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Settlers attack Palestinians in East Jerusalem home

111741_345x230[1]JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Two armed Israeli settlers raided a Palestinian home in East Jerusalem on Monday, and assaulted the owner and his friend, the owner said.

Sami al-Qalouni, 53, said he was at home in al-Tur village with his friend Jamal Abu Steif when the settlers raided in what al-Qalouni described as an attempt to take control of the building.

The settlers beat al-Qalouni and Abu Steif with iron bars, al-Qalouni told Ma’an.

Al-Qalouni suffered serious head, back and hand wounds, and Abu Steif sustained several fractures to his hand, a Ma’an reporter said.

Settlers previously set up a tent on al-Qalouni’s land.

Israeli police took the two wounded Palestinians to hospital and removed the tent, the reporter said.

A spokesman for Israeli police could not be reached for comment.

(Source / 08.07.2013)

Act of War: Israel Attacks Syrian Weapons Depot Containing Advanced Russian Arms


A massive explosion last Thursday at a major Syrian weapons depot in Latakia, not far from the main port of Tartus, completely destroyed the facility and munitions stored there.  

Tartus is Syria’s main port.  It is largely controlled by the Russian military, and the route by which all weapons transported by sea would enter Syria.  As such, any advanced Russian weaponry would enter via Tartous and might be stored in the Latakia depot.

latakia arms depot explosionThough the Free Syrian Army took immediate credit for the attack, it was not the responsible party.

A confidential Israeli source informs me that Israeli forces attacked the site.  The target were components of Russia’s SA-300 anti-aircraft missile system which had been shipped by Russia to Tartus and stored in Latakia.

Israel and exerted tremendous pressure on Vladimir Putin to cancel its contract to supply the missile batteries to Syria, since once they were operational they would render Israeli aircraft more vulnerable to attack.  Israel, of course, will countenance no front-line state having even defensive weapons which give it superiority over Israeli weapons systems.  In response to Israeli entreaties, Russia’s leader refused to budge and recommitted to providing the weapons to Assad.  Apparently, he’d begun to follow through on his promise with these first shipments.

This is Israel’s third attack inside Syria since January.  It considerably escalates the conflict there since it is the first known attack by Israeli forces which destroyed Russian armaments.  Though Putin was surely warned by Israel that this would happen if he went forward with the arms deal, actually attacking Russian munitions is an act to which Putin will not take kindly, to say the least.

Assad bragged publicly a month ago that the SA-300 deliveries had arrived.  Turns out he was right.  Perhaps he shouldn’t have shot his mouth off.

Ilatakia arms depot attacksrael’s Channel 10 aired a claim by Syria rebels that Israel attacked and Israel journalists tell their viewers that they know things they’re not allowed to tell.  A clear indication of Israeli involvement.  Haaretz reports that a Syrian army source called the explosion the result of a technical failure, which hardly seems credible.

My source further notes that the FSA coordinated with the IDF and launched a rocket attack on nearby government military installations in order to distract loyalist forces from the real target.  But the rebels played no role in the attack on the munitions cache.  Their claim of responsibility conveniently takes Israel off the hook (until people read this report) and lessens pressure or condemnation on Israel for its third major attack inside Syria since January.

It’s all the stranger that Haaretz’s Amos Harel, in writing about the incident would write this:

“Israel wasn’t mentioned in connection with Thursday’s incident in Latakia.  It doesn’t intervene in events in Syria.”

Apparently, Israelis believe that “intervention” means invading the country with boots on the ground.  When it sends its jet planes to bomb Syrian targets inside the country, that’s not considered intervention.  This is further evidence of Israeli delusions and self-denial about their level of interference in the affairs of frontline Arab states.  Such refusal to acknowledge Israel’s real role allows Israelis to believe falsely they’re innocent bystanders, sometimes even victims (!) in the affairs in the region.

How does Harel think Israel coordinated the FSA diversionary attack near Latakia?  With smoke signals?

No, Israeli intelligence has created a tacit alliance with the rebels who serve Israel’s interests when Assad acts in ways Israel believes will harm it.  Hezbollah’s role in the Qusayr fight may have caused alarm in the Israeli defense ministry, which may’ve seen this as further evidence of escalation inside Syria.  If Israel could take Hezbollah down a peg or two after its victory taking the Syria town on Assad’s behalf, it would be eager to do so.  In this sense, the Syrian civil war is a proxy battle between Israel and Hezbollah who are itching for their next direct confrontation (the last one being in 2006).

Israel launched a very similar raid several months ago on the Sudanese capital Khartoum, in which it destroyed a major government arms depot.  It’s known that Iran ships its weapons to Hamas and Syria via ports on the Arabian Sea, from where they’re shipped via Sudan to points north.  Again, Israel has sucked countries throughout the region into the vortex of its own conflict with the Palestinians.  If this doesn’t prove that this conflict is a major destabilizing force in the region, nothing will.

The area attacked is in the Alawite heartland of northwestern Syria.  As such, Assad would think of it as one of his most secure bastions.  Violating it as Israel has done would be meant to show Assad that he has no sanctuary from which to hide and serve as a psychological blow.  At least, Israel would hope to convey such a message.

Haaretz’s Hebrew edition reports that Israel may’ve chosen this time to attack because the attention of the international media was focussed on the Egyptian coup, which served as a convenient distraction.

Another factor to keep in mind is that the recent assistance that Hezbollah offered to Assad in sending 4,000 fighters to subdue the strategic town of Qusayr would come with a price.  Hezbollah would not be shy is extracting its share of the bargain, which would certainly involve transshipment of advanced Iranian or Russian weaponry via Syria to Lebanon, where the Lebanese militia would use it against Israel in any future military confrontation.

Another possibility is that Russia, which recently confirmed that it would honor its contract with Assad calling for delivery of the SA-300 anti-aircraft system.  It’s possible Russia had begun shipping components of these missile batteries to Assad.

This site speculates that Israel used cruise missiles launched from its German-built Dolphin submarines to destroy the complex.  If true, it would mean that German built advanced armaments were being used by Israel in a pre-emptive attack violating the territorial sovereignty of another Mideast country.  Though Israel could just as easily have used its own air force to do the job.

(Source / 08.07.2013)

Israel settlers attack Palestinian farmers in occupied West Bank


“The Israeli regime maintains a defiant stand on the issue of its illegal settlements on Palestinian land as it refuses to freeze settlement expansion. Tel Aviv has come under repeated and widespread international condemnation over the issue.”

Israeli settlers have beaten several Palestinian farmers in the town of Huwara in occupied West Bank, Press TVreports.

They were attacked while. Our correspondent Nel Burdon went to the scene to see what exactly happened.

The Monday assault came after over 50 Israeli settlers entered the Palestinian farmers lands in the town located in the Nablus Governorate of the northern West Bank.

The Israeli settlers also stole 300 sheep from the farmers and attempted to bring them back to their illegal settlements, according to a Press TV correspondent in Huwara.

Hours after the attack Israeli forces prevented several Palestinian farmers from working on their fields and ordered them to get Israeli permits before they could re-enter their land.

Farmers from Nablus say they have permits to harvest their olive gardens only two days in a week during olive harvesting season which remains their main source of annual income.

In recent years, Israeli settlers in the West Bank have often assaulted Palestinians and vandalized their property. However, the Tel Aviv regime rarely detains the assailants.

The Israeli regime maintains a defiant stand on the issue of its illegal settlements on Palestinian land as it refuses to freeze settlement expansion. Tel Aviv has come under repeated and widespread international condemnation over the issue.

More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds (Jerusalem).

Human rights groups accuse Tel Aviv of ignoring complaints by the victims of settler attacks.

(Source / 08.07.2013)

Israeli Settlers dump sewage on Palestinian farmland near Bethlehem

On Sunday afternoon, the Israeli settlement of Beitar Illit, west of Bethlehem, pumped thousands of gallons of sewage wastewater onto Palestinian farmland, destroying the crops and rendering the land unusable.

Farmer in Wadi Fukin looks toward settlement of Beitar Illit (image by Mother Jones)
Farmer in Wadi Fukin looks toward settlement of Beitar Illit

The area impacted is over one hundred acres of farmland in Wadi Fukin village.

The village council issued a statement calling on the Palestinian and Israeli authorities to act to do something about the constant harassment by the Israeli settlers in Beitar Illit settlement, and the periodic dumping of sewage onto village land.

The sewage wastewater dumping on Sunday affected the lands of around fifty local farmers, whose livelihoods depend on the farmland in question.

Israeli authorities have not responded to the request that they take action to stop the illegal dumping, and hold those responsible to account.

In the past, illegal dumping and seizure of the land of Wadi Fukin has been met by silence from the Israeli authorities.

(Source / 08.07.2013)

When non-violence is criminal: Palestinian women stand trial for West Bank protest

The IDF did not charge the two protesters with stone throwing, violent conduct or illegal gathering – but rather for violating a ‘closed military zone order,’ a highly unusual indictment. If the pair are convicted in court, it could set a precedent that demonstrates Palestinians are forbidden by Israel to oppose the occupation in any way.

The IDF’s Ofer Military Court in the West Bank will hold its first hearing tomorrow (Tuesday) in the trial of Nariman Tamimi and Rana Hamadah, two Palestinian women who were arrested on Friday, June 28 at the weekly demonstration against the occupation in Nabi Saleh.

The two women were held in Sharon Prison, in Israel, for more than three days before being brought before a military judge and indicted for entering a “closed military zone.” Rana Hamadah was also charged with obstructing a soldier in the execution of his duty.

Hamadah told +972 that during her arrest she asked the IDF soldier why she was being handcuffed, to which he replied: “Because I feel like it.” Hamadah said the pair were left handcuffed and blindfolded for nine hours, and were driven around in a vehicle with two male soldiers for seven more hours before being booked in Sharon Prison.

“Seeing the prisoners’ struggle from the inside gives an incredible urgency to their cause,” she said, adding that, “what we don’t see, and easily forget, is that the prisoners really must struggle for every passing minute.”

Nariman Tamimi told +972 this was the fifth time she has been arrested. She speculated that her arrest was part of the IDF’s efforts to crack down on the village’s right to protest, saying that Israel is “trying to make an example out of the village” by inflicting collective punishment.

A foreign national arrested along with the two Palestinian women was released later the same night and barred from entering the village for 15 days.

According to Israeli military law, under which Palestinians live, there is no such thing as a legal protest without permission from a military commander, which is rarely if ever granted (which is why arrests for stone throwing or organizing protests are so rampant).

According to B’Tselem, the legal proceedings initiated against Tamimi and Hamada since their arrest – and especially the IDF request for their remand for duration of proceedings (which was denied) – are unprecedented given the minor nature of the offense they are charged with. The indictment does not claim that the two women acted violently – which is usually the pretense for IDF arrests –  and the military prosecution rarely issues indictments for violating a “closed military zone.” From personal experience, I can attest that the IDF often baselessly issues such orders as a tool to repress protests, and in violation of Israeli High Court rulings, so the suspicion is that Israel is using its military legal control in the West Bank to repress legitimate protests.

As indicated by video footage, the demonstration was not violent and the women were not involved in any stone throwing or other act that could be construed as violent. Two military judges who watched video footage of the women’s arrest stated that they found no evidence of violent or menacing behavior on their part. It will therefore be interesting to see if and how the courts uphold the IDF’s arrests.

Like other high-profile arrests in Nabi Saleh, the women’s case is also attracting international attention. Amnesty International issued a statement on July 4 demanding that Israel stop the “bullying of Palestinian activists.” Its Middle East and North Africa program director said of the two women’s arrest: “They have been denied the basic human right to peacefully protest over land illegally seized by Israeli settlers, and the Israeli judiciary has used spurious legal tools to punish them for exercising their basic human right to peaceful protest.”

Since 2009, Nabi Saleh has been holding weekly protests against Israeli occupation, the wall and annexation of their land, including their spring, which has been seized by settlers from Halamish. Nairman’s husband, Bassem Tamimi, the village’s well-known Palestinian activist and non-violent leader, has been arrested several times and spent years in Israeli jail. Amnesty International declared  him aprisoner of conscience last year.

In this interview below, Nariman Taimimi describes the ordeal of their arrest, which she claims was the first time she was NOT beaten, but included other abuses such as being held overnight in a car and threatened with being strip-searched by male officers:


(Source / 08.07.2013)

Palestinian Bedouins attacked by right-wing Israeli settlers near Nablus

An armed gang of around 50 Israeli settlers stormed a Palestinian Bedouin community of shepherds in Huwwara area, south of Nablus in the northern West Bank on Saturday.

Bedouin community near Nablus (image from flickr)
Bedouin community near Nablus

This is not the first time that settlers from the nearby Itamar and Yitzhar religious Jewish Israeli settlements have attacked Palestinian civilians – in the last three years, these attacks have become more and more frequent occurrences, according to local residents. The attacks often take place on Saturdays, after religious services in the settlements.

In Saturday’s attack, the gang of armed settlers descended on the Bedouin community and began uprooting trees and plants and smashing the glass of vehicles belonging to the Bedouins. They also tried to steal sheep from the Bedouin shepherds.

The Bedouin community in Huwwara is made up of several families living in tin huts and tents in extremely impoverished conditions, trying to make a living by herding sheep.

The Palestinian monitor of settlement activity in the West Bank, Ghassan Daghlas, called on the Israeli liaison office to investigate the incident.

(Source / 07.07.2013)

Hunger Strike Updates: Abdullah Barghouthi in health crisis; cameras installed in prisoners’ hospital rooms

A Palestinian lawyer who visited Abdullah Barghouthi in Afula hospital on July 6, as he entered his 67th day of hunger strike, reported that he has entered an extremely dangerous phase, that his liver, blood vessels and irregular heartbeat pose a threat to his life. He noted that the hospital has a committee studying the health and legal status of Barghouthi, one of five Palestinian political prisoners holding Jordanian citizenship on hunger strike for their rights as Jordanians, including to be transferred to Jordan. The other four strikers, Muneer Mar’i, Mohammad Rimawi, Alaa Hamdan and Hamza Othman al-Dabbas, have also been on strike since May 2, for 67 days, and are facing severe health threats, in particular Mohammad Rimawi.

hungerdignity (1)

In addition, Ayman Hamdan and Imad Batran, Palestinian administrative detainees who have been on hunger strike for 71 and 62 days, respectively, protesting their administrative detention without charge or trial, have now had surveillance cameras installed inside their hospital room at Assaf Horofa Hospital in apparent retaliation for their hunger strike. Palestinian Prisoners Society lawyer Jawad Boulos also reported that they have 6 guards in their room with them who eat and drink inside the room. Both of them have their right hands and left feet chained to their hospital beds, despite their poor health as they consume only water, salt and glucose. Hamdan and Batran are among a number of Palestinian hunger strikers challenging administrative detention, including Ayman Al-Tabeesh and Adel  Hareebat, both of whom have been on hunger strike for 46 days.

Also on hunger strike are Hussam Mattar, demanding his release; Ghassan Elian, protesting his re-arrest after release in the prisoner exchange; Mohammed Al-Tabeesh, in solidarity with his brother Ayman; and Ahmed Hamdan, brother of Ayman Hamda.

Eyad Abu Khudair of Gaza continues his hunger strike for release; he has been detained beyond the end of his sentence and occupation officials refuse to release him, saying he has no identity papers. Khaled Hroub is on hunger strike demanding to be placed with his brother, Younis, and Awad al-Saidi is striking demanding an end to his isolation.

The Prisoners’ Society urged the broadest popular support for the striking prisoners and ill prisoners.

See the following chart (data from Palestinian Prisoners Society) on the hunger strikers and the date they launched their strikes:

Palestinian prisoner’s name

Date of Hunger Strike

Ayman Issa Hamdan 04/28/2013
Muneer Mari 05/02/2013
Abdullah Barghouti 05/02/2013
Alaa Hammad 05/02/2013
Mohammad Rimawi 05/02/2013
Hamza Othman Al-Dabbas 05/02/2013
Imad Batran 05/07/2013
Adel Hareebat 05/23/2013
Ayman Al-Tabeesh 05/23/2013
Hossam Mattar 06/01/2013
Ghassan Elian 06/10/2013
Mohammed Al-Tabeesh 06/12/2013
Khaled Hroub 06/15/2013
Eyad Abu Khudair 06/17/2013
Ahmed Hamdan 06/24/2013
Awad Al-Saidi 06/25/2013

(Source / 07.07.2013)

Significant increase in West Bank demolitions

Israeli authorities demolished a total of 49 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C of the West Bank last week (25 June – 1 July) on grounds that they were built without Israeli-issued building permits; 76 people were displaced and eight others were affected.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the occupied Palestinian territory reports that this represents a four-fold increase compared to the weekly average of structures demolished and people displaced since the beginning of 2013.

Forty-five of the targeted structures were demolished on 27 June in two herding communities in the northern Jordan Valley: Al Hadidya (10 structures) and Khirbet ar Ras al Ahmar (35 structures). In the latter location, Israeli forces confiscated two animal sheds (on 30 June) and damaged dozens of troughs and metal barrels. Around one-quarter of the structures demolished were residential shelters, resulting in the displacement of 64 people, including 21 children, while the remaining were animal sheds, kitchens and latrines. At least five of these structures were donated by the Palestinian Authority and international or local agencies in response to previous demolitions.

The remaining structures demolished this week included two residential shelters in the Al Mu’arrajat area (Ramallah), displacing 12 people, including four children and an agricultural shed and a retaining wall in Khallet An Nahla (Bethlehem).

(Source / 07.07.2013)

Lieberman: I would reoccupy Gaza, if I was the Israeli premier



NAZARETH, (PIC)– Avigdor Lieberman, the head of the Knesset foreign affairs committee, said that if he was the Israeli premier he would issue orders to invade the Gaza Strip immediately.

In remarks broadcast on Saturday by the Hebrew radio, Lieberman stated that a state  of fake and false calm as he described is prevailing in Gaza, and the Hamas Movement uses this calm to build up and develop its military capabilities.

As for the peace process, Lieberman stressed that his party Yisrael Beiteinu strongly opposes any concessions to be made by his government in order to revive the political talks with the Palestinian side, pointing out that the news reports that talked about Israeli intentions to make goodwill gestures towards the Palestinians were untrue.

Lieberman also commented on the events taking place in Egypt and said that Egypt’s stability is very important to Tel Aviv, expecting that jihadist groups in the Sinai Peninsula might take advantage of the unstable situation in Egypt to undermine Israel’s security.

(Source / 07.07.2013)

Israeli forces ‘arrest 65-year-old man’ near Hebron

HEBRON (Ma’an) — Israeli forces on Sunday detained a 65-year-old man near Yatta in the southern West Bank, a local committee said.

Soldiers detained Eid al-Hathaleen and prevented farmers and shepherds from reaching their land in Umm al-Khair, near the illegal Karmel settlement, Yatta popular committee spokesman Ratib Jabour said.

Soldiers threatened to arrest and fine the farmers if they entered the 12-acre area, which settlers seized and surrounded with barbed wire last week, Jabour added.

Jabour noted that the only well in Umm al-Khair is located in the closed area. He urged international and human rights organizations to intervene.

An Israeli military spokesman did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

(Source / 07.07.2013)