and other news from Today in Palestine:
Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid
A stir over sign language / Ofer Aderet
Haaretz 29 July — A recently discovered trove of documents from the 1950s reveals a nasty battle in Jerusalem over the hebraization of street and neighborhood names. This campaign is still raging today.
Disguised Israeli security men arrest 6 Palestinians in Silwan
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 30 July — Disguised Israeli security men arrested six Palestinian young men in Wadi Rababa in Silwan town in occupied Jerusalem in a pre-dawn raid on Saturday, eyewitnesses reported. They said that the disguised policemen backed by a special force stormed the suburb and arrested the youths near the sit-in tent held to protest settlement activity in the Bustan suburb in Silwan. The witnesses said that identity of the young men and reasons for their detention were not known yet. The disguised security personnel usually speak Arabic and infiltrate among the Arab masses without being recognized.
Report: Israel plans to build separation wall in Golan
GOLAN, Syria (Ma‘an) 30 July — Israeli authorities plan to build a wall in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, the official Syrian news agency SANA reported Friday. The wall will separate the town of Majdal Shams in Israeli-occupied territory from the suburb of Al-Oude and Ain Al-Tinah in Syria, SANA reported. SANA said the cement wall would be four kilometers long and eight meters high. Earlier this year, Israeli forces killed at least 27 people in the area during demonstrations against the Israeli occupation.
Settlers / Right-wingers
Jewish settlers desecrate graveyard
[photo] AL-KHALIL (PIC) 30 July — Jewish settlers, escorted by Israeli occupation forces, burst into and desecrated a graveyard north of Al-Khalil on Friday and performed Talmudic rituals in it. Eyewitnesses said that tens of armed settlers forced their way into the Islamic burial ground in Khirbat Jala west of Beit Ummar village to the north of Al-Khalil and offered prayers. They pointed out that the settlers were roaming nearby areas while carrying maps, adding that the settlers were looking for water springs and wells.
Israelis attack Arab-Jewish protest tent
TEL AVIV (WAFA) 30 July — Right-wing Israelis Friday attacked an Arab-Jewish tent, tore down a Palestinian flag and destroyed signs in the tent city on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv, according to Israeli sources. The tent city was set up in Tel Aviv two weeks ago when dozens of Israelis moved out of their homes to live in the streets, protesting high rent and housing prices. The protests spread across several Israeli cities as well. Arab citizens of Israel had also joined the protests, which seems to have irked right-wing anti-Arab Israelis.
Israeli soldiers attack Palestinian journalist
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) — Palestinian photojournalist Moheeb Al-Barghouthi was beaten by Israeli soldiers on Friday while covering an anti-wall protest in Nabi Saleh near Ramallah.
Al-Barghouthi, who works for the official Palestinian Authority newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, suffered head injuries and sustained bruises across his body in the attack. He said soldiers destroyed his camera and confiscated some of his equipment. The journalist said the soldiers accused him of “misrepresenting” the image of Israeli forces. They left him bleeding and handcuffed on the ground in intense heat for several hours, he added.
Palestinian farmer wounded in IOF shooting
GAZA (PIC) 30 July — A Palestinian farmer was wounded [in the] north of the Gaza Strip at noon Saturday when Israeli occupation forces (IOF) opened fire at a group of farmers in the area, medical sources said. Adham Abu Salmiya, the spokesman for medical services, said that a farmer in his twenties was taken to hospital after sustaining injuries in the IOF shooting to the north of Beit Lahia, [in the] north of the Gaza Strip. He described the youth’s condition as moderate to serious, adding that he was hit with a bullet in the head.
UN Rights Committee breaks 43-year Israeli taboo on Gaza
UNITED NATIONS (IPS) 29 July — When the United Nations General Assembly created a three- member special committee to investigate Israeli human rights violations in occupied territories back in December 1968, the Jewish state reacted with obvious anger. And not surprisingly, the committee was barred from entering any of the occupied territories – forcing the three members to hold sittings in Cairo, Amman and Damascus where Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza were given a hearing twice a year. But geopolitics in the region has dramatically changed the political climate — much to the chagrin of the Israelis. For the first time in 43 years, members of the ‘U.N. Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices in Occupied Territories’ gained entry into Gaza last week, through Egypt which has ousted its Israeli-friendly president, Hosni Mubarak.
so rich in trees
[photos] InGaza 30 July — “Gaza, a city so rich in trees as to be like a cloth of brocade spread out on the sand.” The other night I was flipping through Mahfouz’s Palestine: A Guide, by Mariam Shahin. In my browsing, I came across two different references to Gaza’s former fertility, so lavish that I had to note them, as one would today believe these were lies. The second: “Beit Lahiya (in Roman times): Then its sweet water nourished delicious fruits and beautiful gardens. It once looked like a forest, with many apple, fig, peach and orange trees.” I try to imagine the flourish of green with flowering buds… but can’t. There are trees in Gaza, sparsely pitched and stunted by water shortages or re-planting after Israeli bulldozing …But since I first came here in November 2008, every time I’ve gone to border regions, I’ve been told by proud locals: this was the most beautiful area of Gaza, people used to come from all over with picnics, to enjoy the trees, the birds, the flowers. Beit Hanoun and Faraheen locals rival with their memories, and surely all along the Green-Line border separating Gaza and Israel there were such bounties of green..
Blast in central Gaza market damages storefront
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 30 July — An explosive charge blew off the front of a mini market in central Jabaliya refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip on Saturday morning, causing extensive damage to the store, onlookers said. Eyewitnesses said the blast, which occurred in the early morning hours, caused major structural damage to the storefront in the Tal Az-Za‘atar area as well as three nearby residences. Security forces in Gaza arrived at the scene and opened an investigation.
Iranian gallery opens its doors in Gaza
GulfNews 30 July — Gaza: Despite the limited space observers and artists gathered for the opening of the first Iranian art gallery in the Palestinian territories. The Iranian flag was on display at the ‘Greetings to the Resistance’ gallery. The show is part of the Iranian festival of resistance. Most of the paintings represented the Palestinian resistance and the occupation.
Will you marry me under occupation? / Eva Bartlett
NI 29 July — Wedding season began weeks ago with the first convoys of honking cars overloaded with singing, dancing, cheering shebab [guys]. From 4pm onwards, the beeping cars and wedding bands – five or more musicians dressed in traditional trousers and blouses, playing different-sized drums and something akin to a kazoo – blot out all other noise as they pass my apartment every half hour or so, en route to the seaside wedding halls. Gaza evenings are filled with the sounds of celebration. Those who can scrape together the money to rent one of Gaza’s many wedding halls do so — borrowing, taking a bank loan, or if they are lucky having saved from years of work — and invite a few hundred of their family, relatives and friends to the night of dancing.
Activism / Solidarity / Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions
VIDEO: Cyclists join Bil‘in weekly protest 29 July
by Haitham Khatib 3:58 minutes — …Participants used a megaphone to call to the settlers, who are in the illegal settlement (Mattiaho Mzrah) built on the lands of Bil‘in, to leave the area and return to their original homeland and return the land to the Palestinians. As the marchers walked along the concrete wall, they were able to destroy part of the barbed wire located along the concrete wall. On their part, Israeli soldiers fired live bullets and tear gas at demonstrators, injuring several demonstrators, and ignited a fire in the fields adjacent to the wall. The Israeli occupation army chased the participants in the fields and mountains in an attempt to arrest the participants.
Photos: South African rally in Capetown for sending aid to Gaza
AJ 29 July — South Africans in Cape Town’s Mitchells Plain attend a rally that seeks to send aid to Gaza in the hope of breaking its blockade on the Palestinians.
Apartheid agents not welcome on our campuses
PACBI 27 July — The South African Students Congress (SASCO) in Gauteng province notes with dismay the advanced preparations by the Israeli Apartheid regime to send a group of 27 Israeli students to South African universities in a desperate attempt to improve the ravaged image of Israel. These apartheid agents, camouflaged as private and impartial students, are expected to arrive in South Africa on 11 August 2011. The targeted institutions of higher learning by these agents include universities around Tshwane and Johannesburg, especially the University of Johannesburg (UJ) … We call upon all universities to follow the heroic example of the University of Johannesburg by cutting ties with universities aligned to the Apartheid regime. We further urge all progressive forces in our country to join us in the protest at OR Tambo International Airport when the Apartheid agents arrive on the 11th of August 2011.
Video: 500 protesters join boycott demo at Max Brenner store in Australia / Annie
Mondoweiss 30 July — Hundreds of BDS demonstrators gathered again yesterday at Melbourne’s Central Business District to protest against the attack and arrest of 19 nonviolent BDS supporters on July 1st as reported here by Kim Bullimore. Victorian Police had previously arrested demonstrators at the Max Brenner cafe, owned by the Israeli Strauss Group, which directly funds two IDF brigades, the Golani and Givati brigades. The 19 protesters now face exorbitant fines of up to $30,000.
Lower the debt — End US aid to Israel: 10 things you can do!
US Campaign to End the Occupation 29 July — We know that cutting off the $30 billion in weapons pledged to Israel from 2009 to 2018 won’t solve our country’s gargantuan $14.3 trillion debt crisis, but it sure would help. From a moral and financial perspective, we cannot afford to provide Israel with the weapons it misuses to sustain its illegal 44-year military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip. Here are 10 things you can do to advance our coalition’s ongoing campaign to educate people in the United States about the true costs of arming Israel and mobilize them to end our country’s military support for Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights:
For human rights activists, boycotting Israel is a no-brainer / Nadia Hijab
Daily Star 29 July — Making the Palestinian case has never been a problem. It is a powerful story grounded in universal principles of human rights and in international law. The question has always been how to shift the balance between one of the strongest military powers in the world and a people struggling with occupation, inequality and exile. That question began to be answered not long ago.
Palestinians prepare for massive uprising / Mel Frykberg
BEIT UMMAR, Occupied West Bank (IPS) 29 July — Leading members of the Palestinian Popular Committees in the West Bank plan massive civil unrest and disobedience against the Israeli occupation authorities come September when the Palestinians take their case for statehood to the UN. “We plan to take to the streets en masse,” Musa Abu Maria, a leading member of the Popular Committee in Beit Ummar, a town 11 km north of Hebron in the southern West Bank told IPS. “We will block entire highways leading to and from Israel’s illegal settlements. We will march on settlements. But these will be non-violent and the protesters will be peaceful. “We have worked out creative strategies to bring the occupation increasingly to the attention of the international community and the world media. We will be coordinating with our international supporters in Europe and America to increase international recognition of the Palestinian predicament as the tide turns in our favour,” added Abu Maria.
Two Palestinians arrested for working in Jerusalem
BETHLEHEM (PIC) 30 July — Israeli police have detained two Palestinian men in a crackdown on Palestinian workers in Israel and occupied Jerusalem. Locals identified those men as Ahmed Adel Hajajira, 19, from Ayeda refugee camp and Mohammed Ibrahim Hajajira, from al-Deheisha refugee camp. They were taken from their work place in Jabal Abu Gneim for allegedly working without obtaining work permits required to enter and work in occupied Jerusalem.
Jenin teacher arrested at Jordan border
JENIN (Ma‘an) — Israel’s army arrested a teacher last Sunday at the Jordan bridge border crossing, his relatives said. Mufeed Jalghum works at a school in the northern West Bank city of Jenin. He was on his way back from Saudi Arabia performing the annual Umrah pilgrimage, his brother Abed Al-Hakim told Ma‘an. Mufeed was transferred to Al-Jalamah prison, Abed added. It was not immediately clear why he was arrested.
IOF soldiers arrest Jordanian Lifeline activist
AMMAN (PIC) 30 July — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested a Jordanian activist while crossing into the West Bank from Jordan to visit relatives in Al-Khalil province two week ago, his family said. They told the PIC reporter in Amman on Saturday that Hamza Al-Dabbas, 29, who is carrying a Jordanian passport, was detained on 10/7/2011 by the Israeli intelligence. The relatives said that ever since then they did not have any information about Dabbas, who is a member of the Jordanian Lifeline convoy that sends humanitarian aid to the besieged Gaza Strip and who works with the Jordanian engineers syndicate. They said that none of his relatives was informed of his whereabouts, adding that the Jordanian government did nothing so far.
Political / Diplomatic / International news
Dahlan flees to Jordan blasts Abbas over raid
Daily Star 30 July — BEIRUT: Former Fatah leader Mohammad Dahlan issued a scathing attack on rival Fatah President Mahmoud Abbas Friday after the Palestinian security forces raided his house in Ramallah and arrested his guards Thursday. Dahlan arrived in the Jordanian capital Amman following the raid late Thursday, according to a report in Kuwaiti newspaper, Al-Ray. In an exclusive statement issued to Al-Ray, Dahlan said: “Abu Mazen [Abbas] is personally responsible for what has happened to me in Ramallah. He has brought shame upon us and he is trying to establish a dictatorship at a stage where all dictatorships are gone,” adding that Abbas “pretends to protect the law but at the same time he breaks into people’s houses which he is supposed to protect.”
Fatah lawmakers from Gaza slam Dahlan raid
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 30 July — Fatah lawmakers from Gaza on Saturday denounced the raid on Mohammad Dahlan’s home in Ramallah by Palestinian Authority security forces … They said it was an attack on Dahlan’s parliamentary immunity and personal freedom, and violated Palestinian basic law.
Fatah leader dies in Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 30 July — Member of the Fatah revolutionary council and former lawmaker and women’s activist Jamila Seidam died Saturday in Ramallah, party officials said. She was 64. The Fatah movement mourned her death in a statement. “Um Sabri” is survived by her husband, Mamadouh Seidam, who is serving the party as a member of its central committee.
Assailants open fire on Egypt gas pipeline to Israel
dpw/Reuters 30 July — Pipeline attack is third to take place during month of July; No group is claiming responsibility for attack — Witnesses said the station had not been repaired since the blast earlier in July.
Analysis / Opinion
Building the Palestinian dream on shaky ground / Hagai Amit
Haaretz 30 July — The planned city of Rawabi could be embodiment of many Palestinian aspirations, but the Palestinian Authority’s UN bid could derail the whole project … Masri says changes in Palestinian society spurred the city’s construction. “The young men coming back from abroad do not want to live in a village that lacks running water three days a week,” he says. “They do not want to sit with their father in the living room every evening and watch news from Jordan.” Masri’s young assistants reflect these changes. They are in their 30s, fluent in English and unmarried. Now, finally, someone intends to free them from having to live with their extended families. Someone is helping them fulfill the Western dream in a new, young city.
On Ramadan’s eve, severe financial crunch hitting occupied territories / Khalid Amayreh
Ramallah (UrukNet) 30 July — Muhammed and Sarah Sawabha live at a middle class Ramallah neighborhood, with their six children, including two college students. Muhammed has a Bachelor of Science and earns a monthly salary of about $800 US dollars as a teacher at a local school. His wife, who has a BA in Arabic Language and Literature earns nearly the same amount, teaching Arabic at one of the largest and most prestigious high schools in suburban Ramallah. Like many other Palestinian families, the Sawabhas are ill-prepared to receive the Muslim holy month of Ramadan during which family spending increases substantially. “We always struggled to make ends meet. But this is the first time we feel we are fighting on many fronts and losing,” said Muhammed … According to PA officials, the current financial crisis hitting the occupied territories is probably the severest in living memory
Analysis: Donor aid boosts West Bank infrastructure despite impediments
RAMALLAH (IRIN) 29 July – West Bank infrastructure projects have increased as a result of the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) state-building efforts and increased donor funding, although significant barriers to implementation remain, report officials from Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad’s office, PA ministries and donors. Infrastructure, intertwined with economic development, is seen as the backbone of a future state under the framework of the 2008 Palestinian Reform and Development Plan (PRDP), the government’s comprehensive effort to prepare for an independent Palestinian state by September 2011. The PA has succeeded in connecting almost all residential areas to the electricity grid (99.8 percent of the population now connected), repair thousands of kilometres of roads, as well as improve the water and sanitation networks since 2008.
Rightist Knesset members welcome Russian neo-Nazis to Knesset, Yad Vashem / Richard Silverstein
Tikun Olam 29 July — When an Israeli reader sent this story (Hebrew) to me I couldn’t believe the headline summarized above. Further, in this day and age of Norwegian neo-Nazi, anti-jihadi attacks which wrap themselves in the Israeli flag, this story is simply mind-blowing. It begins with a visit from a Russian neo-Nazi delegation to Israel. Under the auspices of Tuvia Lerner, editor of the Russian edition of Arutz 7, the media voice of the settler movement, they inveigled themselves an invitation to meet with far-right MKs Aryeh Eldad and Ayoob Kara.
Netanyahu’s next move: War? / Yossi Gurvitz
+972mag 29 July — Netanyahu does not have many cards left to play. His way out his current political troubles may be a war – and we should be ready for it, and reject it — …I’m hearing from several quarters that Netanyahu has only two rabbits left in his hat. One of them is the release of captive soldier Gilad Shalit, who has become a sort of celebrity in Israel. It’s not at all clear this will end the protests, and the maneuver becomes complicated because it requires the agreement of Hamas, which, for its own part, is in no rush … The other rabbit is going to a splendid little war. Or, if not a full-fledged war, a massive operation which looks just like the real thing. This schtick rarely fails. Israeli air force planes circled over Gaza last night, and in general the IDF seems to be heating the Gaza sector in the last few weeks … I do know, however, that security officials in the north have received an official warning from the government (Hebrew) that September is going to be hot. Possibly a war, possibly against the Palestinians, possibly against the Israeli Palestinians, possibly against Hizbullah. It is worth noting that, contrary to myth, most of Israel’s wars were propagated by it, often for a political reason.
New moves to curb criticism of Israel in US and Canada / Kristin Szremski
EI 29 July — A number of new initiatives to curtail freedom of speech by conflating opposition to Israeli crimes with anti-Semitism are underway in the United States and Canada.