Olmert's 2008 proposal on Palestinian refugees – to take a total of 5,000 over 5 years

Of course Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas could not have signed on to this stingy proposal when it was tabled by Israel’s then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in their last meeting on 16 September 2008.

Not only is the number of Palestinian refugees that Israel would take back “inside the Green Line” less than Ehud Barak’s previous suggestion [to take back tens of thousands a year, as a “humanitarian gesture”] at Camp David talks in late July 2000, but this is also supposed to extinguish any further mention of the “Right of Return”. At the same Camp David discussions, the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said he wanted to solve the problem of some 450,000 Palestinian refugees in Lebanon first — an idea that the Israeli delegation, who had just completed their unilateral May 2000 withdrawal for almost all of the “security zone” they had created during their 25-year occupation of South Lebanon, did not dismiss out of hand.

It is true that the Barak team said that most of the Palestinian refugees who would want to return would have to do so to the future Palestinian state. [Then, there was some suggestion that Israel would want to have a say in who and how many returned, even to the Palestinian territory = West Bank or Gaza…]

In any case, here is the relaxed way Olmert himself recently described it to Israeli journalist Avi Issacharoff in a recent interview which was reported yesterday, here:

“I agreed to absorb into Israel up to 5,000 Palestinian refugees over five years. Why 5,000? It may sound kind of strange, but during the talks between Rice and Abu Mazen he said that he needed the settlement of tens of thousands of refugees inside Israel, and that Ehud Barak had been ready to take in 100,000. She told him that he could get the same number of people as could fit inside the Mukataa at any given moment. We estimated that number to be about 5,000. So that’s how I came up with the number. I’m telling you, if Abu Mazen had been ready to sign on an agreement that would require our absorbing 10,000-15,000 over five years, I would have agreed. It was after all about the number of African illegals who were sneaking across the border every year back then. But all of it, of course, on condition that they would sign an agreement for an ‘end of conflict and end of demands,’ so there would no longer be a ‘right of return.’”

Olmert added that “he explained to Abbas during their talks that Israel could not agree to any solution to the refugee problem according to UN Resolution 194, which in his view had created the Palestinian’s ‘claim of return’ myth. ‘But I said to him, first we will set up a special fund for compensation to the refugees, second, we will accept the road map, which includes in it the Arab peace initiative which also refers to resolution 194 with respect to a solution for the refugee problem. That way you too can claim that Israel accepted the basis of the Arab peace initiative including Resolution 194’.”

And, what did Mahmoud Abbas say?

From Olmert’s account, as reported by Issacharoff, you could get the impression Abbas was only prepared to engage immediately on the Land Swaps proposal… and even on that he hesitated [and cancelled the follow-up meeting of map expert’s scheduled for the next day].

Continue reading Olmert's 2008 proposal on Palestinian refugees – to take a total of 5,000 over 5 years

How can a winter storm be so bad — and so very bad in Palestinian areas?

We now know, from Reuters, that “The worst winter storm in two decades has hit the eastern Mediterranean this week”,

The Reuters report, published here, notes that in Syria, “dozens of people have died … in four days of relentless extreme weather. At least 17 people have also died due to the storm in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Israel and the Palestinian territories. Schools in some areas have been shut for days, refugee camps flooded and villages isolated by closed roads. Meteorological agencies in Israel and Lebanon both called it the worst storm in 20 years … Families are burning doors and chairs to keep warm in the absence of fuel in Aleppo, Syria’s most populous city, now largely in rebel hands, said Michal Przedalcki, from Czech charity People In Need, working in northern Syria. ‘Unfortunately I think it quite likely that people will die from the severe weather conditions. Already people have not been eating enough for several  months, and that exposes their bodies to more disease and infection, especially after also living through weeks of cold conditions’, he said”.

Temporary camps for Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan are flooded and freezing.

[However, it’s  reported here to be even worse for Palestinian refugees fleeing from Syria. who “are being placed in compounds under strict conditions….[and] are being banned from entering Jordanian cities”… UPDATE: The Times of Israel later reported here that “Syria’s southern neighbor, Jordan, has begun to turn away Palestinian refugees fleeing toward the border, Al-Jazeera reported earlier this week”, in a post published here. The Al-Jazeera report noted that “while Palestinian refugees carrying Jordanian IDs were allowed to enter Jordan, children of Jordanian women who were not citizens are being refused”… And Al-Jazeera reported that Jordanian government spokesperson Samih Maaytah said that “Jordan does not prevent the return of its citizens… but the transfer of Palestinian refugees from Syria to Jordan is a matter of tens of thousands, something Jordan cannot bear”. The Al-Jazeera report added that “Jordan has absorbed some 126,000 Syrian refugees, but Palestinians fleeing Syria are placed in a separate refugee camp at the Cyber City compound, under stricter conditions, and are banned from entering Jordanian cities. The Jordanian government fears that an influx of Palestinian refugees may tilt the demographic balance in Jordan even more towards the Palestinians, who are already believed to comprise a large majority of the population”…]

Some of the homes for Palestinian refugees in Al-Amary camp near the center of downtown Ramallah are also flooded and cold. The camp, located in a low-lying area, is flooded in even normal rainfall. But the rain in this storm has been continuing for days. Most of the time, the 8,000 residents of Al-Amary camp had only each other to rely upon for bailing out the icy muddy water for several days.

Most residents of Ramallah were house-bound by Wednesday evening, because their cars could not make it up even a slight incline — never mind the hills that many people in Ramallah live on.

UPDATE: At 21h35, there was… well, not a snow plow, but a yellow catepillar construction vehicle with big treaded wheels and a scoop in front that was clearing a single lane on the street with the slight incline, going up to Ramallah Hospital.

By the end of the afternoon, there was a light dusting of snow on streets + roads again in Ramallah. Most cars [worn tires?] can’t make it up a slight incline. Only one passenger car, and one heavy truck on its second try, made it in one very slightly inclined area. Fascinating behavior ensued.

There was flooding yesterday in Tel Aviv, and in northern Israel and also in Lebanon — and in the West Bank, where there appears to be no kind of drainage for any of the new roads.

It’s bad everywhere. But it’s hard to describe enough how much worse the grimness of the difficult, exhausting, depressing + stressful experience of week-long winter storms is, in Palestinian areas.

Another Reuters story, posted here, reports that:

      “Heavy winter downpours have turned some Palestinian lands in the occupied West Bank into a morass of filth and flooding as an Israeli barrier blocks the waters from draining away. In Qalqilya, a town of 42,000 in the northern West Bank almost completely surrounded by the concrete wall, Khaled Kandeel and his family huddled by an open fire in a shed as trash-laden water swelled through his pear orchard. ‘Before the wall, the water used to drain fine, and flowed down to the sea easily. They could just flip a switch and end our suffering, but they don’t’, Kandeel said, his breath steamy from the winter cold…Drainage channels run under the imposing ramparts but their automated metal gates are mostly closed and now clogged with refuse and stones that block the outflow of storm water. The Israeli military, citing security reasons, generally bars locals from clearing the obstructions or digging their own channels close to the barrier…Hemmed-in residents of northern towns in the West Bank have been deprived of large swathes of rural land, forcing poorly-regulated waste dumping closer to farms and homes. Driving rain could not mask the stench of raw sewage being unloaded from a tanker on a village road outside Qalqilya on Tuesday, its putrid contents mixing with the brown torrent pouring past olive trees clustered on the hills … Planning restrictions, inked as part of interim peace accords by Israeli and Palestinian negotiators almost two decades ago, widely limit locals’ ability to build water infrastructure or repair damaged or polluted wells.
      But in Hebron, whose old city is a flashpoint of conflict with Jewish settlers, rare coordination with the Israeli military allowed Palestinian officials to lift the concrete slabs which separate the ethnic enclaves to relieve flooding.  ‘We removed the concrete to prevent the passage of water to the old city souq, where flooding reached up to one meter’, said Walid Abu Halawa of Hebron’s construction commission. ‘We also opened holes in the iron barrier built by the Occupation at the terminus of the souq’, he told Reuters”…

And many are facing this misery without any money.

In the West Bank, Palestinian Authority employees [the PA is the largest employer in the occupied Palestinian territory] got 2nd half of their October salary at beginning of November. But, the banks took full loan installments due — leaving many people without cash since the beginning of October.

At the beginning of December, no salaries were paid… On 24 December, the first half of November salaries were finally paid, but again the banks took their full loan installments due from the Palestinian government employees. Government employees were left with even less cash than in early November…

Hard to understand, but many families here, dependent on the area’s largest employer, have had no cash to operate on since early October.

And this winter weather is cruel, and exhausting, and seems endless…

Palestinians make chair for UN seat for Palestine

As Israel’s Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu works to follow-up on his faxes sent a week ago to leaders around the world urging them to oppose any Palestinian change of status at the United Nations, and as the U.S. sent a message from Washington [hand-delivered to Jericho by the U.S. Consul-General in Jerusalem last Friday] threatening a cut-off of some half-billion dollars in aid per year if any Palestinian move is made, Ma’an News Agency has just reported that a group of men in the West Bank have forged ahead, and built a special chair intended to seat the State of Palestine in the United Nations.

[With regard to the reported U.S. threat to cut off aid to the Palestinians, it should also be noted that the Israeli Hebrew-language newspaper Yediot Ahronot reported that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Prime Minister Netanyahu in a recent phone call that the Obama Administration “would find it difficult” to support Israel’s position at the UN unless an apology is offered to Turkey for the deaths of 9 men killed during the Israeli naval interception of the Mavi Marmara on the high seas in the eastern Mediterranean on 31 May  2010…UPDATE: and it was just reported by the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet, here, that Netanyahu is asking for a six-month delay in the publication of the UN report which is being held up, pending a possible Israeli apology, a move that the paper says was not warmly welcomed in Ankara. According to Hurriyet, the report’s publication date is still set for Friday 2 September…]

According to the report, published here, engineer Sufian Al-Qawasmi told Ma’an that “the idea for the small blue chair came from Ramallah”:

Seat for Palestine in the UN - chair made in Jenin - photo by Ma'an

The story says that the chair is made of “cloth from Nablus weaved [sic] in Hebron”, and put together in Jenin, “and two keys symbolizing refugees’ right to return were sent from Jerusalem, said Al-Qawasmi, who supervised the design of the chair. He said the olive-wood chair was made in 48 hours to represent 1948, the year of the Nakba when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forced to flee their homes as the state of Israel was established. ‘As the UN seat was a demand to represent Palestine as a state, we ourselves decided to send the seat of Palestine to the UN’, Al-Qawasmi said”.

Meanwhile, a debate has flared between some opposed to the Palestinian leadership’s possible/planned move at the UN, which somehow is popularly supposed to materialize on the 20th of September [though sometime in October, or in November. is also a possibility.]

The debate went ballistic with a “legal opinion” written by Guy Goodwin-Gil and posted in full here.

In this “legal opinion”, Goodwin-Gill wrote, in para (3), without further explanation: “I am advised that one possibility being debated involves the replacement of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and its ‘substitution’, within the United Nations, by the State of Palestine as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people”.

But, he did not say who, exactly, advised him of this… or what, exactly, is the factual basis for saying this.

We only learn,  later [see below], who advised him.   But, we are never given any factual basis…

Continue reading Palestinians make chair for UN seat for Palestine

UNRWA says it's located most Palestinian refugees who fled Rimal camp in Latakia, Syria

Chris Gunness, UNRWA Spokesman based in the Agency’s Sheikh Jarrah office in Jerusalem, sent out a message Friday saying that “Many people around the world were shocked by the images of unarmed refugees being shot at as they fled from their homes, amid the firing on their refugee camp. But the good news is that our incredibly courageous local UNRWA staff have established a temporary office in Latakia, outside the refugee camp … [and] have located about 6,000 of the 7,500 refugees displaced by the fighting. UNRWA has been able to assist them with cash grants for food, medicine and accommodation. Many, particularly the children and women, are traumatized and in a poor condition … the refugees are too frightened to return to their homes there and are not returning. UNRWA has not had access — draw your own conclusions about what that means about the security situation there and the state of the camp”.

Where are these people staying? Elsewhere in Latakia, for the most part, Chris explained, either with relatives or friends. Apparently, Latakia’s Rimal camp for Palestinian refugees is still considered totally unsafe, and “some are sleeping in the rough”, he added.

Continue reading UNRWA says it's located most Palestinian refugees who fled Rimal camp in Latakia, Syria

UN Human Rights Commissioner is only UN official to deal with reports that minefields took toll on Golan protesters

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay [of India] is the only UN official to deal with reports that minefields had taken a toll among protestors in the Golan Heights on Sunday.

Pillay’s statement did not take on the question of reports that Israeli Defense Forces had laid new minefields in recent weeks to stop Palestinian and Syrian protestors from infiltrating via the Golan.

A UNHCR spokesperson said Wednesday afternoon that he had been unaware of these reports, which were published earlier in the week in the Israeli media [see yesterday’s post on this blog].

“The Government of Israel has a duty to ensure that its security personnel avoid the use of excessive force”, Pillay said in a statement issued on Tuesday afternoon, and posted here.

The statement, put out in Pillay’s name, also notes that “Reports have suggested that more than 20 civilians were killed and hundreds injured as a result of Israeli gunfire. Other reports suggest some of the casualties may have been caused by the detonation of landmines buried on the Syrian side of the ceasefire line“.

This wording avoids dealing with the possibility, suggested by Israeli media reports this week, that Israeli Defense Forces actually laid new minefields since May 15, when Israeli lines were overrun in the Golan Heights by Palestinian demonstrators from Syria, and some of their supporters, succeeded in entering the town of Majdal Shams.

It is not clear exactly where — assuming that this week’s Israeli media reports, sourced to IDF officials, are true — these reported newly-laid mine fields are actually located.

At a demonstration last Sunday, called to mark the anniversary of the June 1967 war and the start of the Israeli occupation (of the Golan Heights as well as the West Bank and Gaza), an uncertain number of demonstrators died or were wounded from mine explosions.

The first indications of the mine explosions came, in fact, from accounts given by IDF spokespersons themselves.

They said, disingenuously, that in these cases, the Palestinian and Syrian protesters should be held responsible for their own injuries because they failed to heed oral warnings — issued in Arabic, the IDF stressed — and because some protesters supposedly threw Molotov cocktails onto one minefield, thereby setting off one or more explosions.

This avoids the serious question of whether or not the IDF carried out proper notification — both to Syrian authorities and to UN peacekeeping missions working in the Golan — and also whether or not the minefields were properly marked, particularly any minefields which might have been newly-laid, in order to provide adequate warning to the demonstrators themselves.

It avoids directly dealing with reports that the IDF laid new minefields in the past three weeks specifically to stop infiltration by protestors.

And, it does seem to put more blame on Syrian authorities than on Israel, by saying that “Pillay also expressed concern over allegations that civilians were encouraged by the Syrian authorities to protest in areas where landmines are located”.

That is a very serious accusation indeed.

Continue reading UN Human Rights Commissioner is only UN official to deal with reports that minefields took toll on Golan protesters

29 November 1947 – UN calls for creation of Jewish State + Arab State in Palestine

That’s right: 63 years ago today, the UN General Assembly adopted resolution 181 which calls for the establishment of a Jewish State and an Arab State in Palestine.

For 63 years, the “international community” as we know it has backed the establishment of a Jewish State.

Six months later, the State of Israel was proclaimed as a Jewish state by virtue of UN General Assembly resolution 181.

And, though some argue otherwise, this is “international legitimacy” — a term coined by Palestinians, many of whom wish to preserve an option for their national rights based on UN resolutions and international treaties and various other agreements that are now called international law.

In November 1988, the Palestinians themselves declared independence, based on this same UN General Assembly resolution 181. But, it remains unrealized. Vague Palestinian pronouncements are met with threats against any “unilateral” actions — though Israel is perhaps the world’s foremost practitioner of “unilateral” actions , the country of “unilateral” actions par excellence .

So, how is it that we are all still talking past each other?

And, how did this situation come to be?

Continue reading 29 November 1947 – UN calls for creation of Jewish State + Arab State in Palestine

Israeli police defy judicial opinion, vow to break up Israeli anti-occupation demonstration in Sheikh Jarrah

Last Friday afternoon, Israeli police arrested 17 Israeli anti-occupation demonstrators who had crossed the Green Line and assembled in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem, where over the last year three families have been thrown out of homes built for them in the early 1950s by the the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, on land allocated by the Jordanian authorities who administered the land following the 1948 war that surrounded the creation of the State of Israel.

Jewish (they may not all be Israeli citizens) settlers immediately moved into those three homes, guarded by their own private security organization — and by the Israeli national police and Border Police. The situation in this area is now very tense, but violence has been astonishingly limited.

There have been some verbal confrontations, but the two sides generally make enormous efforts to ignore each other’s presence.

There seems to be no actual threat to the Jewish settlers, other than legal challenges by the Palestinians, and now the protests organized by a new coalition of Israeli activists.

Israeli anti-occupation demonstrators have begun holding Friday afternoon protests there, on a weekly basis over the past several months, in support of the threatened Palestinian families. Last Friday’s arrests may have marked a turning point.

Here is a photo of Didi Remez (from his Facebook site) at the 15 January protest demonstration organized by Israeli anti-occupation activists in solidarity with threatened Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah.  In this now-iconic image, Didi Remez is objecting to the arrests made by the Israeli police, and telling them to “Arrest me, too!”.   The police complied –  he was arrested.

Didi Remez protesting to Israeli police - Arrest me too - in Sheikh Jarrah demonstration on 15 January 2010

After all the commotion, a bigger demonstration is expected today.

UPDATE: Here is a photo of the start of today’s demonstration just tweeted by CNN’s Kevin Flower
KevinFlower of CNN photo of Israeli demonstration 22 January 2010

After last Friday’s arrests, in which the head of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), Hagai Elad, was among those taken into custody when he simply approached police to attempt to mediate, the demonstrators spent over 36 hours in jail during the Israeli weekend and the Jewish sabbath, before an Israeli judge ruled that the arrests were not warranted.

This Friday demonstration in Sheikh Jarrah has now become the talk of the town — and of elsewhere in the region.

One of the organizers of the weekly Friday Israeli anti-occupation demonstration in Sheikh Jarrah, Didi Remez, has posted a notice about today’s demonstration, saying that “Police have refused to grant license for [this] Friday procession; refusing to provide reasons. The vigil, unequivocally ruled legal and not requiring licence by Jerusalem Justice of the Peace, will take place at 15:00, as usual. Police, however, have warned organizers that, ruling or no ruling, they will forcibly break up the demonstration”.

Didi Remez was one of those arrested last Friday.  He was also reportedly one of the first of some 20 demonstrators arrested today.

Another photo of the Didi Remez at the Friday 15 January 2010 demonstration in Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem.

Didi Remez protesting to Israeli police - Arrest me too - in Sheikh Jarrah demonstration on 15 January 2010

UPDATE: True to their word, the Israeli police broke up the demonstration.  They arrested some 20 Israeli demonstrators, including veteran Israeli politician Yossi Sarid, who told the Ynet website that the arrests were “arbitrary and unruly”. Sarid also said: “I have been following the developments here for the past few months and I have read about what the police did over the past week. I became nauseous and wanted to vomit.”  YNet reported that former Knesset speaker Avraham Burg and Hadash MK Mohammad Barakeh also participated in the demonstration, and that protesters “waved signs reading, ‘Free Sheikh Jarrah’ and chanted, ‘Cowardly settlers, leave the homes at once’.  The YNet story can be read in full here.

Maan photo of police arresting demonstrators in Sheikh Jarrah on 22 Jan 2010

UPDATE: Ben Lynfield has just reported in The Scotsman that “Yehuda Shaul, an activist in the former soldiers’ group Breaking the Silence was dragged away after he led the crowd in a chant of ‘democracy is not built by evicting people from their houses’.” Ben’s article can be read in full here.

Continue reading Israeli police defy judicial opinion, vow to break up Israeli anti-occupation demonstration in Sheikh Jarrah

Maher Hanoun in East Jerusalem: "We do not want any tent – we want our home"

In the early morning hours on Sunday, Israeli Border Police broke into the homes of the Hanoun and Ghawi families in Sheikh Jarrah, north of the Old City but still part of downtown East Jerusalem, and forcibly expelled at gunpoint three families from one building (only one of them was under court expulsion order) and four from another (there, only one was under court expulsion order).

Over 50 Palestinian refugees (from the 1948 Arab-Israeli war) immediately became homeless, with nowhere to go. No provisions were made to care for their household possessions or to shelter them by the Israeli authorities who have administered the area since their conquest in the June 1967 war, and who had ordered the expulsions to be carried out.

Sunday night, the Hanoun and Ghawi families were out on the streets. “The Red Cross came and offered us tents”, said Maher Hanoun, “But we do not want any tent. We do not want rations of rice and sugar. We want to return to our home”.

Just after the eviction operation, settlers moved in, protected by the Israeli Border Police.

Israeli settlers move into Hanoun home in Sheikh Jarrah - 2 August 2009

Continue reading Maher Hanoun in East Jerusalem: "We do not want any tent – we want our home"

New report says UNRWA should promote "normalization", end refugee status for Palestinians

With impeccable timing, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy has published a polemical new paper — vainly described one of the few (if not the only) “dispassionate examination” [in English] — by an American former legal adviser of UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Near East refugees.
Continue reading New report says UNRWA should promote "normalization", end refugee status for Palestinians

Protest tent detroyed following earlier house eviction in East Jerusalem

On 9 November, the Al-Kurd family was evicted at dawn from a house they had lived in for over 50 years on Nablus Road, clinging to the slopes of Wadi Joze in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem.

The legal case is complicated — the Israeli Supreme Court (also known as the High Court of Justice) had ordered their eviction last summer, apparently on the basis of their refusal to pay rent to an escrow account or to the Jewish settler organization that claimed the property. The Jewish claim was filed in 1976, but was not known until 1999, when the Al-Kurd family filed a permit to renovate their small home to allow one of their married sons to move back in with his family in order to help care for the ailing head of the family. The Jewish claim is based on a possible sale during the Ottoman era that ended in 1918 — before the British Mandate period that stretched from the end of World War I until the end of World War II.

In the conflict that surrounded the proclamation of the State of Israel in 1948, the Al-Kurd family fled their home in West Jerusalem and became refugees in East Jerusalem, which was occupied by Jordanian forces — a situation which lasted until the Israeli conquest during the June 1967 war.

During its administration, Jordan granted to UNRWA (the UN Agency created to deal with Palestinian refugees) the land on which the house (and 26 others in the same neighborhood) were built in 1956. Ownership of the 27 houses had been living — perhaps also including the land, but this is unclear — reverted to the refugee families who had been living in the houses, in exchange for their foregoing three years of food rations from UNRWA.

Almost immediately after the 9 November eviction of the Al-Kurd couple, according to UNRWA spokesperson Christopher Gunness, a Jewish settler family was moved in.

The disabled head of the family was taken to the home of family members in Beit Hanina, but the able-bodied 52-year-old Mrs. Al-Kurd (Um Kamil) has been staying in a large plastic tent pitched in an flat area in Wadi Joz below her former home.

The land on which the protest tent was erected is fenced, and cleared and levelled — it is private land belonging to a Palestinian named Kamel Obeidat (or A’bidaat, as reported by a press release from Ir-Amim, an Israeli NGO working for an equitable future sharing of Jerusalem between the two peoples living here).

The plastic tent that Um Kamel has been staying in was torn down this afternoon, together with two smaller canvas tents thatvhad been erected beside it, as well — though one of those two smaller tents was back up within the hour.

Four internationals (European members of the International Solidarity Movement – two Danish, one Swede, and one British, all polite and quiet young men in jeans and sweatshirts) plus one Palestinian who were taken away to the Russian Compound police office in West Jerusalem — and told they were being “arrested” — were actually back at the site in Wadi Joz within the hour as well, having apparently neither actually been “arrested”, nor even “deported” to the West Bank as at least one of them had been on the day of the house eviction, 9 November.

Notification had been given to Um Kamil and her supporters this past Sunday that the tent would be removed by 16h00 that same afternoon, but nothing happened until today (Wednesday), when a big deployment of Israeli police and security forces suddenly arrived, accompanied by a big bulldozer or construction-type machine which torn down the temporary installation.

Rabbi Arik Ascherman of the Rabbis For Human Rights NGO was among the visitors to the site this evening. He said that the plastic tent was apparently demolished upon orders of the Jerusalem Municipality — which he said apparently requires permits even for tents, even on private property, though there is no law preventing the protesters from staying on the site…