US elections: Why Israel is a ‘red state’ / Herb Keinon
JPost 1 Nov — Poll after poll shows Israelis favor Republican candidate Mitt Romney over US President Barack Obama. This even though their American Jewish brethren hold the opposite point of view. Why? … So if Obama has been so good for Israel’s security, why are Israelis so cold toward him? Why doesn’t this argument resonate in Israel? Oz Almog, a Haifa University sociologist and author of numerous books and articles on the Israeli psyche, said that to some degree it has to do with the emotional makeup of the Israeli. Israelis are emotional and their impressions are linked to images and symbols, he said. He added that the images Israelis have taken away from Obama over the past four years have been those of a president who skipped over visiting Israel, even though he went to Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey; who showed disrespect to and snubbed the prime minister in Washington; and who has revealed hesitance in dealing with Iran.
PHOTOS: Palestinian house demolished for sixth time
Activestills/972mag 1 Nov — …At 3:00 a.m. this morning, Israeli forces demolished Beit Arabiya, the family house of Salim and Arabiya Shawamreh, for the sixth time. First built in 1994, it was rebuilt once again this summer by international, Palestinian, and Israeli volunteers organized by the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), which has used the house as a peace center since 2003. ICAHD: “Arabiya and Salim have dedicated their home as a center for peace in the memories of Rachel Corrie and Nuha Sweidan, two women (an American and a Palestinian) who died resisting home demolitions in Gaza. In the past decade ICAHD has hosted numerous visitors at Beit Arabiya, and based its annual rebuilding camp at the house, rebuilding 186 demolished Palestinian homes.”
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing
IOF camp east of Nablus and expel the residents for six months
NABLUS (PIC) 2 Nov — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) asked the residents of Khirbet Tana near the town of Beit Furik, east of Nablus to leave the entire area for a period of six months, under the pretext of conducting military exercises. Eyewitnesses said that the IOF erected military tents and caravans in the region, pointing to the presence of military vehicles holding the flags of the Israeli entity and the United States of America which roamed the area … The occupation forces gave people ten days to leave their homes and go to the Beit Furik, and warned the residents that the occupation forces will use live ammunition to destruct Khirbet Tana and to force them to leave.
Israel authorities distribute demolition orders in Hebron
PNN — On Friday 2nd November, Israeli occupation authorities distributed demolition orders to seven houses in Ethna village, west of Hebron Governorate. The owners of the notified houses told Land Research Center (LRC) that patrols of Israeli army, escorted by staff of Israel’s Civil Administration raided Khelit Harb area and “put the demolition orders on the houses and took some pictures before leaving.” The notices were issued by Israel’s Civil Administration and came on claims that the houses were build without an Israeli authorization.
IOA threatens to remove solar panels and a school south of Al-Khalil
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 2 Nov — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) have threatened on Thursday the people of Alfajat and Taban areas east of Yatta, south of al-Khalil, in the occupied West Bank, to remove the solar panels that provide their area with electricity, and to demolish al-Mosafer school in the same area. Haji Akram Sari Abu Sabha, 44, the network guard, confirmed to the PIC reporter, that the occupation forces raided the room that contains the solar panels network and threatened to remove it. Abu Sabha considered that “this measure came in the context of tightening the noose around the citizens in order to force them to leave.”
Israel: New risk to Palestinian Christians’ livelihoods
Ind. Catholic News 1 Nov — Bishops in the Holy Land are rallying in defence of Christian families near Bethlehem who risk losing access to their olive groves and fruit farms if the Israeli government goes ahead with plans to extend its security wall. Plans to extend the West Bank Barrier — a security measure which separates the Palestinian territories from Israel — through the Cremisan Valley will affect the livelihoods of 58 families in the predominantly Christian village of Beit Jala.
Occupation devises new ways to punish the Palestinian MPs
RAMALLAH (PIC) 31 Oct — The occupied West Bank in general and its city of Ramallah, in particular, witnessed recently, a remarkable escalation in Israeli brutal practices against Palestinian MPs and liberated prisoners. The Israeli forces have increased its violations through seizing MPs’ vehicles, a new phenomenon that is described by political analysts as “piracy”.
Restriction of movement
OPT: Israeli promises of family reunification fall short
RAMALLAH, 2 Nov (IRIN) — Until “that day” in 2007, Nisreen Asaid was a wife and a mother. She was also a hairdresser. But life as she knew it came to a sudden end when Asaid was sent, against her will, from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip. The Israeli authorities have not allowed Asaid to return to her home in the West Bank’s de facto capital, Ramallah. Her husband got tired of waiting and divorced her. Asaid has no close relatives in Gaza, and, with unemployment hovering around 30 percent, she has been unable to find work. She is dependent on her family in the West Bank, which wires money to her so she can stay afloat. Despite her difficulties and uncertain future, Asaid’s biggest worry is that her two children do not remember her face … With the help of Gisha, an Israeli NGO that campaigns for freedom of movement, Asaid has waged a legal battle in the hope of returning to her two children. She managed to get her address updated to the West Bank and got a new ID that reflects the change. But the Israeli authorities will not allow Asaid to leave the Gaza Strip despite the fact that they have no security claim against her … [Gisha Executive Director Sari Bash] said the so-called “separation policy” is driven by the fact that Israel has territorial claims in the West Bank, but has abandoned those claims in Gaza.
Violence / Raids / Illegal arrests
The IOF desecrate mosque, arrest 9 West Bankers
OCCUPIED WB (PIC) 1 Nov — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) have desecrated at dawn on Thursday a mosque west of the city of al-Khalil in the occupied West Bank, and arrested eight Palestinian youths. Eyewitnesses told PIC’s reporter that Israeli soldiers raided the mosque of Ahmed Yassin in Ethna village west of al-Khalil, desecrating and searching it, and damaging its contents.
Israeli occupation forces arrested at dawn on Wednesday the liberated prisoner Sultan Khallouf, 29, after raiding his house in the village of Burkin, south of Jenin. Khallouf had previously spent four and a half years of his life in Israeli jails, on charges of resisting the occupation, and belonging to the Islamic Jihad movement. He is married and works in the field of agricultural engineering. The liberated prisoner Sheikh Khader Adnan said that Khallouf’s arrest, who was the most prominent supporter of Hana Shalabi’s hunger strike, came as revenge from the prisoners’ hunger strike issue and the hunger strikers’ supporters.
Soldiers kidnap mother of Palestinian detainee in Nablus
IMEMC 2 Nov — Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Thursday evening, Dalaal Zamel, the mother of detainee Mahran Abu Khamis, at a flying checkpoint installed west of the northern West Bank city of Nablus. Soldiers also kidnapped wife of former detainee Tha‘er Halahla, after crossing into the West Bank following a visit to her parents in Jordan.
Suspected ‘price tag’ act in Burqa
Ynet 2 Nov — “Price tag” graffiti and a partially burnt car were found Friday in the West Bank village of Burqa, east of Ramallah. Security forces are canvassing the area for the perpetrators.
A mother’s story
PSP 2 Nov — Mohammed, Khatab and Raneem had been missing their father while he was away from home. Now that he was home they finally had a rare chance to play games together, talk about the celebration of Eid, what they did at school and to eat a family dinner together. The children could go to bed with smiles on their faces. Their nice dreams abruptly turned into a nightmare. In the early hours of Tuesday 30th October a contingent of over 100 Israeli soldiers surrounded the house of Waheed Abu Maria in the small farming village of Beit Ommar, south of Bethlehem … The soldiers shone spotlights on the house and demanded, through a loudspeaker,”Everyone leave the house!” … Umm Hamza, her daughter and two sons left the house and were ordered to walk a short distance up the road and sit down in the roadway. The children were both scared and cold because they did not have any time to get properly dressed. They waited in the streets for two hours before being taken to a neighbour’s house. During this time the army continued their demands that Waheed leave the house and, when he refused, commenced to fire automatic weapons at the doors and windows. They also fired several rounds of a bazooka-like weapon in their efforts to breach the door. When this failed they brought in a military bulldozer and commenced to demolish the front of the house.
Israeli occupation raid Beit Ummar, break into a prisoner’s house
PNN — On Thursday 1st November, Israeli forces raided the village of Beit Ummar in Hebron and broke into the house of a prisoner, Wahid Abu Maria, searched it and rummaged with the contents. Israeli forces detained Abu Maria’s wife and sons in one of the rooms and started to search the house, claiming that there are weapons hidden in the house. Another armed force raided a chicken farm belonging to Abu Maria in Beit Za’ta and thoroughly searched it.
It’s worth mentioning that Abu Maria was arrested On Tuesday 30th October, after they raided his house and demolished part of it.
Young Palestinian nabbed for alleged attempt to attack soldier
QALQILIA (PIC) 1 Oct — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested a Palestinian youth in Qalqilia city at dawn Thursday claiming that he attempted to stab a soldier. Hebrew media reported that the young man tried to assault the soldier in front of the house of a “wanted” Palestinian. The reports said that the unidentified youth was arrested and taken for questioning.
Israeli paper releases details of Abu Jihad’s killing in Tunis
TEL AVIV (Ma‘an) 2 Nov — An Israeli newspaper on Thursday published an interview with the commando who killed the PLO’s second-in-command more than 20 years ago. Israel never officially acknowledged its role in the April 1988 killing of Khalil al-Wazir, known as Abu Jihad. Most Palestinians had little doubt it was an Israeli operation. Yediot Ahronoth [Hebrew?] on Thursday published an interview conducted with Nahum Lev, who led the operation, after military censors cleared the story. Lev died in a car accident in 2000.
Hamas: PA security arrests two of our leaders, summonses three others
PNN — On Friday 2nd November, Hamas Movement said that the Palestinian Authority security agencies arrested two of Hamas leaders and summoned three others. Islamic Jihad Movement also accused PA preventive security in Jenin Governorate of arresting a leader in the movement, Ibrahim Sweiti, after they broke into his house in Qabatiya village. A leader in Jihad Movement also accused the preventive security of searching his house and confiscating mobile and computer devices. Hamas in Tul Karem said that the preventive security re-arrested Adnan Samarah, and summoned Imad Bdair, 35, for the second time in almost two months. PA preventive security also summoned Raja’I Ahmad al-Amoury and Foad al-Shalabi after they were released a week ago.
Palestinian seriously wounded by Israeli fire on central Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 Nov — A 22-year-old Palestinian was seriously wounded on Friday morning by Israeli tank fire on the central Gaza Strip, medics said. Witnesses said Israeli artillery fired several shells on a group of farmers east of Al-Bureij refugee camp. Ministry of health spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said a young man was brought to al-Aqsa hospital with serious wounds to the neck and chest. An Israeli military spokeswoman said forces fired on “a suspect apparently placing an explosive device.” She said no explosion had ensued, but noted that an Israeli soldier had been wounded by explosives in the same area two weeks ago.
Turkey: Erdoğan ‘plans to visit Gaza’
ISTANBUL (Today’s Zaman) 2 Nov — Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has revived a plan to make a postponed visit to Gaza and demanded that Israel lift its blockade of the narrow strip between Israel and Egypt as a precondition to restore ties between Ankara and Tel Aviv. Erdoğan told journalists on a plane en route to Ankara from Berlin that he has plans to visit Gaza soon and that authorities are having talks with officials in Gaza to realize this trip.
Court to hear 490 witnesses against Israel in Mavi Marmara case
MEMO 2 Nov — A criminal court in Istanbul is due to begin the hearing of 490 witnesses from 37 countries in the case against Israeli officials responsible for the murderous attack on the Mavi Marmara. Nine Turkish citizens were killed by Israeli commandos during the assault in May 2010. According to Turkish newspaper Sabah, the court will also hear the testimony of Haneen Zoabi, an Arab member of the Israeli parliament.
‘Ark’ loaded with Gaza exports to set sail in 2013
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 Nov — The first siege-breaking ship to originate inside Gaza is set to depart for an early 2013 voyage to take goods to international markets, a Red Crescent official said Friday. Muna al-Farra says the “Gaza Ark” aims to break the Israeli blockade with help from French and Canadian activists in partnership with Palestinian activists and traders. The ship will have 13 activists on board with an undetermined number of Palestinian traders. The voyage is expected to depart in the first months of 2013, al-Farra said. Organizers expect to load agricultural products onto the ship after coordinating with foreign ports. The ship will also accompany Palestinian fishermen to protect them from Israeli gunboats.
Hajj pilgrims return to Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 Nov — Around a thousand Palestinians from Gaza will return from the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia on Friday, an official said. They will cross the Egyptian border crossing at Rafah in two stages throughout the day, border official Maher Abu Sabha said.
Qatar to fund major sports city project in Gaza
Al Arabiya 2 Nov — A $25 million sports city project in Gaza City will be launched soon as funding will be provided by Qatar, the Palestinian Minister of Sports, Youth, and Culture Mohammed Al-Madhoun announced, according to the Arabian Business news website on Friday. The announcement by Madhoun was made during the opening of the football youth league in Gaza adding that the sports project will include an international stadium, sports fields, hotels, offices and an Olympic-sized pool built in the southern part of the city. Named after the late Ahmad Yasin, Hamas’ prominent spiritual leader who was assassinated by Israel in 2004, the Minister said that the construction of “Yasin City” will be a speedy one.
Official: Red Cross says Gaza relatives still visiting Israeli jails
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 Nov — The International Committee of the Red Cross is still coordinating family visits to Gazans imprisoned in Israeli jails, a Gaza official said Friday. The Palestinian Authority prisoner affairs ministry said earlier this week that Israel had canceled the family visits, three months after they were resumed. But DFLP official Louai Moamar said the ICRC is not aware of any cancellation, after a meeting with Khan Younis ICRC chief Enrique Lomana and the governor of the southern Gaza province. Rather, the Red Cross organized a visit last week that passed without obstacles, and has already got Israeli approval for another next week, he said.
Hunger-striker in Israeli jail ‘transferred to hospital’
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 2 Nov — A Palestinian prisoner being held under Israel’s administrative detainee status was transferred to Hadassah hospital on Friday after going on hunger strike three days earlier. Mohammad Ahmad al-Najjar 30, suffers from a stomach illness, the Palestinian Prisoners Society reported. The prisoner has been in and out of administrative detention for eight years of his life. He was last arrested on Oct. 30 and began a hunger strike immediately upon arriving.
Gaza government calls for the release of Ayman Sharawna
GAZA (PIC) 2 Nov — The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a letter to “Peter Maurer,” the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross, asking him to pressure the Israeli occupation for the release of captive Ayman Sharawna and to form a committee to investigate the prisoners and detainees’ conditions in Israeli jails … Sharawna is a liberated prisoner who was released in Wafa al-Ahrar deal in October 2011, but he was re-arrested by the occupation on January 31 of this year and turned him to administrative detention without charge or trial. Sharawna has launched his own hunger strike since early July of this year … The striker prisoner suffers a very critical health condition, suffering from head pain and frequent blackouts limiting his ability to remember.
Activism / Solidarity / BDS
Amnesty International demands immediate release of Wa‘ed Tamimi, son of detained Palestinian activist
New York 2 Nov — Amnesty International demanded the immediate release from custody today of the 16-year-old son of Bassem Tamimi, a detained Palestinian rights activist and prisoner of conscience in the occupied West Bank, after the son was himself arrested by Israeli soldiers during the regular weekly protest against the encroachment of Israeli settlers onto Palestinian land. Wa‘ed Tamimi was arrested along with four activists during the demonstration on Friday afternoon in the West Bank village of al-Nabi Saleh northwest of Ramallah. “Today’s arrest of Wa‘ed Tamimi while he was walking peacefully in his village points to the continuing harassment of activist Bassem Tamimi, his family, and the community of al-Nabi Saleh by Israeli military forces,” said Ann Harrison, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa deputy director. “This harassment must stop.”
Palestinians hold demo to protest Israeli occupation
Press TV 2 Nov — Palestinians have staged an anti-Israeli demonstration near the West Bank city of Nablus to protest against the expropriation of their land by the Zionist regime. Scores of Palestinian protesters took part in the weekly anti-occupation protest in the village of Kfar Qaddum on Friday and called for an end to the Israeli occupation. During their demonstration, the Palestinians burned a British flag in condemnation of London’s support for the Israeli occupation of their lands. This week’s protest coincided with the 95th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, which refers to a formal statement of policy by the British government on November 2, 1917 regarding the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine.
EU considers ban on settlement products
MEMO 2 Nov — A Greek diplomat has claimed that the EU is considering a comprehensive ban on goods produced on Israeli settlements, Yedioth Ahronoth has reported. The anonymous diplomat told the newspaper that EU committees are deliberating on the issue of settlement products and are expected to present their conclusions to the EU executive for a decision on the matter. He said that his country reminds Benjamin Netanyahu regularly “that settlements are illegal”. The options open to the EU include making sure that all products originating from any territory beyond Israel’s 1967 borders are marked clearly as such, along with the banning of such imports completely.
West Bank’s shadow falls on Delhi International Arts Festival
New Delhi (IANS) 2 Nov — The tension between the West Bank and Isreal is echoing at the sixth edition of the Delhi International Arts Festival in India with an umbrella group calling for the boycott of the Cameri Theatre, which will stage relationship drama “Stempenyu” here Nov 4. However, the Delhi International Arts Festival said Friday the production would go ahead as scheduled
‘Material support’ law used in Holy Land 5 case is how US government harasses Palestine solidarity activists
Mondoweiss 2 Nov by Alex Kane — The last legal avenue for the former heads of the Holy Land Foundation closed earlier this week when the Supreme Court decided not to hear their appeal, much to the chagrin of Palestine solidarity activists and the families of the Holy Land Five, as they are known. The five men were convicted for violating the U.S. prohibition on “material support” for designated terrorist groups. And what’s important to note is that the Holy Land Five case was hardly the first time the “material support” law has been used against those advocating for Palestinian rights. Indeed, the prohibition on “material support” for State Department-designated terrorist groups is a favored tool of the government to go after Palestine solidarity activists. The continued use of the law is contributing to a slow process of criminalizing Palestine solidarity activism — not by outlawing the activism, but by using terrorism-related concerns to hinder advocates’ work.
PFLP-GC says Palestinian brigade in Syria ‘dangerous’
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 2 Nov — A Palestinian faction in Syria aligned with President Bashar Assad said Friday that reports of a rebel-formed Palestinian brigade to challenge their authority was a “dangerous development.” Syrian rebels said on Wednesday they had begun arming Palestinians to establish the Liwa al-Asifah (the Storm Brigade) to wrest control of Damascus’ Yarmouk refugee camp.
The largest Palestinian camp in Syria, Yarmouk is largely under the control of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command. Rebels accuse the faction of attacking them and cracking down on dissent against Assad. PFLP-GC politburo member Hussam Arafat said on Friday that arming anti-Assad Palestinians would constitute a real danger to all Palestinians living in Syria.
Palestinian exile, identity and conflict in Lebanon’s refugee camps
MEMO 2 Nov – EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW Palestinian historian Salim Nazzal was born in Lebanon to a Galilean Palestinian family exiled by the Israelis. His main research areas are history and social anthropology. He has contributed extensively to furthering knowledge and awareness about the Middle East, with particular focus on identity and education in Palestinian exiles. In this interview, Dr Nazzal elaborates on the struggle for Palestinian identity by focusing on history, education and identity. Palestinian refugees have been sidelined by their host country and attempts by the United Nations to restore their rights have been repeatedly shunned by Israel, since General Assembly resolutions are not binding. Thus, the community continues to struggle within a reality which is mostly obscured within international oblivion.
Political, other news
Palestine’s Abu Mazen rescinds his right of return on Israeli TV
Al Akhbar 2 Nov — Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas rescinded his internationally sanctioned right to return to his hometown of Safad, annexed by Israel in 1948, on Israeli TV Thursday night. Pressed by Israeli Channel 2 TV about whether the Palestinian Authority considered towns in the Galilee to be part of Palestine, Abbas struck a deeply personal note in the Authority’s latest efforts to placate Israeli concerns about Palestinian refugees. “I want to see Safad. It’s my right to see it. But not to live there,” said an impassioned Abbas.
Hamas PM blasts Palestinian leader over TV remarks
GAZA CITY (AP) 2 Nov — The prime minister of the Hamas-ruled Gaza strip criticized the Palestinian president on Friday for comments given to Israeli media, alleging that they contradict longtime Palestinian territorial demands. Ismail Haniyeh said Friday that Mahmoud Abbas’ remarks, aired on Israel’s Channel 2, were “extremely dangerous.” Abbas, who was speaking about borders of a future Palestinian state, said the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem are Palestine – and the rest is Israel.
Israel backs Romney but Palestinians indifferent
JERUSALEM (Daily Star) 2 Nov — Israel may be openly hoping that Republican challenger Mitt Romney will end up stealing the presidency from Barack Obama, but for the Palestinians it makes little difference who takes over the White House … With peace negotiations on hold for more than two years, Obama no longer inspires the enthusiasm he once did among Palestinians who say the identity of the next US president will not change anything.
Patriarch ‘threatens to close Sepulchre church’ over bank freeze
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma‘an) 2 Nov — The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate is threatening to close the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem in a dispute over water bills, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday … The church, said to be the site of Jesus’ crucifixion and burial, is struggling with a 9 million shekel ($2.3 million) unpaid bill owed to the Jerusalem water company … Maariv said that for decades there had been a tacit agreement between the church and a former mayor of Jerusalem, exempting the Patriarchate from paying for water piped to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
Christian leaders spar over IDF enlistment
Ynet 2 Nov — The issue of the enlistment of Christians in the IDF has sparked unexpected tensions in Israel’s Arab Christian community.
‘Qalandiya International’ highlights Palestinian suffering through art
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 1 Nov by Filistin Al-Remawi – “Qalandiya International” festival, which was inaugurated Thursday in Qalandiya village, north of Jerusalem, cast the lights on the area that was Palestine’s window to the world, where Qalandiya airport was active until 1967, and suffers daily from the Israeli occupation’s wall that suffocates it.
Senior Israeli defense official: Egypt’s Morsi won’t talk to us
Haaretz 2 Nov — Amos Gilad described Morsi’s government as a ‘terrible dictatorship,’ but stressed that Israel must safeguard the peace treaty with Egypt ‘at any cost,’ saying that Israel does not want to engage in military activity against its southern neighbor. Gilad added that today the Israeli and Egyptian leaderships are not in contact. “There is no talk between our political echelon and that of Egypt, and I don’t think there will be,” he said, adding that they “won’t talk to us.”
The latest casualty of strained Turkish-Israeli relations: Independence Day ceremonies
Haaretz 1 Nov — The strained relations between Israel and Turkey, which have led to the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador, a downgrading of security and intelligence cooperation and an almost complete disconnect between Ankara and Jerusalem, have now manifested themselves in mutual and official boycotts of the countries’ independence ceremonies.
UNIFIL barometer mistaken for spy device
BEIRUT (Daily Star) 1 Nov — A resident at the bordering town of Blida reported finding an Israeli spying device. A security source said that an army unit and several members of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon deployed at the scene to launch an investigation. After arriving to the scene, security forces said that the device was a barometer installed by UNIFIL’s French contingent.
Israeli Racism / Discrimination
When an Israeli soccer game looks like a Klan rally / Larry Derfner
972mag 2 Nov — It’s hard to say which is worse – the behavior of racist fans, or the tacit approval they get from Israeli sports officials and media … what happened this week to Nigerian-born Israeli player Toto Tamuz shows a level of callousness to blatant, raw racism that I wonder how many countries could match.
Women’s rights activist: We are reclaiming Judaism’s holiest site / Dahlia Scheindlin
972mag 2 Nov – What was the back story behind your recent arrest while praying at the women’s section of the Western Wall? The Wall is totally managed by The Western Wall Heritage Fund, it’s quasi-governmental, but not managed like any NGO that I know. People sit there for decades and according to the NGO Registrar, they’re all Haredi (ultra-orthodox) men. Rav Shmuel Rabinovich is the head. He decides to enforce the rules of the Kotel (Western Wall). Some he enforces, some he ignores
Analysis / Opinion / Reviews
Good morning, President Abbas / Nour Joudah
Elect. Intifada 2 Nov — …this morning, I woke up to this: “I visited Safad before once. But I want to see Safad. It’s my right to see it, but not to live there. Palestine now for me is ’67 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. This is now and forever…this is Palestine for me. I am a refugee, but I am living in Ramallah. I believe the West Bank and Gaza is Palestine and the other parts are Israel.” – Mahmoud Abbas
The next time someone tells me any particular word I choose is too strong or harsh to describe Abbas, I am considering printing the transcript of this interview and slapping said person with it…
My father is almost 80 years old and he has more than the right to visit Isdoud. I, and my siblings, have more than the right to see the grass of where a village once stood. I have the right to return and rebuild Palestine from the ground up. All of it. And so does every refugee and their descendants. The kids from Safad living in Shatila and Ein el-Hilweh, and all the camps of Lebanon, are not dreaming of your Ramallah, Mr. President. They are dreaming of their Safad. If I or they want to sign away our right of return, we will let you know.
Hamas realignment leaves resistance axis reeling / Hugh Naylor
JERUSALEM (National) 3 Nov // It has been called the “Axis of Resistance”, but the anti-US alliance of Iran, Syria and Hizbollah and Hamas is disintegrating. Hamas’s decision to align itself with Sunni-led countries such as Qatar and Bahrain has come as a major blow to the axis also reeling on several other fronts. The Qatari emir’s visit to Hamas-ruled Gaza last month underscored the degree to which the axis has unravelled and sent a powerful message the governments in Damascus and Tehran, which views the Arab Gulf state as an arch foe … That Hamas, a Sunni Islamist group, has allied itself with Sunni powers reflects the faultlines in the Middle East, say analysts. Hamas was the only Sunni member of the axis
Bringing Arab Israelis to the ballot box / Mohammad Darawshe & Amnon Be’eri Sulitzeanu
Haaretz 2 Nov — The renowned American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: “Shall we then judge a country by the majority, or by the minority? By the minority, surely.” A democracy is indeed judged, first and foremost, by the extent to which the minority participates in public life. Particularly in countries with a substantial minority belonging to one ethnic group, its participation in all facets of life – the economy, academia, the media and political life – is vital for social stability … That is why the sharp fall in participation in the elections among the Arab citizens of Israel over the past decade is so alarming. From a turnout of 75 percent in the national election of 1999, the voting rate among Arabs had declined to 54.4 percent a decade later – a much sharper drop than that registered among Jewish voters. Election turnout can be seen as a precise seismogram of the extent to which the minority feels that it belongs to the state, and reveals the undercurrent of relations between the minority and the state.
Eighteen years and getting colder / Dr. Assaf David
Haaretz 2 Nov — Failing to dissuade the [Jordanian] designated ambassador to Israel, Walid Obeidat, from accepting the position, dignitaries from the tribe issued a harsh ‘statement of repudiation.’ — Last week marked the 18th anniversary of the peace treaty between Israel and Jordan. Israelis remember that day as a happy moment, as proof that the Jewish state indeed had a real friend in the Arab world. For many Jordanians, however, it was a difficult and even painful event, encapsulating Jordan’s dependence on the West. Even their hope for economic prosperity as a result of the peace, a hope that was imprudently cultivated by the regime as a means to mitigate domestic criticism, was soon to be lost. Mixed feelings of guilt, fear and resentment between Transjordanians (“Bedouin” ), the traditional bedrock of the regime, and Palestinian-Jordanians, and the complicated relationship between the East Bank and the West Bank, cast their enormous shadow on the implementation of the treaty, thwarting its transformation from peace between governments to peace between peoples. While Israel has taken Jordan for granted ever since, the Jordanian elite and public opinion have grown increasingly frustrated and resentful toward Israel.
Israeli army opens West Bank barrier for animals
Deutsche Welle 2 Nov — The West Bank barrier is blocking animal migration between Israel and the Palestinian territories. But now, the Israeli Defence Force is seeking ways to allow animals to get over – or even through – the wall. Hundreds of kilometres of concrete, iron and barbed wire cut through the West Bank, across deserts, over mountains and through forests. Israelis call it a security fence while Palestinians call it a racial separation wall.
Cut off from feeding grounds – Imad Atrash is the Palestine Wildlife Society Executive Director and says the barrier divides animal families. In an interview with DW, he explained that before the barrier was built, between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, the red fox population was separated by a fence. “The male was on the Israeli side and the female was inside Palestinian lands,” he said. “The male dug a hole and came to the female.” But then the West Bank barrier was built. “How many families of animals were separated in the West Bank?” Atrash asked.
Court rulings against Israel’s Ministry of Defence in recent years have resulted in a significant slowing down on the barrier’s construction. The army now works with environmental organizations to find solutions to allow small animals to pass from Israel into the Palestinian territories and back again. It has created zigzag passes in places to facilitate the passage of small wildlife.
Book review: A family history firmly rooted in Jerusalem’s soil / Susan Abulhawa
Elect. Intifada 3 Nov — Jacob Nammar’s autobiography describes a Jerusalem that is impossible to imagine today – Born in Jerusalem, Born Palestinian by Jacob Nammar is both one man’s autobiography and a national narrative. Born into a prominent Jerusalem family of wealthy Palestinian Christians with roots that span centuries in that eternal city, Nammar was destined to live a life of comfort and privilege. His family prospered in Palestine, owning large tracts of valuable property in the Christian quarter, Harra al-Nasara. His was the only family to have a neighborhood named after it and one that gave generously to the community, including a large sum (200 Ottoman coins) to renovate a Jewish synagogue during the 19th century … It was the day before his seventh birthday that Jacob’s family was driven from their beautiful spacious Jerusalem villa. His father and older brother were abducted and tortured by Jewish militias. His home, and all other Palestinian homes in that affluent neighborhood, had been looted by Jewish settlers. Nammar also describes the methodical looting of precious books, which has only recently come to light in a documentary, The Great Book Robbery.