Thursday, 18 September 2014

‘This is our land!': West Bank village Wadi Fukin fights largest Israeli land grab in decades

From Mondoweiss - Wadi Fukin may be the smallest of the five villages threatened by Israel’s recent mass land grab, but these days it’s certainly not the quietest.

Leaders in the village of approximately 1,250 have galvanized locals into organizing Friday demonstrations against Israeli occupation for the first time in years, after 4,000 dunams (nearly 1,000 acres) in the southern West Bank was declared “state land,” by Israel. Over a quarter of the confiscated land belongs to Wadi Fukin, which already lost most of its property to the still expanding Israeli settlements of Beitar Illit and Hadar Beitar in the north and Tsur Hadassah in the west after 1967.

“They are planning to make us an island with the settlements surrounding us on all sides,” says Ahmad Sukar, head of the village council. He laments the effect the occupation has had on the small farming community, citing armed settlers who come to picnic in the village’s only playground, or swim in the reservoirs used to irrigate crops.

“These days we are working in two ways. First within the law and the courts. Second, we are protesting to send a message to everyone – settlers, Israelis, Arabs – to show them how we live in Wadi Fukin.”

Sandwiched in a fertile valley between the Green Line and the nearby settlements, Wadi Fukin bears this recent blow in the context of a unique history. After sustaining multiple raids in 1948 by the Zionist paramilitary group, Haganah, Israeli forces completely destroyed Wadi Fukin in the early 50’s with most locals fleeing to Jordan and nearby Dheisheh Refugee Camp.

In an exceptional circumstance, villagers were given the opportunity to return to their land and rebuild in 1972 by Israeli authorities, and have since successfully restored and repopulated the village. It currently falls within Areas B and C, land under de-facto Israeli military and civil control.

On August 31st, four days after the Gaza ceasefire, residents of the Palestinian villages of Husan, Nahalin, Surif, Jabah and Wadi Fukin found dozens of yellow placards in Hebrew and Arabic, delineating the boundaries of the 4,000 dunams of Israeli ‘state land.’ Seen by many as an effort to placate criticism from the right of how he handled the assault on Gaza, Netanyahu announced the expropriation to a flurry of international condemnation. The land grab is the largest of its kind in three decades. more

Mother of prisoner Saadi appeals to rights group to save life of epileptic son

JENIN, (PIC)-- The mother of prisoner Majd Al-Saadi appealed to human rights groups to urgently intervene to save the life of her son who suffers from epilepsy and lumbago.

For his part, director of the Palestinian prisoner society in Jenin Ragheb Abu Diyak said the health condition of prisoner Saadi, who has been in an Israeli jail since December 7, 2013, has become worse as a result of the harsh incarceration conditions and the absence of proper medical care.

Abu Diyak added that most of the prisoner patients are medically neglected and do not receive adequate medical care, holding the Israeli government fully responsible for their lives. more

Israeli forces begin demolitions in Bedouin village near Jerusalem

Israeli forces raided a number of Bedouin communities east of Jerusalem on Thursday days after handing them demolition and evacuation orders, a local activist said.

Popular committee spokesman Hani Halabiya told Ma'an that dozens of Israeli soldiers entered the Bedouin communities escorted by a bulldozer while an Israeli military plane circled above.

He added that the bulldozer demolished the walls surrounding homes and land in the Khillet al-Qamar area in Abu Dis without warning.

Halabiya warned that the demolitions in Khillet al-Qamar were part of Israel's larger plan to "displace" the 14,000 Bedouins living in nearly two dozen communities across the West Bank. more

Israeli forces shoot, injure Gaza fisherman

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli naval forces opened fire off the coast of northern Gaza late Wednesday, injuring a Palestinian fisherman on a beach, locals said.

Yousef Zayif, 70, was hit by live fire while waiting for his sons on the shore near al-Sudaniya.

Medics said he was moderately wounded.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said she was looking into the incident.

On Sunday, an Israeli warship opened fire at Palestinian fishermen off the coast of Gaza City's al-Shati refugee camp, the speaker of the Union of Gaza Fishermen said. more

Sharp decline in number of convoys entering Gaza

From MEMO - The Palestinian foreign ministry said yesterday that the number of convoys entering the Gaza Strip has reduced sharply when compared to the period after the Israeli war in 2012.

Alaa Al-Battah, the head of the governmental committee for receiving solidarity convoys, said in a statement: "Only 14 Arabic, foreign and Palestinian solidarity delegations arrived in Gaza through the Rafah Crossing since the beginning of the Israeli war on July 7."

According to Al-Battah, the delegations include one each from Jordan, Turkey, Malaysia, Tunisia, Sudan and Palestinians in Europe in addition to five from the UAE.

"Compared with the number of the delegations in the wake of the Israeli war on Gaza in 2012, the number has sharply reduced," he said. "In 2012, 60 solidarity delegations included 1,600 members arrived in Gaza."

Al-Battah accused the Egyptian authorities of banning tens of medical and relief delegations under "false pretexts". more

Israel tortures prisoners captured in Gaza invasion

Two dozen Palestinians captured during Israel’s invasion of Gaza this summmer remain in detention more than three weeks after the 51-day offensive ended.

While the men have had limited contact with their families, the legal team representing most of them says several have been tortured.

“They testified in front of our lawyer that they were subjected to torture by the Israeli interrogators,” Issam Younis, director of Gaza’s Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, told The Electronic Intifada on Monday.

Al Mezan represents 22 of the 24 detainees still held by Israel. “At least eight that were visited by the lawyer were subjected to torture,” Younis added. “It doesn’t mean the others were not.”

Their treatment has included beatings with the butts of M-16 rifles, sleep deprivation for at least three consecutive days and handcuffing in painful stress positions, according to Younis.

Additionally, he said, “They were intimidated with threats that Israel would demolish their houses, kill their families and rape their wives.” more

70 ex-prisoners re-arrested by Israelis threaten to launch protests

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- More than 70 Palestinians who were arrested in the last three months by Israeli authorities in violation of a 2011 deal that freed them on Wednesday threatened to take protest measures against their continued detention.

The prisoners -- who were among the 1,027 freed from Israeli custody in exchange for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit - -said in a letter published by the Palestinian Prisoners' Committee that detaining them after they were freed was an "illegal and abusive move" by the Israeli government.

Detention, the letter added, was done merely for political reasons and had nothing to do with justice.

"This is collective punishment against the Palestinian people ignoring all principles of humanity and law."

The 70 ex-prisoners were all arrested in a massive detention campaign across the West Bank carried out by Israel in the wake of the disappearance and death of three Israeli teenagers from a Jewish settlement. more

Quartet: Delay in Gaza rebuilding could threaten truce

The Middle East Quartet of peacemakers on Wednesday joined calls for a quick start to the rebuilding of war-ravaged Gaza before the current truce with Israel ends in renewed violence.

"The precarious situation in Gaza and southern Israel, the danger that violence could flare up again at any point, are precisely the reason to move as quickly as possible on the short-term and long-term recovery efforts," Quartet envoy Tony Blair wrote in remarks published by his office ahead of a meeting on international aid to the Palestinians.

Blair said that aid to the coastal strip should go beyond just repairing the devastation wrought by Israel's 50-day offensive. more