Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid
Word of the Day / Yihud: conversion not of the mind, but of the land
Haaretz 9 Aug by Judd Yadid — In Hebrew, the verb to Judaize means not to convert someone to Judaism, but rather to entrench Jewish control over territory — From the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, a consequential process has been revolutionizing the human and natural environment for over a century. Beginning with the first Zionist immigrants and continuing on into the present day, yihud [yi-HOOD], Judaization, is the term used to describe Israel’s official spatial policy. So whereas the verb legayer means to convert someone to Judaism, leyahed is used to describe a geo-demographic kind of transformation: to create a Jewish majority in a given area. Yihud has been an official policy of successive Israeli governments, which cite the need to ensure the country’s territorial integrity and also to redress the disparity in its population distribution, densely packed in the center of the country as it is. Moreover, some see Judaization as the earthly tool of achieving a divine promise — claiming the Land of Israel in its entirety for the People of Israel.
Despite renewal of peace talks, Israel approves plans for hundreds of residential units in West Bank settlements
[with map/diagram] Haaretz 8 Aug by Chaim Levinson – Some 550 units in the settlements of Talmon, 60 in Alon Shvut and 38 in Kokhav Yaakov have been approved, out of a total 878; discussion of some of the plans had been postponed amid renewal of negotiations with the Palestinians.
Video interview: Architects help envision Palestine’s landscape after apartheid
Electronic Intifada 7 Aug by Nora Barrows-Friedman — A fascinating, in-depth interview with a former researcher with Decolonizing Architecture was published this week by Toronto-based writer and interviewer Justin Podur. A collective of architects and artists doing political work on the ground in occupied Palestine, Decolonizing Architecture’s work “combines discourse, spatial intervention, education, collective learning, public meetings and legal challenges … It proposes the subversion, reuse, profanation and recycling of the existing infrastructure of a colonial occupation,” according to its website. In recent years, members of the Decolonizing Architecture collective have worked in the occupied West Bank to reclaim land and, envisioning for the future, re-map the land inside and around illegal Israeli settlement colonies in preparation for a post-apartheid era.
Facing Al Aqaba, a multi-media installation for ArtPrize
[with videos] Meet the men, women & children of the Palestinian village Al Aqaba with photography & interactive video during ArtPrize and beyond … Facing Al Aqaba is the first of an on-going series of projects created by the Circus of the Mind international team of photographers, video producers, writers, teachers and designers. Our documentary philosophy is based on the educational axiom: Tell me and I will forget….show me and I may remember….engage me and I will understand. No subject better exemplifies this mission than the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. It is complex, multi-layered with two dramatically polar narratives, and is indeed highly contested. The documentary’s focal point is the Palestinian village of Al Aqaba. It is tiny, 300 current residents, mostly children, but at the same time it is a dynamic microcosm of conditions found in Area C of the West Bank, a highly contested piece of land, smaller than the state of Delaware. Our mission is to facilitate a framework for the villagers to speak for themselves, to share their stories and to present questions for you to consider.
A deceptive blue piece of paper
IMEMC 7 Aug — Jerusalem: a city considered a capital by two countries and a key issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There is an ongoing ethnical cleansing of the city’s eastern parts that’s striving to remove the Arab population. The tool of the cleansing is a piece of paper, more specifically an ID card. We are now going to take a closer look at how. Around 2002 the separation wall was being constructed, cutting off East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank. The Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem were therefore given the blue Israeli ID cards to be able to stay in the area. These cards however, do not make every Jerusalemite an Israeli citizen since the cards the Palestinians receive do not say “citizen” but only “resident”. These cards might seem like an easy ticket to secure residency in the holy city, but it is far from easy to receive. As a Palestinian you are not allowed residency in East Jerusalem unless both your parents lived in the area. This might seem ironic in comparison to Israel’s birthright policy stating that it is enough having one parent of Jewish descent to be entitled to live in the holy land.
Israelis fleeing from north and south, heading for West Bank hills
Times of Israel 7 Aug by Haviv Rettig Gur — Study shows steady decline in Negev and Galilee, population hike in settlements; MK in charge of strengthening the ‘periphery’ blasts government … The study, based on Housing and Construction Ministry figures and submitted this week to the Knesset Finance Committee, also found a population decline in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv as Israelis increasingly move into neighboring suburbs. The figures are a blow to the country’s longstanding policy of trying to promote growth in peripheral areas, though some officials charge that the goal has been abandoned, as evidenced by a state funding priorities map released this week which added several West Bank settlements. The figures in the report reflect primarily the movement of the Jewish population, according to Knesset researchers. The Arab population in the north and south is remaining in those areas, according to the Maariv daily, which first reported on the study Wednesday.
Bedouins complain: Polio vaccinations stop short of our communities
Ynet 6 Aug by Yaron Kelner — Mobile clinic failed to show up, baby clinic in Rahat closed, Bedouins accuse Health Ministry. Rahat mayor says made effort to increase awareness, but residents had nowhere to turn
Restriction of movement
Israel blocked me from going to my own wedding
Chicago (Electronic Intifada) 8 Aug by Mohammed Kartoum — When I was a small child, I moved from the US to Palestine. I moved to my father’s village of Kufr Malik, near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. My father has a Palestinian identity card or hawiyye. My mother, however, was born in Jordan to a Palestinian refugee family, so she carries a Jordanian and a US passport. My parents both decided early on that they wanted to raise me and my three younger siblings in our homeland to ensure that we maintain our language and culture. Up until 2006, Palestine was my home. In early 2006, our family came to the US for better job and education opportunities. We planned to keep our house in Palestine and come back for the summers, at least. But when I tried to visit Palestine in the summer of 2008, I was denied entry and banned for five years. This was because of a technicality — the Israeli airport security personnel apparently found in their system that my mother at one point overstayed her visa when she was in Palestine trying to raise me and my three siblings. I was being punished for something I had no idea about as a child. In 2012, I finally attempted to try and enter the country again. Fortunately, I was allowed in. It was during this visit when I met Marjan, who I fell in love with. She eventually became my fiancée. Throughout the past two years, Marjan and I planned to have a beautiful wedding celebration with our family and friends in Palestine on 11 August this year. I planned on bringing her with me back to Chicago after the wedding.
Childbirth in Palestine (info-graphic visual)
Birmingham City Univ. Palestine Society 7 Aug — Here’s an Info-graphic showing showing how difficult it is for a woman in West Bank, Palestine , to travel to the hospital in time to give birth due to the 500+ Israeli checkpoints … In a case study, 35/69 babies and 5 of the mothers died, an outcome which is considered to amount to a crime against humanity.
Violence / Raids / Violent suppression of protests / Clashes / Illegal arrests
Several Palestinians injured in Al-Khader
IMEMC 10 Aug — Ahmad Salah, Coordinator of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in al-Khader, told the WAFA News Agency that the soldiers fires gas bombs at residents, including children, celebrating Al-Fitr Muslim feast, in At-Tal area in the Old Town, in al-Khader. Several residents suffocated after inhaling gas fired by the army, and received treatment by field medics. Salah said that Israeli soldiers, stationed near the al-Khader Stadium, deliberately targeted the residents, and the children playing in the area and celebrating the feast.
Two days ago, soldiers fired gas bombs at the residents while leaving the al-Khader Stadium following a soccer match between two local teams. The match is part of the Abu Ammar (Yasser Arafat Cup) held in the West Bank. The attack led to several injuries among the residents.
WATCH: Qaddum celebrates two years of popular struggle
Israeli Social TV 7 Aug — Palestinians in the village Qaddum, near Nablus, hold celebrations marking two years of struggle against the annexation of their lands to the settlement of Kedumim and against the Israeli army blocking the main access road into and out of the village.
Ongoing resistance in Bil‘in
[photos] Bil‘in, Occupied Palestine (Friends of Freedom and Justice) 9 Aug — Resistance in Bil‘in continued on the second day of the Eid Al Fitr holiday, in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in their hunger strike. One female activist was arrested and there were dozens of cases of teargas suffocation in the Bil‘in weekly march … The participants raised Palestinian flags and chanted slogans calling for the end of the occupation, the demolition of the apartheid wall and the liberation of the Palestinian political prisoners. Upon the arrival of participants to the area the gate was already open, and military jeeps proceeded into the area prior to the demonstration. Israeli soldiers attacked the area and chased the participants in an attempt to arrest them. They succeeded in arresting one female Swiss activist. The ambulance crew was fired upon deliberately and soldiers initiated confrontation with journalists in the area. In addition, the Israeli military fired a large quantity of teargas canisters, sound grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets at the demonstrators, which led to some suffocation cases that were treated in the field.
When the IDF wants to protect Palestinians, it’s almost able
972blog 9 Aug by Yesh Din, written by Yossi Gurvitz — What we can learn from the IDF’s farcical attempts to prevent settlers from damaging relations with the U.S. — Recently, a USAID project put Israel and the US on a collision course. The story, as published this week by the Israeli news outlet Walla (Hebrew), begins with a water cistern facility built by USAID in the village of ‘Assira A Qabaliya, near Nablus. Unfortunately for the project, which merely tries to provide Palestinian villages with some clean water – a project which won the approval of the IDF’s Civil Administration, unlike, say, all of the illegal outposts – it happens to be near Yizhar, one of the most troublesome outposts around. The people of Yizhar, noted Walla, dislike the project. They claim it will “serve terrorism.” Because, as everyone knows, everything the Palestinians do is terrorism … The USAID people found themselves under a constant terror attack, with Walla noting that “inter alia, the rioters from Yizhar set fire to a building created for work purposes several times, while using petrol bombs. In another case, security guards were attacked, and on quite a few occasions, the morning revealed graffiti written during the night, including ‘price tag’ and ‘death to Arabs.’” As per protocol. The USAID people remembered that the territories are ruled by Israel, and that its government has an ambassador in Israel. Therefore, reported Walla, Ambassador Shapiro quickly contacted the IDF — which stands in the shoes of the sovereign in the West Bank– and asked the Coordinator of Government Activity in the Territories, General Dangot, that “the IDF defend the project from the residents of Yizhar.” Dangot delivered the hot potato to the General Commanding Central Command, Nitzan Alon. Here things got mixed up.
Clashes in Jenin as Israeli forces detain Jihad leader
JENIN (Ma‘an) 7 Aug — Palestinians clashed with Israeli forces in Jenin early Wednesday as soldiers detained an Islamic Jihad leader in the northern West Bank city. Around 12 Israeli army jeeps entered Jenin before dawn and detained Abed al-Halim Ezz al-Din after raiding his home, locals told Ma‘an. Palestinians threw rocks and empty bottles at the forces, who fired dozens of tear gas grenades, they added.
An Israeli military spokesman said soldiers detained two Palestinians in Jenin, as well as two in Nablus, one in Qalandiya and another in Beit Liqya.
In Nablus, Israeli forces detained 31-year-old journalist Mohammad Anwar Muna during a raid on his home. Muna works for [Iranian] Al-Quds Press. Soldiers confiscated his computer and cell phone, locals told Ma‘an. Ahmad Mohammad Abu Jamous, 30, was also detained in Nablus, locals said. Meanwhile, soldiers handed out several orders summoning Palestinians in Nablus to attend questioning with Israeli intelligence, they added.
Five injured, two children kidnapped, near Hebron
IMEMC [Wednesday at dawn August 7, 2013] — Mohammad Awad, coordinator of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Beit Ummar, stated that dozens of soldiers invaded the town, and kidnapped two children identified as Mustafa Mohammad Awad, 16, and Ramzi Abdul-Hamid Al-‘Allamy, 15. Both children were taken prisoner from their homes, while the soldiers also violently attacked and beat Al-‘Allamy. Awad added that violent clashes took place in the town as local youths hurled stones at the invading soldiers. The army fired gas bombs and dozens of rubber-coated metal bullets. He said that resident Ahmad Khalil Abu Hashem, 21, was shot by a rubber-coated bullet in his left shoulder, and another resident identified as Aktam Yousef Ikhlayyil, was shot in his abdomen and right arm. They were moved to the Hebron Government Hospital suffering moderate injuries.
Three more Palestinians suffered mild injuries after being hit by rubber-coated metal bullets, and were treated by local medics … Several families had to leave their homes at dawn due to the large number of gas bombs fired by the army. Awad said that clashes took place in several main areas in the town, and that a number of youths hurled Molotov cocktails at a armored Israeli military vehicles; one armored troop carrier was burnt, no injuries have been reported among the soldiers. Several soldiers also broke into a number of homes, and violently searched them causing property damage, and terrifying the residents, especially the children…
Another resident was also kidnapped in Teqoua‘ village, near Bethlehem. [and this on the eve of one of the two major Muslim holidays, after a month of daylight fasting]
20 Palestinians arrested after Eid prayers
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 9 Aug — The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) arrested Thursday more than twenty Palestinians after their arrival from occupied Jerusalem. The Israeli soldiers have set up makeshift roadblocks throughout occupied Jerusalem directly after Eid prayers searching for Palestinian youths who spent the last ten days of the holy month of Ramadan in al-Aqsa mosque, eyewitnesses told PIC reporter. The sources added that the Israeli soldiers stopped all buses heading from occupied Jerusalem to West Bank cities where they checked their identity cards and arrested those who entered the city without permits. The soldiers transferred the detainees to Atarot interrogation center.
IOF arrests a Palestinian child while playing with a plastic toy gun
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 9 Aug — The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) arrested on the first day of Eid al-Fitr holiday a Palestinian child in al-Khalil in the southern occupied West Bank, after he pointed his plastic toy gun at a group of Israeli soldiers. Spokesperson of the Popular Committee to Resist the Wall and Settlement in Beit Ummar, Mohammad Awad, confirmed that the IOF arrested the 14-year-old child Diaa Khalil Alami, from Beit Ummar, under the pretext of possessing a plastic toy gun and directing it at the Israeli soldiers while playing with his neighborhood friends. A few hours later, the child was released after the Palestinian military liaison intervened, Awad added.
Video interview (3 minutes): Palestinian boy paralyzed by bullet expects no justice
Electronic Intifada 8 Aug by Benjamin Doherty — Atta Muhammad Atta Sabah is a 12-year-old Palestinian boy who was shot by an Israeli soldier on 21 May 2013 in Jalazoun refugee camp near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank as he attempted to retrieve his school bag. The injury left him paralyzed below the waist and damaged his liver, lungs, pancreas and spleen. Contemporaneous reports include typical Israeli army assertions that soldiers were firing at protestors throwing rocks and molotov cocktails …In a video interview published today by DCI-Palestine, Atta and his mother tell their story. “He would go straight to school and come back, and he has an attachment to his pets, all his time was spent with his birds and pigeons. He was never interested in soldiers or clashes.”
IOF rounded up 100 Palestinians in Al-Khalil during Ramadan
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 8 Aug — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) rounded up 100 Palestinians in Al-Khalil province during the month of Ramadan including 30 minors, a report said. The Palestinian prisoner’s society said in a report on Wednesday that the IOF in cooperation with the Shabak launched the largest arrest campaign ever in Al-Khalil in Ramadan. The report charged that the soldiers humiliated and harassed citizens during the arrest campaigns, describing the arrest measures as savage and vengeful … The report pointed out that in addition to 30 detainees under 18 years old the IOF did not spare students and rounded up 28 of them in the same period, mostly university students.
PA security celebrates Eid by arresting three Hamas supporters
WEST BANK (PIC) 9 Aug — The PA security started Eid by arresting three Hamas supporters from al-Khalil and Ramallah, two of them were arrested as soon as they were released from a PA jail. In al-Khalil district the PA security arrested Radi Qaqur from Tarqumia town, who spent three years in occupation jails and was previously a political prisoner in PA jails. In Ramallah, the PA General Intelligence re-arrested on Monday afternoon Islam Saleh, 23, the son of imprisoned Hamas leader Sheikh Saleh Dar Musa, moments after being released on an a surety of JD 500. The PA Intelligence also arrested Muhammad Hani Asi moments after he left their headquarters despite the fact that the military prosecutor had ordered his release. The families of the two political prisoners called for their release, saying that there was no other name for their detention other than political detention.
Anxious Eid for family of prisoner in Hebron
Hebron, Occupied Palestine (ISM) 8 Aug by Khalil Team — For one Hebron family, this year’s Eid is more worrisome than festive. They will have to spend it wondering about their father and husband, whom they have not been able to talk to since the 4th of August. Last Sunday at around 2am Mohammed* was arrested — he was woken up by 20-30 soldiers and taken away without being told the charges against him. His family has not yet been able to talk to him or give him the medicine that he needs. When the Israeli military Sunday morning invaded Mohammed’s house with five jeeps and two armed vehicles, it took him and his family completely by surprise. The entire family — Mohammed, his wife and their six children — were woken up and told to gather in the house of Mohammed’s brother. Mohammed was then told he should kiss his children and say goodbye for he was being arrested. However neither Mohammed nor his family was informed of the charges upon his arrest. After having placed Mohammed’s family under surveillance the Israeli military took Mohammed to his workplace. Here they told him to close all the security cameras or they would destroy his office. The office was thoroughly searched, however nothing was removed or changed. Mohammed was then taken to Ashkelon Prison at around 4am.
Two hunger-striking captives suffer weakening in heart muscles
RAMALLAH (PIC) 9 Aug — The health situation of the two captives Ayman Hamdan and Imad al-Batran who have been on hunger strike for more than a hundred days has seriously deteriorated. The two captives are held in solitary at the military Sarafand Hospital (Asaf Harofe) where their situation is continuously deteriorating.
Twilight Zone: How did a Palestinian prisoner father a child without seeing his wife?
Haaretz 9 Aug by Gideon Levy and Alex Levac — How was the sperm of prisoner Abdul Kareen al-Rimawi smuggled out of an Israeli prison to a Ramallah fertility clinic and, from there, to the uterus of his wife? — Majd al-Rimawi is now a week old. Seemingly just another newborn. In his home, everything points to joy: the infant wrapped in a blanket and surrounded by love, the new baby carriage, the gift offered to every guest − a chocolate biscuit stuffed into a tiny plastic baby carriage − and the happiness of the proud mother and grandparents. Only the father is missing; pictures of him are hanging around the house. Majd was born last week in a Nablus hospital to Lida and Abdul Kareem al-Rimawi. Twelve years ago, Abdul Kareem was sentenced to 25 years in prison for firing at Israel Defense Forces soldiers. Since then, he hasn’t received a single day of furlough, he and his wife have never been allowed a conjugal visit — which is the case for all Palestinian prisoners — and their contact with each other has always been via a grate or glass wall. And yet, Lida became pregnant nine months ago by Abdul Kareem, and Majd was born last week, weighing 2.9 kilograms … I unwrap the biscuit inside the tiny baby carriage that every visitor receives and take out the greeting card that’s stuffed in there. It contains Majd’s name, his date of birth and the following text: “I came from the prison, despite the wardens and the bars. Mention God when you see me. Mention God when you pick me up in your arms.”
Blockaded Gaza / Sinai
Egypt closes Rafah crossing with Gaza for 4 days
GAZA (WAFA) 7 Aug — The Egyptian authorities said Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza will be closed for four days, the duration of the end of Ramadan Eid al-Fitr holiday, sources said Wednesday. They said Egypt said the crossing, the only practical way out or in for Gaza’s 1.7 million residents, will be closed from Thursday through Sunday. The crossing in the southern end of Gaza has been closed and reopened several times since the ousting of the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt early July. However, opening hours have been limited to only four hours a day.
Gaza celebrates Eid al-Fitr amid economic crisis
Al-Monitor 8 Aug by Asmaa al-Ghoul — Eid al-Fitr, an opportunity to celebrate, buy new clothes, visit relatives and eat home-made sweets has arrived in the Gaza Strip, after a month of fasting during Ramadan. The feast’s first day starts by breaking the fast with smoked or salted herring. Then come the family visits and a glut of ka‘ak — a type of bread similar to bagels — stuffed with dried dates … The children receive aidiyya (money), an Eid al-Fitr tradition, from visiting relatives. The kids gather around the guests and wait for their aidiyya. They use it to buy simple toys, which are widely available in small shops around this time. Women also receive aidiyya from the men of the family, regardless of their age or employment status …
Clothing, ka‘ak, fish and aidiyya all cost money, and the extra expenditure comes at a time when Gaza is suffering from the closure of the border crossings and tunnels, the shuttering of dozens of factories and rising unemployment, since the beginning of the Egyptian crisis about a month and a half ago. Hani Fawzi, 34, the owner of a clothing store complains about the lack of sales even though the streets are packed with families. Most just look and do not buy.
Gaza’s melancholic Eid
World Bulletin 8 Aug — Um Mohammed Hijazi, 44, looks older than her real age. While most mothers were busy shopping for Eid al-Fitr – which follows the fasting month of Ramadan – Um Mohammed, a mother of six, spent the day in her bedroom in Jabaliya Refugee Camp in northern Gaza Strip. For Um Mohammed and dozens of other women, the Eid this year has nothing to do with happiness. It has come rather an occasion for mourning. It’s the first Eid since she lost her husband, Fouad, and two children, Mohammed and Suhaib, to an Israeli missile attack on their home during the onslaught on Gaza in November. Up to 170 Palestinians were killed in the eight-day Israeli assault. For their families, Eid renews sadness as they remember those who have gone. “We are experiencing very hard moments,” says Um Mohammed, who still can’t walk due to the trauma she has been suffering since the November airstrike. “The kids miss their father and their brothers; they used to wake their father in the morning asking him for Eideya (Eid cash gift),” she recalls bitterly. Um Mohammed says it’s unbelievable to imagine the family sitting around the table breaking their day-long Ramadan fast with three members without their loved ones.
Amnesty to Hamas: Halt planned Gaza executions
JERUSALEM (AFP) 8 Aug — Amnesty International on Thursday urged Gaza Strip rulers Hamas to halt prisoner executions planned for after the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday, which is celebrated until Sunday. “The Hamas authorities in Gaza must halt several executions they say they plan to carry out after this week’s Muslim religious festival of Eid al-Fitr,” the London-based rights watchdog said in a statement. “We acknowledge the right and responsibility of governments to bring to justice those suspected of criminal offenses, but the death penalty is cruel and inhuman,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa director.
“There is no evidence that (execution) deters crime more effectively than other punishments,” he added. Those sentenced to death include a 27-year-old known as “HMA”, who Amnesty says confessed under torture to the rape and murder of a six-year-old boy when HMA himself was under 18. Another, 23-year-old, “FA”, was sentenced in March for “collaboration” with Israel, Amnesty said.
There has been no specific date given for the executions.
Forced underage marriages continue in Gaza
Al-Monitor 8 Aug by Rasha Abou Jalal — Sitting alone in her gloomy room, 17-year-old Mariam recalled the year and a half she spent at the house of her husband, whom she was forced to marry when she was 15 to escape poverty … As she spoke to Al-Monitor, Mariam, a girl with flawless olive skin, described this scene in her own sad words, giving details of the bitter experience of her marriage to a 37-year-old man. Her father forced her to marry him after he became unable to meet her basic living needs and educational requirements. In 2012, of about 17,000 marriages were registered in the courts of the Gaza Strip, 35% were cases in which the brides were under 17 years old. These marriages are concluded without the courts knowing the girls’ real ages. Meanwhile, about 2,700 divorce cases were registered in the same year, and in 25% of these the wives were underage, Bakr Azzam, a lawyer specializing in Sharia issues, told Al-Monitor. Mariam explained that due to her young age she wasn’t capable of meeting the demands of married life.
Rocket fired from Gaza falls in open area in Eshkol region
Jerusalem Post 8 Aug — A rocket fired from Gaza towards Israel landed in an open area in the Eshkol Regional Council in the early hours of Thursday morning. No injuries or damage was reported.
Security: Airstrike kills Egypt militants targeting Israel
CAIRO (AFP) 9 Aug — Several Egyptian militants were killed in an airstrike in Sinai on Friday as they prepared to launch a rocket into Israel, security sources and witnesses said. The source of the strike was not immediately clear. Some sources spoke of an Israeli airstrike conducted from Israeli air space and others credited the Egyptian military. But Egypt’s military denied any Israeli strike. “There is no truth whatsoever to any Israeli strikes inside Egyptian territory and the claims that there is Egyptian and Israeli coordination on the matter is utterly baseless,” military spokesman Col. Ahmed Aly said in a statement. He said the armed forces and expert teams were still combing the area where two explosions were heard. State media said at least five members of a cell led by local Islamist militants were killed in the raid. Earlier, Egypt’s army said two explosions were heard at around 4:15 p.m. in the Al-Ojra area, around 1.8 miles from the border with Israel. “The armed forces are combing the area of the explosions to find out the cause,” Aly said. Witnesses said Egyptian military helicopters hovered above the site after the blasts. Israel’s military on Thursday ordered the [brief] cancellation of all flights in and out of the Red Sea resort of Eilat, which borders Egypt, due to what is said was a security threat.
Pooh-poohing Gaza boat didn’t trample speech
Courthouse News Service 8 Aug by Rose Bouboushian — Rutgers University should not face First Amendment claims over its refusal to send thousands of dollars raised by a student group to the U.S. Boat to Gaza, a federal judge ruled. The 2012 complaint stems from a fundraiser held on Nov. 4, 2010, by Belief Awareness Knowledge Activism: Students United for Middle Eastern Justice (BAKA), a group at Rutgers University now known as Students for Justice in Palestine. Though the event’s organizers originally intended to send proceeds from the event to U.S. Boat to Gaza, Rutgers shot the idea down because of concerns that it would be unlawfully providing material assistance to a foreign terrorist organization. The boat’s supporters claimed, however, that Rutgers was bowing to pressure Jewish advocacy groups, including the Anti-Defamation League and Hillel, which claimed the intended recipient criticized Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza … In May 2011, the student group selected the WESPAC Foundation as their alternative beneficiary for the $3,050 raised, but Rutgers allegedly never delivered the funds after WESPAC indicated that the money would support criticism of the Israeli government … Ultimately, the Rutgers sent the funds to America Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA).
Israel, the settlements, and the EU
Young Israeli scientists win a prestigious European grant, but could they be the last?
Haaretz 9 Aug by Efrat Neuman — As the EU clamps down on channeling funds to the territories, there is no guarantee Israelis will continue to be eligible the kind of 1.5 million-euro grant awarded this year to 32 young local scientists.
Israel risks loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in EU research grants over settlement row
JERUSALEM (AP) 9 Aug — Europe’s tough new stance against Jewish settlements could cost Israel hundreds of millions of dollars in EU research grants, putting a hefty price tag on its refusal to stop building on lands Palestinians want for a state. Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin suggested Friday that Israel would forgo the money rather than accept a new European Union-mandated caveat that any partnership deals with Israel do not apply to the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, lands Israel captured in 1967. The “territorial clause,” to be written into future agreements, is part of new EU guidelines and an expression of growing dismay in Europe over continued Israeli settlement expansion. Israel is particularly concerned about losing access to Horizon 2020, a seven-year, Europe-wide research grant program that starts in 2014 and has an estimated budget of 80 billion euros ($107 billion).
Israel seeks to negotiate on planned EU sanctions
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 9 Aug by Dan Williams — Israel appealed to the European Union on Friday to rethink planned sanctions against its organizations in the occupied territories and called for talks, a shift in tone from previous Israeli anger and retaliatory measures. Under guidelines adopted by the executive European Commission in June, Israeli “entities” operating in the West Bank and East Jerusalem will not be eligible for EU grants, prizes or loans from next year … The rightist Israeli government responded on July 26 by announcing curbs on EU aid projects for thousands of West Bank Palestinians. On Thursday it accused the Europeans of harming Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts and said it would not sign new deals with the 28-nation bloc given the planned sanctions. But Deputy Israeli Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin took a more diplomatic tack on Friday, offering to negotiate with the European Union over the guidelines, which he described as a challenge to the Jewish state’s sovereignty.
Political and other news
From the checkpoint to the sea: A month of Ramadan photos
Activestills 9 Aug — During the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Israel grants hundreds of thousands of entry permits to West Bank Palestinians in order to pray in Jerusalem. It is estimated that as many as 1 million Palestinians entered Israel during Ramadan this year, many taking the opportunity to visit the beach and other sites they are normally forbidden from reaching
US: Israeli-Palestinian talks Aug. 14 in Jerusalem
WASHINGTON (AFP) 9 Aug — Palestinian and Israeli negotiators will resume talks on ending their long-standing conflict on August 14 in Jerusalem, the US State Department said Thursday. The talks restarted last month in Washington under US mediation, and both sides agreed to try to resolve their differences within nine months. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters that US mediator Martin Indyk would attend the next round of talks, which will be followed by a meeting in Jericho. She added that US Secretary of State John Kerry, who hosted July’s resumption of the talks “does not expect to make any announcement in the aftermath of this round of talks.”
Abed Rabbo says Israel wants to abort negotiations
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 7 Aug — Israel wants to abort the negotiations that started only one week ago with its settlement activities, Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary of Palestine Liberation Organization, said on Voice of Palestine on Wednesday.
He expressed concern that the Israeli government was using the negotiations as a cover for its settlement activities following a decision to build a new settlement in East Jerusalem. “The situation now is more critical than at any previous time,” he said. “Israel is using the negotiations even before they start as a cover for its settlement activities.” Abed Rabbo warned that the Israeli government is doing everything it can to abort the talks that started last week in Washington.
Argentine president criticizes Security Council vetoes of resolutions concerning Palestine
IMEMC Aug — Argentine President Cristina Fernandez, who is presiding over the UN Security Council this month, criticized on Tuesday [August 6] the veto power of the permanent Security Council members and how this power has been used to prevent the adoption of resolutions related to Palestine and Israel’s occupation. Fernandez described the veto power as a safeguard during the Cold War era, but was quoted as saying “we can’t deal with the problems in this new world with old instruments and old methods.”
According to the Global Policy Forum, the United States has been the most frequent user of the veto since 1972, with most vetoes preventing the adoption of resolutions related to Israel and Palestine.
Tens of thousands attend Eid prayers at Aqsa Mosque
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 9 Aug — Tens of thousands of Palestinian worshipers attended on Thursday morning the Eid of prayers at the Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan. The old city’s alleyways were congested with worshipers heading to Islam’s third holiest site to celebrate the Eid and leaving the site after the Eid prayers. Areas around the Mosque witnessed an intensive Israeli occupation security presence since the early morning hours. The Imam called, in his Eid sermon, for unity in Palestine and Egypt as disunity only serves the enemy, stressing that the enemy wants to divide and corrupt the Muslims. The worshipers, who were mostly from Jerusalem and 1948-occupied lands, pitched a tent which they called Rabea al-Adaweyya tent, in solidarity with the pro-democracy demonstrators in Egypt who are camped at Rabea al-Adaweyya Square.
Tens of thousands take part in Eid al-Fitr processions
[photos, short video] Ynet 8 Aug by Hassan Shaalan – Tens of thousands of Arab citizens took part in Wednesday’s processions ahead of Eid al-Fitr, marked Thursday, ending the Ramadan fast. The main procession was held in Nazareth, where thousands attended. Festivities also took place in Tayibe, Tira, Shfaram, Sakhnin, Umm al-Fahm, Baqa al-Garbiya and more. Schoolchildren and parents alike attended the processions, which ended with fireworks displays and balloons.
Hamas makes contacts to facilitate Palestinian refugees’ entry to Lebanon
BEIRUT (PIC) 8 Aug — Hamas representative in Lebanon Ali Baraka has made contacts with the Director General of Information Affairs in the Lebanese General Security Services concerning the news about the Lebanese ban on Palestinian refugees’ entry from Syria to Lebanon. The Director General of Information Affairs, Minah Sawaya, denied [that there was] any Lebanese decision to prevent Palestinian refugees’ entry from Syria to Lebanon. For his part, Baraka called on the chief of the Lebanese security services to facilitate the entry of Palestinians fleeing from Syria to Lebanon on the eve of Eid Fitr on humanitarian grounds.
Kairos Palestine denounces attempts to recruit Christians
IMEMC 8 Aug — The Palestinian Christian Initiative (Kairos Palestine) issued a statement strongly denouncing the Israel attempts to recruit Arab Palestinian Christians, in historic Palestine to the Israeli military that occupies their people. The statement came in response to the Israeli decision to form a joint committee of Palestinian Christians and the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu, with the aim to encourage and act on recurring young Arab Christians in the Israeli army. Kairos stated that the officials who are encouraging enlistment in the occupation army are conducting provocative actions that harm Christian Churches, national interests and the Christians themselves.
Israel police accused of ‘political’ traffic law enforcement in West Bank
Haaretz 9 Aug by Chaim Levinson — A human rights activist has accused Israel Police of politically motivated traffic law enforcement in the West Bank, a region where police are often charged with turning a blind eye to traffic violations. Ezra Nawi, a member of the Jewish-Arab Taayush organization, said that he had been a victim of petty faultfinding and repeatedly fined for minor offenses while driving on West Bank roads, which according to him was related to his political activities.
Rawabi rises: new West Bank city symbolizes Palestine’s potential
Rawabi (The Guardian) 8 Aug by Harriet Sherwood — Hi-tech city near Ramallah boasts cinemas, malls and homes for 40,000. But developers and investors face wrangles over water supplies as well as criticism project legitimises Israeli occupation — In the unlikely setting of the West Bank’s biblical landscape, amid stony hills and valleys where sheep and goats bleat under ancient olive trees, an urban planner’s dream is taking shape. A gleaming hi-tech city, with homes for 40,000 residents, cinemas, shopping malls, schools, landscaped walkways, office blocks, a conference centre, restaurants and cafes, is rising on a crest within sight – on a clear day – of the Tel Aviv skyline. It looks a little like a new Israeli settlement. But the billion-dollar city of Rawabi is the first planned urban centre to be built for Palestinians. And phase one of the development – 600 near-completed apartments – has just sold out, with around 8,000 potential buyers registered for homes yet to be constructed.
Founding little Israel in Brooklyn
Haaretz 10 Aug by Debra Nussbaum Cohen — As the number of Israeli ex-pats in North America continues to grow, so does the need for cultural frameworks suited to their needs … Oren Heiman is chairman of Moatza in New York, a new umbrella group for more than 30 Israeli-focused programs and organizations. “There are 8 million Israelis, 1 million live outside of Israel, about 650,000 live in North America and about 150,000 live in driving distance of Columbus Circle” in midtown Manhattan, said Heiman, 44, in an interview with Haaretz. There are so many now it’s even comedy fodder. Recently on the Israeli political satire show “State of the Union,” Daniel Shapiro, the U.S. ambassador to Israel said, “There are so many Israelis living in New York right now that New York could easily become part of Israel…”
Analysis / Opinion
The poetry of absence: remembering Mahmoud Darwish five years on / Sonja Karkar
Melbourne (Electronic Intifada) 8 Aug — Exiled. Stateless. Displaced. Dispossessed. Uprooted. Refugee. Each word shatters the myth of human progress and our essential humanity. Mahmoud Darwish’s anguished, poetic narrative of his and his people’s exile is the defining expression of that continuing human tragedy that callously, violently turned Palestine into Israel with no place — then or now — for those who belong. Darwish (1941-2008) described exile thus: “Absent, I come to the home of the absent,” and when he was asked who he is, he responded, “I still do not know.” His answer can best be understood in his words “Perhaps like me you have no address” while more questions follow and linger heavy with pathos over the human condition: What’s the worth of a man / Without a homeland, / Without a flag, / Without an address? / What is the worth of such a man?
As an internal refugee in Israel, Mahmoud Darwish’s status was bizarrely given legal recognition as a “present-absent alien.” …To him it was all about dignity. With his poetry, Darwish created a space of belonging that had been lost to him in the reality of his life — an existential reality in which he said “I cannot enter and I cannot go out.” It was in that space that he wrote his famous early poem “Identity Card”: Write down I am an Arab / You stole the groves of my forefathers, / And the land I used to till. / You left me nothing but these rocks. / And from them, I must wrest a loaf of bread, / For my eight children.
Animation: The Dice Player by Mahmoud Darwish
29 May 2013 لاعب النرد — One of the first animated poetry films done with an Arabic poem. This film is a part of the project “Visual Poetry made in the Media Design Department in the GUC
What’s wrong with the discourse about throwing rocks? / Moriel Rothman
Daily Beast 9 Aug — The first time I saw a house being demolished in the West Bank village of Al-Khalayleh, I wanted to pick up a stone and throw it at the bulldozer. The first time I went to a demonstration in Nabi Saleh, the week after Mustafa Tamimi was shot at close range with a tear gas canister that ruptured his eye and his brain and ultimately took his life, I wanted to hurl a rock at the IDF jeeps. I did not know the family in the small Palestinian village whose house was being demolished because of arbitrary administrative Israeli policies — I only saw them standing there, watching silently, the smallest boy clutching a Spiderman doll almost as big as he was. I had never met Mustafa Tamimi — I only saw pictures posted on Facebook of a young man, about my age, lying on the road with blood pouring out of where his eye used to be. I am a proud Israeli and a religiously observant Jew and a functional pacifist. And the first time I saw a house being demolished, I wanted to throw a stone. The debate about stone-throwing was recently reinvigorated by Jodi Rudoren’s New York Times article about the Palestinian “culture of stone throwing.” As Noam Sheizaf articulated in his critique in +972, Rudoren’s article was a bizarre piece of non-contextual journalism that focused on the act of stone throwing without explaining the systematic violence that provokes it. Which is to say, it painted Palestinian youths as “culturally violent” while largely ignoring the actions (and the culture) of the most violent player in the arena: the Israeli state and its action arm, the IDF.
Is Hamas considering a move to Beirut? / Adnan Abu Amer
Al-Monitor 8 Aug — A little less than two years ago, Hamas had carte blanche to travel between the capital cities of the region, where it was welcomed and bathed in amity; beginning with Tehran, through Damascus, and all the way to Cairo, not to mention the two capitals with which it has the closest ties: Doha and Ankara. But the situation has changed in an alarming fashion, after the movement adopted stances that did not sit well with its Iranian ally. Then came the events that followed the coup in Egypt; which, as a result of the Muslim Brotherhood’s ouster from power there, caused Hamas immeasurable damage engendered by the loss of this ideologically and geographically close supporter. This led Hamas to search for new alternatives that would help it overcome its current crisis. As a result, Beirut became the location that witnessed, away from the spotlight, the most intense Hamas related political activity. The choice fell on this city not because it is the capital of Lebanon, but because it is considered to be the stronghold that best attracts all the factions and leaderships that are part of the Iranian alliance. For this reason, successive Hamas delegations came to Lebanon in order to rectify the movement’s political relations with the Iranian axis.
The Zionist Handbook: A guide to defending Israel against mean people / Steven Salaita
Electronic Intifada 9 Aug — In the past few years, Israel has faced unprecedented criticism for killing children, bulldozing homes, ethnic cleansing, land theft, anti-Black racism, a discriminatory legal system, continued settlement building, violations of international law, lobbying to bomb Iran and general unpleasantness. What follows are 23 handy arguments you can use to counter nonsense such as facts and evidence in defense of fair Israel’s honor: 1. But … but … everybody else does bad things, too! 2. Democracy. We have it. You don’t. 3. The Holocaust! 4. When logic and facts have gone against you, proclaim, “You’re being really mean!” (Note: if you are a white woman, it is recommended that you cry at this point.) 5. Gaza has tunnels! And rockets! How is our army, with its $15 billion annual budget and nuclear weapons, supposed to cope? ….