Ma’an News – Around 100 Palestinian Bedouins could be homeless by the end of the week after Israeli authorities issued eviction orders to 20 families in northeast Jerusalem, their lawyer said Wednesday.
An Israeli court initially ordered the families, from the al-Arara tribe, to leave their land in Jaba within three days, but the lawyer managed to delay the order for 15 days, which will run out this week, he told a news conference in Jerusalem.
Jaba borders Adam, an illegal Jewish settlement, which the families say Israel plans to expand onto their land.
IMEMC – Palestinian medical sources reported that dozens of nonviolent activists have been injured after Israeli soldiers attacked nonviolent protesters who established “Al-Manatheer.”
Dozens of nonviolent activists installed the protest camp on lands that belong to Palestinian villagers of Burin, in a move meant at protecting Palestinian lands and property, and to express rejection to Israel’s illegal settlement activities.
Dozens of soldiers and extremist Israeli settlers attacked the nonviolent protesters, and tried to remove them by force, eyewitnesses reported.
Medical sources said that at least twenty persons, including children, have been treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation, and due to being pepper-sprayed by the soldiers, while several residents have been injured by live rounds and rubber-coated metal bullets fired by the army, and were moved to local hospitals in Nablus.
Israeli media sources reported that two Israeli soldiers were mildly injured by stones thrown by some Palestinian youths during clashes that erupted with the army after the army attacked the nonviolent protesters.
Several families and their children were in the area visiting with family members and expressing solidarity with the nonviolent activists who installed their tents and established the new neighborhood on privately-owned Palestinians lands.
It is worth mentioning that the army was extensively deployed in the area, especially around Burin village, and installed roadblocks to prevent the residents from reaching the protest camp.
Activists said that this new neighborhood was established on Palestinian lands, in the occupied West Bank, as part of ongoing nonviolent activities against Israel’s illegal settlement activities in the West Bank, including in occupied Jerusalem.
In related news, Israeli soldiers violently attacked a nonviolent procession that was held in Kufur Qaddoum village, near the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia.
The residents marched to express solidarity with “Al-Manatheer Neighborhood” after the army attacked it, leading to several injuries.
Morad Eshtewy, media coordinator of the Nonviolent Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Qalqilia, stated that the soldiers fired gas bombs at the protesters leading to several injuries, adding that a child was hit in the leg by a gas bomb fired by the soldiers, and was moved to a local hospital
Eshtewy added that the escalating Israeli attacks against the nonviolent protesters are a clear indication that these nonviolent activities are effective in exposing Israel’s crimes and violations.
Ma’an News – Fluctuating prices, poverty and border restrictions mean growing numbers of Palestinians are facing food insecurity this year — one of the key priorities in the humanitarian community’s annual appeal for the occupied Palestinian territory.
This year’s Consolidated Appeal Process is for $401.6 million, a slight decrease on last year’s $416.7 million, only 68 percent of which was financed.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, which helped coordinate the CAP, estimates that 1.3 million Palestinians do not have enough food.
The latest figures show the number of households without sufficient access to food has risen by 7 percent since 2011, a trend which — if continued — would have left an estimated 41 percent of Palestinians without the necessary resources to get sufficient, safe and nutritious food at the end of 2012.
“Palestinian wages have not kept pace with inflation … Many poor Palestinians have exhausted their coping mechanisms (taking on loans, cutting back consumption) and are now much more vulnerable to small price increases than they were,” said a recent World Food Program bulletin.
According to the CAP, the situation is further worsened by restrictions on the movement of people and goods, which have resulted in higher prices of basic food commodities and reduced the purchasing power of many vulnerable families.
Humanitarian agencies hope to carry out 157 projects in 2013 — 58 implemented by UN agencies, 82 by international NGOs and 17 by local NGOs.
But doing this type of work is becoming increasingly difficult, according to aid workers who say getting access to vulnerable communities became tougher in 2012 because of lengthy Israeli planning procedures and restrictions on mobility and authorization.
In 2011, UN reconstruction projects had to wait an average of eight months for approval from Israel’s Coordination of Government Activities in Territories, a unit in the Israeli Ministry of Defense that engages in coordinating civilian issues between the government of Israel, the army, international organizations, diplomats, and the Palestinian Authority). By the end of 2012, the average waiting time more than doubled to 20 months, according to the CAP report.
In addition, aid workers lost some 1,959 working hours due to 535 access incidents while attempting to pass Israeli checkpoints in 2012, Maria José Torres, OCHA deputy head of office in OPT, told IRIN.
This trend is expected to worsen once the Israeli Crossing Points Administration, a civilian department linked to the Defense Ministry, begins to operate all checkpoints.
The CPA requires regular searches of UN vehicles, unless the driver is an international staff member, and national UN staff are subject to body searches and required to walk through the crossings the CPA operates. It remains unclear, however, when exactly CPA will take over.
Impact of recent political events
The recent escalation in violence in Gaza at the end of 2012 only increased humanitarian needs and added an extra $26 million to the CAP as communities try to rebuild: this year’s appeal has a tighter focus on strictly humanitarian projects that would immediately tackle suffering, said Torres.
The indebted Palestinian government in the West Bank is also struggling to provide basic services due to a shortfall in revenue provoked by declining donor support, and also the holding back of tax revenues by Israel, which objected to the State of Palestine being given the status of a non-member observer state at the UN.
A man-made crisis?
These incidents highlight the close correlation between politics and humanitarian needs in oPt.
At the CAP presentation in Ramallah, several speakers on the podium criticized Israel for provoking what they said was a man-made humanitarian crisis in oPt.
“The UN has repeatedly called upon the State of Israel to meet its obligations as an occupying power, including halting demolitions and addressing humanitarian needs. Unfortunately, these have not been met,” said the resident humanitarian coordinator in oPt, James Rawley.
“The international community tries to fill the gap, and this humanitarian action is essential. But it is no substitute to political action.”
Many of the Palestinian officials and humanitarian staff present told IRIN they had become frustrated by the man-made and largely unchanged humanitarian crisis in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
“After 20 years of a useless peace process with Israel, the situation on the ground continues to deteriorate. The status quo is not working,” said Estephan Salameh, an adviser to the Palestinian Ministry of Planning in the West Bank.
IMEMC – Sunday at night – January 27, Israeli soldiers broke into a mosque in the Al-Ezariyya town, in occupied East Jerusalem, searched it and detained dozens of worshipers.
Local sources reported that the army invaded the Al-Morabetean mosque after surrounding it, and prevented the worshipers from leaving for a few hours.
Later on, the soldiers also inspected the ID cards of the worshipers , and also searched them after forcing them to stand against the wall outside of the mosque.
The army said that the soldiers conducted a search campaign in the area after an Israeli settlers bus came under fire leading to damages but no injuries.
The army claimed that the attack took place near Hizma Palestinian village, northeast of occupied Jerusalem, and added that two rounds have been fired at the bus; no arrests were made until the time of this report.
Ma’an News – Israeli forces demolished at least four buildings and a sewage network in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan early Monday, locals said.
Bulldozers leveled land and uprooted olive trees in order to access the demolition sites, closing all the surrounding roads, witnesses told Ma’an.
The raid, shortly after the dawn prayer, prompted clashes with local residents. Witnesses said several youth were detained by Israeli police, including Khalid al-Zeir and Firas Awad. An Israeli police spokesman could not be reached for comment.
Silwan resident Abdul-Munim Shuweiki said forces demolished a fence and uprooted 10-year-old olive trees to access his land.
The bulldozers razed his garage and a steel building, damaging an external staircase, he told Silwan’s Wadi Hilweh Information Center.
Ahmad Simrin, who owns land in the area, said Israeli bulldozers leveled parts of his land and demolished a sewage network.
He told the Wadi Hilweh Center that he showed an Israeli commander a title deed dating back to 1892, which proves that the land was owned by his grandfather Awad Simrin. Israel does not recognize that deed and insists the area is a national park, he said.
Israeli bulldozers also demolished a tin-roofed room in the neighborhood, which was built in 1956, according to owner Faraj Shukeir.
The demolition also damaged an older room and the front yard of the house.
Israeli forces then demolished a newer house, built eleven years ago and inhabited by a family of four, belonging to Silwan resident Ayman Shukeir.
Silwan — adjacent to the Old City’s Dome of the Rock compound and Western Wall — is a populated by a number of settler homes under heavy Israeli guard, and the site of frequent clashes with forces on arrest raids targeting the Palestinian population.
Israel insists that Jerusalem is its “eternal and indivisible” capital, and annexed the city’s eastern sector after a 1967 war in a move never recognized by the international community.
For Palestinians, East Jerusalem is the capital of their promised state.
Gaza’s children affirmed their place at the forefront of creativity and innovation last week, as a 14-year-old girl from Jabalia refugee camp, northern Gaza, took first place in an international math competition featuring the best young brains from all around the world.
In recent years in Gaza, creativity and achievement has grown and flourished against extraordinary odds; a blockade and the rubble of many conflicts, the last of which was eight-day war on Gaza in November 2012.
14-year-old Palestine refugee Areej El Madhoun, a student at UNRWA’s school in Jabalia camp received the first prize in this year’s Intelligent Mental-Arithmetic Competition, held in Malaysia every two years.
The Intelligent Mental-Arithmetic program, which targets children between the ages of 4 and 12, works on developing the mental capacity and performance of children by adopting a technique called the “Both-Hand Abacus Mental-Arithmetic” teaching method. Using the fingers of the left and right hands to compute simultaneously, the program works to create stimulation in both the left and right sides of the brain. This enables children to solve various mathematical questions with speed, accuracy and skill, in addition to improving their thinking abilities.
Ninth-grader Areej outmatched 2,500 other participants from ten countries by solving 182 complicated mathematical questions within an eight-minute period.
Areej sees her success as the greatest gift she can offer to the children of Gaza after the recent eight-day war, which saw houses and infrastructure destroyed, and incidences of psychological trauma rise.
“Winning the first prize is a victory for Palestine. I was very proud to carry my country’s flag”, said a delighted Areej.
“When I was announced as the winner, I felt overwhelmed and cried so hard”.
The recent memory of war made her victory particularly poignant, Areej added
“I went through some difficult times before the competition. The most recent conflict in Gaza had just ended two weeks before the competition began.”
In the end, the fear and anxiety brought on by the conflict did not subdue her overwhelming joy at winning first prize, she said.
In addition to Areej, four other young Palestinians received advanced places in the international competition; proving once again that the talent of Palestinian youth is remarkable, when given the opportunity to be.
(UNRWA – http://www.unrwa.org)
Health Minister director general instructs all gynecologists in Israel’s four health maintenance organizations not to inject women with long-acting contraceptive Depo-Provera if they do not understand ramifications of treatment.
A government official has for the first time acknowledged the practice of injecting women of Ethiopian origin with the long-acting contraceptive Depo-Provera.
Health Ministry Director General Prof. Ron Gamzu has instructed the four health maintenance organizations to stop the practice as a matter of course.
The ministry and other state agencies had previously denied knowledge or responsibility for the practice, which was first reported five years ago.
Gamzu’s letter instructs all gynecologists in the HMOs “not to renew prescriptions for Depo-Provera for women of Ethiopian origin if for any reason there is concern that they might not understand the ramifications of the treatment.”
He also instructed physicians to avail themselves of translators if need be.
Gamzu’s letter came in response to a letter from Sharona Eliahu-Chai of the Association of Civil Rights in Israel, representing several women’s rights and Ethiopian immigrants’ groups. The letter demanded the injections cease immediately and that an investigation be launched into the practice.
About six weeks ago, on an Educational Television program journalist Gal Gabbay revealed the results of interviews with 35 Ethiopian immigrants. The women’s testimony could help explain the almost 50-percent decline over the past 10 years in the birth rate of Israel’s Ethiopian community. According to the program, while the women were still in transit camps in Ethiopia they were sometimes intimidated or threatened into taking the injection. “They told us they are inoculations,” said one of the women interviewed. “They told us people who frequently give birth suffer. We took it every three months. We said we didn’t want to.”