Palestinians commemorate Naksa; Israeli military attacks rallies
IMEMC 6 June — Sunday June 5th marks the 49th anniversary of the day known to Palestinians as the ‘Naksa’ [‘setback’], the day that the Israeli military occupied the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights and Sinai peninsula. 49 years later, the military occupation continues. During the Naksa, around 300,000 Palestinians were forced from their homes, and became refugees. The occasion was marked by a number of rallies throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territories, which were assaulted by Israeli forces who attacked with so-called ‘less than lethal weapons’ including tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets and concussion grenades. In Hebron, in the southern West Bank, the Hebron Defense Committee held a march that began near the Israeli-only settler bypass road near Hebron, but as they marched down the road Israeli troops blocked their way and prevented them from moving forward … Bassam Shweiki, coordinator of the Hebron Defense Committee, told the IMEMC that the protest was held in commemoration of the 49th anniversary of the Palestinian Naksa, to express rejection of this illegal occupation. “Our demonstration today came to commemorate the 49th anniversary of the Zionist occupation, declaring we are a living nation, in our land, seeking our right of independence,” Shweki said, “The Zionist occupation must end for it is the last occupation under the sun.” Shweiki added that Hebron is the only town in the West Bank, besides Jerusalem, where Israeli settlers live in the city itself, even occupying homes in the Old City, dividing neighborhoods, and causing more suffering to the people. “One of our targets in the Hebron Defense Committee is to raise awareness on the issue,” he stated, “liberty and human rights defenders need to be aware of it, we have ties with many international solidarity movements and organizations.
Rallies were also held in other towns and villages, and were similarly attacked. Palestinians remembered the day on June 5th, 1967, when Israeli forces attacked all parts of Palestine … The 1967 Naksa followed the Nakba (Catastrophe) of 1948, in which over 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly removed from their homes or fled in terror when massacres were carried out by the newly-formed Israeli army and armed militia groups like the Haganah….
We were sleeping when Israel attacked: Gaza remembers June 1967
EI 7 June 2013 by Rami Almeghari — Abu Hassan grew up on a farm next to the seashore in Jaffa. The son of a sheep trader, he still has strong memories of the fruit tees with which his hometown is synonymous. He was 11 years old when Zionist forces uprooted his family during the Nakba (catastrophe) of 1948. This week Abu Hassan — his full name is Hajj Jumaa Abu Hadrous — recalled another shameful episode in Israel’s history. On 5 June 1967, Israel began its occupation of Gaza, where Abu Hassan’s family had sought refuge almost two decades earlier. The invasion is known to Palestinians as the Naksa or “setback.” “I was sitting with some folks on the eastern outskirts of al-Maghazi refugee camp,” he said. “It was 3pm when rows of Israeli tanks began assembling, less than 500 meters away from where I was sitting. We did not think it was a war, yet several hours later and while we all were sleeping peacefully, Israeli tanks rolled into the camp, backed by warplanes. “As the Israeli tanks fired at and hit the western parts of our camp, I took my three children and wife and fled to the nearby coastal village of Zawaida, to the west of al-Maghazi. Not only did we flee, but the majority of the camp’s inhabitants [did too]. We stayed in Zawaida about one week, until the attacks by the Israeli tanks and warplanes calmed down.” The situation worsened inside the refugee camp after his family moved back. Encountering resistance from Palestinian fighters, Israel stepped up its deployment of forces in al-Maghazi. –Unable to move– “By then, nobody was able to move freely throughout the camp, as the soldiers used to shoot indiscriminately at every moving object at nighttime. I recall that in 1970, inhabitants of the camp were kept indoors for the duration of the holy month of Ramadan. By then, I and my family had little food. The only things we had were tomatoes.” Aged 76, Abu Hassan said he was “dreaming of being buried over there in Abu Kbeir, my original neighborhood of Jaffa city. “Neither the Naksa nor the Nakba has killed my dream of returning home. Whatever solutions politicians might bring to us, we can never accept them unless they involve the right to return to our homes, where our ancestors were born and raised.” ….
Palestinians rally in Gaza to mark 49 years of occupation
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 4 June — Palestinians in the Gaza Strip commemorated on Saturday the anniversary of the 1967 Israeli invasion and occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, Sinai, and the Golan Heights that began on June 5, a day that Palestinians refer to as the Naksa, meaning setback. Demonstrators at the Naksa Day rally waved Palestinian flags as they marched from the Unknown Soldier Square in central Gaza City to the UNRWA headquarters, condemning Israel for its continued crimes against Palestinians. Hamas official Ismail Radwan called for achieving national reconciliation in accordance with the Cairo agreement, referring to the 2012 accords between Fatah, Hamas, and the Palestinian National Council to form an interim government in preparation for national elections, which haven’t been held since 2006.
Vanishing Palestine: The making of Israel’s occupation
[with graphics] Al Jazeera 5 June — Historic Palestine continues to be wiped off the map as Israel maintains policies implemented in 1948 and 1967 — On June 5, 1967, an unprovoked Israel invaded Palestinian, Egyptian, and Syrian territories at once. Six days and over 300,000 Palestinian refugees later, it had occupied the Sinai Peninsula, Gaza Strip, West Bank, and Golan Heights. It has been 49 years since that day, and the West Bank and Golan Heights remain illegally occupied, while the Gaza Strip has been crippled under a nine-year blockade that has denied 1.8 million Palestinians their rights to access medical equipment, clean water, food and materials necessary to rebuild homes, schools and hospitals destroyed in repeated Israeli bombardments. While the 1967 invasion and subsequent occupation marked what Arabs called the “Naksa”, or a severe setback in their ambitions for Palestinian liberation, the policy implemented by Israel on those fateful days to illegally seize that land was merely the continuation of what occured during the founding of Israel, which is known as the “Nakba”, or catastrophe.
30,000 flock to Old City for Jerusalem Day
JPost 5 June by Seth J. Frantzman — Gone were the racist chants of years past, and neon-emblazoned ushers kept the masses of youth from banging on Arab shops as they made their way from Damascus gate to the West Wall. They came with drums, hundreds of Israeli flags attached to cheap sticks, and shirts with images of a rebuilt Jewish Temple on them. But mostly they came with songs about “Jerusalem of Gold” and “the eternal people do not fear a long journey.” Gone were the racist chants of years past, and neon-emblazoned ushers kept the masses of youth from banging on Arab shops as they made their way from Damascus Gate to the West Wall. The annual Jerusalem Day events brought tens of thousands to Jerusalem to celebrate the Six Day War and the conquest of the city which is seen by many as an act of liberation and reunification. Bused in from across the country, many crowded onto separate men’s and women’s sections on King George Street in the mid-afternoon, to listen to speakers who reminded them about how paratroopers took back the city 49 years ago. “We won’t bend to terrorism, we must fight for Jerusalem every day and not take it for granted,” intoned one speaker. As marchers made their way past IDF Square a small counter- protest attended by members of Meretz, Gush Shalom, Hadash and an “anti-fascist” group was cordoned off by police. Unlike last year, 50 meters separated the thousands from those reminding them “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies.” One man in his 40s, who has lived in Jerusalem since the 1980s, said that he was saddened to see such a small turnout for the anti-racist protest, and felt that the groups represent the deep divisions in society. Down by Damascus Gate the mostly young and national-religious crowd was crushed into a slow moving mass toward the Kotel … One proprietor said that in years past Jewish youth had banged on his shop door and smashed the windows of cars in alleyways. Police were careful to prevent clashes this year, confiscating sticks and detaining youths near the Austrian Hospice … Fewer than 10 percent of those in the crowd appeared secular, and most attendees seemed to be under 30, if not in their teens.
PHOTOS: Nationalist Jewish-Israelis march through Jerusalem’s Muslim Quarter
Activestills 5 June Photos by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org Text by +972 Magazine Staff — The Jerusalem Day march, marking the ‘reunification’ of the city under Israeli sovereignty, has more to do with domination over Palestinians than celebration — Jerusalem Day is billed as a celebration of the city’s “reunification” in 1967, when Israeli forces captured the Old City along with the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Sinai Peninsula and Golan Heights. In practice, Jerusalem Day is an opportunity for Jewish-Israeli nationalists, draped in flags, dancing in circles, singing and chanting “death to Arabs” as they march through East Jerusalem and the Muslim Quarter of the Old City. Most of the Jewish participants are bused in from right-wing and nationalist yeshivas throughout Israel and the West Bank. Ahead of the march, police order Palestinian shopkeepers to shutter their stalls and stores and Palestinians are cleared from the streets in order to prevent the ultra-nationalist participants from attacking them. Jewish participants have been known to vandalize shuttered stores, bang on the doors of homes, chant racist and violent slogans against Muslims and Palestinians, and even use physical violence against Palestinian passersby. This year, following two consecutive years in which the High Court of Justice ordered police to rein in Jewish participants’ verbal and physical violence against Palestinian residents, police kept closer reins on the march. It was limited in time, and although individual provocative acts still took place, police and ushers were reportedly more vigilant about maintaining order. A police spokesperson said officers arrested two Jewish minors for shouting racist slogans.
3 Israeli evacuated from Al-Aqsa as thousands celebrate ‘Jerusalem Day’ in Old City
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 5 June — An Israeli court denied on Sunday a petition to bar the “Jerusalem Day” march from passing through the Muslim Quarter in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, just as 208 right-wing Israelis entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and thousands more gathered around the Western Wall to begin celebrations. The director of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani, told Ma‘an that 208 settlers entered Al-Aqsa through the Moroccan Gate under heavy protection by Israeli police and special forces. Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri said in a statement that three “Jewish visitors” were evacuated from the compound for violating regulations regarding non-Muslim prayer on the site, and another was taken in for questioning for being suspected of attacking an Israeli police officer. Two Palestinian women were detained for chanting and “disturbing the peace,” according to al-Samri. She added that 761 foreign and non-Muslim visitors, including 556 tourists, entered the Al-Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary), using the Muslim term for the compound, which Jews refer to as the Temple Mount.
With flowers and ju jitsu, Jews and Arabs reclaim a troubled holiday in Jerusalem
Haaretz 5 June by Elhanan Miller — ‘Every year, people from the outside come and ruin our city, leave, and we remain here to pick up the pieces.’ — A dozen people sat on a patch of grass in south Jerusalem Sunday afternoon, listening quietly to the story of Roni Hirshenson, who lost his soldier son in a Palestinian suicide attack two decades ago. A somber contrast to the loud Jerusalem Day festivities taking place downtown, Hirshenson’s presentation was one of some 50 activities organized by “a Different Day in Jerusalem,” a grassroots movement geared at giving the annual Jerusalem Day celebrations a less nationalistic, more tolerant character. Established by government decree in 1968 and enshrined in law three decades later, Jerusalem Day marks Israel’s capture of East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War, and the “liberation” of the Jewish holy sites of the Western Wall and Temple Mount in the Old City. Celebrated annually some three weeks after Israeli Independence Day, Jerusalem Day has become a heated point of contention between Jews and Muslims as its key event – the flag march – passes through the Muslim Quarter of the Old City en route to the Western Wall. “We come with a different voice to Jerusalem Day,” said Doubi Schwartz, co-chief executive director of the Parents Circle, a non-profit that brings together Israeli and Palestinian bereaved families to publicly share their experiences, who arrived with Hirshenson. “We’re here to express our pain over the continuation of the conflict and over the price we pay for it. Even here in Jerusalem, people believe we can do things differently.” … Michal Shilor, a Jerusalem activist working with the Jerusalem Intercultural Center on Mount Zion, said the initiative for a Different Day in Jerusalem arose from a sense that Jerusalem Day habitually attracts overt displays of racism and violence, “especially by people who don’t live in the city.”….
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Israel
Palestinian youth shot in the head by Israeli forces Friday succumbs to wounds
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 6 June — A Palestinian youth died on Monday after succumbing to critical wounds sustained when he was shot in the head by Israeli forces with live fire on Friday when clashes broke out at Joseph’s Tomb in the eastern outskirts of the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus. The Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed in a statement that 20-year-old Jamal Muhammad Dweikat from Nablus died on Monday at an unidentified Israeli hospital. Dweikat had been in a critical condition after he was shot with a live bullet to the head when clashes broke out between Israeli forces and local youth near Joseph’s Tomb on Friday after a group of some 4,000 right-wing Israelis entered Nablus though the eastern side of the city escorted by Israeli forces, reportedly arriving after midnight and leaving at dawn Saturday morning. At least 10 Palestinians were reportedly wounded in the clashes. In addition to live fire, Israeli forces reportedly also fired tear gas canisters and rubber-coated steel bullets at the protesters. According to local Palestinian media, dozens of Israeli soldiers had cordoned off Joseph’s tomb in preparation before several buses transporting the Israelis who entered the site and began praying and performing religious rituals. Hebrew-language news sites said that a number of Knesset members from right-wing parties and illegal Israeli settlement leaders were among the visitors … According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), at least 2,000 Palestinians have been injured by Israeli forces in the occupied Palestinian territory since the beginning of the year. Israeli settlers frequently visit Joseph’s Tomb under the protection of Israeli forces. During the visits, Israeli forces regularly raid Palestinian villages in the area and fire tear gas canisters into the nearby Balata refugee camp….
Israeli forces shot 3 youths with live ammunition in just two days in Kafr Qaddum
KAFR QADDUM, Occupied Palestine 5 June by ISM, al-Khalil Team — On two consecutive days, Israeli forces in Kafr Qaddum village, near Nablus, have shot three Palestinian youth with live ammunition in the hip. The Friday demonstration under the slogan of the ‘Naksa’, remembering the 6-day ‘war’ and the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Sinai, started as every Friday after the noon prayer. Right after the beginning of the demo, the army started firing tear gas canisters not only at the protesters, but at all directions. Additionally, they sprayed foul-smelling skunk-water, a mix of sewage and chemicals, directly inside the houses in an act of collective punishment of the civilian population of the village. Towards the end of the demonstration, Israeli forces shot two brothers, 19-year old Asaf Hikmat and 20-year old Omran; both were hit with live ammunition in the thigh. Asaf had to be evacuated to hospital and undergo surgery to remove the bullet-pieces from his thigh and is now recovering.
On Saturday, Israeli forces attacked the demonstration with endless rounds of tear gas canisters, both shot from their guns and from the ‘VENOM’ [launching system] mounted on the army jeep shooting 10 rounds at a time, as well as stun grenades. They additionally shot rubber-coated metal bullets at the demonstrators, as well as live ammunition – injuring 16-year old Wael Abdallah with live ammunition in his thigh. After these two days, the number of injuries with live ammunition in Kafr Qaddum has reached 81. The village of Kafr Qaddum thus, in fear of this number rising even more, calls for international presence and media pressure to stop the Israeli forces’ violence against protestors and the collective punishment of the Palestinian village.
In memory of a hero from Ni‘lin: Aqil Srour
HEBRON, Occupied Palestine 5 June by ISM, al-Khalil Team — 7 years ago today, Aqil Srour was murdered by an Israeli sniper in the occupied West Bank village of Ni‘lin, near Ramallah. He was shot straight in the heart when coming to the rescue of a 16-year old boy that was shot with live ammunition in the stomach just minutes before. Aqil was shot straight in the heart, leading to his immediate death. Even though 7 years have passed, the villagers won’t forget the cold-blooded murder of Aqil Srour. Watch this video in remembrance of Aqil.
Empty Israeli bus reportedly attacked in Nablus
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 6 June — Israeli forces said on Monday morning that a settler bus was attacked with “steel balls” near the northern occupied West Bank town of Huwwara south of Nablus city Sunday evening, denying earlier reports that the bus came under gunfire by Palestinians. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that reports about gunfire were inaccurate and that investigations revealed that the bus was hit with “steel balls.” The sources confirmed that no passengers were in the bus. Israeli sources also mentioned on Sunday night that another settler bus was attacked with rocks near the central West Bank village of Hizma north of occupied East Jerusalem, and that the driver was injured. The sources said large numbers of Israeli troops arrived and the bus driver was evacuated to hospital. Commenting on the bus attack near Nablus, Palestinian security sources told Ma’an Sunday night that large numbers of Israeli soldiers deployed along the road near the towns of Beita, Huwwara, and Zaatara, all south of Nablus. The road near the illegal Israeli settlement Yitzhar was closed to traffic on Sunday night.
Army kidnaps PPS head in Jerusalem
IMEMC 6 June — Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Sunday evening, the head of the Jerusalem office of the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS), Nasser Qous. PPS Lawyer Mofeed al-Haj said the soldiers kidnapped Nasser Qous and moved him to an interrogation facility in the city. The Israeli military is accusing Qous of “incitement,” for statements defending the Palestinian detainees facing ongoing violations, and many holding hunger strikes demanding an end to their arbitrary administrative detention, without charges.
Also on Sunday, the army detained two young women, Afnan and her sister Anhar Yousef al-Baz, and released them after issuing an order preventing them from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem for 15 consecutive days. The two are from Lod city, and were kidnapped just as they were leaving the mosque through Bab al-Majles (Council Gate). There were interrogated for several hours in the al-Qashla police station in Jerusalem’s Old City.
Israeli soldiers kidnap 17 Palestinians in the West Bank
IMEMC 5 June by Saed Bannoura — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Sunday at dawn, several Palestinians districts in the occupied West Bank, and kidnapped seventeen Palestinians, including ten who were taken prisoner in the southern West Bank district of Hebron; among them a 78-year-old man, and five former political prisoners. The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) said the soldiers invaded and searched dozens of homes in various towns, in the southern West Bank district of Hebron, including Hebron city, Bani Neim town, and the al-‘Arroub refugee camp, and kidnapped ten Palestinians. The kidnapped Palestinians have been identified as Jawad Mousa Shalalda, Mohammad Khalil Zeidat, 73, his son Mousa, 50, Ali Hasan Zeidat, Moheeb Najmi, Moayyad Abu Sil, Abdullah Mohammad al-Qassas, Abdul-Basset Gheith, Ammar Mohammad Sharabati, 26, and Younis Kawazba, 60, the father a political prisoner, identified as Ahmad. In addition, the soldiers invaded Nahhalin town, west of Bethlehem, also searched homes, and kidnapped two Palestinians, identified as Mohannad ‘Ayed Abu Aker, 36, and Suleiman Issa al-Hroub. In Ramallah, the soldiers invaded Doura al-Qare‘ village, north of the city, and kidnapped a former political prisoner, identified as Awadallah Jamal Hasan, 30, after violently searching his home. The PPS also said that the soldiers invaded Tubas town, broke into and searched a few homes, and kidnapped two Palestinians, identified as Saher Daraghma, and a former political prisoner, identified as Ashraf Daraghma. In occupied Jerusalem, the soldiers stormed and ransacked many homes in Biddo town, and kidnapped Eyad Hassan Khaddour, Zoheir Ali Hmeidan, and a former political prisoner, identified as Issa Dirbas.
Prisoners / Court actions
Take Action: Interview with mother of youngest Palestinian prisoner
JERUSALEM 4 June by ISM, Al-Quds Team — According to Shadi, a 12-year-old boy from Kufr Akab, which is part of Jerusalem but on the Palestinian side of the wall he, together with a friend of the same age, decided to sneak over the separation wall that divides the Palestinian Territories from Israel, into Jerusalem. Although Shadi’s father has Israeli ID, they are obliged to live outside the wall because his mother has Palestinian ID. Their idea was to hang out for a bit and have a look round. Whilst they were standing at the Musrara light rail stop some Israelis heard them speaking in Arabic and reported them to the police. The police arrived and arrested them. When Shadi’s friend first proposed the idea of going to Jerusalem Shadi had been reluctant as he understood the kind of problems that might arise. His friend was still keen to go and Shadi finally agreed on the basis that he could protect him if anything should happen. The police took the boys to the Masqubiya interrogation centre. They were interrogated alone, without a legal representative or family member present. The boys were shouted at, beaten and given electric shocks. The interrogators made the boys strip, poured cold water on them then put the air conditioning on to cold. Since they were arrested, over 4 months ago, the boys have made 11 court appearances. Initially, the court agreed to house arrest for Shadi on the payment of 5,000 shekels, ($1,333 approx) bail. Although the family paid this – money which they had to borrow – a subsequent court appearance, under a different judge, failed to release Shadi and he remains in detention. Shadi has now been charged with possession of a knife with intent to kill. He is adamant that this is not true. Shadi is the youngest prisoner under the Israeli occupation and he has been incarcerated in Al Marsa detention centre, a facility for minors, (older teenagers, both Palestinian and Israeli), in the north of Israel. There was some consternation when he arrived at the centre as it appeared they were not prepared for the arrival of such a young child….
Palestinian teen handed 18-year prison sentence after being convicted of stabbing Israeli
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 6 June — An Israeli district court on Sunday sentenced a Palestinian teenager to 18 years in prison after he was convicted of stabbing and moderately wounding an Israeli in Jerusalem in February 2015. He was also convicted of throwing stones, a pipe bomb, and Molotov cocktails at Israeli forces in unrelated incidents [during the 2014 Gaza war]. Lawyer Muhammad Mahmoud of prisoner rights group Addameer told Ma‘an in Jerusalem that Mahmoud Abu Isba was sentenced to 18 years in prison and ordered to pay 100,000 shekels ($26,023) in damages to the wounded Israeli. His exact age has yet to be confirmed. The court decision also included a three-year probation upon his release with an automatic five-month prison sentence upon violation of the probation. Abu Isba, from Bir Zeit in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, was detained in February 2015 after he stabbed an ultra-Orthodox Jewish Israeli man in west Jerusalem. The Palestinian teen was then wrestled to the ground by passersby. Distant, black and white security camera footage showed a young man waving his arms and swiping towards pedestrians, who then ran clear of him at a busy intersection near Jerusalem’s city hall. Jerusalem’s mayor Nir Barkat was then seen walking across the intersection, and lunged toward Abu Isba, pinning him to the ground, before other passersby gathered around him. The wounded Israeli was rushed to hospital but was not seriously hurt, medical officials told reporters at the time. Israeli police added that Abu Isba did not have authorization to reside in Israel.
In plea bargain, Palestinian minor accused of stab attack risks 6 1/2 year prison sentence
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 5 June — A Palestinian minor accused of carrying out a stab attack with his 12-year-old cousin in Jerusalem in November will likely be sentenced to six and a half years in prison, it was revealed Sunday. The lawyer for 14-year-old Muawiya Alqam reached a plea bargain with the Israeli military prosecutor, according to which the boy will be jailed for six and a half years and his family ordered to pay a fine of 26,000 shekels ($6,759). Muawiya’s family told Ma’an that the plea agreement was reached during a hearing on Sunday morning. However, the sentence will be officially pronounced during a hearing in July. In November, Muawiya was indicted on charges of attempted murder and possession of a knife. Israeli forces shot and wounded Muawiya’s 12-year-old cousin Ali Alqam after the two allegedly stabbed and injured an Israeli security guard on the light rail near the illegal Israeli settlement of Pisgat Zeev in northern Jerusalem. Ali, who was shot at least three times on the scene and had to undergo surgery to remove a bullet from his stomach, is currently being held at a juvenile rehabilitation center since Israeli authorities decided to uphold his one-year detention in April. Meanwhile, Muawiya has been moved between Israel’s Russian Compound, HaSharon, and Megiddo prisons. According to prisoners’ rights organization Addameer, 438 of the 7,000 Palestinians currently held in Israeli prisons are minors. As of March, an estimated 98 of these youths were under the age of 16.
Haaretz editorial: Israel’s military justice system seems to have gone too far
5 June — The increasingly violent resistance to the occupation does not give Israel and its security apparatuses a license to deny liberty to innocent people — Palestinian parliament member Khalida Jarrar was released on Friday after 14 months in an Israeli prison. Jarrar was a political detainee, and her detention was a political detention. At first Israel wanted to detain her without trial; only after an international protest was she prosecuted in a military court for a series of offenses, most of which were ridiculous and silly: attending a book fair, paying a condolence call to a Palestinian family and the like. The fact that Jarrar is an elected representative meant to enjoy a degree of immunity is meaningless to the military justice system; there are other Palestinian MPs who are in Israeli prisons. Jarrar, who headed the Palestinian Legislative Council’s political prisoners committee, devoted many years to working on behalf of Palestinian prisoners, trying to win their release. But 700 Palestinian administrative detainees are currently in Israeli jails, some of whom have been incarcerated for lengthy periods without trial. While Jarrar was imprisoned another record was broken; there are 61 female Palestinians being held in Israeli jails, 14 of them minors. The Israel Prison Service had to open a new wing in Damon Prison, in addition to the one in Hasharon Prison, to hold them all. Together with the total number of minors imprisoned by Israel – more than 400, according to B’Tselem – these numbers are evidence of the military justice system’s intolerable, disgraceful imprisonment policy toward Palestinians. No one expects it to operate like a real criminal justice system, but even for a military justice system it seems to have gone too far in recent months, with Israel allowing itself to deny freedom to the people living under its occupation without almost any restraint. No security situation justifies the detention of a Palestinian legislator for her public activities. No stone-throwing validates the mass arrests of children, and nothing can rationalize detention without trial, a practice that is unacceptable and intolerable in a country governed by civil laws….
Egypt closes Rafah crossing after four-day opening
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 5 June — Egyptian authorities closed the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip on Sunday evening for passengers leaving the besieged coastal enclave for Egypt, while the crossing remained open in the other direction, Palestinian sources told Ma‘an. The sources said that eight buses, including one filled with Egyptian passport holders, left the Gaza Strip on Sunday, the last day of a four-day reopening of the Rafah crossing. Palestinian officials were not notified about any possible extension of the opening, the sources added, estimating that some 3,000 people were able to leave the Gaza Strip during the four days the crossing was opened this week … The four-day window permitting travelers to enter and leave the besieged coastal enclave came three weeks after a two-day opening in May, which was the first time Egyptian authorities had operated the crossing in 85 days.Saturday was the third day Egypt’s Rafah crossing was open for operation, after a total of 1,635 Palestinian travelers passed through the crossing on Wednesday and Thursday, and it was closed on Friday.
800 Palestinians left stranded at Rafah crossing due to curfew in Sinai
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 5 June — Some 800 Palestinians were left stranded at the Rafah crossing overnight Saturday waiting to enter Egypt from the besieged Gaza Strip, due to the curfew imposed in Northern Sinai. An Egyptian security source said the Palestinians had successfully passed out of the Gaza Strip, but after reaching the Egyptian side of the border they were not able to leave and continue traveling. A state of emergency has been declared in Northern Sinai since October 2014, and renewed several times since. The Egyptian state-imposed curfew begins at 7 p.m. The Palestinians were expected to travel on Sunday morning after the curfew ended at 6 a.m. A total of 328 Palestinians crossed into the Gaza Strip and 1,090 exited on Saturday, only 290 of whom managed to make it to Egypt before the curfew. Some 30 aid trucks holding 1,009 tons of construction materials also entered Gaza Strip on Saturday.
Gaza set to release 156 prisoners Sunday to mark the start of Ramadan
GAZA (Ma‘an) 4 June — Gaza’s Interior Ministry announced on Saturday that 156 prisoners who have completed more than two-thirds of their prison sentences would be released on Sunday as a government gesture to mark the upcoming holy month of Ramadan. Officials from the Interior Ministry told Ma‘an that they hope that the soon-to-be-released prisoners would take the opportunity to become virtuous citizens and position themselves in positive roles in their societies. The Hamas-led government in the besieged Gaza Strip has provided amnesty for several hundred prisoners over recent years as a goodwill gesture to prepare for the start of Ramadan. Each year, the released prisoners must have served more than two-thirds of their prison sentences and displayed good conduct while imprisoned.
Israeli army detains Palestinian teen allegedly involved in Gaza tunnels
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 5 June — Israeli forces detained a Palestinian teenager in May allegedly involved with the Hamas movement in building tunnels across the besieged Gaza Strip’s borderline, the Israeli army revealed in a statement on Sunday. According to the statement, Israeli intelligence, military and police forces detained a 17-year-old “operative” who it claimed was part of “the Beit Lahiya battalion of Hamas’ military wing,” the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades. The statement further said that Israeli forces interrogated the teenager, who reportedly “conveyed valuable information regarding Hamas activities in the northern Gaza Strip and especially Hamas’ offensive tunnels.” In May, an Israeli court indicted a Palestinian minor for allegedly providing assistance in the protection of Hamas-built tunnels in the Gaza Strip, which has been under a crushing Israeli blockade for nearly a decade. In April and May, Israeli forces claimed to have uncovered the first two tunnels crossing from the Gaza Strip into Israel since Israel’s devastating offensive on the small Palestinian territory in 2014.
Young Gazans juggle their jobs with circus performances
BEIT LAHIA, Gaza Strip (Al Monitor) 3 June by Asmaa al-Ghoul — A street cleaner during the day and a circus acrobat at night — this is the life of 25-year-old Youssef Khoder. It’s not unusual for young Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to work in public sanitation. What is odd, however, is for young men to work as circus acrobats. Temporary jobs are based on six- or three-month contracts provided by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees or civil society institutions for the unemployed. Khoder seems satisfied with both his jobs. “Today, I took the broom and started performing some acrobatic moves with it, which made my [sanitation] colleagues laugh,” he told Al-Monitor. He has little regard for how Gazan society views him, in either job. “I love my job as a street cleaner. I live off this job. But I am also thankful that I have the work of the circus in my life, as it has rid me of negative energy and made me interact with people in a positive way,” he said….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing
Israel has destroyed $74 million worth of EU projects
EI 5 June by Charlotte Silver — An $11-million farming project in the Jordan Valley, a $61,200 playground near Nablus and an elementary school serving a Bedouin community east of Jerusalem: all have been destroyed by Israel. These are just a few examples of the at least 150 European-funded structures in the occupied West Bank that Israel demolished in the first three months of 2016. Israel has destroyed more homes, businesses and public infrastructure in these months than in all of 2015, according to a new report by the non-profit Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, or Euro-Med. Each month, an average of 165 privately and internationally funded structures were demolished or partially destroyed, representing a more than three-fold increase from the previous rate of 50 demolitions per month between 2012 and 2015. More than 900 Palestinians have been made homeless this year, according to UN statistics, and thousands more have had their livelihoods affected by the wave of destruction….
Report slams Israel’s ‘squandering’ of aid to Palestine
GAZA STRIP (Al Jazeera) 5 June by Belal Aldabbour — A surge in Israel’s destruction of EU-funded projects in Palestine is linked to the EU’s decision in 2015 to label products made in Israeli settlements in the West Bank, according to a new report. The report, titled ‘Squandered Aid’ and authored by the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, was disseminated on the sidelines of a recent EU session. The report, of which Al Jazeera obtained an exclusive copy before its release this week, documents Israel’s repetitive destruction of EU-funded projects in Palestine. The Euro-Med group estimates the total squandered EU aid money at €65 million ($73m), lost over the period 2001-2015, with at least €23 million ($26m) lost only during the 2014 Israeli assault on Gaza … “It’s the classic ‘catch-22’,” says Cecile Choquet, a researcher at Euro-Med. “Palestinians need help to rebuild, but as soon as they start to get back on their feet, Israel knocks them back down.” Demolitions and stop-work orders were particularly directed at structures located in Area C of the occupied West Bank, which falls under Israeli security and civilian control. It is regarded by the international community as the main land reserve for a future Palestinian state. In a single week in August 2015, 63 houses were destroyed, leaving 132 Palestinians homeless. The surge has attracted international focus. In 2015, 31 human rights groups condemned Israel’s “wanton destruction of Palestinian property and of projects funded by international aid in the occupied West Bank”. The office of the Coordinator of Israeli Government Activities in the Occupied Territories (COGAT) claimed that “measures are taken against illegal building”. However, Euro-Med reports that, in some cases, Israeli authorities have demolished Palestinian projects they had earlier approved. Further, permits are scarce, with only as few as 2.3 percent of applications for building permits in Area C approved by Israeli authorities between 2009 and 2012, according to the Israeli rights group B’Tselem … Euro-Med deplores that since 2012, information on damage to EU-funded projects has been inaccessible to both the media and human rights institutions. Rami Abdu, Chairman of Euro-Med Monitor, says the report relied primarily on field research, including interviews with eyewitnesses, village councils, municipalities and relevant governmental and non-governmental bodies, as well as past publications and anonymous “tips” made available by diplomats who asked to remain anonymous….
IDF demolishes 7 EU funded West Bank Beduin structures
JPost 5 June by Tovah Lazaroff — In a move likely to further anger the European Union, the IDF on Sunday demolished seven prefab buildings in the West Bank Beduin encampment of Sateh al-Bahr that the EU had funded. Two weeks ago, EU Ambassador Lars Faaborg Andersen warned the coordinator of government activities in the territories that such demolitions would harm EU-Israel ties.
COGAT explained on Sunday that “the supervision unit of the civil administration has confiscated seven caravans which illegally erected next to Mitzpe Jericho last week.” The community of 70 Jahalin Beduin live near the city of Ma’aleh Adumim, along Route 1 in the corridor leading down from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea. The nongovernmental groups Regavim and the Jerusalem Periphery Forum, which monitor illegal Beduin and Palestinian building in that area, welcomed the IDF’s quick response. The forum’s land coordinator, Yaniv Aharoni, accused the EU of “bullish behavior,” and of harming Israeli rule of law in the area by continually promoting illegal construction. His group and Regavim have long argued that the EU is helping the Palestinian create facts on the ground to solidify the Arab presence in Area C of the West Bank. Of the EU, Aharoni said, there is no end to their “chutzpah.”….
Wiping Palestinian history off the map in Jaffa
+972 mag 4 June by Natasha Roth — A tourist map of Jaffa presents a reimagined, Zionist version of the city: Jaffa 2.0 is a boutique neighborhood of Tel Aviv, with a smattering of ‘local’ (read: native) color. But the map itself simply represents a much broader process of destruction and reconstruction — If you go into Jaffa’s tourist information centers (run by the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality) and ask for a map, you’ll receive a colorful, user-friendly guide promising to tell you the best places to go to sample Jaffa’s food, markets, history and more — and in four different languages, no less. The problem is that the version of Jaffa the map presents is a narrow, carefully curated one, of chic boutiques, European-style art galleries and a smattering of Christian history. None of those four languages are Arabic, and a quick scan of the rest of the official tourist information center’s materials also reveals a dearth of Arabic. On one side of the map, a zoomed-in view of the Old City, only two Muslim sites are labeled: the al-Bahr Mosque (also known as the Sea Mosque), thought to be the oldest in Jaffa, and the Mahmoudiya Mosque next to the flea market. Only the al-Bahr mosque gets a minaret icon — which on one side of the map is partly obscured by a church spire and on the other side is the same color as the background. Neither mosque receives an explanation in the map’s key. On the zoomed-out side of the map, the Mahmoudiya Mosque does not appear at all. Meanwhile, numerous churches are labeled with either an icon of a cross or an image of a spire. Several Christian sites receive explanations in the map’s key, which also refers to “Jewish and Christian traditions.” The words “Palestinian,” “Arab,” and “Muslim” do not appear in the map’s key or descriptions once. The word “oriental” does feature, however — as a category of restaurant, which fits neatly into the colonialist model of either erasing or subsuming the native culture and then passing off the safely fractured remnants as ‘local color.’ … None of this is an accident, and the map — problematic as it is — is not itself the issue; it simply represents the outcome of a broad set of processes and attitudes. (A tourist map of Jerusalem recently highlighted in Haaretz is also an experiment in exclusion.) … its history is being refurbished at the same time as its streets, itself a process that began with the foundation of the State of Israel. Jaffa in its previous form — a major regional port, a thriving center of trade and historic Palestine’s largest city — was an inconvenient contradiction to the Zionist narrative. In the Israeli imagination, Jaffa was a deprived backwater that was “liberated” by Zionist forces in 1948 (which is how the conquering of the city is described on tourist plaques) … Seventy percent of the structures in Jaffa’s Old City were destroyed between 1960 and 1985, according to historian Menachem Klein, completely gutting its Arab history and presence….
How one Jerusalem neighborhood has been left to fend for itself
Al-Monitor 2 June by Daoud Kuttab — The Jerusalem neighborhood Kufr Aqab has become no-man’s-land, as Israelis who have sovereignty do not provide services to its residents and the Palestinian Authority is not allowed to enter the area — When Tamara and Ala’a got married in 2012, in addition to their wedding in Beit Jala, they held a second ceremony in Jerusalem to ensure that they could register their marriage in the holy city. The couple moved into a small house in the Jerusalem suburb of Beit Safa to make sure that they could legally prove their connection to Jerusalem. The second wedding and the Jerusalem home were necessary to ensure that the Palestinian couple would not lose their residency permits. But this played out differently. Because Ala’a is from Beit Jala and Tamara from East Jerusalem, the couple could not always be together in the same place. Ala’a came home whenever he managed to obtain a permit, often around Christmas and Easter, while the rest of the year he had to either sneak into Jerusalem or Tamara had to stay at her in-laws. This complicated arrangement is the result of an Israeli policy aimed at administratively reducing the Arab population of East Jerusalem, by forcing Jerusalemites to constantly have to prove their connection to Jerusalem or else risk losing their right to live in Jerusalem as permanent residents….
Closures / Restrictions on movement
Israeli forces close major West Bank checkpoint for 3 hours
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 5 June — Israeli forces closed the main road between Bethlehem and Ramallah for more than three hours on Sunday, preventing thousands of Palestinian commuters from reaching their workplaces. Israeli forces closed the Container checkpoint east of Bethlehem from both directions at around 9 a.m, witnesses told Ma‘an, after they stopped a fuel tanker for inspection. The closure caused a major traffic jam, worsened as Israeli soldiers did not allow passengers to step out of their vehicles for around three hours. Hundreds of vehicles lined up along the road between the Wadi al-Nar canyon and the nearby village of al-Sawahira al-Sharqiya. Some drivers were seen traveling on rugged dirt roads to bypass the Israeli checkpoint.“This situation reminded us of the beginnings of the Second Intifada, when people used bypass roads to try to get to al-Quds University in Abu Dis or to Ramallah,” Ahmad, one of the Palestinians caught in the traffic jam, told Ma‘an. In 2015, the Israeli forces enlarged the Container checkpoint, turning it into a large checkpoint similar to the ones between Israel and the occupied West Bank, even though it is within the West Bank. The Container checkpoint is on the only major road open to Palestinians connecting the southern West Bank regions of Hebron and Bethlehem to the central and northern West Bank. The checkpoint was first called by this name by Palestinians in the early 1990s when a local Palestinian from the nearby village of al-Sawahira al-Sharqiya used a shipping container as a kiosk where he sold water and refreshments near the checkpoint.
Palestinian police arrest 40 alleged fugitives attempting to pass Allenby Bridge crossing
JERICHO (Ma‘’an) — Palestinian police detained 40 alleged fugitives in the week between May 27 and June 3 as some 40,000 Palestinians traveled through the Allenby Bridge crossing between Jordan and the occupied West Bank, according to Palestinian police. Nearly 18,496 people left the West bank and 21,255 crossed into the occupied territory during this period, according to a police statement. The 40 arrested were described by Palestinian police as “wanted for criminal charges,” and were detained while attempting to travel through the crossing in and out of the West Bank. The police statement added that 21 patients crossed in ambulances following coordination activities between Palestinian and Israeli liaison offices. Israeli authorities prohibited the passage of 35 Palestinians attempting to cross the border for alleged security reasons.
Israel to US students fighting BDS: Talk up Israel’s desire for ‘peace’
NEW YORK (Haaretz) 4 June by Taly Krupkin — Pro-Israel students are being instructed to ‘show empathy for the Arabs’ and ‘make every other word that comes out of your mouth be ‘peace’. — On Tuesday morning, 1,500 American students, representatives of Jewish organizations, as well as elderly Jews who live in New York, gathered in the historic United Nations General Assembly hall. They were attending the largest-ever event devoted to the fight against the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. The Israeli Mission to the United Nations has marketed the conference in recent weeks as a student event, and although only half of those present were members of the target audience, all the speakers addressed the American Jewish students, dubbed “Israel’s Iron Dome,” according to Danny Danon, Israel’s UN ambassador. In the speeches, the panels and the hasbara (public diplomacy) guide distributed to the attendees, the organizations revealed the new tools of Israeli hasbara: A declaration of support for peace, partial acknowledgement of Israel’s mistakes, and a demonstration of empathy towards the Arabs — but only as methods of defeating the BDS movement on campus, and not as values in themselves. The brochure asserted that years of research and experience have shown that adopting messages of peace and empathy are the most effective methods when advocating for Israel … The contents of the brochure seem to indicate that the authors assume that Jewish students in the United States are not interested in mingling with students of other religions or races on campus, and therefore must specifically be asked to do so, and only in order to attain the final objective — recruiting non-white students and other minorities on campus to the Israeli side….
Methodists keep investing in Israel’s war crimes
EI 31 May by Ryan Rodrick Beiler — America’s largest faith-based pension fund has invested in a number of firms seeking to profit from Israeli war crimes over the past four years. Like many other religious organizations, the 12 million-strong United Methodist Church has formally criticized Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians. At a 2012 policy-making conference, the UMC appealed for a global boycott of goods produced in the settlements which Israel is building in the occupied West Bank in violation of international law. The church’s own pension board, however, has failed to respect the spirit of that call. Since 2012, it has invested in a number of companies that are active in Israeli settlements. At the beginning of this year, the pension board held investments in 23 Israeli companies. They include the supermarket chains Rami Levy and Shufersal, the telecommunications firm Bezeq and the fuel distributor Delek. All of these firms have opened outlets in or provided services to Israel’s settlements in the West Bank. The board has also invested in the Strauss Group, a firm that has given financial support to the Israeli military. And it has bought shares in a number of weapons-makers — such as France’s Dassault, which is engaged in joint activities with the Israeli arms industry. Such investments appear inconsistent with the UMC’s stated policy of avoiding investments that could assist human rights violations. The Electronic Intifada has compared the pension board’s current investments with those held in 2012. Many of the Israeli companies that appear in the 2016 list of holdings do not appear in the 2012 list, indicating that many of those investments have been made within that period….
Global protests target Airbnb over Israeli settlement rentals
+972 blog 5 June by John Brown* — Over 150,000 sign petition calling on Airbnb to pull out of Israeli settlements as part of the #StolenHomes campaign, which was launched by a consortium of organizations following an investigative report by +972 and Local Call — A coalition of international organizations organized protests in cities across the world Friday against Airbnb’s operations in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. In addition to the international actions, local popular committees of Palestinian villages and cities like Nabi Saleh, Bil‘in, and Hebron also participated. The protests were part of a global campaign, “Stolen Homes,” which was launched following an investigation published here on +972 and our Hebrew-language sister site, Local Call, which revealed that Airbnb allows Israeli settlers to rent out rooms and guesthouses to unsuspecting tourists without disclosing that they are located in illegal settlements in occupied territory. (All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law.) ….
Israel’s new defense minister eases up on the belligerence
Haaretz 4 June by Amos Harel — Avigdor Lieberman knows that his actions will be examined meticulously, so he will be cautious for a change. He has even broached hopes for peace with the Palestinians — The 48 hours Avigdor Lieberman gave Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh to live once the Israeli became defense minister have come and gone, as expected, with Haniyeh escaping unscathed. It seems Lieberman, who has quipped that he has undergone surgery to extend his short fuse, has also volunteered to receive a new policy transplant. The gaps are instructive; on side are his declarations at his swearing-in ceremony and later at meetings with the General Staff. On the other are the declarations in his last appearances as a member of the opposition. At his much-quoted appearance at a conference on the Gaza tunnel problem, held by a Sderot radio station in April, Lieberman didn’t only threaten to execute Haniyeh if the bodies of two soldiers weren’t returned. He described Hamas as a strategic threat, warning that Israeli leaders’ alleged weak and defeatist approach would cost us dearly. He dismissed the idea of building a new port in Gaza (“pipe dreams,” in his words), saying that the question was when, not if, the next round of hostilities would erupt. Israel, he claimed, was greatly mistaken in leaving to Hamas the decision of when to escalate. Upon assuming his new role, Lieberman lowered Hamas’ profile in his pronouncements. Instead of threatening Gaza with war, he addressed his hopes for peace to Ramallah and the international community, vowing again to strive for a two-state solution….
Netanyahu frets over how to tackle French peace plan / Jonathan Cook
The National 5 June — Under the leadership of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel will try to ride out the French initiative until Mr Obama’s successor is installed next year — In a familiar muddying of the waters, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has spent the past week talking up peace while fiercely criticising Friday’s summit in France – the only diplomatic initiative on the horizon. As foreign ministers from 29 nations arrived for a one-day meeting in Paris, Mr Netanyahu dusted off the tired argument that any sign of diplomatic support for Palestinians would encourage from them “extreme demands”. France hopes the meeting will serve as a prelude to launching a peace process later in the year. French president Francois Hollande said he hoped to achieve a “peace [that] will be solid, sustainable and under international supervision”. With astounding chutzpah, Israeli official Dore Gold compared the summit to the “height of colonialism” a century ago, when Britain and France carved up the Middle East between them. He conveniently overlooked the fact that it was the same British colonialism that promised a Jewish “homeland” in place of the native Palestinian population. Earlier, Mr Netanyahu and his new defence minister, the far-right Avigdor Lieberman, had publicly committed themselves to an “unceasing search for a path to peace”. In a two-minute interview on CNN, spokesman David Keyes managed to mention the formula “two states for two peoples” no less than five times. Rather than the French initiative, Mr Netanyahu averred, Israelis and Palestinians should be left to engage in the kind of face-to-face talks “without preconditions” that have repeatedly failed. That is because Israel, as the much stronger party, has been able to void them by imposing its own conditions.
Arab League rejects any modifications to 2002 Arab Peace Initiative
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 4 June — Secretary-General of the Arab League Nabil al-Arabi said Saturday that the group would reject any amendments to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative (API). Al-Arabi said in a statement that he made clear in his speech on Friday at the international summit held in Paris to support the French-led peace initiative that the Arab League would not accept any modifications to the API. Al-Arabi added that the the French-led multilateral peace conference expected to be held until the end of the year should seek “a compromise to end the [Palestinian-Israeli conflict] rather than continuing to manage the conflict by launching a new round of pointless negotiations which have been ongoing for the last 25 years.” “To achieve this goal, save the two-state solution, and establish an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, the Paris peace conference needs to adopt an international work mechanism within a limited time frame which can implement the commitments that both sides agree on,” al-Arabi said. Al-Arabi highlighted that related international resolutions — especially Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 which refer to Israel’s complete withdrawal to 1967 lines — should serve as a basis for peace talks.
Netanyahu tells French FM: No one but Israel can handle its security
PARIS (Ha’aretz) 4 June by Barak Ravid — French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following Friday’s summit on the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process and briefed him on the results of the meeting. A senior official in Jerusalem said that Netanyahu stressed in his conversation with Ayrault that Israel opposes the French proposal to set up teams that would deal with issues related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including regional security arrangements. “The prime minister objects to the creation of teams that will discuss Israel’s vital interests, primarily security,” the official said. “Netanyahu told Ayrault that Israel is the one to take care of Israel’s security, and no one else.” According to the official, Netanyahu reiterated the Israeli position that any alternative to direct negotiations without preconditions will only push peace farther away.
Legendary boxer and champion of Palestinian cause Muhammad Ali dies at 74
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 4 June — Muhammad Ali, former world heavyweight boxing champion, and champion of civil rights and the Palestinian cause died Friday, aged 74 … In addition to being a symbol for black nationalists and anti war activists, Ali soon became a symbol of Palestinian solidarity. Shortly after his retirement from the ring in 1974, Ali embarked on a tour of the Middle East, where he again criticized American foreign policy, telling reporters in Beirut, Lebanon, that “the United States is the stronghold of Zionism and imperialism.” On a visit later to two Palestinian refugee camps in southern Lebanon, Ali was quoted as saying: “In my name and the name of all Muslims in America, I declare support for the Palestinian struggle to liberate their homeland and oust the Zionist invaders.” In 1985, Ali visited Israel in an effort to “arrange for the freeing of the Muslim brothers imprisoned by Israel”, when some 700 Lebanese Shiites were detained in the Atlit camp in what was then Israeli-occupied southern Lebanon. When asked about his preferred legacy, Ali once said: “I would like to be remembered as a man who won the heavyweight title three times, who was humorous and who treated everyone right. As a man who never looked down on those who looked up to him … who stood up for his beliefs … who tried to unite all humankind through faith and love.”
VIDEO: The Shampoo Summit
NY Times 24 May by Iris Zaki — My hometown, Haifa, in Israel, is very proud of its legacy of peaceful coexistence between Jews and Arabs. But I think it is more divided than it can seem. For example, as a Jew I don’t remember ever chatting with my Arab neighbors growing up. But I knew there had to be arenas in this city where the different groups intersected, connected through the simple rituals of everyday life. I decided to try and find them. So I made this documentary about a special hair salon called Fifi’s, which is owned by two Christian Arab women and is beloved by Jewish and Arab women alike. To make the film, I sought a place where I could easily build intimacy with my subjects, and the idea of working for a hairdresser seemed perfect because of the physical connection with the women and the wide array of clientele that such a place offers. I began to work at the salon, chatting with its patrons as I washed their hair….
Overpopulation is pushing Israel over the edge, expert says
JPost 5 June by Michelle Malka Grossman — In a society that encourages its denizens to heed the biblical call to “be fruitful and multiply,” one American-Israeli expert is saying that its time for a new approach. Dr. Alon Tal, founder of Adam Teva V’Din – Israel Union for Environmental Defense, said that the most pressing issue facing Israel today is overpopulation. “It’s pushing us over the edge,” said Tal, a North Carolina native who is a lecturer at Ben-Gurion University. Tal has observed the effects of overpopulation since his time working in the legal department for the Environmental Protection Ministry’s predecessor (which was under the Interior Ministry) in the years 1982-1985, and since earning a PhD from Harvard in Environmental studies. “There was a time when [having large families] was important for Israel,” Tal told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday. “Those days are past. We completed that mitzva,” he said. “We have 612 other mitzvot.” He said that the current Israeli population growth rate is unsustainable in many ways. “We would need to be building 60,000 new apartments each year to keep up, but that’s not happening,” he said … Tal slammed Israel’s “culture of dependency” that assumes society will foot the bill for large families, noting that it puts a strain on the country both financially as well as environmentally … A growing population will still be an issue for decades to come, he added, since the country will have 50 million people in the next few decades even if policies changed today. However, it is still possible to stabilize the population for future generations because there are “only 8 million people and you can still move about.”