Friday, 30 September 2011

Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (22 – 28 Sep. 2011)


(pic: Israeli settlers attack a Palestinian civilian in Qasra village, southeast of Jenin - pchr)


Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Continue Systematic Attacks against Palestinian Civilians and Property in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT)


A Palestinian civilian was killed and another 7 ones, including a child, were wounded by IOF in Qasra village, southeast of Nablus.

IOF continued to attack Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip.

OF continued to use force against peaceful protests in the West Bank.
18 Palestinian civilians, including 6 children, and a French human rights defender were wounded.

IOF conducted 36 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank.
IOF arrested 4 Palestinians, including a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council.

Israel has continued to impose a total closure on the OPT and has isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world.

IOF have continued settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.
IOF approved the construction of 1,100 housing units in “Gilo” settlement, south of occupied Jerusalem.

IOF confiscated 148 dunums[1] of land in Battir village, west of Bethlehem.
Israeli settlers burnt 590 trees.

Israeli settlers placed racist banners against Palestinians on the main roads in the West Bank. more

Airstrike near al Maghazi refugee camp, no injuries reported


Palestinian sources reported that the Israeli Air Force bombarded on Friday at dawn a site, reportedly used as a training center, for the Al Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, in central Gaza.

The site is located near the entrance of the Al Maghazi refugee camp, in central Gaza; damage was reported, no injuries.

Eyewitnesses reported the bombardment as several Israeli war jets were noticed flying over different parts of the Gaza Strip while firing flares. more

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Israel accused of human rights abuses after al-Jazeera journalist freed following 49 days detention


Al-Jazeera has denied allegations that its Kabul bureau chief has links to Hamas and accused Israeli authorities of "blatant breaches of human rights" over its treatment of the journalist.

Samer Allawi was detained by the Israeli military for 49 days following a visit to his family in the West Bank.

The Arabic news channel's journalist was released from detention on Monday after a plea bargain resulted in a suspended jail sentence and a £900 fine.

A spokesman for al-Jazeera said Allawi faced "false accusations" and suffered "psychological trauma" as a result of his detention. more

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Palestinian prisoners start hunger strike to protest treatment, demand release of PFLP's Ahmad Saadat


RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails have started a hunger strike to protest their treatment by the Israeli prison services, Palestinian Authority Minister of Detainee Affairs Issa Qaraqe said Tuesday.

Detainees are threatening to disobey all prison rules if their demands are not met, Qaraqe said, adding that the move would be unprecedented.

Prisoners may defy all prison orders, refuse to wear uniforms or stand up for daily counts, he said in a statement.

Detainees affiliated to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine are on an open hunger strike to demand an end to the solitary confinement of PFLP leader Ahmad Saadat, who has been held in isolation for three years.

They are also demanding an end to the solitary confinement of 20 other prisoners, some of whom have been held in isolation for 10 years, Qaraqe said.

In Rimon and Nafha prisons, detainees went on hunger strike after a visit by the Israeli Minister of Internal Security. The minister told prisoners' representatives that their demands would not be met. more

Monday, 26 September 2011

After UN bid Abbas returns to crowds in Ramallah - refuses to talk to Israel until settlements freeze


(Reuters) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas repeated on Sunday his refusal to talk with Israel without a settlement freeze after international mediators, responding to his United Nations bid for statehood, urged negotiations within a month.

"We have confirmed to all that we want to achieve our rights through peaceful means, through negotiations -- but not just any negotiations," Abbas told a cheering crowd of thousands on his return to the West Bank city of Ramallah.

"We will not accept (negotiations) until legitimacy is the foundation and they cease settlement completely," he said, two days after presenting the application for Palestinian statehood and addressing the U.N. General Assembly in New York. more

Turkish newspaper prints names of Israeli soldiers involved in Mavi Marmara killings


Turkish newspaper Sabah has printed a list of 174 names of Israeli soldiers it says were involved in the Mavi Marmara massacre:
Agai Yehezkel, Aharon Haliwa, Alex Shakliar, Amir Ulo, Amir Abste, Amir Shimon Ashel, Anna Strelski, Anton Siomin, Aram Zehavi, Ariel Brickman, Ariel Karo, Ariel Rifkin, Ariel Yochanan, Arnon Avital, Assaf Bryt, Avi Balut, Avi Bnayahu, Avi Mizrakhi, Avi Peled, Aviad Perri, Aviel Siman, Avihay Wizman, Avihu Ben Zahar, Avishay Levi, Avishay Shasha, Aviv Edri, Aviv Kochavi, Aviv Mendelowitz, Baruch (Barry) Berlinsky, Basam Alian, Ben-Zion (Benzi) Gruver, Bnaya Sarel, Boaz Dabush, Boaz Rubin, Boris Schuster, Dado Bar- Kalifa, Dan Dolberg, Dan Harel, Daniel Kotler, David Shapira, David Slovozkoi, David Zini, Eden Atias, Eden Atias, Efraim Aviad Tehila, Efraim Avni, Eitan Ben-Gad, Elad Chachkis, Elad Itzik, Elad Shoshan, Elad Yakobson, Eli Fadida, Eli Yafe, Eliezer Shkedi, Elik Sror, Eran Karisi, Erez Sa'adon, Eyal Eizenberg, Eyal Handelman, Eyal Zukowsky, Gil Shen, Gur Rozenblat, Gur Schreibmann, Guy Givoni, Guy Hazut, Haggai Amar, Hanan Schwart, Harel Naaman, Hila Yafe, Ido Nechushtan, Ilan Malka, Itay Virob, Liran Nachman, Michelle Ben-Baruch, Miki Ohayon, Moshe Tamir, Nadav Musa, Nathan Be'eri, Nezah Rubin, Nimrod Schefer, Nir Ben-David, Nir Dupet, Nir Ohayon, Niv Samban, Noam Keshwisky, Ofek Gal, Ofer Lahad, Ofer Levi, Ofer Winter, Ofer Zafrir, Ofir Edri, Ohad Girhish, Ohad Najme, Omer Dori, Omri Dover, Or Nelkenbaum, Oren Bersano, Oren Cohen, Oren Kupitz, Oren Zini, Pinkhas Buchris, Raz Sarig, Ron Asherov, Ron Levinger, Ron Shirto, Ronen Dan, Ronen Dogmi, Roi Elkabetz, Roi Oppenheimer, Roi Weinberger, Sahar Abargel, Shai Belaich, Shaked Galin, Sharon Itach, Shaul Badusa, Shay Unger, Shimon Siso, Shiran Mussa, Shlomit Tako, Tal Alkobi, Tal Bendel, Tal Kommemi, Tal Ruso, Tamir Oren, Tamir Yadai, Tom Cohen, Tomer Meltzmann, Geva Rapp, Tslil Birbir, Udi Sagie, Uri Ron, Yair Keinan, Yair Palay, Ya'akov(Yaki) Dolf, Yaniv Zolicha, Yaron,Finkelman, Yaron Simsulo, Yehosua (Shuki) Ribak, Yehu Ofer, Yehuda Fuchs, Yehuda Hacohen, Yigal Slovik, Yigal Sudri, Yizhar Yona, Yoav Galant, Yoav Gertner, Yoav Mordechai, Yochai Siemann, Yochanan Locker, Yom-Tov Samia, Yonathan Barenski, Yonathan Felman, Yoni Weitzner, Yossi Abuzaglo, Yossi Bahar, Yossi Beidaz, Yotam Dadon, Yishai Ankri, Yishai Green, Yuval Halamish, Zion Bramli, Zion Shankour, Ziv Danieli, Ziv Trabelsi, Zuf Salomon, Zvi Fogel, Zvi Yehuda Kelner. more
Also, see story at Jerusalem Post

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Two more Gazans die in tunnel collapse as week's toll reaches five


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Two Palestinians were killed and three others injured on Saturday after a gas canister exploded in a smuggling tunnel in the southern Gaza Strip, medics said.

Nine people were in the tunnel at the time of the explosion and four were rescued unharmed, medical officials told Ma'an.

Five Palestinians have been killed in tunnel collapses in the last week. more

Tunisian aid convoy enters Gaza with humanitarian aid


Members of the Al Karama “Dignity” Tunisian Aid Convoy managed to enter the Gaza Strip on Saturday afternoon through the Rafah Border Terminal between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.

The convoy carries aid supplies and a number of Tunisian activists. It left Tunis via air ten days ago heading to Egypt.

The Al- Karama left the Carthage airport in Tunisia heading to Cairo on Saturday September 10th, heading to Gaza to deliver humanitarian aid to the besieged Gaza Strip.

The Egyptian Authorities refused to allow the convoy into Gaza, but on Saturday, September 24, Egypt allowed convoy members to enter the Gaza Strip while the donated cars and supplies will have to wait to more days before being transported to Gaza.

Sources in Gaza reported that convoy members will remain in Gaza for a few days and will leave after handing the donated vehicles and supplies to the designated humanitarian organizations. more

Friday, 23 September 2011

Gaza's children fly 194 kites for each member of the UN in support of Palestine state bid


Gaza - Palestinian children from the Gaza Strip on Thursday gave wing to 194 kites, each carrying the name of a member state in the United Nations General Assembly, in support for the Palestinian effort to seek statehood in New York.

The children from across the coastal enclave gathered on the beach of Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza Strip and flew the 194 kites. The last kite carried the name of the state of Palestine.

The schoolchildren were joining a trip to the beach organized by a group lobbying for the Palestinian bid at the UN.

Wearing t-shirts and waving Palestinian flags, each child held a kite, bearing the four colors of the Palestinian flag, red, white, black and green. The phrase, Palestine state number 194, was written on each kite.

The 12-year-old girl Arij said she came to join in supporting an independent Palestinian state established on the territories occupied by Israel in 1967, with east Jerusalem as its capital.

'I came here to send a message and tell the world, just one day before (President Mahmoud Abbas) addresses the speech and submits the request of recognition, that the Palestinian people and their children want to live in their independent state,' said the girl.

Civil Peace Service Gaza to restart monitoring of fishermen to deter and document attacks


Civil Peace Service Gaza will be holding a press conference about the relaunching of the Oliva scheduled for 24 September.

The Oliva's engine was damaged when the Israeli navy rammed the boat on 20 July. Since the attack disabled the boat, international observers have been unable to accompany Gazan fishermen.

The incident followed similar attacks on the Oliva during previous missions. Video footage is available: http://bit.ly/CPSGvideos.

Vera Macht, a German human rights worker, stated: "We won't be intimidated, and the Olivia will sail out again to document abuses until international law is respected by Israel in the sea of Gaza. Fishermen are harassed, attacked, arrested and even killed by Israeli armed forces, even within the imposed 3 nautical mile limit."

Media are invited to contact Civil Peace Service Gaza in advance to coordinate accompaniment on the Oliva's upcoming missions. Photos and video will be available upon request: email press@cpsgaza.org
more

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Hamas welcomes recognition support but reconciliation needed first, has borders and refugees fears


To discuss the decision of the Palestinian authority to ask for recognition of a Palestinian state at the United Nations, and the consequences of such a decision on a national and international level, euronews spoke to Mohammed Awad, Foreign Minister in the Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip.

Jamel Ezzedini, euronews: “Mr Awad, let’s begin with the position of Hamas, which refuses to go the United Nations to demand recognition of a Palestinian state. Why this refusal, and what are the guarantees that your organisation has brought to mind which the Palestinian authorites have missed?”

Mohammed Awad:

“Firstly I’d like to point out that it’s not a refusal, rather the clarification of a position. It’s the lot of the Palestinian people that’s being played with here.

We’re demanding that Palestine is a full member of the UN, and that also includes the position of the PLO and internal reconciliation. They are issues of the utmost importance for us and are central to the Palestinian cause. So to make a decision like that or take such a stance, you have to reassure yourself that all those questions have been taken into account.”

euronews: “International public opinion supports the establishment of a Palestinian state, so going to the security council to ask for recognition seems logical. And yet you say that recognition would mean abandoning the rights of the Palestinian people, and particularly the right of refugees to return. How do you explain that?”

Mohammed Awad:

“That’s a question for Mister Mahmoud Abbas. He’s the one who’s gone to seek recognition of a Palestinian state at the UN. He must explain to the Palestinian people how and why he took this decision so the people can take a position on it.

“We salute the efforts of all countries that support the Palestinian people and the idea of a Palestinian state and we encourage them to continue with that process.

“Concerning internal matters, we think that’s a question for Palestinians. We want to know with all certainty that joining the United Nations will not have any consequence on the right of refugees to return, so they can settle again in the historic Palestine, and not just in the framework of a Palestinian state.

euronews: “So you refuse the demand that the Palestinian Authority asks to be accepted as an observer member by the United Nations, without the same rights enjoyed by other members, in case the United States uses its veto in the vote?”

Mohammed Awad:

“We want to be a full member of the United Nations, and here on the ground we want a real Palestinian nation, not just a media event which could lose Palestinians their rights.” more

Gaza women march for UN bid in defiance of ban, Fatah leader addresses protest

(Women march in Gaza City in support of the Palestinian UN bid (MaanImages))

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Dozens of women marched in support of the Palestinian bid for UN membership on Thursday, in a rally jointly organized by the General Federation of Palestinian Women and political party FIDA.

The marchers called for wavering countries to take a position and support Palestinian rights, refusing Israeli and US pressure to nix the bid.

President Mahmoud Abbas is set to submit the application for Palestine to join the UN as 'State 194' on Friday, amid a flurry of diplomacy to allay a confrontation leading from Israeli and US opposition to the bid.

Member of the Fatah revolutionary council Amal Hamad addressed the march by reading a statement of support for the Palestinian leadership.

She condemned Obama’s speech rejecting the Palestinian UN proposal, and called for national unity and implementation of the May agreement signed by Hamas and Fatah in Cairo.

The deal sought to end four years of division of the Gaza Strip and West Bank governments, after Hamas ousted Fatah in Gaza as tensions between the feuding parties exploded into violence.

Implementation of the agreement has faltered as parties continue to joust over key tenets, including the position of prime minister in a unity government.

Abbas's Fatah party have championed the UN bid alongside other PLO factions while Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip and is not a member of the PLO, has expressed opposition.

"There is no mandate for any Palestinian leadership to infringe on Palestinian national rights, nor is there a mandate for any Palestinian actor to make historic concessions on Palestinian land or the right of the Palestinians, foremost among them the right of return," Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said on Sunday.

"Given this position, we reiterate our rejection of this bid," he added.

The Gaza government said it had banned demonstrations in favor of the initiative. more

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Obama rejects Palestinian statehood bid and backs Israeli occupiers instead


BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Palestinian officials and analysts were left disappointed by US President Barack Obama's speech to the United Nations on Wednesday, viewing the address as a clear indication of support for Israeli interests.

President Obama rejected Palestinian plans to seek a UN blessing for statehood and urged a return to peace talks with Israel.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the Palestinian presidential spokesman, responded to Obama's speech by saying the Palestinians are ready for negotiations with Israel as long as it halts illegal settlement building and agrees to 1967 borders.

Ahmed Yousef, a deputy in the Hamas Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that Obama is trying to avoid the UN bid and his statements offered nothing new.

He told Ma'an that the speech showed clear bias towards Israel and was an attempt to run away from the UN bid in an effort to avoid embarrassment for the United States.

There is no use in continuing with negotiations if the US can not put enough pressure on Israel to stop illegal settlement activity in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, he added. more

Abbas may submit 'request' but no vote on statehood as he buckles under pressure from West


Abbas caves in to US and European pressure?
International efforts to forestall a showdown in the UN security council over the declaration of a Palestinian state are solidifying around a plan for the Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, to submit a request for recognition but for a vote on the issue to be put on hold while a new round of peace talks is launched.

The deal is being pushed by the Middle East "Quartet" of the UN, EU, US and Russia, which is attempting to persuade Abbas to back away from a diplomatic confrontation with Washington, which says it will veto the Palestinian bid.

The US president Barack Obama is expected to meet the Palestinian leader at the UN on Wednesday as Abbas comes under intense pressure from the US and Europe to compromise.

Diplomats said the proposed compromise would see Abbas submit his letter to the security council, which would then defer action. In parallel, the Quartet would issue the framework for renewed negotiations that would include a timeline for the birth of a Palestinian state.

The deal is intended to permit Abbas to follow through on his commitment to Palestinians to seek recognition for an independent state at the security council, a pledge he could not abandon entirely without considerable damage to his already battered leadership. more

Two teenagers die from injuries sustained during Gaza tunnel collapse on Monday


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Two Palestinian teenagers have died from injuries sustained when a smuggling tunnel under Gaza's border with Egypt collapsed on Monday, medics said.

Ashraf Al-Qarra, 17, died on Monday afternoon and Haytham Abu Radwan, also 17, died on Tuesday morning, the ambulance and emergencies committee in Gaza said in a statement.

The teenagers were injured when a gas canister exploded in the tunnel they were in. more

Jewish activist who heckled Netanyahu at US Congress sues guards who attacked and injured her

(pic: Rachel Abileah in the hospital after being injured at her protest - image by Al-Manar)

IMEMC - A Jewish human rights activist who stood up to challenge the Israeli Prime Minister's address to the US Congress this spring and call for equal rights for Palestinians has filed charges against four security officers who she says tackled and injured her.

Rachel Abileah, a California-based human rights activist and organizer with CodePink for Peace, is seeking $500,000 in compensatory damages and $500,000 in punitive damages for assault, battery and false imprisonment.

During Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's speech to the US Congress, Abileah stood up and began shouting "End the Occupation! Equal Rights for Palestinians!". She had been allowed into the talk as a guest of a member of Congress, because she had been attending the American Israel Public Affairs Committee convention.

Four security guards jumped on Abileah and tried to gag her, to stop any further outburst. She alleges that the guards snapped her neck back, injuring it, then pushed and pulled her in an attempt to remove her from the premises.

She told reporters that the incident "caused her to suffer severe emotional distress, including trouble sleeping, nightmares, a heightened emotional state, increased stress, fear and anxiety, especially when around large groups of people."

Abileah filed her lawsuit against the officers in DC Circuit Court. more

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

British conservative MPs get free trips to Middle East paid for by Israeli foreign office


From The Electronic Intifada

Could the Israeli government be buying favors from British members of parliament (MPs)?

I spent some time today wading through the register of financial interests for MPs from the Conservatives, the party of prime minister David Cameron. These showed that a number of them took part in a trip to the Middle East in early summer that was funded by Israel’s foreign ministry.

Declarations made by Chloe Smith, Aidan Burley, James Morris and Neil Parish cite estimates that the cost of their visit from 29 May to 3 June amounted to £1,548 ($2,429) each. They report that £574 of that sum came from the Israeli foreign ministry and the remaining £974 from an internal party group called Conservative Friends of Israel.

It is striking that the trip occurred at a time when Britain was in the process of changing its law on universal jurisdiction (the principle that a country may prosecute grave human rights abuses irrespective of where they occur) at the behest of Israel. In 2009, Tzipi Livni, Israel’s ex-foreign minister, chickened out of a trip to London because some political activists had sought a warrant for her arrest over Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s murderous assault on Gaza. Under a revised law that entered into force last week, new bureaucratic obstacles have been placed in the way of apprehending war criminals on British soil.

The Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI), which organized the MPs’ trip, has been working diligently to have the universal jurisdiction law watered down to the liking of Israel’s politicians. And it is hard to believe that the fate of the new bill wasn’t discussed during the visit. more

Israeli forces fire on Arub refugee camp, clash with Beit Ummar villagers


AL-KHALIL, (PIC)-- Israeli occupation forces (IOF) fired at Palestinian citizens in Arub refugee camp in Al-Khalil and at Beit Ummar village to the north of the city on Tuesday, local sources reported.

They said that young men at the entrance to the refugee camp threw stones at the invading troops.

In the village, the IOF soldiers occupied a house that is under construction at a late night hour on Monday prompting clashes with neighbors and civilians in the vicinity. more

Palestinian and international activists launch campaign to monitor escalating settler attacks


NABI SALEH (AFP) -- Palestinian and international activists on Monday launched a campaign to monitor what they said are growing attacks on Palestinians and their property by Israeli settlers.

The campaign, launched by activists from the grassroots Palestinian Popular Committees, would see a group of volunteers documenting attacks by Jewish settlers, spokesman Jonathan Pollak told AFP.

"The idea is that groups of volunteers -- initially four -- will be on call, ready to quickly respond," Pollak said.

They would record evidence of any attacks or vandalism and make their footage and reporting available to media and rights groups, he said.

The campaign was launched after a recent surge in attacks following the Israeli army's demolition of homes in illegal settlement outposts and rising tension over the Palestinian bid for full UN membership.

In the past 10 days, mosques, cars and agricultural land have been vandalised in at least nine separate incidents blamed on Jewish settlers. more

Monday, 19 September 2011

'Irvine 11' trial shows US persecuting Muslim students for organising non-violent protest


An important trial is taking place today in the US. Eleven students face jailtime for organising a non-violent protest against an Israeli official. Electronic Intifada has the backstory here.
As The Electronic Intifada has reported, the students — all of them Muslim — interrupted a speech at UC Irvine given by Israeli ambassador Michael Oren in which he defended Israel’s attacks on Gaza in the winter of 2008-09. Approximately 1,400 Palestinians, including several hundred children, were killed in the 22-day assault on Gaza. During Oren’s speech, the students stood up one by one and directly confronted his defense of Israeli policies in Gaza and called him a war criminal.

Following their protest, the Orange County District Attorney’s (OCDA) office launched an unprecedented series of investigations against the students and is seeking criminal charges against them on two misdemeanor counts — each holding a maximum prison sentence of one year. more
Follow @intifadaLive on Twitter on the latest from the court room.

US Students for Justice in Palestine to hold first national conference this October


From Mondoweiss

Please support the first Students for Justice in Palestine national conference. This kind of campus organizing is vital, and these students need your financial support to make the conference a reality.

by TANYA KEILANI

As a daughter of Palestinian refugees waiting to return to their birthplaces for 63 years – and as a student activist – I have seen real changes in the landscape of campus debate and rhetoric when it comes to Palestinian rights.

Having spent the years of my undergraduate and graduate education as an organizer in student groups for Palestine, I can tell you that our membership has expanded to include people not traditionally involved in Palestine solidarity activism, that the number of Students for Justice in Palestine chapters nationwide has increased and that communication between these groups has grown accordingly.

The impact of these changes will be made all the more tangible this fall. After months of planning, members of SJP chapters from across the US will meet in New York City for an unprecedented event: the first ever National SJP Conference. We aim to emerge from this conference with a more fully developed student movement.

The time could not be more appropriate to build upon our new-found unity and strength. Our student movement continues to gain ground alongside the international BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement despite efforts by powerful institutions and organizations that work to stifle open debate and the free exchange of ideas both internationally and at the university.

In that spirit, this conference will provide a forum in which students can collaboratively develop the tools to defend their right to express their views on campus through workshops geared toward educational and political development, skill sharing, campaign building and strengthening our movement. Speakers will include high-profile academics and practitioners who will share their experience and their thoughts about how solidarity works and how students can best identify and address the injustices faced by the Palestinians.

Growing up, I recall my parents warning me not to tell people that I was Palestinian. If anyone asked, I was Jordanian. But everything told me I was from Palestine – my mother’s narratives of her family’s pre-1967 visit to her father’s farmland (also her birthplace) in what is now Israel (after ‘67 Israel made it impossible for us to visit this now-colonized land), old family photographs, my father’s expertise at making Nabulsi knafeh, and of course, that fact that half of my family still lives on the land.

Today, I’m no longer afraid of celebrating the identity of my family or defending their right to live with sovereignty on the lands in which they were born for fear of persecution. I am grateful for the work of generations of activists whose efforts have brought greater attention to the question of Palestine. Now in my adulthood, I know I’m not alone.

As a student in 2011, I can speak to the diversity of our movement. We are not all Palestinian, but we all are committed to justice. Multiple inspirations guide our commitment: those working for immigrant rights see the Palestinian refugee crisis reflected in their own struggles; ex-military know the horrors of war and occupation firsthand; young Jews and Israelis understand that Judaism and Zionism are not synonymous and are unwilling to have atrocities committed in their name; Americans refuse to contribute billions of their tax dollars to fund occupation; and those from previously colonized countries acknowledge that colonialism is alive and well and that it is their moral responsibility to oppose all forms of colonialism.

SJP members do their work fully aware that the opposition is funded, staffed and trained. We've seen fellow students receive paid fellowships to represent the Israeli state on our campuses and the Israeli government has funded groups and IDF soldiers to tour US schools in order to sway students their way. But even as SJP members scramble to make ends meet financially and lack externally-published handbooks telling us how to conduct campus activism (ADL, AIPAC, WUJS, etc.), Zionist groups are no match for us.

The national conference is a huge undertaking for all of us, and we hope you will all find the time to invest in those who are investing in our futures. Our student groups lack resources and funds; so, we need your help to bring students to the conference and to help cover the expenses that an event like this requires. We are reaching out to you, our allies, to help make this conference a reality. The more you help us raise, the more we are able to help students pay for their travel and to ensure that their conference experience is as accommodating and powerful as we envision.

Please click here to make a tax-deductible donation.

If you would like to attend the conference or read more about it, see our website.

Don't forget to visit our Facebook page and pass this information on to any and all in the Palestine solidarity community.

Tanya Keilani is a member of Columbia University Students for Justice in Palestine and the National SJP Conference Organizing Committee.
Thanks to Mondoweiss

Israel to build 10 new settlements in the Negev after displacing 10,000 Bedouin


The Israeli government is planning to approve a new project that aims at building 10 new Jewish-only settlements in the Negev, by displacing thousands of Bedouins from the area.

The project was described as the largest in recent years, and was formulated by the office of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Ministry of Housing.

The plan also calls for establishing suburban settlements in Arad area in the Negev, the Arabs48 news website reported.

Green parties and environmental groups in Israel protested the plan, and said that existing settlements in the Negev should be expanded instead of conducting new constructions.

The plan is said to include a project that aims at moving military bases from the center of the country to the Negev, and constructing houses for regular soldiers and their families.

The Arabs48 added that the project will be submitted for approval in the coming few weeks, and that the 10 new settlements would include nearly 1500 units, including units in Heran and Yateer settlements that were previously approved as part of the new “structural and development” plan in the Negev.

Last week, the Israeli government approved a plan to evacuate 30.000 Bedouins living in “unrecognized villages” in the Negev by relocating most them to other existing villages such as Rahat, Kaseefa and Houra.

Israel is also planning to evacuate the Arab village of Um Al Heran in the Negev, in order to construct the Heran Jewish settlements in its place.

There are 40 “unrecognized villages” in the Negev, inhibited by more than 75.000 persons, the Arabs48 said.

With the adoption of the Israeli "Planning and Construction Law" in 1965, Israel refused to recognize the existence 45 Arab-Bedouin villages in the Negev.

The majority of the villages existed at the time of the creation of Israel in 1948 and some were established in the early 1960’s when Israel evacuated Bedouins from northern Negev to the south of Beersheba.

On Sunday, September 11, Israeli cabinet ministers approved a plan based on the “Prawer Report”, involving the forced removal of 30.000 Arab Bedouin villages in the Negev. more

Three missing and two injured after second Gaza tunnel accident in two days


Gaza Strip, (Pal Telegraph)-Two Palestinians were injured and three remained missing on Monday when a cooking gas cylinder exploded inside a smuggling tunnel beneath Gaza-Egypt borders, according to local sources.

Medical sources confirmed that two Palestinians were moved to the hospital to receive medical treatment due to injuries and burns sustained their bodies.

Medical teams continued searching for the three missing Palestinians.

The ambulance and emergencies committee in Gaza Strip announced yesterday the death of One Palestinian identified as Jihad Irbati after a smuggling tunnel collapsed over him.

Hundreds of Palestinians were injured or killed in similar tunnel accidents since Israeli occupation has imposed a suffocated siege for more than five years. more

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Palestinian youth dies in Rafah tunnel collapse bringing death toll since siege to 160


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A young Palestinian was killed and another injured on Sunday morning, after a tunnel under Gaza's border with the Egyptian city of Rafah collapsed.

The Ambulance and Emergencies Committee in Gaza identified the deceased as Jihad Irbati.

Egyptian security officials said in early September they were cracking down on the network of tunnels used by smugglers from the coastal strip, but smugglers say the trade is booming.

Medics say over 160 Palestinians have died in the network of underground tunnels since Israel imposed a siege on the Gaza Strip in 2006. more

Hamas rejects UN statehood bid fearing Fatah is making concessions on national rights


Hamas supports the formation of an independent Palestinian state that does not recognize Israel's existence and which does not concede "one inch" of historical Palestine, Hamas' Gaza leader said on Sunday.

Last week, Hamas voiced its objection to an upcoming Palestinian bid to gain recognition at the United Nations, saying that such an effort infringes on the Palestinian refugees' right of return.

The move was not based on principles and "Hamas and other factions are not part of this step and do not support it," Salah al-Bardaweel, a senior Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, told a workshop in Gaza City.

Speaking to the Palestinian legislative council in Gaza, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh was quoted by the French news agency AFP as reiterating his movement's opposition to the Palestinian Authority move at the UN, adding however that Hamas would support an independent Palestine on only part of what it considered to be "historic Palestine" if that state would adhere to core Hamas principles.

"We repeat today that we are with the establishment of a Palestinian state on any liberated part of Palestinian land that is agreed upon by the Palestinian people, without recognizing Israel or conceding any inch of historical Palestine,” Haniyeh was quoted by AFP as saying.

Elaborating on the main objection to the PA-led bid at the UN, Haniyeh reiterated the Hamas position that there could be "no mandate for any Palestinian leadership to infringe on Palestinian national rights, nor is there a mandate for any Palestinian actor to make historic concessions on Palestinian land or the right of the Palestinians, foremost among them the right of return."

“Given this position, we reiterate our rejection of this bid,” he added, saying, however, that Hamas would “not place obstacles in the way of the establishment of a Palestinian state with full sovereignty.” more

Friday, 16 September 2011

Israeli navy campaign against Gaza fishermen sees 61 attacks this year says rights group


The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns ongoing Israeli attacks targeting Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip, and expresses grave concern regarding the escalation of these attacks in recent days. This escalation has resulted in the injury and arrest of a number of fishermen, and the confiscation of a number of fishing boats. Detained fishermen were questioned, pressured to provide security information and collaborate with Israeli forces, and subject to cruel and degrading treatment.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 06:15 on Sunday, 11 September 2011, two Israeli gunboats stationed opposite to al-Waha Resort, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, surrounded two Palestinian boats. There were eight fishermen, including two boys, on board the two boats. The gunboats opened fire on the two Palestinian boats. As a result, two fishermen were wounded by shrapnel. Israeli naval forces arrested the eight fishermen after forcing them to take their clothes off and jump into water, confiscated their boats and sailed to Ashdod Port in Israel. Hassan Khader Hassan Baker, 53; and his sons Khader, 29; Ja'far, 27; and Mohammed, 21; and 'Allam Naser Fadel Baker, 16, were on the first boat. Khalil Jawher Khalil Baker, 21; Mohammed Majed Fadel Baker, 19; and Mohammed Suheil Fadel Baker, 17 were on the second.

At approximately 18:00 on the same day, Israeli forces released 'Allam Naser Baker; Mohammed Majed Baker; and Mohammed Suheil Baker, who was wounded by shrapnel in the right thigh during his arrest. They were released via Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing. Approximately 3 hours later, Israeli forces released Hassan Khader Baker, who was wounded by shrapnel in his left hand during his arrest, and his sons Ja'far, Mohammed and Khader; Khalil Jawhar Baker via Beit Hanoun (Erez) after they were questioned regarding their work. In his testimony to PCHR, a released fisherman stated that Israeli forces blindfolded the fishermen when transporting them to Ashdod Port and handcuffed them all with iron chains. He added that after four hours of waiting under cruel conditions, they were subjected to questioning and that interrogators offered them money in order to collaborate with the Israeli Internal Security Service (Shin Bet).

At approximately 07:15, on 13 September 2011, Israeli gunboats sailing opposite to al-Sudaniya coast, west of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian boats. The Palestinian fishermen were able to escape in great fear of being arrested or wounded.

The Israeli attacks against the Palestinian fishermen and their property have increased since the beginning of this year and there has been a dramatic rise in the number and form of attacks. Since the beginning of the year, PCHR has documented 61 attacks against fishermen at sea in the Gaza Strip. PCHR has also documented 38 cases of shooting, including five that resulted in injury to eight fishermen; five cases involving chasing fishermen that resulted in arrest of 18 fishermen; and 19 cases that led to the confiscation and damage to boats and fishing tools. more

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Palestinian statehood bid to be submitted to UN security council on 23 September


Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said Thursday that the Palestinians will submit a bid for full membership at the United Nations Security Council on September 23, but said that they would be open to other suggestions.

The remarks by Malki put an end to speculation that the Palestinians might avoid a showdown with the United States by sidestepping the Security Council and going directly to the UN General Assembly to seek a lesser status of a non-member observer.

Malki said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will personally submit the Palestinian request for membership to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon after addressing the General Assembly on the afternoon of Sept. 23. In the meantime, he said the Palestinians would listen to suggested alternatives.

"We will see if anyone carries with him or her any credible offer that will allow us to look into it seriously and to be discussed in the Palestinian leadership. Otherwise, on the 23rd at 12:30, the president will submit the application," Malki told foreign journalists in Ramallah. more

Israel evacuates its Jordanian embassy ahead of 'million-man march' against peace treaty


JERUSALEM — Nearly all the staff have been cleared out of the Israeli embassy in the Jordanian capital ahead of an anti-Israel protest in Amman on Thursday, for fear the mission could be attacked like the Israeli embassy in Cairo was last week, Israeli newspapers and radio stations reported.

A convoy transporting the Israeli diplomats left Jordan for Israel overnight, the Haaretz newspaper said.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry wouldn't comment on the reports, other than to say that embassy personnel generally leave Jordan on Thursdays ahead of the Muslim weekend. It said a duty representative remained on call in Amman, as is routine procedure.

Activists in Jordan have called for a "million-man march" against the Israeli mission, part of a rising tide of anti-Israel protests there and in Egypt, the two Arab countries that have made peace with the Jewish state.

The Jordanian protesters – led by leftists, labor unions and Islamists – are expected to start gathering near the embassy by 1400 GMT. Their demands include the embassy's closure, expulsion of the ambassador from Jordan and the annulment of the 1994 peace treaty with Israel. more

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

UN Human Rights Council experts reject Palmer report, says Gaza blockade illegal


(Reuters) - Israel's naval blockade of the Gaza Strip violates international law, a panel of human rights experts reporting to a U.N. body said on Tuesday, disputing a conclusion reached by a separate U.N. probe into Israel's raid on a Gaza-bound aid ship.

The so-called Palmer Report on the Israeli raid of May 2010 that killed nine Turkish activists said earlier this month that Israel had used unreasonable force in last year's raid, but its naval blockade of the Hamas-ruled strip was legal.

A panel of five independent U.N. rights experts reporting to the U.N. Human Rights Council rejected that conclusion, saying the blockade had subjected Gazans to collective punishment in "flagrant contravention of international human rights and humanitarian law."

The four-year blockade deprived 1.6 million Palestinians living in the enclave of fundamental rights, they said.

"In pronouncing itself on the legality of the naval blockade, the Palmer Report does not recognize the naval blockade as an integral part of Israel's closure policy toward Gaza which has a disproportionate impact on the human rights of civilians," they said in a joint statement.

An earlier fact-finding mission named by the same U.N. forum to investigate the flotilla incident also found in a report last September that the blockade violated international law. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says the blockade violates the Geneva Conventions. more

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Turkey steps up pressure on Israel with appeal to Arab League to back Palestinian statehood at UN


CAIRO — Capitalizing on Turkey’s growing stature and influence across the Middle East at a time of regional upheaval, its prime minister ramped up the pressure on Israel and the United States on Tuesday, telling Arab League ministers they must vote for Palestinian statehood at the United Nations this month.

“Recognition of the Palestinian state is the only correct way,” the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said in a speech to members of Arab League in Cairo on the second day of his so-called “Arab Spring” tour. “It is not a choice but an obligation.”

Mr. Erdogan’s support of Palestinian statehood was certainly no surprise. But the commanding tone of his message, coupled with his increasingly hostile attitude toward Israel — which once considered Turkey its close friend — underscored how Turkey has now cast itself as a leader in the region. more

Monday, 12 September 2011

California exhibition of war art by Gaza children cancelled as 'not appropriate'

(Middle East Children's Alliance staff members Ziad Abbas, Leena Al-Arian (center) and Barbara Lubin look over artwork. pic: Noah Berger / Special to San Francisco Chronicle)

An exhibition of drawings and paintings created by Palestinian children scheduled to open Sept 24 at Oakland's Museum of Children's Art has been canceled.

The show, which was to run until Nov. 13, included harrowing images of bloodshed and loss during the Israeli bombing of Gaza, known as Operation Cast Lead, which began in 2008. In one drawing, a little girl with a bandage on her head stares out from behind prison bars. In another, tanks roll through a burning town as women wail and children weep.

These and other artwork created by Palestinian children ages 6-14 were to have been included in "A Child's View of Gaza," which was to open with a day of cartooning workshops and poetry readings.

Hilmon Sorey, chairman of MOCHA's board of directors wrote in a statement that while the museum supports art that fosters "insight and understanding," an exhibit of art about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was "not appropriate for an open gallery accessible by all children."

The museum has previously shown art created by children during conflict, including images depicting the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

And it hasn't shied away from exploring violence in Oakland. But Sorey said in an interview that the board felt the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is too divisive an issue.

"This wasn't something we felt as a board that the organization could responsibly exhibit," he said. The museum has no guidelines or policy on what it deems
appropriate for exhibition. Almost all artwork shown at MOCHA is by children.

Sorey also said that some community members had raised concerns about the exhibit but would not elaborate further.

The decision to cancel the show, reached at a museum board meeting just two weeks before the exhibition's opening, has left organizers stunned.

"I was sad. Shocked," said Susan Johnson when she learned the exhibit had been shelved. more

Big majority of public in Germany, France and UK support Palestine state UN bid


The majority of citizens in Germany, France, and the U.K. support the planned Palestinian statehood bid in the United Nations, a new poll indicated on Monday.

A new opinion poll published Monday shows that a majority of people in Germany, France and Britain – three countries that are critical votes in the battle over the Palestinian bid for statehood – all want their leaders to vote in favor of a UN resolution to support recognition of a Palestinian state when it's discussed in New York.

The survey, which was carried out online by YouGov in Britain and Germany, and Ifop in France, on behalf of the global political web movement Avaaz - which is conducting an online petition in support of a Palestinian state - shows that in Germany 84% supported Palestinian statehood and 76% believed Germany should act now to recognize; in the U.K. the figures were 71% and 59%; and in France the figures were 82% and 69% respectively.

Ricken Patel, Executive Director of Avaaz, said in a statement: "The overwhelming majority of the British public have spoken - now David Cameron must listen." more

IDF raid by special unit ends in kidnap of five Gazan youths


Gaza Strip, (Pal Telegraph)-An Israeli special unit abducted yesterday evening five Palestinian boys from an area in the north of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip.

Witnesses told local sources that members of the unit infiltrated through Sriag gate amid intensive and indiscriminate fire at civilians' houses, abducted the boys, and took them to unknown locations.

Witnesses added that the incursion caused a state of panic among civilians in fear of being hurt by Israeli fire.

Israeli army didn’t provide any explanation about the incident. more

Israel clamping down on right to protest on West Bank as UN statehood vote nears


From B'Tselem, the Palestinian and Israeli human rights group -

A-Nabi Saleh is a Palestinian village in the West Bank, north of Ramallah. For for more than eighteen months now, every Friday, its residents have demonstrated against settlers seizing nearby land that belongs to Palestinians. The Friday processions held in the village have become one of the main sites of weekly protest in the West Bank in recent years.

In their handling of the protests in a-Nabi Saleh, Israel’s security forces have infringed the rights of the Palestinian demonstrators in three fundamental ways, as follows:

Violation of the right to demonstrate

B'Tselem's documentation indicates that Israel does not recognize the right of a-Nabi Saleh’s residents to demonstrate. Israeli security forces prohibit the demonstrators from reaching the site that is the subject of the demonstration – al-Qawas Spring and the land around it – and prevent the procession from exiting the village towards the spring. Also, the army declares the demonstration illegal at the outset, sometimes even before the procession begins. The army also issues an order declaring the entire village a closed military area every Friday, and blocks the roads leading to it. As a result, persons from outside the village are unable to exercise their right to join in the demonstration.

Excessive use of means for dispersing demonstrations

The security forces’ use of means to disperse the demonstrations is excessive and occurs even when the demonstrators are nonviolent and pose no threat. The forces fire enormous quantities of tear gas inside the built-up area of the village, which is home to hundreds of persons. In one demonstration, at least 150 tear-gas canisters were fired. In another demonstration, security forces hurled tear gas canisters at a procession of children in costumes who were flying kites. At times, the tear gas canisters are fired directly at the demonstrators, endangering their lives. Also, security forces throw stun grenades almost without limitation at children and adults alike, to disperse them, even when they pose no threat whatsoever.

Harm to the civilian population

The army and the Border Police invest a great amount of resources in dispersing these regular demonstrations, in which several dozen people participate. These resources include the deployment of forces at the main intersection of the village, and the vast quantities of means to disperse demonstrations. Handling of the demonstrations in this manner is disproportionate. It intimidates hundreds of villagers and forces them to remain in their houses for many hours, making it impossible for them to lead a normal life. The massive amounts of tear gas fired penetrate the houses close to the main intersection in the village, and the occupants are unable to escape.

Also, the restrictions on movement in the area every Friday create difficulties for residents of all the nearby villages.

In advance of the expected declaration of a Palestinian state on 20 September 2011, Israel's defense establishment is preparing to cope with wide-scale demonstrations in the West Bank. As part of the preparations, the security forces must recognize Palestinians' right to demonstrate, and must allow them to protest against infringement of their rights. The decision to disperse a demonstration must be made only after the relevant authorities have properly balanced the right to demonstrate against other relevant interests, as is done in the case of demonstrations held inside Israel. In any event, means for dispersing demonstrations must not be used in a way that injures persons or punishes all residents of the village. more

30,000 Bedouin Arabs in Negev desert to face 'forceful evacuation' by Israel


JERUSALEM (AFP) -- The Israeli government on Sunday gave the go-ahead to a plan it said would improve the lot of Bedouin Arabs in the Negev desert, but rights groups complained it would uproot thousands forcefully.

A statement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said that the 1.2 billion shekel [$324 million] programme was meant to help Bedouins integrate with other Israelis.

"The plan is also designed to significantly reduce the economic and social gaps between the Bedouin population in the Negev and Israeli society as a whole," it said.

Around 160,000 Bedouins live in Israel, more than half of whom live in unrecognized villages in the Negev without municipal services like water and electricity. Many of the remainder also live in extreme poverty...

...The Association for Civil Rights in Israel and Binkom, which advocates fair planning policies, said the Bedouins had not been consulted by the government.

A joint statement said that Sunday's cabinet ruling "authorizes the uprooting of 30,000 Bedouin from their homes and allows for the continued discrimination and neglect of the Bedouin communities of the Negev."


The Israel office of Britain-based Amnesty International said the plan "includes the forceful evacuation of thousands of Bedouins from their homes," and called it "a significant blow to the Bedouins' right to adequate accommodation." more

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Tunisian aid convoy Karama (Dignity) to enter Gaza through Rafah with medical supplies


TUNISIA, (PIC)-- The Tunisian aid convoy Karama (dignity) left Carthage airport for Cairo on Saturday afternoon to deliver symbolic humanitarian assistance to the besieged Gaza Strip.

The Tunisian official media said the convoy would enter Gaza through Rafah border crossing carrying medical supplies unavailable in the Strip.

Massive crowds waving Palestinian and Tunisian flags bid farewell to five Tunisian young people and two jurists, members of this aid convoy, on Saturday.

The crowds chanted slogans against the Israeli occupation and its crimes against the Palestinian people especially the blockade on Gaza. more

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Egypt's 'correcting the path' protests culminate in storming of Israeli embassy, cabinet may resign


Egypt's first post-revolution Prime Minister Essam Sharaf is likely to tender the resignation of his Cabinet to the Surpreme Military Council later today Saturday, sources close to the cabinet told Åhram Online.
This is to be discussed during the crises ministerial meeting called on by the Prine Minister the early hours of Saturday.

According to the source, the cabinet is considering resignation due to their failure in handling Friday Sept 9, protests.

Friday night, some protesters managed to break into one of the floors of the building occupied by the Israeli Embassy, seizing hundreds of documents. Earlier protesters had managed to partially destroy a high concerete wall which had been completed a week earlier to protect the embassy against protesters. They also succeeded to bring down, for the second time, the Israeli flag which had been rehoisted on top of the high rise apartment building housing the embassy.

Fierce clashes with the police, which resulted in nearly a thousand injured and two dead, led to the torturing of the Giza police station close to the Israeli Embassy was set on fire. more

Friday, 9 September 2011

Turkey confirms it will provide naval escort for Gaza aid ships


Istanbul (CNN) -- Turkey's prime minister says the country will follow aid ships to Gaza in an effort to stop incidents like last year's raid by Israeli commandos that killed eight Turks and one Turkish-American.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Al Jazeera television network Thursday that "Turkish warships are primarily responsible to protect our ships that carry humanitarian aid to Gaza. From now on, we will not allow these ships to be subjected to attacks from Israel similar to what happened with the Freedom Flotilla. ... Israel will be answered appropriately." more

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Trial of defendants in kidnap and murder of international activist Vittorio Arrigoni begins in Gaza


The trial of four surviving defendants in the April 14 kidnapping and murder of Italian journalist and International Solidarity Movement activist Vittorio Arrigoni began today in a Gaza military court.

The hearing, which began at 10:30 am, was open to the public. Two International Solidarity Movement members, along with a number of Vittorio’s Palestinian and international friends, observed it.

It was held in a light, airy hall in Gaza’s military court compound. The four defendants, Abu Ghoul, age 25, Khader Jram, age 26, Mohammed Salfi, age 23, and Hasanah Tarek, age 25, appeared to be in good health, occasionally smiling or waving to family in the courtroom.

Proceedings began with a request by attorneys from the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), which holds power of attorney for Vittorio’s family in Bulciago, Italy, that they be allowed to participate in the trial.

Military judge Abu Omar Atallah responded that while Palestinian military law does not allow for participation in criminal trials by third parties, hearings and legal files would be available to PCHR as well as the public.

After the PCHR attorneys moved their chairs from the front of the courtroom back into the public seating, prosecutors attempted to introduce the video contents of a compact disk, as well as a forensic report on the crime scene, as evidence.

The defense counsel responded that the prosecution had not yet made these materials available to them, and that they would need time to review them before deciding on their legal strategy.

Prosecutors also asked that testimony from their witnesses be postponed to allow them further time to prepare. The defense counsel objected, noting that testimony had been scheduled to begin today.

Taking these positions into account, Atallah opted to allow time for the preparation of witnesses by the prosecution, and the review of evidence by the defense. Before adjourning the court at 11:30 am, he scheduled its next hearing for Thursday, September 22. more

Soldiers and settlers invade Hebron destroying farmland and defacing mosque with racist grafitti


Israeli soldiers invaded on Thursday morning the city of Nablus, in the northern part of the West Bank, and demolished three wells while army bulldozers uprooted farmlands in the Nablus district. Armed Israeli settler also wrote graffiti on a local mosque.

Ghassan Douglas, in charge of the settlements file at the Palestinian Authority in the northern part of the West Bank, stated that the army is conducting several invasions in the West Bank, especially in Nablus.

He told the Quds Net online daily that this campaign is taking place while the settlers attacked several villages and towns near Nablus, and wrote racist graffiti on the walls of a mosque in Yitma village.

Also, soldiers demolished three wells in An-Nassariyya area in Nablus, and bulldozed dozens of Dunams of farmlands.

The settlers also torched two Palestinian cars that were parked at the main entrance of Qablan town, near Nablus, and uprooted dozens of trees in Huwwara town. more

Gaza Islamic Jihad member killed in Israeli drone strike on car


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A member of Islamic Jihad's military wing was killed late Wednesday in an explosion west of Deir Al-Balah, medics said, in what militants described as an airstrike but Israel's army denied.

Al-Quds Brigades spokesman Abu Ahmad said an airstrike on a car west of Deir Al-Balah killed Remah Fayez Al-Husseni, 28, a member of the group from Shati refugee camp. more

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Farmers and fishermen march on Gaza UN HQ to protest Palmer report whitewash

(pic: MEMO exclusive)

A demonstration attended by farmers and fishermen from the Federation of Agricultural Workers and held under the auspices of the Union of Civil Organisations has marched on the UN headquarters in Gaza.

The demonstrators sought to express their bitter condemnation of the UN’s recently released Palmer Report which sanctions and legitimises the siege on Gaza while providing a pretext for the Israeli Occupation to continue its five year blockade and closures. During this period, the people of Gaza have suffered serious shortages in the basic necessities of life as well as shortages in medical equipment and severe restrictions on the movement of people and goods across the borders.

As such, this report has been seen as an affront to the massive international efforts to bring the siege to an including the international solidarity efforts, convoys, European parliamentary delegations that have come to Gaza and witnessed the destruction and the effects of the siege first hand. more

Today we planted in Gaza's buffer zone - the zone of death


From the International Solidarity Movement

Today, like every Tuesday in Beit Hanoun, we marched into the buffer zone to protest it and the illegal Israeli occupation. In many ways it was the same as every Tuesday. We gathered at the Agricultural College, we marched down the road that leads to the buffer zone, we sang, and we chanted.

What was different this week?

The demonstration was bigger than it has been in a long time, Ramadan is over, and the people are newly energized. Also people were more afraid than they had been in a long time. Israel has just finished its latest round of heavy violence on Gaza. We were worried that Israel would fire on us, we are always afraid of this.

Israel often shoots at us when we go to the buffer zone, and this week we marched with the recent attacks fresh on our minds as we stopped fifty meters from reaching the wall.

Something else was different though.

When we reached the buffer zone it was newly plowed. If you didn’t know better you might have thought that the buffer zone, the zone of death, had disappeared and that farmers had been to their land and readied it for planting.

This wasn’t true though. The buffer zone is still there. The land had been bulldozed by Israel, not to prepare it for planting but instead to make sure that nothing lives in the buffer zone. Neither plants nor people indigenous to the land were allowed to grow here.

We went to the buffer zone to bring life to it, so that people will not forget that their land and history is still living. We went to the buffer zone to remind the world that this strip of death is not natural, the land now called the buffer zone used to be a thriving place of agriculture, people lived there, children played there.

The land was newly bulldozed, but sadly we did not have olive trees with us to plant upon the land, so we planted what we had, a Palestinian flag. more

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Airstrike east of Khan Younis kills senior Popular Resistance Committees leader, three wounded


A senior member of the Salah Ed-Deen Brigade was killed, and an elderly man and two of his sons, were injured, in an Israeli airstrike near Kissufim crossing, east of the Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, the Maan News Agency reported.

“An Israeli drone fired a missile at a group of citizens east of Khan Younis, one resident was killed, and an elder man and two of his sons were injured” Gaza medical spokesman , Adham Abu Salmiya,stated, “the wounded were transferred to Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis.”

The Nasser Salah Ed-Deen Brigades, the armed wing of Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), stated that Khaled Samhoud, 23 years old, one of its senior fighters, was killed in the Israeli bombardment that targeted members of the group.

“Fighters of the Brigades targeted a group of Israeli soldiers near the Kissufim border crossing, and claimed responsibility for firing a projectile at an armored Israeli military vehicle”, it added.

Israeli drones were seen hoovering over the area as the army opened fire at random", local sources reported. more

Airstrike on central Gaza near Nuseirat overnight, no injuries

(Maan Images)

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Israeli warplanes raided an open area west of Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip overnight Monday, a Ma'an correspondent said.

The Israeli army said in a statement that "in response to rocket fire from Gaza at Israel last night, IAF aircraft targeted a weapons manufacturing site in the central Gaza Strip overnight."

A hit was confirmed, the statement added.

Israeli radio said that projectiles had been fired at the Shaar HaNegev regional council in southern Israel.

The shelling in Gaza caused a fire to break out which fire fighters managed to extinguish. No injuries have been reported.

Earlier on Monday evening Israeli jets dropped flare bombs in the area, a Ma'an correspondent said. more

Monday, 5 September 2011

Turkish-American Furkan Dogan likely executed by Israeli soldiers while already lying wounded


LONDON — Here’s what the United Nations report on Israel’s raid last year on the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara had to say about the killing of a 19-year-old U.S. citizen on board:

“At least one of those killed, Furkan Dogan, was shot at extremely close range. Mr. Dogan sustained wounds to the face, back of the skull, back and left leg. That suggests he may already have been lying wounded when the fatal shot was delivered, as suggested by witness accounts to that effect.”

The four-member panel, led by Sir Geoffrey Palmer, a former prime minister of New Zealand, appears with these words to raise the possibility of an execution or something close. more

Fatah leadership alters UN statehood proposal to pull in even more support


PNN - Fatah’s leadership is re-wording the proposal for a Palestinian State to submit to the United Nations this September. The new version is designed so that those countries which have been more reluctant to accept a Palestinian state will be more likely support Palestine’s bid for recognition, or at least abstain from voting.

Instead of posing the recognition of Palestine within the 1967 borders, the new draft asks for a state with permanent borders to be determined in later negotiations with Israel. The new boarders would be based on the borders of 1967, but with more flexibility than the original draft proposed.

This approach will make it harder for the United States, and even for Israel, to vote against the proposal without damaging their external image. It will also make it possible for Hamas, the second largest political faction in Palestine, to join in on the call for independence. For the time being, they have refused to take part on it alleging that the recognition of the 1967 borders before the signing of a final-status agreement means giving up the right of return. more

Settlers set fire to mosque near Nablus, attacks rise 50 per cent this year


NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Ultra-Orthodox Jewish settlers on Monday set fire to a mosque near Nablus area in the northern West Bank, Palestinian Authority officials said.

Settlers broke into Al-Nurayn mosque in Qusra, south of Nablus, smashing windows before setting fire to used tires inside the building, locals told a Ma'an correspondent.

PA settlement affairs official Ghassan Doughlas confirmed the incident and urged the international Quartet -- the US, EU, UN and Russia -- to pressure Israel to stop such attacks.

"This is not the first time settlers attack mosques," he added.

An AFP correspondent said Hebrew graffiti on the outside walls included insults against the Prophet Mohammed, a Star of David, and "Migron" -- the name of a settlement outpost near Ramallah which was partially dismantled by Israeli police overnight. more

Sunday, 4 September 2011

In major blow to Israel, Turkish navy to escort civilian ships taking aid to Gaza


The Turkish navy will significantly strengthen its presence in the eastern Mediterranean Sea as one of the steps the Turkish government has decided to take following the release of the UN Palmer report on the 2010 Gaza flotilla, Turkish officials told the Hurriyet Daily News.

"The eastern Mediterranean will no longer be a place where Israeli naval forces can freely exercise their bullying practices against civilian vessels," a Turkish official was quoted as saying.

As part of the plan, the Turkish navy will increase its patrols in the eastern Mediterranean and pursue "a more aggressive strategy".

According to the report, Turkish naval vessels will accompany civilian ships carrying aid to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Another goal of the plan is to ensure free navigation in the region between Cyprus and Israel. The region includes areas where Israel and Cyprus cooperate in drilling for oil and gas.

Additionally, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan instructed his foreign ministry to organize a trip for him to the Gaza Strip in the near future. more

Friday, 2 September 2011

Turkey expels Israeli ambassador over refusal to apologise for flotilla killings


Turkey has decided to downgrade its diplomatic ties with Israel to the lowest possible level, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Friday, following Israel's continued refusal to apologize for a 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla.

The findings of a UN probe into Israel's deadly raid on a 2010 flotilla to Gaza known as the Palmer Commission Report, which were leaked to The New York Times Thursday, have further raised tensions between Israel and Turkey, and senior Foreign Ministry officials warned that Turkey could respond to the report's publication by expelling the Israeli ambassador and scaling back diplomatic relations...

...Hinting at the possible consequences of Turkey's disagreement with the UN's interpretation of Israel's blockade, the Turkish FM said that Ankara would "do whatever it takes to implement its interpretation of the significance of international waters in the Mediterranean."

"We cannot accept the blockade on Gaza. We cannot say that the blockade aligns with international law," he said, adding that the stance taken by the Palmer Commission Report was the author's "personal opinion, one which does not correspond with Turkey's position."

Additionally, Davutoglu announced the cancellation of all defense contracts between Israel and Turkey, adding that Ankara would both initiaite legal action against the Gaza blockade in international courts, as well as aid families of those killed in the Gaza flotilla raid in seeking litigation against Israel. more