Occupied: Headlines From Palestine

Blogging From Gaza, Palestine


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More Apartheid: Palestinian Terror Attack Victims Not Eligible For Israeli Government Compensation

Palestinian family can apply to exceptions committee, while settlers are automatically compensated for similar attacks.
Revital Hovel For Haaretz
Though there’s no dispute in Israel that the July 31 arson attack on the Dawabsheh family in Duma was a terror attack, the family won’t be entitled to the government compensation granted Israeli victims of terror.
The attack killed two members of the family, father Sa’ad and 18-month-old Ali, and seriously wounded the mother and the elder son, aged 4.

The law governing compensation to victims of terror applies only to Israeli citizens and residents – including West Bank settlers, who live in territory Israel never annexed. In 2006, following a shooting spree by a Jewish gunman the previous year that killed four Arabs in Shfaram, the law was amended to encompass Jewish terror attacks against Israeli Arabs as well, as long as they “stem from the Israeli-Arab conflict.” But it still applies only to Israeli citizens or residents.
Thus to seek compensation under the law, the Dawabsheh family would have to apply to a special interministerial exceptions committee that has operated under the Defense Ministry’s auspices since 1999.

Earlier this week, MK Yousef Jabareen (Joint Arab List) asked Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to apply the law to all Palestinian victims of Jewish terror.

“The case of the Dawabsheh family underscores the absurdity that exists today in the legal and political arrangements related to paying compensation,” he wrote. “While the legal situation in Israel ensures payment of compensation for life and property to victims of attacks perpetrated by Palestinians, Palestinian victims of attacks perpetrated by Jews aren’t entitled to any compensation. In practice, this situation leaves the Dawabsheh family with no compensation, whereas Jewish victims in similar circumstances would be entitled to compensation from the state.”
Jabareen said this constitutes unacceptable discrimination. “Victims of nationalist attacks should be entitled to compensation from the state regardless of whether they are Jews or Arabs,” he wrote.

Dan Yakir, chief legal counsel of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, concurred. “This is another example of the intolerable gap between settlers and Palestinians in the West Bank, in every walk of life,” he said.

While settlers are compensated for terror attacks automatically, a Palestinian victim of terror must apply to the exceptions committee “and essentially ask the Defense Ministry to help him as an act of grace,” Yakir continued. “This is intolerable, especially in light of the incident’s severity and the severe harm the Dawabsheh family suffered. The Defense Ministry should grant full compensation to the family of its own initiative, even without a request from them.”

He also proposed that the Israel Defense Forces commander in the West Bank, who is technically the sovereign there, issue an order applying the principles of the Israeli law to Palestinian terror victims. “This is his moral obligation, and also his obligation under international law,” Yakir said.

Jabareen’s letter to Weinstein noted that the harm suffered by the Dawabshehs was “terrible and irreversible. No amount of money can compensate the family for its losses.”

Nevertheless, he added, that doesn’t justify refusing to pay it, especially since Palestinians are in extra need of such help.

“This is a population without means or resources, which has been under Israeli control for about five decades,” he wrote. “Therefore, the state cannot deny its obligation to take care of this population. As long as the state controls the Palestinian territories, it is obligated under international law to protect Palestinian residents of the place, including the obligation to compensate them for crimes of hatred and racism against them simply because they are Palestinians.”

Weinstein’s office said that Jabareen’s letter had been received “and will be answered in the customary fashion.”


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Apartheid Media: Israeli Occupation Orders Shutdown Of Palestinian Television Station

JPost

Israel’s public security minister has decreed that a new Palestinian TV station geared towards Palestinian citizens of Israel cannot broadcast from Israel for six months.

Gilad Erdan signed an order on Thursday barring the Palestinian Authority-funded station F48, or Palestine 48, from operating from its headquarters in the Northern Israeli city of Nazareth. The decision was made because of the Palestinian Authority’s role in the station, not because of questionable content being shown on the channel.

Erdan said that he does not want “Israel’s sovereignty to be harmed” or for the Palestinian Authority to gain a “foothold” in the country.

Last month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed the head of the Communications Ministry to work on shuttering the station. Netanyahu urged ministry staffers to investigate the channel’s legality, particularly with regard to Palestinian Authority funding.

Riad Hassan, head of the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation, called the move “illegal” and said that two Israeli companies who produce content for the channel will contest the action in Israel’s Supreme Court.

The channel, which debuted on air last month, will continue to produce content from its other headquarters in Ramallah, in the West Bank. Hassan has said the station’s goal is to illuminate the “social, cultural and economic difficulties” of Israeli Arabs.


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Absurd: Palestinian Citizens Of Israel In Kfar Sava Receive Electricity From PA

In Kfar Sava’s Arab neighborhood, residents get electricity from the PA

Even though residents of the Abu Sneineh neighborhood pay city taxes, the connection between them and the central Israeli municipality is fairly nominal.

Many residents of Kfar Sava don’t even know there’s an Arab neighborhood in their city called Abu Sneineh. The neighborhood, comprising several structures where an extended clan of some 100 people live, is located near the Tomb of Benjamin at Neveh Yamin.

As we stand on the roof of the home of Ibrahim Abu Sneineh, we can see Route 6 nearby, beyond it the separation barrier and after that Qalqilyah, about 150 meters to the east. The closest point in Kfar Sava is the Menuha Nehona cemetery, about a kilometer away.

Residents of Abu Sneineh, most of whom work in sanitation and construction, vote for the Kfar Sava municipality and are meant to pay it arnona (local taxes), but the connection between the municipality and the neighborhood is fairly nominal. Parents drive their children every morning to school in the Arab town of Jaljuliya, five kilometers south. The residents get their electricity from Qalqilyah, in the West Bank.

When Ibrahim says this, I don’t believe him and demand proof, and he shows me the receipt from the Palestinian Authority. Residents say the only service they get from Kfar Sava is a weekly visit by a contractor’s garbage truck that empties the dumpster, and even that isn’t done properly, Ibrahim claims.

“I pay 13,000 shekels ($3,430) a year in arnona, but we sweep the streets ourselves,” says Ibrahim, 72, a former construction worker and father of seven. “I told Mayor [Yehuda] Ben Hamo to send us one worker to sweep a little, and I’m told ‘there’s no budget.’ It’s true that there are those here who don’t pay arnona, but that’s like asking what came first, the chicken or the egg?”

His nephew Samir, 60, is more blunt. “Ben Hamo came before the elections with his entourage and told everyone that they have to give us services like every Kfar Sava resident. Since then all we get is letters from the Bailiff’s Office and retroactive demands to pay arnona.”

Until 1948, the Abu Sneineh family lived in the village of Ijlil, at the Glilot junction, where Cinema City now stands. In 1936, Sabri Abu Sneineh, the family patriarch, bought the land that is now Abu Sneineh and built a house there. When the War of Independence began, the family fled Ijlil for Abu Sneineh. “They told residents to leave Ijlil and in a week or two they could return. They left and never went back,” says Samir. As for Cinema City, Ibrahim says, “I saw a movie there once.”

The first years in Abu Sneineh were hard, as the military government wouldn’t let them move about freely. The enclave was located in no-man’s land, only around 100 meters from the Jordanian border. For many years the enclave fell between the cracks, with no local authority interested in the little neighborhood so close to the border.

The Six­-Day War gave the growing family some breathing space. “The situation improved; we could go to Tel Aviv or to Nablus,” said Ibrahim. “We stopped feeling like we were under siege.” At the time the enclave was part of Jaljulya, and to this day many family members use the health clinic and welfare offices in that town.

Fifteen years ago, the residents got the biggest blow of all: The Israel Electric Corporation strung two high-tension wires very close to the enclave. A glance at the area shows that the wires did not have to be positioned so close to the homes; in fact, if the IEC had wanted to save money and run such a major power line through the area, it could have run it through the planned industrial zone that to this day has not been built.

The residents took a lawyer and petitioned the High Court of Justice, but to no avail. “How could we prevail over the electric company?” asks Ibrahim.

The power lines’ location had serious consequences for Abu Sneineh. No homes can be built within a 150-meter radius of them and one cannot stand under the lines for more than three hours a day. Thus the enclave lost 42 dunams (10.4 acres) without being compensated. Residents say that in the years since the power lines were erected, five of them have died of cancer.

“Before the pylons, we had no cancer here. Of course every person is destined to die, but not at such high rates,” says Ibrahim. “It was a way to expropriate our land. Otherwise, why put the electricity lines here, so close to the homes? They stole from us because we are from the Arab sector.”

Samir agrees. “They thought of how to restrict and block us so that we shouldn’t expand. They gave preference to the future industrial zone over the Arabs, since it’s no tragedy if their lands are ruined… We lost 42 dunams, while each dunam in the industrial zone is worth 3 million shekels.”

According to Samir the IEC now wants to run a third high-tension line, this one even closer to the homes, and the families are trying to foil that plan in the National Planning and Building Council.

Ironically, with all the damage the IEC has done to the enclave, Abu Sneineh doesn’t get electricity from Israel because the homes don’t have occupancy permits. “I told them that we were here before there was occupancy,” said Ibrahim.

The Kfar Sava municipality said, “The Abu Sneineh neighborhood came to be in an unplanned fashion. The municipality has approved a master plan, under which building permits can be issued to homes built without permits. In addition, the municipality invested millions of shekels on an access road and fixing the sewerage infrastructure. We are vehemently against adding electricity infrastructure next to the neighborhood, and believe the state must find a more worthy alternative.”


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Extremists Spray Paint “Death To Arabs” Racist Graffiti On Two Palestinian Schools, Wall

JERUSALEM, June 30, 2015 (WAFA) – Anti-Arab, racist graffiti were spray-painted in an area near Beit Safafa, a small Arab neighborhood in southeastern Jerusalem, according to an Israeli police report.

Israeli police said that racist graffiti calling for slaughtering Arabs were sprayed in the location, while damages were caused to the locks of a nearby hair salon belonging to a Jerusalemite resident.

Israeli police claimed that an investigation was opened into the case.

Meanwhile, the Israeli daily, Haaretz, reported on a similar incident in Jerusalem, where racist graffiti was found on Tuesday morning near the Max Rayne Hand In Hand bilingual school, a Jewish-Arab institution, in Jerusalem.

According to a 2015 OCHA Protection of Civilians report, covering the period between February 28 and March 2, Israeli settlers reportedly set fire to a Greek Orthodox Church in East Jerusalem and to a mosque in Jab’a village, in Bethlehem, on 25 February. In both incidents, racist graffiti was spray-painted on the buildings’ walls.

“Hate graffiti (including the phrase “Death to Arabs”) was also sprayed this week on the walls of the Urif Secondary School for Boys in Urif village (Nablus),” reported OCHA.

On June 21, Israeli extremists sprayed racist graffiti on the walls running along a street in Tabariya, such as ‘Death to Arabs.’ This incident came only a few days after Israeli extremists set fire to the church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish in Galilee on Thursday, which led to the injury of two people, including a monk, and caused considerable damage to valuable property estimated at several million shekels.

The act of spraying anti-Arab graffiti has become a frequent occurrence in the West Bank and Jerusalem; many incidents of Israeli settlers’ hateful vandalism were reported by Palestinians targeting their property, including Muslim and Christian holy sites, where settlers often leave their price tag signature.

Price tag refers to an underground anti-Arab and Palestinian Israeli group that carries out terrorist acts against Palestinians in the occupied territories and inside Israel.

The Israeli government is yet to declare the group and its acts as terrorism despite a sharp rise in their attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and inside Israel.

Settlements are illegal under international law as they violate Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits the transfer of the occupying power’s civilian population into occupied territory.

T.R/M.H

 


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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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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.