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Thousands of Palestinians take part in ‘Land Day’ protests across Israel/Palestine

Israel/Palestine
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The West Bank village Nil’in recognizes Land Day, and as per usual is met with tear gas.

Land Day: What it means and why it’s important / Yousef Munayyer
Today, March 30th, marks Land Day or Youm Al Ard in Arabic. Perhaps more than May 15th, when the Nakba is often marked, or June 5th, when the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is marked, Land Day is symbolic of the totality of the Palestinian struggle. It’s a day that refugees, who dwell in dismal camps dreaming of return, internally displaced or marginalized Palestinians in Israel and Palestinians living under Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza are bound together in commemoration of what the Palestinian struggle is all about: a people’s desire to live free on their native land.
So what precisely is Land Day? An info brief here explains.

Two poems by Rashid Hussein
Rashid Hussein (1936-1977) was born in Musmus, Palestine, in 1936. He published his first collection in 1957 and established himself as a major Palestinian poet and orator. He participated in founding the Land Movement in 1959 … With the Land — The land comes near me / drinks from me / leaves its orchards with me / to become a beautiful weapon / defending me / Even when I sleep / the land comes near me / in my dream. / I smuggle its wild thyme / between exiles….

1,500 Israeli Arabs take part in Land Day protest in Lod
Haaretz 29 Mar 22:37 — Demonstrators protest against government demolitions of illegal houses in Lod, other ‘racist’ government policies, burn pictures of Lieberman and carry signs reading ‘Enough with the Ethnic Cleansing.’ … The protesters were demonstrating against the government demolition of the houses of the Abu Eid family, which left some 50 family members, 30 of them children, without a home …  Israeli Arab Knesset members and Jewish residents of mixed cities also participated in the protest.

Schools in Israel’s Arab towns close for Land Day marches
Haaretz 30 Mar — Schools in the country’s Arab towns will be closed today for Land Day Wednesday, commemorating 35 years since the Israeli government announced a plan to seize thousands of dunams of land in the Galilee. Arab MKs and the leaders of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee are scheduled to participate in a large rally in the Galilee town of Arabeh Wednesday afternoon. Smaller marches will leave from Sakhnin and Dir Hanna and meet up in Arabeh, after making stops at the graves of the six Israeli Arabs killed in clashes with security forces while protesting the seizure of land during the first Land Day on March 30, 1976.

Palestinians commemorate Land Day
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 30 Mar — Five hundred students were chased and beaten by government security forces during a Land Day protest in Gaza City on Wednesday, an organizer affiliated with the March 15 coalition told Ma‘an. Hamas officials had earlier confirmed that one demonstration, joined by all factions, was given a permit to demonstrate on Land Day.
Teachers in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem devoted their first class Wednesday to the history of Land Day, and the Palestinian struggle to prevent land confiscations, as demonstrations swelled across Palestinian cities.
A protest march towards Beit El, an Israeli settlement in the central West Bank district of Ramallah and Al-Bireh, was blocked by Palestinian police on Ramallah’s Nablus street, organizers said.
In Israel, strikes were declared in dozens of Palestinian towns and cities, with a central demonstration in the Galilee town of Arraba, and a second organized in the Negev town of Araqib …
The protests have their root in the commemoration of the death of six Palestinian citizens of Israel, who took part in a general strike in protest of an Israeli decision to confiscate privately owned Palestinian lands in 1976

West Bank ‘Mistress of the Hill” challenges Jewish settlers
NABLUS, West Bank, March 30 (Bernama) — Om Ayman Sufan, a woman over 50 years old from the Borin village, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, rarely sleeps at night in order to protect her house from Jewish settlers” assaults, reports Xinhua news agency. Situated on a hilltop that confronts the Jewish settlement of Yitzhar, Om Ayman”s house is often attacked by Israeli settlers. Residents of the village called her the “Mistress of the Hill.” As the Palestinians mark the Land Day on Wednesday, Om Ayman, who became well-known for confronting and challenging Israeli settlers in her village, renewed her pledge to keep resisting them and refused to leave her house and the village.

And more news from Today in Palestine:

Land and property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlers

Settlement building increases fourfold in ’10
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 30 Mar — As Palestinians commemorate Land Day, the anniversary of an uprising against Israel’s land confiscation, a report from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics released a report showing Israel’s settlement project is rapidly escalating. Thirty-five years on from the uprising, in which six young protesters were killed by Israeli forces, Palestinians constitute almost half of the population of the Palestine under the British Mandate, but have access to less than 15 percent of the land, the PCBS report said. Israel’s separation wall has confiscated around 733 square kilometers of occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank, the report notes … PCBS found that in 2010, Israel built 6,794 Jewish-only housing units on occupied Palestinian land, four times more than in 2009.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=373357

Twana village: living in settler hell / Muhannad al-Adm
Hebron (PNN/Exclusive) 30 Mar — The al-Ra‘bi family lives in the village of Twana, south of Hebron in the southern West Bank, in a lasting state of panic induced by the settlers in the nearby outpost of Ma’oun, built on Twana’s land. The Twana villagers can’t leave and they can’t abandon their sheep, their only livelihood in this land of little rainfall. Jama‘a al-Ra‘bi, who owns the family home, says they can only wait and hold onto their land.
http://english.pnn.ps/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=9801&Itemid=56

Israel bulldozes farmlands in south Bethlehem
West Bank, (Pal Telegraph) 30 Mar — Israeli bulldozers started Wednesday razing operations to  several agricultural lands of Al-Khader town in the south part of Bethlehem. Awad Abu Sawi, Bethlehem director of the local Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, said that dozens of settlers under the protection of Israeli army bulldozed yesterday more than 13 Dunums in the area of Hereka Qiqan which belonged to Palestinian citizens.
http://www.paltelegraph.com/palestine/west-bank/8799-israeli-bulldozes-farmlands-south-bethlehem.html

Israelis demolish village near Hebron to build public park
Ramallah (Gulf News) 29 Mar — Seven Palestinians from the village of Umm Nir, south east Yatta near Hebron, were injured in clashes with the Israeli army which raided their village for the third time and demolished a big portion of it that the colonists plan to replace with a public park for a nearby Israeli settlement. … Abul Aziz Abu Fannar, a spokesman of Yatta municipality, … added that the Palestinian residents of Umm Nir village owned a total of 3,600 donums of lands as private property, which the Israeli colonists were working to seize.
http://gulfnews.com/news/region/palestinian-territories/israelis-demolish-village-near-hebron-to-build-public-park-1.784586

Tractors confiscated in Al-Jiftlik, Jordan Valley
ISM 29 Mar — At approximately 7 am this morning the Israeli army entered the village of Al Jiftlik. Soldiers went door to door ordering all tractor owners to bring their farming vehicles to the closed military zone between Miswa settlement and a nearby Israeli army base, where they had set up a temporary base … Approximately forty tractor owners were questioned, and their ID’s and vehicle ownership were checked. They were made to stand next to their tractors, after which soldiers photographed and filmed the men with their vehicles. All people were informed that their tractors would be confiscated if they proved unable to provide proof of ownership. The forty farmers had to wait in the sun for up to 7 hours to find out the army’s decision on what would happen to their farming vehicles. At 3 pm four owners were ordered to drive their tractors into the military camp … The four tractors were confiscated and kept inside the military camp after the farmers brought them there. Faris, one of the farmers who had to bring his tractor into the military camp, said his tractor cost him 40.000NIS; “all the money I collected from farming, I put into the tractor.” He also indicated that he will be unable to continue farming his land without having a tractor.
http://palsolidarity.org/2011/03/17276/

Photojournal: Settlers and army collude in in ethnic cleansing
Jordan Valley Solidarity – 28 Mar — For the last week the family of Nabeel and Ghada Daraghme have become the latest victims of Israel’s brutal policy of ethnic cleansing in the Jordan Valley … Nabeel and Ghada are bedouin cattle farmers, moving between ‘Ein el Hilwe, Al Hadidiya and Tubas during the year. They have four children: Firas, the eldest, herds the cattle in the mountains every day from around 5am, whilst the others are all young and attend the school in ‘Ein El Hilwe, run entirely by volunteers from our project.
http://topalestineinsolidarity.blogspot.com/2011/03/settlers-and-army-collude-in-ethnic.html

Homes destroyed by Israel army in Amniyr, south Hebron hills
Christian Peacemaker Teams 29 Mar — At 7:00 am on the morning of March 29th 2011 the Israeli military demolished the village of Amniyr , destroying seven tent dwellings and confiscating the remains. This is the second time in just over a month that the Israeli army has demolished the village … One resident was injured by a blow to his head by the butt of a gun, and four required treatment for inhalation of teargas used by the soldiers. Israel does not deny that the demolished homes are on private land owned by the village’s Palestinian residents … Immediately after the demolitions were finished, villagers began to reconstruct what they could of the rubble. As residents started gathering stones from a demolished sheep pen, the sounds of an Israeli bulldozer could be heard across the valley as it continued to excavate new construction for the illegal Israeli settlement of Susiya.
http://palsolidarity.org/2011/03/17253/

Settlers stone police in nightly clash
Ynet 30 Mar — Police arriving at Givat Ronen to arrest resident of West Bank outpost greeted with stones, forced to send for backup, officers say. Settlers: Police behaved violently, injured three. MK compares internal security minister to Gaddafi
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4049649,00.html

Gaza

Israeli air strike kills Gaza militant linked to rocket attack near border
Haaretz 30 Mar — Israel Air Force jets struck Wednesday a group of Palestinian militants in southern Gaza, killing one gunman and wounding another as they rode a motorcycle, Gaza medical officials said. The Israel Defense Forces confirmed carrying out the dawn strike, saying it targeted Palestinians who had launched a short-range rocket across the border on Tuesday. No one was hurt in that attack … They had been driving to mosque prayers when they were struck on the road from Khan Younis to Rafah in south Gaza, Islamic Jihad said in a statement … Earlier on Wednesday, Israel’s air force bombed a smuggling tunnel  [Reuters: Hours after the air strike, a small al Qaeda-linked group in Gaza, Tawheed And Jihad, issued a statement saying that it had carried out Tuesday’s rocket attack.]
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/israel-air-strike-kills-gaza-militant-linked-to-rocket-attack-near-border-1.352893

Early morning air strike kills 1
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 30 Mar — Israeli forces launched an air strike on the southern Gaza Strip shortly after the dawn prayer on Wednesday, killing one militant and injuring a second. In a statement from the Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, officials identified the slain man as Mohammad Abu Mu‘ammer … Spokesman of the higher committee of ambulance and emergency services Adham Abu Salmiya said the 24-year-old man died shortly after being taken to hospital. He confirmed that a second was being treated for critical injuries as a result of the strike. Officials said a drone had carried out the attack. Mu‘ammer is the sixth member of the Al-Quds Brigades to be killed in the last ten days
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=373657

Gaza family mourns boy killed by Israeli shell
EI 29 Mar — Some playing cards and other small items were all that Mahmoud Jalal al-Hilu, 10, left behind when he was killed by an Israeli tank shell on 22 March as he played near his home in the Shuja‘iya neighborhood east of Gaza City. “As I was heading to the mosque for afternoon prayers, Mahmoud was just coming back from school, and said, ‘Dad, classes are canceled today because there was Israeli shelling,'” Abu Hamad al-Hilu, 48, told The Electronic Intifada as he received visitors who had come to offer condolences on the death of his son.
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11886.shtml

Saving Gaza one family at a time / Ken O’Keefe
GAZA CITY 28 Mar — Two years on, the Samouni family in Gaza is still without basic needs and the children continue to suffer from the trauma of Israel’s extended attack called Operation Cast Lead and the ultimate loss of parents, siblings and other family members. Many of these children were made to live next to the corpses of their loved ones for days, so you can imagine what is happening in their heads and their hearts. We have already built a playground on Samouni land; we have planted a small Olive Tree Orchard and laid the floor for the classroom/community centre. The next phase of building the centre/classroom is outlined at the following link
http://salem-news.com/articles/march282011/samouni-family-ko.php

Defense ministry ordered to release internal documents on Gaza policies / Amira Hass
Haaretz 30 Mar — The ministry has been ordered to release information regarding the minimum nutritional requirements needed to sustain Gaza residents, names of officials responsible for policy of limiting the entry of goods into the Strip … The documents still have not been uncovered while the Defense Ministry decides whether it will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. .
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/defense-ministry-ordered-to-release-internal-documents-on-gaza-policies-1.352768

Bill: Ban money transfers from Israel to Gaza
Ynet 30 Mar — Twenty rightist Knesset members on Wednesday submitted a bill that would ban the transfer of funds from Israel to Gaza as long as terrorist activities continue in the Hamas-ruled territory.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4050021,00.html

More Palestinians return to Gaza from Libya
ALEXANDRIA, Egypt (Ma‘an) 29 Mar — A third group of Palestinians returned to Gaza from Libya on Tuesday, the Palestinian consulate in Alexandria said. The group left Libya through the As-Saloum crossing into Egypt, and entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing, the consulate said in a statement.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=373463

Power cable equipment to enter via sole crossing
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 30 Mar — Three truckloads of goods for the Gaza Power Authority will be permitted to enter the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, Palestinian liaison officer Raed Fattouh said he was informed by his Israeli counterpart.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=373653

Gaza court sentences man to death
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 30 Mar — A military court in the central Gaza Strip sentenced a man to death by hanging on Wednesday, after a judge found him guilty of treason contributing to the death of a Palestinian. A second man was found guilty of treason and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor. Both sentences were accepted unanimously by the military panel, but are appealable.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=373658

Israeli minister proposes Gaza island
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 30 Mar — Israel is considering building an artificial island with sea and air ports off blockaded Gaza, as a long-term solution to shipping goods into the Hamas-run Palestinian enclave, the transport minister said. Yisrael Katz told Army Radio on Wednesday he wants an international force to control the island for “at least 100 years” and for unloaded cargo to be brought into Gaza along a 4.5-km (3-mile)-long bridge with a security checkpoint to prevent arms smuggling.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110330/wl_nm/us_palestinians_israel_island

Detention

Awarta police officer detained in night raid
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 30 Mar — A 40-year-old policeman was detained by Israeli forces from the village of Awarta overnight Tuesday, a day after dozens were rounded up in connection to a murder investigation involving a settler family from the adjacent Itamar settlement … Police identified the latest man detained from the village of Awarta as Samih Ilias Al-Qadi. An Israeli military spokesman said he could not comment on events in the village.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=373762

Child exiled from home for stone-throwing
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 30 Mar — A 14-year-old Jerusalem boy was banned from his neighborhood by a district court, his family said Wednesday.  The child is prohibited from entering his home district for 60 days, after being convicted of stone throwing, relatives said. Salim Bader Ash-Sha‘ar will have to live with relatives and stop attending school for the duration of the order … The order, the center said, was handed down in lieu of jail time for the child.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=373697

Mentally handicapped 12-year-old arrested by Israeli forces in Silwan
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 29 Mar — A mentally handicapped Palestinian child has been arrested and interrogated by Israeli forces because he was playing with a plastic gun. At the beginning of March this year an Israeli jeep on patrol halted in Al-Bustan district to arrest a 12-year old mentally handicapped child named Mahdi Abu Nab from outside his home. Mahdi, who is a student at a school for the mentally disabled, was playing with a plastic toy gun, which troops saw as reason enough to take the boy by force and into the jeep.
http://silwanic.net/?p=14212

Boy found to have lied about rape
Ynet 30 Mar — Police released four Palestinians residing illegally in Israel who were arrested Tuesday on suspicion that they had raped an 11-year old Israeli boy, when it turned out the latter had been lying … The case had been likened to ‘Clockwork Orange’ by police investigator Guy Kalderon, who was involved in their arrest on charges of rape and indecent acts
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4049847,00.html

IOF troops arrest 5 Palestinians
WEST BANK, (PIC) 30 Mar — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) rounded up five Palestinians in various West Bank areas at dawn Wednesday after breaking into many homes, Israeli military sources said. Locals in Azun village, Qalqilia, said that the IOF soldiers took away a 16-year-old boy, while locals in Bethlehem reported that two citizens were rounded up in Husan village and Doheisha refugee camp.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bc

Hamas says 2 detained by PA
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 30 Mar — Hamas officials in the West Bank said Wednesday that Palestinian security forces detained two of its members from the Tulkarem district for political reasons.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=373728

International abduction

Report: Abducted Gazan may have information on Shalit
Ynet 30 Mar — Israel may have ordered Gazan engineer Dirar Abu Sisi’s abduction because he has information on kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, Der Spiegel reported Tuesday … The report says that the senior power plant official, who disappeared from the Ukraine and later surfaced at an Israeli prison, was actually kidnapped by Kiev intelligence agents at the Jewish state’s behest.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4049655,00.html

Abu Sisi’s wife: He never spoke about Shalit
Ynet 30 Mar — Wife of Gaza engineer who was allegedly kidnapped by Israel, says he has no ties to Hamas or knowledge about Gilad Shalit’s abduction … Veronica Abu Sisi said that her husband distanced himself from anything that is related to Hamas and politics. “It is not a subject that ever came up at our home,” she said. “I am sure that he has nothing to do with it. Everything we know about the captive soldier is that Hamas abducted him.”
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4049937,00.html

Politics / International

UN chief: End occupation, divide Jerusalem
Ynet 30 Mar — In message delivered by his assistant at Uruguay conference Ban Ki-moon says occupation is morally and politically unsustainable and must therefore end. ‘A way must be found for Jerusalem to emerge as a capital of two States,’ he adds
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4049602,00.html

Palestinian leadership rejects Israeli threats to thwart state recognition
30 Mar — The Palestinian presidency on Tuesday denounced Israeli threats of unilateral measures if the United Nations recognized Palestine as an independent state. “These threats are a proof of isolation and failure of Israel’s policy,” said Nabil Abu Rdineh, spokesman for Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. “The Palestinian people have the right to establish their independent statehood on all occupied lands,” Abu Rdineh added, noting that “the countries that recognize Palestine are more than those which do not.”
http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90777/90854/7335126.html

Egypt denies report on opening embassy in Gaza
Xinhua 30 Mar — Egypt’s ambassador to the Palestinian territories on Tuesday denied reports on opening the Egyptian embassy in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. “The Egyptian embassy exists where the Palestinian legitimacy exists,” ambassador Yasser Othman said, referring to the West Bank where the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) holds sway. “There is no need to open two embassies because of the division, ” he told the Ramallah-based Al-Ayyam newspaper.
http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90777/90854/7335066.html

Abbas meets European consuls in West Bank
Xinhua 30 Mar — Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday met consuls of Britain, France and Germany in the West Bank and discussed efforts to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Nabil Abu Rdineh, spokesman for Abbas, said that the participants discussed the upcoming meeting of the Quartet of Middle East peace mediators, which comprises the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations, in the middle of April.
http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90777/90854/7335145.html

PLO factions urge leaders to seize opportunity for unity
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 29 Mar — PLO factions in Gaza on Tuesday called on Hamas and Fatah to seize the current opportunity to achieve national Palestinian unity. In a statement, five PLO factions urged all parties involved to facilitate President Mahmoud Abbas’ proposal to visit the Gaza Strip and make a unity deal between his Fatah party and Hamas. The Hamas-run Gaza Strip has been separated from the West Bank since 2007
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=373555

Hamas official: Party will accept Abbas initiative to end division
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 29 Mar — Hamas head of the Palestinian legislature Aziz Dweik said Tuesday that the party would respond positively to President Mahmoud Abbas’ initiative to visit Gaza and end the national division.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=373585

Arab League could host Palestinian unity talks
CAIRO (AFP) 29 Mar — The Arab League is willing to host Palestinian reconciliation talks, Secretary General Amr Mussa said on Tuesday after a meeting with Hamas leader Mahmud Zahar in Cairo.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110329/wl_mideast_afp/palestinianspoliticsarab

Israel, Tunisia spar over Jewish immigration
JERUSALEM (AFP) 29 Mar — Israeli and Tunisian diplomats were locked in a war of words on Tuesday over Jewish immigration after Israel said it was upping funding to help Jews move from the North African country to Israel … That drew a furious response from the Tunisian foreign ministry, which condemned Israel’s “interference” in the country’s internal affairs by offering financial incentives to encourage Jews to emigrate. It also prompted the leader of the Jewish community in Tunisia to criticize the Israeli government for its offer and say that “no Jew is going to leave the country.” … “Tunisia is outraged by the statements… [from] a country which still denies the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland, shamefully defying international law,” it said.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=373617

US to seek new term on UN panel despite concerns of anti-Israel stance
AP 30 Mar — The Obama administration will seek a new term on the United Nations Human Rights Council despite concerns that the panel remains a hotbed of anti-Israel sentiment and a forum for repressive nations to deflect attention from abuses they may have committed, The Associated Press has learned.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/international/u-s-to-seek-new-term-on-un-panel-despite-concerns-of-anti-israel-stance-1.352916

Other news

State Comptroller: IDF controls 39% of Israel’s land within the Green Line
Haaretz 29 Mar — State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss harshly criticized the use of state land by the Israel Defense Forces in a report issued on Tuesday, finding that it controls 39 percent of Israel’s land inside the Green Line. In his report, Lindenstrauss said that the IDF bases are spread out on over 8.7 million dunams in Israel and occupy 39 percent of land within the Green Line. The report further stated that over 40 percent of land in Israel, 8.8 million dunams, is under building restrictions due to military considerations.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/state-comptroller-idf-controls-39-of-israel-s-land-within-the-green-line-1.352642

Court asked to intervene after 21 Israeli Arabs laid off without warning
Haaretz 30 Mar — A state official on Wednesday filed a petition with labor court on behalf of 21 Israeli Arabs who were laid off by the Kimat Hinam market chain, citing fears that the dismissals were carried out as part of a discriminatory procedure.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/court-asked-to-intervene-after-21-israeli-arabs-laid-off-without-warning-1.353045

Ethiopia: 80 Falashmura injured during protest outside Israeli embassy
Ynet 30 Mar — Some 2,000 Ethiopian Jews demonstrate in front of embassy in Addis Ababa; demand to be allowed to make aliyah. Eighty protesters arrested
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4050023,00.html

pleasant news of the day:
Student-teacher invention wins plaudits at home and abroad
UNRWA Bethlehem 28 Mar — For 14-year old Iman Qraqa‘a and her teacher, Maysoon, it has been an unforgettable week. The student-teacher team from an UNRWA school in Bethlehem has won first place at the Palestine Science and Technology fair and a place at the Intel fair in Los Angeles with their invention of a life-saving ventilation system.
http://www.unrwa.org/etemplate.php?id=942

Analysis / Opinion

UPDATED: In the cross-hairs: Palestinian citizens of Israel / Yousef Munayyer
It seems like the Israeli Knesset wasn’t done with its targeting of the Palestinian Arab minority for the day by the time I had concluded this post. Late yesterday, the Knesset passed a “citizenship-loyalty law” which stipulates that Israeli courts can strip Israeli citizens “who spied for a terror organization, brought about an armed conflict, aided an enemy in wartime, served in the enemy’s armed forces or carried out acts detrimental to the State’s sovereignty”. And of course, it’s up to the Israeli government, dominated by anti-Arab rightists, to define what all of that means. If an Palestinian citizen of Israel, for example, calls for changes in Israeli policy that can be deemed as acting against the “State’s sovereignty” then they can be stripped of their citizenship.
http://blog.thejerusalemfund.org/2011/03/in-cross-hairs-palestinian-citizens-of.html

A morning at an Israeli checkpoint / Alain and Katia Salomon
NYTimes [!] 30 Mar — PARIS — We have just returned from a week in Israel and Palestine. We organize a chamber music festival in Southwest France and are interested in bringing Israeli and Palestinian students to our master classes … We reached the Kalandia checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem on Friday, March 11, at 9:30 in the morning. We chose to get off the bus with everyone else, even though as foreigners we could have stayed on. We were stunned by what we saw: dwarfing cement structures, barbed wire, cameras. As we lined up we could see an Israeli woman soldier inside a multifaceted concrete blockhouse, peering out at us. Ahead of us there was a tunnel of bars just wide enough for one person. At its end a turnstile was blocked electronically from somewhere. As we entered this narrow space I looked at the barbed wire further on. We are Jewish, and began to weep. How was it possible that our own people, who have gone through such suffering, can inflict this ordeal, intended to humiliate and intimidate another people? And then we were seized by fear. If there had been a surge of panic or a fire, we would all have been trampled, for there was no escape. The stories of women giving birth here, some losing their babies, came painfully to mind.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/31/opinion/31iht-edsalomon31.html?_r=1

How can Israel change Muslim extremists’ attitude toward Israel? / Akiva Eldar
Haaretz 29 Mar — Two weeks ago, after the link Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made between the murder in Itamar and Palestinian incitement publications, I reported about a study analyzing the weekly Torah-portion pamphlets distributed in their thousands in Israeli synagogues … Pinchas Leiser, a veteran activist for the Oz Veshalom movement for Zionism, Judaism and peace, has asked that I inform readers that enlightened Sabbath brochures exist alongside the hate pamphlets … There is also an enlightened side in Islam’s attitude toward Judaism. This is presented in a new book edited by Prof. Moshe Ma’oz, “Muslim Attitudes to Jews and Israel: Ambivalences of Rejection, Antagonism, Tolerance and Cooperation.” The book, which brings together studies by Muslim and Jewish researchers and clerics, calls into question the common perception that Islam is anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli. Ma’oz says most scholars of Islam point out that alongside periods of humiliations, persecutions and political discrimination, Jewish communities in Muslim countries enjoyed long periods of coexistence and tolerance. The attitude of Muslims toward Jews was to a large extent better than their attitude toward Christians and immeasurably better than Christianity’s attitude toward Judaism.
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/features/how-can-israel-change-muslim-extremists-attitude-toward-israel-1.352464

Israel criminalizes commemoration of the Nakba / Jillian Kestler-D’Amours
29 Mar —   …The Nakba bill is just the latest piece of discriminatory legislation targeting the Palestinian minority in Israel, who constitute 20 percent of the overall population of the state. More than twenty bills are presently being discussed in the Israeli Knesset that impact — both directly and indirectly — the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel …”Any racist law will succeed within this Zionist and right-wing Knesset. Any law which any fool or any crazy or any hysterical and racist person could imagine, anything, he can pass it within this racist Knesset,” [MK Haneen] Zoabi said. “I think that the message is that there is no place for the Palestinian or the Palestinian identity to be a part of this state. It is a kind of political strategy in order to change the laws of the political game. These laws have a political function. It is not a mere expression of Zionism.”
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11884.shtml

U.S.

US senators press Clinton on anti-Israel ‘incitement’
WASHINGTON (AFP) 29 Mar — Twenty-seven US senators pressed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Tuesday to make clear to Palestinian leaders that any incitement to violence against Israel or Jews is “not tolerable.” “We would like to know what specific steps you are taking to press for an end to this dangerous incitement,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Clinton urging action after the grisly stabbing slayings of a family of five Israelis, including three children.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110329/pl_afp/israelpalestiniansconflictuspoliticssenate

Appeals court overturns release of Gitmo detainee
WASHINGTON (AP) 29 Mar — Federal appeals court judges on Tuesday rejected what they described as a Guantanamo Bay detainee’s “Forrest Gump” defense, because they found it unlikely he was an innocent who repeatedly just happened to find himself at hot spots in the war on terror.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110329/ap_on_re_us/us_guantanamo_detainee

Population near ground zero doubles since 2000
NEW YORK (AP) 29 Mar — After the Sept. 11 attacks, there were grim questions about the future of the shaken, dust-covered neighborhoods around the World Trade Center. Would residents flee uptown or to the suburbs? Would the epic job of rebuilding lower Manhattan be too much to bear? Who would want to live so close to a place associated with such horror? As it turns out, plenty of folks. Census figures released last week show that the number of people living near ground zero has swelled by about 23,000 since 2000, making it one of the fastest-growing places in the city.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110329/ap_on_re_us/us_census_ground_zero

About Kate

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

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