Occupied: Headlines From Palestine

Blogging From Gaza, Palestine

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Brazil Arrests Israeli Terrorist Wanted For Murder Of Palestinian


Yehoshuah Elizor from Itamar settlement suspected of shooting Palestinian man in West Bank in 2004

Brazil police announced Thursday that, in coordination with Interpol, they had arrested a Jewish Israeli settler in connection with the murder of a Palestinian in 2004.

After more than a decade of searching, the suspect, 44-year-old Yehoshuah Elizor, was detained in Sao Paulo, according to local media reports.

Federal courts in Sao Paulo were expected to discuss his extradition in alignment with an extradition agreement signed with Israel in 2009.

In 2004, Elizor, who was a resident of the northern West Bank settlement of Itamar, shot and killed a Palestinian man.

Elizor saw the Palestinian’s van and signaled for him to stop near the Elon Moreh settlement.

When the Palestinian showed no signs of stopping, Elizor fired the M-16 rifle he was carrying at the vehicle, killing the Palestinian.

Elizor claimed that he was acting in self-defense because the Palestinian was attempting to run him over.

He was placed under house arrest and before the courts announced his sentence of 20 years in prison, he managed to escape to Germany where he had immigrated from.

Brazilian media reported that Elizor entered the country with fake documents and that he had been in hiding there for over a decade.

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Israeli Occupation Trying To Shut Down ‘Palestine 48’ TV Channel

Prime Minister Netanyahu, who also serves as communications minister, instructed Communications Ministry to examine all means to prevent the station’s launch on Friday.
By Nati Tucker and Jack Khoury

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is acting to ban the Palestinian Authority’s new TV channel, Palestine 48, from going on air. The channel, based in Nazareth, is due to start broadcasting on Friday.

The prime minister, who also acts as communications minister, instructed Communications Ministry director general Shlomo Filber to immediately check whether the new channel was legal, with the intention of closing it down.

“We’ll examine all the criminal and administrative means at our disposal to prevent the station’s broadcasts. We’ll examine the legality of the broadcasts’ funding by the Palestinian Authority, among other things,” a ministry official said Wednesday following Netanyahu’s instructions.

The channel’s management and senior PA officials held a news conference in Nazereth on Wednesday announcing the channel’s launch.

“Of course the main coverage will be on the conflict,” Palestinian Communications Minister Riad Hassan told Channel 2 News. “That’s a matter of importance. But we don’t intend to make a political party out of it.”

Palestine 48 is one of several PA channels that can be received by satellite in many Arab households. But this is the first channel that intends to deal directly with Israeli Arabs.

The Communications Ministry supervises the activities of Yes and Hot, which operate under a state permit. However, satellite or internet broadcasts are unsupervised and the ministry cannot interfere with its broadcasts.

Palestine 48 said in response that Netanyahu had tried to close down Channel 10, harass Yedioth Aharonot and Al Midan Theater. “Now he’s trying to close the Palestinian channel, which is supposed to go on the air tomorrow. The Bibi-Regev government’s military administration will collapse in the face of freedom of expression and creativity. The new channel’s crews are preparing for direct broadcast from Nazereth tomorrow and for going to court to prevent the harassment.”

“So far the Palestinian television in Ramallah has received no notice of this. Hezbollah and Iran broadcast every day and haven’t been closed down. Instead of closing down channels Bibi should invest in developing Arab television industry in Israel,” the statement said.

Officials in Palestine 48 told Haaretz the direct broadcast and all other activities will be from Ramallah, so Netanyahu will have to close down Palestinian TV altogether.


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Israeli Extremists Burn Christian Shine Where Jesus Performed Miracle


The attack totally destroyed an external atrium of the shrine, which is where Christians believe Jesus fed the 5,000 in the miracle of the five loaves and two fish.(AFP/Menahem Kahana)

The attack totally destroyed an external atrium of the shrine, which is where Christians believe Jesus fed the 5,000 in the miracle of the five loaves and two fish.(AFP/Menahem Kahana)

TABGHA, Israel (AFP) — A suspected arson attack damaged a revered Christian shrine in northern Israel overnight, police said Thursday, as a church adviser pointed the finger at Jewish extremists.

The Church of the Multiplication at Tabgha on the shores of the Sea of Galilee is where many Christians believe Jesus fed the 5,000 in the miracle of the five loaves and two fish.
“During the night a fire broke out at the Tabgha church,” a police statement said, indicating that police and fire service investigators were examining the scene.
“Graffiti in Hebrew was found on the wall of the church.”
A member of the Roman Catholic Benedictine order, which manages the site, said one of the buildings within the compound was completely destroyed in the blaze but the church itself was not damaged.
The Hebrew graffiti, which was found on another building within the complex, was part of a common Jewish prayer which says “idols will be cast out” – or destroyed, an AFP correspondent reported.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said two people who were in the compound at the time were taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation.
“There’s a strong possibility that it wasn’t an accident,” Rosenfeld told AFP.
Father Matthias said an external atrium was “totally destroyed” in the blaze.  “The church, thank God is in good condition,” he told AFP.
“We’re very happy that nothing happened to the church.”
Wadie Abu Nasser, an adviser to the Roman Catholic Church in the Holy Land, said the apparent arson attack would reverberate throughout the Christian world.
A priest walks past a graffiti reading in Hebrew "idols will be cast out" as he inspects the damage at the Church of the Multiplication at Tabgha, on the shores on the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel, on June 18, 2015. (AFP/ Menahem Kahana)

A priest walks past a graffiti reading in Hebrew “idols will be cast out” as he inspects the damage at the Church of the Multiplication at Tabgha, on the shores on the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel, on June 18, 2015. (AFP/ Menahem Kahana)

German envoy ‘shocked’
“Israel’s global image will be harmed,” he told Israeli public radio.”When you put one and one together, between the graffiti and the arson, you can reach a conclusion regarding the potential suspects.”
Tabgha was subjected to a previous attack in April 2014 in which church officials said a group of religious Jewish teenagers had damaged crosses and attacked clergy.
There has been a long line of attacks on Christian and Muslim holy places in Israel, in which the perpetrators are believed to have been Jewish extremists.
“I absolutely condemn such acts,” Israel’s deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely said in a statement.
German ambassador to Israel Andreas Michaelis said he was “shocked” by the incident.  “I strongly condemn this attack and every form of violence” against places of worship or people working in them, he said in a statement.
“Religious institutions must be as well protected in Israel as they are in Germany and Europe.”
 In April, vandals smashed gravestones at a Maronite Christian cemetery near Israel’s northern border with Lebanon.
That incident prompted Israeli President Reuven Rivlin to meet church leaders and pledge a crackdown on religiously inspired hate crime.

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Israel’s Livni Dodges War Crimes Arrest In London

Opposition MK said to schedule meetings with local UK politicians in order to gain immunity from prosecution

Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni was forced to use a legal loophole in order to avoid possible arrest over alleged Israeli war crimes when she attended the Fortune Most Powerful Women International Summit this week in London.

In 2009, ahead of a planned visit by Livni, a British court issued a warrant for Livni over alleged war crimes committed by the IDF during the three-week conflict. In the end Livni did not go through with the trip, and the threat of an arrest kept her out of the UK until authorities in 2011 granted automatic immunity to all Israelis on official visits to Britain.

However, Livni’s attendance at the recent women’s summit could have been considered a personal visit, leaving her vulnerable to arrest. To preempt the problem Livni, whose party leads Israel’s opposition, arranged to meet with senior UK government officials, enabling the Knesset speaker to approve her travel as an official visit, the Hebrew-language daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Wednesday.

As a result the UK courts rejected a request for a new arrest warrant, citing Livni’s immunity.

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Palestinian Bravery vs. Israeli Occupation Army

Had it not been for the cameras, the eyewitness reports about the armed soldiers who beat a Palestinian protester would have been dubbed as dubious ‘allegations.’

The mistake made by the armed soldiers from the Netzah Yehuda battalion was that they allowed cameras to document their bestiality and cowardice while attacking a brave Palestinian civilian, armed with a visor cap and T-shirt, last Friday. For this error, their commanders punished them this week by meting out negligible disciplinary punishments. Their commanders couldn’t punish them for their crude assault, their loss of control, their arrogance or their abuse; you don’t punish a person for something that is the social norm, as well as a metaphor for the balance of power between Israel and the Palestinians.

Had it not been for the cameras, the eyewitness reports about the four to seven armed soldiers who beat Shadi al-Ghabashi, who is older than they are, would have been dubbed “allegations,” meaning statements whose credibility should be doubted. It’s doubtful that the Israel Defense Forces would have rushed to question the soldiers, to wonder if they might not be lying, or to impose even negligible punishments on them had it not been for the cameras. Most Israeli media outlets wouldn’t have even bothered to report the “allegations.”

Journalists’ reports, based on a clip from Palestinian television, stressed that the soldiers were filmed beating a Palestinian after they had already “gotten him under control.” The reports also emphasized the curses they showered him with. If there were a hidden camera at every arrest, we would have to admit that soldiers beating Palestinians whom they have already “gotten under control” is not unusual. And curses? There are Palestinians who conclude, from their run-ins with soldiers, that Hebrew consists of only eight words. Five of them are curses, and the other three are “halt,” “scram” and “forbidden.” All eight are barked out, like the videotaped barks and growls of the Netzah Yehuda soldiers.

Israeli society, as the collective parents of all the soldiers, doesn’t hear their/its barks and growls. In its view, beating an unarmed civilian with a rifle butt constitutes noble restraint and gentleness on the part of the soldier-victim. Or in other words, on its own part.

For a long time already, the question of “What were the soldiers doing there, on the road near the Jalazun refugee camp?” hasn’t been asked. After all, if they weren’t there, nobody would have thrown stones and Molotov cocktails at them. If they weren’t there, nobody would have tried to remind them that they are invaders. But they are there because the illegal settlement of Beit El is there, and the IDF’s job is to perpetuate the illegality and ensure that it flourishes.

The Hebrew-language reports about the soldiers who beat a Palestinian in front of the cameras missed one obvious fact that arises from the video clip: Ghabashi’s courage. He went out to the soldiers to protest the tear gas grenades they threw into his house in the Jalazun refugee camp while they were facing off with the young people from the camp, who demonstrate there every week against the occupation, the army, the settlement of Beit El. Ghabashi knows very well what armed, nervous soldiers can do to a Palestinian who dares to argue with them and disobey them when they order him to get lost; curses, punches and arrest are the least of it. They could also have shot him, and then invented some excuse. The valiant Ghabashi represents a Palestinian norm.

The standard media reports range from presenting the Palestinians as victims to presenting them as aggressors, between wretchedness and dangerousness. But the real story is their courage. And one more thing: The Palestinians know something about actual soldiers of every rank, and also about soldiers as a metaphor for Israeli society, that Israeli society isn’t willing to know about itself: The ugliness of the people’s army that is protecting an illegal policy is a natural result of the reality. And this is the weak point that is exposed to Palestinian eyes.

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Israeli Occupation Extends Apartheid Law Against Palestinians For Another Year

PNN/ Bethlehem/
The Israeli Knesset last night has extended the “family reunification prevention” bill for Palestinian families for another year. 57 MKs have voted in favor of the extension, 20 voted against and 5 abstained.

The bill prevents family reunification between Palestinians living in Israel and their spouses from the West Bank or Gaza. It also prevents them from living in Israel, unless the husband is over 36, and the wife is over 26.

The bid was first presented during the Ariel Sharon cabinet in 2002, in hopes to “protect the Jewishness of the state” and prevent the return of Palestinian refugees from the back door, using a security pretext which divides Palestinians, and Judaizes the capital of Jerusalem.

Israeli authorities have regulated the law starting 2003 as a temporary law for a year. However, It has been extended yearly on a regular basis now upon recommendations by Israeli security forces.

The supreme court has denied numerous appeals presented by human rights organizations to cancel this bid which prevents thousands of Palestinian families from living together under the same roof, tearing families apart for years.

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Israeli Occupation Blocks Visit Of UN Human Rights Envoy

JERUSALEM (AFP) — Israel has blocked a visit to the Palestinian territories by a UN rights envoy, an official said Monday, just ahead of the publication of a United Nations report on last year’s Gaza war.It was the second time Makarim Wibisono, the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, had been barred entry.”We didn’t allow this visit,” which was to take place last week, foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon told AFP.”Israel cooperates with all the international commissions and all rapporteurs, except when the mandate handed to them is anti-Israeli and Israel has no chance to make itself heard.”The UN Human Rights Council, to which Wibisono reports, has been conducting an investigation into the actions of both Israel and Palestinian militants during last year’s conflict.Its report is expected to be published in the coming days, and the council is scheduled to debate it on June 29.The UN’s human rights chief, speaking at the opening of the council’s 29th session in Geneva on Monday, confirmed the publication was imminent.”It is my hope the report will pave the way for justice to be done to all civilians who fell victim to the fighting last year, by holding to account those alleged to have committed grave and other serious violations of international humanitarian law,” High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said.

The war killed 2,200 Palestinians, mostly civilians including 500 children, and 73 on the Israeli side, mostly soldiers.While Wibisono reports to the council, his visit was for a separate, annual assessment in the occupied Palestinian territories, including the West Bank and east Jerusalem.Israel barred him from entering last year for a similar visit.In a report released Sunday, Israel defended its conduct in the July-August Gaza war against Hamas, calling it both “lawful” and “legitimate.”The UN has said Israel was responsible for the deadly bombing of several UN institutions, including schools, in which displaced Palestinian civilians were sheltering.Israel says that militants’ use of schools to store weapons, and the firing of rockets from the vicinity of the sites, forced it to target those areas.Israel has long had a stormy relationship with the UNHRC and fiercely opposed the Gaza probe from the start.


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Israel Occupation Cabinet Approves Bill To Force Feed Prisoners

JERUSALEM (AFP) — Israeli ministers approved a bill Sunday that would allow prisoners on hunger strike to be force fed if their life is in danger, sparking criticism from health experts and rights groups.

The cabinet’s endorsement of the controversial bill was led by Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who said that prisoners observing a hunger strike, namely Palestinians, pose a “threat” to Israel.”Alongside attempts to boycott and delegitimize Israel, hunger strikes of terrorists in prisons have become a means to threaten Israel,” Erdan said on his Facebook page.The same bill was approved by the Israeli government last year and sent to parliament for debate but the Knesset was dissolved before it could start deliberating.

The bill was initially approved in June 2014 at the height of a mass hunger strike of Palestinian prisoners during which 80 were hospitalized.Chairman of the Israeli Medical Association, Leonid Eidelman, slammed the bill, saying force feeding prisoners against their will is “unethical”.In a letter addressed to Erdan and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, Eidelman also insisted that the IMA would “order doctors to act solely according to the rules of ethics, and not feed or nourish hunger strikers against their will.”The Association for Civil Rights in Israel stressed that force feeding was forbidden.”Any decision on medical procedure, including feeding or nourishing a person, should be made by an independent medical team and in according to the legal rights of the patient,” which include the need for consent, ACRI said in a statement.”Hunger strikes for prisoners are a legitimate means of objection,” ACRI said.The majority of prisoners who go on hunger strike in Israeli jails are Palestinians in administrative detention, under which they held for renewable six-month periods without charge, ACRI said.The Palestinian government last week warned Israel it was responsible for the health of Khader Adnan, a detainee on hunger strike for over 40 days.A spokeswoman for the Israel Prisons Service told AFP that besides Adnan, one other Palestinian prisoner was on hunger strike, for approximately one week.

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Israeli Occupation Denied UN Human Rights Rapporteur Entry To Palestine

RAMALLAH, June 9, 2015 (WAFA) – The Palestinian Foreign Ministry, in a press statement Tuesday, condemned Israel decision to deny the United Nations Rapporteur on human rights, Makarim Wibisono, entry into the occupied Palestinian Territories (oPT).

Describing it as a continuation of the numerous Israeli violations against the Palestinian people, the ministry said this decision is an attempt to hide the truth behind all crimes committed in the oPT, including Jerusalem.

The ministry affirmed the importance of UN Rapporteurs’ in revealing human rights violations, adding that it has sent an open invitation to all special UN Rapporteurs to act within their jurisdiction and follow up on the humanitarian situation in the oPT.

It further stressed the need for Israel to adhere to the resolutions of international law; and to allow the UN Rapporteur, and other UN missions to enter the oPT to follow up on the situation on the ground.

Calling on the international community to pressure Israel to implement the resolutions of the United Nations, the ministry said the pressure must include an immediate halt of all violations while acknowledging the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, and the need to hold Israel accountable for its crimes.

The ministry considered the absence of accountability over Israel’s policies and violations as an encouragement to break the international law.

In November, Israel banned the International Independent Commission of Inquiry established by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate the offensive launched by Israeli forces on the Gaza Strip, said the Middle East Monitor.

It reported on the Palestinian human rights organizations as saying in a statement that banning the UN official deprives Palestinian women from having their voices heard regarding the violence they suffer.


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Israeli Occupation Police Officers Beat Palestinian Worker, Inflict Serious Injury

BETHLEHEM, June 8, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli Border Police on Monday assaulted a worker while he was attempting to enter Israel illegally to work, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent.

Palestinian medics said the 45-year-old Samer Tabanjah from the village of Qatanna, northwest of Jerusalem, was trying to cross the border fence near Bethlehem when Israeli Border Police attacked him, causing him serious wounds to his body and head.

Tabanjah, who was seeking work in Israel, was transferred to a hospital in nearby Beit-Jala for medical treatment.

A fact sheet prepared by the Middle East Monitor highlighted the issue of Palestinian workers in Israel, describing it as a predicament. With a collapsing economy and 31% rate of unemployment in the West Bank, the number of Palestinians seeking work inside Israel is increasing gradually.

According to Kav La’Oved – Workers Hotline, on December 1, 2014, approximately 45,000 Palestinians from the Occupied Palestinian Territories were employed in Israel. A total of 25,000 workers were employed in construction and the rest in agriculture, industry, and service jobs. Another 27,000 Palestinians were employed in Israeli settlements, bringing the number of Palestinians working in Israel without permits from 15,000 to 30,000.

Middle East Monitor data shows that, “of the approximately one million Palestinian workers living in the West Bank, a very small number are allowed to legally work inside Israel.”

The Israeli +972 news website published a story in 2012 reporting that, “Pay is poor, social rights are virtually nonexistent, and conditions in the workplace are often hazardous.”

Yet Palestinians continue to seek work in Israel and around 15,000 illegal Palestinian workers are arrested annually, according to a spokesman for the Israeli Border Police.

Working in Israel is a decision that Palestinians make due to a persistent need to provide for their families amid the growing financial crises and intensifying Israeli policies that affect the barely existing Palestinian economy.

In a report by Al-Jazeera, a Palestinian worker described staying in the West Bank as a “slow death”, explaining why he and people like him “go into the unknown [in Israel] without work permits”.

Despite of Israeli view of Palestinian workers as illegal, the inhumane treatment remains an issue that many workers suffer from at the hands of Israeli border police.

According to B’Tselem, “Under international humanitarian law, as well as human rights law, Israel is required to ensure the livelihood of the Palestinian residents in the Occupied Palestinian Territories under its effective control, and guarantee their right to work and to an adequate standard of living.”

In the case of Palestinian workers, since 1967 Israel has deliberately prevented the creation of an independent Palestinian economy and has contributed to the grave economic hardship now existing in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

B’Tselem noted that Israel continues to deny Palestinians their right to work and earn a livelihood. Not only by denying them the opportunity to work but also by issuing no laws to protect them from exploitation by their employers.