Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Restriction of movement
Bedouin Arabs protest forced displacement plan in Negev, southern Israel
IMEMC 25 Nov — A visit by several Israeli legislators to the Negev desert in southern Israel Sunday was met by protests organized by local residents opposed to the Israeli plan to forcibly remove them from their ancestral land. That plan has been dubbed the ‘Prawer Plan’, and would involve the forced displacement of thousands of Palestinian Bedouins who have lived for hundreds of years in the Negev desert, in the southern part of what is now Israel. The protest on Sunday followed outbursts last week in the Israeli Knesset (Parliament) by several Arab Members of the Knesset. MK Ahmed Tibi said, “”You’ve gone too far. This law is a mark of Cain on the forehead of the Knesset, and the shame is on the forehead of every one of you who supports this bill. What would you do if there was a plan to drive you out of your homes? Any reasonable person cries out, protests, expresses outrage, he is angry. He responds to the aggression.” During Sunday’s protest, four protesters were wounded by Israeli police forces who attacked the non-violent demonstration, and two were abducted. The abductees were identified as an employee of the al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, who was on the scene as a human rights observer, and a resident of the Bedouin village of Rafat, identified as Yunis Moussa Abu Abed.
A Bedouin community’s last-ditch effort to remain on its land
Haaretz 22 Nov by Gideon Levy — Residents of Umm al-Hiran are staging a legal battle to remain in their Negev village, where they were moved by the state in the 1950s — In Umm al-Hiran, the government wants to raze the village − whose residents have lived there since 1956, when the authorities expelled them from their lands near Kibbutz Shoval − and build in its place an Orthodox Jewish community (to be called Hiran). Expelled for a second time, the residents here have put up a fight. For now, it is taking the form of a legal battle, but it might turn violent. Meanwhile, Silvan Shalom, Minister for the Development of the Negev and Galilee, has already termed the residents − expelled here by the authorities more than half a century ago − “squatters.”
Photos: Deciding the fate of the Bedouin, without consulting any Bedouin
Activestills 24 Nov Text by Michael Omer-Man Photos by Oren Ziv and Yotam Ronen — As part of its discussions aimed at advancing the Prawer-Begin Plan that would result in the mass displacement of Israel’s Bedouin citizens, the Knesset Internal Affairs Committee toured the Negev desert on Sunday. In formulating the Prawer plan, the Bedouin community was not consulted and an alternative formulated by Bedouin leaders was not considered … In response, the High Steering Committee of the Arabs of Negev called for a general strike and a protest against Likud MK Miri Regev and the committee she chairs on their tour. Bedouin and Jewish activists staged a protest at one of the committee’s stops, with some managing to approach and argue with MK Regev. Additionally, stores in the city of Rahat responded to the call for a general strike, shutting their doors for the day, according to activists … In at least one location, Jewish settlers are literally waiting in the woods until they can build their own towns on the ruins of the soon-to-be-demolished Bedouin villages. The Israeli cabinet approved that plan earlier this month.
What does it take to destroy a village
NegevBedouin Google group 24 Nov by Dr. Yeela Raanan — The judge ruled that Sheikh Sayah, the leader of the village of El Araqib, should pay 10,000 nis bail and must stay at least 2 kms away from his home. And what did Sheikh Sayah do to deserve this punishment? Nothing. Well he did – he is resisting the government’s wish to destroy his village. This is how it works: The Authority for the (un)Settlement of the Bedouin wishes to destroy Bedouin villages and force urbanization on the residents. They are using El Araqib as a case study. Let’s see – erase the village 50 times – no, not enough, the village still holds. Use the police and utilize police brutality on the residents and their supporters… No – it still holds. Ok, let’s use bogus arrests: arrest the activists – the village still holds. Now let’s try removing the leader from the village — how do we do that, if he never breaks the law – ah yes! Invent something! So Sheikh Sayah is arrested for trespassing on Government land – meaning on his own village lands. However there is no law against this. Now it is time for the judicial system to help. So after his umpteen arrest a judge rules that Sheikh Sayah can be released from prison on condition that he never re-build his home. Sheikh Sayah is not a young man, and accepts that he must be dependent on others’ good will to allow him to utilize their homes in the village. This was about a month ago. However, five policemen submitted statements that they saw Sheikh Sayah supplying the building materials and re-building his home in El Araqib. it is only their word, as they for some reason did not have the ability to photograph him in his actions.
link to groups.google.com
Video: Hebron Bedouins demand freedom of movement, infrastructure
HEBRON (Ma‘an) updated 19 Nov — Palestinian Bedouins historically moved freely across the land, and their lifestyle and survival depended on their mobility. The Israeli occupation, however, has changed all of this. Bedouins in a southern West Bank village enumerated the difficulties of life under Israeli occupation during a Ma‘an reporter’s visit last week. Al-Hathaleen, a village 15 miles southeast of Hebron, is in Area C, meaning it is under complete Israeli control. Occupation authorities rarely grant licenses for local vehicles, and often confiscate unlicensed cars, locals said. The restriction of movement is especially dangerous due to the fact that the nearest hospital is over 10 miles away in Yatta. The Israeli occupation also rarely grants permits for construction, and therefore Palestinian Bedouins remain stuck in a state of marginality where they are neither able to carry on their traditional lifestyle nor adopt a sedentary one. A village of refugees from the 1948 Nakba, al-Hathaleen faces dispossession yet again as plans for the expansion of a nearby Israeli settlement loom.
Israeli forces threaten to demolish a mosque south of Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 26 Nov — Israeli forces handed out a notification to a mosque south of Nablus on Tuesday morning declaring their intention to demolish it within the next few hours, an official said. The notification ordered locals to evacuate the mosque, which is located in the al-Taweel area, so that Israeli forces could level the structure. Ghassan Daughlas, a Palestinian Authority official who monitors settlement activities in the northern West Bank, told Ma‘an that an Israeli military patrol arrived in the area and demanded Palestinians evacuate the mosque. The religious structure is the only mosque in the area. Daughlas added that al-Taweel area has been subject to numerous and repeated demolitions by Israeli bulldozers in recent days.
Israeli forces demolish house, steel structure in Hebron town
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 25 Nov – Israeli forces demolished a house and a steel structure in the southern West Bank town of Idhna west of Hebron under the pretext of construction without license. The properties, according to the municipal council of Idhna, belong to Ashraf Muhammad Yousuf al-Batran. His family of six was left homeless. The demolition, added the municipal council, is part of a “vicious” Israeli attack against Idhna targeting houses, wells, roads and electricity networks in the part of the town classified Area C according to the Oslo Accord of 1994. More than 300 houses and different structures in that area of Idhna are slated for demolition.
Continuing harassment of Izbat Tabib village
IZBAT TABIB, Occupied Palestine (ISM Nablus Team) 25 Nov — Yesterday, November 24th, Israeli soldiers blocked the road at the entrance to Izbat Tabib and entered the village on three separate occasions during the night, firing tear gas canisters and intimidating residents … On all three occasions, soldiers were confronted by international activists. When asked the reason for their presence, they made unfounded allegations that village children had been throwing stones and molotov cocktails onto Highway 55, a road shared by both Israelis settlers and Palestinians. When specific details were asked for to clarify these claims, the Israeli soldiers gave conflicting and inconsistent accounts. For instance, one soldier even claimed that a molotov cocktail had been thrown at 15:00 near the entrance to the village. This was impossible as soldiers had been blocking the road and international activists were present during this time. Finally, at 00:30, soldiers entered the village for the fourth time that day and fired tear gas amongst the houses … Several years ago the village, east of Qalqiliya, was served with demolition orders by the Israeli Army. The orders would mean destruction of 33 houses (73% of the village) and the village school. Two houses have already been demolished, and the school, which has 52 students, is vital to the village and its future. The harassment is part of an ongoing campaign of intimidation and collective punishment to pressurize residents into dropping popular resistance to these demolition orders and to the occupation as a whole.
IOA confiscates cultivated land in Tulkarem
TULKAREM (PIC) 25 Nov — The Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) confiscated around 79 dunums (a dunum equals 1000 sq meters or 1/4 acre) of cultivated land in two villages in Tulkarem. Palestinian sources said that farmers in Kafr Jamal and Falamiya villages in Tulkarem found notifications hanging on trees in their land and signed by the Israeli army indicating that their land would be confiscated because of its proximity to the separation wall. They said that the notifications gave the land owners one month to object to the decision, adding that the notifications were issued in mid October , which meant that time for the objection had elapsed. Municipal sources said that the procedure pointed to clear intention to confiscate the land without allowing owners to object.
Settlers uproot 15 olive trees in Salfit
SALFIT (Ma‘an) 25 Nov — Settlers uprooted 15 olive trees in the Salfit village of Bruqin on Monday, a local committee said. The popular committee against the wall and settlements told Ma‘an that settlers from the outpost of Brukhin destroyed over 15 trees belonging to the Sheikh Omar family. Last Monday, settlers destroyed at least 26 olive trees in the Nablus village of Qusra. A day earlier, settlers destroyed 106 olive trees in Yatta.
Settlers bulldoze Palestinian lands west of Salfit, chop olive trees
SALFIT (Ma‘an) 26 Nov — Israeli settlers raided lands in the northern West Bank with bulldozers on early Tuesday morning in order to level the area to prepare it for expansion of the nearby Ariel settlement block, a witness said. Settlers razed the lands north of Bruqin village west of Salfit to prepare it for the construction of factories that will be a part of the adjacent Jewish-only settlement area. The settlers, who are from the nearby Brukhin settlement, also chopped 10 olive trees in the Wadi Baqdonis area north of the village. Researcher Khalid Mali said that “the factories in the Ariel settlements are expanding,” and highlighted that settlers have been confiscating lands from the Palestinian villages and areas of Bokin, Salfit, Sarta, Haris, and Kifl Haris. The expansions also threaten a local historic site called al-Shams w al-Qamar, an ancient Roman village with large pools and terraces.
Israeli soldiers destroy 60 olive trees near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 25 Nov — Israeli forces uprooted over 60 olive trees in a Bethlehem village on Monday, a local official said. The mayor of Tuqu‘, Taysir Abu Mfareh, told Ma‘an that Israeli soldiers accompanied by settlers uprooted dozens of trees in the village. The mayor called on the human rights organizations to support Palestinians against constant Israeli violations.
Israel detains 3 Palestinians in Silwan
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 25 Nov — Israeli forces on Monday detained three Palestinians from Silwan village in Jerusalem after they confronted an attempt to confiscate their lands, an official said. Israeli forces detained Ameir Abu Irmaila, 33, Sami Abu Irmaila, 25, and Mousa Abu Irmaila. They tried to prevent the Israeli antiquities authority from starting excavation work on their lands in the Wadi al-Rababa neighborhood, the director of Wadi al-Hilweh information center said. Jawad Siam said that the antiquities authorities had previously tried to confiscate the land 10 years ago, claiming that they wanted to dig a road for a Jewish cemetery.
NGO: Israel okays 829 new settler homes in West Bank
JERUSALEM (AFP) 25 Nov — Israeli authorities have given the go-ahead for the construction of 829 new settler homes in the occupied West Bank, settlement watchdog Peace Now said on Monday. “The construction of 829 homes has been approved by a committee of the Israeli military in charge of the West Bank,” said Lior Amihai, a Peace Now official. “This is yet another move that threatens to derail the peace process,” Amihai told AFP. President Mahmoud Abbas has warned that ongoing settlement building by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territories threatens the future of the Middle East peace process. The new homes would be built north of Jerusalem in the settlements of Givat Zeev, Nofei Prat, Shilo, Givat Salit and Nokdim, Amihai said. The latest move comes two weeks after Israel announced its largest plan for settler homes ever, saying some 20,000 would be built in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancelled the order after pressure from the United States, which brought the two sides to the table in July and as the Israeli premier sought to dissuade Washington from striking a nuclear deal with Iran.
New tenders for the construction of 300 settlement units south of Jerusalem
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 23 Nov — Hebrew media sources revealed that the Israeli Ministry of Housing and the Land Authority published tenders to build about 300 new settlement units in the Jewish neighborhood of Gilo, built on Palestinian lands south of occupied Jerusalem. Kol Ha’ir Newspaper said the applicants for tenders are scheduled to hold a tour in the region on December 17 to see the space allocated for the construction. The paper quoted officials in the Israel Land Authority as saying that the construction operations, which will include residential units and parking lots, will take place in five different regions near Gilo on an area of more than 40 thousand square meters.
Israeli excavations near Al-Aqsa ‘damage Palestinian homes’
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 23 Nov — A Palestinian man who lives near the Al-Aqsa Mosque says his house suffered major cracks Friday as a result of Israeli excavations around the property. Muhammad Zaghoul pointed out to Ma‘an major cracks and sagging in the walls and ceilings in his East Jerusalem house which consists of three rooms, a kitchen, and a bathroom … Zaghoul pointed out that sagging and cracks in his house appeared seven years ago, but on Friday they enlarged significantly. He added that excavation under his house have been ongoing for several years. Workers, he said, start to dig at night and they leave only in the morning using heavy equipment. As a result, most houses in the Asila quarter sustained damages, he added. Zaghoul added that his family of 12 had to leave the house as a result of the damage.
Israeli forces detain three Palestinians trying to enter Al-Aqsa
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 24 Nov — Israeli police detained two Palestinian women and one man when they tried to enter the Al-Aqsa mosque on Sunday, a witness said. An eyewitness told Ma‘an that Israeli police inspected the IDs of two Palestinian woman named Hanadi al-Halawani and Zeina Amro when they tried to enter al-Aqsa mosque. Al-Halawani and Amro were subsequently taken to al-Qashla police station in the old city of Jerusalem. Both women are teachers and regularly give lessons to students at al-Aqsa mosque. Israeli police also detained Alaa Abu al-Haijaa. He was briefly detained at al-Asbat Gate and then taken to al-Qashla police station for investigation.
Meanwhile, more than 17 Jewish extremists entered al-Aqsa mosque from the Moroccan Gate, including the American-born Zionist leader Yehuda Glick. The group toured Al-Aqsa compound starting from the Moroccan Gate and crossing down to al-Silsila Gate.
Violence / Invasions / Clashes / Illegal arrests
WATCH: Police brutality amid settler attack against Palestinians
972mag 25 Nov by Mairav Zonszein — On Saturday morning a handful of Israeli Ta’ayush activists accompanied the Awad and Jabarin families to their farmlands, located where the illegal outpost Mitzpeh Yair now stands. Upon their arrival, Israeli soldiers were already waiting for them with a closed military zone order. The 20-30 Palestinian residents, many of whom were children, were already spread out over the area when settlers who had arrived at the scene began attacking them. According to a Ta’ayush activist named Maria who was there, around 10 settlers attacked the Palestinians and the Israelis. They stole her camera and smashed it to pieces. When she screamed out to the police officer, he retrieved the broken camera and handed it back to her, but did not take the assailant into custody. According to Maria and several other activists on the scene, this violent confrontation provoked by the settlers continued for about 20 minutes, without any of the army or police officers doing a thing to stop it. And in fact, as is quite evident from the footage below, the authorities present aligned themselves with the settlers, some even taking part in acts of brutality against the Palestinians. At one point in in the video below (00:15) one can see a Border Police officer kicking a Palestinian woman — not so much with violence as with total disrespect and disdain, and in the most un-policelike behavior imaginable. He then proceeds to manhandle a Palestinian child.
Settlers attack Palestinian home with molotov cocktails in Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 26 Nov — Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian home with two Molotov cocktails in Burin village south of Nablus, an official said. Ghassan Daughlas, a Palestinian Authority official who monitors settlement activities in the northern West Bank, told Ma’an that several Israeli settlers threw two Molotov cocktails at the house of Ghassan Omran located in the eastern area of the village. A fire broke out in most of the house, causing extensive material damage, but the owners were able to extinguish the fire before it destroyed the entire house.
Israelis attack Palestinian farmers near Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 23 Nov – Israeli settlers Saturday attacked Palestinian farmers in the town of Yatta, south of Hebron, according to Ratib Jbour, a local activist. He said settlers from the illegal outposts of Mitzpe Yair and Maon Avigal, which were built on Yatta land, attacked farmers from the Awad family when they went to work on their land to prevent the settlers from taking it over.
He said soldiers present in the area did not stop the settlers, rather they arrested three people from the Awad family and two young girls age 15 and 13. An Israeli court ordered settlers few months ago to evacuate 120 dunums of Yatta land illegally taken over by the settlers and to return it to its rightful owners in addition to paying over $3000 fine. However, the settlers have not yet implemented the court order.
Israeli forces injure 15 Palestinians in clashes in al-Jalazun camp
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 23 Nov — Israeli forces shot 15 Palestinians with live ammunition and rubber-coated steel bullets, and dozens of others suffered from tear gas inhalation in clashes in Jalazun refugee camp north of Ramallah on Saturday afternoon. Clashes broke out after Palestinians tried to stop Israeli settlers from throwing rocks at passing cars on the road between Nablus and Ramallah. Palestinians threw rocks at settlers in order to prevent their attacks on passing vehicles. Israeli forces responded by attacking the Palestinians and firing rubber-coated steel bullets, live ammunition and tear gas canisters at them. Medical sources said that five Palestinians were shot in the legs with the live ammo, and one of them was shot four times in the leg, and is in a serious condition. 10 other Palestinians were hit with rubber-coated steel bullets.
Several Palestinians kidnapped in West Bank, Gaza
IMEMC 24 Nov — Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Sunday at dawn and on Saturday evening, several Palestinians in different parts of the occupied West Bank, and in the Gaza Strip. Most of the invasions and arrests took place in the Hebron District, in the southern West Bank. Mohammad Awad, spokesperson of the Popular Committee against the Wall and settlements in Beit Ummar, north of Hebron, said that dozens of soldiers invaded the town, and kidnapped Montaser Abdul-Hamid Awad, 22. He added that Awad is a former political prisoner who spent two years in Israeli prisons. He was taken prisoner, on Sunday at dawn, after the soldiers violently broke into his house, and searched it causing excessive damage. Dozens of soldiers also invaded Doura city, southwest of Hebron, broke into a home and kidnapped one resident identified as Noureddin Mohammad Wishah, and took him to an unknown destination. Furthermore, Israeli military sources stated that the soldiers kidnapped two Palestinians in Beit Ola village, near Hebron, one of them identified as Ibrahim Ahmad Al-‘Adam. Another Palestinian has been kidnapped in Beit Awwa town, and another in Hebron city.
On Sunday at dawn, soldiers installed a roadblock on the Halhoul Bridge, north of Hebron, while dozens of soldiers invaded a number of neighborhoods in Hebron city, and in Nouba village, west of Hebron. Medical sources said that the soldiers attacked, and injured, Ahmad Suleiman Al-‘Emla, 22, from Beit Ola village, and Adham Jamal Saya’ra, 20, from Kharas village. Both were working near Ramadeen village, south of Hebron; they suffered moderate injuries and were moved to the Hebron Governmental Hospital. Local sources in the Jenin refugee camp, in the northern West Bank city of Jenin, said that at least fifteen military vehicles invaded the camp, and fired dozens of rounds of live ammunition. Soldiers then broke into a number of homes, and violently searching them, using some as monitoring towers, and kidnapped two Palestinians identified as Ahmad Abu Zeina, 25, and Tawfiq Saber Jarjou’, 26. The invasion lasted for three hours, while Israeli sharpshooters were seen taking positions on rooftops in the camp…
Furthermore, Israeli military sources said that resident Odai Bassem Al-Jamry, 16, from the Balata refugee camp in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, has been taken prisoner in Haifa, allegedly after he attempted to stab an Israeli soldier. His father is a Palestinian security officer; the soldiers searched his home, and confiscated a computer and other equipment.
In related news, soldiers kidnapped three Palestinians near a kibbutz close to the border with Gaza, in an area east of the Al-Boreij refugee camp, in central Gaza. The army said that the three were not armed, and were taken prisoner after approaching the border fence. They were moved to an undisclosed interrogation facility.
Israeli forces detain 2 teenagers in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 25 Nov — Israeli police detained two brothers in Jerusalem’s Old City overnight Sunday, relatives said. Amer Iseed told Ma’an that Israeli forces raided his home at 5.30 a.m. and detained his two sons Othman, 13, and Obaida, 15. Israeli intelligence officers told Iseed that his sons would be transferred to Qishla detention center. After an hour of waiting outside, Israeli forces informed Iseed that his sons were taken to a detention center in West Jerusalem.
At least 12 Palestinians kidnapped in West Bank
IMEMC Monday 25 Nov — Israeli soldiers invaded dozens of communities in different parts of the occupied West Bank, broke into and violently searched dozens of homes, and kidnapped at least 12 Palestinians. Local sources in Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank have reported that the army invaded the Old City and kidnapped Rasmy Mahmoud Al-‘Ajlouny, 30, Amir Najeh Al-’Ajlouni, 18, and Nassar Abu Merzer, 21. The soldiers also detained two twin children, identified as Abdul-Rahman and Mahmoud Borqan, 10, and released them several hours later.
Furthermore, dozens of soldiers installed roadblocks near Ithna town, west of Hebron, completely sealing it, and prevented the residents from entering or leaving the town.
Undercover soldiers of the Israeli army invaded the Jenin refugee camp, in the northern West Bank city of Jenin, and kidnapped three Palestinians. The invasion was carried out by undercover forces driving cars with Palestinian license plates before regular units invaded the camp. Eyewitnesses stated that the soldiers kidnapped Soheib Yousef Sa’dy, 22, Ghassan Ragheb Sa’dy, and Mohammad Hussein Zeidan, 26. [Ma‘an: Suhaib and Ghassan are sons of Islamic Jihad leader Bassam al-Saedi] …
In Bethlehem, dozens of soldiers invaded the towns of Al-Khader and Al-Obeydiyya, broke into and searched several homes before kidnapping four teenagers.
Furthermore, dozens of soldiers invaded the Balata refugee camp, east of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and kidnapped two Palestinians identified as Mohammad Sa’id Sahloula, 25, and Ibrahim Mahmoud Issa.
Soldiers also installed several additional roadblocks in different parts of the occupied West Bank, especially the Hebron district, stopped and searched hundreds of cars and interrogated the residents.
Israeli forces detain elderly man, young girl in Bethlehem camp
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 25 Nov — Israeli forces on Monday detained a 70-year-old man and a young girl from Duheisha refugee camp in Bethlehem, a prisoners group said. Rania Abu Ghalous and her father Mahmoud were detained during an overnight arrest raid, the Palestinian Prisoners Society said.
Israeli forces detain 4 in Maale Adumim protest
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 25 Nov — Israeli forces detained four Palestinian activists on Monday during a protest held at the entrance to the illegal Maale Adumim settlement east of Jerusalem. Israeli forces detained Thaer Anees, head of the Fatah’s Youth movement in Jerusalem, Hani Halabiya, Nour Shabana, Omar Fawaz and assaulted Hiba Erekat, head of the national council of Abu Dis. Demonstrators were protesting against a decision by Israeli authorities to reduce a road linking the town of al-Eizariya to one lane. The road, which links the southern and northern areas of the town, had previously been two lanes.
Girl arrested at checkpoint says she was severely beaten
HEBRON (WAFA) 23 Nov – Muntaha Heeh, 21, arrested last month at an Israeli army checkpoint outside Hebron, told a prisoners’ advocacy group that she was severely beaten and tortured during her month-long detention, according to a report published Saturday. Ahrar Center for Prisoners’ Studies said that Heeh told the center in an affidavit that she was tortured and severely beaten all the time she was in detention and may have suffered an internal kidney bleeding as a result. Heeh, from the village of Surief near Hebron, was arrested during an army search of a taxi. She was charged with attempt to stab a soldier, which she had denied and her lawyer had accused the army of fabricating the incident to justify the charge against her. She was released on Tuesday on a $1500 bail until trial. Her father said then that the soldiers harassed his daughter in the taxi in a provocative manner and so she slapped one of them in the face. Heeh, a kindergarten teacher in Beit Ummar, north of Hebron, said in the affidavit: “I was severely beaten, deprived of any sleep, my hands were tied for a long time and I was beaten violently to a point I passed out and I am still suffering pain as a result.”
Why did prosecutors sit on a Palestinian boy’s killing for 14 months?
972blog 24 Nov by Yesh Din, written by Yossi Gurvitz — Yusuf Fahri Mussa Ahleil, aged 16, was shot and killed on January 28, 2011, probably by a settler. The state took 14 months to appoint a prosecutor to the case — Many of Yesh Din’s posts in this blog deal with the incompetence of Israeli police investigations, and it’s possible that the death of Yusuf Fahri Mussa Ahleil, a 16-year-old boy from Beit Ummar, will be added to that list; but for the time being, it is a story of criminal negligence on behalf of the prosecution. On January 28, 2011, something happened in the village of Beit Ummar in the Hebron region. Testimonies we collected describe an assault by Israeli civilians from two different directions simultaneously. Both incidents involved shooting; the second one ended in death. Witnesses described a large group of Israeli civilians raiding the village, among whom three fired at the Palestinians using weapons, likely M-16 assault rifles. According to one of the witnesses, the Israelis were conducting some sort of ceremony, blew a shofar, and then opened fire. The witnesses agree that no military troops were present and that they arrived only after the shooting. When it was all over, Yusuf Ahleil, who was on his way to help his father with his work in the field, lay dead on the ground … On January 3, 2013, nearly two years after the killing and nine months after a prosecutor was assigned to the case, she still had no answer for us. Six months breezed by, and on August 4, 2013, the prosecutor informed us that on July 30, 2013, she had made a decision to close the case. The police had identified four suspects; the prosecutor closed the case against three of them for lack of evidence and against the fourth for lack of criminal culpability.
Israeli-Ukrainian soldier admits she killed Palestinians on TV
Oximity 22 Nov by Abir Kopty — Elena Zakusilo, an Ukrainian young women, decided at her young age to leave Ukraine and go to serve in the Israeli military. On November 4th, she participated in Ukrainian TV game show, “Lie detector” The Ukrainian version of “The moment of truth”. Contestants (connected to a truth detector) answer a series of personal and embarrassing questions to receive cash prizes. During the show she reveals horrible information on her military service.
link to www.oximity.com
Camp residents clash with PA security near Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 26 Nov — One man was injured on Monday evening during clashes between dozens of Palestinian youths and Palestinian Authority security forces in Balata refugee camp east of Nablus. Onlookers told Ma‘an that Shadi Al-Bourini, 25, was lightly injured during the clashes.The violence started when dozens of Palestinians in the camp protested to call on the PA to release a man from the al-Assi family who was accused of carrying out a shooting in a Nablus court last week. Men burned tires around the camp and shut down streets.
Leader in Fatah condemns PA arrests against Hamas and Jihad movements’ members8
RAMALLAH (PIC) 25 Nov — Senior leader in Fatah Movement Hussam Khader condemned the PA continuing arrest campaign against University students affiliated to Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements. Khader has questioned on his Facebook the real reasons behind arrest campaigns against Najah National University’s students affiliated to Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Do they represent a threat to our national security? He asked. He pointed to the Israeli settlers’ practices which target the Palestinian national security.
Gaza under blockade
Hamas government in Gaza working with rival Fateh party to restore electricity, end flood of sewage
IMEMC 26 Nov — The Palestinian Prime Minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, announced Monday that his government is working with the Fateh party that controls the West Bank to try to re-supply Gaza’s main power plant with fuel, after a month without power led to sewage flooding from its water treatment plant. The main power plant in the Gaza Strip supplies power to more than 30% of its population of 2.5 million people, as well as providing the power for the main wastewater treatment plant in Central Gaza … In a statement to the press on Monday, Ismail Haniyeh stated, “There is ongoing cooperation between us and the West Bank government aimed at ending the electricity crisis in Gaza and resuming the fuel supplies needed to run the power plant”. The statement came after the West Bank’s Prime Minister (of the Fateh party) Rami Hamdallah left on a trip to Qatar to try to obtain financial support to re-supply the power plant. The cooperation between the two rival parties, even if successful, will depend on the cooperation of the Israeli occupying powers to allow the fuel to enter the besieged Gaza Strip, whose air, sea and borders are controlled by the Israeli military.
Gaza government attempting to end power crisis
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 26 Nov — The government in the Gaza Strip has been consulting local, Arab and international sides to try and bring to an end the power crisis in the coastal enclave, a Hamas official said Monday. Basim Naim, advisor to Gaza prime minister Ismail Haniyeh, told reporters Monday that there were attempts to buy fuel from Israel through the Palestinian Authority. “Nothing came into existence because the Ramallah government insisted on unreasonable fuel prices.” The PA, he said, wants to treat the Gaza government as a consumer, and to raise prices unreasonably. “We have recently been trying to find solutions through other sides, and Turkey expressed readiness to buy fuel for Gaza from Israel. Qatar is ready as well to cover fuel bought from Israel.” Naim added that his government asked UNRWA to play the role of middleman between Israel and the Gaza government. “The Gaza government is awaiting final answer from UNRWA,” he added, highlighting that the answer is likely to be positive. Naim expects Israel to agree on UNRWA’s intervention because “the occupation will eventually receive a full price through countries which maintain relations with it such as Turkey and Qatar.”
Palestinians planning to launch flotilla from Gaza
Ynet 25 Nov by Elior Levy — Activists, fishermen will try to reach open seas of Mediterranean to remind world Gaza is still under closure. Protesters are expecting Navy interference but say will not confront seamen — A group of Palestinian activists from Intifada Youth Coalition is planning on sailing from Gaza Strip in an attempt to challenge the naval blockade on the territory. The group of 200 Palestinian activists, backed by other foreign activists who are currently in Gaza, is planning to take boats fromthe Palestinian coast to the line of the marine closure, six nautical miles from shore, on Friday. It is also likely that the flotilla will try to cross that line in order to achieve a conscious victory. The act of demonstration is being done in conjunction with Palestinian fishermen, said the message that the activists published, who are demanding that the Israelis extend their fishing area. The activists say the purpose of the flotilla is to remind the world that Gaza is still under a naval closure. In the announcement, the members called for “powerful world sources” to press for more naval and land convoys to enter Gaza. A Gaza spokesman, who is involved with the group, told Ynet that the flotilla will have from three to five large boats and five smaller boats, which will sail as one unit with the goal to reach the six-mile line, or close to it. The spokesman said there will be Palestinians and foreign activists on the vessels, along with video capturing equipment to document the event.
Israeli gunfire wounds a Palestinian and injures a child in a resulting accident
GAZA (ISM) 25 Nov by Rosa Schiano — On the afternoon of Friday, 22th November 2013, Mohammed Adel Afana, age 22, was injured by Israeli gunfire east of the Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip. Adel Afana had gone there with friends. Each Friday, many Palestinians go to the cemetery, which is located about 300 meters from the fence that separates the Gaza Strip from territory occupied by Israel in 1948. It was between 3:30 and 4:00 pm. Some youths began to throw stones at Israeli soldiers. Adel Afana joined them. In the hospital, he said there had been three Israeli jeeps and about 10 soldiers. A soldier shot his right thigh. The bullet entered and exited, but cut the nerves and left shrapnel inside the limb … “All the gunshot wounds caused by the Israeli army are in sensitive areas of the body,” said Dr. Fayez al-Barrawi in Beit Hanoun hospital. “I have 17 years’ experience in surgery at many hospitals. Most wounds are in the head, chest and legs. More than 95% of them have no hope of cure, even abroad.” “There is not much hope of recovery,” Dr. al-Barrawi said of Adel Afana’s wound. “It is difficult to reconnect nerves and bring the situation to what it was before.” … The second injured patient lay in the same hospital room as Adel Afana. Hamada Suleiman al-Barrawi, age 15, complained of pain, despite the administration of analgesics. Hamada saw Adel Afana’s injury. In hysterics, and near a nervous breakdown, he began running aimlessly until he fell. The fall has fractured his right arm and some veins. He already underwent one surgery and will face another … The ceasefire of 21st November 2012 established that Israeli occupation forces should “refrain from hitting residents in areas along the border” and “cease hostilities in the Gaza Strip by land, by sea and by air, including raids and targeted killings.”
Gaza forced to use donkeys for waste collection due to lack of fuel
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 24 Nov — Garbage collection vehicles in the Gaza Strip stopped working on Sunday due to lack of fuel, forcing local municipalities to use donkeys in order to collect garbage and waste from cities and villages across the region … Mohammad al-Farra, Gaza Minister of Local Government, said in a press conference on Sunday that there are around 70 garbage collection vehicles in the Gaza strip that have been pulled from service due to lack of fuel. The garbage vehicles would be replaced by “primitive means such as donkeys” in order to transport 1,700 tons of solid waste from the streets of the Gaza Strip daily. Al-Farra confirmed that using donkeys to collect waste is not suitable and will potentially lead to major health problems … Al-Farra also accused the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah of participating in the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip by talking about the importance of closing tunnels connecting Gaza to Egypt and by imposing high taxes on diesel that the PA could ship to Gaza through Israel.
Turkish wells help quench Gaza’s thirst
World Bulletin 24 Nov — The Turkish Red Crescent and the TIKA have dug seven wells and established three tanks for drinking water in the southern regions of Rafah and Khan Yunis — Water wells tanks offered by Turkish foundations are effectively helping Palestinians in the Gaza Strip cute water shortage exacerbated by a growing fuel and electricity crisis. “We have three wells and one tank in the northern, eastern and western parts of Rafah dug by the Turkish Red Crescent in 2010,” Omar Shaaban, the head of the projects section at the Water Authority in Rafah, told Anadolu Agency. He said the digging of the three wells had cost $300,000. “The construction of the water tank, which has a storage capacity of 3,000 cubic meters, is nearly $1 million,” added the official. Shaaban said the three water wells were dug in areas where there is underground water suitable for human consumption. “The wells have contributed to solving part of the water crisis in Rafah and improved the supply of water in the eastern, western and northern regions of Rafah,” he noted. The official said the Turkey-constructed wells have helped solve the water crisis in Rafah by 20 percent … Shaaban said three more water wells are still needed in Rafah as well as one more water tank so that the water crisis can be totally solved in the town … For his part, the head of the water section at the Water Authority in Khan Yunis, Yasser Shaat, said TIKA had dug four water wells in the city, helping to solve the water crisis in the city by 30 percent. He, however, added that Khan Yunis is in bad need of a water desalination station so that it can use sea water in quenching the thirst of its residents.
Gaza: Abuse, harassment of activists
JERUSALEM (Human Rights Watch) 25 Nov — ‘Tamarod’ Supporters Forced to Cancel November 11 Protest — Hamas authorities in Gaza have been harassing Palestinians suspected of supporting the “Tamarod Gaza” activist group. The authorities should stop the harassment, allow the group to hold demonstrations, and investigate the alleged torture of Tamarod’s supporters. Tamarod (‘Rebel’) has criticized what it calls poor governance by Hamas and abuses by security services, and has called on Hamas to relinquish power and hold elections. Human Rights Watch spoke with four men detained by Hamas police and Internal Security authorities on suspicion that they supported the group and three others who were summoned for questioning since the group published a video online in July. Three of the men said interrogators tortured them because they had made pro-Tamarod statements on Facebook or otherwise indicated support for the group. Others described threats and harassment.
Jean Calder’s act of love amid Gaza’s war
Sydney Morning Herald 23 Nov by Ruth Pollard — An intrepid Australian offers an oasis of calm in a land of conflict — In Gaza, the beach is everything – often the only release for a population of almost 1.7 million living mostly under siege in the tiny coastal strip. Looking across the sea towards the horizon, Jean Calder notes, with characteristic understatement: ”It is beautiful, isn’t it? I just wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.” The 77-year-old Australian is marking her 18th year in the war-torn Gaza Strip with her two (unofficially) adopted Palestinian children (another died in his 30s five years ago) and her 32nd year working in conflict zones in the Middle East … It was here she established a rehabilitation centre under the direction of Yasser Arafat’s brother, the late Fathi Arafat, who was head of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society.
Detainees / Court actions
Administrative detainees go on hunger strike
GAZA (PIC) 25 Nov — The Palestine prisoners center for studies said that all 170 Palestinian administrative detainees in Israeli occupation jails had gone on hunger strike on Monday. The center said in a press statement that the administrative detainees in Negev, Ofer, and Megiddo started their first day of intermittent hunger strike in the second stage of their protest against their incarceration without trial or charge. It pointed out that those detainees, especially in Negev jail, have been subjected to punitive measures to dissuade them from continuing in their protest, yet they are adamant on continuing in their struggle.
Sick prisoners at jail hospital threaten open strike
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 26 Nov — Sick Palestinian prisoners at Ramle hospital threatened on Monday to go on an open hunger strike in protest of their health situation, and what they termed an Israeli policy of medical negligence. Hanan al-Khatib, a lawyer for the Palestinian Authority’s prisoners ministry, quoted prisoner Riyad al-Amour as saying that prisoners with serious conditions were fed up with their treatment. Al-Amour highlighted that starting in December, prisoners will announce an open hunger strike and will not take any medications in a protest against the “Israeli medical negligence policy.”
Twins born in Bethlehem from smuggled sperm of prisoner
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 25 Nov — For the first time in Bethlehem, the wife of a Palestinian prisoner delivered two healthy twins after successful fertilization using sperm smuggled from her jailed husband. Addressing Ahmad al-Mughrabi from Duheisha refugee camp south of Bethlehem, she told Ma‘an TV: “Congratulations! Now you have two beautiful baby girls. In spite of all, now you have a family of three, the two baby girls and Mahmoud.” She added that she was very happy with “this accomplishment in defiance of occupation.” In September, Israel denied family visits to the father of a baby conceived using sperm smuggled out of an Israeli jail, the Ahrar Center for Prisoners Studies said.
Israeli court extends detention of 7 teenagers from Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 24 Nov — An Israeli court on Sunday extended the detention period of seven teenagers from Issawiya village of East Jerusalem. Lawyer from Palestinian prisoner support group Addameer Mohammad Mahmoud said that the seven teens aged between 14-16 were charged with “throwing firebombs” at an Israeli military base near the village and trying to set it on fire … Mahmoud added that they were arrested previously from their homes at dawn, and were taken to police stations and interrogated with without any relatives present … Israeli police had released a statement earlier on Sunday saying that the detention of the teenagers was extended on charges of “forming a cell,” and “throwing firebombs at the Hebrew University, the military base, and other Israeli sites and cars.” The teenagers are affiliated with the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and admitted to the charges against them during interrogation.
Report: Palestinian refugees from Syria in Lebanon
[with photos] ANERA helps Palestinian refugees and poor communities in Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon … 74% of households interviewed are crowded with more than 10 people. To make things worse, almost 60% of all households are crammed into one room. Many families live without electricity, running water or proper heating. Large numbers of people share toilets … ⅓ of Palestinian families from Syria live in unsafe and dilapidated shelters – garages, buildings with no doors or windows, schools,shacks, shops, etc. [Read the report, and if you can, go to the main page www.anera.org and donate]
Agreement underway to end crisis in Damascus refugee camp
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 25 Nov – Palestinian factions in Syria are scheduled to hold a meeting Tuesday to discuss the terms of an agreement to end the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus. A major part of the agreement is to evacuate all gunmen from the camp in return for the Syrian government to resume providing services to the camp’s population. PLO political bureau chief Anwar Abdul-Hadi told Ma’an Monday that faction representatives would study the terms of agreement, evaluate the situation and set a date for implementation. The PLO, he asserted, is interested in evacuating all gunmen from the camp because it is “located in Damascus which is fully controlled by the Syrian government’s security services.” Some gunmen, he added, have already left the camp in the past few days. The rest are expected to leave as soon as the agreement is put into effect. Abdul-Hadi added that a delegation of about 50 officials including independent figures and representatives of Palestinian factions would visit the camp in two days to make sure all gunmen have left. The Syrian government, Abdul-Hadi says, welcomes the return of all Palestinian refugees who have Syrian travel documents to their refugee camps which they left to [go to] Egypt, Lebanon and other neighboring countries, fearing the ongoing clashes there.
New ‘Infiltrator Prevention Bill’ to cost state NIS 440 million
Ynet 22 Nov by Omri Efraim — Millions set aside for establishment of new ‘open prison’ for asylum seekers, in State’s bid to circumnavigate High Court ruling. NIS 75 million to be allocated for personal security of residents in cities with ‘high concentration of infiltrators’
Asylum seekers fear worse to come in Israel
Al Jazeera 23 Nov by Jillian Kestler-D’Amours — Critics say government plan to transfer asylum seekers to ‘open detention centres’ violates basic rights — As the Israeli government rapidly moves forward with a legislative amendment that would create “open detention centres” to hold thousands of African asylum seekers, human rights groups say the changes mark a new low in Israel’s treatment of African migrants. The proposed government amendment to Israel’s Prevention of Infiltration Law would shorten the mandatory prison terms for asylum seekers who have illegally entered Israel from three years to one year. But the asylum seekers would then be forcibly transferred to so-called “open detention centres” that are locked down at night. They will be held there indefinitely, without charge or trial, until they can be repatriated to their home countries.
Court asks state: Why King’s Torah authors not indicted?
Haaretz 21 Nov by Revital Hovel — Case against authors of allegedly racist book was closed in May 2012– The High Court of Justice on Wednesday evening ordered Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to explain why he has not idicted the authors of “Torat Hamelech” (The King’s Torah), Rabbis Yitzhak Shapira and Yosef Elitzur, and Rabbis Dov Lior and Yitzhak Ginsburg, who granted rabbinic approbation to the book, for sedition, incitement to racism and incitement to violence.
Popular Assembly against Negotiations launched in Gaza
GAZA (PIC) 25 Nov — Popular Assembly against Negotiations has been established in Gaza yesterday evening based on a large societal agreement among Palestinians in Gaza, West Bank, the Diaspora, and inside the Green Line. The spokesman for the assembly has stressed during the founding conference held in Gaza on Sunday that hundreds of Palestinian figures have joined the assembly. Media and Information committees have been declared during the conference, in addition to launching an official Facebook page for the Assembly, and assigning two spokesmen both in Arabic and English. The Assembly represents all Palestinian people regardless of political affiliation, the spokesman added, pointing that It came in total rejection to the continued absurd negotiations especially in light of the escalated Israeli settlement and judaization schemes in the West Bank, in addition to the unfair siege on our people in Gaza.
Anti-corruption chief: Complaints tripled in 2013
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) updated 19 Nov — The number of civilian complaints regarding corruption in Palestinian ministries and other governmental institutions has increased recently, the chief of the Palestinian anti-corruption commission told Ma‘an. Rafiq al-Natshah said that “as a result of increasing confidence in the anti-corruption commission, complaints have quintupled in 2013 compared to 2012.” He asserted that his commission received hundreds of complaints in 2013 and that all complaints are being addressed. “Nevertheless,” al-Natshah pointed out, “Palestinian courts take a long time to make decisions in cases referred by the commission, as a result of repeated appeals.”
Reviving the Palestinian pound to strengthen Palestinian independence
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 26 Nov by Alex Shams — In markets across historic Palestine, tourists can buy old coins and bills emblazoned with the phrase “Palestine pound.” The bills often catch visitors off guard, a stark reminder of a world that existed prior to the partitioning of the Palestinian homeland in 1948. Indeed, the Palestine pound gives lie to the oft-repeated Zionist mantra that Palestine was a “land without a people for a people without a land” as it demonstrates the existence of a shared currency used throughout the British Mandate of Palestine for nearly 30 years by Muslims, Christians, and Jews alike … After Israel occupied the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in 1967, all of historic Palestine came under the rule of the Israeli lira (and later the shekel), while the Jordanian dinar and eventually the US dollar circulated alongside. The Palestine pound, it seemed, was fated to circulate primarily in tourist markets, a potent symbol of a national sovereignty whose realization was abruptly halted by Zionist militias in 1948. One Palestinian researcher, however, is determined to bring the Palestine pound back, this time as the currency of the newly emerging State of Palestine. “Since I was in high school, I was wondering why we do not have a national currency,” Jacoub Sleibi explained in an interview with Ma‘an. “At that time, the fees of my high school were paid in US dollars, my pocket money was in shekels, and my father was getting paid in (Jordanian) dinars.” “This situation was extremely confusing,” he explained. Not only is it confusing, the circulation of three different currencies undermines the Palestinian economy as well as individual Palestinians’ purchasing power. “Palestinians have to have three accounts in three different currencies in the bank,” because many are paid in dinars or dollars but have to pay for their daily expenses in shekels. Others are paid in shekels, but have to pay university tuition or other institutional costs in dinars, he explained.
Teachers’ union suspends protest activities, calls for sit-in
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 24 Nov — The Palestinian Teachers’ union announced Sunday that it would suspend all strike activities they had scheduled for this week, a union official told Ma‘an. Bassam Naem, a media spokesman of the teacher’s union, said that the union decided to give the Palestinian Authority the chance to implement the union’s demands.
IAF, US Air Force hold largest joint military exercise in Israel’s history
[with video] Ynet 25 Nov by Yoav Zitun — Israel, Greece, Italy, US are holding massive aerial training exercise in Israel with almost 100 aircraft. IDF stress: Exercise has nothing to do with Iran — …For the first time, the training will include the use of a new information system which sends live data from the plane to ground forces.
Analysis / Opinion
Interview with Lia Tarachansky: a former settler documents the Nakba / Frank Barat
Ma‘an 16 Nov — Lia Tarachansky is an Israeli journalist and the director of the film, “On the side of the road,” which tells the stories of Israeli fighters who perpetrated the Nakba, or ethnic cleansing of more than 750,000 Palestinians from their homes in what became Israel in 1948. Born in the Soviet Union and raised in a West Bank settlement, Tarachansky made the film as part of an effort to break the myths many Israelis hold regarding Israel’s founding and history of dispossessing Palestinians. Your film “On the side of the road” will premiere in Tel Aviv on the 28th of November during a festival called the “International Film Festival on Nakba and Return.” Can you tell us about this festival, and the subject of your film? This will be the first film festival in the world that focuses entirely on the return of the refugees that were expelled and fled in 1948 and the Nakba itself. It will be held in Israel which is revolutionary on its own. My film opens the festival. It’s a film that has never been done here, in Israel, before.
Bible scholars: Zionists have ‘weaponized’ scripture / Graham Liddell
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 22 Nov — “Anti-Palestinianism” has become a theological issue, Palestinian Bible scholar Yohanna Katanacho said at an international conference in Jerusalem on Wednesday. Hundreds of participants from all over the world gathered this week for Sabeel’s ninth international conference, where theologians spoke about the Bible’s role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The conference marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of Sabeel, an ecumenical Christian community center that promotes Palestinian liberation theology. “How do we really deal with the Bible when people are using it to justify the oppression of the Palestinians?” Sabeel founder Naim Ateek asks. The conference, held Nov. 19-24 at Jerusalem’s Notre Dame Center, is an attempt to answer Ateek’s question. “One bad (theological) interpreter is worse than 100 terrorists,” Katanacho said during a panel discussion. He said that some Israeli theologians “strive to establish a particular reading of biblical history in order to gain political advantage.” “Such reading strategies put (Palestinians) at a disadvantage. They are perceived as the Canaanites or Philistines,” he said, referring to enemies of the biblical Israelites. “Some Palestinians are tempted to play this history game and argue they were in the land before the ancient children of Israel, as if an ancient historical presence is the basis for contemporary human rights, including the right to own your own home that you inherited from your grandfather or grandmother.”
Palestinian graffiti: ‘Tagging’ resistance / Rich Wiles
RAMALLAH, Occupied West Bank (Al Jazeera) 26 Nov — Palestinian graffiti is still a key means of communication and an integral voice against Israel’s occupation — …The public murals that are seen across Palestine today are often created with, and sometimes funded by, institutions. Other pieces are done at the behest of, or expressing affiliation to, Palestinian political factions. Remembrance or commemoration, whether for martyrs or depopulated villages, is a prominent theme in contemporary Palestinian work, and national symbolism, using keys, kufiyehs, tents, and crumbling walls in still often the central element. The construction of the separation wall added a further dimension to the issue. International artists began to flock to Palestine to paint on the wall although many Palestinians rejected this idea, seeing it as an act of “beautification” … Arafah does not paint on the wall. “I won’t touch the wall with colors, it’s an act of normalisation or beautification. People come here now as though they are visiting the pyramids in Egypt, like they are visiting a tourist attraction. They see the beauty of graffiti now instead of the suffering.”
Gaza to Jersey: A star is born / Maysoon Zayid
Daily Beast 25 Nov — On Friday, November 15, I put on my favorite Palestinian-themed T-shirt and shimmied over to the Ritz Theatre in Elizabeth, New Jersey to witness Mohammed Assaf perform live. I first stumbled upon Assaf, dubbed the Rocket of Gaza, six months ago while watching clips of bad auditions for the second season of MBC’s Arab Idol. Out of the mess of hair gel and heinous voices, Assaf shined. I was mesmerized. He had that “it” factor. I never imagined that less than a year later this boy, who had to beg and bribe his way out of Gaza, would be sitting next to me in the greenroom backstage at the 2,800-seat show he was headlining in the USA. Mohammed Assaf’s meteoric rise to stardom reads like a movie script … I had the privilege of interviewing Mohammed Assaf before he took the stage at The Ritz.