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Terrorisme israélien - NAKBA permanente (ndlr)


Mercredi, 27 janvier 2016 - 7h51 AM

mercredi 27 janvier 2016



Violence / Detentions — West Bank, Jerusalem

Two Palestinians killed after Monday stabbing attack identified ; Israeli dies of wounds
IMEMC/Agencies 26 Jan

— On Tuesday, a 24-year old Israeli woman died of wounds sustained Monday morning when she was stabbed at Horon settlement. The two Palestinians who were killed immediately following the stabbing on Monday were later identified as Ibrahim Osama Yousef ‘Allan, 23, from Beit ‘Or at-Tihta town, west of Ramallah, and Hussein Mohammad Abu Ghosh, 17, from the Qalandia refugee camp, north of Jerusalem. Israeli sources reported that the seriously wounded Israeli woman, identified as Shlomit Krigman, 24, died of her wounds at the Hadassah Israeli medical center, in Jerusalem, on Tuesday morning. The sources added that another Israeli woman suffered moderate wounds in the attack. Following the attack, the army conducted a search of the settlement, close to Route 443, between Jerusalem and Modi’in Israeli colony.

Palestinian teen discusses death on social media prior to fatal attack

BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 26 Jan — A Palestinian teen responsible for carrying out a fatal attack inside of an illegal Israeli settlement on Monday left several messages on social media indicating his potential plans for the attack. Hussein Muhammad Abu Ghush, 17, was shot dead alongside Ibrahim Osama Yousif Allan, 23, after stabbing two Israeli women in the Beit Horon settlement, one of whom died Tuesday morning. Several improvised explosive devices were also found in the settlement near the scene of attack.
The Facebook page of 17-year-old Abu Ghush, a resident of the Qalandiya refugee camp, reveals a series of messages in the lead-up to the day of the attack. On Jan. 24, the day before the attack, Abu Ghush wrote : "History will write that we faced Israel with a stone, a knife, explosive devices, weapons, and our hearts, and we offered blood of Mujahideen as sacrifice for the place from which the Prophet ascended to heaven [al-Aqsa]. “May God accept us as martyrs in paradise,” the teen added. Also on Jan. 24 the teen appears to lament the deaths of three other Palestinians referred to as Laith [Manasra ?], Bilal [Zayed ?] and Hamza. On Jan. 24, the day prior to the attack, the 17-year-old wrote : "Ah my eyes Laith, Bilal and Hamza. I wish we can see you even in a God how difficult departure is, and how sweet martyrdom is. I swear to my honor that my yearning to you is increasing day after day. Bilal you’re brave, Laith you’re a lion..Hamza you’re the lion cub of Jenin and the lion of resistance...We will see you in paradise.” The name Laith surfaces again around 1 p.m. on the day of the attack, when Abu Ghush posted a message reading : “Laith is gone…life in this world has become worthless." The teen also wrote on the day of the attack : “Tell me when we will see all prisoners out of jail...when I hear your voice I remember to pray for prisoners.”

Israeli dies of wounds after stab attack, Palestinian village sealed
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 26 Jan — An Israeli injured during a stab attack in the illegal West Bank settlement of Beit Horon died from her wounds Tuesday, Israeli police said. Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri said in a statement that the 24-year-old woman succumbed to stab wounds in the Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. The woman, identified in Israeli media as Shlomit Krigman, was one of two Israelis to be targeted in an attack carried out by two Palestinians on Monday, both of whom were shot dead by an Israeli security guard while fleeing the scene. Two pipe bombs — improvised explosive devices — were found near the scene inside of the illegal settlement following the attack. The Palestinian Ministry of Health identified the Palestinians who carried out the attack as Ibrahim Osama Yousif Allan, 23 from the village of Beit ‘Ur at-Tahta west of Ramallah and Hussein Muhammad Abu Ghush, 17, from the Qalandiya refugee camp north of Jerusalem.
All entrances and exits to Beit Ur at-Tahta were sealed by Israeli military forces following the attack and continued to be closed to all Palestinian movement Tuesday with the exception of medical emergencies, an Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an. The move prevents movement for the around 6,000 Palestinian residents of the village, which lies in the "seam zone," an area of Palestinian land that lies east of the internationally-recognized Palestinian border, but west of Israel’s separation wall.
[Haaretz reported : ". . . This was the fourth such stabbing attack within a settlement in just over a week. On January 17, Dafna Meir was stabbed to death outside her home in Otniel, in the South Hebron Hills ; the next day, a pregnant woman was stabbed in a clothing store in Tekoa. And on Saturday, a security guard shot dead a 13-year-old Palestinian girl who allegedly tried to stab him at the entrance to the Anatot settlement, north of Jerusalem. The focus on settlements comes after a period in which most stabbing attacks were foiled, the attackers having mostly tried to stab IDF soldiers in the West Bank and getting shot before they could inflict much harm . . .]

Woman stabbed in terrorist attack in Beit Horon succumbs to her wounds
[with VIDEO] Ynet 26 Jan by Elisha Ben Kimon, Rotem Elizera, Yael Friedson — Shlomit Kreigsman [photo], a 23-year old woman from Shadmot Mehola in the West Bank, stabbed in a terror attack in Beit Horon Monday, died of her wounds Tuesday morning. Hadassa Medical Center said that "despite the efforts of medical staff and efforts to stabilize her condition, we were forced announce her death this morning." There has been considerable improvement in the condition of the other woman wounded in the attack. She is 58 and is hospitalized in Shaare Tzedek Medical Center in Jerusalem . . . Ibrahim Alaan, 22, from Beit ‘Ur al-Tahta near Highway 443, and Hussein Abu Ghosh, 17, from the Qalandiya refugee camp, who is affiliated with Hamas came into the settlement from the nearby wadi, jumping over the settlement’s fence. According to Motti Shalem, who worked at the grocery store at the time of the attack, "the two terrorists came from the direction of the fence, and must’ve breached it and got in. Then they stabbed a woman on the sidewalk, and another at the parking lot, and then tried to enter the store. Me and another guy pushed them back with a supermarket cart and then they ran, and were shot by the security guard.",7340,L-4757613,00.html

Hundreds mourn teen killed in pipe bomb accident
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 24 Jan – Hundreds of mourners joined on Sunday the funeral procession of Muhammad Nabil Halabiya, 17, who was killed Saturday night by a pipe bomb that exploded prematurely. Hani Halabiya, a relative of the teen and a spokesman of the popular resistance committee in the occupied East Jerusalem town of Abu Dis, told Ma‘an that Muhammad, originally from Abu Dis, had been holding a pipe bomb near an Israeli military site on Saturday night when it prematurely exploded in his hands, killing him. “Israeli forces did not allow ambulances to access him," Hani said, adding that the forces handed over Muhammad’s body after holding it for four hours. Muhammad’s remains were first taken to a medical center in Abu Dis where doctors examined the body. Doctors reported that the boy’s remains were covered in burn marks and blast wounds. During Muhammad’s funeral, mourners carried his body from his home in Abu Dis to the town’s mosque for special mid-day prayers, then marched to the cemetery where the 17-year-old was led to rest. Muhammad left behind a mother and two brothers, Ahmad, 15, and Mahmoud, 13.

List of 162 Palestinians killed since October 1
IMEMC 25 Jan by Celine Hagbard — The following is a list of names of all Palestinians shot and killed by Israeli fire in the occupied West Bank, including Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, including one in the Negev, in the period between October 1st, 2015 and January 25th, 2016, as confirmed by the Palestinian Health Ministry. [The list does not include the two men just identified as the assailants in Beit Horon on Monday - so the number is now up to 164.]

Settlers torch Palestinian school in Galilee
IMEMC/Agencies 24 Jan — A group of Israeli settlers, on Saturday night, set fire to a Palestinian school in Tuba village of the Galilee area, inside the 1948 lands. Locals said, according to the PNN, that the fire escalated at around 11 PM, when the firefighters rushed to the scene and put out the fire. Israeli media said that the school was burned by the "Pay The Price" [Price Tag] Israeli group which is accused of numerous fatal arson attacks on Palestinian families, churches, mosques and schools.

Israeli settlers once again attack Daraghmah family
[with photos] LUBBAN ASH-SHARQIYA, occupied Palestine 24 Jan by ISM, Tulkarm Team — On Thursday night, 21st of January, Illegal settlers attacked a Palestinian home in the outskirts of Lubban ash-Sharqiya village. The Israeli settlers threw stones, destroyed surveillance cameras and the Palestinian family also suspects that the settlers poisoned their water tanks. Since there isn’t any surveillance on the farm, the family now fears for further attacks. The family was asleep late Thursday night when settlers from the nearby Ma’ale Levona settlement entered the farm, climbed up on the roof of the house and started throwing stones towards the main door. During the attack settlers screamed humiliating words to the family and daring them to go outside. The only thing the family could do was to stay inside, hoping that the settlers wouldn’t try to break in. The morning after the family noticed that the lids to the 3 water tanks located on the roof were opened, so they now fear about poisoned water. The settlers also destroyed all 5 surveillance cameras on the farm. The Palestinians assume that the action must have been well planned, since the settlers were able to locate all the cameras within a short amount of time. The surveillance cameras have been donated to the family from European NGOs, in order to protect them against a large number of settler attacks. Additionally all windows of the family house are covered with metal bars. Every night the family closes both windows and doors thoroughly with rigid metal doors to keep attackers out. This shows that the family is living under constant threat and can’t even go to the toilet in the night, since it is located outside of the main building and it’s too risky for them to go out. While settlers attacked the house the family called Israeli police who didn’t arrive on the scene until three hours later. What increases the family’s vulnerability is that there is no authority that will protect them from the illegal settlers. Since the house is located in Area C, roughly the 60% of the West Bank that is under complete Israeli control, Palestinian police is not allowed to support the house and Israeli authorities clearly show that they have no interests in protecting Palestinian lives or Palestinian property. [Continued]

Continued night raids and arrests in Kafr ad-Dik
[with photos] KAFR AD-DIK, occupied Palestine 24 Jan by ISM, Tulkarm Team — In the middle of the night on the 20th of January, the Israeli army entered the village of Kafr ad-Dik, raided a family home and arrested a young man, Saleh Hemedan. The arrest is the latest of several arrests in the village. The Hemedan family was sleeping in their home when Israeli soldiers quietly surrounded their house Tuesday night. No one knew what was going on outside until armed Israeli soldiers bashed through the front door and entered. The soldiers started to interrogate Saleh and his two brothers while they were forced to sit in an uncomfortable position. After two hours of asking questions the soldiers handcuffed and blindfolded Saleh. They also kicked in the door to the women’s bedroom, where Saleh’s mother and sister were kept during the interrogation of the Hemedan brothers. When the soldiers left, they took Saleh with them without telling the family why and where they were taking him. They left a shattered and frightened family behind, with two broken doors and a filthy house. The mother wasn’t allowed to speak to Saleh during the time of the arrest and wasn’t allowed to say goodbye. “Nobody can understand what went through my mind when they took Saleh away,” she says. Two days before Saleh’s arrest, in the early morning of the 18th, the Israeli military arrested another member of the family, Tareq Hemedan, during house raids in the same neighbourhood. Israeli soldiers first entered the house of Tareq’s uncle. After destroying the door, frightening family members and hitting the uncle’s head, the soldiers continued into Tareq’s home. 30 soldiers stormed the house destroying furniture and doors and arresting Tareq, just two hours into his 20th birthday.. He was taken to Beit Tatikva prison in Tel Aviv outside of the occupied West Bank, which is illegal according to international law. The reason for the arrest and the amount of time he will stay in prison is unknown.

Army kidnaps ten Palestinians in the West Bank
IMEMC 25 Jan — Israeli soldiers invaded, Monday, several districts in the occupied West Bank, searched many homes and kidnapped at least ten Palestinians. The Jenin office of the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) said the soldiers have kidnapped four Palestinians identified as Rami Fadi Sa‘adi, Karam Fayez Abu Aita, Emad Omar Abu al-Haija and Majd Adnan Naghnagha. The soldiers also invaded the northern West Bank district of Nablus, and kidnapped Riyadh Fares Abu al-Hasan and Ala’ Oweiss, while Fadi Nidal Abu Saud was taken prisoner in the al-Karama border terminal on his way back home from Jordan. In Bethlehem, the army kidnapped a former political prisoner, identified as Ibrahim al-’Arouj, from his home. He is a brother of three political prisoners. In occupied Jerusalem, the soldiers searched many homes in the al-‘Eesawiyya town, and kidnapped Hamada Mohammad Hreiz and Mahmoud ‘Awni ‘Ateyya.
In related news, the soldiers assaulted four Palestinians after they were released from detention, near the Salem military base, west of Jenin. The Palestinian Detainees Committee said the soldiers assaulted Ahmad Mo’men Abu Zeid, 23, and Mohammad Odah, 18, directly after releasing them from the detention in the military base. On Sunday evening, the soldiers assaulted two detainees, from Hebron, directly after releasing them from the same military base.

Releasing a Jerusalemite girl . . . and the intelligence informs her father about arresting her and the possession of a knife !
SILWAN, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 25 Jan — The occupation police released on Sunday a Jerusalemite girl after detaining her at Al-Silsileh Gate police station. Wadi Hilweh Information Center was informed that the occupation police arrested Fatmeh Abu Sneineh when she was near Al-Nather Gate (one of Al-Aqsa Mosque’s gates). Fatmeh explained that a policeman checked her ID when she was waiting for her sister near Al-Nather Gate and then arrested her and transferred her to Al-Silsileh Gate police station. After searching and detaining her in the outside courtyard in the rain and coldness, she was released without any conditions or interrogation. Abu Sneineh added that she was surprised by a phone call from her father after she was released who wanted to check on her after receiving a call from the Israeli intelligence telling him about arresting his daughter and that she had a knife with her !!!

Israeli settler shot, injured near Dolev settlement in Ramallah
RAMALLAH (PIC) 25 Jan — An Israeli settler’s vehicle was shot at late Sunday evening near the illegal settlement of Dolev in the central West Bank district of Ramallah, the Israeli 0404 website claimed. Palestinian suspects opened fire at an Israeli vehicle near Dolev, injuring the driver, the sources added. The Israeli forces immediately rushed to the area searching for the suspects who managed to flee the scene. The shooting was the second of its kind to be reported on Sunday after another settler’s vehicle came under fire east of occupied Jerusalem. No injuries were reported during the earlier alleged attack.

Michal Froman : Pregnant West Bank stabbing victim says she needs to speak to her attacker
JERUSALEM (The Independent) 22 Jan by Ben Lynfield — As the wave of attacks by Palestinians against Israeli soldiers and citizens grew over the past four months, Michal Froman’s reaction was the same every time. “I wanted to hear that the attacker died and I wished he’d go to hell,” she said. But after the pregnant mother of four became the latest Israeli victim of the violence on Monday, stabbed in the shoulder by a Palestinian teen at the Tekoa settlement in the occupied West Bank, her emotions pulled her in a different direction. “I feel a need to speak to the person who attacked me, to talk to him so that he will change the way that he thinks,” she told The Independent in her room at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Hospital, from which she was discharged on Thursday . . . The attacker couldn’t know it, but Michal is the daughter-in-law of the late Menachem Froman, a maverick settler rabbi who believed in dialogue between Jewish and Muslim leaders. Over the years he met with senior Hamas figures and Palestinian presidents Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas. Unusual for a settler leader, Rabbi Froman said he would be willing to live under Palestinian sovereignty in the future. Michal says the rabbi and his wife Hadassah helped shape her views about Arabs .“I learned from them to look for the human in every person and to seek common language,” she said . . . She thinks her suspected assailant, Othman Shaalan, 15, who was shot and wounded by an armed civilian, may have been motivated by the belief that he would attain heaven in the hereafter for stabbing her. “I want to tell him it is better to focus on this world, it’s more worthwhile than the hereafter that extremist Muslim clerics promise. I want to talk to his inner self, to tell him we have had enough hate since the time of Cain killing Abel and I don’t see that hatred has advanced the world.” (Continued)

PA intelligence officer among three arrested for West Bank shooting attack
i24news 24 Jan — Israeli security officials announced on Sunday that they had detained three members of a cell, including a member of the Palestinian Authority intelligence service, suspected in the West Bank shooting of an Israeli soldier last week. The soldier was lightly wounded during an overnight raid in the village of Danaba close to the city of Tulkarm on January 20. Israel’s internal security agency, the Shin Bet, launched a joint operation alongside Israeli troops to find the perpetrators, which resulted in the Friday arrest of three residents of Danaba. The announcement said that security forces found and confiscated the weapon they believe was used in the attack. Ammar Anbats, a 27-year-old who previously served time in an Israeli prison after a 2008 arrest, and Samer el-Haq, 30, were believed to have carried out the attack. Ala’a Barqawi, a 32-year-old member of the Palestinian general intelligence service, was alleged to have hidden the weapon after the fact. "The three were taken for questioning by the Shin Bet, and confessed to carrying out the shooting. They surrendered the firearm they used in the attack," security forces said.

3 Palestinians arrested for allegedly helping Tel Aviv shooting suspect
NAZARETH (PIC) 24 Jan — Three Palestinian youths, from Arara town north of 1948 occupied Palestine, are set to be indicted for helping Tel Aviv shooting suspect Nashat Milhem. According to Israeli media sources, Israeli prosecutors issued a statement declaring they will indict the three, who are accused of being accomplices, within five days. The detainees’ names are under a gag order, the sources added. The prosecutors’ statement alleges that one suspect hid Nashat, while another brought him food. Father of one of the three suspected detainees denied Israeli claims, stressing that his son has no relation whatsoever with Nashat. Israeli police had earlier arrested a number of Palestinians in Arara town including Nashat’s father for allegedly helping him. Some of them were then released after being subjected to tough investigation. On January 1, 2016, Nashat Milhem, a Palestinian young man living within the Green Line, carried out a shooting attack in Tel Aviv, killing three Israelis and injuring six others.

Palestinian twin sisters ’plotted bomb attacks’
JPost 25 Jan by Yaakov Lappin — Palestinian twin sisters are in Israeli custody and have been charged with preparing explosive devices and plotting terrorist attacks, the Shin Bet said Monday. The sisters, 18, from the village of Shuweika near Tulkarm, have been named as Diana and Nadia Hawila, and were arrested at the end of December, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said. “During a search of their home, weapons were seized, including pipe bombs, fertilizers for bomb assembly, a knife, Hamas headbands and equipment for rioting.” The intelligence agency questioned the sisters, saying the investigation found that “Diana independently purchased the chemical materials found in her home. By watching online instruction videos, she assembled explosive devices and planned to use them against Israelis.” Her sister allegedly helped her hide the explosives in their family home. “Diana accessed, though the Internet, extremist Islamic preaching that encourages women to take an active part in terrorism against the State of Israel and against Jews,” the Shin Bet said. “These strengthened her decision to act.” The sisters have in recent days been charged in a Samaria military court with a range of security offenses, including the production of an explosive device and purchasing weapons. “This investigation once again underscores the motivation that exists to carry out attacks, including among those who do not belong to terrorist organizations, and including women,” the Shin Bet said. It noted the “growing usage of the Internet for producing weapons to use in terrorist attacks, and the transmission of incitement.”

Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements

Israel approves new West Bank homes, marking end of informal building freeze
Haaretz 25 Jan by Chaim Levinson — Israeli planning authorities approved the construction of 153 new apartments in West Bank settlements last week, effectively putting an end to an informal construction freeze that has lasted about 18 months. For almost two years now, the government has largely refused to advance new building plans in the territories, due to fear that the U.S. administration would retaliate by refusing to veto anti-Israel resolutions in the UN Security Council. The only plans that did move forward involved either legalization of existing outposts or master plans for areas where petitions to the High Court of Justice spurred the government to act . . . But last week, the planning and building committee of Israel’s Civil Administration in the West Bank approved several new construction schemes. One was a private contractor’s plan to build 34 units in Etz Efraim, near Ariel, on a 46-dunam lot (about 12 acres). Rachelim, located in roughly the same area – where 61 units were recently legalized – got permission to build 31 new units. Another plan involved replacing mobile homes in Carmel, in the South Hebron Hills, with 28 permanent apartments. And Alon Shvut, in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, received approval to build 60 new units on a 10-dunam plot . . . In addition, Jerusalem’s local planning and building commission gave final approval last month for construction of 891 units in East Jerusalem’s Gilo neighborhood. The plan had received initial approval in late 2012, but was then put on hold.

Israeli forces demolish Palestinian farm house
[with photos] JINSAFUT, occupied Palestine 24 Jan by ISM, Tulkarm Team — In the early morning, 18th January, hundreds of Israeli soldiers entered the Jinsafut village to demolish a farm house belonging to the Palestinian farmer Faed. The barn was serving as a shelter for his animals and he wasn’t allowed to remove all of them before the Israelis demolished the roof. Faed claims that two of his sheep died after being smashed underneath the falling roof. Israeli soldiers shot two of the family members while they were trying to stop the ongoing demolition. One of them was hit by a live bullet in his left hand and the family now fears that he won’t regain full strength in one of his fingers. Another family member was pepper-sprayed and arrested on the scene. He is now being imprisoned in a Israeli military base in Huwarra, West Bank . . . In 2007 Israeli soldiers demolished another building belonging to Faed, also located in Area C. For the six previous years Faed has worked hard to build a new home for him and his family and the destruction came as a shock. The recent destruction of his farm house is yet another backlash for him, mentally as well as financially. To be able to rebuild his barn he now has to sell parts of his land. If he rebuilds it, it would still be under constant threat of Israeli destruction.

Israeli police demolish two Arab houses
Asharq al-Awsat 25 Jan by Nazir Majli — At a time when the people of the city of Tebah (around 48 Palestinians) prepared their homes and orchards to face the frost and the icy winds, a large force of Israeli police arrived and demolished two houses on the pretext they were built without a license, displacing inhabitants in the open. The demolition sparked outrage among the Arab citizens of Israel. Ayman Odeh, the foremost leader of Israel’s Palestinian citizens held the Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu responsible for the crime and its consequences. Netanyahu threatened to demolish Arab houses that were built without licenses last week. Those close to him say that he did that in order to silence right-wing forces in his government that objected to his plan to allocate around $4 billion to Arab towns in order to bridge the discrimination that they suffer from. However, political leaders of Arab citizens in Israel considered his threats as serious and dangerous. Odeh had presented him with a plan to resolve the problem as there are 50,000 Arab houses that were issued with demolition orders. He proposed a freeze on demolition orders throughout the year and in exchange, the Arab leadership promised not to support any Arab who builds a house without a license. Netanyahu promised to consider the proposal but he responded with the demolitions. Yesterday morning, Salim Abu Hajjaj and Ibrahim Zubariqah received a telephone call from police officers informing them that the “District Committee for Planning and Building had sent them orders to demolish their houses”

Netanyahu seeks to return Israeli army-evicted settlers to Wesr Bank houses
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 24 Jan by Jeffrey Heller — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday he would allow Jewish settlers evicted by the Israeli army from two houses in the West Bank city of Hebron to return once proper permits were in place . . . About 80 settlers were removed from Hebron on Friday a day after Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon withheld his required approval of their occupancy in apartments in a city where tensions between Israelis and Palestinians run high. The settler group said it had bought the homes from Palestinian owners. But Yaalon said the settlers had failed to seek permission from Israeli authorities to move in and were trespassing. A Netanyahu aide said on Friday that the prime minister supported Yaalon’s decision to evict the settlers, a step that drew criticism from members of the right-wing coalition government and threats to withhold support in parliamentary votes. But the aide said the settlers could take up residency again after completing the necessary paperwork. In public remarks at the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, Netanyahu said his government "supports the settlements" and would expedite an examination of the settlers’ case. "The moment that the purchase process is authorized, we will allow the population of the two houses in Hebron," Netanyahu said, confirming his aide’s remarks.

Israel may revoke ’closed military zone’ status of Jordan Valley plots
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 24 Jan — The Israeli government has announced that it may revoke the closed military zone status of a number of land plots in the Jordan Valley, supposedly returning the land to their original Palestinian owners after decades of confiscation, an Israeli newspaper reported on Sunday. Israeli daily Haaretz first reported in January 2013 on the case of 14 Palestinian plots of land in the Jordan Valley near the separation wall which were confiscated by the Israeli military in 1967 and had been cultivated by Israelis from the illegal settlement of Mehola since the 1980s. Haaretz’s exposé on the 5,000 dunams (1,235 acres) of land sparked a petition to the Israeli High Court from a group of Palestinians landowners, who demanded to have their agricultural areas returned to them. But it was only last week that the Israeli government indicated that the closed military zone status of these areas west of the separation wall could be lifted. Tawfiq Jabrin, a lawyer representing some of the Palestinian plaintiffs, told Haaretz that “the state pretty much confessed to doing something illegal, but they have yet to decide what they want to do with it. They did not say they plan to remove the trespassers within six months, but rather they want to hold talks between the sides. There is nothing to talk about, we want our land back.” . . . The news comes several days after Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) announced that plans to declare 1,500 dunams (370 acres) of land in the occupied West Bank district of Jericho in the Jordan Valley as "state land" were in their “final stages.”

Life inside the Shu‘afat refugee camp, East Jerusalem
[with photos] EAST JERUSALEM, occupied Palestine 18 Jan by ISM, Ramallah Team — A few days ago, the ISM went to the Shu‘afat Refugee Camp to learn about the situation and living conditions for its Palestinian residents. Built in 1965 with the aim of relocating the Palestinians who were living in the Moroccan Quarter of the Old City in Jerusalem (today’s Wailing Wall area), Shu‘afat Refugee Camp has a population that is estimated between 60.000 to 80.000 Palestinians. These numbers are only an estimate since the Israeli Municipality, which is responsible for the Camp’s administration, has not carried out any census of its residents. But the Municipality’s negligence of the Camp is further seen in the everyday life lack of basic services such as picking up the garbage in the streets, and insufficient water and power supply, giving way to frequent water shortages and power cuts. All this happens regardless of the fact that Palestinians living in the Camp pay all their taxes, which are equal to the tax amounts that Israeli citizens pay . . . The schooling system is poorly covered for the Camp’s children. UNWRA established two schools inside the Camp, one for boys and another for girls. But these schools only have classes between 1st and 6th grades, and cannot provide education for all the Camp’s children. Every morning, many children need to exit through the Shu‘afat checkpoint to go to other schools in East Jerusalem. A school bus service runs every morning, but again it does not have the capacity to serve all the children, and many of them have to take a ride with a car, a taxi or walk between 30 minutes and one hour, depending on how far away their school is located. (Continued)

12 shocking facts about the settlements in Salfit
SALFIT (PIC) 24 Jan — The accelerated settlement construction and the confiscation of lands in the villages and towns of Salfit governorate located in the center of West Bank have caused shocking and scary changes in the province, negatively affecting various areas of life of the Palestinian citizens. Palestinian statistics documented that there are 24 Israeli settlements in the Salfit governorate compared to 18 Palestinian towns and villages ; these settlements extensively drain the rich natural resources and the groundwater of the province. Researcher Khaled Ma’ali told the Palestinian Information Center that the settlement building, which began early in Salfit in the late seventies, has been dramatically affecting the lives of all citizens of the villages and towns of Salfit. He attributed this situation, which is contrary to international humanitarian law, to the following shocking information and changes :
1. For the first time, Salfit is the first West Bank province in which the demographic balance is broken in favor of the settlers ; as more than 100 thousand settlers ; including students of the Ariel University, are living in the settlements in Salfit versus 90 thousand Palestinians.
2. For the first time a big University is established in a settlement inside the West Bank, which is the Ariel University ; statistics in 2011 indicate that nearly 20 thousand students study at this university which was established on Palestinian land.
3. The Israeli occupation views Salfit as a strategic area because it is located over the Western Aquifer Basin, a lake of underground water, from which the Israeli occupation steal water and re-sell it to its rightful owners at prices that reach up to tenfold of the prices offered to the settlers sometimes. (Continued)


Israeli airstrikes launched across Gaza after rocket fire
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 25 Jan — The Israeli air force early Monday morning launched airstrikes across the Gaza Strip, targeting Hamas facilities, after rockets were fired from the besieged enclave, officials said. Official sources in Gaza told Ma‘an that Israeli warplanes hit the al-Muhararat training site south of Deir al-Balah in the central strip used by the military wing of Hamas, the al-Qassam Brigades, while the another hit an open plot of land south of Khan Younis. No human casualties have been reported, though the strikes reportedly left noticeable material damages. The Israeli army said in a statement that the airstrikes were in response to a rocket that had been launched from the Gaza Strip at southern Israel on Sunday night. Sirens reportedly sounded throughout communities in the Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council, as the rocket hit an open area. While no group has taken responsibility for the rocket fire, the Israeli army reiterated their long-held stance that, "Hamas is responsible and is accountable for all attacks from the Gaza Strip."

Start of school semester postponed in Gaza due to weather
GAZA (Ma‘an) 24 Jan — The start of the spring semester in Gaza’s public schools has been postponed at least one day due to poor weather conditions, the Ministry of Education said in a statement. While classes were scheduled to start on Sunday, the ministry and UNRWA have postponed the start of classes until at least Monday because of heavy rains and a forecast of snow in the area. Officials plan to convene on Sunday evening to decide whether to open classes on Monday, or postpone the semester another day.

The Gaza Strip among the ruins and rain
KHUZA‘A, Gaza Strip (MEE) 25 Jan by Mohammed Omer — Nothing has changed. Middle East Eye first spoke to Fareed al-Najjar late in 2014 after the 51-day war when the torrential rains began. Now they have come again and his situation is dire. “We were told we’d only be living in these shipping containers for a few months, until we received replacement homes,” Najjar said. His neighbour interrupted : “They lied to us, and will leave us here forever.” Elsewhere across the Gaza Strip, the roofs of several homes were recently blown off by the winter storms. Schools have been shut for two days and forecasters predict a new three-day storm will sweep the region with up to 80-kilometre winds starting Sunday night. Fire department official Raed al-Dahsahn told MEE that 17 people had to be evacuated from their homes. Gaza municipalities have announced a state of emergency and staff members are expected to work around the clock. Najjar’s house was one of about 100,000 homes destroyed or heavily damaged in the war that resulted in more than 2,200 people killed and tens of thousands injured and homeless. He has survived in a rusty, leaking shipping container that was damaged by the storms in 2014 and has now become unlivable. Children and the elderly feel the cold the worst. With a lack of suitable footwear and appropriate seasonal, water-resistant clothing, they are not prepared to face a natural disaster or extreme weather. Amjad, a 10-year-old boy, stands by a large rain puddle inside his container and tells MEE he didn’t sleep the previous night because his father didn’t feel it was safe. “The rain seeped into the [container] house during the night, my younger brother was crying and we don’t know how to keep warm or dry,” he said. Najjar said everything in his container is either damp or soaked and he is unable to fix the numerous leaks in the roof. Rainwater has poured through, soaking the family mattresses and making sleep impossible. The leaks are getting worse, and flooding in the toilet area now presents a health risk. (Continued)

Egyptian army attacks Palestinian fishermen and employees in Rafah
GAZA (PIC) 23 Jan — The Egyptian army on Friday opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of the Gaza Strip following a similar attack on border employees. Eyewitnesses told Quds Press that Israeli gunboats opened machinegun fire at Palestinian fishermen working within Gaza waters, off the shore of Rafah. They affirmed that the fishermen survived the gunfire attack. A few hours earlier, Egyptian soldiers opened fire at members of the Palestinian border committee, which is responsible for watching the border with Egypt.

AOHR calls upon ICC to investigate closing of Rafah crossing
LONDON (PIC) 15 Jan — The Arab Organization for Human Rights In the UK (AOHR UK) on Monday submitted two communications to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) inviting the Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute both the deliberate infiltration of seawater into the territory of Gaza by Egyptian forces, and the closure of the Rafah crossing. Both acts are constitutive of war crimes and crimes against humanity and are therefore acts under the subject-matter jurisdiction of the ICC, AOHR clarified. The ICC also enjoys temporal and territorial jurisdiction over the crimes exposed in both communications because the State of Palestine acceded the Rome Statute in January 2015 and issued a declaration under article 12(3) of the Statute accepting the Court’s jurisdiction since 13th June 2014.

Prisoners / Court actions

Hunger-striking journalist Muhammad Al-Qeeq nearing death
IMEMC/Agencies 26 Jan — Head of the detainees and ex-detainees committee, Ashraf Abu Sneineh, on Monday morning, said that the health of journalist prisoner, Muhammad al-Qeeq is deteriorating at a fast pace, confirming the need for immediate action. Abu Sneineh said that al-Qeeq, two months into his open-ended hunger strike, has now lost conscious and ability to communicate. Abu Sneineh also pointed out unprecedented fears that he may lose his life, in this condition. Head of the prisoners and ex-prisoners affairs, Issa Qaraqe‘, said that Israel must be held accountable for Muhammad’s life, referring this deterioration to the Israeli neglect of Palestinian prisoners’ health. Qaraqe‘ further demanded, according to the PNN, international pressure on Israel to halt such violations and bring justice to the Palestinian prisoners. Al-Qeeq, originally from the village of Doura, south Hebron, used to work as a reporter for the Saudi news channel “Almajd.” He was taken into Israeli custody on 21 November, 2015, when soldiers blew up the front door of his house and took him in for interrogation at Israel’s Kishon (Jalame) detention center. Muhammad’s open hunger-strike, which started on 24 November, 2015, came as a protest against administrative detention in Israeli prisons

Gaza journalists demonstrate in support of Al-Qeeq
IMEMC/Agencies 24 Jan — Dozens of Palestinian journalists demonstrated on Sunday morning, in front of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights office in Gaza City, in solidarity with hunger striking journalist Muhammad al-Qeeq. The demonstration, organized by Gaza’s union of journalists, was held in hopes to urge the international community to put pressure on Israel to free the imprisoned journalist. 33-year-old al-Qeeq began his hunger strike on November 25, in protest of being held in Israeli prison under administrative detention without charge or trial, for reasons he believes are tied to his work as a journalist. While evidence against al-Qeeq is still being withheld, Amnesty International reported, according to Ma‘an, that the military judge at Ofer Military Court said the file against him “accuses him of ‘incitement,’ of working with media associated with Hamas, a Palestinian political faction with an armed wing, and also of being a ‘threat to the security of the area.’" Mahmoud Ulayyan, a member of Gaza’s journalism union, said he believes al-Qeeq is inarguably being held due to his work as a journalist, and that Palestinian journalists urgently need protection from the "continuous Israeli violations" launched against them.

Israeli court rejects appeal for Palestinian prisoner Thaer Halahla
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 24 Jan — An Israeli court has rejected the appeal of a Palestinian prisoner being held by Israeli authorities under administrative detention without charge or trial, the man’s father said on Sunday.. Thaer Halahla’s father said that an Israeli court extended the detention of Halahla for the fifth time since 2013, claiming that he has “activities” in prison, without providing further details about the circumstances of his detention. He added that he was told he is not allowed to visit his son in detention for “security reasons." Halahla, 36, is a member of Islamic Jihad, a far-right Palestinian Islamic faction deemed, like most Palestinian factions, as an illegal group by Israeli authorities. The married father of two has been detained more than seven times and spent a total of nine years in Israeli custody. Halahla held a 77-day hunger strike in 2012 to protest his detention without charge by Israel. He was released in June 2012, before being re-detained in April 2013.

Releasing two children on condition of deportation outside Jerusalem
SILWAN, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 25 Jan — The District judge decided to release two minors from the neighborhood of Shu‘fat north of Jerusalem on condition of house arrest and deportation outside the city of Jerusalem. Wadi Hilweh Information Center was informed that the District judge decided to release the 14-year old Majd Saeed Abu Khdeir and 14-year old Ala’ Abu Khdeir on condition of house arrest and deportation outside the city of Jerusalem in addition to paying a 5-thousand NIS bail and a third-party bail of 10 thousand NIS for each. Saeed Abu Khdeir, Majd’s father, explained that the family was forced to rent an apartment in “Arraba” in the Galilee after the deportation decision. He pointed out that the minors were arrested on the 13th of January after raiding their homes in Shu‘fat. After several days of interrogating them, the public prosecution submitted an indictment to the District Court including charges of throwing stones at the light rail in Shu‘fat. The court scheduled a session for the two minors on 20/2/2016.

Jerusalemite children . . . hostages of ’occupation’s internal institutions’
SILWAN, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 25 Jan — The occupation authorities are detaining Jerusalemite children who were arrested on charges of possession of knives and attempting to kill settlers inside internal rehabilitation institutions, following orders from Israeli courts and recommendations from the public prosecution and supervised by the social affairs. Children’s families consider this procedure very dangerous to the future of their children which is also part of the policy of shattering children’s hope of a decent life. Four Jerusalemite children are currently detained inside those institutions. They are : 13-year old Ahmad Saleh Manasra, 12-year old Ali Ihab Ali Alqam, 12-year old Ahmad Raed Za’tari and 12-year old Shadi Anwar Farrah . . . Ahmad’s father explained that he is allowed as well as three others to visit Ahmad once a week since transferring him to Tamra. The visit is 40 minutes mostly in the presence of the child’s supervisor ; the family is also allowed to call their son twice a week. Ahmad’s father added that signs of anxiety and psychological weakness were clear on his son during the visit not to mention detaining him with children aged between 14-17 years ; Ahmad and Shadi are considered the youngest children detained in the institution which is reflected on their psychology. -Farrah…assault extract confessions- Farrah’s mother explained that her child revealed to the judge during the last court session that he was exposed to electric shocks in addition to being stripped naked and putting cold water on his body during interrogation. She explained that her son is suffering from a bad psychological condition, anxiety and lack of comfort. (Continued)

Israeli court orders wounded child to endure further interrogation
IMEMC 25 Jan — The Ofer Israeli military court ordered on Sunday that the wounded detained Palestinian child Ahmad Omar al-Atrash, 13, should remain under interrogation until Thursday. The Palestinian Detainees’ Committee noted that Israel is holding captive at least 450 children, including some who were injured prior to their abduction. The Israeli court refused to allow the parents of the child to hug him, or even to talk with him. The boy’s lawyer challenged that refusal, and the child’s parents were later allowed to be with him for a few minutes. Al-Atrash, from the Deheishe refugee camp in Bethlehem, was shot and injured by Israeli undercover soldiers near the northern entrance of Bethlehem city, before they grabbed him, and took him to an unknown destination. His family was not informed about his abduction, and had to make calls to various groups, including the Red Cross, trying to determine his whereabouts . . . The head of the Detainees’ Committee, Issa Qaraqe, said that Israel appears to consider itself in a “war with children,” and should be listed on a “list of shame” for its ongoing escalating violations against children. Qaraqe said the Israeli army abducted more than 2,250 children in the year 2015, and that most of those children were subjected to torture, abuse and harsh living conditions. “Israel is the only country in the world that legislates not only the incarceration of children, but also the use of military courts to convict children,” he said

Israel bars 3 sisters from visiting father due to Islamic dress
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 25 Jan — Israeli authorities on Monday barred three Palestinian sisters from visiting their father in Israeli prison because of their conservative Islamic dress, a spokesperson with the Palestinian Prisoners’ Center for Studies told Ma‘an. Omniya al-Taweel said Israeli authorities would not allow the three sisters, identified as Saja Shredah,18, Sundos Shredah, 20, and Ayat Shredah, 24, from visiting their father, Yahya Shredah, 43, in Ramon Israeli prison because the three women were wearing the "al-niqab," an Islamic dress in which women are completely covered except for a slit that exposes the eyes. Al-Taweel said the 18-year-old had a permit from the Palestinian Red Crescent Society that should have allowed her visitation rights, but she was still refused. The three women were initially barred from visiting their father last year, when their brothers said the women refused to take off their veils and be inspected by male Israeli officers. Al-Taweel added that Israeli forces also recently insulted other family members coming to visit Yahya with curse words, and made the male family members agree to a strip search before allowing visitation, which was reportedly cut short. Yahya was detained on Nov. 14, 2003, after being wanted by Israeli forces for more than two years. Yahya is serving a 22-year sentence.

Other news / Opinion

Amid cold snap, Palestinian gas crisis spreads from Gaza to West Bank
Haaretz 26 Jan by Jack Khoury — The cold wave now afflicting Israel obviously hasn’t spared the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. But the latter are facing an additional problem : a shortage of the liquefied petroleum gas used by hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses for cooking and heating. Two weeks ago, Haaretz reported on the shortage of gas in Gaza. At the time, the Paz Oil company, which supplies LPG to both the West Bank and Gaza, blamed the shortage on inclement weather that had delayed the arrival of LPG shipments to Israel, and promised to make up the shortfall once the ships docked. Instead, however, the shortage has now spread to the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority’s gas and oil administration has therefore been forced to buy gas from other suppliers in an effort to solve the worsening crisis. Mohammed Abu Bakr, the deputy head of the PA oil and gas administration, told Haaretz from Ramallah that the shortage was indeed due first and foremost to the fact that LPG tankers have been unable to dock at Ashdod Port because of the weather. According to Abu Bakr, Gaza consumes 350 to 400 tons per day, while the West Bank needs almost 950 tons per day. However, in recent weeks the oil and gas administration received only 500 tons for both the West Bank and Gaza. Gisha, the Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, said that even if there is a shortage of LPG arriving in Israel, there’s no reason why the victims should primarily be residents of Gaza, who pay for their gas in advance. Gisha also noted that the infrastructure at the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and Gaza can only handle 280 tons of gas per day. Abu Bakr rejected the claim that when the PA doesn’t get enough LPG for everyone, it funnels most of it to the West Bank while short-changing Gaza. He also said Gaza residents’ own behavior is exacerbating the problem, because thousands of them now use LPG rather than gasoline to fuel their cars, which has increased demand for LPG by dozens of percent . . . In Gaza, on the other hand, officials said that the number of vehicles which operate on LPG is limited, and that recently Hamas enforced a tax on their owners. Israeli officials clarified that there is no security reason limiting the supply of gas to the Strip. The Coordinator of the Government’s Activities in the Territories said that discussions to solve the energy crisis in Gaza are ongoing, and the possibility of expanded the gas infrastructure is also being examined.

Schools to close in West Bank, Gaza amid worsening weather
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 25 Jan — Schools were set to close across much of the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip on Tuesday as weather conditions continued to deteriorate across the occupied Palestinian territory. In the West Bank, district offices of the Palestinian Ministry of Education, including those in Ramallah, Bethlehem and Qalqiliya, announced that schools would be closed due to an expected snowstorm. Following a day of heavy rain on Monday, temperatures were expected to dip below freezing point overnight. Schools were also closed across the West Bank on Monday due to deteriorating weather conditions, although there was no snowfall. Palestinian infrastructure is under-prepared for heavy snow or rainfall, and most Palestinians schools do not have heating.
Meanwhile, in the Gaza Strip, the Gazan Ministry of Education decided along with the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) to close schools on Tuesday due to heavy rainfall. A number of buildings were damaged by flooding in Khan Younis and Rafah in the southern Gaza on Monday. Director of Civil Defense operations in Gaza Raed al-Dahshan told Ma‘an that Civil Defense teams were working around the clock within their limited capabilities to reduce the damages. Gaza has been hit by severe flooding in the past, exacerbating the dire situation faced by thousands of Palestinians in the blockaded and war-torn coastal enclave. [See here for photos]

Bennett in West Bank : No Palestinian state here
Times of Israel 24 Jan by Stuart Winer — Education Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday said that only when Palestinians accept that they will never have a state in the West Bank will they be able to live side-by-side with Israelis. Bennett, who leads the settlement-backing Jewish Home party, made the comments at the settlement of Tekoa, south of Jerusalem, where he was joined by fellow party members Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli for a tree-planting ceremony ahead of the Jewish agricultural festival of Tu Bishvat. “Since the dawn of Zionism there’s been terror, and the answer was always settlement and attack,” Bennett said, according to a report on the Hebrew-language Srugim website. “The terrorists act in the hope of breaking us. Only when they understand that we are flourishing, only when they understand that there is no expectation of a Palestinian state here, will they be comfortable with our existence.”

PHOTOS : Protest for conscientious objector outside IDF prison
+972 25 Jan by Haggai Matar — Roughly 80 left-wing activists protested in support of jailed conscientious objector Tair Kaminer outside the IDF’s Prison 400 on Saturday. Two weeks ago Kaminer informed the army that she is refusing to serve because of the ongoing military occupation, and was sentenced to 20 days in the women’s military prison. Kaminer is expected to be released this coming weekend, after which she will once again likely refuse to serve and be sentenced to another period in prison. Two other young Israeli refuseniks are expected to refuse to serve in the coming weeks, the first on January 31. Outside Prison 400 on Saturday the activists sang, beat drums and used a PA system to ensure the prisoners heard them. They called for Kaminer’s release and all political prisoners, among them Ezra Nawi, Guy Batavia, and Nasser Nawaj’ah — who were arrested in relation to a right-wing hidden camera stunt, two of whom have since been released to house arrest — along with administrative detainees, with an emphasis on Palestinian journalist Muhammad al-Qiq, who has been on hunger strike for some 60 days.

Israel requests extradition of Palestinian from Bulgaria
SOFIA (MEE) 22 Jan by Mariya Petkova — On 16 December, 51-year-old Palestinian Omar Al-Nayyef Zayed, who had been living in Bulgaria for 22 years, received a disturbing letter from the post office. After reading it, he told his 17-year-old daughter Diana, who was in shock, not to be afraid and left his home in Sofia. The letter sent from Bulgaria’s Cassation Prosecution was informing him that Israel had requested his extradition and he is required to surrender to the Bulgarian authorities, which are to undertake the necessary legal proceedings against him. The morning of the next day, a dozen police officers surrounded the Zayed family’s apartment building, while five of them entered their home looking for him. “We were really scared, we were still sleeping [when they came]. They checked everywhere in all the wardrobes and under the beds, searched my father’s clothes for documents. They questioned us and then left with my older brother,” said Diana. She said the police officers who came searching for her father did not present a search warrant or any other documents. They released her brother after an hour of questioning at the police station. According to the prosecution’s letter obtained by Middle East Eye, Israel accuses Zayed and two other Palestinians of the murder of an Israeli man in East Jerusalem in November 1986. Zayed was arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment in December the same year. In 1990, he was moved to a hospital in Bethlehem from where he escaped, eventually making his way to Bulgaria in 1994. Israel demands Zayed’s extradition based on the European convention on extradition, to which it became a signatory in 2012. However, Zayed’s lawyer, Omar Muslah, said that this is a political case and therefore Israel cannot request his extradition based on the convention that applies only to criminal cases. Zayed was a member of the People’s Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and part of the Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation when he was arrested. The news of the extradition request stirred fear within the Palestinian community since it could set a dangerous precedent. “If the Israeli request [for extradition of Zayed] is approved, Israel will repeat it with many other countries,” said Palestinian poet Khairi Hamdan and prominent member of the Palestinian community in Sofia. (Continued)

Arabs in the eye of history / Marwan Bishara
Al Jazeera 19 Jan — Five years that transformed the Middle East : What went right, how it’s gone wrong and why it got so ugly — When the Arab Spring swept through the Middle East five years ago, progress seemed inevitable and the contagion unstoppable. But then everything started to regress and now looks destined to go from bad to worse unless we identify why and how something so divine turned so ugly so fast. Unfortunately, the most peddled answers one hears nowadays are also the most flawed. In the Middle East, the conspiracy theorists blame the West’s intervention and manipulation of a misguided Arab youth who bought into its subversive ideas. And in the West, smug, told-you-so cynics repeat the same derisive clichés : the Arabs are hopeless ; Islam is incompatible with democracy. Some see the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group (ISIL) as proof of their scepticism of the democratic promise of the Arab Spring, and advocate support for Arab autocracy, proclaiming its security apparatuses the essential bulwark against chaos. But that is a misreading of history.
What went wrong ? The Arab Spring was an authentic and potent response to United States neoconservative attempts to spread democracy on the back of US tanks. It showed the world that millions of Arabs, Christian and Muslim, are just as passionate as citizens of Western democracies are about the universal values of human rights, justice and political freedom. To claim otherwise is either ignorant, or racist. If the young leaders of the Arab rebellion are at fault, it’s not because they dared to act, but rather because they didn’t act vigorously enough. For example, they failed to turn their slogans into political programmes and form political parties to rally the support of the wider public around their democratic vision. Predictably, given the absence of a civil society space for opposition movements, when the grip of autocracy was breached, older and better-organised Islamist groups rushed to fill the void. Those groups failed to heed the sentiment expressed in the streets and squares of the Arab world. Instead of embracing pluralism and strengthening the democratic process, the Islamists were seen as seeking to monopolise power, albeit through the ballot box. But the fallout from the Islamist-secular divide could have been contained peacefully, as in Tunisia, if only the ancien régime had accepted the principle of peaceful transition towards a more just society and representative democracy. It didn’t. As expected.
How it got so ugly The old political, business and military elites - the so-called "deep state" - worked to subvert the democratic process and resorted to extreme violence in the cases of Syria, Libya, Yemen and Egypt, in the belief that they could bludgeon their way back to stability. When that didn’t work, they redefined their oppression, as a much-needed anti-terror campaign. (Continued)