Christians in Palestine in pictures
24 Apr – not to be missed, gorgeous photos
WATCH: Miracle of the Holy Fire, Jerusalem 2011
23 Apr — Holy Saturday in Jerusalem, 2011. The Holy Fire is a thousand year old tradition where a fire miraculously appears in the tomb of Jesus on the Saturday before Easter and then is spread by candles throughout the city. [In this video people wait for the candles to appear in the streets and light their candles from them. Palestinian bagpipers play.]
Saturday of Fire: Bringing the Holy Spirit to the West Bank
After the lightning ceremony led by the Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theofilos III, “miraculous” by Christian tradition, candles and lanterns are sent out from Jerusalem to cities throughout the West Bank and the world. Most of the Palestinian residents have been kept in the West Bank this year due to an Israeli-enforced closure during the Easter and Passover holiday week. Some Palestinian Christians are awarded special passes, but checkpoints like Ramallah’s Qalandiya were very quiet this past week due to the closure. Palestine’s Christians, while on average wealthier than their Muslim neighbors, have felt enormous pressure since 1948, mirroring a region-wide mass exodus The Independent’s Robert Fisk calls the “Christian flight of Biblical proportions.”
WATCH: Ethiopian Easter 2011 in Jerusalem
Dir as-Sultan monastery Sepulchre Jerusalem
And more news from Today in Palestine:
Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlers
Stop privatizing national parks / Zafrir Rinat
24 Apr — In recent months a group of Knesset members, mostly from the political right, have been promoting an amendment to the national parks law which would allow the environmental protection minister to relay jurisdiction for a park to a non-profit association. Under the terms of the proposed amendment, these are associations whose goals include “perpetuation of values that have historical, archaeological, architectural or natural importance.” … one of the amendment’s main backers, MK Israel Hasson (Kadima), has admitted that one of the main factors motivating the legislation is a High Court petition submitted by the Ir Amim non-profit organization protesting the transfer of management authority for the Jerusalem Walls national park to the Elad non-profit group. Elad is a right-wing organization devoted to expanding Jewish control over the City of David.
Action opposes political archaeology in Silwan
[photos] Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 23 Apr — Protesters staged a sit-in outside the City of David settlement site yesterday in Wadi Hilweh district of Silwan. Demonstrators tied blindfolds over their eyes in symbolism of the countless Palestinians who have been kidnapped or arrested as opponents to settlement activity in their village of Silwan. The action was timed to coincide with the current influx of tourists and foreign visitors to the City of David, the majority of whom visit unaware of the fact that the site is on Palestinian land.
Israeli troops smash Palestinian property in Baten al-Hawa
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 24 Apr — Violent confrontations erupted in Baten al-Hawa district of Silwan last night, with Israeli forces smashing several vehicles belonging to Palestinian residents and firing tear gas, rubber bullets and sound bombs in the streets. Young Palestinians threw Molotov cocktails at the Israeli military-occupied roof of a Palestinian building in the center of the neighborhood. No injuries were reported, but extensive damage caused to residents’ property was recorded.
Jewish settler opens fire in East Jerusalem neighborhood
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 24 Apr 19:23 — A Jewish settler opened fire Sunday in the streets of Wadi al-Joz neighborhood of East Jerusalem, causing panic among the neighborhood’s Palestinian residents, according to witnesses. Moaz al-Za‘tari, director of al-Maqdesee for Social Development, said the settler acted hysterically and people stayed home in fear of being shot by the settler, waiting for the Israeli police to come and arrest him.
Video: Settler harassment of Palestinian shepherds
TaayushHebron 17 Apr – [not even the frightened animals are safe from them]
VIDEO: Land Day in Nabi Samuel
Mahsamilim 21 Apr — Nabi Samuel النبي صموئيل is a Palestinian village whose houses and lands are coveted by the Israeli Occupation. Most of it has been ruined, its lands robbed, and the greater part of its mosque turned into a Yeshiva (Jewish seminary). The village is totally isolated. An island in the area occupied by Israel. A severe policy of restriction of movement permits makes life unbearable for its inhabitants, imprisoning them in their own village. No one comes or goes without the occupiers’ permission. No one is allowed to come and visit its two hundred Palestinian inhabitants, including relatives and friends, except for holders of Israeli IDs. No one is allowed to build, even a wall, a sewage hole, or another room for the one room school in the village. Anything can be a pretext for the Israeli authorities to withdraw the villagers’ residency status so they live in the daily fear of being denied their right to live in their own village. On “Land Day” 2011, Palestinian citizens of Israel, Palestinian residents of Jerusalem and other friends came to al Nabi Samwil to visit, show solidarity, protest, and plant some trees.
Israeli settler shot dead, 4 injured in Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 24 Apr 17:14 — An Israeli settler was shot dead and four others were injured early Sunday after a group of Jewish worshipers snuck into Nablus without coordinating with Palestinian or Israeli security, officials said. Settler sources named the man killed in the incident as Jerusalem resident Ben-Yosef Livnat, a 24-year-old father of four who is the nephew of hawkish culture minister Limor Livnat, and was born in the Nablus-area settlement Elon Moreh. The shooting took place when dozens of armed ultra-Orthodox settlers entered the Joseph’s Tomb site without an Israeli military escort. The Palestinian officers told the group that they were not allowed in the area and said that in response settlers pulled out their own guns and pointed them toward the officers. Israel’s military confirmed no coordination attempts had been made.
Israelis shot in West Bank tried to break through Palestinian roadblock, probe shows
Haaretz 24 Apr 12:51 — Palestinian security forces opened fire early Sunday on three cars full of Israelis who entered the West Bank compound of Joseph’s Tomb without permission and then tried to break through a local checkpoint, according to an initial investigation by the Israel Defense Forces and the Palestinian Authority … A senior Israel Defense Forces termed the incident “a serious mishap caused by both sides.” The army is refraining from referring to the shooting as a terror attack, but has called it an unjustified attack against civilians. The Palestinian Authority opened its own investigation into the matter …Defense Minister Ehud Barak condemned the incident as “murder” and ordered the IDF to carry out an investigation of its own. He also demanded the Palestinians probe the incident quickly and take every step necessary to perpetrate those responsible. “No problem of coordination can justify an incident like this and the shooting of innocent people,” he said.
‘Murdered simply for being a Jew’
Ynet 24 Apr — …Meanwhile, the police asked the Petah Tikva Magistrate’s Court to remand three Breslov Hasidim, aged 19 from Jerusalem and Bnei-Brak, for five days for violating a restricted military zone order. The motion said that the three, along with 15 other hasidim, entered the Joseph Tomb compound on Sunday morning sans the proper permits. The act resulted in the shooting incident that left one Israeli dead and five others injured. The Petah Tikva Magistrate’s Court ordered to release the three under a two-day house arrest. The court permitted the three to attend prayer services with the escort of family members and ordered them to pay bail of NIS 5,000 each (about $1,400). The 17-year-old brother of one of the wounded men arrived at Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva, where they have been hospitalized. “They knew what they were getting into, and the level of risk involved. But they considered it as action,” the brother told Ynet. [why does the headline have nothing to do with the story?]
MK Limor Livnat: My nephew was killed by a terrorist disguised as a Palestinian policeman
Haaretz 24 Apr 15:49 — Hundreds attended the funeral of Ben-Joseph Livnat Sunday, who was killed and three others were wounded earlier in the day when a Palestinian security officer opened fire on their car as they were leaving the holy site of Joseph’s Tomb near the West Bank city of Nablus.
Netanyahu: PA must take severe steps against killers of Ben-Joseph Livnat
24 Apr — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strongly condemned Sunday the “atrocious” killing of Ben-Joseph Livnat, a 25-year-old father of four and nephew of Culture and Science Minister Limor Livnat in the West Bank, urging the Palestinian Authority to bring those responsible to justice … Netanyahu demanded in a statement that the PA must take severe steps against the Palestinian policemen who “misbehaved” and opened fire on the Israeli worshipers.
Report: Palestinians set Joseph’s Tomb on fire
(VIDEO – click on smaller arrow on the right to watch) – Unrest rattled the West Bank city of Nablus Sunday following the shooting of Breslov Hassidim visiting the Palestinian-controlled Joseph’s Tomb in the city. Palestinian sources reported local Palestinian youths gathered around the Tomb’s compound shortly after the incident and set it on fire. A group of Palestinian youngsters rolled burning tires into the Tomb’s plaza, which was renovated only a few months ago. A Palestinian source said black smoke towered over the gravesite, adding the sight was “reminiscent of the days of the Second Intifada.”
‘Worshippers visit Joseph’s Tomb every night’
Ynet 24 Apr — After unauthorized visit to Nablus holy site leads to fatal shooting incident, coordinator of entries to Joseph’s Tomb says difficulty to obtain permits from IDF prompts worshippers to trespass into vicinity illegally. ‘We’re allowed in only once a month. They give us 10 buses, but over half a million want to visit’
Rightists threaten vengeance over Nablus shooting
Ynet 24 Apr — Shortly prior to the funeral of Nablus shooting victim Ben-Yosef Livnat, who was killed Sunday morning in a shooting at Joseph’s Tomb, presumably by Palestinian policemen, settlers embarked on a price tag retaliation, stoning a Palestinian car. A Palestinian child was reportedly hurt. In retaliation to that, Palestinians stoned Israeli cars, injuring an Israeli youth. Two homes and two cars were reportedly set on fire in the village of Hawara, on the funeral procession route … Right wing elements have declared that the latest price tag activities were “only the beginning” and that the settlers intend to continue taking vengeance over the Sunday morning killing.
IOF troops open fire at Palestinian farmers
KHAN YOUNIS, (PIC) 24 Apr — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) opened machinegun fire at Palestinian farmers and their fields east of Khan Younis, south of the Gaza Strip, on Sunday morning. Palestinian sources said that the soldiers, stationed on the eastern borders of Khan Younis opened heavy machinegun fire as warplanes hovered overhead. They said that the farmers fled their fields due to the intensive shooting, adding that no casualties were reported.
Israel destroys spying devices in Gaza
Al-Ahram 24 Apr — The Israeli air force destroyed audio-visual spying devices after they were discovered by the Palestinian resistance, Palestinian sources told Ahram Online. The sources allege that a few days ago, a number of objects in sand hills in the south of Gaza City sparked the curiosity of Palestinian resistance affiliates as they passed by. The resistance’s leadership was informed and technological experts were sent to the site. They became certain that the objects were Israeli spying devices, the sources explained. They had started to move the devices when the driver received a phone call from Israeli intelligence elements calling on him to abandon the car within three minutes before it is bombed from the air.
Gaza children draw to honor slain activist
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 24 Apr — Children in southern Gaza spent Saturday drawing pictures to honor slain Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni. Over a hundred children and their mothers participated in the memorial event, organized by a charity in Khan Younis. Children also wrote letters expressing their condolences to Arrigoni’s mother … “We wanted to tell, through drawings, that we are a people who love peace and what happened was nothing to do with our religion or morals,” 11-year-old Tasneim Al-Farra said. “I cried after I learned that the man had abandoned his homeland and came to defend us. He deserved to be honored, not murdered,” she added.
Gaza crossing open for limited goods
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) — Palestinian liaison official Raed Fattouh told Ma‘an that 110 trucks of goods were expected to enter the Gaza Strip. The official, who coordinates deliveries of goods, added that two truckloads of carnations harvested in Gaza would be exported to Europe via the same crossing. Limited quantities of domestic-use gas will also be allowed in the Gaza Strip.
Activism / Solidarity
Activists demonstrate, work land despite Israeli military harassment
PSP 24 Apr — On Saturday, April 23, eight Israeli activists and 24 international volunteers joined residents of Beit Ommar for an action near Karmei Tsur organized by the Beit Ommar National Committee Against the Wall and Settlements. The international contingent included volunteers from the Palestine Solidarity Project and International Solidarity Movement, as well as the Belgian group Checkpoint Singers … As the choir sang anti-oppression songs, Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals began to pull stones from the earth and add them to the rock walls bordering the field. Whenever a they approached the soldiers, the military would retreat, and soon a handful of the faster workers had pushed the IDF three-quarters of the way across the field.
The global wake of Vittorio Arrigoni
24 Apr — The International Solidarity Movement and activists around the globe will connect via webcast for the [Italian] funeral of Vittorio Arrigoni. The International Solidarity Movement will join synchronized funerals in Italy and Gaza for Vittorio Arrigoni. At 6pm tonight, activists, supporters and the public will converge on the Ramallah Municipality building – between the restaurants Stones and Cafe la Paix – to celebrate the life and legacy of Arrigoni, slain in Gaza earlier this month. [includes video of the launching of the Oliva].
Palestinian prisoners challenges arrest by Israeli forces as ‘illegal extradition’
IMEMC 24 Apr — A Palestinian who was abducted Friday outside of Nablus in a joint operation by Israeli military and police forces has challenged his abduction on the grounds that Israeli police were acting “outside of Israel” by abducting him in the Occupied West Bank, and that this renders his abduction illegal under international law. An Israeli judge has allowed Mohamed Beni Gama’s lawyer to submit the argument, which could have broad implications for some of the 8,000 Palestinians currently imprisoned inside Israel … Palestinians are regularly abducted by Israeli forces in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (the West Bank and Gaza Strip), with an average of 200 taken per month into Israeli prison facilities (this number is based on a compilation of daily news reports, averaged over time). According to Beni Gama’s lawyer, Nachmi Finblatt, the use of Israeli police in the Palestinian Territories is equivalent to sending domestic police into a foreign country to arrest a suspect, asking rhetorically, “Would the police consider abducting a French national from France if they suspected him of breaking into a business in Israel?”
Israel ranks 7th in ‘happiness index’
Gallup survey shows 63% of Israelis satisfied with their lives, more than residents of United States, Britain. Denmark tops list with 72% happy campers, while only 14% of Palestinian Authority residents say they’re content with situation
Thousands of Palestinians attend 9th Aqsa child festival
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC) 24 Apr — More than 15,000 Palestinians from occupied Jerusalem and the 1948 occupied lands attended on Saturday the ninth festival of the Aqsa child and the third drawing contest for kids in the Aqsa Mosque’s courtyards. Deputy head of the Islamic Movement in the 1948 occupied lands Sheikh Kamal Al-Khatib expressed his extreme delight to see such crowds attending this event to show their attachment to their holy sites.
New rule on marriage in Palestinian territories boosts women’s rights
Ramallah (Gulf News) 24 Apr — A married man in the Palestinian Territories can no longer remarry unless his first wife is officially notified, according to a circular issued by the Palestinian Supreme Council of Islamic Courts on Sunday. According to the circular which was effective immediately and distributed to the various Sharia courts in the Palestinian Territories, the courts should not and cannot conduct marriages without informing the first wife. Also the to-be-wife should be informed that her husband is married. The ruling comes after growing complaints from women demanding more rights in the instance of marriage laws.
Arrigoni, Mer-Khamis to receive Jerusalem honors
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) 24 Apr — President Mahmoud Abbas announced Sunday that he would present murdered Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni and slain Freedom Theater Director Juliano Mer-Kamis with the Jerusalem Medal of Honor. Family members of both men would be presented with the medals when Arrigoni’s mother visits Palestine, Abbas said.
Hebron names park after Arrigoni
HEBRON (WAFA) 24 Apr — Youth Development Society in Beit Ula, western Hebron Sunday named a park after the murdered Italian activist, Vittorio Arrigoni, in honor of his support for the Palestinian Cause. Minister of Local Government, Khaled Qawasmi, attended the inauguration ceremony and condemned Arrigoni’s assassination, stressing that the murder does not reflect Palestinian moral values.
Palestinian leadership refuses to move Arafat’s archive to Israel
Xinhua 22 Apr — A Palestinian official in Fatah movement said Thursday that the Palestinian leadership has not yet allocated the place to keep the archive of late President Yasser Arafat when they receive it from Tunisia. Secretary of the Revolutionary Council of Fatah Ameen Maqboul said that the Palestinian leadership has not yet asked for an Israeli permission to receive the archive. PNA President Mahmoud Abbas said during a recent visit to Tunisia that the new Tunisian leadership agreed to send Arafat’s archive to the PNA.
Analysis / Opinion / Human interest
WATCH: TEDx Ramallah reminds us of creation under occupation
21 Apr — The final speaker of TEDx Ramallah, the acclaimed author and architect Suad Amiry [author of Sharon and My Mother-in-Law: Ramallah Diaries], was a perfect end to an exhilarating day. You have to see her speech, embedded in two pieces throughout this post, to understand what I mean.[inspiring AND hilarious]
Israel to Christians: Christ is a monkey on a cross / Tim King
23 Apr — Show host to monkey depicting Jesus on the cross – “You are a Nazi, Yeshu (Jesus), you are a Nazi.” So, a slutty Israeli TV show features a chick in a skimpy bikini mocking Jesus Christ by showing him as a stupid looking monkey hanging on a cross. Then using the ‘f’ word, she proceeds to tell Jewish viewers that Christians, we ‘goyam’, are ‘dangerous’ toward Jews. From there, it gets much worse. We aren’t making this up; this is Israeli television being widely viewed today. The show is called, “The History Program of Toffee the Gorilla” … So all of you who tell me how bad I am for the articles I write about Israel, let’s hear your defense for this one.
Interview: Daughter of Franz Fanon on Palestine solidarity
EI 22 Apr — Last year, Mireille Fanon-Mendès France of the Frantz Fanon Foundation testified in the trial of Ameer Makhoul, a Palestinian citizen of Israel and the director of Ittijah, the Union of Arab Community-Based Associations. In January, Makhoul was sentenced to nine years in prison for charges related to espionage and contact with “enemies of the state.” According to Makhoul, during the 22 days he was held in isolation after his arrest, the Israeli authorities used severe interrogation methods that caused him both psychological and physical harm. Mireille Fanon-Mendès France knows Ameer Makhoul through years of regular meeting while representing their respective organizations at the World Social Forum’s International Council.
Children are the best peacemakers in the Middle East / Izzeldin Abuelaish
Guardian 24 Apr — For the sake of my dead daughters, I will never cease striving for peace — I always feel great joy every time I deliver a baby. To hear that first cry gives me hope because a new person has been born, a new chance at life. There will be a fresh pair of eyes to see the world and, I hope, see it in a better way … As I continue to follow news about ongoing tensions between Palestinians and Israelis in Jerusalem and Gaza, I am reminded all the more of the children caught within this conflict. Having worked in Palestine and Israel, I know there is no difference between Israeli parents and Palestinian parents. Both instinctively protect their child. But in times of conflict, both must learn to understand this need about one another.Some view my lawsuit against the state of Israel sceptically.
Shekels as tools of the regime / Salman Masalha
24 Apr — The issuance of new bills with pictures of writers is a chance for the government to show its concern for Arab citizens – writer Emile Habibi for instance … The paper money in Israel apparently serves as an organ of Zionist propaganda. Anyone killing time in a queue can stop and scrutinize lines attributed to former President Zalman Shazar on the NIS 200 bill and consider where his tax money is headed:
At home and abroad, Israelis ignore the rest of the world / Gideon Levy
24 Apr — You might expect such a tourism-loving people to open its eyes and ears to what can be seen and heard around the globe. Instead, we keep walling ourselves in against what the world thinks and feels … There have been closed-in nations that traveled here and there. But this combination of complete apathy to the world and endless traveling around it is a truly Israeli invention. Why? Because as the bumper sticker says, Israeli is best, bro.
Israel, remember: Gaza will be part of Palestinian state / Zvi Bar’el
24 Apr — If the Palestinian state is recognized, Abbas will be responsible for what happens in Gaza, if he does not resign first. There will no longer be room for two governments.
‘Hypocrisy-seeking missile’: Omar Barghouti’s BDS reviewed
EI 22 Apr – ” “Our South Africa moment has finally arrived,” said Palestinian author-activist Omar Barghouti in a series of speeches delivered in 2010. With the publication of BDS: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights, the first book dedicated to the game-changing boycott, divestment and sanctions movement — known by the initials BDS — has itself finally arrived … Barghouti excels in distilling the arguments surrounding BDS down to their essentials. It is precisely because of his insistent focus on these fundamental issues that it has become all but impossible to find articulate holders of opposing views willing to engage him in public debate.
The Middle East’s oldest dictatorship / Marwan Bishara
AJ 21 Apr — Al Jazeera’s senior political analyst discusses Israel’s rule over the Palestinians beyond the peace rhetoric — …Unlike other colonial powers and dictatorships in recent memory, Israel took all, but gave nothing in return. The settlements, the bypass roads and the industrial zones it built, are exclusively for Jews. Israel and its various Zionist organisations have built over 600 towns, villages and other form of settlements for the Jews, but none for the Palestinians — not even those it considers part of its own citizens, who make up almost one-fifth of its population. And much like other dictatorships, it’s in denial over the damage it has caused to the people under its rule, and delusional over occupation it deems necessary, benevolent, or even divinely promised. No other dictatorship in the region has been as indifferent and destructive for so long over those it ruled, as the Zionist regime has been in Palestine.
Video: MLK’s beloved community
20 Apr — Interview with Prince Immanuel Ben Yehuda and other members of the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem, living in Dimona, Israel
Nablus stands beautiful and unvisited
NABLUS (IPS) 24 Apr — Palestine experiences a boom in tourism, as herds of tourists storm the cities of Jerusalem, Jericho and Bethlehem. Meanwhile, the West Bank city of Nablus, rich in historic and religious sites, hardly attracts visitors. “It’s an ancient city with a magnificent old town. It’s home to Jacob’s Well, the Samaritans and Sabastiya.” Salem Hantoli, manager of Nablus’ al-Yasmeen hotel, praises the various tourist attractions of Nablus, a city with 126,000 inhabitants in the northern West Bank … Aker points at Israeli measures as the main obstacle to attracting more international tourists. “When at Ben Gurion Airport you tell them you’re planning to visit Nablus, they’ll recommend you not going there because the city ‘isn’t safe’. And surely they’ll make it harder for you to actually enter Israel,” says Aker.
My travels: Mark Thomas on walking Israel’s West Bank barrier
Guardian 23 Apr — Comedian Mark Thomas found his idea of rambling along the Israeli barrier in the West Bank even more fraught than it sounds — The dubious honour of being the first person to walk the length of Israel’s barrier in the West Bank, to the best of my knowledge, belongs to, well, me. Admittedly it’s not a hotly contested title. Israel’s massive barrier covered in watchtowers, wire and soldiers is hardly a hiking trail but it will become one eventually. That is the fate of military follies, from the Great Wall of China to Hadrian’s Wall: they are destined to a future of tea shops and tour guides.
Saturday: 2 US soldiers, 9 Iraqis killed, 6 wounded
At least nine Iraqis were killed and six more were wounded in light violence. Two U.S. soldiers were killed during operations in southern Iraq as well. Although there were no large-scale attacks reported, a spate of shootings in the capital targeted government or security officials. Also, protests continued in at least two cities.