Palestinian Christians pray for threatened valley

Israel/Palestine
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and other news from Today in Palestine:

Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid

Palestinian residents of Bethlehem fear Israeli expansion
22 Dec — The Alam family used to boast of their biblical view over the lush valley outside the Palestinian city of Bethlehem. Grape orchards were carved into the terraced hills and shepherds brought their flocks to graze in the valley basin. “You could look and imagine what it would have been like in the time of Jesus,” said the Rev. Ibrahim Shomalia, a local priest. But recent years have brought changes to the valley – none more dramatic than the recent announcements by Israel that it plans, within the coming months, to construct a circle of Jewish settlements around the city as well as to complete work on a section of the imposing Israeli-West Bank security barrier that essentially will surround Bethlehem. “The last green spaces will be gone, the last area where our families went to pick olives and plant orchards. This completes Israel’s settlement project by grasping more than 1,600 acres of land we could use for our development, and using it for the development of settlements instead,” said Xavier Abu Eid, a Palestinian government spokesman and Bethlehem resident.
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/12/22/133904/residents-of-bethlehem-fear-israeli.html

West Bank Christians pray for threatened valley
AFP 23 Dec — A handful of Palestinian Christians stand on a ridge under grey skies at an open-air mass, praying for protection for the sweeping valley that descends from their feet. For decades, the dwindling Christian community of Beit Jala and Bethlehem has joined its Muslim neighbours to work the land of the Cremisan Valley during the week, and picnic here with their families at the weekend. But the route of Israel’s controversial separation barrier will soon cut them off from the valley, placing it on the Israeli side and out of their reach — a route that residents say was designed to grab their land … “With this confiscation, Jerusalem and Bethlehem will no longer be connected. That’s something that the Christian world should understand,” said Xavier Abu Eid, a Palestine Liberation Organisation spokesman who comes from a Beit Jala family.
http://news.yahoo.com/west-bank-christians-pray-threatened-valley-062359666.html

Israeli bulldozers demolish two houses in Galilee
ARRABA (WAFA) 22 Dec – Israeli bulldozers at dawn Thursday demolished two houses under construction in Arraba town, in Galilee, under the pretext of not having building permits, according to local sources. They said the local planning committee hung up demolishing orders on two houses and demolished them 48 hours later.
http://english.wafa.ps/index.php?action=detail&id=18465

JNF requests Sumrain family eviction delay
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 23 Dec — The Jewish National Fund (JNF) , represented by its subsidiary the Hamnuta association has requested that the eviction of the Sumrain family in Wadi Hilweh be delayed. The association has submitted this request despite its attempt to evict the family on the strength of the Absentee Property Law. The request to delay the eviction until 8 January 2012 may be explained by the intense pressure the International Jewish Fund is facing from civil rights organizations. It may also be a ploy to diminish media attention, so that the eviction can be implemented at a later date with less media coverage.
http://silwanic.net/?p=23084

Mayor: Israeli forces destroy wells, other structures
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 23 Dec — Israeli forces demolished wells and agricultural structures in Ithna [Idhna, Ethna, Idna, إذن ] near Hebron on Thursday, the town’s mayor said. Jamal Tmaizi said an Israeli force raided the town with bulldozers and destroyed a water tank and two wells which belong to Mohammad Hasan Abu Asaad and Mohammad Badawi Tmaizi. They also destroyed agricultural housings that belong to the Tmaizi and Farajallah families.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=447070

Israel/OPT: Further information: Palestinian families face renewed demolitions
Amnesty 22 Dec — The Israeli army has ordered the demolition of a further 21 homes and other properties in the Bedouin hamlet of Hadidiya in the Jordan Valley. Many of the structures at risk have been rebuilt following demolitions in June. Fifty people, including at least 25 children, are at risk of permanent displacement. The Civil Administration (Israeli military administration) issued demolition orders on 10 November for 21 structures used as homes and animal pens. Sixteen of the structures threatened with demolition were donated by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and aid organizations following the demolition of 29 structures on 21 June.
http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE15/042/2011/en/fa0d032e-7ec1-4299-ac25-af3f1e918cf3/mde150422011en.html

Jerusalem municipality hands Palestinians demolishing orders
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 22 Dec – Jerusalem municipality city employees Thursday handed a number of Palestinians in Issawiya neighborhood of East Jerusalem demolishing orders for their homes, according to local sources. Issawiya follow-up committee spokesman, Raed Abu Rayali, told WAFA that Israeli police and a number of soldiers raided the neighborhood and handed a number of its residents demolishing orders under the pretext of not having building permits. Abu Rayali said a number of the municipality employees stole olive trees after they were uprooted from Palestinians’ land east of the neighborhood.
http://english.wafa.ps/index.php?action=detail&id=18460

‘Jerusalem bill’ up for debate
Ynet 22 Dec — Ministerial Legislation Committee gears to review National Union bill aiming to cement Jerusalem’s status as ‘united capital of the Jewish people and the State of Israel’ … Jerusalem is already defined as Israel’s capital according to Israeli law, but Eldad asserts that “in a time when some people advocate making Jerusalem the capital of Palestine, an international capital or other such nonsense, we think there’s a place to declare it as the capital of only one people and one county. It has never been anything else.”
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4165609,00.html

Israeli intelligence warns Hatem Abdul Qader against meetings in Jerusalem
24 Dec — On Thursday, Israeli General Security service Shabak warned Hatem Abdel Qader, the PA official in charge of the Jerusalem file, against holding any Palestinian or Palestinian-Israeli meetings in the city. The warning came during the middle of a three-hour interrogation of Abdel Qader on Friday morning in al-Moskobiya detention center in Jerusalem.Shabak officials told Abdel Qader that it was an issue of Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem. Abdel Qader said he was told that meetings in Jerusalem were “dangerous incidents which lead to legal consequences” and amounted to “incitement.” Abdel Qader refuted these accusations.
http://english.pnn.ps/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=10992&Itemid=64

Israel MKs slam Jerusalem mayor for suggesting surrender of Palestinian neighborhoods
23 Dec — Right-wing lawmakers lashed out Friday at a statement attributed to Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat and reported by Haaretz earlier in the day, according to which Israel should relinquish Jerusalem’s Palestinian neighborhoods beyond the separation barrier.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/israel-mks-slam-jerusalem-mayor-for-suggesting-surrender-of-palestinian-neighborhoods-1.403184

EU warns Israel against connecting Ma’ale Adumim with Jerusalem
IMEMC 23 Dec — The European Union warned the Israeli government against creating a geographical contiguity between the Ma’ale Adumim settlement and occupied East Jerusalem by constructing a new settlement in the area. EU envoy, Andrew Stanley, submitted an official document in this regard to the Israeli Foreign Ministry.
http://www.imemc.org/article/62721

UN officially protests Israeli settlement in E1 area near Jerusalem
PNN 23 Dec — On Friday, the United Nations presented an official protest to the Israeli Foreign Ministry about the demolition of Palestinian homes in the E1 area, located between Jerusalem and the illegal Ma’ale Adumim settlement.
http://english.pnn.ps/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=10990&Itemid=61

Israel gearing for effective separation of East Jerusalem Palestinians
23 Dec — Last week, a new border crossing was opened in East Jerusalem’s Sho‘afat neighborhood, to little fanfare. Two days later, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat asserted that Israel should relinquish Palestinian neighborhoods of the capital that are beyond the separation barrier, despite the fact that their residents carry Israeli identity cards. Some people view these events as two pieces of the same puzzle. A third piece is the resumption of work on separate roads for Israelis and Palestinians between Jerusalem and the West Bank settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim.
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/israel-gearing-for-effective-separation-of-east-jerusalem-palestinians-1.403034

Restriction of movement

Israel has 101 different types of permits governing Palestinian movement
23 Dec –Israel’s Civil Administration issues 101 different types of permits to govern the movement of Palestinians, whether within the West Bank, between the West Bank and Israel or beyond the borders of the state, according to an agency document of which Haaretz obtained a copy.  The most common permits are those allowing Palestinians to work in Israel, or in Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Over the decades, however, the permit regimen has grown into a vast, triple-digit bureaucracy. There are separate permits for worshipers who attend Friday prayers on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and for clerics working at the site; for unspecified clergy and for church employees. Medical permits differentiate between physicians and ambulance drivers, and between “medical emergency staff” and “medical staff in the seam zone,” meaning the border between Israel and the West Bank. There is a permit for escorting a patient in an ambulance and one for simply escorting a patient … The separation fence gave rise to an entirely new category of permits, for farmers cut off from their fields. Thus, for instance, there is a permit for a “farmer in the seam zone,” not to be confused with the permit for a “permanent farmer in the seam zone.”
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/israel-has-101-different-types-of-permits-governing-palestinian-movement-1.403039

Israeli, Palestinian boys’ soccer tournament exposes reality of Jerusalem life
23 Dec — When all else fails, the frustrated boys are left to play table soccer at the community center– The boys from Kafr Aqab always arrive late to Jerusalem’s neighborhood soccer tournament. But it isn’t their fault. Their Jerusalem neighborhood is on the other side of the separation fence, so their arrival depends on the mood of the guards at the Qalandiyah checkpoint. Tournament director Liron Jarassi doesn’t get upset. “We take their delay into account,” he explained.
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/israeli-palestinian-boys-soccer-tournament-exposes-reality-of-jerusalem-life-1.403040

Hamas urges Palestinians to reject strip search at checkpoints
RAMALLAH, (PIC) 22 Dec – Hamas called on the Palestinian people to reject and resist the Israeli strip search at military roadblocks in the West Bank. It denounced in a statement on Wednesday the Israeli occupation soldiers for forcing two young men to strip for search at Hawara roadblock south of Nablus earlier Wednesday. The movement described the “shameful incident” as a flagrant violation of human rights and the Palestinian people’s dignity, adding that the incident reflected “the degree of racism and moral degradation of the Israeli occupation”.
http://www.australiansforpalestine.net/55921

Palestinians stopped from crossing roadblock because they refused a strip-search
JENIN (PIC) 23 Dec — A Palestinian man and his sister on Friday were not allowed to cross the Barta’a military roadblock because they refused to be strip-searched. Local sources said that occupation soldiers stopped Rabab Qabaha while on her way back to her village after giving birth and insisted that she should submit to a strip-search which she refused. Hamas had earlier issued a statement calling on West Bank Palestinians to reject this humiliating practice which occupation soldiers have started to impose on roadblocks.
Link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

A checkpoint isn’t just a construction / Tamar Fleishman – the West Bank
22 Dec — Shu‘afat checkpoint that was inaugurated a few days ago disconnects the residents of the refugee camp from the center of their lives. It separates family members, employees from their place of work, patients from clinics, children from educational institutions and restricts the free movement of tens of thousands of human beings, for the ultimate goal set by its inventors and constructors to create a “strictly Jewish Jerusalem”. The architecture of the checkpoint correlates to the principles of modern prisons, the Panopticon, the concept of the design is to allow an observer to observe all inmates of an institution without them being able to tell whether or not they are being watched … A checkpoint isn’t just a construction implemented for blocking and imprisoning, its essence isn’t architectural; it is also and perhaps mostly there to mold consciousness and ideology.
http://palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=17334

Gaza

Incursion reported near Khan Younis, no injuries
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 22 Dec — Israeli army vehicles crossed over the border of eastern Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip early Thursday, firing intensively, local residents said. Onlookers of the brief incursion told Ma‘an that seven Israeli tanks in addition to several bulldozers crossed a few dozen meters inside eastern Khan Younis near the Khuza‘a, Abasan and Farahin towns. In addition to the presence of helicopters overhead, gunfire from a military tower at the center of the border fence was overheard particularly in the town of Abasan. No injuries were reported.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=447012

Israeli shelling east of Khan Younis
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 23 Dec — Israeli forces shelled on Friday morning east of Khan Younis in the south of the Gaza Strip. Eyewitnesses in the al-Zana area said they heard three explosions that were a result of Israeli shelling in an open area. Gaza medical official Adham Abu Salmiya told Ma‘an there were no injuries.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=447284

Israel’s siege punishing Gaza orphans / Eva Bartlett
EI Gaza City 23 Dec — …Yousef, his brother, and his younger sister are among the Gaza Strip’s estimated 53,000 orphans. More than 2,000 other children were orphaned during the 2008-2009 Israeli war on Gaza. An orphan here is defined as a child who has lost his father or both parents, as men are traditionally the income-generators in Gaza. Yousef’s father died of natural causes, and his mother lost a leg after being injured during the war on Gaza. So Yousef and his siblings were more apt to join the increasing numbers of children selling trinkets in Gaza’s streets, or scouring dumps and streets for items that may be sold. “The family was already very poor. Now his mother has no income and no way to provide for her children,” says Samar, an employee at the SOS Children’s Village. The children would not have finished school, she said let alone have been cared for adequately. With donations from groups and individual sponsors, children like Yousef are able to stay at the orphanage where they attend a nearby regular school, learn life skills for their future independence, and have their university tuition paid. Their medical needs are met, and they are encouraged to mingle with non-orphan children and to visit their real families on weekends.
http://electronicintifada.net/content/israels-siege-punishing-gaza-orphans/10735

Tunisian convoy en route to Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 22 Dec — A Tunisian medical aid convoy began its journey to Gaza on Thursday from Tunis, Palestinian officials said.  The convoy carrying four tons of medical aid left Tunis-Carthage International Airport earlier in the day, medical officials told Ma‘an. The coordinator of the medical services in the Gaza Strip said the convoy was organized by a Tunisian scout group and will arrive in Cairo and depart for Gaza shortly thereafter.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=447129

British cemetery in Gaza restored with Israel’s help
Ynet 21 Dec — Jewish Chronicle says Israel paid UK $63,000 to restore headstones Britain says were damaged during Operation Cast Lead
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4165195,00.html

Israeli forces

PCHR weekly report: One Palestinian killed, three wounded by Israeli forces this week [15-21 Dec]
IMEMC 23 Dec –  Excerpts: On 21 December 2011, a Palestinian civilian was wounded when Israeli forces fired at a number of Palestinian workers in the northern Gaza Strip. At approximately 09:30, Israeli soldiers stationed on observation towers at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel fired at a number of Palestinian civilians who were collecting wood, iron and scraps of construction materials in Hammouda area in the northern Gaza Strip. As a result, Hamza Jamal Barakat, 19, from al-Zaytoun neighborhood in the southeast of Gaza City, was wounded by two bullets to the left shoulder and foot .. During the reporting period, Israeli forces abducted 4 Palestinian fishermen and confiscated a fishing boat in the Gaza Strip … Israeli forces conducted 33 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, during which they abducted 9 Palestinians, including 2 children… Israeli forces have continued settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.  Full report
http://www.imemc.org/article/62720

IOF soldiers raid home of a Palestinian captive south of Jenin
JENIN (PIC) 23 Dec — IOF troops at dawn Friday entered the city of Jenin, its refugee camp and the villages of Jaba’, Maithalaoun and Qabatia and raided a number of homes, including the home of a captive. Local sources said that dozens of occupation soldiers at dawn entered the city of Jenin and its refugee camp and spread through its streets and fired sound bombs in the refugee camp. The incursion did not involve any arrests.
The IOF troops also raided the villages of Jaba‘ , to the south of Jenin, at 3 a.m and raided the home of Murad Alawneh (22 years) who was arrested about a week ago. They confiscated some of the belongings of the captive.
The occupation troops also entered nearby Maithaloun and set up a roadblock at the entrance to the village, searched cars and checked ID cards of travellers.
Link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

Brutal assault on 16-year-old boy
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 23 Dec — Dawood Yousef Sharaf, 16, was brutally beaten by Israeli soldiers on two separate occasions in the past week in Silwan. Here he recounts the dramatic story to Silwanic.
On Thursday, 15 December Dawood was on his way home from school in East Jerusalem. As he passed by the Mercy Cemetary near the Lion Gate of the Old City the police station outside Silwan, Israeli troops began to harass him. Three troops called Dawood over and asked for his ID and if he’d ever been arrested. He was then told to come into the police station, remove his clothes and get ready to be searched. “I stood against the wall and raised my hands. One soldier forced me to put my legs apart, then started to beat them. The soldier demanded to know why I had spoken in a high voice when being questioned outside, and I told him that I was in a hurry…
Two days later as Dawood was on his way home from school, an Israeli soldier stopped him in the street and said “you’re the one they took in and humiliated on Thursday.” He pointed to a group of soldiers standing nearby, and said “those are the ones over there who did it. Why don’t you go and ask them why they did it?” “I thought that confronting them might stop them from harassing me in the future,” said Dawood. “So I went over to the three soldiers who had assaulted me. As I approached them, they knocked me to the ground immediately. They handcuffed me and dragged me back into the police station, where I was beaten for over 40 minutes. I was beaten brutally, all over my body, until I passed out. I didn’t believe I would get out alive.”
http://silwanic.net/?p=23088

Detention / Court actions

Ministry of detainees: Israel still keeps some prisoners as unlawful combatants
GAZA (PIC) 22 Dec – Information director of the Palestinian ministry of prisoners Riyadh Al-Ashqar said there are still three civilian prisoners from the Gaza Strip classified by the Israeli occupation as unlawful combatants in its jails, although they ended their prison terms. Ashqar stated on Wednesday the number of prisoners who were classified arbitrarily by Israeli courts as unlawful combatant shrank to three after they released Mohamed Abu Jamous from Khan Younis on Tuesday.
http://occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com/2011/12/23/ministry-of-detainees-israel-still-keeps-some-prisoners-as-unlawful-combatants/

9 Fatah members seized in raid on Jenin camp
JENIN (Ma‘an) 22 Dec  — Israeli forces detained nine members of Fatah, among them a security guard, following an invasion of the West Bank city of Jenin’s refugee camp early Thursday. Seven cars were also confiscated from a garage belonging to Kamal and Jameel Abu Ghada.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=447044

Israeli soldiers arrest three Palestinians near Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 22 Dec – Israeli forces Thursday arrested three Palestinians from el-Jadira village, north of Jerusalem, according to witnesses. They said Israeli soldiers raided a number of houses and ransacked them before arresting three Palestinians.
http://english.wafa.ps/index.php?action=detail&id=18462

Police officer gets jail time for beating 2 Arabs
Ynet 21 Dec — The Haifa Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday sentenced Maor Yisrael, 27, to a year-and-a-half in prison for assaulting two Arab men. This is the third time that Yisrael – who served as a police officer during his military service – is sentenced to jail time, after previously being convicted of hitting his girlfriend and another Arab.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4165172,00.html

Activism / Solidarity

VIDEO: Live sniper fire injures protester in Nabi Saleh
PSCC 23 Dec — Two weeks after the killing of Mustafa Tamimi during a demonstration in the village, an Israeli sniper shot a protester with live 0.22″ caliber ammunition, banned for crowd control purposes — Earlier today, an Israeli military sniper opened fire at demonstrators in the village of Nabi Saleh, injuring one in the thigh. The wounded protester was evacuated by a Red Crescent ambulance to the Salfit hospital. The incident takes place only two weeks after the fatal shooting of Mustafa Tamimi at the very same spot. Additionally, a Palestinian journalist was injured in his leg by a tear-gas projectile shot directly at him, and two Israeli protesters were arrested.
http://palsolidarity.org/2011/12/live-sniper-fire-injures-protester-in-nabi-saleh/

Christmas tree consists of walls, wires, gas bombs
24 Dec –by Monjed Jadou. It’s a Christmas tree, but it differs from the traditional one this year. It holds a clear political message reflecting the suffering of Palestine under the Israeli occupation. It’s a message for the world to wake up their conscience and help stop the aggression, walls and settlements imposed on the people of Jesus Christ. It’s a message of hope during Christmas time from the heart of Bethlehem, the Manger square and the Nativity church.
A group of Palestinian youths gathered on Thursday and started to pull the attention of visitors and pilgrims of the church, as well as the local and international media, toward the issues of Palestine. They came from the National Campaign to Resist the Apartheid Wall. They started to build a Christmas tree consisting a trunk made of wall slabs, branches made of from barbed wire, and fruits of tear gas. The tree was surrounded by posters calling for local and international boycotts of Israeli products.
Palestinian activist Fadi Qattan told PNN, while working on decorating the tree, that the final product was called “the Apartheid wall tree.” It reflects the Palestinian reality under siege.
http://english.pnn.ps/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=10993&Itemid=56

Christmas in Palestine

PHOTOS: Hundreds of children march to Manger Square
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 24 Dec — Over 1,000 children have marched through Bethlehem to mark the start of Christmas in the West Bank city. The “Children Without Borders” event is held annually, and this year they walked to Nativity Square from the John Paul II Institute. Clowns and Santa Clauses were in attendance, as well as members of clergy and Palestinian Authority officials. Even a few camels were brought in … The head of the John Paul II institute, Father Ibrahim Faltas, said that the aim of the festival was to draw joy on the faces of children during Christmas.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=447339

Gaza Christians head to Bethlehem
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 23 Dec — Palestinian Christians from the Gaza Strip started on Thursday to leave Gaza on their way to Bethlehem to participate in the Christmas celebrations. Maher Sabha, director of the crossings in Hamas’ interior ministry, said 145 Christians left Gaza through the Erez crossing going to the West Bank for Christmas. Israeli authorities gave 550 Palestinian Christians from Gaza special permits to enter the West Bank for the holidays. However, thousands of other Christians were not eligible to apply for the permit which is subject to age restrictions.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=447229

PA expects 50,000 tourists during 2-day surge
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 24 Dec — The Palestinian Authority Ministry of Tourism expects more than 100,000 tourists to visit Bethlehem by the end of the month for Christmas and New Year holidays. Minister Khulud Deibes said 50,000 pilgrims would visit Bethlehem on Dec. 24 and 25 for the midnight mass and Christmas celebrations … Deibes told Ma‘an that Bethlehem is prepared and that the city celebrates Christmas from December to January.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=447287

Political developments

Officials say PNI joined PLO at Cairo talks
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 22 Dec — Officials from Islamic Jihad and the Palestinian National Initiative said late Thursday that they had accepted positions on an “interim leadership” of the PLO. Ayed Yaghi, a PNI leader, said the small faction joined the PLO and that it was a natural position to take. Yaghi told Ma‘an that Thursday’s talks in Cairo marked a milestone in the history of the Palestinian people. He pointed out that the PNI had previously submitted a request to join the PLO in 2004.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=447228

Jihad official: PLO membership not final
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 22 Dec — An Islamic Jihad leader said Thursday that joining an “interim leadership framework” of the PLO did not necessarily mean it had formally joined the Palestinian body.  Khaled Al-Batsh told Ma‘an that joining the organization requires a clear framework for how the PLO will be restructured. He added that if there was an agreement concerning these issues, Islamic Jihad would become a member in the organization. However, if there was no agreement, the group said it was still willing to contribute.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=447231

Abbas briefs PLO special committee on political developments
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 22 Dec – …This came in the first meeting of the PLO Committee, headed by Abbas and with the participation of the head of Egyptian intelligence, Minister Mourad Mowafi, held in Al-Andalus Palace in Cairo, to reactivate, develop and maintain structures of the PLO, called the interim leadership frame, according to the Cairo Declaration of 2005.
http://english.wafa.ps/index.php?action=detail&id=18467

Abu Marzouk: No government before January
CAIRO (PIC) 22 Dec — Deputy political bureau chairman of Hamas Dr. Mousa Abu Marzouk has said no new names were being tabled for heading the national unity government, which, he said, would not be formed until end of January 2012. He told the PIC on Thursday that the government would be formed by 31st January, adding that internal consultations would be made on name of the premier.  Asked on the request by Mahmoud Abbas, the PA chief and Fatah leader, to postpone the government until after the meeting for the quartet committee, Abu Marzouk said that foreign intervention was and would remain a problem for the Palestinians. He said that the Palestinian people should not bother about foreign threats and seek what is good for them regardless of such intervention.
Link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

Hamas: PLO won’t be monopolized again
Ynet 23 Dec — Politburo Chief Khaled Mashaal hints of coming reunion among Palestinian leadership; says once Hamas becomes part of Palestine Liberation Organization’s umbrella ‘political decisions will no longer be one-sided’
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4165902,00.html

Palestinian unity will spur mass protests: Hamas
Jerusalem (JTA) 23 Dec — Palestinian unity will spur mass popular protests against Israel, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said. “Now we have a common ground that we can work on – the popular resistance, which presents the power of people,” Meshaal said Thursday in an interview with the Associated Press in Cairo, where Hamas and Fatah agreed this week on the terms for Hamas joining the Palestine Liberation Organization, a precursor to unity. Meshaal likened such protests to those characterizing the so-called Arab Spring, which has so far toppled leaderships in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya; has spurred mass uprisings in Syria, Yemen and Bahrain; and has spurred reforms in other countries. There have been few such Palestinian protests, aside from a few early spurts separately targeting Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.
http://forward.com/articles/148515/

Zionist minister: We will annex settlements in response to Palestinian unity
NAZARETH (PIC) 23 Dec — A Zionist minister warned Fatah of the consequences of reconciliation with Hamas and threatened that if a Palestinian unity government was formed the Israeli occupation would annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Israeli radio on Friday quoted the Minister of Transport, Yisrael Katz as saying that if a Palestinian national unity government comprising Fatah and Hamas was formed and signed agreements were breached then Israel must take measures to protect its interests, one of these measures is extending its jurisdiction to West Bank settlements and defending them. “We should be prepared to sever all relations with the Palestinian Authority, if a unity government is formed. We also should stop supporting the establishment of an independent Palestinian state,” he added.
Link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

US earmarks $235 million for Israel’s defense systems
Ynet 22 Dec — Washington to allocate unprecedented sum for development of anti-missile safeguards, including David’s Sling, Arrow systems — The United States has announced it will allocate $235 million for the development of safeguards against rockets and missiles that could be launched towards Israel by Hezbollah and Iran.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4165744,00.html

Opinion / Analysis

How I became a ‘terrorist’ / Abdelrahman Al Ahmar
23 Dec — At 16, entering the steel gates of the Israeli military prisons, I could never go back to my former life. Levinger’s outpost, his settler violence, permanently changed my life — The first time I was attacked by an Israeli settler, I was 14 years old. I was walking to school when an armed man wearing a skullcap, standing near some Israeli soldiers, pulled my pack off my back and threw it in the mud. That wasn’t last month, nor was it near a new outpost in Nablus. Rather, this happened 30 years ago, on the main road running through Bethlehem, near Deheisheh refugee camp, where I lived. The settler was not just any alienated, disaffected man. He was, I learned later, the father of the national religious settlement project – Rabbi Moshe Levinger.
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/how-i-became-a-terrorist-1.403062

Palestine4Ever: The Internet Identity / Leah Caldwell
23 Dec — Palestine’s relationship with the internet, as Miriyam Aouragh tells us in Palestine Online: Transnationalism, the Internet and the Construction of Identity (Tauris, 2011), had esoteric beginnings. In the mid-1990s, a group of middle-class Palestinians formed one of the first Palestinian online networks, “Palesta,” or Palestinian Scientists and Technologists Abroad. The aim of the network was to “harness the scientific and technological knowledge of expatriate professionals for the benefit of development efforts in Palestine.” Years later, the al-Aqsa Intifada would give Palestine’s connection with the internet an unequivocally different flavor.
http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/palestine4ever-internet-identity

What’s missing in the battle against excluding women / Gideon Levy
22 Dec –  …As important as it is, there is something missing in the battle against the exclusion of women. What’s missing is the battle against other exclusions. The high school in Herzliya that a few days ago carried out an exercise demonstrating the exclusion of women, with separate tracks for girls and boys, wouldn’t dare do so on other issues: separate tracks for dark-skinned people and whites, as in the racist selection at nightclubs; separate tracks for Jews and Palestinians, as at the separation checkpoints; separate security tracks for Jewish and Arab citizens in the airports. But that’s controversial, we won’t touch that, we won’t oppose that. There’s a consensus against the Haredim; that’s why the battle against them will always garner support. The mass-circulation newspapers and commercial television, which wouldn’t dare to discuss other injustices, will proudly come out against them.
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/what-s-missing-in-the-battle-against-excluding-women-1.402843

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About Kate

American (New Englander); Muslim; A.B., M.A. in political science; former ISM volunteer in the West Bank

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  1. john h
    December 24, 2011, 8:26 pm

    Christmas in Palestine for Palestinians.

    Bethlehem, the city of peace and the birthplace of Jesus Christ, has become a ghetto in the world we know today thanks to the Israeli occupation.

    A group of Palestinian youth in Bethlehem have created and decorated a concrete Christmas tree. The tree was named “The Wall Tree” to symbolize the wall that surrounds the city of Bethlehem. The tree was decorated with barbed wire, tear gas canisters, and other occupation symbols.

    On this Christmas, thousands of Christian families will not be able to visit relatives beyond the West Bank or Gaza; they won’t be able to reach holy sites in Nazareth or the Baptismal Site on the Jordan River.

    This land has become an exclusive Holy Land; it is a myth that people from all the monotheistic religions are practicing their faith freely.

    Bethlehem is only a sample of the injustice faced by Palestinian Christians and Muslims, the illegal Israeli practices stretch to harm all Palestinians living on this land.

    link to electronicintifada.net

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