ahmad sumrain surrounded by Israeli forces in Silwan in occupied East Jerusalem
The Sumrain story is the fifth one in today’s digest of news from Today in Palestine:
Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid
Israel effectively annexes Palestinian land near Jordan Valley / Akiva Eldar
[map] Haaretz 18 Nov — Israel has carried out a de facto annexation of Palestinian land northeast of the Jordan Valley and given it to Kibbutz Merav. Merav, part of the Religious Kibbutz Movement, is about seven kilometers northwest of the parcel. The route of the separation barrier in the area was changed so that the plot in question, about 1,500 dunams (375 acres), would be on the Israeli side. Israel has previously built roads on and given Palestinian land in the West Bank to Jewish settlements, but this is thought to be the first instance of Palestinian-owned land being transferred to a community on sovereign Israeli territory … The issue of the land’s legal status and its transfer to Merav is clouded in mystery, and official statements have been contradictory. All efforts to locate documents explaining the situation have failed, Inbar said.
Jordan Valley Bedouin struggle in the face of Israeli demolitions / Ben Lorber
AIC 18 Nov — Between January 2000 and September 2007, Israel demolished 1663 Palestinian structures in the Jordan Valley. Today, as the Israeli army steps up attacks on Palestinian water sources, the demolitions continue. But Palestinians and international volunteers are determined to rebuild. An ongoing grassroots construction project in the Jordan Valley Bedouin village of Fasayil highlights what Jordan Valley Solidarity calls “a twisted microcosm of the fickle barbarity of Israel’s illegal occupation.”
Al-Baqa‘a: The struggle of a family in the shadow of illegal annexation
ISM 17 Nov By Alistair George — “The Israelis hope that that the young people leave, the old people die, and then they can confiscate the land and the houses,” says Sami, an activist working in Al Baqa‘a, a windswept valley situated a few kilometers east of Hebron. The Jaber family’s experiences of living in Al Baqa‘a are similar to many other Palestinians in the area, in that their ordinary family faces extraordinary pressure on a daily basis from the Israeli military and nearby settlers. Rodni Jaber is the mother of three daughters and a son. Dressed in a bright pink jumper and a floral headscarf, she is cheerfully voluble and keen to tell her family’s story. “We have had our house demolished twice, this our third house on the land…”
Israeli forces destroy agricultural ponds in eastern Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 17 Nov – Israeli forces Thursday destroyed agricultural ponds and equipments, irrigation systems and crops in Al Baqa’a area, east of Hebron in southern West Bank, according to witnesses. Ayyad Jaber, one of the farmers, told WAFA that Israeli bulldozers and heavy machinery, under the protection of Israeli soldiers, who were accompanied by officials from civil administration and police along with border guards, raided the area and destroyed the agricultural ponds which farms use to irrigate their crops. Farmer Badawi Al-Rajabi’s pond, which he restored several times after Israeli soldiers repeatedly destroyed it in the last years, was destroyed again, witnesses said. Farmer Atta Jaber said that the occupation authorities are bulldozing these ponds and crops in east of Hebron in order to expel the farmers and seizure their land, aiming to expand settlements of ‘Kiryat Arba’ and ‘Kharsina’. This area is one of the most fertile land in Hebron
After Sumrain, who is next?
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 18 Nov — 100% of Silwan’s Palestinian residents view the coming eviction of the Sumrain family in Wadi Hilweh as a disaster for the neighborhood, a Silwanic poll found. The opinion poll, conducted with residents of Silwan on 13 November on the possible transferal of the house to settler ownership, found a common fear throughout the village of what the eviction might implicate for their futures. Those interviewed state that the house’s strategic location makes it a key prize in Israeli settler groups’ quest for control of the village. Should settlers succeed in taking the house, it will further increase the harassment and danger residents suffer at the hands of settler security guards, and further degrade what remains of their privacy, as settler surveillance camera networks are bound to be expanded. The poll found that the Sumrain family’s home had become a symbol in many residents’ minds as a tipping point in the struggle for Silwan.
Envoy to UN: Israeli settlements an international failure
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 17 Nov — Palestine’s ambassador to the UN on Wednesday complained to the president of the Security Council over Israel’s latest settlement expansion plans. Riyad Mansour wrote that Israel’s announcement of more than 2,000 upcoming settler home tenders on Tuesday, is “greatly due to the international community’s failure to hold Israel accountable.” The diplomat said Israel’s release of the plans a day after Quartet envoys met with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, “once again proves (Israel’s) staunch commitment to entrenching its illegitimate occupation.”
Israel shuts down Palestinian groups in Jerusalem
EI blog 18 Nov — The recent forced closures of Palestinian nonprofit organizations in Jerusalem is an example of the Israeli authorities’ continued attacks on the city’s Palestinian identity and their attempts to maintain control over occupied East Jerusalem, according to local human rights groups. “The purpose is to control and undermine the role of Palestinian civil society and [its] efforts in Jerusalem,” Rashad Shtayyeh, the activities coordinator at the Civic Coalition to Defend Palestinians’ Rights in Jerusalem (CCDPRJ), told The Electronic Intifada by email. “Also, [this Israeli policy] tries to restrict anything that might help in protecting the Palestinian identity in Jerusalem, as a part of the Israeli Judaization project in occupied Jerusalem,” Shtayyeh explained. On 25 October, Israeli police presented closure notices to four Jerusalem-based organizations — Shua‘a Women’s Association, al-Quds Development Foundation, Saeed Education Center and Work Without Borders — for a one-month period.
Israel rejects French condemnation of illegal settlement construction in Jerusalem
MEMO 18 Nov — The Israeli Foreign Ministry has rejected France’s criticism of the decision to construct hundreds of illegal settlement units in Occupied Jerusalem. The Israeli government maintains that it has the right to build in what it alone regards as the “unified capital” of Israel; construction work has been and still is ongoing in the city. This comes at a time of tense relations between Tel Aviv and Paris after the French Consul in Gaza was injured and follows President Sarkozy’s description of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu as “a liar”.
Reverend Allan Boesak calls Israeli apartheid ‘more terrifying than South Africa ever was’
MEMO Dr. Hanan Chehata 17 Nov — Hanan Chahata: You were one of the signatories of the South African Christian response to the Kairos Palestine Document. In this you said that the Palestinian experience of apartheid is “in its practical manifestation even worse than South African apartheid”. Can you explain what you meant by this? Allan Boesak: It is worse, not in the sense that apartheid was not an absolutely terrifying system in South Africa, but in the ways in which the Israelis have taken the apartheid system and perfected it, so to speak; sharpened it. For instance, we had the Bantustans and we had the Group Areas Act and we had the separate schools and all of that but I don’t think it ever even entered the mind of any apartheid planner to design a town in such a way that there is a physical wall that separates people and that that wall denotes your freedom of movement, your freedom of economic gain, of employment, and at the same time is a tool of intimidation and dehumanisation. We carried passes as the Palestinians have their ID documents but that did not mean that we could not go from one place in the city to another place in the city.
Settlers attack Palestinian family in their farm land
IMEMC 18 Nov — On Friday, a group of Israeli settlers attacked a family in al-Khader Village, near Bethlehem, while they were in their farm. The land is located near the illegal settlement “Eliezer”, the Palestine news & info agency reported (WAFA) reported. Hassan Salah, one of the family members, said that they were surprised when they saw the settlers cultivating olive trees on their land. The settlers used their dogs and sticks to assault them when they tried to stop them. This resulted in the injuries to the mother aged 70.
Video: Rise in Israeli settler violence against Palestinians
BBC 17 Nov — There’s been a big rise in Jewish Settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank. The United Nations says the number of attacks by settlers against Palestinians resulting in injury or property damage has gone up roughly three fold in the last two years. The BBC’s correspondent Jon Donnison reports.
Study: Rise in settlers taking army combat roles
JERUSALEM (AFP) 18 Nov — Six out of 10 Jewish settlers were drafted into combat units for their compulsory military service, an Israeli army study showed on Friday, indicating a sharp rise in numbers. According to a study on draft trends which was published by the military’s personnel division, Jewish settlers are more likely than regular Israelis to try to join combat units.
What a Jewish terrorist might look like / Dimi Reider
972mag 17 Nov — This picture was posted, along with several others, on the right-leaning citizen journalism site Rotter.net. It was taken at a memorial evening for Rabbi Meir Kahane, held openly in Jerusalem and attended by well over 1,000 people. The slogan on the back of the shirt reads “Price Tag.” The military issue M-16 would most likely mean that the man in the picture is either a conscript or a reserves soldier. It’s unclear if the man is an actual Price Tag member/activist or simply signals his support. But the picture still aptly illustrates that while “price tag” activists confined themselves so far to non-lethal action – torching mosques, spraying graffiti and general heavy bullying – they’re well on their way to become a proper paramilitary organisation, perhaps, like many conservative paramilitary groups around the world, with some overlapping membership in the state security forces. My guess is it’s really a matter of time before a proper “retaliatory” or “preemptive” firearm attack is carried out against a civilian Palestinian target.
PCHR Weekly Report: 4 Palestinians killed, 17 wounded by Israeli forces in last 2 weeks [3-16 November]
IMEMC 18 Nov — …Israeli forces conducted 91 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and a limited one into the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces abducted 14 Palestinians. Israeli forces wounded a Palestinian civilian in his house in Hebron city before abducting him. Israeli forces raided the houses of many Palestinians who were released recently from Israeli jails, delivered them notices to appear before the Israeli intelligence and threatened some of them … During the reporting period, Israeli forces killed four Palestinians, including a civilian, a member of the Palestinian Marine Police and two resistance fighters, in the Gaza Strip. 14 Palestinians, including 6 civilians and 5 members of the Palestinian Marine Police, were wounded by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip. In addition, the site of the Palestinian Marine Police in al-Soudaneya area, north of the Gaza Strip, was totally destroyed. Full text of the report
Israeli forces raid West Bank cities, arrest seven, fine Jerusalem shop owner for Erdogan picture
PNN 17 Nov – In a series of overnight raids in different West Bank villages and cities, Israeli troops arrested seven Palestinians, raided and fined souvenir shops in the Old City of Jerusalem, and extended the arrest of a Jerusalem journalist.
Israeli forces arrested four youths from Azoon village near Qalqiliya in the central West Bank and raided two houses belonging to Abdulrahman and Mahmoud Mitani in nearby Amateen village. Local sources said that Qusai Shaher Salim, Ihab Talib Musha‘al, and Ibrahim Ahmed Anayeh, all 17, as well as 13-year-old Rashad Ra‘ed Shbeitah were arrested after Israeli forces raided their houses and forced them out into the street, despite the cold weather. Israeli troops also arrested Khalil Mohammad Salameh al-Hwamdeh from Samu‘a village south of Hebron after searching his house, and also arrested Ibrahim Salim Hurebat and Mohamad Jamil Jadallah from nearby Dura
In the city of Jerusalem, Municipality staff workers raided souvenir shops belonging to the al-Ajlouni, Shweiki, Sinjlawi and Abdeen families on the al-Bazzar and Saweeqa Aloun streets in the Old City. “The shop-owners were banned from leaving their shops and the staff counted all the products,” one of the owners told Palestinian government news wire Wafa.The staff, accompanied by the Israeli special forces and police, also raided the shop of Abu al-Izz Erdogan on Abu Obeidah Ibn al-Jarah street. They removed the pictures of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hanging in the shop and threw the Turkish flag in the trash.The Municipality staff issued fines to shop owners for putting picture and logos in their shops. Azzam Marakeh, for example, was fined almost 42,000 NIS.
Israeli forces close village, erect checkpoints
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 17 Nov — Israeli forces have closed the entrance of Beita village in Nablus and are refusing to allow residents to enter or exit the area, witnesses said late Thursday. Soldiers erected flying checkpoints in Huwara and the entrance of the Shavei Shomron settlement, and closed the nearby Beit Furrik checkpoint, travelers said. Israeli forces are also searching cars before allowing them to continue.
The official Palestinian Authority news agency, meanwhile, reported that four Palestinian youths from Azun, a village south of Qalqiliya, were arrested as well as three others from Hebron.
Meanwhile Haitham Suwwan, head of the Ematein village council, said soldiers raided Ematein village and broke into the houses of two families; Abdel-Rahman Mitani and Abdel-Salam Mitani. Police dogs caused damage while soldiers ransacked their homes, Suwwan said.
Disguised IOF soldiers kidnap freed captive
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 18 Nov — Israeli occupation soldiers disguised as Palestinian civilians on Thursday kidnapped on Thursday a Palestinian man after raiding an aluminium workshop in the city of Dura to the south west of al-Khalil. Local residents said that two D-Max four wheel drive cars pulled outside the workshop, opposite the municipal council building, armed civilians got out and kidnapped Sami Sha‘rawi, 35 years. Eyewitnesses said that about 12 masked men of Arabist IOF unit (undercover commandos) got out of the cars and threatened those present with their guns before kidnapping Sha‘rawi in a lightning operation. Sha‘rawi is a freed captive who spent about six years in occupation jails.
link to Palestinian Information Center
IOF raid the home of liberated captive Dua Jayyousi
TULKAREM (PIC) 18 Nov — IOF troops raided on Wednesday night the home of liberated captive Dua al-Jayyousi in the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem and threatened her with arrest telling her that the account between her and the occupation will remain open. Jayyousi informed the PIC that Israeli intelligence officers accompanied the IOF. They questioned her and threatened her with arrest if she practiced any anti-occupation activity. They also told her that they will not leave her alone, especially that she was freed from prison against their wishes as they were against the exchange deal … The IOF soldiers ransacked her home after detaining her two elderly parents in one room and detaining and interrogating her in another.
link to Palestinian Information Center
PA Intelligence arrests freed captive in Nablus
NABLUS (PIC) 18 Nov — The PA preventive security continue with its campaign of summoning and arresting political opponents. They arrested a freed captive in Nablus and continue to detain university students in al-Khalil. In Nablus district the PA preventive security raided the home of freed captive Sameh Tbeila, arrested him and confiscated his computer and personal photos and documents…
In al-Khalil district, in the meanwhile, families of political prisoner said that their detained relatives suffered beating and humiliation…
PA security continue to hold a number of students of the Polytechnic in al-Khalil after almost a week of detention, the students are: Ibrahim al-Awadi, Samer al-Qadi, Hatem al-Eideh and Fadi Huraiz.
link to Palestinian Information Center
Center: Prisoners say conditions tougher since swap deal
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 17 Nov — Prisoners in Israel’s Ashkelon jail say conditions have worsened since the captive swap deal between Israel and Hamas in October, a prisoner affairs center said Thursday. Detainee Shadi Sharafa told the center’s lawyer that new restrictions were in place in the jail, including 21-day bans on family visits, while prisoners were denied basic needs such as mattresses, blankets, cleaning products and clothes. Most prisoners were sleeping on the floor, Sharafa added.
Prisoners report use of attack dogs during recent arrests
PNN 16 Nov — A Wednesday report from the Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs authored by ministry lawyer Hussein al-Sheikh claimed that during the last month, Israeli soldiers used attack dogs to frighten prisoners after arresting them. Quoted in the report is 21-year-old prisoner Maher Sharef Abdulrahman Abu Ras, from the village of Dura near Hebron, who was arrested on October 28, 2011. He said that the soldiers released attack dogs on him when they raided his house. One dog bit him on his right leg and five soldiers hit him in the head and body with their guns. He said that the soldiers took him to Soroka Hospital for treatment and injected him with a needle, ostensibly to inoculate against poisoning from the dog bite.
Khaled Nayef Salem, 32 and from Dheisheh refugee camp near Bethlehem, was arrested on October 24. He said Israeli special forces arrested him at his work place and beat him severely, then released the dogs on him. He suffered a bite on his body and was taken to an Etzion military compound.
The report said that Abu Ras and Salem planned to bring complaints against the soldiers for assault and the use of attack dogs.
Prisoners recount hunger strike conditions
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 17 Nov — In late September, prisoners in jails across Israel launched an open hunger strike to protest harsh prison conditions, in particular the practice of solitary confinement. Detainees refused food for 20 consecutive days until Israel agreed to meet their demands.The detainee affairs ministry in Ramallah released a report Thursday detailing the experiences of prisoners during the strike.
[photo] Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 18 Nov — Palestinian young journalist Isra’ Salhab, presenter of Al-Ahrar (“Free People”) program on Alquds Space Station TV, was arrested by Israeli police on 16 November. Her detention was extended an additional 24 hours for ‘further investigation’. Salhab’s family stated that she had received a phone call from police summoning her to the Russian Compound that afternoon … Investigators indicated that Salhab was being transferred to an intelligence prison. In addition to presenting Al-Ahrar on Alquds Space TV, she is a mother to two children. Her husband, Shadi Zahdeh, was arrested 20 days before her and remains in detention in the Russian Compound.
Mohammed Oudeh released from prison
[photos] Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 18 Nov — Al-Bustan resident Mohammed Mousa Oudeh was released from prison on 17 November, after 20 months in Israeli detention, the charge against Mohammed was Resistance [to] the settlement policy in Silwan.
Israeli gunboats fire at Palestinian fishermen in Gaza
GAZA (WAFA) 17 Nov – Israeli gunboats opened on Thursday heavy fire at Palestinian fishing boats in the sea of the city of Gaza, according to witnesses. No injuries were reported.
Worker dies in a Gaza smuggling tunnel
RAFAH (PIC) 18 Nov — A Palestinian worker on Friday morning died as a result of being electrocuted while working in a smuggling tunnel at the Egyptian Gaza border. Palestinian medical sources told PIC correspondent that Salamah Abu Hammad, 20 years, a resident of Bani Suhaila to the east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip died as a result of being electrocuted during his work inside one of the smuggling tunnels. More than 210 Palestinians have died and 800 have been injured during work inside smuggling tunnels since the Israeli occupation imposed a siege on the Gaza Strip in 2006, forcing residents to resort to smuggling tunnels to smuggle essential goods.
link to Palestinian Information Center
Gaza bridge collapse kills 2 workers; 4 injured
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 17 Nov — A teenager and his relative were killed Thursday after a bridge they were building collapsed in central Gaza. Four other workers were injured in the incident, one seriously, medical officials said. The bridge, near al-Nuseirat refugee camp, was under construction when it caved in, locals told Ma‘an.
Children find work on Gaza bomb sites
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 18 Nov — After a decade of intifada, siege and war, the Gaza Strip has one of the highest unemployment rates in the world, and many families with no source of income now send their children to work. Recently, children have been recruited to collect scrap metal from bombsites after Israeli airstrikes on the coastal strip. Children are considered more daring, less demanding and cheaper than adult workers, a Ma‘an correspondent explained. Ma‘an spoke to Muhammad, a child worker, as he collected iron from the remnants of a naval police station in Beit Lahiya which Israeli forces flattened in an airstrike early Monday morning.
Urgent: Demand the release of Gaza crafts
GAZA CITY (Salem-News) 17 Nov – Every holiday season, the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) and Joining Hands sponsor a bazaar of Palestinian crafts and goods. Throughout each year, we spend time building relationships with creative and talented artisans, farmers and craftspeople–especially women–living in the West Bank and Gaza, who make beautiful hand-woven rugs, tapestries, wooden sculptures, pottery, and embroidery. However, due to the ongoing illegal Israeli siege on Gaza, our most recent shipment of crafts from the Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children was prohibited from leaving Gaza by the Israeli government. That’s why today, I urgently ask you to sign this petition by Monday, November 21
Regenerating Gaza – in pictures
Guardian 17 Nov — The British charity Interpal is working to regenerate and rebuild Gaza after the Israeli attacks in 2008 and 2009. The charity has worked with other international NGOs to open up a humanitarian corridor from Egypt that has allowed six convoys to cross the border. Supplies brought in include medicine and medical resources. The organisation also provides funds to buy medical and computer equipment, generators, fuel and seeds
Israel allows a rare shipment of construction materials to Gaza
AP 16 Nov — Israel allowed the first truckloads of a rare shipment of construction materials into Gaza on Wednesday to permit the reconstruction of 10 privately owned factories, the Israeli military and Palestinian officials said. Until now, only international projects were allowed to import such materials
Hamas court fines Gaza banks
GAZA (NYTimes) 17 Nov — In what could be the first of many such decisions, a Hamas-appointed court this week ordered two major banks in Gaza to pay tens of millions of dollars in back fees and fines for refusing to accept the taxing power of the Hamas government, rather than its West-Bank-based rival, the Palestinian Authority. Bank officials, who boycotted the judicial hearings, said the decision, handed down by a lower court earlier this week, might force them to shut down temporarily, at least, further reducing access to money in this isolated coastal enclave. The ruling comes at an awkward time, just before a planned meeting between President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority and Khaled Meshal, the political leader of Hamas, who is based in Syria, aimed at making progress on their plans for a unity government.
Bank of Palestine ordered to make payments in Gaza
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 17 Nov — The government in the Gaza Strip has ordered the administration of Bank of Palestine to pay out taxes and is preventing 11 board members from leaving Gaza, Ma‘an has learned. The bank administration received a letter from the Hamas-led government ordering it to pay out $99 million and 50,000 shekels which the government considers back taxes dating back to 2005, sources said.
Narratives under siege: Not feeling safe in your own home
PCHR 17 Nov — Rawand Tayseer Abu Mughassib, a shy 15-year-old girl, is the oldest of 7 children. Together with her mother, father, three brothers, and three sisters she lives in a two story home south of Wadi al Salqa, a village located to the east of Deir al Balah in central Gaza Strip. Next to her family home is the home of her uncle, and not far behind it, stands the house of her grandmother. On the evening of Saturday 29 October Rawand and her family went through a terrifying experience which left Rawand injured. Around 21.45h that evening Rawand walked out of her uncle’s home to go and visit her grandmother, like she does every day. When Rawand was close to the iron gate in the wall that separates her uncle’s home from the road in front of it an Israeli warplane fired a missile which struck four meters away from her.
Activism / Solidarity / BDS
Al-Walajeh protesters walk on settlers’ road, three injured in Nabi Saleh, settlers beat 70-year-old
PNN 19 Nov — During Friday’s weekly protests around the West Bank, the Israeli army failed to stop a group of Palestinian and international from walking on a settlers’ only road in the Palestinian village of al-Walajeh, near Bethlehem, while suppression of other protests was widely reported and a settler attack near Bethlehem injured a 70-year-old man…
In Beit Omar, a town lying directly between the Palestinian cities of Bethlehem and Hebron, Israeli border guards arrested one youth and fired tear gas directly into some homes. They also injured two elderly Palestinian men participating in a demonstration against the seizure of Beit Omar’s agricultural land.Both 75-year-old Mahmoud Musa al-Salibi and 78-year-old Saeed Shahada Adi suffered “heavy bruising” to their bodies, according to Wafa.
Video: Internationals harassed and denied entry into Nabi Saleh
ISM 18 Nov by Wahed Rejol — Following last week’s violence in the village of Nabi Saleh near Ramallah, international observers and activists were today denied entry into the village by Israeli soldiers. The soldiers said that the entire village was a closed military zone and provided paperwork that seemed to support their claim. The internationals were followed and harassed by the Israel military as they attempted to leave the village … The video below shows activists asking soldiers to allow them to travel back to Ramallah. After approximately two hours the activists were able to find transportation out of the area. The van was followed by an Israeli military vehicle for several kilometers.
Last week an ISM activist was detained for several hours after being arrested in Kufr Qaddoum while photographing the weekly protest there. He was falsely accused of throwing stones and was physically abused by the Israelis. He was released later that night.
Israeli writer questioned for helping Palestinians visit Israel
Haaretz 18 Nov By Amira Hass — Author and translator Ilana Hammerman was questioned by the police for the third time this week on suspicion of bringing Palestinians into Israel without a permit. Last year, Hammerman began bringing Palestinian women and children on visits to Israel. It began as a private initiative to enable her Palestinian friends to enjoy experiences usually barred to them, like going to the beach or visiting East Jerusalem. But it turned into a public protest against the restrictions on Palestinians’ freedom of movement when she reported on her activities in an article she wrote for Haaretz Magazine in May 2010.
Egyptian Taekwondo player refuses to compete with Israeli
PNN 17 Nov — Egyptian Taekwondo champion Rawan Ali refused on Wednesday to play against her Israeli counterpart Sevan Fenster in the quartet final of the Croatian Open Taekwondo open tournament in the 47kg category, according to the Israeli website SPORT 1.
Political and international news
Ashrawi denies Ha’aretz report: PLO will not be paid off
PNN 17 Nov — PLO Executive Committee member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi issued a press release on Thursday saying she “strongly denies” that the PLO would be paid off with its withheld tax revenues in order to drop its bid for membership in the UN. The Ha’aretz report, citing unnamed European diplomats, said the PLO would freeze all moves to achieve full membership for Palestine in various UN agencies until the end of January if Israel let go of the $100 million in Palestinian tax revenues it had withheld as punishment for Palestine joining UNESCO. “This report is completely untrue, and the Israeli media tools are not the source of information for the Palestinian positions and decisions,” Ashrawi said.”“The report is a new Israeli maneuver and an attempt to create confusion to stop the Palestinian bid to the UN.”
Reconciliation with Hamas is top priority for Abbas: top Palestinian official
AFP 19 Nov — Reconciliation with Hamas is the Palestinian Authority’s top priority, senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told AFP Friday. “For us, there is no higher interest than reconciliation,” Erakat said. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal will meet in Cairo on Nov. 25 for talks to resolve their fractured relationship.
Mitchell says Palestinians must show flexibility
ROCKLAND, Maine (Ma‘an) 18 Nov — The Palestinian leadership in Ramallah showed inflexibility over Israel’s settlement program and will have to make compromises for the sake of peace, the Obama administration’s former Mideast envoy has said. George Mitchell, who resigned in May as US President Barack Obama’s special envoy for the Middle East peace process, said Tuesday at the University of Maine that the Palestinian side placed too much emphasis on settlements.
Ashrawi: US influences depends on ending deferral to Israel
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 17 Nov — PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi told US diplomats on Wednesday that Washington should stop submitting to Israeli policies if it wants to regain influence amongst Palestinian people and leaders.
Tested on Palestinians, perfected on #OWS protesters: introducing the LRAD sound cannon / Max Blumenthal
Al Akhbar 18 Nov — Yesterday, the New York Police Department deployed a strange new weapon against the tens of thousands of demonstrators who converged downtown for the largest protest in Occupy Wall Street’s two month history: the LRAD sound cannon. NYPD officers reportedly blasted Occupy protesters with rays from the LRAD cannon while they sang the American national anthem near Lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park (photos here), establishing an atmosphere of fear and intimidation that lasted throughout the evening.
Israel’s southern iron barrier: building apartheid one wall at a time / Mahdi al-Sayyed
Al Akhbar 18 Nov — Originally intended as a barrier to keep out African immigrants, Israel’s colossal metal wall on Egypt’s border is being rushed to completion amid security fears. The wall being built by Israel on the border with Egypt has returned to the spotlight after a number of Israeli officials raised concerns that recent events in Egypt represent a growing security threat ..According to Israeli media reports, the construction of the fence along the border with Sinai has been sped up recently. It is fast becoming a steel monstrosity, according to Haaretz’s military correspondent, Amos Harel – almost 70km long. . http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/israel%E2%80%99s-southen-iron-barrier-building-aparthied-one-wall-time
Israel to deploy high-tech sensors to monitor Sinai border
Al Masri Al Youm 18 Nov — Israel plans to deploy high-tech sensors along its Sinai border with Egypt in order to monitor a 3km strip of land running deep into the Sinai peninsula, according to a report in Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth.
Report: Egypt to resume gas supply to Israel, Jordan
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 18 Nov — Egypt will resume gas transfers to Israel and Jordan on Friday, a week after the northern Sinai pipeline was bombed, Egyptian media reports said. The Egyptian Natural Gas Company has repaired two lines and will begin pumping small quantities of natural gas to both countries, Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm reported Thursday.
Israel eyes strong ties with East African states
[with map] Al Manar 18 Nov — Israel is looking at Africa’s east as an important strategic interest, and trying to step up ties with nations in the region under the name of “controlling the spread of Islamic extremists”.
10 highlights of Palestine
Guardian 18 Nov — As Bradt brings out its first guide to Palestine, its author, Sarah Irving, recommends her top 10 things to see and do in the West Bank, from ancient palaces to new community tourism projects – and the world’s most unlikely Oktoberfest — For most people, the words Palestine or West Bank won’t shout holiday destination. But set aside stereotypes: Foreign Office bars on travelling in the West Bank were lifted several years ago, and visitors to Palestine will be met with a warm and enthusiastic welcome. This tiny area packs in more historical, religious and cultural heritage than perhaps anywhere else in the world, and its small size means it’s completely feasible to visit a good proportion of its sights in a fairly short trip. Several new community tourism and hiking or biking holiday operators also make experiencing Palestine’s stunning scenery and great food increasingly easy. [try also Palestine: A Guide by Mariam Shahin, a stunningly beautiful book that came out in 2005 from Interlink Books]
Nablus plans ‘Kanafeh and Soap’ festival
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 16 Nov — Nablus will celebrate its heritage with a festival showcasing traditional produce on Nov. 24. The “Kanafeh and Soap” festival will take place in Nablus’ historic Old City, which will be divided into areas representing trades the city is famous for. Nablus Governor Jibrin al-Bakri said he hoped the event would embody and revive Palestinian heritage in the northern West Bank city, at a planning meeting on Wednesday. The city’s soap, made of olive oil, and Kanafeh – a traditional Palestinian desert made with soft cheese and syrup — will be showcased, as well as different types of coffee and silverware. The ancient city of Nablus has been an important commercial, cultural and economic center throughout the ages.
New program topples invisible walls between Arabs and Jews in Jerusalem
Haaretz 18 Nov — Program aims to show the invisible wall between Jerusalem’s quarters did not always exist, and that differences are not as large as they seem — Anyone entering The Old Yishuv Court Museum in the Jewish Quarter on Wednesday morning could have seen a group of sixth-graders sitting in a room designed as a synagogue and clapping to the rhythm of an old Jewish song. After the song was over the guide explained that just like many other fields, Jewish music, too, was deeply influenced by Arab neighbors. “Did you hear the darbukas?” she asked. The schoolchildren’s teacher translated the explanation into Arabic. The children are from one of the schools in the Muslim Quarter, and are taking part in an almost secret project. This is the second year that Arab children visit the museum in the Jewish Quarter. Whoever is familiar with the Old City of Jerusalem knows that the invisible walls surrounding each quarter are as high as those that surround the Old City. Many inhabitants of the Jewish Quarter or Muslim Quarter have never set foot in the neighboring quarter.
Syrian-Palestinian director plans TV series on Yasser Arafat
PNN 16 Nov — The Palestinian-Syrian director al-Muthana Sobeh said on Wednesday that he has started work on a 30-episode TV drama about the life of former Palestinian president Yasser Arafat. Sobeh told the Lebanese news source al-Akhbar that he chose to announce about his project early to guarantee his ownership of the work, which he plans to finish in 2014.
Israeli discrimination, religious extremism
On the roster of shame / Anna Mahjar-Barducci
Haaretz 18 Nov — At least one major obstacle prevents all Israeli citizens from enjoying equal rights: the absence of civil marriage. There are hundreds of thousands of Israelis “lacking religious affiliation” who cannot get married in their own country, where they were born and raised. My daughter is one of them. My daughter was born in Jerusalem and goes to a Hebrew-speaking school. Her father is an Israeli Jew. But because I am not Jewish and I don’t identify with a particular religion, her birth certificate proclaims that she is “without religious affiliation.” When she was born, the Israeli Ministry of the Interior did not even want to recognize our baby as an Israeli citizen. In order for my husband to give our daughter his name, the ministry demanded the ultimate proof: a DNA test (at our expense ) to prove his paternity.
Top settler rabbi: Soldiers will sooner choose death than suffer women’s singing
Haaretz 17 Nov — Israel Defense Forces soldiers should choose death before they remain at army events which include women’s singing, a top settler religious leader said in an interview on Thursday. The comment made by Elyakim Levanon, the rabbi of the West Bank settlement of Elon Moreh, came after earlier this week, 19 reserve major generals sent a letter to Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, imploring them not to allow harm to come to women’s service in the army as a result of religious soldiers’ demands.
The sin at your doorstep / Neri Livneh
Haaretz 18 Nov — Instead of removing women from public spaces, a public appeal could be issued asking Haredi men to stay home or wherever they feel safe and protected from the sin lying at their doorstep in the female form.
Netanyahu’s policies have turned Israel into Iran / Yoel Marcus
Haaretz 18 Nov — It is hard to believe we are getting close to a situation in which nonreligious people don’t even have the right to be caustic.
Israeli parents protest growing extremist bent in religious schools
Haaretz 18 Nov — Parents of some 400 children are protesting issues such as prohibition against kindergarten girls singing – …The father said his daughter showed him a book that the school had purchased for the children, which he said was “completely ultra-Orthodox.” The father said the male figures in the book were depicted with ultra-Orthodox skullcaps and sidelocks and on the page teaching about showing respect to parents “there was only a father, no mother at all.” … A mother from a state religious kindergarten in Kiryat Gat said that when she asked if a date had been set for the class Hanukkah party, the teacher said the event was being organized by the Orthodox residents’ group, and that fathers would not be invited because “it is not modest for girls to dance and sing in the presence of the fathers, which would [also] prevent the mothers from dancing.”
The voice of a woman / Shmuel Rosner
TEL AVIV 18 Nov — On Sept. 5th, nine military cadets of the Israel Defense Force officer training school, all Orthodox Jews, walked out of an official event marking operation Cast Lead. A group of soldier-singers had taken the stage, but when a woman started her solo, the nine cadets stormed out. Four of them refused to come back to the hall, despite being warned that they were breaching an order, and two days later were expelled from the school. Their objection? That Orthodox Judaism forbids a man from hearing a woman sing. These soldiers adhere to the strict interpretation of the expression “Kol B’Isha Erva.” This might translate as, “the voice of a woman is like nakedness.” Or as, “the voice of a woman is like her vagina.”
Analysis / Opinion
Weimar revisited / Uri Avnery
Gush Shalom 19 Nov — “YOU AND your Weimar!” a friend of mine once exclaimed in exasperation, “just because you experienced the collapse of the Weimar Republic as a child, you see Weimar behind every corner.” The accusation was not unjustified … But now I am not alone anymore. During the last few weeks, the word Weimar has popped up in the articles of many commentators. It should be sprayed in huge letters on the walls. ISRAELI DEMOCRACY is under siege. No one can ignore this anymore. It is the main topic in the Knesset, which is leading the attack, and the media, who are among the victims. This does not happen in the occupied territories. There, democracy never existed. Occupation is the very opposite of democracy: a denial of all human rights, the right to life, liberty, movement, fair trial and free expression, not to mention national rights. No, I mean Israel proper, the Israel inside the Green Line, The Only Democracy In The Middle East.
Netanyahu is now the last hope for Israeli democracy / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 17 Nov — Netanyahu is liable to find himself very quickly in a situation in which he won’t be able to stop the weakening of Israeli democracy … In his heart he is probably saying, let the kids play; let the Elkins, the Danons, the Akunises and the Levins go as wild as they like – I’m here, and I’ll know how to stop the charging tiger in time. But Netanyahu can no longer stop it; this galloping tiger is already too hard to stop, and in the end, it will throw Netanyahu off, and with him Israel’s democracy, crushed, bleeding and irreparable.
Between God and gun / Amos Harel
Haaretz 18 Nov — The former IDF rabbi was right about the reservist generals who have protested what they see as extremist religious trends within the army: This isn’t the army they used to know.
With controversial bills, Netanyahu is declaring war on Europe / Akiva Eldar
Haaretz 15 Nov — Proposed bills to cap foreign government funding to ‘political’ NGOs, impose 45% tax on donations, will affect organizations monitoring a key article of the 2002 Israel-EU trade pact.
From Nablus to Jerusalem / Raja Shehadeh
NABLUS, West Bank 15 Nov— Last Saturday, I arrived at the Nablus train station, a low, thick-walled stone structure, in time to board the 3:20 pm to Jerusalem. Some 20 passengers were waiting at the entrance, mostly young men and women, with a few people old enough to remember the days of train travel during the British Mandate over Palestine. The excitement was palpable: It was our chance to take a ride to Jerusalem, a city we are barred from visiting, bypassing the Israeli checkpoints along the way.
WATCH: Alternative Jewish interpretations seek to counter Jewish takeover of Hebron / Mairav Zonszein
972mag 17 Nov — Within the litmus test that is the “pro-Israel” paradigm, even young devout Jews dedicating their lives to religious study and community are often attacked for being hostile to Israel, as became clear when an American Rabbi living in Israel wrote an essay last summer accusing young rabbis of being “anti-Israel.” A group of Jewish students, professionals, rabbis and activists who have lived in Israel and seen the reality in the West Bank are challenging common (mis)conceptions of Jewish connection to the land.
Colonizing the West Bank in the name of security and religion / Lorenzo Kamel
972mag 16 Nov — In defending their hold on the West Bank, the Israeli government and public often present arguments relating to its purported religious significance or to security considerations. A historical and pragmatic analysis of those arguments prove they fail to stand the test of reason.
Left-wing NGOs attacked but it’s business as usual for rightist organizations / Mikaeia Levin
AIC 16 Nov — While left wing NGOs find their funding threatened by two pieces of proposed legislation, it’s business as usual for Israel’s rightist organizations–groups that raise money for settlements, occupation, discrimination, and ethnic violence.