HRW: Israel must stop harassing Addameer staff
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 25 Oct — Human Rights Watch on Friday urged Israel to stop harassing members of prisoner rights group Addameer. “It’s deeply ironic that Israel is arbitrarily detaining a researcher who has documented arbitrary detention, and violating the rights of the head of a human rights group,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW regional director.
On Oct. 15, Israel arrested Addameer’s researcher Ayman Nasser in a night raid on his home in Saffa, near Ramallah. Nasser told his lawyer he had been interrogated over media interviews he gave, and his work with a youth center in his village. Addameer says the Handala center holds educational and artistic events in Saffa. The researcher told an Israeli military court on Saturday that he had been blindfolded and shackled during interrogation sessions up to 10 hours long, and that Israeli officials had not allowed him to receive three of five medicines he needs. Addameer has expressed particular concern about Nasser’s health
Group breaks informal Israel-Gaza truce
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 25 Oct — An armed group launched attacks on Israeli army and civilian sites along the border with the Gaza Strip hours after an unofficial truce sought to end two days of violence. The Al-Mujahideen brigades claimed responsibility for firing two rockets at the Kissufim military base and three toward residential areas along the border. The group said the attack was a response to “the occupation’s crimes against the people and continued aggression against the Gaza Strip,” and stressed that it would continue its attacks. The Israeli military confirmed only one rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed in the Eshkol regional council near the border early Thursday, hours after an unofficial ceasefire was announced. Israeli forces and all other Palestinian armed groups have refrained from attacks as an informal truce brokered by Egypt appeared to take hold following two days of violence.
Body of a young man recovered from collapsed tunnel
GAZA (PIC) 26 Oct — Rescue teams in the southern Gaza Strip recovered the body of a young man on Thursday evening from a collapsed tunnel at the Egyptian-Palestinian border. The tunnel collapsed on Wednesday evening trapping three tunnel workers inside it. Palestinian rescue teams with limited resources started immediately searching for the trapped workers. Palestinian sources said on Thursday that the rescue teams recovered the body of a 22-year-old man, and that the teams continue to search for the other two trapped workers.
Miles of Smiles 17 arrives in Gaza
IMEMC 27 Oct — The “Miles of Smiles 17″ solidarity convoy managed to enter the Gaza Strip, on Thursday evening, through the Rafah Border Terminal between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. 113 convoy members from different Arabic and foreign countries entered the coastal region to deliver 25 wheel-chair accessible vans, 50 tons of wheat, and 40 tons of medications. Sources at the Palestinian side of the Rafah Border Terminal stated that Egypt rarely allows food supplies into the Gaza Strip via Rafah as it usually demands that all food supplies should go through that Karem Abu Salem “Kerem Shalom” Crossing.
Israel re-opens 2 Gaza Strip crossings
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 25 Oct — Israeli authorities have re-opened the Kerem Shalom and Erez crossings into the Gaza Strip after closing them a day earlier, Palestinian and Israeli officials said Thursday. Palestinian border official Raed Fattouh told Ma‘an that Israel would allow 167 truckloads of medical aid, clothes, shoes, fruit, and livestock to enter Gaza.
Breast cancer cases increase in Gaza
MEMO 25 Oct — It has been revealed that there has been a remarkable increase in the number of breast cancer cases in the Gaza Strip. Dr. Sawsan Hammad, the Director of the Women’s and Children’s Health Unit, noted on Wednesday that the disease is affecting men and women, although the cases in men are still rare. Speaking at a programme to raise awareness of the disease organised by the Ministry of Health, Dr. Hammad stressed that breast cancer continues to rise by 4 per cent each year. She pointed out that it is the most common form of cancer in Gaza, accounting for around one-third of all cancer patients … [the manager of the Body and Mind programme] mentioned the unethical and inhuman practices of the Israeli forces during their brutal invasion of Gaza in 2008-9, including the use of banned munitions which have resulted, it is believed, in an increase in cancer diagnoses in the territory…
Calves replace sheep during Eid al-Adha in Gaza
Al Arabiya 26 Oct — Maher Abu Assi, who worked as a butcher for more than thirty years, can no longer slaughter calves on Eid al-Adha, as he is getting older. During his youth, he used to slaughter sheep. According to Abu Assi, due to the increased number of family members compared to the low revenue of people in the Gaza Strip, the majority of the population replaced buying the sheep by sharing the calf with 7 coupons. The butcher, who no longer works, says: “In the past, I used to slay dozens of sheep during the Eid days, but today, no one knocked on my door to ask me for any sheep for the feast. The majority of the population is now sharing calves, but due to my old age, I cannot slay calves.” As a proof of the inability of Gaza citizens to buy the Eid meat, Ghassan Barbakh confirms that he and 6 of his relatives and neighbors will share a calf instead of sheep.
Gazans produce fish and vegetables in tiny rooftop spaces
Daily Star 26 Oct — GAZA CITY: Abu Ahmed looks out over a sea of grey, empty Gaza rooftops, and smiles as he looks back at the lush greenery sprouting in tubs and pipes on top of his apartment building. He is part of a United Nations agency project to introduce cutting-edge urban agriculture to Gaza City, teaching Palestinians to farm without soil in the space available to them in one of the world’s most densely populated places. Most of his rooftop is given over to an aquaponic system, which produces food by linking fish tanks of tilapia with gravel-filled planters. The integrated system feeds the water from the fish tanks into the plant beds, where Abu Ahmed’s crops — lettuce, peppers, broccoli, celery and herbs — are fertilised by waste produced by the tilapia.
VIDEO: Gaza yards, rooftops bloom with innovative gardens
AFP 25 Oct — Gaza’s 1.6 million residents live on just 360 square kilometres of land, and much of that is off limits because Israel maintains a 300-metre deep exclusion zone along the length of the border fence. On rooftops and in yards in Gaza City, Palestinians are learning to farm without land in one of the most densely populated places in the world. Duration: 02:01
A circus comes to Gaza — minus lions and ladies
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) 26 Oct — The circus came to Gaza on Friday, accompanied by blaring music, juggling clowns and fire blowers — but getting it there required its own high-wire act. No women performers were included for fear of offending conservative Palestinians and the Gaza Strip’s militant Hamas rulers, and the circus’ lone lion and tiger were left behind because of the high cost of transporting them legally into Gaza. The Egyptian National Circus put on its first show of a month-long visit to the impoverished coastal territory on Friday, a sign of warmer relations between Hamas and post-revolution Egypt, which is governed by the Islamic group’s ideological parent, the Muslim Brotherhood.
Ethnic cleansing or ‘transfer’
Why Jerusalem Palestinians are applying for Israeli citizenship
Haaretz 26 Oct — Today there isn’t a family in East Jerusalem that is not fearful of losing its residency status, without which it is stripped of the right to live in the city — …Israel wanted the territory of East Jerusalem but it did not want its residents. Thus Israel created a status that is without parallel in the world, a situation in which a native community of 300,000 people live without citizenship in the place where they were born and have lived forever
Activism / Solidarity / BDS
Michigan Peace Team (MPT) member assaulted by Israeli authority, arrested, facing deportation
IMEMC 27 Oct — Just before noon local time on October 24th, 2012 Michigan Peace Team (MPT) member “Katrina” Katarzyna Dybzynska was choked by the neck and then bodily dragged behind a line of military vehicles by Israeli border police in the Binyamin region of Palestinian Authority, outside the Rami Levy Market near an illegal Israeli settlement. According to two witnesses, Ms. Dybzynska (a Polish citizen) was “choked with excessive force around the neck, before being dragged off by two border police.” After being detained on site, she was taken to an unknown hospital; MPT is awaiting information regarding her medical condition at this time. She was held overnight at an unknown facility in Jerusalem on October 24th; she has been detained for the remaining period to the present, including the night of October 25th, 2012 at Ramle Prison, to the best of Michigan Peace Team’s information.
Call for volunteers in Palestine!
End the Occupation 26 Oct — The International Women’s Peace Service is the newest member group of the US Campaign [though they have been in operation for a decade]. They have put out this call for volunteers. National Organizer Anna Baltzer worked with them for three years. It’s a transformative experience, if you’ve been looking for an opportunity to contribute to the movement on the ground in Palestine… International Women’s Peace Service (IWPS, iwps.info) is now recruiting volunteers to retain international presence in Palestine in 2013 and beyond. IWPS is a female-driven, small human rights organisation with members from all over the world. IWPS focuses on maintaining international presence in Palestine and supporting the participation of women in resisting the illegal occupation.
Japanese activists protest Sodastream
Stop Sodastream Japan 26 Oct — On 29 September, BDS activists from Palestine Forum Japan (PFJ) picketed two department stores in Abeno, Osaka demanding the immediate end to sales of SodaStream given the Israeli company’s extensive operations at a West Bank settlement built on stolen Palestinian land. Settlements are illegal under international law and constitute a war crime. This is the second action of the Stop! SodaStream Campaign launched by PFJ last July.
Oxfam Italy cuts ties with Paola Maugeri over involvement with Sodastream
BDS Italia 26 Oct …In response to a letter from the Italian Stop Sodastream Campaign, Oxfam Italy cut ties with Paola Maugeri, “PR Ambassador” for Sodastream Italy. Oxfam Italy had previously engaged Maugeri in their fundraising campaign “A future without hunger.” The promotional video featuring Paola Maugeri, a well-known radio personality and author of the book “My Life at zero impact,” was immediately removed by Oxfam Italy
Canada says UN official who called for Israel boycott should quit
OTTAWA (Ed. Sun) 26 Oct — Canada joined the United States and Israel late Thursday night in calling for the resignation of a United Nations official charged with monitoring and reporting on human rights in the Palestinian territories. That official, Richard Falk, the UN’s special rapporteur for the Palestinian Territories, called for a worldwide boycott earlier Thursday of companies tied to Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. That recommendation was immediately condemned by the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, who called Falk’s call to action “irresponsible and unacceptable,” and said it would “poison the environment for peace.”
French police take orders from Mossad as protesters arrested at Maccabi-Chalon match/ Ali Abunimah
EI 26 Oct — Agents from Israel’s spy and international assassination organization Mossad, and dozens of police officers were deployed to stop protests at a basketball match between Israel’s Maccabi Electra and the home team in the eastern French city of Chalon on 25 October. One spectator managed to break on to the court unfurling a Palestinian flag, while several others were arrested, according to local media reports. The match, part of the “Turkish Airlines Euroleague,” was also sponsored by occupation profiteer Veolia Transdev, whose ads could be seen on screens along the sidelines of the pitch.
Calls to stop Israeli violations against Palestinian prisoners during the Eid
GAZA (PIC) 26 Oct — The Palestine Center for Prisoners Studies called for a halt of Israeli brutal violations against Palestinian prisoners during Eid. The center wished, in a statement issued on Thursday, a happy and blessed Eid for all Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, nearly 4600 detainees, on the auspicious occasion of Eid ul-Adha, hoping that they would be free by the next Eid. Riad Ashkar, the center’s director, called on human rights and humanitarian organizations topped by the Red Cross to pressure the Israeli occupation to stop its arbitrary practices against prisoners during Eid … [saying] the Israeli authorities deliberately implement arbitrary practices against Palestinian prisoners, including depriving prisoners of family visits, and preventing exchange visits between the prisoners’ rooms, and moving detainees between prisons, isolating some of the prisoners in solitary confinement, preventing them from performing Eid prayer, in addition to exercising searches and raids at the night before Eid, aiming to spoil their joy of Eid.
IOA extends the leader Bassam al-Saadi’s administrative detention
JININ (PIC) 26 Oct — The Israeli military court extended on Thursday the administrative detention of Bassam al-Saadi, an Islamic Jihad leader, for the second consecutive time where he was supposed to be released early next November. The Israeli army has arrested Sheikh al-Saadi, in May 2011, following the signing of the reconciliation agreement in Cairo, where the Israeli forces waged arrests campaign against leaders and cadres of the Islamic Jihad movement in the West Bank. Sheikh al-Saadi was liberated after spending 8 years in Israeli jails 2 of them in administrative detention, and then he was re-arrested after only 54 days after his release. Sheikh al-Saadi, one of Marj al-Zohoor deportees, has two sons who were martyred during al-Aqsa Intifada, Ibrahim and Abdul Karim, in addition to the martyrdom of his mother and his nephew.
MADA welcomes the release of Khalif and Mona, condemns depriving journalists from coverage in Gaza
PNN 25 Oct — The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) welcomed the release of bureau Felesteen newspaper director office in the West Bank Walid Khalid, and correspondent of Quds press news agency Mohamed Mona, Wednesday (10/24/2012) on bail, and reaffirms the need to stop the prosecution and detention of journalists in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Rights monitors visit Gaza jails, ending 2-year hiatus
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 26 Oct — The Palestinian human rights ombudsman has been given a green light by the Hamas government to resume its work in the Gaza Strip, after their monitoring activities were blocked for several years. Head of the Independent Commission for Human Rights, Ahmad Harb, told Ma‘an his visit to Gaza last week was “historic”. His ICHR delegation entered Gaza’s internal security prison after a four-year hiatus, as well as the main civil jail in Gaza, which had not been monitored for two years. ICHR met with Hamas officials and have agreed on regular prison visits and a full resumption of their work activities, Harb told Ma‘an. The treatment of detainees took on new urgency after a 27-year-old man died in police custody in Khan Younis, south Gaza, on Oct. 16.
On Facebook, IDF illustrates Palestinian violence — with photo from Bahrain
972mag 26 Oct — An infographic purportedly depicting Palestinian attacks in the West Bank makes its case with a photo shot during a Bahrain protest. This would not be the first time the army posted misleading photographs to Facebook to serve its PR machine.
Joe wants to talk Israel with you – everywhere
JPost 26 Oct — Online video project seeks to respond to delegitimization of Israel by engaging college-aged students — “My name is Joe, and I’m tired of people bashing Israel on campus,” the YouTube video begins, as a teenager fresh from a summer Birthright trip speaks into his video camera. These words may seem like the start of several videos posted by a young Israel activist looking to spread his message through online media, except for one detail: Joe is fictional.
Political, other news
A week in photos: October 18-24
25 Oct — The olive harvest, an attempt at breaking the siege on Gaza, Palestinian elections and more. Activestills images tell the stories of the week.
Factions want re-count after Bethlehem vote
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 26 Oct — A group of Palestinian factions is calling for a recount of votes from Saturday’s local elections in Bethlehem, the five parties said Friday. The Popular and Democratic Fronts for the Liberation of Palestine, the Palestine People’s Party, the Palestinian National Initiative and the Abu Nidal Organization are signing the challenge. The groups said the election process was not conducted in a transparent way in Bethlehem, and they accused the Central Elections Commission of extending the nomination period later than planned. They also said that in Bethlehem the counting process was in violation of elections law.
PA, EU agree 5-year plan on bilateral relations
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 25 Oct — The European Union and Palestinian Authority agreed on a new five-year plan for their bilateral relations on Wednesday, a press statement said. The European Neighborhood Policy Action Plan is intended to increase ties, “in preparation for establishing a full-fledged Association Agreement between the EU and the future state of Palestine,” the EU statement said.
Aid groups welcome Ashton visit to Area C
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an)25 Oct — A group of aid agencies on Thursday welcomed the visit of EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton to Palestinian communities in areas under Israel’s full control in the occupied West Bank. Ashton and PA prime minister Salam Fayyad visited the olive harvest in the Ramallah village of Ras Karkar, part of the 62 percent of the West Bank designated Area C, under full Israeli military and civil control. Eight aid and development agencies said the visit, and the new five-year plan for EU-Palestine relations concluded Wednesday, show “continued commitment to promoting inclusive development in Area C.”
Abbas tells Ashton: Ready to negotiate after UN bid
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 25 Oct — President Mahmoud Abbas told EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Thursday that his UN bid aims to preserve the two-state solution, official media reported. At a meeting in Ramallah during Ashton’s tour of the region, Abbas assured her he was ready to negotiate with Israel after the bid to upgrade Palestine’s status at the UN General Assembly next month … Ashton assured the president of the EU’s support for the two-state solution as the basis for resolving the conflict.
Position Paper: Enhancement of Palestine’s status at the UN
PNN 25 Oct — The Palestine Liberation Organization, the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, seeks to enhance Palestine’s status to that of an Observer State, as a significant step towards fulfilling the Palestinian people’s natural, historical, and legal rights to self-determination and independence. This step is a continuation of the standing Palestinian application for membership at the United Nations, which was lodged on 23 September 2011. Together with the international community, Palestine believes that the status quo of political deadlock, while occupation, colonization and apartheid policies become further entrenched, is neither acceptable nor sustainable….
Ahead of Israeli election, PA bid in UN may push Netanyahu to harsh unilateral reaction, diplomats say
Haaretz 26 Oct — …The risk is exacerbated, Foreign Ministry officials say, by the timing: The PA is expected to seek a vote in the UN General Assembly next month, at which point Israel’s election campaign will be in full swing, with several parties holding primaries in late November. This is liable to lead ministers and Knesset members to vie with each other over who can offer a tougher response. Thus even delaying the vote by a few months, until after the Israeli elections, would help prevent a disaster, ministry officials say.
Poll: Netanyahu’s hard-right alliance could backfire
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 26 Oct — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s tie-up with far-right coalition partner Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman could backfire by eroding their lead ahead of Israel’s Jan. 22 ballot, a poll said on Friday. The findings flew in the face of Netanyahu’s prediction that, by merging with his fiery rival for nationalist votes, he would muster a “big, cohesive force” of support for winning a third term as premier. They also suggested that opposition parties, long dawdling thanks to Israel’s stable economy and disillusionment with the deadlocked Palestinian peace process, would be re-energized by the conservative incumbent’s new ideological tack.
Podcast: Huseyin Oruç on holding Israel accountable for attacks, raids on Gaza-bound boats
EI 26 Oct — “[The seizure of the Estelle by Israeli forces] not only happened against these passengers who were on the Estelle, it was against everybody who was supporting this mission to ending the siege in Gaza.” - Huseyin Oruç, Vice-President of IHH. A twelve-year-old Palestinian boy is arrested by Israel ten times in three years; Convicted and jailed leaders with the Holy Land Foundation, the charity that was closed by the Bush administration a decade ago, prepare for their last legal recourse; Overdoses on the rise as the Gaza siege turns some to the escape of painkillers; Protests and strikes as Israel raids Bedouin villages and threatens to destroy more homes in the Negev/Naqab desert; News from the global boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.
Israeli racism, discrimination
State to court: No govt approval for Yishai’s plan to arrest Sudanese en masse
972mag 25 Oct by Mya Guarnieri — In its response to a petition filed by human rights organizations and six African asylum seekers, the State Attorney’s office said today that the government has not made an official decision to arrest Sudanese refugees. The reply also said that Interior Minister Eli Yishai, who stated publicly that asylum seekers have until October 15 to leave the country on their own accord, spoke without government authorization.
Women are Jews, too / Elana Sztokman
Haaretz 26 Oct — Criticism of the right of women to pray openly at the Western Wall supports the monopoly of a radical fringe of Orthodoxy that believes that women should not be seen or heard anywhere… We need to be asking ourselves a very simple question: What side of history do we want to be on? Generations from now, our descendants will be looking back at these events, and asking how people could hold such prejudiced views about other human beings. What we will be able to answer our great-grandchildren when they ask us, where were we when women were crying out for the right to sing to God – without being arrested for it.
Analysis / Opinion / Reviews / Human interest
Palestinian employment in Israel and settlement: Restrictive policies, abuse of rights
972mag 26 Oct — The high rate of unemployment in the Palestinian territories and the gap in wages and quality of life between the Israeli and Palestinian economies have led to a constant supply of Palestinian workers seeking work with Israeli employers, since the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip began in 1967. The number of workers has changed over the years in correlation with restrictions Israel has placed on entry into its territories. This Kav Laoved report details the obstacles and forms of exploitation faced by Palestinians on their road to earning a living in Israel and while employed in the country.
CBS releases data about Israel’s Muslim population
Ynet 25 Oct — Most of Israel’s Muslims live in north, have fewer babies than last year — The number of Muslims residing in Israel is currently 1,354,000, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported Thursday, ahead of the holiday of Eid al-Adha. The percentage of Muslims compared to the general population has dropped from 3.8% in 2000 to 2.5% in 2011. The largest Muslim population resides in Jerusalem, where they reach 281,000, comprising 20.8% of all Muslims in Israel and 35% of Jerusalem residents. The second largest is in Rahat, where 55,000 reside, followed by 51,000 in Nazareth and 48,300 in Umm al-Fahm … Some 38% of the Muslim population are children, ages 0-14 (some 519,000) and only 3.5% are 65 and over (some 47,000) … Fertility rates among Muslim have dropped. In 2000, the average number of children per Muslim woman stood at 4.7. It now stands at 3.5.
Gaza witnesses the beginning of the end of the siege / Dr. Daud Abdullah
MEMO 25 Oct — Until the eleventh hour it seemed that the visit would be derailed. On Monday, Israeli jets carried out three waves of attacks on Gaza, raising security concerns over whether the Emir of Qatar should actually go to the enclave. However, Sheikh Hammad bin Khalifa was not deterred. He was determined to make a historic statement. The overall significance of his whirlwind visit will remain a subject of debate but whatever the interpretations, it would be disingenuous to deny its intended humanitarian purposes. A few hours after the departure of Sheikh Hammad, Israel resumed its attacks on the Gaza Strip. Politically, reactions have ranged from strong condemnation to glowing praise … To some, the Qataris may be “mavericks”, but their reading of the situation reflects an ability to stay ahead of events. First, they realise that Hamas is a major player in Palestine that no regional power can ignore. Second, the transition to democratic rule in the region will, inevitably, restore Palestine to its natural position, atop of the regional political agenda. In the new era of accountability, Arab governments will have to respond to the people, for whom Palestine remains the central issue. Though the Israelis and their supporters may think that the end of the medieval siege is still some way off, the people of the region know otherwise. The Emir of Qatar’s visit is indeed the beginning of its end.
Twilight Zone: The calm before the storm in the West Bank / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 26 Oct — Life has been relatively quiet on both sides of the Green Line of late, as benumbed Palestinians await their next generation of leaders and Israelis resolutely continue to ignore the whole issue …
There are no terror attacks and therefore there are no Arabs — in the Israeli mind. Indeed, there are no terror attacks and there are no assassinations; let us admit this as well. In recent years the occupation and resistance have been in another of their intermissions between bloodletting. But this will continue only until the next uprising, which will most certainly come – although not very soon, one might hazard.
Don’t mention the fence – it isn’t because of the fence that the land has been quiet. Every day thousands of Palestinian workers filter into Israel – illegal sojourners, we call them – to find a living for their families. In exactly the same way, dozens of terrorists could be making their way into Israel. It isn’t because of the erection of the fence on Palestinian lands (and not on the Green Line as required) that terror has stopped.
Film review: An Israel-Palestinian accident of birth: Le fils de l’autre [oddly translated as ‘The Other Son’]
[with trailer] Forward 26 Oct — The story’s premise involves a baby mix-up at a Haifa hospital during the Iraqi missile attacks on Israel during the Gulf War of 1991. When Joseph (played by Jules Sitruk), grows up and is about to be inducted into the military, it’s found that his blood type is incompatible with his parents’. When a follow-up investigation concludes that he was born as the son of West Bank Palestinians, to a mother who happened to be in Haifa at the time, his enlistment is cancelled … It turns out that Joseph’s Palestinian father is an engineer who is restricted by the Israeli occupation to working as a car mechanic in his village, virtually in the shadow of Israel’s security wall.
The West Bank’s most impressive Yasser Arafat lookalike
BBC 26 Oct — Picture the scene: You have popped down your local fruit and veg market to pick up a packet of potatoes, possibly a pepper, a couple of onions. You are beginning to daydream about the corned beef hash you are planning to rustle up later. When who should emerge from behind a pile of peaches, but Yasser Arafat.Decked out in green military fatigues and his trademark chequered black and white headscarf, Chairman Arafat saunters through the crowds pausing occasionally to admire the cherry tomatoes or a nice looking melon … The man in the market was Salem Smeirat, something of a minor celebrity, as the West Bank’s most impressive Yasser Arafat lookalike …Perhaps Arafat’s most enduring legacy, though, is that in terms of popular support, Palestinians have never been able to fill his shoes. He was too big an act to follow. Across the West Bank you see graffiti and murals celebrating Abu Ammar, but you do not see much depicting Abu Mazen, the current Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Palestinians have an Arafat lookalike – but for many the real thing has remained irreplaceable….
Southerner ‘not angry at Gazans who shell Israel’
Ynet 25 Oct — Even as she struggles to pick up the pieces after her home was destroyed by a rocket launched from Gaza, one southern resident says that she is not angry at the Palestinians who shell Israel … The tense lull early on Thursday gave Youz a moment to reminisce about Moussa, a Palestinian who built her home two decades ago. The laborer arrived in her town from Rafah, along with several others, to work in construction and farming in the early ’90s. “Moussa was a good friend of mine, he took care of everything I need for my home,” she says. “When the Philadelphi Route was opened, his home was destroyed in Israeli fire. The community decided to help him, and all its members donated money so he could build a new house.” The rocket that shattered her own home on Wednesday made her think of her old friend. “When I saw my home in ruins, I thought to myself, ‘Moussa’s house has been destroyed again,'” she says. “I am dying to hear from him, I hope he gets in touch… I miss my neighbors,” Youz adds, referring to the Palestinians residing across the border in Gaza. “They are closer neighbors than the ones in Tel Aviv. They are suffering and we are suffering, while the politicians on both sides celebrate.”
Wikileaks exposes US detention methods in ‘war on terror’
Al Akhbar 25 Oct — Whistleblower website Wikileaks released Thursday more than 100 secret files from the US Defense Department detailing rules and procedures for detainees in US military custody at the height of its infamous “war on terror”. The so-called “Detainee Policies” deal with Camp Bucca and Abu Ghraib in Iraq, Guantanamo Bay and European army prison facilities from 2002 to 2008. They prescribe ways to damage records of torture and make prisoners “disappear” from central records, leaving them with virtually no paper trail. “The Detainee Policies show the anatomy of the beast that is post-9/11 detention, the carving out of a dark space where law and rights do not apply, where persons can be detained without a trace at the convenience of the US department of Defense,” said Wikileaks founder Julian Assange