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The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil,    but because of the people who don't do anything about it    
Life under occupation

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Israeli rightwing parties merge ahead of election – wolves in sheeps’ clothingJonathan Ofir - Mondoweiss - The big drama occurred last night, on the right. The New Right is now being led by Naftali Bennett, who has in the past boasted of killing “many Arabs.” Bennett leads the New Right with Ayelet Shaked, the former Justice Minister who is known for having incited genocide on social media, posting a text that called Palestinian children “little snakes”. Shaked has recently complained that a law meant to punish illegal construction is also targeting Jews, and that this was not the intention. Amazingly, Bennett is now portraying himself as a liberal. He wanted to get Jewish Home to run together with him, but insisted on them dropping the merger with Jewish Power that they had recently made. Jewish Home is led by Rafi Peretz, the Education Minister who promoted gay conversion therapy and called intermarriage a “second Holocaust”. Jewish Home and Jewish Power had gotten together because they were both polling below the threshold, and Peretz was livid about Bennett’s insistence. So for Bennett, Peretz was kosher, but Jewish Power, the disciples of the Jewish terrorist Meir Kahane, were not. (rh)21/1/2020
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Ban on Israeli activists from West Bank based on lies and misinformation : Naftali Bennett`s decision to bar 30 Israeli activists from the West Bank is an attempt to silence anyone who dares work alongside Palestinians to end the occupation.Oren Ziv - +972 - Whether it is because Israel completed the building of the barrier, activist fatigue, or violent suppression of the protests — which included arrests, injuries, and even deaths — the demonstrations have never been smaller. In the past, hundreds of Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists would join the weekly protests in numerous sites around the West Bank. Today only symbolic protests take place in the villages of Bil’in and Ni’lin, which usually include no more than 20 people. Nabi Saleh no longer holds protests on a regular basis. Only in the village of Qaddum do between 100-200 people still demonstrate on a weekly basis.(rh) 21/1/2020
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Gantz Vows to Annex Jordan Valley, `Hopes Trump Releases Peace Plan Soon`Noa Landau - Haaretz - Benny Gantz, chairman of Kahol Lavan, said Tuesday that he would work to advance Israel`s annexation of the Jordan Valley after Israel`s March 2 election, adding he is expecting the publication of the Trump administration`s Mideast peace plan. Speaking during a tour of the region, Gantz said "The Jordan Valley is Israel`s eastern defensive barrier in any future conflict. Israeli governments that spoke of the possibility of returning the area [to Jordanian control] were making a grave strategic and security mistake, and we see this strip of land as an inseparable part of the State of Israel." (rh)21/1/2020
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Israel resumes aerial herbicide spraying along Gaza’s perimeter fence; Gisha, Adalah and Al Mezan demand an immediate halt to the destructive measureGisha - The last time Israel conducted aerial herbicide spraying was in December 2018. No incidents of spraying were recorded in 2019, which was the first year without spraying since Israel first implemented the hazardous practice in 2014. In a clip produced by human rights organizations Gisha, Adalah and Al Mezan over the summer, farmers and shepherds whose livelihoods depend on access to the lands closest to the fence with Israel described the damage caused by spraying over the years. [bz]21/1/2020
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A week on the West Bank: Settlers spray pepper, general personally participates in expelling shepherds, European Union diplomats tour IssawiyaMichal Hai - Taayush - A week on the West Bank: A delegation of heads of European Union missions toured Issawiya and publicized an official demand that Israel keep its obligations to the occupied Palestinian population; protest and support vigil for Issawiya residents in custody and for Jonathan Pollak took place opposite the Jerusalem Magistrate Court; the Israeli army’s Central Command general came in person to expel a Palestinian flock of sheep out of Al Auja grazing grounds near the illegal settler-colonist outpost Havat Omer; Jewish settler-colonists pepper-sprayed an activist at Rashash. [ak]21/1/2020
Eviction orders to 30 Palestinian homes around Jerusalem`s Old City Middle East Eye - Israeli authorities in occupied East Jerusalem delivered eviction orders to some 30 Palestinian homes in several neighbourhoods. All the eviction orders were delivered between Sunday and Monday, notably calling for the evacuation of 22 houses in the Old City neighbourhood of Bab al-Silsila - or Chain Gate - which would leave almost 200 people without a home. The houses, located on the path towards the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, had cracks in the walls due to Israeli archaeological excavations under the Old City, a practice that has affected the solidity of a number of homes in Jerusalem. Faiza Abu Asab, one of the residents of Bab al- Silsila, told Middle East Eye that Israeli excavation made the houses “unliveable”, as some sections of walls had collapsed or bore large cracks. [ak] 21/1/2020
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Why Trump`s peace plan won`t rescue NetanyahuBen Caspit - Al-Monitor - Will US President Donald Trump once again come to the aid of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of the elections? This burning question has been dumped in quite a few political laps in Israel, especially that of the Blue and White party’s chair and candidate for the premiership, Benny Gantz. Persistent reports according to which the US administration is considering presentation of what has been dubbed its "deal of the century" for Israeli-Palestinian peace prior to the March 2 elections are generating heavy headaches for the opposition party’s leadership. 21/1/2020
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Sealed Off and Forgotten: What You Should Know about Israel’s ‘Firing Zones’ in the West BankRamzy Baroud - CounterPunch - “Expectedly, many illegal Jewish settlements sprang up in these ‘firing zones’ over the years, a clear indication that these areas have no military purpose whatsoever, but were meant to provide an Israeli legal justification to confiscate nearly a fifth of the West Bank for future colonial expansion” [ry] 20/1/2020
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Israel’s Renewed Campaign against UNRWA is an Attack on Palestinian Education and LiberationRamona Wadi - Palestine Chronicle - The international community has still not caught up with or refuses to acknowledge, Israel’s commitment to countering each purported victory for the Palestinians with yet more violations. These countermeasures implemented by Israel, notably to prevent the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) from fulfilling its mandate, are now concentrated upon disrupting education for Palestinian students.(rh)14/1/2020
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Three minutes of freedom: released after 18 years in prison - and immediately detained againIMEMC - Ismael Affana, from occupied East Jerusalem, was released from the Negev Detention Camp, after spending 18 years in several prisons - but after spending three minutes as a free man the soldiers pounced and re-detained him directly outside the prion gate. He was then transferred to the al-Maskobiyya Detention and Interrogation facility in Jerusalem. This is far from the first such case. The occupation authorities commonly re-detain Palestinian prisoners who have completed their term and subject them to arbitrary Administrative Detention orders, without charges or trial. In other cases, such are released hours after their abduction, but face severe restrictions. Some of them are forbidden to return to their home towns and told they must find a place to live somewhere else; others are graciously allowed to go home but forbidden to leave the town and travel elsewhere. It is as yet unknown which of these the military government intends for Ismael Affana.[ak] 14/1/2020
Hard Evidence on Torture and Ill-Treatment of Palestinian Detainees at Israeli Interrogation CentersAddameer - Since its creation, the occupying state developed and enforced laws and practices that led to both the systematic use of torture and to absolute impunity for the perpetrator of this crime. There has never been any individual or agency held accountable for the well-documented crimes of torture and ill-treatment at Israeli prisons and interrogation centers. The occupation authorities, in particular, the Israeli intelligence agency “Shabak” resorts to torture and ill-treatment as standard operating procedure in a systematic and wide-scale approach against Palestinian detainees. Over the past three months, the intelligence agency subjected a number of detainees at Israeli interrogation centers to severe physical and psychological torture without any form of monitoring and protection. Addameer has hard evidence on the crimes of torture and ill- treatment committed against a number of detainees held at interrogation centers since late August 2019. Addameer was banned from publishing any of the details of torture prior to this date, due to a gag order issued by the Israeli Court of First Instance in Jerusalem. [ak] 14/1/2020
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Graduates scramble for better payJaclynn Ashly&Alaa Daraghmeh - Elecronic Intifada "Even a college degree couldn’t help Fathi Taradi. Taradi, 34, tried for a decade to find work as a journalist in the occupied West Bank. He eventually had to settle on construction work in Jerusalem. “The first few days working in Israel, it felt like my heart was breaking because I gave up all of my dreams of being a journalist,” Taradi told The Electronic Intifada at his home in Taffuh, just west of Hebron. Taradi is one of many Palestinian university graduates forced to seek menial work in Israel or its settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem after abandoning hope of finding employment in their field.He spent several years interning or working for low pay at local radio stations in the West Bank until, five years ago, he received an Israeli work permit." ca 11/1/2020
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IDF general distances Israel from Soleimani killing in first public commentTOI STAFF - The Times of Israel - A senior Israeli military officer on Monday commented publicly for the first time on the operation that killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani over the weekend, distancing the Jewish state from the US drone strike in Iraq that has left Tehran fuming and vowing revenge. “Soleimani hurt American interests and represented a significant danger to Americans in the region. We must look at the assassination as part of a fight between Iran and the United States over Iraq’s character. That is the story,” said IDF Southern Command head Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi. (rh)7/1/2020
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Israeli house demolitions spiked in 2019 compared to previous yearsB`Tselem - Palestinians in East Jerusalem are effectively left with no choice but to build without permits as a direct result of Israeli policy which makes it practically impossible for them to obtain building permits. Israel uses this policy to further its goal of perpetuating a Jewish majority in Jerusalem. One of the way in which it pursues this goal is by making life in the city unbearable for Palestinian residents, in a bid to push them to leave their homes, ostensibly of their own free will. In the West Bank the situation isn`t much better. In 2019, at least 6,660 people were left homeless as a result [bz]7/1/2020
First demolishing their dwellings, then confiscatig their tents Amos Gvirtz - Don`t Say We Didn`t Know - As I reported last week, the Israeli army demolished dwellings and sheep pens of Palestinian shepherd communities of Ras Al Ahmar in the northern Palestinian Jordan Valley, following which the International Red Cross provided them with tents. The Israeli army was back on Wednesday, January 1, 2020, confiscating the newly supplied tents. In addition, it confiscated two tractors. [bz] 7/1/2020
Soleimani’s assassination could not have come at a better time for NetanyahuNaim Mousa - Mondoweiss - Netanyahu has been attempting to provoke Iran and President Bashar al-Assad of Syria with dozens of Israeli airstrikes being carried out on Syrian and Iranian targets in the region all throughout 2019. Now that his wish has come true, it is looking more and more possible that he will remain in power for yet another term. (rh)7/1/2020
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Israel is systematically poisoning one million Palestinian childrenRobert Inlakesh - If Americans Knew Blog - We have now entered 2020, the year in which experts at the United Nations (UN) once predicted Gaza would become unlivable. But the sad reality is not only that those same experts said that Gaza was already unlivable in 2017, but that now the population of 2 million residing in Gaza are under the real threat of genocide. Sara Roy of Harvard University’s Centre for Middle Eastern studies, who is considered the leading scholar on Gaza’s economy, has written that “innocent human beings, most of them young, are slowly being poisoned in Gaza by the water they drink and likely by the soil in which they plant.” So let us break down that statement, based upon the data available to us. (rh)7/1/2020
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Israel is on precipice of losing option of two-state solution, say US advisers : Authors ambassador Dennis Ross and David Makovsky warn that Israel is nearing the point of no return with Palestinians, in a live interview with ToI editor David HorovitzTOI STAFF - The Times of Israel - “Open up Area C for 60 percent of the West Bank [where Israel maintains administrative and military control, and most of the Israeli settlers are located] for economic activity for Palestinians so you preserve the potential of two states, and yet you don’t have to move the IDF, you’re not putting your security at risk, but you’re not creating a situation where by adding four to five thousand settlers a year beyond the barrier, you cross the tipping point and then you lose the option. Tactical decisions made now will have a long-term strategic consequence,” said Ross. Ross said two-states may require a different psychological landscape and that those leaders trying to make it happen need to stretch their minds. “It may well be that we need to come up with other kinds of models. But don’t put yourself in a position where you only have one state, one person for one vote,” said Ross. (rh) 7/1/2020
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Soldiers Bulldoze Large Areas Of Palestinian Lands Near QalqiliaIMEMC News - "Israeli soldiers, accompanied by bulldozers, invaded and bulldozed large areas of Palestinian lands, on Thursday morning, in ‘Asla village, east of Qalqilia, in northern West Bank. Mohammad Sheikh, a Palestinian official who monitors Israel’s illegal colonialist activities in Qalqilia governorate, said the invasion was carried out by many army jeeps, and bulldozers, after the soldiers closed the area and prevented the Palestinians from entering it." ca 3/1/2020
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IDF chief warns Israelis: The next war will hit our home front extremely hardJUDAH ARI GROSS - The Times of Israel - The military chief, in his first major speech, said the IDF was operating throughout the region — openly, covertly and clandestinely — in order to thwart the plans of Iran and its proxies, “even at the risk of war.” He also issued a bleak warning to Israelis that the next war, when it came, would hit the home front hard. “It must be known and recognized that in the next war — whether in the north or against Hamas — heavy fire will be directed against our home front. I’m looking people in the eye, and saying, there will be heavy fire. We have to recognize this and we have to prepare for this… We have to prepare for this militarily; the civil hierarchies have to prepare for this; and we have to prepare for this mentally.” (rh)31/12/2019
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ICC decision to investigate war crimes touches Israelis’ deepest fear (accountability)Jonathan Ofir - Mondoweiss - The recently announced decision of the International Criminal Court to investigate Israeli war crimes (pending a pre-Trial chamber decision on the “territories” at hand), has hit a raw nerve in Israel. It is not merely that Prime Minister Netanyahu went on Hasbara overdrive with his antics, saying that ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda is ignoring “the truth when she says that the very act of Jews living in their ancestral homeland, the land of the Bible, that this is a war crime”. No, it went much further than that – opposition rival Benny Gantz also went ‘meshugge’ on this, calling it “a political decision, not a legal one,” adding that “the Israeli army is one of the most moral militaries in the world”, and that “the Israeli army and State of Israel do not commit war crimes.” (rh)31/12/2019
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Netanyahu Announces Six-Point Plan to Annex Palestinian Land, Defeat IranPalestine Chronicle Staff - “First, we will finalize our borders; second, we will push the US to recognize our sovereignty in the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea; third, we will push for US recognition of our extension of sovereignty over all the communities in Judea and Samaria, all of them without exception,” Netanyahu said. “Fourth, we will push for a historic defense alliance with the US that will preserve Israeli freedom of action; fifth, stop Iran and its allies decisively; and sixth, push for normalization and agreements that will lead to peace accords with Arab countries”. (rh)31/12/2019
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The Israeli right’s fury is driven by fear of Palestinian citizensAmjad Iraqi - +972 - When the Knesset passed the Jewish Nation-State Law on July 19, 2018, there was an outpouring of concern for the Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel, who make up a fifth of the state’s population with 1.8 million people. The prevailing narrative was that the new Basic Law — which will serve as a constitutional anchor for Israel’s legal system — would “officially turn non-Jews into second-class citizens.” Large segments of the community bought into the narrative, too. Druze citizens, who are conscripted into the Israeli army, decried the government’s “betrayal” of their loyalty to the state. The Arab leadership in Israel, including the Joint List, High Follow-Up Committee, and civil society organizations, publicly campaigned for the law’s revocation. (rh) 31/12/2019
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To tell you the truth, I didn’t know where I was bornJonathan Ofir - Moondoweiss - It all took a very long time for me to learn that I was born in Palestine, and that Israel was the name of the settler-colonialist project that I had been born into and raised upon. This project denied and rejected Palestine, because it was and is eliminationist. So actually, the two names, Israel and Palestine, are about the same place, but represent two different paradigms: one of nativity, one of settler-colonialist takeover. Ostensibly, the colonialist allows a certain potential existence of this “Palestine”, but that’s also under its occupation and is at most a form of lip- service. (rh)31/12/2019
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Israel Has Suspended Core Palestinian Rights for a Half-centuryMaureen Clare Murphy - Portside - “The Israeli army has deprived generations of Palestinians in the West Bank of their basic civil rights, including the rights to free assembly, association and expression, regularly drawing on military orders issued in the first days of the occupation,” the report states.“The suspension of core rights more than half a century later with no end in sight violates Israel’s core responsibilities under the law of occupation.” Israeli settlers in the West Bank enjoy basic rights denied to Palestinians living in the same territory. “Israeli officials openly speak of their intent to permanently rule over Palestinians in the West Bank,” according to Human Rights Watch. (rh)31/12/2019
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By 2020, the UN said Gaza would be unliveable. Did it turn out that way?Donald Macintyre - The Guardian - A 2012 report warned of the fragility of the Strip. Now, unemployment is above 50% and many wish to leave. But from cafes to software houses, an indomitable spirit still shines [ry]30/12/2019
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After international pressure, Gaza Christians say they’ve received few Israeli travel permits for ChristmasTimes of Israel - Israel has issued 316 permits, out of of 800 Christian leaders in Gaza say were requested. “They issued permits for old people, not the young.” Israel said Tuesday it would allow Christians in Gaza to visit Jerusalem and Bethlehem for Christmas, after a COGAT spokeswoman said earlier that travel permits would only be issued for abroad. [bz]24/12/2019
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`Some crimes speak for themselves`: ICC probe brings back raw memories in GazaMaha Hussaini - Middle East Eye - Palestinian survivors of the 2014 war welcome the International Criminal Court`s investigation into Israel, but ask why it has taken so long [ry] 23/12/2019
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Qalandiya - Afternoon Tamar Fleishman - Machsomwatch - This was the home of the Shahid’s father, Shahid Ali Khleife, told me a shopkeeper – one of the shops above which the army demolished the home of the Shahid’s father in the refugee camp. I knew Ali. I photographed him and brought him the picture – which was the last one taken of him in the 23 years of his life. It was placed in the mourning tent, after he had been murdered by Israeli soldiers of the Kfir brigade. After the murder the army spokesperson announced that the Israeli army was looking into it. Eight years, and the army is still looking into it.-(rh)17/12/2019
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Palestinian ex-prisoners recall torture in Israeli detentionRania Zabaneh - Aljazeera - "We drove the kids to school and were almost at work, when a civilian car with Israeli number plates pulled up behind us," Noura said, describing how her husband was detained in Ramallah by undercover Israeli forces on September 25. "They snatched him from the car and started beating him on the head, neck and stomach," she recalled. Samer, 44, was arrested on suspicion of involvement in an IED explosion that took place on August 23 near the illegal Israeli settlement of Dolev, northwest of Ramallah. The bomb killed 17-year-old Israeli girl Rina Shnerb and wounded her father and brother. Three days later, Samer`s lawyer was informed his client had been transferred to a hospital the previous day - in critical condition, unconscious, and on artificial respiration. He was also suffering from kidney failure and had 11 broken ribs, the lawyer said. (rh) 17/12/2019
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Dozens of Palestinian Workers Suffocate on Tear GasIMEMC - Dozens of Palestinian laborers suffered from tear gas inhalation, on Sunday, as near al-Ziraeia gate, along the Apartheid Wall, west of the town of Qaffin, northeast of the city of Tulkarem, northern occupied West Bank. Alray reported that Israeli forces pursued a group of laborers on their way to their jobs, inside the pre-1948 occupied territory and fired tear gas canisters towards them, causing several suffocation injuries among them. It is worth mentioning that a Palestinian laborer was shot and injured by the Israeli soliders at the same gate almost one week ago, and two brothers were shot and injured, on Saturday, at al-Ziraeia gate, built along the Apartheid Wall, west of Nazlat ‘Isa, north of the city of Tulkarem. (rh)17/12/2019
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Occupation and International LawDavid Kretzmer - Machsomwatch - In international law, the law of occupation is based on the assumption that occupation is a temporary solution to a military constraint. The assumption is that within a relatively short period the occupation will end with a political arrangement that will allow the residents of the occupied territory to enjoy their individual and collective rights. The law of occupation attempts to create a balance between the military needs of the occupying state and the interests of the population in the occupied territory. Alongside broad authority given to the military commander in order to ensure public life and public order during the transition period to a peace agreement, serious restrictions are imposed on the occupying state. The idea of temporariness is at the foundation of all the legal arrangements.(rh)17/12/2019
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Military Courts in the Occupied TerritoriesAvigdor Feldman - Machsomwatch - Israel captivated the territories in war and holds them by force of arms. Therefore, there is no meaning to the question whether these territories, all or most of them, were promised to the People of Israel, and anyone else who had held them in the past 3000 years was an invader and a trespasser – a claim that has been endorsed even by a commission headed by a justice of Israel’s Supreme Court. If they are indeed ours, what is the legal basis for establishing military courts not by Knesset legislation but rather by orders and edicts of the Israeli military commanders of the region? The Knesset does not acknowledge the fact that military courts in “our” territories have already sentenced people to tens of thousands of years in prison. Meir Shamgar, former President of the Israeli Supreme Court, knew very well that if we deny the territories their status as “occupied” or “held”, the legal basis for holding onto them would be reduced to nothing and they would slip into a lawless abyss. This is why he forbade the State to claim that these are not occupied territories, or that the High Court of Justice has no authority to oversee their legality according to international law. (rh)17/12/2019
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Palestinians plan legal steps to stop new Hebron settlementAhmad Melhem - Al Monitor - Palestinians in the southern West Bank staged a general strike Dec. 9 to protest Israeli authorities’ intention to build a settlement neighborhood in the old market of Hebron. The settlement is to replace the huge wholesale vegetable market that the Israeli military closed in 1994 after the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre when settler Baruch Goldstein stormed the mosque and shot dead 29 Palestinians and wounded 150. Israel has enforced the closure for 25 years, preventing merchants from returning. Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett approved the new settlement project on Shuhada Road at the center of the city. The Israeli Civil Administration in the West Bank on Dec. 1 informed the Hebron municipality of authorities’ plan to raze the market and build new shops and other facilities for settlers. City officials were given one month to respond to the notice. [bz] 17/12/2019
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Prospects for a formal ICC-investigation into the Palestine situation are nilJohn Dugard - Information Clearing House - I have a short and easy answer to the question posed. No, there is no prospect of such an investigation under the watch of the present Prosecutor of the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, whose term of office expires in 2021. Why do I say this? It has become abundantly clear that the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) is determined not to open an investigation into crimes committed by Israel in Palestine and against the Palestinian people. On 16 January 2015 the Prosecutor commenced a preliminary examination into the situation in Palestine. On 15 May 2018 Palestine itself referred the matter to the ICC. (rh)17/12/2019
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Israel Bars Gaza’s Christians From Visiting Bethlehem And Jerusalem At Christmas.JERUSALEM/PNN/ "Israel tightly restricts movements out of the Gaza Strip, territory controlled by Hamas, an Islamist group that it considers a terrorist organization.The spokeswoman said that following “security orders”, Gazans would be allowed to travel abroad via Israel’s Allenby Bridge border crossing with Jordan but not to visit cities in Israel or the West Bank.This year’s decision is a break with usual policy. Last year, Israel granted permits for close to 700 Gazan Christians to travel to Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth and other holy cities that draw thousands of pilgrims each holiday season...Gisha, an Israeli rights group, said the ban points “to the intensifying of access restrictions between the two parts of the Palestinian territory,” calling it “a deepening of Israel’s separation policy” for the West Bank and Gaza." ca 14/12/2019
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EU`s new chief diplomat urged to consider Palestine statehoodAljazeera - The European Union`s new foreign policy chief has been urged to lead a debate on recognising Palestinian statehood. Josep Borrell took office last week as Brussels` chief diplomat and on Monday chaired his first EU foreign ministers` meeting, where Luxembourg`s veteran foreign minister made a written appeal for such a discussion. (rh)10/12/2019
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Rare footage of occupation forces` nightly raid on Palestinian homes The footage appearing here, spread via several Palestinian Facebook pages and tweets, documents a recent Israeli police night raid on the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya. The raid was not very different from other routine raids by the Israeli army and police, except that usually there are no photographers present. In the Hebrew dialogue heard in the later part, the police commander repeatedly tells the cameraman to stop because "You are disturbing me in carrying out my job" and the cameraman refusing to budge. [ak] 10/12/2019
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Netanyahu: Time to Apply Israel’s Sovereignty over Jordan Valley, Annex West BankThe Palestine Chronicle - Israel’s PM Netanyahu on Sunday touted his plan to annex a swathe of the occupied West Bank and Israeli settlements in a last-ditch effort to prevent another general election. “It is time to apply Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and legalize all the Judea and Samaria [West Bank] settlements, those that are in settlement blocs and those outside of them,” he said during a conference organized by the right-wing newspaper Makor Rishon.(rh)10/12/2019
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Hebron Palestinians go on strike, clash with troops to protest settlement planADAM RASGON - The Times of Israel - Shops, schools and offices were shuttered in Hebron, and young men clashed with troops in the city center as Palestinians protested a plan to expand Jewish settlement activity in the flashpoint city Tuesday. Pictures posted on social media platforms showed stores and schools closed and streets with few passersby. Fatah, the party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, called for the strike on Saturday.(rh) 10/12/2019
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Gaza farmer’s house is destroyed for fourth time– ‘and we are ready for the fifth’Ahmad Kabariti - Mondoweiss - The short phone call that Hamouda Abu Amra received from a professed Israeli security officer at 11:15 p.m on November 13 was the fourth catastrophic change to happen in his rural life in Gaza. The call still echoes in Abu Amra’s ears. “A heavy load is coming to your shoulders soon, uncle!” the officer whispered. “Evacuate your family in two minutes and don’t switch off your phone”.(rh)10/12/2019
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Palestinians March in Hebron, Israeli Forces AttackIMEMC - A general strike was held, on Monday, called for by President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement, following the revelation of plans to build a new settlement in place of Hebron’s wholesale market in the old city. [bz]10/12/2019
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Israel air raids in Gaza Strip after rocket attacksAl Jazeera - No Palestinian group claimed responsibility for rocket fire, but Israeli army said Hamas was responsible for any attack [ry] 9/12/2019
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Israel’s Next Move: The Real Danger in US Decision to Normalize Illegal Jewish SettlementsRAMZY BAROUD - Counterpunch - Let us not have any illusion regarding the American approach to the so-called ‘Israeli-Palestinian conflict’ prior to Trump’s Presidency. The US has never, not even once, stood up for Palestinians or Arabs since the establishment of the State of Israel over the ruins of historic Palestine in 1948. Moreover, Washington has bankrolled the Israeli occupation of Palestine in every possible way, including the subsidizing of the illegal Jewish settlements. However, Pompeo’s statement at a State Department press conference on November 18 that, “the establishment of Israeli civilian settlements is not, per se, inconsistent with international law,” is still very dangerous and it does, in fact, constitute a political departure from previous US policies. (rh)3/12/2019
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PALESTINE PULSE Why the West Bank went silent when Israel attacked Gaza Adnan Abu Amer - Al-Monitor - Amid the recent military flare-up in Gaza, there were no protests, sit-ins or strikes on the West Bank to express support for the Palestinians trapped in the besieged enclave. The lack of public displays of solidarity has reportedly left Palestinians in Gaza angry and bewildered. The military escalation kicked off by Israel`s assassination of Islamic Jihad military commander Baha Abu al-Ata on Nov. 12 left 34 Palestinians dead and 111 injured along with 65 Israelis wounded.(rh) 3/12/2019
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Mother of Two remains in detention despite deteriorating health conditionIMEMC - On June 15, 2019, Israeli forces broke into the al-Badan family home in Bethlehem and detained Shorouq al-Badan, 25 years old, a mother of two. She was taken to Hasharon prison and placed for five days in a solitary cell, lacking ventilation and light, and with constant bad smells due to a toilet inside. Later she was given six months of Administrative Detention without trial, no explanation given beyond the statement that "In the military commander`s opinion she constitutes a danger to security". In recent weeks her health is deteriorating. Her lawyer reported that she is suffering from severe stomach pain, is vomiting blood, and that she receives no medical attention and the authorities still refuse to consider releasing her. [ak] 3/12/2019
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For Hebron Settlers, New Neighborhood Announced by Israel Is Only the BeginningAmira Hass - Ha`aretz - With Defense Minister Bennett’s backing, the Hebron settlers aim to Judaize the city’s historic old wholesale market. The market had been closed for closed for the past two decades, the shops standing empty, but until now the Israeli authorities have respected the Hebron municipality`s status as "a protected tenant". Now, that is being overturned. Bennet has granted the settlers` long standing demand for "an urban renewal plan" under which the structure would be demolished and new housing units for Jewish Israeli settlers be erected in its place. The center of Hebron has long since been taken over by the settlers, severe restrictions placed on the Palestinians living there with the conscious intention to make their lives into hell and make them go away - which was successful in many of the cases. The settlers also changed the names of the streets in their enclave, replacing the Arabic names with Hebrew names expressing blatant Israeli Jewish nationalism. But for them, that is only the beginning - a map spread by the settlers gives similar Hebrew names also to streets in the other parts of Hebron, which were not (yet?) taken over by the settlers. [ak]3/12/2019
For Hebron Settlers, New Neighborhood Announced by Bennet Is Only the BeginningAmira Hass - Ha`aretz - With Defense Minister Bennett’s backing, the Hebron settlers aim to Judaize the city’s historic old wholesale market. The market had been closed for the past two decades, the shops standing empty, but until now the Israeli authorities have respected the Hebron municipality`s status as "a protected tenant". Now, that is being overturned. Bennet has granted the settlers` long standing demand for "an urban renewal plan" under which the structure would be demolished and new housing units for Jewish Israeli settlers be erected in its place. The center of Hebron has long since been taken over by the settlers, severe restrictions placed on the Palestinians living there with the conscious intention to make their lives into hell and make them go away - which was successful in many of the cases. The settlers also changed the names of the streets in their enclave, replacing the Arabic names with Hebrew names expressing blatant Israeli Jewish nationalism. But for them, that is only the beginning - a map spread by the settlers gives similar Hebrew names also to streets in the other parts of Hebron, which were not (yet?) taken over by the settlers. [ak]3/12/2019
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`My dream was destroyed` - home demolitions soar in East Jerusalem Judith Sudilovsky - +972 Magazine - “For five years we lived together in our house, nobody bothered us and we didn’t bother anybody. We were in our house and our children ran outside and the only thing we heard was their laughter,” says Muatasem Abbasi of Silwan. “Now, all day my son remembers how the police destroyed our home.” It happened on the morning of November 5, while he was at work. His wife Bara’a Obaid, was home alone with their two toddlers when the police arrived. His parents were in their home on the second floor of the building. “They knocked on the door and told me to open up. I asked them to wait a moment so I could cover my hair but they didn’t let me close the door and they came inside. They gave me five minutes to get dressed and dress my children. They didn’t let me take anything. They threw our things from the window. I asked from them a number of times for a little bit of mercy but they didn’t give me any.” With the help of family and friends, the couple was able to gather a few pieces of clothing and rescue a white living room set from the rubble of their home. [ak] 3/12/2019
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Olive harvest season: expected record yield compromised due to access restrictions and settler violenceOCHA - The annual olive harvest between October and November, is a key economic, social and cultural event for Palestinians. More than 10 million olive trees are cultivated on approximately 86,000 hectares,representing 47 per cent of the total cultivated agricultural area. Between 80,000 and 100,000 families are said to rely on olives and olive oil for primary or secondary income, and the sector employs large numbers of unskilled laborers and more than 15 per cent of working women. The olive oil yield for the West Bank in 2019 is estimated to reach a record 27,000 tons, an 84 per cent increase over the previous year. This is due to the alternate fruit- bearing “on and off seasons” and to less infestation by the olive fruit fly during the current season. But the realization of a potential record yield is compromised due to access restrictions and attacks and intimidation by Israeli settlers. Palestinians with olive groves located in the closed area between the Barrier and the ‘Green Line’ (also known as the ‘Seam Zone’), and in the vicinity of Israeli settlements, face year-round access restrictions and threats that prevent them from safely maintaining their olive-based livelihoods.[ak]3/12/2019
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Activists in the Jordan ValleyVideo - Social TV - A short day`s escort with the shepherds in the Jordan Valley reveals the distress and humiliation they experience from the settlers in the nearby outposts, backed by IDF soldiers. The number of Palestinians in the 1.6 million-acre valley is getting smaller by the year as part of the Zionist enterprise. In 85% of the land in the valley it is prohibited to live there, build, lay infrastructure, graze or cultivate. Those who come to the aid of the Palestinians and provide them with some security are human rights activists, the Valley Coalition. They accompany the shepherds to pasture and provide human protection for them. (rh)3/12/2019
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ISRAEL PULSE Withholding Palestinians’ remains not befitting Israel Yossi Beilin - Al-Monitor - Israel’s political right is convinced it has the solution to terrorism and that implementing it will wipe out, once and for all, the security threats the country faces without making peace with the Palestinians. Their would-be solutions have encompassed a variety of ideas, including instituting the death penalty for convicted terrorists, demolishing the family homes of assailants captured or killed while committing terrorist acts, sealing off attackers` homes, and to top it off, threatening to withhold the bodies of perpetrators from their families.(rh) 3/12/2019
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Criticism Of Israel Is Not AntisemiticismJohn Scales Avery - Countercurrents - Criticism of the state of Israel is by no means the same as antisemitism. We can acknowledge the great contrubutions of Jewish culture and brilliant Jewish individuals, and at the same time criticize the state of Israel. There is much to criticize. The international community was unanimous in condemning apartheid in South Africa, but the state of Israel has pursued a policy of apartheid as cruel as that of South Africa – or perhaps even worse. Furthermore, Israel has repeatedly launched aggressive military attacks and wars against its neighbours, Lebanon and Syria, and is threatening to attack Iran.(rh) 3/12/2019
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Bennett plans building Jewish neighborhood in HebronElisha Ben Kimon,Yoav Zitun,Elior Levy - Ynet News - Bennet instructed the military to begin the official process by advising the Palestinian municipality of the plan to construct housing for Jewish settlers in what had been the produce market which was closed in 1994. According to the proposed plan, the now-empty shops on the street level will remain in Palestinian hands while housing units will be built on the top floors to house settlers.The disputed territory was home for both Jews and Arabs before Arab riots broke out in 1929, in which dozens of local Jews were killed. The riots of August 1929 began when a long-running dispute over access to Jerusalem holy sites escalated into violence. Members of the local Arab community launched savage attacks on Jewish neighbors and their institutions, killing at least 67 Jews.(rh)3/12/2019
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Gaza`s surviving al-Sawarka children struggle after Israel raidAli Younes - Aljazeera - Mohamad Awad, a member of the al-Sawarka Bedouin tribe and a neighbour of the family, told Al Jazeera the Israeli bombing was a "war crime" because Rasmi and his brother Mohamed were civilians and had nothing to do with any armed group."They raised sheep and were barely making ends meet before they were killed," he said. Awad denied the Israel army`s claim that Rasmi was a member of Islamic Jihad, and said he was an employee of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA) government. (rh)3/12/2019
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The Systematic Torture of Palestinians in Israeli DetentionYara Hawari - Al-Shabaka - The recent case of Samer Arbeed highlighted once again the systematic use of torture against Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons. Israeli soldiers arrested Arbeed at his home in Ramallah on September 25, 2019. They beat him severely before taking him to Al Moscobiyye detention center in Jerusalem for interrogation. Two days later, according to his lawyer, he was hospitalized as a result of severe torture, and lay in critical condition for several weeks. A judicial body had authorized the Israeli Secret Service, the Shin Bet, to use "exceptional methods" to extract information in this case without going through the courts. This led Amnesty International to condemn what happened to Arbeed as "legally-sanctioned torture." (rh)3/12/2019
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Israel Approves Extra Funding for West Bank SettlementsNoa Landau - Palestine Chronicle - Israel approved an extra 40 million shekels ($11.5 million) for settlements in the occupied West Bank yesterday, reported Haaretz. The majority of the funding allocation approved by the cabinet – 34.5 million shekels ($9.9 million) – is reportedly a one-time grant for “security needs” of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory.The remaining 5.5 million shekels ($1.6 million) is “for the construction of first aid stations”, reported Haaretz. (rh)3/12/2019
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Israeli Forces Shoot and Kill Palestinain Teen in HebronIMEMC & Agencies - "Badawi Khaled al-Masalma, 18, was shot dead, on Saturday night, by Israeli soldiers in the town of Beit Awwa, west of Hebron" [ry] 2/12/2019
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Palestinian shot in back amid laughter in shocking video comes forwardYumna Patel - Mondoweiss - "The grainy video was made in 2018 by Israeli soldiers and films Karam Qawasmi in a tunnel as a sponge-tipped bullet strikes him in the back, he then falls to the ground. The clip picks up Qawasmi’s screams of pain as well as laughter" [ry] 2/12/2019
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