Occupied: Headlines From Palestine

Blogging From Gaza, Palestine

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Israeli Occupation Razes Palestinian Land in Hebron, Orders Soccer Field Construction In Bethlehem to Stop

HEBON, July 22, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli forces Wednesday bulldozed around 20-dunums of Palestinian-owned agricultural land in the town of Beit Ola to the northwest of Hebron, and ordered ending the construction of a soccer field to the west of Bethlehem.

Coordinator of the anti wall and settlements committee Issa al-Amlah, informed WAFA that a large Israeli force accompanied by three bulldozers stormed an area in the town and razed around 10 dunums of land planted with olive trees. The land belongs to Farid al-Amlah.

Forces further razed another 10 dunums belonging to the family of Abd al-Qader al-Amlah.

The land was razed under the pretext of being located in ‘state land’ and as a prelude to take over it from its original owners.

Meanwhile, the Israeli authorities ordered to stop the construction work on a soccer field in the village of Wadi Fukin to the west of Bethlehem.

Head of Wadi Fukin village council, Ahmad Sokar, told WAFA locals found a notice at the field, which is located adjacent to the illegal Israeli settlement of Bitar Elit in Area C, which is under full Israeli military control, ordering the construction work on the field to stop under the pretext of being built without permit.

The notice gave those in charge of the field up to three weeks to file a petition against the decision.

According to Alternative News, “Already surrounded by Tsur Hadassah and the settlements of Beitar Illit and Hadar Beitar and with new plans to build a further settlement to the west, Wadi Fukin residents fear being completely surrounded by settlements. And as 60 percent of the community’s population relies on agriculture for their livelihood, the land grab will have disastrous effects on their economy.”

B’Tselem the Israeli human rights group said, “The settlements have been allocated vast areas, far exceeding their built-up sections. These areas have been declared closed military zones by military orders and are off limits to Palestinians, except by special permit. In contrast, Israeli citizens, Jews from anywhere in the world and tourists may all freely enter these areas.”

According to a report by Applied Research Institute (ARIJ), “The consecutive Israeli governments adopted a policy to acquire much of the West Bank lands to build and expand the Israeli settlements by employing different methods; most renowned of which, “Security,” which is also, how Israel was able to restrict Palestinian towns’ development on the remaining areas.”

It said that, “Since 1967, Israel utilized all the laws that were once running in this part of the land; at least the ones that it can make use of to justify its occupation in an attempt to legalize the various methods it uses to carry out its systematic policy to confiscate Palestinians’ lands to make it available for the occupation Army or/ and for the Israeli settlers.”

The report which covered Israeli violations in the occupied Palestinian Territory (oPt), from June 13, 2014 to April 15, 2015, ARIJ institute said that, Israel as an entity along with the Israeli settlers confiscated, destroyed, and seized for the so called “military purposes” around 415,266 dunums of Palestinian land in the West Bank.


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Israeli Occupation Summons Top Christian Cleric For Protesting Takeover Of Church Property Near Hebron

HEBRON, June 27, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli forces summoned Saturday morning a leading Christian cleric after participating in a march protesting the Israeli settlers’ takeover of al-Baraka church compound near al-‘Arrub refugee camp between Hebron and Bethlehem, said activists and a cleric.

Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Sebastia Atallah (Theodosios) Hanna was summoned by Israeli forces while participating in the march against the illegal takeover of al-Braka church compound.

Hanna was handed a notice to appear before Israeli intelligence in al-Maskobiya interrogation and detention center in Jerusalem.

Other local media outlets reported that Hanna was in fact detained.

Local Coordinators for the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements, Hassan Briggah and Rateb Jabour said that the march was organized in protest of Israeli ‘Defense’ Minister Moshe Yaalon’s approval of the renovation of Beit al-Baraka church compound as a prelude to build a new settlement outpost in its place.

To be noted, a group of Palestinian Christian clerics and anti-settlement and wall activists took part in the march, including Atallah, and al-Baraka Presbyterian Church Pastors, Danny and George Awad. 

In anticipation of the march, Israeli forces cordoned off the area and physically attacked  protestors, causing several to suffer from bruises and injuries.

Presbyterian Church pastor Georhe ‘Awad condemned the takeover and sale of the church compound by Israeli settlers and called upon relevant institutions and churches all over the world to support his church to restore the compound.

“Ten years ago, the Presbyterian Church in Palestine foiled an attempt by Israeli settlers to divert and takeover Beit al-Baraka and demonstrated its ownership of the compound,” said Awad.

The church compound has recently turned into a scene of ongoing Palestinian marches against its takeover, while Israeli forces continue to violently quell protestors and beat them up each time.


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Headlines From Palestine: June 22, 2015

UN Report: ‘War crimes’ Likely By both Sides In 2014 War On Gaza

Both Israel and Palestinian militants may have committed war crimes during last year’s Gaza war, a widely anticipated United Nations report said Monday, decrying “unprecedented” devastation and human suffering.The Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza conflict announced it had gathered “substantial information pointing to the possible commission of war crimes by both Israel and Palestinian armed groups.”

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Powerful Article: In Israel, We Walk Amongst Killers And Torturers

The harassment of the Al-Midan Theater stems from envy of our subjects’ ability to overcome oppression, to think and create, in defiance of our image of them as inferior.

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Israeli Rights Group Blasts Occupation Army For Failing To Protect Palestinians From Extremist War Crime ‘Settlers’

A recent report by the human rights organization Yesh Din claims that the Israel Defense Forces does not do enough to protect Palestinians in the West Bank. The study focused on the practice of what it terms “standing idly by,” of Israeli soldiers not moving to protect civilians from violence by Jewish settlers.

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Israeli Occupation Blasts French Peace Initiative

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attacked the French government’s initiative to promote a United Nations Security Council resolution attempting to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, reported the Israeli daily Haartez.

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Third Freedom Flotilla To Try Breaking Siege Sails To Gaza

Freedom Flotilla III, a third initiative organized by international pro-Palestine activists to break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip for eight years, is expected to set off from Greece to the coastal enclave within hours, said Isam Yousef, coordinator of the Miles of Smiles convoys.

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Israeli Extremists Spray Racist Graffiti And Attack Palestinians

Israeli extremists Sunday sprayed anti-Arab graffiti on the walls running along a street in Tabariya, while settlers residing in illegal settlements in central Hebron attacked Palestinians with rocks, according to WAFA correspondent.

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Palestinians Rip Up Israeli Permits: “I do not need your permission to enter my own land”

Following the overwhelming operative in Jerusalem Sunday where a Palestinian teenager was shot after stabbing Israeli border guard, Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancelled permissions to enter “Israel” for the people of Si’ir village near Hebron and 500 others.

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Powerful Article: In Israel, We Walk Amongst Killers And Torturers

The harassment of the Al-Midan Theater stems from envy of our subjects’ ability to overcome oppression, to think and create, in defiance of our image of them as inferior.

In our homes, our streets and our places of work and entertainment, there are thousands of people who killed and tortured thousands of other people or supervised their killing and torture. I write “thousands” as a substitute for the vaguer “countless” – an expression for something that cannot be measured.

The vast majority of those who kill and torture (now as well) are proud of their deeds, and their society and families are proud of their deeds – although usually it’s impossible to find a direct link between the names of the dead and the tortured and the names of those who kill and torture, and even when it is possible, it’s forbidden. It’s also forbidden to say “murderers.” And it’s forbidden to write “lowlifes” or “cruel people.”

Me, cruel? After all, our hands aren’t covered with blood when we push the button that drops a bomb on a building housing 30 members of a single family. Lowlife? How can we use that word to describe a 19-year-old soldier who kills a 14-year-old boy who went outside to pick an edible plant?

The Jewish killers and torturers and their direct commanders act as they do with official permission. The Palestinian dead and tortured that they have left behind over the past 67 years also have grieving nieces and families for whom bereavement is a constant presence. In university hallways, shopping malls, buses, gas stations and government ministries, Palestinians don’t know which of the people they encounter have killed, or which and how many members of their families and their people they have killed.

But what’s certain is that their killers and torturers are walking around free. As heroes.

In this morbid contest with the Palestinians over bereavement and pain, we, the Israeli Jews, cannot win. With our air force and our armored corps and our Givati Brigade and our famed elite commando units, we are the underdogs in this contest. But because we are the unquestioned rulers, we fake the results of the contest and appropriate bereavement to ourselves.

We’re not satisfied with the land, the homes and the direct connection to the place that we stole from them and appropriated and destroyed, and that we continue to destroy and appropriate and steal. No. We also deny all the reasons, all the historical and social context of expulsion, dispossession and discrimination, that have led a very small handful of those Palestinians who are citizens of Israel to try to imitate us by taking up arms. They deluded themselves into thinking that weapons were the proper means of resistance, or reached a peak of fury and helplessness and decided to take lives.

Whether or not they regret it, their delusion doesn’t cancel out the fact that they had and have every reason to resist the oppression and discrimination and wickedness that are part and parcel of Israel’s rule over them. Convicting them as murderers doesn’t turn us into the collective victim in this equation. Instead of reducing the reasons for resistance, we are only intensifying and improving the means of oppression. And one means of oppression is insatiable vengefulness.

The attack on the Al-Midan Theater and the play “A Parallel Time” is part of this vengefulness. And it involves a lot of envy as well. Envy of the ability of those we oppress to overcome the oppression and the pain, to think, create and act in defiance of our image of them as inferior. They don’t dance to our tunes like miserable weaklings.

And as in an anti-Semitic caricature, for us everything focuses on the funding, on money. We don’t shut people up, we brag. We’re enlightened, we only cut off their funding. We turned them into a minority in our land when we expelled them and didn’t allow them to return, and now the 20 percent who remain here should say thank you and pay with their tax money for plays that extol the state and its policy. That’s democracy.

This isn’t a culture war, or a war about culture. It’s yet another battle – probably a lost cause, like the previous battles – over a sane future for this country. Palestinian citizens of Israel were a kind of insurance policy for the possibility of a sane future: Call them a bridge, bilingual, pragmatic, even if against their will. But we have to make changes, and we have to know how to listen to them, in order for this insurance policy to be valid. Yet we, the unquestioned rulers, aren’t planning to listen and don’t know the meaning of change.

One final note: Reports about the murder of Lod resident, Danny Gonen, at the Ein Bubin spring near the village of Dir Ibzi’a were accompanied by links to recent previous attacks: the people wounded in a vehicular terror attack near Alon Shvut settlement, the border policeman who was stabbed near the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. And what was not mentioned? Of course, two young Palestinians killed recently by IDF soldiers: Izz al-Din Gharra, 21, who was shot to death on June 10 in the Jenin refugee camp, and Abdullah Ghneimat, 22, who was run over on June 14 in Kafr Malik by an IDF jeep.

Every night, on average, the IDF conducts 12 routine raids. For the Palestinians, every nighttime raid, which often entails the use of stun grenades and gas and shooting, is a mini terror attack.

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Headlines From Palestine: June 10, 2015

Egypt to open Rafah crossing with Gaza for 3 days starting on Saturday, Palestinian official says

Israeli Occupation Forces Murder Palestinian In Jenin Refugee Camp

Israeli forces shot dead a young Palestinian man in the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank early Wednesday morning, Palestinian security sources say.

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13-Year-Old Palestinian Detained By Israeli Occupation Forces In East Jerusalem

Israeli forces detained a 13-year-old Palestinian from his home in the al-Issawiya neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem overnight Tuesday, lawyer says.

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Israeli Occupation Denied UN Human Rights Rapporteur Entry To Palestine

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).

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Israeli Occupation Tanks And Bulldozers Infiltrate Gaza And Raze Land In The South

Israeli military vehicles this morning entered into civilians’ agricultural lands in the village of al-Qurara north-east of Khan Yunis city in the south of Gaza. Sources reported shots fired.

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Israeli Occupation Demolishes Tent In Hebron, Razes Palestinian Farm In Jerusalem

The Israeli authorities Wednesday demolished a Palestinian-owned residential tent near the town of Yatta, south of Hebron, and razed a farm in Jerusalem’s neighborhood of Issawiya, according to local sources.

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Israeli Occupation Forces Murder Palestinian In Jenin Refugee Camp

JENIN (Ma’an) – Israeli forces shot dead a young Palestinian man in the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank early Wednesday morning, Palestinian security sources say.
Izz al-Din Walid Bani Gharra, 21, was shot in the chest during clashes with Israeli forces who raided the camp at dawn. He was evacuated to the public hospital in Jenin where he died shortly after, sources told Ma’an.An Israeli army spokesperson did not have information on the incident and an Israeli border police spokesperson did not immediately respond for comment.
Gharra is the twelfth Palestinian to be killed by Israeli forces in occupied East Jerusalem, West Bank, and Gaza since the start of 2015, according to UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, with over 900 injured, not including injuries resulting from settler violence.One Israeli has been killed in the same time period.
Search and arrest raids are regular practice by Israeli forces, who have conducted a weekly average of 86 raids this year, up from 75 a week in 2015, according to a May report by UN Special Coordinator (UNSCO). Such raids often result in what rights groups argue is excessive use of force by Israeli forces against locals who often throw rocks and bottles at the forces.
Since 2000, Israeli security forces have killed over 8,896 Palestinians, over 1,900 of whom have been children, according to rights group Defense for Children Internatonal.

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Headlines From Palestine: May 30, 2015

France’s Foreign Minister: “There is no peace and security without justice for the Palestinians”

France’s top diplomat, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, said he would travel to Israel and the Palestinian territories in June to try to revive the peace process and persuade all sides to accept a French UN Security Council resolution that would set parameters for negotiations.

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Israeli Occupation Forces Suppress Weekly West Bank March

Dozens of Palestinian and international activists suffered excessive tear gas inhalation on Friday as Israeli forces dispersed the Bilin weekly march.

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Israeli Occupation Detains Five Palestinians in West Bank

Israeli forces Saturday detained five people, including three international activists, from West Bank districts, as well as summoned a Palestinian for interrogation, said a local Palestinian activist and security sources.

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Small Win: Israeli Ends Apartheid Bus Program 24 Hours After It Began Due to Uproar

The Israeli government has suspended a proposed ban on Palestinians travelling on the same buses as Israelis in the occupied West Bank, 24 hours after its implementation began.

The ban was introduced by Israel’s defence minister, but provoked outrage from figures in the Israeli opposition as well as from within Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s own party.

What was supposed to be a three-month trial would have prevented Palestinians who commute to Israel for work from using the public transport available to Israelis living in West Bank settlements.

Opposition figures in Israel had slammed the system as resembling “apartheid”.

As criticism mounted on Wednesday morning, an official from Mr Netanyahu’s office announced the plan was to be put on hold.

“The proposal is unacceptable to the prime minister. He spoke with the defence minister this morning and it was decided that the proposal will be frozen,” the official told the AP news agency.

Israel To Offer Cross-Border Transportation Service For Palestinian Workers

Palestinian workers wait to cross into Israel

Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon had openly backed the segregation policy, telling Israel Public Radio it would allow for “better control of the Palestinians and those leaving Israel, and reduce security risks”.

Oren Hazan, a new member of parliament for Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud party took to social media to welcome the announcement, describing it as “our first great achievement in the Knesset [Israeli Parliament]…after a long struggle we are on our way to restoring security to public transport”.

“Apartheid is, by definition, the separation between two citizens of the same state not getting equal rights, the Palestinians are not Israeli citizens,” Mr Hazan added.

Israel’s settler community has called for a separation programme to be introduced on public transport for many years.

An estimated half a million Jews live in settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, built since Israel’s occupation of the territory in 1967.

But opposition figures were quick to attack the programme.

Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog, who had hoped to replace Mr Netanyahu as prime minister in the recent general election, said in a Facebook post that the plan amounted to “warrantless humiliation” and was a “stain on the country and its citizens” that would increase “hatred toward Israel around the world”.

The leader of the left-wing Meretz party, Zehava Galon, said Israel’s Defence Ministry “gave in to pressure exerted by Jewish settlers, who complained over the large number of Palestinians on the buses…This is what apartheid looks like”.

According to the Haaretz newspaper, Gideon Saar, a former Interior Minister from Mr Netanyahu’s Likud party had also added his voice to the criticism, saying the ban should be scrapped to “minimise the grave damage to Israel and to the settlements”.

It comes as the UN’s new Middle East Envoy, Nikolay Mladenov, called upon Israel to freeze construction in the settlements and take more steps to resume negotiations with the Palestinians.

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Headlines From Palestine: May 16, 2015


Israeli Occupation Forces Chase 5 Year Old Palestinian With Skunk Water

Five-year-old Muhammad Riyad appears standing in front of Israeli forces wearing a Palestinian Keffiyeh before the forces began chasing him with Skunk water, the boy eventually falling to the ground.

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Palestinian President Abbas Calls On Palestinian Christians To ‘Stay With Us’

In the run up to Pope Francis’ canonization of two Palestinian nuns, President Mahmoud Abbas praises Palestinian Christians for the “distinctive dimension” their community and history gives to the Palestinian struggle.

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Belgium: Israeli Settlement Construction (A War Crime)Questions its Commitment To Peace

Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders stated Thursday that Israeli settlement construction seriously questions Israel’s commitment to concluding a peace agreement.

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Israeli Occupation To Build Roundabout In Bethlehem Town On Palestinian Land

Israeli authorities Saturday informed al-Khader town’s municipality to the south of Bethlehem of their intent to built a roundabout in the town at the expense of Palestinian-owned land in the area, reported a local activist.

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Catholic Peace Movement Deplores Israel’s Refusal To Grant Secretary General Entry To Palestine

Pax Christi International, a global Catholic Peace movement, deeply deplored Israel’s refusal to grant its Secretary General entry to Palestine to attend the World Assembly and 70th Anniversary Celebrations that took place in Bethlehem on May 13.

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Israeli Apartheid Week Launched In Dozens Of US Universities

PNN/ Bethlehem/

Israeli apartheid week activities were launched in several universities of the US, in coordination by the Students for Justice in Palestine organization, which has branches in many American universities, on Wednesday.

The action highlights the Israeli apartheid policies and daily human rights violations against Palestinians, in synchronization with the Palestinian Nakba (exodus) anniversary, on 15 May, 1948.

According to a statement by the student activists in Justice for Palestine organization which PLO Department of Palestinians Expatriates Affairs received, the apartheid week will be organized in tens of American universities including Northwestern University, Delaware, Houston, New Jersey, New Orleans, New York and Seattle.

Palestinian activist and entrepreneur at Students for Justice in Palestine, Omar Shanti, said that the event aims on exposing the dark Israeli history and systematic ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, in addition to the ongoing oppression and racism policies. The activity will support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement against Israel, in addition to seeking justice for Palestine and ending the Israeli occupation.

Throughout the week, there will be several speakers and activists of different backgrounds and cultures to raise awareness of the issue. Workshops will be held on the Palestinian resistance through cultural heritage, poetry and arts around the world.

Solidarity stands with Palestine will be conducted by setting checkpoints around campuses to explain the Israeli blockade, since about 67 Palestinian mothers between the years 2000-2005 had to deliver their babies on military checkpoints, leading to the death of 36 infants.

The other purpose of the apartheid week involved the ethnic minorities in the US, and the struggle to be free around the world, to achieve justice and equality for the oppressed.