Thursday, 2 May 2013

Video: Harrowing footage shows Israeli soldiers arresting Hebron children

Two videos of Israeli soldiers arresting three young boys in Hebron give a harrowing glimpse into the everyday violence faced by children in the occupied West Bank city where settlers have taken over Palestinian homes under the protection of the army. (Videos embedded above and below.)

The videos, published by the group Youth Against Settlements, show a chaotic scene of settlers confronting Israeli soldiers, Palestinian residents and international observers at Shuhada Street on Sunday. The heavily-armed Israeli soldiers drag away three young boys while Palestinians and an international activist attempt to intervene. One of the boys wails with fright as he is pulled away. A woman who identifies herself as the mother of one of the children defiantly goes into the Israeli army jeep and manages to remove one of the boys from it.

According to the International Solidarity Movement in Hebron, Palestinian children were walking home from school when they were attacked by a child from one of the settlements in the city center, who was accompanied by his two older brothers. Youth Against Settlements told The Electronic Intifada via email that the children from the settlement were waiting for the Palestinian students as they exited the school.


Hamas arrests Salafists in Gaza

Salafists, the Interior Ministry in Gaza said on Thursday, two days after Israel carried out an air strike on a militant in the enclave.

"The internal security apparatus has arrested fanatics calling themselves Salafists, for security and criminal reasons. There were no arrests made for ideological or political reasons," a ministry statement said.

"Four of those arrested were taken in on suspicion of stealing rockets belonging to Hamas, and two others for causing an unspecified explosion that resulted in "human and material damage," it added, without giving a total number.

The Mujahedeen Shura Council Salafist group, one of whose members was killed in the air strike on Gaza City on Tuesday, said the jihadists were being detained for ideological reasons.

Salafists in Gaza -- who are considered more hardline than the Islamist Hamas -- have challenged the movement both over confrontations with Israel and the practice of Islamic rule, prompting it to crack down on their militant activities. more

BBC admits downplaying the scale of Israel’s occupation

The BBC has admitted that a report it broadcast in January implying that only part of the West Bank is under occupation was inaccurate.

The claim that there is a difference between “West Bank towns and villages and areas occupied by Israel” was made on the BBC’s heavyweight current affairs program, Newsnight.

Introducing an item about the Negev (Naqab) desert, presenter Gavin Esler, said: “Israeli soldiers shot dead a 17-year-old Palestinian youth today near the barrier which separates West Bank towns and villages from areas occupied by Israel.”

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) wrote to the BBC to point out that the whole of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is under Israeli occupation and that a false distinction cannot be made between “West Bank towns and villages” and “areas occupied by Israel.” more

Mashaal rejects land swap with Israel

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Hamas politburo chief Khalid Mashaal on Thursday rejected an Arab League endorsement of land swaps between Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

Speaking with the Al Jazeera, Mashaal said any such concession would harm the Palestinian cause. The plan was announced on Monday after Arab League officials met with US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Mashaal said the Kerry-backed plan was a bid to find economic peace between Arab states and Israel by integrating it into the region.

The Hamas leader said the movement was prepared to use all available options to liberate the Palestinian territories and that it was his goal to do so over the next four years. He further pledge greater efforts to release Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails.

Kerry met with Arab League officials to discuss the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, whereby 22 Arab states would agree to normalizing ties with Israel in a return from territory it occupied in 1967.

Israel's lead peace negotiator Tzipi Livni Tuesday praised as "important" a concession. more