Israel on Thursday approved a further stage in plans to build a nine-story Jewish seminary in the heart of a densely-populated Palestinian neighborhood near Jerusalem’s Old City.
According to the Peace Now settlement watchdog, the committee threw out an appeal tabled by a left-wing council member and approved a new stage in plans for a tower block in Sheikh Jarrah in occupied east Jerusalem.
Should the plans be approved by the district planning committee, construction could begin within the coming year, Peace Now’s Hagit Ofran told AFP.
“It might take six months to a year until it gets final approval for them to start building,” she said of the plan which was tabled in February.
The building will be used as a yeshiva, or Jewish seminary, for ultra-Orthodox Jews.
Sheikh Jarrah is a Palestinian residential neighborhood located to the north of the Old City.
Located on the road which links the Old City to Mount Scopus, the area is considered a strategic location and illegal settlement groups have made persistent efforts to take control of its land.
Israel captured east Jerusalem during the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognized by the international community.
It considers all of Jerusalem its “eternal, indivisible” capital and does not see construction in the eastern sector as settlement building.
Both the Palestinians and the international community consider all Israeli construction on land seized in 1967 to be a violation of international law.
This has not stopped Israel from continuing its policy of illegal settlement in east Jerusalem and the West Bank over the years.
DOHA – The Hamas Movement said it had had no idea at first who kidnapped and killed three Jewish settlers in the West Bank last June, but it described what happened to them as a natural and legitimate act against the illegitimate Israeli occupation.
This came in an explanatory statement released by the Movement on Saturday evening to clarify inaccurate and incomplete media and press interpretations of remarks made on Friday by head of its political bureau Khaled Mishaal in an interview conducted by Yahoo News.
“We did not have prior knowledge of this act which was done by a group of Hamas members, but we do know that any distressed people living under occupation and oppression could do anything to defend themselves,” the Hamas Movement explained.
“The soldiers and settlers in the West Bank are considered ‘assailants’ and live illegally on usurped and occupied Palestinian land, so the Palestinians have the right to resist them,” the Movement reiterated some of what Mishaal said in the interview.
The Movement also included in its statement some of the remarks that were made by Mishaal during the interview in Arabic. The Palestinian Information Center translated these remarks as follows:
“This group of Hamas members are in Al-Khalil and the Israeli investigations have unveiled lately that they had carried out this operation against those armed settlers who practiced, as thousands of other settlers do, their violence in all Palestinian areas. However, we, as the leadership of Hamas, did not know about that. This was known later on.”
“This is part of the [Palestinian] reaction to the occupation and settlement, because as you know the West Bank is an occupied territory according to the international law and the American standards, and the right to self-defense is guaranteed for all.”
“I am talking about something that has been announced as a result of the recent Israeli investigations. We in the political leadership of Hamas are not sure about that, but if that was true, it would be in the context of self-defense against Israeli occupiers whether they are soldiers or settlers. They are not civilians living in other places; they are living in Jerusalem and the West Bank which are occupied territories in accordance with the international law and the American standards.”
In a related context, member of Hamas’s political bureau Saleh Al-Aruri said that what he had previously stated about the kidnapping of three settlers in the West Bank was not a declaration of responsibility for the operation.
Aruri stated in a press release on Saturday that he had made his remarks in this regard based on the results of the recent Israeli investigations.
“The leadership of the Movement had no idea at the time about the group or the operation, but later it turned out that they were a group of Hamas fighters, and about this context was my talk,” the Hamas official explained.
As the Israeli Central Court of Jerusalem releases three youth accused in the recent homicide of 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir, another young Palestinian is found stabbed to death in Silwan, while a 13-year-old child is arrested under the pretext of carrying a knife.
Over the past month, during Israel’s relentless and bloody aggressions on the Gaza Strip, the Jerusalem area has become a crucible of violent confrontations between Palestinians and colonial Jewish settlers and police, with numerous reports of multiple raids and ensuing arrests continuing to surface throughout the West Bank region.
Just following the Israeli Central Court’s decision not to hold three youth who admittedly conspired in the brutal torture and burning of 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khudeir, in early July, local media reported that the police found the body of another young Palestinian in Silwan, south of the Old City of Jerusalem.
PNN sources say that the body had several visible stab wounds but that the Israeli police have declared that the motive behind the crime is not clear.
Meanwhile, Silwanic has reported that Israeli police took into custody one 13-year-old Daoud Sawalha, Thursday night, while he was at the barber shop, in the neighborhood of Ein Al-Lozeh, under the pretext of carrying a knife.
Each year, around 500-700 Palestinian children, some as young as 12, are arrested, detained and prosecuted in the Israeli military detention system, with the majority of Palestinian child detainees being held on charges of throwing stones.
The same day, Silwanic reported that three Israeli settlers attempted to run over a Jerusalemite woman named Ola Alayan, as she was going home to her Bet Safafa residence, south of Jerusalem.
She was verbally assaulted by the settlers but was able to escape the area and safely reach the entrance of the village.
As in the case of Muhammad Abu Khdeir, who was also chosen at random and not for personal reasons, not all Jerusalemite Palestinians are so lucky.
On Thursday, July 31st, a young Palestinian man from Ras Alamoud was reported to have been assaulted by a group of Israeli settlers who attempted to kidnap him after tying him and dragging him to their car.
When the group failed to drag him to their vehicle, they assaulted 21-year-old Ali Mohammed al-Abbasi with a large amount of pepper spray.
Ali’s father confirmed that a fellow co-worker took his son to the hospital, after ambulance and police failed to respond.
The week prior, Amir Shwiki and Samer Mahfouz, both 20 years old and from Beit Khanina, were attacked by settlers with iron bars and baseball bats while walking to a Light Rail station, following the evening Ramadan meal.
The two were seriously wounded and lost consciousness during the beating, upon which they were hospitalized in Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem, Jerusalem.
Violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians and their property is not new to the region, but has been in a state of extreme escalation since the beginning of Israel’s renewed series of attacks on Gaza’s civilian population, with mass solidarity protests resulting in further violent confrontations.
Reports of vandalism, including that of agricultural lands, homes and vehicles, as well as both Christian and Muslim holy sites frequently surface from numerous locations all across Israel and occupied Palestine, with the majority of such acts being perpetrated by colonial settlers, and often with the backing of Israeli military and/or police.
A recent statement by Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem reveals that 60-80,000 Palestinian Jerusalem residents have been without running water for months, with no further reports appearing in regard to appeals made to Hagihon and the Jerusalem Municipality.
Israeli policies against Palestinians have isolated entire communities and turned them into fragmented, isolated ghettos, leaving what remains of the occupied Palestinian territories to now appear as little more than large open-air prisons, from which militant resistance and defiance is the only defense.
JERUSALEM – A mob assaulted two Palestinians as they were walking on the trendy Jaffa street in the center of West Jerusalem on Thursday, their lawyer said, potentially the latest in a string of hate attacks targeting Arabs across Israel in recent weeks.
The two Palestinians — who were identified as Amir Mazin Abu Eisha, 20, and Laith Ubeidat — were injured and subsequently arrested by police, who reportedly said they had threatened people in the crowd “with knives.”
The lawyer for the two Palestinians, Khaldun Nijim, told Ma’an that the two were surrounded by around 20-30 Jewish passerby as they were distributing bread at grocery shops on Jaffa street, the central thoroughfare of West Jerusalem.
After Jewish passerby began verbally and physically assaulting them, he added, “The Israeli police stopped them in their van and pointed guns at them” while the mob “beat them with empty bottles.”
“After they drove away a few meters, the police shot at them. They then stopped and were assaulted again.”
The two sustained injuries in the assault and were detained by Israeli police, who transferred them to the nearby Russian compound police station for “having a knife and obstructing the work of the police.”
An ambulance was called for Abu Eisha to treat his head and ear injuries, but he was prevented from being taken to a hospital for treatment.
Nijim added that a number of members of the mob filed a complaint against the two for “attempting to attack them with a knife,” but he insisted that he planned to file a complaint against the mob and the police officer.
The pair were bailed out and sentenced for 10 days of house arrest.
An Israeli police spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
Cities across Israel have witnessed a string of attacks against Palestinians in recent months, as a “price tag” crime wave that targeted Palestinians inside Israel for perceived slights against Jewish settlements in the West Bank has evolved into recurring mob attacks and anti-Arab rallies.
In recent weeks, Palestinian passerby have been repeatedly assaulted on Jerusalem’s Jaffa street, and one video that showed a young boy being surrounded and assaulted by dozens was shared repeatedly on social media.
Jaffa street has been covered with flyers warning Arabs not to “touch” Jewish women in recent weeks, as part of a right-wing Jewish campaign to prevent mixing among Jews and Arabs.
Although the majority of Palestinians were expelled from their homes inside Israel during the 1948 conflict that led to the creation of the State of Israel, some Palestinians managed to remain in their villages and their descendants today make up around 20 percent of Israel’s population.
In Jerusalem, however, the majority of Palestinians are not Israeli citizens but residents of Jerusalem who fell under Israeli military occupation in 1967 but unlike West Bank Palestinians were given permanent residency cards entitling them to certain benefits.
Israeli security forces clash with Palestinians after Israeli authorities banned Palestinians under the age of 50 from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque for Laylat Al-Qadr in the holy fasting month of Ramadan in Jerusalem, West Bank
At least two Palestinians were killed on Thursday evening during clashes between Palestinian protestors and Israeli occupation forces near the Qalandiya checkpoint, just north of occupied Jerusalem, Palestinian security sources said.
Media are reporting that Israeli occupation forces shot and killed Mohammed Al-Araj, 25 years old, and Majd Sufyan, 27 years old. Both were participating in a mass protest staged by at least 10,000 Palestinians when violent clashes broke out between them and Israeli occupation forces at the checkpoint that separates Jerusalem from the West Bank.
Hundreds were reportedly injured during the clashes, some of whom were shot with live ammunition.
In response to the killings, Palestinians have called for a “day of rage” with popular protests.
The Israeli army spokesperson told Agence France Presse that: “There are thousands of rioters there. They are rolling burning tyres and throwing Molotov cocktails and fireworks at soldiers and border police.”
She said that the occupation forces were only using “riot disposal means” to control the protests, but witnesses confirmed to Al-Ghad newspaper that the soldiers fired live ammunition, tear gas bombs and rubber bullets at the protestors.
Three Israeli suspects who have confessed to the gruesome killing of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir, who was abducted in East Jerusalem and later burnt to death, are going to plead “temporary insanity”, according to Haaretz. Mohammed’s father guessed as much last week, when asked whether he trusted Israel’s judicial system: “I think they will say that [the murderers] were insane and give them a year or two and that’s all.”
That’s not because Hussein Abu Khdeir has incredible prescience; it’s because this is how it works in Israel. Palestinians who kill Israelis are terrorists, and Israelis who kill Palestinians are either heroes, if they are doing it in an official capacity, or deeply damaged individuals on the “fringes of society”, if they act on their own. Either way, they are not meaningfully held to account.
As Hussein also implies, the three, if convicted, will probably get a lenient sentence and then be pardoned when the fuss dies down in a year or two.
Notice also that the three other suspects arrested last week have been released, even though the police say they were part of the cell believed to have organised the kidnapping. So why not charge them with conspiracy to murder, or membership of a terrorist organisation, or one of the other charges that would be used if the suspects were Palestinian, including Palestinian citizens of Israel?
And here’s another question: how can we take seriously a claim of “temporary insanity” among an organised group (“a cell”) that has a wider membership and whose creation presumably predated the general mood of revenge that permeated Israeli society following news that three Israeli teens had been abducted on June 12? What was this cell organised to do if not to harm Palestinians? And if this is the case, how can “insanity” apply to the group collectively and how can it be termed “temporary”?
I expect none of these questions to be addressed, let alone answered, in the trial – assuming, of course, we get one and this is not hushed up in a closed hearing at which they are committed to psychiatric care.
Instead, Israeli officials will doubtless assent to the deranged notion of “insanity” propagated by the far-right legal group, Honenu, defending the three suspects. It says:
Given the crazy, abnormal situation in the country, it’s natural that among the many people who approach us, some have been emotionally scarred by the security situation or by difficult personal circumstances and responded accordingly.
Remember, “accordingly” here refers to a decision to abduct a child, force-feed him a flammable liquid and then set him on fire. Maybe “insanity” in this case has a much wider application than just to three individuals.
Shu’afat, Occupied Palestine – On the 4th July 2014, at least 2,000 Palestinian mourners gathered in Shu’afat for the funeral of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, who was kidnapped last week.
His mutilated body was later found in a forest on the outskirts of Jerusalem. The autopsy indicates that he was burnt alive. It is widely believed that the murder was carried out by extremist Israeli settlers.
Mourners gathered by the mosque and marched carrying the body to the burial ground. Initially the funeral organisers formed a human chain to separate mourners and the police to prevent violence. Later on, Israeli police clashed with Palestinians for around 12 hours.
It has been reported that at least 30 Palestinians were hurt by rubber-coated bullets while dozens more were treated for the effects of tear gas. 13 Israeli police officers were also injured. A field of wheat was also partly destroyed by fire, probably caused by tear gas canisters.
Throughout the demonstration, undercover police agents, who were also acting violently towards the police, abducted and violently assaulted at least 11 Palestinians, including Tarek Abu Khdeir, Mohammed’s cousin, who was filmed being beaten by police.
Later in the evening, local Palestinian residents took steps to remove the illegal light rail system which runs through their neighbourhood. Two French companies, Veolia and Alstom, are subject to an international boycott and divestment campaign due to their involvement in the project. The tram primarily services illegal Israeli settlements in Occupied East Jerusalem and thereby facilitates Israel’s illegal policies of colonization and ethnic cleansing.
Local Palestinian’s pulled up bricks and cement that hold the tracks in place and damaged the tracks using an angle grinder. Many local residents gathered round to express their support for this act of civil disobedience. One Palestinian resident in his 60′s said that the tram “is for the illegal settlements. Israel takes our land and kills our people…we want them [the Palestinian protesters] to rip it up and take it away completely…we want rid of it”.
The families of the three Israeli teens killed by their abductors have been the focus of a huge outpouring of national sympathy.
But what about the family of 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir, who was burnt alive by his abductors? How have they been treated by Israel since the devastating news of Muhammad’s murder in Jerusalem last week?
Here, in short, is what has happened to them.
They have been subjected to a campaign, secretly waged by the Israeli police, to discredit them by suggesting that Muhammad was a closet gay and killed in a family feud.
The father and close relatives have been forced to submit to intense and distressing questioning in police cells from the Israeli security services, all in an attempt to give greater plausibility to their planted rumours with “confessions” from the family.
And now it emerges that a 15-year-old cousin of Muhammad’s, visiting for the summer from the US, was the victim in video footage of a savage beating by armed Israeli police. They kicked and punched him relentlessly after he was cuffed and lying on the ground. He is still under arrest, apparently without charge.
The US state department – so eloquent in denouncing the killing of the three Israeli teens – is apparently lost for words when it comes to the mistreatment of one of its citizens.
Here is the horrifying video of Tarek Abu Khdeir’s beating:
Is this what Netanyahu meant when he said of Israel’s response to the abductions: “The devil himself has not yet created vengeance for the blood of a small child”?
A shocking video, showing Israeli police officers savagely beating 15-year-old Palestinian-American Tarek Abu Khdeir – cousin of Mohammad Abu Khdeir who was burnt alive in East Jerusalem – has prompted outrage in the Palestinian community.
The video shows two officers striking the detainee, who was handcuffed and lying on the floor. One of the officers seems to be sitting on the Palestinian, while his colleague is kicking and punching him. The youth is eventually dragged away by the police.
The video of Tarek’s beating has surfaced as the funeral was held Friday for his cousin, Mohammad Abu Khdeir, who was kidnapped in the same area and burned alive.
The beating, shot from two different angles by people filming from their windows, took place on Thursday evening in Shuafat, a neighborhood in East Jerusalem.
One of the videos was broadcast on the Palestine Today television channel.
The second video posted on Facebook by Quds News Network shows the same incident.
Tariq has since been arrested and held without charge, according to his family and the rights group Addameer, as reports the Ma’an News Agency.
According to a police spokesman, the incident featured in the video occurred while six “masked rioters” were being arrested. Three of them were alleged to have been carrying knives.
“They resisted arrest and attacked the soldiers,” the spokesman said, adding that Molotov cocktails were hurled toward the police, an attack he described as “nearly fatal.”
Nevertheless, he said that the incident is being investigated. According to the spokesman, some 15 soldiers and police officers were wounded in the riots in East Jerusalem on Thursday.
Tensions rose after Mohammad Abu Khdeir’s body was found on Wednesday.
Since then, dozens were injured by rubber bullets, including six journalists, and three people suffered fractures after being assaulted by Israeli police officers, Ma’an reported.
According to the Palestinian Red Cross, 232 people have been injured in these clashes, six of them by live bullets, AFP reports.
Mohammad Abu Khdeir’s body was found on Wednesday in a West Jerusalem forest. A preliminary autopsy report shows that he was burned alive by his kidnappers, a senior Palestinian official said on Friday evening. Unrest has continued in East Jerusalem after the funeral.
Palestinians accuse right-wing Israelis of kidnapping and killing Abu Khdeir. The murder is thought to be a revenge attack in response to the killing of three Israeli teens, who were buried the day before.
Israeli police say the circumstances behind Mohammad Abu Khdeir’s killing remain unclear.
Initial autopsy reports reveal that 16-year-old Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir, was still breathing when he was burnt after being assaulted by his Israeli kidnappers.
Forensic studies found chars in the lungs, indicating that Muhammad was still breathing while he was being burned, according to WAFA. 90% of the child’s body was burned, varying from 1st to 4th degree in severity.
The child was also beaten on the head, as signs of beating and concussion were clear.
The Palestinian Forensic Center has taken samples and tissues from the body, to be submitted for further analysis before a final detailed report can be revealed, according to Arabs48.
16-year-old Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir was abducted from outside his home, in the Shu’fat district of occupied East Jerusalem, by a group of Israelis who forced him into a car and sped off.
The teen’s burned body was found hours later in a vacant lot in another part of the city, sparking protests in his home neighborhood which are ongoing at the time of this report.
Over 200 Palestinians have been injured by Israeli army fire in ongoing clashes with Israeli soldiers, in different parts of occupied Jerusalem and nearby towns, following the abduction.
His funeral was held Friday, amidst further clashes with Israeli forces.
A Palestinian child went missing in East Jerusalem early Friday, a local news site reported, two days after a teenager was kidnapped and killed by suspected settlers in the Israeli-occupied city.
Wafa News Agency said a 13-year-old boy was last spotted walking near a mosque in the neighborhood of Wadi al-Joz around dawn.
Witnesses told the agency that they saw a settler car driving in the area around the same time the boy went missing.
Israeli police were reviewing CCTV footage from cameras set up in the area to determine if the boy was kidnapped, the report added.
In a separate incident, a group of settlers Thursday night was reported to have tried to kidnap a seven-year-old Palestinian boy from his Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina.
Ma’an News Agency reported that family members of Mohammed al-Kiswani chased off four settlers who attempted to snatch the boy as he played outside after breaking Ramadan fast.
The incidents come as the family of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khudeir prepare to lay him to rest Friday, two days after he was kidnapped and killed in Jerusalem.
The charred remains of Abu Khudeir were discovered in a forest hours after his family reported him missing.
CCTV footage from Wednesday’s abduction shows suspected settlers forcing the teen into a car around dawn before speeding away.
Hundreds of Israelis had taken to the streets Tuesday chanting “death to Arabs” after the bodies of three Israeli settlers were discovered in the West Bank.
A Palestinian teenager from occupied east Jerusalem was kidnapped and killed early Wednesday, hours after Israelis rampaged through the city calling for Arabs to die in “revenge” for the deaths of three settlers by unknown assailants.
The killing of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khudair from the Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat sparked a wave of clashes in east Jerusalem where hundreds of angry young Palestinians demonstrated.
Quoting witnesses, army radio said the boy was seen being forced into a car in the city. Ma’an cited witnesses who said the car involved in the kidnapping was a Hyundai with three settlers inside.
A burned body was found shortly afterwards in another part of the city, the radio said, describing it as a “suspected revenge attack” for the kidnapping of three Israeli settlers from the southern West Bank on June 12.
Israel’s Ynet web site said the body, discovered in a forest in the area of Deir Yassin, was charred and showed signs of violence.
Ma’an also reported that the body had been burned.
Palestinian Authority president Mahmud Abbas on Wednesday demanded Israel condemn the kidnapping and suspected murder.
“The president of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, demanded that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemn the kidnapping and murder of Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khudair as we condemned the kidnapping of the three Israelis,” a presidential statement said.
A cousin of the missing youth who gave his name only as Mahmoud, said locals had tried to chase the car involved in the abduction immediately after the suspected settlers abducted the boy, but were unable to catch the fleeing car.
“They chased him in two cars through the village. The cars drove fast but they didn’t manage to reach them,” he told army radio.
Residents had filed a police complaint in recent days that someone in the same car had tried unsuccessfully to snatch a seven-year-old child.
Shortly after the kidnapping was reported, a body was found in a forest near Givat Shaul in west Jerusalem, the radio said, indicating it had been burned. It had earlier said there were signs of stab wounds.
Several hours after three Israeli settlers found dead Monday were buried on Tuesday, hundreds of Israelis rampaged through Jerusalem, stopping cars and the light rail and shouting “Death to Arabs,” police and witnesses said. Police said 47 people were arrested.
Police spokeswoman Luba Samri confirmed they were investigating reports of a kidnapping and said they had found a body but refused to say whether the two incidents were connected. She did not give details on the victim’s identity.
“In the early hours of Wednesday morning, police received a report of a person being forced into a car in Beit Hanina,” Samri told AFP, referring to a well-heeled east Jerusalem neighborhood.
“Within an hour, a body was found in Jerusalem that has still not been identified. We are looking to see if there is a connection between the two incidents.”
Quoting witnesses, army radio said a black car had stopped next to a youth who was hitchhiking and he was forced inside. The car then took off.
Some time later, the family of the youth, who is understood to be around 16, reported him missing, it said.
The body was discovered in a forest in Givat Shaul in southwest Jerusalem. An AFP correspondent said police had sealed off a large area around the neighborhood.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a statement, urged police to “to swiftly investigate who was behind the loathsome murder and its motive.” He called on all sides “not to take the law into their own hands.”
Tensions were also high in the West Bank, where around 40 Palestinians were arrested in raids on Tuesday, the latest in a campaign by Israel to cripple Hamas there.
Four people were wounded by live bullets early on Wednesday in an Israeli raid in the Palestinian city of Jenin.
Near Hebron, Israeli forces destroyed the home of a Palestinian arrested on charges of shooting dead an off-duty police officer in the West Bank in April.
(AFP, Reuters, Al-Akhbar)