Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing
Jewish settlers occupy area west of Abu Dis
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 25 Sept — A group of Jewish settlers installed a container and tents in an area west of Abu Dis in occupied Jerusalem on Tuesday night. Settlers hoisted Israeli flags and danced and reveled to celebrate annexing this area, called Jabal, which is located beyond the separation wall. The Israeli civil administration department had announced confiscation of this area after claiming it as ‘state land’ while in fact hundreds of Palestinian Bedouins live in it, but the Israeli occupation authorities plan to dislocate them and transfer them to other areas. Lawyer Bassam Bahar, who is heading a committee to defend Abu Dis land, described the act in a press release as ‘very serious’. He said that the step aims at confiscating thousands of dunums owned by Abu Dis inhabitants, adding that the new settlement outpost is part of the Judaization scheme of Jerusalem.
Report: 1/3 of Jerusalemite homes threatened with demolition
PNN 27 Sept — One-third of the Palestinian homes in Jerusalem are threatened with demolition under the pretext that they were built without a license, Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights revealed in a report on Thursday. According to the human rights group, Israeli authorities are continuing their demographic war against Palestinians in the Holy City, as they only allocated 13 % of the area of occupied East Jerusalem for Palestinians to meet the needs of their growing population. The report added that the Israeli settlement activity in Jerusalem is increasing, as the financial committee of the Israeli-controlled Jerusalem municipality approved financial support for 1,500 new housing units at the end of August. The Euro-Mid pointed out that Israel’s bulldozers began in the same month to demolish homes in al-Tur neighborhood, in order to establish the “National Israeli Park”. The report included figures from the United Nations (UN) that show an increase in poverty rates among Palestinians in Jerusalem, due to high unemployment rates. According to Euro-Mid, the unemployment rate rose to 78% in 2012 compared to 64% in 2006, stressing that more than 40% of Palestinian Jerusalemites now live below the poverty line.
Inhabitants of Salfit village clash with settlers for trespassing, annexing land
SALFIT (PIC) 28 Sept — Inhabitants of Sarta village in Salfit clashed with Jewish settlers who trespassed their land and annexed part of it. Local sources said that the settlers have been working on building a new road linking Brukhin settlement to nearby settlements for the past three days. They said that the road was passing through Sarta village land and annexed a big chunk of it, adding that settlers had intensified their presence in the village land by Thursday night. They said that confrontations broke out again after Friday congregation and Israeli occupation forces backed the settlers. Eyewitnesses said that IOF armored vehicles and bulldozers were seen at the outskirts of the village in preparation for resuming work in building the road despite the inhabitants’ protests.
Israeli settlers attack Palestinian villages in Nablus
NABLUS (PIC) 25 Sept — Israeli settlers stormed at late hour yesterday Urif village southeast of Nablus in the northern West Bank and attacked the residents. Local sources confirmed that sellers’ groups from Yitzhar settlement occupied two Palestinian houses in the village under Israeli forces’ protection, which resulted in the eruption of violent clashes …
Meanwhile, a new settlement neighborhood has been established on Wednesday in Har Bracha settlement built on Burin village [land], near Nablus in the northern West Bank, Hebrew media sources revealed. Hundreds of settlers have attended the opening of the new neighborhood which is built specifically for new couples. MK Moti Aagoff, from Jewish Home party, has attended the opening where he claimed that there will be no Arab state between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea, promising to escalate settlement construction
Settlers set 2 cars on fire near Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 27 Sept — Israeli settlers on Friday set two Palestinian cars on fire in Al-Zeraa neighborhood in al-Jalazone refugee camp near Beit El settlement, locals said. The cars were burned in front of the house of their owner, Subhi Awda al-Qadi. Settlers also wrote graffiti on walls in the area saying that the act was to avenge the killing of an Israeli soldier in Hebron. The cars were almost completely burned before civil defense arrived. There have been a series of settler attacks in al-Jalazone camp in recent days.
Israel: New unlawful West Bank demolitions
Human Rights Watch 26 Sept — Israeli military forces should cease actions in a West Bank Bedouin community that were apparently intended to displace the residents without lawful justification. The military demolished all homes in the community on September 16, 2013, and blocked four attempts by humanitarian groups to provide shelters, with soldiers using force against residents, humanitarian workers, and foreign diplomats on September 20. Under international humanitarian law in effect in the occupied West Bank, the deliberate unlawful forced transfer of a population is a war crime … Numerous witnesses said that on September 20, Israeli forces threw “sound bombs” – disorienting, non-lethal grenades that make a loud noise on impact – at diplomats and aid workers attempting to deliver tents and other aid. Israeli forces also assaulted two Bedouin residents, who were later hospitalized, arrested three, and confiscated the truck and its cargo, witnesses said … Two residents of Mak-hul were hospitalized after soldiers injured them during the confrontation. B. told Human Rights Watch that several soldiers pushed Ahmad Khalaf Salam Bani ‘Odeh, in his early 70s, off the roof of a car he had climbed on during the confrontation; as of September 22, he was still in the hospital. Soldiers hit another resident, Muhammad Ali Mahmoud Basharat, in his 50s, in the face and stomach when he tried to intervene with soldiers who were arresting his two sons, Munzer, 22, and ‘Asem, 33, who remain in detention.
The Palestinian village erased from the map: Demolition of Makhul shows how Israeli are transforming the Jordan Valley despite international condemnation
Independent 26 Sept by Ben Lynfield — Burhan Bisharat lost his home last week to an Israeli army bulldozer, but he retains the Palestinian ethos of hospitality, pressing his interviewer to drink more tea as he recounts how he has slept amid the ruins of the dwellings and sheep pens of this tiny village demolished by the Israeli military in the occupied West Bank. ‘Living on the ground with no cover is hard,’ says the 40-year-old father of eight who, like a dozen other men from Makhul, has been sleeping out in the open because the army blocked them from pitching tents after the demolition … After criticism of Israel by the EU over the weekend, on Tuesday Israel’s high court of justice indicated the army went too far in stopping relief aid. It issued a temporary injunction specifying that the military cannot evict residents during the next two weeks, something that will enable Mr Bisharat and others to pitch tents there at least for that period, according to their lawyer. On Tuesday, a scorching summer day, Makhul’s men – they had sent their families to other villages – crowded under the only tree in sight for shade, watched by a Israeli soldiers lest they attempt to rebuild shelter for themselves or their sheep. At night, when temperatures fell, they lit a fire, sounding more worried about the wellbeing of their flocks than themselves. ‘This weather is very bad for the newborn sheep. I have six newborns, and heat during the daytime and coldness at night can harm the sheep. If the situation continues, it is very threatening, even tragic,’ Mr Bisharat said.
Israeli court rules on illegal Nablus outpost
BURQA, West Bank (Aljazeera) 27 Sept by Dalia Hatuqa — When Israel withdrew its settlers from the Gaza Strip and from four small West Bank settlements under its 2005 ‘disengagement plan,’ the villagers of Burqa near Nablus thought they would finally take back land originally confiscated from them 35 years ago. But only last week was a decision made by Israel’s Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to allow Palestinians access to their land, and to reiterate that settlers would be forbidden from entering the area … Imad Seif, a council member of this village of 4,000 people, expressed some hope that his family may be able to go back to the land it lost in 1978, parts of which was used to erect the settlement of Homesh. ‘We are very happy with this decision,’ Seif said. ‘There is nothing for the settlers here. There are no archeological ruins; nothing they can use to [claim] this place.’ In total, about 1,950 dunams (1,950,000 square meters) of land were confiscated, according to Seif… Seif is hopeful following the decision, but he’s well aware that Israeli court rulings are often ignored by the Israeli army. ‘We don’t know when we will go back to the land,’ he said. Jihad Shuaibi, who heads the village council, is also apprehensive. ‘We are still waiting for the official papers,’ he repeatedly said … In response to a query by Al Jazeera, an Israeli army spokesperson would not say what kind of measures are being taken to ensure Palestinians have safe access to the area … [Yesh Din’s legal advisor Michael] Sfard believes this is the first time – except in the case of Gaza – that an area used for a settlement is being given back by Palestinians. ‘This proves that it is possible: that the erection of a settlement on Palestinian land is not irreversible,’ he said. He is hopeful that the latest ruling will give a boost to talks being held by the Israelis and Palestinians, which had been on hold since 2010
VIDEO: Behind the black containers
Israeli Social TV 25 Sept — Who of us, visiting the West Bank, hasn’t seen black water containers on roofs, which differentiates between Palestinian communities and the settlements? Also, the roofs in Al-Ma‘sara, whose struggle we covered in a prior edition, are dotted with these containers. On the water shortage hidden behind these water containers, the following report … For example, Palestinian villages south of Bethlehem have been cut off for several months from water supplies. And who [in Israel] has heard about this? Mahmoud Zwahari, Al-Ma‘asara: ‘You live a miserable life when you are looking for drops of water, whether to use it to clean the house or drink it or give it to your children … There are cases of kidney problems in the village according to the reports coming from the hospital…’
Israeli actions at Al-Aqsa Mosque raise Palestinian fears
Al-Monitor 25 Sept by Daoud Kuttab — Declaring a problem to be dangerous always brings to mind the story of the man who repeatedly, but falsely, warned his fellow villagers about a wolf, only to find a lack of response when the wolf does in fact appear. This seems to be the situation unfolding in Jerusalem these days, specifically at the Haram al-Sharif compound, the site of Al-Aqsa mosque — the third-holiest mosque in Islam. The Haram al-Sharif, or Noble Sanctuary, is a walled area comprising one-sixth of Jerusalem’s Old City. The 35-acre compound includes mosques, museums, gardens and religious schools. For 46 years, Israelis and Palestinians have been able to agree on how to manage this extremely sensitive religious area …
The decades-long understanding has been shaken in recent years as the Israelis, who have exclusive control over the Mughrabi gate, have been directing tourists and Israelis to use that gate rather than the other official, authorized entrances. This means that entrance to the Islamic site is not regulated on the basis of respect, such as appropriate dress; time, i.e., no entry during prayers; or finances, as entrance at authorized gates for tourists is fee based, but free at the Mughrabi gate … Political pressure on the police from the Israeli government and Knesset appears to be aimed at softening Palestinian resistance in an attempt to get them to accept a new understanding. Israeli police are increasingly barring all Palestinians from the entire compound to allow Israelis and Jewish groups to enter uninterrupted. The biggest fear for Palestinians is that Israel will try to apply a shared-time arrangement to allow Jews to pray in the area of Al-Aqsa Mosque. This situation could evolve into one similar to that at Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque, where Muslim control over their own mosque compound will be divided with the Israelis, who make all the decisions regarding who prays and when. The nightmare is that this would be followed by the building of a Jewish structure on the mosque compound, and then ever so slowly, the issue of rebuilding the Jewish Temple on the site of Al-Aqsa will arise. What is happening in Jerusalem and at Haram al-Sharif requires wisdom and respect for the status quo that has prevailed for decades. Any change is sure to bring about trouble. This is not crying wolf. This is real.
‘NYT’ offers cloak to religious zealots storming Al Aqsa — ‘mainstream Jews’
Mondoweiss 25 Sept by Annie Robbins — Something jumped out at me reading the recent New York Times article, “Jews Challenge Rules to Claim Heart of Jerusalem.” The Sept. 21 story was about ‘small groups of Jews’ increasingly ascending the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City, a sacred site known as the Noble Sanctuary for Muslims — who see the visits as a provocation. The billing for the piece stated: ‘More mainstream Jews are seeking to enter and pray at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.’ … Rudoren also mentions the violence this practice has fostered: ‘A spate of stone-throwing clashes erupted this month’. ‘Stone-throwing clashes’? Here’s a close up of Israeli forces making way for Jewish worshipers on Rosh Hashanah, Sept 4-6, more than two weeks before the story was published. The video below shows their entrance into the area. You will see continual blasts from the soldiers. It looks like an invasion. This next video is a few minutes later. The blasts continue in earnest. It sounds like shock and awe. Notice the panic and fear and defiance that it stirs among Muslims on the Temple Mount. And later still – the place looks like a warzone. Phalanxes of soldiers race through with fingers on the triggers. More blasts. Sirens. A cleared plaza. Are these actually ‘stone-throwing clashes’? No. They’re highly-militarized interventions. The evidence is not hard to find. There are literally dozens of videos uploaded on YouTube for Rosh Hashanah, showing scores of soldiers clearing an area with loud, offensive and frightening explosions to create a path for Jewish worshipers. It’s extremely provocative.
Soldiers, police surround worshipers in Al-Aqsa Mosque
IMEMC 25 Sept — [Wednesday morning September 25, 2013] dozens of undercover soldiers of the Israeli army, followed by soldiers and police officers, invaded the yards of the Al-Aqsa mosque, and surrounded hundreds of worshipers. The Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA) has reported that the worshipers rushed towards the Al-Qebly [or Al-Qibli] Mosque [another name for the Al-Aqsa Mosque building with the lead dome – ‘Al Aqsa’ can refer to the entire compound], and closed its gates after clashing with extremist Israelis who invaded it through the Al-Magharba Gate. WAFA added that dozens of police officers evicted the invading extremists through the Chain Gate, and invaded the mosque yards leading to clashes with local worshipers. The Police then imposed a strict siege on the Al-Qebly mosque, and fired gas bombs and concussion grenades at the residents; scores of worshipers suffocated after inhaling gas fired by the army, and received treatment by local medics.
Orthodox Jews enter Aqsa compound marking Sukkot
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 26 Sept – Israeli rightists escorted by Israeli police and military officers entered the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, where they were met with shouts of ‘Allahu Akbar’ by Muslim worshipers. Witnesses told Ma’an that 26 ultra-Orthodox Jews entered the compound in small groups via the Moroccan Gate. They said the visit coincided with the last day of the Jewish Sukkot holiday. The unwelcome visitors, added the witnesses, moved from the Moroccan Gate (Bab al-Magharibah) to the Golden Gate (Bab al-Rahmah), then to the Cotton Merchants’ Gate (Bab al-Qattanin) before they left from the Chain Gate (Bab al-Silsilah).
Since last Wednesday, more than 700 ultra-Orthodox Jews have entered the compound to celebrate Sukkot. Palestinian officials in the ministry of endowment said it had been the largest number of Jews entering al-Aqsa Mosque area since the 1980 annexation of Jerusalem.
Israel bans Muslims under 50 from Aqsa mosque
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 27 Sept — Israeli police imposed restrictions on Palestinian worshipers on Friday, banning Muslims under the age of 50 from entering the holy site. A police spokeswoman said women of all ages would be allowed to enter the compound as well as men above 50. The spokeswoman, Luba al-Sumri, said that the restrictions would help maintain order after clashes at the site during visits from right-wing Israelis worshipers. Police deployed at gates leading to the mosque in the Old City and scrutinized IDs starting Thursday.
Clashes in Jerusalem after Aqsa ban
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 27 Sept — Dozens of Palestinians suffered tear-gas inhalation after clashes broke out between Palestinians and Israeli forces in different areas in Jerusalem, a Ma‘an reporter said. Israeli forces suppressed demonstrations that launched from different areas in Jerusalem supporting the al-Aqsa Mosque and condemning repeated ‘raids’ during the Jewish holidays. Demonstrations were held at five gates leading into the Old City, and Israeli forces confronted demonstrators with tear gas and stun grenades. Five Palestinians were arrested during the clashes across the city.
Violence / Raids / Attacks / Suppression of protests / Clashes / Illegal arrests
Palestinians attacked by soldiers in Jerusalem’s Old City
IMEMC 26 Sept — Wednesday at night [September 25, 2013] a group of extremist Israeli soldiers attacked several Palestinian youths in the Al-Qarmy neighborhood, in occupied East Jerusalem, as they verbally confronted settlers who marched there. Resident Ashraf Abu Da‘aas, stated that approximately 400 settlers organized provocative marches in the Arab neighborhoods of Saraya, Al-Hakary, and Al-Qarmy, and were dancing and chanting provocative chants against the Arabs and Palestinians, in addition to chanting ‘Jerusalem is ours’. Da‘aas added that dozens of residents stopped the settlers and prevented them from conducting their provocative procession in their neighborhood, before dozens of Israeli soldiers and police officers arrived at the scene, and attacked the Palestinians. Furthermore, Da‘aas said that the Police eventually stopped the settlers’ procession of before some of them headed to settlement outposts in the city, while others went to the Al-Boraq Wall. The Police also prevented the Palestinians from leaving their neighborhoods, allegedly to prevent further confrontations, but did not restrict the movement of the settlers.
Israeli occupation targets journalists in West Bank, Gaza
PNN 27 Sept — Israeli occupation authorities targeted Friday, a number of Palestinian Journalists and photographers who were covering the demonstrations in various West Bank cities in protest of the Israeli attacks on al-Aqsa Mosque. Israeli forces injured four journalists: Musa al-Shaer, France Press photographer, who was shot in ‘Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem, photographer Hamzeh Burnat who was shot in Bil‘in village and the two photographers Ibrahim al-Najjar and Mohammed al-Hajjar while they were reporting the events for Palestine News Network at the borders with the Gaza Strip. Photographer Mussa al-Shaer told PNN that as he reached the main entrance of ‘Aida camp, one of the soldiers deliberately fired live bullets toward him, injuring him in his hand and foot. Al-Shaer noted that he was wearing clothes to indicate he was a journalist and was holding his camera.He said that a number of journalists who were also at the site transferred him to the Beit Jala Government Hospital for treatment.
Injuries reported after Ramallah-area clashes
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 27 Sept — Several Palestinians were injured and others suffered tear-gas inhalation Friday in clashes with Israeli forces in areas surrounding Ramallah in the central West Bank. Palestinians threw rocks at Israeli soldiers and burned tires outside Ofer detention center, in Qalandiya refugee camp and in al-Ram near Ramallah. Israeli forces fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets. Several people were injured with rubber-coated steel bullets including three in Qalandiya refugee camp, and others suffered tear gas inhalation.
Israeli forces clash with Palestinian protesters on Intifada anniversary
Al-Akhbar 27 Sept — Thousands of Palestinians demonstrated Friday in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and east Jerusalem to mark the anniversary of the Second Intifada, as Israeli forces fired tear gas and live rounds at the protesters. In Gaza’s Nusseirat refugee camp, several thousand people marched in commemoration of the 28 September 2000 outbreak of the Second Intifada, also known as the al-Aqsa Intifada. Another rally, near the border fence with Occupied Palestine, ended with five people suffering from the effects of tear gas fired by Israeli troops, Palestinian medical sources said. An Israeli army spokeswoman said that “approximately 300 Palestinians” entered a zone near the fence within the Gaza Strip deemed off-limits to Palestinians by Israeli forces
Video from Kafr Qaddum weekly protest 27 Sept 2013
photographer Odai Qaddomi – Israeli armored bulldozers, jeeps, tear gas, sound grenades, live fire against Palestinian stones, burning tire — also includes international & Israeli activists. Not unusual events, but good video
2 injured in clashes in Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 27 Sept — Two people were injured on Friday in clashes between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers at Huwwara checkpoint, and near Itamar settlement southeast of Nablus. Hamdi Allam, 17, was struck with a rubber coated-steel bullet in the head near Huwwara checkpoint. He was taken to Rafidia Hospital for treatment, medical sources said. Several others suffered tear-gas inhalation as Israeli forces fired tear gas and stun grenades at Protesters. In Beit Furik east of Nablus, hundreds of Palestinians marched toward Itamar settlement before clashing with Israeli soldiers who fired tear gas, stun grenades, and rubber-coated steel bullets. Mahmoud Bassam Sheikh Mohammad, 17, was shot in the foot and arrested during the clashes, locals said.
Clashes in central Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 27 Sept — Clashes broke out between Israeli forces and Palestinians after Friday prayers on Shalaleh Street in central Hebron, a Ma‘an reporter said. Dozens of Palestinians threw stones and empty bottles at Israeli settlements and Israeli forces responded by firing tear gas and stun grenades. An Israeli army spokeswoman told Ma‘an that some 250 Palestinians hurled rocks at security forces.
Five Palestinians kidnapped in Hebron
IMEMC — Israeli soldiers kidnapped on Thursday at dawn [September 26 2013] five Palestinians in different parts of the southern West Bank district of Hebron, after the soldiers broke into and searched dozens of homes. Media sources in Hebron said that dozens of soldiers invaded Deir Samet town, southwest of Hebron, and kidnapped one Palestinian identified as Omar Ahmad Sharha, 34. His brother, Hazem, said that a large number of soldiers broke into the family home, approximately at 2:30 A.M, after using explosives to detonate its main door. He added that the soldiers then violently searched the property causing excessive damage. Soldiers also forced the family into one room, and took away their phones and ID cards for several hours. Dozens of soldiers also invaded Wad Al-Harya area, in Hebron, and kidnapped Jalal Khader Al-Karaky, 35, and his brother Ammar, 30. Furthermore, soldiers kidnapped Mo’taz Mohammad Al-Karaky, 20, in the center of homes, and kidnapped Mohammad Abu Rayyan at a roadblock near the Halhoul Bridge area, north of Hebron.
Israeli forces detain 6 Palestinians in Hebron area
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 26 Sept — Israeli forces on Thursday detained six Palestinians from different areas in Hebron district after raiding their houses, locals said. Israeli forces detained Adham al-Ajlouni, Hussam al-Ajlouni, and Bilal al-Ajlouni from the city itself. They detained Mohammad al-Rayan, 21, and Sami Saed Hassan, 22, from Halhul. They also detained Luai Mohi el-Din al-Sharawneh from Deir Samet village southwest of Hebron. All detainees were taken to an unknown location.
Soldiers attack nonviolent protest in Bethlehem
IMEMC — Local sources have reported that Israeli soldiers attacked on Wednesday [September 25, 2013] a nonviolent protest held by students in ‘Aida refugee camp, north of Bethlehem, leading to several injuries. The students marched against the ongoing Israeli violations, and the serious escalation carried out by Israeli extremists trying to attack the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the residents and their property in occupied East Jerusalem, the sources said. The army used excessive force against the protesters, and fired dozens of gas bombs, concussion grenades, and rubber-coated metal bullets. Medical sources said that several Palestinians received treatment for the effects of teargas inhalation.
Soldiers detain, beat four children near Bethlehem
IMEMC — Wednesday evening [September 25, 2013] Israeli soldiers detained, for several hours, four Palestinian children in the Al-Khader town, south of Bethlehem, and violently beat them before handing them back to the Palestinians. Ahmad Salah, Coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements in Al-Khader, told the Radio Bethlehem 2000 that the soldiers detained the four children for several hours in the Nashash area, at the southern entrance of Al-Khader. The four children have been identified as Hussein Shady Salah, 8, Ahmad Wa’el Salah, 9, in addition to Mo’tasem Mustafa Al-Masry and his brother Hamza…
‘3 injured’ after clashes in Ramallah camp
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 25 Sept — Three Palestinians were injured by live bullets on Wednesday in clashes with Israeli soldiers in al-Jalazone [or al-Jalazoun] refugee camp north of Ramallah, witnesses said. Mohammad Yousef Zomrah was hit in the stomach, Mohammad Adnan was hit in the foot, and a third, unidentified man was injured. Witnesses said that clashes broke out after Israeli forces closed a road linking Ramallah and the center of the West Bank. Israeli forces fired live and rubber-coated steel bullets at Palestinians who responded by throwing rocks and empty glass bottles.
Twilight Zone: Jenin’s mean streets
Haaretz 25 Sept by Gideon Levy — Three residents of this refugee camp have lost their lives in confrontations with the IDF in recent weeks, but there’s no room left for burial in the local cemetery — …The most recent killing, of Islam Tubasi, on Tuesday of last week, received barely a mention in the newspapers. Likewise, the deaths of Karim Abu Sbeih and Majd Lahlouh, on August 20, were hardly noticed in Israel. The West Bank is calm, but not this refugee camp: Three of the 12 Palestinians killed since this year began lived there. And the Israel Defense Forces continues to enter the Jenin camp almost nightly. Last week as well, when we visited, there were sounds of gunfire, by whom it was unclear, but they were nearby and scary … Majd Lahlouh, 21, was in his third year of management studies at the Open University in Jenin. At night he tended bar at the city’s Cafe Tropicana, to help his family. His father Mohammed has been sick for the past four years with a serious blood disorder … On the night of Tuesday, August 20, Lahlouh was coming home from work, at the usual hour of 3 A.M. Along the way he spotted a large number of IDF troops and undercover Border Policemen, who had entered the camp. According to residents, they had come to arrest the Islamic Jihad operative Sheikh Bassam. On seeing the forces, Lahlouh decided to take an alternate route home. In an alley near his house, teenage boys threw stones at the soldiers, his father and friends say, and the soldiers began shooting with live fire at the stone-throwers. One bullet hit Majd Lahlouh in the hip, killing him on the spot. According to his family, there is no way he could have been involved in the stone throwing. He merely wanted to return home from work in one piece, they say
The man whose employer threw him into the street to die
Haaretz 26 Sept by Amira Hass — Despite already being 57 years old, Ihsan Abu Sitta didn’t heed his family’s urging that he stop working in Israel. The daily wages he earned in Tel Aviv were three times higher than what his married sons — a carpenter and a bakery worker — earned in Nablus. His youngest son, Hassan, said his father cared deeply about supporting his large family, and therefore he thought the wage differential justified the difficulties of entering Israel without permits, the constant fear of arrest and the pain of being cut off from his family. He came home only once every two or three weeks. On Saturday, five days after Abu Sitta died on the job, his house in the Askar refugee camp, near Nablus, was still filled with friends and relatives paying condolence calls. But no one spoke much. ‘We’re still in shock, mainly over the reports of how he died,’ said Hassan, 27, who is studying education at Al-Quds University. Ziad Abu Sitta, a relative, agreed. ‘It hurts to think about Ihsan’s last hours, to know something happened to him at work and then, people say, his employer threw him out into the street and abandoned him there, without even calling an ambulance,’ he said. Many of the relatives over 40 have worked or still work in Israel, and have come to know Israeli society up close. ‘This is very rare behavior,’ said one. Added another, ‘In Israel they collect stray cats from the streets, so it’s hard to grasp how they behaved as they did to Ihsan.’
French diplomat who tussled with Border Police to leave her post
Haaretz 27 Sept by Barak Ravid — Israel mulled declaring Marion Fesneau-Castaing persona non-grata, but decided to deal with the issue while preserving relations with France, FM source says — A French diplomat who clashed with Border Police last week in the West Bank will leave her post at the end of December, following an agreement between Israel and France. Marion Fesneau-Castaing was filmed as she pushed a border policeman. The incident occurred last week, when several European diplomats and activists were trying to help Palestinians erect tents in the village of Khirbet Makhoul, where Israeli authorities had demolished illegally built homes earlier in the week. Fesneau-Castaing is the cultural attaché for the French Consulate in Jerusalem. While the French Embassy in Tel Aviv is responsible for ties with Israel, the Jerusalem consulate is responsible for relations with the Palestinian Authority. Jerusalem described the diplomat’s behavior as inappropriate and a “blatant violation of diplomatic codes of conduct.” A Foreign Ministry source said the decision that Fesneau-Castaing will step down from her post was made jointly by the Israeli and French governments
Facts on the Ground Peace Index: Volume II
27 Sept —The Institute for Middle East Understanding has compiled a ‘Facts on the Ground Peace Index’ to track Israeli actions on the ground since new talks were announced this summer. For Volume I see here. Covering Period: August 27, 2013 to September 25, 2013 — While the first month of Israeli-Palestinian talks was marked primarily by a series of provocative announcements for new Israeli settlement construction, recent weeks have seen a continuation of demolitions of Palestinian homes in the occupied territories, particularly in occupied East Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley, and of aggressive Israeli military raids into Palestinian population centers resulting in deaths and injuries of Palestinians. [NOTE: The Peace Index is focused on the actions of the Israeli government and military, and statements of government officials. It does not include frequent attacks carried out by Israeli settlers against Palestinians and their property and other non-official provocations and incitement.]
PCHR Weekly Report: Israeli troops injure 14 civilians, including 4 children this week [19-25 Sept]
IMEMC 27 Sept — …during the reporting period, Israeli forces wounded 14 civilians, including 4 children and 2 photojournalists. 2 Palestinian civilians were wounded in the east of Jabalia in the north of the Gaza Strip. In addition, a Palestinian child was wounded in the centre of Hebron, and 11 civilians were wounded during weekly non-violent protests. Israeli attacks in the West Bank: Israeli forces conducted 62 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. At least 45 Palestinian civilians, including 1 child, were abducted in the West Bank. Israeli forces established dozens of checkpoints in the West Bank. At least 6 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children, were abducted at checkpoints in the West Bank. On 22 September 2013, a Palestinian boy was wounded in Hebron when some boys gathered and threw stones at Israeli soldiers stationed at the entrance of al-Shuhada’ Street, south of the Old Town of Hebron. The Israeli soldiers fired sound bombs, tear gas canisters and rubber-coated metal bullets in response. As a result, a 16-year-old civilian was wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet in the right thigh. Following the killing of an Israeli soldier on 22 September 2013, Israeli forces carried out a series of collective punishment measures against Palestinian civilians in the city … Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip: In the Gaza Strip, on Friday, 20 September 2013, 2 Palestinian boys were wounded when Israeli forces stationed along the border fence to the east of al-Shuhada’ cemetery, east of Jabalia, opened fire at a group of young men, who were about 100 meters away from the fence. In the Gaza Strip, on 24 September 2013, Israeli forces carried out 2 limited incursions… Full report
Report: Occupation has arrested 80,000 Palestinians since Al-Aqsa Intifada
WEST BANK (PIC) 27 Sept — A Palestinian official report stated that the Israeli forces arrested tens of thousands of Palestinians during the last thirteen years that followed the Al-Aqsa Intifada of September 2000. The report pointed out that among those arrested during the mentioned period are nearly 9,500 Palestinian children under the age of eighteen, about 60 MPs and former ministers, and more than 950 women, in addition to hundreds of wounded, patients, journalists, academics and leaders. It noted that the Israeli military courts have sentenced, since the start of the Aqsa Intifada, nearly 24 thousand Palestinians to administrative detention; without clear charges. The Department of Statistics added that the occupation continues to detain about 5,200 Palestinian prisoners in 17 jails and detention center, including 13 MPs, 146 administrative detainees, 220 children and 13 women, all of them have been subjected to different forms of physical and psychological torture….
Freedom for the Hares Boys
inminds 22 Sept — Over the next 10 days we will, inshAllah, see co-ordinated joint protests and events across many countries around the world all in solidarity with the Hares Boys – five Palestinian children tortured and caged in a G4S secured Israeli prison facing life sentences for a crime that never happened! Activists in Argentina, Canada, Chile, France, UK and Uruguay will unite and be the voice of the 5 Palestinian children who have already been languishing in an Israeli dungeon for over 6 months without a trial — Background — On 14th March 2013 in what appears to have been a car accident when a illegal Israeli settler car crashed into the back of an Israeli truck which had stopped to change a flat tire, resulting in four people being hurt, was later at the behest of angry settlers presented as an attack by Palestinian stone-throwing youth. The truck driver’s earlier testimony that he had stopped due to a flat tire was replaced with the new reason being that he had seen stones by the road, and an accident that nobody saw suddenly became a terror attack with 61 witnesses including the police! Over the next few days over 50 masked Israeli soldiers with attack dogs stormed the local village of Hares in the early hours of the morning and in waves of violent arrests kidnapped the children of the village. In total 19 children were taken to the infamous G4S secured children’s dungeon at Al Jalame and locked up in solitary confinement for up to 2 weeks in filthy windowless 1m by 2m cells with no mattress. The children were violently tortured and sexual threats were made against the female members of their families in order to coerce confessions from the boys. With the confessions and the new ‘eyewitness’ statements, five of the Hares boys were charged with 25 counts of attempted murder each, even though there were only four people in the car. Apparently the military court had decided that 25 stones were thrown, each with an ‘intent to kill’. The five boys – Ali Shamlawi, Mohammed Kleib, Mohammed Mehdi Suleiman, Tamer Souf, and Ammar Souf are currently locked up in another G4S secured facility – Megiddo prison where G4S provides the entire central command room. The military court will hear the case in October.
Israel extends detention of suspects in Qalqiliya soldier killing
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 25 Sept — Israeli authorities on Wednesday extended the detention period of Nidal Amar, accused of killing an Israeli soldier in Qalqiliya last Friday. A lawyer from the Palestinian Prisoners Society told Ma‘an that Israel’s Jalama military court extended Amar’s detention for a further 15 days to continue the interrogation process. The detention period of two people accused of helping Amar was extended by 14 days.
Gaza under blockade
Video: Restrictions at sea deprive Palestinians of fishing freely
Real News 26 Sept with Yousef Alhelou — Already facing Israeli naval blockade, Gaza fishermen now under attack from Egyptian forces — This is the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. This barbed wire separates Egypt’s territorial waters from Palestinian maritime border … It was reported that three Gazan fishermen were wounded and five others were arrested in two different incidents, this time by Egyptian naval forces during September of this year. Those wounded and detainees are residents of the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah, which is adjacent to the Egyptian border. Wounded young Gazan fisherman (voiceover trans.): I and my brother were fishing not far from the beach of Rafah, opposite my house where we lived. Suddenly we came under fire from Egyptian naval forces. I was injured and we escaped toward the beach. We were chased by the Naval forces, who were using a rubber military boat. Fisherman’s father (voiceover transl.): It breaks my heart to see my son in pain with a severely injured arm attacked by our Egyptian brothers. Thank God my son is alive. It’s our fate to be neighbors, but the sea is our only source of income … in the past, Egyptian Navy forces were protecting us from the Israeli attacks. So, to be honest, we did not expect to be attacked by our Egyptian brothers …Alhelou: The Head of the Gaza fishermen Syndicate said that these two incidents were the first ever to be reported since the end of the Egyptian administration of Gaza in 1967. It is worth noting that before Morsi’s ouster, Gaza fishermen were allowed to cross into Egyptian waters under the watchful eyes of Egyptian naval forces.
Alternate reality department
Patrolling the Gaza Coast with Israel Navy’s Boat 836
Jerusalem Post 26 Sept by Yaakov Lappin — …The Jerusalem Post joined the crew of Boat 836, a Dvora Mark 3 vessel, which is the latest model of the navy’s sturdy coastal security boat. Hours earlier that same day, the crew of Boat 836 cruised at 44 knots in the open sea, speeding towards a mock terrorist sea target, which was simulated by a police boat … By the end of the day, the crew has practiced firing on three terrorist [fishing?] boats, striking targets on the Gazan coast, extinguishing a fire on board, and facilitating the evacuation of an injured sailor. To top it all off, Boat 836 has to practice towing another Dvora to safety in pitch darkness … The Israel Navy has a total of three formations of Dvora boats in service, covering the North, Center and South.
Egypt to open Rafah crossing for 3 days
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 25 Sept — Egypt will open the Rafah crossing with Gaza for three days on Saturday for students and humanitarian cases, the Palestinian Authority ambassador to Egypt said Wednesday. Barakat al-Farra told Ma’an that Egypt will open the crossing from Saturday to Monday to allow Gazan students who study in Egypt to catch up with their university courses. Humanitarian cases will also be allowed to cross, al-Farra added.
Like a miracle, I’ve been allowed to study outside Gaza
UNITED KINGDOM (Electronic Intifada) 25 Sept by Malaka Mohammed — It was early morning last Wednesday, 18 September, when my father received a call from an official explicitly stating that no Gazan student would be allowed to travel via Rafah crossing at Gaza’s southern border with Egypt. I was shocked but insisted that I try nonetheless. After a few minutes of further phone calls and nervous hesitation, my father reluctantly gave his permission for me to try. Within two hours, my long and perilous journey to the UK began. I reached the Hamas-controlled checkpoints leading to the border checkpoints with Egypt. It appeared that the decision to close off the border crossing was met with a fiery response from students whose right to study abroad was being denied. The room was packed with chants and cries of protest. Many students soon joined them to arrange a sit-in demonstration, physically barricading the road. Unfortunately this came with great risk. Casualties were reported. In one instance, a demonstrator’s leg was broken by cars passing through the human barricade. … The moment the registrar submitted our names, a blanket of silence and tension fell over the room. Some of us waited with tears in our eyes, contemplating our futures; a single decision determining the difference between traveling to the outside world to pursue our dreams of higher education, and the other possibility of being stuck behind. Some of the demonstrators fainted from the overwhelming anxiety and the oppressive wave of heat and humidity.
Gaza’s construction sector still crushed by siege
Electronic Intifada 26 Sept by Rami Almeghari — …Last week, Israeli occupation authorities decided to allow an additional fifty truckloads of raw construction materials including cement, steel and concrete into Gaza, but in quantities that fall far short of the territory’s needs. Israel previously allowed in just twenty truckloads daily for the private sector. ‘We have relied on underground tunnels from Egypt, but prices and availability of goods have been fluctuating,’ al-Breim told The Electronic Intifada. Since early July, when Egypt’s military regime began a renewed assault on the underground tunnels, the price of one ton of cement spiked at $280, al-Breim said. By 21 September, only about ten of three hundred tunnels were still operating, according to a report this week from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (‘The humanitarian impact of reduced access between Gaza and Egypt,’ 23 September 2013 [PDF]). This meant that less than 100 tons of supplies were coming in per day, compared with 7,500 tons daily before the Egyptian campaign.
Fahmi commits to Palestinian cause but still threatens Gaza
MEMO 27 Sept — Egypt’s Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmi has stressed his commitment to the Palestinian cause but reiterated his threat of military action against Gaza. Claiming that his meetings with President Mahmoud Abbas should send a strong message that Egypt is on board as far as the Palestinian issue is concerned, Fahmi added, “But let there be no doubt that while we will do everything possible to help the people of Gaza in their daily lives, we will secure our border against those who violate our sovereignty.”
Photo Essay: The teen bride and groom of Palestine: Boy, 15, and girl, 14, pictured on their wedding day in town near border with Israel
Daily Mail 27 Sept — A young Palestinian groom poses for a photograph with his wife, still veiled, on their wedding day in her Gaza home that still bears the damage from an air strike four years ago. Ahmed Soboh, 15, and Tala, 14, got married earlier this week in the town of Beit Lahiya, near the border between Israel and the northern Gaza Strip. The newlyweds live in the family’s three-room home, sharing it with nine relatives and Ahmed works with his father as a road cleaner earning £3 a day.
Day of judgement: Inside a Gaza murder trial
BBC 26 Sept — Human rights groups have condemned the use of the death penalty under Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip. This week, BBC Arabic’s Shahdi Alkashif obtained rare access to a murder trial where three defendants faced death sentences. In a small room in the basement of a court building in Gaza City, three members of the same family were on trial, accused of killing a relative in December 2010. Two young men and one man in his fifties stood in a black metal cage in a corner of the room as prosecutors accused them of shooting 28-year-old Mohammed Ashram, who was an official in the Hamas government in Gaza, during an argument over money.
PA vs. Hamas
PA forces arrest 6 students of Islamic bloc, summon 4 Hamas activists
NABLUS (PIC) 27 Sept — The PA Intelligence services arrested six students of the Islamic Bloc at An-Najah National University on Thursday. Five students have been arrested in Nablus after being chased by PA forces while getting out of university, the Islamic Bloc said. The students were preparing for an exhibition in support of al-Aqsa mosque. The students’ arrest was in coordination with the university guards, the sources added … Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority security apparatus have arrested a leader in Hamas movement in al-Khalil, and a liberated prisoner from Nablus, in addition to summoning two freed captives for interrogation. In al-Khalil, the PA Preventive Security services arrested the leader in Hamas movement Sheikh Omar Qawasmi, one of Marj al-Zohour deportees, while he was leaving his workplace at school … In Nablus, the PA Intelligence services arrested the liberated prisoner Samer Awda after raiding his home in Hawara twon south of the city. Samer has spent more than two years in addition to being arrested nearly 20 times by PA forces. On the other hand, the PA security services have set the political detainee Haitham Aqraa’s trial on Thursday.
Hamas detains members of Fatah armed wing
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 26 Sept — Hamas security forces arrested four members of the Fatah-affiliated Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades after the group delivered a news conference in support of Jerusalem on Thursday. Members of the group held the news conference at al-Ghafri tower in Gaza but after journalists left, security forces surrounded the building and forced the Aqsa fighters to unmask before they were detained.
Activism / Solidarity / BDS
Sukkot activism: Young Jews protest the Prawer plan in Chicago
[with video] Shalom Rav 27 Sept — This past Wednesday there was a powerful action in front of the Israeli Consulate in Chicago: a Sukkot protest against the Israeli government’s Prawer Plan, which is currently poised to evict up to 40,000 Bedouin citizens of Israel from their homes in the Negev desert. As you can see from the clip above, this action was organized by a community of young Chicago Jews inspired by the Sukkot festival’s message of shelter and salvation to stand in solidarity with Bedouin who are on the verge of devastating displacement. An inspiring example of spiritual activism at its finest – bravo to Young, Jewish Proud/Jewish Voice for Peace for spearheading this action in Chicago (as well as a simultaneous event in Boston!)
Zionist group renews attacks on California professor
Electronic Intifada 27 Sept by Nora Barrows-Friedman — A Zionist group based in California has renewed its vicious campaign against a mathematics professor at the California State University at Northridge (CSUN), claiming that he is violating the law by using university resources to express his personal and political views. The professor, David Klein, an outspoken and unapologetic supporter of the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, has told The Electronic Intifada that the renewed ‘harassment’ has been disruptive. But Klein says he is heartened by the broad and solid support he has received for his exercise of his free speech rights
Palestinian refugees elsewhere
Official: 250,000 Palestine refugees flee Syria camps
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) 27 Sept — Some 250,000 Palestinian refugees have been forced to leave their refugee camps in Syria due to violence in the country, a senior Fatah official said Thursday. Muhammad Ishtaya’s remarks came in a meeting with the deputy commissioner-general of the UN refugee agency UNRWA Margot Ellis, who is responsible for Syria’s Palestinian refugees. He added that the number of Palestinian refugees in Syria was nearly 600,000 of which 250,000 have fled.
Law preventing Palestinians from owning property in Lebanon threatens thousands
BEIRUT (PIC) 25 Sept — A law preventing Palestinians from owning property in Lebanon was passed in March 2001, and stated that “It is not allowed to own a property of any kind for any person who does not carry a citizenship issued by a recognized state or for any person if the property was incompatible with constitutional provisions pertaining to refusal of settlement [of Palestinian refugees].” Some MPs supported the law, while some others abstained; only MP Mohammad Qabbani opposed the law during the session. Thousands of Palestinians have tried to circumvent the law by registering their deeds in the name of a Lebanese friend or a Palestinian relative who holds foreign citizenship, however a law was issued punishing with imprisonment for six months, and fining ten times the price of the property for the notary who registers properties for Palestinians, whatever the situation … the Palestinian refugee is prevented from bringing construction materials to the camps unless after obtaining a permit from the Lebanese army, and is now prevented from owning an apartment outside the boundaries of the camp.
Abbas’s speech to UN General Assembly, transcript
Mondoweiss 26 Sept by Philip Weiss — This is an official transcript of Mahmoud Abbas’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly today. PDF here. Abbas was introduced as president of the state of Palestine
Israel easing some restrictions on Palestinians
UNITED NATIONS (AFP) 26 Sept — Israel announced Wednesday that it is easing some restrictions on the impoverished Gaza Strip and West Bank as it negotiates a final peace deal with the Palestinians. Israeli minister of international relations Yuval Steinitz revealed that 5,000 new work permits were being issued for Palestinians to work in Israel, the opening hours of the key Allenby Bridge crossing would be extended, and new imports of some building materials would be allowed into Gaza. “We have an interest in a strong, viable, prosperous Palestinian economy,” Steinitz told reporters after a meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. He was speaking after ministers from the Middle East Ad Hoc Liaison committee met for some three hours to discuss progress in the talks so far. US Secretary of State John Kerry said Washington was planning to step up efforts to help reach an elusive Middle East peace deal, having set an ambitious goal of sealing an agreement within nine months. He revealed for the first time that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have now met directly seven times since the peace talks were relaunched in late July aiming to create two states, one Israeli and one Palestinian, living side-by-side. “All of the issues are on the table, territories, security, refugees, Jerusalem, all of the final status issues are on the table,” Kerry stressed … Palestinian Finance Minister Shukri Bishara said he was “really encouraged by some of the initiatives” announced by Israel at Wednesday’s meeting.
Sewing the seeds of change for Israeli Arab women
Haaretz 27 Sept by Akin Ajayi — It started as a way to pick up some extra cash. But the Jaffa Dolls project has become a symbol of the struggle of Israeli Arab women against the societal constraints that limit their progress — …The complexity of everyday life for Arab-Israeli women, steeped as it is in the complications of class, religion and location, is often lost within broad generalizations of class and culture. What is obvious, though, is that they face ingrained chauvinism on two fronts: gender and ethnicity. ‘You can think of it as double discrimination,’ says the Jaffa-born Younes, a social worker by training. ‘There is the matter of being a woman in a patriarchal society. But then, there is also the matter of being a Palestinian in Israel.’ From modest beginnings, Arous Elbahar has grown in ambition and scope. Operating on an annual budget of NIS 350 000, made up in part of grants from the European Union, the New Israel Fund, the Global Fund for Women and the Kathryn Aymes Foundation, with the rest raised through its own activities, its work is split between two areas: economic and community empowerment
3 Palestinians detained for renting land to settlers
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 25 Sept — Bethlehem’s public prosecutor on Wednesday ordered the detention of three Palestinians accused of renting land to settlers. Three people are accused of allegedly renting land to settlers near the Gush Etzion settlement bloc to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. The land was used to set up tents and perform religious rituals for the Jewish holiday. The suspects were arrested and are due to go to trial for violating a 2010 anti-settlement products law.
Israeli drives to West Bank to install car system, arrested
Ynet 25 Sept by Raanan Ben-Zur — An Afula resident was arrested Wednesday after attempting to enter the Palestinian village of Hawara in the northern West Bank in order to install an audio system in his car. A search of his vehicle revealed a knife and the fact that the man’s license was suspended. He was brought to the Petah Tikva Magistrate’s Court for a remand hearing before an indictment … The driver was taken to questioning, and claimed that the knife that was found in his car was meant for self protection.
Reviews / Analysis / Opinion
Is Fatah’s armed wing making comeback? / Naela Khalil
RAMALLAH (Al-Monitor) 25 Sept — Attacks on Israeli soldiers on Sept. 20 and Sept. 22 reveal a deep split within Fatah between those who desire a return to armed resistance and those who prefer negotiations — The deaths of two Israeli soldiers last weekend, in the West Bank towns of Qalqilya on Sept. 21 and Hebron on Sept. 22, significantly added to the insecurity that has prevailed in the West Bank since the resumption of negotiations on July 30. The West Bank witnessed a number of incursions in August by Israeli occupation forces that left six martyrs. The succession of events now gives the impression that the third intifada is drawing near, presaging the collapse of peace negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis. It also indicates that the armed Palestinian resistance movement had resumed its activities, with Israel holding Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades responsible for the death of the Israeli soldier in Hebron. But, Fatah al-Intifada, which broke away from Fatah decades ago, quickly claimed responsibility for this operation, the circumstances of which remain unclear.
‘Paradise Now’ director tackles taboo of collaboration in new film / Jonathan Cook
Electronic Intifada 27 Sept — For a period in Hany Abu Assad’s new film, Omar, the eponymous protagonist shares an Israeli dungeon with unidentifiable insects he can barely make out in the darkness. Determinedly, they carry out tasks whose purpose he, and possibly they, cannot fathom. Are they prisoners too? And is their continual laboring a distraction from their confinement or a transcendence of their plight? There could hardly be a starker metaphor for the lives of Omar and his friends under occupation. The film, which won the Certain Regard prize at Cannes in May, is a commanding return to form for Abu Assad after several years adrift in Hollywood, where he ended up directing an indifferent B-movie … Like Paradise Now, Omar is an intimate, surprisingly humorous and often claustrophobic portrait of friendship, love, betrayal and sacrifice in the face of extreme pressures. But unlike the earlier film, which examined conflicting ideas of liberation at a particular moment in Palestinian history, Omar widens out Abu Assad’s canvas to address questions about the nature of Israeli occupation and that of authentic resistance. Omar is the first commercial film made by an exclusively Palestinian crew, shot on Palestinian locations, including Nazareth and Nablus, and financed entirely by Palestinian money.
Palestinians denied a voice in Canadian film set in West Bank
Electronic Intifada 23 Sept by Jimmy Johnson — Inch’allah focuses mainly on experiences of a young white doctor — …Despite the slew of great performances, fine contrasts of comedy and drama and outstanding direction and photography, Inch’allah is ultimately flawed. The drama and trauma build throughout the film, all of it inflicted upon Palestinians. Faysal and Rand both offer occasional sharp political comments, one of which moves toward a critique of film’s own voyeurism during the scene in the ancestral village. But Palestinians, by and large, do not narrate the trauma or injustice. Instead, Chloé takes their place. Indeed, she is not a sympathetic Westerner with Palestinian friends, but instead their substitute for a Western audience. It is Chloé who narrates the violence of Zionist settler colonialism … Palestinians are still denied, as Edward Said noted back in 1984, “permission to narrate.” Chloé is the mourning mother, the outraged brother, the frustrated commuter. Ava too narrates the trauma of the checkpoint from the point of view of the ‘shooting and crying’ Israeli … Finally, why is the film framed with a suicide bombing? Leaving aside how Inch’allah misconstrues the reasons why this tactic has been used, it offers nothing to the story. It is especially curious when the film’s characters note there have not been such bombings for years. The humanistic portrayal of the attacker — who is given the same sympathy as every other character — is somewhat irrelevant when stories of Palestine are attached at the hip to suicide bombings (a phenomenon broken down insightfully in Evelyn Alsultany’s terrific 2012 book Arabs and Muslims in the Media)
The Palestine Review — Free E-Books on Palestine, the Palestinians, and Palestinian history
27 Sept — the largest online library of free ebooks on Palestine, the Palestinians, and Palestinian history available anywhere. Download and read a free ebook on Palestine now! [I find the biographies and memoirs of Palestinians especially interesting, but there are so many other good books…]
Meet the settlers – a journey through the West Bank / Jake Wallis Simons
To mark the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Oslo Accord, the Telegraph goes behind the scenes in settlements all over the West Bank – from the big, established blocs to the illegal outposts – and discovers just who these settlers are, what they believe and why they choose to bring up their children in what is probably the most contested territory on Earth.
The big curriculum choice in East Jerusalem’s occupied territory: Israeli or Palestinian? / Ben Lynfield
Independent 16 Sept — At the Abdullah Bin Hussein School for girls in East Jerusalem two Palestinian sisters are in disagreement over their future. The two are at odds over whether the chance to study the Israeli curriculum for the first time was an opportunity or a trap. ‘I want to be a doctor and I want to study at the Hebrew University,’ said the younger sister, in eighth grade. ‘I have chosen the Israeli curriculum because it is stronger in science and is better for getting admitted.’ The older sister, in 12th grade, said she thinks it better to stay with the Palestinian Authority curriculum which best expresses her national identity: ‘The Israeli curriculum teaches that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, not Palestine. They erase our history and teach their history.’ The two sisters, who asked not to be identified out of concern they could face problems with Israeli authorities, are caught up in a high-stakes struggle over the future of East Jerusalem which appears to be as political as it is educational — for both Israel and the Palestinian Authority … But despite the opposition from some parents, the young sister who decided to study the Israeli curriculum is not worried about its influence on her views. ‘The books can say whatever they want, but I know the truth,’ she said.
Ten years since Edward Said’s passing: listen to his last major speech
25 Sept by Nora Barrows-Friedman — This week on The Electronic Intifada podcast: Edward Said’s speech: ‘Memory, Inequality and Power, Palestine and the Universality of Human Rights.’ We remember Professor Said on the tenth anniversary of his passing as we feature a part of his remarkable speech at UC Berkeley in February 2003, his last major public address in the US.