Published October 02, 2015

Israeli soldiers search the area of a shooting attack near Nablus, West Bank, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. Israeli military said that a Palestinian assailant shot and killed two parents driving with their four children along a West Bank road on Thursday. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)(The Associated Press)

JERUSALEM Israel’s military says it’s deployed hundreds of troops in the West Bank after Palestinian gunmen killed a Jewish settler couple driving their children the previous day there.

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon visited the site of the shooting Friday, promising to catch the attackers and blaming Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for inciting such violence.

Gunmen opened fire late Thursday toward a vehicle travelling near the Palestinian village of Beit Furik.

Eitam and Naama Henkin, residents of a Jewish West Bank settlement, were killed. Their four young children, who were seated in the back seat and watched their parents die, were otherwise unharmed.

The attack comes on the heels of a series of Palestinian rock and firebomb attacks. Israel has vowed to quash the threat and has increasingly been arresting offenders.

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Israeli military deploys troops after settler couple …

People at work in the new SodaStream factory in Israels Negev Desert next to the city of Rahat.

The chief executive of SodaStream has accused his companys critics of antisemitism and hurting the interests of the Palestinian workers they claim to protect as it shuts down its factory in the West Bank and moves to Israels Negev Desert.

SodaStream, which sells home fizzy drink machines, has been targeted by international protests. Citing financial reasons, SodaStream announced in 2014 that it was closing the West Bank factory. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement said its pressure was behind the decision.

Standing in the new factory in Israels Negev Desert that will replace the West Bank facility when it closes in two weeks, Daniel Birnbaum said the boycott movement has only had a marginal effect on his business. He accused it of spreading lies and said Palestinian employees were given pay and benefits far higher than anything else they could find in the West Bank.

Its propaganda. Its politics. Its hate. Its antisemitism. Its all the bad stuff we dont want to be part of, Birnbaum said.

Related: Scarlett Johansson steps down from Oxfam ambassador role

The West Bank factory is within an illegal settlement in the Israeli-occupied territory. SodaStream said it employed up to 600 Palestinians there, and had sought to transfer their jobs to the Israeli plant. But Birnbaum said Israel had granted only 130 work permits so far due to security issues and many likely would lose their jobs.

Ali Jafar, a shift manager from a West Bank village who has worked for SodaStream for two years, said: All the people who wanted to close [SodaStreams West Bank factory] are mistaken. They didnt take into consideration the families.

SodaStream should have been encouraged in the West Bank if [the BDS movement] truly cared about the Palestinian people, Birnbaum said.

Palestinians, like other employees, are offered a bus service that brings them to the factory but that will now become a two-hour journey each way that involves crossing an Israeli checkpoint, where workers must show permits and be screened for security checks.

The BDS movement wants to end Israels occupation of territories captured in the 1967 war, end discrimination against Arab citizens of Israel and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to family properties lost in the war surrounding Israels creation in 1948. Israel says the Palestinian right of return would lead to a massive influx of refugees that would mean the end of the country as a Jewish state.

For the BDS movement, SodaStreams pullout from the West Bank was part of a domino effect that would see more companies sever interests to spare their bottom line. This is a clear-cut BDS victory against an odiously complicit Israeli company, said Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of the movement. He said it would continue to target SodaStream because its new factory is located in an area where Israel has in the past proposed to resettle Bedouin Arabs. The company employs more than 300 Bedouins.

SodaStream made headlines in 2014 when the actor Scarlett Johansson parted ways with the international charity Oxfam because of a dispute over her work as brand ambassador for the Tel Aviv-based company. Birnbaum said the relationship with Johansson was for a limited time and ended shortly after.

After years of growth SodaStreams revenue dropped drastically in 2014 and its stock price continues to fall. Birnbaum rejected suggestions that BDS pressure has hurt the company, attributing the slump to a changing US market that is moving away from sugary drinks.

BDS has accused SodaStream of paying Palestinian workers less than their Israeli counterparts, but Birnbaum and employees at the factory said wages for Palestinians and Israeli workers were commensurate.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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Written on September 4th, 2015 & filed under West Bank Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Police sent a suspected Jerusalem far-right activist to house arrest Tuesday night as part of efforts to combat Jewish extremism.

Officers raided the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva in the West Bank and delivered an administrative house arrest order to the suspect, who is 18, Israel Radio reported.

The youth was prohibited from leaving his house at night for three months and from traveling to the West Bank. He is also prohibited from speaking with 20 other suspected activists. On Tuesday, two West Bank youths suspected of extremist involvement were handed similar warrants

The yeshiva, which is located in the settlement of Yitzhar, is known for far-right incitement and for students alleged involvement in price tag attacks, in which Palestinian houses, religious buildings and property are vandalized.

The yeshivas head rabbi, Yitzhak Shapira, signed a petition over the weekend opposing administrative detentions and calling on the public to support those who received warrants, the religious news site Israel National News reported.

Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, head of the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva next to Yitzhar, at the Jerusalems Magistrate Court. Jan 27, 2010. (Kobi Gideon/ FLASH90)

In 2010, Shapira was arrested for suspicion of involvement in the torching of a mosque in the northern West Bank Palestinian town Yasuf, although he was later released due to lack of evidence. He is also known for publishing inflammatory anti-Palestinian writing.

Tuesdays house arrest order was the twenty-first such order issued since authorities began to crack down on Jewish extremists in the wake of the July killing of Saad Dawabsha and his 18-month-old son, Ali, in a firebombing attack on their home in the Palestinian village of Duma.

The attack, coupled with a fatal stabbing spree by an extremist Jew at Jerusalems gay pride parade a day earlier, sparked an international and domestic outcry over Israels failure to come to grips with violence by Jewish extremists.

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon approved the use of detention without charges known as administrative detention and other means in an effort to track down the killers of the Dawabshas.

On Tuesday, two West Bank youths suspected of extremist involvement were handed similar warrants

Yaalon said the use of administrative detention for a number of Jewish terror suspects has proved effective in preventing additional violence against Arabs by hardline Jews.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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Suspected far-right activist booted out of West Bank | The …

Written on September 4th, 2015 & filed under West Bank Tags: , , , , , , ,

JERUSALEM (AP) A video showing an Israeli soldier scuffling with Palestinian women and youth at a West Bank protest has been viewed more than 2 million times on Facebook, shining a light on Israeli military policies in the territory.

In the edited video, the masked soldier is seen holding a 12-year-old boy, his arm in a cast, in a chokehold in an attempt to arrest him. The soldier is swarmed by the boy’s female relatives, including his mother and sister, who pull at his skin and uniform and slap him. The boy’s sister, a 15-year-old sporting a blonde braid, is seen biting the soldier’s hand. Bystanders yell, “He is a little boy. His arm is broken.”

The soldier struggles with the boy, and then the female crowd, which ripped the mask off his face, for about a minute before a commanding officer arrives to assist him. The soldier then frees himself and releases the boy, angrily throwing a small stun grenade at a group of people as he walks away.

The original video, which was provided to The Associated Press by its creator, local activist and the boy’s relative Bilal Tamimi, showed the same footage. Tamimi said Palestinians had hurled stones at the troops, but that he hadn’t seen the boy throw stones.

The skirmish took place Friday at a weekly protest in the West Bank village of Nebi Saleh, where Israeli troops and Palestinian protesters often clash. Villagers claim a nearby Jewish settlement has restricted access to a nearby spring.

The Israeli military said Sunday that a “violent riot” broke out at the protest and that it tried to detain the boy because he was hurling rocks. The military says the boy was released “to prevent an escalation of violence.”

The video sparked accusations from critics that Israel is too heavy-handed in its confrontations with Palestinian protesters, especially minors.

In Israel, the video was seen as capturing the antagonism Israel’s soldiers face from stone-throwing Palestinian protesters and raised concerns for the soldiers’ safety.

Also on HuffPost:

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West Bank Protest Video Shows Scuffle Between Family And …

An Israeli raid to arrest a senior Hamas operative in the West Bank turned into a gunbattle Monday night, leaving several wounded in the clashes.

The Israeli military said Israeli forces surrounded a house where the wanted man was suspected of hiding in Jenin late Monday. Israeli officials declined to name the wanted operative, though Palestinians identified him as Majdi Abu Alhaija.

After forces repeatedly called on Alhaija to surrender, they demolished the house, the military said.

Hundreds of Palestinians rioted in the area, hurling rocks and firebombs at the Israeli forces, the military said.

A Palestinian security official said Palestinian gunmen exchanged heavy fire with Israeli soldiers, and 20 Palestinians were taken to hospital after being wounding by Israeli rubber bullets. An Israeli paramilitary border police officer also was moderately wounded in the fighting.

Israelis arrested Alhaija, his brother and his 15-year-old son, the Palestinian official said. Soldiers also tried to arrest a member of the Islamic Jihad group but couldn’t find him, he said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not allowed to brief journalists.

The clashes lasted till dawn Tuesday.

Shortly before dawn, a rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel early Tuesday, but the rocket appeared to have landed inside Gaza, the Israeli military said.

A small Salafist group in Gaza affiliated with the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for firing two rockets Tuesday toward Israel, saying it was in retaliation for the West Bank arrest raid.

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Clashes During Israeli Raid to Arrest Militant in West Bank

The settlements in Samaria are as much a part of Israel as the countrys largest city Tel Aviv, said President Reuven Rivlin as he visited an elementary school in the community of Peduel.

Sometimes, people talk of the state of Tel Aviv or the state of Jerusalem, the Jewish state and the state of Israel, Rivlin said as he stood in the schools courtyard to help celebrate the first day of classes.

Those who live here know that there is no such thing as the state of Tel Aviv or the state of Jerusalem. There is just one country, the state of Israel, said Rivlin.

As he looked at out at the several hundred elementary school children that sat on folding chairs, under a large tan cloth awning, the president spoke of the role their West Bank community played in the history of the nation and the state.

Rivlin, who is a veteran member of the Likud party, is fairly outspoken about the importance of national unity among all segments of Israeli society and all regions of the country.

But on Tuesday, he linked that message with the larger diplomatic one, that highlighted the importance of the West Bank settlements to the state of Israel.

Located 4.5 kilometers away from the Green Line, within the planned route of the security barrier, the small hilltop community of Peduel has under 2,000 people and is accessible by only a small winding road.

There was a time, Rivlin said, when Peduel was known as the back porch of the nation. However, he said it has come to symbolize the Israel’s historical and geographical connection, from the sea to the hilltops, from the past to the future.

It connects the Biblical kingdom of Israel with the modern state, he said. Those who live here know that we will never again lend our hand to the dissolution of Jewish sovereignty.

He added that in Peduel, we say, the Shomron is here, Tel Aviv is here, Jerusalem is here.”

We did not come to Israel because we fled the Holocaust or pogroms, we came and we will continue to settle it out of happiness and joy and the understanding that this is our land,” said the president.

You may think that this is the first day of your studies, but I will tell you something, that those who live in Pedual never stop learning. Every stone and tree tells a story.”

The geography, much like the archeology of Samaria, is like the photographs of a family album. Those who live here live in the middle of a lesson in history, in Bible, in citizenship and love of the land, Rivlin said.

But the most important lesson learned here, is one of unity.”

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Written on September 4th, 2015 & filed under West Bank Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Can you live as we do?” Sayeed asked me.

We were standing on the rooftop of his family home in Hebron, the largest city in the West Bank. The house, in the Old City, is several stories of lovely stone, its narrow rooms tucked away up spiral staircases. Less picturesque is the watchtower installed by the Israel Defense Forces on an adjoining section of roof.

The army does not permit the 25-year-old to lock his doors, and when soldiers use the watchtower during the day, they lock Sayeed’s family in their rooms. His home, like many others in the area, is subject to frequent night raids in the name of securityin other words, investigation accusations of rock-throwing or other terroristic actions. (Throwing a stone at a moving vehicle is now punishable by up to 20 years in prison thanks to a new law that has been derided by its critics as racist against Palestinians.) Sayeed told me he’d been arrested many times; he lifted up his pant leg to show me scars he said came form beatings at the hands of the authorities.

Then there are the settlers, Jews who have moved onto land in the West BankPalestinian land, land that Israel does not have a recognized right to. These settlers have been consistently supported by the Israeli government, despite condemnations from other nations, and despite the settlers frequently committing acts of violence against the Palestinians whose land they occupy. Some settlers are drawn by the lower tax rates and government subsidies enjoyed by those living outside of Israel’s 1967 borders. But others, like many of those in Hebron, subscribe to a belief that God granted all of Eretz Israela geographic area including the West Bankto the Jews.

The Israelis who have encamped in the Old City have gone so far to build atop existing structures, so that the modern architecture crushes the past. In Sayeed’s case, settlers built a new wing fused onto his home. According to Sayeed, they cross over the adjoined rooftop and sometimes throw trash in his water tanks. In 2007, he claimed, they broke into one of his rooms and threw in a Molotov cocktail, an apparent attempt to drive the family from their home. Sayeed’s kid brother took me down to the room, where the floor and walls were still scorched black.

On the roof I paused, considering Sayeed’s question. “No,” I answered, honestly.

I visited Hebron in early June, two months before yet another alleged arson attack by settlers burned alive an 18-month-old infant named Ali Dawabsheh in the West Bank village of Duma. Days later, Ali’s father Saad succumbed to the burns that covered 80 percent of his body.

Following Ali’s murder, Israeli politicians, like Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu, have scrambled to separate the extraordinary violence committed by settlers from the daily violence of the occupation. But the distinction is impossible to make. Settlers are an intrinsic, state-supported part of Israel’s occupation. In their attacks, settlers serve as the occupation’s shock troops. Their security serves as its excuse.

Nowhere is this more visually apparent than in Hebron’s Old City.

The Oslo Accords divides Hebron into two zonesH2, run by the Israeli military, and H1, run by the Palestinian Authority (PA). Old Hebron lies in H2, which is home to 30,000 Palestinians and approximately 500 Israeli settlers.

Old Hebron is honey-stoned and blue-dooredthe sort of charming Mediterranean labyrinth that, in another universe, would be full of obnoxious tour groups. But thanks to the occupation, it’s scarred by gates, concrete barriers, barbed wire, and checkpoints. A souk where gold was once sold lies empty, the doors of its many shops welded shut by the IDF, its merchandise still inside.

In Hebron, apartheid is imposed upon the architecture. Palestinians navigate a maze of barriers, fences, and settler-only roads, trapped in discursive loops that can take them kilometers out of their way. Soldiers, most of them bored Mizrahi teenagers, often leave Palestinians languishing at Hebron’s checkpoints for hours. Long waits are the least of the problems created by this network of restrictionsevery interaction between soldier and Palestinian civilian can lead to a beating, an arrest, or even a shooting at the hands of the army.

Of course, no such restrictions on movement apply to settlers.

The former main drag, Shuhada Street, is as silent as a corpse. Most Palestinian families have been driven out of Shuhada, either by the settlers or the army. Obscene graffiti joins the stars of David settlers have scrawled across its abandoned storefront.

Checkpoints on either end warn in misspelled Arabic that this road is pedestrian-onlyfor Palestinians, who can only walk until the last 600 feet. Israelis are welcome to drive.

Settlers have moved into apartments overlooking the shop-lined streets of Hebron’s Old City. From their windows, they habitually throw down rocks, glass, piss, and dirty diapers at the Palestinian merchants beneath them. Merchants have hung nets to catch some of the refuse, but liquids still get through. One vendor showed me his shawls, which have been ruined by rotten eggs. Business is slow here, but shopkeepers persist, out of stubbornness, or pride, or just a desire for something to do.

Watch: Israel’s Radical Left

Many stores are bolted shut. Others are without doors, filled with trash, hidden and closed behind barricades. A playground for Arab kids has been turned into a settlers-only parking lot. According to a 2013 report the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, more than 1,000 Palestinian homes adjacent to settlements have been abandoned, and 512 Palestinian businesses have been closed on Israeli military orders. An additional 1,100 businesses have have shut down due to restricted access for customers and suppliers.

Israel rationalizes its policy of separating Palestinians and settlers as a way to keep the peace between the two groups. However, the policy penalizes Palestinians alone, displacing them and restricting their freedom of movement in the name of counteracting “terrorism.”

“We are not the terrorists that they are calling us. We just want nobody to kill us, and to live like anyone else,” Ghassan Jabari, 19, told me.

A year ago Ghassan opened a small pottery shop across from the Ibrahimi Mosque. Despite the tour buses, business is slow. Ghassan, who has no allegiance to any political faction, told me that many Israeli tour operators warn their charges against shopping with him, claiming the money goes to Hamas.

The authorities also harass him. One YouTube video from November 2014 shows soldiers stopping Ghassan at a checkpoint just outside his shop. He did not have his ID, which was inside the shop. Rather than letting his retrieve it, the soldiers detained him, shoving him and twisting his arm behind his back. Another time, Ghassan said, four soldiers entered his shop and began throwing merchandise into the street. They handcuffed and blindfolded him, took his ID, and warned him to say goodbye to his shop, only releasing him when his family paid a 1,500-shekel (almost $400) fine. According to Ghassan, the soldiers dislike him having a shop in such a viable location. But these instances were also power trips, the mundane and humiliating fabric of life under military occupation.

About 650,000 Israelis live in West Bank settlements, including 300,000 who live in East Jerusalem. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, they attacked Palestinians and their property 399 times in 2013. Hebron settlers account for a disproportionate amount of violence. In one week in February 2015, settlers in Hebron governorate committed four out of five of the assaults logged by the UNbeating a ten-year-old boy with an iron bar, cutting down 40 olive trees, uprooting 550 saplings, and beating a 55-year-old shepherd while he was grazing his sheep.

The violence might be traced to the the man behind Hebron’s settlement. A believer in the divine right of Jews to rule “Greater Israel,” Rabbi Moshe Levinger rented rooms at a Hebron hotel under false pretenses in 1968. He and his followers then refused to leave. The Israeli army eventually moved the squatters to the base of Kiryat Arba, overlooking Hebron, where they established a settlement. In 1979, Levinger’s wife Miriam led the illegal takeover of a Shuhada Street building she renamed Beit Hadassah. It is still occupied by Levinger’s followers today, and its wall bears a plaque commemorating the 1929 massacre of 69 Jews in Hebron by Arabs from surrounding villages. The plaque also claims, falsely, that no Jews are allowed to enter the Arab part of Hebron.

Over the years, Levinger has been accused multiple times of committing violence against the Palestinians he lives alongside. In 1988, angry that his car had been stoned, he randomly fired bullets into a crowded marketplace, killing a Palestinian shopkeeper, an act for which he served 92 days in jail.

In 1994, American-born settler Baruch Goldstein opened fire in Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque, killing 29 Palestinians before survivors were able to beat him to death. Al Jazeera reported that, according to locals, the IDF killed an additional Palestinians protesting the massacre outside the mosque.

The settlers turned Goldstein’s grave into a shrine. Though Palestinians were the victims, the Israeli army responded by issuing a 30-day curfew (that did not apply to settlers), partitioning the Ibrahimi Mosque, and closing Shuhada Street to Palestinian traffic. Later, during the Second Intifada, the army welded shut the doors of shops and homes.

The street remains closed today. Some families can only enter their homes by crossing over rooftops. Grates cover windows, to guard against tear gas canisters and rocks.

Under the occupation, an Arab can be arrested for carrying a knife. Israeli settlers, including teenagers, swagger around with assault rifles.

Outside Ghassan’s shop, local kids slouch around, trading quips and selling the occasional Palestine flag bracelet to foreigners. One boy, a 14-year-old with a scarred face, told me about attacks by both IDF soldiers and gangs of settler teens; often, Palestinian kids are arrested on accusations of of rock-throwing. Soldiers then threaten to keep them locked up for months if they don’t sign confessions. According to multiple Palestinians I spoke to in Hebron, to secure their children’s release parents must pay 2,000 shekels (about $500) in fines, even though their children had never been brought before a judge.

Palestinians in the West Bank are usually tried in military court, where, according to human rights NGO B’Tselem, they are “as good as convicted”; settlers, meanwhile, are tried in civilian courts inside Israel. According to a report by human rights organization Yesh Din, only 7.4 percent of felony complaints from Palestinians against Israelis turn into indictmentsand in nearly a quarter of those cases, the Israeli defendant is not convicted of any crime despite being found guilty.

I only witnessed the aftermath of one incidence of stone-throwing in Hebron. Every Friday, settlers, under heavy military escort, visit Ibrahimi Mosque (which Jews call the Cave of the Patriarchs) to pray. When I left the Old City, I saw settlers gathered, preparing to enter. Rows of identically dressed young Orthodox men stood behind Israeli soldiers, who were weighted with body armor and assault rifles. Meanwhile, Palestinians vendors manned stalls selling fruit. Kids ran back and forth. Volunteers from different violence-prevention NGOs stood around, some taking photos, others making notes, others just serving as physical barriers between the settlers and the Palestinians.

By the time I came upon the crowd, it was electric with tension. The settlers, behind their military guard, pointed at the Palestinians, shouting angrily in Hebrew. A man wearing a T-shirt bearing the logo of the faith-based organization Christian Peacemaker Team gestured me over and showed me his camera. On the viewer, he pointed to a picture of one his colleagues holding his bleeding head and being loaded into an ambulance.

In English, the man told me that the photo had been taken moments ago. As for the wound, that was courtesy of a stone hurled by a settler at his colleague’s head.

Though rock-throwing is often treated as a serious crime when done by Palestinians, no settlers had been arrested. The soldiers stood idly by until, jostling the crowd aside, they cleared the settlers’ path into the Old City.

The closed streets, the abandoned homes, the cut-up citythis is all for the safety of 600 settlers who live there in defiance of international law.

That moment shows how impossible it is to untangle the violence committed by settlers from the mechanisms of the state: The settler throws a rock; the army protects him. The closed streets, the abandoned homes, the cut-up citythis is all for the safety of 600 settlers who live there in defiance of international law. So it is that Sayeed’s house has been taken over by both the settlers and the IDF; so it is that Ghassan’s shop struggles, that Ali Dawabsheh burned to death.

The most extreme expressions of this system make headlines, but it permeates every moment of existence in the West Bank. Near the end of my stay in Hebron, I had to go to the government press office in Jerusalem’s Malha neighborhood, to get the accreditation that would let me visit Gaza. A Palestinian friend offered to get me on the right bus. We walked down the Palestinian side of one of Hebron’s divided streets, a downhill scramble made sharp by rocks (the Jewish side, of course, was neatly paved). In the distance hills shone green, topped by Rabbi Levinger’s settlement of Kiryat Arba.

We walked farther downhill, beneath Beit Shalom, a cultural center for settlers with banners touting its warm welcome of the IDF. “We call that the terrorist house,” smirked my friend.

He pointed out my bus, on the schedule at the Jewish-only bus stop. But he had stood too close. The soldiers manning a nearby checkpoint came over, shouted at us, and took his ID. We waited, sweating in the sun. They called him over to tell him he was a terrorist, waiting for his terrorist friends. Then they called me.

“What are you doing here?” one demanded.

“You took my friend’s ID for no reason. Give it back,” I said. “I’m a journalist.”

As soon as he heard this, one solider began to justify his actions. He grinned, falsely, and told me that he treated all people equally. That he said hello to my friend every day. That he didn’t start trouble. That he never wanted this. His partner snickered. The settlers laughed at us from the shade of their bus stop. I demanded my friend’s ID again.

He finally handed it back. I gave it to my friend, who looked at me with the sort of pure anger that conceals a deep humiliation.

“Why did he give it to you?” he demanded. “Why did you take it?”

“I’m so sorry,” I told him, not knowing what I had done wrong.

It was only later, on the luxurious, empty, Isreali-only bus back to Jerusalem that I realized the source of his shame and rage. I had been in Hebron for two days, yet as an American journalist, I could get his ID back in five minutes. I’d underscored how helpless he was in the city where he was born.

Update: An earlier version of this article referred to Israel’s 1987 borders rather than its 1967 borders.

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Written on August 27th, 2015 & filed under West Bank Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Israeli security services issued restraining orders to at least seven right-wing Jewish activists overnight Saturday, bringing the total number of alleged extremists temporarily banned from entering the West Bank or Jerusalem in recent days to 10.

The wave of restraining orders came as authorities attempted to crack down on Jewish extremists in the wake of the July killing of Saad Dawabsha and his 18-month-old son, Ali, in a firebombing attack on their home in the Palestinian village of Duma in the West Bank. The attack, coupled with a fatal stabbing spree by an extremist Jew at Jerusalems gay pride parade a day earlier, sparked an international and domestic outcry over Israels failure to come to grips with violence by Jewish terrorists and extremists.

In a statement, the Shin Bet said the measures were taken against individuals in the agencys uncompromising effort to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure that carried out the attacks, and prevent additional activity that endangers public security.

Shin Bet and police early Sunday morning issued restraining orders to two students enrolled at the Od Yosef Chai yeshiva in the hardline West Bank settlement of Yitzhar. The students were banned from the West Bank for six months and ordered to remain under house arrest at night. In addition, one of the students was banned from Jerusalem and was told to refrain from making contact with a number of his friends.

Police also issued issued restraining orders barring two minors from entering Jerusalem for a six-month period. Both teens, one from Maale Adumim and one from central Israel, were ordered to remain under house arrest at night. A third minor from the settlement of Amona, north of Jerusalem, was sentenced to full house arrest for the next six months.

Similar orders were distributed by police to right-wing activists in the Hebron-area settlement of Kiryat Arba, as well the northern West Bank outposts of Givat Habaladim and Geulat Zion.

The Shin Bet statement described the illegal outpost of Givat Habaladim as a hotbed of extremist activity, and said a number of known attackers had fled there in the past.

Right-wing activist and attorney Itamar Ben Gvir, who is representing a number of the detained, said his clients intend to appeal the orders.

The defense minister is behaving like a bull in a china shop. His actions send the message to young people that there is no democratic process and encourages them to break the law since no indictment was given or due process was followed, Ben Gvir said, according to the Hebrew-language news site NRG.

Meir Ettinger, the head of a Jewish extremist group, stands at the Israeli justice court in Nazareth Illit on August 4, 2015, a day after his arrest (AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ)

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon approved the use of detention without charges known as administrative detention and other means in an effort to track down the killers of the Dawabshas earlier this month.

Meir Ettinger, the 23-year-old grandson of assassinated extremist rabbi Meir Kahane, founder of the outlawed anti-Arab Kach organization, was arrested earlier this month in connection with alleged extremist activity. Yaalon approved the order authorizing for Ettinger to be held in administrative detention.

Yaalon said the use of administrative detention for a number of Jewish terror suspects has proved effective in preventing additional violence against Arabs by hardline Jews.

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Alleged Jewish extremists banned from West Bank, Jerusalem …

Ochsner Medical Center on the West Bank is a 180-bed general medical and surgical acute care facility, located on the mighty Mississippi River.

The Medical Center offers comprehensive medical services provided by a multi-disciplinary team including more than 500 board-certified or board-eligible physicians, a highly-trained nursing staff and other skilled allied-health professionals.

Since becoming a member of the Ochsner family in October 2006, the Medical Center has made great strides in bringing more comprehensive and technologically-advanced services to the community. A robust electronic Medical record was implemented, which can follow a patient anywhere in the Ochsner System. It also gives the patient access to their own records at their leisure. A six-bed outpatient chemotherapy administration area was likewise outfitted to meet the needs of West Bank residents requiring chemotherapy, blood transfusions, injections and other cancer-related drug therapy. Advanced Wound Care services with a multi-discplinary approach to healing is a unique service for the West Bank.

Additionally, several established services such as the Family Unit, NICU, Bariatrics and Emergency Department are continuing to grow, becoming leaders for the West Bank.

Each day, Ochsner Medical Center’s West Bank campus is opening doors to new West Bank residents and others from the wider region. We are a community resource for the West Bank and beyond, promoting health and wellness for all of our citizens.

As a nationally recognized top 100 hospital through U.S. News and World Report, Ochsner Medical Center is working to improve patient care, patient outcomes and safety in ways that can be documented and adopted as daily practice. As the metropolitan area continues to feel the impact from the shortage of acute care hospital beds, we are proud to be able to offer the advanced care so many seek.

Whether you come to Ochsner Medical Center on the West Bank to receive emergency care, deliver a baby, take an outpatient test or attend a seminar, rest assured that health care with peace of mind can be yours.

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Ochsner Medical Center – West Bank Campus

West Bank Country Facts

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Background: The Israel-PLO Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements (“the DOP”), signed in Washington on 13 September 1993, provides for a transitional period not exceeding five years of Palestinian interim self-government in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Permanent status negotiations began on 5 May 1996, but have not resumed since the initial meeting. Under the DOP, Israel agreed to transfer certain powers and responsibilities to the Palestinian Authority, which includes a Palestinian Legislative Council elected in January 1996, as part of interim self-governing arrangements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. A transfer of powers and responsibilities for the Gaza Strip and Jericho took place pursuant to the Israel-PLO 4 May 1994 Cairo Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area and in additional areas of the West Bank pursuant to the Israel-PLO 28 September 1995 Interim Agreement, the Israel-PLO 15 January 1997 Protocol Concerning Redeployment in Hebron, and the Israel-PLO 23 October 1998 Wye River Memorandum. The DOP provides that Israel will retain responsibility during the transitional period for external security and for internal security and public order of settlements and Israelis. Permanent status is to be determined through direct negotiations.

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Location: Middle East, west of Jordan

Geographic coordinates: 32 00 N, 35 15 E

Map references: Middle East

Area: total: 5,860 sq km land: 5,640 sq km water: 220 sq km note: includes West Bank, Latrun Salient, and the northwest quarter of the Dead Sea, but excludes Mt. Scopus; East Jerusalem and Jerusalem No Man’s Land are also included only as a means of depicting the entire area occupied by Israel in 1967

Area – comparative: slightly smaller than Delaware

Land boundaries: total: 404 km border countries: Israel 307 km, Jordan 97 km

Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims: none (landlocked)

Climate: temperate, temperature and precipitation vary with altitude, warm to hot summers, cool to mild winters

Terrain: mostly rugged dissected upland, some vegetation in west, but barren in east

Elevation extremes: lowest point: Dead Sea -408 m highest point: Tall Asur 1,022 m

Natural resources: NEGL

Land use: arable land: 27% permanent crops: 0% permanent pastures: 32% forests and woodland: 1% other: 40%

Irrigated land: NA sq km

Natural hazards: NA

Environment – current issues: adequacy of fresh water supply; sewage treatment

Environment – international agreements: party to: none of the selected agreements signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography – note: landlocked; highlands are main recharge area for Israel’s coastal aquifers; there are 216 Israeli settlements and civilian land use sites in the West Bank and 29 in East Jerusalem (August 1998 est.)

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Population: 1,611,109 (July 1999 est.) note: in addition, there are some 166,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank and about 176,000 in East Jerusalem (August 1998 est.)

Age structure: 0-14 years: 45% (male 370,770; female 352,803) 15-64 years: 52% (male 422,209; female 411,597) 65 years and over: 3% (male 22,376; female 31,354) (1999 est.)

Population growth rate: 3.14% (1999 est.)

Birth rate: 35.59 births/1,000 population (1999 est.)

Death rate: 4.2 deaths/1,000 population (1999 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1999 est.)

Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (1999 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 25.22 deaths/1,000 live births (1999 est.)

Life expectancy at birth: total population: 72.83 years male: 70.96 years female: 74.79 years (1999 est.)

Total fertility rate: 4.78 children born/woman (1999 est.)

Nationality: noun: NA adjective: NA

Ethnic groups: Palestinian Arab and other 83%, Jewish 17%

Religions: Muslim 75% (predominantly Sunni), Jewish 17%, Christian and other 8%

Languages: Arabic, Hebrew (spoken by Israeli settlers and many Palestinians), English (widely understood)

Literacy: NA

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Country name: conventional long form: none conventional short form: West Bank

Data code: WE

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Economy – overview: Economic conditions in the West Bank – where economic activity is governed by the Paris Economic Protocol of April 1994 between Israel and the Palestinian Authority – have deteriorated since the early 1990s. Real per capita GDP for the West Bank and Gaza Strip (WBGS) declined 36.1% between 1992 and 1996 owing to the combined effect of falling aggregate incomes and robust population growth. The downturn in economic activity was largely the result of Israeli closure policies – the imposition of generalized border closures in response to security incidents in Israel – which disrupted previously established labor and commodity market relationships between Israel and the WBGS. The most serious negative social effect of this downturn has been the emergence of chronic unemployment; average unemployment rates in the WBGS during the 1980s were generally under 5%, by the mid-1990s this level had risen to over 20%. Since 1997 Israel’s use of comprehensive closures has decreased and, in 1998, Israel implemented new policies to reduce the impact of closures and other security procedures on the movement of Palestinian goods and labor. These positive changes to the conduct of economic activity, combined with international donor pledges of over $3 billion made to the Palestinian Authority in November, may fuel a moderate economic recovery in 1999.

GDP: purchasing power parity – $3.1 billion (1998 est.)

GDP – real growth rate: 2.2% (1998 est.)

GDP – per capita: purchasing power parity – $2,000 (1998 est.)

GDP – composition by sector: agriculture: 33% industry: 25% services: 42% (1995 est., includes Gaza Strip)

Population below poverty line: NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA% highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 7.6% (1997 est.)

Labor force: NA note: excluding Israeli settlers

Labor force – by occupation: agriculture 13%, industry 13%, commerce, restaurants, and hotels 12%, construction 8%, other services 54% (1996)

Unemployment rate: 17.3% (1997 est.)

Budget: revenues: $816 million expenditures: $866 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1997 est.) note: includes Gaza Strip

Industries: generally small family businesses that produce cement, textiles, soap, olive-wood carvings, and mother-of-pearl souvenirs; the Israelis have established some small-scale, modern industries in the settlements and industrial centers

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity – production: NA kWh note: most electricity imported from Israel; East Jerusalem Electric Company buys and distributes electricity to Palestinians in East Jerusalem and its concession in the West Bank; the Israel Electric Company directly supplies electricity to most Jewish residents and military facilities; at the same time, some Palestinian municipalities, such as Nabulus and Janin, generate their own electricity from small power plants

Electricity – production by source: fossil fuel: NA% hydro: NA% nuclear: NA% other: NA%

Electricity – consumption: NA kWh

Electricity – exports: NA kWh

Electricity – imports: NA kWh

Agriculture – products: olives, citrus, vegetables; beef, dairy products

Exports: $781 million (f.o.b., 1997 est.) (includes Gaza Strip)

Exports – commodities: olives, fruit, vegetables, limestone

Exports – partners: Israel, Jordan

Imports: $2.1 billion (c.i.f., 1997 est.) (includes Gaza Strip)

Imports – commodities: food, consumer goods, construction materials

Imports – partners: Israel, Jordan

Debt – external: $108 million (1997 est.)

Economic aid – recipient: $NA

Currency: 1 new Israeli shekel (NIS) = 100 new agorot; 1 Jordanian dinar (JD) = 1,000 fils

Exchange rates: new Israeli shekels (NIS) per US$1 – 4.2260 (November 1998), 3.4494 (1997), 3.1917 (1996), 3.0113 (1995), 3.0111 (1994); Jordanian dinars (JD) per US$1 – 0.7090 (January 1999), 0.7090 (1998), 0.7090 (1997), 0.7090 (1996), 0.7005 (1995), 0.6987 (1994)

Fiscal year: calendar year (since 1 January 1992)

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Telephones: NA; 3.1% of Palestinian households have telephones

Telephone system: domestic: NA international: NA note: Israeli company BEZEK and the Palestinian company PALTEL are responsible for communication services in the West Bank

Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 0, shortwave 0

Radios: NA; note – 82% of Palestinian households have radios (1992 est.)

Television broadcast stations: NA

Televisions: NA; note – 54% of Palestinian households have televisions (1992 est.)

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Railways: 0 km

Highways: total: 4,500 km paved: 2,700 km unpaved: 1,800 km (1997 est.) note: Israelis have developed many highways to service Jewish settlements

Ports and harbors: none

Airports: 2 (1998 est.)

Airports – with paved runways: total: 2 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 under 914 m: 1 (1998 est.)

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Military branches: NA

Military expenditures – dollar figure: $NA

Military expenditures – percent of GDP: NA%

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Disputes – international: West Bank and Gaza Strip are Israeli-occupied with current status subject to the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement – permanent status to be determined through further negotiation

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West Bank – Country Facts

Written on August 27th, 2015 & filed under West Bank Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,