Published Wednesday 14/01/2015 (updated) 16/01/2015 13:35
BEERSHEBA (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities on Wednesday demolished a number of steel structures belonging to Palestinian citizens of Israel in the Negev-region village of al-Araqib for the 80th time in a row.
Israeli bulldozers, escorted by Israeli police forces, also demolished an illegal building in the industrial area of Rahat, also in southern Israel.
Both towns are populated primarily by Palestinian Bedouins with Israeli citizenship, and al-Araqib in particular has been targeted repeatedly since 2010 for demolition by authorities.
Israel considers al-Araqib and most other Arab villages in the Negev illegal, while Bedouins say it is their ancestral land and that they have a right to live in the area.
Residents of al-Araqib have repeatedly fled into their village cemetery and lived there after Israeli authorities bulldozed parts of the town, since they had been assured the cemetery would not be destroyed.
There are about 260,000 Bedouin in Israel, mostly living in and around the Negev in the arid south. More than half live in unrecognized villages without utilities and many also live in extreme poverty.
Al-Araqib is among some of the 40 Negev villages Israeli authorities have deemed unrecognized, arguing that the 53,000 Palestinian Bedouins living there cannot prove land ownership.
Israeli police stated, Monday, that they had closed down three NGOs affiliated with the Islamic Movement in northern Israel, which is known for defending Al Aqsa Mosque against extremist Jewish settlers.
Israel’s Shin Bet domestic security agency said that it shut down the three organisations in the town of Nazareth that had been set up last year by the Movement, which has a following among Palestinians living in Israel.
Al Ray, via World Bulletin, cited Shin Bet’s allegation that the groups – Al Aqsa Champions, Muslim Women for Al Aqsa and Al Fajr Foundation for Culture and Literature – paid activists to use “verbal and even physical violence” against visitors to the Jerusalem shrine, with the goal of “agitating and stirring up emotions.”
Israeli police stated that the closure of the institutions was based on an order by Israeli public security, Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, according to Israeli radio.
The Internal Security Agency, meanwhile, claimed that a security assessment showd that the two institutions had been suspected of funding activities of both the Islamic Movement in northern Israel and Gaza-based political party Hamas.
The agency added, in a statement, that the two NGOs had allocated some money to fund the activities of the two movements which, according to it, violated Israeli law.
It said that the two institutions paid salaries of people who go to the flashpoint of Al Aqsa Mosque, in East Jerusalem, every day.
Furthermore, Israeli Defense Minister, Moshe Yaalon, outlawed all three groups last month. The ministry has the authority to outlaw organizations it deems a threat to national security.
The Islamic Movement denied the accusations in a statement relating to two of the groups: Al Aqsa Champions is “a media organization (that is) professional and balanced and focuses only on events inside the mosque,” and Muslim Women for Al Aqsa “organises study for women inside the mosque.”
Police said that offices of the two NGOs had been raided by security forces, where computers and documents related to their accounts had been seized. According to the statement, some officials of the two institutions had also been detained.
Muslim Women for Al-Aqsa, one of the NGOs raided, stated that a large number of Israeli policemen had raided its office in Nazareth and confiscated equipment. Additionally, female workers had been detained by Israeli forces during the raid.
See also: 12/20/14 Thousands March Through Jerusalem’s Old City Following Prayers at Al Aqsa for more details on this ongoing crisis.
Israeli soldiers invaded, on Friday at dawn, Sanour village south of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, searched and ransacked several homes and stores, and kidnapped one Palestinian; many residents suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation in a nearby village.
Local sources said the soldiers invaded the home of Mohammad Safi Walad ‘Ali, 24 years of age, and kidnapped him after violently searching and ransacking his home.
The family said the soldiers stole approximately 23.000 NIS, and several gold items, during the search, and deliberately destroyed furniture and walls, The Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA) has reported.
The family told WAFA it filed an official complaint to the Palestinian side of the “District Coordination Office.”
The invasion led to clashes between the invading soldiers and dozens of local youths.
In related news, soldiers invaded Barta’a ash-Sharqiyya village, isolated by the Israeli Annexation Wall, and clashed with local youths.
The army fired gas bombs, concussion grenades, rubber-coated metal bullets and several rounds of live ammunition.
Medical sources said scores of residents suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation, and received treatment by local medics.
In addition, the soldiers invaded several stores after smashing their doors, and destroyed their property while searching them.
Saudi Arabia’s national airline carrier is planning to introduce gender segregation aboard its flights following complaints from passengers who refused to have random males seated next to their wives, the Kingdom’s media report.
Airline company Saudia will order its staff to keep men and women separated onboard, unless they are close relatives, the Emirates247 news website reported.
“There are solutions to this problem…we will soon enforce rules that will satisfy all passengers,”Saudia assistant manager for marketing Abdul Rahman Al Fahd said, according to Saudi daily Ajel.
Saudia’s traveling policies are already in accord with the strict Islam practices of Saudi Arabia. For instance, in addition to the routine boarding announcements at the Kingdom’s airports, a prayer or verse from the Quran is read prior to take off. Furthermore, international flights usually have a specially designated men’s prayer area to accommodate 5 daily prayers. In addition, the airline does not offer any beverages or dishes which contain alcohol or pork products. And the onboard entertainment menu does not offer any movies with adult content.
The Kingdom itself is infamous for gender segregation in everyday matters of society. For instance, women typically require male guardian approval to travel or work outside of the home. Saudi women are also not employed as stewardesses on Saudi Arabia’s national carrier. That role is reserved for women of other nationalities.
Ironically enough, Israel too is battling the same problem, as many ultra-orthodox Jews refuse to share their transit time with female companions. A flight from New York to Tel Aviv was delayed by half an hour in late December after a group of male Jewish passengers onboard a Delta flight refused to sit next to women.
In October, on the eve of the Jewish festival Rosh Hashana, ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) men left the plane before take-off, also between New York and Tel Aviv, again refusing to sit next to women. In an incident in September, Israeli carrier El Al flight was postponed by 11-hours after a group of Haredi passengers refused to sit next to women.
Last September an Israeli campaign, seeking to put a stop to the segregation stalemate started an online campaign on Change.org, entitled, “Ultra-Orthodox passengers refuse to sit next to women on El Al flights”
“Why does El Al Airlines permit female passengers to be bullied, harassed, and intimidated into switching seats which they rightfully paid for and were assigned to by El Al Airlines? One person’s religious rights does not trump another person’s civil rights,” the petition said.
One boy was injured, and scores of civilians were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation on Friday when Israeli soldiers attacked nonviolent weekly protests organized in West Bank villages.
This week, Israeli troops attacked the weekly protest organized by the villagers of Kufur Qaddoum in the northern West Bank. One of the spokespeople for the non-violent movement in the village, 45-year old Khaldoun Abu Khaled, was abducted by the occupying troops.
Soldiers also invaded the village and fired tear gas into residents’ homes. As a result, many civilians, including children, suffered effects of tear gas inhalation.
In the central West Bank, in the villages of Bil’in and Ni’lin, Israeli soldiers attacked the protesters as soon as they reached the gate in the wall that separates local farmers from their lands. As a result, many protesters suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation and were treated by field medics.
In the nearby village of al Nabi Saleh, Israeli troops fired several rounds of rubber-coated steel bullets at the villagers as soon as they reached the village entrance.
One boy was injured in his leg and was moved to a hospital in the nearby city of Ramallah. Moreover Israeli troops fired tear gas at residential areas causing damage to the houses as some of the tear gas canisters went through the windows inside the villagers’ homes.
In Al-Ma’asara village, Israeli troops stopped villagers and their supporters at the entrance of the village and forced them back, however, no injuries were reported.
The non-violent weekly protests have gone on every week for more than ten years, with the participants committing themselves to non-violent responses to the Israeli military’s violence. The military has used these weekly protests as a ‘testing ground’ for experimental crowd control weapons, including sonic blast weaponry, ‘skunk water’ that is a mixture of cadaver and feces smells that is sprayed on protesters bodies, where it causes adverse reactions and remains for weeks, toxic ink sprayed onto protesters’ bodies for later identification during village house raids, experimental gas bomb combinations and rubber-coated steel bullets that have caused a number of deaths.