and other news from Today in Palestine:
Land, property theft and destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Restriction on movement / Exile
Occupation authorities arrest Ya‘qub Abu Asab in Jerusalem
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 4 Nov — The Israeli occupation authorities on Friday at dawn detained Ya‘qub Abu Asab, an academic and a member of the national committee against exile. Abu Asab, who is pursuing postgraduate research in the management of institutions, was detained by Israeli occupation on several previous occasions
link to Palestinian Information Center
Israeli authorities intend to commence Al-Bustan demolitions
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 4 Nov — Silwanic has learnt that Israeli authorities intend to commence their heavily criticised program of demolition in Al-Bustan neighborhood of Silwan in the coming weeks. Authorities seek to clear vast swathes of Palestinian homes and property to make way for a ‘biblical garden’ as part of the City of David settlement project. The Jerusalem Municipality has been trying to market the biblical park project since 2005, promoting Al-Bustan as the original site of King Solomon’s park. “Al-Bustan”, which can be translated as ‘the garden’ in Arabic, has been cited as conclusive evidence.
WATCH: Israel blasts route of wall near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 4 Nov (40 seconds) — Residents of Bethlehem awoke to loud blasts Thursday as Israeli construction crews dynamited a planned route of the separation wall through a nearby village … The construction is for a controversial separation wall cutting off the village of Walaja, which abuts an Israeli settlement outside Bethlehem, from other parts of the occupied West Bank.
So much for freedom of religion
Pilgrims: Israel stops freed prisoners at border
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 4 Nov — Israeli authorities on Friday barred passage of a bus taking released prisoners from the West Bank to make pilgrimage to Mecca, passengers said. Raed Amer, traveling with the group of 86 pilgrims recently freed from Israeli jails in a exchange deal with Hamas, said Israeli forces stopped the buses and forced them to return to the city of Jericho. Amer protested Israel’s continued “punishment” of former detainees by banning them from praying in the holy city of Mecca during the Islamic holiday Eid al-Adha, which begins Sunday.
Officials prepare Rafah for prisoners making Hajj
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 3 Nov — Officials at the Rafah border crossing are facilitating arrangements for recently released prisoners to make the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, the interior ministry in Gaza said. Crossings officials at Rafah terminal on Gaza’s border with Egypt have been working since Wednesday evening to prepare passports and visas for the prisoners, the ministry said, adding that pilgrims would be able to leave Thursday evening or Friday morning. Rafah crossing is the only entry and exit point from the Gaza Strip not controlled by Israel. Palestinian Authority religious affairs minister Mahmoud Habash announced Wednesday that Saudi King Abdullah invited 477 released prisoners to perform Hajj, an Islamic obligation. [Hajj is Nov 4-9 this year]
Israeli drone targets area in northern Gaza
GAZA (WAFA) 3 Nov — An Israeli drone Thursday launched missile fire targeting an area northwest of the town of Beit Lahia, in the northern Gaza strip, according to local sources. Sources said an Israeli drone targeted a group of Gazans during confrontations in response to Israeli soldiers’ incursion into the area, which led to the destruction of a water well used for agricultural purposes. The area was later heavily shelled by Israeli military tanks stationed at the border. There were no reports of any injuries.
Occupation opens dams flooding Palestinian homes in Abasan
GAZA, (PIC) 4 Nov — Israeli occupation authorities opened water dams at Sanati to the east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip causing the flooding of Palestinian homes in the town of Abasan al-Kabira. The mayor of Abasan, Mustafa al-Shawwaf, told Safa news agency 8 homes in the town were flooded to a height of 70 to 90 cm, and that residents of those homes are being evacuated. Many streets in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, were also flooded as a result of torrential rain that fell all night in the area.
Gaza airstrikes destroy olive groves / Ruqaya Issidien
Al-Akhbar 4 Nov — Gaza- Last week, 12 Palestinians and one Israeli were killed during a three day round of cross-border attacks on Gaza. Beyond the loss of life, Israel’s airstrikes also wrought long lasting damage on Palestinians’ livelihoods dependent on olive cultivation. On Sunday October 30, at 3am, an F-16 shelled an olive grove in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza, destroying over 40 trees and leaving a crater five metres deep and twice as wide. Sufyan Musa, whose family has owned the farm for over 50 years, explained: “It’s like the farm was hit by an earthquake, and now there is nothing; no farm, no yield, no point.”
Photoblog: The story of Gaza’s olive oil / Ruqaya Issidien
Al-Akhbar 4 Nov — Gazan olive oil used to be considered amongst the most luxurious in the world. Today, the blockade and attacks on agricultural land have reduced the quantity and quality of oil to a shadow of its former status. But Gazan farmers are keen to keep the tradition, and the oil, running. The olives are either handpicked or beaten with sticks and drop to tarpaulin below. They are then scooped into bags and taken to be squeezed in one of the few olive presses in Gaza.
Army: Rocket from Gaza lands in Israel
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 4 Nov — Israel’s army says a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip struck open territory in the Hof Ashkelon regional council late Friday. There were no reports of injury or damage.
Twilight Zone: Grad land / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 4 Nov — …A row of burnt cars stretches across the scorched parking area, wrapped in plastic and adorned with Israel Police ribbons, as though they are surprise gifts. Two days after the Grad missiles struck, employees of Window and Door – which does glass and aluminum work – and of Shai’s Shutters are busy taking apart all the windows on the facade of this seven-story apartment building … Two days after the tragedy, quiet and equanimity are apparent in all the places that were hit by rockets and missiles – Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gan Yavne. A small war that again erupted for a moment and was immediately capped, something the residents of this area have somehow got used to. The order of things is also, by now, routine: A Grad hits an open area, 10 or 20 Palestinian “activists” are assassinated in revenge, followed by a few more revenge volleys resulting in one Israeli fatality, then quiet until the next round, in the unending blood game of “whose is bigger.”
Israeli’s selective blockade of the Gaza Strip / Mya Guarnieri
972mag 4 Nov — Four things Israel doesn’t want you to know about the blockade of the Gaza Strip — According to the “IDFSpokesperson” account on Twitter, “Gaza is under a maritime security blockade according to international law.” The two-boat flotilla known as “Freedom Waves to Gaza,” is, according to the same Twitter feed a “provocatilla.” Setting aside the issue of whether or not the blockade is legal–and I don’t believe that is — here’s what the IDF fails to mention when it starts issuing statements about the blockade: 1) In August of 2008 and October of the same year, boats manned by activists reached Gaza, breaking the blockade that Israel is now so intent on enforcing. 2) Israel itself selectively breaks the blockade when it needs or wants to. Take, for example, the recent decision to import palm fronds from Gaza for Sukkot 3) Even though both the Israeli government and the mainstream media claims that the blockade began in 2007, the closure of Gaza was a gradual process that started in 1991..
Miles of Smiles 7 enters Gaza
IMEMC 4 Nov — The Miles of Smiles 7 solidarity convoy made it in the Gaza Strip on Thursday after crossing through the Rafah Border Terminal between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. Issam Yousef, convoy coordinator, stated that the convoy carried more than 30 types of medications not found in Gaza due to the ongoing Israeli siege, 120 power-chairs, handicapped-friendly transport vehicles, and other essential medical supplies. Approximately 100 persons, from various Arab and European countries, (Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Algeria, France, and Britain) participated in the convoy.
Haniyeh says committed to safety of Gaza Christians
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 Nov — Ismail Haniyeh told Father Hammam Ashzoz, the chargé d’affaires of the Latin Patriarch in Jerusalem, that it is “their right, and our obligation” to ensure that Gaza’s 3,000 Christians are free to practice their religion … Muslims and Christians in Palestine share “one goal and a common destiny,” he said. Haniyeh congratulated Christians upon the release of Chris Bandak, a Bethlehem-born member of Fatah’s armed wing who was released to Gaza in the Israel-Hamas prisoner swap.
Gaza: 180 prisoners to be released on Eid al-Adha
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 3 Nov — The government in Gaza will release 180 prisoners for the Eid al-Adha holiday, the interior minister said Thursday. Fathi Hammad said 120 of the prisoners will be returned to jail after the holiday, which starts on Sunday subject to lunar sighting.
Israeli forces’ attacks, raids, incursions
PCHR weekly report: 12 fighters killed; 5 fighters, 4 civilians wounded by Israeli forces this week 27 Oct – 2 Nov
4 Nov — … Israeli war planes launched 17 air strikes against targets in the Gaza Strip.
A country house, a room and two containers were destroyed and a number of houses, shops and fields were damaged … Israeli naval troops arrested two Palestinian fishermen .. Israeli forces conducted 56 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, during which they abducted 8 Palestinians. In addition, Israeli soldiers abducted 5 Palestinian civilians, including a child, at various checkpoints in the West Bank. In one instance, Israeli forces used a dog to attack a Palestinian civilian… Full text of the report
Hebron copes with self-deifying Israeli military and its settlers
ISM 3 Nov by Alistair George — The streets of Tel Rumeida are locked-down and divided; physically occupied by a forceful Israeli military. For the Palestinian community living in this part of H2, Israeli-controlled Hebron, military occupation is an inescapable intrusion into everyday reality … Movement around H2 is severely restricted. In some streets Palestinians are allowed to walk but not drive, forcing them to manually lug heavy supplies such as gas canisters and food. Even ambulances are not allowed to drive through certain areas. Palestinians are forbidden from passing through some streets by car or by foot … However, despite the enduring hardship in Tel Rumeida, resistance to the Israeli occupation remains strong. The ‘Study and Challenge Centre’ is located on Palestinian land that is surrounded by four Israeli settlements – the closest of which is only metres from the rear of the building … The centre is a hub of nonviolent resistance and its existence is a testament to the spirit that exists in a beleaguered community under occupation.
Soldiers ‘raid journalist’s home’ in Jericho
JERICHO (Ma‘an) 4 Nov — A Palestinian journalist says Israeli forces raided his house on Wednesday in a Jericho refugee camp. Adel Ibrahim Abu Nimeh said soldiers held his family in a room while they searched his house in Aqaba refugee camp, filing through his papers and documents. Abu Nimeh, a reporter for Al-Hayat al-Jadida, said the soldiers terrified his family members.
Researcher: 23 lawmakers in Israeli custody
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 Nov — Israel holds 23 Palestinian lawmakers in its prisons, a researcher in prisoners affairs said Wednesday. Riyad al-Ashqar said the arrest of Hassan Yousef on Tuesday brought the total up to 23, in addition to two former ministers. Yousef spent six years in Israeli prison, and was released months ago before soldiers seized him again for belonging to Hamas. Israeli authorities have also sentenced lawmaker Jamal Tirawi to 30 years in prison. All but three of the MPs have been placed in administrative detention, al-Ashqar says. [End]
Prison administration ‘closes medical section’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 Nov — The Israeli prison administration closed Thursday a section for sick detainees in Ramle prison hospital and isolated two representatives of the prisoners for demonstrating against the decision. The Fatah information department said the prison administration closed the section and moved 22 sick prisoners who were being treated to four small rooms with no kitchens or other facilities.
A human rights organization: Sick captives live in harsh conditions
GAZA (PIC) 3 Nov — The Palestinian centre for the defence of captives said that the occupation authorities and the prison administration are fully responsible for the lives of 25 captives in the Ramalah [Ramle] prison hospital… Researcher at the centre Reyad al-Ashqar said, in a statement on Thursday … also said that there [are] 25 captives being held at the Ramala prison hospital, all of them are seriously ill; suffering from illnesses such as cancer, renal failure, paralysis and other serious illnesses.
Witnesses: Israeli forces detain teens in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 4 Nov — Israeli forces detained three people in Hebron at dawn on Friday, including two teenagers, locals said. Eyewitnesses told Ma‘an that soldiers raided a house in southern Hebron and detained Amjad Salhab, 13, and Izz al-Din Salhab 14. In Yatta village, south of Hebron, forces also detained Ala al-Shamisti, 21, from his father’s house early Friday, locals said.
Israeli forces detain teenager near Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 3 Nov — Israeli forces detained a Palestinian teenager from Beit Ummar village in Hebron after forcing him to step out of a car near the northern entrance of the village, activists said. The forces closed the entrance and forbade cars from passing. Muhammad Ayyad, the spokesman of the popular committee in the village, said forces made Jaafar Ibrahim Awad, 19, exit his car and before arresting him and taking him to Kfar Etzion.
Israel special forces arrest two Palestinians in Dheisheh, Beni Na‘im
PNN 3 Nov — On Thursday, Israeli special forces soldiers arrested a 25-year-old man from Dheisheh camp south of Bethlehem while a raid in Bani Na‘im concluded with the arrest of another Palestinian man.
Israeli bulldozers also tore down electricity poles in the South Hebron Hills villages of Tawani and al-Masdara towns, east of Yatta. These electricity was being provided by a joint Israeli-Qatari company and the poles were located in Area C, under the military and civil control of Israel. Israeli forces accompanying the bulldozers forbade foreign journalists from approaching the location.
Israeli authorities arrest four youth in dawn raid
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 4 Nov — Israeli troops arrested four youth from Silwan village early in the morning of Sunday, 30 October. Abed al-Kareem Shukhi (14) was taken from Al-Hara al-Wasta neighborhood for the second time in one week … al-Kareem was ordered released to a house arrest sentence on a bail of 1,000 NIS. The family refused to pay the bail, citing near-bankruptcy. Al-Kareem faced the same charges in this most recent court appearance as his previous one. The al-Shukhi family is a family commonly targeted by Israeli authorities in Silwan. One family member is currently held in prison in Israel, and all members of the family have been arrested multiple times, including the mother. She told Silwanic that “I only work so that we can pay lawyers’ fees and bails, but my salary is still not enough. I grieve for our family – we can’t pay 1,000 shekels to bring our son home.”
Officials: Israel grants amnesty to 51 ‘wanted’ prisoners
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 4 Nov — Palestinian Authority officials have released a list of fighters they say have been granted amnesties by Israel, as part of a move to free “wanted” persons held in protective custody in the West Bank. The list of 51 persons obtained by Ma‘an includes 21 who will receive a full amnesty, and 30 who will be confined to Nablus governorate. The prisoners have been held in protective police custody in the PA-run Juneid prison as part of a deal to eventually remove the fighters from the from Israel’s “wanted” list.
Mahmoud Sa‘di goes on hunger strike in a PA jail
JENIN (PIC) 4 Nov — Mahmoud al-Sa‘di, who is detained by PA security at Jericho central jail, started a hunger strike after 60 days of arbitrary detention. He is being detained by the PA for being the brother in law of Bassam al-Sa‘di who is a leader of the Islamic Jihad movement and is detained in occupation jails. He was taken two months ago from his home in Jenin after trying to stop elements of the PA Preventive Security from arresting his nephew. Human rights groups in Palestine criticised the continuation of the PA to repress Palestinian residents in the West Bank, especially against freed captives.
link to Palestinian Information Center
Activism / Solidarity
Under the flag of UNESCO marched Gaza
ISM 1 Nov By Nathan Stuckey — We gathered on the road in front of the Agricultural College of Beit Hanoun, one side of the road a functioning school, on the other, only the remains of destroyed school buildings. For three years the people of Beit Hanoun have gathered here every Tuesday for their protest against the no go zone and the occupation. Members of the Local Initiative of Beit Hanoun, townspeople, students who had taken the afternoon off of school, and the International Solidarity Movement, all marching under the same flag, the flag of Palestine, red, white, black and green, together. For three years we have marched together, every Tuesday for three years we have went into the no go zone. Today was different though. Today we marched under another flag as well, the flag of UNESCO.
Israeli soldiers suppress Kufr Qaddoum weekly anti-settlement march
QALQILIA (WAFA) 4 Nov — Israeli soldiers on Friday suppressed the weekly anti settlements march in Kufr Qaddoum, a town east of Qalqilia in the northern West Bank, causing severe suffocation cases among Palestinians and a foreigner, according to witnesses.T he soldiers fired tear gas and stun grenades towards the participating in the march, [Murad Shteiwi] said. The soldiers also fired tear gas bombs towards a number of houses, causing suffocation cases among the families inside which included five children, he added … Weekly march of Kufr Qaddoum launched last July to demand the opening of the street that has been closed since 9 years and in protest against the Israeli policy of annexation and expansion in favour of the settlement of Kedumim, built on the village’s land.
We continue building in the Valley
[photos] JVS 3 Nov — So many volunteers from everywhere (France, England, Irland, Scotland, Colombya, USA, Spain, … and of course Palestine) have joined to build.Volunteers spent a lot of time making mud bricks during the summer. Now it is becoming a very big building with strong walls and arches.Come and join the building of this community center or of other buildings! Every hand is welcome to challenge the occupation!
Israeli racism / discrimination
Ultra-Orthodox spitting attacks on Old City clergymen becoming daily
Haaretz 4 Nov — Ultra-Orthodox young men curse and spit at Christian clergymen in the streets of Jerusalem’s Old City as a matter of routine. In most cases the clergymen ignore the attacks, but sometimes they strike back. Last week the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court quashed the indictment against an Armenian priesthood student who had punched the man who spat at him … Judge Dov Pollock, who unexpectedly annulled the indictment, wrote in his verdict that “putting the defendant on trial for a single blow at a man who spat at his face, after suffering the degradation of being spat on for years while walking around in his church robes is a fundamental contravention of the principles of justice and decency.”
Some 65% of Ethiopian children in Israel live in poverty
Haaretz 4 Nov — The figure, from a report published by the Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute in Jerusalem, compares to a poverty rate of 15 percent among the children of immigrants from the former Soviet Union, and 23 percent among children in the veteran population.
Frisky business / Sayed Kashua
Haaretz 4 Nov — “Do you also have an ID card?” the security guard at Ben-Gurion International Airport asks me as she riffles through my passport.”Yes,” I reply, and hand it to her … The minute I saw the numbers on the sticker that the first security person pasted on my suitcase and passport, I knew I was going to have to endure the “suspect” procedure … I know I have written about this a million times, and I will probably write about it another million times. Because it’s simply humiliating. If only these security people projected some embarrassment when they check your underwear, knowing in advance that it’s clean; if they only at least looked apologetic for getting under your skin. But no: Their gaze is always brimming with confidence. They know they are doing holy work, and the look they give you is always accusatory. It’s a look that says “How do you even dare allow yourself to fly?” Or, “Why doesn’t someone like you understand that this airport is not meant for you?…”
What women want / Benny Ziffer
Haaretz 28 Oct — God loves mirth – that’s a fact. Otherwise he would not have created the ultra-Orthodox, on the one hand, and gender, on the other, and ordered them to brawl with each other, in particular during the Sukkot holiday, when in fact we were supposed to rejoice more than on ordinary days … And in the midst of all this mirth, no one has asked what, in fact, the women want. Those selfsame women who are pushed into the women’s section of the synagogue and are pushed to the back of the bus and are forced to walk in the lane designated for women only. What do they want? To remain the way they are, obedient wives and mothers, or to join the gender camp?
Former neo-Nazi gang leader gets 69 months in jail
Ynet 3 Nov — The Tel Aviv District Court sentenced Dimitri Bogitch, 25, to 69 months in jail and three years on probation on Thursday. Bogitch was one of the leaders of a neo-Nazi youth gang in Petah Tikva and Tel Aviv between the years 2005-2007.
To keep up with the news, videos, and discussion on the flotilla, please read the many articles on it on Mondoweiss – here is just the latest one:
They were sailing for us / Medea Benjamin & Robert Naiman
Mondo 4 Nov — Two boats full of courageous passengers were on their way to Gaza when they were intercepted on Friday, November 4, by the Israeli military in international waters. We call the passengers courageous because they sailed from Turkey on November 2 with the knowledge that at any moment they might be boarded by Israeli commandos intent on stopping them—perhaps violently, as the Israeli military did in 2010 when they killed nine humanitarian aid workers on the Turkish boat named Mavi Marmara.
Israeli military boards Gaza-bound aid ships
Jerusalem (CNN) 4 Nov — Israeli sailors boarded two aid ships headed to the Palestinian territory of Gaza on Friday, the Israeli military said. While no resistance was reported, activists criticized the Israeli action as “illegal” and vowed that activists “will keep coming, wave after wave” to try to deliver aid to Palestinians in Gaza … According to the activist organizers, this mission was the eleventh attempt to run Israel’s blockade of Gaza by sea. Five missions arrived safely in Gaza between August and December 2008, with the rest intercepted by Israel. [this here to show that the event did make the US mainstream media]
Israel urged to identify arrested journalists
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 4 Nov — A press freedom group is urging Israel to disclose the names of journalists it has arrested from on board two boats bound for Gaza on Friday afternoon. The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists says it knows of three who were on board: Lina Attallah of Al-Masry al-Youm, Jihan Hafiz of Democracy Now, and Hassan Ghani of Press TV. “Israel must immediately disclose the names of all journalists aboard the ship and allow them to work freely,” said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, the group’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator, in a statement. “Israel should also refrain from confiscating any journalistic material as it has done in past raids.”
Activists react to Gaza assault
Al-Akhbar 4 Nov By: Ruqaya Izzidien — …Huwaida Arraf, a Palestinian-American human rights activist said, “This kind of violent, irrational behavior by Israel is similar to that which we see in other brutal regimes that are being challenged by the people. It’s important that we don’t give into this violence and that we keep taking to the sea, to the air, to the streets, to prove that violence and military might is not more powerful than the rights that we are fighting for.” The 27 activists and journalists aboard the boats were taken, against their will, to the Israeli port of Ashdod where they were put in the custody of local police.
Initial reactions from Gaza on the new Freedom Flotilla
ISM 3 Nov by Radhika S — Here in Gaza, people — especially the youth — are really excited about the new flotilla on its way from Turkey. “I can’t wait to receive my brothers and sisters who share our suffering and who also experience Israel’s apartheid policies and aggression,” said 19-year-old Al-Azher University student Hussien Amody, upon hearing news that a Palestinian from Haifa was on board yesterday evening. Hussein subsequently stayed up all night making signs and posters for today’s march in Gaza demanding that the United the Nations and the international community protect the two small boats. I rose early this morning and head to Gaza’s port to go out on the Oliva, a project run by CPS Gaza to monitor the Israel navy’s treatment of Palestinian fisherman. I promptly told Salah, our Captain, the news … “I think the Israeli navy will stop them,” he said as continued out to sea..
‘New setback’ for Palestinian hopes on UN membership
BBC 3 Nov — A UN diplomat says the UK, France and Colombia have told Security Council members they would abstain in any vote on Palestinian membership. None of these countries have officially confirmed this yet. But their decision is a setback for the Palestinians, who have been trying to win support from European states.
France will abstain in vote on Palestinian UN seat
PARIS (Reuters) 4 Nov — France will abstain in a vote on a Palestinian request for full membership of the United Nations, the French foreign ministry said on Friday. While France regarded the quest for Palestinian statehood as legitimate, the request for full UN membership had no chance of being accepted, notably because of US opposition, the ministry said in an electronic media briefing. “That is why, during a (UN) admissions committee meeting, France’s permanent representative at the United Nations said France would have no choice but to abstain in the Security Council,” it said.
Palestinians won’t accept less than full UN seat
RAMALLAH (Daily Star) 4 Nov — The Palestinians will not accept anything less than full U.N. membership and do not want an upgrade to an observer state in the world body, their foreign minister said on Thursday. Riyad al-Malki’s remarks suggested the Palestinians would not seek such an upgrade once their bid for full state membership meets its widely expected fate — failure due to opposition from the United States and other governments.
Malki told journalists in Ramallah the Palestinians could have won observer state status long ago and were not interested in it now.
If UN General Assembly votes for Palestinian state, US may be forced to defund entire UN system / Richard Silverstein
Tikkun Olam 4 Nov — An interesting question given our defunding UNESCO for its vote in favor of accepting Palestine as a member. Let’s presume the Security Council does not approve statehood and the issue goes to the General Assembly, and it does. From what I understand of the law under which we defunded UNESCO, we’d also have to defund the entire UN system, or at least the General Assembly. Can anyone imagine a scenario in which this happens? And if it doesn’t happen won’t that make our UNESCO decision appear totally hypocritical and self-serving (or I should say ‘“Israel-serving’)?
Al-Malki: Palestine will not apply to other UN bodies
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 4 Nov — The PLO will not apply to join any more international organizations but will focus on full membership of the United Nations, the Palestinian Authority minister of foreign affairs said Thursday … Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday that Palestinian efforts to join other UN agencies were “not beneficial for Palestine and not beneficial for anybody.” In an interview with The Associated Press, Ban said Palestinian applications to join other agencies could result in funding cuts affecting millions of people.
Source: Israel to resume tax transfers soon
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) — Israel has decided to stop transferring tax revenue to the Palestinian Authority in the aftermath of UNESCO’s acceptance of Palestine as a full member, at least temporarily. But according to a high-ranking official in the Palestinian government, Israel is facing considerable international pressure and is unlikely to continue the sanctions long past the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha. Israel knows that permanently cutting off funds to the Palestinian Authority will essentially amount to an end of the Oslo peace agreement
West Bank woman’s struggle for change
RAMALLAH (WaPo) 4 Nov — When Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas returned home to a hero’s welcome after applying for United Nations membership for a Palestinian state, Hurriyah Ziada was not moved to join the celebration. A 22-year-old university student who is active in protests against Israeli occupation in the West Bank, Ziada is skeptical that the statehood bid will bring any tangible change. Disillusioned with her leaders after years of fruitless talks with Israel and uninspired by the prospect of symbolic U.N. recognition, Ziada is part of a loose network of young activists who represent a potential new force in Palestinian society and politics.
Fatah leader reveals ‘new Palestinian strategy’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 4 Nov — A member of the Fatah central committee says President Mahmoud Abbas has formed a committee to reconsider the strategy and future of relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Muhammad Shtayyeh told Ma‘an that “the new strategy will be the path after Nov. 11,” when the UN Security Council is scheduled to meet to discuss Palestine’s application for membership as a state. Shtayyeh said the Palestinian leadership is set to break the status quo with Israel and reformulate relations. The new committee, among its members the leaders of the PLO and Fatah, is discussing “where we are going now,” Shtayyeh said without revealing the substance of the strategy.
But he said reconciliation with Hamas would formulate a basic part of it and noted Abbas planned to meet Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal after the holiday. He says the PA and Israel cooperate in some areas, but all of them are strained.
AIPAC’s ‘War with Iran’ bill passes House committee / M J Rosenberg
3 Nov — Wasting no time after its success in getting the administration to oppose Palestinian statehood at the United Nations, and still celebrating the UNESCO funding cut-off, AIPAC has returned to its #1 priority: pushing for war with Iran … The clearest evidence that war is the intention of the bill’s supporters comes in Section 601 which should be quoted in full.
‘Iran far from posing existential threat’
Ynet 4 Nov — Ex-Mossad Chief Ephraim Halevy warns strike on Iran could have devastating effect for region. ‘Ultra-Orthodox radicalization poses bigger threat than Ahmadinejad,’ he says
Egypt, Palestine/Israel, Sinai
Egyptian helicopter invades Israel’s airspace
Ynet 3 Nov –Pilot flies over Negev for 25 minutes, refuses to answer radio; retracts steps only after IAF fighter jets fire warning shots — …The official added that the Air Force views this incident with the fullest gravity, noting that they have never encountered a similar situation. [but your neighbor Lebanon certainly has…]
Egypt grants citizenship to 444 Palestinians with Egyptian mothers
CAIRO (WAFA) 3 Nov – The Egyptian interior ministry Thursday issued a decision to grant citizenship to children of Egyptian women married to non-Egyptians, among them 444 Palestinians, in accordance with the provisions of Article III of Law No. 154 for 2004, according to a statement by the ministry.
Watch: Refugees smuggled to Israel face organ theft in Sinai
972mag 4 Nov –CNN and Egypt’s Channel 25 released this week chilling video reports lending credence to rumors of an emerging organ trade in the Sinai Peninsula
Abbas warns security chiefs to be alert to Israeli provocation
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 3 Nov — President Mahmoud Abbas has instructed his security commanders to be alert and cautious of Israeli attempts to escalate tension, his political adviser Nimr Hammad said. Abbas discussed developments on the ground with security commanders in light of threats by Israeli politicians and military officials and Israel’s decision to withhold Palestinian tax revenue, Hammad told Ma‘an.
Israeli ‘deserter’ who refused to destroy Gaza tunnels denied asylum in Canada
Nat’l Post 4 Nov — An Israeli army reservist who deserted after refusing to destroy terrorist tunnels in Gaza, then sought political asylum in Canada, has been ordered to return home. He was also branded a draft dodger, rather than a legitimate conscientious objector, in a court decision that rejected his claim the Israeli military routinely breached international humanitarian law. The case hardens the Federal Court of Canada’s stand against foreign nationals fleeing democratic homelands to avoid military service by taking refuge in Canada, as was seen in recent cases of U.S. soldiers refusing to serve during the war in Iraq.
PCBS: Palestinians under 21 comprise 71% of population in Occupied Territories
PNN 2 Nov — Ola Awad, president of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), said on Wednesday that as the world reached seven billion people, Palestinians accounted for about 11 million, or about a tenth of a percent of that number … Inside the occupied territories, Awad said, Palestinians number about 4.2 million of the 11 million Palestinians in the world. After the 1948 Nakba, when Israel expelled just under a million Palestinians, the population grew to 2.9 million in 1967 and 3.8 million in 1997. The growth rate reached 2.7% during 1997 and 2007. Awad said PCBS expects the total number of Palestinians in the occupied territories to reach 5.4 million by 2020 and 6.1 million in 2025. Awad said the high population density in the occupied territories, especially the Gaza Strip, had become an obstacle to development…
Morbid theory in mystery of Israel’s answer to Stonehenge
Haaretz 3 Nov — A newly proposed solution to an ancient enigma is reviving debate about the nature of a mysterious prehistoric site that some call the Holy Land’s answer to Stonehenge … The site’s name means “stone heap of the wild cats” in Arabic. In Hebrew it is known as Galgal Refaim, or the “wheel of ghosts.” It was first noticed by scholars in 1968, a year after Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria … It seems likely that Rujm al-Hiri served residents of excavated villages nearby that were part of the same agrarian civilization that existed in the Holy Land in the Chalcolithic period, between 4500 and 3500 B.C. This predates the arrival of the Israelites as described in the Bible by as much as three millennia.
Video: The white soldiers of Jerusalem
AFP 4 Nov (1:24 minutes) — Israeli artist Yuda Braun and Jonathan Peleg set off on patrol covered from head to toe in white paint and dressed in full combat gear to provoke reactions from people living on both sides of a city at the heart of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Analysis / Opinion
Israeli leaders’ price tag against the Palestinians / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 3 Nov — This price tag meted out by the forum of eight is not much different than the settlers’ price tag; it’s violent, uncontrolled and seeks vengeance — What, for heaven’s sake, is so terrible about Palestine being accepted to UNESCO? Why is this considered an “anti-Israeli” step? And in general, what’s so bad about the Palestinians relinquishing terror and going over to the international arena? If Israel were to behave intelligently, it would vote to accept the Palestinians to any respectable international organization. And if Israel were to behave with integrity, the hollow talk about two states would be translated into support for the Palestinians’ diplomatic moves to achieve that.
Funding illegal Israel settlements? Priceless. / Bernard Keane
13 Dec 2010 –Visa, Mastercard and PayPal all enable donations to be made to US-registered groups funding illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank in defiance of international law. It appears at least one of the major credit cards also enables donations to an extremist Jewish group that has placed a bounty on the lives of Palestinians. All three have in the last week ceased enabling donations to WikiLeaks … Credit card transactional systems play a key role in facilitating this support for illegal settlements. Here are some examples … Worst of all is the extremist SOS Israel group, which has incurred even the wrath of the Israeli Defence Force by rewarding Israeli soldiers who disobey orders to evict settlers from illegal outposts (i.e. inciting mutiny), and which has offered a bounty for Palestinians shot by IDF soldiers. The SOS Israel website describes a number of ways you can make your ‘generous donation’ to it, including credit cards. Crikey’s token $2 donation via a Visa card was successful last night.
LA Times editorial: Using the United Nations
2 Nov — The lopsided vote for Palestine’s entry into UNESCO shows how isolated the U.S. and Israel are … regardless of how one feels about the proper borders of Israel, the Palestinian switch to a diplomatic strategy represents progress. It is also working brilliantly, if the Palestinians’ goal is to bring attention to their cause. The UNESCO vote showed that it is the United States and Israel, not the Palestinians, that are internationally isolated.
Hats off to Awn Khasawneh / Khalid Amayreh
3 Nov — It is a good omen that the newly-appointed Prime Minister of Jordan, Mr. Awn Khasawna, has finally admitted publicly that the expulsion of Hamas leaders from Jordan in 1999 was wrong. Khasawneh, a jurist of impeccable credentials, said deporting the Islamist Palestinian leaders, who were and are still Jordanian citizens, was a legal mistake … Khasawneh probably couldn’t have uttered what he said only a few months ago, especially prior to the outbreak of the Arab Spring against autocracies, despotism, and dynastic fiefdoms. The fact that he has said what he said illustrates the tremendous psychological change hovering over the Arab world, including Jordan.
The UNESCO mess / M J Rosenberg
AJ 1 Nov — It was bound to happen sooner or later. At some point, both the president and Congress would be faced with a clear choice between US national interests and the demands made by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his powerful Washington lobby. In the larger sense, it happens all the time. US policy toward the Palestinians endangers our interests throughout the Muslim world, including – first and foremost – our civilian and military personnel in the Middle East, as well as our strategic and economic interests … The entire world expects that from the United States by now and understands precisely why we operate that way. It understands that Israel is an important friend whose security we would never jeopardise. They understand quite clearly that it is our absurd system of campaign funding that dictates that we follow Israel’s lead on defending the occupation and preventing Palestinians from achieving any kind of recognition or sovereignty.
Hold me back! / Uri Avnery
“Hold me back!” is a part of Israeli folklore. It reminds us of our childhood. When a boy has a scuffle with a bigger and stronger boy, he pretends that he is going to attack him any moment and shouts to the spectators: “Hold me back, or I am going to kill him!” Israel is now in such a situation. We pretend that we are going to attack Iran at any moment and shout to the entire world: “Hold us back or…”
It is dangerous to prophesy in such matters, especially when we are dealing with people not all of whom are wise and not all of whom are sane. Yet I am ready to maintain: there is no possibility whatsoever that the government of Israel will send the air force to attack Iran.
Welcoming Palestine to UNESCO / Richard Falk
AJ 2 Nov — It may not ease the daily pain of occupation and blockade or the endless anguish of refugee status and exile or the continual humiliations of discrimination and second class citizenship, but the admission of Palestine to membership in UNESCO is for so many reasons a step forward in the long march of the Palestinian people toward the dignity of sunlight! The event illuminates the path to self-determination, but also brings into the open some of the most formidable obstacles that must be cleared if further progress is to be made.