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Settling = A Warcrime. By Law. But Israel establishes settlement bloc in Bethlehem anyway


“Settling” constitutes a warcime according to international law and ICC statute. Even under US’ own military legislations’
Law resources below this article

The local municipality had plans to build a hospital and amusement park on the land

The local municipality had plans to build a hospital and amusement park on the land

Palestinians sources have stated that Israeli occupation forces have allowed settlers to establish a new settlement bloc in the town of Beit Sahour, east of Bethlehem. This will mean seizing control of approximately 11,000 square metres of the towns land, putting an end to investment projects being carried out in the town.The sources explained that the bloc is being established on a hilltop, on which an Israeli military post “Ush Ghrab” had been built and which was vacated 7 years ago.

These sources also stated that after the army had vacated the post, the Beit Sahour municipality made plans to build a hospital and amusement park in its place. However, an Israeli settler group repeatedly came to the site to pre-empt a possible seizure of the land.

In 2010, the Israeli occupation forces issued an order preventing Palestinians from reaching the hilltop claiming that it was a closed military area.

The settlers continued to organise protests on the site to pressure the Israeli government to completely seize the land and establish a settlement bloc to link the settlements west and south of Bethlehem and the Abu Ghneim (Har Homa) settlement in Jerusalem.

Mazin Qumsiyeh, an activist against the Wall and settlements, warned against the new Israeli decision by saying “this decision is dangerous for the villages of Beit Sahour and for the municipality as a whole; it is an attempt to erase Beit Sahour and veto its organisational structure. Because “Ush Ghrab” is part of the villages’ land, and is close to a number of houses and facilities, if their project is successful, the settlers will live in the centre of the city.”

Beit Sahour mayor, Hani Al-Hayek, said “After the army post was vacated in 2006, the land became property of the Beit Sahour municipality. The area of this land before being seized by the army was about 11,000 square metres. We must keep in mind that the municipality and the Palestinian Authority, with support from various parties, commenced the establishment of projects here, including parks, playgrounds, a children’s hospital, and other projects.”

Al-Hayek emphasised the efforts to thwart the settlers’ attempts to seize the area and the people of Beit Sahour’s defence of their land against this attack.

(Source / 08.05.2013)

Clashes erupt as settlers storm al-Aqsa

Al-Aqsa mosque pictured on 18 April 2013.

Israeli settlers, guarded by soldiers, stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem Tuesday, injuring several people and arresting at least three, local media reported.

A group of over 40 settlers, accompanied by members of the far-right Likud party, broke into the mosque interrupting student study sessions as Israeli forces stood guard outside the entrance to bar Palestinians from entering.

Soldiers also fired tear gas at Palestinians protesting the takeover.

Settlers entered the mosque through the Moroccan Gate, denying all Muslims under 50 access to the mosque.

Female students were also denied access to the mosque, resulting in clashes between the women and Israeli forces.

Forces injured a woman attempting to enter. She was later taken to a nearby hospital in Jerusalem for treatment.

Palestinian woman injured by Israeli attack on worshipers in Al Aqsa Mosque few hours ago, evacuated by medics. pic.twitter.com/xZQbTHS7lM

View image on Twitter

Settlers toured the mosque in commemoration of what Israelis call “Jerusalem Day” marking their military takeover of the Old City in 1967.

In a separate incident Sunday night over 1,000 settlers escorted by soldiers forced their way to the site of Joseph’s Tomb near Balata refugee camp east of Nablus.

Clashes broke out between the forces and Palestinians near the site resulting in three teenagers being treated for tear gas inhalation.

Al-Aqsa is a site of frequent violence between Palestinians and Israeli forces.

In late March, soldiers arrested 10 Palestinians and attacked worshipers with electric shock batons as clashes erupted after tourists visited the site.

The Al-Aqsa compound is venerated by Jews as the site where King Herod’s temple once stood.

Israelis have made repeated threats to demolish the Aqsa mosque, considered the third holiest site in Islam, in order to build a Jewish temple in its stead. The move would accelerate redemption, according to Jewish religious authorities.

(Source / 07.05.2013)

Israel’s real target is not Syria but Hezbollah

Israel’s airstrikes were not to influence Syria’s civil war but to stop Hezbollah upgrading its arsenal

Handout photo showing damage what appears a chicken farm following an air strike near Damascus

A handout picture released by the Syrian Arab News Agency purports to show damage caused by an Israeli strike on 5 May.

Reports of Israeli airstrikes in Syria have frequently obscured the issues that are really driving Israel’s decision-making. The most important notion to dispel is that Israel has decided to play an active role in the Syrian conflict. Not so. Israel has no interest in getting drawn into the quagmire. Its target is strategic weapons destined for Hezbollah in Lebanon. Its actions were driven not by ambitions to shape Syria’s future, but by concerns about the strategic balance between itself and the Hezbollah-Iran axis.

Israel has followed the Syrian conflict with mixed feelings. On the one hand, it appreciates the potential benefits of President Bashar al-Assad’s departure, which would be a blow to Iran and Hezbollah. On the other, the Syrian mess is empowering Islamists and jihadists, who may later threaten Israel directly, ending nearly 40 years of quiet on the Israeli-Syrian border.

Israeli decision-makers are under no illusion that they can elicit a desirable outcome in Syria. Instead, Israel prefers to keep a low profile and focus on other pressing challenges, paramount among them Iran’s drive towards nuclear weapons. Israeli actions in Syria are therefore focused on addressing direct threats to its security, particularly the transfer of strategic weapons to Hezbollah.

The war in Syria has escalated this problem since it presented Hezbollah with the opportunity to upgrade its already formidable arsenal of over 60,000 rockets by acquiring more sophisticated weapons from Syria’s stocks. Syria’s huge arsenal includes hundreds of tonnes of chemical agents, tens of thousands of rockets and missiles, radars and more. Assad, deeply indebted to Iran and Hezbollah for their support, now feels obligated to allow the transfer of such weapons.

While the world is rightly focused on Syria’s chemical weapons, Israel is no less concerned about conventional ones, which in the hands of Hezbollah could be game-changers. Israel believes that while other countries might intervene to prevent proliferation of chemical weapons, in stopping the transfer of conventional weapons, it is on its own. It expects only tacit political support for its actions from the US and Europe, which so far it has received.

The weapons of concern include many originating in Russia, such as ground-to-air SA17 missiles which could threaten Israel’s freedom of flight in northern Israel and Lebanon, ground-to-sea missiles which could threaten Israel’s ports and off-shore gas installations, and Scud missiles which could carry chemical warheads. Iranian Fateh-110 rockets, with their relatively high accuracy, also pose a significant threat.

After Iran itself, its client Hezbollah is Israel’s most dangerous foe. It fired thousands of rockets at Israel during the 2006 second Lebanon war and it has been targeting Israelis in a global terror campaign, and is accused by the Bulgarian government of killing five Israeli tourists on its soil last summer. While Hezbollah is currently focused on helping Assad’s regime, contributing its own forces to the fight, Israelis see a high chance of another round with Hezbollah in the future, triggered either by events in Syria, or by Israeli or American actions to prevent Iran acquiring nuclear weapons.

But while the war in Syria has given Hezbollah the opportunity to upgrade its arsenal, it has also given Israel the opportunity to deal with the challenge. With the Syrian regime fighting for survival, it is unlikely to risk a confrontation with Israel, which may tip the military balance against it. Similar assumptions can be made regarding Hezbollah and Iran. For them as well as for Israel, Syria remains secondary to a possible showdown over the Iranian nuclear programme. It is first and foremost to deter Israel or the US from attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities, that Hezbollah has been armed to the teeth by its patrons in Tehran.

And yet, while Israel, Hezbollah, Iran and Syria would all prefer to avoid a direct confrontation right now, they should keep in mind the law of unintended consequences. Repeated attempts to transfer weapons to Hezbollah, and Israeli interventions to prevent that, will increase the chances of escalation. It’s also time for Russia to stop sending weapon systems into Syria and to discourage its friends in Damascus and Tehran from further attempts to transfer such weapons to Hezbollah.

(Source / 07.05.2013)

Increased military presence at primary school where 27 children were recently arrested

Children walking past soldiers on their way to school - 7th May.

Children walking past soldiers on their way to school – 7th May.

On the 20th March, 27 children aged 7 to 16 were arrested on their way to school in Hebron’s old city. For the past three days the Israeli military have had a large, heavily armed and threatening presence outside the four schools on this street, where the children were grabbed at random by Israeli soldiers just five weeks ago.

Children have to walk through a checkpoint manned by several Israeli border police each morning in order to reach their schools, often receiving hassle from the soldiers as they do so. On the morning of the 5th of May, some children threw stones at the checkpoint – in response the border police radioed for army back up and two jeeps arrived on the scene. One jeep then proceeded through the checkpoint driving down towards the school parking outside whilst children were still arriving. After it left the other jeep drove down outside the schools and four army officers exited the vehicle and patrolled outside the schools for another half an hour.

On the 6th May at around 7.00am as children were walking towards their classes, three military jeeps arrived without provocation and ten soldiers patrolled in front of the school, maintaining a presence for over an hour.

On the 7th May two jeeps arrived at the checkpoint and seven soldiers walked through it, towards the schools. When asked what their purpose in the school area was, the commander answered “we’re protecting our people”. They had no further response when it was suggested that their actions seemed absurd, considering the disparity of power between the heavily armed Israeli military occupiers and a few young children throwing stones in resistance.

This daily military presence must be a continual reminder for the children who were arrested and their classmates of the military brutality of the 20th March. One bystander stated “this could inhibit the right to education – children might be too scared to come to school.”

In a city which has seen at least 66 child detentions and arrests since mid-February (these are just those witnessed by international observers), this continued initimidation and persecution of children is evidence of Israel’s disregard for international law for the protection of children – a finding backed up by Unicef’s recent report criticising Israeli military treatment of Palestinian children.

(Source / 07.05.2013)

Land grab: Israeli govt backs bill to forcibly relocate up to 40,000 Bedouin villagers


Bedouin women shout slogans during a protest in the Israeli Negev desert (AFP Photo)

Bedouin women shout slogans during a protest in the Israeli Negev desert
Israeli Cabinet ministers backed a draft law to demolish Bedouin villages in the country’s Negev Desert and move its residents to government-approved settlements in the area. If adopted by the Knesset, it will affect tens of thousands of Bedouins.

Bedouin leaders have harshly criticized the plan, saying they were not included in discussions of the bill.

Under the Prawer-Begin plan, or ‘The Bill on the Arrangement of Bedouin Houses in the Negev,’ the Bedouin population will be relocated to officially recognized Bedouin towns such as Rahat, Khura and Ksayfe, and their current homes will be demolished.

The government approved a plan that will cause the displacement and forced eviction of dozens of villages and tens of thousands of Bedouin residents,” Rawia Aburabia, a lawyer from the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), told MAAN news agency. “All of this while the government simultaneously promotes the establishment of new Jewish communities, some of which are even planned to be built on the fresh ruins of Bedouin villages.”

Israeli Bedouins ride camels during a Bedouin folklore festival, 28 April 2007, in the Negev desert near the southern Israeli town of Arad. (AFP Photo)

Israeli Bedouins ride camels during a Bedouin folklore festival, 28 April 2007, in the Negev desert near the southern Israeli town of Arad.

The Israeli government promised that those relocated will be given financial compensation and be allotted new plots of land.

The goal of this historic decision is to put an end to the spread of illegal building by Negev Bedouin and lead to the better integration of the Bedouin into Israeli society,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.

The bill is expected to soon begin the legislative process in the Knesset. According to ACRI, the Prawer-Begin plan envisions the eviction of around 30 to 40,000 Bedouins, which will destroy their communal and social lifestyle and condemn them to poverty and unemployment.


Bedouin men sit together during wedding celebrations in the village of Kusaifa in Israel's Negev desert (Reuters)

Bedouin men sit together during wedding celebrations in the village of Kusaifa in Israel’s Negev desert

Bedouins have argued they purchased their land in the Negev before the establishment of the state of Israel. The agreements, however, are said to have been verbal, and never registered in Israel’s official Land Registry. Israeli law does not recognize land claims that are not backed by some form of written proof of purchase or ownership.

This is a step that harms the basic rights of the Bedouin. Instead of the state contributing to the Bedouin population, it is acting against it,” Haaretz quoted Rahat Mayor Sheikh Faiz Abu Seheban as saying. “I call on all human rights organizations to oppose the decision, since it damages the social framework in the Negev.”

Israel refuses to recognize 35 Bedouin villages in the Negev, which collectively house approximately 90,000 people – nearly half of Israel’s 210,000 Bedouins, according to data published by Bedouin-Jewish Justice in Israel. The villages are not on official maps and lack basic services like water, paved roads and electricity.


A Bedouin man sits inside a tin shaft at Wadi al-Nam unrecognized Bedouin village in the Negev desert, near the southern Israeli city of Beer Sheva (AFP Photo)

A Bedouin man sits inside a tin shaft at Wadi al-Nam unrecognized Bedouin village in the Negev desert, near the southern Israeli city of Beer Sheva

The other half of Israel’s Negev Bedouins lives in government-planned townships. Residents have complained over a lack of basic infrastructure, transportation, school and health facilities. Israel’s Bedouin townships repeatedly rank in the country’s lowest socioeconomic bracket.

The Regional Council of Unrecognized Arab Villages of Negev along with the High Steering Committee of the Arabs of Negev organized a demonstration near Netanyahu’s office in Jerusalem on Monday, where they protested the bill.

The plan will under no circumstances be carried out; the Bedouin population will not give up its land,” Hussein Al-Rafia, the former head of the regional council of unrecognized Bedouin communities told Haaretz. “I think the state needs to sit with the Bedouin population and solve the problem once and for all. They have not sat with us seriously.”

Knesset member Ibrahim Sarsour addressed the demonstrators, saying that his party, the United Arab List, had rejected the bill. He expressed concern that the recommendations could be approved as a law, and urged the Arab public to use legal methods to prevent its implementation.

(Source / 07.05.2013)

Lawyer: A Palestinian child attempted suicide in an Israeli jail

RAMALLAH, (PIC)– Human rights lawyer Heba Masaleha said one of the Palestinian children detained in an Israeli jail tried to commit suicide as a result of the severe depression he suffers from because of his exposure to maltreatment at the hands of jailers.

Masaleha refrained from mentioning the name of the child, but she said she visited him in jail.

She stated that the child has been staying in bed for three days without moving or talking to anyone, except about his intention to commit suicide, adding that the child cannot sleep properly at night and already refused to eat food for two days.

She affirmed that the prison doctor said the child suffered from a psychological problem, adding that the prison administration also brought an Arab doctor from Nazareth to oversee him without any noticeable improvement in his condition.

Aside from their exposure to abuse and humiliation at the hands of Israeli soldiers and jailers, the mere separation of the Palestinian minors and children from their parents and families causes them to suffer psychologically, the lawyer warned.

In another incident, the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) kidnapped a group of Palestinian minors working as a drum band without any reason, according to Bayarek center for prisoners’ affairs on Sunday.

The center said that the children were on their way to a Palestinian folkloric festival that was held in the West Bank in solidarity with prisoner Samer Issawi, who ended his months-long hunger strike recently after a deal with his jailers.

The center underlined that the Israeli occupation regime deliberately kidnap Palestinian children to break their spirits in violation of the international law, which stipulates the need for protecting the children and their right to grow safely without any restrictions on their freedom.

It noted that there are about 321 children, 30 of them patients, in Israeli jails.

(Source / 06.05.2013)

General: Any arms Israel targeted in Syria not Iranian

A chicken walks on what Syrian state media said was the damage caused by an Israeli airstrike on May 5, 2013.

TEHRAN (AFP) — A top Iranian general said any arms Israel targeted in Syria did not come from Iran, in remarks published on the Revolutionary Guards website on Monday.

Brig.-Gen. Masoud Jazayeri “denied Western and Israeli media reports that an Iranian weapons depot has been targeted in Syria,” the website reported.

“The Syrian government does not need Iran’s military aid, and these sorts of reports are propaganda and psychological war,” added the deputy chief of the armed forces.

A senior Israeli source said Israel carried out an airstrike near Damascus before dawn on Sunday, targeting Iranian missiles destined for Lebanon’s Hezbollah in the second such raid on Syria in three days.

The attack targeted a facility just northwest of the Syrian capital, very close to the site of a similar attack late in January which was implicitly confirmed by Israel, the source said.

He also confirmed Israel was behind an earlier strike on a target very close to Damascus airport which took place early on Friday, which also struck Iranian arms destined for the Shiite movement.

Iran’s Defense Minister Gen. Ahmad Vahidi on Monday urged the international community to stop Israel from carrying out such attacks.

Unless they are halted, “events may occur in the region in which the Zionist regime (Israel) and the US would not be victorious,” said Vahidi.

“Certainly the Syrian government in an appropriate time will respond to the Zionist regime. The Zionist regime will receive decisive responses from Syria,” he added.

Iran has remained a steadfast ally of President Bashar Assad’s regime throughout the Syrian conflict which has killed more than 70,000 people since it erupted in March 2011.

(Source / 06.05.2013)

Israel issues demolition orders to 11 Ramallah homes

Women watch Israeli forces demolish a home in East Jerusalem.
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Israeli forces issued demolition orders to 11 homes in a Ramallah village on Monday, homeowners told Ma’an.

Military forces raided the village of Deir Nidham, located around 2km south of Nabi Saleh, and issued demolition orders to Ahmad Tamimi, his sons Abdul-Raziq, Hasan and Mahmoud, and their cousins Kafour, Abdul-Hafizh, Salih, Mustafa and Haitham Tamimi.

Israeli forces also issued Abdul-Kashif Tamimi with a stop-work order for his house, which is currently under construction.

Around 40 people will be made homeless if the demolition orders are carried out.

The homes slated for demolition are located opposite the Israeli settlement of Hallamish. The majority of the homes were built before the illegal settlement was founded, locals said.

Israel is planning to expand the settlement at the expense of the indigenous landowners, locals told Ma’an.

Village youths threw stones at Israeli soldiers as they entered the village, who responded with tear gas canisters and stun grenades.

Deir Nidham is located in Area C.

Israel has adopted a policy of mass demolition of Palestinian homes in Area C, Israeli rights group B’Tselem says.

According to the group, Israel has destroyed more than 2,200 homes in the past 10 years in the occuped West Bank, leaving more than 13,000 Palestinians homeless.

(Source / 06.05.2013)

Israel approves plan to displace Negev Bedouins

A photo of Al-Araqib in the southern Negev, one of many Bedouin villages not recognized by Israel.

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israel approved a draft law on Monday to implement a plan which will displace thousands of Bedouins in the Negev desert, an Israeli rights group said.

The Ministerial Committee on Legislation approved a bill which outlines a framework for implementing the Prawer-Begin plan, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel said.

“Today the government approved a plan that will cause the displacement and forced eviction of dozens of villages and tens of thousands of Bedouin residents,” ACRI lawyer Rawia Aburabia said.

“All of this while the government simultaneously promotes the establishment of new Jewish communities, some of which are even planned to be built on the fresh ruins of Bedouin villages,” she added.

The Israeli government approved the plan in 2011, in what it says was an attempt to address the problem of unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev desert of southern Israel.

The 2011 proposal was formulated without any consultation with the Bedouin community and rights groups slammed it as a major blow to Bedouin rights.

Bedouins protest

The Regional Council of Unrecognized Arab Villages of Negev along with the High Steering Committee of the Arabs of Negev organized Monday a demonstration near office of Israeli prime minister in Jerusalem protesting approval of the recommendations.

Knesset member Ibrahim Sarsour addressed the demonstrators confirming that his party, the United Arab List, rejected the recommendations. He expressed concern that the recommendations might be approved as a law and urged the Arab public to use legal means to try and prevent such a step.

Talab Abu Arar, another lawmaker, echoed Sarsour’s remarks but appealed to “the rational people on the Israeli side to treat the Arabs wisely giving them their rights, recognizing their unrecognized villages, and involving them in the planning process.”

He warned the Israelis against being driven by “racist and extremist blocs in the Knesset.”

“Approval of the Prawer committee recommendations means Judaisation of Negev. The main goal of these plans is to seize Arab lands and exterminate Arab roots,” said head of the Regional Council of Unrecognized Arab Villages of Negev Atiyeh al-A’sam.

According to ACRI, the plan will forcibly evict nearly 40,000 Bedouins and destroy their communal and social fabric, condemning them to a future of poverty and unemployment.

Israel refuses to recognize 35 Bedouin villages in the Negev, which collectively house nearly 90,000 people.

The Israeli state denies them access to basic services and infrastructure, such as electricity and running water, and refuses to place them under municipal jurisdiction.

(Source / 06.05.2013)

Israeli forces arrest man near Bethlehem

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained a man on Sunday in a village south of Bethlehem, a local official said.

A popular committee coordinator told Ma’an that Israeli forces arrested Rani Salah, 27, in the village of al-Khader. Clashes broke out following the arrest, with no injuries reported.

Ahmad Salah, 21, and Khaled Salah, 22, were briefly detained during the incident.

(Source / 05.05.2013)