Israeli forces detain 8 in West Bank
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 11 Apr — Israeli forces detained eight Palestinians in the West Bank overnight Tuesday, the army said.
Hundreds of Palestinians arrested in March, says rights group
NABLUS (WAFA) 11 Apr – At least 300 Palestinians were arrested by the Israeli authorities during March, including dozens of children and seven women, said a report by the International Solidarity Foundation for Human Rights on Wednesday … The foundation documented the names of the seven women taken into custody and the circumstances of their arrests, five of whom were arrested during visits to relatives imprisoned in Israeli jails. One woman was arrested in Hebron under the pretext she attacked soldiers while crossing a checkpoint after soldiers took her 3-year-old son away from her.
Palestinian prisoners continue hunger strike movement, NGO says
Haaretz 11 Apr — Latest wave of hunger strikes, recorded by the prisor aid group Addmeer, follows two high profile strikers, both of whom ended their protest earlier this year … In the wake of both of these highly visible cases, Addmeer attorneys indicated that there were eight Palestinian prisoners in Israeli administrative detention currently on hunger strike. According to Addmeer’s list, those prisoners include Ta’ir Halale from the Hebron area and Bilal Diyab from the West Bank village of Kafr Ra’i, who have both been on hunger strike for 44 days and demand the cancellation of their administrative detention and their immediate release.
‘Israel keeps Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in isolation’
Press TV 11 Apr — The Palestinian Authority (PA) has accused the Israeli regime of forcing some 20 Palestinian prisoners to break their hunger strike by blocking their access to any outside communication … The Israeli efforts to isolate the inmates aims to “check the supporters’ growing solidarity with the hunger strikers and to withhold information about their health conditions,” said Abu Ein.
Beit Ommar resident released from administrative detention; another resident arrested
PSP 11 Apr — On Tuesday, April 10, 2012, Iyad Al-Alamy was released from administrative detention. He was arrested from his home during a night raid at 2:30am on November 12, 2011. Eyewitnesses saw 5 jeeps of Israeli soldiers conduct the early morning raid. Iyad was seen blindfolded and handcuffed as he was being led to an army jeep. Iyad was 23-years-old when he was arrested, and is an active member of the National Committee in Beit Ommar, as well as the Palestine Solidarity Project. Iyad has been arrested on two other occasions, once for three months and another time for two months.
Iyad’s release was followed by another raid last night, in the early morning hours of Wednesday, April 11, 2012. Israeli soldiers entered Beit Ommar, shot over a dozen canisters of tear gas at the houses, and arrested 18-year-old Hamza Nasr Abu Hashem. The Israeli military tried to arrest two others during the raid, but they escaped and are now wanted by the military.
IOA renews administrative detention of MP
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 11 Apr — The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) has renewed the administrative detention of MP Mohammed Mutlaq from Edna village to the west of Al-Khalil for the third time. The office of Hamas MPs in the city said that an Israeli court had extended Mutlaq’s detention for four months. The Israeli occupation forces had arrested the lawmaker in a campaign against Hamas cadres and supporters in August last year that led to the arrest of 120 citizens in Al-Khalil.
Land theft / Ethnic cleansing / Restriction of movement / Attacks on Palestinian heritage
Israel tries to save West Bank settlements it vowed to dismantle
LA Times 10 Apr — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s approach appears designed to avoid eviction of Jewish settlers and appease conservative lawmakers — JERUSALEM —Israel’s government is scrambling to find ways to save some of the unauthorized West Bank settlements it once promised to dismantle, including some that are built partly on private Palestinian land. The new strategy seeks to retroactively legalize some outposts and, in other cases, relocate Jewish settlers to nearby land that is not privately owned, in effect creating what critics say would be the first new West Bank settlements in years.
Thousands demand rebuilding of West Bank settlement
AIC 10 Apr –Thousands of Israelis descended upon the former settlement of Homesh in the northern West Bank today (Tuesday 10 April) for a day of activities aimed at promoting reconstruction of the settlement evacuated and demolished during the 2005 Israeli redeployment from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank. Today’s events were organized by the Samaria Regional Council and Samaria Community Centre, Committee of Samaria Residents and the State Center for Commemorating Gush Katif and North Samaria. Homesh, previously home to some 70 settler families, was one of four West Bank settlements evacuated and subsequently destroyed during Israel’s 2005 unilateral redeployment from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank. The four settlements — Kadim (200 residents), Ganim (107 residents), Sar Nur (43 families) and Homesh — were perceived by then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as isolated and vulnerable to attack.
West Bank: Teens erect outpost, clash with security forces
Ynet 10 Apr –Settler leader Weiss tells teens ‘the people of Israel who will decide the Land of Israel’s fate’ — Several dozen Jewish teenagers on Tuesday took advantage of the Passover holiday to erect a new outpost near the Hashmonaim community in the West Bank. The teens, who called the outpost “Or Hadash (new light),” clashed with security forces at the scene. The security forces confiscated tools that were used to build the outpost … “We are returning to the land of our forefathers, which has been waiting for us for 2,000 years,” said one of the teenage girls who helped erect the outpost.
Occupation excludes director of the Asqa Maintenance Foundation from the Mosque
JERUSALEM (PIC)11 Apr — The occupation forces banned, for the third time, the Director of Al Aqsa Maintenance Foundation, Dr. Hikmat Naamna, and an employee in the foundation Mohammed Ahmed Sharaf from entering Al-Aqsa mosque for a month.
The occupation police handed over the interdiction order which was signed by the so-called head of the Home Front Command “Eyal Eisenburg”, the general in the Israeli Occupation Forces, in addition to an illustrative map of Al Aqsa Mosque on which he falsely wrote “area of the Temple Mount”
Aqsa guard injured in quarrel with Jewish settlers
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 11 Apr — Khaled Abu Nijme, an Aqsa mosque guard, was injured in a squabble with Jewish settlers who were trying to enter the holy site on Wednesday morning. Safa press agency said that the guards confronted a group of 30 settlers who were trying to enter the Aqsa plazas leading to a fistfight in which Abu Nijme was injured. It added that the Israeli occupation police then intervened and allowed the settlers to enter and stroll in the Aqsa plazas under the pretext of ‘foreign tourism’.
Beersheba’s big mosque: an empty history
Al Akhbar 11 Apr by Charlotte Silver — The Big Mosque in Beersheba, off limits to worshipers since 1948, was converted by an Israeli court decision last year into a museum. The first exhibit at the mosque presents a photographic history of the city that omits the most important element of the city – its people … The Big Mosque is Beersheba’s only mosque – but no prayer has taken place there since 1948, despite the fact that the city is home to approximately 8,000 Muslims … One man, who wishes to remain anonymous, has rented out two stalls [in the market] to create a space for the city’s Muslim citizens to pray … Five times a day, an imam comes here to conduct the azan (call to prayer) in a city that is emptied of any working minaret. There are many Muslims in Beersheba, they just have no place to worship. The hidden story told between the images is one of a continuous expulsion.
Jerusalem’s St. George Hotel opens as a landmark
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 10 Apr – Closed for years as a sign of a long recession that hit Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem, St. George Hotel, once one of the city’s landmarks, reopened its doors but this time in partnership with Jordan’s Landmark Hotels, which will manage the hotel … Padico chairman of the board, Palestinian businessman Nunib Masri, considered the hotel the first joint Palestinian-Jordanian investment in Jerusalem. “Jerusalem is the capital of our Palestinian state,” he said at a press conference inaugurating the hotel. “This investment demonstrates the will of the Palestinian people to stay in their city,” he said. “We came to work in Jerusalem, capital of the Palestinian state, to be near al-Aqsa Mosque, the Holy Sepulcher and the Orient House. It is a message which says: ‘we are here to stay on this land.’ We will not budge,” he said.
AIC video: Deir Yassin remembered
On April 9, 1948, Zionist militias massacred approximately 100 Palestinian men, women and children in the village of Deir Yassin. Located on a hilltop just west of Jerusalem, the Deir Yassin massacre was largely seen as a way to scare nearby Palestinian villagers into leaving their homes. On Monday, a group of Palestinians, Israelis and internationals marched through the streets of what was Deir Yassin to commemorate the massacre, and the Palestinian Nakba, the forced displacement of 750,000 Palestinians in 1947-48.
Photos — Deir Yassin: the peace that never was
10 April | The Habal Factor – Two days ago, we visited Deir Yassin, or to be more specific, what remains of Deir Yassin, with Zochrot, an Israeli organization dedicated to educating the Israeli public about the nakba. The tour was organized in commemoration of the Deir Yassin massacre … In April 1948, the town was attacked despite its peace treaty with the Jewish community. The killings at Deir Yassin are regarded as one of two pivotal events that led to the exodus of around 700,000 Palestinians from their towns and villages in 1948, along with the defeat of the Palestinians in Haifa … 55 young children were orphaned as a result of the massacre.
Israeli violence and provocations
Palestinian woman seriously injured in settlers’ attack
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 11 Apr – A Palestinian woman was hospitalized with serious injuries in her head after a group of Jewish settlers attacked her near Yatta village, south of Al-Khalil. An eyewitness said that 40-year-old Samiha Nawaja was attacked by a group of masked Jewish settlers from the nearby settlement of Susiya. He said that Israeli occupation soldiers escorted the settlers away from the scene of the incident back into the settlement after Palestinian citizens came to the yells of the woman. Malek Ghannam, working with the Palestinian Red Crescent, said that the woman was taken to a clinic in Yatta then to a hospital in Al-Khalil in view of seriousness of her injury.
Assailants ‘kidnap, torture’ Beit Ummar man
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 11 Apr — Unidentified attackers kidnapped and tortured a 22-year-old man on Tuesday evening near Hebron in the southern West Bank, a local official said. Popular committee spokesman Muhammad Awad told Ma‘an that Muhammad Sleibi was walking home in Beit Ummar at around 11 p.m. when assailants ambushed him. A search party went out to look for Sleibi and found him handcuffed in the al-Buweira area west of Beit Ummar. “Bruises on his body indicate that he was beaten brutally,” Awad said, adding that Sleibi is being treated in Hebron’s government hospital. Awad added that another man from Beit Ummar was similarly assaulted by masked assailants three days ago. [from WAFA: Salibi was believed kidnapped by settlers from Karmi Tsur]
Hundreds of settlers break into evicted settlement in Jenin
NABLUS (WAFA) 10 Apr – Hundreds of Jewish settlers Tuesday broke into the evicted settlement of Homesh, south of Jenin, to commemorate the Jewish holiday Passover, known as ‘Pesach’, in response to previous settlers’ calls, according to a local activist. Ghassan Douglas, in charge of settlements file at the Palestinian Authority in the northern part of the West Bank, told WAFA that hundreds of settlers were transferred in large buses to the settlement, which was established on the land of the nearby village of Burqa, under the protection of the Israeli army. He added that Israeli soldiers intensified their presence in Burqa, set up several flying military checkpoints on entrances of several towns in Nablus, stopped Palestinian vehicles and checked their identity cards.
IDF soldiers suspected of stealing Palestinian’s gold in West Bank raid
Haaretz 11 Apr — Investigation begins after the head of the household, Ata Shatwi, submitted a complaint to the Civil Administration — The Military Police is investigating allegations that soldiers stole pieces of gold worth tens of thousands of shekels from the home of a Palestinian man during a late-night raid in a West Bank village last week … “I’m willing to go to the police to make a statement. We have nothing in our home. I’m a trader, and we aren’t affiliated with any organization. I worked in Israel for years and I’m not connected to anything problematic,” Shatwi said.
Voices from the Occupation: Izat J. — soldier/settler violence/detention
Defence for Children International — On 10 March 2012, a 16-year-old boy from Hebron is attacked by an Israeli border policeman and then detained at Kiryat Arba’s police station after his family’s mule cart is stolen by settlers.
Video: “What do you want from a 5 year old girl?”: Israel raids a house in Nabi Saleh
Mondo 11 Apr — Palestinian woman confronts Israeli [army] thugs that entered her home in the middle of the night to interrogate her family wanted to wake up her 5 year old daughter. Palestinian woman wins. Bittersweet.
Gaza: Not out of the dark yet
PNN 11 Apr — …Amjad Shawa, Coordinator at the Palestinian Non-Governmental Organization in Gaza, says that despite the new agreement to transfer fuel, Gaza is not yet out of the dark, pointing out that the power plant needs a minimum of 600,000 litres of fuel per day to operate, while the first fuel shipment was said to be around 400,000 litres. Under the new deal, Shawa says not only are they not getting enough fuel for the power plant but the issue of fuel for public sale is also not addressed. “There are few cars moving on the street and the agreement only relates to industrial fuel. There are currently 36 ambulances that are not running because there is not enough benzine.”
Israel prevents half of fuel amount to cross to Gaza
Gaza (Alresalah.ps) 11 Apr — Israeli occupation Forces allowed the half of fuel amount only to cross through Kerem shalom terminal for running the only power plant in the Gaza strip, whereas IOF closed the crossing suddenly on Wednesday morning crossing after a sudden complete close on Tuesday.
Gaza municipality warns of humanitarian disaster
GAZA (PIC) 11 Apr — Gaza municipality has warned that a humanitarian disaster might soon befall the Gaza Strip due to stoppage of its services especially sewage treatment due to lack of fuel. Municipality head Rafiq Mikki said in a TV interview on Wednesday that if no fuel was provided to his municipality in the course of one week it would be forced to stop pumping water from wells to people’s houses. He said that the municipality had partially shut down sewage pumps and would be forced to stop carrying away garbage for the same reason of lack of fuel.
Several aid convoys expected in Gaza over summer
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 11 Apr — Several aid and solidarity convoys will travel to the Gaza Strip over the summer, the Interior Ministry said Wednesday. The Hamas-led ministry said in a statement that Miles of Smiles will send its 12th convoy in May. Coordinators told the ministry that Arab and Islamic leaders would join the next group … Meanwhile, Ansar 2 will depart for Gaza on May 10, Yousif said. A third solidarity group will arrive in Gaza in June to support Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails. Under Israel’s blockade, all residents of Gaza are banned from visiting their relatives in Israeli prisons.
Hamas to release 35 prisoners
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 11 Apr — The government in Gaza will free 36 prisoners to celebrate the arrival of the 11th Miles of Smiles aid convoy, officials said Wednesday. The foreign minister ordered the release of 36 inmates who have served two-thirds of their sentences and have a record of good behavior … The Hamas-led government has come under international criticism over its execution on Saturday of three prisoners.
Collecting history in Gaza: Land of their forefathers
10 Apr by Stuart Reigeluth — Preserving one’s patrimony is a way of maintaining one’s cultural heritage. For Palestinians, who have been occupied by Israel for decades, this is particularly important — restoring monuments and raising awareness about the past is a way to assert a place in contemporary history … the Consulate of France in Occupied Jerusalem, with the French Foreign Ministry and Unesco, endorsed the preservation and restoration work led by a French archaeologist, René Elter, of St Hilarion’s Monastery in Gaza, in November 2010. Elter and his Palestinian colleagues have worked to preserve the site from erosion and terrain degradation caused by heavy rains that have led to the caving in of entire mosaics within the central crypt — believed to be the largest ancient crypt in the Arab world with over 60 sepulchres.
PLO envoy: Palestine can join ICC
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 10 Apr — Palestine can still pursue an investigation into possible Israeli war crimes during the last offensive on Gaza at the International Criminal Court, PLO observer to the UN Riyad Mansour said Monday. ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo on April 3 rejected the Palestinian Authority’s request for a tribunal into the December 2008 war because Palestine is not a recognized state. Mansour told Ma‘an the decision did not mark the end of the bid. “The doors are still open for us if we decide to sign the Rome Statute, or go to the UN General Assembly asking to become a non-member state. This is left for the Palestinian leadership to determine,” the PLO official said. Moreno-Ocampo told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Palestine could become a party to the Rome Statute, which established the ICC, if it becomes a UN non-member state.
Activism / Solidarity / BDS
‘Israel cannot legally ban pro-Palestinian activists bound for West Bank’
Haaretz 11 Apr — Ahead of planned fly-in protest, lawyer who defended activists who took part in 2011 ‘flytilla’ says protesters must gain entry to Israel in order to request West Bank entry from IDF … Schatz says that last year he submitted an appeal on behalf of a former Australian member of parliament, Phyllis Hale, and a friend of hers from New Zealand, who is a member of the organization “Jews for Palestine.” The court accepted the appeal, based on the principle that the interior minister cannot refuse entry to anyone who declares on arrival at Ben-Gurion Airport that they intend to travel to the West Bank, because the area is under miltary control. —
‘Flytilla’ organizers: Israel won’t determine who enters Palestine
Ynet 10 Apr — Internal security minister says pro-Palestinian ‘provocateurs’ from Europe, North America ‘will be dealt with in a determined, quick manner. Bethlehem mayor: Let them enter without ‘humiliation’
Israel prepares hostile reception for Palestine’s guests
Al-Akhbar 11 Apr by: Fadi Abu Saada –Ramallah– Palestine is awaiting visitors. Over 1,000 are expected on Sunday, mainly from Europe and the US. They will land at Lydda airport, renamed Ben-Gurion airport by the occupation, and inform Israeli authorities that they have come to visit “Palestine.” Most have already bought their tickets and are braced for a hostile Israeli reception at the airport, as part of the 2012 “Welcome to Palestine” campaign.
Pro-Palestinian Israelis refuse to join the IOF
PNN 11 Apr — Two pro Palestinian Israeli activists will go to an enlistment office in an Israeli military base on Monday and declare their refusal to serve in the Israeli army. Noam Gur and Alon Gurman will arrive to Tel Hashomer military base, where they will face being arrested and imprisoned for their refusal to be enlisted on the grounds that Israel is an occupying power. In his refusal declaration Gurman wrote, “My refusal to serve in the Israeli military, in addition to being a refusal to take part in occupation and apartheid, is an act of solidarity with our Palestinian friends living under Israeli regime, and struggle for liberty, justice and equality.”
11 detained after Hebron conference
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 11 Apr — Israeli forces detained seven Palestinians and four foreign nationals in the southern West Bank on Wednesday after a conference on popular struggle, witnesses said. They said three people were injured in the incident outside the Ibrahimi Mosque following an altercation between the participants after a nearby conference and Israeli settlers.
U2’s Bono visits West Bank
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 11 Apr — Irish rock star Bono paid a surprise visit to the West Bank on Tuesday, onlookers said. In Bethlehem, the U2 frontman was seen visiting the Nativity Church , a center in Aida refugee camp and touring Israel’s separation wall which surrounds the city. He later visited Wadi al-Qyilt, a valley near Jericho, onlookers said … On Monday, the singer was spotted in a restaurant in Jaffa, near Tel Aviv, the Israeli press reported.
BDS action: Derail Veolia campaign in US
AIC 10 Apr — Send an email today to help deny Veolia the possibility to participate as a bidder in a public tender in the US. Veolia is active in violating Palestinian rights through its transit services and landfill operations in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Joan Manuel Serrat, Joaquín Sabina: no to Israel performance!
AIC 11 Apr — Artists Joan Manuel Serrat and Joaquín Sabina, musicians affiliated with the political left in the Spanish state, have announced plans to perform in Israel. Israeli citizen Sergio Yahni asks them not to come.
Tzedakah to make Israel a better place / Richard Silverstein
Tikun Olam 9 Apr — …The groups in Israel and Palestine I recommend below are doing heroic work against all odds. You may or may not be aware of them. If at all possible, I hope you can devote consideration to their work. These organizations are all ones I know personally through their staff and through their cooperating with campaigns I’ve mounted here.
Anarchists Against the Wall (donate) Israel’s leading group fighting against the Separation Wall through weekly protests that often end in violence perpetrated by the Israeli security forces against unarmed demonstrators who seek to prevent the theft of Palestinian land. B’Tselem (donate) Israel’s leading human rights group which documents arbitrary arrests, shootings, settler violence, and IDF malfeasance. … Adalah: the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (donate) Al Haq: Defending Human Rights in Palestine Addameer: Prisoner Support and Human Rights Network (donate) Al Mezan: Center for Human Rights (donate)…. [many more, both Israeli and Palestinian]
Judges dismiss lawsuit that called for state to divest Israeli bonds
St Paul Minnesota 11 Apr — Ramsey County Judge Margaret Marrinan has dismissed a lawsuit that called for the state of Minnesota to sell the $18 million in Israeli bonds held in the state’s portfolio. Four groups and 23 individuals filed the lawsuit in 2011, claiming that the bonds were supporting settlements in Palestine and other activities in the West Bank that had been deemed illegal under international law.
Racism / Sexism / Discrimination
Israeli mercenary firm proposes violent action against African refugees
Al Akhbar 11 Apr by Max Blumenthal — The Israeli daily Maariv recently reported [in Hebrew] that BTS, a mercenary firm run by a former Israeli army colonel and veteran bodyguard, Beni Tal, proposed to Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai a plan to violently expel thousands of African migrant workers and refugees living near Tel Aviv’s central bus station.
Israeli official defends move to reduce women’s hours on haredi radio station
Haaretz 11 Apr — According to the decision made two weeks ago, every week the station will have women on the air for four hours, rather than the six hours of a previous agreement … [Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia] Yosef said there was no prohibition in Jewish law against women on the radio, “since it is not singing but only speaking.” However, he also said both male and female listeners to the station would ask not to hear women on the air.
Politics / Economy / Diplomacy
Union: PA salaries to be paid Tuesday
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 10 Apr — The Palestinian Authority will pay employees’ salaries for March on Tuesday, the civil servants’ union said. Union chief Bassam Zakarna said the Ministry of Finance has delivered money for salaries to banks across Palestine … The union chief commended the ministry for paying salaries despite the ongoing financial crisis … The PA employs about 170,000 people in the West Bank and Gaza, where its employees continue to receive salaries even though the Hamas government has replaced them with its own civil servants.
EU contributes 22.5 million euros to PA salaries
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 10 Apr — The European Union has made a contribution of 22.5 million euros to the payment of March salaries and pensions of around 84,000 Palestinian civil servants and pensioners, officials said Tuesday. This contribution is being funded by the European Commission.
Quartet appeals for Palestinian aid funds
Washington 11 Apr — The United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia urged the international community Wednesday to ensure that $1.1 billion in aid goes to the Palestinians this year … The Quartet “underscored the need for continued international support for the Palestinian Authority’s important institution-building efforts” as it tries to prepare for a future state that would follow a peace deal with Israel.
PA urges Arab countries to continue funding
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 11 Apr — The Palestinian Authority cabinet on Tuesday called on donor countries to continue to provide support for the government and Palestinian people. A statement issued after the weekly meeting urged “brotherly Arabs to speed up their support in order for the National Authority to meet its commitments.”
Palestinian Authority blames Gaza for deficit mess
RAMALLAH (Reuters) 11 Apr – Paying for the upkeep of the Gaza Strip while its political rival actively blocks revenues flowing back is taking its toll on the deficit-racked Palestinian Authority. The Western-backed PA, many of whose top leaders belong to the mainstream Fatah movement, says it has poured around $7 billion into the Gaza Strip since its rival Hamas seized control in 2007, but complains that the Islamist group is stymieing its efforts to balance its books. A barrage of mutual accusations in recent weeks has driven Hamas and Fatah ever further apart as stalled efforts at reconciliation and economic stagnation have jangled nerves on both sides.
Unconfirmed yet: Fayyad-Netanyahu’s meeting to be on Tuesday
PNN 11 Apr — On Wednesday, April 11th, Voice of Israel published in Arabic language on behalf Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s spokesman that the meeting between the Palestinian Prime minister Salam Fayyad and Israeli Prime minister Netanyahu will take place on Tuesday, April 17th. He also said that the expected meeting will take place in Netanyahu’s office in Jerusalem. The Palestinian Liberation Committee Saeb Erekat said that the date of the meeting between 5he Palestinian delegate and Netanyahu, to give him the paper about the peace process has not been set yet.
Baird lobbied hard against Palestinian bid for statehood
Ottowa and Montréal, Canada 10 Apr — Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird personally took to the phones last year to try to swing countries to oppose Palestinian efforts to be recognized as a state by the United Nations, according to newly released documents that for the first time reveal in detail how intensely Canada worked behind the scenes to block the statehood resolution.
Abbas to sign agreements with Sri Lanka
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 11 Apr — President Mahmoud Abbas will sign agreements to improve bilateral relations with Sri Lanka during his upcoming visit to Colombo, a Palestinian ambassador said Wednesday.
Clinton overrules Republican lawmakers’ hold on Palestinian aid
11 Apr — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is allowing U.S. funds to flow to the West Bank and Gaza despite a hold by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., a rare display of executive-branch authority sure to anger the key lawmaker concerned about protecting her congressional oversight role. A State Department official said that the letter was delivered on Tuesday to key members of Congress informing them of Clinton’s decision to move forward with the $147 million package of the fiscal year 2011 economic support funds for the Palestinian people, despite Ros-Lehtinen’s hold. Administrations generally do not disburse funding over the objections of lawmakers on relevant committees.
Congressmen to Abbas: Medal awarded to Helen Thomas may damage US assistance to PA
Haaretz 10 Apr — The award given to controversial journalist Helen Thomas by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has sparked anger not only in Israel, but in the U.S. Congress as well. Two senior Congressmen sent Abbas a letter denouncing the award and hinting that such a move may hurt U.S. assistance to the PA. The Congressmen — Republican Steve Chabot, Chairman of the Middle East and South Asia Subcommittee, and Democrat Eliot Engel, senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — wrote in the letter that “last year, the Committee on Foreign Affairs adopted an amendment entitled the Preparing the Palestinian People for Peace Act. This legislation conditioned U.S. assistance on whether the PA was actively preparing its people for peace through compromise with messages of tolerance, understanding, and reconciliation.”
Report: White House denies Pollard appeal
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma‘an) 9 Apr — The White House on Monday announced the US administration has rejected Israeli President Shimon Peres’ request to grant spy Jonathan Pollard clemency, Israeli media said. National Security Council spokesperson Tommy Vietor said the Obama administration “has no intention to release Pollard” and that “Our position has not changed in this case,” Israel’s Ynet news site reported. Peres had urged Obama to release the convicted spy due to concerns about his health.
Israel steps up campaign for convicted spy
JERUSALEM (AP) 11 Apr — Israel is ratcheting up calls on Washington to release convicted spy Jonathan Pollard, in a campaign that has reopened a long-running feud with its closest and most important ally. Israeli leaders say that after 27 years the former civilian intelligence analyst for the U.S. Navy should be freed. But the White House is standing firm, rejecting Israeli appeals based in part on claims that Pollard suffers from life-threatening ailments…The Pollard affair is enmeshed in a web of highly fraught issues. One is the very idea of spying against an ally — especially a country’s primary patron. Another is the delicate issue of suspected dual loyalties among American Jews, and their own concerns about being seen in such a light.Then there is the mostly unspoken, yet frequently assumed, question of linkage — namely that the U.S. would reward Israel for progress made in peace efforts with the Palestinians with Pollard’s release. On that score the prospects seem especially dim:
Analysis / Opinion / History
Israel must understand it cannot be like America / Amira Hass
Haaretz 11 Apr — …Thinking America guides Jewish-Israeli society in its policy toward our very own red Indians. Why should we be less successful than the United States, Canada or Australia, which, as they came into being and gained world eminence, wiped out – to differing degrees – the societies and communities that lived there before? When it comes to us, why should people not forget what they have forgotten about those countries, which now present themselves as bastions of enlightenment? … Now, when the remnants of the first peoples in those countries dare to demand rights, a share in resources and compensation, they no longer endanger whites and their hegemony. And this could be just as true for us. We will hold out another 20 or 50 years, continue robbing the goat and the hill and grinding down the poor, encouraging emigration, buying off and suppressing the leadership, arming and going to war. Until this nuisance of a national, cultural and political entity that is demanding its rights all but disappears. This train of thought is so logical that most Israelis are not even interested in discourse about solutions.
Deir Yassin: No passing over history / Yousef Munayyer
AJ 9 Apr — Israelis and Palestinians alike cannot move forward without addressing massacres from the past — …When you actually look at the history – even versions documented by Israeli historians using official Israeli archival material – what you learn is that a very significant portion of the total refugees were created long before May 15, 1948. Had it not been for the hundreds and thousands of refugees flowing into Arab states and massacres like Deir Yassin, the Arab armies would likely not have been compelled to intervene. Clearly, indisputable and historically non-controversial chronological facts blow significant holes in the Zionist narrative about cause and effect. But sequence is not the only problem. The other point of contention Zionists hold is that Israeli actions during the war were defensive and not intended to depopulate.
Netanyahu is using Oslo Accords to annex more West Bank land / Akiva Eldar
Haaretz 10 Apr — …Israel’s political and security establishment, as well as the legal system, view Area C – spreading over 60 percent of the West Bank – as an integral part of Israel. This is one reason why Beilin has suggested to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to bury the Oslo agreements, the baby at whose birth they were present nearly 19 years ago … The division into three areas of control, meant as a temporary, transitional stage on the way to a final agreement, turned into a “legal” repository for the settlement enterprise.
Israeli Arabs are the 0.5 percent / Oudeh Basharat
Haaretz 10 Apr — Netanyahu says Israel’s Arab citizens are the only ‘truly free’ Arabs in the Middle East, yet he considers even us a burden … After declaring that without the Arabs and the Haredim, Israel is in great shape, Benjamin Netanyahu lamented the state of the middle class, which feels as if it is supporting these two groups, adding, with the objectivity of a UN observer, “They’re not always wrong.”
The Wall, 10 years on Part 2: Wall and Peace / Haggai Matar
972mag 11 Apr — we come now to the question of the wall’s effects on Palestinian society in the last decade. Chapter Two: the wall, the peace process, and Jerusalem. I was little more than 18 years of age when rumors of the planned wall in the West Bank started spreading in activist circles around me. As its annexing route became clear, so did the need to join the very first Palestinian initiatives against it. This is how I found myself one day, in late 2002, marching the streets of A-Ram, a Palestinian town bordering Jerusalem. The protest was aimed at plans to build a wall through the heart of town, and as local activists showed us the planned route I naively thought to myself that there must be some mistake. Looking at both sides of the streets I saw a town like any other, with houses, shops offices and schools spread along the main road. How could a wall possibly go between them and cut the town in half?
Israeli ambassador fails analogy test / Robert Wright
Atlantic 11 Apr — Michael Oren, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, has come up with an analogy that, he hopes, will help Americans understand why Palestinians in the West Bank don’t have basic political rights, such as voting for or against the government that ultimately controls their fate … “The existence of partially democratic enclaves within a democratic system does not necessarily discredit it. Residents of Washington, D.C., are taxed without representation, while those in the U.S. territories — Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands — cannot vote in presidential elections. Anomalies exist in every democracy, and Israel’s is not voided by the situation in the West Bank.” … Residents of Puerto Rico can and do hold referenda on whether they want to secede and become a sovereign state, fully in control of all their territory. Palestinians have no such option.
Israel’s killing spree on Verdun Street
Al-Akhbar 10 Apr — On the anniversary of the infamous 1973 raid in the heart of Beirut, Al-Akhbar speaks to contemporaries of the three Palestinian resistance leaders who were assassinated that night. The Israelis called it “Operation Spring of Youth.” On the night of 10 April 1973, Israeli army commandos led by Ehud Barak — currently the Israeli defense minister — carried out a raid in the heart of Beirut aimed at assassinating three key Palestinian leaders … The trio were among the most prominent and dynamic Palestinian leaders of their generation.
Israeli democracy without the High Court and B’Tselem / Zvi Bar’el
Haaretz 11 Apr — …There is no doubt that the relationship between the legislature and the judiciary requires some adjustment. However, in a country where many Knesset members view the High Court as an enemy, minorities as a fifth column, the left as homegrown terrorists and religion as the basis of patriotism, it is not the legislature that needs strengthening but rather the court, which remains the last refuge of anyone who does not belong to the “mainstream.”
Daniel Pipes’ attack on Israeli Arabs is baseless and inflammatory / Carl Perkal
Haaretz 11 Apr — Pipes has written an aggressive and confused jumble of half-truths and misunderstandings about the Arabs citizens of Israel in an article published in the Washington Times … He claims that the Arab citizens of Israel are a threat to the existence of the State and bases this claim on an unsubstantiated accusation that “Israeli Arabs have increasingly resorted to violence against their Jewish co-nationals.” This malicious statement is false and the facts are exactly the opposite.
Fettering the press in Ramallah / Khaled Amayreh
PNN 9 Apr — Frustrated with the dead end in the supposed peace process with Israel, Palestinian Authority leaders are getting increasingly edgy about criticism. The Palestinian Authority (PA) has been trying to muzzle press freedom and freedom of expression under the rubric of “upholding the rule of law”.
Hamas: the search for an alternative / Rami Khrais
Al Akhbar 10 Apr — The Palestinian reconciliation process seems to be facing some serious challenges. Despite the signing of an agreement in Doha between Mahmoud Abbas and Khaled Meshaal on February 6, the last round of negotiations between Fatah and Hamas have completely failed to bridge the gap between the political rivals. Of course, this is not the first time this process has encountered such difficulties. Yet, today there are many reasons to rethink these complexities as they come in the prevailing uncertainty of the Middle East following the “Arab Spring.” For Hamas, the consequences of the “Arab Spring” are still ambiguous, so it is likely that the party’s leadership have decided to postpone carrying out any drastic initiatives regarding its political stances at this time. Over the last year, Hamas has become susceptible to two contradictory developments, chiefly stemming from the changes in Egypt and Syria.
A glimpse at Lebanon through the eyes of Anthony Shadid / Stephanie Saldana
Haaretz 9 Apr — House of Stone: A Memoir of Home Family, and a Lost Middle East, by Anthony Shadid … “House of Stone” is finally all of this: imperfect and yet more beautiful still because of its humanity. In an exhausted, war-torn village, Shadid shines light on ordinary neighbors and their houses, olive and pomegranate trees, shutters and floor stones, the seemingly mundane details of life, and discovers within them stories worth telling. I am tempted to say he redeems them, but my guess is that he would have said they were already redeemed. Whichever it is, his memoir is bitterly honest and yet full of hope, for he sees the world both for what it is and for what it has the potential to become.