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Terrorisme israélien


Jeudi, 5 février 2015 - 17h15

jeudi 5 février 2015



Violence / Raids / Clashes / Arrests

Settler shoots, injures Palestinian youth in East Jerusalem

JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 2 Feb — A settler shot and injured a 17-year-old Palestinian teenager in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on Monday, witnesses said. Muhammad Yusuf Burqan, 17, was shot while tending to a small herd of sheep in the Wadi Yasul area of the neighborhood, his cousin told Ma‘an. "I came back to check up on Muhammad and found him lying on the ground surrounded by about 15 settlers, one of whom had a gun in his hand. I tried to access Muhammad and give him first aid, but the settler with the gun threatened to shoot me, while the others started to swear at me," Suheib Burqan said. He used his mobile phone to call his brother, who took Muhammad to the al-Maqasid hospital for treatment. The settlers fled the scene before his brother arrived.

Israeli hits nun with car in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 2 Feb — An Israeli on Monday ran his car into a foreign nun who was walking in Jerusalem, injuring her, locals said. Witnesses told Ma‘an that the Israeli "settler" was driving his car at a high speed and hit a nun who was walking on the pedestrian side of the line near Damascus Gate. The nun was treated with first aid at the scene and taken to a hospital. Israeli police stopped the man for questioning. [One hopes this is not an escalation of the notorious spitting on Christian clergy that has gone on for so long in Jerusalem]

Settler car crashes into Palestinian security vehicle, 7 injured
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 2 Feb — A settler vehicle crashed into a car belonging to Palestinian Authority security forces on Monday near Hebron, injuring seven security officers, Palestinian officials said. Security officials told Ma‘an that the crash occurred near al-‘Arrub refugee camp north of Hebron, with initial reports indicating that the incident was deliberate. The officers were taken to hospital with light to moderate injuries.

Israeli forces raid Qalandia camp, clash with Palestinians
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 2 Feb — Israeli forces early Monday used live fire during clashes with Palestinians in Qalandia refugee camp, locals said. Witnesses told Ma‘an that clashes broke out in the camp when "hundreds" of Israeli soldiers and dozens of military vehicles raided the area at around 2:00 a.m. Sixteen-year-old Mahmoud Hassan Abu Nassar was injured in the thigh and taken to the Palestine Medical Center for treatment, the sources said. Dozens of others were hurt by rubber-coated bullets and tear gas inhalation. Muhammad Ali Mteir, 17, Jalal Abu Isba, 24, and Murad Taysir Hammad, 29, were detained during the clashes. The three are former prisoners. Fifteen-year-old Asid Nasser al-Zir was also detained by Israeli soldiers. Live and rubber-coated bullets, tear gas canisters, and stun grenades damaged several houses and vehicles parked in the area, the sources added.

Group : Israeli forces detain 12 Palestinians in raids
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 3 Feb — Israeli forces detained at least 12 Palestinians during search raids in different areas across the West Bank overnight, a prisoners group said Tuesday. The Ahrar prisoners rights group said that Israeli forces raided the Qabatiya, Ya‘bad, and Sanur villages near Jenin, searched several homes and detained at least eight Palestinians. Abd al-Jabbar Uqab Nfeiat, brothers Mahdi, 21, and Maher Said Zakarneh, 19, Nasser Abd al-Hadi Habibeh, 37, and Saad Rashid Jarrar, 28, were identified as among the detainees. In the Tell village in Nablus, Israeli forces detained two youths ; one of them was identified as Qassem Youssef Khawaja, 23, and was detained from the Allenby crossing on his way back to the West Bank from Jordan late Monday. Israeli soldiers also detained Adnan Ali Daamseh, 53, and Ali Muhammad Daamseh, 28, after raiding and searching their homes in the Artas village in Bethlehem.

Soldiers kidnap seven children in Hebron, two in Jerusalem
IMEMC/Agencies 4 Feb — Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Wednesday at dawn, seven Palestinian children in the southern West Bank district of Hebron, and two children in occupied East Jerusalem, after invading their homes and searching them. Several military vehicles invaded the Tabaqa village, south of Doura town near Hebron, and kidnapped three children, local sources said. Monqeth Abu ‘Atwan, head of the Palestinian Detainee Committee in Bethlehem, said the soldiers ransacked his home, and kidnapped his son Mohammad, 15 years of age. Mohammad was previously imprisoned by Israel, and was only released a few days ago. Soldiers also kidnapped a high-school student identified as Qusai Kamel al-Atrash, in addition to Mo’men Jamal Abu Hawwash, 15, Ahmad Hakam Harbiyyat, 15, and Ahmad Raed Shanan, 15.
In Beit Ummar town, north of Hebron, soldiers kidnapped high-school students Ahmad Mohammad ‘Awad, 17, and Rashid ‘Ali ‘Awad, 17, after storming their homes and ransacking them. Mohammad Awad, spokesperson of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, said more than fifteen soldiers stormed his home, and violently searched it, before kidnapping his son Ahmad. Clashes took place in the town, after the soldiers invaded it and kidnapped the Palestinians ; the army fired several gas bombs and concussion grenades. Several Palestinians, and workers of a local bakery, suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation. The soldiers also invaded various neighborhoods in Hebron city, the al-Fawwar refugee camp, Doura and Beit Ummar towns.
In Jerusalem, soldiers broke into and ransacked a number of homes in the at-Tour town, overlooking the Old City, and kidnapped two Palestinians before moving them to the al-Maskobiyya interrogation center, west of the city. The Ad-Dameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association said the kidnapped have been identified as Faisal Abu al-Hawa, 17, and Mohammad ‘Afif Abu al-Hawa, 17.


Egypt opens fire at Palestinian positions inside Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 3 Feb — Egyptian troops on Tuesday morning opened fire at Palestinian military posts inside the Gaza Strip near the border fence, witnesses told Ma‘an. The Egyptian army announced earlier Tuesday that a bomb exploded in a troop transport vehicle near the border with the Gaza Strip. The incident, the army said, was the first of its kind. The Ministry of Interior of the former Hamas-run government denounced the attack, which a spokesman described as "firing directly and deliberately at two Palestinian military posts on the southern Gaza Strip borders." Iyad al-Buzm added that Egyptian troops opened fire without any warning. He said that the Palestinian side did not carry out any breach before the Egyptian soldiers opened fire. "This is a dangerous indicator which necessitates an immediate investigation to call to account those involved in it," the spokesman said. Separately, commander of the Gaza national security forces Abu Ubayda al-Jarrah denied the reports. He explained that Egyptian troops accidentally opened fire "near our forces" but said it was part of ongoing military operations in Rafah, and not specifically targeting Gaza.

Hamas supporters in Gaza protest Egyptian court ban
GAZA CITY (AFP) 2 Feb — Hundreds of Hamas supporters marched in the Gaza Strip on Monday to protest an Egyptian court decision to declare the Islamic movement’s armed wing as a banned "terrorist" group. Waving the green flag of the movement, which is the de facto power in the coastal Palestinian territory, demonstrators chanted "Hamas is not terrorist" and "Hamas is our pride" during the rally in the northern Gaza town of Jabaliya. In a speech to the crowd, senior Hamas official Mushir al-Masri said that Saturday’s ruling against the militant group’s Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades was "political" and meant to "conceal failure and the lack of security in Egypt at this time." Since Egypt’s military ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, authorities have accused Hamas of aiding jihadists who have carried out a string of deadly attacks on security forces in the Sinai Peninsula. The verdict followed a complaint from a lawyer accusing the Hamas armed wing of direct involvement in "terrorist operations" in the Sinai, which borders Gaza, a court official said. The lawyer also accused the movement of using tunnels under the frontier between Egypt and Gaza to smuggle arms used in attacks against the police and army, the official added.

Israeli troops fire at farmers in central Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 3 Feb – Israeli troops on Tuesday morning opened fire at Palestinian farmers near the border fence in the central Gaza Strip, witnesses said. They explained that farmers were trying to reach their fields east of al-Maghazi refugee camp when Israeli soldiers fired at them from military watchtowers on the other side of the border. No injuries have been reported.

Israeli navy ships attack Palestinian fishing boats in Rafah
IMEMC/Agencies 3 Feb — Israeli Navy ships opened fire, on Tuesday at dawn, on a number of Palestinian fishing boats in Gaza territorial waters, in Rafah, in the southern part of the coastal region. The Palestinian Safa News Agency said the navy fired heavy rounds of live ammunition towards the boats, forcing the fishers to sail much closer to the shore, fearing for their lives. It added that the navy also fired bursts of live rounds, close to the shore, before medics and rescue teams rushed to the scene to aid the fishers ; no injuries were reported. Palestinian fishers and their boats are subject to daily Israeli assaults in Gaza waters, close to the shore and even while docked on the shore.

560 trucks with goods and fuel allowed into Gaza
IMEMC/Agencies 2 Feb — Israeli authorities opened Kerem Shalom trade crossing on Monday, to allow the entry of 560 truckloads of goods and fuel to the Gaza Strip. Chairman of the Coordination Committee for the entry of goods, Raed Fattouh, said that the trucks are loaded with goods for trade, agricultural, transportation and aid sectors. Fattouh stated, according to Al Ray, that "the occupation will allow the entry of 150 truckloads of gravels for the Qatar projects", noting that 99 trucks loaded with cement and gravel and iron for construction of international projects will also enter. Fattouh says that the occupation will also soon allow quantities of fuel to be pumped. Kerem Shalom is the only commercial crossing through which goods and fuel enter the Gaza Strip. Israeli authorities close it every Friday and Saturday. On other days, it works to less than half capacity.

AP PHOTOS : After moment of fear, Gaza girl goes home
GAZA CITY (AP) 3 Feb by Fares Akram & Khalil Hamra — Screaming, covered in red burns and welts from shrapnel, 13-month-old Anwar Saad’s fear and pain showed across her face as five pairs of white-gloved hands gently brought her down on an examination table. The moment of chaos, one of many at Gaza City’s Shifa Hospital during last summer’s war between Israel and Hamas, became an image shared worldwide after Associated Press photographer Khalil Hamra captured it. Now, some six months later, Anwar is back at her home in the Gaza Strip. But her family’s suffering has not abated ... For the Saads, the war came into their home on July 18, when they say an Israeli tank shell crashed through the wall of their house in Gaza’s crowded Shijaiyeh neighborhood. Shrapnel wounded all of the Saad family, most seriously Anwar, her mother, Abeer Saad, and her 3-year-old brother, Mahmoud Saad ... Today, Anwar has returned to her family’s damaged one-story home. Their living room serves as a sleeping and cooking area now, because the damaged kitchen and adjacent bedroom are still unusable. The roof of the living room is charred and the smell of smoke still lingers. Anwar’s father built new walls for the kitchen and the bedroom, but stopped rebuilding because he ran out of money. He said he quit his job in a coal workshop because the war drove up his blood pressure. And Anwar’s mother spends much of her time caring for her daughter. The toddler only stops crying when she is in her rocking bed. Before the war, Anwar was playful and alert, the mother said. Not any longer. "Now she doesn’t play with her siblings. She is always dull and every now and then we take her to the doctor," she said. "I wish she would go back to how she was in the past."

Saudi allocates $13.5 million in cash to Gaza families
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 3 Feb — The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has allocated $13.5 million to UNRWA for the Palestinian people to be paid in cash to Gaza residents whose homes sustained minor damage during the summer 2014 Israeli military offensive. UNRWA Gaza-based media adviser Adnan Abu Hasna said in a statement that the money was allocated by Saudi Arabia’s development fund originally to be used in the reconstruction process. However, the fund agreed on Monday that the money should be paid in cash to some 10,000 Gaza families whose houses sustained minor damage during the latest Israeli offensive. The money, he said, has already been transferred to UNRWA bank accounts in the coastal enclave and that eligible beneficiaries will be able to receive their shares Tuesday and Wednesday.

Palestinian refugees protest at labor ministry in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 3 Feb — Dozens of Palestinian refugees who settled in Gaza after fleeing conflict in Syria, Libya, and Yemen protested in front of the Palestinian Ministry of Labor on Tuesday, a committee member said. The refugees demanded the ministry renew their unemployment contracts and grant them financial aid for the past six months, said Ahmad al-Imawi, the head of a joint committee for refugees. Al-Imawi demanded in a statement that President Mahmoud Abbas work on renewing the refugees’ unemployment contracts as they entered a second month without jobs ... Some 2,000 Palestinian refugees who were displaced due to conflicts in Libya, Yemen, and Syria settled in Gaza in 2014. But given the destruction caused by Israel’s deadly summer offensive on the tiny territory, some say they are now living in conditions that are worse than before they came to the Strip.

Hamas says alleged spy active for 15 years detained in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 3 Feb — Security forces in Gaza said Tuesday that they had arrested a man who allegedly was collaborating with Israel for the past 15 years. Security officials told the Hamas-affiliated al-Majd website that the man was "one of the most dangerous collaborators with Israel" and had working with the Israeli Shin Bet for nearly 15 years. The unidentified man was one of the most "active" members of providing intelligence to Israeli forces, and allegedly confessed to a number of incidents. The officials said that the man had been distributing money via Israel’s security services to other collaborators in the Gaza Strip. He also took part in several operations to kill high-ranking Hamas officials during Israeli military attacks on the coastal enclave in 2012 and 2014, and aided Israel in locating Hamas’ arms caches. The man is also accused of locating dozens of homes targeted during Israel’s devastating military offensive last summer, and gave names to Israel of people who could be blackmailed in return for working with the Shin Bet. In August, 18 suspected collaborators were killed by Hamas as the group announced a crackdown on Palestinians alleged to be working with Israel. Information passed to Israel’s security services by Palestinian collaborators is often used to make arrests and assassinate high-profile political and militant figures. Under Palestinian law, collaboration with Israel is punishable by death.

Prisoners / Court actions

Israeli court releases Palestinian journalist on bail
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 2 Feb — An Israeli court on Monday released a Palestinian journalist on bail, a Ma‘an reporter said. The judge of the Israeli magistrate ruled for the release of [female] journalist Sabrin Obeidat on a bail of 500 shekels ($127). Obeidat is also banned from Al-Aqsa Mosque compound for 30 days. The journalist was detained in the compound on Sunday.

Israeli wardens harass daughters of Palestinian prisoner during visit
TUBAS (Ma‘an) 3 Feb – Israeli prison wardens on Monday evening assaulted [?] two daughters of a Palestinian prisoner during regular visit to their father in Israel’s Rimon prison, the Palestinian Prisoners Center for Studies reported. A spokeswoman of the center, Aminah al-Taweel, said in a statement that two daughters of prisoner Yahya Sharida from Tubas in the northern West Bank were "harassed because they were wearing Niqab (face cover)" during a visit to their father. She said that a captain in the prison service police asked the daughters Ayat and Sundus Sharida after they visited their father to take off their face cover to make sure the photos on their ID cards were theirs. However, the two refused to take off the covers except before female officers. As a result, the girls were detained for two hours. The girls were released after two hours, and "were threatened to be deprived of visits to their father for the remaining 11 years of his imprisonment." The father has been in Israeli custody since Nov. 14, 2003 serving 22 years on a charge of membership in the Hamas military wing.

Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing

Palestinian activists erect protest tents in solidarity with Bedouin
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 Feb — Dozens of activists on Tuesday erected a new protest village in Abu Dis east of Jerusalem in protest of Israel’s plans to displace Bedouin in the E1 corridor, a local official said. Adel Salah, the head of Abu Dis’ local council, said the tents were erected in protest of Israel’s plans to drive Bedouin of the al-Jahalin tribe from their lands in order to connect the illegal settlement of Maale Adumim to Jerusalem. Around 250 activists joined in the protest. A local popular committee spokesman, Hani Halabiya, said that Israeli forces raided the village in the afternoon and gave activists an hour to evacuate, threatening to use force ... Critics say Israeli settlement construction in E1 would divide the West Bank in two and make the creation of a contiguous Palestinian state — as envisaged by the internationally backed two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict — virtually impossible.

Bethlehem mayor recruiting pope to intervene on West Bank barrier
2 Feb by Haaretz and Lauren Gelfond Feldinger — Planned route would cut off convent and its school from Bethlehem, make West Bank city economically unsustainable, says Vera Baboun ahead of visit to see Francis — The mayor of the West Bank town of Bethlehem is hoping Pope Francis will help her prevent Israel from extending its security barrier near her city. Vera Baboun says she plans to ask Pope Francis to intervene in a dispute over Israel’s plans to build the fence through the Cremisan Valley, at the site of a convent school, according to Catholic World News. She is scheduled to meet with Pope Francis in Rome next month, along with leaders from other West Bank towns, when she plans to intervene on her behalf to get Israel to change its plans ... The Israeli High Court of Justice is reviewing the disputed portion of the security fence, which would be built near the town of Beit Jala. The Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court in 2012 approved land appropriation for the barrier along a route that would annex about 75 percent of the convent’s property, where the school is located. Palestinians argue that the wall, in any of the locations Israel has proposed, would either separate the school from the town where the students live, or block off access to the only green area near Bethlehem, the Catholic News reported. This would not be the first time the pope has been asked to weigh in on the valley. In 2012, lawyers representing the convent asked Pope Benedict XVI to keep Cremisan on the agenda when he met with then-Israeli President Shimon Peres.

Israeli settlers raze 50 dunams in Salfit governorate
IMEMC/Agencies 3 Feb — Israeli settlers, on Tuesday morning, bulldozed over 50 dunams of Palestinian-owned land in the village of Iskaka, near the Za‘tara checkpoint, Salfit governorate. PNN reports that, at the present time, eyewitnesses say that bulldozers backed by Israeli forces are still proceeding to raze the village. Researcher Khaled Ma’ali said that Israel has been on a roll, bulldozing more than 11 areas in Salfit district. Ma’ali anticipates, as part of Netanyahu’s preliminary campaign for the upcoming March elections, this unprecedented settlement activity to add about 24 settlements to the occupied 1948 lands.

Israel prevents Palestinian farmers from reaching lands near Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 2 Feb — Israeli forces on Monday prevented Palestinian farmers from reaching their lands in the Hebron district, a local spokesman said. Muhammad Ayyad Awad, spokesman of Beit Ummar’s popular committee, said that despite coordination with the Israeli side, farmers from the Sabarneh and Abu Maria families were not allowed to work on their lands, which are located on territory that was confiscated for the Israeli settlement of Karmei Tzur.

Settlers storm Palestinian housing site near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 Feb — A group of Israeli settlers on Tuesday broke into a private Palestinian housing site in Khalayil al-Lawz near Bethlehem, witnesses said. Locals told Ma’an that settlers from the illegal settlement of Efrat and nearby outposts stormed the housing project, raised Israeli flags, and held signs written in Hebrew. Israeli soldiers accompanied the settlers, witnesses added. The housing site, near the village of Abu Nujeim south of Bethlehem, consists of dozens of duplex houses which were built several years ago by the union of Bethlehem University alumni. After completing the concrete frames of the buildings, the project was abandoned, seemingly for lack of funds.


Israeli police tour Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa compound
AIC/IMEMC 3 Feb — Twelve Israeli police officers invaded Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound Tuesday morning, and toured the area. Later in the morning, some twenty Israeli settlers invaded the compound, accompanied by police and intelligence officers. AIC additionally reports that some 965 Israeli settlers, government officials and journalists invaded occupied East Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa compound in January, according to a new report by the Said al-Aqsa Foundation for Waqf and Heritage. Of this number, some 720 were settler civilians while the others were intelligence officers, staff of Israel’s Foreign Ministry and reporters for Israeli television channels two and ten. All were accompanied by Israeli police officers.

Jordan announces return of its ambassador to Tel Aviv
AFP/Reuters/Al-Akhbar 2 Feb — Jordan announced on Monday that its ambassador to Israel would return to his post in Tel Aviv three months after being recalled over "violations" at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque. "We have asked Ambassador Walid Obeidat to return to Tel Aviv," government spokesman Mohammed al-Momani told AFP. Amman recalled Obeidat on November 5 after police clashed with Palestinians inside the al-Aqsa compound, with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh describing Israeli actions as "violations" and "way beyond the limits." Jordan, where almost half the population of seven million is of Palestinian origin, has historical “custodianship” over the flashpoint site and other Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem. Obeidat’s recall came after 47 Jordanian MPs signed a motion demanding that the 1994 peace treaty with Israel be annulled. The recall had put enormous pressure on already frosty ties between Israel and Jordan, the only Arab country apart from Egypt to have a peace treaty with the Zionist state. Tensions soared to a new level when in early November Israeli police entered “several meters” into the al-Aqsa mosque [the building itself] during clashes triggered by a vow by Zionist far-right groups to visit the holy site. The Palestinian protesters were locked inside the mosque where they spent the night in protest to prevent Zionist hardliners from entering it. The clashes wounded three people by rubber bullets and another 15 people, who sustained light injuries and had been treated at the scene. After Obeidat’s recall, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a rare visit to Jordan for tripartite talks with Jordan’s King Abdallah and US Secretary of State John Kerry to contain the diplomatic fallout. Momani said Jordan’s decision to return its envoy to Tel Aviv also comes after Amman noted that Israel has been allowing more Muslim worshipers to pray at al-Aqsa after having set limits.

Other news, analysis, opinion

Palestinians protest Israeli president’s Hebron visit
HEBRON (AFP) 2 Feb — Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Monday called for "dialogue" between Israelis and Palestinians during a visit to the flashpoint West Bank city of Hebron, amid protests. Several dozen people protested against his visit, and Palestinians said Israeli soldiers used tear gas and rubber-coated bullets to disperse demonstrators. Rivlin was in Hebron to inaugurate a museum at a Jewish settlement in the city commemorating dozens of Jews killed by Palestinians there in 1929. "It is difficult to imagine the possibility of dialogue in Hebron. The memory of slaughter and blood ; screams of the wounded and orphans, are part of a constant reminder that arise in the collective memory of the city. However, we can and should try," his office quoted him as saying. He also visited the settlement of Kiryat Arba, adjoining the city, and the site known to Muslims as the Ibrahimi Mosque and to Jews as the Cave of the Patriarchs and revered by both. On Feb. 25, 1994, Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein mowed down 29 Muslim worshippers there with an assault rifle before being beaten to death by survivors. Today some 700 settlers live in around 80 homes in the tense city center of Hebron surrounded by nearly 200,000 Palestinians and protected by the Israeli army.

Abbas orders probe into West Bank Mohammed cartoon
RAMALLAN (AFP) 3 Feb — Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has ordered an investigation into a drawing of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed which appeared in a West Bank newspaper, local media reported Tuesday. The cartoon, which appeared Sunday in Al-Hayat al-Jadida, depicted what appeared to be a giant Mohammed standing on top of the world, sprinkling grains of love and acceptance from a heart-shaped satchel. Palestinian news agency Wafa quoted Abbas as deeming it "necessary to take deterrent measures against those responsible for this terrible mistake." Depictions of the prophet are considered forbidden in Islam ... Mohammad Sabaaneh, who drew the Al-Hayat al-Jadida cartoon, told AFP it was "misunderstood," without elaborating. In a post on his Facebook page, however, he explained he was trying to defend Islam "using the same methods as those who seek to insult the prophet — cartoons." ... An editorial staff member at the newspaper told AFP on condition of anonymity that "Sabaaneh wanted to show through the drawing the grains of tolerance and love of Islam, incarnate as a man. "The aura of light around him in the cartoon is the legacy left to Muslims by Mohammed." Sabaaneh told AFP in an interview last month that physical attacks on those who insulted the prophet were despicable. "You have to react in kind, combating idea with idea, cartoons with cartoons — not through murder," he said.

For Bedouin Arabs guarding Israel’s borders, new challenge to loyalty
Christian Science Monitor 3 Feb by Christa Case Bryant — Bedouin trackers have played a crucial role in Israel’s military for decades. But land disputes are souring the community’s ties to the state, and enlistment is down — Night has just fallen over Israel’s Negev desert, and a bevy of Bedouin trackers are padding across the desert, following their enemy’s footsteps ... These men are not on a mission for their tribe. They’re soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), engaging in a semi-annual training exercise. They come from a long tradition of Bedouin trackers who have defended Israel against everything from Sinai drug smuggling to Hezbollah booby-traps. While Arabs are exempt from military service, thousands of Bedouin volunteer, often in the hope of securing good jobs. Some openly profess a deep sense of loyalty to the state ... Bedouin are among several minority groups that together account for about 6,000 soldiers in the Israeli military, along with Druze, Arab Christians, and a handful of Arab Muslims. Two in three Bedouin soldiers make a career out of their service in the army, which has long championed their intimate knowledge of the land. Bedouin trackers take pride in having uncovered one of the first Hamas tunnels along the Gaza border and in having stopped commanders just as they were about to step on Hezbollah bombs along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon. But a schism between Bedouin communities and the state is growing, especially over police-enforced evictions of residents from unrecognized villages. Young Bedouin are increasingly unwilling to serve in the army – and those who do are becoming embarrassed to talk about it ... Traditionally, Bedouin were nomadic shepherds who moved freely around lands that are today controlled by Israel. But as Israeli towns and modern infrastructure spread into those areas, authorities increasingly pushed the Bedouin to live in permanent housing in prescribed communities....

Israel wants UN Gaza probe shelved as chief quits
JERUSALEM (AFP) 3 Feb by Daphne Rousseau — Israel called Tuesday for the shelving of a UN inquiry into its war last summer in the Gaza Strip after the probe’s head quit over Israeli accusations of conflict of interest. Canadian international law expert William Schabas resigned Monday after Israel complained that he had prepared a legal opinion for the Palestine Liberation Organisation in October 2012, the United Nations said. Schabas strongly denied that he was beholden to the PLO but said he was reluctantly stepping down to avoid the inquiry into the July-August conflict — commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council — being compromised in any way. "Under the circumstances and with great regret, I believe the important work of the commission is best served if I resign with immediate effect," he wrote in his letter of resignation. Council president Joachim Ruecker accepted the resignation, with spokesman Rolando Gomez saying that "in this way even an appearance of conflict of interest is avoided, thus preserving the integrity of the process." The UNHRC later Tuesday appointed Mary McGowan Davis, already a member of the inquiry, to succeed Schabas. But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seized on Schabas’s departure to demand whole investigation be abandoned, charging that the rights council was an "anti-Israel body". "After the resignation of the committee chairman who was biased against Israel, the report that was written at the behest of the UN Human Rights Council — an anti-Israel body, the decisions of which prove it has nothing to do with human rights — needs to be shelved," Netanyahu said. "This is the same council that in 2014 made more decisions against Israel than against Iran, Syria and North Korea combined." ... The Palestinians said Netanyahu’s calls were an attempt to intimidate UN investigators and cloud the issue. "This (resignation) is a minor issue. Israel makes a habit of using whatever means they can to attack, defame, discredit and intimidate," senior PLO official Hanan Ashrawi told AFP.

New paper reveals Israel’s damage control efforts on Palestinian ICC bid
Ynet 2 Feb by Itamar Eichner — Foreign Ministry report disseminated to all missions abroad outlines Israel’s central arguments against ICC preliminary probe into possible war crimes — A new Foreign Ministry report denounces an International Criminal Court preliminary probe into the "situation in Palestine" to determine if there is a legal basis exists to begin an investigation into alleged war crimes, and seeks to counter the possible fallout for Israel. The report analyzes the significance and consequences of the decision by the chief prosecutor at the ICC, which, the report claims, shows a partisan leaning at The Hague ... The prosecutor has two central arguments. Firstly, the United Nations secretary-general, who is custodian of the Rome Statute, "received" the Palestinian documents, and secondly that the UN General Assembly has effectively recognized the State of Palestine in its decision to grant it observer status ... Israel claims that the General Assembly is a political body and not a legal entity, which makes the ICC decision all the more illegitimate.,7340,L-4621822,00.html

Opinion : Israel’s attempt to undercut ICC is world’s worst tribute to Auschwitz liberation / Jess Salomon
Haaretz 2 Feb — Why is the Jewish state seeking to unhinge the sole international body that’s out to fulfill the promise of ’Never Again’ ? — It is hard to imagine a less fitting tribute to the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz than Israel’s international lobbying effort to cut funding to the International Criminal Court, an institution whose mandate is to hold individuals accountable for crimes such as, you guessed it, genocide ... The idea of an international criminal court predates the Holocaust, but it was only after the horrors of World War Two that it really took root. Nonetheless, it still took 50 years of work to start negotiating the Rome Statute, the ICC’s foundational treaty, and more than a decade after that for states to submit to its jurisdiction. Today the ICC stands as the successor to the Nuremberg trials and subsequent ad hoc international tribunals established to deal on a case-by-case basis with specific wars and genocides. As a permanent international court, the ICC’s purpose is not only to hold perpetrators of international crimes, like those committed during the Holocaust, to account ; it is also to act as a deterrent to the commission of those crimes. In short its purpose is “Never Again”. It’s not easy for states to trade in some of their sovereignty to back impunity for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, but many do so because it is important on a moral level and because these crimes pose a threat to international peace and security. Moreover, the ICC statute contains an essential jurisdictional safeguard in that it is complementary to national jurisdictions. The ICC can only prosecute in cases where a member state has proven itself unwilling or unable to genuinely carry out the investigation or prosecution.

Report : PA jails ’dozens’ of Islamic State supporters
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 Feb — Fifteen Palestinians are in PA custody due to their alleged support for the Islamic State group and for attempting to contact the militant group, an Israeli news site reported Tuesday. The Hebrew-language news site Walla quoted Palestinian security sources as saying PA security services arrested dozens of young men in the West Bank in the past two months on suspicion that they support IS. Many have been released after questioning while 15 are still in custody, Walla said. Among the detainees is a young woman who has a passport from a Western country. She was convicted on the charge and was freed after serving a period of imprisonment, Walla reported. The report added that PA police discovered that a divorced East Jerusalem mother of two had joined IS and traveled to Syria where she is now fighting in al-Raqqa city. The woman left her two children in a Palestinian village near Jerusalem. The Palestinian sources added, according to Walla, that Palestinian and Israeli security services work in full coordination in an effort to prevent the creation of IS cells in the West Bank and Israel.

Islamic State terror cell in Israel slaughtered sheep as part of training
Ynet 2 Feb by Hassan Shaalan — The Israeli-Arab terror cell charged two weeks ago with attempting to join the Islamic State trained for the fighting in Syria and Iraq by slaughtering sheep. The Haifa District Court on Monday extended the cell members’ remand for the duration of the proceedings against them ... According to the indictment, six of the suspects used to meet and plan their trip to Syria to join the Islamic State. During the meetings in the Sakhnin area, the six would argue about whether to support the Islamic State or Jabhat al-Nusra. Eventually, they decide to join the Islamic State in June of 2014. Later, the six met Adnan Jamil Ala a-Din, a 39-year-old former public defender from Nazareth, who has branded himself the "Islamic State chief of staff in Palestine," whom they contacted via Facebook. According to the indictment, the members of the cell trained in a farm in Kafr Manda owned by the attorney. They learned how to ride horses and how to prepare Molotov cocktails and purchased sheep to slaughter them as part of their training. When asked to comment on the indictment filed against him, Attorney Ala a-Din cursed at the reporters. Another defendant said "there’s no basis to all of the accusations, we have nothing to do with Daesh (Islamic State) or any other organization. I still don’t understand why they arrested me." A third defendant said "it’s all lies. I think the arrests were made so Prime Minister Netanyahu’s support rate will increase on our expense. We’re ahead of elections and he just wants to prove himself.,7340,L-4622114,00.html