October 31, 2010

Israeli mob attacks Palestinian


Ma’an - JERUSALEM – A mob of Israelis attacked a Jerusalem man late Thursday, his family and a purported witness said.

Farid Tubasi, 28, was hospitalized at the intensive care unit of Hadassah Medical Center after he sustained serious wounds and bruises at the hands of a mob of "extremist" Israelis, Abed Tubasi, his brother, told the Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights.

“They have beaten him on the head and the chest using sharp tools. He only wakes up for minutes then he passes out, and we still have no clear idea about the future side effects of his injury,” Tubasi said.

An Israeli witness, who owns a restaurant on Hillel street, where Tubasi was attacked, was quoted as saying, “I was on my way to my car when I found a young man lying on the ground near the garbage. At first glance I thought he was dead. I called police and an ambulance who arrived and evacuated the man.”

Hadassah did not immediately return calls and an email seeking comment.

Calls to an Israeli police spokesman went unanswered.

October 30, 2010

Peace group: Army occupies Hebron-area home


Ma'an - HEBRON – Israeli soldiers occupied a Palestinian home on Thursday in the Baqa’a Valley near Hebron for the third time in two months, a report from the Hebron-based Christian Peacemaker Teams said.

Family members told CPT their father collapsed when he tried to prevent the soldiers entering, and that he was taken to hospital in an ambulance. Last time soldiers occupied the house, his wife had a heart attack and died later in hospital, CPT said.

A family of 15 lives in the home, including 5 children. One son told the peace group that 17 soldiers arrived in military vehicles. A neighbor told CPT workers that he called an ambulance after hearing screams, cries and shots from the house.

International observers with the CPT said seven soldiers stationed outside the house refused to let them enter the home. A military spokesman told them the third floor and the roof of the house would be occupied for 48 hours.

Two other home were reportedly also occupied in the area, and CPT said the operation was to protect Israeli visitors to Hebron commemorating a Jewish religious event. The occupied houses provided strategic views in all directions, the report noted.

CPT observers said when they left the area, soldiers were installing floodlights and camouflage netting, and had raised an Israeli flag on the roof.

October 29, 2010

Israel expands settlement in Occupied Territories


Ma’an - NABLUS – Israel is expanding a settlement in the northern West Bank district of Nablus, Ma'an has learned.

Shvut Rachel Alt. 804, part of the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council, was built on Palestinian land in the Jalud village.

The village's total area is some 16,000 dunums. Settlers have confiscated about 80 percent of the land to expand six settlements, residents say.

About 65 dunums of the land is planted with olives, but farmers have been prevented from accessing it since the second intifada, says Abdullah Hajj Muhammad, the village mayor. He told Ma'an that bulldozers recently cleared an area in the village's Al-Khafafesh area.

Ghassan Doughlas, a Palestinian Authority settlement affairs officer who monitors the northern West Bank, said three Israeli bulldozers were seen operating Tuesday near the settlement.

A representative of the settlement denied any major expansion was in order.

"The earth works observed are the slight enlarging of the width of the road that comes off Highway 60 to Shiloh and on the Shvut Rachel and a bit further," said Yisrael Medad, in an email.

The construction is on either side of the road for safety concerns, Medad said. It aims to "prevent accidents as the road is too narrow for two buses at the same time on the curves."

Settlers consider Shvut Rachel a neighborhood of Shilo, another settlement, but the government of Israel has never recognized it as such, according to Peace Now, an Israeli group which opposes settlements.

"Officially there is no Shvut Rachel," Hagit Ofran of Peace Now told Ma'an. Ofran, who heads the group's settlement watch initiative, said the community is like an outpost but was never declared as such.

The UN lists the area as an outpost in its maps of the West Bank.

Robert Serry, the UN peace envoy, said he was alarmed that work had started on hundreds of new homes for settlers since the end of Israel's settlement freeze last month, Reuters reported Tuesday.

Settlers have begun building more than 600 homes and dug foundations for 300 units in dozens settlements since the partial moratorium expired in September, Peace Now says.


George Hale contributed to this report.

October 28, 2010

Israel razes Jerusalem Bedouin camp


Israeli occupation forces demolish Jerusalem Bedouin camp to expand Jews-only colony.

Ma'an - JERUSALEM – Israeli soldiers and Civil Administration personnel razed a Bedouin encampment, belonging to the Jahalin clan in Isawiya, northeast of Jerusalem, in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, locals said.

Hani Al-Eisaway of the Isawiya Land Defense committee said the Israeli personnel bulldozed more than 50 dunums of land in what Israel calls the E1 zone in between Jerusalem and the Israeli settlement of Ma'ale Adumim.

He added that six Bedouin families lived in the bulldozed area. Bulldozers destroyed tents and other structures owned by the families.

The E1 area is sensitive because of Israeli authorities' stated intention to establish a new settlement in the area, which would effectively sever the West Bank into two pieces, making a separate Palestinian state impossible.

A spokesman for Israel's Civil Administration did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

October 27, 2010

Israel issues 7 stop work orders in Bethlehem area


Ma’an - BETHLEHEM – Israel's Civil Administration issued seven stop work orders to home and barn owners in the Bethlehem district village of Al-Maniya on Monday.

One of the homeowners concerned, Na’eem Muhammad Rashayda, said the structures in question are unfinished and are being built on land categorized as Area C, under full Israeli planning control.

He said Civil Administration officers had given them between one to two hours to stop building before the structures are razed by Israeli bulldozers.

Forces told him a special committee at the Civil Administration headquarters in Beit El would convene to look into their cases and decide whether they would be allowed to continue building.

A spokesman for the Civil Administration did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Area C makes up 60 percent of the West Bank, where Palestinian building is rarely approved by Israeli authorities.

In Photos: Israeli occupation soldiers burn Quran after kidnapping Palestinians from Qalqilya home


Ma'an - The daughter of one of three Palestinians detained by Israeli forces in Qalqiliya on Monday morning holds up a copy of a Qur'an, which the family says troops burned after raiding the family home. An Israeli military spokeswoman told Ma'an that neither the Civil Administration nor the army had received a complaint about the burning of the Muslim holy book, but confirmed two detentions in the northern West Bank district.






October 24, 2010

Lack of fuel causes rolling blackouts in Palestinian territory


Ma'an - GAZA CITY – One of the generators in Gaza's sole power plant will stop running Friday as it has run out of fuel, a Gaza Electricity Company spokesman said.

Jamal Ad-Dardasawi said efforts to open Kerem Shalom crossing for the entry of fuel had failed. Israeli authorities informed Gaza crossings official Raed Fattouh that both Kerem Shalom and the Karni crossing would be closed on Friday and Saturday, and reopen Sunday.

Due to the closure, scheduled blackouts would resume in the Strip, Ad-Dardasawi said. Power would be provided for eight hours, followed by an eight-hour blackout.

The spokesman said operating two generators produced 60 mega watts of electricity, but the shut down of one of the generators would escalate the power crisis in the coastal enclave.

The second generator resumed operation in early October, following intense efforts to increase the energy authority's revenue, which involved deducting money from the salaries of employed Gaza residents. Scheduled power cuts were reduced to 16 hours across four days.

The power crisis has plagued Gaza since December, when the Palestinian Authority took over responsibility from the European Union for delivering industrial diesel to the Gaza Energy Authority.

During an extensive blackout in August, when the power station shut down due to lack of fuel, hospitals declared a state of emergency as life-saving equipment was left reliant on generators.

Elders: Israeli violations damaging chances for peace


Jimmy Carter (Ma'an News)

Ma'an - JERUSALEM – The Elders, a group of eminent global leaders, said Thursday that settlement expansion, home demolitions and deportations were eroding chances for a two-state solution.

Former US President Jimmy Carter, former Irish President Mary Robinson and Indian women's rights campaigner Ela Bhatt, concluded a week-long visit to Israel and the occupied territories on Friday.

On Thursday, the group visited the flashpoint neighborhood of Silwan in occupied East Jerusalem. After meeting experts and residents, Robinson said she was "shocked at the practices the Jerusalem authorities are being allowed to get away with. All kinds of clever methods are being used to surround and squeeze the Palestinian population – tunnels, settler houses, new roads, and now tourist attractions."

The delegation conveyed their concerns about settlement building to the Mayor of Jerusalem, warning him that current planning policies were "a serious obstacle to an Arab-Israeli peace agreement," a joint statement said.

Carter said Israel's treatment of its Arab citizens and other minorities was "very disturbing," and said Israel was in danger of damaging its credibility as a democracy.

"These people have not enjoyed equal social, economic and political rights for decades. Now there are more than twenty proposed new laws that would further erode their rights. I am particularly concerned about proposals to require non-Jews to pledge loyalty to Israel as a Jewish state. I do not see how such an oath can be consistent with the rights of Muslims, Christians and others who are not Jews."

Bhatt said the situation had noticeably deteriorated since last year, but urged against a return to violence.

Concluding their visit, the delegation reiterated that a greater sense of urgency was need, and said the "corrosive effect of cynicism and complacency" must be overcome to achieve a durable two-state solution. Noting that Israel already enjoyed a high standard of living, and that its powerful military seemed to provide many Israelis with a sense of security, the group urged greater unity in the Arab world on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

October 23, 2010

Israeli forces detain journalists for harvesting olives


Ma'an - NABLUS – Israeli forces on Thursday detained a group of journalists and government employees who were helping to harvest olives in a Nablus village, a Palestinian Authority ministry said.

The PA Information Ministry organized a volunteering day for approximately 40 journalists and 20 ministry employees to help villagers in Kafr Qaddum pick olives. A ministry statement said Israeli forces surrounded the volunteers and threatened to shoot them if they moved.

An Israeli military spokesman was not immediately familiar with the incident, but said he would look into it.

Israeli rights groups wrote to Israeli authorities Monday asking them to instruct security forces to protect Palestinians during the olive harvest, noting that olive-picking is "often disturbed by extremists among the settlers, who take the law to their hands and carry out crimes." The groups reminded officials of Israel's obligation under international law to protect residents of territories which it occupies.

Israeli residents of the illegal West Bank settlement of Yitzhar in Nablus have been disrupting the olive harvest in the nearby Burin village since the season began in early October.

Settlers torch crops in Palestinian village



Ma'an - BETHLEHEM – Israeli settlers set fire to Palestinian crops on farmland in the Husan village in the southern West Bank district of Bethlehem, burning vast areas of olive groves before firefighters were able to control the blaze, locals said.

Locals said Israeli residents of the nearby illegal Betar Illit settlement obstructed Palestinian firefighters from accessing the site of the blaze, causing the fire to spread extensively.

A local village council source said grape and olive groves were damaged in the arson, largely in the Ein At-Taqa area, adding that bare-footed farmers were unable to extinguish the fire and that several sustained light burns as a result.

The local council also said the farmland in question belong to Ibrahim Lafi Hamara, Hilmi Abdul-Fattah Darweesh and Lafi Nimir Shawasha.

The fire follows the release of a report by Israeli rights group Yesh Din Tuesday, detailing that over 90 percent of investigations into offenses against Palestinians carried out by Israeli settlers in the West Bank fail, a statement read.

Yesh Din's statistic was part of a report that suggested Israeli authorities have failed to prosecute Israeli settlers suspected of vandalizing Palestinian crops.

The rights group said that while monitoring the progress of 97 complaints filed against Israeli settlers for damage caused to Palestinian-owned trees, all have been closed by police on the grounds of "unknown perpetrator" or insufficient evidence to prosecute, failing to secure indictments.

October 22, 2010

CNN: Israeli soldier who killed American peace activist testifies (VIDEO)


The parents of Rachel Corrie discuss testimony by an Israeli occupation soldier in a civil suit they filed.

EU 'concerned' after Israel jails activist


Ma'an - BETHLEHEM – The EU said Tuesday it was concerned by Israel's jailing of an anti-wall activist.

Abdallah Abu Rahmah was convicted of incitement, organizing and attending demonstrations against Israel's construction of the separation wall. He was sentenced last Monday to 12 months in prison.

"The EU Representatives to the Palestinian Authority and the EU Consul Generals in Jerusalem are concerned by the 12 months sentence to prison of Abdallah Abu Rahma," they said in a statement. "The EU considers Abdallah Abu Rahma a human rights defender who has protested in a peaceful manner against the route of the Israeli separation barrier through his village of Bil'in."

Abu Rahmah is a coordinator of the Bil'in Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements. Weekly protests are held in Bil'in against confiscation of village land to build illegal Israeli settlements.

"The EU considers the route of the barrier where it is built on Palestinian land to be illegal. The EU supports the key role of human rights defenders in promoting and furthering of human rights," the EU statement said. "In this context, as already expressed in a spokesperson's statement of High Representative Catherine Ashton on 25 August, we regret the sentence of Abdallah Abu Rahma."

Israeli military law in the West Bank uses a much stricter definition of illegal assembly than Israeli civilian law, in practice forbidding more than 10 people from assembling without receiving a permit from the military.

Britain said its embassy in Tel Aviv has raised the issue with the Israeli government and said the Foreign Office was concerned that Abu Rahmah's continued detention "is intended to prevent him and other Palestinians from exercising their legitimate right to non violent protest against the annexation of Palestinian land to Israel."

Viva Palestina convoy reaches Gaza (VIDEO)


Press TV - GAZA 342 humanitarian activists from 30 countries, in 150 vehicles loaded with $4 million of humanitarian aid reached Gaza and broke the siege.

October 21, 2010

Israeli settlers set fire to more than 2,500 olive trees in Burin


PIC - BURIN – A group of settlers from the Bracha settlement attacked noon Wednesday farmers in the village of Burin, moderately injuring a Palestinian man and destroying a number of olive trees. Police arrested one of the farmers after a clash with settlers.

Locals reported that dozens of settlers stormed olive groves in the Burin vicinity and attacked farmer Muneer Qadous with a sharp tool and seized a large amount of olives in his possession. He was later transferred to the Rafidia hospital in Nablus for treatment.

Residents said Israeli soldiers were closely watching the region and arrested one of Qadous’s relatives when he attempted to confront the settlers. But authorities made no attempt to stop the settlers, who caper in the region daily, they said.

Khalid Qadous , one of the locals, told a PIC reporter that settlers have burnt down since last Thursday 2,500 olive trees in the Burin village, some of the trees aging hundreds of years.
“Israeli soldiers deliberately in all of the cases put out the fire by Palestinian fire trucks so the fire would affect the greatest number of olive trees with waiting as an excuse, while coordinating with the Israeli army, who purposely give a late response,” he explained.

In a separate incident, a group of settlers stormed Wednesday morning the town of Sawiya near the North West Bank city of Silfit and burned down a school storage room.

Local sources said Wednesday morning that settlers raided the Sawiya girls high school and wrote racist slogans against Arabs and threats to burn down the storage room used to store sports equipment.

Silfit and Nablus are the most targeted areas by Israeli settlers in their attempt to take control of the land and displace its citizens.

Hamas lawmakers in Nablus condemned the attack as a “new crime added to Israel’s crime record,” adding that the act was only “part of a broad scheme of destruction.”

The officials said the targeting of schools and mosques is part of “a war on religion and knowledge, and an effort to destroy the capabilities of the Palestinians and deprive Palestinian students of the right to a comfortable study environment.”

They called on the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank to fulfill their duty to protect citizens and provide security and safety to the public, and to stop engaging in security coordination with Israel as it will only result in more settler attacks.

Viva Palestina reaches Gaza, breaks the siege (audio)


Over 400 people from 30 countries, in 150 vehicles loaded with $4 million of humanitarian aid reached Gaza and broke the siege. Listen to their audio message here. (Gaza TV News reporting) 



October 18, 2010

Israeli forces detain journalists, government employees helping harvest olives


Ma'an - NABLUS – Israeli forces on Thursday detained a group of journalists and government employees who were helping to harvest olives in a Nablus village, a Palestinian Authority ministry said.

The PA Information Ministry organized a volunteering day for approximately 40 journalists and 20 ministry employees to help villagers in Kafr Qaddum pick olives. A ministry statement said Israeli forces surrounded the volunteers and threatened to shoot them if they moved.

An Israeli military spokesman was not immediately familiar with the incident, but said he would look into it.

Israeli rights groups wrote to Israeli authorities Monday asking them to instruct security forces to protect Palestinians during the olive harvest, noting that olive-picking is "often disturbed by extremists among the settlers, who take the law to their hands and carry out crimes." The groups reminded officials of Israel's obligation under international law to protect residents of territories which it occupies.

Israeli residents of the illegal West Bank settlement of Yitzhar in Nablus have been disrupting the olive harvest in the nearby Burin village since the season began in early October.

Israel forces shoot Palestinian teenager in Gaza - 17th worker shot since summer


Ma'an - GAZA CITY – Israeli forces on Thursday shot at a Gaza teenager collecting rubble near the Strip's border with Israel, medics said.

Yahia Mahmud Az-Za'aneen, from Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza, was transferred to the Kamal Odwan Hospital with moderate injuries to his right leg. Medics said he was collecting aggregates near the Erez crossing.

An Israeli military spokesman was not familiar with the incident.

The spokesman confirmed that a 17-year-old Palestinian was injured by Israeli fire in the area Wednesday. Gaza medical services spokesman Abu Salmiya said that the teenager was the 17th worker injured by Israeli fire since the summer.

Palestinian workers comb the area along the border fence collecting rubble and gravel to make cement. The Israeli army has declared the area a "security buffer zone." In effect, this zone extends up to a kilometer into Gaza.

Construction materials are mostly banned from the coastal enclave under Israel's siege policy, hampering the Strip's reconstruction following Israeli offensives. The UN estimates at least 6,000 homes were either destroyed or severely damaged during Israel's last war on Gaza, Operation Cast Lead.

Israel takes 5 prisoners in Occupied Territories, including 70-year-old


IMEMC - On Wednesday morning, Israeli soldiers kidnapped five Palestinian citizens, including a 70-year-old man, in various areas in the West Bank after attacking their homes.

Israeli soldiers (sonara.net)
A statement issued by the Palestinian security forces reported that Israeli troops invaded the towns of 'Asewra and Yasid near Nablus, and kidnapped he'eb Mashaky, 70 years old, and his son Husam, 30.

The army also invaded the town of Methon, near Jenin, and arrested Osama Rabay'a, 40, and Tha'er Rabay'a, 24.

Furthermore, soldiers invaded the town of Al Thaheriyya, near Hebron, and abducted 'Ala Al-Jabberer. 

Israel arrests 2 journalists


Ma’an - HEBRON – Israeli forces detained two Palestinian journalists on Wednesday before noon in settlement in the Beit Ummar village in the southern Hebron district as they covered its expansion, the Palestine Solidarity Project said.

PSP spokesman Mohammad Ayyad Awad said Ma'mun Wazwaz, a Reuters photojournalist, and Hazem Bader, an Agence France-Presse photojournalist were detained whilst inside the Karmi Tsur settlement, which began expansion works a day earlier.

An Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed the detentions, saying they had not entered the settlement through its main gates. The two were transferred to the Israeli police for entering "in a suspicious way," she said.

UK concerned at Israeli imprisonment of Palestinian nonviolence leader


Ma'an - JERUSALEM – Britain's Foreign Office on Tuesday expressed concern over the sentencing of a Palestinian popular campaign leader by an Israeli military court to 12 years in prison, a statement read.

On Monday, Abdallah Abu Rahmah was convicted of incitement, organizing and attending demonstrations against Israel's construction of the separation wall.

Britain said its embassy in Tel Aviv has raised the issue with the Israeli government and said the Foreign Office was concerned that Abu Rahmah's continued detention "is intended to prevent him and other Palestinians from exercising their legitimate right to non violent protest against the annexation of Palestinian land to Israel."

The UK was among several European countries who sent representatives to attend Abu Rahmah's trial, who has been in Israeli detention since December 2009.

At his hearing in August, the military prosecutor requested an exceptionally harsh sentencing in order to deter Abu Rahmah and to intimidate others, a statement from the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee said.

PSCC spokesman Jonathan Pollak said the committee would appeal the sentence.

Abu Rahmah is a coordinator of the Bil'in Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements. Weekly protests are held in Bil'in against confiscation of village land to build illegal Israeli settlements.

Israeli military law in the West Bank uses a much stricter definition of illegal assembly than Israeli civilian law, in practice forbidding more than 10 people from assembling without receiving a permit from the military.

October 17, 2010

Israeli occupation forces wound 17-year-old in Occupied Territories


Ma'an - GAZA CITY – A Palestinian teenager was injured by Israeli fire on Wednesday while he collected construction aggregate in the the Al-Qaraya Al-Badawiya area in northern Gaza near the Erez crossing.

Gaza medical services spokesman Adham Abu Salmiya said an unnamed 17-year-old was injured and transferred to the Kamal Udwan Hospital for treatment.

Workers are regularly injured by Israeli fire in the imposed "no-go" zone, which forces consider a live combat area. Abu Salmiya said that 17 workers, collecting gravel for construction use, have been injured by Israeli fire since the summer.

An Israeli army spokeswoman confirmed the injury but was unable to identify the age of the injured. She said forces "identified a hit" after opening fire at the feet of a group of "suspects" approaching the area. Prior to opening fire toward them, she said, forces had called on the group to retreat and fired warning shots in the air.

Settlers expand 2 settlements in the Occupied Territories


Ma’an - NABLUS – Israeli settlers on Tuesday bulldozed farmland in order to expand the illegal Eli settlement south of Nablus and in Beit Ummar expanded the Karmei Tzur settlement north of Hebron, officials in the West Bank said.

Palestinian Authority official responsible for settlement observation in the northern West Bank Ghassan Doughlas said that since morning, the bulldozers have been working on Palestinian lands south of Nablus.

Doughlas warned that this bulldozing may aim to combine outposts toward the Eli settlement, which will confiscate thousands of dunums of Palestinian land.

Doughlas said Israeli forces decided to confiscate land from two Palestinian villages, Orta village east of Nablus and Yanun village south of Nablus, to construct military positions for the Israeli army.

The bulldozers and vehicles were also working to expand the Karmei Tzur settlement south of Beit Ummar north of Hebron. The land belongs to the Sabarna family, and it was seized in 2006, our correspondent said.

Israel razes Palestinian farm near Bethlehem


Ma'an - BETHLEHEM – Israel's Civil Administration razed farmland and a barn owned by a resident of the Beit Fajjar village in the southern West Bank district of Bethlehem on Monday.

Raed Taqatqa, the land owner, said Israeli forces sought to control the area near the village's main road and that of Al-Ma'sara, the site of demonstrations against Israel's separation wall.

Taqatqa said the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that he was the owner of the land in question and that he had a right to reclaim the area. He added that settlers often raided his land and have threatened him not to return.

Israel's Civil Administration did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

Israeli forces beat 3 Palestinian youths, take one prisoner


Ma'an - HEBRON – A Palestinian security source said three Palestinians were beaten by Israeli forces overnight Monday in the At-Tuwani village in the southern Hebron district.

The source said 18-year-old Hijazi Al-Nawag'a was left with a broken hand as a result of the assault and was taken to the Abu Al-Hassan Hospital in Yatta for treatment.

Ra'fat Makharmeh, 20, and Muhammad Makharmeh, 20, were also beaten while Muhammad was later detained.

An Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed the detention in the area, but said the army "received no complaints of violence."

October 16, 2010

Israeli forces injure 12-year-old Palestinian in Jerusalem


Ma'an - JERUSALEM – A Palestinian child sustained a rubber bullet wound to the leg and another injury to his face after he was hit by a stun grenade during clashes in the flashpoint East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on Monday afternoon, locals said.

Locals identified the child as Suleiman Siyam, 12, who was injured when clashes broke out in Silwan after undercover Israeli forces raided the Beir Yacoub neighborhood.

During the raid, locals said four 12-year-olds were detained by forces for allegedly participating in clashes with Israeli forces in the area. Several residents suffered from tear gas inhalation.

Medical staff treating an injured Palestinian youth wounded during clashes at the
construction site of Israel`s controversial separation wall in the West Bank village
of Bil`in on 3 June 2005. (Ma'an)
Spokesman for Israel's National Police Mickey Rosenfeld said officers were deployed to the scene after stones were thrown at homes. Riot dispersal means were used, he said, including stun grenades but said no injuries were reported in the incident.

Rosenfeld further said a "number of youngsters" were detained for questioning that immediately following clashes "things were relatively quiet."

On 22 September a Palestinian was killed in Silwan by an Israeli settler guard, prompting days of unrest across the flashpoint neighborhood.

October 15, 2010

Israel captures mother of newborn in Occupied Territories


Ma'an - HEBRON – Israeli forces detained seven residents of the Hebron district on Monday, including a mother who gave birth 2 weeks ago, locals said.

Israeli soldiers detained Sajida Riziq Muhammad Al-Awawda, 20, at midday outside Hebron university, where she is a student of Islamic law. The Palestinian Prisoners' Society called for her immediate release as she gave birth by cesarean and still required medical attention. Her husband Mahmud Abu Hashem is in prison in Israel, the society said, and their new-born son has been left in the care of his grandmother.

Earlier Monday, soldiers raided Sa'ir village at dawn, and detained Nizar Hussein Al-Aramin, Raed Saket Jaradat, Jihad Khaled and Mahdi Jaradat after raiding their homes.

Forces also detained Iyad Al-Allami, a member of the Popular committee against the wall in Beit Ummar.

The men were taken to an unknown destination.

Locals said Israeli forces demolished a well in east of Hebron belonging to Wael Al-Rajabi, and arrested his 18-year-old son.

Requests for comment from the Israeli army were transferred to the Israeli Border Guard, the police's paramilitary unit.

Video shows Jewish settler running over Palestinian children with his car


Children being run over and flung into the air by a settler's car (AFP)

Al Jazeera - A Jewish settler deliberately ran over a group of Palestinian children with his car in occupied Jerusalem, injuring 4 of them.

Witnesses said residents were throwing stones at a number of settlers and attempted to intercept a settler's car, but they were surprised that he drove toward a group of them and ran over them.

A spokesman for the occupation authorities said that the police launched an investigation to find out the causes of the incident but the settler was not arrested.

Settlers have previously committed several vehicular attacks against Palestinian civilians.

This incident comes four days after settlers broke into "The Prophets" Mosque in the village of Beit Fajar, south of Bethlehem in the West Bank, and set fire to the Mosque, damaging prayer rugs and a large number of copies of the Quran, as well as spraying offensive graffiti and slogans on the walls inciting the killing of Palestinians.

Israel sentences Palestinian nonviolent protest leader to 1 year imprisonment


Ma'an - RAMALLAH – An Israeli military court on Monday sentenced non-violent protest organizer Abdallah Abu Rahmah to 12 months imprisonment, with a six-month suspended sentence.

Abu Rahmah has been in an Israeli jail since December, and was convicted in August of incitement, and organizing and participating in protests in Bil'in. Ofer military court also ordered Abu Rahmah to pay a 5,000 shekel fine (almost $1,400).

At his hearing in August, the military prosecutor requested an exceptionally harsh sentencing in order to deter Abu Rahmah and to intimidate others, a statement from the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee said.

PSCC spokesman Jonathan Pollak said the committee would appeal the sentence.

Abu Rahmah is a coordinator of the Bil'in Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements. Weekly protests are held in Bil'in against confiscation of village land to build illegal Israeli settlements.

Israeli military law in the West Bank uses a much stricter definition of illegal assembly than Israeli civilian law, in practice forbidding more than 10 people from assembling without receiving a permit from the military.

According to his supporters, Abu Rahmah's conviction was based only on testimonies of minors who were arrested in the middle of the night and denied legal counsel despite significant concerns, acknowledged by the court, over their questioning.

The protest leader's detention was internationally condemned. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said "The EU considers Abdallah Abu Rahmah to be a Human Rights Defender committed to non violent protest against the route of the Israeli separation barrier through his West Bank village of Bil'in."

The Intergroup for Palestine, an official body of the Spanish Parliament represented by all political parties, issued a statement expressing its "deep concern that Abdallah Abu Rahmah’s potential incarceration aims at preventing him and other Palestinians from exercising their legitimate right to protest against the existence of the Wall in a non violent manner."

Archbishop Desmond Tutu said he had been "very impressed" by Abu Rahmah's commitment to non-violence and wise leadership, and said "Israel's attempt to crack down on this effective resistance movement by criminalizing peaceful protest is unacceptable and unjust."

Abdallah is the recipient of the the Carl Von Ossietzky Medal for Outstanding Service in the Realization of Basic Human Rights, which is awarded by the International League for Human Rights in Berlin.

Israeli settlers sabotage Palestinian olive harvest


Israeli occupation forces, settler in village of Burin (AFP)
Mohai Nasser's olive harvest season ended before it began. Nasser, a carpenter from the village of Jit, took a day off on Sunday to pick olives from his 30 olive trees which provide him with oil for the entire season. He was shocked to discover a painful sight when he reached his plot. "I saw that all my trees had been shaved," he said. "There's not one fruit left on any of the trees."

Nasser has no doubts as to who is behind the act. "The Havat Gilat settlers emptied them (the trees) completely."

Nasser is not alone. Farmers of the neighboring villages also found there was nothing left of their crop of hundreds of thousands of olives. Hundreds of trees have been stripped of their fruit.
 
Mohai Nasser with the few olives he has left (Photo: Ali Waked)
In a separate event Sunday, a tractor owned by Palestinians was burned in the village of Burin near Nablus.

Last year, security forces managed to significantly reduce the number of sabotage incidents. This is not the case this year. 


Source

Settlers move furniture out of Palestinian home they want to occupy


Ma’an - JERUSALEM – Israeli settlers ransacked the home of a Palestinian family in occupied East Jerusalem's Old City early Sunday tossing furniture into the street.

Homeowner Mazin Qirrish said Israeli police provided protection to the settlers as his family and neighbors tried to the prevent the evacuation of their home.

The family's troubles began 14 September as settlers announced their plan to move in, claiming ownership. An Israeli court recently ruled in favor of the settlers.

The family's home is not in Israel and its occupants are not Israeli citizens, but Israel considers East Jerusalem part of its capital. Israel's claims to the city are not recognized abroad.

A spokesman for Israel's Jerusalem municipality did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Settlers block farmers from reclaiming their land


Ma’an - BETHLEHEM – Dozens of settlers obstructed Palestinian farmers and workers as they attempted to reclaim agricultural land near the Israeli settlement of Newe Daniyyel, illegally built on lands belonging to farmers from Al-Khadr south of Bethlehem.

Ma’an’s correspondent explained that armed settlers hurried to stop farmers who brought a bulldozer to reclaim their land. Settlers, he added quoting one of the farmers, threatened to use force if work did not stop. Israeli forces and civil administration officials arrived on the scene and ordered the farmers to stop work and go to the civil administration offices in Etzion.

One of the landowners, Islam Jabir Ghneim, told Ma'an it was not the first time settlers stopped them working on their land. He explained that the family had official ownership documents from the British Mandate era and the Jordanian era for 156 dunums. Previously, he added, the Israeli civil administration recognized that the land belonged to the Palestinian family.

Owners of the land asserted they would continue reclamation efforts despite all obstacles.

Calls to Israel's Civil Administration were not immediately returned.

October 13, 2010

Israeli official who investigated killing of American girl didn't visit the scene or question the key witness


Ma'an - HAIFA – The military official charged with investigating Rachel Corrie's killing in Gaza testified Friday that he had not been to the site of the killing because he thought it was dangerous, the Rachel Corrie Foundation said.

Cindy and Craig Corrie have filed a civil suit against the State of Israel for the unlawful killing of their daughter, who was crushed to death in Rafah on 16 March 2003 by a bulldozer while protesting the demolition of a Palestinian home by Israeli forces.

Head of the Military Police Special Investigative Unit Shalom Michaeli testified at Haifa District Court that he could have gone to the site of Rachel's killing in an armored vehicle but had chosen not to because it was dangerous and the terrain had changed, a statement from the foundation said.

The statement referred to several other flaws in the investigation which surfaced during Michaeli's testimony. The investigator said he ordered only a partial transcript of radio transmissions because he did not think it important to transcribe the full audio. Further, a video recording of the incident revealed that the camera operator panned away from the scene minutes before Corrie was killed, but Michaeli said he had not thought it relevant to question the operator. The investigator testified in a written affidavit that when he inspected the bulldozer which killed Corrie he found no traces of blood, but told the court Friday the vehicle could have been washed "or even painted" before he inspected it.

Craig Corrie said he was struck by Michaeli's failure "to look for evidence, to secure evidence, to resolve conflicting evidence, and to turn evidence over to this court. This is not what we and the U.S. government were promised by the government of Israel when Rachel was killed and it is not what we will accept now."

The commander of a second bulldozer present when Corrie was killed also testified Friday, and said he did know how Corrie was hurt, or remember much about the incident. The foundation noted that this contradicted a detailed affidavit he signed eight weeks ago.

Court grants soldiers anonymity

The court issued a decision Thursday to allow soldiers to testify behind a screen in court. The driver of the bulldozer that killed the 23-year-old will be granted anonymity under the order. Judge Oded Gershon ruled that the commander of the unit and the second soldier in the bulldozer that hit Corrie would testify in plain view, as their faces were already publicly known, the foundation said.

State attorneys argued that secrecy measures were necessary to protect the soldiers and prevent their images from being circulated, while the Corrie family's lawyers said the move infringed on the right to an open, fair and transparent trial.

The foundation noted that the request was filed just 48 hours before the first soldier's testimony. A request that the family could see the witnesses, even if the public could not, was rejected, but the foundation said lawyers for the Corrie family would appeal the decision to Israel's Supreme Court.

"While Rachel stood in front of a wall to protect the two families huddled behind it, the state is now making the soldiers hide behind a wall that denies us the opportunity to see them," said Cindy Corrie, Rachel's mother. "The State of Israel has been hiding for over seven years. Where is the justice?"

The trial began in March 2010, when Corrie's family presented witnesses, including several of her International Solidarity Movement colleagues who witnessed her killing.

Palestinians injured, taken prisoners in protests across the occupied West Bank


Ma'an - RAMALLAH – Israeli forces detained two Palestinian teenagers picking olives near Hebron on Friday as weekly anti-wall protests across the West Bank marked the start of the olive harvesting season.

Witnesses said Jehad Jamal Al-Amla, 17, and Iyad Jamil Al-'Amla, 18, were detained while picking olives in Beit Ula west of Hebron. An Israeli military spokeswoman said they were harvesting olives from trees close to the separation wall, and "were invited for security questioning."

Two journalists injured in Bil'in

At a weekly demonstration in Bil'in, Israeli forces fired tear gas and rubber coated steel bullets at protesters as they attempted to cross a gate in the separation wall to collect their olives, the local popular committee said.

Two journalists were injured at the rally, the committee said. Abas Al-Momani was hit in the back by a tear gas canister, while Haron Amaira suffered from extreme tear gas inhalation.

Protesters carried a banner reading "We will stay here like the roots of the olive trees."

An Israeli military spokeswoman said riot dispersal means were used against 30 protesters in the Ramallah village.

PNI leader attends Ni'lin rally

A simultaneous protest in Ni'lin, also in the Ramallah district, was attended by Palestinian National Initiative leader Mustafa Barghouthi.

Barghouthi said he attended the rally to help farmers pick their olives, and to show them they were not alone.

Nil'in's popular committee said five were injured when Israeli forces launched tear gas canisters and rubber coated bullets at villagers and activists who were attempting to harvest olives close to the separation wall.

An army spokeswoman said forces used tear gas and rubber bullets in response to rocks thrown by demonstrators, who she said numbered around 60.

Reports of live ammunition in An-Nabi Salih

Meanwhile, at a weekly protest in An-Nabi Salih, west of Ramallah, locals said one man was hospitalized after being hit in the chest by a live bullet. He was taken to Yasser Arafat hospital in Salfit, where medics said his condition was serious.

Six others were injured by live ammunition fired by Israeli soldiers during the anti-wall demonstration, the local committee said.

Protesters marched to the village entrance after noon prayers, and the committee said forces were already stationed there. Protesters reported that soldiers became irate when village children threw paint at them, and launched tear gas grenades in response.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said around 70 protesters gathered in the village, and forces used riot dispersal means in response to rocks hurled at soldiers. She said forces did not use live ammunition against demonstrators at any protests on Friday.

Bethlehem village protests mosque arson

Hundreds of villagers joined prayers at Al-Anbiya Mosque in Beit Fajjar, which was subject to an arson attack on Tuesday. Israeli police suspected the mosque was attacked as part of a "price tag" operation by nearby settlers wishing to protest Israel's West Bank policies, Israeli press reported.

After noon prayers, residents headed to the village entrance to protest the arson and settler violence towards Palestinians. Israeli forces were already deployed at the entrance, and launched tear gas and sound grenades at the rally, locals said, adding that four protesters were injured.

A military statement said forces used riot dispersal mechanisms against around 100 protesters in response to violence.

Settler shoots Palestinian


Ma'an - HEBRON – Two Palestinians were injured near Hebron Friday, witnesses said.

Locals reported that an Israeli resident of an illegal settlement north of Hebron fired live ammunition at Ibrahim Muhammad Sharif Basal.

In a separate incident, Salem Nabil Abu Quedar was injured when he was hit in the face by a sound grenade thrown by Israeli forces, residents said.

Both men were hospitalized, but medics said their conditions were stable.

Young woman filmed by soldiers describes torture, humiliation


Ma'an - HEBRON – The Palestinian woman who was filmed, handcuffed and blindfolded as an Israeli soldier danced around her said Thursday that the video only showed the beginning of "a journey of torture and humiliation."

A video of 24-year-old Ihsan Dababisa surfaced on YouTube on Monday, and was aired on RT News. Dababisa spoke to Ma'an's correspondent in her home in Nuba village, west of Hebron, and described the ordeal which followed her detention.

Dababisa said she was detained at Etzion checkpoint at 8 a.m. on 11 December 2007, and thrown into a military jeep, handcuffed and blindfolded. She was taken to the yard of Etzion detention center in front of a group of soldiers.

Moments later, she said, she heard loud music and one of the soldiers tried to touch her. She tried to stay close to the wall, and another soldier arrived with a bottle of wine, and offered her a drink. When she refused, he continued to harass her, she said.


The soldiers then attacked her "like vicious dogs."

"They began beating me with rifle butts and legs. One of the soldiers hit my head against the metal of the military jeep until I fainted. Then I found myself in front of a female doctor wearing military uniform. After examining me they moved me to the interrogation center where my journey of torture and humiliation started.

"The officer’s name who began to interrogate me was Beran. He threatened to demolish my family home and arrest my siblings, the interrogation lasted for two hours. After that I was transferred with my eyes blindfolded to another interrogation center, I think it was the Russian compound, where there were three interrogators.

"Soon after I came in they began insulting and cursing using words I do not want to say. One of the interrogators was pulling me from my hair. I was handcuffed the whole time. The interrogation lasted until 11 at night, then they transferred me to Hasharon prison where they accused me of trying to stab someone, and of affiliation with the Islamic Jihad. Lawyers from the prisoners' society defended me and I was sentenced to 22 months in prison. I was released on 6 September 2009."

More than a year after she was released, Dababisa saw herself on the news. "They were talking about me, I could not believe what I was seeing with my eyes. I was about to faint, I began to cry, I could not sleep all night for one moment. All of the memories while I was among a group of criminal sadist corrupted soldiers who were without feelings and humanity came to my head."

Dababisa said she would not be relieved "until the soldiers are punished in court as an example to anyone who would dare to humiliate or insult any Palestinian prisoner."

October 11, 2010

Residents protest 'video humiliation'


Ma'an - GAZA CITY – Gaza City residents organized a sit-in on Thursday, demonstrating collective anger over a video of an Israeli soldier belly dancing beside a bound and blindfolded Palestinian woman in the West Bank.

The video, which made waves on news sites and aired on Israel's Channel 10 News, was called a "disgusting illustration of the sick mentality of the occupier," in a Palestinian Authority statement.

Gaza Minster of Prisoners Affairs Muhammad Al-Ghoul spoke to assembled protesters, saying he believed the Israeli army would not waste an opportunity to mistreat Palestinians as long as the Arab and Islamic world remained silent about the crimes.

According to officials, the woman in the video was identified as 35-year-old Ihsan Dababisa, who told journalists that she was deeply humiliated on the day of the event, and again when it was broadcast on Israeli television.

Al-Ghoul asked rights organizations and the international community if they had been "sleeping on the job," accusing observers of willful silence in letting such an event go unanswered. 

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE:

 

Settlers burn Palestinian fields


Ma’an - NABLUS – Residents of the Huwwara village south of Nablus said Thursday that Jewish settlers set dozens of dunums of farm lands on fire, destroying crops.

PA official responsible for settlement-observation in the northern West Bank Ghassan Doughlas said the fields were in the At-Tira area of Huwwara village, and had destroyed some crops.

"Lighting fields on fire is a provocative act perpetrated by settlers seeking bury the peace process," the official said, calling on representatives of the Middle East Quartet to ensure that Israel took responsibility for the actions of its settlers.

The fire was the latest in a long string of recent arson and vandalism carried out by the illegal settler population in the West Bank, mainly in the northern area.

On Wednesday, settlers reportedly harvested the olives of Palestinian trees and subsequently damaged several, and on Monday settlers set fire to a mosque in the Bethlehem-area village of Beit Fajjar. Israeli police said an investigation had been opened into the latter incident, but no arrests had been made by Thursday, despite calls for action in joint Israeli-Palestinian protests.

One week earlier, witnesses said a settler was behind the wheel of a hit and run in Qalqiliya district. No charges were laid.

Israeli settlers expand Palestinian Territory colony


Ma’an - BETHLEHEM – Settlers in the northern Jordan Valley settlement of Mehola began large-scale construction projects on Wednesday night, reports from the Palestine News Agency WAFA said.

Official sources told the agency that the settlers were adding new housing units in the western side of the settlement.

Governor of Tubas Marwan Tubasy said three housing units had already been added during the past week, with several concrete pouring machines seen entering and exiting the settlement.

A report in the daily Israeli newspaper Haaretz said the foundations for some 350 homes had been set in the 10 days following the construction freeze expiration.

On Wednesday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for Israel to show restraint as peace negotiators continue to work for a compromise on the issue, with Palestinian officials remaining adamant that peace talks will not continue if settlement construction does.

1 injured as Israeli ordnance explodes in Gaza


Ma'an - GAZA CITY – A resident of Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza was injured Sunday when an ordnance left by the Israeli army exploded, medics said.

The 25-year-old was transferred to Kamal Adwan hospital in critical condition.

United Nations Mine Action Service works in Gaza to destroy unexploded ordnance left behind by Israeli forces. In March, the agency began a program to destroy white phosphorus left behind during Operation Cast Lead, Israel's three-week offensive on the Strip launched in December 2008.

Israeli occupation forces demolish Tulkarem playground


Ma'an - TULKAREM – Israeli bulldozers demolished a local playground in the northern West Bank district of Tulkarem on Saturday, locals said.

Bulldozers entered Far'un village supported by soldiers and began the demolition, while Palestinian children threw stones at them, villagers said.

Residents said soldiers had ordered residents to demolish the area themselves within seven days. Further, they were told that the village would bear the cost of the demolition if Israeli forces carried it out.

The play area had cost $150,000 to build, locals added.

An Israeli military spokeswoman referred inquiries to the Civil Administration, who did not answer calls seeking comment.

In an earlier raid by Israeli forces, seven families were ordered to stop building on the eastern side of the village, and told to demolish buildings under construction.

The residents issued with the orders were identified as Nahed Saleh U’beid, Marwan Asq Allah Ammar Fawzi Tiam, Abed Ar-Rahman Rashid Hattab, Hamdan Drubi, Muneer Abdallah Omer and Ali An-Nuri.

October 9, 2010

Settlers set fire to farmlands near occupied Nablus


Ma’an - NABLUS – Residents of the Huwwara village south of Nablus said Thursday that settlers set dozens of dunums of farm lands on fire, destroying crops.

PA official responsible for settlement-observation in the northern West Bank Ghassan Doughlas said the fields were in the At-Tira area of Huwwara village, and had destroyed some crops.

"Lighting fields on fire is a provocative act perpetrated by settlers seeking bury the peace process," the official said, calling on representatives of the Middle East Quartet to ensure that Israel took responsibility for the actions of its settlers.

The fire was the latest in a long string of recent arson and vandalism carried out by the illegal settler population in the West Bank, mainly in the northern area.

On Wednesday, settlers reportedly harvested the olives of Palestinian trees and subsequently damaged several, and on Monday settlers set fire to a mosque in the Bethlehem-area village of Beit Fajjar. Israeli police said an investigation had been opened into the latter incident, but no arrests had been made by Thursday, despite calls for action in joint Israeli-Palestinian protests.

One week earlier, witnesses said a settler was behind the wheel of a hit and run in Qalqiliya district. No charges were laid.

MOST POPULAR

Follow us on Twitter