Three years since Cast Lead

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 The Samouni children’s video of what happened to them three years ago during the Cast Lead massacre, via Max Ajl.

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Hamas commemorated the third anniversary of the Gaza war on Tuesday by stating that the coastal enclave has become a symbol of dignity in the face of adversity.  “The siege imposed on Gaza has failed to realize Israel’s goals when faced with the steadfastness and firmness of the Palestinian people,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a Gaza City press conference on Tuesday. 
Three years ago: A “normal morning” turns to horror in Gaza, Mohammed Suliman
Three years ago, Israel began its savage 22-day long bombardment of Gaza. Looking back, Mohammed Suliman recalls that there seemed to be “no beginning and no end to the bombing.”


27 December 2008: The Al Ashi family
“For the upcoming anniversary of the war, me and other women who lost husbands in the attack plan to give gifts to orphans who lost their fathers during the war. The gifts will be inscribed with the words ‘On this day you are the beloved ones of your mother’. We want children to remember they still have their mothers and they will always love them”

Simply put, I hate war. I love peace, for I don’t live peacefully just like others. My youngest sister hates war too. She could never forget the sounds of American-made F16s raiding Gaza’s only Power Plant, burning it to ashes, which happened to be close to our house. I could not forget her screaming that was lower than the F16s’.
Land, Property Theft & Destruction / Ethnic Cleansing / Apartheid / Refugees

IOF soldiers deliver demolition notices, detain more West Bankers
The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) served five demolition notices to owners of five homes in Al-Khalil and Bethlehem on Tuesday, local sources said.
Tourist center planned at sensitive Jerusalem site (AP)
AP – A hard-line Israeli group said Tuesday it was launching plans for a new tourist center at the site of a politically sensitive archaeological dig in a largely Arab neighborhood outside Jerusalem’s Old City, drawing fire from Palestinian officials.*

Protests in the West Bank During the Season of Christmas

Nabi Saleh, Al Masara, Qalandia, Nilin, Bilin and Kufr Qaddom’s week of protests.
Nabi Saleh: World has to stop Israeli targeted shooting of activists!
Nabi Saleh youth shot with 0.22 roundsStop the Wall has sent an urgent complaint to UN Special Rapporteurs and diplomatic missions urging them to further investigate the Israeli repression of human rights defenders and to make 2012 the year in which they finally hold Israel accountable for these and other crimes. There is a clear pattern of escalation of Israeli repression developing and we call the international community to urgently take effective measures.

Palestinian Women and Children Defy Israeli Laws and Visit Jerusalem
On Saturday, December 17, 2011, several dozen Palestinian women and their children from several villages and towns in the West Bank were supported by a group of Israeli women as they visited Jerusalem, defying the arbitrary Israeli laws that make Jerusalem and the rest of Israel forbidden zones for most Palestinians living in the West Bank. Occupied East Jerusalem is held out by many Palestinians as the future capitol of their state, and it is a city of great religious, cultural, and historical significance to Palestinians. This past Saturday was a continuation of Israeli-Palestinian women actions which challenge the apartheid policies of Israeli Authorities, that have been occurring for the past year and a half.

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A unique museum has been set up on the path of Israel’s wall, which snakes through the West Bank city of Bethlehem. An initiative of the Sumud Story House, it is designed to communicate Palestinian women’s stories about the “truth of Palestinian life which the wall tries to hide and kill,” a statement said.  Each panel contains a story that was either written or chosen by Palestinian women’s groups who convene at the Sumud Story House.

Twenty years of annexation and resistance
Twenty years ago, in 1991, the issues facing Silwan looked little different from today. At the time, hundreds of Palestinians belonging to left-wing movements organized a large demonstration against Israeli settlements in Silwan in response to the extreme right wing campaign to take over their neighborhoods.   The demonstration was attended by many Palestinian parliament members and left-wing activists, who denounced the expansion of settlement blocs in Silwan and the danger they posed to the American-sponsored peace process – the same process that allegedly continues to this day, but has still failed to produce an independent Palestinian state.   Today, settlement policies in East Jerusalem are still a major obstruction to the peace process. Settlement association Elad spearheads the settlement movement in Silwan, and is behind projects such as the archaeological “City of David” settlement project and other tourist attractions focused exclusively on Jewish history and culture in Jerusalem. 


Israel allows Gaza athletes to cross into West Bank, but bars outstanding academics, Amira Hass

Loujain, Mohammed and Said are not soccer players in whom FIFA, the international soccer federation, takes any interest. Their travel to the West Bank and presence there are forbidden. No international academic association has stood up for their basic right to choose where they will study.
Violence / Settlers
Palestinian child wounded in IOF shooting in central Gaza
A 13-year-old Palestinian child was wounded on Tuesday after Israeli occupation forces (IOF) fired at him east of Masdar village in central Gaza Strip, medical sources said.

More than one thousand Jewish settlers infiltrated under military protection at dawn Tuesday into Nablus city to perform Talmudic rituals in the Tomb of Yusuf.
22 Dec. ’11: Video: Border policeman in Hebron cocks weapon and threatens child
On 26 November 2011, Amin al-Bakri, a resident of Hebron and a volunteer in B’Tselem’s camera distribution project, filmed a border policeman cock his weapon and aim it at al-Bakri’s son thirteen year-old son, Muhannad. Al-Bakri and his family live near the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, a densely populated Palestinian area with many checkpoints, most of them staffed by the Border Police. Security forces regularly patrol near the Palestinian homes, creating great tension. Palestinians report long delays at checkpoints and settler attacks against them, sometimes while the security forces stand idly by.
NABLUS (Ma’an) — The Palestinian Authority official responsible for monitoring settlement activity in the northern West Bank said a recent settler rally targeting his work would not stop him from exposing settler crimes “to the whole world.” Dozens of extremist settlers rallied on Sunday on a main road west of Nablus, holding signs of protest against PA official Ghassan Daghlas. 
Suggestion follows incident where about 50 assaulted a top Israel Defense Forces officer and vandalized military vehicles on a West Bank base.
Youth arrested in al-Ein Street
Israeli forces arrested a local youth from Al-Ein Street in Silwan at 1am, 24 December. Muhammad al-Taweel was taken by Israeli forces as he stood beside his family’s car, say eyewitnesses.


9 Palestinians arrested every day in 2011
According to a report by researcher Abdul Nasser Ferwaneh, 3312 Palestinans were arrested by the Israeli military in 2011. This breaks down to 276 arrests a month or nine arrests a day.

Page by page, Marwan Barghouti`s anti-war tome walked out of prison
Joseph Dana – – In his book smuggled out of prison, Barghouti sets out to demonstrate how Palestinians can achieve a meaningful non-violent resistance against the military court system. In addition to the practical information of surviving within the Israeli prison system, he details his arguments for Palestinian political unity as a means of resistance to Israeli occupation.

The Israel you won’t read about in the New York Times

MK Demands Firing MK’s Who Refuse To Recognize Israel As Jewish State

Israeli Member of Knesset of the Likud Party, Danny Danon, presented a draft of a new legislation that calls for firing any member of Knesset who refuses to recognize Israel as a “Democratic Jewish State”, or supports organizations that are considered “hostile and terrorist”.

Israel’s Propaganda Minister: Arabs are a deplorable nation
Israel’s Propaganda and Diaspora Minister, Yuli Edelstein, said the Arabs are a “deplorable nation.” His spokesman: He meant every one of them. Israel’s Propaganda and Diaspora Minister, Yuli Edelstein, told a crowd in a public diplomacy event in Or Yehuda that “as long as the Arab nation continues to be a deplorable nation, which continues investing in infrastructure for terrorism, education to hate, and welfare for the families of shaheeds (martyrs), there will be no peace.” It can be seen in his Facebook page, here (Hebrew). The Hebrew epithet used by Edelstein to describe Arabs – נפסד – is rather difficult to translate: I put it as “deplorable” but it can also mean “morally bankrupt.”  I phoned the minister’s office for comment, and asked his spokesman: “Are you aware of the fact there are some 80 million Arabs in the world, from Sudan to Syria?” He replied: “Yes, there are – and the minister meant them all.”

The popular Israeli web-based satirical show LatmaTV has released a musical video containing crude anti-Muslim stereotypes and mocking Europeans as “dummies” for supposedly allowing their countries to be taken over by Islam and turned into “Eurabia.” In one sequence, a Norwegian father tells his blonde daughter about Muslims: “When they rape you don’t object for that is politically incorrect.” Fantasies about people of color raping white women remain one of the oldest racist tropes and were frequently a pretext for lynching black men and boys in the United States. This hate-based fear has led in Israel to measures to “rescue” Jewish women from dating Arab men.
Beit Shemesh is a microcosm of the wider ultra-Orthodox community, and of Israel itself; many wonder where the rabbis have gone.

Minister Yishai: Soccer also segregates sexes
Interior minister says discussion surrounding issue has been blown out of proportion; ‘why aren’t women, men playing together in Maccabi Tel Aviv? You can claim that they also exclude women,’ he says. 


Women’s singing: Gantz proposes compromise
IDF chief says some soldiers can be excused from informal social gatherings, as opposed to formal events where attendance is mandatory.,7340,L-4167466,00.html

Haredi paper: PM betraying coalition partners
In editorial, United Torah Judaism’s mouthpiece says Netanyahu turning ultra-Orthodox community into ‘punching bag’.,7340,L-4167442,00.html
Solidarity / Activism / BDS
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Dozens of students affiliated with the Islamic Jihad movement demonstrated in Gaza on Saturday against the way organizers of the Pan Arab games in Qatar depicted a map of Palestine. In the opening ceremony of the event some weeks ago, the West Bank and Gaza Strip were highlighted in yellow on a large-scale projection of the map of Palestine.

Protests held at Lacoste stores across France against “racism” and censorship of Palestinian artist, Ali Abunimah
Palestine solidarity activists staged protests on Christmas Eve at Lacoste clothing stores in several French cities to protest the censorship and expulsion of Palestinian artist Larissa Sansour from a prestigious art competition sponsored by the French luxury clothing.


Boycott Campaigners Claim Credit For Denial Of London Contract To Company Invested In Settlements
A French transportation company, Veolia, that has been the target of a campaign by human rights groups around the world for its investment in Israeli settlements, has been denied a contract in West London – leading supporters of the boycott campaign to claim credit.


“Educate through action”: poet Remi Kanazi on triumphant UK tour
Poet and activist Remi Kanazi talks about his recent UK tour, the successes of the global boycott movement, and why artists must act beyond mere entertainment.

Week’s wrap-up: U.S. announces bounty of $10 million for information leading to the capture of al-Qaida financier Ezedin Abdel Aziz Khalil; Joshua Pollack tells Haaretz why he believes India is the ‘fourth customer’ of Abdul Qadeer Khan’s nuclear know-how.

Political Developments / Diplomacy

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Major General Nidal Abu Dukhan has been sworn in as commander of the Palestinian National Security Forces, replacing Thiab al-Ali. Palestinian national forces spokesman Bilal Abu Hamid said Abu Dukhan was sworn in on Monday during a ceremony at the forces headquarters in Ramallah. The incoming commander, who has served as a military intelligence chief, said he would do his utmost to protect the accomplishments achieved by the forces.
Israeli FM: Abbas is not peace partner
Avigdor Lieberman says that turmoil in the Middle East means that an agreement with Palestinians was unlikely.
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma’an) — Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman said Sunday that there will be no return to 1967 borders and that settlements are not an obstacle to peace. Lieberman made the remarks while addressing a conference of Israeli ambassadors.  The controversial foreign minster said that the Palestinians “refuse” to negotiate and are trying to internationalize the conflict, Haaretz reported.

Lieberman to Europe: Israel has nothing to apologize for
Following strong European condemnation of settlement activity and rightist violence, FM says Israeli democracy ‘has nothing to be ashamed of’ and will know how to handle ‘price tag’ assailants. ‘Obstacle to peace not Jewish settlements, but Palestinian policies,’ he adds.

Knesset holds first discussion on possible recognition of Turkey’s Armenian genocide; Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin says Israel has an ethical commitment to recognize other nations’ genocides.

Honorary consul: Barak belittled Tanzania
Kasbian Nuriel Chirich says that in trying to stress importance of key euroepean countries to Israel, defense minister made disparaging remark on African country.

Other News
Hamas PM Ismail Haniyeh meets with Brotherhood leader in Cairo, says ties between the two groups threaten ‘Israeli entity’

Activist blogger freed in Egypt
Alaa Abdel Fattah was accused of inciting violence during a demonstration by Coptics in Cairo in October.


Egypt court ends virginity tests
A court in Cairo blocks forced virginity tests on female detainees in military prisons after a case brought by a Tahrir Square protester.
Remark by top Egyptian opposition leader and former IAEA chief comes following significant gains by Islamist parties in country’s recent parliamentary vote.
Mustashar Mahgoub was injured in an attack in Homs; locals report tanks firing machineguns and mortars into residential areas.

Mass protests in Homs as Arab monitors visit
Estimated 70,000 demonstrate in Syria’s protest hub, with Arab League observers expected to return on Wednesday.

Bahrain medics recall jail ‘horror’
Shiite Muslim doctors, out on bail in Bahrain pending retrial for their role in pro-democracy protests, look back with horror at months of torture and demand a neutral hearing. “I can’t talk,” sobbed consultant paediatrician Nader Dawani, recounting how he was forced to stand up for seven days, while being beaten repeatedly, mainly by a female officer. “She was the harshest. She used to hit me with a hose and wooden canes, many of which broke on my back,” said the frail 54-year-old man. “They attempted to insert a bottle in my anus,” he recounted.


Sadr bloc calls for early elections in Iraq (Reuters)
Reuters – The head of the political bloc of anti-American Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called on Monday for new elections in Iraq after the biggest crisis in a year saw Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki move against two senior Sunni rivals.


US Marine: “I was the aggressor” against “the resistance fighters in Fallujah”
It has been seven years since the 2nd siege of Fallujah — the American assault that left the city in ruins, killed thousands of civilians, and displaced hundreds-of-thousands more — the assault that poisoned a generation, plaguing the people who live there with cancers and their children with birth defects. It has been seven years and the lies that justified the assault still perpetuate false beliefs about what we did. The American veterans who fought there still do not understand who they fought against, or what they were fighting for.


Saudi Arabia: Save Convicts from Amputation
The Supreme Court of Saudi Arabia should void a sentence to amputate the hands and feet of six stateless people convicted of armed robbery, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to the Saudi Human Rights Commission. The sentence constitutes internationally prohibited torture. (Beirut) – The Supreme Court of Saudi Arabia should void a sentence to amputate the hands and feet of six stateless people convicted of armed robbery, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to the Saudi Human Rights Commission.


Iran to ‘block’ Gulf oil if sanctions proceed
Vice president threatens to cut off shipments at Strait of Hormuz if West sanctions Iran’s vital oil exports.
Analysis / Op-ed

Armenian Genocide as Political Payback Against Turkey, Richard Silverstein
One of the sacred lessons of the Holocaust in contemporary Jewish life has always been that it is such a transcendent historical event that it must not be exploited for political gain by anyone, Jew or gentile. This, in essence is one of the sine qua nons of the ADL, which makes a point of taking to task demagogues of the world who engage in such cheap behavior. My problem with that organization is that such denunciations seem reserved far more often for the political left than the political right. But that’s a subject for another time.

Israeli lawmakers discussed the possibility of officially recognizing the Armenian genocide on Monday in a move that would add further strain to tense ties with Turkey. A parliamentary committee headed by Alex Miller of the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu – the party headed by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman – stressed Israel’s “moral” obligation to officially recognize the Armenian tragedy as a genocide. The committee did not, however, make any decisions or issue a declaration, and will meet again on the issue in the future.

The Muqata: Facade of a Palestinian State
Amid talks of reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) so-called state-building continues unabated. Lacking real political power, the illusion of authority is created through the spatial organization of state structures, like the network of buildings known as the muqatas, serving as PA headquarters across the West Bank.

Veteran US journalist asks why Israelis can’t accept that the Palestinians elected Hamas
The veteran American journalist Helen Thomas has questioned why Israelis cannot accept that the people of Palestine elected Hamas in a democratic poll. She made her statement in an interview published in the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, during which Ms Thomas responded to Israel’s listing of Hamas as a “terrorist organisation”. She is, she said, against violence, but can understand Hamas’s desire to regain what was taken from them, a reference to the loss of Palestine by the creation of the state of Israel.


It’s the right moment for churches to pay attention to Israel’s occupation
A new book about the Palestine Kairos Document tells the story of the Christian churches’ effort to communicate the suffering imposed by Israel on Palestinians.


Confronting intimidation, working for justice in Palestine, Ilan Pappe
If once you do not cave in, you discover that as time goes by, the ability of Zionist lobbies of intimidation around the world to affect you gradually diminishes.

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The Gaza Massacre is the most horrible event that happened during my lifetime. I hope it remains that way, but I’m afraid Israel will do something much, much worse on the way down.

With the recent banning of certain art, that of children or anything coming from the Palestinians, we hear this outcry of “political,” and baseless accusations about the art being done by adults, etc. One does not need to wonder why a message in art of this sort comes from the Palestinians, because it is the truth in pictorial form, what needs to cease is the continuous activity of the murderous colonial settler state of Israel… Read more »

this video just knocked me right off my equilibrium. just out of this world, what a tearjerker. and those beautiful faces at the end. just.omg