Sunday, August 21, 2011

CAIA's Middle East Week in Review

News: Like last week, only matters of longer term and greater importance will be deemed important, and the daily brutality propagated against the Palestinian people will be there to read, but not noted.
1) Israel's anti-boycott law."
Update: How the anti-boycott law has led to greater attention to the boycott.

2) New settlement construction, intended to cut off Jerusalem from the West Bank, will end chance of of peace.">">

Update: US issues words to condemn Ariel construction, but no deeds."
Update 2: Envoy: World must act against 'colonization campaign'

BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 Aug -- Palestinian Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour on Friday urged the international community to compel Israel to end its colonization campaign if it really believes in th two-state solution, reports said. In letters to the UN secretary-general and the presidents of the Security Council and the General Assembly, Mansour said "the international community must compel Israel to end its illegal occupation," a Kuwaiti news outlet reported. This includes Israel's "colonization campaign and must seriously begin to take further effective measures to end the Israeli occupation which began in 1967 to salvage the possibility of the two-state solution." The letter came in reaction to Israel's "arrogant" and "shameless" announcement to develop 1,600 settlement units in East Jerusalem
Update 3: Quartet condemns Israel's illegal building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

3) In Israel, it you justify hitting Palestinians you control, you get promoted.

4) Can Israelis have social justice and the Occupation of Palestine?

5) Netanyahu plans to punish the Palestinians for declaring that they are a state.

6) Nabi Saleh consumed with raids while fasting

ISM posted 11 Aug -- Following the unusually short demonstration on the first Friday of Ramadan, the Israeli army raided the village of Nabi Saleh just before Iftar, the Muslim time for breaking fast during Ramadan, resulting in the detaining of a 14 year old boy for approximately two hours and an excessive amount of tear gas in the village ...Manal Tamimi’s child was sleeping in the living room alone where he inhaled a large amount of tear gas for half an hour resulting in him vomiting for over an hour while the army was still in the village. Tamimi states in an interview with ISM that she was scared of the thought that she may have been outside of her home, visiting her mother, and no one would have heard the scream of her child. Without her presence at home, she says, this invasion might have ended with a fatality within her family.

Update: Video interview with Manal Tamimi: They try to steal our history, not just our land

ISM posted 11 Aug -- The demonstrations in Nabi Saleh started the 21 of November 2009, after the illegal settlement of Halamish expanded, costing locals in land and their source of water for home and agricultural use, a spring declared holy by the settlers ... More then 220 people have been injured since the beginning of their peaceful resistance to illegal Israeli occupation of their land. Some of the injured include an 11 year old boy who was shot with a rubber coated steel bullet in his head and is still paralyzed.
Update 2: Throwing rocks at the occupation -- and Western prejudice too

By Linah Alsaafin, Nabi Saleh, 11 August 2011
I asked a few Nabi Saleh children why they throw rocks. Their responses were simple: We don't want the army here.

7) Area C feels the effects of Israel's power
The Australian 13 Aug -- ONLY 5km separates the offices of two mayors on one of the planet's most contested pieces of land, but they may as well be at opposite ends of the earth. Next month, the 193 countries of the UN are set to vote on a Palestinian state. Any decision will not be binding on Israel but any pressure point that does arise will be here, in the heart of the West Bank's "Area C", which is deemed under the Oslo accords to be under full Israeli control ... David Elhaiini is a Jewish settler who is Mayor of the Jordan Valley Regional Council, which covers 21 settlements ... Area C amounts to 60 per cent of the West Bank. Israel has complete power over which Palestinian homes will be built or demolished in the area. Far more Palestinian homes are demolished than approved. Asked what he thinks about the demolitions, Elhaiini replies: "I believe in law." ... Palestinian Mayor Abed Kassab says when Israel took control of his village, Jiftlik, in 1967, the population was more than 25,000. It is now 5,000. He gives a range of reasons: lack of water and electricity; Israelis killing some of the villagers' animals; Israelis taking sheep from villagers, putting them into Jewish settlements and presenting the villagers with fees for feeding them.

8) Racism in the Galilee Part 1: Caging in Palestinians / Sophie Crowe
PalMon 11 Aug -- Many Palestinians have been forced to leave Nazareth, the primary Palestinian city in Israel, and its satellite villages due to the absence of planning and lack of resources allotted by the government, which prohibits development and results in overcrowding. ... Upper Nazareth, the fastest growing town in the north of the country, illustrates clearly the disparity in development of Israeli and Palestinian towns. The largely Jewish city is home to fifty thousand people and was able to quadruple in size since its establishment in the late fifties by appropriating surrounding lands. According to a 2010 report by Middle East Monitor, a British-based news source, the number of Jews living in the Galilee tripled between the sixties and nineties. ‘The whole city is built on land confiscated from the Palestinians of Nazareth,’ explains Sawsan Zaher, a lawyer with Adalah, a Palestinian rights NGO. Nazareth has seventy thousand people living on half the area of land as the new city and is prevented from expanding. The new town flourishes and thrives at the expense of the original Palestinian one and its villages, which are in contraction.

Update: Racism rampant among Israeli youth.

9) On patrol in the streets of Hebron
PalMon 10 Aug -- A car stops in front of a house in Beit Hadassah, a part of the Israeli settlement inside the Old City of Hebron. Three settlers get out. Observers from Temporary International Presence in the City of Hebron (TIPH) stand nearby and watch closely. This is part of TIPH’s daily foot patrol of the city. In Hebron, settler violence could strike any time. Settlers are steadily expanding into new parts of Hebron, Per Enerud, an observer with TIPH says. Due to the Israeli occupation of the area, many Palestinian families have been forced out of their homes and shops and cannot return to their land. Settlers then move into their vacant property. Standing on the hillside with a good view of the Israeli settlement, Enerud points out a group of Israeli children playing on top of an empty building. While seemingly harmless, Enerud explains, this is a new method of the same, aggressive settler expansion that’s been happening in Hebron since 1967. "Even though the deed to the house is Palestinian," Enerud says, "the settlers build their way into the empty houses."

10) Fanatic Jewish settlers regularly attack Palestinians at iftar time
AL-KHALIL/HEBRON (PIC) 12 Aug -- Fanatic Jewish settlers attacked Palestinian homes in the old city in al-Khalil on Wednesday evening for the second time in two days. The attacks take place when families gather at sunset to break their fast (Iftar) ...A Palestinian resident who lives at Jabal al-Rahma said that a group of settlers from the Yeshai settlement crossed lands belonging to local residents, threw stones at Palestinian homes in the vicinity and chanted anti-Arab slogans. Meanwhile, settlers in Tel al-Rumaida attacked the home of Muhammad Abu Eisheh with stones and destroyed a support wall belonging to the family of Sayyed Ahmad.

Update: Increased Palestinian displacement as Israeli settler violence intensifies
AIC 15 Aug -- As dozens of Israeli MKs petition Netanyahu to endorse increased settlement construction in the West Bank to address the Israeli housing crisis and the surrounding tent protests, Israeli settlement policy continues to perpetuate a housing crisis of a very different sort in the Palestinian territory. Over the past seven months, nearly 900 Palestinians have been displaced from their homes, as opposed to 606 during the whole of 2010. 755 of those were displaced due to home demolitions, while the remaining 127 were forced from their homes due to settler violence ... While settlers are burning Palestinian crops, damaging property, and throwing rocks at shepherds and children, the Israeli government is using a system of permitting processes, military zones, and fines to prevent Palestinians from establishing any structural claim to their own land.
Update 2: Israeli settler violence report, May-June 2011
AIC 15 Aug -- By Ahmad Jaradat & Nikki Hodgson -- During the months of May and June, settler attacks against Palestinian civilians continued, with most of the attacks targeting agriculture land in the northern West Bank. The attacks, including damage to agriculture property, burning of olive trees and destruction of wheat crops, appear to be systematically targeting land near settlements, and many Palestinian farmers fear that the settlers are organizing attacks in order to confiscate land for the expansion of settlements in the West Bank. Numerous attacks also occurred in Hebron, resulting in at least three Palestinians needing medical attention, including a six-year-old boy. Details:

11 PCHR weekly report : Israeli forces injure 3, abduct 35 Palestinians this week
IMEMC 12 Aug -- In its Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the week of 04-10 Aug. 2011, Israeli forces wounded three Palestinians with gunfire, and injured dozens more with tear gas at non-violent demonstrations. One of those injured was a Palestinian woman herding sheep in Gaza. The Israeli troops also killed some of her sheep. Two Palestinian resistance fighters were wounded by Israeli forces in the east of Gaza City. Israeli warplanes bombarded a number of civilian facilities in the Gaza Strip. Two bird farms were completely destroyed and a third one was damaged, 500 chickens were killed and a room was destroyed. Israeli attacks in the West Bank: Israeli forces conducted 31 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, during which they abducted 31 Palestinian civilians, including 5 children. 17 of the detainees were abducted in Hebron....[details follow]

12) USAID halts aid to Gaza
AFP 12 Aug -- The US Agency for International Development is halting humanitarian assistance to the Gaza Strip over alleged meddling by the enclave's rulers, Hamas, a US official said Friday ... "We deeply regret that USAID-funded partner organisations operating in Gaza are forced by Hamas's actions to suspend their assistance work," the official said on condition of anonymity. "USAID assistance programs were put on hold effective August 12," he added ... Another official in Washington said he understood that Hamas has been demanding access to physically search files and records of NGOs, which would be unprecedented ... Hamas insisted on Friday that it should be able to verify the accounts of NGOs financed by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in the Palestinian territories..It has since been restored.

13) Yearning for work in a Gaza under siege / Eva Bartlett
[photos] It’s a weekday morning, the beach is yet to fill with crowds seeking a break from the heat, but already the odd-jobbers are at work selling toys, clothes and food along the coast. Shariff Abu Kass, 27, walks the stretch of seaside in Sheik Rajleen every day from morning to evening with two armfuls of lightweight sports pants to sell. "I have two young children and no other work, so I do this every day. Usually I earn around 40 shekels (13 dollars) a day, but Fridays are better because so many come to the sea." ... In Gaza’s municipal park, Issa Ghoul, 19, sells chips and chocolates to park-goers to support his family. “I quit school and started working when I was 14. My father died when I was young and no one else works in my family,” says Ghoul. Many children younger than Ghoul zig-zag between cars at traffic stops selling one-shekel items like gum, cheap chocolates and fresh mint in order to add to their families’ incomes. "I can’t find any other jobs,” says Ghoul. "My mother is ill, my three-year-old sister is ill, what can I do but hope people will buy from me?" Most Palestinians take pride in their education, and Ghoul is no different, except that his impossible situation denied him the opportunity to study. "I would have liked to have finished school like everyone, I would have liked to have been a teacher." Update: Sources of fun dwindle for Gaza's children By Eva Bartlett, Gaza City, 10 August 2011
Update:By Eva Bartlett, Gaza City, 15 August 2011 Throughout Gaza, children take on responsibilities of adults to help their families, and adults revert from skilled labor to doing nearly anything to bring in a salary.
Update 2: Palestinian families in Gaza are keen for a change and some leisure activity in their lives encaged and under siege.

14) Electricity crisis, heat disturb Ramadan atmosphere in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Xinhua) 12 Aug -- As soon as a hot summer day ends and the sun goes for sunset, dozens of Palestinian families set on the clean off-white sands of Gaza City's beach, not only for recuperation or enjoying a soft breeze, but also to break the fast of one of Ramadan month of fasting days. Going to Gaza seaside is like hitting two birds with one stone; first is to enjoy the beach and the less warm weather, and second is to avoid the daily ongoing electricity blackouts. The heat and the blackout had obliged the Gaza residents to temporarily flee their homes and go to Gaza beach.

15) Frustration simmers over Egypt-Gaza border closure / Jared Malsin
[with video] EI 11 Aug -- In late April, Egypt’s acting foreign minister Nabil el-Arabi promised to ease the closure of his country’s sole border crossing with the Gaza Strip, reversing years of policy set by the regime of former president Hosni Mubarak. But Palestinians in Gaza are still waiting for that promise to materialize.

16) Israeli troops attack West Bank anti-Wall protests; 3 children injured
Ramallah – PNN - On Friday three children were injured and many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation as Israeli troops attacked anti-wall protests organized in a number of West Bank communities. Protests took place in the central West Bank villages of al-Nabi Salleh, Bil‘in, and Ni‘lin in addition to al-Ma‘ssara in the southern West Bank. Three children were lightly wounded as Israeli troops attacked the weekly anti-wall protest at the village of al-Ma‘sara, southern West Bank. As soon as people marched to the land where Israel is building the wall troops attacked people with rifle butts and batons injuring Abada Brijiyah, 11, Osama Brijiyah,9, and Hareth Brijiyah,10, witnesses reported.
Update: Demonstration in Kafr Qaddum
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 12 Aug -- Palestinians inhaled tear gas which the Israeli forces shot to disperse the weekly demonstration in Kafr Qaddum east of Qalqiliya on Friday, activists and witnesses said. The demonstration started after Friday prayer toward the eastern entrance of the village. Eyewitnesses told Ma‘an the Israeli forces who were on the entrance fired tear gas toward the demonstrators. The grenades started a fire in the lands of the villagers which caused damage, they said.

Update 2: September rallies to avoid confronting Israel army
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 Aug -- All rallies in support of the Palestinian bid for UN membership in September will be confined to areas where the Palestinian Authority has security control, thus avoiding confrontation with the Israeli army, high-ranking Palestinian Authority sources told Ma'an Thursday. "Ramallah rallies will be carried out in Manara square, Bethlehem rallies will be carried out in yard of the Nativity Church and so on," the sources said, adding "we will not give the [Israeli] occupation any excuse to abuse our children or to kill our residents." The locations are in the heart of urban areas that were designated "Area A" under the 1993 Oslo agreement -- and thus formally under full Palestinian Authority civil and security control, making up 17.2 percent of the West Bank.

Update 3: Land stolen from Bil'lin and partly returned by Supreme Court to be reclaimed.

17) Hamas: Reconciliation committees will start in September
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 12 Aug -- Hamas leader Ismail Radwan said Friday that committees established to progress the reconciliation deal between his party and Fatah would not begin work until September ... Radwan told a Ma‘an correspondent in Gaza that only the issue of freeing political prisoners, imprisoned during the years of rivalry by factions in their respective territories, is set for conclusion by the end of the month.
Update: Fatah holding up reconciliation with Hamas to keep Western money.

18) Trying to put a price on Middle East peace / Elizabeth Dwoskin
Business Week 11 Aug -- Israeli and Palestinian economists look for solutions in hard numbers -- In July 2002 a small group of Israeli and Palestinian economists sat down for a rare meeting in the idyllic French village of Aix-en-Provence. It was the height of the violent Palestinian uprising known as the Second Intifada ...The economists believed they could help. They concluded that translating the conflict into the data-driven language of economics might enable the two sides to cut through the rhetoric and begin to think dispassionately about the details of what peace would look like and cost in actual shekels. The leaders of the Aix Group, as it came to be known, were two economists -- a Palestinian and a Jewish Israeli ... In the decade since, despite spotty economic data and a political environment that changes month to month, they have slowly set about trying to put a price tag on peace. Every two years, Bamya and Arnon select a new problem for the group to sort out. They meet at least twice a year to discuss their findings. The future of the 5 million Palestinian refugees recognized by the United Nations was among the most difficult issues the group tackled.

19) The greatest elected body that money can buy / Stephen Walt
Foreign Police 11 Aug -- Just when you think your contempt for Congress could not get any higher, our elected representatives manage to do something to ratchet it up another notch. After congressional shenanigans helped spark a major market sell-off and sparked fears of a double-dip recession, you'd think every single one of them would be heading back to their districts to figure out what their constituents wanted and to try to explain how they were going to help make things better. Or maybe a few of them would even spend the recess taking a crash course in macroeconomics and public finance, so that they could start exercising their public duties more responsibly. But what did 81 of them decide to do instead? You guessed it: they are off on junkets to Israel, paid for by the American Israel Education Foundation, an AIPAC spinoff that has been funding such trips for years. That's right: during the August recess nearly a fifth of the U.S. Congress will visit a single country whose entire population is less than that of New York City.

20) Hundreds of international activists at Nablus peace rally
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 12 Aug -- Hundreds of international activists descended on the northern West Bank city of Nablus on Thursday to hold a peace rally. Around 1,200 people from over 22 countries gathered in the city center, wearing white with peace written in Arabic, English and Hebrew emblazoned on their clothes. They sang songs about freedom and peace, raised Palestinian flags and were joined by Nablus governor Jibril Al-Bakri, his deputy Anan Al-Ateera, heads of security and local organization directors.

21) Israeli intelligence tried to recruit Al-Jazeera journalist
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 12 Aug -- Samer Allawi, who is detained by the Israeli occupation authorities said that the Israeli intelligence tried to recruit him but he refused and that he was threatened with being accused of something serious. Allawi, a Palestinian journalist who works as al-Jazeera’s correspondent in Afghanistan, was visited by the lawyer of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society in Betah Tekva detention centre where he is being detained. Allawi told the lawyer that his detention is to do with his work as a journalist in Afghanistan and called on human rights organisations and international journalist bodies to pressure the Israeli occupation to release him ... He was detained on Tuesday at the Allenby Bridge on his way to Jordan after the end of a visit he made to his family in the village of Sabastya near Nablus.

22) Families of [PA] political prisoners rally in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 12 Aug -- Relatives of political prisoners organized a sit-in and rally in the West Bank city of Hebron on Thursday, protesting an escalation in arrests by Palestinian Authority security forces. Hamas officials said the rally demanded the release of prisoners and an end to arrests, particularly as Palestinian factions meet in Cairo to discuss ending the politically motivated harassment ... "With each session of conciliation, arrests and summonses increase in the West Bank," said another protester. "It’s shameful how security departments chase after the participants of peaceful sit-ins." Children of several prisoners chained themselves together during the rally, which was attended by Palestinian lawmaker Samira Halayqa and other representatives of the Palestinian Legislative Council.

23) UNRWA operations in Jenin suspended indefinitely
JENIN (Ma‘an) 12 Aug -- UNRWA announced on Thursday the suspension of its operations indefinitely in the West Bank city of Jenin and its refugee camp beginning Friday. The organization called the step "regrettable" and said it came in response to "continued threats to our employees and staff in the area" without elaborating on the nature of the threats. The statement added that suspension of its operations includes relief and social services. An employment assistance office and the office of its refugee camp manager will also close.
Update: UNRWA suspends services in Jenin
JENIN (WAFA) 12 Aug -- A decision by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) to suspend services in the northern West Bank city of Jenin on Friday had upset local activists. Adnan Hindi, head of the popular services committee in Jenin refugee camp, condemned UNRWA’s decision, saying it was unjustified. UNRWA suspended its operations in the Jenin area refugee camps following allegation of threats received by its staff. It said that while it was suspending services as of Friday in most of its offices, this will not affect the health services. Hindi denied allegations that UNRWA staff had been threatened, stressing that UNRWA had been serving Jenin refugee camp and its 16,000 registered refugees for many years and no one had attempted to attack or harm its staff. He said, however, that camp residents have been complaining that UNRWA stopped hiring them through a special work fund that provides temporary jobs to thousands of refugees.

24) Abbas tells US lawmakers: NATO role in Palestinian state
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 12 Aug -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told visiting US Congressmen on Thursday that the security of the future Palestinian state will be handed to NATO under US command, his adviser said Friday. The Palestinian state must also be "empty of [Israeli] settlements," the President said, according to official Palestinian Authority news agency WAFA. Members of the US Congress and Senate delegation, headed by Democratic Senator Steny Hoyer, met with the President in Ramallah on Thursday, and quizzed Abbas on Israel's designation as a Jewish state, the status of refugees, and reconciliation between the President's Fatah party and rival Hamas, Presidential adviser Nimir Hamad said.
Update: Hizb ut-Tahrir accuses PLO of betrayal
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 13 Aug -- The Islamist Hizb ut-Tahrir movement has slammed as "betrayal" President Mahmoud Abbas' remarks about a possible NATO presence in a future Palestinian state. The president's "call for international forces would bring a new crusader occupation," the movement said Friday in a statement saying the plan would lead to "colonizing Palestine and desecrating the Al-Aqsa Mosque."

25) Leader of Gaza youth group said arrested by Hamas authorities on return from France

26) Unexplained Gaza communications "blackout" highlights Israeli control of networks

27) French journal of record peddles Zionist propaganda

28) BDS activists in Israel stand with Australian counterparts facing repression

29) Sweden, Israel and the banalization of evil

30) Netanyahu imposes harsher conditions on Palestinian political prisoners
Update: Israel uses "primitive, racist" policies against Palestinian prisoners By Mel Frykberg, Ramallah, 11 August 2011
The conditions for Palestinians held without charge under administrative detention are harsh, just as they are for all political prisoners.
Update 2: Gazans vent anger as Israel deprives prisoners of education By Mohammed Omer, Gaza City, 12 August 2011
Access to education for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails is getting worse. The 1,800 Palestinian prisoners who were supposed to complete their secondary school exams were not permitted to do so by the Israeli Prison Service.

31) Irish activists plan protest aimed at Riverdance's upcoming performances in Israel

32) Palestinian issues shouldn't be excluded from J14

33) AIPAC's European cousin evades scrutiny

34) Preserving Palestinian heritage one stitch at a time By Emily Lawrence, Hebron, 15 August 2011
Palestinian women in Hebron have formed a traditional handicrafts cooperative to preserve cultural heritage and provide stable income for dozens of families hit hard by the economic effects of Israel's occupation.

35) Film review: women footballers struggle to play (and win) By Michelle Gyeney, 12 August 2011
Sawsan Qaoud documents how the idea for a Palestinian women's football team was brought to life -- and recounts the difficulties the players face on a regular basis just to play -- in Women in the Stadium.

36) US Senator want to cut US financial support to 3 Israeli Army units in West Bank guilty of crimes against Palestinians.
37) IDF raids same West Bank town 5 times in last 2 weeks / Alex Kane
Residents of Beit Ommar have already gotten used to military incursions and prevention of access to land, but some residents believe the increase in recent raids is connected to the army’s effort at deterrence ahead of the anticipated popular unrest in September -- Beit Ommar, West Bank 14 Aug -- The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is meant to be a time for reflection and spirituality. But for the 16,000 residents of this rural, agricultural village near Hebron in the occupied West Bank, it has been an unusually tense one. A spate of Israeli army raids at night and arrests of young Palestinians have occurred since the beginning of August, shattering any hope for calm during Ramadan ... Witnesses to the raids and local activists say that the Israeli army has been shooting tear gas, sound bombs and flares into residential areas -- in some cases causing injuries -- and have arrested fifteen young Palestinians under the age of eighteen this month ... "It just looked like a training exercise. It just looked like they were practicing coming into town tear gassing people back and practicing flares," said one international activist with the Palestine Solidarity Project (PSP) ... The Israeli army’s repression in the village has not been limited to night raids, though....
Update: Israeli forces arrest 4 youth in dawn raids
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 13 Aug -- Israeli forces arrested 4 minors at dawn on 10 August. They are reported to have been charged with participation in demonstrations against Israeli policy in the district. The 4 arrested are brothers Mohammed Abu Sanad, 17, Alla Abu Sanad, 15, from al-Bustan neighborhood, and Ahmed Abu Nab, 17, from al-Ein al-Fouqa and Ameer al-Qaraeen from Wadi Hilweh
Update 2: Israeli forces build up heavy presence in Silwan
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 13 Aug -- A build-up of Israeli forces in Silwan has been underway since early this morning. Soldiers, deployed to all districts, have been reported to be harassing residents and stirring unrest. Several youth confronted troops this morning, with confrontations now erupting on a daily basis between local youth and Israeli forces. Tensions continue to mount as authorities pursue their policy of home demolition and settlement expansion in the region.
Updae 3: Israeli police arrest 3 children in Silwan
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Aug -- An undercover unit of the Israeli forces arrested two Palestinian children and one teenager from the Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on Sunday, a local committee member and Israeli police spokesman said. Abed Al-Karim, member of a local Silwan committee which protects land from annexation, said that Israeli forces arrested Musellem Mousa Auda, 11, Mohamad Auda, 13, and Kathem Abu Shafee, 17. Undercover units raided Silwan at 11.30 a.m. on Sunday morning, Al-Karim told Ma‘an radio, arresting the three boys without providing any justification.

38) Night Video: Army invades Beit Ommar for third time in a week
2:44 minutes PSP 12 Aug -- At around 10pm on the night of the 11th August, the Israeli army once more invaded the town of Beit Ommar. Around eight jeeps and more than twelve soldiers entered the town and advanced along the main road, closing off the entrance to the village behind them, preventing residents returning to their homes. The soldiers proceeded to fire dozens of rounds of teargas into highly residential areas, accompanied by concussion grenades and flares. Several families inside their homes suffered the effects of teargas inhalation and required medical treatment, some being taken by ambulance to hospital in Hebron. The soldiers remained in the town until 1am, during which time they continued to fire rounds of teargas regularly. No arrests were made, and there remains no apparent reason for the raid. The Abu Maria family were one such household affected by the raid. Their family home was struck by two teargas canisters, forcing the family to flee the building with their 1-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter. The ground floor of their house remained uninhabitable for the night due to the lingering gas.
Update: VIDEO: One Palestinian arrested and beaten at Beit Ommar demonstration
6:28 minutes PSP 13 Aug -- Around 40 demonstrators – comprising residents of the village of Beit Ommar, and Israeli and international activists – gathered for a demonstration against the illegal Karmei Tsur settlement. The demonstrators, carrying flags and banners commemorating the anniversary of the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, were met by a large and heavily armed military presence. As the protesters marched through Beit Ommar fields, the soldiers reacted violently, pushing several protesters to the ground, and others down steep rocky drops. After a short speech, the protesters decided to end their demonstration. At this point, local resident Sakhar Abu Maria was arrested by the military, for no apparent reason. He was then blindfolded for 20 minutes, placed in the back of a jeep, and driven to the Karmei Tsur settlement. Once there, he was beaten by soldiers, who threatened to raid his family home, and taunted him by repeatedly offering him food and drink after learning he was fasting for Ramadan, pouring glasses of coca cola and pushing them towards him. He was released after 90 minutes.

39) Israeli forces conduct military training in Jordan Valley, continue harassing its residents
JENIN (WAFA) 14 Aug -- Israeli forces are conducting large-scale military training on Palestinian lands adjacent to residents’ houses in the northern Jordan Valley areas, in Tubas Governorate, Sunday said Ahmad Asaad, in charge of settlements file in Tubas. Witnesses said that Israeli artillery enforcements raided al-Boke’a area and al-Aqaba, a village in the valley, and carried out surveillance and inspection campaigns in addition to repeated extensive military trainings, which lead to the destruction of the infrastructure and fields as well as prevent shepherds from herding their cattle

40) Israel army plants new mines along Syria border
JERUSALEM (AP) 13 Aug -- Israel's army is planting new land mines along its border with Syria in an attempt to dissuade protesters from rushing into the Golan Heights, according to a report in an Israeli military magazine. The preparations come as part of Israel's beefed-up measures ahead of rallies that Palestinians are planning to hold in September, the magazine Ba'mahaneh reported over the weekend ... The army decided to go ahead with the move after older mines failed to detonate when the Syrians crossed in June, the magazine reported ... The magazine reported that the military was taking other measures, including reinforcing fences along the Golan border, increasing infantry troop numbers, posting more snipers and digging trenches.
Update: VIDEO: Lebanon's female cluster bomb disposal team
6:09 minutes Guardian 12 Aug -- Five years after the Israel-Hezbollah war, southern Lebanon is still riddled with thousands of unexploded cluster bombs. A group of extraordinary women is helping to rid the countryside of this deadly legacy - formerly teachers, nurses and housewives, they have been trained by the NGO Norwegian People's Aid to clear unexploded ordnance from the fields

41) Otherwise Occupied: I'm not a cop but I play one in Jerusalem / Amira Hass
Haaretz 14 Aug -- In Walajeh, officially part of the capital, the IDF arrested a number of protesters, even though it did not have jurisdiction to act within the city ... Col. Alalouf and his soldiers apparently committed a double violation: sealing an area inside Jerusalem where they do not have jurisdiction, and arresting citizens inside the capital. The IDF spokesman: "The claim is being reviewed."

42) Gaza's sole power plant at risk of closure
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 14 Aug -- Gaza's electricity company may have to turn off the sole power station in the coastal enclave, a company official warned Sunday. Chief Executive Officer Walid Sad Sayel said the company would delay switching off the station until Sunday even though it needed repairs and should have been shut down on Wednesday. The company had reached an agreement with power authority officials in Gaza to delay the closure after the Hamas officials agreed to transfer $4 million to pay for spare parts, Sayel said in a statement. A further $1 million was needed to pay Ashdod port authorities to release the parts, Sayel added. He warned that if the clearance money wasn't paid in the coming hours, the generators would be shut off individually and the plant would be closed until the end of August. The electricity company official added that the management of Ashdod port were threatening to auction off the spare parts at the end of August if the storage bill and port fees for the equipment remained unpaid.

43) 'UNRWA Watch' looks to improve refugee agency
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 13 Aug -- Palestinian academics and others have announced the establishment of a watchdog group to observe UNRWA’s performance in the Gaza Strip, the head of the body said Saturday. At a news conference in Gaza City, Hossam Adwan said 'UNRWA Watch' would prioritize observing the performance of the Palestine refugee agency with the hope of guaranteeing refugee rights. The committees are specializing in education, healthcare, the environment, housing, projects, emergency operations, relief projects, and works, Adwan explained. They will staff six offices throughout the enclave ... UNRWA has defended itself against a series of complaints and accusations in recent months, as staff joined strikes and the heads of the West Bank and Gaza Strip divisions resigned early this year.

44) Israeli gunboats target Palestinian fishermen in Gaza
PalTelegraph 11 Aug -- Gaza Strip, (Pal Telegraph)-Israeli gunboats opened fire on Thursday morning at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of central Gaza Strip. No injuries were reported. Local sources said that Israeli gunboats targeted Palestinian fishermen despite being in a close area off Gaza shores, forcing them to leave the sea in order not to be hurt by Israeli intensive fire.
Update: Palestinians: Fisherman injured by Navy fire off Gaza coast
Ynet 15 Aug -- Palestinian sources reported that the Navy opened fire on a fishing boat off the Gaza Strip coast. According to the sources, a Palestinian fisherman was moderately injured in the incident, and was transferred to a local hospital. The IDF stated in response that the Navy fired a warning shot in the air, in order to ward off the boat.,7340,L-4109088,00.html?utm_source=Mondoweiss+List&utm_campaign=6c411275a8-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email
Update 2: Why Gaza doesn't need Monsanto's Wonder Seeds
Mother Jones 15 Aug -- ...So what are Palestinian farmers doing? According to The Guardian, they're turning to a technology that has been proven to conserve water, recycle crop nutrients, and generate robust yields: diversified organic agriculture ...Already, concrete steps are being made. According to The Guardian, Palestinian farmers are barred by the blockade from buying synthetic nitrogen fertilizer, which could be used to make explosives. All they have access from the import market is "fertilisers made from Israeli waste water run-off," which is expensive—$200 per metric ton—and of "uncertain safety." But a local initiative called Palestinian Environmental Friends (PEF) is generating a homegrown fertilizer from manure and crop waste collected from local farms. It costs just $100 per metric ton to make, and profits from it stay within Gaza. Farms are also solving the fertilizer problem by setting up closed-loop aquaculture/crop systems that recycle nutrients and generate bounties of food

45) In photos: Boycott activists rally in Ramallah
Ma‘an 12 Aug -- Protesters in Ramallah's Manara square call on businesses and shoppers to boycott Israeli goods, holding signs reading "Don't pay for their bullets" and "Boycott their goods, boycott their terrorism." The campaign is part of a nationwide effort throughout the occupied territories during Ramadan to educate Palestinians about local efforts to boycott Israeli products and what they can do to help.
link to

46) VIDEO: BDS brides boycott SodaStream and Ahava sales at Bed Bath & Beyond
12 Aug -- In August, 2011 a group of concerned brides held a mock wedding inside Bed Bath & Beyond in Los Angeles, CA to affirm their commitment to peace, justice, and avow to boycott SodaStream and Ahava, both illegally-made Israeli settlement products. Do you cherish human rights? Sign the pledge to boycott at:

47) Free to be human: visit to the Aida refugee camp / Alexandra Salomon
AIC 13 Aug -- The Aida refugee camp lies between Bethlehem and Beit Jala, in Area A of the West Bank. The entrance to the camp is marked by an arch with a model of a large key propped on top. While it is difficult in most ways to differentiate between the refugee camp and its surrounding residential area, numerous plaques on the camp walls detail the villages from which the refugees came, the Israeli army units that displaced them and the number of residents exiled. We started the day, driving through the main checkpoint into Bethlehem. I observed the yellow sign warning 'No entrance to Israelis' with apprehension, but flashed my European passport like a seasoned pro, attempting not to betray the nervousness I felt inside. And then it hit me. It was like someone had just punched me in the stomach. The Separation Wall with all its weight bears down, the impact of everything it stands for immediate and overwhelming ...We were then taken to meet Faizeer, a woman who was about 12 years old when Israeli soldiers entered her village in 1948 and who now lives not far from the local UNRWA office. Faizeer is a survivor from the Ajjur village. Ajjur is now the site of the Jewish National Fund (JNF-KKL) British National park. For me, this word, survivor always had connotations attached to those who survived the Nazi holocaust in Europe. This was a new reality I was experiencing

48) BDS action at Palestinian-Israeli controlled Bethlehem checkpoint / Emma Mancini
AIC 14 Aug -- Checkpoint 300, separating Bethlehem from Jerusalem, worsens. On the second Friday of Ramadan, Palestinian police join the Israeli army in controlling the movement of Palestinian residents from the Bethlehem district who are allowed to reach an armored Jerusalem and the Al Aqsa Mosque. In a shocking atmosphere of normalisation and uncritical acceptance, Palestinian policemen monitor the queue and communicate easily with the Israeli soldiers on the other side of the checkpoint. During Ramadan, the Palestinian security forces are the watchdog and perform the job usually done by Israeli forces ... A man, about 40 years old, bursts into tears while facing the Palestinian policemen: "I just want to pray in Al-Aqsa, I just want to pray freely".
link to www.alternativenews.orgisraeli-controlled-bethlehem-checkpoint-

49) UN bid coincides with Lebanese presidency
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 13 Aug -- The leadership in Ramallah chose to submit their bid for statehood in September to coincide with Lebanon's presidency of the UN Security Council, the Palestinian Authority foreign minister said Saturday. "We chose to submit it in September because the Lebanese envoy will be president of the Security Council and plays a pivotal role," Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Malki said. The minister told reporters at his office in Ramallah that President Mahmoud Abbas would submit the bid personally, adding that he would visit Lebanon on Tuesday to discuss the campaign.
Update: West Bank: Palestinians determined to get more recognition
LA Times 13 Aug -- The Palestinian Authority is doubling its efforts to get as many countries to recognize it before September, when it plans to officially ask the United Nations for recognition and membership. Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad Malki said on Saturday that “we have made very important breakthroughs, but we need to do more and build on what we have achieved so far.” Malki was talking about 19 countries in Central America and the Caribbean who still have not made up their mind regarding recognition. He had recently visited most of these countries, including Caribbean Sea islands with a population not exceeding 45,000 people but nevertheless sovereign U.N. member states, in an attempt to persuade them to recognize Palestine as a state. He has to wait until the Caribbean Common Market and Community (CARICOM) and the Central American SICA group convene their joint meeting Aug. 19 before he gets their final answer. So far, the situation does not look good since El Salvador, seat of SICA, has refused to place Palestine’s request on its agenda, nor invited the Palestinian Authority to attend the meeting.
Update 2: Ambassador: Abbas to discuss UN bid in Beirut
BEIRUT (Ma‘an) -14 Aug -- President Mahmoud Abbas will coordinate efforts to seek membership of the UN during his upcoming visit to Lebanon, Palestinian ambassador in Beirut Abdullah Abdullah said ... Abbas' visit is important as Lebanon will take over presidency of the UN Security Council in September, when Palestinians will submit their bid for membership of the world body, the ambassador said. Abdullah said the issue of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon should also be discussed during the president's visit. "We respect Lebanese sovereignty […] The Palestinian presence in Lebanon is indeed temporary and we are determined to return back.
link to

50) Israel refuses to apologize to Turkey for murdering its citizens on the Mavi Marmara.
Update: Turkey says no improvement of ties to Israel if Israel refuses to apologize

51) Hamas will not allow students to leave Gaza to study in the USA.

52) Living hell in Tel Rumeida / Alessandra Bajec
[photos] PNN 15 Aug -- ...Guiding me along the path, Hashem stopped before the access to his house noting that, between 2000 and 2007, that passage was totally blocked by military order forcing him to go via a steep climb in order to reach his home. While his wife was pregnant, Hashem had to carry her from up down that climb and put her in an ambulance to make it to the hospital. Four years ago, the main path was opened under some interesting circumstances. At that time, Hashem’s father had passed away, and holding a funeral there or inviting relatives and friends was sadly out of question, given the obstructed access to his home. Hashem then called on internationals and media to join his family and help, some of the activists were prevented to go but others managed. After carrying the father’s body down the steep path to the main street, Hashem and his supporters proceeded to a checkpoint where Israeli troops detained him for an hour and a half, and scanned the dead body. When Hashem was then let through the checkpoint, an electronic device rang and the soldiers ordered him to turn back, so he was held up for another half an hour and his father’s body was scanned again. One of the soldiers finally noticed the father had a watch around his wrist so, with the back of his gun, he destroyed the watch and also broke the bones of the dead body. Following that incident the Israeli army, to stop Hashem from filing a complaint against the soldier, ‘awarded’ him by opening the regular access to his home.
[long article, much of it nearly unbelievable - in any sane place, that is.]

53) Reading "Anne Frank" in Gaza

54) Why was the PA hosting American Kabbalah tourists in Nablus? By Michelle Gyeney, Nablus, 17 August 2011
The Palestinian Authority cooperated with Israeli forces to host a fabricated “Peace and Freedom Day” rally in Nablus, while prohibiting local Palestinian tour guides from discussing politics with Kabbalist tourists from the US.
55) Donors help keep Palestinians in cages By Charlotte Silver, Ramallah, 16 August 2011
International aid donors are using Palestine as a laboratory for a neo-liberal economic experiment.

56) UK bans Israeli settler rabbi who called for killing of non-Jews By Asa Winstanley, London, 15 August 2011
The UK has banned Rabbi Yosef Elitzur, who has incited the murder of non-Jews, including civilians and children from coming to the country. But the timing is curious.

57) Adam Keller on how the terrorist atttack in the Sinai helps Netanyahu avoid the big issues.
Update: Egypt closes Rafah crossing
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 18 Aug 18:58 -- The interior ministry in the Gaza Strip said Thursday that Egyptian authorities have closed the Rafah crossing amid a sharp increase in violence in Gaza and southern Israel. [End]
Update 2: Army bombards Rafah killing six Palestinians; child killed in Gaza City
IMEMC 18 Aug 20:51 -- Palestinian medical sources in the Gaza Strip reported on Thursday evening that six Palestinians, including a senior resistance leader, and a child, were killed when the Israeli Air Force fired missiles into a home in Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. A child was also killed and five residents were injured when the army bombarded Gaza City. The sources stated that the Israeli Air Force fired a missile at the house of one of the leaders of the Popular Resistance Committees in Al Sho’outh neighborhood in Rafah, killing six Palestinians. Three of them are leaders of the Popular Resistance committees, while one of the three was identified as Awad An-Nairab, the Secretary-General of the Committees. Adham Abu Salmiyya, spokesperson of the Emergency and Medical Services in Gaza, reported that the bodies of four of the slain residents were severely mutilated due to the blast, and that one of them is a 2-year-old child. Besides An-Nairab, the slain residents were identified as Imad Hammad, leader of the Salah Ed-Deen Brigades, Khaled Shaath, and his son Malak, 2 years old, Imad Nassr, and Khaled Al Masry. In another Israeli military escalation, a 13-year-old child was killed, and 18 other civilians were injured when the army bombarded several areas in northern Gaza and in Gaza City. The child was identified as Mahmoud Abu Samra. [Photo of Mahmoud in school] Children and women were among the wounded; they were all moved to the Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza.
Update 3: Video of Gazans carrying victims to ambulances amid fire and wreckage from bombing 18 Aug
Update 4: Initial photos of the bombing in Gaza tonight
uploaded about 5am 19 Aug -- Muaz Khaled -- These photos of the Israeli bombing of civilian homes in the Gaza Strip -- 1 child was killed more than 15 injured
Update 5: Victims of Israeli strike on Gaza - in pictures
[WARNING: graphic!] Uruknet 18 Aug -- Six Palestinians were killed and two injured on Thursday in an Israeli airstrike, targeting a house in Al- Shauth, a neighborhood in Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip, according to witnesses. Medical sources said that six Palestinians arrived to Abu Yousef al-Najjar hospital dead; bodies of four of them were torn into pieces.
Update 6: More on Israel retaliation
Update 7: Arab League condemns Israel's strikes on Gaza which killed 15 including children.
Update 8: Cease fire agreed by militant groups in Gaza and Israel.
Update 9: Israel must not escalate violence in Gaza. Hamas was not responsible for the terrorist attacks, but will fight back.
Update 10: Uri Avnery on the significance of the terror attacks in the Sinai onIsraeli politics. Does it give netanyahu an out from the social problems of Israel?

58) Best analysis I have seen of Israeli protests, their origins, their goals, their failures, and their possible futures.

59) One "social democratic" candidate for leadership of Labour is an Israeli Zionist with no conscience.