180 new units in East Jerusalem
[map] Settlement Watch EJ 29 Oct – The Israeli Land Administration announced last week the allocation of 180 new housing units in East Jerusalem for families of people from the Israeli security forces (the army and police). The decision was made in accordance with the Israeli Government’s decision from 20.5.12 to allocate units for security people in Jerusalem in “places with special characteristics that can justify such allocations, according to the ILA considerations“. Since almost no Palestinians serve in the Israeli security forces, this decision is clearly intended to prevent from Palestinian families the possibility to buy homes in the new neighborhood, which is located between two Palestinian neighborhoods, Sur Baher and Um Lison.
Land theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid
Video: Jaffa — The orange’s clockwork
Al Jazeera Witness 18 Oct — This film shows how Jaffa started out as a Palestinian place name before becoming an Israeli brand name and how the orange harvest shifted from being a joint undertaking into a symbol used by both parties in the conflict. Archive film and photographs show how propaganda was used to erase the memory of a thriving place where Arabs and Jews worked together. Art historians and political analysts talk about the images which are projected onto their walls, and elderly orange growers remember the time before their world was destroyed. Please note that this film will only be available to watch online until November 14.
Double Take: The politics of potholes in East Jerusalem
Haaretz 29 Oct — …The occasion was the naming of a street in the Beit Hanina neighborhood of East Jerusalem after Umm Kulthum, the legendary Egyptian diva widely considered the greatest woman singer in the Arab world. The ceremony this month was meant to highlight a city project to name streets and number houses across Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem … While several people who attended the dedication of Umm Kulthum Street welcomed the initiative to name streets and number homes in their area, they noted that conditions in their neighborhood reflected a policy of neglect. Away from the ceremony site where potholes had been hastily filled and garbage cleaned for the mayor’s visit, the newly named street was in fact a bumpy, narrow alley, strewn with refuse and winding around blind curves that residents said had caused car accidents. People said that garbage trucks did not reach the upper parts of the street, which climbs a hill, and that they were forced to cart their trash to a dumpster at the bottom.
Palestinians set up a tent at Ush Ghrab to protest a planned settlement
IMEMC 28 Oct — Dozens of Palestinians accompanied with international supports setup a protest tent in the Ush Ghrab area of eastern Beit Sahour, near Bethlehem on Sunday. The action, which was organized by the Popular Resistance Committee in Beit Sahour, aims at stopping the planned construction of a settlement in the area … The protest tent is set up 200 meters away from the hilltop where the settlers are planning to build the settlement, as Israeli troops have not allowed Palestinians to reach the hilltop since 2010, when the tower was set up. On the other hand, settlers motivated by Women in Green come to the hilltop every Friday and hold lectures and other kinds of activities.
Photo essay: Galilee Bedouins face house demolitions
Activestills 29 Oct — in 2007 they received demolition warrants. They told the court that their houses have been standing before 1945. The court ruled against the demolition, but put a restriction on any further development on the their land. However, that same verdict included a small paragraph which said that if the house were to be included in public territory, then there would be a renewed discussion. And not surprisingly, during 2009, the Israel Land Administration presented a plan to turn the area into a national park. After the family’s appeal, the court ruled in favor of demolition within two years, without any compensation to the family … In the last two weeks the family has received daily visits by different police officers who have announced orally that the family has a week to leave the area and move to the recognized lands of the village of Khawaled. This, despite the fact the national park plans, presented by the Israel Land Administration itself, only pass by their land, and more importantly, the lands are privately owned by the Khawaled family … So what’s going on? It seems that the Israeli administration has decided to give the northern Bedouin community a hard time too, after abusing the Bedouins in the South for decades.
Al-Khalil (Hebron): The ‘firing zone’ land grab scheme
CPTnet 27 Oct — How can Israel “legally” confiscate land in occupied Palestine? Get the army to declare the area a “Firing Zone” needed for military training. This is what happened in the South Hebron Hills in 1999 when Israel ordered the evacuation of twelve Palestinian villages for the creation of Firing Zone 918, claiming the inhabitants were not permanent residents, then forcibly evacuated seven hundred inhabitants. The Israeli military destroyed homes and cisterns and confiscated property. The villagers, dispossessed of their lands and livelihoods, were left homeless. In 2000, in response to petitions filed by the residents, the Israeli High Court of Justice halted the evacuation and granted an interim injunction, allowing the villagers to return home temporarily. Many had nothing to return to. Those that did have lived under the ongoing threat of evacuation from the caves they reinhabited, and subject to constant abuse by nearby settlers, but have continued to live and work on the land. After years of stagnation, the case was reopened in 2012 with the State’s insistence on the evacuation of eight villages in the zone — a humanitarian disaster for over 1,500 souls whose villages face destruction.
Settler leaders lobby PM to pass Levy report
JPost 19 Oct — Protest outside Knesset planned for the week in support of report that says West Bank settlements are legal under int’l law … At Sunday’s weekly Likud ministerial meeting, Netanyahu said that his office is in the middle of discussing legal questions related to a cabinet vote on the report with Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein.
Palestinian farmer refuses to sell his land to settlers for $15 million
BETHLEHEM (PIC) 29 Oct — Jewish settlers have recently offered $15 million to a Palestinian farmer, from the town of Khader, south of Bethlehem, to sell 18 dunums of his agricultural land located within Efrat settlement. The farmer Ibrahim Suleiman Sabih, 44, confirmed that he had received an offer from an Israeli official responsible for “Absentee land in Israel”, where he offered to buy the land for ten million dollars. The official later raised the amount to fifteen million dollars. Sabih told Quds Press that the settlers, for their part, offered to swap his land for another outside the boundaries of the settlement … Sabih added that the settlers, protected by Israeli occupation authorities, constructed housing units inside his land and pumped wastewater on its trees in an attempt to force him to leave the region.
Dignity grows on olive trees
SALEM, Occupied West Bank, Oct 29 2012 (IPS) by Jillian Kestler-D’Amours — Affixed to a large cement bloc, the rusted, grey gate leading Palestinian farmers from the northern West Bank village of Salem to their olive groves was opened for four days this year. “The road is closed by this gate and it’s (always) closed except for two times in the year,” says Adley Shteyeh, a member of the Salem local committee. Salem residents own approximately 10,000 dunams of land on the eastern side of their village. The area can only be accessed with a permit issued by the Israeli military authorities and after crossing the gate and an Israeli settlement bypass road. “Usually we need ten days or more to do our work on the other side (of the bypass road),” Shteyeh said. Over his shoulder, a handful of villagers could be seen cutting branches off their trees, to make sure they get all the olives before their permits run out.
Palestine olive farmers cultivate resistance
[12 photos] Al-Lubban Ash-Sharqiya, West Bank (Al Jazeera) 28 Oct by Dalia Hatuqa — With a canvas tarp and a bucket in tow, the Daraghmehs surround one of the many olive trees dotting the family’s small parcel of land, plucking the green fruit in the early morning hours. For this Palestinian family of seven, the olive harvest has become a seasonal ritual passed down from one generation to the next. Perched on one of its branches, 17-year-old Jalal freed a handful of olives and dropped them onto the tarp, each making a thumping sound as it hit the earth. The day moves by quietly. But the family said the serenity marking this fall morning in the village of Al-Lubban Ash-Sharqiya is an anomaly. For weeks on end, Khalid Daraghmeh, the family’s patriarch, and his eldest son, Jamal, have been in and out of Israeli prisons, following a series of attacks by Israeli settlers. “We have been beaten and wrestled to the ground by settlers on numerous occasions,” said Khalid Daraghmeh, also known as Abu Jamal. “When they come, they don’t spare us or the plants or animals.” Abu Jamal said the settlers have thus far killed four of his dogs, uprooted 350 seedlings, and removed the irrigation system of pipes used to water the plants. On one occasion, settlers stripped naked and dipped themselves in another well used for drinking, he said.
This year’s olive harvest
RHR 29 Oct by Rabbi Yehiel GrenimannSinjilharassment from settlers and sometimes army
For first time since Nakba… Eid prayers in Beersheba’s mosque
BEERSHEBA (PIC) 28 Oct — Hundreds of residents of occupied Negev, southern Palestinian 1948-occupied territories, performed Eid al-Adha prayers in the courtyards of occupied Beersheba’s mosque, for the first time since the occupation of Palestine; over six decades ago. The occupation Municipality in Beersheba has turned the Mosque into a museum and a place for holding celebrations for Jews, and deprived Muslims from performing their prayers in it … Sheikh Yusuf Abu Jama, an official in the Islamic Movement in the town of Rahat, stressed that they are determined to liberate the Grand Mosque of Beersheba from the Israeli occupation.
Thousands of settlers storm a mosque in Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (PIC) 29 Oct — Thousands of Jewish settlers stormed Bilal bin Rabah Mosque, known by Jews as “Rachel’s Tomb” on Sunday night, and performed Talmudic rituals on the anniversary of “Rachel’s death”. The settlers believe that the mother of prophet Yussuf, Rachel, is buried in that site. Some 70,000 settlers are expected to visit the site over the next few days, Yediot Aharonot Hebrew newspaper revealed … According to historians, “Rachel’s Tomb” is a Mamluk building and an Islamic site, dome-shaped next to the Islamic cemetery in Bethlehem.
Israel ‘far worse than apartheid’ says ANC chair as Pretoria conference backs boycott
EI 19 Oct by Ali Abunimah — … BDS South Africa said in a press release distributed via email: There was widespread support from international delegates for the adoption and support of the Palestinian BDS call. However, there was one objection from a delegate from Germany who argued that Israel cannot be compared to Apartheid South Africa and thus an all-out boycott of Israel is “ill-informed.” The ANC Chairperson, Baleka Mbete, strongly responded saying that she has been to Palestine herself and that the Israeli regime is not only comparable but “far worse than Apartheid South Africa.” Ms Mbete received a resounding round of applause from delegates for articulating this position.
Restriction of movement
Israel bars 5 priests from traveling to Egypt for papal elections
Al-Masry Al-Youm 29 Oct — Israeli occupation authorities prevented five Orthodox priests from the Diocese of Jerusalem from traveling to Cairo on Monday to participate in the first round of the Egyptian papal elections. Church authorities said 12 members of the Jerusalem Diocese have the right to vote in the Egyptian election, but only seven of them were able to come to Cairo to cast their vote.
Al-Khalil (Hebron): A walk on the wild side
CPTnet 20 Oct — Two young Palestinian girls took a shortcut to the Old City of Hebron from their homes on the far side of Shuhada Street, the main street of the Old City which is now an Israeli-only street because of the Israeli colonies established there. To avoid a circuitous route to the Israeli army checkpoint at the far end of the street, the young teenagers cut through the Muslim cemetery and climbed over the wall onto the forbidden street. Caught! A six-soldier patrol on Shuhada Street spied them and went into crisis mode. The sacred space had been violated! The squad immediately surrounded and detained the dangerous intruders, with snipers kneeling and pointing their guns in all directions from which any further terrorist attack might arise. They then radioed for military assistance and advice. Two army vehicles responded. Ten heavily armed Israeli soldiers surrounded the frightened but brave young Palestinian women and escorted them to the Israeli Border Police at the nearest checkpoint.
Israeli violence / raids / illegal arrests
Israeli policemen charged with assaulting Palestinians, obstruction of justice
Haaretz 29 Oct — In two separate cases, three Border Policeman have been charged with assaulting Palestinians and conspiracy to cover up their actions. The charges were filed recently by the Justice Ministry’s Department for the Investigation of Police Officers. The first of the two indictments concerns a July 2010 attack on a Palestinian employed in an orchard near Kibbutz Netiv HaLamed-Heh, in central Israel … The second indictment was filed on Monday against Border Policemen Omri Cohen, 23, of Tirat Hacarmel and Danny Abara, 22, of Kiryat Ata, both stationed in Jerusalem’s Old City.
Ramallah: Shin Bet exposes Hamas command center
Ynet 29 Oct — Shin Bet arrests 30 operatives who attempted to restore Hamas activity in Ramallah region — A Shin Bet investigation has exposed an attempt by Hamas to renew activity in the West Bank, the general security service said. The extensive organizational infrastructure that was uncovered in Ramallah and in villages in the West Bank’s Binyamin region indicate the first effort made by Hamas in years to resume operations in the area … The command center was meant to promote Hamas’ standing in the West Bank in order to increase its chances of gaining power in future elections in the Palestinian Authority.
a little history:
Kufr Qasem massacre, 29 October 1956
[with photos] A collection of articles and papers on the massacre, including testimonies of survivors: “29 October 1956: Israeli frontier guards started at 4 pm what they called a tour of the Triangle Villages. They told the Mukhtars (Aldermen) of those villages that the curfew from that day onwards was to start from 5 pm instead of 6 pm. They reached Kafr Qasem around 4:45 and informed the Mukhtar protested that there are about 400 villagers working outside the village and there is not enough time to inform them of the new times. An officer assured him that they will be taken care of. Then the guards waited at the entrance to the village. 43 Kafr Qasem inhabitants were massacred in cold blood by the army as they returned from work, their crime was violating a curfew they did not know about.
Israel kills Hamas fighter in south Gaza
GAZA (Reuters) 28 Oct — Israel killed a Hamas gunman it accused of preparing to fire a rocket from the Gaza Strip on Sunday and a separate Palestinian salvo struck a southern Israeli city, causing no damage. The incidents followed a three-day lull since an upsurge in violence last week in which Israel killed at least seven Palestinians, and dozens of rockets were fired at Israeli towns, damaging some homes and wounding several agricultural workers. An Israeli air strike before dawn on Sunday struck two gunmen from Hamas’ military wing as they rode a motorcycle near the central town of Khan Younis, local officials said. The Al-Qassam Brigades said Suleiman Qarra, 27, from Bani Suheila, was killed, and another fighter wounded.
Israel strikes Gaza overnight, no injuries
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 29 Oct — Israeli warplanes struck several sites in the Gaza Strip overnight Sunday[-Monday], causing substantial damage but with no reports of injuries … Hamas’ military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, claimed responsibility for firing at several Israeli military sites “in response to the continued Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip.” An Al-Qassam site was hit in an overnight airstrike east of Khan Younis in south Gaza, causing damage to the site and surrounding area. Another Al-Qassam building was bombed in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun. Witnesses said the site suffered significant damage, and surrounding buildings, including Beit Hanoun municipality building, were also affected. Residents also reported that a building site was flattened east of Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza, and another Israeli strike hit an empty area south of Gaza City.
Israel hit by 18 rockets as Hamas seeks revenge
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (AFP) 30 Oct — Gaza militants Monday fired 18 rockets at southern Israel, with the armed wing of the ruling Hamas movement saying it was revenge after an air raid killed one of their men. It was the second straight day in which militants had fired rockets at Israel in a confrontation which began early Sunday, and effectively ended three days of calm after an Egyptian-brokered truce went into force at midnight Wednesday. “At least 18 rockets were fired at Israeli territory, without causing injuries or damage,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP, saying the count was from midnight. Monday’s barrage of rocket fire followed hot on the heels of two late-night Israeli airstrikes which did not cause any injuries, Palestinian security sources said. Although the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades did not say how many rockets it had fired, it named at least five areas in southern Israel where it had targeted “military sites” – Sufa, Kissufim, Beeri, Yad Mordechai and Nahal Oz. And it posted a grainy video on their website which appeared to show militants launching nine rockets in the early morning.
IAF successfully drops flyers on Gaza
Jewish Press 29 Oct — The IAF dropped flyers onto Rafiach [Rafah?] in southern Gaza explaining to them that they shouldn’t approach the border with Israel and try to break through. The dropped letter stated: “Gazans, Terrorist organizations operating among you, they use you as cover. Gaza residents are risking their lives on a regular basis because of the terrorist organizations. Their use of your residential areas, your houses and backyards and are creating a direct threat to your life, your children and your family….”
Why the mullet, not the Israeli navy, are to blame for the death of a Gaza fisherman / Amira Hass
Haaretz 19 Oct — … When he was shot, Abu Riash was standing in the water, about five meters from the beach. That Friday morning he went out with his brother and cousin to fish for mullet, which swim in schools near the beach. That’s why “we didn’t go out in boats,” explained the cousin, Yousef Ziad … “We were a few meters from the beach. And it’s true, not far from the border, a few dozen meters from the fence that continues into the water. We started out further away (from the fence) and advanced with the movement of the fish.” … the firing came from inside the area of the Strip. Ziad said that the soldiers who fired spread out on a hill south of the border, a short distance from the fishermen, with their faces painted black and armed with long rifles and communications devices … There were eight or nine soldiers there, recalls Ziad. He and his brother got out of the water when they saw them. Did they warn them before shooting, I asked. “What they said was unclear. They shouted something, then immediately fired,” said Yousef Ziad in a phone conversation.
VIDEO: the images and sounds of Gaza’s vibrant subculture in ‘Not a Dreamland’
29 Oct — The Electronic Intifada is proud to present “Not a dreamland”: artists and alternative subcultures in Gaza. This multimedia feature combines videos, stills and sounds collected in February 2012 by Anne Paq of the ActiveStills (activestills.org) photography collective, exploring vibrant subcultures in the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip. This short, produced by ActiveStills, features both established artists and performers such as the hip-hop group Palestinian Unit, unconventional filmmaker brothers Arab and Tarzan, painters from the art collective iltika, break dancers from Camps Breakerz as well as less-known youth who experiment with parkour, beat box, break dancing and roller skating. Interview extracts and striking images give context to the conditions under which these artists create, giving vivid insight into a vibrant side of Gaza that is rarely shown.
UNRWA responds to Israel TV’s Gaza war claims
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 29 Oct — The UN agency for Palestinian refugees issued a response this week to an Israeli TV channel’s claim that Palestinian militants had used UNRWA facilities to fire rockets at Israel during its war on Gaza … The popular Israeli news channel did not provide any evidence to substantiate the claims made by its reporter. “We heard this misinformation during the war when there was shelling on and around the Agency’s schools and our main warehouse in Gaza,” UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said in a response that was published by Israel’s Channel Two News … Channel Two News said its publication of UNRWA’s response to did not amount to a retraction, saying UNRWA’s statement to that effect was “misleading”.
Rafah crossing stays open over Eid holiday
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 29 Oct — The Gaza Strip’s crossing into Egypt has stayed open in both directions during the Eid al-Adha holiday for the first time in years, Palestinian crossings officials said Sunday. The facility, the only exit point for Palestinians in Gaza not falling under Israel’s blockade, has also been recently been opened on the weekend holiday of Friday. Crossing officials describe the improvement of access is part of Egypt’s promise to help ease the situation in Gaza, which is under an Israeli land and sea blockade.
Egypt delivers Qatari fuel for Gaza
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma‘an) 29 Oct — Egyptian authorities on Monday transferred 350,000 liters of Qatari fuel into Israel for delivery to the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian Authority official said. The fuel, donated by Qatar, was sent through the al-Auja crossing on the Egypt-Israel border and will be delivered to Gaza via Kerem Shalom crossing, said Omar Hadhoud, a PA representative at the al-Auja crossing. Hadhoud told Ma‘an the delivery had been held up due to Israeli crossings closures amid an escalation in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza and rocket attacks from the enclave.
Gaza activists’ new weapon: Carrier pigeons
Ynet 19 Oct — Military officials believe birds found on board Gaza-bound ship ‘Estelle’ were used to document Israeli soldiers as they seized vessel — When Israel Defense Forces soldiers nine days ago overtook the “Estelle” ship, which sought to breach Israel’s naval blockade on Gaza, encountered a strange surprise. Between the crates containing toys and medications, they discovered a carrier pigeon. According to IDF assessments, the pigeons carried digital tags, which were attached around their legs, containing photos of Israeli soldiers as they seized the ship. It is believed the photos were aimed for global media distribution. Pro-Palestinian Israeli activist Yonatan Shapira, who was on board the ship, confirmed the IDF assessment, saying: “We tagged some of the carrier pigeons with digital memory cards containing photos showing IDF soldiers using taser guns.
Ministry: Israel cancels visits to Gaza prisoners
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 29 Oct — Israel has canceled family visits for prisoners from Gaza, three months after they were resumed, the PA Ministry of Detainee Affairs said Monday … Israel agreed to resume family visits for Gaza prisoners as part of a deal to end a mass month-long hunger strike in Israeli jails. At the time, Minister of Detainee Affairs Issa Qaraqe said visits were resuming on an “experimental basis.” On Monday, the ministry said visits to the 444 prisoners from Gaza had been canceled as the “trial period” had ended. The ministry said in a statement that Israel had not fulfilled its commitments in the deal to end the hunger strike. The visits allowed since July had been limited, the ministry said, adding that children had not been allowed to visit their jailed relatives and visitors were not allowed to bring personal items to prisoners.
Minister: Israel frees former hunger striker
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 29 Oct — Israeli authorities on Monday released former hunger striker Hasan Safadi, the Palestinian Authority prisoners minister said. Issa Qaraqe said Safadi had been freed from Hadarim jail in central Israel. Safadi stopped a 93-day hunger strike on Sept. 21 after assurances he would be freed at the end of his current administrative detention term, which expired on Monday. Safadi was detained from his home in Nablus in June 2011, and held without charge. He launched a previous 71-day hunger strike on March 5, which he ended when some 2,000 prisoners joined the strikes, resulting in an agreement with Israeli authorities which included assurances to curtail the practice of administrative detention. When Safadi’s detention order was renewed on June 21, he re-launched his strike.
Urgent call for legal aid
PSP 28 Oct — Even though the economic conditions of Palestinians are becoming worse day by day, Israeli occupation military courts continue to impose heavier fines and bails on the Palestinian prisoners, especially children and youth. These fines and bails constitute a public punishment for the prisoners and their families … By imposing such heavy fines and bails, the Israeli occupation courts aim at discouraging young Palestinians from taking part in the non violent popular resistance and ultimately to abandon it. These military procedures are also used as a source of income for the Israeli occupation legal system. PSP take the responsibility of raising funds to cover at least a small part of these fines, bails and the lawyers’ fees for Beit Ommar prisoners and others throughout the West Bank. PSP is in constant need of financial contributions to ensure the continuity of the legal aid to protect human rights defenders and the non violent popular resistance. [See link for donations on this page]
Israeli Racism / Discrimination
Photos: African refugee mother and daughter arrested at Tel Aviv kindergarten
972mag 28 Oct — On Sunday morning, inspectors from the Oz immigration unit arrested a mother moments after she brought her daughter to the kindergarten in the Hatikva neighborhood in Tel Aviv. The inspectors then arrested the daughter in the kindergarten. Neither of them had the option of going home to fetch their belongings or to say goodbye to friends and family. Few details are known about this arrest. However, several Israeli refugees and immigrant rights organizations are trying to get more information on where are they being held.
South TA residents protest against African infiltrators
Ynet 28 Oct — Protesters reiterate demand for urgent government action to solve infiltrators problem — The protest against African migrants renewed on Sunday, when some 150 residents marched from Tel Aviv’s Hatikva neighborhood to the government compound in Tel Aviv … The protesters chanted various slogans including: “Sudanese go back to Sudan”, “Netanyahu – Ehud Barak anaesthetizes you”, “Netanyahu you ruined our homes, our neighborhood, our city and our country” and “Infiltrators – the destruction of south Tel Aviv.” During the rally, several protesters noticed an African employee at a nearby restaurant. They shouted at him, and tried to shatter the restaurant’s windows.
African refugees must be processed by Israel, not criminalized
972mag 29 Oct by Roee Ruttenberg — …Entering a country without legal documentation is not a crime if you have legitimate reasons for doing so. In most cases, those reasons are based on the notion of having escaped persecution. Few would argue that the Syrians who have crossed into Turkey are not refugees, except, ironically, the Turkish government (which labels the camps which house them as “recovery centers” rather than “refugee camps”). Yet many would argue that the Africans currently in Israel, and those arriving, are not legitimate refugees. They are, their argument goes, jobseekers. Whether it is the former or the latter, there is only one way to find out: processing those that are in Israel.
Errors and omissions excepted / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 29 Oct — …The article itself, which I wrote, did not contain any mistakes. It provided a precise and detailed description of the survey results. In my analysis of the survey, which appeared as a separate article, there was a single sentence that did not accurately represent the poll results and contradicted what I had written in the news piece a short time beforehand. My sin was to write: “The majority doesn’t want Arabs to vote for the Knesset, Arab neighbors at home or Arab students at school.” The truth, as I wrote in the news piece, is different: “Just” 33 percent of the respondents said they don’t want Arabs to vote in parliamentary elections, “just” 42 percent wouldn’t want an Arab neighbor, and about the same proportion said it would bother them if there were an Arab student in their child’s class. Not a majority – just a (large ) portion of Israelis espouse these frightening views. Cold comfort.
Political, other news
Palestinians to seek UN recognition next month
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) 29 Oct — The Palestinian president is moving forward with his plan to seek upgraded observer status at the United Nations next month, despite American and Israeli threats of financial or diplomatic retaliation, officials said Sunday. The decision sets the stage for a new showdown between Israel and the Palestinians at the world body, following last year’s attempt by the Palestinians to seek status as a full member state. Although that initiative failed to pass the U.N. Security Council, it caused months of diplomatic tensions with Israel. “We will go to the U.N. regardless of any threats,”’ said Tawfik Tirawi, a senior member of President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement. “I expect the Israelis to take punitive measures against us, if we win this status, but this is our choice and we will not retract it.”
Video report: Palestinians benefit from IT boom
Al Jazeera 29 Oct –There are not many areas of Palestinian businesses one could describe as “booming”. But the information technology, or IT, industry is developing an international reputation for excellence as overseas companies such as Microsoft and CISCO are now investing. In 2011, IT businesses themselves in the West Bank have alone contributed $50m to the Palestinian economy. The sector is now forecast to grow by 20 per cent a year. Al Jazeera’s Nicole Johnston reports from Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank.
Palestinian cop-shop contract shrouded in secrecy
WND.com 30 Oct by Steve Peacock — Palestinian police stations across the West Bank soon will undergo modernization of their information technology systems courtesy of the Obama administration, which is arranging to retrofit the law enforcement facilities with new IT equipment. WND has discovered, however, that details of the endeavor largely remain shrouded in secrecy.
IDF pushing to indict ‘Jenin Jenin’ director for libel
Haaretz 29 Oct — The Israel Defense Forces is requesting that the attorney general indict Mohammed Bakri, director of the film “Jenin, Jenin,” for libel. At a meeting scheduled for Monday with Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, the IDF will present its case for opening a criminal investigation against Bakri.
Cabinet approves south’s fortification plan
Ynet 28 Oct — The government approved the southern communities’ fortification plan on Sunday despite the fact that the 2013 State budget has yet to be approved. The vote on the plan was unanimous. The plan, promoted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, will see to the defense of 1,700 homes and institutions located 4.5-7 kilometers from Gaza Strip. It is estimated at NIS 270 million ($69.7 million).
US Navy tests innovative Israeli technology
Ynet 28 Oct — US reportedly mulls purchasing Rafael’s remote-controlled robotic boats, ahead of possible strike on Iran; holds successful test off Maryland coast
Analysis / Opinion / Reviews
EU urged to re-think trade deals with Israeli settlements in West Bank / Harriet Sherwood
Guardian 29 Oct — Report accuses EU of hypocrisy for condemning settlements as illegal while simultaneously buying vast quantities of exports — The European Union imports around 15 times more produce from Israeli settlements in the West Bank than Palestinian products, despite its consistent condemnation of Israel‘s settlement policy as illegal under international law, according to a report. Based on figures supplied by Israel to the World Bank, the estimated value of settlement imports to the EU is $300m (£187m) a year. The comparative figure for Palestinian produce is less than $20m. “With more than 4 million Palestinians and over 500,000 Israeli settlers living in the occupied territory, this means the EU imports over 100 times more per settler than per Palestinian,” says Trading Away Peace: How Europe Helps Sustain Illegal Israeli Settlements, published by a consortium of 22 organisations across Europe.
Watch: Fatah’s forgotten fighters in documentary Perforated Memory / Maureen Clare Murphy
EI 29 Oct — Sandra Madi’s 2008 feature-length documentary Perforated Memory, recently screened in Ramallah as part of The river has two banks project, is a stark account of the neglected fate of those who joined the Fatah party in the ’60s and ’70s to fight for the liberation of Palestine. The film opens with Fatah’s revolutionary statement announcing its first armed operation in 1964. The rest of the film takes place in Amman, Jordan in 2008, where former Fatah cadre, now living in poverty, recall their participation in the armed struggle against the Zionist occupation of Palestine. Various fedayeen tell of their imprisonment in Israel in the ’60s and ’70s and torture by Syrian forces after the split of the Palestinian political parties along lines of loyalty to the Syrian government in the 1980s.
Scapegoating Lebanon’s Palestinians / Qassem Qassem
Al Akhbar 18 Oct — When an armed Salafi group decided to attack the Roma neighborhood in the Cola district last Sunday night, it was reported by some media that Palestinian fighters were taking part in the clashes.The news caused alarm in Shatila, the Palestinian refugee camp adjoining Tariq al-Jdideh, as the camp’s security committee had deployed its personnel at the entrances from the start of the violence to prevent anyone entering or leaving the camp … From the outset, Palestinian faction officials made contact with the army command and with the various Lebanese parties to stress that the camps are not involved in what is happening, and to inform them that a political decision has been taken not to allow the camps to be dragged into any internal Lebanese conflict. Yet whatever they do, the Palestinians continue to be blamed for whatever happens in Lebanon
Dead end in Gaza / Reuven Pedatzur
Haaretz 30 Oct — The Israel Defense Forces has reached a dead end in the Gaza Strip. The defense minister and the prime minister are arrogantly threatening Hamas day and night with a painful reaction if the rocket fire doesn’t stop. And the chief of staff has declared that “the IDF is powerful and ready to react, initiate and respond to any threat at any time.” But the bitter truth is that the army doesn’t have a solution … Sad to say, in the past decade the IDF has failed to deal with Hamas’ and Islamic Jihad’s rockets. What hasn’t it tried? It has tried targeted killings, attacks on “infrastructure,” artillery fire at militants launching rockets, a broad campaign in the Gaza Strip (Operation Cast Lead ), an anti-rocket system, and the reinforcing of thousands of homes at the cost of hundreds of millions of shekels. Only last week the prime minister pledged protection for every building within four and a half to seven kilometers of the Strip. But despite all this, the launchings continue.
Singing Palestine: Rim Banna
Al Jazeera 26 Oct — Between October 3 and 7, I was part of a wide-ranging celebration of Palestinian arts and culture in Milano, Italy. The Philastiniat festival of Palestinian film, literature, theatre, folklore, music, dance and poetry opened in various locations in Milan to the enthusiastic reception of the city officials, the Palestinian community and their European friends and families … Particularly memorable in this event was the featuring of Palestinian singer Rim Banna in the very last night of Philastiniat. Born (1966) and raised in Nazareth, and educated in the Higher Music Conservatory in Moscow, Rim Banna is a Palestinian singer and composer who was initially celebrated for her endearing renditions of old Palestinian folk songs. She has now emerged as a major voice in Palestinian music of resistance, giving melodic interpretations to the suffering of her people and their defiant hopes and aspirations. In pain and suffering, defiance and struggle, confidence and pride, Palestine sings in Rim Banna.
‘Justice has fled the country': US Supreme Court won’t hear Holy Land Five case / Nora Barrows-Friedman
EI 29 Oct — The US Supreme Court announced today that it had decided not to hear the appeal of the Holy Land Five, despite the obvious violations of the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution that led to the convictions of the five men who headed the HLF and provided humanitarian aid to Palestinians. “Their decision marks the end of the judicial process and the beginning of a massive effort to free the Holy Land Five,” stated a post on the Holy Land Five solidarity website on Monday morning. The Holy Land Foundation was once the largest Islamic charity organization in the US. The HLF provided disaster relief aid across the US in addition to providing essential humanitarian aid to Palestinians under Israel’s military occupation. In 2001, under the emboldened Patriot Act, the Bush administration shut down the Holy Land Foundation and charged its founders with working through charity, or zakat, committees “on behalf of Hamas.” The prosecution’s witness was an anonymous Israeli intelligence officer who was allowed to testify under a pseudonym — the first time in US history that a court allowed this, in a clear violation of the Sixth Amendment which allows the accused to confront their accuser … Earlier today, I interviewed Michael Ratner by phone.