Today in Palestine! ~ Headlines ~

Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid

Palestinians reopen E. Jerusalem road to protest land grab
Issawiya, East Jerusalem- On Friday morning, around thirty Israeli Jews joined Palestinian residents of Issawiya in an attempt to clear a road leading out of Issawiya that was blocked last week by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. Together, we worked with shovels, picks, and bare hands to break down the pile of rubble blocking the path. Following a petition submitted by the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement to the Jerusalem Municipality, the construction work was frozen, but much of the damage has already been done.

Israeli forces demolish illegal settler outpost
TEL AVIV (Ma‘an) 19 Jan -- Israeli military forces evicted settlers from an outpost early Thursday leading to clashes between residents and the army, Israeli media reported. Hundreds of security force personnel arrived at the Mitzpeh Yeriho settlement east of Jerusalem early Thursday, Haaretz quoted army radio reports as saying. Six houses were demolished and three Israeli police officers wounded as violent clashes broke out, the Israeli daily said.

Settlers / Israeli forces

Israeli army complicit in settler car-burning
ISM 17 Jan -- On Sunday, the 16th of January, at approximately 2 AM, about fifty settlers, accompanied by Israeli soldiers, entered the Abu Haikal family’s field in the neighborhood of Tel Rumeideh in Hebron. After throwing stones at the family’s house, they savagely burnt the car of Hana Haikal, fifty-three years old. The Abu Haikals' house is only a few meters away from a settlement from which the family are subject to constant pressure. This is the eighth car that the settlers have burned in the last five years. Five belonged to Hana, the remaining 3 to her brother. The agenda of the settlers is simply to harass the family as much as possible in order to force them away from their house and land. Their tactics include the burning of cars, verbal harassment, throwing of stones, destruction of land, and poisoning of soil to kill the family’s olive trees. When Hana saw the car that morning she was devastated and crying. She said that since 1994, the simple act of staying in their home is a fight against the settlers, a fight that she will never give up

Clashes erupt between Israeli settlers and Palestinian residents of Beit Ummar
IMEMC 20 Jan -- On Friday morning, dozens of Israeli settlers, accompanied by Israeli soldiers, walked in a provocative manner along the illegal settlement of Etzion, near Beit U’mmar village, in the West Bank city of Hebron. Clashes broke out between them and Palestinian residents after the settlers approached their houses, the Palestinian news agency, Ma‘an, reported. Media spokesperson of the Popular Committee against the Annexation Wall and Settlement, Mohammad Awad, stated that under-the-cover of the Israeli army, the settlers were holding guns and weapons, and the residents were throwing stones at them. However, the army fired rubber and live bullets, along with gas bombs, upon the Palestinians, causing injuries to some of them.

Official: Settlement security guard detains 5 shepherds
JERICHO (Ma‘an) 20 Jan -- A settlement security guard detained and handcuffed five shepherds on Friday, a local official said. Wadi al-Maleh village council head Aref Daraghma said a security guard at Maskiyot settlement near Jericho detained the shepherds as they attended to their animals in an area near the settlement. Israeli forces arrived at the location, Daraghma said, and Palestinian Authority liaison officials were contacted to intervene.

Two Palestinian children injured by Israeli explosive remnant
HEBRON (WAFA) 20 Jan -- The volunteers of Operation Dove in At-Tuwani were informed of the injury of two children in the village of Jinba, in the South Hebron Hills, due to the explosion of an Israeli remnant bomb, Friday said a press release by Operation Dove. Luai Khalil Rabai, 11 years old, and Islam Ahmed Rabai, 13 years old, were injured by an unexploded device, while grazing their flocks in the Palestinian-owned land near Jinba. An Israeli military helicopter transported the two injured children in the hospital of Soroka in Beer Sheva. The two children will have to undergo a surgery at the legs and doctors have said that are not life threatening. At the moment there is no other news about the health of both the children.

PCHR Weekly Report: 2 fighters killed, 2 wounded by Israeli forces this week [12-18 Jan]
IMEMC 20 Jan -- ...Israeli attacks in the West Bank: During the last week, Israeli forces conducted 56 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, during which they abducted 37 Palestinians, including 4 children, in the West Bank.... Full Report

George Orwell meets Mel Brooks in detention of international activist
ISM 20 Jan by Jack English. The ongoing repression of international activists took a turn for the ridiculous on Thursday night in Al-Khalil, also known as Hebron. At approximately 7:30pm on January 19th, an activist approached a military checkpoint en route to his apartment, where two soldiers on duty, recognizing him as an activist and international observer in Al-Khalil, demanded to search his person and bag. Upon finding two bags of bulk tea, which they insisted were drugs, and a fork-knife-spoon camping utensil, they called the police to make an arrest. However, upon arrival at the scene, the officers confirmed the legality of possessing both tea and eating utensils. Yet upon further discussion with the soldiers, the activist was informed that he would still be detained and brought to the police station in the neighboring illegal settlement of Kiryat Arba for interrogations under the charge that the activist had “insulted a public servant.” The specific alleged act was explained as, incredibly, “farting on a soldier.”


Man and wife found dead in Gaza home
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 19 Jan -- Ambulance and emergency crews in the Gaza Strip found two dead bodies in a Khan Younis home on Thursday. Medical sources told Ma‘an that Muhammad al-Haddad and his wife Tahrir suffocated to death after inhaling toxic smoke while heating their home using charcoal. Many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have to resort to basic methods of heating as a a result of regular power cuts.

Egypt Red Crescent sends 29 ambulances to Gaza
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma‘an) 19 Jan -- The Egyptian Red Crescent on Thursday sent 29 ambulances to Gaza, director Jaber al-Arabi said. The donation comes a day after the organization sent one ton of medicine to Gaza through the Rafah border crossing, and coordinated the delivery of Kuwaiti medical aid to the besieged enclave.

Israel 'detains patient' at Erez crossing
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 20 Jan -- Israeli forces on Thursday detained a man from Gaza en route to Israel for medical treatment, witnesses said. Bassam Rehan, 25, from Jabaliya refugee camp, was arrested at the Erez crossing in northern Gaza, witnesses told Ma‘an. An Israeli military spokeswoman had no immediate comment on the report.

Egypt to close Rafah crossing to mark revolution
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 20 Jan -- Egyptian authorities will close the Rafah crossing on Jan. 25 to commemorate the start of the revolution which ousted Hosni Mubarak from power. The Hamas interior ministry announced the measures in a statement on Friday. The Rafah crossing closes on all Egyptian public holidays in an agreement between the governments in Gaza and Cairo.

Political detention

Army kidnaps PLC head Dr. Dweik
IMEMC 20 Jan -- Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Thursday evening, the elected head of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Dr. Aziz Dweik, after stopping him at the Jaba’ military roadblock, north east of occupied East Jerusalem. The Ma‘an News Agency reported that the soldiers forced Dr. Dweik out of his vehicle, cuffed and blindfolded him, before taking him to an unknown destination. The Ynet News, Israeli online daily, published on Thursday evening a picture of Israeli Member of Knesset (MK) Hanin Zoaby with a number of Hamas leaders in the West Bank, including Dr. Dweik.

Hamas: 'Dweik's abduction aims at sabotaging national unity'
IMEMC 20 Jan -- Dr. Ahmad Bahar, the deputy head of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), strongly denounced the kidnapping of PLC head, Dr. Aziz Dweik, and held Israel responsible for his safety. The PLC and the Hamas-led government in Gaza also denounced the abduction of Dweik, and demanded his immediate and unconditional release ... In a press release issued on Thursday, Dr. Bahar stated that “the abduction of Dr. Dweik is another Israeli crime against the Palestinian people and their democratically elected officials."

Israeli forces detain another MP in the West Bank
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 20 Jan -- Israeli forces detained a Palestinian parliamentarian in Bethlehem early Friday, hours after seizing the head of the Palestinian Legislative Council Aziz Dweik at a checkpoint near Ramallah. Soldiers raided the home of Khaled Ibrahim Tafesh, 50, a member of the Hamas-affiliated Change and Reform Bloc, and detained him after confiscating his computer and mobile phone.

Islamic Jihad cell in West Bank broken: Israel
JERUSALEM 19 Jan -- The military has broken up an Islamic Jihad cell of 10 militants suspected of planning attacks on Israel, the country's domestic intelligence service Shin Bet said in a statement on Thursday. "During a joint Shin Bet and army operation, ten members of Islamic Jihad have been arrested over the past two months in Jenin," in the northern West Bank, the statement said.he militant cell came under the command of the radical group's headquarters in Syria and the Islamist Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, it added.

PA Security arrest 3 activists and summon dozens of Hamas supporters
WEST BANK (PIC) 20 Jan -- The PA security apparatuses continued to arrest and summon activists in the West Bank. Three were arrested in Ramallah, Bethlehem and Nablus and a fourth was summoned in Tulkarem. The IOF also arrested two activists who were released from PA jails.
Link to

Bethlehem woman sentenced to ten years hard labor
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 20 Jan -- A Palestinian Authority court sentenced a woman from Bethlehem to 10 years hard labor on Thursday for treason. The court also ordered the 25-year-old to pay a fine of 10,000 Jordanian dinars ($14,120), the Supreme Judicial Council said in a statement. The council said the woman had given information about Palestinian youth in Jenin to Israeli intelligence officers for three years. She started giving Israel information after she was detained by Israeli forces at Qalandia checkpoint, the council said.

Political / Diplomatic news

PLO under 'huge pressure' to extend negotiations deadline
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 19 Jan -- The PLO is under intense international pressure to extend a Jan. 26 deadline set by the Quartet for the exchange of proposals by Israeli and Palestinian peace negotiators, a PLO executive committee member said Thursday ... PLO official Wasel Abu Yousef told Ma‘an the Palestinian negotiators would insist the deadline was met despite "huge pressure" from the Quartet and other countries to hold further talks after Jan. 26. Abu Yousef said Israel was applying pressure through the Quartet to stall the peace process so it could build more illegal settlements and annex more Palestinian land. The settler population in the West Bank has more than tripled during the last two decades of negotiations.

Hamas urges end to Israel-Palestinian talks after West Bank arrest
Reuters 20 Jan -- The Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas urged President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday to suspend exploratory peace talks with Israel following Israel's arrest of two Hamas legislators, and to stop his cooperation on West Bank security with the Israelis. Hamas' Gaza Strip leader Ismail Haniyeh, recently back from a tour of Arab states, praised the rise of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab world and predicted "black days" for Israel "because the nations know their path now".

Thailand recognizes Palestine
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 19 Jan -- Thailand has officially recognized the state of Palestine, the Palestinian Authority Minister of Foreign Affairs said Thursday. Riyad al-Malki said Thailand has started proceedings to establish formal diplomatic relations with the PA, the official Wafa news reported. Some 131 countries now recognize Palestine, following an intensive diplomatic campaign by the PLO.

Abbas arrives in Russian capital Moscow
MOSCOW (WAFA) 19 Jan -- President Mahmoud Abbas Thursday evening arrived in the Russian capital, Moscow, as his third stop on his current European tour, which included London and Berlin ... Abbas’ visit to Moscow comes as part of the mutual commitment of both sides to hold regular discussions on all issues of mutual concern, as well as to discuss political issues related to the peace process, particularly since Russia plays a major role in the peace process being a member of the international Quartet and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council ... Abbas will stay in Russia for six days. From Moscow, he will travel to the republic of Chuvashia on the Volga River.

Palestinian Fatah movement faces election showdown with Hamas, but appears unprepared
AP 20 Jan -- ...The movement's leaders, blaming Fatah's loss to Hamas in 2006 parliament elections on lack of organization, say this time they've come up with a detailed plan to mobilize supporters and field attractive candidates. But skeptics note the party, known for epic infighting, hasn't even begun looking for a presidential candidate to replace leader Mahmoud Abbas, 76, who says he is retiring. Some say the movement that once cast itself as a band of swashbuckling revolutionaries needs "rebranding" -- its star dimmed after two decades of corruption-tainted rule in the Palestinian autonomy zones and the failure of negotiations with Israel meant to produce an independent state.

PA denies officials confessed to collaboration
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 20 Jan -- Palestinian Authority security services on Friday denied reports that its officers had collaborated with Israel to undermine Hamas. The pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat reported Friday that Israeli intelligence services had recruited officers in the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority to go undercover as Hamas operatives, and two PA security officers admitted to collaborating with Israel. PA security services spokesman Adnan Dmeiri dismissed the report, telling Ma‘an no officers had confessed to collaboration.

Interim body of the PLO to meet Sunday
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 20 Jan -- Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh said Friday that the interim leadership framework of the PLO will meet on Sunday. Haniyeh made the comments during the inauguration of a new sports club in the Gaza Strip. He said that Hamas is committed to the decisions of the reconciliation committee, adding that all Palestinians should work together to establish a state.

Fayyad calls for national debate on PA financial crisis
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 19 Jan -- Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Wednesday called for a national debate on the financial situation facing the West Bank-based government. "We want to help everyone. We do not want theories, we want practical solutions, our people need social and economic security and we are working hard to get rid of the occupation and everyone should help us to obtain our goal," Fayyad told Ma‘an TV.

RNC resolution calls for one state (on God-given lands)
19 Jan -- Looks like the election this year will be between two-state Dems and one-state Republicans. Fascinating. Mitchell Plitnick reports (thanks to Paul Mutter): the key passage is this one: BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the members of this body support Israel in their natural and God-given right of self-governance and self-defense upon their own lands, recognizing that Israel is neither an attacking force nor an occupier of the lands of others; and that peace can be afforded the region only through a united Israel governed under one law for all people ... As Plitnick points out, denying that Israel is an occupying power and denying that the land belongs to others means that the Republicans support, in theory, an Israeli annexation of the West Bank.

Israeli Racism / Discrimination / Repression

Ethiopian Jews find inspiration in MLK, Malcolm X / Noam Sheizaf
19 Jan -- Thousands of members of the small Ethiopian-Israeli community demonstrated yesterday in Jerusalem against racism and discrimination. This was the last rally in a wave of protest that erupted after religious homeowners in Kiryat Malakhi, a town south of Tel Aviv, announced in a public letter that they will refuse to rent their apartment to Ethiopians. You can read Max Schindler’s report from the protest here. What caught my eye was this photo:

Haaretz editorial: Shameful discrimination in Israel
20 Jan -- Thousands of Israeli couples are forced to marry overseas or live as common-law spouses because of the ongoing capitulation by successive Israeli governments to the rule of the rabbinical establishment ... Last May, the prime minister boasted to the U.S. Congress that Israel - unlike every other country in the Middle East - grants full acceptance to the gay-lesbian community. But his boasts are belied by the fact that the state has entrusted decisions about every Israeli's personal status to an ultra-Orthodox monopoly that is becoming ever more extreme.

'Arab students arrested over call to avoid Peres lecture'
20 Jan -- Three Arab students from the Jerusalem College of Engineering (JCE) claimed Thursday that they were arrested after urging other JCE student to boycott a recent lecture by President Shimon Peres.,7340,L-4178273,00.html

Twilight Zone: The lost boys of Levinsky / Gideon Levy & Miki Kratsman
20 Jan -- Ishaq-Muhammad-Sayid made it out of Darfur all the way to Tel Aviv's Levinsky Park, but as long as the state uses scare tactics to make sure he can't find work, he'll have to continue sleeping under a slide and begging for food.

Report: Israel to deport 2,000 to Ivory Coast
TEL AVIV (Ma'an) 20 Jan -- Israeli authorities announced they will deport 2,000 asylum seekers to the Ivory Coast if they do not leave voluntarily by the end of the month, Israeli media reported on Friday. Israel's Population and Immigration Authority said the group protection granted by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, after unrest in the west African nation, will expire before February, Israeli daily Haaretz reported. Over the past three years, 0.1 percent of Ivorians who sought asylum in Israel were given refuge, the report said.

Other news

Palestinian women take the fast track to freedom
21 Jan -- Roadblocks are no obstacle as a group of Arab women break stereotypes and speed limits to take on the world of motor racing. Betty Saadeh pulls up to the kerb in her modified, deep-red Volkswagen Golf GTI, dark aviator sunglasses, styled blonde hair and flawless make-up. After a quick chat, she motions for us to follow her, roaring downhill from the fashionable Ramallah neighbourhood of al-Tireh towards a fast-setting sun. Mexican-born Palestinian Saadeh has been driving since she was 11.

Strolling Berlin's Gaza Strip
20 Jan -- The Al Jazeera Konditorei or pastry shop on Neukölln's Sonnenalle is sparkling, a mirrored shrine to baklava, that nutty, syrupy Arab sweet that rules over Strüdel in this part of Berlin. The young woman serving me explains that this desert - of myriad varieties, I order mine with pistachio - is Palestinian, which is where her family came from before they moved to Lebanon, some time after the 1948 Israel-Arab war. Seventeen years ago the family joined a wave of nearly 80,000 Palestinians that have moved to Germany, most escaping the Lebanese civil war in the 1970s - and often a life as fringe dwellers in refugee camps, a situation continuing to this day.,,15676969,00.html

Study: IDF officers less committed to Jewish values after visits to Nazi death camps
20 Jan -- The Israel Defense Forces has been "stunned" by the findings of a new study which says an officers' visitation program to Nazi death camps, meant to reinforce Jewish and national values, has had the opposite effect on up to 20 percent of the soldiers ... After they returned from the trips, however, the researchers found a drop in commitment to all values related to Jewish identity, including the importance of the Land of Israel for the Jewish people, the importance of the IDF's existence, feelings of national pride in being Israeli, and a sense of a shared Jewish fate.
For further information contact Shadi Fadda

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