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Monday, February 20

Netanyahu & Trump
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Netanyahu just met Donald Trump and they are very friendly. Both are liars. War criminal Netanyahu’s prerequisites for peace are that a) Palestinians recognize the colonial state as a Jewish state (it is
like South Africa saying the prerequisite for peace is to recognize it as a white state) and 2) that the “Jewish state” retain control over the whole area (again like South African white government saying that they want to control the whole area). Trump said that Palestinians are taught to hate and must stop hating Israelis. Netanyahu claimed that
just like Chines come from China, Jews come from Judea and so are not colonizes! He also claims Iran places in Hebrew on their missiles that Israel must be destroyed! These two lies and many other lies are typical of congenital liars like Netanyahu. Sorry, "The Jews" (nor "The Christian" or "The Muslims") do not come from our country (Palestine is its geographic name for those who do not know). A minority of people from those religions actually come from here (less
than 3% of each adherent of any of these religions come from here in Palestine). There is a myth of "Jewish biology" that is actually taken from Nazi racist myths (themselves stoked by Zionist myths). See
http://qumsiyeh.org/chapter2/ amd http://qumsiyeh.org/chapter3/

Who is Netanyahu? Benyamin Mileikowsky (aka Netanyahu) was born to Benzion Mileikowsky (later changed names to Netanyahu), a polish immigrant. His American father became secretary to terrorist leader Vladimir Yevgenyevich Zhabotinsky (aka Zeev Jabotinsky) founder of
"revisionist" Zionism and supported groups like Irgun terrorist organization during the mandate in Palestine. His son continues to idolize these early Jewish terrorists. Both Benjamin and his brother served in units of the Israeli forces responsible for assassinations on foreign lands (in violations of international law) and committed war crimes. Benjamin Miliekowsky (Netanyahu) is known both among
Israelis and globally as a consummate liar who refused to accept the Oslo accords (even though they were partial to Israel) and has gotten rich off of his political activities. Here is a video of him thinking the camera was off explaining his true contributions during his first stint as Israeli prime minister in the 1990s
https://youtu.be/JrtuBas3Ipw . see also this Israeli report
https://972mag.com/netanyahu-clinton-administration-was-%E2%80%9Cextremely-pro-palestinian%E2%80%9D-i-stopped-oslo/135/

This is after all the same terrorist who gave a speech to dozens of Likud Party members in Eilat in which he admitted this is his strategy. According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz (15 July 2001): "...giving his audience a bit of advice on how to deal with foreign interviewers (Netanyahu said):'Always, irrespective of whether you're
right or not, you must always present your side as right.' In 2011, the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, described Netanyahu as a liar in a private exchange with US President Barack Obama at the G20 summit (it was inadvertently broadcast to journalists). "I cannot stand him.
He's a liar," Sarkozy told Obama. The US president Obama responded by saying: "You're fed up with him? I have to deal with him every day."
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/08/sarkozy-obama-netanyahu-gaffe-microphone.

So did Netanuahu vote for Trump? (he like a majority of Israelis has foreign passport). I do not know and we do not care. THey are good friend for decades as they both say. I know there is a temptation out there to ignore Netanyahu (who is much smarter than Trump) and focus
on Trump. Some good intentioned people are joining in the “pile on Russia” crowd that is smelling blood after Flynn’s resignation as U.S National security chief and will ignore the Israeli interference in U.S elections. Yes Flynn and Bannon and Trump and their “Fox” talk show
mentors are brain-washed racist anti-Muslim anti-logic and
“alternative fact” nuts (but woho made them?). The democratic establishment (e.g.many democratic senators and congressmen) and many liberals in the media who back them are not being honest with us or themselves. For example they are not telling us about how the foreign lobby for Zionists has shaped US media (including Zionist Murdoch's
fox news) and shaped selection of US officials (whether Congress, the president or his cabinet for decades)/ Read Findley's book "They Dare to Speak Out" or some other books. They shaped foreign policy and aid for decades in favor of Israel and most times against US interests.
Israel is no friend of the US and it intentionally attacked a US ship in International waters killing many US sailors (see
http://www.gtr5.com/ ). See also my message from a few week’s ago titled “Meddling in Elections” about the Israeli blatant hijacking of the U.S democracy
https://sites.google.com/site/onedemocraticstatesite/archives/meddling-in-elections-by-mazin-qumsiyeh

[worth reading] From the American Council for Judaism: Commemorating 75 Years of Advancing Prophetic Judaism, Free of Nationalism and Politicization by Allan C. Brownfeld
http://acjna.org/acjna/articles_detail.aspx?id=2671

We must continue to speak truth to power, stay informed, and most of all organize and build an alternative to the narrative of Zionist republicans or Zionist democrats. We must reclaim our humanity! Stay human. Speaking truth in an era of universal deceit is revolutionary--revolt.

Mazin Qumsiyeh
A bedouin in cyberspace, a villager at home
Professor and (volunteer) Director
Palestine Museum of Natural History
Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability
Bethlehem University
Occupied Palestine
http://qumsiyeh.org
http://palestinenature.org
Join me on facebook https://www.facebook.com/mazin.qumsiyeh.9


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Comfort the Afflicted
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We in occupied Palestine continue to be guardedly optimistic even after watching the Kafkaesque political "plays" being performed to confuse the public and keep them in the dark and keep them fighting each other (democrat versus republican, Sunni versus Shiaa, Muslim vs Christian etc) while the RICH GET RICHER AND THE POOR GET POORER.
Remember to follow the money (do so when you see the links below). But what we common people need to do is refuse the baiting, join hands, and think of the environment, sustainability, hope, love, kindness to one another (while yes exposing the myths and challenging the elites).
John Kenneth Galbraith wrote "In all life one should comfort the afflicted, but verily, also, one should afflict the comfortable, and especially when they are comfortably, contentedly, even happily wrong.
" This is the dual task we must perform. Thus we continue to tell the truth (and get arrested for it with charges like incitement) AND build models of resistance economy here locally. To see what we are doing,
please join us on facebook
https://www.facebook.com/Palestine-Museum-of-Natural-History-1454309858180882/

What Jesus can teach today’s Muslims
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/13/opinion/what-jesus-can-teach-todays-muslims.html
[In my humble opinion can also teach all others including Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Atheists etc. By the way why do we have to capitalize those words?]

Unconstitutional bill defeated in Virginia
http://palestinelegal.org/news/2017/1/30/virginia-lawmakers-considering-unconstitutional-bill-aimed-at-censoring-palestine-advocacy-1
[Zionists cannot stand free speech because they know the truth can be very powerful and they can never defend their positions in fair and open debates. Several leading Zionists outright refuse to debate me
(some after having lost a debate). They refuse the light of day. They do use their pressure behind the scenes (behind the curtains) to influence politicians to shut off debate and pledge allegiance to Israel. But they will fail because truth is coming out whether they like it or not.]

Trump’s Refugee Ban – Made in Israel?
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/46431.htm
[This is an interesting reading tat is highly well documented. Look at the evidence provided and judge for yourself]

Australians say no to visit of Netanyahu
http://australiansforpalestine.cmail19.com/t/ViewEmail/j/8CB620DE75B1B5F2/6463869D1DD70BD7C9C291422E3DE149
[I shared clear evidence of the lies of Netanuyahu in my last email. But he is also a war criminal with hundreds of Palestinian children's blood on his hands. He should be arested and brought before international judges.]

The Times of Israel: Meet the Jews in Donald Trump’s inner circle
http://www.timesofisrael.com/meet-the-jews-in-donald-trumps-inner-circle/
[of course all are ardent racist Zionist and my Jewish colleagues would tell you these characters do not represent Jews or Judaism. But for good or bad, these individuals who put colonialism and land theft they profit from ahead of US national interests will be guiding U.S policy at least for four years]

Hebron Youth Against Settlements (HYAS) to Hold Week of Open Shuhada Street: Events and Protests in Commemoration of Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre Hebron, Palestine February 17, 2017 - Youth Against
Settlements will use culture, creativity, and resistance for its
annual Open Shuhada Street campaign February 19-25. The campaign , will include community events, nonviolent direct action, and international solidarity actions. 2017 marks 50 years of Israeli occupation and 23 year since the Ibrahimi mosque massacre in Hebron. On February 25, 1994 Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein opened fire in the Ibrahimi mosque killing 29 Palestinians in worship. Since then,
Shuahda Street, once the main street and marketplace, has remained almost entirely closed to Palestinians. There are 18 permanently staffed checkpoints and front doors to Palestinian shops and homes are sealed shut. HYAS Open Shuhada Street campaign, held annually since
2010, aims to reopen Shuhada street and end the closures and inequality in Hebron and throughout Palestine and Israel. The following events below will be held in Hebron between February 19-25.
International solidarity actions and educational events will be held throughout Europe and the US during the week. February 19 to 24
schedule posted here:
http://hyas.ps/2017-open-shuhada-street-schedule/
[I wrote a book on "Popular Resistance in Palestine: A history of Hope and Empowerment" highlighting the importance of such actions that go back 130 years since the first popular actions against the first zionist colonies in Palestine]

Stay human

Mazin Qumsiyeh
A bedouin in cyberspace, a villager at home
Professor and (volunteer) Director
Palestine Museum of Natural History
Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability
Bethlehem University
Occupied Palestine
http://qumsiyeh.org
http://palestinenature.org
Join me on facebook https://www.facebook.com/mazin.qumsiyeh.9

Please help us grow, any contribution big or small goes along way and is greatly appreciated!
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Sunday, February 12

‘State of Jenin’: A Palestinian Refugee Camp Raided by Israeli Troops Night After Night
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HAARETZ –  This is a type of anxiety that no Israeli civilian is familiar with: nights when sleep is marred by the noise of soldiers moving about, gunshots, armored vehicles outside the window, stun grenades and explosives in an adjacent alley. Night after night. Soldiers who storm the house rowdily, after blowing up the front door. Children who wake up in a fright to the sight of masked, heavily armed figures during dead-of-night kidnappings euphemistically called “arrests.”

On one occasion during the second intifada, I slept over in the Jenin refugee camp. I’ll never forget the fear that seized me when soldiers raided it. It’s a particularly chilling experience in a densely crowded, yet determined and militant camp like that in Jenin. Last week, raids were carried out there almost every night. After a soldier sustained light to moderate wounds during one, the Israel Defense Forces ratcheted up even more the rate and intensity of its infiltration.

Residents are convinced that on the night between Jan. 28 and 29, soldiers had come to avenge the wounding of their buddy and teach the camp a lesson it wouldn’t forget. “They came to kill,” people in the battered camp said this week, as they buried another of its sons, Mohammed Abu Khalifa, after he was killed by soldiers’ bullets on Sunday. He was buried in the cemetery of intifada victims at the edge of the camp, which, like Jenin itself, suffers from severe overcrowding.

The young adults in the camp spend their days sleeping and their nights in wakefulness. They have no reason to get up during the day. They hang out in the meager café on the main street; some of them man observation posts at the camp’s entrances and instantly report every suspicious movement on Facebook. They also post real-time videos when the IDF enters. Facebook is the most widely used means of communication when it comes to warning about everything, including the arrival of Israeli troops. Of the Facebook groups in the camp, the best known is “State of Jenin Camp.”

The soldiers usually show up at about 2 A.M. in armored vehicles, some of which look like civilian cars. They descend on foot from the hilltop where the houses are, and information about their whereabouts spreads like wildfire. By the time they reach the alleys below, half the camp is awake and young people are waiting for them with stones, pipe bombs and makeshift weapons. In contrast to the second intifada, when we met armed people at almost every street corner, there is hardly any standard-issue weaponry in evidence these days. The army uses tear gas, stun grenades and, of course, live ammunition.

It’s not only the IDF that executes nocturnal raids. Similar operations are carried out by the forces of the Palestinian Authority, in coordination with the army. When the Israelis arrive, the PA personnel leave. The young people oppose them, too, but less intensely, and the mutual firing of weapons is mainly into the air. No one has been killed in the Palestinian forces’ raids of the past few months.

In recent weeks, PA troops – who at one time were afraid to enter the camp – arrested 15 to 20 young people, taking them to Jericho for interrogation. The IDF arrested only four people in that period. No one from either group has been released yet.

The same pattern played itself out last week: Almost every night, Israeli or Palestinian forces were in the camp. Never a dull moment. Last Thursday, an Israeli soldier was wounded. On the two nights that followed, the IDF entered in large numbers. On Saturday night, they didn’t arrest anyone – residents of the camp are convinced that they came not to detain people but to kill: They killed one young person and wounded four others.

After a year in which no one was killed in the camp, they’re in mourning again here.
Twenty-year-old Mathin Dabiyeh was in the café at the foot of the hill on that night. Now he hobbles about on crutches at the entrance to his house. At 3:15 A.M., after it was known that soldiers had entered the camp, he began to make his way home. The soldiers appeared opposite him in an alley, he recalls now. There’s no point asking him if he was carrying a pipe bomb or an improvised firearm, as I won’t get a straight answer. The soldiers shot him in the leg and he started to run up the alley, limping. The troops gave chase but he managed to elude them. A neighbor with a moped took him to the hospital just outside the camp’s entrance. The hospital’s ambulances don’t dare enter the camp when the IDF is present, so in most cases the wounded are taken out by local residents.

The bullet lodged in Dabiyeh’s knee. His friend Aslam, who was wounded together with him, is still hospitalized; he was hit in the stomach. What will Dabiyeh do the next time soldiers enter? “I can’t run now,” he tells us, evasively. He wears a black knitted skullcap. His brother works as a security guard at the Jenin branch of Kentucky Fried Chicken.

It all took place in the early hours of Sunday morning in the area between the buildings, next to the Queens’ Salon beauty parlor, which is now closed. According to eyewitnesses, IDF snipers positioned themselves on the roof of a house across from the beauty parlor, hiding behind a black plastic water container. The crying of an infant can now be heard from that house, which, like others nearby, is plastered with militant graffiti. The wounded men escaped through an alley at the end of which is an old poster with a photograph of Saddam Hussein. The home of Mohammed Abu Khalifa, who was killed in the incident, is located next to a mosque named for Abdullah Azzam, from the neighboring village of Silat al-Harithiya, who is said to have been a friend of Osama bin Laden.

Narrow steps lead to a small, stark house, which is almost bursting with people. The last day of Mohammed’s life was his 19th birthday. In the evening he celebrated here with friends. There was a power outage, an almost-daily occurrence, so his friends played music from their cellphones. They drank juice. This is what a birthday party here looks like.

The dead boy’s uncle, Jumaa Abu Jebal, who lost a leg in the IDF’s invasion of the camp in 2002, and his mother, Fatma, greeted us on our visit this past Monday. Mohammed dropped out of school in the 11th grade and began working with his father at his garage. After his friends left that night, we are told, he went to fix a car that had broken down in the camp. That was at about 10 P.M.

An hour later or so, he returned home and went to sleep, his mother relates. At 2 A.M., friends knocked on the door. They came to summon him, after learning that soldiers were in the camp. Mohammed’s father forbade him to go out, but around 3, after his father went back to sleep, the teen snuck out of the house. That act cost him his life.
His mother heard shots at about 3:30 – the shots that killed her son, a few dozen meters from his home. She learned from a Facebook post that Mohammed had been wounded – that’s how parents find out about their children’s fate here. She tried to get to the hospital, but was forced back home by the shooting. It wasn’t until 5:45 A.M., after the last of the troops had left the camp, that she could leave. Mohammed died before she and her husband reached the hospital; he had been struck by three bullets in the chest and one in the stomach.

A week earlier, Israeli troops had entered this house in search of Mohammed’s uncle, Jumaa, who lives on the upper floor. A Shin Bet security service agent ordered the amputee to get dressed, but he wasn’t arrested. Jumaa is a Hamas activist.
“This is the last time I’m coming here. The next time I’ll send a drone to liquidate you,” the Shin Bet man told Jumaa, who replied, “If you have anything [on me], take me.” To which “Captain Haroun,” as the agent styles himself, retorted, “You know what people around you are doing.”

Jumaa, an affable, smiling man who’s married to an Israeli Arab woman from Haifa and speaks broken Hebrew from his years in an Israeli prison, is certain the Shin Bet man was referring to his nephew Mohammed.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit stated this week, in response to a query from Haaretz: “On Jan. 29, explosive devices were thrown at IDF soldiers during activity in the Jenin refugee camp. The force responded with gunfire at those who were throwing the devices, as a result of which one of them was killed. The IDF enters the refugee camp in accordance with operational needs and with the aim of preventing terrorist activity in the area.”

Not far from the house of mourning, on a wall in another home, is a photograph of Majd Lahlouh, who was shot to death after going out to confront soldiers in the camp in August 2013, at the age of 22. Beneath the photo lies his cousin of 23, Izak Lahlouh. He, too, was wounded that night last month, by a bullet that hit an artery his leg. He was told in the hospital that if his evacuation had been delayed by another few minutes, he would have died from loss of blood. Now he’s bedridden, keeping warm with blankets and watching television, with crutches by his side.

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Saturday, February 11

"How Israel Bulldozes Democracy"
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HAIFA, Israel — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel is expected to visit Washington this week to meet with President Trump, presumably to discuss the political philosophy they share: power through hate and fear. A government that bars refugees and Muslims from entering the United States has much in common with one that permits Israeli settlers to steal land from Palestinians, as a new law that Mr. Netanyahu’s coalition pushed through Parliament last week did.

Like Mr. Trump, Mr. Netanyahu used blatant race-baiting tactics to win his last election, in 2015. Since then, he has made discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel central to his agenda. This takes many forms; a particularly painful one is his government’s racist, unjust land use and housing policies.

Arabs make up one-fifth of Israel’s population, yet only 2.5 percent of the state’s land is under Arab jurisdiction. And since the founding of the state, more than 700 new towns and cities have been built for Jews, while no new cities have been built for Arabs.

In Arab towns, the government has made building permits so difficult to obtain, and grants them so rarely, that many inhabitants have resorted to constructing new housing units on their properties without permits just to keep up with growing families that have nowhere else to go. As a result, Arab communities have become more and more densely populated, turning pastoral villages into concrete jungles.

In southern Israel, more than 100,000 Arab citizens face a particular crisis. In the Naqab desert, known in Hebrew as the Negev, there are 35 villages that are officially “unrecognized” by the state. The residents of these unrecognized villages have Israeli citizenship, yet the state has refused to provide even basic services like water, electricity utilities, paved roads and schools.

Worse, because the Israeli government refuses to recognize these villages’ existence, they all live under the shadow of demolition orders from the state. Residents never know when the police will come to evict them and bulldoze their homes.

These policies have existed for decades, but Mr. Netanyahu has turned them into a political bludgeon. Several weeks ago, when it became clear that the government would be forced to implement an Israeli High Court ruling to evacuate Amona, an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank built on land stolen from Palestinians, Mr. Netanyahu vowed to destroy Arab homes throughout Israel in retribution.

The prime minister soon made good on his threat. That was why, a few weeks later, a huge force of armed police arrived to destroy homes in the unrecognized village of Umm al-Hiran.

I first visited Umm al-Hiran not long after I had been elected secretary general of the Hadash party. I spent several weeks living in the Naqab and took part in a nonviolent protest against the demolition of another village, Al Araqib. I was beaten by police and arrested. I had to call my wife, Nardin, from jail.

After a long legal battle, the government has moved to destroy Umm al-Hiran so that a religious Jewish community can be built in its place. This new town would erase all traces of Arab presence, even replacing the town’s name with the more Hebrew-sounding Hiran.

The residents suggested a compromise: Create an Arab neighborhood within the new town so that their community could remain intact. The state rejected this idea: Hiran was to be for Jews only.

A few weeks ago, I had reason to call my wife from the Naqab again. This time, I was in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. On Jan. 18, as I stood with the residents of Umm al-Hiran, Israeli police who had arrived to demolish the village pepper-sprayed me and then shot me in the head and the back with baton rounds.

These bullets, which are about 3 inches long and 1.5 inches in diameter, have a hard plastic base and a high-density foam tip. Supposedly nonlethal, they have caused numerous serious injuries, including skull fractures and eye loss, and have been associated with at least one fatality. In my case, the bullet missed my eye and only grazed my skull.

More grave, police actions that day resulted in two deaths: Yakoub Abu al-Qai’an, a math teacher from Umm al-Hiran, was shot and killed while driving, and Erez Levi, a police officer, was hit by Mr. Abu al-Qai’an’s car after he was shot. The police put out a false narrative that this was a terror attack. The Joint List, the group I lead in the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, has called for a full inquiry into the day’s events.

In the Naqab, the state claims “planning irregularities,” trespassing or environmental concerns as justification for refusing to recognize the villages and for destroying them. This is a grim farce. The reality for Arab citizens is Kafkaesque: The state refuses to create municipal plans to accommodate growing communities, and instead destroys homes that are built without permits it makes impossible to obtain.

Is this a way for a state to treat its citizens?

The government must meet the housing needs of Arab communities. I have proposed a two-year moratorium on demolishing illegally built homes, together with a public campaign to discourage illegal building. During that time, the state should create municipal plans for every Arab city and town and ensure that there is proper accommodation for expected growth.

This plan has the support of both relevant ministries. But Mr. Netanyahu is ignoring it, just as he ignores our proposal to recognize the Arab villages of the Naqab.

Treating the Arab population as an enemy within is racist in itself, but it is also a political maneuver. Mr. Netanyahu knows that his opponents on the left will not regain power without cooperating with Arab parties. The opposition Labor Party knows this, too. But instead of acting with integrity, Labor has mimicked Mr. Netanyahu’s strategy, treating us not as valued allies but as untouchables.

The very existence of unrecognized villages is perhaps the most blatant example of the government’s cruelty toward its Arab citizens. There is room enough for all of us, in the Naqab and throughout the state. In this moment, it is our moral responsibility to build a principled opposition strong enough to overpower the politics of hate and fear. I will continue to work toward a just and democratic shared future.

Ayman Odeh, the chairman of the Hadash party, leads the Joint List, the third-largest bloc in the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament.

New York Times.

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Inside the minds of Israel's settlers
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Of all the many roadblocks to peace between Israel and its neighbours, none is more contentious, more controversial and more incendiary than the question of civilian settlements.
A small number of Jews created the first settlement outside their country's borders five decades ago. What began as one small community gave rise to hundreds of settlements and outposts, now occupied by about 400,000 Israelis.
In January, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu authorized a wave of new construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, on lands much of the world recognizes as Palestinian territory. His decision was seen as an act of defiance in the face of a United Nations resolution condemning Israeli settlements on occupied lands.
Israeli documentary filmmaker Shimon Dotan wades into this fractious territory with his latest documentary film "The Settlers." He tells Michael Enright he wanted to understand the perspective of people involved in the settlements — an enterprise he personally considers an "existential threat" to Israel's future.
[The settlement enterprise] is, in my view, a genuine threat to very existence of the state of Israel as we want it, as we know it, as it was designed in the first place. - Shimon Dotan
Shimon Dotan was born in Romania, moved to Israel at age 10 and served for five years in an elite unit of the Israeli navy. He has taught film courses at Tel Aviv University and at Concordia University in Montreal. Since 2003, he has been teaching both at New York University and New School University in New York City.


Click the button above to hear Michael's interview with Shimon Dotan. 

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Israeli forces deliver land confiscation notices in Ramallah-area village
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RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces delivered confiscation notices on Friday for 275 dunams (69 acres) of private Palestinian land on the outskirts of the village of Beituniya in the western part of the occupied West Bank district of Ramallah.
Official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that farmers from the villages of Beit Ur al-Tahta and Beit Ur al-Fuqa found notices in the fields where Israeli forces had seemingly scattered them around. The notices reportedly read that the lands would be confiscated for “urgent military purposes.”
The notices, according to Wafa, were found near an Israeli military checkpoint on Route 443 west of Ramallah.
A spokesperson from COGAT, the Israeli agency responsible for implementing Israeli policies in the occupied Palestinian territory, was not immediately available for comment.
According to the Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem (ARIJ), at least 60 percent of the village is under threat of confiscation and isolation owing to the construction of Israel’s separation wall. The land confiscated by Israeli authorities has been repurposed for the construction of illegal Israeli settlements, ARIJ said.
The lands isolated by the separation barrier have also been used for Israeli settlements and Israeli military outposts, as well as other Israeli-controlled spaces that prevent Palestinians from developing or living in the area.
ARIJ also noted that the separation barrier has been erected close to the urbanized areas of the village, in effect preventing any expansion in the area to accommodate Beituniya's population.
“This move will create a new reality of increased urban population and population density given the lack of urban space for expansion and new construction,” ARIJ said.

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Friday, February 10

January 2017 In Numbers
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In Case You Missed It.

January 2017 in Numbers

3 new rounds of illegal settlement construction were announced by Israel in January. On Jan. 22, the government announced plans for 566 new housing units in occupied East Jerusalem. On Jan. 24, plans for 2,500 new housing units in the West Bank were announced. On Jan. 31, approval was given for 3,000 additional housing units in the West Bank. The Trump administration declined to condemn the announcements. David Friedman, Trump’s pick to be the next U.S. ambassador to Israel, formerly served as president of a group that raises funds for settlements.
137 Palestinian structures in the West Bank and East Jerusalem were demolished by Israeli forces in January, according to figures from the United Nations, displacing 237 people, including 134 children. These demolitions build upon the 1,093 Palestinian structures that Israel destroyed last year—the highest number since the U.N. began keeping records in 2009.
2 people—an Israeli Bedouin and an Israeli police officer—were killed in clashes on Jan. 18 after Israeli officials entered the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran with demolition orders. Israeli-Palestinian Knesset member Ayman Odeh was injured and hospitalized after being hit by a foam-tipped bullet during the clashes. Israel regularly demolishes Bedouin villages it does not recognize in order to build new towns for Jewish Israelis only.
20-year-old Israeli Sgt. Elor Azaria was found guilty of manslaughter by an Israeli court in early January. In March 2016, Azaria was filmed fatally shooting a wounded and incapacitated Palestinian attacker in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron. Azaria’s conviction was a rare moment of justice for Palestinians, as IDF soldiers rarely face severe consequences for crimes committed against Palestinians.
6 months: the amount of time Israeli-Palestinian Knesset member Basel Ghattas has been suspended from the Knesset after he was caught allegedly smuggling cell phones, SIM cards and documents to prisoners convicted of terrorism. Ghattas will still be permitted to vote during his suspension.
56 percent of Americans oppose moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, according to a January poll conducted by the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy. President Donald Trump seemed poised to announce the move within his first week in office, but has since put any such announcement on hold.
31 percent of Democrats polled by the Pew Research Center in January said they sympathize more with Palestine than with Israel. 33 percent of respondents said they sympathize more with Israel. These findings mark the first time in Pew Research history that Democrats are as likely to sympathize with Palestinians as they are with Israelis. The poll found that Republican support for Israel remains strong.
342 members of the House of Representatives—233 Republicans and 109 Democrats—voted in favor of a resolution objecting to U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334, which condemns Israel’s ongoing settlement enterprise. President Barack Obama refused to veto the resolution in December, thereby allowing the resolution to pass and leading to criticism from pro-Israel groups in the U.S.
41 men remain at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, after former President Obama failed to fulfill his promise to close the prison. Obama transferred 18 men from the facility in January—10 to Oman, 5 to Saudi Arabia and 3 to the UAE. During his eight years in office he transferred 197 detainees from the facility.  
26,172 bombs were dropped in seven countries by the United States in 2016, according to an estimate conducted by Micah Zenko of the Council on Foreign Relations. The vast majority of bombs were dropped in Syria (12,192) and Iraq (12,095). The remainder were dropped in Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan. “This estimate is undoubtedly low,” Zenko points out, “considering reliable data is only available for airstrikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya, and a single ‘strike,’ according to the Pentagon’s definition, can involve multiple bombs or munitions.”
3 U.S. drone strikes were carried out in Yemen in January, reportedly killing between 6 and 13 militants, according to data complied by New America. Two of the strikes were authorized by President Donald Trump. According to the Director of National Intelligence, the U.S. conducted 526 counter-terror strikes (most of them drone strikes) during President Obama’s tenure in office. The U.S. government estimates 64 to 117 civilians were killed in the strikes, though independent estimates put this number much higher. This official data do not include strikes in areas of “active hostilities,” including Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, where it is believed U.S. drone strikes have been particularly devastating to civilians.
30 Yemenis, most of them civilians, were killed on Jan. 29 when U.S. commandos carried out a raid targeting al-Qaeda militants in southern Yemen. Among those killed in the first military raid authorized by President Trump was 8-year-old American citizen Nawar al-Awlaki, the daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, who was extrajudicially killed by a drone strike in October 2011 and whose 16-year-old son Abdulrahman was killed in a drone strike two weeks later. An American service member was also killed in the January raid, which the president described as “successful.”
1,000 Yemeni children die every week from preventable diseases, according to UNICEF. An estimated 2.2 million children in the poor, war-torn nation suffer from malnutrition, according to the agency.
7 years after being jailed for leaking American military and diplomatic documents about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Chelsea Manning had her sentence commuted by President Obama on Jan. 17. Manning’s leaks led to a greater public critique of U.S. military action in the Middle East. Manning is set to be released on May 17, after originally being scheduled for release in 2045.
1,363 civilians were killed in violence in Iraq in January, according to Iraq Body Count.
64 percent of Americans oppose the U.S. withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement with Iran, according to a poll conducted by the University of Maryland’s Program for Public Consultation in late December.
82-year-old Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani died of a heart attack on Jan. 8 in Tajrish, Iran. The two-time president and former chairman of the Assembly of Experts was one of the most influential politicians in Iran. A leader of the 1979 revolution, Rafsanjani was a mentor to current President Hassan Rouhani and used his power to give greater legitimacy to more “moderate” forces within Iran.

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