Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Restriction of movement / Judaization

Palestinian home demolished in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 1 Jan – Workers from the Israeli West Jerusalem municipality Tuesday demolished a Palestinian home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawieh under the pretext it was built without a permit, according to the house owner. Ahmad Issawi, 40, told WAFA that the workers brought a bulldozer and proceeded to demolish the 145-square meter house, which was still under construction. A police force provided cover for the bulldozer during the demolition. Issawi said he has been living for 10 years in a small house with his wife and three children and has wanted to build a bigger house for them. However, he added, the West Jerusalem municipality refused to give him a permit to build on his land claiming it wants to turn that area into a public park. Issawi is brother of Samer Issawi, who is being held in Israeli jails and has been on hunger strike since August 1 demanding his release. Israeli police has been targeting the Issawi family for a long time, raiding their home at night and arresting brothers and sisters of Samer in what the family says is obvious revenge tactics.
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Israel demolishes home in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 31 Dec – Workers from the all-Israeli West Jerusalem municipality Monday demolished a Palestinian-owned home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukabber under the pretext of building without permit, according to the house owner. Mohammad Shqeirat, 58, told WAFA that workers and a large police force came to his house, forced him and his family of 25 people to leave it quickly and then started to demolish it over its furniture. He said he was not given a prior warning of the demolition and was not given enough time to remove his stuff. Shqeirat said he has tried for almost 15 years to obtain a permit to build and to add on to his existing house but all his efforts have failed. [IMEMC: "We are a large family of 9 sons, 12 grandsons, besides me and my wife, I have seven sons over the age of 25 who are about to get married," Shqeirat said, "They do not have a place to stay, we own the land, but Israel is not allowing us to build, it seems that they do not take our natural growth into consideration."
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Amona eviction deferred to April
Ynet 1 Jan -- Court orders State to evict illegal West Bank outpost by end of April despite government bid for six months ... The settlers residing in Amona claim that they had legally purchased the land from its original owner. Amona's eviction has been postponed several times, most recently because of the nearing elections. The outpost, which was erected in 1995, was the scene of bloody clashes between settlers and IDF forces in 2006, during its first eviction attempt.Since then, the resistance mounted during Amona's eviction has become a symbol for the settlers' struggle against the government's intentions to remove illegal settlements.
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The West Bank's 2012: The year of the Israeli settlement
TIME 31 Dec by Karl Vick -- At the start of 2012, the Israeli advocacy group Peace Now, which seeks a two-state solution, warned that the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was building Jewish settlements on the West Bank at a pace that, if allowed to continue, would carve up the land to a point that would doom the possibility of a viable Palestinian state. Twelve months later, that pace has nearly quintupled. In one week of December alone, Netanyahu’s government pushed forward plans for 11,000 homes beyond the Green Line that marked Israel’s 1967 border — nearly as many settler homes as were approved in the previous 10 years combined. The explosion in activity has made 2012 the Year of the Settlement, inspiring a new level of war-themed rhetoric from settlement opponents. "Unprecedented Planning Strike on East Jerusalem," says the Peace Now website, "6,600 units in 4 days," Netanyahu makes no apology for the surge in promised building, despite waves of opprobrium from Europe and the U.S. Israelis go to the polls on Jan. 22, and the most serious challenge to Netanyahu’s campaign has come from a new party that champions settlements.
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Report: IOA seizes 28 thousand dunums, demolishes 600 homes during 2012
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 1 Jan -- The Palestinian Land Research Center confirmed that the Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) have stepped up significantly, over the past year (2012), the confiscation and demolition policies in the West Bank, where they confiscated 28 thousand dunums (1 dunum = 1000 square meters [or 1/4 acre]) and destroyed 600 homes. The center said, in a report, said that 2012 was "the most formidable in terms of seizing land and uprooting, burning, and bulldozing trees, and the most formidable in terms of demolishing Palestinian houses and terrorize and displace their owners.
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Israeli wall isolates Palestinian communities
Bir Nabala, occupied Palestinian territories (Al Jazeera) 1 Jan by Jillian Kestler-D'Amours -- Shops are shuttered, and their signs are slowly rusting. Most apartment windows are broken, while those that remain in their frames are covered in dust. A single mechanic's garage is operating, though cars seldom drive through the area. This neighbourhood once housed approximately 250 Palestinian families and dozens of bustling shops and businesses. Today, the streets of Bir Nabala are empty. "Bir Nabala is destroyed. It's like a small prison," says local council leader Tawfiq Al Nabali, standing in front of Israel's grey, eight-metre-high separation barrier, and rows of empty apartment blocks. Covered in graffiti and topped with barbed wire, the Israeli wall snakes around Bir Nabala, cutting off the once economically vibrant West Bank town from East Jerusalem, and making travel to Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority government, much more difficult. "They want to make our lives very hard and make us suffer in order to make us leave our lands," Al Nabali said from the local municipal offices, located just off the sole access road leading to and from Bir Nabala. "The [Israeli] settlers are free to go anywhere, while we need permits to move. We can't reach Jerusalem. I don't like to go [to Jerusalem] anymore because I feel very sad."
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'Ghost town' brought back to life in Hebron
HEBRON (EI/IPS) 31 Dec by Jillian Kestler-D'Amours -- Every day, Anas Maraka sees his family’s home, but can’t go inside. "It’s hardest for my grandfather," said Maraka, referring to the house overlooking Shuhada Street, once the central marketplace in Hebron’s old city. While he never lived there himself, Maraka explained that being so close — and yet, so far — from his family’s ancestral home motivates him to maintain Palestinians’ presence in the largest, and one of the most tense and volatile, cities in the West Bank. "I like the old city. It’s our culture. Our goal is to rehabilitate houses in the old city and bring people back to abandoned houses. We want to improve the quality of life," explained Maraka, a member of the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee (HRC). In 15 years of work, HRC has refurbished approximately 900 houses in the old city of Hebron. This rehabilitation, Maraka said, has helped some 10,000 Palestinians to return to the area. "After the second intifada, most people left their houses. They were afraid to go back because of the Israeli settlers and the Israeli military. They can’t live easily in the old city, but we’re trying to bring them back. We can’t leave this area because the settlers would come to take the houses," Maraka said.
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State bars Westerners living in West Bank from entering Israel, East Jerusalem
Haaretz 2 Jan by Amira Hass -- Israel recently renewed restrictions on the freedom of movement of foreigners nationals who live and work in the West Bank that prohibit them from entering East Jerusalem or Israel. The changes were discovered when foreigners learned, after renewing their tourist visas, that the words "Judea and Samaria only" had been stamped inside. Citizens from these countries who come to live in Israel or Jewish settlements in the West Bank are not subjected to these restrictions ... Some of these individuals are Palestinians who were born in the West Bank and whose residency status was rescinded by Israel prior to 1994 due to their prolonged residence abroad. Others are married to Palestinians, while still others work in the West Bank, often as university teachers. The American Consulate in Jerusalem has expressed its displeasure with the restrictions. They contravene prior understandings to lift similar restrictions that the Interior Ministry imposed suddenly in the summer of 2009, when "PA only" was stamped in Western nationals' passports.
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East Jerusalem, where the streets have no (political) names
Haaretz 2 Jan -- Last week, the Municipal Names Committee approved 43 street names for Arab areas, but the names are devoid of any symbolism or historical significance. In Beit Safafa, for example, streets will be given Arabic names meaning apartments, granary, sickle, pitchfork, mirror, flood, ladder, bridge, unity and faith. In the Old City, streets were named "Plaza" and "Hotel."  ... While Jewish Jerusalem has its share of streets named for flowers, spices, foods or geographic features, ... most roads in Jewish neighborhoods commemorate famous Jews - historical and religious figures, or people who played a role in the city's development - or major events in Israeli history. The municipality contends that the residents themselves proposed these street names. But residents say they were told before the process began to choose neutral names, so that they could be approved with no hitches. "From the start, they told us they would not agree to the names of writers, or religious or political figures, so we just didn't go there," said Khalil Alian, a member of the Beit Safafa community council.
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Islamic Christian authority slams Judaization of names of Jerusalem streets
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 1 Jan -- The Islamic Christian authority for supporting Jerusalem and holy sites said Israel's use of fabricated names of streets and historical places in the old city of Jerusalem was a violation of the international law. In a press release on Monday, Hanna Issa, secretary-general of the Islamic Christian authority, said these new Hebrew names of streets and historical sites in the old city is aimed at consolidating Israel's sovereignty over east Jerusalem and claiming the Arab and Islamic heritage as Jewish.
In a separate incident, the Israeli municipal council in Jerusalem declared its intention to allow an Israeli company to build a settlement outpost in Bab Al-Amoud district. According to an announcement circulated in Bab Al-Amoud, Karen Shali company filed a request with the Israeli planning committee to approve the building of 17 housing units in the old street of Jericho in Ras Al-Amoud neighborhood near the Mount of Zeitoun in east Jerusalem.
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Settler attack 1/1/2013 


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