ISRAELI OCCUPATION BANALITY: ‘Settlers’ desecrate W Bank mosque

Palestinian security officials have said that Israeli settlers desecrated a mosque in the occupied West Bank.

The Israeli army confirmed that “anonymous suspects” scrawled graffiti, including a Jewish star of David alongside the name of the Prophet Mohammed written in Hebrew.

Palestinian and Israeli officials said on Wednesday that the suspects set fire to two cars outside the mosque in Huwara, near Nablus.

Brigadier General Nitzan Alon, the Israeli military commander for the West Bank,  “ordered an immediate investigation into the incident, condemned the acts and said that those responsible should be brought to justice.”

Israeli soldiers erased the graffiti after the attack.

In December, Israeli settlers vandalised another mosque in the northern West Bank village of Yasuf, torching Muslim holy books and spraying hate messages in Hebrew.

The incident triggered clashes between villagers and Israeli troops.

A 17-year-old Israeli from a nearby settlement was later detained.

Last month there were skirmishes between Palestinians and Israeli police who were on high alert in Jerusalem where they prevented men under the age of 50 from entering the al-Aqsa mosque in the Old City.

The skirmishes intensified an already charged atmosphere there as a rebuilt 17th-century synagogue was opened in the Jewish quarter of the Old City, a few hundred metres from the al-Aqsa compound.

Many Palestinians view Israeli projects near the mosque compound – a site holy both to Jews and Muslims – as an assault on its status quo or a prelude to the building of a third Jewish temple there.


Israeli Rules of Engagement. What IDF Soldiers Say About Their Orders + The Israeli Army gives orders to kill the Palestinians + Israeli Soldier Shoot Palestinian Citizen a blank point


Lethal Ambiguity: Israeli Soldiers Talk about the Rules of Engagement.
“The bottom line is that the orders are unclear. They are confusing. And when orders are unclear, people die.” 

B’Tselem is an Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Ref. B´tselem




Hundreds of ultra-orthodox Jews pray at Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem

Bethlehem – Ma’an – Dozens of armored buses brought hundreds of ultra-orthodox Jewish worshippers to pray at Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem on Saturday and Sunday evenings.

Tour buses lined the streets on the western side of the seperation wall, and roads were blocked off from Tantur to the Beit Jala (Gilo) checkpoint as hundreds of worshipers in black coats and hats gathered in the area.

The mass prayer gatherings were organized by the Mosdos Kever Rachel (Rachel’s Tomb Institute) around the date believed to be the anniversary of Rachel’s death. The official date set by the group is 9 November, but worshipers overwhelmed the area on Saturday evening as well.

The Institute runs a Jewish religious school at the tomb, and funds a daily bullet-proof bus service that brings Jewish worshippers from Jerusalem to the tomb.

In 2003 the group lobbied the Israeli Supreme Court to have the route of the separation wall altered so that the site of Rachel’s Tomb was annexed to the western side of the wall. The petition was successful and the new route of the separation wall cut large swaths out of the Bethlehem municipal lands, ensuring Israelis access to the Tomb.

The biblical Rachel is revered as one of the four matriarchs of the Jewish people, and Jewish tradition holds that she was buried by her husband Jacob in Bethlehem. The tomb is also a holy site for Muslims and Christians, and the location of the Bilal Ibn Rabah mosque, which is now inaccessible to West Bank Palestinians.

Many of the area’s residents have moved to other parts of Bethlehem since Israel’s construction of the wall, and many buildings in the once vibrant neighborhood at the entrance to Bethlehem now stand empty.

Ten meter concrete walls surround Rachel’s Tomb on three sides. The walls are part of the separation wall constructed by Israel after the start of the second Indifadah. There are also sniper towers built into the wall at short intervals.

Groups such as the Rachel’s Tomb Institute and the Committee for Rachel’s Tomb, which do not recognize Palestinian claims to the site or the Palestinian Authority (PA) as a legitimate government, aim to establish a permanent, round-the-clock Jewish presence at the site to ensure that it remains under Israeli control in any future Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

As the website of the Committee for Rachel’s Tomb explains, by maintaining a Jewish presence at the site, they aim to “put pressure on the Israeli government to maintain Jewish control over Rachel’s Tomb.”

Ref: Maan

Elderly Palestinian couple evicted from East Jerusalem home despite U.S. protest (As Europe remembers the crystal night Israel continues it´s “crystal night” process)

In a pre-dawn operation in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of predominantly Arab East Jerusalem, scores of police officers and IDF troops Sunday evicted an elderly Palestinian couple from their home, despite protests by the United States, other countries, and human rights groups.

Security forces also detained several activists of the pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement who had been sleeping on the family’s property, and expelled them to the adjacent West Bank, without pressing charges.
A Jerusalem court in July ruled that the east Jerusalem housing provided to Mohammed al-Kurd and his wife Fawzieh in 1956 by the Jordanian government and a UN refugee agency was built on land to which their title was in doubt and they must vacate the property.

The case came to international attention when U.S. diplomats lodged an official protest with Israel for harming Palestinians and for anti-Palestinian actions taken by settlers, citing as one example the eviction of the al-Kurd family from their home in the Shimon Hatzadik complex in Sheikh Jarrah.

For months, a group of settlers has also lived in a portion of the house, maintaining that an Ottoman-era bill of sale grants ownership of the Shimon Hatzadik property to the Committee for the Sephardic Group. The Jerusalem District Court issued a ruling in favor of the Sephardic Group,which transferred the property to a settler organization called “Shimon’s Estate.”

The settler group, in turn, sought to evict the al-Kurd family, refugees from West Jerusalem, who have lived in the house since the early 1950s.
At 4:45 on Sunday morning, some 20 IDF vehicles and seven police minibuses sealed off much of the neighborhood, prior to the eviction, witnesses said.

The al-Kurds were then taken from the apartment, which they have been sharing with Israeli settlers since 1999, when Israeli courts evicted their son Raed from an added wing of the property. The couple has been fighting for their property through the courts ever since, but in July 2008 they were ordered to vacate the premises at once.

Israel Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said that following the court order naming a Jewish family as the legal owner of the house, “The Arab family was evicted. Two people were, in fact removed from the house,” he told Haaretz, referring to the al-Kurds.

“There were also seven tourists, left-wing activists, who were removed.” ISM members said that there were eight activists taken from the house, nationals of Denmark, Sweden, the United States, England and Canada.

Danish ISM activist Anders Pilmark, 20, said that 40 to 50 IDF soldiers and police woke them up at 4:45 A.M. and immediately started to clear out the al-Kurd’s apartment. The activists were detained on suspicion of trespassing, but were later escorted to the West Bank’s Qalandiya checkpoint with no charges pressed.

The couple’s neighbor’s gathered Sunday morning outside the closed perimeter set up by the IDF. They have been following the case closely, and believe that the court decision and forced eviction of the family paves the way for the takeover of 27 multi-storey houses in the neighbourhood, threatening to make 500 Palestinians homeless.

“This is only the first. Just you wait and see,” one of the neighbors said.

Rafiq Husseini, an aide to Palestiniann President Mahmoud Abbas, has been quoted as warning that the takeover of the Kurds’ home was part of a wider drive to change the geography of Jerusalem by forcing out Palestinians and replacing them with Israeli settlers. “Such a development would deal a death blow to already-strained peace negotiations,” he wrote in a letter to foreign consulates in Jerusalem

Ref: Haaretz

Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israeli police evicted a Palestinian family at gunpoint from their home in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem at 4am on Sunday, in spite of a formal US government protest.

A member of the Al-Kurd family said that Israeli troops police stormed their neighborhood and designated the area a “closed military zone,” preventing residents from reaching the house.

Eight international solidarity activists from Canada, the United States, Britain and Sweden were arrested for protesting the eviction by camping on the family’s property.

The eviction took place in spite of a formal diplomatic complaint filed by the US in July against the eviction. The US official protest question the authenticity of the Ottoman-era bill of sale on which the Jerusalem District Court relied in ruling that the property belongs to the Committee of the Sephardic Group, an organization seeking to establish a settlement in the neighborhood.

In July the Israeli Supreme Court ordered the eviction of the family for their refusal to pay rent to their new settler landlords, whose presence the family, along with the international community, view as illegal.

Hatim Abdul-Qadir, the Palestinian president’s advisor on Jerusalem affairs called the eviction a “robbery, as Israeli forces took advantage of absence of neighbors and evacuated the house.”

Abdul-Qadir said that he has not been able to reach the house or see the family. He said the father of the family is disabled and needs medical attention.

Abdul-Qadir pledged to help the family and provide shelter in addition to the efforts to return them to their home.

Settler groups have been attempting to take over the Al-Kurd family home, along with 26 other houses in the neighborhood in order to found a new Jewish settlement.

Ref: Maan

The left marked them (Settlers)

Hatred is difficult to measure, and even more difficult to measure on the eve of Yom Kippur. But even without a ruler or compass, it’s hard not to get the impression that the extended process of delegitimizing the settlers – which leads to genuine hatred of them – is hitting a peak. The left wing and the media have now labeled the settlers, as a group, as the abhorred Other that people are allowed to smack around.

It is particularly convenient to do this when one of the prime components of this campaign is the law. The law is a crucial instrument of a functional society, and every person, regardless of race, religion or political opinion, is obligated to respect it. There are settlers who break the law, just as there are lawbreakers who are Palestinian, ultra-Orthodox, politicians, Druze, Israeli Arabs, left-wing anarchists, the non-observant and factory workers fighting over their wages. The problem arises when the law becomes a way of marking an entire population as illegitimate, even as violations of the law by others are accepted with understanding and sensitivity.

Much has been written about an Israeli prime minister who was suspected of criminal activity but shielded from criticism so he could advance the “correct policy.” And none other than President Shimon Peres recently extolled the virtues of Abie Nathan, founder of the offshore pirate radio station The Voice of Peace, who violated the law and said what a good thing it was to do so. Barely anyone reminded the president of the ideologues running a pirate radio station on the “other” side, who violated the law so their voices could be heard from aboard the Arutz Sheva ship. Unlike Nathan, they did not merit immunity from the law and were punished for breaking it.

One must beware of those who talk about the greatness of the rule of law even as their hearts are full of hatred when it comes to the Other. Someone who beats up Palestinians and damages their property should sit in jail. But are the settlers as a whole – all 300,000 of them – responsible for that?

Are the Druze, as a group, responsible for the few who attacked their Jewish neighbors in Peki’in? Are all Israeli Arabs responsible for the events of October 2000?

What does Talia Sasson, the champion of the rule of law when it comes to illegal outpost construction, have to say about the tens of thousands of illegal buildings constructed by Bedouin and Arabs in the Galilee, Negev and East Jerusalem? And when was the last time the left wing or the media criticized the anarchists who attack Israel Defense Forces soldiers near the West Bank separation fence the same way they criticize the settlers? Why is the press interested in how much money Israeli taxpayers have to pay for security at right-wing rallies, while the cost of left-wing rallies is irrelevant?

Why is there extensive media coverage when police refrain from raiding an outpost due to fear of clashes with settlers, but not when police refrain from chasing Arabs who steal cars, cattle and agricultural equipment along the seam line between Jewish and Arab neighborhoods and in Judea and Samaria? Take, for instance, the many articles about the body of the Palestinian shepherd whom the Palestinians accused the settlers of murdering – and the silence that greeted the news from the police laboratory that there had been no murder at all, that a dud shell caused the shepherd’s death. Are the facts relevant only when they hew to the line?

In a few weeks the country will commemorate the 13th anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination. In the eyes of his supporters, those who object to the legacy attributed to Rabin are just as terrible and out of bounds as the assassination itself. In this matter too, the accusatory finger the left points at the right is generalized and inflammatory, to the point where half the country finds itself alienated from the memorial day.

From the perspective of the left and the media, settlers have become the ultimate Other, mainly because of the ideological threat that they, religious Zionists and anyone who identifies with them poses to those who pride themselves on an absence of ideology. The Kadima party, with its blurred identity and limited values, is just one example of this. The settlers – in the path they have chosen, in their faith and even in their appearance – represent the exact opposite. That is their sin, and that is their reward.

Ref: Haaretz By Nadav Shragai