTANBUL, Turkey (Ma‘an) 22 July — The Palestinian Authority is preparing to dispatch veteran diplomat Kamel Abdallah Qazzaz to South Sudan as ambassador to the world’s newest state, PA officials told Ma‘an. Qazzaz is currently the PA’s ambassador to Djibouti in Northeast Africa. He is dean of the PLO’s diplomatic corp and manages Palestinian embassies in many African countries.
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UN ready to intervene in dispute over maritime border
BEIRUT (Daily Star) 22 July –The United Nations is ready to get involved in the dispute over Lebanon and Israel’s maritime borders as tension over who gets to claim vast oil and gas reserves in the east Mediterranean basin continues to rise, according to a senior diplomatic source … “The point of getting a border in place is to avoid sources of conflict. And this is the major source of conflict,” the source said. Geological surveys have suggested there are extensive oil and gas reserves under the sea bed off Lebanon and Israel’s eastern shores. Reports from occupied Jerusalem suggest Israel is far closer to being ready to extract the fossil fuels — and reap the economic windfall such action would spark.
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New layer of gas discovered at Tamar field off coast of Haifa
Haaretz 22 July A deeper layer of natural gas has been discovered at the Tamar field, off the coast of Haifa, according to a report published on Thursday by Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration. The impact of the newly discovered reserve has not yet been analyzed nor released in full … The Lebanese proposal of its maritime border with Israel that is currently under dispute does not include the Tamar and Leviathan gas prospects.
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Other news

Ashams Radio launches campaign against murder of Arab women
JPost 22 July — A major Arab-Israeli radio station based in the Nazareth area launched a campaign this week aimed at stamping out the homicide of women within the Arab community. Organizers from the Ashams radio station have collected thousands of signatures on a petition calling for an end to the homicide of women within the community, adding that their goal is to gather 100,000 signatures. “The decision was taken due to the increase in the number of murders in general, and against women, particularly in recent years — with the last incident taking place just last weekend. Six women were murdered in the Arab community in Israel since the start of the year, and 10 were murdered last year,” according to a statement by the station.
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In West Bank city of Nablus, archaeologists uncover biblical ruin
AP 22 July — Dutch and Palestinian archaeologists are preparing to open the site of the ancient city of Shekhem as an archaeological park next year … The city of Shekhem, positioned in a pass between the mountains of Gerizim and Eibal and controlling the Askar Plains to the east, was an important regional center more than 3,500 years ago … The identity of the city’s residents at the time remains unclear. One theory posits that they were Hyksos, people who came from northern Syria and were later expelled from Egypt. According to the Bible’s account, the city was later Canaanite and still later ruled by Israelites, but archaeology has not corroborated that so far, van der Kooij said.
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Israel PM guards tell women reporters to remove bras
JERUSALEM (AFP) 22 July  — Foreign journalists on Friday spoke of their distress after being asked to remove their bras for a security check before being allowed into the offices of Israel’s prime minister … Sara Hussein, who works for Agence France-Presse, described the incident as utterly humiliating. “I can only describe the experience as among the most humiliating in my life,” she wrote in a complaint to the FPA. “I have covered meetings of presidents at the White House and not been subjected to anything similar.”
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This week in history: The King David Hotel bombing
JPost 22 July — By bombing J’lem hotel, Irgun believed it could send strong message to British, whom it actively fought to end Mandate, establish Jewish State. On July 22, 1946, three phone calls were placed to the King David Hotel, an adjacent building and to The Jerusalem Post (then The Palestine Post), warning of an imminent bombing. Minutes later, a blast ripped through the historic hotel and then-headquarters of the British Mandate for Palestine’s civilian and military authorities, killing 91 people and injuring nearly 50. In 1946, the King David Hotel was the headquarters of the British Mandate government
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Analysis / Opinion

Boycott the state, not just the settlements / Yousef Munayyer
Al Jazeera 20 July — West Bank settlements would not be viable without government aid, so boycotts should target the Israeli state as well … While increased discussion about BDS will only strengthen the movement, a troubling trend has become apparent in some of the commentaries on BDS written in response to the passage of the “Anti-BDS” bill. This is the assertion that boycotting colonies or settlement goods is acceptable, while boycotting the Israeli state or Israeli products outside of the occupied territories is somehow unacceptable … But while varied approaches to BDS enlarge the tent, they also can be misleading and dangerous. The idea that colonies are legitimate BDS targets while the state of Israel is not creates the illusion that somehow these colonies exist in a vacuum without tacit and direct support from the Israeli state.
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Freedom and dignity are basic rights for all, even Palestinians / Randa Abdel-Fattah
SMH 20 July — There was an element of tragicomedy to the situation. Me, the daughter of a dispossessed Palestinian, dressed up as a settler in order to enter the Israeli city of Jaffa. With me was my American host, Sophie, who in April invited me as a writer-in-residence in Ramallah. An expert in checkpoint avoidance, she has lived with her Palestinian boyfriend for seven years and renews her visa every three months by pretending to have a lesbian Jewish lover. As we approached the fortified checkpoint, we tied a scarf at the nape of our necks and proceeded to pose as settlers (lose the panicked ”will they let me pass or harass me?” look, sit up tall, act like you own the place). After days of dehumanising encounters with heavily armed soldiers, this simple act raised us to the ranks of the privileged. The soldier waved us through with a conspiratorial smile — no need to worry, you’re not one of them … after my visit, I would argue that the oxygen feeding such injustices is a pervasive racism that simply sees Palestinians as inferior. I witnessed and experienced it first-hand. On our arrival at the Sheikh Hussein bridge, a soldier wagged his finger at my father, born in Palestine in 1945, and warned him that he was visiting a Jewish state. ”Adnan,” he said, ”I will let you stay for seven days only.” It was not lost on me that this ”boy” wasn’t even born when my father’s family endured the horrors of 1948, or were rendered stateless in 1967.

Freedom of expression subverted in Israel, US / William A. Cook
Al Jazeera 21 July — Both the US Congress and Israel’s Knesset have passed profoundly anti-democratic measures in recent months … Contrary to Fox News and Benjamin Netanyahu, democracy is neither alive nor well in the United States and Israel. Indeed, it is dying a slow, agonising death as each nation writhes in pain in adjoining beds, unaware that the intravenous feeding tubes controlled by their respective Knessets drip poison into their life-sustaining veins … Curiously, the US does not have a newspaper as brave and open to civil discourse as Haaretz. Instead, we rely on the New York Times, infamous for promoting the Iraq war on its front page, thus benefiting the war industry and its corporations that control Congress. Yet Congress, like its twin in Israel, has adopted similar anti-democratic resolutions that curtail freedom of speech and action not only of American citizens, but also of the representatives of the United Nations.

Murdoch is not the only maggot in the rotten apple / Stuart Littlewood
Sabbah 20 July — Having disposed of the Murdoch menace – for the moment anyway – it’s time for the British public to turn the spotlight on the other villains our craven politicians pay homage to. Public enemy Number One is the pro-Israel lobby. An organization called the Conservative Friends of Israel states it has “twin aims of supporting Israel and promoting Conservatism. With close to 2000 activists as members – alongside 80% of Conservative MPs – CFI is active at every level of the Party”.And the rot goes all the way to the top, with Conservative prime minister David Cameron endorsing it enthusiastically …The Liberal Democrats allow a similar lobby group to flourish within their ranks … Britain, as everyone knows, has carved an unfortunate niche for itself as America’s poodle. But not enough people ask the key question: whose poodle is America? American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has the private parts of US Congress in such a vice-like grip that the Zionist regime’s interests come first in Washington … It is amazing how many people with dual passports stalk the corridors of power in Washington.
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The glue holding Netanyahu’s coalition: hatred for liberal values / Carlo Strenger
Haaretz 20 July — I think that this coalition is genuinely only held together by its hatred of the institutions that continue to represent liberal values in Israel: academia, mainstream culture, a free press, and Israel’s – as yet – independent judiciary. Because when you look at the right-wing coalition that currently governs Israel it is remarkably diverse.

Israelis pay price of persecuting Palestinians with soaring cost of living / Vita Bekker
National 21 July — TEL AVIV // Danny Tavory regularly shows up at Tel Aviv’s biggest marketplace just before it closes for the night, when vendors sell fruit, vegetables and other products at large discounts or give them away. This week, he and hundreds of other young Israelis living in Tel Aviv erected dozens of tents on the Rothschild Boulevard, one of the city’s most luxurious avenues, joining a growing protest against the high housing prices in Israel’s seaside cultural and business centre … Some commentators have drawn a connection between the housing protest and the conflict with the Palestinians. They say the tent protest is also a reminder of the billions of shekels Israel has spent for decades on settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank, at the expense of investing in areas such as housing inside its recognised borders. “When we talk about the housing crisis … it’s important to remember the choice that Israel has made,” Ben Caspit, a political commentator for the mass-selling Maariv newspaper, wrote this week.
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US House committee saves Israel aid in foreign aid cut
Washington 21 July — The US House Foreign Affairs Committee slashed foreign aid for the Palestinians, Egypt, Lebanon, and Yemen — The US House Foreign Affairs Committee yesterday cut the Obama administration’s $51 billion 2012 budget request for the State Department and foreign aid by $6.4 billion, but kept unchanged the $3 billion in military aid for Israel. Commentators say that the committee vote is a direct challenge to President Barack Obama. The Republican majority in the House of Representatives is trying to limit Obama’s freedom of action in handling foreign policy and to minimize US contributions to international organizations – especially the UN.
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Poll: Majority of US Jews support Mideast peace plan based on 1967 borders
Haaretz 21 July — A J Street poll published Thursday shows that 57% of U.S. Jews back a Middle East peace plan based on 1967 borders with mutually agreed-upon land swaps, while 43% opposed such a move. According to the poll, 83% of the American Jews support a U.S.-brokered solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
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Islam-baiting doesn’t work / Stephan Salisbury
Al Jazeera 22 July — …as the 2012 campaign ramps up along with the anti-Muslim rhetoric machine, a look back at 2010 turns out to offer quite an unexpected story about the American electorate. In fact, with rare exceptions, ‘Islam-bashing’ proved a strikingly poor campaign tactic. In state after state, candidates who focused on illusory Muslim ‘threats’, tied ordinary American Muslims to terrorists and radicals, or characterized mosques as halls of triumph (and prayer in them as indoctrination) went down to defeat.
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Israeli affairs behind incident in Washington
Washington, CT (LCT) 22 July — Emotions that arise from the tension between Israel and the Palestinian territories reportedly led to an incident at an art exhibit opening last week that left one local activist taking the issue to police… resident Ken Cornet, who with his spouse, Joe Mus­tich, publicly supports hu­­­man­­i­tarian aid to the Pal­­estinian people, said a recent confrontation brought him alarmingly close to the polarized pro-Israel perspective … In mid-conversation, Mr. Cornet said he was approached by someone he knew who was also at the exhibition opening. “He comes up and says, ‘I’m Jewish, and I was sent by a group to watch you,'” recalled Mr. Cornet. According to Mr. Cornet, the man told him to be mindful of things he says and does. Furthermore he offered some “friendly advice,” that Mr. Cornet should watch what he eats. [just a harmless nutcase, one hopes]
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