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Naksa Day killings stir inquiries into the Golan occupation

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The Golan Heights

VIDEO: If Arabs were Germans and Israel’s frontiers were the Berlin Wall / Ali Abunimah
This video shows confrontations that took place on 5 June on the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights as thousands of people marched from the Syrian-controlled side toward the fortified Israeli-controlled line. Watch carefully. The images are shot from the from the perspective of Syrian residents of the town of Majdal Shams who have lived under Israeli occupation since 1967. Some of the Golan residents are throwing stones at Israeli forces along the frontier. But the Israeli forces have their backs to the Golan residents because the Israelis are firing tear gas (and possibly live ammunition) at marchers on the Syrian side. As Israel and its apologists describe these events, Israel is “defending itself” against “infiltrators.” But what this video clearly shows is ordinary people challenging the violent and illegal division of their homeland. The people are united on both sides of the line. It is the Israeli line that separates them. The Israelis are the infiltrators.

The Disinherited: Syria’s 130,000 Golan Heights refugees
IOA 18 May – “What happened to the 130,000 Syrian citizens who lived in the Golan Heights in June 1967? According to the official Israeli version, the vast majority fled into the depth of Syria by the end of the war. According to military documents and eyewitness reports, tens of thousands were expelled in a transfer that reminds that of the residents of Lod [Lydda] and Ramle [al-Ramla] in 1948.”… Note: As is often the case, the original Haaretz story, in Hebrew, is longer and more detailed than the English version presented below. Among the parts left out of the English version: Rehavam Ze’evi, then a general at the IDF General Command under then IDF chief of staff Yitzhak Rabin, in a War Room meeting on 9 June 1967, stated “The [Golan] Height does not have a large population and it needs to be received [delivered] clean of its residents.” To which the Haaretz writer adds “The IDF did not receive the Height empty, as Ze’evi wanted, but it took care that it will become that.”  [The English version of the original 30 July 2010 Haaretz article by Shay Fogelman can now be found in the Haaretz archives here]

Israel braces for fresh protests in Golan
MAJDAL SHAMS, Golan Heights (AFP) 6 June — Israeli forces braced for fresh unrest on Monday along the Syrian ceasefire line a day after they reportedly killed 23 trying to break through to mark the 1967 Six Day War … The Israeli army said the Syrian death toll had been “exaggerated” with a spokeswoman saying just 10 protesters had been killed after they threw firebombs which set off land mines in the Syrian section of no-man’s land. Asked whether any of the protesters were killed or injured by Israeli fire, she was non-committal … Sunday’s confrontation erupted as hundreds of protesters from Syria marched toward two points along the ceasefire line — Quneitra in no-mans land, and Majdal Shams, the Druze town located on the Israeli-occupied side of the Golan Heights plateau.

Syria blocks new border protest; toll rises to 23
MAJDAL SHAMS, Golan Heights (AP) 6 June — Syrian police blocked dozens of pro-Palestinian protesters from approaching the Israeli frontier on Monday. The toll of demonstrators killed trying to break through into the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights rose to 23. Syrian police set up a pair of checkpoints, including one a half-mile (kilometer) from the border. Nearly 20 protesters, some waving Syrian flags, began walking down a hill leading to the border when two police officers blocked their advance by extending their arms. Protesters passed Syrian and U.N. outposts without impediment on Sunday and during a similar border rush three weeks ago, and it was not clear why Syrian security forces intervened Monday.

Report: Fatah vows retaliation for Naksa Day deaths
BEIRUT, Lebanon (Ma‘an) 6 June — Fatah’s armed group will determine the “right time and place” to retaliate inside Palestine for the deaths of Palestinian refugees by Israeli fire along the Syria-Israel ceasefire line, an official was reported saying in southern Lebanon on Monday … Palestinians in the Saida refugee camp in southern Lebanon reportedly went on strike for the day, in protest against the deaths. NOW Lebanon reported the closure of all educational, social and medical institutions inside the refugee camps in the south, and blockade of their entrances with burning tires.

On Naksa Day, unarmed resistance sends Israel into violent contortions / Max Blumenthal
Yesterday, on June 5, the commemoration of Naksa Day, Palestinian refugees and their supporters returned to the Israeli controlled frontiers to protest the 44th anniversary of the occupation … The most intense protests took place at the Quneitra crossing near the occupied Golan Heights, where Israeli forces gunned down at least 20 unarmed demonstrators as they approached the frontier fence (be sure to watch the video at the link). In the hours following the bloodshed, the Israeli response grew increasingly contorted. Army spokespeople claimed the demonstrators “were responsible for their own deaths,” claiming they stepped on landmines. No evidence of landmine deaths was provided by the unnamed military sources, only conjecture. Next, Israel turned to its favorite Syrian cut-out in Washington, Farid Ghadry, an AIPAC member and discredited “serial entrepreneur” who is widely regarded as the Syrian version of Ahmed Chalabi — Ghadry actually met Chalabi in Richard Perle’s living room. In a statement published on the website of his astro-turfed Reform Party of Syria, Ghadry claimed that the protesters at Quneitra were not actual Palestinian refugees, but impoverished “Syrian farmers” who had been paid $1000 each by the Assad regime just to show up, and $10,000 to die. Ghadry claimed he gleaned the information from “intelligence sources close to the Assad regime in Lebanon.”

The trouble with nonviolence: a tale of two Palestinian marches
Qalandia Refugee Camp (TIME) 5 June — On Sunday, the anniversary of the 1967 defeat of Arab armies that led to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights, the Palestinian efforts at channeling the energies of the Arab Spring were on display, with varying results. Television images from the Golan Heights village of Majdal Shams showed apparently unarmed Palestinian civilians marching peacefully down a hill toward Israeli soldiers who had assumed firing positions. Then came a crackle of gunshots; bloodied bodies were later carried back up the hill. It went on for hours, with 20 people reported dead, according to Syrian state television. The human cost was high, but for a Palestinian movement trying to reframe itself, the footage at least set it on a course along on the lines of Birmingham, Soweto and Gandhi’s Salt March — parallels it has been making explicitly.,8599,2075823,00.html?xid=rss-world

Film: The Syrian Bride
In Majdal Shams, the largest Druze village in Golan Heights on the Israeli-Syrian border, the Druze bride Mona is engaged to get married with Tallel, a television comedian that works in the Revolution Studios in Damascus, Syria. They have never met each other because of the occupation of the area by Israel since 1967; when Mona moves to Syria, she will lose her undefined nationality and will never be allowed to return home.[includes trailer. See also Jonathan Cook’s critique of the film and the Wikipedia entry]

Majdal Shams residents unhappy with Syria infiltration attempts
Haaretz 6 June — The Golan Heights village of Majdal Shams was the site yesterday of most of the attempts to cross illegally from Syria into Israel for the second time in three weeks — to the dismay of many residents of the Druze village — One village resident complained yesterday that the unwanted attention had affected local tourism … All the same, hundreds of Majdal Shams resident went to the border fence to watch the would-be infiltrators. Cafes closed down and classes were canceled because local authorities feared clashes. On the Golan side, some people waved Syrian and Palestinian flags, and dozens shouted encouraging slogans to the would-be infiltrators.


Report: 14 Palestinians killed in Syria camp
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 6 June — Fourteen Palestinian refugees were reported killed and another 43 injured on Monday, a report from the Palestinian government’s WAFA news said. The victims were part of a massive group in Al-Yarmok, an unofficial Palestinian refugee camp in the Syrian capital of Damascus, mourning the death of between 10-23 Palestinians by Israeli fire on the Golan Heights ceasefire line the day before. Angered over the failure of camp leaders to organize demonstrations marking the Naksa … an estimated 100,000 mourners were said to have attacked the headquarters of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command. Militants with the PRFL-GC reportedly opened fire on the group, who were taken to a local camp hospital for treatment. The report cited hospital staff saying 14 were pronounced dead.

Border protests: The refugees claim their place in the debate / Noam Sheizaf
972mag 6 June — Several Palestinians were killed and hundreds injured as protesters tried to cross the fence into The Golan Heights. The event should remind Israelis of the need to reach a just political solution to the refugee problem, and to establish a mutually agreed and internationally recognized border with Syria … There are two points to be made here. First, Israel claims that it has the right — just like any other country — to defend its borders. But the fact is that Israel doesn’t have a mutually recognized border with Syria. The international border passes in the Hula Valley; the Golan Heights were occupied when Israel launched an attack on Syria in 1967 … Even more important is an effort to solve the refugee problem. Israelis and their supporters need to understand that the refugee issue will not disappear.

Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlers

Israeli municipality discusses new permit for ‘Tolerance’ museum
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC) 6 June — The higher Islamic council in 1948 occupied Palestine has warned that the Israeli-controlled municipality of occupied Jerusalem was about to approve a new permit for the construction of the ‘Tolerance’ museum on an Islamic cemetery. Qais Nasser, the legal consultant to the council, said in a statement on Monday that the municipality would recommend approval of the new permit by the construction and planning committee. He said that the Israeli company that confiscated the area, which was seized from Mamanulla cemetery, tabled [submitted] a request for a new permit after suggesting changes to the first permit that was granted to it back in 2003. The proposal adds 6000 square meters to the original plan with two storeys of the suggested building under the ground, Nasser explained.

Jewish settlers assault Palestinian shepherds in Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 6 June — Jewish settlers Monday assaulted Palestinian shepherds in Khirbet Umm al-Khair, a locale south of Hebron in the southern West Bank, according to witnesses. Yaser al-Hathalen, one of the Khirbet’s residents, said a group of settlers from Karmiel settlement, constructed on Palestinian land, assaulted Palestinians in the locale under the protection of Israeli army and border guards. The settlers stopped the shepherds from herding their sheep and forced them to turn back. Al-Hathelan added that they threatened to repeat the assault until the shepherds left the area. Palestinians in Khirbet Umm al-Khair can’t reach their water wells to obtain drinking water for their cattle, said another resident.
In a related development, a group of armed settlers attacked Palestinians in the Old City in Hebron on Sunday night and sprayed them with waste water, terrorizing the unarmed civilians living there, said security sources.
Israeli army also raided Beit Awwa, a town west of Hebron, and arrested Naser al-Hroub, 25, after searching his house and tampering with its contents.

Jordan Valley plants
JVS 6 June — Since last winter, Doctor Banan, a professor from Al Quds university, has been working with us to make a book, identifying all the wild plants existing in the Palestinian Jordan Valley. Due to the Jordan Valley unique climate, there is a large range of rare and unique flowers and plants that can be found in the area. This book will list all these plants and their proprieties. Apart from destroying the life of people all around Palestine, the occupation damages the unique environment of the area. JVS sees the documenting of these plants as a necessary picture of the life struggling under the bulldozers of the occupation. Following is a sample of plants that can be found in the Palestinian Jordan Valley: [with many photos]

Israel regularly violates Palestinian environment, says official
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 6 June — A Palestinian official Monday accused the Israeli authorities and settlers of destroying the Palestinian environment through confiscation of forest land to build settlements on and through burning of agricultural land. Jamil Matawir, deputy chairman of the Palestinian environment authority, told a press conference in Ramallah that the Israeli authorities regularly violates Palestinian environment and Jewish settlers cut down and burn trees, seize lands, attack Palestinians and expel Palestinian farmers after razing their land. Matawir, who was speaking on the occasion of World Environment Day, summed up the Israeli violations of the Palestinian environment between October 2010 and May 2011 in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Israeli forces

Sheikh Jarrah activists claim police mistreatment
Ynet 6 June — Representatives of Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity movement meet with attorney general, state prosecutor to discuss claims against Jerusalem Police,7340,L-4079269,00.html

Olive trees burned in fire sparked by tear gas
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 6 June — Israeli forces stationed along the separation wall near the Jerusalem-area village of Qatanna fired tear-gas canisters at a group of young farmers on Monday, the heat from which caused a brush fire damaging 40 trees. The leader of the village council told Ma‘an that the brush around the olive grove was dry and caught fire easily, killing 10 trees and damaging 30 others. He said no fire crews had been notified by the forces though they saw the blaze ignite.

Palestinians find Israeli explosive remnants in West Bank villages
NABLUS (WAFA) 6 June — Palestinians Monday found explosive remnants of the Israeli army in Surra and Bazaria, villages west of Nablus, according to a Palestinian police report. It said villagers in Surra called the police to report finding the explosives. Police sent members of the Explosive Engineering Unit to the area to defuse them. The object turned out to be an RPG shell and was successfully defused with no damage reported, police said. Nablus police got a similar call from a Palestinian about the existence of a suspicious object in Bazaria, which turned out to be an old bomb. The bomb was successfully defused by the explosive engineering unit. Several accidents have been caused by explosive remnants where it led to the loss of lives or limbs of innocent children, women and men.


Worker dies in Rafah smuggling tunnel collapse
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 6 June — A 22-year-old worker was killed Monday when a smuggling tunnel under the Gaza-Egypt border collapsed, medics said. Sami Ahmad An-Nadi, from Khan Younis, was trapped in the tunnel in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip … The spokesman said over 160 workers have been killed in tunnel accidents since February 2006, the year that Israel imposed a siege on the coastal enclave. Since that time, smuggling tunnels from Egypt have provided a lifeline to the 1.6 million residents of Gaza.

Gaza border remains closed
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 6 June — Palestinian officials in Gaza closed the Rafah crossing into Egypt for the third consecutive day, citing a lack of coordination with Egyptian authorities. Rafah crossing director Ayyoub Abu Sha‘ar said the terminal was closed to passengers trying to leave the Gaza Strip because there was no clear mechanism in place at the crossing … Abu Sha‘ar said the Hamas foreign ministry was in talks with the Egyptian government and that all administrative and technical problems at the terminal would be resolved “soon.”

Israel allows limited aid into Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 6 June — Israeli authorities decided on Monday to open the Kerem Shalom crossing to allow limited quantities of aid into Gaza.

Gaza, the most Facebook-friendly place on earth
Haaretz 5 June — Social media sites are a force to reckon with in the Palestinian territories, says former PA communications minister, adding that if a new uprising erupts, that is where it will begin to brewHalf of Palestinian households in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have computers, according to Saidam, and about 30 percent are connected to the Internet … Per capita, says Saidam, the largest number of Facebook users in the world is in Gaza.


Israel raids Tulkarem refugee camp overnight
TULKAREM (Ma‘an) 6 June — Israeli forces detained three Palestinians in a raid of Nour Ash-Shams refugee camp near Tulkarem overnight Sunday, Palestinian security sources said. Security officials identified those detained as Imad Abu Saryeh, 20, Faysal Mahmud Khaleefeh, 28, and Mahmud Abu Aisha.

PA: Israel detained prisoner’s daughter during visit
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 6 June — Guards at an Israeli prison detained a 13-year-old girl visiting her father, the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Prisoners Affairs said Monday. Prison guards detained Samah Majdi Musallam while she was visiting her father, who is serving a 13-year sentence in an Israeli prison in the Negev desert, the ministry said in a statement. The ministry said the girl was separated from her father by an iron mesh fence when guards rushed to detain her. She was accused of trying to smuggle something to her father, the statement said. She was interrogated by Israeli police and tried at a court in Beersheva in southern Israel, the ministry added. PA Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Qaraqe‘ said the case was not unprecedented. “Several times prisoners’ relatives have been detained during visits under trivial pretexts. In fact family visits have become a means of punishment and humiliation,” Qaraqe‘ said.

International abduction

Ukraine professors defend Palestinian engineer alleged to have conspired with Hamas
AP 6 June — Former professors of a Palestinian engineer captured in Ukraine and sent to Israel to face charges that he built missiles for the militant group Hamas, have refuted allegations in his indictment that he was taught weapons systems during his university studies. Dirar Abu Sisi, 42, vanished from a train in Ukraine in February and resurfaced days later in an Israeli prison. Abu Sisi, who claims innocence, is to stand trial in coming weeks on hundreds of counts of attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder … Abu Sisi’s Israeli lawyer, Tal Linoy, says he believes Israeli authorities detained Abu Sisi based on an erroneous tip that he had information about the whereabouts of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier captured by the Gaza militant group Hamas nearly five years ago. After that proved wrong, the government is now trying to save face, the lawyer said.

Opposition to Racism & Discrimination

MKs slam racist Upper Nazareth mayor
Haaretz 6 June — MK Zahava Gal-On (Meretz) yesterday asked the attorney general to weigh in on whether Upper Nazareth Mayor Shimon Gapso should be allowed to remain in office in light of remarks he made to a local Arabic-language weekly. Gapso told the paper that if he had been present during the October 2000 clashes between Israeli Arabs and police, more Arabs would have been killed. He also said his city would never become a mixed Arab-Jewish city, although 16 percent of its residents were Arab, and that a mosque would never go up in his city.

Bill granting rabbis immunity from incitement charges shot down
Haaretz 6 June — The ministerial committee on legislation yesterday unanimously voted down a bill that would grant rabbis immunity to prosecution for incitement based on their published opinions on religious matters … The bill follows such recent publications as “Torat Hamelech” (The King’s Torah) by Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, which discusses Jewish law in terms of permitting the killing of non-Jews … The initiators of the bill included MKs Michal Ben Ari and Uri Ariel (National Union), Avraham Michaeli (Shas) and Tzipi Hotovely (Likud).

Activism / Solidarity / BDS

‘Our demonstrations are in protest of injustice’ West Bank protest leader tells an Israeli military court / Joseph Dana
6 June — Bassem Tamimi, the popular committee leader of Nabi Saleh, was arrested more than one month ago for his role in organizing unarmed demonstrations against Israeli occupation. His arrest was largely based on evidence illegally obtained from a number of Nabi Saleh youth including 14-year-old Islam Tamimi. Yesterday, Tamimi’s trial began at the Ofer military court. Below is Tamimi’s full statement to the court.

Video: Ni‘lin commemorates the second anniversary of the killing of Aqel Srour
The protest was to honor the second anniversary of the death of Aqil Srour. Srour was killed by Israeli occupation forces on June 5th 2009, with a 0.22 caliber live bullet while he was trying to rescue a youth also shot by the live ammunition. Srour was evacuated to the hospital but pronounced dead upon arrival. He left behind a wife and 3 children.

Israeli forces fire tear gas at Nablus tree planters
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 5 June — Palestinians planting trees east of Nablus on Sunday were bombarded by tear-gas fired by Israeli forces. The group was planting trees as a way to mark the 44th anniversary of the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip by Israel.

5,000 Israelis and Palestinians march for peace in Tel Aviv
uploaded 5 June — Tel Aviv Rally for a Palestinian state (5/4/11) — 5,000 Israelis and Palestinians took to the streets of Tel Aviv to call for the creation of an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders (with land swaps), as a part of a comprehensive peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. The rally, which began at the site of Yitzhak Rabin’s memorial, was organized by Peace Now, Meretz, Hadash, and other left-wing Zionist and non-Zionist groups. Ministers of Knesset Dov Khenin (Hadash) and Shlomo Molla (Kadima) were both present at the event, and offered a few words. Rally-goers demanded that Netanyahu pursue negotiations based on the 1967 borders.

Solidarity with Palestinians on the rise as well as risk for activists / Seán O’Neill
972blog 6 June — It’s been two years since peace activist Seán O’Neill last visited Israel and he’s noticed some fundamental changes to the Israeli left. While solidarity with Palestinians is on the rise, activists are under tighter surveillance of the state …  For one thing, I used to be able to recognize the majority of Israeli activists that would turn up to stand with Palestinians at actions or protests.  Friday at Sheikh Jarrah I recognized only one.  Another Israeli activist friend, who I’ll call Eli, contends that the weekly Sheikh Jarrah demonstrations have helped get more Israelis involved.

Video: Portland BDS Coalition Flash Mob – New Seasons
29 May — The Portland BDS Coalition Mobs New Seasons Grocery demanding a total Boycott of Israeli Products

Coldplay removes link to Freedom for Palestine single from Facebook
Haaretz 6 June — British music stars Coldplay on Monday removed a link to the musical collaboration called “Freedom for Palestine” from their official Facebook page, less than a week after urging their fans to check out the musical initiative.

Political / Diplomatic / International news

Syria condemns killing of protesters
Ynet 6 June — Damascus issues statement saying ‘Naksa Day’ clashes exposed Israel’s ‘terrorist policy.’ Meanwhile, PM Netanyahu says Sunday’s border clashes were not incidental; accuses Syrian regime of failing to prevent provocations,7340,L-4079226,00.html

US: Syria clearly inciting Israel border protests
News Agencies 6 June — U.S. State Department blames Syria for the deaths of reported 23 protesters, but Jordan blasts Israel for the killings on Golan Heights Sunday.

Israel to complain to UN over Syria incitement of border violence
dpa/Haaretz 6 June — Foreign Ministry spokesman says complaint will focus on Syria’s ‘manipulation of its own citizens’ to foment Sunday’s violent border clashes, in which Syria says 23 protesters were killed.

Top EU official calls for restraint on Syrian borders
Brussels (WAFA) 6 June — European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton Monday called for restraint on the Syrian borders with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights following Sunday’s bloody incident. Ashton warned that such incident could undermine the long-held cease-fire on the Golan, calling “on all parties to exercise restraint,” and to cease “provocative actions like this.”

Hezbollah chief: Naksa Day protests sent clear message to Israel
Haaretz 6 June — Hezbollah chief slams Israel’s violent response to Syrian protesters trying to breach the Israeli Golan Heights border, says U.S. only committed to Israel’s security.

US: Time not right for French peace talks
Reuters 6 June — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday poured cold water on a French proposal to convene Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in Paris, saying there was no sign either side was ready to talk.,7340,L-4079281,00.html

Israelis, Palestinians holding separate covert talks with Washington
Haaretz 6 June — In response to U.S. initiative to discuss possible return to Mideast peace talks, Israel sends Attorney Yitzhak Molcho and Palestinians send negotiator Saeb Erekat and Abbas’ spokesperson Nabil Abu Rodina to White House.

Netanyahu: Hamas should free Gilad Shalit to prove it’s ready for peace talks
Haaretz 5 June — Speaking in wake of recently proposed French peace initiative, premier says Israel would consider the proposal, adding that sides should choose on one of the proposed peace plans to implement.

Israeli PM: The battle is over Israel’s existence
JERUSALEM (AP) 6 June– Israel’s prime minister says attempts by pro-Palestinian protesters to breach the Israeli frontier show that Israel’s very existence is at the center of the Mideast conflict.;_ylc

Turkey foreign minister urges organizers to reconsider Gaza flotilla
Haaretz 6 June — Ahmet Davutoğlu says he has advised the IHH to wait and see how the Rafah border crossing has affected Gaza, but cannot stop the group if they disregard his request.

Palestine seeks observer status in the WTO
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 6 June — The ministry of economy’s technical support advisory team for membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO) Monday held a second meeting in Ramallah to continue preparation for Palestine’s admission as an observer in the WT

Lesotho recognizes Palestinian state within 1967 borders
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 6 June — Fatah Commissioner of International Relations, Nabil Shaath, said Monday that the Kingdom of Lesotho had recognized the Palestinian state within 1967 borders. The African country told its permanent representative at the United Nations to contact the Palestinian representative to start procedures to open diplomatic representation between the two states, said Shaath. He added that the Republic of Malawi had also reiterated its previous recognition of the Palestinian state within 1967 borders.

Other news

Into the wild / Zafrir Rinat
Haaretz 5 June — Israel Nature and Parks Authority brings together Jewish, Arab citizens on environmental projects –  Dozens of Jisr al-Zarqa residents gathered at the village’s idyllic fishing dock Sunday to see off a brown sea turtle named Ali, saved by two fishermen who found and rescued him after trapping him in their net … Arab citizens are included in the nature preservation effort, as well, after years of being ignored and sometimes completely alienated. Today, there is a series of cooperative projects, ranging from the Upper Galilee to the Bedouin villages in the Negev … Increasing the involvement of Arab communities does not solve many problems that still exist, mainly in places where communities’ development needs clash with plans for preserving forests and nature reserves. In Fasuta in the Galilee, for example, residents fought against including privately owned agricultural areas in a nature reserve. In Jisr al-Zarqa, restrictions were imposed on the development of the village, one of the most densely populated in Israel, because it borders a nature reserve.

Analysis / Opinion

Rhetoric, reality and Twitter in the West Bank / Joseph Dana
[with video] 972blog  6 June — Twitter is changing the nature of breaking news from West Bank demonstrations. It is exposing Israel’s heavy handed crowd control methods which often break the army’s own internal codes of conduct. Naturally, some so called ‘supporters of Israel’ are having a hard time rationalizing Israel’s behaviour, therefore attacking Twitter users as biased, misinformed or even outright liars — As I was standing amidst the chaos yesterday at the Qalandia checkpoint — the site of a demonstration marking the anniversary of the 1967 war — I reported on Twitter what I saw. The demonstration started off peacefully and then the army attacked the nonviolent demonstration with tear gas and stun grenades. Some Palestinians began throwing stones. As the army attacked the unarmed demonstrators with tear gas, I took photos on my Blackberry and uploaded them to Twitter. As Palestinians threw stones, I confirmed reports in the mainstream media that Palestinians were throwing stones. I reported what I could confirm with my own two eyes, with a little personal commentary during quiet periods of the demonstration.

The battle for September / Akiva Eldar
Haaretz 5 June — Former Israeli ambassador to United Nations warns: Washington could refrain from imposing a veto over recognition of the Palestinian state — Every week the Prime Minister’s Bureau and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs add another three of four names to the long list of countries that have promised their support at the vote expected in September on recognition of a Palestinian state in the 1967 border. In Jerusalem they know that in the diplomatic conflict at the United Nations General Assembly the Palestinians will win on points. Lots of points. In order to prevent a knock-out victory, Israel is focusing the uphill battle on “quality” countries headed, or course, by the United States with its with its powerful Jews, and Germany, with its Jewish weakness. If it also succeeds in convincing France, Britain and Italy to vote against the resolution, or at least abstain, the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will depict the General Assembly resolution as further proof that Israel has become the victim of the campaign to delegitimize the Jewish state.

Haaretz editorial: Cops vs. citizens
3 June — The Israel Police has been tainted in recent years by the use of excessive force against the citizenry. The inordinate use of taser guns is an example of this — …As Yaniv Kubovich reported in yesterday’s Haaretz, documents recently submitted to a court show that one stun gun alone was used some 300 times in just two months.

Invest inside 1967 borders, not in settlements / Akiva Eldar
Haaretz 6 June — Defensible borders cannot be determined solely by the width of the country or the rocket range of the enemy; they are determined by internal consensus and international status, by the number of libraries and packed theaters.


Marching for Israel in New York
WASHINGTON  (Ynet) 6 June — Some 30,000 people gathered in New York City Sunday to show their support for the State of Israel, taking part in the 48th traditional march for the Jewish State. Israeli flags were ubiquitous while Jewish and Israeli artists and comedians performed on stages across the city.,7340,L-4078701,00.html (listserv) (archive)


American; political science major, M.A.; former ISM volunteer in the West Bank

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