and other news from Today in Palestine:
Land, property, resources theft and destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlers
Report: Wine bottle smashed at Al-Aqsa compound
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) — A bottle of red wine was broken in the grounds of Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on Wednesday morning, by “Jewish extremists” who had snuck into the compound, an eyewitness reported. In Islam, alcohol is forbidden, and bringing it into a Muslim holy site is considered to be desecration. The report of the incident was made public by the Al-Aqsa Foundation for Heritage and Islamic Endowments. Waqf officials told the official Palestinian Authority news agency WAFA, that the visiting Jewish group was “drinking wine and breaking the empty bottles on its ground to celebrate the Jewish Shavuot holiday.” Foundation officials said the Jewish group entered the compound through its Maghreb Gate with Israeli police protection. Israeli police did not intervene, the WAFA report stated, except to separate the Jewish group from a gathering of Muslim worshipers who were angered by the violation of religious law … On Tuesday, Israeli parliamentarian with the right-wing National Union party Michael Ben-Ari had toured the mosque with a group of Israeli settlers.
Two arrested for attempting to block Israeli raid
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 8 June — Two men were arrested by Israeli forces in Baten al-Hawa yesterday after they attempted to prevent an Israeli raid on a local home last week. Rajaby Zuhair, 36, and Firas Rajaby, 23, had attempted to block Israeli forces from raiding their home in Baten al-Hawa last Friday, 3 June. An order has also reportedly issued by Israeli intelligence for the arrest of Fuad Rajaby and the wife of Zuhair Rajaby.
Troops fire on Baten al-Hawa, residents gassed
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 8 June — Israeli soldiers fired tear gas and sound grenades in the streets of Baten al-Hawa district of Silwan late last night, say eyewitnesses. Many residents were affected by symptoms of asphyxiation due to gas inhalation, including children and the elderly. Local youth retaliated by throwing Molotov cocktails at the Israeli military-occupied building adjacent one of the settlements in the neighborhood, that has become a makeshift base for troops.
Settlers set fire to Palestinian crops near Hebron
Hebron (PNN) 8 June Exclusive – As part of the daily attacks by Israeli settlers on Palestinian villages, on Wednesday afternoon settlers set fire to crops owned by Palestinian farmers from the village of Bani Naim, near Hebron City in the southern West Bank. According to local sources, the settlers came from Kiryat Arba settlements, and according to villagers the settlers set fire to wheat crops and destroyed them entirely … According to sources, Palestinian and Israeli fire engines rushed to the scene and tried to stop the fire that was spreading over a vast area of Palestinian land, but they noted that the Israeli fire fighters were only focusing on the areas closest to the settlement.
Shepherd held for hours over grazing land
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 8 June — Israeli police detained a Hebron shepherd for hours on Tuesday, saying he had allowed his heard of sheep and goats to illegally enter a “closed military zone.” Bilal Hathaleen, 25 from the village of Um Al-Kheir in the south Hebron hills was grazing his flock not far from home when he was apprehended by police and told that he was in a zone too close to the nearby Karmel settlement … “Already we have limited access to grazing lands,” he said, lamenting prospects for adequately feeding his flock. Herders are regularly denied access to lands near Israeli settlements,” Human rights activist Hisham Sharabati told Ma‘an, saying he had received reports of settler violence and harassment from Karmel residents over the previous two days, that kept locals away from the area. He said the issue was getting acute, since water wells for animals to drink from are located in the region south of the settlement.
Israel: Tacit approval of discrimination against Bedouins / Richard Lightbown
Pal Chron 7 June — Around 90,000 Arab Bedouin live on their own land in the Negev which they have inhabited for generations, in some cases before the establishment of the state of Israel. As part of the Israeli Government’s policy to relocate Bedouin from their “unrecognized villages” into government-planned towns, the Water Commissioner had refused an application for hundreds of families to be connected to the Mekorot water company main. Many of the families are forced to buy their drinking water from a central location and pay for transport in unhygienic metal containers or use improvised plastic hose connections from water access points located several kilometers away.In consequence the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (Adalah) took the case to court on behalf of 128 families living in six villages that are unrecognized by the government.
Restrooms and sanitation at Umm-Al-Kheir (a story for Shavuot)
VillagesGroup 8 June — Mohammed Salem is about 30 years old. He lives in Umm-Al-Kheir, in a home inherited from his late father right next to the fence of the Carmel settlement (sometimes spelled “Karmel”; see picture on right). In 2005, when Carmel built an expansion neighborhood, Mohammed was beaten by settlers involved in the construction. Since this assault, he has suffered from post-traumatic stress (PTSD). He has stopped functioning, fears and runs away from any stranger, and even from some family members. Mohammed’s home, one of the few still standing in that part of Umm-Al-Kheir – a village suffering continual destruction from the Occupation authorities – does not have a restroom. Therefore, residents must perform their bodily functions outdoors. On Wednesday, May 25 2011, while Mohammed was outside for that reason, he was harangued by settlers yelling, cursing and making threats. These new, government-backed residents living in fully-connected homes have had enough with this ongoing sanitation problem placed not far from their doorstep.
Checkpoint repairs to divert settler traffic into villages
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 8 June — The Huwwara military checkpoint on the main road between Ramallah and Nablus will close for ten days as road repairs are carried out, Palestinian officials announced Tuesday night. Cars traveling on the north-south artery which serves both settlers, military and Palestinians, will be diverted east to the Awarta checkpoint, and will bypass at least two Palestinian villages before diverting back to the main road. The diversion will take settlers from four illegally built settlements in the northern West Bank into Area B, a zone under Palestinian civilian control, and Israeli military control. The Palestinian Authority said it was carrying out the road work in coordination with Israeli authorities.
IOF storm villages, round up citizens including teen
AL-KHALIL, (PIC) 8 June — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) rounded up two Palestinians in Al-Khalil and Qalqilia villages including a 17-year-old teen, local sources reported on Wednesday. They said that the soldiers stormed the village of Dhaheria, south of Al-Khalil, and took away a 50-year-old man. Locals reported other storming and searching of homes in five villages in Al-Khalil in addition to Fawar refugee camp and suburbs in Al-Khalil city but no arrests were made.
IOF soldiers also arrested a teenager in Azun village, east of Qalqilia city, at dawn Wednesday after using hounds in searching his home.
Citizens in Jenin said that IOF troops detained a young man in the city on Tuesday night after bursting into a number of homes in Marah suburb.
Cancer kids plead to see detained fathers
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 8 June — Asil is 10 years old and suffers from leukemia. Just 40 days after she was born in the West Bank city of Hebron, her father, Jamal Qisiyeh, was detained by Israeli authorities and later sentenced to 13 years imprisonment. Palestinian Detainees Minister in the West Bank visited Asil on Wednesday in a show of support for sick children and their families with parents in Israeli jail. Asil told Qaraqe that she hopes to get better and see her father. She has not been able to visit her father during his detention because of her illness. In Hebron, the minister also visited 12-year-old Maram who suffers from bone cancer, the daughter of Muhammad Al-Za‘aqiq who is also in Israeli jail. Maram asks God to keep her alive until her father’s release, in just six months, Qaraqe said. She cannot visit her father because of her condition, but sends him regular letters.
Special Guardian video series on East Jerusalem
Interactive video: Living in East Jerusalem
Guardian 8 June — Four Palestinians and two Israelis used cameras provided by the Guardian and B’Tselem human rights organisation to record video diaries about their lives and experiences in East Jerusalem
Video: ‘Every action in this area is very sensitive’
A Jewish-Israeli archaeologist takes us on an alternative tour of the ‘City of David’ – the archaeological site and tourist attraction in the centre of Jerusalem, owned by the Israeli settler organisation Elad
Video: The Wall is choking us all
Abd al-Fatah lives on ancestral land in an ancient Canaanite cave on the edge of Jerusalem’s municipal boundary. Israeli businessmen intend to build a new settlement on his land. He recorded his daily battle to keep them away
Video: Sharing our house with settlersp
Muna and Muhammed are 12-year-old twins living in Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem. Settlers have taken over the front of their home, but the family continue to live in the rest of the house
Video: They broke into the block like a swarm of ants
Thaer Qirresh is a 14-year-old Palestinian living in the Muslim quarter of the Old City in East Jerusalem. His family are the last Palestinian family left in the block after a settler organisation purchased the lease and moved in
Video: My kids won’t live under the same illusion I did’
Raised in West Jerusalem, Sara Benninga is an emerging activist leader in a growing mixed solidarity movement. We gave her a camera to record her daily life moving between opposing cultures in East and West Jerusalem
Video: Witnessing the truth
Zuheir set up CCTV cameras around his home to document clashes between settlers, residents and security forces. Footage captured on his camera contradicts the official line on the killing of a local Silwan resident by an Israeli settler guard
Gaza — under siege for 1,456 days now
Rafah crossing re-opens
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 8 June — The crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip was re-opened Wednesday morning after a four-day closure. The decision to open was made after Palestinian and Egyptian officials agreed on a set of mechanisms for the passage of Palestinian travelers. From Wednesday onward, Rafah will open between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and allow an average of 550 passengers per day to cross. The number of passengers was less than the 700 per day requested by the Gaza authorities, but higher than the cap of 400 set after travelers overwhelmed the terminal on its first day of operation on May 28.
Egyptians seize Gaza car-smuggling tunnel
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma‘an) 8 June — Egyptian border guards raided a tunnel used to smuggle cars between Gaza and Egypt, Egyptian security sources told Ma‘an Wednesday. The forces located the site south of the Salah Ad-Din gate in Rafah, on the Egyptian side of the border with the coastal strip. Smugglers escaped through the tunnel to Gaza during the raid, the sources said, but the Egyptian guards seized four Hyundai vehicles … Tunnels remain the primary source of construction materials, vehicles and fuel for Gaza, as Israel’s five-year-long blockade continues.
Israel closes Gaza crossing
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 8 June — Israeli authorities closed the sole commercial terminal into the Gaza Strip on Wednesday for the second day running, as the Jewish holiday of Shavuot is commemorated in Israel.
Medical supply shortage in Gaza threatens lives of thousands
AhramOnline 8 June — The Palestinian government in Gaza has decided to cut five per cent of its employees’ salaries in order to be able to purchase drugs and medical supplies amid the worst shortage of medicine seen in Gaza in the past five years. Health Minister in Ismail Haniyah’s Gaza government Bassem Naeem announced that 178 types of medicine and 190 important pieces of medical equipment are absent while the rest are close to depletion.
‘Iran ready to send relief aid to Gaza’
7 June — Iran’s Red Crescent Society (IRCS) has announced its readiness to send humanitarian aid to the impoverished Gaza Strip following the reopening of the Rafah border crossing. IRCS Director Abolhassan Faqih, who also heads Iran’s National Committee for humanitarian rights, condemned Israel’s “inhumane” measure in blocking the Gaza Strip in a statement, describing the siege as a “blatant” violation of international humanitarian law, Mehr news agency reported.
One missile, one playground: the will of Gaza / Ramzy Baroud
Iyad was not here to show me any militant training camp, or even to assess the damage that had befallen the impoverished Gaza Strip during Israel’s devastating war, Operation Cast Lead, which killed and wounded thousands in 2008-09 … Iyad was here to show me his latest personal project: a playground for refugee children. At first glance, the ‘playground’ did not seem impressive at all. All I noticed was a small plot of dirt jammed between two unsightly concrete buildings … I learned later that the achievement was creating space out of the debris. At one time prior to December 2008, when an Israeli missile decided to drop in, a family had lived in this spot. The house had collapsed, and its residents became mere posters of mourned Palestinian faces adorning the walls of other houses in the neighborhood. Iyad and few of ‘Shabab Al-Masjid’ — youth of the mosque — cleared almost everything, using only their bare hands and other primitive means.
Journalist safety / Press freedom
MADA reports violations against journalists during May
Ramallah (PNN) 8 May — The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) has recorded 12 violations of journalists in the last month, the most serious of which was the shooting of Mohamed Othman in Gaza, hit by Israeli military fire in his right hand and chest. Othman, a freelance photographer, was in Gaza on 15 May this year to cover marches on the anniversary of al-Nakba. Israeli forces opened fire on demonstrators, hitting Othman in his chest and hand. During May, it has been reported that other journalists have also been injured by live bullets, rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas, and have been pushed by border guards. MADA has pointed out that all journalists and media outlets should be given free access to the West Bank and Gaza Strip without fear of violation or restrictions in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which protects the freedom of expression.
French judge dismisses French journalist’s complaint against Israeli military
8 June — Reporters Without Borders is appalled to learn that a French judge has dismissed French journalist Jacques-Marie Bourget’s complaint against the Israeli authorities on the grounds that the lack of Israeli cooperation prevented him from pursuing the investigation. The former Paris-Match correspondent in Ramallah, Bourget was seriously injured while covering the Second Intifada in October 2000. He sustained a gunshot injury that was operated on locally after the Israeli military refused to transfer him. He was subsequently repatriated to France with great difficulty and hospitalized there. French doctors consider him to be 45 per cent permanently disabled.
No news is good news
Human Rights Watch 6 April — …The negative trend of abuses against journalists by Palestinian security forces continued in 2010. MADA’s 2010 annual report cites a 45 percent increase over the previous year of physical attacks, arrests, detentions, arbitrary confiscations of equipment, and other violations of journalists’ rights, with 79 recorded cases of violations by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas and 139 violations by Israeli forces. … The harassment of journalists by PA security services has created a “phenomenon of self-censorship” in the West Bank, according to Musa Rimawi, the director of the Palestinian Centre for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA), a non-governmental organization based in Ramallah. Virtually all the Palestinian journalists interviewed for this report told Human Rights Watch that they shared this assessment. Journalists practice self-censorship by avoiding working on certain topics, they said, for fear that PA officials would otherwise deny them access to PA officials or facilities. Other journalists have told Human Rights Watch that they have refrained from publishing information they possess due to fear that they will be prevented from covering events, or harassed, or even detained and physically abused. Palestinian journalists, like other Palestinian residents of the West Bank, lack effective redress against violations by PA security services.
Palestinians condemn Syria refugee camp deaths
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 June — West Bank leaders on Tuesday slammed the shooting of Palestinian refugees in a Syrian camp and pledged to investigate the incident, the Palestinian Authority official news agency WAFA reported. Mourners in unofficial refugee camp Al-Yarmouk were on Monday commemorating the deaths of a reported 23 protesters on the Golan ceasefire line a day before, when militants fired on the crowd killing 14 and injuring 43, reports said … The Palestinian leadership in the West Bank said there could be no excuse for what it called a “cowardly criminal act that violates Palestinian national traditions,” WAFA reported … Militants with the PRFL-GC reportedly opened fire on the crowd, who were taken to a local camp hospital for treatment.
UN Commissioner: Golan deaths raise questions
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) — The UN Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said Tuesday she was “deeply concerned” over the use of live ammunition against protesters in the Israeli-occupied Golan on Sunday, which saw between 10 and 23 killed as pro-Palestinians marking An-Naksa Day rushed to the ceasefire line, just weeks after 12 died in the same area. “Between 30 and 40 protesters have reportedly been killed by Israeli security forces in the past three weeks,” Pillay said in a statement. “The Government of Israel has a duty to ensure that its security personnel avoid the use of excessive force.
Amnesty: Israel must investigate Golan deaths
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8June — Amnesty International on Wednesday called on the Israeli authorities to investigate their army’s killing of protesters along the ceasefire line with Syria on Sunday. The global rights group said they had spoken to a human rights activist in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights who “contradicts IDF [Israeli army] claims that all possible non-lethal means were used to disperse the protesters before lethal force was used.”
Political / Diplomatic / International news
Cabinet still sitting, not paying
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 7 June — The Palestinian Authority government in Ramallah held its weekly cabinet meeting Tuesday, as the deadline set for the announcement of a unity government reconciling Gaza and West Bank authorities was missed. A new executive of independent figures was one of the provisions of the deal agreed in Cairo on May 4 between former rival factions Hamas and Fatah. Officials said its members would be revealed on June 6. The date passed without notice, except by Palestinian civil servants who are still waiting for their May salaries, and who announced a partial strike in protest for Thursday.
Civil servant salaries to be paid
NABLUS (Ma‘an) — The paymaster of the West Bank government said that civil servants salaries will be paid Wednesday afternoon, after a week-long delay had prompted their union to hold a partial strike in protest. Accountant-General of the Palestinian Authority Yousef Az-Zumr told Ma‘an that funds from Algeria totaling US$26.4 million had been received by the authority’s treasury, and released the documents showing the transfer.
PLO leader slams US, German stance as ‘counterproductive’
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) — “People do not negotiate their right to statehood. Rather, this is an inherent right,” a PLO official lashed out Wednesday in the wake of US and German statements demanding Palestinian officials abort plans to seek UN recognition of statehood. “Far from acting unilaterally, Palestinians are bringing their case for statehood before the United Nations, the world’s preeminent multilateral body. Self-determination and respect for the sovereignty of nations are principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter, making the UN a natural forum to resolve this issue,” Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee said in a statement.
Republican Rep. urges House to sever UN aid if Palestinian statehood vote passes
FoxNews 7 June — A Republican congressman says he wants the House to cut off U.S. aid to the top office at the United Nations if the international organization votes in favor of Palestinian statehood this fall. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, R-Mich., plans to introduce a resolution that would call for the funding cutoff to the “bloated” U.N. Secretariat in New York City — the office headed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon … The U.S. is the largest single contributor to the United Nations. The U.S. paid up more than $6.3 billion in 2009, the last year for which data was available.
US condemns mosque arson
WASHINGTON (Ma‘an) 8 June — In a statement delivered by a White House spokesman, the United States condemned Tuesday “the burning and vandalizing of a mosque in the West Bank village of Al-Mughayyir.” .. These incidents have served to undermine efforts to promote a comprehensive peace in the region. We call on the Israeli government to investigate this attack and bring the perpetrators to justice, and for calm from all parties,” the spokesman said.
France to pursue Middle East peace talks
UNITED NATIONS (AFP)8 June – France will pursue efforts to organize a Middle East conference despite reservations expressed by the United States and Israel, Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said. “I have the feeling that our initiative has moved things” in the peace process, Juppe said after meetings in Israel and the United States. “I think there will be positive developments in the next weeks,” Juppe told reporters at the UN headquarters … US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a cool welcome Monday to the French plan, saying there must be a willingness by the Israelis and Palestinians to resume talks. “We strongly support a return to negotiations, but we do not think that it would be productive for there to be a conference about returning to negotiations,” she said after talks with Juppe
Secret negotiations claim denied by Erekat
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 7 June — Israel’s TV channel 2 said on Monday that “secret negotiations” are taking place between the Israeli Prime Minister’s office and Saeb Erekat, prompting the PLO official to issue a denial Tuesday. Israeli political analyst Udi Segal said lawyer Yitzhak Molcho from Netanyahu’s office and Erekat are trying to reach an agreement on political negotiations before September, when Palestinians have vowed to seek recognition of a Palestinian state at the United Nations should the talks impasse continue.
UN says West Bank economy not flourishing
JERUSALEM (AFP) 8 June – Claims that the economy in the West Bank is flourishing overlook rising unemployment and a jump in inflation that has decreased purchasing power, a United Nations report said on Wednesday. In recent months, observers and officials including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have described the West Bank’s economy as booming, calling it a sign of positive momentum under Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas … The report said the unemployment rate in the West Bank stood at 25% in the second half of 2010, up from 23.5% in 2009 … And it said that rising consumer inflation, which stood at 2.3% in the second half of 2010, caused “a further slide in the purchasing power of wage incomes” among Palestinians in the West Bank. The agency said the figures provided a stark counterpoint to claims of an economic boom in the West Bank.
Haneen Al Zoabi: Racists impose the rules of the political game in Israel
MEMO 8 June — Arab member of the Israeli Knesset, Haneen Al Zoabi, has condemned the initiative led by a Jewish member, Yariv Levin, to ban her from traveling outside the country and to prevent her from participating in the Freedom Fleet 2. She described the move as an unparalleled form of racism. In a press statement made by Tuesday (7/6), Al Zoabi said that “Levin does not decide my movements and I am not waiting for either him or anyone else to ratify my political work”. She added derisively that, “the next step is that Levin would give me a detailed list of what is politically permitted and probably tell me what to do, what to think, and what to support or oppose.”
Israeli factories in Salfit major cause of high rate of cancer among children
SALFIT, (PIC) 8 June — The Israeli Barkan industrial area established on Palestinian land in Salfit is the major cause for soaring rate of cancer among children in the area compared to other Palestinian areas, health and local sources said on Wednesday. They said that the factories pollute the environment and cause serious diseases as they throw their solid and water refuse in Palestinian land and poisonous gases in the air. The sources charged the Israeli occupation authority with allowing those factories to move from 1948 occupied Palestine to the West Bank since Israeli rules refuse to allow such dangerous materials to emanate from factories in the 1948 occupied land. [End]
750 public doctors resign
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) 8 June — Angry over the Palestinian High Court’s decision mandating a return to work for striking public sector doctors, 750 union members collectively submitted their resignations on Wednesday. The union called on PA Minister of Health Fathi Abu Mughli to resign in solidarity,
Sderot rocket victims sue Gaza flotilla organizers
JPost 8 June — $1,000,000 lawsuit claims two Canadian organizations raising money for flotilla are aiding and abetting Hamas terrorists.
UK Jews fight Scottish boycott
Ynet 8 June — British Jews initiate campaign to counter West Dunbartonshire anti-Israel boycott; Group wanted to boycott Scottish district, discovered nothing is produced there, campaign leader says
For those readers who have asked about Ma‘an:
Ma‘an financial report
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 June — In line with its policy of transparency and integrity, Ma’an TV Network has released its 2010 financial report. The report, reviewed by Price Waterhouse Coopers, was found to be sound. A copy of the 2010 report can be viewed here. “Ma‘an TV Network was established in 2002, commenced its operations in 2003 and was officially registered in Bethlehem on June 6 2004 as a not-for-profit organization … The Network works in partnership with independent journalists throughout Palestine, including eight local television stations and eight local radio stations. The Network is dedicated to promoting understanding of the Palestinian situation by strengthening cooperation between local and international media. The Network shares a vision of fomenting democracy and freedom of thoughts and ideas in Palestine.” (p. 7 of the report)
Ex-Mossad chief inspires ‘security’ bill
Ynet 7 June — Meir Dagan’s controversial statements on Iran, peace process prompt Likud MK to draft bill calling to restrict former defense establishment personnel’s access to media
Analysis / Opinion / Interviews / Books
June 7: the anniversary nobody remembers / Sandy Tolan
Al Jazeera 7 June — A secret meeting 44 years ago could have changed the course of Middle Eastern history. But it never happened — In this part of the world, carrying tragic dates around in your head is kind of like breathing: you do it automatically, without thinking. This time of year, for Palestinians, June 5 marks the 44th anniversary of their occupation by Israel. June 6, in the evening, evokes the darkness when Ramallah fell, and finally people realised that the tanks rolling into town were not Iraqis sent to the aid of the local people: they belonged to the army of Israel. June 7? That’s the morning Ramallah woke up to soldiers calling through bullhorns for the people to hang something white from the windows: unambiguous signs of surrender to the occupying forces … Just two days earlier, as the war broke out, Tarazi had confidently assured a worried neighbour, “Don’t worry, our day of victory is at hand.” Today, she laughs at the absurdity. But buried beneath such memories of defeat and illusion for the Arabs in the Six Day War is the story of a momentous June 7 meeting that never happened. If it had, it just might have carved a different path for the Middle East. June 7, 1967, was to be the day that the Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser would dispatch his vice president, Zakariya Mohieddin, to Washington for secret meetings with US President Lyndon Johnson and members of his cabinet.
Traveling to the other part of home / Rana Baker
EI 7 June — For Palestinians in Gaza, the answer to “Have you ever been to Jerusalem?” is usually a complicated one. I first went to Jerusalem in 2000 with my parents, grandmother and older sister … We went to al-Aqsa Mosque and I was fascinated by the grandeur of the Dome of the Rock as it proudly basked in the sun, which made it look even more beautiful … We had to go back to Gaza the same day, in accordance with the conditions stipulated on our permits. I was not more than a tourist in my own land …My second trip to Jerusalem was in 2007, the year Israel imposed its siege on Gaza. I was in a group of young, privileged Palestinians who were chosen to participate in the Arab Digital Expression Camps in Cairo for three weeks … In the end, we walked out of Erez and rode the bus to Allenby Bridge in the West Bank that leads to Jordan. In the bus we screamed out of excitement, ecstasy and shock. We were in the occupied West Bank. We asked the driver to take us to Jerusalem and let us step on the ground of the holy city. Alas, to step foot on our land we needed a permit from strangers! We could only pass by Jerusalem and see a glimpse of the Dome of the Rock. But even seeing it from afar made me ignore, at least for a while, the treatment I had received at Erez.
The no-longer temporary occupation / Joseph Dana
Forward 5 June — One particular success of Israel’s 44-year control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip has been the government’s ability to convince the Israeli population of the temporary nature of the occupation. Every sector of Israeli society, except religious settlers and the military establishment, understand the occupation to be an ephemeral security measure necessary only in the absence of a peace agreement with the Palestinians. Ask any Israeli on the streets of Tel Aviv whether they think that Israel will permanently control the Occupied Territories and the immediate answer will be no, it is all about immediate security. This charade is exploited by successive Israeli governments as they proclaim a desire for peace while simultaneously creating permanent facts on ground like Jewish settler roads, checkpoints for Palestinians and new settlements.
Long before the ‘Arab Spring’, Palestinians protested nonviolently
Beit Hanoun, Gaza Strip (IPS) 6 June — It is a scene replayed weekly in Palestine. In Gaza, groups of chanting demonstrators walk towards the border with Israel, singing, chanting, dancing. Ayat el Masari, 20, walks with the masses. An English major at Gaza’s Aqsa University, the young woman is among many women who regularly attend Palestinian protests …While the protests throughout many Arab nations are being called a Facebook revolution and are analysed as movements of the frustrated and Internet-savvy youth of oppressed countries, the protests in Palestine are extensions of protests past, the continued call for justice, the end of the Israeli occupation, and the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their land.
Richard Silverstein vs. censorship
Ynet 7 June — In a special interview US blogger who broke several stories, including Ofer Brothers’ Mossad dealings, talks about his sources, repercussions of releasing news restricted by [Israeli] gag orders
Canada shames again
InGaza 8 June — Two years ago, just after Israeli soldiers showered myself, my international colleagues and the 6 or 7 farmers we accompanied on land in Abassan Jadida with continuous and dangerously close machine gun fire for roughly 45 minutes, the Canadian embassy in Tel Aviv told me that the Israeli firing on me was not a problem for Canada … The farmers — men in the early twenties, paid labourers, as well as an older farmer — had harvested parsley on a plot of land 500 metres from the Green Line border between Gaza and Israel for over two hours without incident, Israeli jeeps driving past along the border but not shooting. The area along the border is flatland, treeless (bulldozed by the Israelis over the years), and by Israeli imposition without crops any taller than wheat, which is also routinely bulldozed or burned (near time of harvest). It is an open area and the Israeli soldiers half a kilometer away across the border fence can see with clarity who is on the land and what they are doing. If they don’t see with military binoculars, there are drones with cameras and military towers along the border. But that day as other days the Israeli soldiers saw the farmers and their international accompaniment and they decided to harass.
Tear Gas in the Morning, the comic book
PalMon 7 June “Tear gas in the morning is a fictional story that is based on real life,” said Katie Miranda, the comic’s creator, illustrator and co-author. Drawing inspiration from her three years in the West Bank, Miranda has crafted a graphic narrative about a “naive” Jewish-American activist working and living under the Israeli occupation of Palestine. “I made this for people who don’t know a lot about the situation,” she said. “I don’t want to write something that’s preaching to the choir. I hope not only activists read this: my goal is have a much broader audience and reach people who are very confused about this situation. I didn’t set out to make a political propaganda piece — some people may see this if they haven’t read it yet. I took some characters and put them in an environment. It’s what happens in real life — I’m not being preachy or anti-Israeli with it. The character and situations are real; I am not making up any situation.”