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WATCH: Israeli officer attacks, throws stones at photojournalists

Video shows Israeli photojournalist and AFP photographer being attacked by Israeli soldiers at the weekly protest against the occupation in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh. One Palestinian protester is reportedly shot with live fire.

Text by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man
Video by Miki Kratsman/Activestills.org

Israeli soldiers threw stones at and attacked Israeli and Palestinian photojournalists during a protest in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh on Friday, during which the army used live fire against protesters. One Palestinian was reportedly shot in the head.

Palestinians in Nabi Saleh hold weekly protests every Friday against the occupation and to demand access to the village’s spring, which was taken over by Israeli settlers.

In a video of the event, a soldier can be seen throwing a stone at Israeli photojournalist Haim Schwarczenberg and a Palestinian photographer who works for AFP as they attempt to comply with soldiers’ orders to leave the area. In 2011, Schwarczenberg photographed the close-range shooting of Mustafa Tamimi with a tear gas projectile fired from a military jeep in Nabi Saleh. Tamimi later died of his injuries.

As he walks away, an officer runs after him and pushes Schwarczenberg to the ground. When he gets up and moves further away from them, the officer throws another stone at Schwarczenberg and the AFP photographer.

Schwarczenberg told +972’s and its Hebrew site, Local Call, that he was standing on a hill photographing Palestinian stone throwers when his colleague, Abbas, told him to get close to the ground because soldiers were shooting live bullets at the stone throwers.

“One of the soldiers suddenly appeared from behind us and shouted, ‘get out of here before I shoot you’,” Schwarczenberg said. “Abbas and I got up to go but then the soldier shouted, ‘lay down!’, and pointed his weapon in our direction [at the stone thrower behind us].” The stone thrower escaped.

“At that point [the soldier] began pushing me and Abbas, another soldier joined him and threw a stone at us that didn’t hit me,” he continued. “Right after that he threw me and my cameras to the ground.”

A few minutes later the soldiers shot a Palestinian man in the head, Schwarczenberg said.

Update:
+972 contacted the IDF Spokesperson to get a response to the video and offered to send the army a copy of the video for review. The Spokesperson...

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PHOTOS: Palestinian journalist held in administrative detention

Israel is currently imprisoning and detaining 20 Palestinian journalists, group says.

Photos and text by Ahmad Al-Bazz/ Activestills.org

Palestinian journalists and activists protested against the administrative detention of Palestinian journalist Amin Abu Wardeh earlier this week. The demonstrators stood outside the Red Cross offices in the West Bank city of Nablus and demanded that the organization intervene and help release him.

Israel is currently imprisoning and detaining 20 Palestinian journalists, according to the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate. Abu Wardeh was also arrested in 2011 and held under administrative detention for 10 months. He runs the Asda’ news website.

Israeli forces arrested Abu Wardeh in the early morning hours of April 15 during a large arrest campaign that saw 27 Palestinian civilians arrested in Nablus and its suburbs. Those targeted in the arrest campaign included former prisoners, a journalist, engineers, university lecturers and the wife of a former prisoner. The majority are members of Hamas.

Palestinians described the arrest campaign as a political step, while Israel claimed the detainees had recently been involved in “Hamas activity.”

Under Israel’s “emergency regulations,” the state can hold Palestinians without charge or trial under administrative detention for six-month periods, which can be renewed indefinitely. Most administrative detainees do not know of what they are accused, and have no way of defending themselves.

Under international law, administrative detention should only be used in the most extreme cases.

According to Palestinian sources, the soldiers also seized tens of thousands of shekels in cash, a vehicle, laptops, cellphones.

Related:
IDF: Nothing illegal in Gaza strike that killed three journalists
Who will protect Palestinian journalists?
Editorial: Demanding freedom of movement and access for Palestinian journalists




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PHOTOS: Hundreds gather to protest dire conditions of south Tel Aviv

Hundreds demonstrated in central Tel Aviv against the dire living conditions for the residents, refugees and foreign workers who live in south Tel Aviv.

Photos and text: Oren Ziv / Activestills.org

Approximately 300 Israelis, asylum seekers and foreign workers protested Sunday evening at Habima Square in central Tel Aviv against the living conditions in south Tel Aviv, which have led to the death of five refugee children in makeshift daycare centers over the past few months.

“We will not be silent as children die. Children deserve a life of dignity,” Shula Keshet, an activist from south Tel Aviv and one of the organizers of the rally, told the crowd. “The conditions in the ghetto of south Tel Aviv are killing all of us, especially children. We saw the horrible conditions of Jews in the ghettos of Europe. I see life here on Rothschild Boulevard, and I say we must bring down the walls between Rothschild and south Tel Aviv, while people are dying there.”

The daycare center – also known as “babysitters” in the community – are often run in private homes, in unsanitary conditions, with few, untrained staff members, poor food and no proper equipment.

Related:
South Tel Aviv stories: ‘I left Sudan due to war and I’m still in a war’
Israel’s ‘backyards’: First south Tel Aviv, then Holot

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PHOTOS: Palestinians mark Prisoners Day, IDF responds with live fire

Thousands of Palestinians mark Prisoners Day across the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. President Abbas calls for releasing Palestinian prisoners, while Hamas calls for kidnapping Israelis.

By Oren Ziv / Activestills and Haggai Matar

Hundreds of Palestinians, Israelis and international activists marched in the West Bank village of Bil’in on Friday to mark Palestinian Prisoners’ Day. Additional demonstrations took place in Ni’ilin, Nabi Saleh, Kafr Qadum, Ma’asara, as well as in front of the United Nations offices in Gaza. On Thursday, Palestinians also protested outside Ofer Military Prison to show solidarity with Palestinians being held in Israeli jails.

The demonstration in Bil’in began after Friday prayers. The army shot dozens of tear gas canisters well before the protesters could reach the Separation Wall. Most of them retreated, while a few remained and threw stones at the soldiers. At some point, soldiers used live fire (tutu bullets), wounding a young Palestinian in the chest. He was evacuated to a hospital in Ramallah.

Soldiers also used live fire on demonstrators in Ni’ilin, wounding three Palestinians in their legs.

In Bil’in, protesters marched with photos of Bassem Abu Rahmah, who was killed by a tear gas canister shot by Israeli soldiers six years ago this week. Despite video evidence and ballistic analysis, which showed that the canister was shot directly at Abu Rahmah — in contravention of the army’s open-fire regulations — the Military Advocate General decided to close the case for “lack of evidence.”

According to Addameer, a Palestinian NGO that works to support Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli and Palestinian prisons, there are currently 6,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. Among them, 434 are being held in administrative detention, which means they have not been sentenced nor stood trial. Of those imprisoned, 23 are women and 163 are minors. Seventeen members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (the Palestinian parliament in Ramallah) are also being held by Israel, as well as 20 journalists.

More than 800,000 Palestinians have sat in Israeli prisons 1967. Almost every single Palestinian family has been affected in one way or another, making the issue of Palestinian prisoners central to the Palestinians struggle. This past week, the High court rejected a petition by several prisoners who asked to allow them to be allowed to study in the Open University, similar to the other prisoners. The High Court justices ruled that...

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PHOTOS: Answering tear gas with flowers

Photos and text by Oren Ziv / Activestills.org

Every Friday residents of the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, along with Palestinian, Israeli and international activists, attempt to march to the village’s spring. The small spring was taken over by Israeli settlers from the nearby settlement of Halamish years ago, and the Israeli army now prevents Palestinians from reaching it.

Before the protest this past Friday, children from Nabi Saleh placed flowers they picked from the surrounding hills into spent tear gas canisters fired at protesters in weeks past. The children of Nabi Saleh take part in the protests against the occupation on a weekly basis.

Special Coverage: Children Under Occupation

The installation was set up near the village’s main junction, near the home of Neriman and Bilal Tamimi, central activists in the village’s struggle. A week earlier, the Israeli army shot Manal Tamimi in the leg with a live bullet.

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How the Israeli army obfuscates its use of live fire against Palestinians

Recent statements by unnamed military sources attempt to confuse the issue of lower-powered but completely lethal ammunition used against Palestinians.

Text and photo by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org

Let’s be clear: the Israeli military uses many kinds of weapons to kill and maim Palestinians in the West Bank. Many of them are “less-lethal” weapons intended to disperse crowds at demonstrations. Sometimes the people shot are among those throwing stones or Molotov cocktails. Sometimes they’re not. Every once in a while they’re journalists or human rights observers. Often these weapons are employed in routine violation of the regulations that are supposed to govern their use. B’Tselem wrote a report about the habitual illegal use of such weapons. Amnesty International titled a similar report, “Trigger-happy: Israel’s use of excessive force in the West Bank.”

One aspect of this troubling trend is the increasing use of live ammunition as a crowd control weapon. A new layer of this lethal trend is an accompanying attempt by military sources to obfuscate their nature and justify their use. Ido Kenan recently wrote about how unattributed military sources are frequently steno graphed by Israeli media. Two recent likely examples — striking because the phrasing is so similar in two different newspapers — appear in reports on the death of Palestinian youth Ziad Awad, who was shot dead by Israeli forces in clashes following his cousin’s funeral last week:

Haaretz:

The force reported it opened fire with tear gas and stun grenades, and later fired at four Palestinians using a certain type of bullet, a 22 caliber known as “Ruger” fired from a special weapon designed for just that purpose, which have less powerful effects compared to regular live ammunition.

Jerusalem Post:

Soldiers responded by firing 0.22 caliber bullets from a Ruger rifle, which fires weaker shots compared to live fire, according to the sources. Non-lethal crowd control measures were also deployed during the incident.

Both papers cite anonymous — and therefore unaccountable — military sources who describe these smaller bullets as somehow not the same thing as “live fire.” The Jerusalem Post even includes this unattributed direct quote:

“The incident is still being checked. We did not use live fire,” one army source added.

First, there is the striking...

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PHOTOS: Palestinians protest settler marathon in West Bank

Israeli ‘Biblical Marathon’ shuts down main West Bank road connecting Ramallah and Nablus, ‘is part of an apartheid policy,’ says Abdullah Abu Rahmeh.

Several dozen Palestinians demonstrated against the closure of the West Bank’s main traffic artery due to an Israeli “biblical” marathon on Thursday. Road 60, which connects the major Palestinian cities of Ramallah and Nablus, was closed to traffic from 5:30 a.m. until shortly before noon.

Marathons are generally held on Sundays, and on Fridays in Israel, in order to minimize the interruption to commutes and commerce on the roads. While Thursday is a half-day for most Israelis because it is the eve of a holiday, it is a regular work day for Palestinians.

Related:
Applying runners’ wisdom to the fight for human rights
Palestinian village demands end to restrictions on movement

Israeli soldiers prevented the Palestinian activists from approaching the marathon itself and they protested near the village of Turmus Aya. The “Biblical Marathon’s” organizers, which includes a number of government bodies, billed it as an historic recreation of the first-ever marathon in the world.

“Everything the army and the settlers do in the occupied territories is part of an apartheid policy, and we cannot accept the fact that they are shutting down a major road,” said Abdullah Abu Rahmeh, one of the protest organizers, adding that the demonstration was held under the banner of freedom of movement.

Two weeks ago the third-annual Palestine Marathon took place in Bethlehem. Runners in the Palestine Marathon were forced to essentially run laps on a track made of city streets because organizers were unable to find an uninterrupted 42-kilometer (26 mile) mile stretch of road under Palestinian control.



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PHOTOS: Soldiers fire live ammo, wound two in Nabi Saleh protest

Photos and report: Anne Paq / Activestills.org

Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition against nonviolent Palestinian protesters in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh on Friday. Two Palestinians were wounded, including activist Manal Tamimi.

Tamimi was shot in her leg as she was standing and talking to her friends, only minutes after the protest had begun, along with another young Palestinian. Both were transferred to a Ramallah hospital where they received treatment for their wounds.

 

 

Activists report that the army has stepped up its use of live ammunition in the village over the past few months. Nariman Tamimi, a prominent activist in the village’s Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, was shot with live ammunition on November 22, 2014. She is still recovering.

Nonviolent protests in Nabi Saleh began in 2009 after residents from the nearby settlement Halamish took took control over the Ein al-Qaws spring — owned by a resident of the village — preventing Palestinian access to their land.

 

 

 

Related:
On Passover, IDF collectively punishes West Bank village of Nabi Saleh
Film on Nabi Saleh’s kids competes for int’l awards



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The Month in Photos: Gaza, elections, and Land Day

Palestinians mark Land Day across Israel and the West Bank, politics take center stage in Israel, laid off workers take to the streets, a number of social and political struggles intensify, Gaza struggles to recover from last summer’s devastating war, and Palestinians and Israelis continue popular resistance against the occupation.

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PHOTOS: Running between the walls in the Palestine Marathon

Palestinian and international runners criss-crossed the West Bank town of Bethlehem under the banner of ‘Right to Movement.’

Photos and text by: Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org

Under the theme “Right to Movement,” about 3,200 participants from all over Palestine—and more than 50 countries around the world—joined the third annual Palestine International Marathon on Friday, which took place in the West Bank city of Bethlehem.

The marathon aimed to highlight the restriction of Palestinian movement under Israeli military occupation. The route also included Aida refugee camp, where hundreds of Palestinians have lived since the Nakba, the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians from their homeland, before, during and after the 1948 war.Palestinians and internationals of all ages competed in either 10K, half marathon or full marathon versions of the race. Like every year, runners had to complete two laps of the same route, since organizers were unable to find a single course of 42 uninterrupted kilometers under Palestinian Authority control in the city, which is surrounded by the separation wall, checkpoints and Israeli settlements.

Ali Sami, a Palestinian participant, said: “I am happy to see people from around the world here in solidarity with Palestine. It is unique to see this number of internationals at such a local event.”

“It’s good to run for Palestine,” said one Spanish participant. “Every time I see the wall I feel trouble, but I am amazed today to see hope in the Palestinians’ eyes while running around their city.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Week in Photos: Survivors, art and destruction in Gaza

Ten photos from Gaza — of survivors and the devastated urban landscape seven months after the last Israeli offensive.

Photos by Anne Paq/Activestills.org

This week marks seven months since Israel’s war in Gaza last summer, “Operation Defensive Edge.” During the course of the war, over 2,200 Palestinians were killed. Tens of thousands are still homeless due to Israeli strikes. Almost no reconstruction has taken place because of Israeli and Egyptian restrictions on the import of raw materials into the Strip.

The following are images from the Gaza Strip in the past week, March 17-25, 2015, showing the destruction, the lives of survivors, memories of the dead and daily life in the besieged strip of land.

 

 

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PHOTOS: Hundreds mourn Palestinian youth shot dead by Israeli soldiers

By: Ahmad al Bazz / Activestills.org

Hundreds of Palestinians gathered to take part in the funeral of Ali Safi in the Jalazun refugee camp near Ramallah Thursday. Safi, 18, was shot with live bullets by Israeli soldiers during clashes near the refugee camp on Wednesday, March 18. He was taken to a hospital in Ramallah and placed in the ICU until he died on Wednesday night.

Palestinian medical sources reported that the bullet exited Safi’s body through his back, leaving him in a coma. At least three other Palestinian were wounded by live fire during the clashes.

According to Ma’an News Agency, the clashes erupted last week after a protest against the construction of a wall between the nearby Israeli settlement of Beit El and Jalazun.

 

 

 

 

Related:
PHOTOS: Clashes follow funeral of 14-year-old Palestinian-American
PHOTOS: Police kill Bedouin man, wound dozens at funeral
PHOTOS: Palestinians mourn woman who died after inhaling tear gas




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PHOTOS: Joint List marches for unrecognized Bedouin villages

Arab leaders begin four-day march across Negev to pressure Israeli government to recognize dozens of villages that lack electricity and running water.

Photos: Oren Ziv, text: Yael Maron

Dozens of members of the Joint List — including chairman Ayman Odeh, Dov Khenin and other future members of Knesset — marched alongside other Arab leaders Thursday on a four-day trip through the Negev/Naqab’s unrecognized Bedouin villages. They were joined by representatives of the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee and the Regional Council of Unrecognized Villages. The march is set to end at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem on Sunday.

Odeh, who opened the march in the unrecognized village of Wadi Al-Na’am, just south of Be’er Sheva, told the marchers: “Nearly 100,000 citizens live in the Negev in poor living conditions. Can you imagine your life without electricity? Without running water? Where your children have to drive kilometers, on poor roads, just to get to school?”

“The reality in the unrecognized villages is unbearable, and it is our responsibility to struggle together in order to bring about real change for these citizens. I invite all citizens of the country, Arabs and Jews, to join us in our call to recognize all the unrecognized villages, and to invest in a joint future for all residents of the Negev.”

Odeh organized the march as part of his pre-election promise to support the years-long struggle of the unrecognized villages. The plan is to present President Reuven Rivlin with an operative plan for recognizing the Bedouin villages of the Negev, which will emphasize the benefits that such recognition will have on both the Jewish and Arab populations of the Negev.

Fady Masamra, who heads the Regional Council of Unrecognized Villages, spoke to +972 at the beginning of the march: “The issue of recognizing the villages has been up in the air for too many years. This march is just the beginning of the recognition process. The 100,000 residents of the unrecognized villages have suffered enough. Children have lived without water and electricity for long enough — now it needs to stop. This is a call for everyone who believes in human rights to come march with us and join the struggle of the Negev’s indigenous people.”

Hadash MK Dov Khenin also spoke to +972, saying: “We are marching today from the place that most acutely represents the injustice and danger of the unrecognized villages....

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+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

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