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Today in Palestine! ~ Friday, 21 December 2012 ~

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  • Today in Palestine!
    *~ please note that the list may not appear every day for a while because of circumstances beyond our control ~ Land, property, resources theft & destruction /
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 22, 2012
      ~ please note that the list may not appear every day for a while because of circumstances beyond our control ~

      Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Restriction of movement

      Aid agencies call for halt to recurring demolitions of water cisterns in Area C
      PNN 20 Dec -- Aid agencies [list at end of article] are calling for an immediate end to demolitions of water cisterns belonging to Palestinian communities in the West Bank, which have been on steady increase in the past year. The recurring demolitions present a clear breach of International Humanitarian Law and undermine the sustainability of the communities that depend on them for survival. The year 2012 ends with a somber record -- just in its first 10 months, Israeli armed forces have destroyed 36 rainwater cisterns used by the Palestinian communities in the Area C of the West Bank, affecting over 1600 people, an increase from 34 cisterns destroyed in 2011. The communities whose cisterns were destroyed live unconnected to the water network and are forced to rely on rain harvesting and/or water purchases from vendors. Most of the communities that have been subject to demolition of cisterns reside in the vicinity of Israeli settlements and unauthorized outposts that enjoy a regular water supply. Aid agencies are dismayed by what appears to be a continuous targeted destruction and consciously slanted distribution of one of the most scarce and most vital natural resources in the occupied Palestinian territory. As an object "essential for the survival of the population", according to International Humanitarian Law, water cisterns have special protection and hence should never be destroyed based on administrative reasons.
      link to english.pnn.ps

      Fact sheet on water and sanitation in the access-restricted areas of the Gaza Strip
      PNN -- Thursday 20th December, EWASH launched a factsheet on Water and Sanitation in the Access Restricted Areas of the Gaza Strip ... The Access Restricted Areas (ARA) extend along the entire northern and eastern perimeter of the Gaza Strip, adjacent to the 'Green Line' with Israel. Since late 2008, Palestinian access to these areas is restricted under an unilateral decree by the Government of Israel. The restricted areas are between 300 and 1.500 meters wide and include residential areas and prime agricultural land and water resources. Key Facts:
      113,000 people are affected by the Israeli restrictions in the ARA.
      Farming is the main source of income for the majority of families in the ARA.
      Approximately 35% of Gaza's cultivable land is located within the ARA.
      More than 50% of the land in the ARA is not cultivated due to access restrictions and unavailability of reliable water supply.
      Average loss to farmers' income in the ARA is estimated at 63.7% compared to 5 years ago.
      306 water wells in the ARA have been demolished by the Israeli military since 2005 at an estimated cost of 9 million dollars.
      6 agricultural water reservoirs have been demolished in the ARA since the 2008/9 Israeli offensive "Cast Lead", all of which remain unrepaired.
      2750 dunams of water irrigation networks and 7600 meters of water pipes have been destroyed by the Israeli military since 2007.
      link to english.pnn.ps

      Organizations embark on new project to help protect Palestinians' rights
      PNN 21 Dec -- The European Union (EU) and Oxfam together with the Women's Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling (WCLAC), Juzoor for Health and Social Development, The Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS), The Agriculture Development Association (PARC) and the Coalition for Jerusalem represented by the Palestinian Counseling Centre (PCC), have announced the launch of a three year project to help Palestinians living in some of the most marginalized communities of East Jerusalem, where people are suffering from severely limited municipal services, Israeli settlement expansion, house demolition, and revocation of their residency rights.
      The 3.5 million Euro EU-funded project, "Protect the Rights and Improve the Resilience of Vulnerable Communities in East Jerusalem," seeks both to address the Israeli governmental violations causing poverty and displacement and to improve living conditions for 30,000 Palestinians in East Jerusalem neighborhoods like Silwan, Esawwiyyeh, Sur Baher, Wadi Al Joz and the Old City.
      link to english.pnn.ps

      Cut off from water and electricity grids, Arab Abu Farda stands alone
      Palestine Monitor 19 Dec by Calum Toogood, photos by Lazar Simeonov -- Arab Abu Farda is a Bedouin village which for the past 60 years has received no basic amenities such as water and electricity, and little help from the outside community. It is situated South of Qalqiliya in what is known as the 'seam zone', which is the land between the green line and the Apartheid Wall. This land is classified as a closed military zone, meaning construction in the area is prohibited. Even access through the checkpoint requires special permission. Since structures are not allowed to be built within the village due to the Israeli occupation policies, the houses are predominately made of corrugated metal, wooden pallets and anything else the villagers have been able to gather. The village is agriculturally based, as the residents breed livestock and sell the cheese from their animals in Nablus. During the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians embarked upon Jewish militia groups in 1948, the family that now lives in Arab Abu Farda was forced to flee from their home in a village close to Netanya.
      link to www.palestinemonitor.org

      Israel 'developing new city' in West Bank
      Telegraph 20 Dec by Robert Tait in Jerusalem -- Amid international condemnation of a sudden rush of settlement-building announcements totalling more than 6,000 new homes, settlers hailed the approval of plans for 523 houses in Geveot in the Gush Etzion bloc in the southern West Bank as a major triumph. The area, in the Judaean hills near the pre-1967 green line border, is currently inhabited by a small number of settlers living in caravans. "After years, we are happy to announce that the government of Israel has decided to build a city in Gush Etzion," David Perel, head of the Gush Etzion regional council, told AFP. "This is a huge achievement." He said plans for a city of at least 6,000 homes had been on the drawing board for around 12 years but had previously been rejected by Israel's defence ministry.  Mr Perel's assertion was supported by the Israeli anti-settler group, Peace Now, which warned that the development could eventually accommodate 25,000 settlers and further complicate negotiations for a possible two-state solution.
      link to www.telegraph.co.uk

      Jewish worshipers visit West Bank tomb
      SALFIT (Ma‘an) 21 Dec -- Thousands of Jewish worshipers accompanied by Israeli soldiers entered Kifl Haris in the northern West Bank on Friday, locals said. Kifl Haris mayor Issam Abu Yaqoub said the Israelis behaved provocatively during the visit, shouting at villagers and dancing in the streets.  Izzat Shuqour, Yaqoub's deputy, said the group plastered stickers on Palestinian homes in the village. Religious sites sacred to Jews and Muslims are located in Kifl Haris.
      link to www.maannews.net

      Curfew imposed on Kifl Haris as settlers invade
      ISM 21 Dec -- At around 9.30pm last night several Israeli Army vehicles entered the village of Kifl Haris as they do many times every year. They immediately imposed a strict unannounced curfew. The Israeli military tell nobody this will happen, nobody can leave their homes, nobody is able to visit a doctor or a hospital. If settlers attack your home you must deal with it alone.
      Kifl Haris is a Palestinian village in the northern West Bank, located six kilometres west of Salfit and 18 kilometres south of Nablus. Unfortunately for the villagers of Kifl Haris they are amongst the nearest village to the West Banks largest illegal settlement Ariel.
      The pretext of the invasion into Kifl Haris is a pilgrimage to three disputed tombs, praying and dancing at a site they claim holds the remains of biblical ancestors. But as a resident explained, if they want to visit the tombs, why does it have to start in the middle of the night, and go onto the morning? Why do my children have to lay awake as they sing and drink alcohol? This isn’t about religion. This about them continuously intimidating us and seizing our land ...
      On certain visits the settlers have caused various different sorts of damage the village of Kifl Haris. They have forced their way into people's homes leaving a trail of destruction behind them and often have damaged cars, by puncturing tyres or smashing windows.
      link to palsolidarity.org

      Official: Israel lets 557 Christians out of Gaza for holidays
      GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 20 Dec -- Israel will allow 557 Christians from the Gaza Strip to leave to the West Bank to participate in holiday celebrations, Palestinian officials and the Israeli army said.  A Palestinian official told Ma‘an that the Israeli side delivered 557 permits to Christians seeking to temporarily leave Gaza to join religious celebrations in the occupied West Bank. They will be allowed to leave Gaza from Dec. 24 until Jan. 8. The time period covers the two main Christmas observances for Catholic and Orthodox, on Dec. 25 and Jan. 7.  Many Christians were not eligible to apply for the permits which are subject to age restrictions. They are only given to Palestinians under 16 years old and older than 35 ... In 2011 Israeli authorities gave 550 Christians from Gaza permits for the holidays.
      link to www.maannews.net

      Violence / Incursions / Clashes / Provocations / Arrests

      PCHR Weekly Report [13-19 Dec]: 10 Palestinian civilians wounded; one dies of earlier wounds
      IMEMC 21 Dec -- 5 Palestinian civilians were wounded in the Gaza Strip, 4 of whom were wounded at the border area, while the fifth was wounded in the sea. Three Palestinian civilians, including two children, were wounded in the West Bank. At least 33 Palestinian civilians were abducted in the West Bank. 4 children from the Gaza Strip were abducted while attempting to cross the border into Israel ... During the reporting period, the Israeli forces conducted at least 35 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank ... During the reporting period, Israeli forces used force against peaceful demonstrations organized by Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders in protest at the construction of the wall and settlement activities in the West Bank. As a result, 4 Palestinian civilians, a 16 year-old boy sustained a gunshot to the right hand and an 18 year-old boy sustained a gunshot to his back in Bil‘in village   Full detailed report here
      link to www.imemc.org

      Palestinian child wounded in explosion of Israeli ordnance
      JERICHO (PIC) 20 Dec -- A 12-year-old Palestinian child was wounded when an Israeli army ordnance exploded near Jericho in the northern Jordan Valley on Thursday. Aref Daraghme, the mayor of Malih and rural areas in the northern Jordan Valley, said that Najiya Zamel suffered injuries in her limbs as a result of the explosion of the ordnance left over by Israeli occupation forces. He said that the blast took place in Hamamat Al-Malih that is frequently used by the IOF troops to exercise, adding that many victims fell as a result of similar explosions over the past few years.
      link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

      Israel detains 3 from PA security in Nablus
      NABLUS (Ma‘an) 20 Dec -- Israeli forces crossed into Nablus overnight Wednesday and inspected seven houses belonging to Palestinians who work in the security services in Tal village, locals said. Israeli forces detained Sayel Tahseen Ramadan, 25, who works in the Palestinian security forces. They also detained Mohammad Ibrahim Ramadan, 25, and Jaafar al-Turabi, 28 and took them to an unknown location, according to residents of the village.
      link to www.maannews.net

      Undercover agents arrest seven Jerusalemites including child during night raid
      OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 20 Dec -- Israeli occupation forces (IOF) fired tear gas and rubber bullets at Palestinian youths near the Shu‘fat refugee camp north of occupied Jerusalem on Tuesday night. Eyewitnesses said that undercover IOF soldiers ambushed Palestinian young men in the camp and captured seven of them. They said that the detainees included a 14-year-old child and a vendor, adding that the IOF soldiers were wearing plain clothes. They said that the agents beat up the seven detainees before holding them for two hours then taking them to Nabi Yaakov police station for questioning.
      link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

      IOF kidnap 12 Palestinians in W. Bank and Jerusalem
      NABLUS (PIC) 20 Dec -- The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) kidnapped at dawn Thursday 12 Palestinians from different areas in the West Bank and Jerusalem. A force of Israeli troops kidnapped three Palestinian citizens from the villages of Tal and Sura southwest of Nablus city. Eyewitnesses said that the troops smashed furniture and caused material damage inside homes during the raids in the two villages.
      In Al-Khalil city, the IOF kidnapped at dawn Shiekh Omar Al-Qawasmi and one of his nephews.
      Nine other citizens were also detained and interrogated for hours during raids on homes before releasing only six of them later in Jalama town east of Jenin city.
      The IOF kidnapped three young men as well during a campaign in Issawiya area in the occupied city of east Jerusalem.
      link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

      Israeli forces detain Palestinian in Hebron
      HEBRON (Ma‘an) 20 Dec -- Israeli forces on Thursday raided al-Aroub refugee camp and detained Mahmud Ali al-Bis, 25, a Ma‘an reporter said.
      At 3 a.m., Israeli forces raided Ethna village west of Hebron, and fired stun grenades toward Palestinian laborers. Laborers were in their way to work inside the green line. One of the laborers told Ma‘an that the "Israeli forces fired sound bombs to provoke us."
      In Hebron, Israeli forces raided a money exchange shop. The shop keeper told Ma‘an that the Israeli forces caused damage to the shop.
      link to www.maannews.net

      IOF soldiers storm Hebron villages, serve summonses
      AL-KHALIL (PIC) 20 Dec -- Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stormed Beit Ummar village, north of Al-Khalil, at dawn Thursday and served summonses to two brothers. The spokesman for the popular anti-settlement committee in the village said that the soldiers broke into many homes and searched them. He said that the soldiers thoroughly searched the home of Adib Jafar before dawn and served summonses to both his sons Adham and Haithem for intelligence questioning in Gush Etzion army barracks, north of Al-Khalil.
      link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

      Israel arrests 8 Palestinians in West Bank raids
      BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 21 Dec -- Israeli forces detained eight Palestinians in the West Bank overnight Thursday, the army said. Troops detained three Palestinians in the Hebron district, two in Tulkarem and three from the village of Rummana north of Jenin, an Israeli military spokesman told Ma‘an. They were taken for security questioning, he added.
      link to www.maannews.net

      Settlers burn vehicles, spray racist slogans south of Nablus
      NABLUS (WAFA) 20 Dec -- Jewish settlers burnt on Thursday two Palestinian-owned cars and sprayed racist slogans in the area in Majdal Bani Faddel, a village south of Nablus city, according to an activist. Ghassan Douglas, in charge of settlements file in the northern part of the West Bank, said that settlers infiltrated the village and burnt the cars belonging to Khaled Othman [Ma‘an gives the name as Anan]. He added they also sprayed racist slogans and drew the Star of David.
      link to english.wafa.ps


      Official: 5 injured by Israeli fire in Gaza
      GAZA CITY (Ma’an) 21 Dec -- Israeli forces shot and injured five Palestinians on Friday in the northern Gaza Strip [PIC: east of the Shouhada cemetery and east of the town of Beit Lahiya], a health ministry spokesman said. Ashraf al-Qidra said five Palestinians were hospitalized with moderate wounds after being shot near the border with Israel ... Israeli troops have shot at Gazans near the border at least 10 times since the end of an eight-day offensive last month. Some 30 people have been wounded in the incidents, Gaza officials said.
      link to www.maannews.net

      Israeli attacks on media in Gaza 'unlawful'

      Al Jazeera 20 Dec -- Israel violated international laws by targeting media in Gaza during the November 2012 conflict, US-based non-governmental organisation Human Rights Watch has said. During the eight day conflict, the Israeli army targeted media personnel and offices of al Aqsa TV, al Quds Educational Radio, Quds TV, and Alwan Radio. The four attacks on journalists and media facilities by Israel in Gaza "was unlawful as it violated the laws of war by targeting civilians and civilian objects that were making no apparent contribution to Palestinian military operations," the rights organisation said in a statement on Thursday. The attacks left two Palestinian cameramen killed, ten other media workers wounded and four media offices destroyed, including one in a building housing international media. The Israeli government has consistently defended the attacks by stating that the attacks were on legitimate military targets.
      link to www.aljazeera.com

      Survivors of Israeli offensive give heartbreaking testimonies in new video
      EI 21 Dec by Adri Nieuwhof -- Palestinian rights organization al-Haq has released a new video with heartbreaking testimonies by people who lost family members in Israel’s November military offensive against Gaza. Jamal al-Dalou testifies in the video how his family was wiped out by an Israeli bomb.
      link to electronicintifada.net

      Study: Older children hit hardest by Gaza war
      BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 20 Dec -- Older children were more affected by Israel's war on the Gaza Strip than younger children, a survey by UNICEF found. UNICEF worked with the Palestinian Center for Democracy and Conflict Resolution and Birzeit University to conduct a rapid psycho-social assessment of children in the hardest-hit areas of the Gaza Strip, four days after the Nov. 21 ceasefire. Around three-quarters of the children surveyed had witnessed at least four violent events during the 8-day war ... 83 percent reported that their homes were damaged or destroyed in the war. Of those surveyed, 14 percent were injured by Israeli shelling. Some 94 percent slept with their parents during the war and over three-quarters suffered aches and illness. Nearly all children - 97 percent - felt insecure, and 82 percent felt angry. Boys reported significantly more fears than girls, while more girls reported physical symptoms.
      link to www.maannews.net

      We will remain rooted here, says defiant father of Gaza boy killed by Israel
      EI 19 Dec by Rami Almeghari -- Under a mulberry tree on a sunny day, Muhammad Ibrahim Ashour and five of his cousins were playing near their homes on Siyam street in the Zaytoun neighborhood of southern Gaza City. It was Tuesday, 20 November and Israeli warplanes were carrying out intensive air strikes on the area, and many other parts of the coastal occupied territory. All of a sudden, an Israeli drone-fired missile hit the mulberry tree, killing eight-year-old Muhammad and wounding the five cousins and Muhammad’s eighty-year-old grandfather ... Abu Rizeq added: "I couldn’t imagine my nephew would be a target for their warplanes. Our home is almost three kilometers away from the borderline and as you see, all four homes belong to me and my other brothers and no stranger can approach this area. Our women, ourselves and our children are the only ones here," he explained. "The moment the explosion hit just a few meters away from the family house, I was in shock while an ambulance came over to rescue the wounded children and my dead nephew Muhammad."
      link to electronicintifada.net

      Minister oversees export of Gaza strawberry harvest
      MEMO 21 Dec -- EXCLUSIVE PICTURES -- The Palestinian Minister of Agriculture in Gaza, Ali Al-Tarshawi, has joined strawberry farmers to pick this year's harvest and witness the filling and loading of shipments in preparation for export. The minister was accompanied on his tour of farms in Beit Lahiyya, in the north of the Gaza Strip, by the town's mayor, Izzedine Al-Dahnoun as well as heads of agricultural associations and facilitating agencies, along with ministry officials.
      Mr. Al-Tarshawi said that around 250 acres of strawberry crops had been cultivated this year, giving a yield of between 2,500 and 3,000 tons. It is expected that between 500 and 700 tons of the strawberries will be exported from Gaza to Western Europe; the remainder will be consumed locally. He explained only about 500 tons were exported last year, which represents only 30 per cent of the quantity of strawberries being exported prior to the start of Israel's blockade of Gaza when, on average, 1,500 tons were exported.
      link to www.middleeastmonitor.com

      Mass wedding in Gaza
      MEMO 20 Dec -- EXCLUSIVE PICTURES  A mass wedding ceremony organised by the Islamic National Committee for Social Solidarity has been held in Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip. The ceremony was funded by the UAE's Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Aal Nahyan Foundation. Such wedding ceremonies in Gaza are held as a way of mitigating the high cost of individual weddings and are subsidised by international Islamic organisations and philanthropic individuals. Each couple at the ceremony in Rafah was also given $4,000 from a fund provided by the Foundation for humanitarian work. 436 couples thanked the Islamic National Committee and the Sheikh Khalifa Foundation for their blessed efforts.
      link to www.middleeastmonitor.com

      Freedom Flotilla activists reject Israeli compensation for their taken belongings
      NAZARETH (PIC) 20 Dec -- Some activists who participated in the Freedom Flotilla aid convoy refused the renewed Israeli offer to compensate them financially instead of giving their confiscated belongings back. Their belongings were stolen by the Israeli naval forces during their raid on the Mavi Marmara boat, one of the Freedom Flotilla ships that were attacked in international waters by the navy in May 31, 2010 ... For his part, Sheikh Ra'ed Salah, head of the Islamic Movement in the 1948 occupied lands and one of the activists, expressed his belief that all their belongings are still in Israel's possession ... "especially the notebook in which I wrote in detail the Freedom Flotilla trip including the deadly attack that was carried out by the Zionist pirates," Sheikh Salah stated.
      link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

      Egypt deports 11 Palestinians to the Gaza Strip
      PNN 19 Dec -- On Tuesday 19th December, Israeli authorities deported 11 Palestinians who "illegally" entered Egypt, and were returned to the Gaza Strip through Rafah crossing. An Egyptian security source said that Egyptian authorities discovered the Palestinians after they entered the country; some of them entered to Egypt through the tunnels, and the others stayed in Egypt after their visa   expired. Egyptian authorities decided to deport them and return them back to Gaza.
      link to english.pnn.ps


      Report: 4600 prisoners in Israeli jails, including 182 children, 184 administrative detainees
      PNN -- On Wednesday 19th December, a report prepared by Palestinian researcher in the field of prisoners' affairs, Abdul Nasser Farawna, revealed that Israeli authorities detain 4600 in its detention centers and jails, from all social classes and segments of Palestinian society. He revealed that around 83% of prisoners are from the West Bank, 10% from the Gaza Strip and the rest are from Jerusalem, distributed to about 17 prisons and detention centers. He also revealed that among the prisoners, there are 182 children less than18 years, 11 female prisoners, 184 administrative detainees who were arrested without charge or trial, 13 elected deputies, and 3 former ministers, and several academic and political leaders.
      link to english.pnn.ps

      "Keep your head high:" a comrade's greeting to Samer Issawi
      EI 21 Dec by Shahd Abusalama -- Ayman Shrawna has suspended his 178-day hunger strike for ten days, as he has been promised by the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) that it would review his case and release him by the beginning of next year. He is allowing himself to have only fluids, but has threatened to continue his strike if the IPS fails to fulfill its promises. This leaves Samer Issawi alone in this battle of empty stomachs, continuing his historic hunger strike that has lasted for 145 days.
      While surfing on Facebook this week, I saw a video my best friend Loai Odeh had shared of the attack on Samer Issawi in an Israeli court. It made me feel sick and angry, but not shocked. "Your humanity and determination is always stronger than their brutality and savagery," Loai wrote to his friend Samer, whom he grew up with in Jerusalem, and with whom he shared a cell in Israeli jails and was released in the prisoner exchange deal last year.
      link to electronicintifada.net

      PCHR expresses extreme concern over the fate of al-Sharawna and al-Issawi
      GAZA (PIC) 21 Dec -- The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) expressed extreme concern over the fate of Ayman al-Sharawna and Samer al-Issawi, who have been on hunger strike in Israeli jails. PCHR held the Israeli Occupation Forces responsible for their lives, and called upon the international community to exert pressure on the IOF to immediately release al-Sharawna and al-Issawi ... Ayman al-Sharawna, 36, from al-Khalil, and Samer al-Issawi, 33, from Jerusalem, have now been on hunger strike for 173 days and 143 days respectively in protest against being re-arrested and placed under the administrative detention.
      link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

      Israel releases lawyer straight into house arrest so she can't attend brother's trial
      MEMO 20 Dec -- Palestinian human rights sources in occupied Jerusalem have reported that the city's Magistrates' Court has released lawyer Shereen El-Issawi on bail, only to place her under house arrest. She is the sister of hunger striker Samer El-Issawi, and her confinement at home means that she will be unable to attend his trial. Samer is in the fifth month of his hunger strike. The Palestinian Prisoners' Forum in Jerusalem explained that the decision to release Shereen mentions specifically the ban on her attending the trials of any of her brothers, as well as Samer's, for a period of six months.
      The Forum's lawyer, Mofeed El-Hajj, revealed that the court also decided to drop the new charge levelled against Samer El-Issawi for allegedly assaulting police officers who were transporting him to court.
      link to www.middleeastmonitor.com

      Rebuilding the solidarity tent with al-Issawi for the second time
      OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 21 Dec -- Residents of Issawiya town in Jerusalem rebuilt on Thursday evening the sit-in tent, that was set up in solidarity with their son the striking prisoner Samer al-Issawi and all the striking prisoners, after being demolished by the occupation. The residents had built the solidarity tent of wood at the same place next to al-Arabiin mosque in the town center where almost daily confrontations took place with occupation troops and police, in an attempt to prevent a campaign of solidarity with prisoner al-Issawi, who has been on hunger strike for several months.
      link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

      Israel 'will never undermine our steadfastness': hunger strikers speak out from prison
      EI 19 Dec by Maureen Clare Murphy -- Three Palestinian political prisoners who have been on hunger strike for 22 days issued a statement expressing the goals of their protest through a lawyer with the rights group Addameer who visited them yesterday. The three men are being held by Israel without charge or trial — a practice known as administrative detention. All three were arrested on 22 November, the night after a Gaza ceasefire took effect, during which Israeli forces conducted sweeping arrest raids in the occupied West Bank. The prisoners -- Jafar Azzadine, Tarek Qa’adan and Yousef Yassin -- stated: Our open hunger strike is to protest the Intelligence and their policies, our goal is not just to gain our individual freedom but to end the practice of administrative detention, the pointed sword on the neck of the Palestinians.
      link to electronicintifada.net

      New round of hunger strikes
      RAMALLAH (Al-Akhbar) 20 Dec -- Of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, Palestinians will often say, "We have no honor without you." This is especially true for those who go on hunger strikes to protest the low conditions of their imprisonments, in particular the Israeli policy of "administrative detention," which permits the detainment of prisoners without trial. In 2012, about 2,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails went on a hunger strike. When the strike ended in May 2012, many prisoners were assured their release, but Israel did not follow through.
      Currently, there are five Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons who continue their hunger strikes:
      link to english.al-akhbar.com

      West Bank marches in solidarity with prisoners and the Yarmouk camp
      RAMALLAH (PIC) 21 Dec -- West Bank's weekly anti-apartheid wall and settlements marches were launched today in solidarity with the hunger striking prisoners and the refugees in Syria's refugee camps. The occupation forces suppressed the Ma‘sara village's weekly march ... IOF also announced the town of Kafr Qaddoum a closed military zone and besieged it from its four sides ... Meanwhile, dozens of citizens and foreign solidarity activists suffered suffocation after the Israeli troops fired at them tear gas grenades, during the repression of Bil'in's weekly anti-settlement and apartheid wall march. The IOF also attacked the weekly march of the village of Nabi Saleh that started from al-Shouhada Square after Friday prayers in solidarity with the prisoners in the Israeli jails.
      link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

      Young activists close Red Cross in Ramallah in response to protest calls
      RAMALLAH (PIC) 20 Dec -- Dozens of Palestinian young activists closed on Thursday morning the entrance of the Red Cross headquarters in Ramallah city to protest its passive role in exposing Israel's crimes against the Palestinian prisoners and hunger strikers ... Earlier on Wednesday, Palestinian youth groups in Ramallah city called for closing all the Red Cross offices in the West Bank in protest at its silence on Israel's violations against the Palestinian prisoners and hunger strikers.
      link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

      Activism / Solidarity / BDS

      In historic decision, South Africa's ANC makes support for Israel boycott its official policy
      EI 20 Dec by Ali Abunimah -- For the first time ever, the African National Congress (ANC), the ruling party in South Africa, today made the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions on Israel part of its official policy. Mbuyiseni Ndlozi of BDS South Africa said the decision "by the ANC’s National Conference, its highest decision making body, is by far the most authoritative endorsement of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel campaign." ... In the days leading up to the conference, Jewish communal and Zionst organizations had expressed worries about the impending vote JTA reported on 18 December:... The groups mounted intense efforts to forestall the resolution
      link to electronicintifada.net

      Amid stiff opposition, Israeli occupation profiteer Veolia abandons big London waste bid in final stage
      EI 21 Dec by Ali Abunimah -- Amid stiffening opposition, Israel occupation profiteer Veolia has withdrawn its bid for a major contract in London in the final stages of the process. "The North London Waste Authority has received notification from Veolia Environmental Services that they will not be submitting final tenders for either NLWA’s waste services or fuel use contracts," said a 21 December statement from the body responsible for waste management for seven local authorities in the UK capital. The statement confirmed that "Veolia had been shortlisted for both contracts," which have a total value of four billion pounds.The announcement came after mounting opposition to the bid, spearheaded by the No to Veolia Action Group.
      link to electronicintifada.net

      BDS roundup: Boycott actions for the holidays; St. Louis to investigate Veolia before voting on contract
      EI 20 Dec -- In this latest roundup of news from the global boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, activists in the US and in Australia urge holiday shoppers to boycott Israeli settlement products; and St. Louis city officials delay a vote on a contract and will begin a full investigation into Veolia’s history after sustained pressure by activists.
      link to electronicintifada.net

      Podcast: Sodastream part of the occupation, says UK-based boycott activist Tony Greenstein
      EI 21 Dec -- "People will see [Sodastream] as anything but green, and anything but progressive. Ethnic cleansing is not green." - Tony Greenstein, longtime Palestine solidarity activist and member of Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods
      This week on The Electronic Intifada podcast: Israel breaks the ceasefire agreement with Gaza’s ruling party just days after it was signed last month, we’ll have reports on the ongoing attacks against Palestinian fishermen and farmers as Gaza continues to rebuild in the aftermath of Israel’s attacks; Palestinian hunger strikers speak out from Israeli jails; and more.
      link to electronicintifada.net

      Petitions condemn California resolution equating Palestine activism with anti-semitism
      EI 19 Dec by Nora -- Two separate petitions have begun circulating across the state of California which express serious concerns about House Resolution 35, a non-binding resolution that was passed with no debate at the very end of the state Assembly’s term in August. One petition is aimed at garnering support (from University of California students and alumni) of the University of California Student Association’s condemnation of HR 35, and another has started to circulate from the California Scholars for Academic Freedom urging the state to rescind the resolution altogether.
      link to electronicintifada.net

      UK lawsuit challenges college unions' right to boycott Israel
      EI 21 Dec by Asa Winstanley -- In October and November, a London court heard a case with potential consequences for the Palestine solidarity movement and for trade unions’ gradual adoption of the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. The director of Academic Friends of Israel is suing his own union in an employment tribunal. Ronnie Fraser accuses the 120,000-member-strong University and College Union of "institutional anti-Semitism" after its congress passed motions calling for members to discuss the Palestinian call to boycott Israeli universities. But according to one court document seen by The Electronic Intifada, Fraser follows a definition of anti-Semitism that seems to include any criticism of Israel.
      link to electronicintifada.net

      Political developments

      Last local elections to be held Saturday
      RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 21 Dec -- A second round of voting will take place in the West Bank on Saturday in municipalities that did not take part in earlier local elections. Some 78 municipalities failed to field any candidates for the elections, and after a second registration, 20 districts remained without candidates. In other municipalities only one list was nominated. In contested municipalities, voting will take place on Saturday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. in 24 voting centers, the Palestinian Central Elections Commission said.
      link to www.maannews.net

      Europe trying to convince US to obtain Security Council resolution against settlements
      IMEMC/Agencies 21 Dec -- Nimir Hammad, Political Advisor to President Mahmoud Abbas, stated that several European Countries are exerting efforts meant at convincing the United States to obtain a serious resolution at the United Nations General Assembly to prevent Israel from continuing its illegal settlement activities. Last Wednesday, the United States foiled several attempts by Security Council member countries meant at issuing a resolution condemning Israel for its settlement activities in occupied East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank. Due to U.S. pressures, the countries failed to pursue such a resolution ... Speaking to Ma‘an, Hammad said that "should it become apparent that the Security Council will not take any serious decision regarding Israel’s ongoing violations, the Palestinian leadership will weigh the possibility of heading to the International Criminal Court after obtaining a membership status."

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