Thanksgiving in Gaza
[photos]25 Nov by Radhika Sainath — It all started with a simple question from Jabar, a Palestinian farmer from Faraheen, during Eid al-Adha, the festival of sacrifice. “Is there an American eid (holiday) where you slaughter an animal?” he asked Nathan, a colleague here in Gaza, a few weeks ago. Thanksgiving and turkeys came to mind. And so, I found myself celebrating “Thanksgiving,” Gazan-style, this afternoon in the small, southern Gazan village.
Land, property theft and destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Restriction of movement
Netanyahu delays demolition of Jerusalem bridge over Egypt, Jordan warning
Haaretz 28 Nov — The dispute over the Old City’s Mughrabi Bridge is a key issue in Egypt’s elections — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed the Jerusalem municipality and the Public Security Ministry on Friday to postpone for one week the demolition of the Mughrabi Bridge, which leads from the Western Wall Plaza to the Temple Mount, due to warnings from Egypt and Jordan of possible repercussions. According to a senior Israeli official, the demolition of the bridge was planned for a 72-hour period beginning Saturday night. However, Netanyahu’s bureau asked the municipality to postpone the work due to the sensitivity of the issue and warnings from Egypt that the action would focus protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Israel. Netanyahu is expected to convene a meeting of officials for a broad discussion to resolve the matter.
JNF delays eviction of Palestinian family from East Jerusalem home
Haaretz 27 Nov — Eviction order initially issued requiring the 12 members of the Sumarin family to be out of the property by Sunday; Jewish National Fund has been trying to evict them since 1991 . Following an initial report on the matter ten days ago by Haaretz, the left-wing groups Rabbis for Human Rights and the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement launched a campaign against the JNF, including its American affiliate. The campaign was also launched in the United Kingdom by the left-wing Jewish organization Yachad. Following the campaign, the JNF announced that it was not a party to the eviction case, claiming that Elad had pursued the action without any connection to the Jewish National Fund.
Israel’s war of attrition. waged on non-Jews
AIC 28 Nov — The eviction of the Sumarin family was delayed. But the family has been living in limbo for 20 years and other groups live with uncertainty as Israel wages a psychological war of attrition on non-Jews … A delayed eviction does not represent a permanent solution for the Sumarins, a family of 12 who could still lose their house. Nor does this delayed eviction address the larger issue of illegal Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, the Israeli government’s complicity in the enterprise, and the far-reaching consequences for Palestinians who live under military occupation … There is something torturous about living with uncertainty, with a sword dangling over one’s head. Whether that sword be eviction from one’s home or deportation from the country–it’s a reminder that one is not the master of his fate, that his life is in someone else’s hands. It’s a psychological war of attrition.
Beit Hannina: House demolitions without warning
ISM posted 27 Nov — At 11 AM this Thursday the 24 of November, Mohammed Ka’abne and his family, of Beit Hanina, were shocked by the arrival at their doorstep of an Israeli military unit accompanied by several police officers and two bulldozers.ithout issuing any kind of eviction order, or notification to the family, they proceeded to demolish the two houses of Mohammed’s sons and their families, and the tent where Mohammed himself has lived for five years.
Report: Israel approves plans for 119 settlement units
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma‘an) 28 Nov — The Israeli defense ministry has approved plans for 119 housing units in the settlement of Shilo, north of Jerusalem, the Israeli news site Ynet reported. The permits were issued as part of the Israeli state’s response to a high court petition against the settlement by Israeli rights group Peace Now eight months ago, the report said.
Eviction of Givat Assaf outpost delayed
Ynet 28 Nov — High Court judges accept State’s claims, agree to postpone eviction for second time, until July 2012 … Civil Administration supervisors are expected to meet fierce resistance if and when the outpost is forcefully evacuated. The outpost residents, which include some 30 families, vowed to stage a violent struggle against their eviction.
Israeli forces raze land in Qalandia village to expand separation wall
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 27 Nov – Israeli bulldozers razed Sunday the agricultural land north of the village of Qalandia, south of the city of Ramallah, in preparation of expanding the Separation Wall, according to witnesses. Witnesses said that two Israeli bulldozers, accompanied by borders’ guards, razed land, belonging to the village’s residents, to steal it in favor of expanding ‘Atarot’ settlement. They added that the Wall will separate a number of the residents’ homes from their village, and will completely isolate the village from the outside world. Head of Qalandia village council, Yousef Awad, said that the razing process is going very fast and is destroying a lot of land, indicating that the villagers had confronted the soldiers and bulldozers, however, they continued bulldozing.
Power outage in Jerusalem suburbs due to Israeli checkpoint construction
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 28 Nov — An ongoing power outage, affecting 50,000 people, began Sunday night in some suburbs in central Jerusalem due to Israeli construction work to build a new checkpoint, according to Jawad al-Dibs, an employee in the Jerusalem District Electricity Company. He said power was cut off in the suburbs of Ras Khamis, Al-Salam and Ras Shehadeh, the town of Anata, as well as in Shu‘fat, a refugee camp in East Jerusalem, due to Israeli construction work on a new checkpoint to replace the existing military checkpoint in Shu‘fat.
Israel attempts to foil Palestinian initiative for self-generating energy
Ramallah (WAFA) 27 Nov — The Israeli decision demanding Palestinians in the west bank to obtain permits from the Israeli authorities to build solar-cells to generate electricity power aims at thwarting the Palestinian efforts to self-generate power and stop the reliance on Israel for it, Sunday said an official. General Director of The Palestinian Energy and Environment Research Centre (PEC), Ayman Ismail, told WAFA that the Energy & Environment Research Center proposed to the Cabinet a three-year initiative, starting from 2012, to generate electricity by using solar-cells, during which the solar-cells, with capacity of 150 Megawatts (MW), will be put on rooftops, and from which 1000 houses will benefit.
Amira Hass: Settlements have become substitute for welfare state
AIC 27 Nov — “The Israeli society lives insides two normalcies that contradict, but also complement each other,” explained Hass, the latest guest of the AIC Café. First, the civil normalcy: “If you live [in Tel Aviv or West Jerusalem] or if you come to visit [them] you can really feel that Israel is a normal country like in Europe.” “As for the military, the Israelis consider a militarized society [to be normal], with soldiers all around you. Very few people question this, because the possibility of war has a normal presence in life,” she continued … “The settlements, for example, have become a substitute for the welfare state that is disappearing in Israel,” the journalist explained. Subsidies, focus on education, and state-financed housing construction that used to exist in the 50s and the 60s inside the Israeli cities, moved to the West Bank settlements, especially after the 1990s with the Oslo peace process.
How to win friends and influence people – or, chutzpah and stupidity
Israel apologized to American journalist for overly intrusive search
Haaretz 28 Nov — Israel’s Defense Ministry apologized Monday for the treatment of a pregnant American news photographer who said she was strip searched and humiliated by Israeli soldiers during a security check. Lynsey Addario, who was on assignment for the New York Times, had requested that she not be forced to go through an X-ray machine as she entered Israel from the Gaza Strip because of concerns for her unborn baby. Instead, she wrote in a letter to the ministry, she was forced through the machine three times as soldiers “watched and laughed from above.” She said she was then taken into a room where she was ordered by a female worker to strip down to her underwear. In the Oct. 25 letter sent by the newspaper said Addario, a Pulitzer Prize winner who is based in India and has worked in more than 60 countries, had never been treated with “such blatant cruelty.” … The New York Times bureau chief in Israel, Ethan Bronner, welcomed the planned changes but said the newspaper remains shocked at the treatment Addario received and how long the investigation took.
West Bank communities refuse blood drives over MDA deal
JERUSALEM (JTA) 28 Nov — Two communities [settlements] in the West Bank refused to allow Magen David Adom to hold blood drives in their jurisdiction to protest MDA’s promise to the Red Cross to pull back operations in the West Bank. Peduel and Tapuach, part of the Shomron Regional Council, instead organized a blood drive this week to send donations directly to a hospital blood bank in central Israel. Under a 2005 memorandum of understanding signed by MDA and the Palestine Red Crescent Society with the International Committee of the Red Cross, MDA agreed not to operate in the West Bank as it does in pre-1948 borders Israel, and to remove the Star of David emblem from ambulances used in the area.
Settlers, right-wing extremists
‘Price tag’ suspect emailed death threats from house arrest, police say
Haaretz 27 Nov — A man believe to be linked to a series of “price tag” attacks against Israeli peace activists has been continuously emailing death threats to leading Peace Now activists, just a week after being released to house arrest. The man, 21, was indicted less than two weeks ago for incitement for racism and vandalism of property, after had admitted to spraying graffiti in several locations in and around Jerusalem, reading “price tag” and “death to the Arabs.”
Exclusive: Peace Now price tag suspect, parents identified / Richard Silverstein
Tikun Olam 27 Nov — Today, Israeli police released the suspect in the price tag attacks on Jerusalem’s Peace Now office to house arrest. As soon as he got home, he fired up his computer and began sending e mail blast death threats to every Peace Now activist he knew. What’s even more astonishing is that he sent these emails in his own name using his personal e mail address, which allowed every recipient to identify him. This despite the fact that his father, who works for the Shin Bet, managed to get a gag order restricting publication of his name. More on Mom and Dad below … He is Dor Oved, age 18, whose mother is a policewoman.
Israeli forces kidnap Palestinian fishermen in Gaza
GAZA (WAFA) 28 Nov — Israeli forces kidnapped Monday two Palestinian fishermen, who were on board a small boat in the Gaza Sea, in front of Al-Shate’ refugee camp, according to local sources. Local sources said that an Israeli gunboat intercepted the Palestinian boat while Israeli forces kidnapped, Mohammad Abu Klub, 20, and Mahmoud Al- Nahal, 21, and confiscated their boat.
Official: Israel deliberately disconnects Gaza electricity
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 Nov — The energy authority in the Gaza Strip on Monday accused Israel of deliberately disconnecting the main electricity grid to the coastal enclave as part of a “punitive policy.” “The Israeli occupation uses security pretexts to justify disconnecting a grid which provides 14 megawatts to the northern Gaza Strip,” head of the energy authority Kanaan Ubeid said. He added that electricity had been cut off to the north for nine days. The current power crisis in Gaza is also being caused by the cold weather, which has seen a surge in energy use, and maintenance works being carried out by Swedish engineers, Ubeid added.
Israel continues to supply the Gaza Strip with water and 70 percent of its electrical power, the rest being supplied by neighboring Egypt or local power plants. Israel warned on Saturday that it would cut the supply of water and electricity to the Gaza Strip if rival parties Fatah and Hamas formed a unity government. [End]
For some, tunnels remain the only way into Gaza
Gaza (Al Akhbar) 28 Nov by Taghrid Atallah – Ibrahim Abu Deeb emerged from the tunnel to the light of his lost homeland and into the arms of his parents, who thought they would never see their son again. Abu Deeb, an Irish-Palestinian, had tried every trick in the book and exhausted every legal loophole in order to enter Gaza and see his family after decades of being away. In fact, as soon as Abu Deeb heard of Egypt’s decision to open the Rafah border crossing on the first of June 2011, his desire to enter Gaza was rekindled, but he expected his hopes to be crushed, especially after a previous failed attempt.
Devastating effects of Gaza siege
PressTV 26 Nov — with Radhika Sanath, civil rights lawyer, among others — The latest findings by Médecins Sans Frontières show that in Gaza thirty six percent of essential medicines are lacking. Shortage of drugs and medical supplies represent a real threat to patient health. The situation, which had been worsening steadily for several years, deteriorated further in 2011 and has reached an alarming level. In this edition of the show we will look at how the Gaza blockade prevents healthcare provision for those living in the strip and keeps the poverty level high.
Gaza farmers launch export season tightly controlled by Israel
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) 27 Nov — Farmers in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip began exporting hundreds of tons of produce to Europe on Sunday after Israel cracked open its border with Gaza for Palestinian goods. A truckload of strawberries left Gaza to launch the season, which is to run through May … Yousef Shaath of Gaza’s Agricultural Development Association said 250 farmers hope to export 600 tons of strawberries, 350 tons of bell peppers, 160 tons of cherry tomatoes and 17 million carnations, for estimated revenues of $25 million. That’s up dramatically from 300 tons of berries, 6 tons of peppers, 6.5 tons of tomatoes and 10 million carnations last year. The Israeli military did not give an explanation Sunday for easing the flow of produce out of the seaside strip. Still, exports out of Gaza remain heavily restricted.
Gaza asks Turkey to restore Ottoman mosques
28 Nov — …Officials of the Gazan administration said that they presented a project to Turkey for new mosques and the repairs of existing mosques. The Gazan administration requested the repairs of 161 mosques that were damaged in the war of 2008-2009. The administration also requested the reconstruction of 34 mosques that were completely destroyed in 2008-2009.
A patient’s struggle for care
Al Arabiya 28 Nov — Over a decade ago, Amal Saber Abu Lehya, was looking forward to starting her life with her fiancé who had spent 10 years in an Israeli prison. ““The 10-year wait was no easy feat, but I wanted to stay, especially because being a prisoner of the Israelis is an honor every Palestinian woman wishes to be festooned with,” said Lehya. After his release, the couple lived together happily as a family with their seven children, until she was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer five months ago. “Now I’m awaiting death; I feel that my life will end at any moment,” she told alarabiya.net. Lehya began her treatment at various Israeli hospitals using her family’s day-to-day expenses as ways to pay for small bills. However, she was shocked when she was told by an Israeli that a bone marrow transplant she required would set her back half a million dollars — a sum the ministry of health in the West Bank failed to pay.
Rap and reconciliation in Gaza: an interview with the DARG team
PNN 27 Nov — In one of the most crowded places on earth, four Palestinians are standing out. They call themselves Da Arabian Revolutionary Guys — or the DARG Team — and they are considered to be the premier rap group in the Gaza Strip. Together with fellow Palestinian hip hop crews DAM, Awlad al-Hara, and Ramallah Underground, the DARG Team comprises the most famous faces of rap music in the occupied territories. PNN French Editor Alexis Thiry corresponded with the rappers, who are currently on tour in Switzerland, via email. [in case anyone has not seen/heard their video "Onadekum" for Vittorio Arrigoni, it's here]
Detention / Court actions
Prisoner’s Club: Israel releases Palestinian reporter
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 28 Nov — Israeli authorities Monday released the Jerusalemite journalist Isra’ Salhab after she spent two weeks in the Russian compound detention center in West Jerusalem, according to Palestinian Prisoner’s Club (PPC). PPC Director in Jerusalem, Nasser Qaws, told WAFA that an Israeli court released Salhab, a presenter on al-Quds TV, after she was summoned for interrogation by the Israeli police in Jerusalem on November 16. It hasn’t been confirmed yet that Salhab’s release isn’t conditional to house-arrest, fine or others, added Qaws. To be noted, Salhab’s husband has been detained in Israeli jails for more than a month.
Israeli forces storm Palestinian college, arrest students in Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 27 Nov – Israeli forces Sunday stormed the faculty of the Palestine Technical College in Arroub, a refugee camp north of Hebron, in the southern West Bank, and arrested a number of its students, according to witnesses. Bassam Al-Hadad, one of the teachers at the college, told WAFA that Israeli forces stormed the college, patrolling in its courtyard and checking students’ identity cards, and arrested several students under the pretext of looking for wanted Palestinians
IOF soldiers arrest 6 citizens, Jerusalemite child
NABLUS (PIC) 28 Nov — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) detained five Palestinian citizens in Beit Osrin village in Nablus including the village municipality council head, a young man in Jenin, and a 9-year-old child in occupied Jerusalem. Local sources said that IOF patrols stormed the village before dawn Monday and arrested the village council head in addition to four young men, three of them minors. Sources in Jenin said that the IOF troops detained a young man in Jaba’ village, south of the city, after breaking into his home and searching it. They said that the soldiers stormed four other villages to the west of Jenin and wreaked havoc on many houses before leaving without making any arrests.
Meanwhile, Israeli occupation police detained a 9-year-old boy in Silwan town in occupied Jerusalem on Sunday evening.
Locals said that the policemen took away Ahmed Mansour Al-Resheq while playing in the alleys of Ein Al-Louze suburb without giving any reason.
Link to Palestinian Information Center
Israeli soldiers arrest 12 Palestinians in West Bank
HEBRON (WAFA) 27 Nov – Israeli soldiers Sunday arrested 12 Palestinians across the West Bank, according to security sources. They said Israeli soldiers arrested two Palestinians from Hebron and Balata camp and another three from Beit Ummar town, after they searched their homes and tampered with their contents … Soldiers also arrested seven Palestinians from Tireh town west of Ramallah, Battir town in Bethlehem and Jalazone camp.
Release of 3 prisoners delayed by Israeli authorities
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 26 Nov — Israeli prison authorities are delaying the release of three prisoners from Gaza who have completed their sentences. The director of a prisoner’s assembly, Muhammad Badr, on Friday named Abdullah Tawfiq al-Kurd, Wael Mousa Sharbaji and Wade Khamis Tamman as the prisoners who have had their release postponed. Both al-Kurd and Sharbaji have finished their sentences of 9 and 7 years, respectively, and should have been released a month ago, Badr said. Tamman, 30, has spent 10 years in jail and suffers from epilepsy.
Prisoner’s Club: Released prisoner summoned for the second time
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 28 Nov — Israeli police Monday summoned Sana’ Shehadeh, a released prisoner in the recent swap deal, from Qalandia refugee camp near Jerusalem, for the second time in a month, according to a statement by the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club (PPC). Israeli forces raided Sana’ Shehadeh’s house in the camp and handed her sister a notice to appear before the Israeli police station in Neve Yaacov settlement, said the press release.
Israeli intelligence summons released prisoner
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 27 Nov – Israeli Intelligence Sunday summoned the released prisoner, Hanan al-Hamuoz from al-‘Azza camp, north of Bethlehem, according to security sources. They said Israeli forces raided the camp and blocked the main entrance before raiding Hamouz’s house. Soldiers searched the house and tampered with its contents, then handed Hamouz’s parents a notice for her to report to Israeli intelligence in Etzion settlement, south of Bethlehem.
Israel arrests Palestinian ex-detainee with cancer
HEBRON (WAFA) 18 Nov — The Israeli army Monday arrested a Palestinian ex-detainee who was released in 2009 after being diagnosed with cancer, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club (PPC). Amjad Najjar, head of PPC in Hebron, told WAFA that Hamzah al-Tarayreh, 23, from Bani Na‘im, a town east of Hebron city, was arrested at the “Container” checkpoint, which links the north of the West Bank to the south, on his way back from a visit to Jordan for medical treatment. Najjar condemned the renewed arrest of released, ill prisoners, considering it a violation of humanitarian and international norms, and called on international and rights groups to intervene and save al-Tarayreh, who needs continuous medical treatment
Israel releases detainee suffering from cancer
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 28 Nov — Israel on Monday released a 23-year-old detainee suffering from cancer, a prisoners institute in Hebron said. Hamza al-Tarayra was detained in 2009 at a checkpoint near Bethlehem as he returned from hospital in Jordan, the center said. Amjad al-Najjar, director of the prisoner rights group, said al-Tarayra has mouth cancer and was previously detained in 2008. He was released in 2009 by a supreme court decision and left to Jordan for treatment. Al-Tarayra cannot speak and needs immediate medical treatment, al-Najjar said.
IDF court convicts second Palestinian man for Fogel murders
Haaretz 28 Nov — Amjad Awad, resident of the West Bank village of Awarta, convicted 2 months after cousin Hakim Awad was sentenced to 5 consecutive life sentences.
TA attack suspect: I was ‘unconscious’ during rampage
Ynet 27 Nov — Issa Ibrahim Islam, 22, tells court he was not awake during truck rampage on ‘Nakba Day’ which killed one, wounded 18. ‘The car drove itself,” he says
Activism / Solidarity
Community building in the face of Israeli occupation
AIC 27 Nov — While the Palestinian-led weekly demonstrations against the separation barrier are an important and visible part of non-violent resistance, a children’s community center in Burin fights the occupation on a daily basis just by opening its doors, sometimes for as little as half an hour … Burin’s 4,000 inhabitants live in a valley, surrounded on all hilltops by Israeli settlements — Yitzhar, Har Bracha, Givat Arousna, and a Yitzhar ‘outpost’. The children and adults of Burin live, day and night, in constant fear of settler attacks and army raids. 21-year-old Ghassan Najjar is the director of Burin’s Bilal Alnajjar Community Center, built in 2008 and named after a villager who died in 1984 while he was being interrogated by the Israeli army. “The youth here are lost,” he says. “There is no outlet for their frustration. The gym that was once open was closed. The boy’s playground is large, but people are too afraid to play there because of the constant army presence in the area…the girl’s school is tiny, and looks like a jail because of all the bars that are up- a caged-up area is the only place where they can play.”
Activists charge World Health Organization with being ‘blind to apartheid’ / Adam Horowitz
Mondoweiss 28 Nov – A press release from Boycott from Within, a coalition of Israeli citizens, who support the Palestinian-led campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel: This morning a group of Palestinians and Israeli activists held a protest action in front of the Inbal hotel where the WHO (World Health Organization) held their first ‘Health 2020 – The New European Policy for Health‘ conference. The conference participants encountered activists who had been bound and gagged as Palestinian detainees. Israeli physicians are often complicit in the torture and ill-treatment of such detainees, as reported recently by Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHR) and the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI).
Israeli forces demolish international solidarity center in Bil‘in
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 28 Nov — The Israeli occupation forces proceeded on Monday, without prior warning, the demolition of the international solidarity center in the village of Bil‘in, West of the West Bank city of Ramallah, according to a press release issued by the Popular Committee against the Wall and settlement of Bil‘in. It said that Israeli forces confiscated all wood seats and waste containers which were placed six months ago in protection of the natural reserve (Abu Limon).
Ein al-Hilwe Palestinians optimistic after reconciliation talks
Al Akhbar 29 Nov — By Khaled Al-Ghorabi — There is a cautious optimism in Ein al-Hilwe, the Palestinian refugee camp in South Lebanon, after a reconciliation meeting between Hamas leader Khaled Meshal and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Residents of the camp welcome the reconciliation but hope it will last longer and have more of an effect than previous attempts
Beirut’s Marathon: Shatila children run for rights
Al-Akhbar 27 Nov — Over 100 Palestinian children took part in the annual Beirut Marathon Sunday. “The marathon is a chance for the children to get out of the camp, to be outside without having to deal with racism and without being considered foreigners or refugees,” said Abu Mujahed, the director of the Children and Youth Center (CYC). “During the day of the marathon the children are seen as human beings and only that. There is no discrimination because the barrier of differences that usually keeps people apart would be torn down. People will be running side by side,” he added. The CYC is a non-governmental organization open to children of all origins residing within the refugee camps of Lebanon.
UNRWA calls for renewed international attention to refugees’ status
JORDAN (WAFA) 28 Nov – UNRWA’s Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi called on the international community to renew and strengthen its support for Palestine refugees; particularly the youth, who form a substantial and increasingly significant segment of the refugee population, Monday said a press release by United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine (UNISPAL) … He highlighted the issues of Israeli settlements expanding ‘relentlessly on Palestinian land, including in the East Jerusalem periphery.’ Warning of the implications of this for a future Palestinian state, Grandi expressed UNRWA’s grave concern about the humanitarian consequences of settlement expansion and the demolition of Palestinian homes and property. ‘This deepens the isolation of Palestinians and creates fresh displacement,’ he said. He pointed out that there are an estimated 3,000 demolition orders pending in the West Bank, the Commissioner-General warned: ‘The worst is yet to come, unless much more urgent and effective pressure is exercised to stop these abuses.’
Racism / Discrimination
State to commemorate Ethiopian Jews who died on way to Israel, but no compensation for relatives
Haaretz 28 Nov — Ethiopian Jews won a four-year battle Sunday to commemorate the members of their community who died in Sudan during the long and dangerous journey to Israel. But the relatives of the dead will not receive government compensation as did relatives of Soviet Prisoners of Zion.
Israeli secular, religious ministers hold heated debate about women’s rights
Haaretz 27 Nov — Likud’s Limor Livnat warns that exclusion of women leads to violence against women; Shas minister Nahari: We must respect those who find women’s singing offensive — Secular and religious cabinet members engaged in a heated discussion over the issue of women’s rights in Israel on Sunday, forcing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to weigh in and urge further dialogue.
Political / Diplomatic / International
Hamas: Palestinians won’t form interim government before elections
AP 27 Nov — The Palestinians’ rival leaders have quietly decided to keep their respective governments in the West Bank and Gaza in place until elections, a senior Hamas figure told The Associated Press. This proposal would remove a major obstacle to efforts to reconcile the factions: the need to form an interim unity government. A representative of Hamas’ rival, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, denied however that such a deal was struck.
Fatah, Hamas may address Israel recognition in next round of talks
VIENNA (MEO) 28 Nov — The refusal of Hamas to recognise Israel could be discussed in the next round of talks between the Islamist group and its rival Fatah, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said Monday. “I would wish that Hamas would agree to this,” Fatah chief Abbas told reporters during a visit to Vienna. “Maybe this will be an issue to talk about in our next meeting.”
Abbas ‘hopes’ for May 4 elections
VIENNA (AFP) 28 Nov — President Mahmoud Abbas said Monday he hoped elections would be held on May 4 next year, after what he called “important” talks between his Fatah group and Hamas in Cairo.
Jordan king tells Peres: Settlements hurdle to peace
AMMAN (Reuters) 28 Nov — Jordan’s King Abdullah told Israeli President Shimon Peres on Monday that Jewish settlement building on occupied Palestinian territory was a major hurdle to reviving peace talks, a palace official said. Their meeting comes after a period of frosty ties between the neighbors. Abdullah has accused Israel of derailing peace talks by stepping up settlement building in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
PA undecided on how to move forward on UN bid
NEW YORK (Ma‘an) 18 Nov — The Palestinian Authority has not yet decided whether to pursue membership at the UN Security Council, Palestine’s ambassador to the UN said Monday. Riyad Mansour told the Voice of Palestine that if new changes and indicators of support take place, the Palestinian leadership will immediately send a request to the Security Council asking for a new vote.
Poll: Majority satisfied with halt of negotiations, UN bid
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 27 Nov — A public opinion poll by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Centre (JMCC) published Sunday showed that the majority of respondents (51.2%) said they were satisfied with the decision of the Palestinian leadership to halt negotiations and resort to the United Nations while 15.1% said they were dissatisfied. A total of 52.5% of the respondents were from the West Bank, 10.0% from Jerusalem, and 37.5% from the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian authority unable to pay salaries and pensions due to Israeli seizure of funds
IMEMC 27 Nov — With the Israeli government continuing to seize Palestinian tax money and hold the funds in Israeli banks, the Palestinian Authority announced on Sunday that it will be unable to pay salaries to civil servants and pensions to the elderly and disabled this coming month.
Israel slated to resume funds transfer to PA
Ynet 28 Nov — Prime Minister Netanyahu says Israel considering to provide Palestinians with tax payments again after it halted transfer in wake of PA’s admission to UNESCO … Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman rejected Netanyahu’s statement saying that Yisrael Beiteinu will do everything in its power to prevent the transfer of funds to the PA. “I want our position to be very clear: I hear many infantile claims such as ‘it’s their money, on what right do we hold the Palestinians’ money’” Lieberman said at a faction meeting. “It’s as if they are allowed to murder or preach to the murder of Jews with their money.” State officials said that if the government indeed decides to resume the payments it will review the matter every month.
Report: Israel to reconsider PA tax freeze
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma‘an) 28 Nov — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that Israel was considering the release of Palestinian tax revenues, which it has frozen for over a month … Netanyahu’s aide said that the change in policy would be in the interest of preventing the collapse of the Palestinian Authority. The decision to reconsider withholding the funds was also influenced by the fact that the PLO had not pursued moves in other international organizations, Netanyahu said … Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said last week that the Israeli policy to withhold funds “amounts to waterboarding an economy, because you almost kill it while allowing a small amount of air to come in.”
Austria upgrades Palestinian delegation to mission
VIENNA (WAFA) 28 Nov – President Mahmoud Abbas Monday thanked his Austrian counterpart, President Heinz Fischer, for upgrading the status of the Palestinian representation in Austria from general delegation to the level of a mission
Fatah official Nabil Shaath hospitalized after heart attack
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 Nov — Fatah official Nabil Shaath was admitted to hospital on Sunday evening after suffering a heart attack while on board a plane. The official was on a flight from Brussels to Malaysia when he had the heart attack, causing the plane to make an emergency landing in Amsterdam, a statement said. Shaath’s wife Rajaa Abu Ghazela said that he was in a stable condition but would remain in hospital for surveillance.
Netanyahu: Israel won’t have the same ‘intimacy’ it had with past Egypt regimes
Haaretz 28 Nov — Speaking to Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, PM says Israel’s security interests cannot rely only on peace treaty with Egypt, since that deal could ‘come undone.’
Videos: Message in the sand: We will not allow gas exports to Israel
Mondoweiss 28 Nov –As Egyptians headed to the polls this morning for their first free elections in years the newly repaired Sinai pipeline that delivers gas to Israel and Jordan was attacked for the second time in less than a week. The video above is from the pipeline explosion on Thursday morning in the Sinai. The second from today, within about 100 feet from Thursday’s explosion. A message in the sand: ‘We will not allow gas exports to Israel’
Report: More than 80% of [East] Jerusalem people under poverty line
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 27 Nov — An annual report issued by an Israeli group called the national insurance institute in the occupied Palestinian territories said that more than 80 percent of Palestinian natives in east Jerusalem are living under poverty line. 84 percent of the Palestinian children of east Jerusalem are classified as poor according to 2010 data, the report said. The report noted that the percentage of the poor Palestinian families in Jerusalem rose during the past five years from 28 percent of the total poor families in Israel to 31 percent. For his part, director of Jerusalem center for social and economic rights Ziyad Al-Hamouri concurred on these figures and said they were issued by an official Israeli institution.
Link to Palestinian Information Center
Mahmoud Darwish memorial opens in Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 27 Nov — Officials opened a new installation commemorating famed Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish in Ramallah on Sunday, a press statement said … “It stands high breaking the Ramallah sky to reflect the great spirit of Mahmoud Darwish,” Fayyad said, at the ceremony attended by Ramallah mayor Janet Michael, Paltel Chief Executive Ammar al-Ikir, and Mahmoud Darwish Society Director Yasser Abed Rabbo. Darwish is revered as Palestine’s national poet, and died in 2008.
Reform movement head Yoffie: Anti-democratic laws will distance American Jews from Israel
28 Nov — The leader of the Reform movement in the U.S. warned Sunday, in an exclusive interview with Haaretz, of the damage anti-democratic laws will have on Diaspora Jews and Israel alike. “The anti-democratic laws that have passed, or that are expected to pass, in the Knesset are not bad only for Israel. These laws could have a catastrophic impact on relations between Israel and the Jews of the Diaspora – especially American Jews,” warned Union for Reform Judaism President Rabbi Eric Yoffie.
Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity to undergo first renovation in centuries
Haaretz 27 Nov — Political and religious conflicts have kept the Church of the Nativity in a state of decay; first step will be the replacement of the building’s roof …Today, the increasingly dire state of the Nativity’s roof and the intervention of an external player in the form of the Palestinian Authority – which has circumvented the old rivalries and allowed all to save face – has led the three churches to agree to a renovation to be arranged and funded by the Palestinian government and international donors. The Palestinian Authority, the Western-backed government that wields limited control in the West Bank under Israel’s overall control, sees the church as its premier tourist attraction, with 2 million foreign visitors last year.
Overlooked relics may help unearth Dead Sea Scrolls’ authors
Haaretz 28 Nov — Study of garments found with scrolls in Qumran caves seems to support contested theory of separatist Essene authorship … Both Jews and Romans wore mainly woolen garments Shamir says, and so wool is the fabric mainly found at archaeological sites. Most of the clothing also featured a dark red pattern described both in Talmudic and non-Jewish sources. But pieces of cloth from Qumran are completely different. They are all made of linen rather than wool and are devoid of decoration. They were also bleached
Are Muslims allowed rights? Amna Akbar & Ramzi Kassem
Al Jazeera Opinion 28 Nov — The New York Police Department and the FBI’s targeting of Muslim communities is unfounded and must stop, authors say — New York, NY – The Associated Press recently reported on know-your-rights trainings happening in New York City’s Muslim communities. This was one of the latest installments in the wire agency’s series confirming what Muslim New Yorkers had long suspected – that the New York Police Department has engaged in indiscriminate surveillance on ethnic and religious grounds, without concrete suspicion of criminal activity. Curiously, the AP’s latest story turns the series on its head, giving the dangerous impression that Muslim communities are refusing to share with law enforcement tips on actual criminal activity. This could not be further from the truth.
yet another instance of FWA (Flying while Arab):
Video: CAIR to investigate possible profiling on US Airways flight
CAIR 16 Nov — A Thanksgiving flight to D.C. was delayed about five hours after several students from the United Arab Emirates were detained for questioning in Charlotte. When the flight arrived at Ronald Reagan National Airport Thursday night, passengers told News4 one passenger thought the group of seven men and one woman was trying to hijack the plane so the pilot called security. The students said security officials questioned them about whether they had military training, News4′s Julie Carey reported. The detained students were allowed back on the plane after rescreening. The students, who had been recognized as future leaders by the United Arab Emirates Embassy and invited to a conference in D.C., said they should not have been detained and they want an apology.