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Israel to expropriate Palestinian land for settlement expansion in northern West Bank
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) — Israeli authorities on Tuesday reportedly notified Palestinian farmers that they intend to expropriate plots of land near the village of Shofeh, southeast of Tulkarem in the northern occupied West Bank, in order to expand the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Avnei Hefetz. Official Palestinian Authority-owned Wafa news agency reported that Israeli authorities informed the Palestinian liaison office that the state intends to use land in the village in order to open roads and build playgrounds and other recreational facilities for Avnei Hefetz. The farmers were reportedly given 60 days to appeal the decision in Israeli courts. According to Wafa, the farmers of Shofeh “expressed real concern over the decision” to “rip them off the land that is their only source of income.” The farmers told Wafa that while they have the papers to prove their ownership of the land, “they do not expect the Israeli courts to be fair to them.” Wafa added that the Israeli army seized lands from the village in March to build a power station and industrial area….

Watchdog fears Israel will seize more Palestinian land

JERUSALEM (AFP) 16 Nov — An Israeli settlement watchdog Thursday denounced a legal opinion by the attorney general, saying it could pave the way for the seizure of more Palestinian land in the West Bank. Attorney general Avichai Mandelblit said in a legal opinion that Israel could, in certain circumstances, confiscate private Palestinian land for the benefit of Jewish settlements in the occupied territories. Settlement watchdog Peace Now denounced the development in a statement. “It appears that the AG is attempting to remove the last legal (and moral) barrier on the road to turn theft and expulsion into a formal way of establishing settlements in the occupied territories,” it said. Peace Now and other observers said Mandelblit’s opinion, which was made public on Wednesday, breaks with former positions the confiscation of private Palestinian land for state use….

Israel minister: We must plan for a million settlers in the West Bank

MEMO 15 Nov — An Israeli minister said yesterday that the state must start planning for a million settlers in the West Bank, according to a report in the Jerusalem Post. This will happen – it is only a question of when,” Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin said, “adding that it could be anywhere between the next 10 to 20 years, depending on the pace of construction.” The minister also dismissed the idea of a Palestinian state in the occupied Palestinian territory. “Halas [‘enough’ in Arabic] with the story of two states. There is no other option but the state of Israel, certainly between the Jordan [River] to the [Mediterranean] sea there will be one state.” The minister made the remarks at a conference on settler population growth in the West Bank titled “On the Way to a Million”. Elkin urged settler leaders to prepare plans for expansion. “If everyone does this, I believe that the numbers will become the reality of our lives,” he said. The head of Amana, which supports settlement construction, claimed that Ariel settlement could double in size to reach 40,000 residents, and Efrat could more than double, hitting 20,000 settlers. Meanwhile, the paper reported, Peace Now has released new figures on settlement activity in 2017, noting that, “to date, plans had been advanced for 6,742 new settler homes and 3,154 tenders had been issued”. In 2016, the figures were 2,613 and 42 respectively. “Without any official declarations, the Israeli government is preventing the viability and contiguity of a future Palestinian state, while treating lands in Area C as its own,” Peace Now said.

Opinion: Transfer of Palestinians, in word and deed / Amira Hass

Haaretz 14 Nov — The legacy of Rehavam Ze’evi (“voluntary transfer”) is commemorated all the time in the Jordan Valley. Highway 90 there is named after him, using his irritating nickname, Gandhi. On every large sign with the words “Gandhi Highway,” the hardly secret Israeli desire to get rid of the Palestinians is linked to the appropriation of one of the international symbols of liberation from colonialism.
And now comes housing and construction minister Yoav Galant, and with the help of Kan, the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation, transfers the Palestinians with a thrust of his tongue. “In the Jordan Valley after 50 years there’s a total of 5,000 people,” he said on the morning news program Thursday. He didn’t say Jews, he didn’t say Israelis. He said “people.” And the experienced presenter didn’t interrupt and say: “Just a minute, there are at least 70,000 Palestinian living in the Jordan Valley, and they’ve been there since before 1967. In Ouja alone there are about 5,000 people. And a similar number in Jiftlik, and let’s not forget the city of Jericho, which has a population of about 35,000, and thousands of families of shepherds for whom the valley is home.”
On the previous evening, Kan’s television news publicized Galant’s plan to persuade more Jews to commit a crime and migrate to the Jordan Valley. “Today only about 6,000 people live in the Jordan Valley,” explained the reporter, and nobody corrected her. This is repeated on the Kan website, with a slight change: “Today only about 6,000 human beings live in the region,” according to the item that sums up the televised report. Galant and the TV reporters showed an extreme lack of awareness of the significance of the word that they chose or allowed to be used, in the above-mentioned context. Even if the reporters themselves are probably opposed to expulsion, they implemented a mental transfer of tens of thousands of Palestinians while internalizing the ultimate Zionist vision … And here is a coincidence that did not happen by chance: About an hour after Galant’s radio interview, soldiers sent by their commander, Maj. Gen. Roni Numa, came to carry out more than a verbal removal: They placed an expulsion order for about 300 Palestinian shepherds and their families on the highway, in the area of the Al Maleh rural council….

Israel to cut Palestinian village from water source in order to take control of farming land

Haaretz 16 Nov by Nir Hasson — After a checkpoint moves deeper into the Palestinian area, residents of al-Walaja will no longer be able to visit the local spring or their fields beyond it — Israel has told residents of the Palestinian village of al-Walaja south of Jerusalem that they are to be cut off from their farmland and farming terraces because of the relocation of a checkpoint, shifting a large segment of land from the Palestinian side to the Israeli one. A Jerusalem district planning panel said that the Ein Yael checkpoint on road between Jerusalem and Har Gilo would move deeper into the Palestinian area, where it will become part of the Jerusalem metropolitan park. This land includes Ein Hanya, the second-largest spring in the Judean Hills; for the residents of al-Walaja, the site also provides recreation, bathing, and water for their livestock. Palestinian families from farther afield in the West Bank, such as Beit Jala and Bethlehem, regularly visit the spring and the two deep pools in the area for bathing and picnicking. Part of al-Walaja falls under Jerusalem’s jurisdiction, but the recent completion of the separation fence has cut the village off from Jerusalem entirely. The fence also separates the village from extensive farming areas owned by the residents…
Ironically, the well-groomed, carefully tended terraces that al-Walaja’s residents have nurtured over the years were one of the reasons given by the Israeli authorities for setting up a park in the area. However, once the checkpoint is moved, the farmers will be denied access to them….

Israel to demolish an entire neighborhood in Jerusalem

IMEMC 15 Nov –The Israeli authorities, including the City Council of occupied Jerusalem, have decided to demolish an entire Palestinian neighborhood in Kafr ‘Aqab, northeast of Jerusalem, under the pretext of being built without a permit. The neighborhood is close to Qalandia terminal, and became isolated from the rest of occupied East Jerusalem after Israel built the illegal Annexation Wall, and now intends to demolish the neighborhood, due to “its proximity to the wall, and for being built without a permit from the City Council,” although Israel’s wall isolated Kafr ‘Aqab from Jerusalem. The demolition plan targets six residential buildings, each consisting of six floors, of around 140 flats, in addition to a mosque, and is slated to be carried out in one month. Many families already inhabited apartments. Israel intends to destroy the buildings by using controlled explosions to turn them into rubble, while the Palestinians insist on remaining in their homes, especially since they have no other alternatives. Hundreds of Palestinians will be removed from their homes a few days before the demolition starts, while the City Council in occupied Jerusalem is claiming that it intends to pave a new road in the area, “to reduce traffic congestion.” There are approximately 50,000 Palestinians living in Kafr ‘Aqab, all are bearers of Israeli-issued Jerusalem ID cards, and are deprived of basic rights, such as public services and maintained roads.

Two more Palestinian schools under threat of destruction, says aid group

JERUSALEM (WAFA) 16 Nov — Two new Palestinian schools in the occupied West Bank which are funded by European governments are under threat of destruction and seizure, the Norwegian Refugee Council’s (NRC) said in a report on Wednesday. An Israeli court has already ordered students not to attend class in one of them. The schools in Wadi as Seeq and Al Muntar were built over the last year with European donor funding as humanitarian relief for Palestinian Bedouin communities struggling to access basic services. They serve displaced and refugee communities who have already suffered destruction of their property over many years. The schools are now the subject of Israeli court proceedings that could lead to their destruction and seizure. The hearings are scheduled for 20 November and 10 December. The NRC Information Counselling and Legal Aid Program (ICLA) provides humanitarian legal assistance to represent the communities in court. “Once again, Palestinian children are facing the traumatic prospect of turning up for school and finding that it no longer exists,” said the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Country Director in Palestine, Kate O’Rourke. “Once again we have to ask: Why are children being denied their fundamental right to education? This attack on schools is part of a wider drive to forcibly transfer Palestinian communities in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem to create space for illegal settlement expansion.” Al Muntar’s school headmaster, Wisam Merei, said: “If the school is demolished, most of the children will drop out.” … Earlier this year, Israeli authorities destroyed and damaged three other schools in the West Bank funded by international assistance; just before children were due to go back to school after the summer break.  More than 60 schools in the West Bank are currently at risk of demolition….

Israel demolishes Palestinian Bedouin village for 121st time

NEGEV (Ma‘an) 16 Nov — Israeli authorities on Thursday morning demolished the Bedouin village of al-‘Araqib in the Negev desert in southern Israel for the 121st time, leaving all the families in the village homeless, according to locals. Residents of the al-‘Araqib have rebuilt the village 120 times after each demolition, the latest of which was October 25th. An Israeli court ruled in August that six residents of al-‘Araqib must pay 262,000 shekels (more than $72,000) for previous demolition costs, in addition to 100,000 shekels ($27,693) to cover the costs of the state’s lawyer. It was only the latest payment in which the village has had to compensate Israel for its routine demolitions in the village. According to al-‘Araqib residents, before the latest court ruling, the village was ordered to pay more than two million shekels (approximately $541,000) for the cumulative cost of Israeli-enforced demolitions carried out against the village since 2010. Al-‘Araqib is one of 35 Bedouin villages considered “unrecognized” by the Israeli state. According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), more than half of the approximately 160,000 Bedouins in the Negev reside in unrecognized villages….

Israeli municipality demolishes building in Jerusalem despite pending permit application

JERUSALEM (WAFA) 15 Nov – Israeli municipality of Jerusalem demolished on Wednesday morning a two-storey building under construction in the neighborhood of al-‘Issawiya, in occupied East Jerusalem, according to local sources. Locals told WAFA that staff from the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem accompanied by an Israeli police escort raided the neighborhood and demolished the building, under the pretext of lacking an Israeli permit of construction. Mohammad Abu Rayala, a local rights activist, said the owners of the building had earlier received a notification to stop the construction of the building. He said though the owners stopped the construction upon notification and started the process of obtaining a construction permit, they were astonished that the building was demolished without a warning. Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in East Jerusalem, though the Jerusalem municipality has claimed that compared to the Jewish population, they receive a disproportionately low number of permit applications from Palestinian communities. For Israeli settlers living in occupied Jerusalem, the planning, marketing, development, and infrastructure are funded and executed by the Israeli government. On the other side, in Palestinian neighborhoods, all the burden falls on individual families to grapple with a lengthy permit application that can last for several years and cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Jerusalem store owner demolishes own shop to avoid Israeli fines

BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Nov — A Palestinian store owner was forced to demolish his own shop in occupied East Jerusalem on Tuesday, after Israel issued an order and demolition fee against the shop under the pretext that it was built without a nearly impossible-to-obtain building permit. The Wadi Hilweh Information center, based in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, reported that Amin Abbasi was told by Israel’s Jerusalem Municipality two weeks ago that if he did not demolish his shop within 30 days, crews from the municipality would carry out the demolition and force him to pay for the costs, which typically are extremely high. The center said that the shop was built two years ago. Abbasi’s demolition was the second recorded self-demolition to take place in Silwan in 48 hours, after a Palestinian from the neighborhood destroyed his own home on Sunday for the same reasons, leaving his family of four homeless. A spokesman of a Silwan-based committee formed to fight demolitions, Fakhri Abu Diab, previously told Ma‘an that all 100 residential structures in the al-Bustan area are slated for demolition, and that the 1,570 residents of the area have exhausted all legal options….

Israeli soldiers demolish a home, hand out demolition order against another, near Ramallah

IMEMC 16 Nov —  Israeli soldiers invaded, on Thursday at dawn, the village of Ni‘lin, west of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, demolished one home, and handed out a demolition order against another home. The WAFA Palestinian News Agency has reported that the soldiers demolished the home of Mohammad Adel Awad, in the al-Mhallel area, in Ni‘lin, rendering him and his six other family members homeless .It added that the family only managed to remove some of their furniture and belongings, before the soldiers leveled their homes. The army also handed a demolition order against a neighboring home, under the pretext of being built without a permit.

Israel to demolish rooms south of Hebron

HEBRON (WAFA) 14 Nov – Israeli forces Tuesday handed demolition notice for two rooms in Khillet al-Dabe in Masafer Yatta, south of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, said a local activist. Anti-settlement activist, Rateb al-Jabour, told WAFA Israeli forces handed a demolition notice for two brick rooms belonging to Jaber Dababseh. The notice gave the owner seven days to tear down the house or else the military will demolish it at his expense.

Settlers in East Jerusalem lose battle to get power from Israeli company

JERUSALEM (WAFA) 14 Nov – The Israeli High Court ruled on Tuesday that power supply to all residents of East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood is the responsibility of the Jerusalem District Electricity Company (JDECO), a private Palestinian venture, defeating as a result attempts by Israeli settlers who moved into the area by force to get power from the Israel Electricity Company (IEC). JDECO general manager, Hisham Omari, said the High Court issued a final order confirming the right of his company to maintain supplying the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of power as part of its concession area and that the IEC has no right to provide power to any household in that neighborhood … A handful of Jewish settlers who took over Palestinian homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood after forcing their Palestinian residents to leave them have petitioned the Israeli High Court to allow them to get electric current from the Israeli company instead of the Palestinian one, which Omari said was intended to create a precedent in occupied East Jerusalem neighborhoods as a prelude to ending the Palestinian company’s operation in the city.

Israel blocks Palestinian from visiting father’s grave in Christian cemetery

HAIFA (WAFA) 13 Nov — For years, Israel has been preventing Salwa Salem-Copty from visiting the grave of her father killed by Israeli troops in his Galilee village, Ma‘alul, in 1948, just a few months before she was born. Israeli forces occupied Ma‘alul in July 1948, expelled its Palestinian residents, and destroyed the entire village with the exception of two churches and a mosque. Israel has since prevented the village’s displaced residents from returning. An Israeli military base was built around the village’s Christian cemetery and the displaced residents, whose loved ones are buried in the cemetery, have been barred by Israeli authorities from visiting family graves since 1948. Adalah–The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel said in a press release on Tuesday that it has sent a letter to senior Israeli political and military officials demanding that Salem-Copty and other internally displaced Christian Palestinian residents and their descendants be allowed to visit the graves of family members in Ma‘alul. Adalah sent the letter on 24 September to Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri and the Israeli military’s head of Northern Command, Yoel Strick, on behalf of Salem-Copty….

Ghost village perched in Jerusalem hills may soon vanish

JERUSALEM (AFP) 16 Nov — Near the stone ruins of the home where he says he lived as a boy, Yacoub Odeh laments that his native village on Jerusalem’s hillside may soon be transformed forever. “I want to come back to my home, to my house, to my village, to my land,” the 77-year-old said. Lifta, an abandoned former Palestinian village in a bucolic spot at the entrance to Jerusalem, is at the centre of a preservation fight over an Israeli plan to build villas there. It is a rare example of a village that still exists after its Palestinian inhabitants fled in the 1948 war surrounding the creation of Israel, though its history extends much farther back in time. The village, in mainly Jewish west Jerusalem, is on a tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage sites, and the World Monuments Fund organisation has put it on its list of sites under threat. No one lives there anymore, but the remains of stone homes with arched entryways still stand, along with idle olive presses and the ruins of a village mosque. A natural pool in the village’s centre continues to be used for swimming during the sweltering Jerusalem summer, while almond, fig and olive trees dot the surrounding hillsides. In the face of plans to develop villas, commercial space and a hotel there, a coalition of Israelis and Palestinians have come together to try to preserve it — sometimes for differing reasons. Palestinians like Odeh who were chased from their homes in 1948 hope to one day have their land back. Others also want the village to stand as testimony of what happened to Palestinians in 1948 — what they call the Nakba, or catastrophe. For Israelis involved in the Save Lifta Coalition, including at least one man who lived there after the Palestinians fled, the village must be preserved as a unique, historic site.

VIDEO: In the Galilee, Palestinians and Israelis grapple with a dark past

Israeli Social TV 15 Nov — A joint trip by Israeli Jews and internally displaced Palestinians to the village of Mi‘ar, which was destroyed and depopulated during the 1948 War, brings up the ghosts of the past.


Palestinian hopes for Egypt border opening dashed for now

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories (AFP) 15 Nov — Palestinian leaders hoped a recently signed reconciliation agreement would lead to Egypt reopening its border with the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, but those hopes seem to have been dashed. Egypt has kept its crossing with Gaza largely closed in recent years, while the territory has also been under an Israeli blockade for more than a decade … Hamas and rival Palestinian faction Fatah, which is based in the occupied West Bank, signed a landmark reconciliation deal last month aimed at ending their decade-long split. The agreement mediated by Egypt led to president Mahmud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority retaking control of Gaza’s borders on November 1. The PA is supposed to retake full civil control of the Gaza Strip by December 1. Palestinian leaders had said they hoped one result of the deal would be the opening of Egypt’s Rafah border with the Gaza Strip on November 15. On Wednesday, Palestinian officials said they were still awaiting word from Egypt. “We don’t have any information about when Rafah border will reopen again,” Nazmi Muhanna, in charge of border crossings for the Palestinian Authority, told AFP. Cracks have emerged in the reconciliation deal, particularly over security control of the Gaza Strip….

Delay in opening Rafah crossing was due to internal Egyptian reasons – official

RAMALLAH (WAFA) 16 Nov – Member of Fatah Central Committee Azzam al-Ahmad said on Wednesday that postponement of the opening of Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt was due to internal Egyptian reasons, noting that the Palestinian are ready to open the crossing at any time. According to the reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas, which was signed in Cairo in October, the Rafah crossing, which is closed most of time except for few days every three or four months, was supposed to officially open on November 15.  However, Ahmad said that while the reconciliation agreement discussed opening of Karm Abu Salem/Kerem Shalom and Beit Hanoun/Erez border crossings between Gaza and Israel, reopening of the Rafah border crossing was delayed until after all measures between the Palestinians and Egypt are completed….

EU to hold further talks on deployment of mission at Rafah crossing

BRUSSELS (WAFA) 16 Nov – The European Union (EU) said on Wednesday that it will be  holding further talks with the various parties on the deployment of its mission at Rafah crossing with Egypt. An EU spokesperson said that in continuing its support for Palestinian reconciliation, the EU is deploying a high level mission this week “to discuss with key interlocutors on the ground the political and security conditions and the expectations of the relevant parties in view of a possible redeployment of the EU Border Assistance Mission (EUBAM) at Rafah, including possible EU financial assistance.” Following the agreement signed by Fatah and Hamas in Cairo on 12 October and in the run-up to a meeting of all Palestinian factions in Cairo on 21 November, “the European Union is continuing its support to current efforts to reunite Gaza and the West Bank under one single and legitimate Palestinian Authority,” said the spokesperson. “Opening all crossing points, under the management and control of the Palestinian Authority, will be crucial for freedom of movement for the people of Gaza and for enabling the Palestinian Authority to resume it….

Palestinian factions unite, hold military parade in Gaza

MEMO 15 Nov — The military wings of six Palestinian factions yesterday held a military parade in Gaza to commemorate the 5th anniversary of Israeli assassination of Al-Qassam Commander Ahmed Al-Ja‘bari, the Anadolu Agency reported. The parade set off from Al-Ja‘bari’s house. Speaking to Anadolu, Abu-Mujahid, the spokesman of Salahuddin Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Resistance Movement, said: “We send a message throughout this united parade, which commemorates Al-Ja‘bari’s assassination, that we keep the pledge of resistance.” He added: “The common participation reiterated that all guns are united to resist the occupation and confront any Israeli aggression in the light of its latest intimidations against Gaza.” In November 2012, the Israeli occupation air force targeted Al-Ja‘bari’s car, killing him and one of his drivers in the middle of Gaza City. The assassination was the start of a major Israeli offensive on Gaza that lasted eight days, during which Israel killed 160 Palestinians and wounded approximately 1,500 others. Al-Ja‘bari was responsible for reorganising Hamas’ military wing at the start of the Second Intifada along with Sheikh Salah Shehada, who Israel assassinated in 2002. He was the prime negotiator during a prisoner swap deal between Hamas and Israel in 2011 which saw the resistance release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for 1,000 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.

3,000 Gaza merchants banned from traveling

IMEMC/Agencies 15 Nov —  About 3.000 merchants and businessmen from Gaza are still banned from travelling since Israeli occupation authorities suspended their travel permits. For two years, now, only 800 merchants are allowed to travel, the head of civil affairs department Saleh al-Zeq said. Al-Zeq stressed the importance of the efforts that the department paid to facilitate the movement of the merchants from and to Gaza Strip. The task of overcoming obstacles and challenges imposed by the Israeli side on the movement of businessmen and traders is the top priority of the Civil Affairs Authority, al-Zeq said. He added, according to Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency, that the authority recognizes the important role that the private sector plays in developing the national economy. He explained that there are instructions from the head of the Civil Affairs Authority, Hassan Ashiekh, to address the problems of the movement of people and goods to and from the Strip. He pointed out that the Israeli side has, for two years, raised the age group of traders and businessmen who are subjected to security from 35 to 55 years. This means that every applicant for a travel permit under the age of 55 is subject to a security check and Israeli approval to grant a travel permit….

Israeli forces open fire on lands in southern Gaza Strip

GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 13 Nov– Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian agricultural lands in the eastern part of the Khan Younis district in the southern Gaza Strip on Monday morning. Witnesses told Ma‘an that Israeli forces opened fire from inside the border fence towards agricultural lands. No injuries were reported. An Israeli army spokesperson said they were looking into reports. Israeli military incursions inside the besieged Gaza Strip and near the “buffer zone,” which lies on both land and sea sides of Gaza, have long been a near-daily occurrence.

Israeli soldiers invade Palestinian lands in northern Gaza

IMEMC 15 Nov — At least three D9 armored Israeli military bulldozers and three tanks invaded, on Tuesday evening, Palestinian lands near the border fence in Beit Lahia, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, and bulldozed sections close to the fence. The invasion was also accompanied by army drones that hovered overhead while the bulldozers uprooted the lands.

Israel cancels permits for Gazan families to visit imprisoned relatives

GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 13 Nov — Israeli authorities reportedly cancelled the permits of Palestinians from Gaza to visit their imprisoned relatives inside Israel’s Nafha prison for the remainder of November. Spokeswoman of the Red Cross in Gaza, Suheir Zaqqout, told Ma‘an that the permits were scheduled to be issued on Monday, adding that the cancellation was allegedly due to reparations inside the jail and the visitors hall. Zaqqout added that out of the 6,198 Palestinians inside Israeli prisons, some 300 are from the Gaza Strip.

Israel to lift tight controls over Gaza reconstruction materials

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (Al Monitor) 13 Nov by Khaled Abu Amer — Israel has agreed to suspend on Jan. 1 the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism (GRM), a deal Palestinian contractors say has put many of them out of business and cost the Contractors Union millions of dollars a month, according to a representative of the new consensus government … The GRM allows Israel to restrict construction materials entering the Gaza Strip. It has been in place since September 2014, under UN supervision, following the war between Israel and Hamas that summer. The agreement established a system of inspections and monitoring of imports into Gaza, ostensibly to enable the Palestinian government to lead reconstruction efforts, empower the private sector in Gaza, reassure donors that their investments in reconstruction work in Gaza would be implemented without delay and address Israeli security concerns about potential “dual use” materials, to prevent the Palestinian resistance from getting its hand on any of the materials. Under the GRM, builders present a list of all their reconstruction requirements to the PA Ministry of Works. The UN then supervises as Israeli authorities hand the materials over to Gaza. However, Israel sometimes takes up to three months to provide entry permits, resulting in heavy losses for the contractors. In addition, the quantities of construction material Israel allows to pass through are insufficient….

UNRWA celebrates graduation of 1246 Palestine refugees from the Gaza Training Centre

UNRWA 14 Nov — Equipped with knowledge, skills and hope for a better future, 1246 Palestine refugee graduates are prepared to take their first step in the labour market. On 4 November, the UNRWA Gaza Training Centre (GTC) organized a graduation ceremony to celebrate the creativity and innovation of its students who completed various technical and vocational training courses in over 39 specializations … Telecommunications graduates Lama Khattab, Amal Arayshi, Falesteen Basyouni, Samah Al-Qishawi and Dina Al Halabi produced a voice-controlled robot integrated within a traditional wheelchair. The goal of their project is to enhance self-mobility by enabling people with motor disabilities to control their wheelchair using a voice-recognition system. The voice commands, such as “forward”, “back”, “right” and “left”, sent to the robot through a mobile application, are transformed to actions. This cost-effective system was built with local materials within a period of four months. The project took first place in 2016 competition, held on the occasion of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. “We are very proud to have produced this device, which will make the life of many persons with disabilities much easier. Not only does it cost just US$50 per unit, it is also user-friendly … said Samah Al-Qishawi, one of the female graduates working on the project.

UK charity funds water treatment for 4 Gaza schools

MEMO 15 Nov — Four schools in central Gaza have been provided with desalination units, after funding from a UK charity allowed the project to go ahead, according to the Palestinian Information Centre. An opening ceremony was held yesterday by the Nour Al-Marifa Association at Al-Arouba High School in Al-Nuseirat refugee camp. Dozens of people and officials from the education ministry, including Minister for Education Sabri Saidam, attended to express their support and gratitude for the project. In a speech, the head of the association Abdul-Jalil Ghurab said that students’ use of dirty water was damaging to their health, and that it was this concern that had prompted his organisation to seek funding for equipment to provide safe drinking water. The project was funded by UK Islamic Mission, a charity based in London that has been active in granting funds to developing countries since 1962.

Hamas alleges Israeli spies used Bosnian passports for assassination

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories (AFP) 16 Nov — Hamas on Thursday alleged Israeli spies used Bosnian passports to enter Tunisia and assassinate one of its drone experts as the Palestinian movement announced details of its probe into the December incident. Tunisian engineer Mohamed Zaouari was shot dead in his car in December 2016 by unknown gunmen, with Hamas accusing Israel of responsibility at the time. Senior Hamas figure Mohamed Nazzal made the allegations on Thursday in a statement and at a press conference in Beirut. He said an investigation concluded a number of agents from Israeli intelligence agency Mossad had operated in Tunisia over several months, including pretending to be foreign journalists in order to get close to Zaouari. The main two assassins who entered the country before the killing were using Bosnian passports, Nazzal said. Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon declined comment. Israel also had not previously commented on the killing. Israel has previously faced criticism after its agents reportedly used British, Irish, Australian and other passports to assassinate a Hamas leader in the United Arab Emirates in 2010 … The engineer and drone expert had worked for a decade with Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip, the group said at the time.

Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem

Israeli settlers throw rocks at Palestinian cars, injure 2 Palestinians

NABLUS (Ma‘an) 14 Nov — Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian vehicles with stones as the cars passed near the Huwwara Israeli military checkpoint in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus. Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told official Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa news agency that a group of settlers gathered near Huwwara checkpoint hurled stones at Palestinian license-plated vehicles, resulting in the injury of two people. The injured were all reportedly treated at the scene. Meanwhile, Wafa reported that other settlers attacked farmers tending their land in the village of Kufr Qalil village, to the south of Nablus near the Huwwara checkpoint. No injuries were reported …
Palestinian stone throwers face harsh penalties by Israeli authorities, with Israel passing laws in 2015 allowing for up to 20 years in prison if charged with throwing stones at vehicles and a minimum of three years for the act of throwing a stone at an Israeli — legislation rights groups say was designed specifically to target Palestinians, as Israelis and settlers are rarely prosecuted under the same standards of the law….

Israeli forces punitively seal Palestinian village over stone-throwing

RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 13 Nov — Israeli forces on Monday punitively sealed off a Palestinian village in the central occupied West Bank, reportedly in retaliation for continuous stone-throwing by youth from the area. Locals in the Ramallah-area village of Deir Nitham told Ma‘an that Israeli forces closed the main entrances to the village, preventing anyone from going in or out. The Israeli army said in a statement that the closure was due to continuous rock-throwing by youths of the village at Israeli settlers’ vehicles passing by on a main road. Israeli forces stopped searched residents of Deir Nitham, reportedly warning them that they will be raiding the village daily “in order to protect settlers.”

Palestinian lawyer attempted to report being attacked by settlers. Then he was detained over back taxes.

Haaretz 16 nov by Yotam Berger — A Palestinian lawyer said that when he went to an Israeli police station to report being attacked by a group of young Jewish settlers near a West Bank settlement, he ended up not having his statement taken, but instead being detained for taxes he owed the city of Jerusalem. Tariq Bargut told Haaretz that the policewoman he tried to file his complaint at the Ma’aleh Adumim police station last week quickly shifted to questioning him about municipal taxes he allegedly owed and issued him a court summons. Bargut recounted that he became angry that he was being asked about taxes and not what he alleged was a violent attack. He said he and a friend were approached in the dark along a walking path near a stream by six young Israelis who began hurling stones at them. He said he and his friend ran away, slipping and falling along the way. But no statement about the alleged attack was taken by the policewoman he met with, Bargut said, and instead he was detained briefly….

Israeli forces carry out live fire training near Palestinian homes

NABLUS (WAFA) 14 Nov – Israeli forces have been conducting live fire training in the village of Khirbet Tawil, to the south of Nablus, since Monday night after imposing a curfew on local residents, according to local sources. Yousef Deriya, a local activist, told WAFA that Israeli military ordered local residents not to leave their homes during the period of the training, which includes live fire and heavy artillery exercises. Deriya said the Israeli military did not inform the village’s residents about how long the training would last. In May 2014, a senior Israeli commander admitted that training exercises in the occupied West Bank involve live fire and are used to drive local Palestinian residents out of their land.

Army injures a Palestinian near Bethlehem

IMEMC 15 Nov — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Tuesday evening, Teqoua‘ town, southeast of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, and injured a young man with live fire. The soldiers invaded the town before stopping and searching a few Palestinians, and cars, leading to clashes with youngsters, who hurled stones at the military jeeps. Medical sources said a young man, in his twenties, was shot with live fire in his thigh, and was moved to a local clinic for treatment.

Two Israelis, one Palestinian injured near Bethlehem

IMEMC 17 Nov — Israeli sources have reported, on Friday morning, that a Palestinian allegedly rammed and injured two Israeli settlers with his car, at Efrat Junction and Gush Etzion Junction, south of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, and drove towards Israeli soldiers before they shot him, causing serious injuries. Update: The Palestinian has been identified as Ezzeddin Abu Rmeishan, 17, from Halhoul town, north  of Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank. According to a statement by the Israeli army, the Palestinian first rammed a settler at the Efrat South Junction, and continued driving towards nearby Gush Etzion Junction, where he rammed another Israeli. Israeli daily Haaretz said that the Palestinian then exited his car, and reportedly ran towards a group of soldiers at Etzion Junction, “in an attempt to stab them,” but they shot him inflicting serious wounds. Haaretz added that the settler who was injured at the Efrat Junction is an elderly male, approximately 70 years of age, and suffered a mild injury, and that the second is also a male, who suffered moderate wounds.

Raised to rebel

‘ISSAWIYEH (Electronic Intifada) 13 Nov by Budour Youssef Hassan — The Issawis are a family of fighters where no one backs down …The Issawi family is as deeply engaged in this grassroots resistance effort as any in ‘Issawieyh. Tareq, 77, and Layla Issawi, 70, have a large family. Six of their children – Rafaat, Medhat, Samer, Firas, Shireen and Shadi – have been imprisoned by Israel at different times; another, Fadi, was shot dead by Israeli soldiers when he was 16. Fadi was killed during protests in Jerusalem in response to the 1994 Ibrahimi mosque massacre in Hebron …Tareq Issawi, Shireen’s father, is relieved that with her release, the family has one less prison to visit. “Each of my children was held in a different facility,” Tareq said. “Samer is held in Gilboa, Medhat in the Ketziot prison in the Naqab [Negev desert], and Shireen was either in Hasharon or in Damon.” “The long journeys take a huge emotional and physical toll on us,” he said. Medhat was just 14 when he was first arrested. Now 43, he has spent more than half his life — nearly 23 years – in Israeli lockup. “His 5-year-old daughter keeps asking about him,” Layla said. “She wants him to buy her ice cream and take her to the swimming pool and be with her during her first day at school.” Layla remembered her son as “an incredibly bright” student with dreams of becoming a nuclear scientist. His life, she said, has been “squandered behind bars.”…

Israel arrests top Islamic Jihad leader as tensions rise

JERUSALEM (AFP) 13 Nov — Israel’s army said Monday it had arrested a senior Islamic Jihad militant as tensions with the group rose after the army blew up one of its tunnels from Gaza. The army arrested overnight the “senior operative” in Arraba near Jenin in the north of the occupied West Bank, Israel’s military said. A source with Islamic Jihad confirmed that one of its leaders, Tareq Qadaan, was detained as part of an “arrest campaign”. There were no immediate details on whether others were arrested….

Israeli forces detain 19 Palestinians from West Bank, Jerusalem

RAMALLAH (WAFA) 14 Nov – Israeli forces Tuesday detained 19 Palestinians, including children, in multiple overnight raids across the West Bank, said the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) and WAFA correspondents. Israeli forces detained two Palestinians after storming their family homes in Qaffin, northeast of Tulkarem. They detained four others during similar raids across the Tulkarem district in the northern West Bank.
Elsewhere in the northern West Bank, forces raided Qabatiya town, south of Jenin, where they detained three Palestinians, including a former prisoner. This came as troops briefly held two minors during a raid into the Jenin district village of Taybeh. The minors, aged 11 and 14, were briefly held and interrogated at a military outpost near the village purportedly for hurling stones at the troops during the raid. Troops also conducted a similar raid that sparked clashes in Anzah village, southwest of Jenin. During the raid, troops deployed near a local secondary school, where they fired tear gas canisters at residents causing several light suffocation cases.
Another Palestinian was detained as he attempted to pass a flying military checkpoint to the north of Toubas. The detainee was reportedly a resident of Toubas.
In the central West Bank, troops detained two Palestinians during raids across Ramallah district.
In Jerusalem city, Israeli police detained four minors after breaking into and ransacking their family homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan.
Three others were handcuffed and detained during subsequent raids across the Hebron district.

Israel detains 25 Palestinians in raids, places 24 others in administrative detention

RAMALLAH (WAFA) 16 Nov – The Israeli army detained 25 Palestinians, including a woman, during overnight [Wed-Thurs]raids across the West Bank and placed 24 others in administrative detention, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said on Thursday. It said seven Palestinians were rounded up from the Nablus district, seven others from the Jenin area and six from the Bethlehem area. Three from Qalandia refugee camp,  north of Jerusalem, were also detained along with two students from the Hebron district, including one woman identified as Bayan Khamayseh.
The PPS said also that the Israeli military authorities have issued 24 administrative detention orders against Palestinians since the beginning of November that included one woman. PPS attorney Mahmoud Halabi said Bushra Tawil, a released prisoner from al-Bireh, received a six month administrative detention order. She was detained on November 1. He said 10 of the orders were passed against Palestinians detained for the first time or re-detained after they were released. The rest were renewed for the second or more times. Palestinians held in administrative detention are not charged nor [do they] receive a trial.


Palestinian detainees to be moved to tents due to overcrowding

IMEMC/Agencies 16 Nov — Israeli occupation authorities are preparing to move number of Palestinian detainees from prison cells to tents, Israeli media revealed, citing a bill proposed by the Israeli Minister of Internal Security, Gilad Erdan. Israeli TV Channel 7 said, according to Days of Palestine, that the proposal is one of the solutions that the ministry is considering, to overturn the implementation of a High Court ruling on the issue. In the middle of June, the Israeli High Court ruled that occupation authorities had to find alternatives to mitigate the overcrowding of Palestinian inmates in Israeli jails. The High Court’s ruling came in response to a petition filed by several Israeli human rights organisations, in which they demanded increasing the cell space for each inmate to four square metres. Currently, each cell in the Israeli occupation prisons is less than three square metres, including bed and bathroom.
Israeli newspaper Haaretz recently reported the High Court as saying that the Israeli prisons are “not fit for human habitation.” The newspaper compared the space in the Israeli prisons to that space in the European prisons, stating that each prisoner in the European prisons has a space of 8.8 square metres. Some 6,500 Palestinians are currently held in Israeli jails, 57 of whom are women while 350 are children, according to the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs.

*Fourth Palestinian prisoner joins hunger strike

Samidoun 14 Nov — Four Palestinian prisoners are currently on hunger strike in Israeli prison. Salah al-Khawaja, 50, of the village of Ni‘lin, launched a hunger strike on Monday, 13 November after his administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial, was renewed only one day before he was scheduled for release. Administrative detention orders, which last for one to six months at a time, are indefinitely renewable, and Palestinians routinely spend years at a time jailed under administrative detention. Khawaja is also suffering a delicate health condition. Within days after he was detained, he was taken for a heart catheterization procedure at the Shaare Tzedek hospital, where he was told that an open heart surgery was necessary. The Israel Prison Service refused to authorize the operation and his imprisonment without charge or trial, while needing serious health treatment, continues. He joins three more Palestinian prisoners on open hunger strike – Hassan Shokeh, 29, on strike for 34 days against his imprisonment without charge or trial, and Hamza Marwan Bouzia, 27, on strike for 23 days against administrative detention. Bajis Nakhleh has been on hunger strike for seven days, a strike he launched immediately upon his arrest by Israeli occupation forces on 8 November, only 2 months after his release on 1 September. In particular, Bouzia and Shokeh have been on hunger strike for an extended period of time, in which they not only are suffering from extensive weight loss, fatigue and pain but also cognitive difficulties. Prior to and after the third week of hunger strike is one of the most dangerous times for a person on strike….

*Salah Hamouri’s letter from Negev prison: Solidarity with prisoners is a ‘real hope’ for Palestinians

Samidoun 15 Nov — The Committee to Support Salah Hamouri released a letter from the imprisoned Palestinian-French lawyer and human rights defender detained by the Israeli occupation without charge or trial since 23 August 2017. Written in the Negev prison, Hamouri’s letter greets his supporters in France and around the world. Hamouri is a former prisoner whose case became widely known throughout France; after his release in the 2011 Wafa al-Ahrar agreement several months before his sentence was scheduled to end, he spoke throughout France about the struggle of Palestinian prisoners. He studied law in order to become a defender of Palestinian prisoners, and works as a field researcher for Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association. A Jerusalemite Palestinian, he has faced frequent harassment and oppression by Israeli occupation forces, including bans on his entry into the West Bank and the 10-year ban against his wife, Elsa Lefort, entering Palestine after she was detained for several days and deported to France while pregnant despite holding a valid visa. A growing number of prominent French artists, elected officials, political parties, writers and others have endorsed the campaign to free Salah Hamouri. Dozens of municipal councils have voted to demand his freedom….

*Israel sentences Palestinian brothers to life in prison for Hebron shooting attacks

Haaretz 13 Nov by Yotam Berger — The defendants, Nasser and Akram Badawi, who wounded four Israelis in a string of attacks in 2015 and 2016, fired from an apartment overlooking the Tomb of the Patriarchs — An Israeli military court sentenced two Palestinian brothers from the West Bank town of Hebron to life in prison Sunday for wounding four Israelis — two soldiers and two civilians — in several sniper attacks in Hebron in 2015 and 2016. The defendants, Nasser and Akram Badawi, who were apprehended in January 2016, were also ordered to pay 60,000 shekels ($17,000) in compensation to each of their victims. The brothers admitted to the charges against them and were convicted of deliberately attempting to cause death, the equivalent under military law of attempted murder. The two carried out at least five shootings in the West Bank town, a report from the Shin Bet security service at the time of their arrest said. Two improvised rifles include a sniper’s rifle were seized from the suspects. The brothers hid the sniper’s rifle in a Hebron mosque, from which they took it to carry out the attacks, according to the Shin Bet, and they fired from an apartment under renovation that overlooked the Tomb of the Patriarchs.

Punitive demolitions

*Israeli forces seal shut family home of Palestinian attacker

HEBRON (WAFA) 16 Nov – Israeli forces Thursday sealed shut the home of Khaled Shehadeh Makhamreh – a prisoner held in Israeli jails for the deadly attack in Tel Aviv in June 2016 that killed four Israelis – after raiding his Yatta hometown to the south of Hebron in the West Bank, according to local sources. The Israeli army raided the town and proceeded to solder the doors and windows of the Makhamreh home shut as a punishment for the attack.  Makhamreh is in prison for the Tel Aviv attack. His family house was demolished six months ago as a punishment and made useless forcing his family to move to a new home, which was also soldered shut as further punishment to his family displacing them once again.

*Israel destroys home of Palestinian who killed three

JERUSALEM (AFP) 15 Nov — The Israeli army on Wednesday destroyed the home of a Palestinian who killed three Israelis at the entrance to a settlement in the occupied West Bank, the army said. An army spokeswoman said the demolition of the apartment, in Beit Surik village north of Jerusalem, went ahead “without incident.” Nimer Aljamal, 37, was shot dead on September 26 after killing two Israeli security guards and a border police officer outside the Har Adar settlement in the central West Bank. His uncle Issa told AFP the army arrived around 1.30am. “They demanded we evacuate and blew up the house. It is now a cement block which can’t be used.” … Israel routinely demolishes the homes of Palestinians who carry out attacks, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had promised such a response for Aljamal. Politicians defend the tactic as a deterrent against future violence, but critics say it amounts to collective punishment.


Groups decry Israel’s entry ban on French officials

Al Jazeera 14 Nov by Jaclynn Ashly — Palestinians and rights groups have denounced Israel’s decision to prevent the entry of seven French officials into Israel owing to their support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, saying the move is an Israeli attempt to punish the delegates for their political beliefs. A 20-member French delegation, which reportedly includes members of the European Parliament and mayors, was planning to enter Israel next week in a bid to visit imprisoned Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti. However, the Israeli government announced on Monday that seven members of the delegation would not be allowed into the country. Israel amended its entry law in March, allowing Israeli authorities to deny entry visas to activists who support boycotting Israel or its illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. Israel has used the law to deny entry to a string of activists in recent months. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel said on Tuesday the denial of entry visas for individuals calling for a boycott of Israel was “contrary to democratic principles” … Israeli daily Haaretz identified those being barred from entering Israel as European Parliament members Pascal Durand and Patrick Le Hyaric; French MP Clementine Autain; mayors Azzedine Taibi, Eric Roulot and Patrice Leclerc; and Head of the French Communist Party Pierre Laurent.

Dutch government teams up with Israeli settlement profiteer

EI 13 nov by Ali Abunimah –The Netherlands embassy in Tel Aviv is partnering with an Israeli settlement profiteer. This flies in the face of the Dutch government’s stated opposition to Israeli settlements built on occupied Palestinian land in violation of international law. Last week the Dutch embassy posted this photo on Twitter showing Ambassador Gilles Beschoor Plug posing with the CEO of supermarket chain Shufersal as they launch Dutch food month. Behind them are displays promoting Dutch products and a sign that says “in cooperation with the Netherlands embassy.” Shufersal is also boasting of the Dutch government sponsorship on its Facebook page. The Electronic Intifada has confirmed that the Dutch-sponsored promotion is taking place in Shufersal stores located in settlements in the occupied West Bank. Photos taken by an Israeli citizen at a Shufersal store at 17 Tzvia ve Yitzhak Street in the Gilo settlement on Sunday show the signs promoting the Dutch goods and confirming embassy sponsorship … But in the now familiar fashion of the EU and its members, the Netherlands completely contradicts its stated position against settlements by actions that demonstrate complicity with, if not outright support for, Israel’s crimes. The Dutch foreign ministry did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication….

Nick Cave is wrong to perform in Israel

Al Jazeera 16 Nov by Rima Nasir — As a Palestinian musician living under Israeli military rule, the news that Nick Cave plans to perform in Israel on November 19 and 20 has hit me hard. Nick Cave is a musician who is known for his progressive politics and who has expressed support for Palestinian rights. He has raised money for Palestinian refugee children, called for a military embargo to be imposed on Israel and written in support of activists who shut down an Israeli arms factory in the UK. This makes it all the harder to accept that he is scheduled to violate the boycott call made by Palestinian civil society and that he is not responding to renowned figures from around the world, including Roger Waters, Mike Leigh, Thurston Moore and Angela Davis, who have urged him to refrain from performing in Tel Aviv. Regardless of his politics and his best intentions, his performance there would help Israel present itself as an open and vibrant society and cover up its decades-old oppression that us Palestinians have been suffering under. His performance would also allow Israel to think that the world will continue with business as usual while it subjugates millions of us and denies our basic human rights….

Other news

Palestine marks 29th anniversary of declaration of independence

TRT World 15 Nov — Palestinians on Wednesday have celebrated the 29th anniversary of Palestinian Declaration of Independence. It was symbolically proclaimed by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat on November 15, 1988. It followed a vote by the Palestine National Council (PNC), meeting in Algiers, by a vote of  253 to 46, as well as in front of Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. TRT World speaks to journalist Daoud Kuttab in Amman, Jordan to get the details of today’s events.

Palestine to get its own central bank

GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 15 Nov by Entsar Abu Jahal — The Palestinian Monetary Authority (PMA) is currently preparing to open the Palestinian Central Bank, as soon as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signs the Central Bank of Palestine law. This comes as the PMA fulfilled the requirements for transitioning into an integrated central bank. The preparations included restructuring the PMA, building the Central Bank headquarters in Ramallah, developing Palestinian banks, developing new control systems and finalizing the Central Bank of Palestine law….

World Bank: Palestinian electricity grid to cost $3b

Globes 14 Nov by Amiram Barkat –-Talks on separating the Palestinian electricity grid from Israel are making progress says the World Bank’s Vivien Foster. Building an independent energy system in the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Gaza Strip will cost $3 billion and will take until 2030 to complete, according to a master plan for the Palestinian energy sector prepared by the World Bank in cooperation with the PA. On the other hand, the World Bank estimates that development of the Gaza Marine Palestinian natural gas reservoir is likely to yield $2.7 billion in royalties for the PA. The master plan was presented following significant progress in recent weeks in talks on various energy matters between Israeli and Palestinian agencies, mediated by special US Middle East emissary Jason Greenblatt. “I think that great progress has been made in recent weeks in building trust between Israelis and Palestinians, and we’re very optimistic,” Economist Vivien Foster, World Bank Group global lead for energy economics, markets & institutions, told “Globes.” Foster headed the writing of the report….

Al-Quds University celebrates joint European masters program

BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 10 Nov — Al-Quds University in the central occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem celebrated on Friday the eighth commencement of its Joint Masters of European Studies program, in partnership with Heinrich Heine University in Dusseldorf, Germany. The graduate program, which was established in 2009 as a result of a bilateral partnership between the two institutions, celebrated the commencement in Dusseldorf. According to a statement from the university, students in the program learn about European history, politics, culture, economy and government. “They leave as prepared professionals capable of navigating issues that relate to the European Union, and ready to provide nuanced analysis and advice to their future employers on matters that pertain to the Old Continent.” Graduates of previous classes have, according to the university, landed jobs both in the public and privates sectors, with several having been recruited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as diplomats working within the European desk, while others have been hired by international organizations, and NGOs.

Israel military drills on the borders of Gaza Strip

MEMO 13 Nov — Israel yesterday began wide-scale military drills in the vicinity of the Gaza Strip and the Western Negev in the south of the country, Quds Press reported. Israeli news website 0404 reported, according to Quds Press, that the drills will last four days and aim to ensure the army is prepared for confrontation in the area. Quds Press said that the drills came at a time of increasing tension along the borders with Gaza amidst Israeli fears that the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement will retaliate after Israel bombed a tunnel and killed 12 Palestinians on 30 October. Coordinator of Israeli Government Activities in the Occupied Territories Yoav Mordechai announced yesterday that Israel is expecting Islamic Jihad to retaliate. In a recorded video, he warned of a “strong response to any act carried out by the Islamic Jihad” which he claimed would be “at the expense of the Gaza residents, [Palestinian] reconciliation and the whole region.” On Friday, the Israeli occupation announced that it reinforced its military existence in the peripheries of the Gaza Strip and it had deployed elite forces there.

Palestinian rights make a rare appearance in Congress

+972 Mag 15 Nov by Samer Badawi — A first-of-its-kind bill introduced this week focusing on the rights of Palestinian children could pave the way for greater transparency and accountability in America’s dealings with Israel —  Members of Congress on Tuesday introduced a bill requiring the U.S. Secretary of State to certify that funds bound for Israel “do not support military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment of Palestinian children.” The proposed legislation, put forward by Minnesota Representative Betty McCollum, had ten co-sponsors when it was announced. Although that number may seem small, especially when measured against the 268 current co-sponsors of the so-called Israel Anti-Boycott Act, the “Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act” is further evidence that the Palestinian rights movement in the U.S. is gaining unprecedented ground. “As the first-ever bill on Palestinian human rights introduced in Congress, we see [this] as a direct challenge to the systemic impunity enjoyed by Israeli forces,” said Brad Parker, an attorney with Defense for Children International-Palestine, which has been working to support McCollum and other members of Congress through its No Way to Treat a Child campaign….

US House committee advances bill to limit aid to Palestinians

WASHINGTON (Reuters) 15 Nov — A U.S. House of Representatives committee approved a bill on Wednesday that would sharply reduce the $300 million (£227.83 million) in annual U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority unless it stops making what lawmakers described as payments that reward violent crimes. The House Foreign Affairs Committee backed the Taylor Force Act by voice vote, without opposition, after earlier amending the legislation to allow exceptions such as continued funding for wastewater projects and children’s vaccinations. Named after a 29-year-old American military veteran fatally stabbed by a Palestinian while visiting Israel last year, the measure is intended to stop the Palestinian Authority from paying stipends, which can reach $3,500 per month, to militants killed or imprisoned by Israeli authorities. Force’s attacker was killed by Israeli police, but his killer’s family receives such a monthly payment. To become law, the bill must pass the full House and Senate, and be signed into law by President Donald Trump … Palestinian officials have said they intend to continue the payments, which they see as support for relatives of those imprisoned by Israel for fighting against occupation or who have died in connection with that cause.

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