Photo of wild boars in Salfit from 2010 (Photo: Ma’an)
Israeli settlers release wild pigs on Palestinian farms
IMEMC 21 Apr by Chris Carlson — Palestinian farmers in the Salfit district appealed all to Palestinian and international bodies to stop the continued destruction of their crops caused by the Israeli pigs [wild boars] in the district. Farmers said, “We have encountered heavy losses in our wheat and barley crops, where the pigs destroyed them completely.” They added, “We tried to get rid of the pigs with all available ways but we have failed,” pointing out that the only way is to shoot them; which is difficult due to the miltary’s monitoring towers and checkpoints in the area. Furthermore, according to Al Ray, Palestinian researcher Khaled Maali explained that the settlers found launching wild pigs toward the Palestinian farmlands was the best effective way to fight the Palestinian farmers without significant cost. Maali pointed out that the occupation prevents the Palestinians from shooting the pigs, whereas it permits settlers to kill the pigs when they reach their colonial settlements.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Restrictions on movement
Palestinian wedding under international will
TUBAS (WAFA) 20 Apr — In any part of the Middle East, Sadeq Subeih’s wedding day would have been just very normal, but with an international intervention, this young Palestinian man’s wedding became more as an international battle. Sadeq, 27, is one of dozens of people who live in Al-‘Aqaba, a village located on the northeastern West Bank hillsides and has been the focus of media coverage in light of the Israeli army repeated threats to demolish it. Standing in front of a small apartment recently built with the help of an international safety network headed by a US NGO, the youth, few hours before his wedding, explains how hundreds of internationals contributed to building his house. Sadeq is one of 30 people whose houses are being reconstructed through the Rebuilding Alliance headed by US activist Donna Baranski, with the help of local residents. “Everything is almost done. The house is built, and tomorrow my wife and I will spend our first days there,” said Saqed. Al-‘Aqaba, surrounded by rocky mountains and encircled by valleys and Israeli checkpoints, was evacuated of its original residents in 1967 when the Israel forces attacked it and expelled them out. Nevertheless, a decade ago, some of them started to return and reconstruct their houses while still under the ongoing threat of being demolished by Israeli forces. Therefore, when Sadeq’s family sought to build a house for their son to live in after getting married, they encountered a lot of risks. Nonetheless, an international intervention led by Baranski made that possible. The Rebuilding Alliance, under international support, seeks to impose new facts on the ground in Area C, under full Israeli control, by reconstructing houses of people who were expelled in 1967.
Israel denies PLO official entry to Gaza via Erez
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 21 Apr — Palestinian lawmaker Mustafa Barghouti has been denied a permit to the Gaza Strip via the Erez crossing, a PLO official said Monday. PLO Executive Committee member Jamil Shehada told Ma‘an that Israel rejected Barghouti’s application for a permit to enter Gaza, where he intends to travel as a member of a delegation to discuss national reconciliation. Shehada said the delegation would travel to Gaza via Egypt if necessary.
Palestinians challenge movement restrictions in marathon
BETHLEHEM, occupied West Bank (Mintpress) 22 Apr by Patrick O. Strickland — Regretting that she did not participate in the first Palestine Marathon in 2013, Diala Isid trained for the past nine months for this year’s run. On April 11, more than 3,000 participants from 39 countries ran in the 2014 Palestine Marathon, the second annual running competition in the West Bank city of Bethlehem … “It is an amazing experience to run for my right to movement,” Isid, a 23-year-old architect from Bethlehem, told MintPress News. Isid finished the half-marathon in just two hours and 37 minutes. The runners started outside Bethlehem’s historic Nativity Church, where Jesus Christ is believed to have been born, according to Christian tradition. From there, they trekked through the streets of Bethlehem and passed refugee camps on the outskirts of the city, running for a stretch against Israel’s West Bank barrier. A number of Israeli military areas and Jewish-only settlements — which most of the international community condemns as illegal — weave around the holy city, dividing it from neighboring towns and villages. “I didn’t participate in the marathon just for myself,” Isid said. “I did it to tell the world the Palestinian story, which we believe is different… to tell that world that as a woman living under occupation in Palestine, I cannot go the shortest route home from work because there are three checkpoints.”
Officials: Israel forces raid Aqsa, assault worshipers
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 22 Apr — Israeli forces raided the al-Aqsa mosque compound on Tuesday and assaulted several Palestinian worshipers, officials from the ministry of Islamic endowments told Ma‘an. Palestinian worshipers in the compound chanted religious slogans at a group of around 30 right-wing Jews who had entered the area via the Moroccan Gate. Israeli forces raided the compound following the incident and physically assaulted several worshipers, ministry officials said. The right-wing group was escorted out of the area by Israeli forces without completing their tour. Earlier, a right-wing Jewish extremist tried to enter the compound by claiming he was a foreign tourist. Israeli police checked the man’s documents and prevented him from entering after discovering he was Israeli, ministry officials added.
Police continue to impose restrictions on Palestinians while allowing settlers to storm Al Aqsa
IMEMC 21 Apr by Chris Carlson – Groups of Settlers, on Monday, raided the al-Aqsa Mosque through Bab al-Magharbeh (Mughrabi gate), under the protection of Israeli police … Yesterday, the Israeli court in Jerusalem issued exile orders against a number of Jerusalemites, for varying periods. Reported to be exiled are Izzideen al-Shaloudi, Malik al-Showaiki, Mohammed Romman and student Muhannad Atieya. The exile was imposed for a period of one week, with a third party guarantee. Also exiled from the mosque was Ali Abu Sheikha, for 45 days, and 12 days from the old city of Jerusalem. Abu Sheikha was released on a NIS 3,000 personal bail.
Jordan: Israel’s actions on Temple Mount violate peace treaty
Haaretz 22 Apr — Israeli Ambassador to Jordan Daniel Nevo was summoned Monday by the Jordanian Foreign Ministry following violent clashes between Israeli police forces and Palestinian youths on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on Sunday. The Jordanian ministry conveyed the Hashemite Kingdom’s protest of Israel’s so-called violations and break-ins against the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex, and told the ambassador that Israel’s actions in the holy site pose a violation of the peace treaty between the countries, and “constitute and extreme insult to bilateral relations,” the Jordanian news agency Petra reported. In its talk with the Israeli ambassador, the Jordanian Foreign Ministry accused Israel of assaulting Muslim worshippers and allowing Jewish extremists in the holy site, Petra reported. Ambassador Nevo said he will convey the Jordanian message on Monday. Tensions on the Temple Mount, known in Arabic as Haram al-Sharif, or “the Noble Sanctuary,” have increased recently, with barely a day passing without any incident in recent months.
Jordan to safeguard Al-Aqsa in coordination with Palestine
IMEMC 21 Apr by Chris Carlson — Jordanian Minister of State for Media Affairs, Mohammad al-Momani, said on Monday that Jordan will take the necessary steps to protect the Islamic and Christian sites in Jerusalem, including Al-Aqsa Mosque, according to the Jordan News Agency (PETRA). Palestinian News & Info Agency WAFA reports that, according to Al-Momani, intensive efforts and consultations are taking place to “emphasize the Kingdom’s firm stance against the Israeli violations in Al-Aqsa Mosque.” “Under the directive of the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs has instructed the Embassy of Jordan in Israel to take steps to ensure the safety of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the protection of the worshipers therein,” quoted PETRA Al-Mamoni as saying. Al-Mamoni said intensive discussion with the State of Palestine is underway to study practical measure that will ensure the protection of Palestinians in Jerusalem, deter and prevent Israel from implementing its rejected plan to divide Al-Aqsa Mosque and halt the Israeli soldiers’ continued attacks against Palestinian worshipers, the agency reported. “These steps will be taken with the support of the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation as well as a number of European Union countries.”
Israel to turn a Muslim holy place to Christian (photos)
Occupied Jerusalem (ALRAY) 22 Apr – The Israeli government represented by Ministry of Foreign Affairs seeks to transfer the sovereignty over the Maqam of the Prophet Dawud from the occupied Jerusalem to the Vatican during the Pope’s visit to the holy land in the end of May, according to a Jewish organization. So-called ‘Headquarter to Save Tomb of Dawud’ reported that Netanyahu’s government will take the decision secretly, but now the conflict will [rise] to the surface since Jewish will not give up easily their control over the site for the sake of Christians.” Jerusalem figures warned of violating the sanctity of Maqam of Dawud, which is considered a pure Islamic Waqf, as well as trying to create turbulence between Muslims and Christians. Maqam of the Prophet Dawud is one of the Islamic, archaeological and historical places. It is a large architectural complex that consists of several buildings, halls, in addition to a number of mosques dating back to the period of Umayyad, Mamluk and Ottoman. It is located in a very important strategic place on a high hill in Jerusalem, surrounded by many buildings where members of the Jerusalemite family, al-Dajani, lived before 1948. The Maqam is exposed to continuous Israeli assaults in an attempt to obliterate its Islamic and historical features. The Israeli occupation transferred its first mosque, located on the ground floor, into a synagogue. This is believed to be the tomb of the Prophet Dawud (upon him be peace) who was the father of the Prophet Sulaiman (upon him be peace). Some historians believe that this is not his tomb but a ‘maqam’, to mark the place where he once stayed.
Violence / Raids / Attacks / Suppression of protests / Illegal arrests
2 injured as Israeli forces disperse prisoner release celebration
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 22 Apr — Israeli forces injured two Palestinians and detained one in the Old City of Jerusalem as they dispersed a prisoner release celebration, witnesses said. Locals told Ma‘an that crowds gathered in the al-Suwwana neighborhood to celebrate the release of Omar Shalabi from Israeli prison. Soldiers fired stun grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets, attacking others with clubs, witnesses said. One young man was hit in the head by a rubber-coated steel bullet and was taken to al-Maqasid hospital. Another Palestinian man was also injured and one was detained, locals said, without elaborating. Omar Shalabi, 22, was released Tuesday morning after spending a year in Israeli custody.
Father of photographer critically wounded at West Bank protest: ‘This is life under occupation’
Mondoweiss 21 Apr by Claire Neble Matsunami — 21 year old Mohammad Basman Yasin was critically wounded by Israeli forces while working as a volunteer photographer with B’tselem, documenting the demonstration in Bitunya on Friday 4 April. The demonstration took place near Ofer prison, protesting against the Israeli government’s failure to release the latest round of prisoners, whose release was one of the conditions for the now evaporating peace talks. Protesters attempting to pray when soldiers began to shoot tear gas at them and clashes erupted. Mohammad was over 100 meters away from the demonstrators, preparing to leave, when he was shot twice from the right side. One bullet sliced across his nose, the other hit him in the waist. He was holding his camera and was wearing a gas mask and bright yellow shirt with PRESS emblazoned on it. The bullet that grazed his face was a .22 caliber bullet. It left a deep gash in his nose, and in an interview his father pointed out that the shooter was likely aiming at Mohammad’s head. He noted that every time Mohammad looks in the mirror, he will have to see the scar across his nose, a reminder that “They were aiming for his head. They were trying to kill him.” … According to the International Solidarity Movement, at the protest where Mohammad was shot, at least 13 others were seriously wounded. Of the 13, six were wounded by .22 caliber bullets. (An Israeli army spokeswoman told Ma’an News that the result of the clashes was Israeli forces “lightly injuring” five people.). More troublesome is that the bullet that hit Mohammad hit him in the side. This bullet was a ‘dum dum’ or expanding bullet, which flattens upon impact to create a larger wound and inflict greater damage. The bullet fragmented into his abdomen, breaking several ribs. Doctors retrieved one piece of the bullet from his right kidney, but there are still fragments lodged throughout his abdomen. The use of “dum dum” bullets is considered a war crime by the Statute of the International Criminal Court (Article 8(2)(b)(xix)).
Dozens hurt from tear gas as Israeli forces raid Nablus village
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 21 Apr — Over 35 Palestinians suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation late Monday after Israeli forces raided a Nablus-area village, a local official said. Qais Awwad, head of the joint services council in southern Nablus, told Ma‘an that clashes broke out in the village of ‘Awarta after several Israeli military jeeps entered the area. Palestinian youths threw stones and Israeli forces fired tear gas and stun grenades, Awwad said. More than 10 people, including three children and a woman, were taken to National Hospital in Nablus for treatment, he added.
Israeli forces shoot tear gas into houses in ‘Awarta village
‘AWARTA, Occupied Palestine (ISM, Nablus Team) 20 Apr — On the 20th of April, five Israeli jeeps entered the village of ‘Awarta. The Israeli forces broke into four houses and shot several tear gas and stun grenades inside the houses, leaving several families with no other alternative than to sleep elsewhere until the tear gas clouds dispersed, which could take weeks.The Israeli soldiers beat several people and broke furniture during this event. A 26-year-old Palestinian was violently arrested and detained for two hours with no reason given.Two days later, Israeli soldiers once again entered houses in ‘Awarta and shot several tear gas grenades inside. 20 Palestinians, including children, were taken to the hospital due to large amounts of tear gas inhalation. Palestinians from ‘Awarta state that vandalism of their property and violence from the Israeli soldiers is not uncommon, but this exact approach from the soldiers seems somewhat planned. “They just come and shoot, and then they leave” said a Palestinian after having his house filled with tear gas, used stun grenades covering the floor.
Two children injured by Israeli fire near Bethlehem
IMEMC by Saed Bannoura — Tuesday at dawn, April 22 — Several Israeli military jeeps invaded Teqoua‘ [or Tuqu‘] village, in the West Bank district of Bethlehem, and fired [tear] gas bombs at a number of houses, wounding two children after their house caught fire. Eyewitnesses said that soldiers invaded the village, and fired several gas bombs and concussion grenades, despite the fact that there were no clashes between local youth and the invading soldiers. Resident Mohammad al-Badan told the Radio Bethlehem 2000 that gas bombs were fired into the home of Samir Ali al-Badan [which] caught fire, and that two of his children were treated for smoke inhalation resulting from the fire. The parents of the two wounded children are performing pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Mohammad added.
Khan-al-Luban: Israeli army attack
KHAN AL-LUBAN, Occupied Palestine (ISM, Nablus Team) 20 Apr — On Monday 21 April 2014 two International Women’s Peace Service [IWPS] volunteers were playing uno [a card game] outside with two children of the Abu Jamal family in Khan al-Luban, close to the Nablus-Ramallah road. Their elder brother Jimmy was plastering the bathroom and their mother was inside doing house chores. IWPS and ISM volunteers have kept a permanent presence in Khan al-Luban this past week, as the family has been the target of attacks by the Israeli military and Israeli settlers from the surrounding illegal settlements. The family has been especially worried since the father,was arrested last Wednesday. Their fears proved to be well founded. Below is the eyewitness account by IWPS volunteers of yesterday’s events: … After the soldiers began shouting at the mother and her child, Jimmy came out to the roof area, no longer able to stay hidden. He told the soldiers that they were on his family’s property and that they should stop yelling at his mother and younger brothers. The soldiers became belligerent and hit him with their hands. They then attempted to handcuff Jimmy, and dragged him partway across the roof; by that time the cuffs were fully on. At that point they knocked him down and hit him on the head with the back of a rifle. Jimmy was unconscious from that time on and appeared to convulse slightly. They continued to beat him after he collapsed. We all yelled at them that he needed an ambulance and the mother attempted to get one; she also called the neighbours on the phone. Some passing cars pulled over and three Palestinian men came to try to help the family. The soldiers responded by throwing a stun grenade.
Israeli forces deny shepherds’ access to their village
HEBRON (WAFA) 22 Apr – Israeli forces on Tuesday prevented shepherds from entering the village of Um al-Khair to the east of Yatta in Hebron district, said Rateb Jubur, of the anti-settlement committee. He said army forces prevented the shepherds from returning home to their village after grazing their livestock.
Over 1,000 protest ‘price tag’ attacks in Umm al-Fahm
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 21 Apr — Over 1,000 Palestinian citizens of Israel in Umm al-Fahm protested Monday against “price tag” attacks after a mosque in the town was vandalized by suspected Jewish extremists days before. Protesters closed Route 65 and Israeli police were heavily deployed in the area, Palestinian member of the Knesset Taleb al-Sana told Ma‘an. Al-Sana said Israel “should arrest members of the ‘price tag’ gang and prosecute them as a terrorist organization.” “However, we are faced with carelessness and recklessness by the ministry of internal security, as the price tag gang has legitimacy in the government,” he added. Two other Palestinian MKs attended the protest — Muhammad Baraka and Raed Salah, al-Sana said. Suspected Jewish extremists set fire to a mosque and sprayed racist graffiti in the town on Friday.
In Bethlehem raid, ‘Israel and the Palestinian Authority are together’
BETHLEHEM (Electronic Intifada) 22 Apr by Dan Cohen — The seamless coordination between the Israeli military and Palestinian Authority forces was on open display during a recent raid on the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem. On Friday, 14 March, around 7pm, the Israeli Border Police assaulted the city from the military compound at the site of Rachel’s Tomb. The police spokesperson has been unreachable for comment. The assault took place on the final evening of the Christ at the Checkpoint conference, which was organized by Palestinian Christians to educate the global church about the reality of injustice faced by those living under occupation. The conference hosted more than 600 attendees, and was labeled a “serious long-term threat by Israeli security” by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, according to Israel Today. I arrived after the assault had begun. International tourists looked on from their hotel lobbies as tear gas filled the air. A curious few ventured outside during moments of calm … Though the Israeli assault was rather ordinary for demonstrations in the West Bank, the concluding events put the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority’s coordination with the Israeli military on open display … At 7:50pm, the Israeli commander ordered the police to withdraw into the military compound. Within one minute of the gate closing, a Palestinian Authority security forces vehicle arrived on the scene and a commander stepped out. He paced around the area directly in front of the Israeli sniper tower. Standing just a few meters away from him, I watched him speak on a cell phone. I then looked up to the sniper tower and saw an Israeli policeman on a cell phone. The PA commander then took the phone away from his face to look at the screen, as if the connection was interrupted. I looked to the Israeli policeman in the tower who made the same motion with his phone. The PA commander then smiled and waved to the Israeli policeman. A teenage demonstrator ran up the street and threw rocks at the sniper tower. This is typically met with violence from the Israeli military. Instead, the PA commander corralled the stone thrower and forced him back down the street … Minutes later, additional PA forces arrived in trucks and pushed the demonstrators back, effectively ending the demonstration.
Israeli forces detain man, clash with locals in Jenin district
JENIN (Ma‘an) 21 Apr — Israeli forces overnight detained two Palestinians in the Jenin district overnight, security sources and an army spokesman said. Palestinian security sources told Ma‘an that Muhammad Tariq al-Saadi was detained after Israeli soldiers raided his house in Jenin refugee camp. Locals added that Israeli forces ransacked their houses in Jenin and the nearby village of Ya‘bad.
An Israeli army spokesman said the army conducted “routine activity” in Yaabad, without elaborating. In Jenin refugee camp, he said Israeli forces arrested two Palestinians overnight. Soldiers arrived at the camp to make an overnight arrest, and “a riot erupted,” the spokesman said. He said Palestinians hurled stones and “improvised explosive devices,” in addition to firing live bullets at Israeli soldiers. Soldiers responded by arresting “a second Palestinian” and using “riot dispersal means.” No injuries on either side were reported
Israeli soldiers assault Palestinian man, make overnight arrests
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 22 Apr — A young Palestinian man was hospitalized early Tuesday after being physically assaulted by Israeli soldiers in the northern West Bank, an official said. Palestinian Authority official Ghassan Daghlas told Ma‘an that Israeli troops “brutally attacked 20-year-old Jamal Khalid Daraghmah” in the village of al-Lubban al-Sharqiya south of Nablus. Daraghmah was taken to Rafedia Hospital in Nablus, where medics described his wounds as moderate. Israeli forces also arrested 50-year-old Amjad Daraghmah in the same village.
Meanwhile, Israeli troops raided the village of Tura north of Jenin and detained 19-year-old Mahmoud Hilal Rafiq Zeid after ransacking his home, Palestinian security sources said.
Two Palestinians in the Hebron-area town of Beit Ummar were also detained, a local spokesman said. Popular committee spokesman Muhammad Ayyad Awad said that Israeli soldiers ransacked several houses in the area before detaining 20-year-old Muatazz Ahmad Murshid Awad and 21-year-old Yousef Suleiman Abu Ayyash. Awad said that 14 young men from Beit Ummar have been detained since the beginning of April, including six under the age of 18.
An Israeli army spokeswoman said three Palestinians were detained overnight — one in ‘Arura north of Ramallah, one in in Deir Abu Masha‘l northwest of Ramallah, and one in Beit Ur.
Israeli forces detain 17 Palestinians in overnight West Bank raids
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 23 Apr — Israeli forces arrested 17 Palestinians across the West Bank in overnight raids, an official and an army spokeswoman said Wednesday. Palestinian official Ghassan Daghlas told Ma‘an that several Israeli military vehicles entered the village of Burqa near Nablus and detained six young men. Daghlas said Israeli troops ransacked homes and arrested Izzat Sayf, Umran Sayf, Amin Tayseer Salah, Abd al-Hakim Sayf, Majid Hijja, and Baraa Jihad Abu Omar. An Israeli military spokeswoman told Ma’an that the army arrested 17 Palestinians overnight — two in Burqin west of Jenin, six in Burqa, three others near Nablus, one in Qalqiliya, one in Beit Ummar, one in al-Ibadiya near Bethlehem, one in Dura, and two in villages near Hebron.
Gaza under double blockade
Israeli airstrikes target central Gaza Strip
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 21 Apr — Israel launched several airstrikes on the central Gaza Strip on Monday, injuring two people, Hamas said in a statement. Gaza’s Ministry of Interior said Israeli warplanes targeted a security facility in the al-Nuseirat refugee camp, injuring two security officers. Another airstrike hit a nearby livestock farm, causing material damage but no injuries, while a third strike targeted an open area in Deir al-Balah. Israeli warplanes also struck a target in Khan Younis, the ministry said … Earlier, seven rockets fired from Gaza landed in southern Israel. An anti-tank missile was also fired at Israeli soldiers patrolling a border area in the southern Gaza Strip, a spokesman said, with no reports of injuries or damage. No group in Gaza has claimed responsibility for firing the rockets. Although Hamas — which runs the Gaza Strip — and Israel have maintained a fragile ceasefire since Nov. 2012, militant groups in the besieged Palestinian coastal enclave frequently launch rockets into Israel. The majority of these attacks, which primarily involve homemade projectiles, land harmlessly in open areas across southern Israel.
Fighters fire shell at Israeli military vehicle in central Gaza
IMEMC/Agencies 21 Apr — Palestinian fighters fired a shell at an Israeli military vehicle, across the border east of Deir al-Balah, in central Gaza. Eyewitnesses said the army fired dozens of rounds of live ammunition and used smokescreens to withdraw from the area. They added that a number of army vehicles later rushed to the scene and initiated a search campaign. Soldiers also fired several shells into nearby Palestinian lands, causing them to catch fire. In related news, Israeli military sources have reported, on Sunday evening, April 20, 2014, that an explosive charge detonated near an Israeli military vehicle driving across the border fence, in southern Gaza. The sources said the explosion did not cause injuries or damage to the vehicle, and that the army initiated a search campaign in the area. Furthermore, Israeli sources said Palestinian fighters fired five shells into the Shear Hangev settlement bloc in the Western Negev, causing no damage or injuries.
Israel to keep Kerem Shalom crossing closed on Tuesday
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 21 Apr — Israel will keep the Kerem Shalom crossing with Gaza closed on Tuesday, a Palestinian official said. Nathmi Mhanna, director of the Palestinian Authority’s department of border crossings, told Ma‘an that for “security reasons,” only fuel would be allowed through the crossing on Tuesday. The crossing was closed Friday and Saturday as usual, in addition to Sunday and Monday for Passover.
Gaza IT industry bypasses economic crisis
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (Al-Monitor) 21 Apr by Hazem Balousha — Despite the high unemployment rate in the Gaza Strip, IT freelancing and outsourcing to foreign companies is insulating the industry from the siege and economic crisis. The recession that has prevailed in the Gaza Strip for several years has prompted IT and communication firms, most of which are run by young people, to outsource their work. This has limited the impact of the economic blockade on these firms, as opposed to other sectors … During the past few years, many IT workers have started working remotely. Many have established enterprises that deal with companies in the Gulf, with designers and programmers working in offices in Gaza and committed to set working hours.
Palestinian prisoners ready for mass hunger strike
Electronic Intifada 22 Apr by Joe Catron — Nearly two hundred Palestinian administrative detainees, held indefinitely without charge or trial on Israeli military court orders, have announced plans to launch a mass hunger strike for their freedom this Thursday. The news came as demonstrations across Palestine and events worldwide commemorated the 40th annual Palestinian Prisoners’ Day. Thousands marched from an exhibition at Saraya square, the former site of Israel’s Gaza central prison, to rally outside the International Committee of the Red Cross’ Gaza office. After the demonstrations, Ibrahim Baroud, freed from Israeli captivity a year ago, spoke with The Electronic Intifada at his home in the northern Gaza Strip’s Jabaliya refugee camp. Among hundreds of thousands of former Palestinian prisoners in the Gaza Strip, Baroud is notable not only because of his 27-year detention, which makes him one of the longest-held Palestinians, but also because of his mother’s efforts during his absence. In 1995, nine years after her son’s capture by Israeli forces, Ghalia — also known as Um Ibrahim — held a sit-in at the courtyard of the International Committee of the Red Cross office with Handoumeh Wishah, or Um Jaber, who had four sons in prison at the time. Initially small, their presence persisted week after week, year after year, persevering through political transitions and military offensives, and growing into the core of prisoner support activities in Gaza. The sit-ins have now become a local focus of political unity.
Solidarity / BDS
Israeli state water company loses Portugal deal and faces global protests
BDS Movement 21 Apr by Palestinian BDS Nat’l Committee — * Announcement follows similar decisions by authorities in Argentina and Netherlands * Actions against Mekorot held across 12 countries — Lisbon’s water company EPAL has announced that it terminated a technology exchange deal with Israeli state water company Mekorot following protests over Mekorot’s role in Israel’s ‘water apartheid’ over Palestinians. Portuguese MPs and campaign groups had argued that the deal amounted to support for Mekorot’s role in the theft of Palestinian water. Mekorot, who lost out on a $170m contract with Argentinian authorities earlier this year following similar protests, illegally appropriates Palestinian water, diverting it to illegal Israeli settlements and towns inside Israel. The state owned company is the key body responsible for implementing discriminatory water polices that Amnesty International has accused Israel implementing “as a means of expulsion”….
Earth Day Network dumps SodaStream and Scarlett Johansson
Electronic Intifada 21 Apr by Ali Abunimah — … Here’s the press release from the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation: Earth Day Network Cuts Ties with SodaStream After Palestinian Rights Groups Decry Greenwashing Campaign 21 April, Washington, DC — On the eve of Earth Day, groups working for Palestinian rights globally are celebrating Earth Day Network’s decision to end its partnership with SodaStream, whose main production factory is located in an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank. Earlier this month, SodaStream, which markets its home carbonating devices as a green alternative to bottled beverages, announced the launch of an awareness-raising campaign centered around the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
Northeastern lifts suspension of Students for Justice in Palestine
972blog 22 Apr by Nora Barrows-Friedman — After seven weeks of sustained media attention and organizing by student activists, Northeastern University today announced that it has lifted the suspension of Northeastern Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). Not only will the group will be fully reinstated on 1 September, but they will have access to more funding for educational events than was available before the 7 March suspension. Northeastern SJP will be able to plan for those events immediately. The group was suspended in an unprecedented sanction by the administration after students distributed mock eviction leaflets on campus, a popular direct action many Palestine solidarity groups undertake during the annual Israeli Apartheid Week to raise awareness about Israel’s destruction of Palestinian homes. The administration also launched a police investigation against and threatened two of the students involved in the mock eviction action with charges that could have led to suspension or expulsion. The threat of expulsion was rescinded after an outpouring of condemnation by Northeastern SJP activists and supporters across the US. Anti-Palestinian groups such as the Boston-based Americans for Peace and Tolerance and the Zionist Organization of America have been orchestrating campaigns against Northeastern SJP and its members for several years, demanding the university punish and suspend the group. Individuals affiliated with such extreme right-wing Zionist organizations have issued death threats against student members of Northeastern SJP. The university has still not addressed or condemned the attacks by such groups against its students.
Largest student petition in Florida’s history calls for USF divestment
BDS Movement 21 Apr — Students at the University of South Florida are leading the largest petition ever at any Florida university. The petition demands ethical investment from the university’s $391 million endowment. Over 10,000 STUDENT signatures call on the USF Foundation to divest from companies complicit in human rights violations in Palestine. “It’s appalling that our university does not have a policy requiring investment only in ethically-sound companies,” said Ahmad Saadaldin, president of Students for Justice in Palestine at USF. “This gives us students the impression that our school values profits over our duties as global citizens.” … Students have made a clear call for the USF Foundation to act today and to act immediately. The university’s endowment is “very liquid”. This means, that if USF Foundation decides, it can divest from more than 85% of its portfolio within a month.
Palestinian refugees in Syria
Official: Yarmouk residents to protest against militant groups
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 22 Apr — Residents of Syria’s Yarmouk refugee camp plan to organize peaceful rallies to pressure armed groups to leave the area, a Fatah official said Tuesday. Muhammad Abu al-Qasim, a foreign relations official of the Fatah movement, told Ma‘an Tuesday that “a large number of people will march toward the bases of armed groups to force them to leave the camp.” Palestinian factions in Yarmouk have made extended efforts to end the humanitarian crisis in the Damascus-based camp, but have had no success, al-Qasim said. He said thousands of Palestinian refugees were waiting for food parcels, which have not been regularly delivered due to fighting in the camp.
Action group: Two Yarmouk refugees died yesterday, one of hunger
DAMASCUS (PIC) 22 Apr — Two Palestinian refugees from Al-Yarmouk refugee camp were proclaimed dead on Monday, the action group for the Palestinians of Syria said. According to the action group, one of the refugees named Ali Al-Ghouri died of hunger and malnutrition in Al-Yarmouk camp. Another Palestinian from the camp identified as Mohamed Shahabi died after his exposure to excruciating torture in a Syrian jail. For its part, the UNRWA said that it is unable to resume its relief efforts, which it suspended 13 days ago because of the renewed armed violence in the camp and the blockade imposed by the Syrian regime forces and their supporters from the popular front for the liberation of Palestine-general command (PFLP-GC). In another incident, the Syrian regime army launched artillery and aerial attacks on Khan Al-Sheikh refugee camp on Monday.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/
Political, other news
Israel rejects Abbas conditions for extending talks
JERUSALEM (AFP) 22 Apr – Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said Tuesday that he would extend faltering peace talks with Israel only if it agreed to conditions, including a settlement freeze, which it promptly rejected. He who makes such conditions does not want peace,” a senior Israeli official told AFP on condition of anonymity. Abbas listed his demands during a meeting with Israeli journalists at his headquarters in the West Bank just a week before a nine-month target for a peace deal. His comments came as US envoy Martin Indyk went into a new meeting with Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in a bid to save the US-sponsored talks from collapse. Abbas said he would agree to an extension of negotiations beyond the April 29 deadline if Israel frees a group of prisoners as previously earmarked for release and discusses the borders of a future Palestinian state. “There must be a total freeze of settlements,” by Israel in the occupied West Bank including annexed east Jerusalem, Abbas said. “The borders between Israel and the state of Palestine must also be defined within a month, two or three,” if the talks are to be extended, he said.
Palestinians play down threat to dismantle Authority
AFP 22 Apr — The Palestinians on Tuesday played down a threat to dismantle the Western-backed Palestinian Authority, which is Israel’s interlocutor, if U.S.-sponsored peace talks remain deadlocked. “No Palestinian is speaking of an initiative to dismantle the Palestinian Authority (PA),” chief negotiator Saeb Erakat told Agence France Presse. “But Israel’s actions have annulled all the legal, political, security, economic and operational aspects of the prerogatives of the Palestinian Authority.” Palestinian negotiators had warned that they may hand responsibility for governing the occupied territories back to Israel if peace talks remain stalled, a senior Palestinian official said Sunday. He said the Palestinians had told U.S. peace envoy Martin Indyk that unless Israel releases Palestinian prisoners as agreed and freezes settlement building, they could dismantle the Authority, which was set up following the Oslo peace accords in the 1990s and was intended to pave the way towards the establishment of an independent state. U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki criticized the threat as “extreme” and warned that any such move would affect American aid to the Palestinians.
Palestinians renew unity bid as Israel talks stall
GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories (AFP) 22 Apr — The Palestinians met Tuesday to relaunch efforts to reconcile their rival leaderships in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as US-brokered peace talks with Israel teetered on the edge of collapse. A week before a nine-month target originally set for an Israeli-Palestinian deal, a Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) delegation arrived in Gaza City to try to revive long-stagnant unity efforts. Azzam al-Ahmad, a senior figure in president Mahmud Abbas’ Fatah party, led the team which were greeted by Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniya and the movement’s deputy leader Mussa Abu Marzuq.
Hamas releases 10 Fatah-affiliated prisoners in goodwill gesture
[photos] GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 21 Apr — Hamas authorities in the Gaza Strip released 10 Fatah-affiliated prisoners on Monday in a goodwill gesture to promote political reconciliation, the Ministry of Interior said. The move comes as a PLO delegation is expected to arrived in Gaza to discuss reconciliation with senior Hamas officials. The Gaza ministry highlighted that the men were detained for “disturbing public order,” and not for political reasons. Gaza Interior Ministry spokesman Iyad al-Buzm urged Fatah to take similar steps in the West Bank.
Israel to send call-up papers to Christian Arabs
JERUSALEM (AFP) 22 Apr — Israel is to start sending call-up papers to all Christian Arabs of military service age, the army said Tuesday, angering Arab lawmakers who accused the government of seeking to divide Christians from Muslims. Military service will remain voluntary for Israel’s 130,000 Christian Arabs as it is for its more than 1.3 million Muslim Arabs but only Christians will receive the call-up papers, an army spokesman said. “The IDF in coming weeks will begin to distribute to all potential Christian recruits voluntary enlistment forms,” the spokesman said. “Since the service of the Christian population in Israel is not obligatory by law, potential recruits are not required to respond to the invitation.” But commanders hope that the routine sending out of call-up papers will help boost the numbers volunteering from around 100 a year at present to 1,000, army radio reported. “Under these new arrangements, they will no longer have to submit their own enlistment request and expose themselves to potential pressure from their Christian coreligionists or from Muslims, who are overwhelmingly hostile to conscription,” the radio said. The move came just two months after parliament approved a law giving Muslim and Christian Arabs separate representation on a national employment commission and drew fire from Arab lawmakers.
Supreme Court takes up status of Jerusalem
Washington (AFP) 21 Apr — The US Supreme Court Monday decided to hear the case of an American born in Jerusalem, once again taking up the sensitive issue of the status of the contested city. The justices will hear arguments in the case in the fall before deciding on the constitutionality of a 2002 law that directs the State Department to give Israel as the country of birth in passports of Americans born in Jerusalem. At the center of the struggle between the Congress and the presidency is Menachem Zivotofsky, who was born in Jerusalem in 2002 to two American parents. His passport says “born in Jerusalem” but his parents want Israel added to the place of birth, putting them at odds with the State Department. Israel claims Jerusalem as its capital, but neither the United States nor the international community recognizes the city — holy to three faiths — as such. Then president George W. Bush signed the 2002 bill into law, but he added a signed statement condemning it as unacceptable interference in the president’s powers to conduct foreign policy.