Maria 10 juni 2010
PA official: Settlers burn car in northern West Bank
Nablus – Ma’an – Israeli settlers burnt a car belonging to a Palsetinian in the northern West Bank at dawn, officials said.
Ghassan Doughlas, a Palestinian official who monitors settlements in the northern West Bank, told Ma’an that settlers burnt a car belonging to Ayed Abdullah Sawan, a resident of the Amatin village, which is between Nablus and Qalqiliya.
The alleged vandals escaped but Ayed was able to identify them and informed Israeli police of the incident.
The Hebrew-language daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported that investigators found lighter fluid at the scene.
Israeli extremists vandalized a mosque in northern Israel early Wednesday, the Al-Aqsa Foundation reported.
Vandals defaced the Omar Bin Khattab Mosque in the village of Ibtin with graffiti calling for the holy site's destruction, a depiction of the Star of David, and slogans declaring war on "the Arabs and Muslims," the foundation said. Several cars' tires were slashed too, it said.
The Al-Aqsa Foundation, which oversees the Al-Aqsa Mosque site in East Jerusalem, denounced the alleged attack, which it termed "a very dangerous indication, clearly calling for the mosque's destruction."
According to Yedioth Ahronoth, the messages read, "There will be war on Judea and Samaria" and "Price Tag," the latter referring to a policy in which settlers attack Palestinian property and holy sites in response to supposed provocations by the Israeli government.
Israeli police did not return calls, but Yedioth Ahronoth reported that authorities were investigating.
Al-Aqsa Mufti Mohammad Hussein called for end to settler violence against mosques in the West Bank, and described the vandalizing of the Omar Bin Khattab Mosque as a "criminal, requiring punishment of the perpetrators. Israeli authorities are responsible for failing to put an end to these attacks," he said.
Since the beginning of the year, Palestinians have reported several incidents in which settlers vandalized property, including mosques, in the West Bank, but Wednesday's incident was the first inside Israel.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=290921 23 nov 2010, 01:24 , Respect
Maria 12 juni 2010
Injuries reported in West Bank clashes
Hebron – Ma'an – Israel's army detained a disabled Palestinian and a Chilean peace activist during anti-wall protests in the occupied West Bank on Saturday. Others were hurt by tear gas.
Protests are held each week in the Hebron-area town of Beit Ummar and Tuwani, a village near the southern West Bank city that is also home to hundreds of radical Israeli settlers.
In Tuwani, settlers clashed with protesters. Israeli forces intervened and dispersed the demonstration.
In Hebron itself, protesters demanded that Shuhada Street be opend to Palestinians. They waved signs in Arabic, Hebrew, and English, and were met with counter-protests from settlers chanting slogans supporting Barach Goldstein, a settler who killed dozens of Palestinians in 1994.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=291551 23 nov 2010, 01:25 , Respect
Maria 16 juni 2010
Settlers storm Hebron homes, residents say
Hebron - Ma'an - Dozens of Israeli settlers living on the notorious Kiryat Arba settlement in Hebron raided the homes of several Palestinian residents in the nearby Jabal Jalis village at midnight and destroyed farmland, residents said Wednesday.
Shaker Az-Zaru At-Tamimi, 61, said similar raids are a daily occurrence. He appealed to international institutions and human rights groups to visit the Hebron district to monitor the increase in settler violence against Palestinians.
At-Tamimi was among several residents who saw their crops destroyed in the incident, residents added.
Israeli police were called to the scene and launched an investigation into the incident "but there is never any progress," At-Tamimi said.
Residents will erect a protest tent in response to the raids on Thursday, he said, and will hold a news conference after presenting their case to the International Red Cross.
Children of settlers to begin learning Arabic
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israeli settlers will soon add Arabic to their middle school curricula, Israeli news media reported Wednesday.
A course to be taught at schools constructed in the illegal Israeli settlement of Efrat will enable some 3,000 students to communicate with their "neighbors," the Israeli daily Maariv reported.
According to the report, the settlement will seek to employ teachers of the Palestinian Arabic dialect who live nearby. Arabic is the language spoken by the vast majority of Palestinians in the occupied territories, where all Israeli settlements are located. Efrat partially sits on lands belonging to the adjacent village of Al-Khadr.
Head of the settlement council Odet Rafif said expanding the circle of Arabic speakers was important as Arabic is an important language. He said students should learn the language due to the demographics of the area.
But Odet also said the initiative has faced problems when attempted in the past.
"We were in direct contact with the heads of the Palestinian villages, but they refused to cooperate. Even though they accepted the idea, they were afraid to cooperate publicly," he said.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=292372 23 nov 2010, 01:26 , Respect
Maria 17 June 2010
(5:56) Israeli masked settlers attack At-Tuwani Palestinian village
On Saturday morning, 30 to 35 masked Israeli settlers stormed the village of At-Tuwani in the South Hebron Hills. Armed with metal clubs, slingshots, knives, and stones, the attackers targeted the house closest to the edge of the woods. International observers stationed in the village arrived in time to witness and document the final phases of the assault. Michael Carpenter investigated for Palestine Monitor.
The rolling hills south of Hebron are home to some of the poorest Palestinian communities in the West Bank, and in recent years, some of the most radical Israeli settlers have come here. At-Tuwani is a small traditional village of about 250 residents and a focal point of the region's tensions. At the south tip of the village, near the edge of a densely wooded hill, is Beit Juma, the large home of the Rabai extended family. At 10:45 AM, not long after Juma and one of his brothers had gone to a neighbouring village, the attack came from the trees without warning.
There were problems before, explains one of the younger brothers, present at the time of the attack. But nothing like this. This is something new. First came stones, hitting the wall and flying over the house into the yard where the children were playing. Then came the settlers, 30 or 35, with faces covered, with iron sticks, smashing windows and fence. Some came this way around the house, and the others came that way. They tried to come inside, to force their way, but we pushed them back. The brothers admit they wounded two of the settlers, knocking them to the ground and kicking them. At that time, it's impossible to think. Of course we fight. They are coming into our home.
Right: Beit Juma, home of Rabai family, with woods in background, where the settler attack came from.
The Rabais say that up to ten people from their family and village suffered minor injuries from stones or beating. One woman, four months pregnant, was hurt in a fall as she fled the violence. She was taken to the hospital and returned in good condition.
A pregnant woman is taken to hospital after minor injuries.
The initial onslaught lasted only a couple minutes before the international observers and many others from the village were on the scene. We saw the last part of the fighting around the house, says Sirio, a member of the Italian non-violent peace corps Operation Dove. Then the settlers counted at least 26% ran back to the woods. But that was not the end. They continued to throw stones from the trees for the next 20 minutes or so before disappearing deeper in the woods.
After the initial assault, masked settlers continued to throw and launch stones from the edge of the woods.
Shortly after, by about 11:30, police, army, and border patrol arrived, taking statements, photos, and collecting evidence, including multiple large knives. Later in the afternoon, some of the Rabai family, accompanied by members of Operation Dove, filed an official complaint at the police station in Kiryat Arba (the Israeli settlement in Hebron). The first thing they asked my brother, says Musab Rabai incredulously, was Who beat the settlers? He laughs. Not, Why were settlers in the home? The residents of At-Tuwani are not confident the attackers will be prosecuted.
Although the weekend marked a dramatic escalation of Israeli settler hostility, the events were just the latest in the troubled history of the besieged village. Every year, the growing settlement of Ma'on (established 1981 on a neighbouring hill) de facto annexes more and more of the village's pastureland. In the last several years, shepherds, school children, and international observers have been beaten, the drinking well and grazing land have been poisoned, animals have been killed, and property has been vandalised. Scores of incidents have been documented in photos and videos by international monitors such as Operation Dove.
A well that was poisoned, with the Rabai home (left) and the woods of the illegal settlement (right).
The Italian peace corps, along with Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT), have maintained a constant presence in the village since they were invited by the Palestinians in 2004. The local community had already committed to peaceful resistance in co-operation Hafez Huraini and the South Hebron Hills Committee for popular non-violent resistance.
The illegal outpost of Havat Ma'on, Hill 833, viewed from the south west.
Concealed in the trees, about a hundred meters from the south edge of the village, is the settler outpost known as Hill 833, or Havat Ma'on. Under international law, all Israeli settlements in the West Bank are illegal, but this outpost is also illegal under Israeli law. First established in 1999, just south-west of the woods, the outpost was quickly dismantled by Israeli authorities, but by the end of the year, the renegade settlers had relocated inside the woods. Since then, they have entrenched themselves, continued building within the trees, and continued to harass the local population, all with apparent impunity from the Israeli authorities. Equally disturbing, settlers from this outpost, including Yosef Ben Barach and its founder Yehoshefat Tor, have ties to the radical group Kach, which is a designated terrorist organisation by both the United States and Israel for inciting violence and attempting to bomb Palestinian schools in Jerusalem.
Paranoid or prescient, the Rabai brothers believe the settlers intended far worse. They came here to kill. They tried to kill with knives, some guys, and they tried to move into the home. I'm sure they saw us when we left here, and they thought no men were here, just the women and the kids. They thought if they threw stones first, all of them will run, but when they threw stones, three brothers came out. They tried to do like they do in other villages, to take the homes.
Whatever the settlers intentions, the Rabai family is deeply concerned and expects more attacks soon. They spend many nights on their rooftops, peering vigilantly into the dark woods. This is the effect of daily terror. We try to continue the non-violent resistance with these guys, says Juma Rabai. But I don't know about the future. The future is dark for a long time, so black. But now, maybe more dark.
Written by Michael Carpenter for Palestine Monitor
http://www.palestinemonitor.org/spip/spip.php?article1453 23 nov 2010, 01:27 , Respect
Maria 19 juni 2010
Embroidery Business Empowers Hebron Women
The old city market in Hebron has turned into a ghost town. Israeli settlers occupying the homes above the market, use the walkways below as their personal trash can and the constant harassment from Israeli soldiers has forced shopkeepers to move. But, there is a light of life in the old city market. It is here where you can find the Palestinian Women's Embroidery Co-operative.
Most shops are closed in the old city. A net has been placed above the walkway to collect the garbage thrown down by Israeli settlers.
The PWEC was created by Nawal Slemiah just over 6 years ago. Nawal started her embroidery business in the small village of Idna but struggled due to a lack of customers. One day, she heard on television that internationals frequently visited the Ibrahimi Mosque. With a mind for business, she left Idna to seek out the promising, new, international market. It wasn't long before the municipality came to her on the street and asked what she was doing. She replied, I want to sell my goods to the internationals. The municipality responded by helping her move into a shop, located in the old city.
Currently, there are 120 women from 8 villages working for the co-operative. Most of the women are prohibited to work outside their homes by their husbands or families. So Nawal, and her sister Laila Awawda, supply the women with the tools and materials they need to work from their homes. Then they sell their goods in the old city, and return the profits to the women.
A picture of an olive tree is embroidered over the traditional pattern of a keffiyah (the traditional Palestinian scarf). It symbolizes the strength of the Palestinian people and their struggle
The women of the PWEC create colorful and elaborate patterns for bracelets, bookmarks, pillow cases, curtains, purses, scarves, wall hangings and clothing. The designs combine creative artistry with traditional Palestinian patterns and symbols. We don't make the pieces just to sell them, they are something meaningful said Laila.
Laila Awawda and the two shops.
I sat down with Laila, sister of the founder and mother of 6, and asked her why the Palestinian Women's Embroidery Co-operative was important to her. She replied, The shop is special because I am a woman. I like my job and I feel that women shouldn't stay in their houses just to eat and sleep because they have so much to offer... I like my job and I am happy. I don't ask my husband to give me money. I have money. Despite her husband's disapproval of her job, Laila proudly states that now her husband sometimes asks her for money.
The Co-operative recently added a second store located across from the first. Unfortunately, the local markets have become flooded with cheaper, Chinese imitations of the women's embroidery. The knock-offs can be easily spotted by their extremely large stitching and scratchy fabrics. Laila doesn't consider the competition a real threat. She said Once I explain the difference to the customers, they always buy the made-in-Palestine version.
We are Everywhere is the slogan of the PWEC. It conveys a powerful message that women can achieve in any profession, all over the world. Laila said it means, "I am here to support myself and to be strong."
Most of the PWEC's customers come by referral. The International Solidarity Movement, Temporary International Presences in the City of Hebron, and World Council of Churches Ecumenical Accompaniment Program are just a few of the organizations that send people to Nawal's shop. The women of the PWEC hope to take their business and message international. They have a my space page (womeninhebron) and are currently working on a website. They want women all over the world to start putting themselves first and believing in their ability to achieve everywhere.
We are Everywhere is embroidered on many pieces to represent women around the world and their ability to achieve outside the home.
Reporting and photographing from Rebecca Fudala
http://www.palestinemonitor.org/spip/spip.php?article1455 23 nov 2010, 01:28 , Respect
Maria 22 juni 2010
Israel orders settlers off Palestinian land
Hebron – Ma’an – An Israeli military appeals court on Tuesday ordered the evacuation of settlers from Palestinian-owned land near the southern West bank city of Hebron.
Yatta landowner Khalil Al-Jbour said the 100-dunum plot was taken over by residents of the illegal Susiya settlement southeast of the village. The rest of the land, he added, belonged to the Hamad Awwad family.
Al-Jbour said the owners filed a suit in an Israeli military court in 2004, when the lands were seized, and after years of filing paperwork, they finally succeeded in winning rights to their own land.
"We are just waiting for Israeli forces to evacuate the settlers," Al-Jbour said, adding that Israeli Civil Administration officials had asked the settlers to evacuate in May, but they refused.
by Akram Baker
The question of Israel's illegal settlements in occupied Palestine is one of the core issues of the conflict. In blatant violation of international law, the continuing expansion of new and existing settlements by consecutive Israeli governments has caused a major rift between Israel and the Obama administration.
And while the entire world (with the notable exception of Israel) is in agreement that the settlements must to a large extent be dismantled in any peace agreement, the question of what to do with the settlers themselves is even thornier.
The more than half a million Israeli Jews currently living on land occupied by Israel during the 1967 war range from hard-line ideologues to economic opportunists. What binds them is the fact that all were actively encouraged by Israeli government policies of financial incentives and extensive protection by the Israeli army to move into the settlements.
During the so-called "peace years" between 1996 and 2000, settlement activity accelerated at an unprecedented pace under both Israel's Labor and Likud governments, bringing into question the sincerity of the country's intentions about peacemaking from the very start. So the question is not only what should be done, but also what can viably be done in order to resolve this issue.
Let me state from the outset that I am of the firmest belief that each and every settler living in the occupied Palestinian territory has no legal justification to be there. Their presence there has nothing to do with the security of the State of Israel and everything to do with the perpetuation of the occupation of Palestine, rendering any potential "agreement" next to useless before the ink dries on the paper. These are neither benign "neighborhoods" nor communities. They are very potent weapons in the arsenal of subjugation and occupation. But they are, as Israel very well knows, facts on the ground. And they cannot be ignored. So should they be allowed to stay?
Some, like Hillel Halkin writing in The Wall Street Journal earlier this year, have disingenuously proposed that the settlers be allowed to remain in Palestine as Israeli citizens under Palestinian rule. He compares them to Palestinians living inside of Israel. This analogy willfully ignores the fact that Palestinians in Israel are living on the land where they have resided for centuries and millennia. They are not, and have never been, transplants. They did not steal any property, unlike those living in the West Bank settlements of Ma'ale Adumim or Kiryat Arba.
Others believe that each and every settler must be permanently removed from a nascent Palestinian state. This is simply far-fetched and would be nearly impossible to carry out without a horrible toll in treasure and blood. For even though the settlers were actively planted, lured, or "seduced" into taking up residence in the occupied territories, they have become a sort of Frankenstein, a monster of their own state's creation, and have become accustomed to being treated with kid gloves when it comes to applying any sort of law that doesn't suit them. No matter how much most Palestinians want them to go away, it is quite obvious that they will not go gently into that good night.
Therefore, we come to the third option, which I feel holds some merit. As part of a comprehensive agreement between Israel and Palestine, all people currently residing within the borders of the Palestinian state will be given the option of becoming Palestinian citizens. This means that the original owners of the land where the settlements stand would be compensated at the going property rates for the land that was taken from them. Those Palestinians who sold their land would of course not be compensated in any way.
Palestinian citizens would have the same rights and responsibilities regardless of race or religion. Those who choose to leave the newly independent Palestine and have legitimate claims to property within its boundaries shall be duly and fairly compensated for their loss. Quid pro quo, Palestinians from pre-1948 Palestine who have legitimate property claims shall also receive equitable treatment and compensation.
There would be a time limit on such litigation (possibly 10 years post-independence) with the possibility of resolving the issue through a form of class-action suits. An independent arbitration commission with Palestinian, Israeli, and international jurists would resolve all cases. The findings of such a commission would be final.
At the same time, the settlements would immediately become true "communities," open to all citizens of the state. How many Israelis would take up this offer, I honestly don't know. What I do know is that in order to build lasting and deep-rooted peace you cannot commit injustice. By giving everyone the opportunity to become equal and responsible citizens, and allowing those Israelis who always claim to love the land more than the state to live out their dreams, by being inclusive rather than exclusive, you have the chance to defang one the most difficult issues (among many) and set a solid foundation for a just, robust, free and democratic Palestine.
Akram Baker is an independent political analyst.
This article was first published on bitterlemons.org
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=293755 23 nov 2010, 01:29 , Respect
Maria 23 juni 2010
Settlers attack Palestinians near Bethlehem
Hebron – Ma’an – Furious after their own government demolished two houses in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian property in the latest incident of the "price tag" phenomenon.
Dozens of residents of the illegal Israeli settlement of Bat Ayin, in the Bethlehem Governorate, were seen throwing stones and empty bottles at Palestinian homes in Safa, an adjacent village next to the Beit Ummar town north of Hebron.
Israeli soldiers began firing tear-gas canisters and stun grenades at the crowd around dawn, lightly injuring a number of Palestinians, Muhammad Awad, spokesman for the Palestine Solidarity Project, told Ma'an. Settlers were prevented from setting fire to fields, he added.
An Israeli military spokeswoman said forces arrived on the scene to disperse the crowd before it became violent.
The more radical of Israel's 500,000 settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories adhere to the so-called "price tag" policy, in which every perceived injustice carried out by the Israeli authorities, who occasionally intervene on behalf of Palestinians, comes at the "price" of settler violence against local residents.
Wednesday's violence came just after Israeli forces demolished two settler units installed to protest a deadly attack last year in which a Palestinian man allegedly killed the child of a settler with an ax.
Settlers threaten to forcibly evict East Jerusalem Palestinians
Beit Yonatan, a building where Israeli settlers live in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan
Israeli settlers say they will hire private security firms to evacuate four families if they do not leave property by July 4.
Israeli settlers in East Jerusalem on Wednesday threatened to forcibly evict four Palestinian families they claim are living on property belonging to Jews in the neighborhood of Silwan.
The settlers said they would hire private security firms to implement the evictions if the four families, which include 40 individuals, do not leave by July 4.
The Palestinian families are living in a structure that was once a Yemenite synagogue in Silwan, located near the neighborhood's controversial Beit Yonatan structure.
Beit Yonatan, a seven-story residential structure, was built illegally in the heart of the predominantly Palestinian neighborhood by the nationalist association Ateret Cohanim.
Despite police discussions in preparation for the evacuation of Beit Yonatan several weeks ago, the implementation has been postponed until at least the end of the month.
There is a standing order, issued two years ago, to evacuate and seal Beit Yonatan, where ten Jewish families reside. Jerusalem municipal officials have yet to enforce the order, despite court rulings and orders from the former attorney general.
Meanwhile, the Beit Yonatan settlers claimed on Wednesday that police have not evicted the Palestinian families due to political constraints and have warned they would take matters onto their own hands next month.
National Union MK Uri Ariel raised the issue Wednesday during a Knesset discussion with Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch.
The settlers are justifying the eviction by claiming deeds for the property show it was owned by Yemenite Jews who lived there from the late 19th century until the 1948 War of Independence.
Aharonovitch said police are prepared to evacuate the structure, but that he has been instructed to delay the action due to political considerations.
"There is discrimination in everything related to the enforcement applied by the state and prosecution in Jerusalem," said a spokesperson for the Jewish community in Silwan.
"It is unclear why the state insists on evacuating Beit Yonatan despite a proposed compromise over the matter," the spokesperson continued. "On the other hand, the same authorities do not implement a court order that unequivocally called for the evacuation of Arab families who invaded a synagogue belonging to Jews."
Silwan, home to some 50,000 Palestinians and 70 Jewish families, has been at the center of a battle between Israeli Jews and Palestinians in their bids to retain control over East Jerusalem.
The Jerusalem municipality on Monday approved preliminary plans to demolish 22 Palestinian homes in the neighborhood as part of a plan to build a tourist center there.
The U.S. State Department criticized the decision, calling it the kind of step that undermines trust fundamental to progress in the proximity talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has said the plan gives a much-needed facelift to Jerusalem's decaying al-Bustan neighborhood, which Israel calls Gan Hamelech, or the King's Garden.
The plan calls for the construction of shops, restaurants, art galleries and a large community center on the site where some say the biblical King David wrote his psalms.
The 22 displaced families would be allowed to build homes elsewhere in the neighborhood, though it's not clear who would pay for them.
New compensation bill for Gaza settlers passes first Knesset reading
Proposed law would offer compensation for businesses evacuated in 2005 pullout from Gaza and four West Bank settlements.
The Knesset on Wednesday approved the first reading of a bill that would grant compensation to business owners evacuated from Gaza settlements during the disengagement in 2005. The bill passed by a 39-MK majority.
The proposal was motioned by a number of lawmakers from different parties, including Zeev Elkin (Likud) and Aryeh Eldad (National Union). The proposal seeks to anchor in legislation a final agreement to be reached between evacuated business owners and the director of "Momentum," the body which, under its former name of the Disengagement Authority, handled the compensation for settlers evacuated from Gaza.
The proposed bill promises a basic pension income to proprietors whose businesses collapsed following the disengagement, and have not yet resumed activity. Under the terms of the bill, this income would be calculated according to past net earnings and revenues. In addition, the motion proposes to boost the momentum of these businesses by the provision of funds for rehabilitation.
This bill is the first in a series of proposals to implement the conclusions of a committee of inquiry into the competence of the Disengagement Authority in handling the evacuation of the Gush Katif settlement bloc in Gaza, and four settlements in the northern West Bank. The inquiry was headed by retired judge Joshua Matza.
According to the findings of the panel, "The Committee established unequivocally that the restoration and rehabilitation of the businesses of Gaza Strip and North Samaria [West Bank] evacuees should be a national priority, not just on paper but in practice. Without the necessary amendments it is impossible to restore the status of businesses and business owners in Gush Katif to the state they were in prior to the implementation of the disengagement plan. It is the legal obligation and a moral responsibility of the country to rehabilitate the businesses and to facilitate their restoration in a dignified manner."
Coalition chairman Ze'ev Elkin said Wednesday that the bill, "is the first step in regulating the rehabilitation of Gosh Katif and Samaria evacuees. Five years after the disengagement, it's time for the welfare state to take care of evacuated business owners so they may continue their lives in spite of past traumas. Accordingly, government support for this law is welcomed and warranted."
http://fwd4.me/0iZH 23 nov 2010, 01:36 , Respect
Maria 24 juni 2010
Teenager shot by settler forced to pay fine
Hebron/Bethlehem – Ma'an – A teenage boy shot by an Israeli settler has been fined by Israeli police investigating the case, family members said.
Mohammad Ibrahim, 16, was shot in the chest as he walked home from school with his friends on 4 June. His friend, Moataz Moussa Omran Banat, was also shot in the leg.
On Tuesday, Ibrahim’s father said Israeli police from the Kiryat Arba settlement asked him to bring his son to make a report on the incident.
The father and son went to Etzion, a detention center inside the settlement, and were interrogated for several hours. Ibrahim’s father said the police accused his son of throwing stones at settlers and forced him to pay a 1,500 shekel fine.
The Detainees’ Center in Hebron described the incident as an attempt by police to protect the settler, calling on the International Red Cross to ensure that the man who shot Ibrahim faces trial.
Witnesses to the shooting said a man stepped out of his car and began shooting randomly at the group, before returning to his car and driving away. An Israeli settler later turned himself in, telling police that he had shot into the air. He was put under house-arrest.
The boys were shot outside Hebron's Al-Arrub refugee camp in the southern West Bank where they both live. They were admitted to Al-Ahli Hospital, where Ibrahim required immediate surgery and Banat was put into ICU.
An Israeli police spokesman said at the time that he believed the shooting was related to earlier reports by Israeli drivers of “aggressive stone-throwing.”
An Israeli police spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.
In its latest annual report, Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem said there is an "undeclared policy of leniency toward Israelis who harm Palestinians and damage Palestinian property." Since September 2000, the organization has submitted 200 complaints of settler violence to Israeli police, only nine of which have resulted in indictments.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=294113 23 nov 2010, 01:36 , Respect
Maria 25 juni 2010
Gentrification as ethnic cleansing in Jaffa
By Mya Guarnieri
Israeli settlers storming the garden of an elderly Palestinian woman — it seems like a page from Hebron's book, not that of cosmopolitan Tel Aviv. But that's exactly what happened to Zeinab Rachayel, an Arab resident of Tel Aviv's mixed suburb, Jaffa.
Rachayel was in her courtyard on a Sunday afternoon when several buses full of settlers from the West Bank arrived, parking nearby. Armed with Israeli flags, young men lined the sidewalk outside her home chanting "This is our land." One by one, they entered her garden. Rachayel, a grandmother, was soon facing dozens of settlers in their late teens and early 20s.
"Another one entered and he said, 'Listen, you're not staying here. Yafo is just for Jews. Get out of Yafo,'" Rachayel says. The men continued to threaten and intimidate her, repeating over and over that the Palestinian presence in Jaffa is only temporary.
Yafo was once Jaffa—the cultural and economic hub of Palestine. Battered during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the conflict that surrounded the creation of the Jewish state, Jaffa's population plummeted as residents fled or were expelled from their homes. Jewish immigrants quickly took their places and in 1950, the Tel Aviv municipality swallowed Jaffa, renaming it Yafo.
Today, some 60 years later, the twin forces of settlers and gentrification mean the area's Palestinian community are again facing an existential threat.
On that Sunday afternoon, one of Rachayel's sons arrived. He used his belt, waving the buckle, to chase the settlers out of the garden. Eventually, the police arrived. No arrests were made.
Rachayel remarks, "If this had happened the other way around, to a Jewish family, what would they have done?"
She emphasizes that, as is the case in other mixed areas of Israel, Jews and Arabs have long enjoyed close relationships in Jaffa. Rachayel grew up next to a Jewish family and the children were like brothers and sisters to her, she recalls.
Ties grew tense during the First Intifada, according to Rachayel. And now, with settlers trickling into Jaffa, Rachayel feels the mood darkening again. "It's sad," she comments.
Sami Abu Shehadeh, head of Jaffa's Popular Committee Against Home Demolitions, estimates that approximately 50 settler families are scattered throughout Jaffa.
They began moving to mixed cities in the wake of Israel's 2005 withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in a bid to make themselves more familiar to Jewish Israelis and garner mainstream support.
It's also an attempt to stay on the political radar, Abu Shehadeh says. "If any of the Israeli prime ministers will have the guts to take a settler out of the West Bank, they will set Israel on fire from the inside. It's not that they're going to demonstrate in the settlements. Now they're here, in the heart."
Writing for Haaretz, right-wing journalist Nadav Shragai has aligned the settlements inside mixed cities as a battlefront in the so-called demographic war between Palestinians and Jews. "Israel, as the state of the Jewish people, is losing its grip on these cities," he writes, adding "settlers in Judea and Samaria have dispatched their best people and rabbis to [Jaffa], Acre, Lod and Ramle."
Bemuna, a construction company whose name means "in faith," aims to bring another 20 such families to Ajami. In this predominantly Palestinian area, considered the heart of Jaffa's fragile Palestinian community, Bemuna is planning an apartment complex that will be exclusive to national-religious Jews.
"They started in East Jerusalem," Abu Shehadeh remarks. "Then they had a big project in Lod. Then they went to Akko. Now, they are coming to Yafo."
The move, Bemuna claims, is intended to strengthen the Jewish community. But critics point out that rather than building in one of Jaffa's underprivileged Jewish areas, Bemuna purchased land where very few Jews live. The plans to build in Ajami, critics say, are a provocation at best; at worst, it's an attempt to push Arabs from the area.
Abu Shehadeh and other members of the local leadership are concerned with the closed nature of the development. "We felt it is racism, so we went to court."
Tel Aviv District Judge Yehuda Zaft ruled against the petition, which contested the project's discriminatory selection of residents and was filed by over a dozen organizations, including the Association for Civil Rights in Israel. The group is appealing the decision and on 21 June, the Israeli High Court of Justice will hear the case.
But no matter the ruling, Jaffa will remain embroiled in problems.
Residents are deeply troubled by a recently opened yeshiva, or Jewish institution for religious studies. Like many found in the West Bank, Jaffa's yeshiva is an ideological training ground for national-religious men who intend to join the army. And it is lead by Rabbi Eliyahi Mali, who hails from the settlement Bet El.
Speaking to Israeli Channel Seven, Rabbi Mali called his work in Jaffa "an important mission like no other" adding that if West Bank settlements "would send one tenth of their residents to large cities … this one tenth of people imbued with faith will establish a community, a yeshiva, and a center amidst the Jewish populace, which will create a different reality than we know today."
Abu Shehadeh comments, "In their vision, this [Palestinian] neighborhood does not exist in the next 10 years."
It's a common sentiment amongst Arab residents—the yeshiva is a sign of a takeover, an attempt to turn Jaffa into a West Bank settlement. Palestinian residents report that they have been verbally harassed by yeshiva students. Now, they avoid both the building and the street it is on, out of fear of further altercations.
Ihlas Yateen, a Palestinian resident of Jaffa, calls the yeshiva and settlers "dangerous." "What are they doing here? I don't know why the state lets them do it. They can't forbid them from entering here? What, they'd let [Palestinians] enter Bnei Brak?" she adds, referring to the Orthodox Jewish city near Tel Aviv.
Her comment points toward gentrification's role in Jaffa's problems.
The government-controlled Israel Land Authority sells to the highest bidder. In the case of the lot slated for the 20-unit settlement that was Bemuna. Money dictates who can buy where.
Jaffa's Palestinian residents point out that, for the most part, their community is poor. And Ajami is the weakest link. Perched on a hill close to the sea, Ajami is also prime real estate.
Yehudit Ilani, a Jewish Israeli resident of Ajami and a tireless advocate for Palestinian home and land allocation rights, explains that the Israeli government has strict codes regarding houses in Jaffa. If a growing family adds a room to their home or fails to maintain a building's appearance in accordance with the state's standards, they face astronomical fines, eviction, or demolition.
Once a home has been emptied or destroyed, the Land Authority can sell the plot.
"There are 498 court cases to kick people out of their homes," Ilani remarks. 497 of these are against Arab families. Only one is against Jews—and it's an impoverished Mizrahi [Arab Jewish] family.
Ilani adds that there are other residents that face eviction as the Israel Land Authority seeks to cash in on a hot market. These families receive some compensation, Ilani says, "But it's not enough money to get back in the market."
Ilani points out that as the Palestinian community is "being torn apart," the state can make the choice not to sell the property. "They're hiding behind the market, denying that a nationalist principle is involved," she says.
"Gentrification," Ilani says, "is being used as a method of ethnic cleansing, in effect." Ilani emphasizes that Jewish Israelis who decide to live in Jaffa aren't the problem. It's the state policies that are "part of a much larger picture" threatening the area.
Ilani points out that this has dangerous implications for the state. "It's a completely segregated society. Only in the shared cities is there some sort of a discourse, a dialogue, knowing each other. The shared cities could be the basis of a way of living together."
But gentrification and settlers are chipping away at this hope, little by little.
Esther Saba is a Palestinian resident of Jaffa who faced demolition due to an unauthorized add-on to her family home. She points out that when the bulldozers arrived, Jewish Israeli activists paid a pivotal role in saving her home, standing in the front yard and on the roof to guard it.
"There is no problem with regular Jews," Saba says. "We have a very good connection."
But the growing presence of settlers is worrisome, Saba says. "They don't want [Arabs] here in Yafo."
Neither Bemuna nor Yeshivat Yafo responded to multiple requests for comment.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=294612 23 nov 2010, 01:39 , Respect
Maria 27 juni 2010
23 injured in Silwan clashes overnight
Bethlehem/Jerusalem - Ma'an - At least 20 Palestinians were injured as of Sunday morning, in clashes with Israeli forces that began Saturday night and continued through the morning in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood.
Witnesses said one Palestinian was shot with live ammunition and two others were hit by tear-gas canisters during confrontations in the Ar-Rajabi area of Silwan between Israeli border guards, settlers, and residents.
Director of the Wad Hilwa Information Center Jawad Siyam confirmed two Palestinian injuries and said several fainted after border guards fired tear-gas canisters. At least 20 Palestinians required medical attention for tear gas inhalation, Palestinian medical sources said.
The medics added that they had to treat patients in the field as Israeli forces would not allow ambulances to leave the area.
According to witnesses, Israeli border guards deliberately damaged Palestinian cars and smashed the windows of Palestinian homes. Locals said young Palestinians hurled Molotov cocktails toward the Beit Al-Asal house, recently taken over by Israeli settlers, whose residents were said to have sparked clashes.
Two Israeli military patrols sustained damages after young Palestinians pelted them with stones, Israeli media reported, while a spokesman for Israel's national police said two Israeli officers were lightly injured after Palestinians through Molotov cocktails at them. The injured were taken to hospital for treatment, he said.
Troops fired tear gas and percussion grenades and Palestinians said soldiers opened fire in midair, the Israeli online news site Ynet reported.