Monday, 23 July 2012

Israel issues demolition orders for eight Palestinian villages

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday ordered the demolition of 8 Palestinian villages in the hills south of Hebron because the Israeli military needs the land for training exercises, the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reported.

A total of 1,500 residents will be evicted from their homes and have their lands confiscated in the villages of Majaz, Tabban, Sfai, Fakheit, Halaweh, Mirkez, Jinba and Kharuba. The villages of Tuba, Mufaqara, Sarura and Megheir al-Abeid, which are also nearby, appear to have been spared.

Evacuation orders were first issued in 1999, but were frozen by an injunction from the Israeli High Court of Justice. The Israeli military views the land as theirs however, and the Palestinians living there as illegal squatters according to Ha’aretz. more

Apartheid Safari with the illegal settlers of Hebron

Saturday evening, around 6pm, a group of illegal Israeli settlers move through the Old City of Palestinian Al Khalil (Hebron). They are both surrounded and fortified by Israeli soldiers. On paper, this tour through is a supposed “ultimate family experience in Israel“. In reality however, families should be steering clear. This tour is living proof that apartheid is not something of the past.


‘Settler tours’ are guided tours throughout the Old City of Hebron, where settlers can take a walk – enforced by soldiers and police armed to the teeth. At given places, the guide tells stories about historical circumstances in and around Hebron, more or less based on biased historical views.

In 1994, the Palestinian city of Hebron was divided into 2 zones. H1 area is under Palestinian Authority control, while H2 area harbours illegal Israeli settlers within central Hebron. During the second intifada that began in 2000, more than 337 days of curfew for the Palestinians were proclaimed in H2. Today, any Palestinian entering the zone must go through check-points.

The ancient Old City centre contains, like in many other Arabic states, tightly packed and roofed alleys with small shops on either side. Hebron is different. During the morning prayers in 1994, an Israeli settler massacred almost 30 Palestinians as they prayed in the sacred Ibrahimi Mosque. As a result, Israeli forces punished the Palestinian population by closing a great deal of Palestinian shops and homes and seriously strangling a vital and once-lively Palestinian trade.

The settler tour passes through both the closed (for Palestinians) and still open part of the city centre. It is in the latter part that problems often arise, when settlers attack Palestinians and their property with impunity under protection of the Israeli military soldiers. more

Akram Rikhawi ends 102-day hunger strike as Israel agrees to early release

Akram Rikhawi, who had been on hunger strike for more than 100 days, has ended his fast in exchange for an agreement by Israel for his early release.

Prisoner’s rights group Addameer issued the following statement today:

Ramallah, 23 July 2012 - Following a visit today by Addameer lawyer Mona Nadaf, Addameer can confirm that Palestinian hunger striker Akram Rikhawi has ended his hunger strike after reaching an agreement with the Israeli Prison Service. Akram ended his hunger strike yesterday evening after 102 days.

As part of the agreement Akram will be released on 25th January 2013, which is six months prior to his original release date. Addameer’s lawyer visited Akram in Ramleh prison, where he remains in critical condition. It was agreed that upon his release he will return to his home in the Gaza Strip. more

PA, Hamas govt to meet in Cairo over Gaza electricity troubles

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- A top Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine leader said Sunday that a technical committee composed of officials from both the West Bank and Gaza Strip will meet in Cairo to discuss alleviating a fuel crisis in Gaza.

Talal Abu Tharifeh said the committee would discuss solutions with Egyptian authorities with the aim of increasing the electricity from an Egyptian line into the besieged territory. more

Second group of Gaza families visit relatives in Israeli jails

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- A group of families from the Gaza Strip visited relatives in Israeli jails early Monday, in the second visit of its kind since 2007, a prisoners group said.

A bus carrying 52 people set out from the offices of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Gaza City to the Erez crossing, before family members were transferred to Nafha prison facility, Gaza-based prisoners group Waed said.

The Palestinian liaison department said only 33 out of the 52 family members were allowed to continue their journey by Israeli authorities.

Last week, 48 people from Gaza visited relatives in Israeli jails for the first time since 2007. more

Official: Egypt allowing Palestinians to enter without permits, visas

CAIRO — Airport officials say Egypt is allowing Palestinians free entry into the country, ending part of a five-year blockade on the Gaza Strip.

The decision means Palestinians can freely leave Gaza. It also applies to Palestinians in the West Bank

Gaza is ruled by Hamas, a branch of new Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood. The blockade was imposed after Hamas took control of Gaza by force in 2007. It banned most Palestinians from leaving.

The officials said the decision was applied early Monday for the first time, when seven Palestinians waiting at Cairo International Airport were allowed into Egypt without the usual security clearances and visas. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters. more