Palestine Theater

Israel razes Bedouin village —again

Israeli forces used bulldozers to demolish the "unrecognized" Bedouin village of al-Araqeeb in the Negev desert on July 16—for the 53rd time in three years. The demolition came one day after thousands of Palestinian, Israeli Arab and Bedouin protesters took to the streets in towns across the West Bank, Gaza and inside the Green Line to oppose an Israeli bill that would forcibly expel tens of thousands of Bedouins from the Negev. Araqeeb, home to some 500 people, is one of about 40 Bedouin villages in the Negev not recognized by Israel's Land Authority. Following the 38th demolition of Araqeeb last year, villagers said they wanted apply with the Guinness Book of World Records to claim a record for the number of times Israel has demolished a village.

Occupy Tel Aviv —again

More than 3,000 marched in Tel Aviv July 13 for a rally marking the two-year anniversary of the mass movement against inequality which saw major demonstrations in the summer of 2011. Protesters marched from Habima Square to Kaplan Street, the heart of Israel's administrative center, chanting against the economic policies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yair Lapid. Chants and banners also opposed tax hikes, and Israel's new gas export plan. Some slogans compared Netanyahu to Egypt's recently ousted President Mohammed Morsi, calling for "revolution" and declaring that "the rule of capital is criminal." Protesters blocked  traffic on Ayalon freeway, Tel Aviv's main thoroughfare, until they were dispersed by police at around 1 AM. A few remained, however, setting up encampments in front of the Kiriya, the central government complex, and Ministry of Defense headquarters. (Times of Israel, Ha'aretz, July 13)

Demonstrations across West Bank

Dozens of protesters on July 12 were lightly wounded in demonstrations across the occupied West Bank. In al-Maasara village south of Bethlehem, dozens suffered tear-gas inhalation as Israeli forces dispersed a protest against water shortages in the village for over 50 days and in solidarity with prisoners in Israeli jails. Protesters raised Palestinian flags and posters of prisoners, and chanted for national unity and against the wall and confiscation of land. In Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah, Israeli soldiers fired tear gas and sprayed demonstrators with skunk water as protesters retreated during the weekly Friday demonstration. 

Palestinians smash holes in Israel's wall

Palestinian youths smashed holes in Israel's separation wall in East Jerusalem on July 9. The protest marked the ninth anniversary of an International Court of Justice advisory opinion that ruled the wall illegal and called for its removal. Activists declared the anniversary a national day for the destruction of the wall. In Eizariya, dozens of youths tore two holes in the wall before Israeli forces arrived and dispersed them with stun grenades and plastic-coated steel bullets, Fatah official Mohamed Amin said. "The destruction of a portion of the wall is a protest to the daily raids at al-Aqsa holy mosque. The Palestinians have a right to break the barriers and the wall to reach Jerusalem and protect its holy sites from the Israeli violations," Amin told Ma'an News Agency.

Islamic Jihad severs ties with Hamas

The Islamic Jihad movement in Gaza announced June 23 that it was temporarily suspending ties with Hamas, accusing Gaza authorities of being responsible for the death of one of the group's members. Raed Qassim Jundeyeih, a member of Islamic Jihad's militant wing, the al-Quds Brigades, died after being shot a day earlier by Hamas police officers. Police had gone to an address in Gaza City June 22 to deliver summons orders to a member of the Jundeyeih family. Upon approaching the home, members of the family opened fire at the officers and Jundeyeih was wounded in the ensuing gunfight.

Arab Negev residents rally against displacement

Thousands of Palestinian holders of Israeli citizenship on June 13 demonstrated in Beersheba in southern Israel in protest against the Prawer Plan which will displace thousands of Bedouin families in the Negev desert. A Ma'an News Agency reporter said the demonstrators waved Palestinian flags as they marched in front of a governmental complex in the center of Beersheba chanting slogans against the Prawer Plan. Large numbers of Israeli police officers deployed in the area. Heated arguments broke out between demonstrators and police officers who tried to prevent the protesters form shutting down offices in the complex. The officers tried as well to force the protesters to lower Palestinian flags they were waving. 

West Bank lawyers to strike after police assault

The union of lawyers in the West Bank announced June 13 that attorneys would suspend all their activities this weekend after anti-drug police in Bethlehem assaulted a lawyer. The union said in a statement that all its offices would be shut down in all West Bank districts, and called upon all members of the union's general assembly to join a sit-in in front of the district attorney's office. "We were shocked and couldn’t believe that a group of anti-drug police officers in Bethlehem assaulted a lawyer and strip searched him in a humiliating manner," the statement said. "What shocked us even more was that the district attorney was present and the attackers received instructions directly from the attorney general."

Clashes across West Bank on war anniversary

Demonstrators in the West Bank on June 7 joined mass protests to mark the Global March to Jerusalem, and dozens were lightly injured as Israeli forces tried to disperse them. In al-Maasara, near Bethlehem, participants in a weekly march suffered tear-gas inhalation. Demonstrators raised Palestinian flags, pictures of prisoners and Palestinians killed by Israel to mark the anniversary of the Six-Day War. Israeli forces fired stun grenades and tear-gas canisters at the demonstrators.  Activists praised the unity of Palestinian people and promised more activities to protest Israeli actions. 

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