The Palestine Brief (13)
Israel losing international support, says British ambassador
Urgent appeal to Egypt to save Abu Sissi’s life
PLO: Israel implement “transfer” policy against Palestinians
PCBS: settlers grew 1.3% this year
A weekly report published by the Center for Political and Development Studies (CPDS), Gaza on the latest developments in Palestine.
August 5, 2012
- Israel losing international support, says British ambassador
The British ambassador to Israel has said international support for Israel among those in the political mainstream is eroding, driven by settlement expansion in the West Bank and continued restrictions on Gaza. There is “growing concern” in the UK over lack of progress towards peace with the Palestinians, and Israel was now being seen as Goliath against the Palestinians as David, said Matthew Gould, in reference to the biblical story.
In an unusually forthright interview for Israel’s Channel 10 news, Gould said he detected a shift among the middle ground of British members of parliament towards a more critical view of Israel.
- Urgent appeal to Egypt to save Abu Sissi’s life
The Engineers Union in Gaza denounced the cruel detention conditions of the engineer Dirar Abu Sisi, 42, and condemned his continued isolation despite the recent agreement that ended the Palestinian captive movement strike. The union considered, in a statement on Monday, Abu Sissi’s continued detention as a new Israeli crime against the Palestinian people in total violation of the international humanitarian laws and human and captives’ rights.
The union held the Israeli occupation authorities fully responsible for the prisoner’s life, appealing to Egyptian authorities, as the mediator of the recent agreement, to intervene to end the plight of the prisoner. The union called on its members and all the free world, trade unions, international human rights organizations and institutions to demand an end to Abu Sissi’s isolation and to stop the Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people.
The union confirmed that it will pursue all means, including legal measures, to end this unjust isolation.
- More punitive measures against prisoners in Gilboa
Palestinian prisoners in Gilboa prison have been exposed to Israeli punitive measures since the beginning of the month of Ramadan, revealed a lawyer for Tadamun Foundation for Human Rights after visiting the detainees there. Ahmed Beitawi, a researcher with the foundation, said that the prison administration of Gilboa informed the prisoners of its intention to withdraw the ventilators from some sections, which will increase their suffering, especially with the hot weather.
Beitawi quoted Jerusalemite captive Malik Najah Bakirat, who has been detained for 11 years and sentenced to 19 years, as saying that the prison administration also refused to provide the prisoners with their necessities for the month of Ramadan, noting the acute shortage of some food items such as the fresh vegetables.
- Lawyer: Hunger strikers assaulted by prison authorities
Israeli prison authorities on Wednesday assaulted two prisoners on hunger strike, a lawyer from the Palestinian Prisoners Society said. Jawad Boulos said that hunger strikers Samer al-Barq and Hassan Safadi had both been severely assaulted, after a visit to Ramle prison clinic on Wednesday. Full story here.
- Concern mounts for three remaining hunger strikers
Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Al-Haq and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-IL) are gravely concerned for the life and health of the three remaining Palestinian hunger strikers held by Israel. Of utmost concern is the health and life of administrative detainees Samer Al-Barq, today on his 76 day of renewed hunger strike, and Hassan Safadi who is on his 46 day of renewed hunger strike. Samer, whose current strike follows his previous 28-day strike and whose health continues to deteriorate rapidly, is only taking salts and vitamins and he is still being held in isolation.
- Father of blind children still jailed after 5 months
Ihab Abu al-Jedyan is one of dozens of Palestinians from Gazadetained during interviews with Israeli security forces to secure a permit to visit the West Bank.
Abu Al-Jedyan, 35, is the father to two blind children who study at al-Shuroq school for the visually impaired in the West Bank city of Bethlehem.
In February, Abu al-Jedyan applied to Israeli authorities for a permit to travel to the West Bank and collect his children, to bring them to his home in Gaza for the summer holidays. Israeli security forces summoned him for an interview and detained him. He has been in an Israel’s Ashkelon prison for five months without charge, his brother Ahmed told Ma’an.
Abu Al-Jedyan’s children in Bethlehem told Ma’an they missed their father. “Our father was going to visit us but the Israelis took him and we can’t see him. We miss our father, especially in Ramadan,” one of his sons said.
- Report details Israeli violations and seizure of West Bank land
The West Bank witnessed last week an Israeli frenzied campaign including seizure and confiscation of lands, in addition to a series of daily assaults on citizens, their homes, and their property.
The National Bureau for the Defense of Land revealed, in its weekly report, the Israeli ongoing demolition and accelerated seizure projects in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Tubas, Hebron, Salfit, Ramallah and Nabi Salah.
- Attili: Israeli settlers draining Palestinian water supply
Israel allocates 70 times more water to each settler than to the average Palestinian in the West Bank, the head of the Palestinian Water Authority said Sunday.
At a press conference in Ramallah, Shaddad Attili said Palestinians received 105 million cubic meters of water, less than the amount allocated in the 1995 Oslo Accords and around a quarter of the 400 million cubic meters needed according to international standards.
Meanwhile in Gaza, 95 percent of the water is not fit for human consumption, and sea water — contaminated with sewage — is leaking into the over-extracted coastal basin, threatening long-term problems of kidney disease. Within two years there may be no drinking water left in Gaza, Attili said.
- MK Zahalkha: Palestinian cars sprayed with “chemical material”
MK Zahalkha (National Democratic Assembly) submitted a parliamentary question to Minister of Defence concerning a chemical that Israeli soldiers spray on cars of Palestinian citizens of Israel who enter the West Bank.
Several Palestinian citizens of Israel contacted MK Zahalkha to enquire about the spray, which they said was sprayed on their cars as they entered the northern West Bank city of Jenin. They asked to know what the chemical is and what its possible health implications are.
- The Prawer Plan: Kicking indigenous Bedouins out
Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel, inhabitants of the Naqab (Negev) desert since the seventh century, are the most vulnerable community in Israel. For over 60 years, the indigenous Arab Bedouin have faced a state policy of displacement, home demolitions and dispossession of their ancestral land. Today, 70,000 Arab Bedouin citizens live in 35 villages that either predate the establishment of the State in 1948, or were created by Israeli military order in the early 1950s.
In September 2011, the Israeli government approved the Prawer Plan, the brainchild of former Deputy Chair of the National Security Council, Mr. Ehud Prawer. If implemented, the Prawer Plan will result in the destruction of the unrecognized villages and the forced displacement of up to 70,000 Arab Bedouin citizens. This plan was completed without consultation of the local community, and is a gross violation of the constitutional rights of the Arab Bedouin citizens to property, dignity, equality, adequate housing, and freedom to choose their own residence.
- Settlers: Living in Nazareth Illit no less important than living in West Bank
Israeli settlers are moving into cities which are home to both Jewish Israelis and Palestinian citizens within Israel, bringing their ideology and practice of separation and colonial occupation back into Israel. Current target: Nazareth Illit.
“To live here is a true calling because of the demographic situation. From our perspective it’s no less important than living in Judea and Samaria,” said Aviad Levi, chairperson of a group of “national-religious” Israelis who have moved into the northern city of Nazareth Illit.
- PLO: Israel implement “transfer” policy against Palestinians
A report prepared by the PLO’s National Bureau for DefendingLands and Resisting Settlement has revealed that Israel is implementing policies that aim at the Judaisation of the most prominent Palestinian areas with strategic importance in any future peace negotiations. Such policies include the “transfer” of the Palestinian population. The report accuses the international community of not doing anything to compel the Israeli government to halt its illegal settlement activities and what the report describes as “the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians”.
- MK calls for moving Aqsa Mosque to build the alleged Temple in its place
The rightist Knesset member Aryeh Eldad of the “National Union” bloc has proposed to his government to “cut up and move” the Aqsa Mosque in order to build the alleged Temple in its place.
Eldad said, during a march around the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem: “when the time comes to build the holy Temple and that will be soon, we will then cut up the structure which is there now”. “We will cut it up, and they can take it wherever they want”.
The Arab MK Talab Sanie asked the legal advisor of the Israeli government to investigate Eldad for his proposal. Taleb called Eldad’s remarks “seriously provocative to the point of causing calamities” in press statements.
- PCBS: settlers grew 1.3% this year
The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics revealed in a press release that the number of settlements in the West Bank totaled 144, the majority of them in Jerusalem governorate: 26 settlements of which 16 have been annexed by Israel.
Data indicate that the number of settlers in the West Bank in 2011 was 536,932, compared to 523,939 in 2010, with a growth rate of 1.3%. Settlers in the West Bank increased their numbers by more than 40 times during the period 1972-2011.
The PCBS’s release mentioned that most settlers (267,643) are concentrated in Jerusalem governorate (50% of the total settlers in the West Bank), including 199,647 settlers in Jerusalem Area (J1), the parts of Jerusalem annexed by Israel in 1967, followed by Ramallah and Al-Bireh governorate (100,501 settlers), Bethlehem governorate (59,414 settlers), and Salfit governorate (34,946 settlers), while the lowest number was in Tubas governorate (1,489 settlers).
- Activists to launch new flotilla to break Gaza siege
European activists are organizing a new flotilla in solidarity with residents of Gaza. Their boat is expected to leave the Baltic Sea in the coming weeks and pass through several harbors in the Mediterranean for events aimed at raising awareness, before reaching the sealed off Strip. Previous flotillas were intercepted by the Israeli Navy, which is expected to stop this trip too.
- Magic realism with footnotes: novelist Nasrallah creates a genre of his own
The 600-page Time of White Horses, published in Arabic in 2007 after a 20-year gestation period. Indeed the first assumption to collapse is that the term “realistic historical novel” is at all applicable. Time of White Horses is less a Palestinian War and Peace than a work of historical magic realism with footnotes — that is to say, it belongs in a genre entirely of its own invention.
Nasrallah chronicles three generations of a fictitious Palestinian family in a village called Hadiya (meaning, among other things, “peaceful”). Although Hadiya is fictitious, the author tells us in his preface that this “is the story of my village.” Such teasing ambiguities are typical of the book, and might well be described as “postmodern.”