Today in Palestine! ~ Headlines ~

Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid

Weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, 23-29 June
PCHR 30 June -- IOF continued to use force against peaceful protests in the West Bank. -A Palestinian civilian was wounded. -IOF arrested two human rights defenders and 6 Palestinian civilians.  Israeli gunboats opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats in the Gaza Strip. -A fishing boat was damaged, and IOF arrested two fishermen, but released them later. IOF conducted 31 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. -IOF arrested 21 Palestinian civilians, including 7 children a Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, a human rights defender and a journalist. Israel has continued to impose a total siege on the OPT and has isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world. -IOF arrested 3 Palestinian civilians at military checkpoints in the West Bank. -IOF arrested a physically disabled young man at Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing in the Gaza Strip.  IOF have continued settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property. -At least 100 graves were bulldozed in a cemetery in East Jerusalem. -IOF demolished two barnyards and well in Arab al-Rashaida village near Bethlehem. -IOF confiscated a plot near Hebron to establish an aircraft strip. - IOF destroyed irrigation networks near Hebron  -IOF uprooted 300 olive trees in Deir Estia village near Salfit.  [Details follow]

IOA decides to demolish Mohammed Al-Fateh Mosque
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 1 July -- David Harari, the vice-mayor of the Zionist administration of Jerusalem municipality, has issued an order to stop all renovations made to the Mohammed Al-Fateh mosque and to demolish it altogether alleging the construction was illegal. The Mosque stands only a short distance from the Aqsa Mosque which sends the message that the Israeli occupation has no respect for Muslim holy shrines, and that it could demolish mosques anytime it wishes, said Fakhri Abu Deyab, the chairman of the committee for the defense of Silwan town. But Abu Deyab pledged to defend the mosque and to stop the Israeli decision with all available means and at all cost, saying that the Israeli society “Israel Land Fund” was behind the call to destroy the mosque alleging the renovations were illegal.

IOF troops raid village of Kafr al-Deek and uproot trees
SALFIT (PIC) 1 July -- IOF troops raided on Thursday afternoon the village of Kafr al-Deek near Salfit and uprooted dozens of olive trees from the fields belonging to the villagers under the pretext that the trees are in "government lands" close to the Eili Zahaf settlement. Local sources said that IOF troops in large numbers raided the village accompanied with the so called civil administration officers and spread throughout the agricultural lands around the village. The sources added that the IOF troops imposed a security cordon in the area to the north of the Eili Zahaf settlement which is built on confiscated lands belonging to the Kafr al-Deek villagers and a military bulldozer started uprooting olive trees in the area. The Salfit district is one of the most targeted area in the West Bank for land confiscation and the number of Jewish settlements built on confiscated Palestinian land causing daily suffering for Palestinians.


Israeli settlers and soldiers attack farmers reclaiming land near Hebron
Hebron (PNN) 1 July -- On Friday midday a group of Israeli settlers, along with soldiers, attacked Palestinian farmers of Yatta in southern West Ban, all of whom were trying to reclaim their land that settlers took over earlier this year. As part of the local committee against the wall and settlements, internationals and Israelis joined farmers from Yatta and went to work their land near the Israeli settlement Kiryat Arba. The settlers took over the land earlier in the year and planted grape vines to supply the winery in the settlement with grapes. Recently the Israeli High Court of Justice ruled that this land belongs to local farmers; as a result, on Friday people went and removed the grape vines settlers had planted and started to rehabilitate the land. Soon the settlers arrived and attacked people; later they were joined by Israeli military police and armed units.

Settler arson attack in the village of Burin
[photos] ISM -- On Thursday 30 June at 11:00 AM, the villagers of Burin reported that a fire was started by a group of settlers in one of the village´s crop field in the hills. According to a villager who witnessed the events, Walid M. N. noted that before the fire began to burn, approximately 50 settlers from the illegal settlement of Yitzhar, including some children, were seen atop the hill which is just situated  in the southwest portion of the village. ISM was told that many villagers went up to the blaze to try to stop it, but the Nablus Fire Department had to be called afterwards to put the fire out. When ISM went to see where the attack had taken place, a jeep of Israeli soldiers could be seen watching the area. Burin is located in the southwest of Nablus. It has a population of approximately 4000 inhabitants. The villagers have been suffering from regular settler attacks for many years.

Activism / Solidarity

Soldiers fire at Qalqiliya protest, injuring 4
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 1 July -- Locals told Ma‘an that the village of Kafr Qaddum, to the east of Qalqiliya and overlooked by the illegal Israeli settlement Qedumim, organized a peaceful rally at the site to demand the opening of the gate in accordance with an Israeli Supreme Court ruling.  The army blocked the entrance to the gate, which separates the northern West Bank town from Israel and land belonging to Qalqiliya residents, and fired tear gas.
Israeli settlers also set fire to lands adjoining Kafr Qaddum on Friday, local witnesses said. The land was owned by Suleiman Sa’eed Ali and Abed Al-Mahdi Ali.

Palestinian man still under arrest after demonstration in Beit Ommar on Saturday
ISM 29 June -- Two international activists are released following their arrest and court hearing in Jerusalem, while a Palestinian man is still under custody following a peaceful demonstration in Beit Ommar that occurred on June 25th. The two international activists and a 22 year old Palestinian were brutally arrested during a peaceful demonstration in Beit Ommar, in the southern region of the West Bank. The non-violent demonstration took place  there  and was nearing its end when approximately ten Israeli soldiers and border police arrested the 22 year old Palestinian man with force. The man’s t-shirt was ripped into pieces as he was being arrested. He was restrained to the ground and kneed in the chest. A soldier later twisted his handcuffs aggressively, contorting the man’s wrists, cutting the man on both wrists.  When trying to reach the Palestinian man and assist him, an international activist was violently thrown to the ground by a border police.  The activist, from Sweden, landed on her back and a soldier pinned her to the ground, laying heavily on top of her and making it hard for her to breathe.

Three weeks later, American Jewish activist arrested in Jerusalem sits down with PNN
Bethlehem (JI/PNN Exclusive) 30 June -- Many of the commenters on the videos of your arrest in Jerusalem have been positive, but there have been critical ones as well.  From those comments, there seems to be a common thread of disbelief about what preceded such a violent reaction.  Can you explain what occurred during those few minutes that the camera does not see? ...The scene at the opening of the video showing my interview by journalists and my subsequent harassment by the police, demanding my passport, occurred approximately forty-five minutes to an hour before the actual arrest shown in the final moments. Ignorant of such a time lapse, many incorrectly place my violent arrest as the logical outcome of my refusal to hand over my passport

Israeli troops attack anti-Wall weekly protests, Bil‘in celebrates removal of the Wall
Ramallah (PNN) 1 July – Dozens were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation on Friday as Israeli troops attacked the weekly anti-wall protests in a number of West Bank communities. This week, protests were reported in the villages of al-Nabi Salleh, Bil‘in, and Ni‘lin in the central West Bank, as well as al-Ma‘ssara in the south ... International and Israeli supporters joined the villages and held the midday prayers at the lands that Israeli returned to the farmers. Later a small festival was held by the villagers and local men and women preformed the Palestinian folklore dance, Dabka. As part of the new form of struggle villagers decided to build one house on the freed lands to encourage village to start a new section of the village there.


Palestinian man dies of wounds he sustained three months ago
Hebron (PNN) 1 July -- A Palestinian was reported dead on Friday evening due to wounds he sustained three months ago when Israeli police opened fire at him as he was driving back home near the southern West Bank city of Hebron. Jallal al-Massri, 30 years old, was going back home from Jerusalem to his village of Ithna near Hebron. An Israeli police officer opened fire at him as he drove by and critically injured him. The man was taken to Hadasa Israeli hospital in Jerusalem where he died today, Palestinian sources reported. The circumstances of the attack by the police remain unknown.

Violent clashes in Shu‘afat refugee camp, one youth injured
RAMALLAH (PIC) 1 July -- The IOF announced on Thursday night the closure of the Shu‘afat roadblock until further notice due to violent clashes between IOF troops and Palestinian youth at the Shu‘afat refugee camp and which resulted in the injury of a Palestinian young man and his arrest by the IOF. Local sources said that the clashes ensued when IOF soldiers manning the road block provoked the Palestinian youth by firing teargas towards a group of them near the roadblock injuring one of them and proceeding to arrest the injured youth.


Gaza man sentenced after 8 years' detention
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 1 July -- An Israeli military court in Beersheba, Israel sentenced a Gaza man to 20 years in jail, a Jerusalem center for detainees said Thursday. Nahed Humeid, from Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, was detained by Israeli forces in 2003. Eight years later, he was charged with 21 crimes in January, including planting explosive devices in the coastal strip, firing missiles into Israel, and being affiliated to several political factions. He was convicted on 11 counts, the center said. According to latest figures from the Palestinian Authority, Israel holds 219 Palestinians in administrative detention, under which imprisonment without charge is renewed every 6 months.

Israeli military court renews administrative detention of Palestinian MP
AL-KHALIL,(PIC) 30 June -- An Israeli military court extended the administrative detention, without charge, of Hamas MP Azzam Salhab, 54, for four more months. Hamas lawmakers in the West Bank said that the continued administrative custody of Salhab fell in line with an Israeli policy to absent those deputies from the Palestinian political arena.

Israel continues arrest campaign in Azzun
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 30 June -- Israeli forces on Thursday detained three Palestinians in Azzun in the northern West Bank, witnesses said. Locals identified the detainees as Kathem Mufeed Radwan, 18, Useid Yaser Salim, 22, and Ala Samir Salim, 20. During a night raid Tuesday, Israeli forces had detained five residents of the town, including a 13-year-old boy. Israel detained more than 20 Palestinians from Azzun in June, most of whom were aged 14 - 23.

Soldiers from the Nahshon Brigade raid Askalan jail, assault captives
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 1 July -- ...Amjad al-Najjar, director of the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS), said that the captives in Askalan were upset when the prison administration closed the section which has a canteen for Palestinian captives and expressed their anger by banging on doors. Soldiers from the Nahshon Brigade raided the prison and assaulted Palestinian captives using truncheons and teargas on them causing the injury of a number of captives.

Restriction of movement

Photoessay: Rush hour at Bethlehem Checkpoint / Porter Speakman, Jr.
Bethlehem, West Bank 30 June -- I set my alarm for 4:45 AM and headed out of Jerusalem to take some video at the Bethlehem checkpoint for an upcoming project. Jerusalem was still very quiet, a stark difference from what was awaiting in the nearby Palestinian Bethlehem. As I crossed over into the city you could hear the voices of thousands of people lined up both in the terminal and awaiting access. This is morning "rush hour" in Bethlehem Checkpoint. Thousands of Palestinians who live in Bethlehem and work in Jerusalem and other Israeli cities start their day around 3:00 AM by lining up at the checkpoint. Although the checkpoint does not open until around 5:00 AM, getting a good place in line can mean the difference between a one-hour crossing or a much longer one. You never really know how long it’s going to take to get through

Report: Men under 45 blocked from Al-Aqsa Friday
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 1 July -- Israeli police said Friday that they will block the entry of men under 45 to Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem's Old City, Israeli media reported. Israeli newspaper Jerusalem Post said the police restrictions came after intelligence on "plans to disrupt the peace at the site." ... Israeli authorities regularly restrict the entry of men under 45 on occasions such as Israeli holidays, while Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza must request special permission to pray at the holy site.

Cycling for freedom of movement
ISM 30 June -- 70 cyclists from Hebron and surrounding areas, as well as 15 international cyclists, pedaled through Hebron on Tuesday in an attempt to challenge restrictions imposed on the freedom of movement. The group set off from near the centre of the city and cycled in unison through the streets of Hebron, waving Palestinians flags. Bikes were decorated with signs saying "We have the right to move," "The wheels of change are in motion," and "Bikes against borders" in English and Arabic... As the bikers moved through the streets, people waved, shouted and honked in support. As the cyclists tried to cycle towards the Old City they found that the demonstration’s route had been blocked by 30 border police and soldiers, as well as two barbed wire fences stretched across the street. The group peacefully asked the border police to let them pass and continue their journey as soldiers pointed guns at them from the roofs of a nearby house.


US Boat to Gaza sets sail from Greece to join the Freedom Flotilla / Adam Horowitz
Mondoweiss 1 July -- Sequence of events today, from photos and a video of the boat leaving port with hopeful passengers, to tweets as events unfolded (still updating on the site), to the Greek government order not to sail

Gaza-bound boat: Greek commandos forced us back
Ynet 1 July 23:57 -- Heavily armed Greek forces with their firearms drawn forced a Gaza-bound ship to turn around and return to Greece, where the vessel is now being held in a military base, activists on board the Audacity of Hope said Friday evening. "We were forced to go back to a Greek port surrounded with bars and barbwire," a Twitter message from the Gaza-bound vessel said. "We were in a holding pattern for probably three hours when the commandos arrived with drawn weapons."  Hagit Borer, an Israeli-American citizen on the ship, told Ynet: "They are not letting us out. They took us back to a military dockyard and let the journalists disembark. I don't know what they'll be doing with us.",7340,L-4089905,00.html

US Gaza-bound boat returning to Greek port
AJE 1 July15:00 -- Vessel seeking to break Israel's siege of Gaza Strip returns to Greek port after it was intercepted by armed commandos -- The Greek embassy in Tel Aviv put out a statement confirming that the Greek coast guard has enforced a decision by the Civil Defence to prevent all flotilla vessels from leaving Greek ports. Greece's Civil Protection Ministry said coast guard authorities had been ordered to take "all appropriate measures'' to implement the ban. It also said the "broader maritime area of the eastern Mediterranean will be continuously monitored by electronic means for tracking, where applicable, the movements of the ships allegedly participating'' in the flotilla. "What I am witnessing right now at this moment is Israeli diplomatic pressure on the Greek government to ensure that these boats do not leave any port inside Greece," Dana said.

Greece bars boats leaving Athens for Gaza
[well at least it made the MSN] ATHENS, Greece (AP) 1 July -- Greece on Friday banned ships heading to the Gaza Strip from leaving Greek ports, and a vessel carrying several dozen American protesters which left port without permission was ordered to return. A flotilla of nine Greek and foreign-flagged vessels and several hundred activists have said they want to break Israel's sea blockade and deliver aid to the Palestinian territory.

Netanyahu's big fat Greek wedding / Barak Ravid
Haaretz 1 July -- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sometimes seems almost too arrogant and self assured for his own good. However, unlike in most instances, this weekend he actually has justification for his haughtiness. Netanyahu’s personal investment in his relationship over the past year-and-a-half with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou in which he increased diplomatic ties with the floundering European nation seems to have put the final nail in the Gaza flotilla’s coffin.

Gilmore warning on Gaza 'aid boat sabotage'
1 July -- The Irish Government would take a very serious view if it turned out an Irish aid boat bound for Gaza was sabotaged, Tanaiste [deputy prime minister]  Eamon Gilmore said yesterday as seven Irish activists returned home. As activists accused Israel of damaging the propeller of the vessel in a Turkish port, the Foreign Affairs Minister said he was "concerned" about reports that the ship may have been sabotaged.

Watchful activists guard boats bound for Gaza
GazaTV/AJ Activists planning on participating in an aid flotilla to the Gaza Strip are now guarding their ship around the clock after alleged sabotage disabled other boats in the planned convoy. The Dutch-Italian ship Stefano Chiarim is waiting in a port on the Greek Island of Corfu for approval from the Greek government to begin the journey to Gaza ... In a bid to prevent further damage to the flotilla, activists on board the ship created a “security rota” and are now taking shifts to stand guard on their boat around the clock. At any time, at least five people are patrolling the deck, with another in the galley, hoping to catch a perpetrator in the case of another attack ... Early on Friday morning the 'guards' on the ship rang the alarm bells when one of them heard a noise coming from under the 20 metre long vessel.

Navy to deploy 'floating ORs'
Ynet 30 June -- The IDF and Navy are on high alert ahead of the nearing Gaza flotilla. Fearing an attempt to stop the sail from reaching the Strip would result in casualties, the military has decided to convert mess halls on two missile boats into operating rooms, in order to treat casualties at sea. Ynet learned Thursday that the decision stemmed from the lessons learned from the first flotilla and the military's desire to offer immediate medical attention for the injured -- if there are any. Military medevacs will also be at hand, in case the injured need to be airlifted to hospitals in Israel.,7340,L-4089605,00.html

Was Israeli unit Sheyetet 13 behind the sabotage of Gaza-bound flotilla ships? / Max Blumenthal
30 June -- Two boats among the fleet of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla have been sabotaged. While Israel has not taken credit for the sabotage, all signs point in its direction. The Israeli military boasts an elite underwater sabotage division, Yaltam, that operates out of Shayetet 13, the naval commando unit that raided the Mavi Marmara last year and killed 9 of its passengers. According to SpecWarNet, an online database of international special forces units, "For underwater sabotage missions, each [Shayetet 13] diver can carry a limpet mine to attach to the hull of enemy watercraft or docks." The Guardian reported on Shayetet 13’s history of sabotaging civilian ships in international harbors: "It is known to have been involved in numerous clandestine seaborne operations, including many raids on neighbouring Lebanon. It works closely with the Mossad secret service. It was also involved in a curious foreshadowing of the Gaza incident in February 1988, when Flotilla 13 is reported to have sabotaged an attempt by the PLO to highlight the issue of Palestinian refugees by sailing a ship to an Israeli port, forcing Israel either to sink it or board it or let it land the refugees. The night before the vessel, al-Awda (”The Return”) was due to sail, it was blown up and sunk in Limassol harbour, Cyprus -- with no loss of life or political embarrassment."

Israeli army has no evidence for claim of flotilla's violent plans / Max Blumenthal
29 June -- Update: Neues Deutschland reported that chief army spokesperson Avital Liebovich claimed Israel infiltrated the US boat to Gaza with naval intelligence agents, who relayed the IDF with a report of the passengers’ violent intentions. The passengers denied the claim as baseless and hysterical. The ludicrous nature of Liebovich’s claim is underscored by my interview (below) with the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, where she works. A robot translation of the ND article is here.

The battle over the Gaza flotilla / Joseph Dana
Nation 1 July -- ...Many passengers believe they have already achieved a major goal of their mission: to raise awareness about conditions in Gaza. Robert Naiman, a US boat passenger and policy director of the Washington, DC, think tank Just Foreign Policy, said, "The fact of the matter is that we have already won. The international press is talking about the blockade and Gaza. The contradiction between the world of the Israeli military officials and the world in which the rest of us live is exposed for all to see." ... Alice Walker has become an icon and anchor of this diverse crew of Americans willing to risk their lives to highlight Israeli control over Gaza. At the flotilla’s only international press conference held so far in Athens, she expressed a widely shared sentiment when she said, "My government has failed us, and is ignorant of our own history."

With multiple ships disabled, organizers regroup in Greece / Amira Hass
Haaretz 1 July -- GREECE - With two ships sabotaged - the Irish ship is in no condition to sail and the Swedish-Greek-Norwegian Giuliano is still being repaired - the impulse is to depart from port and wait for the rest at sea, along with the French ship that sailed Saturday. This is also the wish of all those on the Tahrir, the Canadian ship with its 50 passengers ... Psychologically people are getting ready to receive the call at three in the afternoon or two in the morning, and they know who they have to call in turn ... It seems like the participants in the flotilla are undergoing a process of "Gaza-tization." They are willingly experiencing, for a few days, some of the characteristics of life under siege in the Gaza Strip. They are tied up against their will within a limited radius of several kilometers. Their plans are repeatedly foiled by superior forces. Their clearance to depart has been canceled, and they are waiting for it to be renewed.

Gazans unimpressed with flotilla
Ynet 1 July -- Israeli claims over futility of flotilla receive reinforcement from surprising direction – Gazan businessmen who say it isn't imports that are problem, it's exports ... The Gazan businessmen stress that they are not opposed to the flotilla: "It is not that we don't support the flotilla, we just want both. Not just the entry of goods but their export so that the economy will be rehabilitated and people can return to the workforce in the factories," said Tilbani.,7340,L-4089709,00.html

Gaza flotilla activists: Queers welcome aboard aid ships / Amira Hass
Haaretz 30 June -- John Greyson, Canadian Gaza flotilla activist, responds to recent YouTube video claiming homosexuals are not welcome on board the flotilla; tells Haaretz video is a 'ridiculously transparent attempt to vilify the flotilla'.

Documentary: Fire on the Marmara / David Segarra -- New documentary about the flotilla to Gaza that was attacked by the israeli commandos in 2010. 'Only the sea remains / One defiant wave at a time' - Samah Sabawi.  Dror Feiler, others.

Racism / Discrimination / Suppression of dissent

Head to Head: Why are so few Arabs in higher education?
Haaretz 28 June -- An interview with Haifa Professor Majid Al-Haj -- Only 2.7 percent of all Israeli university lecturers are Arabs, according to statistics presented to the Knesset's investigatory committee on the absorption of Arabs in government jobs. The percentage of all Arabs in the higher education administrative staff, at any level, is even lower: 1.7 percent. Prof. Majid Al-Haj, the vice president of Haifa University, is the most senior Arab in the higher education system today. In 2001, he headed a council subcommittee that put together a report on the subject. Prof. Al-Haj, where do you see an improvement or, alternatively, stagnation in connection to absorbing Arabs in academia - as students, faculty and administrative staff - in the decade since your 2001 report was submitted to the council? "Over the last ten years there has been a significant rise in the number of Arab students in bachelor's degree programs at universities and colleges. What has not changed is the representation of Arabs in programs for more advanced degrees..."

A critical test for the police / Uri Gopher
Haaretz 1 July -- The police cannot afford to waste time; the department must take the initiative now if it wishes to reverse the worrying trend in its relations with Arab society ...  For many Arab citizens, the murders last month of Hadra Abu Gariba in Lod and Sammy Katar in Yarka - the 15th and 16th murders of Arab-Israelis this year - are not only expressions of the surging violence and soaring crime rates their community is suffering from and deploring publicly in every possible forum. They are also an expression of ongoing and intentional neglect of the Arab community by the state, in general, and by the police, specifically ... A survey of the Arab population (conducted as part of a project operated by the Abraham Fund Initiatives in conjunction with the Israel Police), showed that Arab citizens' main expectations of the police include more effective responses to violence and internal disputes, drug offenses and hazards of various sorts....

Jewish parents in multicultural school demand parity in the classroom
Haaretz 1 July -- The only public elementary school in Israel with both Arab and Jewish students may shut down. Parents of Jewish students in Jaffa's Weizmann School are threatening to move their children to other schools unless the municipality ensures parity between Arab and Jewish students. Although the school's studies are conducted in Hebrew, most of its students are Arabs. The Jewish parents are demanding the school be opened to students from other areas to ensure an equal number of Jewish and Arab students.

Draft law to deny Sheikh Raed Salah access to Israeli academic institutions
MEMO 1 July -- A member of the extreme right-wing Yisrael Beitenu Party is drafting a law to deny access to academic institutions for anyone "assisting 'terrorist' organisations". The move is intended to prevent the leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheikh Raed Salah, from taking part in debates in Israel's universities, and signals a shift even further to the right for Israel's policies against its own Palestinian citizens. Alex Miller MK announced that the draft law he calls "Raed Salah" will be put to the Israeli parliament on Sunday.

Report: Tel Aviv police confiscate bicycles from refugees who can't prove ownership
Haaretz 1 July -- The police have begun confiscating their bicycles, say refugees living in Israel who cannot prove they own them, according to the newspaper "The Refugee Voice," which is coming out with its second issue today. Following a wave of bicycle thefts in Tel Aviv, police in the city instituted a new policy several weeks ago, confronting African asylum seekers who have bicycles and demanding proof they purchased the bikes and didn't than steal them, the paper said.

Political / Diplomatic / International news

Report: US to offer Israel incentives to negotiate
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma’an) 1 July -- The US is preparing to offer incentives to Israel in exchange for a return to negotiations based on 1967 borders, Israel's Maariv newspaper reported Friday.

UN extends mandate of Golan Heights peacekeeping force
WASHINGTON (Ynet) 1 July –  The Security Council on Thursday extended the mandate of the United Nations force monitoring the ceasefire in the Golan Heights between Israel and Syria for another six months.  According to a UN press release, the resolution extending UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) mandate was adopted unanimously. The statement said the UN Security Council was "deeply concerned that recent events have put the long-held ceasefire in jeopardy.",7340,L-4089651,00.html

In Balata, the future is scarier than September
Haaretz 1 July -- In the Balata refugee camp, Taisir Nasrallah, director general in the Nablus governor's office and a central Fatah activist, says 'stability' affects Palestinians more than UN declaration of statehood -- ...Taisir Nasrallah, of Balata, was one of the Fatah youth leaders in the Nablus area during the first intifada. He does not believe a third intifada is likely in the near future. However, he does believe the Palestinian refugees will return to their homes in Israel some day ... "We give the kids courses on the right of return and teach them that the Israelis stole their lands. We've sent hundreds of camp children into Israel to see the villages and towns that were taken from us. We took them to Jaffa, Ramle." "Our message is that without a doubt they will return to the places from which they were driven out," he says.

Human interest - sports

An American soccer star playing for Palestine
[photos] CNN 1 July -- At six foot five, with his shock of blond hair shaved into a fat Mohawk and talking in a languid Georgian drawl, Omar Jarun looks like he was once part of an all-conquering college basketball team. But the 26-year-old American doesn't play basketball ... On Sunday he will line up as a defender for the Palestinian national soccer team as they take on Afghanistan in a match that, just one year on from the World Cup final in South Africa, represents one of the first steps towards qualification for the next tournament in Brazil in 2014. Besides being Palestine's first World Cup match on home soil, Sunday's encounter will have extra significance for Jarun. It will be the first time he has ever set foot in the West Bank and he plans to visit his ancestral town of Tulkarem.

Arab sports in Israel -- a special project / Neta Ahituv
Haaretz 1 July -- The handful of Arab tennis players in Israel have to join 'Jewish' clubs because of a lack of funds. A tennis school in the village of Jaljulya, run by a Jewish man and an Arab woman, is trying to change that.

Coexistence costs money / Mazen Ghnaim
Haaretz 30 June -- I took responsibility for the Bnei Sakhnin soccer club because I knew what the club's potential was. I came in the belief that through soccer I can advance the interests of both the Arab population and myself ... At first it was practically impossible to sign Jewish players to Sakhnin. I wanted to promote coexistence and show that there is a way to live in peace and brotherhood. Soccer provided suitable turf, but the results didn't come immediately. Jewish players did not rush to sign for Sakhnin. In their eyes, Sakhnin was a poor, hostile Arab village, not a respectable place to be seen in.

Analysis / Opinion

Israel has become a society of force and violence / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 30 June -- Are we listening to ourselves? Are we still aware of the awful noise coming from here? Have we noticed how the discourse is becoming more and more violent and how the language of force has just about become Israel's only official language? A group of international activists is slated to sail a flotilla to the shores of the Gaza Strip. Many of them are social activists and fighters for peace and justice, veterans of the struggle against apartheid, colonialism, imperialism, pointless wars and injustice. Just stating that is difficult here, since they have already been described as thugs ... We haven't heard the last of the campaign to demonize the previous flotilla, in which Turkish citizens were killed for no reason, yet the new campaign has already begun. It has all the buzzwords: danger, chemical substances, hand-to-hand combat, Muslims, Turks, Arabs, terrorists and maybe some suicide bombers. Blood and fire and pillars of smoke!  The unavoidable conclusion is that there is only one way to act against the passengers aboard the flotilla: by force, and only by force, as with every security threat. This is a recurring pattern: first demonization, then legitimization (to act violently ). Remember the tall tales about sophisticated Iranian weaponry coming through arms-smuggling tunnels in Gaza, or those about how the Strip was booby-trapped? Then Operation Cast Lead came along and the soldiers hardly encountered anything like that.

Zionists, relax, Israel is not on the brink of destruction / Carlo Strenger
Haaretz blog 30 June -- Rational thinking is highly unpopular in the Netanyahu government, which seems caught in the belief that catastrophe is on the way -- One of the best-known Yiddish expressions is ‘Gevalt, Yiddelech, Gevalt!', a phrase best translated as ‘catastrophe, Jews, catastrophe!’. I would suggest that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition officially be named the Gevalt! Government. Listening to the utterances of our ministers, you would come to the conclusion that the State of Israel is about to be erased and the Jewish people are in danger of immediate extinction.

'The Audacity of Hope' waits to sail to Gaza / Mark Weisbrot
AJE 30 June -- The 'Palestinians' transition to non-violent protests' deeply concerns the Israeli government and its US backers -- One of the most important foreign policy statements of the year came from Ehud Barak, Israel's Defense Minister, on May 16. Responding to non-violent protests at Israeli borders and military posts, he said: "The Palestinians' transition from terrorism and suicide bombings to deliberately unarmed mass demonstrations is a transition that will present us with difficult challenges." ...The comparative advantage of the rich and powerful against non-violent resistance has significantly diminished in recent years. Although they still hold the upper hand with the vast majority of the world's communications resources, their monopoly over messaging has been shattered by the internet, social media, and other new forms of competition.

King Lior and his subjects / Sefi Rachlevsky
Haaretz 1 July -- When King Lior parted from the evildoers, who had detained him for an hour of questioning, he turned to Mercaz Harav Yeshiva, where he was borne on the shoulders of those celebrating his messianic kingdom. Once again, he began to use the many official positions that entitle him to tens of thousands of shekels each month, and gave a class at the Nir hesder yeshiva (combining Torah studies with military service ) in Kiryat Arba, which he heads ... During the present time of repression, when the fawning "rule of law" takes prides in delaying kings for a very brief preliminary inquiry, every parent should know the repressed facts about Rabbi Dov Lior, the acting commander of numerous soldiers. Menachem Livni, who was convicted of murders, headed a terror organization dubbed the "Jewish underground." He testified that the spirit behind the underground was Lior - and not just for his preaching and religious rulings regarding the need to murder Arabs or killing "innocent people." Lior, according to the testimony of the murderer, was involved in the details and decided how and when they would act. Lior pressured the hesitant perpetrators to blow up six buses with all their passengers. The buses were loaded with explosives with the object of killing hundreds. Only the delay enabled the Shin Bet security service to arrest them at the last minute.

LA Times runs pro-Gaza blockade op-ed and omits that author is retired IDF colonel
1 July -- In its July 1st edition, the LA Times is running an OpEd piece by Amos N. Guiora titled, "Gaza Flotilla: Israel's Gaza sea blockade is an act of self-defense." In the bio at the bottom of the piece, the author is identified only as: "a professor of law at the University of Utah's S.J. Quinney College of Law, is the author of 'Freedom from Religion: Rights and National Security.'" Glaringly missing from the description of Guiora is the fact that he is a retired Israeli Defense Forces Lieutenant Colonel who believes that extrajudicial assassinations of Palestinians is within Israel's rights under international law. The "oversight" is akin to the LA Times publishing a pro-torture OpEd by John Yoo and identifying him simply as a University of California professor of law.

Operation Desert Bloom: the Zionist myth that won't spoil, wither, or die / Nima Shirazi
Wide Asleep in America 30 June -- ...the truth is that the Palestinian soil didn't actually require expert Jewish agricultural know-how to produce fruits, vegetables, and the myriad other crops native to the land. Pre-Israel Palestine was not quite the barren dustbowl of Zionist fantasy - far from it ... During the 1944-1945 planting season, nearly 210,000 tons of grain were cultivated in Palestine, of which 193,376 tons were Arab crops, compared to 16,579 tons of Jewish crops ... Of the over 244,800 tons of vegetables produced in Palestine that season, Arab farmers were responsible for more than 189,000 tons; of the 94,700 tons of fruit, Arab orchards produced 73,000 tons. Almost all of the region's citrus groves were Palestinian owned and operated ... Eighty percent of the 40-50,000 tons of grapes and 4-5 million liters of wine were produced in Arab vineyards.

Waiting for Godot on the Gaza flotilla / Mark LeVine
AJE 1 July -- Unlike the existentialist play, Palestinians are facing a meaningful struggle to stay human in the face of oppression -- ...if the Israelis have their way, the endless wait in Gaza, and the occupied territories more broadly, suggests a very different and more pernicious meaning: We own you. We determine what you can or cannot do, where you can and cannot live and go, who can and cannot be part of your lives. You in fact have no freedom save what we give to you; there is no point to your waiting.  And this waiting has been going on a very long time. The Israeli siege of Gaza that defines life in the enclave today did not begin in 2009 with the invasion. Nor did it begin with the gradual closing in of Gaza at the start of the Oslo peace process.  Rather, the occupation has always been defined by an ever-tightening siege, with Palestinians increasingly surrounded and hemmed in by settlements, walls, check points, F-16s, Apaches helicopters and the bullets and bombs that rain down from them. They are confined bypass roads, closed military zones, "parks" and other areas built on the ruins of what was there before. Together the geography of the occupation has always constrained their freedom of movement, their livelihoods, even their dreams of a better future.
For further information contact Shadi Fadda

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