Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid / Restriction of movement
Photo Essay: Israeli colonization of Hebron’s Old City
Muftah 12 Dec by Nick Newsom — Hebron is regarded by many as a microcosm of the Israeli occupation and colonization of Palestine. Israel’s regime of forced evictions and separation has profoundly impacted the lives of the 30,000 Palestinians living in Hebron’s H2 area under Israeli military law. To see and hear first-hand how these policies affect day to day life in Hebron and the West Bank, I participated in a guided tour with Youth Against Settlements (YAS), a “national Palestinian non-partisan activist group” seeking to expose the effects of the ongoing Israeli occupation of the West Bank. Since 1967 Jewish fundamentalists have been colonizing Hebron along with other tracts of the West Bank. Their ideology holds that Israel is the embodiment of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth and that it is their divine right to inhabit Yeretz Yisrael (‘Greater Israel’). Belief in this tenet of Zionism is shared by the incumbent right-wing Israel Likud party, which actively advocates settlement expansion in the West Bank..
Portion of Israeli apartheid wall rerouted in landmark case
AFP/Al-Akhbar 13 Dec — Israel’s High Court ordered the military on Thursday to reconsider the route of a portion of its apartheid wall, which was to pass through the West Bank village of Battir, an environmental NGO said. “The High Court this afternoon… ordered the military to present an alternative plan within 90 days,” the Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME) group said … The route of Israel’s apartheid wall in the West Bank has been challenged on multiple occasions, but the court decision comes after an unusual coalition jointly contested the portion due to pass through Battir … Battir, located west of Bethlehem, is famous for the terraces dating back thousands of years that the Palestinians hope will receive UNESCO World Heritage status next year.
Umm al-Sahali: Life in a fading Palestinian village
Al-Akhbar 13 Dec by Paul Karolyi — The Palestinian village of Umm al-Sahali is slowly being destroyed by the Israeli government. Home to 80 people living in 13 small houses, the residents of this village inside the green line are denied electricity and prevented from building new homes on their own land. This is in stark contrast to the Israeli towns nearby, which, even though they belong to the same municipality as Umm al-Sahali, are granted all the essentials. Each day, the Palestinian residents anticipate their uncertain futures. Every few months, a story appears in the back pages of Israeli newspapers about the demolition of a Palestinian’s home. This month, an entire unrecognized village is being threatened with destruction.
Court examines use of private guards in east J’lem
JPost 13 Dec — The High Court of Justice heard initial arguments on Wednesday afternoon regarding a petition by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel to block the use of private security guards for Jewish residents who live in predominantly Arab neighborhoods in east Jerusalem. The petition, filed in November 2011, claims the presence of private guards is unlawful and that security should be the responsibility of the Jerusalem police rather than a private contracting company. Roughly 350 armed security guards from the Modi’in Ezrahi company are employed in east Jerusalem. The company won a public tender from the Construction and Housing Ministry to provide security for Jewish residents living in places like Silwan and the Old City’s Muslim Quarter.
Hundreds of Jewish settlers storm Nabi Yusuf tomb, prompting clashes
NABLUS (PIC) 13 Dec — Hundreds of Jewish settlers arrived in Nabi Yusuf (Joseph) tomb east of Nablus city at midnight Wednesday and offered Talmudic rituals. Quds Press reported that the settlers arrived in buses after Israeli occupation forces (IOF) imposed a curfew on the city and escorted the settlers into the tomb. IOF soldiers stationed on rooftops of nearby houses fired teargas and stun grenades on young Palestinians who threw stones at the invading troops.
Violence / Clashes / Raids / Illegal arrests
Why was 17-year-old Muhammad killed?
[with video of the minutes after he was shot] 987mag 14 Dec by Noam R. — Muhammad Ziad Awad Salaymah from Hebron celebrated his 17th birthday yesterday. His mother sent him to buy a cake for the planned party, and when he left his home on his way to the bakery he was stopped at an army checkpoint, where he was shot to death by an officer from the Border Police unit. These are the facts. From here, each side has a different version … Those who knew Muhammad said that he was hard of hearing, which probably made it difficult for him to follow the instructions of the soldiers at the checkpoint, and that in any case, he couldn’t have done what the army claimed he did. Not yesterday, and not at any other time before. In the hours that followed, the police arrested Muhammad’s younger brother, and his father was hospitalized in fair condition. Five children between the ages of 8 and 14 were arrested, and five others injured…
I don’t know what happened at the checkpoint in Hebron and I don’t intend to judge any of the people involved. I can just say that the story of the Border Police officer sounds strange, to say the least. Luckily, the checkpoints in Hebron are monitored by Israeli security cameras, and I am sure that if her story is true, the IDF will release the video, showing a 17-year-old teen taking out a toy gun and holding it to the head of a soldier while the Border Police officer managed to shoot his body — not his head — no less than three times, despite the fact that according to her version, Muhammad’s body was hidden behind the captive soldier …
There is no doubt that it was N. who pulled the trigger and shot the bullets that took the life of Muhammad Salaymah. But it’s not she alone who is responsible for his death. The fact that the lives of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the Hebron area are being run by kids in uniform is the real crime. Officer N. has a commander, and her commander has a commander, and so on, all the way up to the prime minister, and every single one of them bears the responsibility for the death of a hearing impaired teen who celebrated his 17th birthday yesterday.
Hundreds mourn slain Palestinian teenager online and on the streets
Al-Akhbar/Ma‘an 13 Dec — Hundreds thronged the streets of Hebron to pay their final respects to Mohammed al-Salaymeh, a teenager who was viciously killed by an Israeli border guard Wednesday. Salaymeh was shot several times by the guard, identified as Nofar Mizrahi, and died nearly instantly. It was his 17th birthday. The Hebron native’s death has also made shockwaves on the Internet. Several of his photos, as well as calls to refer Mizrahi to the International Criminal Court, have been making the rounds on Facebook and Twitter. Dozens of pupils from the Tariq Bin Zayid school that Mohammed attended came to the funeral, a day after they celebrated his birthday with him. Five Palestinians were wounded and several others were detained during overnight protests that erupted upon news of Salaymeh’s death … Hebron governor Kamel Hmaid and Palestinian parliamentary speaker Aziz Dweik also participated in the funeral. Al-Salaymeh’s family said Israeli forces prevented them from burying Mohammed in the al-Raas cemetery next to their home as it is close to an Israeli settlement, Kiryat Arba. The funeral procession instead headed from al-Ansar mosque before laying him to rest in a cemetery in Limboa in the north of the city.
In Pictures: The funeral of shaheed Mohammad Zaid Awwad Salayam Dec 13 2012
‘We’ll be steadfast to our last breath': moving video of Hebron teen murdered by Israeli soldier
EI 13 Dec — A video has emerged of Palestinian teen Muhammad al-Salaymeh, who was shot dead by an Israeli soldier in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron yesterday, his 17th birthday. The video, posted on the Facebook page QNN is of an earlier television encounter between Muhammad and his older brother Awad, banished to Gaza after his release from prison by Israel in October 2011 as part of a prisoner exchange. In the video Awad and Muhammad chat, and when the host asks Muhammad what he wishes for, the teen answers, “I wish we could all be together, as one family, instead of separated.”
Palestinian police struggling to contain violent demonstrations in Hebron
Haaretz 13 Dec — Three Palestinians were reportedly injured after clashes broke out in Hebron Thursday, a day after Israeli Border Police forces shot and killed 17-year-old Muhamad Ziad Awad Salima. Large contingents of both Israel Defense Forces soldiers and police were dispatched to Hebron after Palestinian police were unable to contain the disorder, and amid assumptions that violent protests would continue, Following Salima’s funeral procession, hundreds of youths began clashing with IDF soldiers in Hebron. Soldiers dispersed the crowd with tear gas and rubber bullets. Throughout the day, IDF soldiers were targeted by rocks and firebombs. During the incident, a senior Palestinian police official arrived on the scene, and asked the IDF soldiers to cease firing, and retreat. The soldiers agreed, as roughly 50 officers from the Palestinian Authority’s protest-dispersal unit arrived. It appeared, however, that Palestinian Authority forces were unable to deal with the increasing intensity of the protests in the West Bank. The youths did not hesitate, and threw stones at the Palestinian police as well, while continuing to clash with the soldiers. A short time later, the Palestinian police left the scene, and the clashes continued. In the past, the arrival of Palestinian police on the scene, especially in urban areas, would cause the demonstrations to disperse. Today, however, it appears that the perception of the Palestinian Authority as relatively week, has been applied to police as well.
Dozens hurt in Hebron clashes, one critically
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 13 Dec — A Palestinian teenager was hit by live fire from Israeli forces during clashes in Hebron, witnesses said, a day after a 17-year-old was shot dead by troops in the city. Nasser Mohammad Wasfi Al-Sharabati, 17, was hit in the chest by a bullet in the Bab al-Zawiye area, a Ma‘an reporter said. Medics said he was in a serious condition…
Emergency services spokesman Nasser Kabbajh said during Thursday’s clashes 26 Palestinians were taken to Hebron governmental hospital and 12 to a medical clinic. Another 51 people were treated at the scene, he said. Some 21 Palestinians were wounded by rubber bullets during the clashes, he said.
Israeli soldiers assault two Reuters cameramen
HEBRON, West Bank (Reuters) 13 Dec — Israeli soldiers punched two Reuters cameramen and forced them to strip in the street, before letting off a tear gas canister in front of them, leaving one of them needing hospital treatment. Israel’s military said on Thursday it took the allegations seriously, but offered no explanation for the assault that occurred on Wednesday evening in the heart of Hebron … 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. They accused them of working for an Israeli NGO, B’Tselem, which documents human rights violations in the occupied West Bank, the Reuters cameramen said. … The soldiers did not let the men produce their official ID papers and forced them to strip down to their underwear, making them kneel on the road with their hands behind their heads, the cameramen said. Two other Palestinian journalists working for local news organizations, including a satellite television station affiliated to the Islamist group Hamas, were also stopped and forced to the ground.
Journalists syndicate condemns Israel targeting of journalists
RAMALLAH 13 Dec – Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate (PJS) condemned the recent Israeli assault targeting Palestinian journalists in Hebron and the arrest of one of them, said a PJS press release on Thursday. It said that there is a programmed escalation targeting reporters and photojournalists that requires an immediate action by rights groups on the Arab and international level … Reports said that the soldiers used excessive force against the journalists, forcing them to take off their clothing and confiscating their cameras.
Human rights organizations in Israel condemn the Israeli military’s raid on Palestinian human rights and civil society organizations
B’Tselem 12 Dec — The undersigned organizations protest yesterday’s aggressive treatment of three Palestinian civil society organizations by the Israeli military and demand that all property seized be restored and that the work of civil society organizations — and especially those comprised of human rights defenders – be protected and respected. [Signed by Adalah, ACRI, B’Tselem, Gisha, Hamoked, PHR-Israel, PCATI, RHR, Yesh Din]
Raids and arrests in al-Khalil against liberated prisoners
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 13 Dec — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) launched, on Thursday morning, a wide raid and arrest campaign in the city of al-Khalil [Hebron], targeting a number of liberated prisoners and former detainees, in addition to raiding a number of journalists’ houses. Al-Heimoni family told PIC that the IOF stormed and searched their house, on Wednesday night, and arrested her son Mo’az, taking him to an unknown destination. Mo’az is a liberated prisoner who was released two months ago, and it is scheduled that his brother Muhannad would be released on Thursday morning after nine months in Israeli jails…
Furthermore, Occupation forces stormed at dawn on Thursday the writer Lama Khater’s house in the city of al-Khalil. Sources told PIC reporter that the Israeli soldiers raided Khater’s house in the city and searched it, confiscating her computer and important papers, after interrogating her and her husband about her participation in Hamas festival celebrating the movement’s inception in West Bank. For its part, the PA security apparatuses warned the movement’s supporters and members in al-Khalil not to participate in the festival, in addition to summoning members of the movement to the headquarters of the security services.
Witnesses: 2 teens detained at Bethlehem protest
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 Dec — Two Palestinian children were detained by Israeli forces on Thursday afternoon during a protest against the killing of a teenager in Hebron a day earlier, according to witnesses. A demonstration was held near Bethlehem’s Aida refugee camp to condemn the fatal shooting of Muhammad Salaymeh in Hebron’s Old City on Wednesday. Israeli troops seized Hilmy al-Qaisi, 15, near the area, relatives told Ma‘an. The other child was identified as 12-year-old Motasem al-Amir by Palestinian Authority news agency Wafa.
Settlers attack children in Hebron
ISM 13 Dec — After school on the 13th of December in Al Khalil (Hebron) two children were attacked by a group of settlers. Younes Azzeh, age nine, and his sister Raghad Azzeh, age fourteen, were attacked by three male settlers that are speculated to be between seventeen and nineteen years old. Younes was kicked in the shins, thighs and generally roughed up as Raghad was accosted by a hurled stone hitting her lower back. The attacks ensued as the children were walking home after school at around one o’clock in the afternoon. Their families’ house is next door to the Ramat Yeshay settlement which has historically caused numerous problems for Hashem Azzeh’s family, who is the father of the children. The Azzeh family is of the few Palestinians allowed to walk on the road close to where the incident took place besides Zionists. The incident took place around checkpoint 57 in Tel Rumeida, this means that Israeli soldiers were nearby while the aggression took place.
Israeli soldiers detain 4 Palestinians in Jenin raids
JENIN (Ma‘an) 13 Dec — Israeli forces detained four Palestinians early Thursday in the Jenin district of the northern West Bank, locals said. Soldiers raided several homes in the city of Jenin, firing stun grenades, and detained Mohammad Ngengah, Ashraf Jaradat, and Wael al-Ghazawi, a Ma‘an reporter said. In al-Yamun village, northwest of the city, soldiers detained Ahmad Salim, witnesses told Ma‘an.
Also Thursday, soldiers detained four Palestinians, aged between 8 and 14, on their way to school in Hebron in the southern West Bank.
Gaza rally demands release of hunger strikers
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 13 Dec — Protesters rallied in Gaza City on Thursday demanding the release of long-term hunger strikers from Israeli jails. Ayman Sharawneh has been on hunger strike for 166 days and Samer al-Issawi has refused food for 135 days. Both were rearrested after their release in Oct. 2011 in a prisoner swap deal between Hamas and Israel.
Urgent court meeting to discuss issue of hunger strikers Issawi and Sharawna
RAMALLAH (PIC) 13 Dec — The Palestinian prisoner society said the Israeli military court of Ofer prison decided to hold an urgent session on Thursday to discuss the issue of hunger strikers Samer Issawi and Ayman Sharawna. Director of its legal units Jawad Boulos stated in a press release that the Israeli court told him they would embark on writing verdicts regarding prisoner Issawi and Sharawna. The Israeli decisions in this regard came after pressures by different international human rights groups.
Blind Palestinian released from Israeli captivity
RAMALLAH (PIC) 13 Dec — The Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) released Sheikh Ali Hanun after 14 months of administrative detention, without trial or charge, the Ahrar center for human rights said on Thursday. Director of the center Fuad Al-Khafsh said that despite Hanun’s blindness the IOA detained him on six separate occasions and held him in custody for five years on aggregate.
UN: 3,000 homeless after Israeli offensive against Gaza
MEMO 13 Dec — The UN has said that the recent Israeli military offensive against the Gaza Strip left more than 3,000 Palestinians homeless after their houses were completely destroyed by Israel’s bombardment. The Humanitarian Coordinator of the United Nations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, James Rowley, told UN radio, “For the second time [in 4 years], civilians in Gaza have borne the brunt of the Israeli attacks.” He also said that the situation in Gaza is “unsustainable” … According to the UN official, more than 1.3m Palestinians in Gaza – 80 per cent of the population - live on aid, including 800,000 who are dependent on what they get from UNRWA, the UN Agency responsible for Palestinian refugees. “The latest war aggravated their already devastated life,” Rowley added.
The civilian toll of Israel’s bombs / Eva Bartlett
In Gaza 11 Dec [shorter version without most photos pub. by IPS 10 Dec] — When Israeli bombs struck the Abu Khadra complex for civil administration, they also gutted the sixth floor of the Abu Shabaan complex, located ten metres across the road. According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), eight Israeli warplane-fired bombs levelled roughly half of the government compound in eastern Gaza City in the early hours of Nov. 21. The bombings also took a considerable toll on the homes and businesses nearby, including the Gaza bureau of Al Jazeera. Over 50 percent of the private medical centre in the Abu Shabaan building was destroyed, says Dr. Naim Shariff (42), owner of the Benoon In Vitro Fertilisation clinic. Two weeks after the bombing tore apart the sixth floor and ravaged the fifth floor, Shariff has re-paned the windows, ordered new specialised machinery, and re-opened for clients. “The problem with replacing my machines and equipment is that most of it doesn’t exist in Gaza. It takes months to arrive and costs more money than it would elsewhere,” he says. “What else can I do but start again? There’s no insurance here for war damages.”
Europe gets a taste of Palestinian strawberries
Reuters 13 Dec — Farmers in Gaza’s Beit Lahia are out in force in the coastal enclave’s strawberry fields. Israel has given them the green light to start exporting their produce to Europe, and the farmers are keen to fill as many boxes with their locally grown produce. But strawberry farming is a costly and labor intensive process, and the farmers have already suffered a huge loss due to an export ban imposed on them by the Jewish state. Observing those at work is Ahmed al-Shafai, Head of the Gaza Association for Marketing Fruit And Vegetables. According to al-Shafai farmers in the coastal enclave have lost more than 300,000 U.S dollars due to Israeli export restrictions. “We thought we were going to export on the 18th November, but Israel only gave us the permit from 2nd December, which meant that farmers suffer a great loss. How? Well instead of exporting the strawberries we sold them in Gaza for four shekels a kilo, when it was meant to be sold in Europe for 22 shekels, so we lost 18 shekels per kilo…”
Qatar-funded reconstruction projects launched in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 13 Dec — The government in the Gaza Strip launched a Qatari-funded reconstruction drive in the coastal enclave on Thursday, saying there was much more work to be done after Israel’s latest assault. Gaza premier Ismail Haniyeh said he will soon travel to Qatar and several other Arab and Islamic countries to discuss further aid to the reconstruction process.
Kuwait gives ANERA $1 million for Gaza children
PNN 14 Dec — ANERA (American Near East Refugee Aid) announced in a press release that the government of Kuwait gave a donation of $1 million to fund ANERA’s work with children in Gaza … This is the third of Kuwait’s continuous contributions for work in Gaza. Earlier $1 million gifts helped ANERA operate its Milk for Preschoolers program, expand early childhood development projects and renovate more than 40 preschools in Gaza to create a safe learning environment where children can learn and express their creativity
Solidarity / BDS
South African Christian Church delegation ‘traumatized’ by Palestine-Israel visit
A delegation of South African Christian Church leaders has just returned from a one-week solidarity visit to the holy cities of Bethlehem and Jerusalem in Palestine-Israel. On their return, they released this joint statement [extracts]: “Being South African, it felt like walking into another apartheid ambush. We witnessed violations of international law on so many levels – the multiple Israeli house demolitions, the discriminatory Israeli legal system, the daily intimidation of Palestinians by the Israeli Defence Forces, the Israeli Apartheid Wall and its associated regime of restrictions on movement and access for Palestinians, the imprisonment of a large percentage of Palestinians (including children), the ongoing confiscation of Palestinian water and land, the closure of previously bustling Palestinian streets and businesses, separate pavements for Israelis and Palestinians…” “We did not expect the extent to which Israel violates international law to oppress the Palestinian people. Our exposure to the Palestinian East Jerusalem and the Israeli-Occupied West Bank was overwhelming, one which traumatised us….”
NZ Super fund kicks out companies
Financial Standard 13 Dec — Three construction companies have been kicked out of the $20 billion New Zealand Superannuation [pension] Fund’s investment portfolio for allegedly breaking international laws in Palestine. Listed companies Africa Israel and its subsidiary Danya Cebus, Elbit Shikun & Binui in which the fund had small allocations through its passive equities portfolio have now been excluded. It’s understood that their exclusion follows work the companies did in the Occupied Palestinian Territories which was found to be illegal by the United Nations.Israeli settlements and separation barriers constructed by the three companies in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are illegal under international laws, said Anne-Maree O’Connor, the fund’s responsible investments officer.
Australian research centre joins academic boycott of Israel
MEMO 13 Dec — The academic boycott of Israel has widened, it has been reported, with an Australian research institute rejecting a proposal on the grounds that it involves Israelis. According to The Australian newspaper on Wednesday, the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies closed the door to cooperation with Tel Aviv and decided on a boycott in response to Israel’s policies towards Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.
‘Why I boycott Israel’ / Jake Lynch
New Matilda 13 Dec — Sydney University academic Jake Lynch has come under fire this week for his stance on Israel. Today he argues his case: Palestinians and dissenting Israelis need international support to achieve justice
Thousands celebrate Hamas anniversary in West Bank
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 13 Dec — Thousands of Hamas supporters rallied in the West Bank on Thursday for the first time since the movement’s violent split from Fatah in 2007. The festival in Nablus celebrated the 25th anniversary of the founding of Hamas under the banner “Sijjil stones are the path to freedom,” in reference to a Quranic verse [and to the Hamas name for the resistance to the recent Israeli assault on Gaza] … Khalif Assaf, who heads a coalition of independent leaders, said the festival marked the beginning of the end of national division. “We tell all those who try to block the reconciliation, enough! The people have spoken that it’s time to reconcile,” Assaf told Ma‘an. Amid a sea of green Hamas flags, demonstrators chanted: “From Gaza to the West Bank, our unity is honorable, a national reconciliation, Fatah, Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.”
A day earlier President Mahmoud Abbas phoned Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal to discuss the possibility of ending the division according to prior agreements, a Fatah official said.
Photos: Hamas marks 25th anniversary in Nablus, Dec 13 2012
13 Dec – Photos by AP, Paldf, AFP, SAFA, WAFA,
Hamas rallies in Fatah-dominated West Bank suggest growing Palestinian unity / Harriet Sherwood
Guardian 13 Dec — Thousands of jubilant Hamas supporters openly raised green flags in the West Bank on Thursday for the first time in more than five years, to celebrate the Islamic organisation’s 25th anniversary. In a sign of Palestinian political leaders’ more active support for reconciliation between the two main rival factions, Fatah – the dominant force in the West Bank – permitted Hamas to hold a rally in Nablus and a second in Hebron on Friday. Hamas reciprocated by allowing Fatah supporters to take to the streets in Gaza.
Israeli Racism / Discrimination
Video: Anti-African KKKhanukah rally #2
Blue Pilgrimage by David Sheen. English subtitles. Tel Aviv – December 10, 2012: This event was (A) a celebration of the Jewish holiday of Chanukah (B) a political rally for the Strength For Israel party & (C) a protest to deport all the non-Jewish African asylum-seekers out of Israel. [Warning: some of the people in this video are clearly unbalanced.]
Tel Aviv kindergarten visit marred by racism
Ynet 12 Dec — An innocent visit by children of African asylum seekers at central Tel Aviv kindergartens, turned into a heated argument between parents. The management of the kindergarten, run during Hanukkah in the Sheinkin neighborhood, initiated a 35-child visit from South Tel Aviv as part of their African studies program. Most of the parents did not object, but some feared that the visit may place their children in harm’s way. This started a two-way blame game and led to the cancellation of other such visits.
Palestinian statehood: What do the refugees get?
BEIRUT (Al-Akhbar) 13 Dec by Qassem Qassem — Mahmoud Abbas arrived at the UN General Assembly as president of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and returned as president of the Palestinian state. What does it mean now that the millions of Palestinian refugees scattered throughout the world have a state? Are they now simply considered an émigré community in their countries of refuge? Will their legal status change from refugees to expats? How will statehood benefit these refugees, who can’t even visit this country, and which in turn cannot provide them with the most basic rights of citizenship? And, most importantly, will these refugees accept that their new state is a mere 22 percent of their original homeland?
Refugees protest UNRWA dismissals
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 Dec — Refugees continued to protest UNRWA cuts in West Bank camps on Thursday, burning tires and forcing staff from their offices. Demonstrators shut down the UN agency’s offices across the West Bank for the second day in protest over the dismissal of 130 employees and cuts to services.
Four more Palestinians killed in Syria conflict
DAMASCUS (PIC) 13 Dec — Four Palestinian refugees were killed in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus on Wednesday bringing the number of Palestinian victims in the ongoing Syrian internal strife to 731 since mid-March 2011. The group for Palestinians in Syria announced in a statement on Thursday that the four were killed in the armed confrontations between the regular Syrian army and the free army of the opposition … The group underlined that the Palestinian refugee camps in Syria were suffering growing shortages in bread and fuel.
Opinion / Analysis / Human interest
A week in photos: December 6-12
13 Dec — Mustafa Tamimi is remembered in Nabi Saleh and Tel Aviv, where thousands marched for human rights; actions for animal and housing rights; an eye on settlement expansion; and more. Activestills images tell the stories of the week.
Understanding Hamas at 25: Beyond the tired language / Ramzy Baroud
Pal. Chron.12 Dec — “In a moment of high theatre he dropped to his knees, placed his lips on the ground and kissed the land he has commanded by proxy”. This is how Robert Tait of the British Telegraph worded the moment Khaled Meshaal arrived in Gaza on Dec 07. Tait’s report on what many in Gaza and elsewhere consider a watershed event in the history of the Islamic movement, was mostly consistent with mainstream reporting on any event concerning the impoverished and besieged Strip: often biased, selective and devoid of real understanding or empathy. Media reporting on Hamas is doubly provocative, controversial and similar to political stances towards Hamas. However, in the eyes of Israel, through the prism of its media and among Israel’s western supporters, Hamas is an unequaled terrorist organization, sworn to destroy Israel and unlike the other ‘moderate’ Palestinians – for example, western-backed Palestinian Authority — it refuses to recognize Israel’s ‘right to exist’. The latter point was faithfully emphasized by Tait. He, like many others, unthinkingly or deliberately fails to question the incredulous condition placed on a relatively small movement as it faces a powerful and habitually brutal military … an unpretentious analysis requires breaking away from all the fixed ideas and preemptive conclusions, where Hamas is neither a violence-driven menace nor a flawless organization with a perfect track record; neither a brainchild of Israeli intelligence, nor a political conduit of Qatar.
BBC admits pandering to Israeli propaganda / Amena Saleem
EI 14 Dec — One of the most consistent aspects of the BBC’s reporting of Gaza and Israel is the insistence of its journalists that any “outbreak of violence” is the fault of the Palestinians. When Israel bombs or shells Gaza, this is unfailingly reported by the BBC as being in “response” or “retaliation” to rockets being fired from the blockaded territory. The unflinching regularity of this one-sided reporting by the UK’s state broadcaster is meticulously recorded in More Bad News from Israel, the book by Greg Philo and Mike Berry which contains research by the Glasgow Media Unit into the BBC’s reporting of the occupation. The BBC’s coverage of Israel’s most recent assault on Gaza in November was no exception.
Gaza 2012: Palestine’s long walk to freedom / Haidar Eid
Al-Akhbar 12 Dec — The long walk to South Africa’s freedom is marked by two immensely tragic events: the Sharpeville massacre in 1960 and the Soweto Uprising in 1976, both of which led to the galvanizing of internal and international resistance against the apartheid regime. Ultimately, these events would lead to the long-called for release of Nelson Mandela and to the end of one of the most inhumane systems the world has ever seen. Without Sharpeville and Soweto, among other landmarks towards victory over settler colonialism, South Africa would still be ruled by a minority of fanatic, white settlers claiming to fulfill the word of (their) God. Palestine’s long walk to freedom has gone through similar harrowing events, beginning with the 1948 Nakba to the latest eight-day onslaught on Gaza. In order to understand Gaza in 2012, one ought to trace its origin back to 1948. Two thirds of the Palestinians of Gaza are refugees who were kicked out of their cities, towns, and villages in 1948.
An IDF soldier’s honorable retreat / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 13 Dec — The latest scandal has yet to die down: Palestinian cameras documented IDF soldiers fleeing for their lives in Hebron and Kadum. The incident sparked all the typical Israeli responses: The “embarrassment” caused to the soldiers, the “achievement” of the Palestinians, the “loss of deterrence” of the IDF, the “fear” every soldier has of a Military Police investigation, and the “damage” caused by the affair. In a nutshell, the Israeli machismo, wounded and shamed … But it would have been much more unpleasant for Israelis if once again a few rock-throwing Palestinian children had been killed in their name. A healthy society should actually have been proud of soldiers who did not shoot and did not kill for once. Hardly anyone said that. For a moment it seemed that Israelis had already seen in their minds all the Arabs throwing us into the sea, like the soldiers in Kadum … The IDF should be proud of the pictures from Hebron and Kadum. The army should tell that to its soldiers. Don’t we prefer soldiers who don’t kill children? Aren’t we more proud of an army that keeps its soldiers from killing children? Apparently not.
Israel needs diplomatic Iron Dome / Yaakov Livne
Al-Monitor Translated from Maariv 12 Dec — Israel experienced in the past weeks two highly significant events that have far-reaching implications for its future. The first was Operation Pillar of Defense, and the other was the UN General Assembly resolution to grant Palestine the status of an observer state in the international body … In Operation Pillar of Defense, Israel demonstrated that it was not willing to put up with Hamas’ threats, nor was it helpless in face of those threats … However, having scored a success on the military front, Israel has failed to cope in the diplomatic arena with the Palestinian Authority’s bid to gain unilateral statehood recognition at the United Nations. Our diplomatic failures in recent years are indeed quite surprising, as Israel boasted an impressive past record in the diplomatic arena … And while the existential struggle waged by Israel is ever more dependent on diplomacy, the international arena has now become our Achilles heel. The Iron Dome system was built in response to the ongoing rocket attacks on Israel. However, we are now threatened by diplomatic ‘missiles’ and we have to come up with an appropriate response to this threat, as well.
Interview: Palestinian-American comedian takes show on identity to Beirut
Al Monitor 9 Dec — After five years on the road, Jennifer Jajeh’s widely publicized one-woman “I Heart Hamas” comedy tour is drawing to a close. That she chose Beirut — her only leg in the Arab world — as one of her final stops is fitting for a journey that has taken the Palestinian-American across the United States and that will end in London next month. Despite admitting that an Arab audience was “not my target audience,” Jajeh was keen to avoid “preaching to the choir” to a Beirut crowd that was “obviously very aware of the issues.” Jajeh presented a comical, and at times depressing, transformation of her Palestinian identity from being a member of a migrant community with set stereotypes in the US, to that of a people under occupation during the Second Intifada (2000-2001).