Health ministry: 2 injured by Israeli gunfire near Rafah
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 26 Nov 20:16 — Two people were shot by Israeli forces east of Rafah on Monday, a health ministry spokesman said, in the second consecutive day of shooting along Gaza’s border. Ashraf al-Qidra told Ma‘an that two men were moderately wounded after being shot near the Kerem Shalom crossing. They were taken to the Abu Yousef Hospital. An Israeli military spokesman said several “rioters” tried to damage the fence along the border and failed to respond to warning shots fired by soldiers. Several Palestinians tried to cross the border, and Israeli soldiers fired at their legs, the army spokesman told Ma‘an. The latest shooting is the fourth such incident since Wednesday’s ceasefire between Hamas and Israel.
Third family member dies of Gaza airstrike wounds
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 26 Nov 10:14 — A Palestinian man on Monday died of wounds sustained in an Israeli strike that killed two of his relatives on the first day of Israel’s military offensive on the Gaza Strip. Ahmad Ali Masharawi sustained major burns when an Israeli missile hit his garden in Gaza City on Nov. 14. His infant nephew, 11-month-old, Omar Masharawi, was killed immediately, as was his pregnant sister-in-law Hiba Mashharawi Turk. BBC correspondent Paul Danahar wrote on Twitter that Ahmad Masharawi had been trying to carry Omar to safety when the house was hit engulfing them both in flames. Omar’s father and Ahmad’s brother is BBC employee Jihad Masharawi, whose image cradling his dead son became a symbol of the conflict.
Gaza woman dies of wounds from Israeli airstrike
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) 25 Nov 21:27 — A Palestinian woman died on Monday from wounds sustained in Israel’s war on the Gaza Strip, medics said. Sabah al-Sakafi, in her 30s, was wounded in an Israeli airstrike on the Shujaiya neighborhood of Gaza City during the eight-day war that ended Wednesday with a ceasefire. She was transferred to an Egyptian hospital where she died on Monday, medics told Ma‘an.
Man electrocuted in Gaza tunnel
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 26 Nov 16:45 — A man died on Monday after being electrocuted in a smuggling tunnel under the Gaza-Egypt border, civil defense crews said. Muntaser Muhammad Hussein al-Malahi, 20, was taken to Abu Yousef hospital but pronounced dead shortly after, civil defense officials told Ma‘an.
Israel, Hamas discuss truce in Cairo
CAIRO (Reuters) 26 Nov — Egyptian mediators began separate talks on Monday with Hamas and with Israel to flesh out details of a ceasefire agreed last week that ended eight days of fighting in the Gaza Strip. An Egyptian official told Reuters the talks would discuss Palestinian demands for the opening of more Israeli crossings into Gaza — a move that would help end six years of blockade of the coastal enclave. The Egyptian-brokered ceasefire came into force last Wednesday, ending hostilities between the two sides that cost the lives of 171 Palestinians and six Israelis. However, the text of the truce stipulated that issues such as access to the borders, free movement for Gazans and the transfer of goods would be dealt with “after 24 hours” … Senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Zahar told reporters on Saturday that the group wanted to see the opening of all four goods crossings with Israel that used to operate before 2006.
Gaza cleric calls violation of Israel truce sinful
AP 25 Nov — Suleiman al-Daya, a leading Islamic cleric in the Gaza Strip, has ruled it a sin to violate the recent cease-fire between Israel and the Hamas. “Honoring the truce, which was sponsored by our Egyptian brethren, is the duty of each and every one of us. Violating it shall constitute a sin,” the fatwa read.
Iraqi parliament speaker in Gaza
GAZA (PIC) 26 Nov — Osama Al-Nujaifi, the Iraqi parliament speaker, arrived in Gaza Strip on Monday leading a big delegation on a few hours visit to the beleaguered enclave. Local sources said that Nujaifi crossed the Rafah border terminal into Gaza leading an 80-member delegation including 50 parliament members and carrying medical assistance to the tune of 1.6 million dollars … A number of Arab delegations visited the Strip over the past few days in the wake of the eight-day Israeli war on Gaza
Food aid delivered to Gaza
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma‘an) 26 Nov — Egyptian authorities on Monday transferred 200 tons of food aid to the Gaza Strip via the Rafah crossing, Egyptian security officials said. The Emirati Red Crescent Association donated 100 tons and the Cairo-based Shariaa Association also sent 100 tons … UNRWA will send 1,700 tons of rice, oil and sugar to Gaza later this week, the official added.
Gaza crossing open for aid delivery
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 25 Nov — Israeli authorities partially opened the sole commercial crossing into the Gaza Strip on Sunday, a Palestinian official said. Crossings official Raed Fattouh said 150 aid trucks, including medical, commercial and agricultural goods, are expected to enter the Gaza Strip via the Kerem Shalom crossing … The Kerem Shalom crossing, at the far south of the Israel-Gaza border, is the only freight passage into the blockaded territory.
Gaza children return to rubble-strewn schools
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 24 Nov — Pupils returning to schools in the Gaza Strip on Saturday found many had been reduced to rubble after Israel’s eight-day bombardment of the coastal enclave. Gaza’s ministry of education said 52 schools had sustained moderate to severe damage during the Israeli bombing campaign. Ministry director Mahmoud Matar said after visiting schools on Saturday that the scale of the wreckage was close to that of Israel’s 2008-9 war on the Gaza Strip. He said reconstruction of Gaza’s schools would cost approximately $4 million. Some were hit directly by Israeli airstrikes, while others were damaged by hits on nearby buildings, Matar said…
The UN Mine Action Service is surveying damaged schools and found one unexploded F16 missile next to a severely damaged school in Tal El-Rabee on Thursday, the UN humanitarian affairs office said.
Video: Israel relaxes restrictions on Gaza fishermen
25 Nov — For the first time since the ceasefire, fishermen from the Gaza Strip are allowed to go twice as far out to sea. But there is still a limit as to where they are allowed to go. Al Jazeera’s Nadim Baba joined them as they trawled for their daily catch.
Bahar meets a delegation of the Egyptian Bar Association in Gaza
GAZA (PIC) 26 Nov — Ahmed Bahar, the Deputy speaker of the Legislative Council, called on the Egyptian Bar Association to contribute in documenting the crimes of the occupation in Gaza in preparation for filing lawsuits against its leaders in International courts for trial as war criminals. Bahar stated that the Israeli occupation has become very worried of such step, which constitutes a permanent inconvenience for it.
A call for documenting and prosecuting the Israeli war crimes
GENEVA (PIC) 26 Nov — The Euro-Mediterranean Observatory for Human Rights (EMOHR), based in Geneva, called for documenting the abuses and crimes committed by the Israeli army during the recent aggression on Gaza and to prosecute these violations in international courts.
Report: Israel army reveals elite unit survived rocket attack
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma‘an) 25 Nov — Israel’s army revealed on Sunday that a building housing elite soldiers preparing for a possible ground invasion was struck by a rocket last Tuesday, Hebrew daily Maariv reported. One soldier was injured in the incident, which Israel’s army cleared for publication over the weekend, and dozens of elite soldiers were evacuated from the Eshkol building, the Israeli daily reported.
Israel says successfully tests more powerful rocket interceptor
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 25 Nov — A new Israeli air shield against rockets more powerful than those intercepted by Iron Dome in the Gaza conflict passed its first field test last week after being rushed through development, officials said on Sunday. They said that David’s Sling, billed as Israel’s answer to the longer-range missiles of Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Syria, shot down a target rocket in a secret Nov. 20 desert trial [David's Sling? Should be Goliath's Club]
IDF chief: We will disrupt Hamas’ rearming with newer rockets
Ynet 25 Nov — IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Benny Gantz addressed the fear that Hamas will rearm itself with newer rockets, saying that the issue of Hamas’ attempt to strengthen its power is important and far from new. He said the IDF will continue to work toward disrupting Hamas’ attempt to rearm.
Islamic Jihad brigades release Israeli military documents
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) 26 Nov — Islamic Jihad’s military wing on Monday published a second batch of Israeli military documents. The al-Quds Brigades released lists of Israeli soldiers, including their phone numbers, email addresses and dates of birth, on its website … The list was one of several documents the al-Quds Brigades published on Monday. The group also released what appear to be details of Israel’s army training, minutes of military meetings and army itineraries, dated as recently as June and translated into Arabic. Brigades spokesman Abu Ahmad said the files proved the group had obtained recent information, countering suggestions the data was from 2008.
In a statement, Abu Ahmad added that despite Wednesday’s ceasefire, the war hadn’t ended as Israeli drones continued to hover over the Gaza Strip.
Hamas: Inquiry commission to probe collaborators’ murder
AFP 25 Nov – Hamas said it would appoint a commission of inquiry to investigate the “illegal executions” allegedly carried out by its members during Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza. Seven Gaza residents who were accused of collaboration with Israel, were shot in public by veiled gunmen while the body of one of them was tied to a motorcycle and dragged through the streets of Gaza. Hamas’ spokesman said: “The government decided to appoint a commission of inquiry to check the illegal executions that took place during the Israeli aggression.”
Report: ‘Shale Stones’ caused extensive damage to Israeli tourism
NAZARETH, OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 26 Nov — An Israeli financial magazine, published in the “Tel Aviv”, reported that Israel’s tourism has been significantly affected by the recent military aggression on the Gaza Strip …The magazine [The Marker] reported that the aggression has seriously damaged and caused heavy losses in the tourism sector in the occupied Palestine, noting that 20 % of the reservations for tourist trips, which had been scheduled to take place in the occupied territories, have been canceled during the military operation. [note: 'Shale Stones' is the Hamas term for the resistance to 'Operation Pillar of Cloud'. It is taken from the Qur'anic chapter 'The Elephant', which tells of defeating the Ethiopian army that was intending to destroy the Ka‘ba at Mecca by the use of birds that dropped stones on them.]
Gaza ceasefire offers chance to address ‘root causes’ of Israel-Palestine conflict — UN official
UN News 26 Nov — …”It is of crucial… importance that we seize the opportunity provided by this tragic escalation,” the Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNWRA), Filippo Grandi, said in remarks at a meeting of the body’s Advisory Commission, taking place by the Dead Sea in Jordan. “Difficult political work would have to be carried out, including promoting and supporting lasting Palestinian unity,” he noted in reference to divisions among the wider Palestinian leadership, according to an UNRWA news release … Mr. Grandi called for the blockade, which Israel has reportedly said it maintains for security reasons, to be “lifted in all its aspects.” He mentioned crossings, fishing zones, imports and exports as aspects of the blockade in need of address, and said there should be “proper guarantees given to — and by — all parties in respect of the security of all civilians.”
Land theft & destruction / Restriction of movement
Jewish settlers raze land in Jordan Valley
JORDAN VALLEY 26 Nov (WAFA) – Jewish settlers Monday razed land east of the illegal settlement of Rotam, in the Jordan Valley, according to an official. Aref Daraghmeh, the head of al-Malih local council, stressed that settlers razed Palestinian land that they had previously seized part of. He said this razing aims to expand the settlement of Ratom.
IOA denies treatment for cancer patient
JENIN (PIC) 26 Nov — The Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) refused to allow entry of Mazen Eghbari into 1948 occupied Palestine for treatment of cancer. Local sources in Kufairat village, south west of Jenin, said that Eghbari, 46, was denied permission to enter the 1948 occupied lands despite his worsening health condition.
Israel army detains 16 across West Bank
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 26 Nov — Israeli forces arrested 16 people in the West Bank overnight Sunday, Israel’s army and locals said … An Israeli army spokeswoman said 16 people were arrested overnight, with nine detained in Nablus, two in Tulkarem, two in Nabi Saleh, one in Beit Khalil, one in Yatta and one in Tubas.
IOF arrests 4 Palestinians in Nablus
NABLUS (PIC) 26 Nov — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stormed the city of Nablus early on Monday and raided a number of houses and neighborhoods, where they arrested four Palestinians from the city after breaking into their homes and damaging their contents. The father of captive Bara’a Nawaf said that the occupation forces stormed their home in Ma’ajin area west of the city of Nablus at three o’clock in the morning, and arrested his son after damaging the contents of the detainee’s room…
The occupation forces released Dr. Mustafa Shunnar, a lecturer at Al-Najah University in Nablus, after five days in Israeli prisons, where he was interrogated for long hours before being released. The Israeli occupation forces also released Yasser Abu Tama’a and Awni Camille, from the city of Jenin.
Meanwhile, the village of Yabad, south of Jenin, has witnessed at dawn today, wide confrontations between the occupation forces and Palestinian youths, followed by Israeli decision to close the eastern entrance of the town.
400 Palestinians jailed during Israel’s raging arrest campaign in W. Bank
WEST BANK (PIC) 26 Nov — The Israeli military and security forces have kidnapped 400 Palestinians in the West Bank in the context of a revenge campaign that started against Hamas supporters on the first day of Israel’s latest war on the Gaza Strip … The Israeli occupation forces arrested some of those West Bankers because of their participation in protests during Israel’s war on Gaza and the others were jailed after the war ended. The Palestinian prisoner society said the Israeli regime and its prison authority administratively detained most of those Palestinians kidnapped during this ongoing campaign in West Bank, which reflected that these arrests were carried out for retaliatory reasons.
Mass hunger strike tomorrow in solidarity with Sharawna and Issawi
GAZA (PIC) 26 Nov — A human rights center confirmed that the Palestinian prisoners from all political factions in Israeli prisons, about 4600 detainees, will launch on Tuesday a mass hunger strike for one day in solidarity with the hunger strikers Sharawna and Issawi after their health deterioration. The Palestinian Center for Prisoners’ Studies stated that the Palestinian prisoners decided to refuse their three meals on Tuesday in solidarity with Sharawna, 150 days on hunger strike, and Issawi, 120 days on hunger strike, who are threatened with death at any moment, in light of the Israeli disregard for their humanitarian demands, where they were rearrested by the occupation forces after their liberation in the Wafa al-Ahrar deal.
IOA turns MPs Ramahi and Za’arir to administrative detention
RAMALLAH (PIC) 26 Nov — Sources in Change and Reform parliamentary bloc confirmed that Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) turned the secretary of the Legislative Council MP Mahmoud Ramahi from Ramallah, and MP Za’arir to administrative detention (without charge or trial) …
It is noted that the occupation arrested two days ago five MPs from Change and Reform parliamentary Bloc and arrested yesterday another MP from Nablus, bringing the number of detained MPs to 14 members, 11of them from Hamas’ block and two from Fatah block, in addition to Ahmad Sa’adat, General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
Release Palestinian MPs and ministers, demands Prisoners’ Studies Centre
MEMO 26 Nov — Ahrar Centre for Prisoners’ Studies and Human Rights has demanded the release of Palestinian MPs and ministers being held in Israeli jails. The Centre called upon the Secretaries General of the League of Arab States and the Federation of Arab Parliamentarians for urgent action to get their Palestinian colleagues released, as most are detained without charge or trial in violation of international laws and conventions. There are 14 elected Palestinian legislators being held currently by Israel, and three ministers.
IOA bars family visits to Gaza prisoners for third consecutive time
GAZA (PIC) 26 Nov — The Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) barred visits of families to their detained relatives in Israeli jails for the third consecutive week. Ayman Al-Shihabi, speaking for the Red Cross, said in a statement on Monday that the IOA informed the organization of the cancellation of the visits for this week. He said that the Red Cross would maintain contacts with Israel to reactivate the visits.
Palestinian prisoner society appeals for closing Hawara jail
NABLUS (PIC) 26 Nov — The Palestinian prisoner society said the Palestinian prisoners in Hawara jail are suffering from inhumane incarceration conditions as more detainees keep pouring in. A lawyer for the Palestinian Prisoner Society (PSS) reported that the Israeli administration of Hawara prison deliberately locks up every detainee in a humid and cold solitary cell with no ventilation. The lawyer affirmed he visited the prisoners and saw that they were isolated and unable to do anything in a group of two persons or more, even during prayers or meals.
Report: EU considers barring violent settlers
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma‘an) 26 Nov — The European Union is considering blocking violent Israeli settlers from entering member states, Israeli daily Haaretz reported Monday. The EU’s committee of Middle East experts is recommending a blacklist of “known violent settlers”, a Western diplomat told Haaretz, although no official decision has been made. The issue is expected to be discussed at an upcoming meeting of European foreign ministers, the daily reported.
Massive march led by Bin Keiran in Rabat against Arab normalization with Israel
RABAT (PIC) 26 Nnov — Tens of thousands of Moroccan people led by their premier Abdul-Ilah Abdulilah Bin Keiran went on a march on Sunday in the capital Rabat in support of the Gaza Strip and to demand an end to their country’s ties with the Israeli occupation state.
Political and other news
Egypt envoy: Palestinian factions eager to reconcile
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 26 Nov — All Palestinian factions are eager to finalize national reconciliation quickly, Egypt’s ambassador to the Palestinian Authority said Monday. Yasser Othman told Ma’an that Palestinian unity was a priority for Egypt and that “Cairo has felt willingness from all factions to move forward to implement the reconciliation.” Israel’s war on Gaza gave political impetus to ending the Palestinian division. After the ceasefire, Hamas and Fatah announced they would release all prisoners detained for factional reasons.
Hamas grants amnesty in reconciliation gesture
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 25 Nov — The Hamas government in the Gaza Strip on Sunday indicated they would free prisoners affiliated to their West Bank rivals Fatah, giving further momentum to reconciliation efforts since the Israeli war on the coastal enclave. Government spokesman Taher al-Nunu said the government would grant an amnesty to all suspects and prisoners related to its conflict with Fatah in 2006. The government will set up a committee to implement this measure, he said.
Abbas: The UN is our first step and will be followed by national reconciliation
MEMO 26 Nov — The president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, has confirmed that he will go to the United Nations to seek an upgrade in the level of Palestine’s diplomatic representation to that of an observer or non-member state. He also confirmed that he has obtained the support of all Palestinian political factions, including those under the umbrella of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and those who have not yet entered this framework.
Shaath confirms no retraction from UN bid
RAMALLAH 26 Nov (WAFA) – Fatah Commissioner of International Relations Nabil Shaath Monday said the Palestinian Authority will not retract from going to the United Nations General Assembly on November 29 to win non-member state status. He said in a meeting with members of the diplomatic corps in Palestine that President Mahmoud Abbas is already on his way to New York, pointing out that the Palestinians have the right to seek a non-member state status at the UN.
Emir of Qatar calls Abbas pledging support
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 26 Nov — President Mahmoud Abbas received a phone call from the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad Ibin Khalifa Al Thani on Sunday evening, official media said. Al Thani reiterated to Abbas that Qatar will continue to support the Palestinian UN bid seeking to obtain recognition of Palestine as a non-member state, Palestinian Authority news agency Wafa reported. Abbas is scheduled to put Palestine’s status to a UN General Assembly vote on Nov. 29.
Hamas chief announces support for UN bid
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 26 Nov — Hamas chief-in-exile Khalid Mashaal telephoned President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday to confirm the Islamist movements’ support for the upcoming UN bid, the official news agency Wafa reported. Hamas reiterated Mashaal’s call in a statement stressing that the Nov. 29 bid must be based on a nationalistic vision and strategy which upholds the inalienable rights of the Palestinians … Hamas might struggle to explain its new position to some of its hardline supporters. As recently as Saturday, senior Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar had urged Abbas not to go to New York. Abbas’s UN initiative “represents an … official concession of the 1948 land,” Zahar told reporters.
Teachers union to suspend classes for UN bid
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 25 Nov — The teachers union in the West Bank will suspend classes on Nov. 29 as part of activities to support the UN bid for non-member status, a union official said Sunday.
Israel ‘disappointed’ with US stance on UN bid
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma‘an) 25 Nov — Israeli leaders are disappointed that the US is not putting more pressure on President Mahmoud Abbas to call off his bid for upgraded UN status this week, Israeli daily Maariv reported Sunday. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman have strongly criticized the US for their reticence, the report said.
Israel is seeking a modified Palestinian UN draft
IMEMC 26 Nov — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to shift the Israeli policy and stance regarding the UN Thursday vote on the Palestinian nonmember status, and is currently tying to tone down and trim the Palestinian application instead of toppling it by a U.S. veto. Israeli daily Haaretz reported that Tel Aviv is holding extensive talks with Washington in an attempt to reach a different draft of the application that is more toned down, and would not cause political embarrassment to Israel. On Sunday, Netanyahu sent his envoy, Yitzhak Molcho, to the United States to hold talks on the issue.
PLO: Vote against Palestine at UN will signal that only armed struggle works
Haaretz 26 Nov by Amira Hass — Four days before the United Nations vote on the recognition of Palestine as a non-member state, representatives of seven more European countries have indicated they will vote in favor, PLO sources said. Five other European countries had already announced they would support the bid and France’s foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, has broadly hinted that France will vote in favor. After the cease-fire in Operation Pillar of Defense, which the Palestinians see as a Hamas victory, the Palestinian diplomatic team said “a vote against will be a clear signal to the Palestinian people that only armed struggle will bring achievements, and the diplomatic political struggle is doomed to failure from the outset.” The Palestinian team consists of young diplomats from the Palestinian Foreign Ministry in Ramallah, the Fateh Commission for International Relations, headed by Nabil Shaath, and officials of the PLO’s negotiations department
Video: Exhumation of Arafat’s body underway
Al Jazeera 27 Nov — Remains of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat are being exhumed to help determine the cause of his death. Al Jazeera’s Nadeem Baba reporting from the West Bank capital of Ramallah said that “according to Tawfiq al-Tirawi, the head of the Palestinian committee investigating Arafat’s death, the process of exhumation started at midnight local time (22:00 GMT) on Monday”. [see also Al Jazeera's collection of videos "What killed Arafat?"]
Yasser Arafat’s body exhumed in Ramallah
Al Jazeera/Agencies 27 Nov — Remains of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat have been exhumed in Ramallah, in the West Bank, to help determine the cause of his death. Sources told Al Jazeera on Tuesday that the remains were moved out of Arafat’s mausoleum and taken to a mosque, where Palestinian doctors are currently collecting samples for handing over to international teams from France, Russia and Switzerland. Three doctors, three forensic experts, the health minister, the justice minister, and heads of the lawyers and doctors syndicates are present during the exhumation, the sources said. Reporting from Ramallah, Al Jazeera’s Clayton Swisher also said that the Palestian attorney general, with the help of French prosecutors, has started interviewing dozens of Palestinian officials close to Arafat about the conditions the leader was living under before his death in 2004.
Likud’s hawkish earthquake sparks new hopes for centrist alternatives
Haaretz 27 Nov — In a tectonic shift sure to worry foreign capitals and Diaspora Jews, Israel’s ruling party purges moderates and anoints pro-settler and anti-peace nationalists … The radically right Likud list may present dramatic new opportunities in the center of the political map, not only for former foreign minister and Kadima leader Tzipi Livni, who is expected to announce her return to politics on Tuesday at noon, but for former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as well.
Suspected militants bomb security bases in Egypt’s Sinai
ISMAILIA, Egypt (Reuters) 25 Nov — Militants bombed security bases being built in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, injuring three people, authorities said, as the state tries to reassert control over territory that slipped from its grip after the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak. A massive explosion partly destroyed the wall of a security base being built for border guards in the town of Rafah at the border with the Gaza Strip overnight, but without causing injuries. Further south, three workers were injured by a separate blast that damaged a compound being built in Quseima for a different security agency responsible for guarding a pipeline that exports gas to Jordan, security sources said.
Bethlehem gets ready for Christmas
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 26 Nov — Preparations for the launch of Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ, are in full swing, the newly elected mayor of the city Vera Baboun said. Speaking to Ma‘an Sunday evening, Baboun highlighted that preparations started late because of the Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip. She pointed out that Christmas celebrations this year will focus on Palestinian triumph, peace, hope and selflessness.
Video: Last stop, Tel Aviv
VICE Network 26 Nov — Last Stop, Tel Aviv is the story of the 60,000 asylum seekers living in Israel. Escaping dictatorships and indefinite military conscription, Africans flee their homelands in the hope of a better life, but arrive to find that they are criminalized, vilified, and unrecognized in the Israeli state. We got to know this marginalized population, who have no place in society and no option to return home.
Analysis / Opinion / Interviews
Guilty of the crime of pushing for Palestinian unity / Amira Hass
Haaretz 26 Nov — Israel has arrested Hamas activists in the West Bank, among them a lawmaker who told Haaretz last week that the Palestinian reconciliation process in which he is involved would allow President Mahmoud Abbas to resume negotiations with Israel … During the past week Ramahi was busy talking with Fatah members to promote the intra-Palestinian reconciliation and plan joint activities (on the committee headed by Jibril Rajoub, an appointee of PA President Mahmoud Abbas ). The war brought the two sides closer, strengthening the voices demanding unity, which was one of the achievements of the Palestinian side, Ramahi had said on the fourth day of the fighting (Haaretz, November 19 ). Already then he predicted that the failure of morale would be Israel’s. The widespread conclusion in Ramallah is that the detention of the Hamas political activists reflects Israel’s frustration at its failure in Gaza, and is also an attempt to prevent the Palestinian reconciliation process, in which Ramahi is playing an important role … As I’ve already written, Ramahi said that the intention is not to bypass the PA and the PLO. On the contrary, reconciliation means that Hamas will join the PLO and establish a national unity government. The United States, Europe and Israel should provide guarantees to that unity government, so that it can continue to function. “Any Palestinian unity government is only in Israel’s interest, to Israel’s benefit,” he said.
Interview — Mahmoud al-Zahar: Latest offensive has pushed Israel to review its strategy
MEMO 16 Nov — EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW Palestinian Legislative Council member Dr Mahmoud al-Zahar has said that the recent Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip “has pushed Israel to review its short- and long-term strategy”. In an exclusive interview with MEMO, Al-Zahar also said this time, the decision to end the offensive against Gaza was announced in Egypt, whereas in 2008 the decision to start the war against Gaza was announced by the Israelis in Egypt. This is the most important change. Read the whole interview with one of the founders of Hamas:
Obama has power but risks Republican wrath gaining Mideast peace / Ira Chernus
Truth-out 26 Nov — If anyone wondered who calls the shots on Israeli policy toward the Palestinians, the recent conflict in Gaza should end the discussion. Now “it is clear who is boss.” The highly respected Israeli journalist Anshel Pfeffer wrote those words in the first days of the fighting, when, as he put it, there was “a clear American green light for Israel’s operation.” Israel could not have started its onslaught without permission from Barack Obama. With startling suddenness, though, the light from Washington turned red. A cease-fire was announced much faster than anyone expected, and Israel maintained it despite rockets fired from Gaza just hours after it took effect, which once would have quickly triggered another Israeli onslaught. Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi is getting most of the public credit for the lasting cease fire. But insiders know better. Essam el-Haddad, Morsi’s foreign policy adviser, confirmed that the US stepped in “whenever there was a point at which there would be a need for further encouragement and a push to get it across. . . . trying to send clear signals to the Israeli side that there should not be a waste of time and an agreement must be reached. They have really been very helpful in pushing the Israeli side.”
Why I care about Israel’s occupation of Palestine / Kristian Davis Bailey
[maps: Palestinian Land Loss 1946-2000 Native American Land Loss 1850-1990] Stanford (Univ.) Daily 26 Nov — From my writing and activism over the past few weeks, some students have asked why I am so interested in the illegal American-Israeli occupation of Palestine. It seems as though it is weird for me to be concerned about the international human rights conflict in which I am most heavily implicated — both as an American citizen and as a Stanford student. Underlying the American-Israeli occupation of Palestine are issues of grave importance to me: State, police and military surveillance and control of marginalized people and dissenting voices; the immorality of global markets where multinational companies profit off of human rights violations at home and abroad without accountability; and a future where marginalized people of any background do not have to worry about discrimination, persecution and dehumanization at the hand of the nation-state or corporations. As a member of the African diaspora I have a direct connection to all of these issues.
Traitors and collaborators are the only Palestinians liked by the West
26 Nov — Francis from Birmingham sent me this: “I thought you might appreciate this shocking example of media bias in the UK’s Daily Mail (see below). It is about the family of the man killed recently in Gaza for supposedly being a traitor and providing information to the IDF. Look how the article treats the man and his family as human beings; shows the families suffering; shows the picture of the poor little girl with her father’s photo. When have the deaths of any of the Palestinians killed by the IDF ever been covered in this way? When it is the IDF that is responsible, they are just numbers. They don’t have faces, they don’t have families. The only death that they covered like this, is the guy who was killed by Palestinians! So only when we can use the story as a stick to beat the Palestinians, only then can we show something of the reality of the suffering in Gaza.”