Today in Palestine! ~ Headlines ~

Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Exile

Video: West Bank barrier threatens villagers' way of life
BBC Magazine 9 May -- Anthropologists say Battir and its lands should be given protected status -- Israel is being urged to reroute its controversial West Bank barrier away from the lands of an ancient Palestinian village with a unique agricultural system. The BBC's Wyre Davies visited Battir, whose inhabitants fear their traditional way of life will disappear ... For more than 2,000 years, seven natural springs have given life to the village and its fields. Children still play, almost incongruously, in an old Roman bath built centuries ago at the spot, in the middle of the village, where one of the springs emerges. The simple irrigation system used today is as it was in ancient times. Water is shared between Battir's eight main extended families. A simple system of manually diverting water via sluice gates means that fruit and vegetables from the small plots on the lower slopes are renowned for their freshness and quality.

Karmei Tsur: Poisoning the vine with Zionism
ISM 8 May by 'Joseph' -- When Ali Awad visited his orchard on Friday morning before the midday prayer he noticed nothing out of the usual. But eight hours later, when he returned to his land in order to gather grape leaves to sell in the local market, he was shocked to find that his trees had been poisoned. The grape leaves, which Ali depends on substantially for income, had died and shriveled up, making them impossible to sell. Twelve peach trees belonging to Ali’s neighbor were also destroyed. Ali’s three dunums of farm land, where 28 grape trees have been growing for over 30 years, are directly adjacent to the barbed wire fence which separates the Palestinian village of Beit Ummar from the illegal Zionist settlement of Karmei Tsur.

The Occupation demolishes a water well near Beit Hanina
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 9 May -- The occupation authorities demolished, on Wednesday 9th May, a water well owned by the citizen Walid Dkidk in Al-Merwaha neighborhood in Beit Hanina in occupied Jerusalem. According to local sources, bulldozers of the occupation Municipality, demolished the well under the pretext of being built without a permit, mentioning that the municipality refuses to issue building permits to Palestinians in the region. The sources pointed out that the occupation bulldozers demolished the well without any prior warning

IOF soldiers destroy Palestinian crops south of Al-Khalil
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 10 May -- Israeli occupation forces (IOF) destroyed vast areas of Palestinian cultivated land lots south of Al-Khalil on Thursday. Othman Jabarin, the coordinator of the popular committee in Janba to the south east of Yatta town, told Quds Press that IOF soldiers deployed in a large area of land and pitched tents to launch military exercises. He said that the soldiers destroyed one thousand square dunum of land cultivated with wheat and barley. Jabarin underlined that the IOF soldiers’ act inflicted heavy losses on farmers who were about to reap their crops.

Settlers prevent farmers from reaching their land
IMEMC 10 May -- The General Director of the Tekoa Municipality, Tayseer Abu Mifrih, reported to WAFA News Agency that a group of settlers from the Tekoa settlement, built on Palestinian land in the Roman area, prevented the Palestinian owners of the land from accessing it for cultivation. The land is next to the settlement and is planted with olive trees, wheat and barley  He added that settlers' attacks on the Palestinian people of the town have been ongoing for approximately one week.

NPA orders to remove the sign of the Information Center, flags, and the decoration lights in Wadi Hilweh
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 10 May -- The Banna family received an order from Israeli national Parks Authority to remove a sign thats written on it "Behind the tourist site" that belongs to Wadi Hilweh Information Centre-Silwan and to remove the flag that says "I love you Silwan" and remove the lights as well. The locals considers this order as a racist move since these kind of orders do not apply on the settlers, the opposite is right, the settlers put signs whenever and wherever they wish without asking anyone or any authority.  The Israeli National Parks  Authority explained that the signs, the flags and the lights are affecting the whole view of their new National Park. The removing order had a deadline, the signs must be removed [by] Saturday 12.5.12

Court injunction delays demolitions of Jerusalem-area Bedouin homes
IMEMC 10 May -- The Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center obtained on Wednesday an injunction order for Khan al-Ahmar Kurshan community. This temporary injunction prevents the demolition of homes of the eight families that received 24-hour eviction notices on Sunday, 6 May ... The injunction does not have an expiry date. However, the Israeli Civil Administration has seven days to provide its response to the court regarding this decision. This response will guide any further decisions of the court ...The ICA officers informed those present in the community that "the community had built illegally, and that Area C was not for Palestinians."

Court reverses decision, prevents eviction of Palestinian family by JNF / Mairav Zonszein
[photo of family] 972mag 9 May -- The Jerusalem District Court ruled in favor of the Ruweidi family from East Jerusalem last week (May 2), accepting the claim that their home is not 'absentee property', as the Jewish National Fund has sought to prove in court since the 1990s. The Ruweidi family will thus be able to continue living in their home ... Sameer abu Alaa al Ruweidi, Juma‘a's nephew, expressed the family’s relief at the court’s decision: "This house was one of the first four houses in Wadi Hilweh, built by my great great great great grandfather. First of all, we give thanks to God. We also pray that the rest of the land that we own, which has been taken by the settlers, will be returned to us, and that all of the Palestinian houses that have been taken over by settlers in Jerusalem will be returned to their owners." The court affirmed that the house, located in the Wadi Hilweh neighborhood of Silwan and referred to as "Plot 51," is in fact owned by Juma’a Muhammad Saalim al-Ruweidi, now 85 years old, who was born raised in the house.

Settler leaders knew homes were built on private Palestinian land, says Ulpana developer
Haaretz 10 May -- Settler leaders knew from the start that Beit El's Ulpana neighborhood was built partly on privately owned Palestinian land, police documents reveal, even though residents claim they bought the houses in good faith. Yoel Tsur, CEO of the company that built the neighborhood and owns 24 of the 30 houses that the High Court of Justice has ordered razed, admitted in a police interrogation three years ago that it was built on land whose purchase was never finalized.

Netanyahu: Israeli cabinet to weigh approval of illegal West Bank outpost
Haaretz 10 May -- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu scheduled Thursday a special cabinet meeting to discuss the possibility of sanctioning the West Bank outpost of Ulpana Hill through High Court-bypassing legislation. The meeting, due to be held on Friday, will be the first to include Kadima head and new Vice Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz, following a recently signed unity government deal.

Ten years on from Nativity Church siege, deportees 'forgotten'
[with 2002 video] BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 10 May  -- Ten years after Israel exiled 39 Palestinians taking refuge in Bethlehem's Nativity Church, deportees say they have been forgotten by Palestinian leaders. On May 10, 2002, Israeli forces ended a 39-day siege on the church after striking a deal with Palestinian leaders to send 39 people given sanctuary in the church to Gaza and Europe. When Israeli tanks surrounded Bethlehem on April 2, 2002, around 220 locals -- including around 40 priests and nuns -- took shelter in the church. Over the next 39 days, eight Palestinians were killed inside the church and 27 others injured. The siege on the site believed to be Jesus' birthplace sparked outrage in the Vatican as monks sheltering inside pleaded for international assistance. Former Bethlehem Governor Salah Tamari headed the negotiations team to end the siege, and told Ma‘an TV the deportation deal was reached without his knowledge.
After a decade in exile, deportees say they have been abandoned by the Palestinian Authority and all political factions. They have not been allowed to return to their families in the West Bank.

Israeli rights group: Destroying Palestinian homes illegal
Al-Akhbar 10 May -- A leading Israeli human rights group has written to the country's Attorney General to urge him to abandon plans to destroy the houses of two Palestinians who killed five Israelis. The B'Tselem letter said it was wrong to punish the families of Amjad and Hakim Awad, convicted of murdering five members of the Fogel family in 2011, for actions they did not commit. The Israeli Security Agency had urged the houses to be demolished, punishing the family for the actions of the brothers. B'Tselem stressed that such a decision would be both illegal and immoral.


Israeli forces detain Gaza fishermen
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 10 May -- Israeli naval forces on Thursday detained two fishermen off the northern Gaza coast, Gaza's Ministry of Agriculture said. The men, from Beit Lahiya, were fishing north of Gaza City, the ministry said in a statement ... The ministry said that fishing provides the sole source of income for many families in Beit Lahiya. It said there has been a recent increase in the number of fishermen detained by Israeli forces.

New Hamas force in Gaza is foiling rocket attacks against Israel
Haaretz 10 May -- The new 300 men anti-rocket force operates day and night, but will not act if Israel is the first to strike -- The Hamas government in Gaza has been operating a force over the past few months whose sole task is to prevent the firing of rockets into Israel. Hamas, which has always championed jihad against Israel, is now using its authority to foil the firing efforts of cells from other organizations such as the Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees ... This force was not very much in evidence when Islamic Jihad and the PRC were firing rockets at Israel in March. This was because, among other reasons, the force won't act if Israel is the one who strikes first (and the Israeli assassination of Zuhair Al-Qaisi of the PRC in March was deemed such a provocation ).

After narrow escape, Gaza woman educates peers about lethal danger of generators
EI 7 May by Rami Almeghari -- Inam Abu Nada is lucky. Back in 2010, she and her 20-year-old daughter narrowly escaped death due to fumes from a power generator. Like thousands of other Gaza families, they had to were forced to use a generator by chronic power shortages that mean most of Gaza’s residents get only about eight hours of electricity each day. Gasoline generators give off carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless gas that is lethal, and therefore generators must never be used inside the home or in an enclosed area. Abu Nada was hospitalized for a day, and her daughter lost consciousness, but recovered because they were found in time by a family member. But since the beginning of this year 10 persons have died due to various accidents with generators in the territory, according to local authorities. Approximately 27 others have been injured. Abu Nada took her narrow escape as an opportunity. After the accident, she told The Electronic Intifada, "I began thinking about enlightening the local community about dangers of gasoline-powered generators."

Video: Palestinians unveil largest map of historical Palestine
PressTV 9 May --  Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have unveiled the largest map of historical Palestine in the world in the presence of observers from the Guinness book of world records. At 9.3 meters in width and 21.5 meters in height this map of Palestine is the largest in the world according to its makers. The map is sponsored by Hamas's Refugees' Affairs Bureau as part of a series of events to draw attention to the plight of Palestinian refugees.

Literature event shut down by police in Gaza
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Security forces in the Gaza Strip shut down the fifth Palestine Festival of Literature late Wednesday, sparking outrage from participants and an apology by the chief of police ... The Palestinian Center for Human Rights condemned the action and described it as "a violation of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and the right to peaceful assembly".  The center said that after a speech by Amru Izzat on liberty, a security officer wearing civilian clothes arrived at the festival and described himself as a member of the police investigation department.  "He cut off the electricity and requested the attendees to leave the place. Shortly after this occurred, a number of security officers were deployed to the place when attendees refused to leave," the group said.  "They confiscated cameras that had filmed the colloquium, chaos spread and the colloquium was broken up." Participants said the chief of police in Gaza and an official with the interior ministry visited them in their hotel and apologized personally. The police chief called the incident an "individual error." The event later resumed at the hotel, participants said.

Gaza security forces break up Egypt event at literary festival
Al-Ahram 10 May -- Gaza security forces broke up an event at the Palestine Festival of Literature (PalFest), headed by renowned novelist Ahdaf Soueif and attended by authors and poets from Egypt and Palestine Wednesday, claiming organisers didn’t hold a required licence for the event. Attendees at first refused to leave the event, which was taking place at the Al-Pasha Centre in Gaza, but were later led out by security forces. "We don't know why they cancelled the event," Soueif said. Three hours after the incident, Gaza's police chief apologised and promised to investigate what had happened, according to the official PalFest website.

Wives of Gaza wounded ... suffering and steadfastness
PIC 10 May -- Palestinian women are a symbol of patience, steadfastness and strength, which is absent in the Arab and European world. Palestinian women are sacrificing themselves for their home. They have lost their son, their brother and their husband, and they are still patient and steadfast in their suffering and pain ...5,450 Palestinians were wounded during the barbaric Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip launched on Saturday, December 27, 2008 at 11:30 am. Nour Arabia, 17, said that she was very sad about what happened to her husband Reyad Arabia, 23, whose leg was amputated, especially as they'd only been married four months before the brutal war on the Gaza Strip. "I was not shocked when I heard what had happened to my husband because of the sense of confidence that stems from the decree of Allaah, we are all at risk of death or injury at any time whatsoever." Nour said.

Video: Solar-powered kindergarten in Gaza
Al-Arabiya 9 May -- The Italian government has recently funded a project in Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip which includes the establishment of a solar-powered kindergarten. The solar panels installed on the roof of Umm al-Nasser kindergarten, trap energy from the sun which generates electricity enough to power the school’s lighting and electric-run machines the entire day ... This isn’t the first solar energy project in Gaza aided by the Italian government. 5 out of 15 intensive care units in Gaza’s Shifa hospital are powered by the sun.

Hunger Strikes

Lawyer: Halahla could die at any moment
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 10 May -- Prison doctors have told Thaer Halahla that he could die at any moment after 72 days on hunger strike, his lawyer Mona Neddaf said Thursday. Neddaf visited Halahla, 33, in Ramle prison clinic on Thursday, the prisoner rights group Addameer said in a statement.

Situation of long-term hunger strikers becomes increasingly urgent
AIC 10 May -- Addameer lawyer Mona Neddaf visited four hunger strikers in Ramleh prison medical clinic today, including Thaer Halahleh, now on his 73rd day of hunger strike.According to Ms. Neddaf, Thaer’s condition continues to deteriorate ... Thaer was supposed to receive a visit from his family today, but the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) cancelled the visit yesterday.
The health of Mohammad Taj, now on his 54th day of hunger strike, is also at a dangerous level. In addition, Jaafar Azzedine, on his 50th day of hunger strike, reported that he had stopped drinking water for a short period but has started to drink again, with minerals and vitamins. Nidal Shehadeh, who began his hunger strike on 17 April as part of the mass hunger strike, was moved back from a public hospital to Ramleh prison two days prior. He is on hunger strike in protest of receiving inadequate medical treatment while in prison.
Addameer fears for the lives of Thaer, Bilal Diab, also on his 73rd day of hunger strike, Hassan Safadi, who is now on his 67th day of hunger strike, Omar Abu Shalal, who is now on his 65th day of hunger strike, and all the other prisoners on hunger strike whose critical conditions are being blatantly disregarded by Israel and the prison authorities. Addameer reiterates its call for immediate action on behalf of the hunger strikers.

Israel "seeking deal" on Palestinian hunger strikers
Al-Akhbar/AFP 10 May -- Israel's prison service has offered to ease restrictions on Palestinian prisoners in a bid to end a mass hunger strike that has left several detainees close to death, sources told AFP on Thursday ... An official with Palestinian prisoners' rights group Addameer told AFP on Thursday that negotiations between prisoners and the Israel Prison Service (IPS) appeared to be making progress ...The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the IPS appeared to have "agreed to allow visits for families from Gaza," and to revoke a range of restrictions on prisoners, including a ban on education and various privileges.And she added that an agreement on moving prisoners out of solitary confinement was also on the table.

Fatah prisoners on hunger strike refuse medicine
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 10 May -- Hunger-striking detainees affiliated to Fatah said Thursday they are refusing medicine as well as food and water until Israel responds to their demands.

73 days: Bilal, Thaer and Irish hunger strikers against colonial rule
Stop the Wall 10 May -- On 2nd August 1981, the Irish revolutionary and member of the Irish parliament in the south, Kieran Doherty, died after 73 days on hunger strike. Along with nine other prisoners, he started a hunger strike to protest the policies of the British state in the north of Ireland and the conditions of Irish Republican political prisoners. Of the ten Irish martyrs, Kieran Doherty’s survived for the greatest length of time, with his other comrades dying after between 46 and 71 days. Today the Palestinian political prisoners Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahleh enter their 73rd day without food, the longest running of the estimated 2,500 Palestinians now refusing to eat in protest against their illegal detention by the Israeli occupation forces.

Israel moves 2 prisoners out of solitary confinement
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 10 May -- Israeli prison authorities moved two prisoners out of solitary confinement on Thursday, the Prisoners Society said. Mahmoud Issa, who has been in isolation for 13 years, and Waleed Ali were moved out of their cells by Israel's prison administration ... Both men are imprisoned in Ramla jail. Sixteen prisoners are now being held in solitary confinement, Fares said.

Israeli authorities agree on ending isolation of all prisoners except three
WEST BANK (PIC) 10 May -- The Israeli occupation authorities have tentatively agreed to end isolation of all Palestinian prisoners held in solitary confinement with the exception of three. Special sources told the PIC that a meeting was held in Nafha jail between leaders of Palestinian hunger striking prisoners and Israeli prison authority representative for five hours ... They said that preliminary reports indicated that the prison authority agreed to end the isolation of all prisoners with the exception of three Hamas leaders namely Ibrahim Hamed, Abdullah Al-Barghouthi, and Hassan Salame, adding, however, that no official word was yet announced.

PPP leader hospitalized after solidarity hunger strike
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 10 May -- A leader of the Palestinian People's, Party Mohammad al-Dirbashi, was hospitalized on Thursday after joining a solidarity hunger strike in Gaza City, medics said. Al-Dirbashi was transferred to Shifa Hospital after he fainted at a protest tent, medics told Ma'an.

Photoblog -- Empty Stomach Warriors: on the streets of Ramallah
Al-Akhbar 9 May by Dylan Collins -- Solidarity demonstrations took place throughout the central West Bank city of Ramallah on Tuesday, May 8, in support of the growing movement demanding just judicial proceedings and fair treatment for Palestinian prisoners within the Israeli judicial and penal systems.

9 protesters hurt in clash outside Ofer prison
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 10 May -- Nine Palestinians were injured, including one seriously, by rubber bullets during clashes that erupted between Palestinians and Israeli forces near the Ofer prison. The demonstration was held near the Ofar prison but the Israeli forces intervened in a sit-in by shooting tear gas and stun grenades in addition to rubber bullets and a foul-smelling liquid. Palestinians threw rocks and empty bottles toward Israeli forces.

Families of striking prisoners shut down Red Cross office
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 10 May – Families of striking prisoners Thursday shut down the International Red Cross office in Ramallah when they blocked staff from entering the building for a while. The families held banners and pictures of the prisoners and denounced what they said was Red Cross "bias and subjective" position regarding the prisoners’ issue. They called on the Red Cross to play a more active role and to take responsibility for the prisoners issue by exposing Israeli violations of the prisoners’ rights. Red Cross spokeswoman, Nadia Debsi, said that the Red Cross calls on the Israeli prison administration on daily basis to transfer the striking prisoners to a hospital where they can receive appropriate medical care.

Anonymous hacks UN site for 'ignoring' Palestinian hunger strikers
Al-Akhbar 9 May -- Hacktivist group Anonymous took down the main website of the UN on Wednesday after accusing the world body of "ignoring" the plight of several Palestinian hunger strikers protesting their detention without trial by Israel. Anonymous announced on Twitter that they had taken down the site, which had returned to full operation as this article was written.

Football activism group in solidarity with imprisoned Palestinian footballer and all hunger strikers
EI 9 May by Nora Barrows-Friedman -- Football Beyond Borders, a student-led international organization “which uses the universal power of football to tackle political, social and cultural issues” has issued a letter of solidarity with the thousands of Palestinian prisoners currently on hunger strike to protest Israel’s draconian policies of administrative detention and lack of basic human rights inside Israeli jails.

Elderly Gaza man on hunger strike in solidarity with "only son left" / Shahd Abusalama
EI 10 May --  [Abu Hosny al-Srafity, 66] refused to let his age be a barrier in front of standing with his son Ali who was detained for ten years and still has six to go. Doctors keep pressuring him to break his hunger strike but he refuses, saying that "“my life isn’t any more precious than that of my son." ... "Ali is the only son left," he said. "Left?" I interrupted. Then he moved his elbow to reveal a photo he kept tucked under his arm and started explaining, "I had three sons. My oldest son Hosny and my youngest Mohammed were killed and the one in the middle is behind Israel’s bars." ... " Wait. The next story is even more shocking," he said. "I was on my way home from a family visit with my wife and my seven-year-old son Mohammed in 1994. We were close to the eastern line, near Nahal Oz settlement. While standing in the street and waving for cars to take us back home, we suddenly glanced an Israeli car and a jeep driving very fast toward us. We got confused and scared. They intentionally smashed my son under their wheels, hit my wife and badly injured her and kept driving fast toward the settlement. It was horrible. It all happened so quickly that I couldn’t rescue my son who froze out of fear in front of that heartless driver who killed him and didn’t bother to even look back."

Palestinian Popular Front calls for uprising
GAZA (KUNA) 9 May -- The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a liberation movement, called for a third uprising in solidarity with the 23rd consecutive day of hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

UN's Ban urges Israel to charge prisoners or free them
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 May -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday urged Israel to either charge or release Palestinian detainees "without delay." ... Thaer Halahla, 33, and Bilal Diab, 27, have been on hunger strike in Israel jail for 72 days. Neither has been charged or tried for any offense. On Monday, Israel's Supreme Court rejected appeals against their administrative detention.

UNRWA chief urges Israel to find hunger strike solution
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 10 May -- The Commissioner-General of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees on Thursday called on Israel to find a solution to the hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners. Filippo Grandi expressed "grave concern" for political prisoners on hunger strike and urged Israel to to either charge or release prisoners detained under administrative detention. The demands of hunger strikers are related to the basic rights of prisoners as guaranteed by the Geneva Conventions, Grandi added.

UNRWA mysteriously removes top official's statement on Israel's treatment of hunger strikers
EI 10 May by Benjamin Doherty -- A widely reported statement by UNRWA Commissioner General Filippo Grandi that merely noted the health conditions of hunger striking prisoners and the validity of their demands has been removed from UNRWA’s web site without explanation. The statement, originally available at, was published earlier today and removed soon after.

The Nakba

Video: Palestinian 'Key of Return' on show at Berlin Biennale
Al-Arabiya 10 May -- A huge key that weighs approximately a ton and symbolizes the right of return for Palestinian refugees was transported from the Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem to the Berlin Biennale in Germany. The key, which is nine meters long and has inscriptions in several languages, started its journey in March when it was dismounted from its place on top of the camp gate. The steel key was made by Palestinian refugees at the Aida Social Youth Center in Bethlehem. For center manager Monther Amayra, displaying the key in Berlin gives Palestinians a chance to communicate their aspirations to the world.

Protest against the on-going Nakba
PNN 10 May -- Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) warns 'the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe) isn't over – the ethnic cleansing continues today'. Palestine Solidarity Campaign is holding a protest outside Downing Street on Saturday 12th May from 1-3pm to commemorate the Nakba (Catastrophe) of 1948 and to warn against the 'on-going ethic cleansing'. Speakers will include: PSC Chair Hugh Lanning,MP Andy Slaughter, singer/poet Melissa Melodee, Diana Neslen from Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Palestinian academic Karma Nabulsi, Baroness Jenny Tonge and the Ambassador for Palestine in the UK, Prof Manuel Hassassian.

They're still here, and then some....
PCBS: Palestinian population over 11 million by end of 2011
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 10 May – The estimated population of Palestinians around the world was 11.2 million by the end of 2011, said a Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) press release on Thursday. Marking the 64th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, when Palestinians were uprooted from their homes and land to make room for the establishment of Israel, the PCBS said that while the Palestinian population was estimated at 1.37 million in 1948, it had increased eight times by the end of 2011. According to statistics, the total number of Palestinians living in historical Palestine between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean had reached 5.6 million by 2011. This number is expected to rise to 7.2 million by the end of 2020 based on current growth rates, it said. Statistical data showed that 44.1% of the total Palestinian population in the Palestinian Territory is refugees. There were around 5.1 million registered Palestinian refugees by the end of 2011; 59.1% of whom were living in Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon, 17.1% in the West Bank, and 23.8% in the Gaza Strip....

Other detainee news

Israeli court orders the release of detained nonviolent activist
IMEMC 9 May -- Palestinian nonviolent activist, Bassem Tamimi, 45, from Nabi Saleh village, north of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, spent more than 13 months in Israeli prisons. Earlier on Friday, an Israeli court rejected an appeal filed by the Israeli prosecution against his release, yet imposed severe restrictions on him including confining him to the Ramallah district. The court also ruled that Tamimi is to be placed under house arrest Thursday to Saturday every week until further notice. The move is meant to prevent him from joining the weekly nonviolent protests, joined by Israelis and Internationals, against the illegal Israeli Annexation Wall and settlements. Tamimi was abducted from his home after Israeli soldiers invaded it on March 24, 2011, and was indicted on charges related to "organizing protests in his village."
It is worth noting that Tamimi has been officially recognized by the European Union (EU) as a defender of Human Rights while Amnesty International recognized him as a prisoner of conscience.

Israeli forces arrest 17 people across the West Bank
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 10 May -- Israeli forces arrested 17 people overnight Wednesday in the West Bank, Israel's army and PA officials said. Seven people were detained in the Nablus village of Burin, six in the Bethlehem area, two in Qalandia, one in Jericho and one in Ramallah, an Israeli army spokesman said. Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian Authority official who monitors settlement activities in the northern West Bank, told Ma'an that Israeli forces raided Burin village after midnight.

Negev prison refuses to admit jailed MP due to health condition
IMEMC 9 May -- Detained elected Palestinian Legislator, Mohammad Abu Jheisha, was moved from the Ofer Israeli prison to the Negev detention camp, in the Negev desert, but the administration there refused to admit him due to his bad health condition. Abu Jheisha, member of the Change and Reform Bloc of the Hamas movement, was later sent to the Nafha prison, instead of being hospitalized due to his deteriorating health condition ... Last month, Abu Jheisha received an additional four month extension to his initial administrative detention of four months, for the third consecutive time without any charges being pressed against him.

Politics / Diplomacy

Haniyeh: Hamas won't go to war for Iran
GAZA CITY (Reuters) 10 May  -- Hamas will not let itself be dragged into a war against Israel if it attacks the nuclear facilities of Hamas ally Iran, Gaza leader Ismail Haniyeh said Thursday. "Hamas is a Palestinian movement that acts within the Palestinian arena and it carries out its political and field actions in a way that suits the interests of the Palestinian people," he said at his headquarters. "Iran did not ask anything from us and we think Iran is not in need of us," the prime minister of the Hamas government said in an interview.

Hamas urges Hollande to change France's attitude
GAZA (PIC) 9 May -- Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum urged the newly-elected president of France Francois Hollande to put the Palestinian cause at the top of his agenda and rectify his country's policies towards the rights of the Palestinian people.

Other news

Palestinian children work for a pittance in Israel's settlements
EI 10 May by Jillian Kestler-D'Amours -- AL-FASAYIL, occupied West Bank (IPS) - "It’s tiring," said 15-year-old Ibrahim, deep lines running across his forehead. "But there is no alternative." Ibrahim has been working full-time for three years already. The eldest son in a family of ten children, he lives in the Palestinian village al-Fayasil in the occupied Jordan Valley, and is forced to work in the nearby Israeli settlement Tomer to help support his siblings. "I work from 6am to 1pm," he said. "And I get 70 shekels [$18 dollars] per day." Al-Fasayil residents say that more than a dozen youths from the village, all under the age of 18, are currently working in Israeli settlements in the Jordan Valley. It is estimated that between 500 and 1,000 minors travel from other villages and cities throughout the West Bank to work in the area.

Palestinian airline resumes flights, with Amman route
RAMALLAH (AFP) 10 May -- The Palestinian national carrier, grounded since 2005, has resumed operations with flights between Egypt’s El-Arish and Amman, its director general told AFP on Thursday. ...  El-Arish, in northern Sinai, lies around 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the Rafah crossing. "It’s designed to help people who are coming out of Gaza to other places. Before now they had to go 400, 500 kilometers (250, 300 miles) to the nearest airport," Albad said.
Founded in 1995, Palestinian Airlines once took passengers from Gaza’s Yasser Arafat International Airport to various destinations in the Middle East. But it was forced to suspend operations from Gaza after Israel imposed restrictions on the airport and then rendered it unusable by tearing up its runways and bombing it in 2001.

Analysis / Opinion

Confused about the rapid-fire changes of the last few days in Israeli politics? Avnery explains it all for us.
Operetta in 5 acts / Uri Avnery
Gush Shalom 11 May -- THE MASTER magician has drawn another rabbit from his top hat. A real and very lively rabbit. He has confounded everybody, including the leaders of all parties, the top political pundits and his own cabinet ministers. He has also shown that in politics, everything can change -- literally -- overnight.
For further information contact Shadi Fadda

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