Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Restriction of movement
Palestinians protest planned E. Jerusalem national park
972mag 20 Apr by Max Schindler — Nearly 100 Palestinians and Israelis converged on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem on Friday afternoon to march against a planned national park in the Issawiya and A-Tur neighborhoods of East Jerusalem. The weekly demonstration — organized by the Solidarity Movement and in conjunction with the Issawyia and A-Tur community councils — seeks to forestall the building of the national park in the neighborhood. The proposed plan will place hundreds of acres of privately owned Palestinian land under the jurisdiction of Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority. By allocating the area as a national park, the Israeli authorities avoid paying the necessary compensation. According to Daniel Dukarevich — a long-time activist affiliated with the Solidarity movement — the national park plan is part of the Israeli government strategy to change the demographic reality in East Jerusalem.
NGO: Gas facility near Arab towns in north would threaten residents
Haaretz 20 Apr — An Arab NGO warned this week that any decision to set up a natural gas facility near the Galilee towns Tamra and Kabul would endanger the local people. Such a plan has been discussed by the national planning and building authorities, notes the Arab Center for Alternative Planning, which monitors planning, housing and development and how it affects the Arab community …Apart from the risk to the population and the environmental hazards, the gas pipes that would be laid down from the coast to the facility would require the confiscation of hundreds of dunams of farmland belonging to the towns’ residents.
Center: Israel orders demolition of electricity company
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 20 Apr — Israel’s Civil Administration on Wednesday handed a demolition order to an electricity company in the southern West Bank, the Land Research Center said. The power company, in Umm Sidra near al-Ramadin village in the Hebron district, has supplied electricity since 2006 to 25 homes in the neighborhood, which is close to Israel’s separation wall. Resident Omar Jaffal told the center the notice ordered the building’s demolition within one week … The center said Israeli authorities informed the company on March 13 that it must stop operating. Israel has also ordered the demolition of a number of homes and farm buildings in the area.
Ecology-minded Palestinian village fights plans for separation fence
Haaretz 20 Apr — Barrier threatens Batir’s unique way of life – and a 63-year-old agreement with Moshe Dayan – Most of the world manages with a seven-day week, but the Palestinian village of Batir lives on an eight-day cycle. The reason is a sophisticated system of allocating water from the village’s wells among the eight large families of the village southeast of Jerusalem. The system, which has lasted hundreds of years, allows each family to use the common water for one day. Therefore, instead of Sunday, Monday or Tuesday, the village elders call the days Moamar, Awaina or Bader, after the names of the families … The traditional systems are the basis for the terrace agriculture, one of the oldest farming methods known to mankind, that surround the village, a candidate to be added to UNESCO’s World Heritage site list. But this fragile and sophisticated system is now threatened by the separation wall which is planned to cut in half the agricultural lands of the village, and put an end to the tradition and landscape.
“I will never give up our house”: Sabri Gharib kept promise to resist Israeli settlement until his final day
EI 20 Apr — In 1970, Palestinian farmer Sabri Gharib built a white stone house on a hill in the central West Bank village of Beit Ijza, a fertile area rich with olive trees, grapes and local vegetables. Now, some 41 years later, his view is dominated by a six-meter-high steel fence that annexes the house into the Israeli settlement of Givat Zeev and separates the Gharib family from their land and the rest of Beit Ijza village. The Gharib family’s situation is one of the most extreme and unsettling cases highlighting the effects of Israel’s illegal settlement building in the West Bank … Gharib, an elderly man suffering complications after a stroke, welcomes us sitting in the shadow of his only remaining olive tree and explains how his land and livelihood was taken away from him, leaving him and his family with only one dunam (a dunam is equal to 1,000 square meters [or 1/4 acre]). At the time he built his family home, his land was 110 dunams in size … Postscript: Sabri Gharib died a few days after we met him.
Al-Khalil (Hebron) reflection: not for sale
Christian Peacemaker Teams 16 Apr — On 5 April 2012, I accompanied our neighbor, Afifah *, as she tried to talk to the settlers who were protesting outside a house in a Palestinian neighbourhood from which the Israeli authorities had evicted them so she could understand their view of the situation. A settler refused to speak to her when she requested a conversation. Upon enquiring why, he told her that he did not speak to anti-Semites. Afifah told him that they were both from the same origins. The settler abruptly pronounced that he was referring to me and that CPT was an anti-Semitic organization. Afifah told him that she had known CPT for many years and did not think that its members were anti-Semitic. He replied that he had read the CPT website, that everything they posted was anti-Semitic and that they were Jew-hating Christians. Afifah asked another settler if she could ask him a few questions about how he felt about the situation of the occupied house. He did not answer but asked her if she would like to sell her house. Afifah replied that she did not own a house. When he asked where she lived, she replied, “On Al Shuhada Street.” The settler said that this was impossible, because Al Shuhada is a Jewish-only street. The settlers then proceeded to laugh amongst themselves and joked that maybe Afifah was Jewish. She told them she was Muslim and lived on Al Shuhada Street but could not enter or leave by her front door.
Egyptian condemnation of the Grand Mufti’s visit to Jerusalem
CAIRO (PIC) 19 Apr — A number of Al-Azhar sheikhs condemned the visit of Dr. Ali Gomaa, Egypt’s Grand Mufti, to Jerusalem, stressing that he committed a big mistake which cannot be accepted or justified. Sheikh Naser Farid Wasel, former Egypt Grand Mufti, criticized Gomaa’s visit to Jerusalem questioning how a high religious authority dares to travel to Jerusalem under the Zionist occupation control. For his part, Sheikh Safwat Hijazi, head of the Association of Sunni scholars, condemned Gomaa’s visit to Jerusalem demanding his removal from office.
Salah criticizes visits of Islamic figures to Jerusalem
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 19 Apr — Sheikh Raed Salah, the leader of the Islamic movement in 1948 occupied Palestine, has criticized the visits to the Aqsa mosque in occupied Jerusalem by Arab and Islamic figures … The Sheikh said it was sad that the the Mufti of Egypt Dr. Ali Juma‘a visited the Aqsa mosque, opining that if the Mufti knew of a number of facts he would have refrained from going ahead with the visit. He said that he was speaking about the phenomenon and not about specific persons.
Al-Azhar and the Egyptian Orthodox Church ban visits to Jerusalem under occupation
CAIRO (PIC) 18 Apr — Sources of Al-Azhar and sources of the Orthodox Church in Egypt emphasized the inadmissibility of traveling to Jerusalem as long as it is under Israeli occupation. As a response to the Egyptian Orthodox and Catholics Copts’ pilgrimage to Jerusalem through Israeli visas, Bishop Pachomius, the acting pope after the death of Pope Shenouda, has stressed in a statement issued on Tuesday, 17 April, on the church’s rejection of the Copts’ visits to Jerusalem, asserting that, “The ban His Holiness the Pope imposed on visiting Jerusalem should be respected.”
Hamas refuses Egyptian Mufti’s visit to Jerusalem
CAIRO (PIC) 19 Apr — Deputy political bureau chairman of Hamas Dr. Mousa Abu Mazouk has described the visit of Egyptian Mufti Ali Juma’a to Jerusalem while under occupation as recognition of occupation … The Hamas leader said that regrettably the Mufti’s visit to occupied Jerusalem and the Aqsa mosque gave the mistaken impression that Israel was allowing freedom of worship.
Resheq welcomes visits by Arab, Islamic officials to Jerusalem as liberators
BEIRUT (PIC) 19 Apr — Political bureau member of Hamas Ezzet Al-Resheq has denounced visits by Arab and Islamic officials to Jerusalem while under occupation. He said on his Facebook page on Thursday that the Arabs and Muslims are welcome as liberators in Jerusalem and not as visitors under Israeli protection. Resheq said that such visits under occupation extended “free service to the occupiers and (posed as) a rejected normalization with the enemy”.
They can’t stop building walls — Israel’s mental illness / Franklin Lamb
Counterpunch 20 Apr — It may be that researchers would want to examine as long ago as the period from the 3rd century BC until the beginning of the 17th century in order to find a regime so frenetically building walls and barriers in a hopeless quest to hold onto stolen lands as we in Lebanon may soon witness in the south of the country … The decision to build a wall “to replace the existing Israeli technical fence” along the Blue Line near the town of Kfar Kila was announced last month by Tel Aviv. The announcement followed a meeting between the Israel military and UNIFIL and both are keeping fairly mum about what it knows about this latest wall but UNIFIL spokesman Neeraj Singh hinted to this observer that the first section will be about half a mile long and approximately 16 feet high … Local observers, UNIFIL officials and experts like Timor Goksel, who worked as UNIFIL’s spokesman for 24 years along the blue line, expressed surprise at why Israel is claiming that Kfar Kila is a particularly dangerous area that needs a wall.
Violence / Incursions / Provocations
Medics: Palestinian teen shot during Israeli military training
TUBAS (Ma‘an) 20 Apr — Israeli soldiers shot an 18-year-old shepherd in the chest on Thursday evening during military training exercises in the northern West Bank, medics said. Yasir Suleiman Nijad Kaabnah was shot while herding sheep and camels near Wadi al-Maleh in the northern Jordan Valley, medics told Ma‘an. Salem Kaabneh, the victim’s uncle who was with him when he was shot, told Ma’an that Israeli troops who were training in the area fired at Suleiman injuring him in the chest. Medical officials said soldiers refused to help the wounded teenager and he was taken in a private car to hospital in Tubas. He was transferred to Rafadea Hospital in Nablus, where he is in a critical condition in intensive care … The local village council said Israeli military training in the area had caused several casualties because shepherds were not warned when or where the exercises would take place.
Ziad Jilani’s Israeli police murderer exposed for first time / Richard Silverstein
Tikun Olam 19 Apr — Thanks to the family of Ziad Jilani, an Israeli Palestinian who was murdered by Israeli police over two years ago, for revealing his killer was policeman Maxim Vinogradov. The Jilani family asked me not to publish until Amira Hass did in Haaretz (Hebrew), which happened today. Back in 2010, I wrote two posts (here and here) about the killing after it happened. Ziad Jilani was driving down the street and appears to have sideswiped a police vehicle and brushed against a policeman in a narrow East Jerusalem street. The police gave chase shooting at him until he abandoned his car. At that point, he was shot and wounded twice and collapsed on the ground. The final death blow was a point blank shot through the cheek delivered by Mr. Vinogradov.
Israeli forces use police dogs to search houses
HEBRON (WAFA) 19 Apr – Israeli forces Thursday raided and searched two homes in the town of Yatta, south of Hebron, using police dogs, according to a local official. He told WAFA that the dogs frightened the children and people in the area and the army had forced the entire family in the two houses to stay outside for almost five hours in relatively cold weather while searching the homes.
Confrontations at Hebron’s Arroub refugee camp
HEBRON (WAFA) 19 Apr – Confrontations erupted on Thursday between Palestinians and Israeli forces at the entrance to Arroub refugee camp, north of Hebron, according to local sources. They said soldiers fired tear gas canisters at the residents causing a number of suffocation cases, mainly among children. Soldiers had blocked movement of people in and out of the camp leading to the confrontations, said the sources.
Soldiers raid town, shoot tear gas at school, homes
JENIN (WAFA) 19 Apr – Israeli soldiers Thursday raided the town of Ya‘bad, near the northern West Bank city of Jenin, and fired tear gas canisters at Palestinian houses and schools located west of the town, according to local sources. They said dozens of students and villagers suffered from suffocation due to gas inhalation. They were treated at the scene.
IOF soldiers arrest two Palestinians, rob money
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 19 Apr — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested two Palestinians in Beit Ummar village, to the north of Al-Khalil, on Thursday and robbed [stole] money from one of the houses. IOF soldiers searched the home of Jihad Alqam at dawn Thursday before taking him away to Etzion detention center, his son Mohammed said. The soldiers also stormed the home of Ahmed Abu Mariya in the same village and threatened him for not finding his son Qassam, who is wanted for interrogation. The soldiers stole 160 Jordanian dinars that were kept in one of the closets in Abu Mariya’s house
Occupation forces storm Al-Khalil and Jenin
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 20 Apr — … In Jenin district, Israeli occupation forces stormed Kferet town south west [of] the city, raiding and photographing a number of homes and historical buildings and marking them on maps they had, which provoked the local residents.
PCHR Weekly Report: 19 civilians wounded by Israeli troops this week [12-18 April]
IMEMC 20 Apr — 15 demonstrators, including two children and two Israeli human rights defenders, were wounded. Two Palestinian civilians, including a woman, were wounded by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip … This week, Israeli forces conducted 56 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank … In the Gaza Strip, on 17 and 18 April 2012, two Palestinian civilians, including a woman, were wounded when Israeli soldiers positioned at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel opened fire at Palestinian houses and farmland in Khuza‘a village, east of Khan Yunis … On 13 April 2012, Israeli naval troops arrested 3 Palestinian fishermen and confiscated their boat in the northern Gaza Strip. The fishermen were released later, but the boat remained in custody. [Full report here]
Settlers destroy farms in Jordan Valley area
TUBAS (WAFA) 19 Apr — A group of Jewish settlers Thursday destroyed two vegetable farms in the Tubas governorate, according to security sources. They told WAFA that settlers raided the farms, destroyed the crops and spread havoc while verbally abusing the farmers.
Two Palestinians arrested on suspicion of stabbing Jewish settler
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 20 Apr — A Jewish settler was moderately injured on Thursday evening, after being stabbed with a knife in Sheikh Jarrah suburb in central Jerusalem, he was transferred immediately to “Hadassah” hospital. Two Palestinians were arrested on suspicion of committing this attack and they were brought to al-Maskoubiya detention center in western the city to interrogate them, occupation police confirmed in a press release. Seikh Jarrah suburb over the past few years have been witnessing an organised onslaught by the settlers who are taking over Palestinian homes
Activism / Solidarity
Israel accused of using protest as ‘media stunt’
Al Akhbar 20 Apr — Activists have accused the Israeli army of trying to use a weekly Palestinian protest as a “media stunt,” after foreign journalists were embedded with the army on Friday. The town of Nabi Saleh in the West Bank is host to demonstrations every Friday condemning the confiscation of the village’s lands and water resources by a neighboring illegal Israeli settlement. There are regular clashes, with the Israeli army firing tear gas and attacking protesters with batons. On Friday activists noticed that the military was not using the same level of brutality that it normally deploys, with some suggesting the presence of a Dutch television crew with the army as the reason. Abir Kopty, an activist based in the West Bank, said the decision to “embed” foreign journalists explained the change of tactics, while another activist who wanted to remain anonymous said it was a “media stunt.”.
Video: New footage emerges of Eisner attacking activists
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 20 Apr — An Israeli human rights group has released new footage of a dismissed army officer striking activists with his gun, days after his assault of a Danish national drew wide condemnation. The footage, taken by the Palestinian Authority’s official television network and released by the Israeli rights group B’Tselem, shows Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner striking several foreign solidarity activists with a machine gun. Eisner holds his M-16 rifle in both hands and shouts at a group of demonstrators taking part in a bicycle rally in the northern West Bank, before suddenly striking several people. The video also shows soldiers tossing bicycles over a railing after the event was disrupted.
Danish protester: No one would care if a Palestinian was hit with a rifle / Harriet Sherwood in Ramallah
Guardian 20 Apr — …Ias – not his real name — is dismayed that in the aftermath of him being struck in the face with a soldier’s rifle, so little attention has focused on what he describes as the routine aggression, harassment and displacement suffered by Palestinian villagers in the area. “It has been framed in the media as the ‘Danish incident’, as though this is not how the IDF normally act,” he said, swathed in a red keffiyeh in a Ramallah cafe. “But what happened to me is nothing compared to the systematic violence carried out on Palestinians. This is not a single incident, it’s what we see every day. But it’s very difficult to move the focus from me to the issues of the Palestinian struggle in the West Bank.”
Join ICAHD’s summer rebuilding camp
19 Apr — Since 2003 the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions (ICAHD), a US Campaign coalition member group, has made it possible for internationals and Israelis to join together with Palestinians in Anata, East Jerusalem, to resist the Occupation and rebuild the demolished homes of Palestinian families. In the summer of 2012, ICAHD will once again rebuild during their two-week Summer Rebuilding Camp July 1-16. “Creating Alternative Facts on the Ground” invites you to participate in the incredible opportunity to learn first-hand about life under occupation.
African Heritage Delegation to Israel/Palestine
Interfaith Peace Builders – Delegation Dates: October 21 – November 3, 2012 — As a participant on the African Heritage Delegation you will: Attend a one day pre-departure orientation in Washington DC Travel in the West Bank and Israel with experienced delegation leaders and professional local guides See how the continuing Israeli occupation and current cycle of violence affect Palestinian and Israeli communities Learn from Palestinians about their nonviolent resistance Meet Israeli peace activists working for an end to the occupation Share experiences with representatives of African-Palestinian communities and Israeli communities of color Examine the US role in the conflict Stay in Palestinian and/or Israeli homes for 1 – 3 nights Visit selected religious and cultural sites Receive expert support for your work in your local community
Voices of Conscience: Delegation to the Gaza Strip
Interfaith Peace Builders — November 4 – 12, 2012 Delegation Leaders: Michael Brown & Cindy Corrie — This delegation to the Gaza Strip is open to all and will focus on an in-depth look at the situation on the ground, as well as the work of various civil society groups, grassroots organizers, religious leaders and more. Preference will be given to those joining the October/November 2012 delegation and those with previous experience on an IFPB delegation. DEADLINE TO APPLY: Applications are due by June 15th. This is not a rolling deadline. Applications will be reviewed following the June 1st deadline and applicants will then be notified.
Occupation punishes the hunger strikers
WEST BANK,GAZA (PIC) 19 Apr — The prisons administration started, in provocative moves, imposing strict measures and harassing Palestinian prisoners as a reaction to the mass hunger strike in different occupation prisons. The Israeli Metsada special forces, specialized in storming prisons, broke into Ofer prison with the support of the so-called Nahacon forces, on Thursday morning, and assaulted the prisoners and fired gas inside their rooms. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Prisoners Affairs confirmed, in a press statement, that the occupation prisons administration has isolated the hunger strikers in individual rooms and sections, cutting off electricity to prevent any kind of communication with external events, and threatening to remove them to unknown destination.
Ex-detainee Fuad al-Khuffash reveals prisoners’ demands
MEMO 20 Apr — Ex-detainee Fuad Al-Khuffash has said that he expects the widespread hunger strike which started on 17th April to coincide with Palestinian Detainees’ Day to be “the strongest and the most successful in the history of the detainee movement” … In an exclusive interview with the Palestinian Media Centre only hours after being released, Al-Khuffash called for “real support from Palestinian society” for detainees and their struggle. Such support should include the Palestinian leadership raising the issues with international bodies. The full interview is as follows: Palestine Media Centre: First of all, welcome back; thank God for your safety. Could you describe the restrictions placed on detainees in prison?
Palestinian football star seriously ill from four-week hunger strike
EI 20 Apr — Gaza native Mahmoud Sarsak is a member of the Palestinian national football squad. Yet it is not his prowess on the pitch that is foremost on the minds of Palestinians at the moment. The 25-year-old is seriously ill in a hospital in Ramle, a city in Israel, after being on hunger strike for four weeks. He is one of many prisoners depriving himself of food to demand liberty and justice. Sarsak has been imprisoned for three years now. Although he has never been tried for any recognizable offense, Sarsak’s detention has been continuously renewed every six months. Israel’s internal intelligence service, the Shabak (also known as the Shin Bet) has claimed that Sarsak is imprisoned under an ‘illegal combatant’ law.
Hunger striker Ezzuddin in serious condition
GAZA (PIC) 19 Apr — The lawyer of Jafar Ezzuddin, who is on hunger strike in Israeli Jalama prison isolation ward, said that his client was suffering low blood sugar and low blood pressure … The lawyer said that Ezzuddin enjoyed high morale and his mind was clear but his physical condition is bad as he could not even stand up. He quoted the detainee as expressing surprise at the Red Cross position, adding that it did not visit him or inquire about his condition.
Iranian students to rally in support of Palestinian hunger strikers
TEHRAN, April 20 (MNA) – Iranian students plan to hold a rally outside the United Nations office in Tehran to express their support for mass hunger strikes of Palestinian and Bahraini prisoners. Students have also called on people from all walks of life to participate in the rally, which is scheduled to be held on April 23 at 5 p.m. in front of the United Nations office in Tehran.
Khader Adnan will continue to work at a bakery and sell zaatar to remind Palestinians of their roots
Mondoweiss 20 Apr — Linah Alsaafin’s incredible interview with Khader Adnan. What a man, what a hero, what a gift to the Palestinian people he is. Above is a picture of Khader playing with his children, they stayed close to him upon his release. The love in their eyes, both father and children is something that is almost unbearable to witness in its beauty. Oh but the Zionists will tell you that we don’t love our children, that we are not human.
Political detentions / Court actions
Two Palestinian children kidnapped near Hebron
IMEMC 19 Apr — Israeli troops kidnapped two 15 year old Palestinian children from the town of Beit Ummar, north of Hebron. Local sources said that Mohammad Alami and Fadi Abu Fanus were handcuffed and blindfolded before they were taken to the nearby Etzion military base. The children were on their way home after taking part in the funeral of an elderly lady in the town. Residents attempted to free the two children, however the soldiers refused to release them and used concussion grenades to force the residents away from the scene. The mother of one of the two children fainted as a result, and was taken to the medical clinic for treatment.
Israeli forces arrest six Palestinians in West Bank
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 19 Apr — Israeli forces Thursday arrested six Palestinians from across the West Bank, according to local sources. They said forces arrested six Palestinians from Hebron, Tulkarem, and Jericho, including an 18-year-old Palestinian from the town of Azzoun, east of Qalqilya.
Occupation renews administrative detention of Palestinian academic
RAMALLAH (PIC) 19 Apr — The occupation authorities renewed, on Wednesday 17 April, the administrative detention of Ghassan Thouqan, the lecturer at An-Najah National University in Nablus, for the third time running.
The torment of an isolated captive’s family continues 21 years on
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 17 Apr — Palestinian captive Rizk Abdallah Muslim Rajoub from Dura south of Al-Khalil spent [his] 11th month in the solitary confinement in “Ohali Kidar” prison. Rajoub spent twenty-one years in occupation jails on aggregate so far. Rajoub’s wife says that the occupation did not stop arresting her husband repeatedly since 1980 (two years after their marriage) that marked the beginning of the family’s suffering and deprivation … The family’s torment was augmented by occupation’s arrest of their eldest son Ahmad at the age of eighteen years, in addition to administrative detention for most of Rajoub’s extended family members whose only guilt was knowing “Abu Ahmed” … Rajoub’s other son Muhammad (6 years) who has been denied over the past two years from seeing his father, said that he “did not fear the occupation’s soldiers when they came to arrest his father and his only brother, recalling that night when they attacked violently his disabled sister ‘Salwa’.”
Arab MK goes on trial for solidarity with the Palestinians
MEMO 19 Apr — An Arab Member of the Knesset (MK) is on trial for showing solidarity with the people of Korba Bil’in village in the occupied West Bank. Mohammed Baraka MK backed the villagers and their supporters who organise weekly marches against the “separation barrier” which has seen large chunks of land belonging to the village effectively annexed by Israel. The trial is the first of a Knesset member for participation in such demonstrations and political activities. It is expected that dozens of witnesses from the Israeli army and police will be called by the prosecutor to testify against the MK. The charges against him are: preventing the arrest of a Palestinian youth during one of the demonstrations in the village of Bil‘in in May 2005; an alleged assault against a member of an extreme right-wing group who came to attack the participants of a demonstration against Israel’s war on Lebanon in July 2006. The trial is expected to last for three days. Lawyer Orna Cohen, from Adala Human Rights Centre, is defending Mr. Baraka. She said that the defence team will prove to the court that her client is not the one who violated the law in Bil‘in, but that it was the security agents who used violence without any justification against the participants in the peaceful demonstration.
Mads Gilbert, eyewitness to Cast Lead, says Gaze remains besieged and shattered
Mondoweiss 20 Apr by Alex Kane — Two years ago, Dr. Mads Gilbert (right) told me that his experience in Gaza during Israel’s assault in 2009 was the “most horrific experience” of his life, a grim honor previously held by Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon, which Gilbert also witnessed … AK: What are your most recent impressions of Gaza? MG: My impressions as of 2012–that’s what I’m going to speak about tonight. The human rights abuses of the Israeli government, of the Israeli army, continues. There is widespread lack of human security, ongoing killings, military attacks, week by week people are getting killed and injured. The siege is as brutal as it has been, resulting in lack of everything, from construction materials, to power–the power cuts are more extensive than they have been in a long time because of the lack of diesel and gasoline to fuel the generators. The lack of solid waste trucks makes it almost impossible to collect the solid waste. In Gaza City, they have contracted 280 donkey cart drivers to manually handle the solid waste. Many of the sewage cleaning installations are not working because they lack spare parts and maintenance, so sewage is pumped into the Mediterranean. And of course there is widespread deficiencies in nutrition. http://mondoweiss.net/2012/04/mads-gilbert-eyewitness-to-cast-lead-says-gaza-remains-besieged-and-shattered.html
The crisis in Gaza — the world’s largest open-air gulag / Ralph Nader
Counterpunch 20 Apr — Have you heard much lately about the 1.5 million Palestinians illegally imprisoned by the Israeli government in the world’s largest open-air Gulag? Their dire living conditions, worsened by a selective Israeli siege limiting the importation of necessities of life – medical items, food, water, building materials, and fuel to list a few – has resulted in an 80 percent unemployment rate and widespread suffering from unlawful punishment, arbitrary arrests and imprisonment in Israeli jails. The horrific conditions were a result of the Israeli invasion of Gaza in late 2008, ignited by Israel’s breaking of a truce with Gaza on November 4. Fourteen hundred people died, nearly three hundred of them children, and thousands were injured. http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/04/20/the-worlds-largest-open-air-gulag/
When Gaza’s doctors err, remedies are rare
Media Line 19 Apr — …Medical malpractice in the Gaza Strip is something doctors, hospitals and the government would rather not talk about. Nor does the law have much to say on the matter. To get a sense of the problem the best way is to visit the offices of the Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR), where cases like Seidam’s are documented.
Politics / Economics
PA Foreign Ministry: Lieberman remarks ‘misleading’
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 19 Apr — The Palestinian Authority Foreign Ministry on Thursday accused Israel’s Foreign Minister of trying to mislead international public opinion. Avigdor Lieberman on Tuesday told Cypriot President Demitris Christofias that President Mahmoud Abbas was not interested in a peace agreement, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported … Abbas has responded positively to all opportunities to revive negotiations with Israel, the ministry said.
Abu Marzouk: Hamas won’t be bound by PA-Israel treaty
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 10 Apr — Hamas will not be bound by any agreement reached between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, senior party leader Moussa Abu Marzouk says. In an interview in Cairo with US newspaper The Forward, Abu Marzouk pointed out that when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came to power, he chose not to abide by the Oslo Accords signed by his predecessor Yitzhak Rabin. In the same way, a future Hamas government will not be bound by any peace treaty agreed by President and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, he said. Abu Marzouk, deputy chief of the Hamas politburo, proposed a “hudna” or truce between Israel and Palestine, similar to Israel’s arrangement with Lebanon and Syria.
Minister: PA may drill for oil in West Bank
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 20 Apr — A team of experts is researching the possibility of drilling for oil in the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority minister of state said Friday. Mahir Ghneim told Ma‘an that international and local experts started research months ago in Ramallah and southern Hebron and found an oil field in the village of Rantis, west of Ramallah … The Palestinian Authority hopes a database compiled by the researchers will help its efforts to claim natural resources including petroleum, water and stone in areas of the occupied West Bank under Israeli control, Ghneim said … A committee is also investigating an oil and natural gas field discovered in 2008 between Qalqiliya and Latrun which Israel is keeping quiet about, the minister said.
OPT: Microloan demand grows despite the risks
RAMALLAH (IRIN) 19 Apr — The demand for microloans has risen steeply in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in recent years, according to data from the Palestinian Network for Small and Microfinance (Sharakeh), which represents 11 microfinance non-profit institutions whose total loan portfolio was US$75 million by the end of 2011. Between 2007 and 2011, the number of active microloans in the West Bank and Gaza Strip rose from 20,000 to more than 43,000. This trend is likely to continue, said Sharakeh.
Racism / Discrimination
Video: Palestinians turned away from Dead Sea resort as Israelis, Europeans, and dogs enter freely
EI 19 Apr — An Israeli-run Dead Sea beach resort in the occupied West Bank attempted turned away a number of families on Friday, 13 April, apparently just because they were Palestinian. This blatant act of racist discrimination at “Kalia Beach” (map) was personally witnessed and caught on video by Hazel Cameron, a Lecturer of International Relations at Scotland’s University of St Andrews. Cameron was traveling with a group of students and threatened to withdraw them from the beach resort unless all visitors were allowed in regardless of their ethnicity. The Arab guard enforcing the exclusion of Palestinians even described himself on camera as “just a slave acting under orders.” Cameron provided the video and her account of what she saw to The Electronic Intifada.
Safed Student Union causes uproar with ‘racist’ regulation
Students at the Zefat Academic College are furious over a plan to change the Student Union’s protocol and establish military or national service as a prerequisite for students applying for the position of union chairman. “It’s unacceptable that an entire sector be disqualified in advance simply for being Arabs who don’t serve in the IDF,” one student said. Some 60% of the students who attend the college are Arabs. The final decision on the protocol change will be made next week. Meanwhile, the Arab students are determined to fight the decision which they say will hurt Safed‘s already fragile coexistence.
Welcome to Israel: Where protesting racism is dangerous / Mya Guarnieri
972mag 19 Apr — On Sunday, as Israeli security forces were rounding up activists who were trying to enter Palestine, a racist conference was held in Ramle and a middle-aged woman was beaten for protesting racism. Welcome to a frightening Israel, where being non-racist is dangerous
Desert blooms, one olive tree at a time
JPost 18 Apr — New funding initiative by Ben Gurion University will provide for the growth of an olive tree fores [sic] … “The olive tree is a symbol of Israel, a reminder of our extraordinary heritage in our biblical homeland…” … A single olive tree costs $180, three cost $500, 10 cost $1,600 and 18 cost $3,000, according to AABGU. [why don't you just use the ones you steal from the Palestinians?]
Huge sandstorm destroys crops in Jordan Valley
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 20 Apr — A sandstorm that erupted in the central Jordan Valley on Wednesday has damaged hundreds of greenhouses and crops. Locals estimate the damage at around 1 million shekels ($266,000). Basim Ibrahim, head of the local association of greenhouse owners, said around 1,200 greenhouses were destroyed by the sand storm. Each greenhouse costs 1,000 shekels, he added. The storm was the third of its kind this season, but it was the most destructive as it erupted as crops were ripe and ready for harvest. Some 450,000 square meters of land in Furush Beit Dajan planted with tomatoes, beans, cucumbers and peppers was damaged by the sand storm, affecting more than 150 families in the area who rely on agriculture as their main source of income. Food prices are expected to rise in West Bank markets as a result of the storm.
Shin Bet says it will not budge on security checks
Haaretz 20 Apr — Disregarding the refusal of Scandinavian airports to play by its rules, the Shin Bet security service said on Thursday that it would not allow Israeli airlines to fly out of overseas airports if the security checks there do not meet its standards … The adamant response came after TheMarker reported on Thursday that Swedish aviation authorities had refused to allow Arkia to conduct such security inspections at Stockholm’s airport because they involve ethnic and personal profiling.
‘Treasury waiting for survivors to die’
Ynet 18 Apr — Mental health professionals slam State for delaying therapy funding for Holocaust victims. ‘Bureaucracy is hurting survivors,’ one official says – “Sometimes I get the feeling that the Finance Ministry is waiting for them to die so it can save money,” an official dealing with Holocaust survivors told Ynet on Wednesday.
Israeli treasury cancels pensions for 2,000 survivors of Nazi persecution
Haaretz 20 Apr — A Finance Ministry official chose Holocaust Remembrance Day, of all days, to announce that he would not recognize some 2,000 survivors of Nazi persecution as eligible for pensions or compensation according to the Disabled Victims of Nazi Persecution Law … Sadan’s decision concerns people who lived in cities that were occupied by the Germans in World War II, even though their entire country was not occupied, as was the case in Tunisia and Greece. Upon their immigration to Israel, they were not requested to declare their city of origin, and therefore the authorities do not have any official document proving that they lived in a city occupied by the Nazis.
Tunisia marks annual Jewish pilgrimage as an achievement
TUNIS, Tunisia (Haaretz) 18 Apr – The annual Jewish pilgrimage to the Tunisian island of Djerba should be maintained as a symbol of the North African nation’s openness to the world, Tunisia’s tourism minister said Tuesday …Jews have been living in Djerba since 500 B.C. and the synagogue there is believed to be one of the oldest on the African continent. The Jewish community in Tunisia itself numbered 100,000 in the 1960s, but most left following the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. The tourism minister told journalists on the sidelines of a Mediterranean tourism conference that the pilgrimage, set this year for May 9, should be protected.
Analysis / Opinion
The rifle blow to the head that reminded Israelis of the West Bank / Uri Misgav
Haaretz 20 Apr — With one swing of his rifle, Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner drove a hole into the separation wall that blinds Israelis to reality on the other side, that allows them to be indifferent … The wall blinds the Israelis and sometimes even stupefies them. Time and again they boast of being the chosen ones of “the only democracy in the Middle East” without understanding that this claim, too, has been blocked by the separation barrier. There is no democracy east of the wall. There is the rule of a military occupier, an apartheid-like mechanism of discrimination, and more than two million Palestinians who are denied basic civil rights. The damage caused by the wall is enormous. It was meant to serve as the basis for Israel’s permanent eastern border, but because of it, Israelis are no longer in a hurry to draw permanent borders and to return to the family of nations.
The ‘dreaded’ P-word: Palestine / Dr. Samuel Lebens
Haaretz 20 Apr — Recently, I helped establish the Association for the Philosophy of Judaism. Last month, we held an online discussion. The scholars we invited to lead the discussion provided the public with a source-sheet of Jewish texts..However, something about the way we advertised our discussion provoked an angry/sarcastic e-mail. These are the sources that we publicized as background material for the discussion:.*Mishna Sanhedrin 9:6. *Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 81b-82b *Palestinian Talmud Sanhedrin 27. Can you spot the offensive phrase? Yes, we used the P-word. We spoke of the “Palestinian Talmud.” … In the university world, the two Talmuds are overwhelmingly referred to as the Babylonian Talmud and the Palestinian Talmud … The left-wing, with its sensitivity to political correctness, is often said to go too far. It is said that when political correctness goes mad, it amounts to a thought-and-language police. But now, it is elements in the Israeli right who are doing exactly the same thing: ruling out neutral uses of the P-word, barring peaceful law-abiding citizens of friendly countries from entering if they’re going to say or do things with which we may disagree and writing laws that punish people and organisations for holding certain political views. We are being ruled by a devastating fear.