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Settler pogroms target sheep, olive trees and children

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Land, property, resource theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlers

Officials: Israel destroys ancient wells near Bethlehem
[six photos] BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 Mar — Israeli authorities destroyed ancient water wells and natural reservoirs used by Bedouins southeast of Bethlehem, Palestinian officials said.  A 3,000-cubic-meter well owned by Ali Madghan Rashayida and a 225-cubic meter reservoir belonging to Majid Rashayida were demolished last week, in a move Palestinian Authority officials said was illegal and “an obvious assault by the Israeli occupation.” … “It is difficult to understand the reasoning behind the destruction of basic rain water collection systems, some of them very old, which serve marginalised rural and herder Palestinian communities where water is already scarce and where drought is an ever-present threat,” said Maxwell Gaylard, who heads OCHA in the Palestinian territories.

Proposal to implement Al-Bustan demolition plan amidst upheaval in Arab world
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 27 Mar —  Several high-ranking officials in the Jerusalem Municipality have submitted a proposal to city mayor Nir Barakat to begin the prospective demolition program in Al-Bustan neighborhood of Silwan. Residents of Silwan have denounced the proposal as a calculated move to execute the highly controversial plan during a time when international media attention is focused elsewhere, namely on the current uprisings in Libya, Yemen and around the Arab world. Residents dismiss officials’ notion that the demolition of large tracts of this prominent Jerusalem neighborhood could pass relatively unnoticed as naive and have asserted that were it to be implemented, it would trigger large-scale Palestinian uprisings.

Israeli sources carry out massive dawn raid
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 25 Mar — Israeli forces stormed Silwan at dawn yesterday [Thursday], seizing 9 Palestinians from their homes. The arrested are Mohammed Saleh, Alaa Ali Awwad, brothers Sumbol and Hammouda Malhi, brothers Thaer and Faraj Khalil Mehtseb and a child from the Shyoukhi family. A child named Ashraf Shalodi was also arrested in front of the Al-Bustan protest tent on Wednesday, 23 March and two other residents, Rami Ghaith and Wisam Qawasmi, were summoned by police for interrogation.

Israel orders evacuation for Tubas-area Bedouin
TUBAS (Ma‘an) — Evacuation and demolition orders were handed out to a Bedouin family east of Tubas on Sunday afternoon, local officials told Ma‘an … Nabil Mustafa Daraghmeh, the head of a Bedouin family in the Ein Al-Hilwa area outside of Tubas in the northern West Bank, was served papers demanding he and his family evacuate their tent home and move their herds elsewhere. Palestinian security officials told Ma‘an that several Israeli military patrol cars arrived in the area to serve the papers, which gave Daraghmeh one day to leave the area. Bedouin herding families have recently been targeted by Israeli officials, who have begun executing orders for evacuation on areas that the Civil Administration has determined are “state land,” fall under Israeli-controlled Area C, or are designated as firing or military training areas. Areas that are not under Palestinian civil control amount to some 60 percent of the West Bank, according to assessments by the UN office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Abu Saqer’s sons arrested and beaten by soldiers
Yesterday, at 4pm, a settler from Ro’i settlement, in the Northern Jordan Valley, came to Hadidiya Bedouin community along with soldiers and policemen in order to arrest and beat Sati and Ghazi Abdelrahim Bsharat (both in their twenties). Sati and Ghazi, who is the son of one of our volunteers, Abu Saqer, were grazing their animals when one settler, two military jeeps and one police car came across to beat the two young shepherds. The occupational forces men came with dogs and guns and after they beat Sati and Ghazi on their own land they took them to Almzoka military training area and continued to seriously assault them till 11pm. They were kicked and beaten with guns, and dogs were set on them. This morning when Abu Saqer and his sons tried to cross the wall that prevents them from travelling to Eastern Jordan Valley, the army refused to open the gate, even though Abu Saqer had coordinated the opening of the gate with the District Coordination Officer for the Occupation force and with the Red Cross. Sati and Ghazi were therefore not able to visit the doctor, although they suffer from severe back pain after the assault they had suffered.

Jewish settlers uproot 21 olive trees in Salfit March 26
SALFIT, (PIC) 27 Mar — Jewish settlers from Alei Zahav settlement on Saturday morning uprooted about 21 olive trees in Deir Ballut town west of Salfit city. Head of the municipal council in the town Ahmed Mustafa said the settlers uprooted olive trees east of Deir Ballut belonging to a Palestinian citizen called Sami Ibraheem. Mustafa added that the settlers destroy and flatten Palestinian agricultural lands around Alei Zahav settlement in order to expand it and build new housing units. All villages and towns of Salfit city are facing a frenzied settlement expansion campaign aimed at expanding 20 settlement outposts already built on Palestinian lands.

Settler riot disrupts replanting of damaged olive trees March 19
[photos] Christian Peacemaker Teams 22 Mar — Shortly after 9 am on March 19th, approximately 25 settlers emerged from the illegal outpost of Havat Ma’on and moved among Palestinians who were grazing sheep and collecting herbs near the olive groves in Humra valley and in nearby Khoruba valley and on Khoruba hill. The settlers, several of whom were masked, shoved and kicked the villagers and their sheep and also internationals and Israeli peace activists who had come to assist in replanting the damaged olive trees. Israeli soldiers and border police declared the area a closed military zone and discharged two percussion grenades in an attempt to force villagers to leave the area. Two Palestinian men were arrested and one elderly man, Fadil Ahmed Raba‘i ,collapsed from respiratory distress and lost consciousness after soldiers pushed him to the ground and forcibly restrained him. Soldiers refused to allow the ambulance direct access and instead required the driver to take a detour resulting in a 45 minute wait.

Village of Tuwani honors recent victim of stabbing
[photos] CPT 26 Mar — Residents of At-Tuwani held a peaceful vigil on the morning of March 26 to protest the recent stabbing of Mahmoud Ibrahim Ali Awad, a resident of nearby Tuba village. Soldiers responded to the vigil by declaring a closed military zone. Villagers attempted to erect a small tent in honor of Awad on village land near the illegal outpost of Havat Ma’on, but were prevented from doing so by Israeli soldiers who declared the area a closed military zone. Soldiers ordered Palestinians and internationals out of the area, and forced shepherds who were grazing sheep and goats to leave. Women and children of the village then occupied the area for several hours in defiance of the order to leave. On March 19, a settler from Havat Ma’on attacked and stabbed Awad on the outskirts of At-Tuwani. Awad was traveling by donkey to the city of Yatta for a medical appointment.

A virtual journey to the village of Al-Bweireh [Google Earth]
[cpthebron] 26 Mar — On the 24th of February 2011, 9-year-old Palestinian child, P, was walking home from school. As he passed the first road block on the path to his village, Al-Bweireh in the West Bank, three teenage settlers started throwing stones. One stone hit P between the eyes on the bridge of his nose … Accompaniment and documentation of incidences is nearly impossible in Al-Bweireh due to the length of the road, blind spots from a distance and staggered dismissal times from school. A similar injury was sustained by a seven-year-old child, Z, on 16th December 2009. On 26th February 2011, CPT and EAPPI conducted a door-to-door survey of Al-Bweireh (based on the village boundaries the residents use).  They visited every house in the area and spoke to each family to better understand the school-attending population … Almost all the families and children CPT and EAPPI spoke to suffer from some kind of settler harassment on a weekly basis and are frightened to leave the house and walk down the road. Most children stay indoors rather than playing outside. Attacks on children, which mostly involve stone throwing, can happen anywhere in Al-Bweireh: at the top of the hill next to the entrance to Harsina Settlement, or at the bottom of the hill near the illegal outpost. CPT created an interactive Google Earth Map to provide a comprehensive overview of Al-Bweireh village.

Settler jailed for assaulting Palestinian teen
Ynet 27 Mar — Court sentences Zvi Struck, who kidnapped, injured 15-year-old Palestinian in 2007, to 18 months in prison. ‘I cannot avoid expressing disgust, deep shock over the signs of trauma the minor suffered,’ Judge in case says … The incident took place in July 2007; Struck and another suspect kidnapped and beat the Palestinian teen, a resident of the West Bank village of Kusra. The teen was later found unconscious in an open field, naked, tied and injured, after making it to a main road on his own. Passersby rushed him to a hospital in nearby Nablus. In addition to the assault, Struck was also convicted for a previous incident, during which he met with the teen on the outskirts of Kusra and demanded him to leave the area claiming he was trespassing on his land. At that time he slapped the teen, and killed a newborn goat by kicking it … Struck is the son of right-wing activist Orit Struck, the chairman of the Human Rights Organization of Judea and Samaria.,7340,L-4048471,00.html

Incursions / Restriction of movement

Army raids Hebron, detains Palestinian
West Bank, (Pal Telegraph) 27 Mar — Israeli occupation forces stormed several houses in Hebron, southern West Bank and erected military checkpoints at the main crossroads of the city. Security sources told SAFA News Agency that Israeli forces raided the villages of Beit Ummer, Dura, Halhoul and held citizens passing through Israeli checkpoints in order to verify  their ID cards, claiming they were searching for wanted people. Sources added that Israeli army still shut all entrances of Beit Ummer village for the fifth day. Israeli forces arrested today a Palestinian citizen from Hebron who was taken to investigation under the pretext of throwing stones at Israeli vehicle without casualties reported.

Israel intensifies its checkpoint in Jenin
West Bank, (Pal Telegraph) 27 Mar — Israeli occupation forces erected Sunday morning several barriers at different parts of Jenin city in the north part of the West Bank without casualties reported. Local sources told SAFA News Agency that Israeli soldiers erected a military checkpoint at the street located between the villages of Uraba and Al-Mansoura. Soldiers set up another checkpoint between the villages of Kabatya and Sanour as they started searching operations to the Palestinians vehicles hindering dozens of Palestinians access to their work and universities. Witnesses told that a number of Israeli soldiers deployed in the south of Jenin and erected a checkpoint between Miltun and Ceres villages. It is noteworthy that Israeli military checkpoints continue restricting  citizens’ movement, claiming those checkpoints would enhance the security of Israeli settlement in fear of being attacked by Palestinian militants.

Detention / International abduction

Court rejects appeal of Gaza engineer
JPost 27 Mar — Petah Tikvah District Court on Sunday rejected a custody appeal by the Palestinian engineer, Dirar Abu Sisi, who was believed to have been abducted from the Ukraine by Mossad agents. The court also instructed that he should be kept in custody until Thursday. [End]

PLC calls on its Ukraine counterpart to pressure for release of Abu Sisi
GAZA, (PIC) 27 Mar — The chairmanship of the Palestinian legislative council sent a message to its Ukraine counterpart calling on it to pressure its government to demand release of Palestinian engineer Dirar Abu Sisi who was abducted by Israeli agents from the Ukraine … The message sent by PLC first deputy speaker Dr. Ahmed Bahar held the Ukraine authorities fully responsible for the abduction. He warned that the image of the Ukraine would be tarnished in the Arab and Islamic countries if Kiev did not speed up an end to the issue of Abu Sisi.

Hamas man arrested, another released conditionally in W. Bank
WEST BANK, (PIC) 27 Mar — One man was arrested Monday morning and forced to pay bail and prohibited from travel as the Palestinian Authority security agencies continue a politically motivated arrest campaign against Hamas supporters in the West Bank.

Air strikes

Israeli air strike kills 2 in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) — Israeli warplanes fired missiles at the Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza on Sunday morning, killing two Palestinian fighters and injuring three others. Medics at the Kamal Udwan Hospital identified one of those killed as Sabri Hashim Asaliyya, a recently-married nurse.Asaliyya, 26, and Radwan Namrouti, also 26, were both later identified by Islamic Jihad’s military wing as fighters … The latest strike brought the death toll in the coastal enclave to at least 12, including civilians and children, over the last week. More than 50 have been injured.

Palestinians: Two Jihad militants killed in Israeli strike on Gaza
Haaretz 27 Mar — Witnesses: militants were firing rocket at Israel; attack comes a day after Gaza groups signaled they would halt rocket fire if IDF stopped carrying out targeted attacks as well In public remarks to his cabinet on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel has “no desire to escalate the situation”, noting the frontier had been relatively quiet since the end of the December 2008-January 2009 Gaza war. But he said: “We will not hesitate to use the might of the Israel Defense Forces against those who attack our citizens.” … It seems Hamas is also finding it difficult to enforce its authority upon smaller factions, with small groups now carrying out their own policies. The fact many more Grad rockets were smuggled into the Strip in recent weeks and distributed between the factions also makes the situation more difficult to control.

Islamic Jihad: Israel renewing aggression
Ynet 27 Mar — Israel is renewing its aggression towards the Gaza Strip in order to undermine agreements struck between the Palestinian factions, the Islamic Jihad claimed Sunday … Islamic Jihad Spokesman Khalid Al-Batash stressed Sunday that Israel’s strike was unacceptable and that the group reserves the right to retaliate to “Israel’s crimes.” He added that “Gaza was not a sandbag where Israel can test its capabilities, we shall not accept this and sit idly by as aggression continues.” … Al-Batash denied claims suggesting they were planning to fire a rocket.,7340,L-4048438,00.html

Israel deploys Iron Dome missile defense system for the first time
Haaretz 27 Mar — System placed on desert terrain, expected to begin operating by Sunday afternoon; IDF has described the step as ‘experiment’, adding that the system alone won’t be sufficient defense … The Israeli-developed system uses cameras and radar to track incoming rockets and is supposed to shoot them down within seconds of their launch.


Factory shelling aimed at weakening Gaza’s economy
GAZA, (PIC) 27 Mar — One of the ways Israel wishes to destroy elements of the Palestinian people’s steadfastness is by targeting their economic structures, the Palestinian Minister of Economy Alaa El Din Rafati told the PIC on Saturday. The statement came after civil defense crews saved a soft drink factory in the Al-Zaytoun district from burning down after Israeli occupation forces fired a shell south of Gaza city.

Egypt to grant Palestinians visas to return to Gaza
CAIRO, Egypt (Ma‘an) 27 Mar — Egyptian authorities agreed Saturday to grant entry visas to Palestinians from the Gaza Strip who had been slated for deportation from Cairo. A group of Palestinians had been waiting on the Egyptian side of Rafah, a city on the Egypt-Gaza border, for the crossing to open so they could return to the Gaza Strip. However, they did not have visas to be in Egypt, and Egyptian officials evacuated them to Cairo to be deported. On Saturday evening, Egyptian authorities agreed to grant visas to all Palestinians wishing to return to Gaza via Egypt, said Palestinian ambassador to Egypt Barakat Al-Farra. Egypt notified its embassies worldwide to grant visas to Palestinians to allow them to return to Gaza, Al-Farra said.

1 Gaza crossing opens for limited goods
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) – Israeli authorities decided Sunday to partially open the Gaza Strip’s only operating border crossing for the limited delivery of goods, humanitarian aid and fuel … Meanwhile, one truckload of flowers harvested in Gaza would be exported to Europe.

Activism / Solidarity / Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions

Israeli troops attack Palestinian woman in Beit Ummar village
AL-KHALIL, (PIC) 27 Mar — Israeli soldiers severely beat a Palestinian woman called Najwa Sabarneh as she was trying to prevent them from kidnapping her son yesterday during the weekly anti-wall march held in Beit Ummar village, northwest of Al-Khalil city. The troops also attacked and arrested a number of foreign activists during the march.
In another incident, a number of Palestinian workmen revealed that Israeli intelligence officers at Qalqiliya checkpoint threatened them to withdraw their work permits if they refused to work as informers with them.

Beit Ommar residents protest as road closures enter third day
On Saturday, March 26 international and Israeli activists joined with Beit Ommar villagers to protest the road closures of the area, now in their third day. Around fifty participants and twenty journalists gathered near the village cemetery, where Israeli Defense Forces had closed off the road with large blocks of cement. The strongest members of the group began pushing one of the blocks, attempting to roll it aside to allow the passage of cars. Israeli military forces arrived and looked on until the group began to lever the block with a long steel pole. At this point, a soldier approached and confiscated the pole. An Israeli activist was arrested, but was released after an hour.

Boycotting Israel . . . from within / Mya Guarnieri
AJ 26 Mar – Israelis explain why they joined the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement … I have to admit that I was frightened by the movement. I did not think it would help. I was sure that BDS would only encourage Israel to dig its heels in deeper. It will only make things worse for everyone, I reasoned. Egypt was the tipping point for me. I was exhilarated by the images of people taking to the streets to demand change. And while the Palestine Papers prove that the government seems intent on maintaining the status quo, I know plenty of Israelis who are fed up with it. There are mothers who do not want to send their children to the army; soldiers who resent guarding settlers. I recently spoke with a 44-year-old man – a normal guy, a father of two – who told me he wants to burn something he is so frustrated with the government and so worried about the future.

BDS in Australia: Fear and loathing in Marrckville / Samah Sabawi and Sonja Karkar
26 Mar — It appears that once again the pro-Israel apologists have decided to single Israel out by making boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel a leading issue for the Marrickville electorate in the lead-up to the NSW state elections. Not surprisingly, the Palestinians are rendered invisible again as right-wing groups, politicians, the pro-Israel lobby and the Murdoch Press attack the Marrickville Council for their resolution to support BDS.

Pro-Palestinian peace activists in Germany against political pigeonholing
25 Mar — In the anthology “Palestine on my mind” 26 peace activists explain why they are committed to the human rights of Palestinians. The authors are Germans and non-Germans, Jews and non-Jews. Martina Sabra reviews this remarkable publication

Another side to ‘The Wall of Lies’ / Ben Elkind & Yasmeen Zamamiri
Univ of North Carolina student newspaper 25 Mar – In today’s paper, on page 12, is a provocative advertisement called “The Wall of Lies,” which responds to 10 assertions about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. What is this advertisement? How should it be read? The advertisement is sponsored by David Horowitz, who founded the “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Campaign” and published similar advertisements in other campus newspapers. His ‘Wall of Lies’ is intended to dispel “the lies Palestinians have aimed at Israel with the intention of destroying the Jewish state,” according to his website. At schools like Brown and UCLA, the publication of this advertisement sparked significant controversy and outrage.

Politics / Diplomacy

Hamas’ military wing says it won’t guarantee Abbas’ safety in Gaza
Haaretz 27 Mar — Planned Abbas trip to Gaza for reconciliation talks with Hamas has been dropped from the agenda, after PA officials interpret the statements by senior Hamas officials as a threat to Abbas.

Shalev: UNGA ‘Palestine’ resolution may have real impact
JPost 25 Mar — Shalev: Israel “only just found out” about Resolution 377; same process used in 1981 to advance Namibian independence, delegitimize S. AfricaIsrael failed to realize until recently that the Palestinian bid to win United Nations General Assembly endorsement for statehood in September might not be merely declarative, but could have profound practical consequences under the provisions of a little-known UNGA resolution, Gabriela Shalev, the former Israeli ambassador to the UN, has told The Jerusalem Post.

European countries want UN, not US, to advance Mideast peace talks
AP 26 Mar — Britain, France and Germany want the United Nations and the European Union to propose the outlines of a final settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that would lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state, UN diplomats said.

US casts only vote for Israel in UNHRC
JPost 27 Mar — Six motions condemn Israeli settlement activity and human rights violations in ‘occupied’ Palestinian territories, Golan Heights. –  The US was the only country to vote against all six United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolutions on Israel, which were approved in Geneva this Thursday and Friday. “We are deeply troubled to once again be presented with a slate of resolutions replete with controversial elements and one-sided references that fail to address the real challenges of the region,” US Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe told the council.

Syrian gov’t blames Palestinians for unrest
(Video) President Bashar Assad’s adviser says clashes result of ‘foreign schemes’ aimed at destabilizing Syria adding number of foreign nationals have been arrested. Violence in Latakia, she says, was started by Palestinians aiming to ignite a civil war,7340,L-4048054,00.html

Other news

Gunmen target Egypt pipeline carrying gas to Israel and Jordan
AP 27 Mar –  … But the timer failed to detonate the explosives and soldiers were able to defuse the device … A previous attack at another gas terminal along the pipeline halted gas exports to Israel and Jordan for a month and a half.

Pleasant news of the day

Coexistence in maternity ward
Ynet 27 Mar — As tensions mount on border, Palestinian woman from Gaza and Israeli woman from Gaza vicinity kibbutz lie side by side at Rehovot hospital after giving birth to their baby girls,7340,L-4047989,00.html

Analysis / Opinion

So whose Nakba is this? / Zvi Bar’el
Haaretz 27 Mar — Anyone who wants to erase the Nakba, water down the Palestinian collective memory and blur Land Day, will only push students deeper into a remembrance that includes all the errors, distortions and hatreds against whoever seeks to uproot that memory.

False symmetry: teaching Holocaust in Gaza schools / Seraj Assi
27 Mar — …Late Monday night Israeli combat planes pounded Northern Gaza and murdered two children and three adults whose only crime was playing football in front of their house. At the same day Haaretz published a report complaining that Hamas protests UN plans to teach Gazans about the Holocaust. It was also the very day that the Knesset in Israel approved the Nakaba Law, an absurd legislation that bans Palestinian citizens from commemorating the Nakba. This is no mere coincidence. Nor is it the first time that Israel’s massacring of Palestinian children is followed by absurd demands to teach Jewish victimhood in Palestinian schools, while working to prevent its Palestinian citizens from commemorating their tragedy at the same time.

Hamas and the urge to power / Issa Khalaf
23 Mar — When in opposition, and after winning legislative elections in 2006, Hamas was a principled alternative to the wretchedness of the PA. It won not because Palestinians necessarily agreed with its atavistic Islamist socio-political vision, but because there was little alternative to the deep corruption of Fatah. It refused to give the store away, including recognition, for nothing in return from Israel. Most of us gave it a pass and have done so until recently — even though I reject its ideology — putting the onus of blame for the national disunity, factually and rightly so, on Fatah. Hamas’s recent, March 15 crack down on protesters and the attachment of a green sheet to the Palestinian flag is idiotic, and as if the social agenda of covering and excluding women will get the Palestinians anywhere in the context of cruel occupation and urgent need for liberating Palestinian energy and creativity in the cause of freedom and dignity. It wasn’t enough that the PA is trying its level, repressive best to shut down or silence the protesters in the West Bank. Hamas may be coming into its own as that other mini-security state.

Israel’s problem is the settlements, not J Street / Carlo Strenger
Haaretz 27 Mar — Israel’s problem is that an ever-increasing proportion of U.S. Jews feel they are being forced to choose between universal human rights and equality, and their involvement with Israel.

Who is annexing whom? / Uri Avnery
26 Mar — …Years ago, while on a visit to New York, I was persuaded not to buy grapes produced in California, because the owners oppressed the Mexican migrant workers. This boycott went on for a long time and was — if I remember right — successful. Nobody dared to suggest that such boycotts should be outlawed. Here in Israel, rabbis of many communities regularly paste up posters calling upon their flock not to buy at certain shops, which they believe are not kosher, or not kosher enough. Such calls are commonplace. Such publications are fully compatible with human rights … SO IT appears that not all ideologically motivated boycotts are wrong. Nor do the initiators of this particular bill — racists of the Lieberman school, Likud rightists and Kadima “centrists” – claim this. For them, boycotts are only wrong if they are directed against the nationalist, annexationist policies of this government. This is explicitly stated in the law itself. Boycotts are unlawful if they are directed against the State of Israel — not, for example, by the State of Israel against some other state.

Who is afraid of Julian Schnabel? / Jordan Elgrably
AJ 26 Mar — Miral, currently in theatres, portrays the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from an entirely Palestinian perspective. It is nothing earth-shattering (a brief filmography at the end of this article offers other films that do this far more effectively) except that it was made by a Jewish filmmaker … Schnabel is an Academy-Award nominated director, and his film has brought “the conflict” into the mainstream. The fact that he happens to be Jewish while representing the Palestinian perspective inflames some in the Jewish community, who consider his film an act of betrayal.

Handela — How one orphan became a national icon
27 Mar — You’ll see him everywhere in Palestine. He’s printed on flags, handbags and tourists’ T-shirts. He’s drawn on city walls in Jerusalem and painted in murals in Jericho. But you’ll never see his face. He’s turned away, showing us his back. He’s a simple cartoon character, barefoot and dressed in rags. He’s also a political icon Handala first appeared in fiercely political, one-panel comic strips in 1969. Though many artists and activists have drawn him since, Handala really belongs first to one artist, Naj Al-Ali. Naj Al-Ali went from living in a poor refugee camp to being one of the most widely-recognized artists in the Arab world. His cartoons were politically scathing and would ultimately lead to his tragic murder. At the age of 50, Al-Ali was shot in the head and killed in London. Who was this man? And what is so powerful about Handala?


Saturday: 9 Iraqis killed, 14 wounded
At least nine Iraqis were killed and 14 more were wounded in attacks in and near the capital, Diyala province, and Mosul.  In Baghdad, a sticky bomb attached to a car exploded in Nisour Square, killing a professor and wounding three others, including his wife. Gunfire at a Hurriya checkpoint left one soldier dead and two others wounded. A bomb at a liquor store in Karrada exploded, wounding three. Two people were wounded in a blast near the Ministry of Housing offices in Allawi. A roadside bomb killed three family members traveling by car in Abu Ghraib. A bomb planted in a Muqdadiya orchard killed a farmer and wounded his son….

Increase of birth defects and miscarriages in Fallujah
26 Mar — Increase in time of birth defects and miscarriages in Fallujah since 2003 and its association with toxic metals load in the population and in newborns and children with birth defects and their families … For 2010, medical sources in Fallujah reported to us 14.7% of birth defects. This is about 10 fold higher compared to the frequencies in the same families in the years 1991-2001.


Al Jazeera English’s future in the United States
KabobFest 26 Mar — The Arab Media & Society Journal recently published a study conducted by William Youmans and Katie Brown, which surveys the perception of Al Jazeera English amongst the American audiences. They found that that “[despite]  filling a gap in the global market for televised international news, AJE did not receive a welcome reception in the United States” and that this lack in reception “persisted until the early 2011 uprisings in the Arab world, when AJE’s coverage was acclaimed even by Western media giants” and also increased by 2500% of which 60% was coming from the United States. With its relentless and uncompromising coverage, AJE set itself apart from other global competitors, even drawing praise from US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton who heralded the outlet as “real news”: The American discourse surrounding AJE was also found to be, albeit unsurprisingly, completely polarizing.

Arab perspective, Vermont audience
Boston Globe 26 Mar — Burlington Telecom’s inclusion of Arab station divides opinions — BURLINGTON, Vt. – As political turmoil spread throughout the Middle East in recent weeks, from Tunisia to Egypt to Libya, Mousa Ishaq and his wife, Kristin Peterson-Ishaq, began hearing from friends who know the Ishaqs follow overseas news closely, and who wanted their thoughts on what might happen next in that volatile part of the world. Their opinions are not just highly informed ones. The couple have a personal connection to the region, having met in Cairo in the 1970s. He’s Palestinian-American; she holds a master’s degree in Arabic literature. In addition, unlike the vast majority of Americans, their primary news sources go beyond American newspapers, television networks, and websites to include Al Jazeera English, an offshoot of the Arabic-language news channel. The Ishaqs regularly turn to the station for boots-on-the-ground reporting and analysis.

About Kate

American; political science major, M.A.; former ISM volunteer in the West Bank

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