Briefing Paper October 2015

It has come to our attention that a newly formed charity ‘Friends of Palestine’ has established itself in Scotland. Currently it operates a stall in Buchanan St., Glasgow on a Saturday.

It claims to support the Palestinian people in Scotland and “internationally”.

Given the broad similarity in names we ask you to note that this body has absolutely NO association with Scottish Friends of Palestine.

“peace is an existential threats to them”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zari (AlMonitor 20/7/15) referring to Israel

Seeing Gaza through the eyes of an Israeli Dr. Strangelove

Gideon Levy Ha’aretz 2/7/15

Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon said there is no humanitarian distress in Gaza. The defence minister also said that the situation in Gaza “isn’t pleasant.” If that’s his definition of the situation in Gaza, then it’s not pleasant to live in a country in which Ya’alon is defense minister. Ever since Dov Weisglass, an adviser to then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, spoke of tightening the blockade on Gaza and putting its residents “on a diet,” we haven’t heard such inhumane remarks about everything that’s going on only an hour’s drive from Tel Aviv. Ya’alon, the newest (and strangest) friend of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, said that there is no siege on Gaza, and in the same breath said he would not allow the recently launched flotilla to enter the (unbesieged) Strip. But his remarks about the lack of humanitarian distress reveal the true world of this Dr. Strangelove from the cowshed of Kibbutz Grofit. Ya’alon is right; no one is dying of starvation in Gaza. Cattle feed is indeed being supplied to the biggest pen in the world. There is no humanitarian disaster. But something else is happening in Gaza, something apparently unique to its residents; they aren’t satisfied with just food. These are strange people who have needs other than just a pita with onion and tomato. For example, sometimes they need water, which is becoming increasingly polluted at a shocking pace; it’s no longer possible to drink the salty water coming out of the taps

Meanwhile, the residents of Gaza, some two million people, if we are permitted to call them that, have a few other needs. Some 100,000 survivors of the warrior Ya’alon’s last campaign have yet to return to their destroyed homes, not one of which has been rebuilt. They are homeless, crowding into the homes of relatives, taking shelter in the rubble or in UNRWA shelters (which house around 10,000 of them). But what are they complaining about? They’re not on the street. Around a thousand of their children have been left disabled for life from that war, but that’s not a tragedy, either.

Death penalty for stone throwing

Gideon Levy Ha’aretz 4/7/15

Col. Yisrael Shomer shot and killed a stone thrower in the West Bank. If an investigation is ever opened in the incident, it will, of course, quickly be closed — Col. Yisrael Shomer says he didn’t know who he had shot on Friday morning in A-Ram, and I doubt it interests him. Still, I want to tell him who it was, but first how it came   about. The Binyamin Brigade commander’s jeep was attacked with stones, which smashed its windshield while he was on a road near the West Bank town. Shomer got out of the jeep and, along with his brave soldiers, opened fire with live ammunition at the stone throwers. The body of the person killed was hit by three bullets – in the head, shoulder and back. The colonel contended that his life was in danger. The army claimed he followed procedures relating to detaining a suspect (even though all the bullets struck the upper body.)

The commander was simply conveying to his soldiers a message that they have long known: the fate of Palestinian stone throwers is death. That is the prevailing spirit of the Binyamin Brigade commander, of the Israel Defense Forces and of the people of Israel. Col. Shomer killed Mohammad Kosba. Thirteen years ago, I wrote [about] his father: “Sami Kosba is now a broken man. As he relates the details of his tragedy … the expression on his unshaven face is one of great sorrow … He lost two sons in the space of 40 days … a bereaved father times two.” The two brothers each survived about a week, before dying at the same hospital in Ramallah. First Yasser, 10, was killed, shot in the head at close range in a stone-throwing incident in the West Bank, near the Qalandiyah refugee camp where his family was living in poverty. Yasser was shot while running for his life from soldiers. He tripped and fell, and they shot him in the head, according to witnesses, while he was already lying on the ground … Just as the 40-day period of mourning for Yasser was ending, IDF soldiers killed his brother Samer. He had been throwing stones at an Israeli tank near the Muqata headquarters of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat in Ramallah. The compound was besieged by Israeli forces at the time, and the protest there was in solidarity with those inside. Samer was 15 at the time of his death. He was shot in the head at close range, just as his brother was 40 days before. “Samer? Again a bullet? Again in the head?” asked the disbelieving father.

Israeli army promotes Rafah atrocities officer

Middle East Monitor 7/7/15

The Israeli military announced Monday the promotion of Colonel Ofer Winter to the rank of brigadier general within OC Central Command. Winter was the commander of the Givati Brigade during last year’s ‘Operation Protective Edge’, and oversaw an attack on Rafah, when dozens of Palestinians were killed over a few hours. Winter implemented the ‘Hannibal Directive’ on August 1, to thwart a suspected kidnapping of an Israeli soldier. An internal army probe later found that “an estimated 800 artillery shells and 260 mortars were fired by the IDF during the battle in Rafah”, as well as airstrikes on 34 “targets.” Prior to invading Gaza, Winter told his soldiers that they were engaged in a war to “wipe out” an “enemy who defames” God. The events of August 1 are among those still being examined by the Military Advocate General. Winter’s promotion makes the prospect of a harsh verdict and accountability even less likely.

Injured woman forced to strip recalls horror of Israel’s Gaza war

Charlotte Silver Elect Int 7/7/15

Just as Majda reached the gate to their home, a missile struck. The blast slammed her to the ground. Both of Majda’s legs were torn open, and a piece of shrapnel lodged deep above her left eye. As we spoke almost a year later, Majda lifted up her skirt to reveal the deep scars gouged into her left ankle and below her right knee. Her left eye is permanently half-shut. She was sitting under the same arbor of the well-muscled grapevines where she lay in July 2014, immobilized by the blast of the missile, her face covered in blood and the flesh on her legs ripped.Majda recalled what happened next … Then Shadi sat down next to his wife, crying. Eventually, having given up on the possibility of medical help arriving, he carried his wife back into their home. As the shells rained down around them, Majda told her husband to go outside with a white flag in hopes it would prevent the army from shelling their home. “I didn’t want the house to collapse on our heads,” she said.

Shadi opened the door to exit the house, holding the white flag, filled with trepidation. Immediately a bullet shot past his head. Today a hole as big as a ping pong ball punctures their doorway. Then, around 30 soldiers entered their front yard, assault rifles drawn. They ordered Shadi to take off all his clothes, throw the white flag to the ground and put his head down. They barked at him, “Who else is inside?” “Only my wife,” Shadi told them. When the soldiers ordered him to bring her out to them, he tried to explain that she was badly injured. “You have five seconds to get her out, if you don’t we will kill both of you,” Shadi remembers them threatening. He pulled Majda from her bed and onto the stone veranda, her bandages unfurling and coming off as he did. The soldiers then ordered Majda to take off all her clothes. She complied, removing first her abaya (a robe), then her headscarf, until she was left only in her underwear. Some soldiers entered the tiny one-bedroom house, while the rest kept their rifles pointed at the nearly naked couple on the ground. The soldiers then tore through their home, smashing windows, shattering dishes and kitchen items. They pointed to multiple mattresses piled in the house and insisted they were evidence that Shadi and Majda were harboring militants [as if every Palestinian home didn’t have a pile of thin mattresses for visitors] … The couple was forced to lie on the ground outside for hours, with no water or food, as the soldiers ransacked their home, blowing open a hole in a wall to create an exit for themselves. Finally, the army allowed Shadi to take his wife inside, where they remained for four days without any medical attention or food….

Sharp rise in Negev demolitions

Middle East Monitor   9/7/15

An Israeli Ministry of Public Security report suggested that the house demolitions undertaken by the Israeli authorities in ‘unrecognised’ villages in the Negev have sharply risen over the past year. The Israeli authority’s practice of bulldozing agricultural land has also increased. According to the data in the report, there has been a 54 per cent rise in demolitions during 2014 compared to 2013. Based on the report, 1,073 homes in ‘unrecognised’ Arab villages were demolished in 2014, compared to 697 homes in 2013. The report also stated that there had been an increase of “self-demolitions”. Some home owners are forced to demolish their own homes in order to avoid paying large fines and the demolition expenses. In 2014, 716 buildings were “self-demolished” compared to 376 homes in 2013. The report considered this a “success”. The report also showed that nearly 3,208 acres of land were bulldozed in 2014, compared to 1,853 acres in 2013.

ICC orders prosecutor to reconsider probing Israel’s flotilla raid

The Hague (AFP)

The International Criminal Court on Thursday ordered its chief prosecutor to review a decision not to probe Israel’s deadly raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla in 2010, saying “errors were made.” Fatou Bensouda late last year dropped the investigation leading to potential prosecution into the incident in which 10 Turkish activists were killed by Israeli forces, saying the incident was “not of sufficient gravity.” The case was first filed by the Comoros, where the activists’ ship the Mavi Marmara was registered. The tiny Indian Ocean island state in January asked the Hague-based ICC’s judges to review Bensouda’s decision. “The Pre-Trial Chamber granted the request… and requested the Prosecutor to reconsider such a decision,” the ICC said in a statement … In her explanation in November last year, Bensouda said “the information available provides a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes were committed on board the Comorian-registered vessel the Mavi Marmara during the interception of the flotilla.” “However, after carefully assessing all relevant considerations, I have concluded that the potential case(s) likely arising from an investigation into this incident would not be of ‘sufficient gravity’ to justify further action by the ICC,” she said. But the ICC’s judges disagreed.

Gaza Today – Gaza testimonies

B’Tselem 8/7/15

The bombings of the Gaza Strip began a year ago today. For hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, last summer’s nightmare has become an ongoing reality. There are now some 100,000 displaced persons in Gaza living with relatives or in rented homes, in tents, or in the ruins of their old homes. Nearly 20,000 houses were partly or completely destroyed last summer, and hundreds of thousands of people in Gaza still live in 150,000 damaged residences. After the fighting ended, B’Tselem continued to publicize the stories of Gazans who are still dealing with its consequences.

Mayadah Zaqut recalls bombing that killed her husband in their apartment, and bombing of their entire building several weeks later: …At midnight, the Israeli air force bombed the tower where our apartment had been. I heard the bombardment very clearly. When the first missile hit the tower, I remembered how ‘Ahed and I began to look for an apartment to buy, and how we painted our place and arranged our furniture. I thought about my life with ‘Ahed in our apartment. I recalled the renovations and the new furniture we bought. We lived there together for nine years and took care of every little detail in our home. One of the things that hurt most was that I didn’t have time to take any memento of ‘Ahed from the apartment before it was bombed. I left behind medals and trophies and tokens of appreciation that he was awarded throughout his sporting career, as well as photographs of him. It all went up in flames, even our wedding photos. I have nothing left to remind me of the family life I once had.

Knesset passes law giving harsher punishments to stone-throwers

Ma’an 21/7/15

The Knesset passed into law on Monday night an amendment enabling harsher punishments for stone-throwers, a Knesset press release said. The move raised outcry among Palestinian MK’s. As the law stood prior, those who throw stones at cars could be convicted and sentenced for up to 20 years without the state having to prove the throwers’ intent of trying to damage cars or harm their occupants. Under the new law approved by the Knesset — Israel’s parliament — stone-throwing violations will now fall into two categories. One category enables the state to put someone behind bars for 10 years if they are found to have thrown “a stone or any other object at a vehicle in motion in a manner liable to endanger the passengers in the vehicle or people in the vicinity.” Under the “harsher category,” it continues, the 20-year sentence can still be given, however imprisonment “includes the issue of intent, and forbids the throwing of stones or any other objects at a moving vehicle with the intent to seriously harm the occupants.” The new law also makes it easier to punish those who throw stones at police patrol cars. Five-year sentences will now be possible where it can be proven there is “intent to interfere with the policeman’s performance of his duties or to prevent him from performing them.”

Of the Knesset’s 120 members, 69 voted in favour of the law, while only 17 members opposed it…Israel detains hundreds of Palestinians for alleged stone-throwing every year, and Israeli rights group B’Tselem reported that from 2005 to 2010, 93% of the minors convicted of stone throwing were given a prison sentence, its length ranging from a few days to 20 months.’ Five Palestinian youths from the West Bank village of Hares are currently facing lefe imprisonment after being charged with attempted murder following an alleged stone-throwing incident…According to the Knesset statement, Palestinian MKs slammed the bill. MK Jamal Zahalka said, ‘Who will the judge send to prison? He who demolished the home, seized the land, killed the brother, or the boy who threw a stone?’ ‘The one who demolishes the home gets a medal, but the boy whose anger is justified gets punished. There is no justice in this law.’

Israel broadens rules on use of live fire against stone-throwers

AFP 24/9/15

Israel’s security cabinet on Thursday broadened the rules under which stone-throwers can be targeted by live fire, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said. “The security cabinet has decided to authorise police to use live ammunition against people throwing stones and Molotov cocktails when the life of a third person is threatened and no longer only when the police officer is threatened,” a statement said. Netanyahu has publicly “declared war” on those who throw rocks and petrol bombs, especially after an Israeli motorist died earlier this month, apparently as a result of Palestinian stone-throwing. The security cabinet met to decide on measures to strengthen enforcement against demonstrators throwing stones and incendiary devices after police said 13 Palestinians, including nine children, were arrested overnight. “We have decided to penalise more severely adult stone-throwers with a minimum sentence of four years in prison and also to authorise larger fines for minors and their parents,” the statement said. These sanctions apply to all Israeli citizens and residents of Israel,” it said, referring to Palestinian residents of east Jerusalem who do not have Israeli citizenship.

Outrage at Israeli plan to build on historic Muslim cemetery

Jonathan Cook Middle East Eye 28/7/15

Officials here have approved a massive construction project, including plans for housing, shops and a hotel, on one of the largests and most historically important cemeteries in the Middle East. A previous project to build a courthouse at the site, part of Mamilla Cemeter, was scrapped two years ago after it provoked a storm of protest. The graveyard, just outside Jerusalem’s Old City walls, is said to be the final resting place of [some of] the Prophet Mohammed’s Companions as well as thousands of Saladin’s warriors who helped expel the Crusaders from the Holy Land nearly 1,000 years ago. It also served as a cemetery for leading Palestinian families in Jerusalem until the city’s division in 1948, when Mamilla fell just within the borders of the newly established state of Israel. Jerusalem City Hall triggered huge controversy seven years ago when it approved a Museum of Tolerance over another section of the cemetery, requiring the hurried disinterment of as many as 1,500 remains.

The mutant-alien Jewish terrorists who have nothing to do with the Israeli right

Chemi Shalev Ha’aretz 4/8/15

Whoever carried out the horrible arson attack that killed 18-month-old Ali Dawabsheh and nearly burned his entire family alive is a wild thorn, as Israelis like to call them. The perpetrators are in no way connected to, or inspired by, the settler movement, religious Zionism or the Israeli right wing in general. Whoever says so is slandering, defaming and inciting, as the left is wont to do. Yigal Amir, who assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, was also a lone wolf. The fact that right-wing politicians had whipped up a public frenzy in the weeks before his killing, accusing Rabin of selling out Israel to terrorists, or that rabbis were discussing and some even sanctioning a religious sentence of death against Rabin, doesn’t mean they were prodding Amir in any way . . . The same is true of Baruch Goldstein, the Brooklyn-born Kiryat Arba doctor who massacred 29 Muslim worshippers at Hebron’s Cave of the Patriarchs in 1994 . . . Goldstein, in any case, was a native-born American, which renders him completely atypical. Baltimore-born Alan Goodman, who stormed the Temple Mount in 1982 in order to liberate the Temple Mount, killing two Palestinians in the process, is just as much your problem as he is ours. Nahshon Walls, who shot a pregnant 25-year-old Palestinian woman to death near Kiryat Arba in what he said was an act of revenge, was Ohio-born and bred. Sentenced to life imprisonment, he was released in less than 10 years and spent his last years surrounded by friends in Tapuach who praise his good deeds to this very day . . . Then there’s Yaakov Teitel, originally of Florida and Virginia then of Shvut Rachel, an all-purpose man-in-one terror machine who killed Palestinians, tried to poison a village, bombed Christian churches, maimed Messianic Jews and planted the pipe bomb that injured Professor Ze’ev Sternhell in 2008 . . .

Teaching Kafka to Gazans

Amira Hass Ha’aretz 25/8/15

The process directed at the Abu Saids is not some bizarre harassment of one family. It is one of Israel’s standard operating Catch-22’s for residents of the Strip-Someone wants to prosecute the state after one of its agencies hurt him and his family, but the state – the accused party – refuses to let him see a lawyer so he can sign a power of attorney and hand over his documentation. This conflict of interest is objectionable, unreasonable and unacceptable. However, it’s perfectly acceptable when speaking of a family in Gaza, one in which the mother was killed and three other family members were injured during the IDF’s routine incursions. The Israeli Coordination and Liaison Administration, which deals with Gaza, is barring the plaintiffs, members of the Abu Said family, from meeting their lawyer from the Abu Hussein law office in Umm al-Fahm. The Abu Saids may not meet their lawyer in Gaza, nor in Israel, nor at the Erez checkpoint on the northern Gaza Strip border, a heavily protected Israeli compound.

In all the drawn-out correspondence between the bureaucrats of the liaison administration (a hybrid of IDF and Defense Ministry officials) and the lawyers, then later with Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, which tried to get exit permits for the family, the prohibition on the family’s meeting with their lawyer was not explained away with the routine excuse of “security considerations.” In other words, no one claimed that members of the Abu Said family were a threat to Israel’s security. Likewise, they didn’t pose a risk to Israel’s security when IDF soldiers shelled an area close to their home while they were sitting outside on the hot summer’s day of July 13, 2010. There were 17 of them there, watching TV. The first shell injured two women and everyone hurried inside. An ambulance was late in arriving. Na’ama Abu Said went out to look for her young son and was hit by another shell, apparently a flechette, which sprays lethal iron nails across a wide area. She was killed instantly and another family member was injured. (continued)

The questions nobody is asking about Hebron shooting

Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man +972 24/9/15

A young Palestinian woman was shot dead by Israeli soldiers in the occupied city of Hebron Tuesday morning, hours before the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur and the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha. As usual, there are — at least — two conflicting narratives. There are also a number of details everyone agrees on. Hadeel al-Hashlamon arrived at the “Shoter” checkpoint in the West Bank city of Hebron Tuesday morning. She set off a metal detector and soldiers started yelling at her in Hebrew. Here is where the narratives diverge. According to Palestinian witnesses who spoke with the press, she did not understand the commands being yelled by the soldiers, froze and pulled out her bag for inspection. Soldiers then shot toward her, striking her in the lower and upper body. Israeli military spokespeople told reporters that Hashlamon pulled a knife out of her bag and did not respond to soldier’s commands, and moved toward them with the knife before they shot her. The army supplied media outlets with photos of a knife on the ground, purported to be the one held by Hashlamon. Let’s assume that she had a knife. Attempted stabbings are no rare occurrence at West Bank checkpoints. And although no footage of the shooting itself has been released (the military most likely has surveillance footage of the incident), there are a few things we do know about what went down. In photos of the incident, in which two soldiers can be seen with their guns trained on Hashlamon, there is a distance of at least a couple of meters and a metal barrier separating between her and the soldiers. Photos and video of Hashlamon’s body after she was shot show that she was behind the metal barrier at the time the soldiers shot her. Why were multiple M16 rounds necessary to stop a young knife-wielding woman meters away behind a metal barrier? One might even ask why combat soldiers with assault rifles, instead of say, police with Tasers and batons and pistols, are manning a checkpoint for civilians in the center of a city

Increasingly children are the target of the occupation forces . . .

The Palestinian family who fought off an Israeli soldier arresting their young son

Sheren Khalel MEE 30/8/15

The Tamimi family say the presence of journalists was key to them fighting off an Israeli soldier from arresting their 11-year-old Mohammed — Nariman Tamimi says she and her son were watching the protest from afar when she noticed something was not right. The soldiers, who she says would usually block the protest before it could reach the steep hillside of her village, seemed to be encouraging protesters to descend down the slope. By the time she had figured out why, it was too late. She says dozens of soldiers were hiding behind trees and boulders on the hillside, jumping out to capture unsuspecting protesters. “We saw that the soldiers had my nephew and a foreign activist they were going to arrest, and everyone ran to help them,” Nariman says. When the other demonstrators ran to the aid of the two protesters who were being arrested, Nariman’s son, Mohammed Tamimi, 11, stayed behind and continued to watch from a distance. That’s when he was captured alone.

What happened next was caught on camera in a series of photos depicting a young boy being pinned to the ground by an Israeli soldier, as the boy’s mother, aunt and sister struggle to pry the grown man off the child . . . -‘No safe place’- All of Nariman’s children, even her youngest son, 9, partake in Nabi Saleh’s demonstrations. She says she doesn’t keep her children home during the protests because even in their home they aren’t safe. In the photos, the young boy being pinned down is wearing a cast on his arm, an injury his mother says was caused when Israeli forces attacked their home only two day before Friday’s incident. “You can see in the photos he is wearing a cast,” Nariman says. “The soldiers shot tear gas into the house and broke our windows, one of the metal canisters that flew inside hit his arm and broke his wrist. Mohammed wasn’t protesting on Friday because his wrist had just been broken.” “So, there is no safe place in Nabi Saleh inside or outside, but the children are less traumatized being out there facing their fears than in here hiding, it makes them feel better, psychologically,” Nariman insists.

‘What’s the number of your room, child?’

Sawsan Khalife +972 Blog 29/8/15

Attacking and imprisoning Palestinian children has shaped Palestinian generations for decades. The more rights-deprived the childhood, the more hungry for freedom adulthood will be — . . . While watching the child [Muhammad Basim Tamimi] running from the soldier and crying for help, I couldn’t help but wonder whether he knew what would happen to him if he were arrested. I wondered whether there is a room for children in the West Bank similar to “Room Number 4,” which Palestinian children in East Jerusalem know all too well. It would be surprising to find a child, or even an adult, in East Jerusalem who is not familiar with “Room Number 4.” This is the name of the interrogation room in Jerusalem’s police station in the Russian compound neighborhood, where Palestinian residents, including children, are interrogated. While hundreds of children are arrested annually, it is the conditions they undergo during their arrest and interrogation that represents possibly the most severe violation, under both Israeli and international law. The name of the room comes from the Israeli interrogators who ask the children about to be interrogated, “Do you know why we call this room ‘Room Number 4′? Because when we are done with you Arabs you will crawl out of this room on all fours, like babies.” Nearly two years ago local activists launched a campaign called “Room number 4”, aiming to raise awareness of child abuse at the hands of Israeli police forces in East Jerusalem. The website they established serves as a platform for many testimonies of Palestinian children, and provides reports from the Madaa Center in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. Using interviews with children between the ages of seven and 17 and their testimonies, as well as statistics, the Madaa Center initiative shows the impact of the arrests and detentions. According to the report, 63 percent of detained children are denied food, water and access to the restroom during interrogation. “I was thirsty and hungry. When I asked to go to the toilet they told me to pee in my jeans,” said one eight-year-old child.

Israel leaves 80 children at mercy of August sun

Gideon Levy & Alex Levac Ha’aretz 29/8/15

In one of its more widespread acts of demolition, the Civil Administration last week left 127 men, women and children without shelter in 42-degree-Celsius heat — Hudeifa crawls across the barren, rocky ground. She’s receding into the distance. Every so often, her father goes after her and brings her back to the only bit of shade in view, under the only tree in the area. Sometimes he even ties her leg to the tree trunk, to keep her from crawling away again. The 1-year-old baby is covered in dust from head to foot. She no longer has a home, a roof, not even a tent. Nor does her father, Ali Hussein Abdullah. Or any of the 24 members of her family, some of whom are also sheltering in the shade of the tree, along with chickens that survived the raid. They have nowhere else to go. Since personnel from the Civil Administration – Israel’s governing body in the West Bank – left their property in ruins last week, they no longer have a home, not even a tent, not even a water container.

They sleep on this hard, rocky ground, under the tree. It was hot this week in the Jordan Rift; 42 degrees Celsius. But last week, when administration forces arrived to demolish and destroy, the valley was broiling hot. That was of no interest to the troops: They were just doing their job . . And here’s the result: Hudeifa crawling across the sand under the blazing August sun of the Jordan Rift. A sweet baby who likes to suck her thumb, she has actually been homeless for more than a week. She’s one of 127 people suffering the same plight, 80 of them children and infants, in the two sites of last week’s devastation – in the Jordan Rift and next to the West Bank settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim, close to Jerusalem. Not by chance, of course: These are two of the three sites of Israel’s ethnic-cleansing efforts (the third is in the South Hebron Hills). These sites are meant to be annexed to Israel one day, to come under its sovereignty; until then, they need to be made ready, cleaned out. The Bedouin population in these areas is the weakest link, so naturally, they were chosen by the administration to bear the brunt of its malicious abuse. (Cont.)

A year ago, a cease-fire was announced in Gaza. But this boy’s life had already changed forever.

Mohammer Omer HuffPost 28/8/15

Thaeer Juda’s mother, sisters and brothers passed away a year ago. That day a cease-fire was announced in Gaza. After 50 days of fighting some 1,800 children had become orphans, according to Euro-Mid Observers for Human Rights. Below is an excerpt from my book, “Shell-Shocked: On the Ground Under Israel’s Gaza Assault” based on my experience reporting from Gaza on this day. JABALYA Refugee Camp, Northern Gaza — As shouts of celebration about the cease-fire ring out across Gaza, 10-year-old Thaeer Juda lies in Gaza’s Shifa hospital ICU unit. He’s badly injured and has had his right leg and some of his right fingers amputated. His left side is only marginally better off. His hands have been shattered, while his face and chest have been pocked by shrapnel that ripped through his little body after an Israeli strike. Thaeer will survive, but will have to do so without many of the loved ones he expected to know for the rest of his life. He doesn’t know what happened to his mother, Rawia, or his two sisters, Tasnim and Taghreed, nor his brothers Osama and Mohammed. But they are all gone — killed in one foul swoop by the same Israeli strike that landed Thaeer in hospital and will keep him there, long after the “victory” cries outside have died down.

Israeli night raids a routine terror for Palestinian children

Maureen Clare Murphy EI 1/9/15

It’s a regular and terrifying scene in the occupied West Bank: heavily armed Israeli soldiers, often with large dogs, raid a Palestinian family’s home. They wake the children, arresting one or more of them. This is what happened to Hamza Muayyad Shukri Hammad, 15, when his home in Silwad, a village near Ramallah, was invaded at 2am on Sunday. As reported by the Arabic-language Quds news site, Hamza’s mother said that during the two-hour raid on her family’s home, Hamza and his 10-year-old brother, Bilal, were detained. Soldiers raided Hamza’s room, ransacking it. They confiscated phones and smart devices from the home and a computer was deliberately smashed. An Israeli officer threatened Hamza while searching him, and tried to pressure the boy to confess to charges not specified in the Quds report. Hamza’s mother said “The officer told us that he would treat [Hamza] the way they treated his father and arrest him.” The teen’s father, Muayyad Hammad, is currently serving multiple life sentences on charges that he was part of a cell that carried out military operations against the Israeli army. He has been imprisoned for 13 years, according to Quds.

Other Palestinian children in Israeli detention have endured similar trauma as Hamza.

Blindfolded and beaten

During a visit to Megiddo prison on Sunday, Hiba Masalha, a lawyer with the Palestinian Authority ministry for prisoner affairs, took the testimony of three teenagers who were beaten during their arrest and transfer to Israeli detention. Ahmad Ismail Abu Amr, 17, from a village near the West Bank city of Nablus, was beaten all over his body, blindfolded and cuffed by Israeli soldiers who used their weapons to strike him on his head and shoulders when they arrested him two months ago. (continued)

Bedouin child starts school, loses home

Gideon Levy & Alex Levac Ha’aretz 4/9/15

The swath of West Bank destruction by the Civil Administration continues, with 10 homes of Bedouin families demolished this week. That’s how the school year started for one first-grader — The force swept into the Bedouin camp, did its demolition job and was gone within two hours. Crushed tin siding, scattered on the hillside and in the valley below, sways in the wind, its creaking sounds cutting through the deathly silence. Toddlers skitter about barefoot among the ruins, poking at them in the vain hope of unearthing some lost treasure. Their fathers are trying to come to terms what happened, and tell their tale to a handful of Palestinian reporters and cameramen who have arrived at the disaster zone. A jeep bearing the symbol of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is also here, to enumerate and report. So too is a B’Tselem human-rights organization field researcher, Amer Aruri. Until two years ago, a community of some 500 Bedouin shepherds lived peacefully here, in the al-Hadirath encampment, between the settlement of Adam and the Palestinian village of Jeba, outside Ramallah. Seventeen residents lost their ramshackle dwellings on Monday morning, along with nearly all their property. Among them are some 10 children who just started the school year and now have no home. With their long experience in destruction, the Civil Administration personnel did their usual efficient job. They showed up at around 9 A.M. – four jeeps, one big tractor and one small one, and a van, backed up by armed troops – and were gone by 11. In that time, 15 tin shacks belonging to Bedouin families, including five pens for livestock, were crushed, run over, ripped apart and uprooted. Now their remains are scattered in the wind, heaps of metal and small boards next to what were people’s homes, like monuments to what once existed here. We are at the ground zero of squalor: The huts contained next to nothing – certainly not electricity or water (that goes without saying) – except children with runny noses and tattered clothes. Now they no longer even have a shack to call home. The items the Bedouin were allowed to remove amount to barely nothing: a few piles of woolen blankets, a baby’s crib that stands upside down, and little else . . . Two children in school uniforms return home on a donkey and can’t believe their eyes: This morning, when they left for school, they still had a house.

Children of the Occupation

Gideon Levy Middle East Eye 6/9/15

There was the one picture worth a thousand words: the terrified child gripped by the soldier, whose mask has been torn from his face by the child’s mother – exposing the naked, ugly reality of occupation. The most moral and powerful army in the Middle East against a child of 12. Most Israelis, however, concerned themselves with the lesser question of how the soldier ought to have behaved in this complicated situation. Very few, if any, asked what he was doing there in the first place – which is the only question that should have been asked, and was not. If the soldier had shot Tamimi and killed him, with no cameras there to record it, there would have been no story from the standpoint of Israeli media and public opinion. The Israeli army would have claimed that the soldier was in mortal danger, most Israelis would never have doubted that account in the slightest, the military police would have launched an “investigation,” typically without beginning or end, and the world of the occupation would have marched onward, regardless.

Dozens of Palestinians, including children, injured in Jerusalem

IMEMC 12/9/15

Dozens of Palestinians, including children, have been injured on Friday evening and early night hours, in Silwan town, in occupied East Jerusalem, during clashes that took place after Israeli fanatics assaulted an 8-year-old child, while Israeli soldiers invaded homes and fired gas bombs, concussion grenades and rubber-coated metal bullets. The Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan (Silwanic) said the assailants attacked Zeid Abu Qweider, 8 years of age, in Batn al-Hawa neighborhood, repeatedly beating and kicking him, before a young man noticed the attacked and intervened. It added that approximately twenty Israeli extremists then assaulted a group of Palestinian children, 5-14 years of age, and sprayed their faces with pepper-spray. Eyewitnesses told Silwanic that several guards of illegal colonies in Silwan also invaded the neighborhood, and hurled gas bombs and concussion grenades. Medical sources said resident Abdullah Abu Naab, 60, and Mahdi Rajabi, 14, suffered burns in their faces and were unable to breathe, before medics arrived at the scene, provided first aid and moved them to the al-Makassed Hospital.

The attack also led to scores of injuries, especially among the children, while a pregnant woman was also wounded. Some of the wounded have been identified as Zeid Abu Qweider, 8, Adam Rajabi, 9, Rahaf Abu Qweider, 5, Odai Rajabi, 12, Hamza Rajabi, 12, Yazan Rajabi 12, Walid ash-Sha’er, 16, Asma’ Rajabi (pregnant in her ninth month), 29, and ‘Adel Tawfiq Gheith, 75 years of age. In addition, five children and their parents suffered severe effects of gas inhalation after the Israeli guards hurled a gas bomb into their home. The oldest of the wounded children is 13, and the youngest is only seven months of age. Another family, including an infant, also suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation, medical sources said.

10-year-old boy arrested and blindfolded in Hebron

ISM Al-Khalil Team 18/9/15

Hebron, Occupied Palestine 18 Sept by ISM, — Tonight in occupied al-Khalil (Hebron), Israeli forces arrested a 10-year old Palestinian boy twice. Both times he was taken to the military base. Marwan Sharabati was playing outside his house, riding a bicycle in the street, in the vicinity of a military checkpoint cordoning off part of segregated Shuhada Street for Palestinians. Settlers from the nearby illegal settlements, who are allowed to freely walk down this street, came towards him, stole the bicycle from him and left with it. Whereas Israeli soldiers at the nearby checkpoint did nothing to prevent this or even interfere, they did arrest 10-year old Marwan, telling his family they were just taking him ‘to bring his bicycle back’. When soldiers forced him to walk down the street towards the military base he was clearly scared and crying.

Hugh Humphries


Scottish Friends of Palestine

0141 637 8046

Colours of Palestine 2016

Calendar offer

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Scottish Friends of Palestine have now received copies of Resistance Art’s calendars from Canada. Retailing direct from Canada at $20 + postage, we sell them at a discount with prices outlined below. All profits in support of the “Free all Political Prisoners Campaign”…

The calendar is dedicated to all Palestinian political prisoners and its theme reflects the Palestine poster genre which dates back to around 1900. Unlike most of the political art genres of the twentieth century the Palestine poster genre continues to evolve. More Palestine posters are designed, printed and distributed today than ever before.

Purchase details (all prices include postage and packaging):

1 calendar ~ £12

2 calendars ~ £22.50

3 calendars ~ £33

4 calendars ~ £46.50

For 5 calendars and more, price on application.

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By cheque (made out to Scottish Friends of Palestine) along with your name and address to:

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Name and address can be sent by e mail.

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