Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid
Israel starts removing mines close to border with Jordan, to build settlements
IMEMC 14 Dec — Israel has officially started the removal of landmines close to the border with Jordan to use the lands for illegal settlement construction in the area, especially in the Wadi Araba area. The plan also includes boosting industry and factories in settlements in the area. Israeli sources reported that thousands of dunams extending from the occupied Golan Heights and Majdal Shams reaching the Dead Sea [were] implanted with landmines in 1948 in order to “prevent Arabs and Palestinians fighters from entering Palestine”. Israel wants to ensure that the Palestinians never have access to the Jordan Valley, and especially the border area with Jordan … The Jordan Valley area is an essential part of the occupied West Bank, known as the Fruit Basket of Palestine, but has been closed off by Israel and isolated from the rest of the occupied territories, leading to millions of dollars in losses to the Palestinian farmers.
Under siege: One Bedouin family’s struggle to live in Israel
972mag 14 Dec by Paul Karolyi — In the early 1950s, a Bedouin Arab named Atif Mohammad Sawa’ed (Abu Walid) bought a parcel of land from the Shafa ‘Amr municipality, 25 kilometers east of Haifa, hoping to build a home for his new wife and his family. The land he bought in Umm al-Sahali lies on a hilltop, no more than two kilometers south of Shafa ‘Amr in the Lower Galilee. It is a beautiful place, and at that time it was uninhabited. From the front steps of the home he built, you can see the shimmering blue waters of the Mediterranean, the urban sprawl of Haifa, and if you look north on a clear day, you can even see into Lebanon.
As the Sawa’ed family grew, the surrounding population slowly changed. In the early years of Israel’s existence, the government instituted a demographic policy of ‘Judaization’ to encourage Jews to settle the Galilee.
Colonizing Christmas: Facts on Israeli occupation and Bethlehem
PNN 14 Dec — The PLO Negotiations Affairs Department has issued their latest fact sheet entitled “Colonizing Christmas: Facts on Israeli Occupation and Bethlehem.” Bethlehem is a vivid example of the severe and appalling effects that Israeli colonization policies have had in Palestine … Since the Israeli occupation of 1967, Israel has employed several policies to annex important areas of the Bethlehem district, so that Bethlehem has had most of its northern land stolen by Israeli settlements … Currently there are 22 Israeli settlements established on Bethlehem‘s land … Israel has illegally confiscated around 22,000 dunums of land (22 square kilometers), roughly the size of the country of Nauru … The illegal Wall has effectively annexed 4,000 dunums of land belonging to Bethlehem itself …
To improve its international image, Israel markets the numbers of permits to Palestinian Christians during Easter and Christmas. They present it as a goodwill gesture and sign of cooperation, although Palestinians are required to ask for permits from the occupying power to go from one side of their own country to the other, not to a different country. Regardless of this fact, not everyone who applies for permits gets them. For example, in April 2011, 15,000 Christian Palestinians applied for a permit to enter occupied East Jerusalem, but Israel only issued around 2500 permits. Israel also issues permits randomly; often to one or two members of a family. This results in permits not being used, as families who opt to stay together are forced to celebrate at home.
Violence / Clashes / Incursions / Illegal arrests
PCHR Weekly Report: 3 dead, including child; 8 wounded by Israeli troops this week [6-12 Dec]
IMEMC 14 Dec — …Israeli Forces killed 1 Palestinian child in Hebron in the southern West Bank. 1 Palestinian civilian and 1 member of an armed group died of wounds they had sustained during the latest Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip. 8 Palestinian civilians were wounded in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank … Israeli forces conducted 70 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, during which the forces abducted 45 Palestinians, including 5 boys and 1 girl … Israeli forces have continued settlement activities in the West Bank, and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property … Due to the number and severity of Israeli human rights violations this week, the PCHR made several recommendations to the international community. Among these were a recommendation that, in recognition of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) as the guardian of the Fourth Geneva Convention, PCHR calls upon the ICRC to increase its staff and activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including the facilitation of family visitations to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. Full Report
Teenager critically wounded in Hebron clashes
ISM 13 Dec — …On another day of clashes between the Israeli army and Palestinian youth, Nasser Sharabati was shot in the chest, side and arm with three rounds of live ammunition. The clashes in the city began in the Bab Al-Zawiya area of the city centre around half past one in the afternoon. The Israeli military fired large amounts of tear gas and rubber coated steel bullets into this shopping area causing great distress to many people, the vast majority of whom were not involved in the clashes. Shops and businesses had to hurriedly close as the whole area was disrupted … In a worrying new development snipers taking up prone positions on the Palestinian streets were deployed by the Israeli military. It was clear that these snipers were firing to cause maximum injury, to maim and even kill the Palestinian teenagers and children that confronted them. Undaunted the Palestinian youth defended their territory and the struggle continued for several hours into the evening.
IDF soldiers assault Reuters journalists after mistaking them for human rights workers
982mag 14 Dec by Noam Sheizaf — Soldiers beat cameramen in Hebron after suspecting that they work for B’Tselem. Recent years have seen an organized campaign by mainstream Israeli journalists and politicians against human rights organizations in Israel and the West Bank …Yousri Al Jamal and Ma’amoun Wazwaz said a foot patrol stopped them as they were driving to a nearby checkpoint where a Palestinian teenager had just been shot dead by an Israeli border guard. Their car was clearly marked ‘TV’ and they were both wearing blue flak jackets with ‘Press’ emblazoned on the front. The soldiers forced them to leave the vehicle and punched them, striking them with the butts of their guns … It is worth thinking about the reason the soldiers gave for the abuse — they thought the two Palestinians were working for B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights organization. One of B’Tselem’s most revolutionary projects has been equipping and training dozens of Palestinians in the West Bank with video cameras. Since the beginning of the project, amateur cameramen have been documenting numerous incidents of abuse, night raids, “price tag” attacks by settlers and more. A well known fact in the West Bank is that the presence of cameras often has a “restraining effect” on soldiers and settlers alike.
Podcast: Israel wants to criminalize human rights defenders, says head of Palestinian group raided by army
EI 14 Dec — “We think that this raid was because the three organizations, especially Addameer, was involved a lot this year in the hunger strikes and the support for Palestinian political prisoners … and our work with PNGO [Palestinian NGO Network] and the [Palestinian] Union of Women’s Committees on the BDS campaign.” – Sahar Francis of Addameer
Foreign Press Association condemns Israel attack on cameramen
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Dec — The Foreign Press Association on Friday condemned an assault by Israeli soldiers on two of its members in Hebron covering the shooting death of a Palestinian teenager. The group said Yousri al-Jamal and Maamoun Wazwaz, cameramen who work for Reuters, were stopped while driving to the scene of the shooting incident in the heart of the city. “The FPA condemns in the strongest terms the assault by Israeli soldiers of two of our members in Hebron earlier this week,” the group said in a statement. “Press freedom is the signal of a civilised nation…”
Media Forum condemns storming writer Lama Khater’s house by occupation
GAZA (PIC) 14 Dec — The Forum said in a statement on Thursday that a force of the occupation army raided the house of writer Lama Khater at dawn Thursday and confiscated the computers in addition to her and her husband’s mobile phones. Khater and her husband were also subjected to field interrogation by the occupation forces, about a peaceful march that is expected to be organized in al-Khalil Friday. The media forum denounced these attacks and considered them part of a policy of abuse and harassment adopted against the journalists, writers and the opinion leaders in the West Bank
Border Guard officer ‘not afraid’ of threats
Ynet 14 Dec — After shooting Palestinian teen she believed was attacking a comrade, officer recounts incident, dismisses Palestinian websites’ threats. Police chief: Her response attests to responsibility, loyalty
IDF probe: Soldiers did not flee Arab rioters
Ynet 13 Dec — Shomron Brigade investigation determines that soldiers accused of fleeing stone-throwing mob were actually chasing after other demonstrators. Officer: Main mission of keeping rioters away from settlement accomplished
EMOHR calls on PA to prosecute occupation internationally
ANKARA/RAMALLAH (PIC) 14 Dec — The Euro-Mediterranean Observatory for Human Rights (EMOHR) called on the Palestinian Authority to prosecute the Israeli occupation for the violating the international law in dealing with Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike … EMOHR called on the high contracting parties in the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, to bear their responsibilities and obligations they have undertaken to respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances.
Rally held in hunger-strikers’ West Bank hometown
JENIN (Ma‘an) 14 Dec — For the second Friday in a row, Palestinians held a rally in the northern West Bank town of Arraba to support hunger-strikers in Israeli jails, including residents of the town. Tareq Qaadan and Jaafar Izz Addin from Arraba, near Jenin, both started refusing food in Israeli jail on Nov. 28, prisoners rights group Addameer said.
Lebanon camps rally for hunger strikers
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Dec — Palestinian refugees in Lebanon on Friday demonstrated in solidarity with prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails. Ayman Sharawneh has been on hunger strike for 167 days and Samer al-Issawi has refused food for 136 days in Israel’s Ramle prison. Both men were rearrested after their release in Israel’s Oct. 2011 prisoner swap with Hamas. The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine held a sit-in at UNRWA offices in al-Badawi camp. Refugees from al-Bared camp joined the demonstration, as well as popular committee members and factional representatives.
Israeli soldiers shoot, injure young Gaza man
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 14 Dec – A young Palestinian man was shot and injured Friday evening by Israeli soldiers east of Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip, medical officials said. Gaza paramedics told Ma‘an they evacuated a 19-year-old to Al-Awda Hospital in the northern Gaza Strip after he was hit by two live bullets in his feet near Abu Safiyya Hill east of Jabaliya. They added that Israeli troops fired live bullets and tear gas canisters at Palestinians near the border area.
Two Palestinians injured by army fire in Gaza
IMEMC 14 Dec — Palestinian medical sources in the Gaza Strip reported that two Palestinians were shot and injured, on Friday evening, by Israeli military fire close to the Israeli “security fence” east of Khan Younis, and Jabalia, in the coastal region…
Another youth, 21, suffered mild-to-moderate injuries after being shot by Israeli soldiers stationed across the border with Khan Younis, in southern Gaza, and was moved to Nasser Hospital in the city, the PNN added. The latest assaults are part of ongoing violations of the ceasefire agreement that came into effect November 21…
[T]he Palestinian Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip reported that 191 Palestinians, including children, women and elderly, have been killed by Israeli military fire in Gaza in November, including those killed during the war, and that the number of injured Palestinians in the same month reached 1,492…
In related news, head of the Media Office of the Palestinian Government in Gaza, Ehab Al-Ghaseen, stated Friday that Israel fired three white phosphorous shells against the civilian population in Gaza during its latest war. He said that international experts confirmed the usage of the shells, that are illegally banned against civilian areas
Rafah tunnels weaken Mursi foreign-policy resolve on Gaza
Cairo (Bloomberg) 12 Dec by Nadine Marroushi — In the shadow of a concrete building, a middle-aged man with a weathered face stood several feet from a sobbing Palestinian woman. Suad Abdel Karim Abu Awamer had waited for hours in a futile effort to cross Egypt’s border into Gaza, the conflict- ravaged Palestinian territory, to see her dying mother. The man in a checkered shirt had the answer: for $100, he could guide her through a Rafah tunnel to the other side. Palestinians had hoped the scene would improve under President Mohamed Mursi. Months into his term, however, they say little has changed when it comes to getting people or products into Gaza, even while Mursi backs the territory’s leadership. Rafah symbolizes the challenge he faces in reconciling a strategy of championing Gaza to shore up his credentials with awareness that his backing may strengthen militants, jeopardize U.S. support and saddle Egypt with responsibility for Gaza’s 1.7 million people.
Deputy Hamas chief Abu Marzsouk leaves Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 14 Dec — The deputy chief of Hamas’ politburo Mousa Abu Marzouk left the Gaza Strip on Friday via Rafah crossing after a week-long visit to the enclave. Abu Marzouk arrived last Friday along with Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal and members of the movement’s politburo Izzat al-Rishiq and Muhammad Nasr where they attended celebrations of Hamas anniversary. The issue of the Rafah crossing dominated most of the talks held in the enclave during the last week, said Abu Marzouk. “They suggested that the presidential guards or the European monitors take charge of the crossing to control smuggling and to limit movement of fugitives,” Abu Marzouk said.
Hamas subdued despite Gaza victory claim — Israeli military
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 14 Dec — Israel’s offensive on Gaza has deterred Hamas from new hostilities despite its claims of victory and the front is now at its quietest in 20 years, a senior Israeli military officer said … The Islamist militant group Hamas, which for the first time managed to fire rockets towards Tel Aviv and Jerusalem during the conflict, says it won in the absence of an Israeli ground invasion that might have toppled its Gaza administration. The officer said Hamas should be allowed to save face after failing to inflict more pain on the Jewish state … The officer would not be drawn on how long the calm might hold but threatened heavier bombing in any future offensive.
Truce brings extra gleam to Gaza marketplace
GAZA (Reuters) 13 Dec — The horizon of the claustrophobic Gaza Strip stretches further out to sea after a bloody eight-day battle last month and its main market gleams with extra supplies of locally caught fish. In a low-key move it has yet to acknowledge, Israel moved a naval blockade it imposed in 2009 back to six miles from the Palestinian enclave’s coast from three on Nov 23, two days after signing an Egypt-brokered truce with Gaza’s Hamas rulers.Grouper, bream, bass, snapper and sardines teem deeper out to sea, and Gaza’s fishermen regularly tested the three mile limit, complaining the army would open fire, arrest them and confiscate their boats even when they were within it. That day, those who tried their luck at dawn returned unscathed with bumper catches before word came via Egypt that the blockade had been pulled back, the most unequivocal move to ease Israel’s stranglehold on Gaza to follow from the truce … Dangers still abound for those plying their trade on the blustery winter waves, as Israeli ships police the new line, confronting violators with gunfire, mostly in warning spurts, and water cannon. Since the November truce, local say Israel has detained 15 fishermen.
Gaza perfume sales soar with rocket name
GAZA CITY (Reuters) 13 Dec — Sales of a citrus-scented perfume marketed in Gaza have soared since it was named in honor of the rockets that Palestinians shot at Israel during a war last month, the manufacturer said. “M-75” perfume, which comes in men’s and women’s fragrances, is named for the missiles Hamas shot at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in an 8-day conflict that killed more than 170 Palestinians and six Israelis, ending with an Egyptian-brokered truce.
Call to action — join the ISM in 2013
14 Dec — In a time of an increased ISM presence in Gaza and what looks to be a upsurge of violence in the West Bank, we call on international activists to join the ISM on the streets of Palestine. Volunteers of the ISM are requested to make a minimum of a two week commitment, long term volunteers are always needed.
Palestinians to decide soon which UN bodies to join
Beit Jala-Palestine (AFP) 14 Dec — The Palestinians will shortly decide which international organizations to join in the wake of their new-found U.N. status, including courts likely to act against Israel, negotiator Mohammed Shtayeh says. “We have put together a legal team to study to which organization we shall apply first and what are the procedures of accession and what are the benefits and the consequences of accession into any of these,” he said, giving as examples the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. “In two weeks’ time we will be in a position to decide where and when we shall apply to this or that organization,” he said.
Arab League calling in pledges to fund PA
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Dec — The Arab League has begun calling in donor pledges to Palestine from its members, but cannot confirm the exact date the so-called Arab safety net will be transferred to the government. Assistant Secretary General of Palestine Affairs in the Arab League Mohammad Sbeih told Ma‘an on Thursday evening that the group had opened communications with Arab states over the $100 million monthly payment promised on Sunday. Sbeih said they have yet to get official responses,
Thousands of Hamas supporters celebrate anniversary in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 14 Dec — Years after Hamas stopped celebrating its anniversary in Hebron in the southern West Bank, around 6,000 supporters rallied Friday in the city center. The rally kicked off from al-Haras Mosque marching toward Ibn Rushd school. Supporters waved Hamas’ green flags, while a small number of demonstrators waved Palestinian flags. They chanted pro-Hamas slogans applauding the victory Hamas fighters achieved in the Gaza Strip against Israel in November. A Ma‘an reporter observed an Israeli drone hovered over Hebron during the rally … some demonstrators at a Hamas rally in Nablus on Thursday said they were uneasy about exposing themselves so openly as supporters of the Islamist group. “It’s still not safe for us. We are outside celebrating now, but the security forces will come make their arrests tomorrow like always,” said Salem Riyad, wearing a leather jacket and a green headband across his forehead.
Palestinian envoy: Israeli settlement a red line ‘with grave consequences’
CSM 14 Dec — The Palestine Liberation Organization’s top diplomat in the United States says that Israel’s plans for a settlement in a sensitive area is a ploy to undermine a future Palestinian state.
President Abbas criticizes Meshaal for not recognising Israel
PNN — On Thursday 13th December, Jerusalem Post Newspaper revealed that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas criticised Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal’s statement that his group would never recognise Israel. Abbas told reporters in Ankara following a two-day visit to the country, “I don’t agree with Khaled Mashaal’s statement on the non-recognition of Israel because we, in fact, recognized it in 1993.”
Clarification statement by UNRWA concerning its inability to renew the contracts of 114 personnel
PNN 14 Dec — …UNRWA’s top priority continues to be the delivery of core services to Palestine refugees. There has been no change in UNRWA’s mandate. Any reports to the contrary are incorrect. UNRWA’s historical commitment to Palestine refugees remains as strong today as the day the Agency was created. This commitment will continue until a fair and durable solution to the refugee question is found. As is commonly known, UNRWA, in its delivery of services to Palestine refugees, depends almost entirely on the voluntary contributions of donor countries. As of lately, one more challenge was added: the decrease in the contributions to the Emergency Appeal by more than 50 per cent since 2010. Sadly, this trend is expected to continue due to the recent downturn in the global economy. The Agency’s humanitarian and human development services are put under greater strain as refugee population increase and there is an additional demand due to the humanitarian consequences of the occupation regime.
Congress petition to close PLO’s US office ‘won’t pay off’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Dec — The Palestinian ambassador to Washington DC said Thursday that a congressional petition to shut down their delegation’s office could harm American interests in the Middle East. The letter, calling on US President Barack Obama to “respond strongly” to the PLO’s successful effort to upgrade its status at the UN, was circulated to members of the House of Representatives this week for co-signatures. The letter asks Obama to close the PLO office in Washington, recall the US consul-general in Jerusalem and reaffirm the US’ commitment to withdraw funds from any international organizations that Palestine joins as a member.
Gaza conflict putting off visitors to Bethlehem
Telegraph 14 Dec — Although the small Palestinian town, identified in the New Testament as the birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth, lies around 40 miles to the west of Gaza – and five miles south of Jerusalem – recent hostilities between Israel and Hamas appear to have had an impact. Around 140,000 people visited Bethlehem last Christmas, but tourism authorities say that figure is likely to fall sharply this year. “We expected a decrease in tourism, and many tourists have cancelled,” Carmen Ghattas, spokeswoman for the Bethlehem Municipality, told CNN. “This season if the tourists do not come we will not have a good economic situation, and the citizens will be affected.”
Israeli FM Lieberman resigns over fraud
AP/Reuters 14 Dec — Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has announced he is resigning a day after an indictment for fraud and breach of trust was filed against him by the country’s attorney general. “Though I know I committed no crime… I have decided to resign my post as foreign minister and deputy prime minister,” Lieberman said in an emailed statement released by his office on Friday, adding that he hoped to clear his name “without delay.” Lieberman’s decision could throw the Israeli political system into upheaval a month ahead of elections.
Israel launches public diplomacy department in Arabic
Algemeiner 13 Dec — …Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry Director-General Ronen Plot released this statement: “In the era of the Internet and the social networks, when the Internet influences strategic changes in the character of the regimes around us, the State of Israel’s public diplomacy efforts in Arabic are of utmost importance. In keeping with the policy outlined by Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein, the ministry is placing emphasis on public diplomacy infrastructures in Arabic, both on the Internet and social media and vis-à-vis the relevant elements in the media.” Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry Spokesman Gal Ilan reiterated in an email to The Algemeiner that the department was started, in part, as a way for Israel to combat its negative image in the Arab-speaking world through the same channels that have worked so effectively in recent regional uprisings.
Analysis / Opinion / Human interest
Israel’s military indoctrination of children / Stephen Lendman
[with VIDEO, photos] Occupied Palestine 14 Dec — “I picture a dead Arab and that makes me happy” says young Israeli boy. Another child tells the interviewer he predicts “he’s going to kill 85 people” [More in the video]
Israel is one of the world’s most militarised societies, routinely recruiting children as young as 13 to perform military service in defiance of international law, writes Stephen Lendman … Militarised education starts in kindergarten, at home, and on the streets. “The military is physically present in schools and school activities”, with many uniformed soldiers teaching classes to programme young minds. Further, teachers, especially principals, are often retired career officers, and school walls are adorned with names and photographs of fallen heroes among their graduates. Field trips for all ages are to military memorials on former battlegrounds. Curricula and textbooks reflect militarism, from kindergarten through secondary schools that have mandatory programmes called “preparation for the IDF” that include training. Glorifying military heroes and conquests while vilifying Palestinians are featured. Symbolic recruitment also precedes conscription. This consists of indoctrinating youths to feel part of the military, mobilised for war, ready for combat, and eager to participate … In the West Bank, Israeli children as young as 15 guard settlements and do other security work, performing functions that include working in police headquarters and patrolling with arms they’re trained to use.
Bye the beloved country — why almost 40 percent of Israelis are thinking of emigrating
Haaretz 15 Dec — …The primary reason the potential emigrants cite is the difficulty of getting ahead economically in Israel — cited by 55 percent of those considering emigration. Raz terms this notion a “fantasy.” “We want to think we have a way out of here, but only 2 percent really intend to leave,” he explains. Fantasy or reality, the fact cannot be ignored that many Israelis want, at some level, to live elsewhere. The tendency to consider leaving is most prominent among voters for center and left-of-center parties; the 30-49 age group; secular, salaried individuals; as well as among inhabitants of the south of the country and the Greater Tel Aviv area. … According to research done by Yossi Harpaz for his M.A. thesis in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Tel Aviv University, in 2007 more than 100,000 Israelis also held citizenship of countries in Central and Eastern Europe, twice as many as in 2000. Obtaining a foreign passport is considered a type of insurance policy rather than indicating an intention to emigrate. Also noteworthy is the ethnic identity of those who are getting the European passports: they are the children and grandchildren of people of European descent — generally speaking, Ashkenazim.
The heroine vs. the terrorist: A case study in brainwashing / Larry Derfner
972mag 14 Dec — How the ‘newspaper of the nation’ reported on a Border Policewoman’s killing of a Palestinian teenager who was found to have been carrying a toy gun — Yedioth Aharonoth’s coverage of Wednesday’s killing of a Palestinian teenager in Hebron tells you pretty much everything you need to know about how Israeli brainwashing works.
Holding Israel accountable / Stephen Lendman
14 Dec — For decades, world leaders let Israel get away with murder. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) said enough is enough. It wants Israeli officials held accountable. It launched a “Palestine to the ICC” campaign. It wants relevant stakeholders involved. They include Palestine, ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, and enough world leaders who matter. It wants them to “fulfill their responsibilities” to ensure long delayed justice and redress for decades of horrendous Israeli crimes against Palestinians. The ICC is a permanent tribunal. It was established to prosecute individuals for crimes of war, against humanity and genocide. In 2017, its jurisdiction extends to criminal aggression.
Palestine gallery to open in London
14 Dec — Londoners will soon be able to get off the tube at King’s Cross and walk into a Palestinian refugee camp. They will be able to meet some of the 12,000 descendants of the 750,000 Palestinians forced to flee their homeland in the wake of the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. The people of Shatila camp are squeezed into one square kilometre. The labyrinthine alleyways are plastered with posters and inscribed with graffiti and street art. You enter the home of Mariam, a 90-year-old woman who is propped up in bed. She tells her family’s story, part of the story of the Nakba (The Catastrophe – the Palestinian displacement). You can call in on Hassan, sitting in his shrine contemplating the history that has brought him here, fingering a string of blue prayer beads as he explains his eclectic collection of objects – Muslim and Christian, secular and religious, prayer beads, crucifixes, icons, clay pots and seashells, all illuminated by fairy lights. Or you can meet three generations of the Al-Awwal family: Rasheed, 42, his mother, sitting regally in her armchair, and his son, Abdul. All this is possible through an interactive touch-screen tour of Shatila soon to be unveiled at Europe’s first Palestinian gallery, which opens in October.
Israeli cyber-war hackers and the fire next time / Richard Silverstein
Tikun Olam 11 Dec — Over the past few years, my blogging and freelance journalism has exposed Israeli national security secrets. I’ve revealed that Israel’s intelligence services along with those of Ukraine and Jordan conspired to kidnap a Gazan and bring him to prison in Israel, where he languishes without trial two years later. My reporting was the original basis of a 30-minute BBC radio documentary. I received top-secret FBI wiretap transcripts of conversations among Israeli diplomatic personnel undertaking a campaign facilitating war against Iran. I’ve exposed the identity of Jewish terrorists while they were under gag order and publication of their name was illegal inside Israel. For all this, I’ve come under attack from the pro-Israel far right within Israel. Some of these attacks have involved computer hacking. I presume these are “script-kiddies” rather than government sponsored agents, but that line can be thinly demarcated. As you will also see, the line between a computer professional working for a multi-national corporation and a hacker can be very thin as well.
Survey: Arab Internet users most politically outspoken worldwide
Al-Akhbar 13 Dec — Arab users of social media are the most politically vocal on social networks worldwide, despite less access to the Internet, American think tank the Pew Research Center revealed Wednesday. A survey of 20 nations regarding Internet and social media usage found that networkers in Middle Eastern countries were almost twice more likely than average to discuss politics than in other countries. The survey results give considerable credence to near-worldwide consensus that the Internet, and social networks in particular, were major driving forces in protests that have swept the Arab world over the last two years leading to massive overhauls in governance. Four Arab dictators were ousted by the protests.