Book Review – Palestine: The end of the Bedouins?
NY Review of Books 7 Dec by David Shulman of Ta‘ayush — One way to tell the story of the Middle East as a whole is to describe the endemic struggle between peripatetic nomads and settled peasant farmers — a struggle attested already in ancient Mesopotamian documents. For centuries, all the political regimes of the region have tried, with varying success, to get the Bedouin to come to rest on the land. But in Israel and in the occupied territories we see, alongside this familiar policy, persistent attempts to uproot Bedouin populations who have already settled on the land, sometimes generations ago, and who usually have clear claims to ownership of these sites. Today, most of the Jordan Valley, undoubtedly one of the most ravishing landscapes on the planet, is situated in what is known as Area C of occupied Palestinian territory. This means that, with the exception of the ancient city of Jericho and its surroundings (which are in Area A, under Palestinian rule), the valley is under direct and exclusive Israeli military, legal, and political control, and also that large parts of it are taken up by Israeli settlements or by lands that have been reserved for future Israeli settlement. It also means that a Palestinian population of some 15,000 Bedouins who are settled in the valley is tacitly targeted for expulsion. According to the Oslo accords, the division of the West Bank into three different zones was intended as a preliminary stage leading eventually to the end of the Israeli occupation and to achieving Palestinian statehood. The policy of the present Israeli government appears to be aimed at eventually annexing to Israel the whole of Area C, which constitutes over half the territory of the West Bank; this goal has been explicitly and repeatedly stated by the minister of education, Naftali Bennett, head of the ultra-nationalist Jewish Home party and a major force in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition. As a result, we are now witnessing in the Jordan Valley an accelerated process of what must, I fear, be called ethnic cleansing. It’s not a term I use lightly….
Violence / Detention — West Bank / Jerusalem
Palestinian boy wounded after Jerusalem stabbing was hit by stray Israeli bullet
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 15 Dec — A 13-year-old Palestinian boy who was injured on Wednesday in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem was wounded by Israeli forces when they shot and killed a Palestinian carrying out a stabbing attack, the child’s father said. Iyad Juwilis said his two sons Fahmi and Nour were leaving school in the Old City when Israeli forces shot a 21-year-old Palestinian, identified by locals as Hamad Khader al-Sheikh, who allegedly stabbed and lightly wounded an Israeli police officer with a screwdriver. The Israeli forces fired heavily in the wake of the stabbing attack, causing a stray bullet to hit Fahmi, who sustained fractures and superficial head wounds, his father said. Juwilis said that his young son had to undergo surgery to stop the bleeding, and that his condition was now stable. Meanwhile, al-Sheikh succumbed to gunshot wounds in the hospital.
Israeli police reportedly assault Palestinians during traffic stop
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 15 Dec — Israeli forces reportedly assaulted and detained four Jerusalemite Palestinians on Wednesday morning as they were headed to work, the Palestinians told Ma‘an. The four Palestinians — Mahmoud and Muhammad al-Masri from the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras al-‘Amoud, and Bahaa and Alaa Amro from the neighborhood of Silwan — were heading to work in Tel Aviv on Wednesday. Mahmoud al Masri told Ma‘an that an Israeli border police patrol forced the four to stop their vehicle before letting them go. A while later however, al-Masri added, a civilian vehicle started following them, and its passengers, who said they were Israeli intelligence officers, forced them to stop and exit their car. Al-Masri said that the Israeli officers started cursing at them, leading to a verbal altercation during which the officers pepper-sprayed the Palestinians. He added that the Palestinian men tried to film the incident, but that the Israeli officers seized their phones. Al-Masri did not indicate what reasons the border police officers gave for stopping the Palestinians. Al-Masri said that the four Palestinians were taken to the Israeli police station in Beit Shemesh for interrogation, adding that they went to receive medical care at the Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem upon being released.
Israeli forces shoot tear gas, rubber bullets at protesters in Kafr Qaddum
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 16 Dec — Israeli forces Friday suppressed a weekly march in the village of Kafr Qaddum in the occupied West Bank district of Qalqiliya, shooting rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas canisters at tens of Palestinians, internationals, and Israeli peace activists. Popular resistance coordinator Murad Shteiwi told Ma‘an that Israeli forces attacked the protesters and fired tear gas canisters and rubber-coated steel bullets at the crowd, causing many to suffer tear gas inhalation. Shteiwi added that the protest was launched with wide participation of the village’s local residents and internationals, despite the cold weather and rain on Friday.
Israeli army attacks the weekly nonviolent protest in Ni‘lin
IMEMC 17 Dec — Israeli soldiers attacked, Friday, many Palestinian, Israeli and international peace activists holding the weekly nonviolent protest in Ni‘lin village, near Ramallah in central West bank, causing several injuries. The Popular Committee in Ni‘lin said the soldiers assaulted the nonviolent protesters as they reached a construction site of the illegal Israeli annexation Wall, isolating the villagers from their lands. It added that the soldiers fired many gas bombs and concussion grenades, causing scores of protesters to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation. Mohammad Abdul-Qader ‘Amira, the coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Colonies in Ni‘lin, said the soldiers deliberately fire gas bombs at many homes, causing several Palestinians, especially children and elders, to suffer the severe effects of teargas inhalation. This week’s protest also marked the second anniversary of the death of Palestinian government minister, Ziad Abu Ein, who was killed by Israeli soldiers during a nonviolent activity, near Ramallah, in December 2014.
Also on Friday, the soldiers assaulted dozens of local, Israeli and international peace activists, holding the weekly nonviolent protest against the Annexation Wall and colonies, in Bil‘in village, in the central West Bank district of Ramallah, and detained an international peace activist.
Israeli soldiers invade Shu‘fat refugee camp
IMEMC 17 Dec — Israeli soldiers invaded, Friday, several neighborhoods in Shu‘fat refugee camp, in the center of occupied East Jerusalem, and clashed with scores of youngsters who hurled stones and empty bottles on the advancing army vehicles. The WAFA Palestinian News Agency said the soldiers fired dozens of live rounds, rubber-coated steel bullets and gas bombs on the protesters, after the army invaded the refugee camp from several directions. There have been no immediate reports of injuries or abductions during the invasion, while the soldiers also surrounded the refugee camp. On Thursday at night, the Israeli army said six of its soldiers were wounded, including one who was moved to a hospital, during clashes that took place in the refugee camp.
Similar clashes took place in al-‘Eesawiyya town, in the center of Jerusalem, Silwan town, south of the al-Aqsa Mosque in the city, Abu Dis town, southeast of Jerusalem, in addition to the at-Tour and Jabal az-Zeitoun neighborhoods, overlooking the Old City.
Israeli soldiers raid Nabi Saleh, beat Palestinian youths
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 15 Dec — Israeli forces reportedly raided the village of Nabi Saleh in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah on Wednesday night, locals told Ma‘an. Five Israeli military vehicles entered the village around midnight after receiving reports of shots fired at an Israeli settler vehicle in the area and closed the village entrance, before assaulting Palestinian youths at a nearby gas station. Israeli forces then searched the gas station and seized security camera footage … Nabi Saleh is one of a number of Palestinian villages in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem which are known for their weekly Friday protests against the Israeli occupation.
Israel to release body of Palestinian teenager killed after allegedly throwing stones
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 15 Dec — Israeli authorities have decided to return the body of slain 15-year-old Palestinian Khalid Bahr Ahmad Bahr to his family on Friday in the village of Beit Ummar in the occupied West Bank district of Hebron, sources at the Palestinian Civil Affairs Committee said on Thursday. The sources added that the slain teenager would be buried on Saturday. Bahr was shot dead by Israeli forces on Oct. 20 after allegedly throwing stones at a group of Israeli soldiers stationed near the Beit Ummar junction in the northern part of the village. A local activist, Muhammad Ayyad Awwad, told Ma‘an at the time that Israeli forces had shot the minor in the back, with the bullet exiting through his chest. Awwad also said at the time that Israeli soldiers prevented a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance from approaching the youth, while witnesses said that Israeli forces refused to provide CPR to the youth after he was shot, leaving the teenager to bleed out on the ground