Israeli troops shot and wounded nine Palestinians near the West Bank city of Ramallah on Friday night, and injured two others north of Hebron, security officials and medics said.
Palestinian security officials said that Palestinians from the Jalazoun refugee camp, near Ramallah, were hurling stones at Israeli motorists near an illegal Jewish settlement before coming under fire from soldiers.
They said that six of the injured were sent home after receiving first aid at a Palestinian hospital and three were kept in, although none of them was in life-threatening condition.
An army spokeswoman said that troops opened fire with 0.22 ammunition after tear gas and rubber bullets failed to disperse the crowd of about 50 people engaged in “a violent disturbance.”
Earlier in the day, troops fired tear gas at Palestinians demonstrating against the confiscation of land by Israel in the nearby village of Deir Jarir.
On Saturday the Israeli army used road blocks to shut the main road connecting Deir Jarir and other villages with Ramallah near the location of the attack, according to the head of the village council Imad Alawi.
Alawi told Wafa news agency that the road is the only direct passage to Ramallah for seven villages in the area. Its closure means Palestinians traveling to Ramallah must now take an extended route through the notorious Qalandia checkpoint.
It was unclear if the closure was directly linked to incidents on Friday.
And also on Friday, in al-Arrub refugee camp north of Hebron, Israeli forced shot two Palestinians with rubber-coated bullets, breaking the jaw of one man, and hitting the other in the hand, according to medics.
Luay al-Badawi was hit in the face with a plastic-coated bullet that broke his jaw, and then shot again in the head, Red Crescent official Nasser Qabaja told Ma’an news agency.
Witnesses said a second man, who was not identified, was shot in the hand.
Locals said clashes erupted after Israeli forces stormed the camp. Residents confronted the soldiers and threw stones at them, and the soldiers fired tear gas and rubber coated-coated bullets.
An Israeli military spokeswoman said soldiers responded to a “violent riot in which Palestinians hurled rocks at Israeli security forces” with “riot dispersal means.”
She told Ma’an that forces used rubber bullets and that two Palestinians were injured.
(AFP, Wafa, Ma’an)
- Jewish settlers attack West Bank village with Israeli army support (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Live ammunition fired at Deir Jarir demonstration against land grab and settler violence (palsolidarity.org)
Qaryut, Occupied Palestine – Settlers from the illegal colony of Shilo set fire to land belonging to the nearby village of Qaryut. Around 25 families own land in this area. The land contained wheat crops and olive trees and is next to land previously stolen by settlers, which they had been cultivating for themselves only two days before.
Illegal Shilo settler Moshka takes pictures of his handiwork, torching Palestinian land (Photo by Qaryut villagers)
Red Crescent paramedics went to the scene of the fires at around 6pm, where many villagers had already arrived hoping to put out the fires. However they were prevented from doing so by four settlers and half a dozen soldiers who had turned up to protect the settlers. Villagers were made to stand and watch their future harvest go up in flames. With the fires building up they had nothing to do but argue in vain with the soldiers about the gross immorality of the situation.
The settlers present also prevented the fire from spreading on to the annexed land they have been cultivating. It was clear to see the fires had been deliberately lit as there were many separate fires in a close range, rather than one large fire spreading on the overcast and wet day. Villagers witnessed Moshka, one of the settlers – (who is a regular problem causer; his son is a patrolman for the settlement too) – use a lighter to set fire to their land. The fire was only put out by the arrival of heavy and atypical rain from a thunderstorm an hour later.
Two days prior to this attack the settlers had started ploughing stolen land and cut down four trees. They have been expanding the settlement on the Palestinian side of the highway to Ramallah and Jerusalem. Fifteen dunams of land was torched. Meanwhile two dunums of wheatfields had been burnt in the South Hebron Hills earlier that day.
A familiar sight, soldiers and settlers working together (Photo by Qaryut villagers)
- Tree planting met by tear gas and settlers’ death threats (palsolidarity.org)
- Witnesses: Settlers open fire at Palestinian homes in Hebron village (altahrir.wordpress.com)
- Settlers Attack Palestinian Property, Graves, Near Nablus (imemc.org)
Jewish settlers raided a West Bank village near Ramallah on Saturday night, attacking several houses and prompting clashes between residents and Israeli forces, Ma’an news agency reported.
Israeli forces were standing guard as hundreds of settlers stormed the village of Ras Karkar, reportedly barring ambulances from entering the village before allowing an ambulance to take only two people to the hospital.
Eight residents of Ras Karkar were wounded as Israeli troops fired tear gas and rubber bullets at them. Live bullets were also fired into the air to scare the residents and prevent them from defending their property.
Rubber-coated bullets hit one Palestinian in the eye, one in the head and another in the chest. Four others sustained bruises and fractures from the attack by settlers and Israeli troops, locals said.
According to local sources, three houses in Ras Karkar were attacked and set on fire, as well as a number of olive trees.
One settler was wounded after being hit by a stone.
Settlers were also gearing up to attack another village near Ramallah on Sunday, Ma’an reported.
According to a witness, dozens of settlers were being escorted by Israeli troops and police officers near the village of al-Janiya in northwest Ramallah.
Residents of al-Janiya were trying to close the road to the village with rocks, only to be met with stun grenades and tear gas. Activists used the village mosque’s loudspeakers to urge residents to defend their village.
Settlers routinely attack Palestinians and their property in the occupied West Bank, as Israeli forces regularly turn a blind eye or even assist settler crimes.
According to figures compiled by Israeli group Yesh Din, nine out of 10 police investigations about settler crimes fail to lead to a prosecution.
(Ma’an, Al-Akhbar, Photo Credit – Ma’an)
Israeli settlers hurl stones toward Palestinians during clashes in the
village of Burin near Nablus (MaanImages/Rami Swidan, File)
NABLUS – Eight Palestinians sustained injuries late Friday when Jewish settlers pelted a bus with stones on the main road between Ramallah and Nablus, a Palestinian official said.
Ghassan Daghlas, a PA official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma’an that settlers from Shilo hurled stones at a bus carrying Palestinian worshipers on their way back from al-Aqsa Mosque.
The attack, he said, took place at 1:30 a.m. and eight people including men and women were injured. They were taken to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus, he said.
Daghlas highlighted that Israeli military forces closed the main road between Ramallah and Nablus for more than two hours after the incident to prevent further attacks.
The Israeli military confirmed receiving reports about the incident.
“Once the reports were received, IDF soldiers arrived at the scene and set up temporary checkpoints while searching for suspects,” a spokeswoman told Ma’an.
Settler violence against Palestinians and their property is systematic in the West Bank.
On Wednesday settlers vandalized Palestinian property in the Ramallah village of Sinjil.
A group of settlers from Givat Ariel outpost wrote “Palestinians should die,” and “Stay away from our lands,” on a wall in the village, Sinjil mayor Ayoub Swaied said.
Settlers also left an improvised explosive device made from chemicals under a car. A box containing ethylene, benzene and sulfur was found underneath a car in the village, Swaied added.
- Palestinian stabbed, shot in settler attack near Nablus (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Settlers enter Nablus village beat up a man, ransack his car, IOF arrests 5 Palestinians – No Settler (occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com)
Sharif Rajoub works as a reporter for al-Aqsa radio station.
HEBRON – Israeli forces detained a local journalist in Hebron early Sunday, relatives said.
Soldiers raided the home of Sharif Rajoub in the village of Dura and took him to an unknown destination, his brother Mahmoud told Ma’an.
Rajoub works as a reporter for Al-Aqsa radio station. He was preparing for his wedding, which was set to take place next week, his brother added.
An Israeli army spokeswoman said that a man had been arrested in Dura overnight Saturday, but could not provide further details about his identity.
Another man was arrested in Ramallah overnight, she added.
Israeli forces have raided several Palestinian news outlets in recent months.
In late February, Israeli forces raided the university institute’s Al-Quds Educational TV in Ramallah-district Al-Bireh and confiscated its broadcasting equipment, claiming it was interrupting legal broadcasting.
The same day, Israeli forces also raided Watan TV’s newsroom in Ramallah and seized transmitters.
In May, Israeli forces arrested the director of a Jenin-based satellite channel after raiding his home. Soldiers confiscated Al-Asir TV station’s broadcasting equipment, the director told Ma’an.
- Israeli forces shut down media launch in Jerusalem (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israel ‘arrests TV director, confiscates equipment’ (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Rawabi: Israeli Model for “Neo-Palestinian” City (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Ramallah – Halfway between occupied Jerusalem and Nablus, in middle of the West Bank and 9km north of Ramallah, private Palestinian funds, generously supported by Qatar, and protected by the occupation army, are building a city for the “new Palestinians,” as US General Keith Dayton, US Security Coordinator for Israel-Palestinian Authority in Tel Aviv, calls them.
Rawabi is a “Palestinian settlement” currently under construction at a cost nearing US$1 billion. It is located on a 6,300-dunum (6.3 square kilometers) piece of land seized by the Palestinian Authority (PA) through a decree signed by president Mahmoud Abbas in November 2009.
After a failed attempt by landowners to reverse the decision or reduce its impact, the land was bought by businessman Bashar al-Masri. On several occasions, al-Masri called on Israelis to buy apartments and houses in his city and become neighbors with the “new Palestinians.”
In the nearby village of Attara, residents whisper about Israeli officers who visit the city to eat breakfast with its developers. The visits are frequent and include officers from the Israeli Civil Administration accompanied by army units and border guards.
Villagers speak about soldiers who man the Attara roadblock, allowing everyone related to the Rawabi project to pass through while barring the flow of regular Palestinians.
Things were made clear following friendly conversations al-Masri had with the Israeli press. He sent out statements to appease “the neighbors” and inform them that everything is under control and security prevails, due to solid collaboration with the occupation army.
This is a new phase of spatial engineering. Israel went to war against the old camps and towns that were immune to infiltration during the intifada. It sought to destroy spaces of resistance in Palestinian towns. It even rebuilt Jenin in an exposed and permeable manner, financed by the United Arab Emirates.
Now, the architecture of Rawabi will suit the needs of the colonialist invaders. It will stand before them completely exposed. Ironically, the money for it also came from the Gulf. Thus, the architectural style bears a close resemblance to Israeli settlements.
Architect Lynn Jabri analyzed the building style in Rawabi. She compares the style to the criteria used to build Israeli settlements in mountainous regions, according to a guide used by the Israeli Construction and Housing Ministry. The same criteria are all applied in the city (with the exception of painting the roofs red for the Israeli air force to identify).
Jabri believes that “the search for a modern Palestinian architectural style remains superficial and does not exceed some formal features, without the proper understanding of local architecture. Actually, Rawabi’s “Palestinian” architects are proposing an architecture that looks Israeli.”
Bashar al-Masri considers the project to be part of building the Palestinian state. But he said in a “very friendly” interview with Israeli TV Channel 10 that he visited the Modi’in luxury settlement west of Ramallah to learn from the building experience there and create a better model.
On the way to the largest investment project in Palestine and inside the city itself, countless cameras monitor everything in sight. Nobody knows exactly who sits behind the monitors and sees all that is displayed.
The exposed nature of Rawabi is manifold: Broad streets, buildings aligned according to a strict plan, and a service center looking more like a control tower above the city. Thus, controlling the city becomes no more difficult than taking a pleasant ride in a military Jeep, as a young man from Ajoul, a village being suffocated by the project, likes to put it.
This is the other similarity with early Zionist colonies which erected control towers at the highest point in the settlement as part of their absolute security regulations.
Speaking about the sustainability of the project, Rawabi’s website asks visitors to plant a tree in the city because “the natural beauty of the country has been damaged by war, development, neglect, and climate change.”
The text fails to mention who carried out the ethnic and spatial cleansing of Palestine, destroyed its environment, then brought trees to plant and cover their crimes. Rawabi wants to mimic the Jewish National Fund’s project of planting trees in villages whose residents were expelled during and after the Nakba.
The city’s planners, enamored by Ramallah’s opulent neighborhoods, did not forget to build a mosque and a church. They even brought religious crews to run them following the inauguration of the city in front of potential clients and residents.
Rawabi does not tire of delegations and visitors. It is now on the map for international travelers, politicians, economists, even athletes. Al-Masri speaks proudly about his city, whether to Palestinian security officers or the United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki Moon.
The city is in harmony with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s rhetoric of building a state and its institutions. It is part of the hackneyed propaganda about “the Palestinians’ right and worthiness to live.”
In following the rhetoric of the PA and its supporters, the project owners attempt to create a fantasy completely detached from the bitter reality.
Al-Masri speaks of the city’s five gates, leading to Jerusalem, Yafa, Nablus, Gaza, and Qatar’s Capital, Doha. The latter is the location of Bayti Real Estate Investment Company, which is jointly owned by Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company and al-Masri’s Massar International.
The separation walls, the segregation, and the Green Line, along with a bitter history of 64 years of occupation, are nowhere to be seen in Rawabi’s advertising campaign. “It has a superb view of the Mediterranean,” they say.
From the onset, the PA wholeheartedly supported the project. In May 2008, it held the Palestine Investment Conference in Bethlehem in total collaboration with the Israeli army and government to finance two projects, Rawabi and the Rihan suburbs.
Thus, Rawabi is promoted as a solution to the deteriorating economic situation in language full of numbers: 10,000 new jobs in the city and the commercial activity of at least 40,000 residents.
But there is a deliberate disregard for the role of the occupation in the economic situation of Palestinians. Palestinian groups of all persuasions are either silent or complicit. This complicity is prevalent among the majority of elites and intellectuals who are afraid to challenge this “national” project and its unprecedented media juggernaut.
City planners say that Palestinian expertise has returned from outside the country to work on this city. But they fail to mention that the economic return is based on the occupier’s criteria and the time frame of the project.
Similarly, there is increased talk of the cultural and artistic life of Rawabi. We can now easily imagine the type of culture practiced in the city of “economic peace” so loved by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The Israeli press also like to talk about Rawabi. Israelis seem very interested in learning about this “new settlement.” Al-Masri was exclusively interviewed several times in the city by Channel 10, the Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, and others. The interviews were intended to put Israelis at ease and inform them that Rawabi is different from any other Palestinian city.
Israeli media is keen on comparing Rawabi, and some parts of Ramallah, with “Hariri’s Beirut.” There were open calls for Netanyahu and his defense minister Ehud Barak to participate in the inauguration. It is ultimately an outcome of Fayyad’s “silent revolution,” whose slogan is that Palestinians “are tired and weary of conflict and are looking for a new life.”
Al-Masri uses every occasion to insist that his company works under the regulations of the PA and its ministries, namely the Ministry of Local Government. It is expected to be transferred to a locally elected body following the delivery of apartments to the owners (the first batch will be delivered in 2013) and the markets to the investors.
The real estate firm, Bayti, will have an administrative and organizational function and will preserve the architectural style of the city and its neighborhoods. The exact scope of the private company’s authority is unknown. This will allow it to complete its spatial architecture with a social architecture consistent with neoliberalism, the socio-economic framework of General Dayton’s security plan.
One of the biggest ironies is that the only real opposition to the construction of the city came from Israelis living in nearby colonies. They started to attack the Palestinian workers until they were stopped through coordination with the Israeli army.
Israelis can enter the city as visitors, workers, and experts. Relationships with Israeli raw materials providers and experts are not even controversial. The Palestinian private sector, with all its factories and contractors, cannot provide even a third of what is required.
Knowing all of this, it seems that the settlement of Atiret, occupying the nearest hill, will be a friendly neighbor. Its residents could come to the more modern and opulent Rawabi for entertainment. The earlier misunderstanding will turn into mutual hospitality and neighborly relations.
Peace-mongers on both sides now have a model consisting of a new kind of Palestinian who gladly embraces the language of consumerism, malls, and international brands!
A few months ago, Rawabi was but a mere idea of a city for refugees who will be brought back based on strict selection criteria. Their return and residence in the city is promoted as a partial solution to the refugee question.
But such talk disappears beneath the haughty buildings of a durable city that goes against the temporary and impatient architecture of refugee camps. In Rawabi, glass will prevail, signifying the brittle and exposed nature of the setting. Its stones, “expensive and rare,” will not be fit to throw at an occupying soldier.
- Israeli police caught robbing Palestinian workers (alethonews.wordpress.com)
In the early morning hours of Monday March 26th, a large force of Israeli soldiers surrounded the Haniyeh house in Al-Bireh, located in the heart of the West Bank’s capital city of Ramallah. After setting up a perimeter around the house, 12 well-armed soldiers kicked down the Haniyeh’s door and entered the home.
“They broke the door. They didn’t knock. They didn’t ring. They broke the door and we found them in the middle of our bedroom,” says 26 year-old Dima Haniyeh.
After confining Dima’s parents to their bedroom, the soldiers proceeded on to the next bedroom shared by Dima and her 22 year-old sister, Ola.
Right off the bat, Dima recalls, it was clear the soldiers had an apparent interest in her young sister. “They wanted to search us both and they wanted Ola’s mobile phone and laptop.”
A female soldier was brought in to search them both.
Coincidentally, Ola’s phone had been lost several days before but the soldiers didn’t believe her.
“If you don’t give us your phone we are going to destroy the room. We will destroy every room until we find it,” Dima remembers one of the soldiers having said.
They did just that—, emptying every drawer onto the floor, flipping the beds, and clearing the shelves. Eventually, they told Ola to get dressed. They wanted to take her with them for questioning.
Ola remembers her father saying, “Why don’t you ask her here?! You’ve been here an hour and a half and haven’t asked a single question!”
Brushing aside her father’s supplications, and in violation of Fourth Geneva Convention, the soldiers took Ola with them and brought her directly to Israel’s Askalan prison in the Naqab Desert.
Another Detainee Without Charges
Ola has been held in Askalan ever since. Although no charges have been officially filed against her, a review trial held at the Askalan military court on Thursday April 5th ruled in favor of a 7-day extension of Ola’s detention. Ola was given another trial on Wednesday April 4th which resulted in yet another detention extension for the second time, as the prosecutors and Israeli judge did not carry out an investigation as they were on a vacation. Ola’s third court extension date was given this week, with her due to appear in court on Thursday, April 19.
“She is being interrogated daily regarding internet activity. The suspicion is that the internet pages are connected to ‘security activities’”, says Amal Husein of Addameer.
Ola’s detention was up for review on Tuesday April 17th. Her family and friends are confident that she will be released, as she hasn’t been accused or charged of anything as of yet. However, given the Israeli authorities’ administrative detention track record, anything is possible.
“People have said that the Israeli authorities have taken many people because of Facebook,” says Dima. “But everyone has a Facebook. Everyone puts his or her opinion on Facebook. There is nothing serious about it… it is freedom of speech.”
Ola recently graduated with a degree in Media and Political Science from Birzeit University last Fall. “She might go to protests sometimes, as all of us do, to speak out against the occupation and to support people- nothing extraordinary,” says Dima. “All of us participate—its part of being in Palestine and living under occupation.”
“She’s a quiet girl,” continues Dima. “She is a genuine and passionate person. She has friends and is lively, but she is much more the quiet type.”
Ola’s sister Dima says that Ola had perhaps had made comments on Facebook in support of Palestinian prisoners in general and against Israel’s policy of administrative detention but had done nothing out of the ordinary. “She is a journalist. This is her job. She should be able to do that,” argues Dima.
Ola’s sister and friends are quite confident that she was arrested simply because she voiced her opinions—a scary thought in the Facebook age.
“When you don’t have charges against someone—why… how can you keep them detained?” asks Dima. “When you don’t have any serious charges, how can you break down someone’s door in the middle of the night and take them? What happens when they have a serious case? What will they do then? Its scary.”
- 1,600 Palestinian prisoners begin open-ended hunger strike in Israeli jails (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israeli forces shut down media launch in Jerusalem (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israel – Israeli troops force two Palestinian TV stations to close (en.rsf.org)
- Report: 201 Palestinians Died in Israeli Jails (and more…) (occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com)
Marking the 36th anniversary of land day today Palestinians and their supporters marched for Jerusalem demanding an end to the Israeli occupation of the city. Protests were organized near the Israeli Lebanese borders as well as the borders with Jordan.
The Land day commemoration started in 1976, when Palestinian residents of the Galilee to the Negev protested Israel’s plan to expropriate thousands of dunams of land for security and settlement purposes. Israeli military and police attacked the protests leaving 6 killed, hundreds injured.
Today After the midday prayers, people marched from Ramallah city, central West Bank, towards Qalandiya checkpoint that separates Ramallah from Jerusalem.
Troops fired tear gas and sound bombs then later used rubber-coated steel bullets. 80 Palestinians were injured. Witnesses told IMEMC that among those injured were two Palestinian medics.
In Bethlehem 20 residents were injured, seven were moved to hospitals, when soldiers fired tear gas and sound bombs at land day protesters. The marchers were first stopped by the Palestinian security forces however they managed to reach the gate of the wall separating Bethlehem from Jerusalem. As protestors reach the gate, youth threw rocks and firebombs at the wall and the nearby military tower.
“We are here to tell the Israeli occupation that Jerusalem is Palestinian and will never forget it.” One of the protesters told IMEMC.
Israeli troops responded by firing tear gas and sound bombs. A source from the Palestinian Red Cresent Society told IMEMC that one resident was hit with a tear gas canister in his back causing burns and bruises.
The wounded was identified as Yousef Sharqawi from Bethlehem. Another activist from the US was hit with a tear gas canister in his head and was transferred to the hospital for medical treatment. Field medics said his wound is moderate.
Photo of Land Day Protest in Bethlehem Today – by Ghassan Bannoura
- On the eve of Land Day: Al Quds anticipates the Global March (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Palestinian badly injured after Israelis fire tear gas at head (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israel Warns Against Global March to Jerusalem (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- 5 injured in West Bank demonstrations (alethonews.wordpress.com)
As the parish priest of Ramallah, an op-ed by Israel’s envoy to the US gave me pause for thought. Michael Oren’s article spoke volumes of Israel’s unending misrepresentation of Palestinian daily life.
The presence of our 13 Latin Patriarchate Schools throughout the West Bank and Gaza, for over 150 years, is a living witness to the coexistence of Palestinian Christians and Muslims.
We have never faced in our schools or society the supposed persecution of Christians by Muslims to which Mr Oren referred in “Israel and the Plight of Mideast Christians,” published Friday in the Wall Street Journal.
Contrary to Oren’s statements, the persecution of Christians here is caused mainly by the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory. This occupation humiliates us, destroys our economy, causes demographic changes and deprives millions of the freedom of movement and their right to decent lives, in addition to the confiscation of land.
These are the main ways Christians are persecuted in Palestine.
As anyone with eyes can see, the wall that Israel has imposed has negatively affected the lives of Palestinians and has confiscated a large amount of what is left of Palestinian land.
Oren claims that Israel “allows holiday access to Jerusalem’s churches to Christians from both the West Bank and Gaza.” In reality, the countless fixed and flying checkpoints have turned our lives into hell.
Israeli obstacles and practices do not differentiate between Muslims and Christians, and are imposed over a whole nation. The bullets that are fired against Palestinians do not differentiate between Christians and Muslims.
But it is these imposed Israeli obstacles which strengthen the ties between Christians and Muslims. Christian students share the same classrooms with Muslim students and all school activities involve both religions.
For example last week at one of our schools, the al-Ahliyya College in Ramallah, we held a concert with peace songs, and 180 pupils of both faiths joined in the event.
The oppression of Christian communities is indeed “an injustice of historic magnitude.”
Israel could begin righting this wrong by setting an example: Offer freedom to the Christian communities under its occupation before criticizing Muslim oppression in other countries in the Middle East.
No such oppression exists in Palestine.
The author is the director-general of the Latin Patriarchate Schools in Palestine and the parish priest of Ramallah.
- Michael Oren: Israel and the Plight of Mideast Christians (online.wsj.com)
- Palestinian Christians attacked for challenging Christian Zionism (altahrir.wordpress.com)
A Palestinian student was in critical condition on Monday after being hit in the head by a tear gas canister when Israeli troops attacked a protest near Ramallah, medics said.
Medics at Ramallah’s main hospital confirmed that 20-year-old Mohammed Abu Awad was in intensive care after an Israeli soldier shot a tear gas canister at his head.
Palestinian security sources said the student had been injured as Israeli troops attacked a peaceful rally in support of a hunger-striking female prisoner near the Atara checkpoint, five kilometers north of Ramallah.
They initially said he had been hit in the head by a bullet during the protest, which was attended by about 40 people.
The Israeli military claimed the protest has been a “violent and illegal riot” near Birzeit.
“Palestinian demonstrators threw rocks at an IDF (army) post. Soldiers responded with riot dispersal means,” a spokeswoman said.
Israeli troops are regularly accused of deliberately firing tear gas canisters at close range, directed at the heads of protesters to cause maximum damage.
Mustafa Tamimi, 28, died of his wounds when an Israeli soldier shot a tear gas canister at his face at a peaceful rally in Nabi Saleh in December 2011.
An American Jewish student, Emily Henochowicz, 22, lost an eye at a similar West Bank protest in 2010, again after an Israeli soldier fired a tear gas canister at her face from close range.
No Israeli soldier or officer was reprimanded after either incident.
The students were demonstrating in solidarity with Hanaa al-Shalabi, a prisoner who has been on hunger strike since February 16 to protest against being held by Israel without charge, a procedure known as administrative detention. … Full article
- 13 injured in Nabi Saleh demonstration (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israeli Troops use Gas to Suppress Anti-Wall Protests (altahrir.wordpress.com)
- More deaths and injuries from US tear gas in Palestine, around the Middle East, and in Oakland (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israeli excuses on death of Mustafa Tamimi don’t hold up (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Protester seriously hurt by gas canister (alethonews.wordpress.com)
In the summer of 1996, I was excited to hear the good news. The Palestinian Ministry of Information had agreed to a request to grant us a license for an educational television station to broadcast in Ramallah.
With little funding and tremendous passion we began building up the station with trained staff, equipment and production capacity.
Having grown up in the US, I tried to run the new Palestinian station as a hybrid between PBS and C-Span.
In April 1997 we launched the first season ever of Sharaa Simsim, the Palestinian version of Sesame Street. It was a humble production with twenty 15-minute episodes, but for us it was huge.
That summer I tried something that I thought was much more mundane: broadcasting live sessions of the newly elected Palestinian Legislative Council. This proved to be extremely dangerous to the Palestinian leadership.
After broadcasting a session of the newly elected legislature talking about corruption in the Palestinian Authority, I was called in and incarcerated by the Palestinian police. My arrest, reportedly on orders from senior Palestinian leaders, lasted a week, but brought significant publicity to our nascent station, Al Quds Educational Television.
In 2002 our station was once again in the news. As part of Israel’s reoccupation of Ramallah during the second intifada, the Israeli army’s engineering corps decided that the structure housing our station would make a convenient temporary headquarters.
Nineteen days later we were allowed back to our looted and destroyed building. Expensive camera and computer mother boards were stolen and several monitors had bullet holes in them.
This week Al Quds Educational Television and another local station, Wattan TV, were raided. Israeli troops sneaked into the city overnight, barged into the two stations and confiscated the stations’ transmitters.
Israeli officials defended their actions deep in areas supposedly under Palestinian sovereign control by asserting that the stations were “operating without a license on frequencies that could disrupt communications with planes taking off and landing at Ben-Gurion International Airport.”
Later, and under scrutiny of a reporter, officials dropped the interference with the airport justification and issued a statement by an army spokesman that “the raid followed numerous requests by the Communications Ministry that the stations cease broadcasting because of interference with Israeli broadcasting signals.”
Israel has made no claim about the content of what is broadcast on these two stations.
Palestinian Ministry of Communications officials vehemently denied that Israel ever complained about these two stations’ frequencies.
Suleiman Zuheiri, Undersecretary of Telecommunications, called the airport interference claim false. “Airport range is very different from the range used by TV stations.”
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad visited the stations and called the Israeli action a “clear aggression.”
The Oslo Accords signed in 1993 state that a joint committee of technical experts representing both Israelis and Palestinians should address such issues.
But Israel essentially vetoed its work by refusing to hold meetings. Palestinians were left with no choice but to issue licenses for local broadcasters. The two stations’ frequencies were officially submitted with the International Telecommunications Union in 2004 when the PA was invited as a member.
Some argue that the latest act against a Palestinian broadcaster was an attempt to appease Jewish settlers and right-wing Israelis. The international community (and the Israeli High Court) has been pressing the Israeli government to dismantle settler outposts built without licenses, though international law regards as illegal all settlements built in areas occupied in 1967.
Settlers, however, have demanded that the Israeli army first demolish Palestinian homes built without a license issued by the occupation authority.
Recently, Israeli military forces accompanied by bulldozers demolished seven Palestinian houses and five animal pens near the town of Zaheria, south of Hebron in the West Bank. More than 100 Palestinians lived in these houses, which Israel says were not licensed. The bulldozed units are close to the Jewish settlement of “Tina” which is located on the periphery of Zaheria.
The latest raid on two small television stations illustrates the arrogance of the Israeli occupiers and their inference in every aspect of Palestinian life.
The unilateral nature of the raid also highlights the absence of communication between Israelis and Palestinians. No attempt was even made through Israel’s American allies or the office of Tony Blair, the international community’s peace envoy.
As the US busies itself with elections, Israel is creating facts on the ground and in the air. Palestinian aspirations to be free of foreign military occupation and to live in peace and independence alongside the state of Israel are being severely challenged.
Diplomacy and nonviolent struggle remain the keys to advancing Palestinian freedom. But with the US focused elsewhere and the Israeli government plowing ahead with illegal activities, there is a very real possibility of a return to the violence of a decade ago.
Daoud Kuttab is a Palestinian journalist and former Ferris professor of journalism at Princeton University. He was the director of Al Quds Educational Television until 2007.
- Israel raids Ramallah TV stations (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- EU’s Ashton says Israeli TV station raids break accords (altahrir.wordpress.com)