Today in Palestine! ~ Headlines ~

Land theft / Destruction
The Israeli Central Court is expected to hear a petition on Sunday filed by Palestinian families whose homes were slated for demolition in occupied East Jerusalem. 

The Nakba

[with videos, Palestinian National Anthem] Sunday evening at sundown, sirens will sound throughout Israel to commemorate the start of Holocaust Remembrance Day. On Monday, ceremonies will be held in various cities, the main one being at Yad Vashem, the memorial park in Jerusalem. Friday was the anniversary of the massacre at Deir Yassin, the start of the ‘other holocaust’, known as the Nakba. There were no sirens to signify this as the Nakba is the ‘forgotten child of the holocaust’. In Israel today it is forbidden to even speak of this, to make sure it remains forgotten. You can read about The Children of Deir Yassin in this essay.

This is the story of a Palestinian Odyssey. This narrative is being written today Thursday, the 8th of April 2009, here in London (the city that gave the world The Balfour Declaration which offered Palestine as a national home for the Jews). On the very same day in 2009, a photo was taken in USA, (the country which offered Israel its 'eternal' friendship) of these Palestinian brothers and sister who are the subject of this narrative. The same day, but 60 years earlier, in 1949, in Al-Mina (the Lebanese fishing port of Lebanon's second largest city, Tripoli), a Palestinian father had gathered the same children for a photo shoot to commemorate one year since their expulsion from Haifa on the morning of 8 April 1948, also a Thursday, like today. More anniversaries will follow until they all return to the Homeland.

...Looking onto the grand, monumental view of Yad Vashem erected to honor those who so unjustly lost their lives in the Holocaust, I stood on the land where my own family too lost their livelihoods and lives so unjustly without so much as a marker to honor them ... Wiped off the post-1948 maps of Israel, Deir Yassin can never and will never be wiped out of the minds of Palestinians worldwide, those under occupation and those in the diaspora ...  today, I commemorate the 62nd anniversary of the Deir Yassin Massacre

Anti-apartheid activism / Solidarity / Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions

...Protesting Israel's wall and settlements, which have claimed over 40 percent of the village's lands, demonstrators marched toward the barrier armed with flags. According to participants, Israeli forces responded by firing tear gas, rubber-coated bullets and live ammunition. Soldiers invaded the village's olive groves, where they continued opening fire, but there were no injuries, a statement from the International Solidarity Movement said.

Palestinians and foreign nationals were arrested across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem on Friday, as Israeli forces dispersed weekly protests against Israel's wall and settlements ... In the nearby village of Nabi Salih, west of Ramallah, demonstrators said dozens of protesters choked on tear gas, while Israel said at least one border police officer was injured by rocks. An estimated 200 human rights advocates, among them international and Israeli solidarity activists, joined the weekly Palestinian protest against Israel's wall. Participants insisted the event was generally peaceful. 

Four international peace activists were detained in occupied East Jerusalem on Friday, during a protest supporting Palestinian families who were evicted from their homes and replaced by Israeli settlers. Photographer Mustafa Abu Turk told Ma'an that Israeli forces assaulted photojournalists in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah "in an attempt to prevent us from doing our jobs." Maysoon Al-Ghawi, a resident of the flashpoint East Jerusalem district and a member of one of the Palestinian families expelled by settlers in 2009, also told Ma'an that "Israeli forces attacked protesters and used force to to keep them from approaching their confiscated homes."

Protestors detained for questioning after approaching Jewish houses in east Jerusalem neighborhood, forcibly refusing to leave. Demonstrators: Police acted brutally -- Public figures and intellectuals toured the homes of the Arab families evacuated from the neighborhood under a court order. They included former Knesset Speaker Avraham Burg, author David Grossman, former Knesset Member Zahava Gal-On, New Israel Fund President Naomi Chazan and Professor Zeev Sternhell. According to the protestors, at a certain stage the police asked the crowd to leave, used force and shoved Grossman and Burg.

The latest news from Bil`in: Haitham Al Khatib was arrested while filming at today’s demonstration, held on the anniversary of the Deir Yassin massacre. Details below. I’m reminded of the story Haitham told me when I asked about the deep scar between his eyebrows. The thing to keep in mind is that all of the soldiers know Haitham and Hamde Abo, the Bil`in photographer: they are the dynamic duo that arrives on scene to document each and every night raid. It’s the same soldiers day in and day out, so Haitham and Hamde can recognize familiar eyes and mouths beneath the masks.

Our four boats are purchased or refurbished, flagged and registered. The cargo ship is now named the MV Rachel Corrie with the blessing of the Corrie family. Children in Gaza and the occupied West Bank will name the other two boats, and we will let you know what they chose. We are hard at work collecting the cargo… cement, books for children and universities, paper for printing books, water filtration equipment, and medical equipment, all being denied the people of Gaza by Israel’s brutal blockade. So we ask one last time for a $25.00-$100.00 donation from each of you, a donation that will be used for our operating costs.

The European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG) strongly denounced threats made against activists who intend to participate in the upcoming convoy of solidarity ship heading to the besieged and improvised Gaza Strip. The vehicle of one of the activists was also attacked while parked in front of his home in Greece. The authorities were notified and opened an investigation. 

For eight hours on Thursday, students at Princeton University in the US were greeted by a 16-foot wall, made of wood and Styrofoam, representing Israel's separation wall, local media reported. [from the Daily Princetonian report: After the event, Hogan said, she was "touched and amazed by the number of faculty and community members who approached us to thank us for what we are doing.”] 


BRUSSELS, Apr 10, 2010 (IPS) - Dexia, a major Belgian-French bank, is continuing to finance Israeli authorities in the occupied Palestinian territories almost a year after it indicated that it would cease providing loans to illegal settlements. In May 2009, Dexia promised that it would not lend any fresh money to councils representing Israeli settlers in the West Bank. 

Human interest / Human rights / Siege / Restriction of movement

The sole power generator in the Gaza Strip has completely closed down, the head of the electric company announced Saturday, following a day of unheeded warnings that a humanitarian crisis was at hand ... Shortages have plagued the power plant since December 2009, when European Union officials handed over responsibility for fuel transfers to the Palestinian Authority, apparently at the PA's request so EU aid could be channeled into civil servant salaries.

The de facto border crossings administration said Saturday that 212 residents returned to Gaza through the Rafah crossing with Egypt on Thursday. The majority of Palestinians returning to the coastal enclave were patients having completed treatment and individuals stranded in Egypt ... The northern Erez crossing with Israel was partially open on Thursday, with 27 individuals departing the Gaza Strip, among them five residents, 11 foreign nationals and 10 Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, the committee noted. 

It takes an Arab to live in the midst of political divisions, years of siege and occupation, and still say, "everything is fine." Specifically, it must be an Arab man. Ask any woman in Gaza and she will tell you the opposite. That is, at least, the main message that comes across so clearly in the latest play staged in the Gaza Strip bearing the name "Kull Shi Tamaam" (Everything is Fine), written by local playwright Atef Abu Seif -- a prolific author from Jabalia refugee camp.

...In an essay published by the Adalah legal centre, its director, Hassan Jabareen, proposes that Arab citizens and their municipalities challenge the endemic discrimination in Israeli society, and the courts’ frequent backing of it, by treating Jews in a simiiar manner. He proposes several examples of reverse discrimination that the Arab minority might easily adopt: restaurants could deny Jews admission, Arab communities could refuse to put up roadsigns in Hebrew or bar Jews from buying homes, and Arab libraries could refuse to stock books on Jewish history.

Extrajudicial killings

Following the removal of the gag order imposed in Israel on the publication of details about the charges against Israeli journalist Anat Kam, the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem reiterated that the case hinges on documents that raise grave suspicions that the Israeli military conducted assassination operations in the West Bank under the guise of arrest operations. The last openly-declared assassination that Israel conducted in the West Bank took place in August 2006. Since then, Israel has declared that whenever possible, its armed forces shall arrest Palestinians that it deems "wanted". In spite of this, B'Tselem's research revealed that soldiers in the West Bank often operate as though they are on assassination, not arrest, operations. 

Political developments / Diplomacy

National Security Advisor Jim Jones tells reporters Obama administration believes Jewish state's delegation to next week's nuclear security summit in Washington will be 'robust,' despite Prime Minister Netanyahu's decision not to attend

Media restrictions

Are Israelis entitled to know that the IDF's highest ranking officers gave advanced written permission to fire at innocent people during "targeted assassinations?" Isn't the media's supreme duty, not only its right, to report this? Are Israel's citizens entitled to know that IDF commanders approved killing people even when it was possible to apprehend them, in blatant violation of the High Court's ruling? Aren't we entitled to know about a secret Defense Ministry report saying about 75 percent of settlements construction has been carried out without a permit?

When the Shin Bet removed the gag order against Anat Kamm recently and released a new indictment, it accused her of harming the security of the State of Israel by stealing documents whose contents would be much sought after by Israel’s enemies.  At first, knowing that the basis of her indictment was for documents Uri Blau published in Haaretz which proved that IDF top generals knowingly ignored a Supreme Court ruling which limited targeted killings, I disparaged the Shin Bet’s claim.  But the IDF is now putting out word that Kamm also stole sensitive military planning data and strategic documents which, for example, laid out the orders of battle for what would become Operation Cast Lead.

...Experiences I had read about in suspense novels have become my reality in recent months. When you're warned "they know much more than you think," and are told that your telephone line, e-mail and computer have been monitored for a long time and still are, then someone up there doesn't really understand what democracy is all about, and the importance of freedom of the press in preserving it. 

All possible legal means will be adopted in order to ensure Haaretz journalist Uri Blau returns to Israel, senior Justice Ministry officials told Ynet Thursday.

...At first glance, this 'affair' has to do with the transfer of classified material to Haaretz correspondent Uri Blau, the very act of which was supposedly "harmful to national security." In reality, however, the crime in question is far more severe - the one committed by the security apparatus (GOC Central Command in particular) in ignoring a High Court order and approving the targeted assassination of wanted men who could otherwise have been detained, in strikes that claimed the lives of innocent civilians. 

...Some of the same prominent politicians and security figures who are today expressing shock at Kam's alleged misdeeds have, during my decades of journalism, in fact given me material for countless articles related to strategic issues. The difference between the journalist who thrives off of access to classified material and the kind who earns his livelihood printing the statements of spokespeople is akin to the difference between a democratic state and a totalitarian regime. A democratic government does not, as a rule, stem leaks. Nor does it interrogate journalists.

There is a mythical aura surrounding Israeli intelligence. [Example: the Mossad operative Ziva in the US TV series NCIS] Much of it is well-deserved, as a string of spectacular covert operations has consistently shown in the decades since the formation of the Jewish state ... Nevertheless, no spy agency is infallible, and recent events have revealed gaping holes in the formidable Israeli intelligence apparatus ...   if the indictments filed against Israeli journalist Anat Kamm on Wednesday prove true, it would appear that about 2,000 classified Israeli military documents, including 700 marked "secret" and "top secret", were copied and remained undetected in private possession for years. These are all documents whose content could "gravely damage state security and endanger the lives of both soldiers and Israeli civilians", in the words of counter-intelligence agency Shin Beth's chief, Yuval Diskin.  

...For the sake of proper disclosure it should be explained that, 15 years ago, I was questioned at length by the police on suspicion of possessing top-secret document, and at the end of the interrogation, the police recommended that I be tried for "aggravated espionage."

The decision - at long last - to lift the gag order on the reporting of the case of Anat Kam should be welcomed by all those who believe in independent, fair-minded journalism. Veteran U.S. anchor Dan Rather once famously defined news as "something that someone, somewhere doesn't want you to know." Never has that been truer than of this newspaper's investigation into the Israel Defense Forces' rules of engagement. 

Nuclear Israel

LONDON (AFP) – Israel, whose prime minister withdrew Friday from next week's US-hosted nuclear summit, is viewed as the sixth country to have acquired nuclear weapons -- a title it has neither denied nor confirmed. Analysts at British defence specialists Jane's believe the Jewish state has between 100 and 300 nuclear warheads, putting them among the more advanced nuclear weapons states and roughly on a par with Britain.

JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to abruptly cancel a trip to a nuclear conference in Washington spotlighted a key sore point Friday in international nonproliferation efforts: Israel's own atomic weapons. The Jewish state wants to help lead the charge against allowing nuclear weapons to end up in undesirable hands, even when nobody doubts that Israel itself possesses them.

...The United States is not on the brink of pushing Israel to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but it could be signalling its willingness to see pressure applied by others as it provides a platform in Washington for such an effort. Moreover, in a little noted move, the Obama administration appears to be using a new diplomatic tool to signal that Israel’s days of “nuclear ambiguity” may be numbered: Israel’s nuclear scientists are now being shut out of the United States.

Binyamin Netanyahu's refusal to attend a summit in the US is less to do with defence and more about East Jerusalem

Other news

The conjoined Palestinian twins that made the long, difficult journey out of the blockaded Gaza Strip to Saudi Arabia cannot be separated and do not have long to live, the Saudi health minister said Saturday. 

Opinion /  Analysis

It is important to recognize first that all efforts to settle the century-old conflict caused by the Zionist invasion of Palestine have failed because they were unjust, arbitrary, distant from legality, and did nothing to right fundamental wrongs. A new political strategy would involve recognizing this basic shortcoming and demand a return to legality, in effect a return to the days before the 1991 Madrid Conference which launched the past two decades of futile "negotiations" and accelerated Israeli colonization.

Fayyad.. puts all his – and the Palestinians’ - eggs in one basket. He chose a single strategy and sticks to it. That is a personal and national gamble – and bold and dangerous indeed. Fayyad believes, so it seems, that the Palestinians’ only chance to achieve their national goals is by non-violent means, in close cooperation with the US. His plan is to build the Palestinian national institutions and create a robust economic base, and, by the end of 2011, to declare the State of Palestine ... Fayyad’s plan is based on the assumption that the US will recognize the Palestinian state and impose on Israel the well-known peace terms: two states, return to the 1967 borders with small and agreed-upon land swaps, East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, evacuation of all settlements which are not included in the land swap, the return of a symbolic number of refugees to Israeli territory and the settlement of the others in Palestine and elsewhere.


WASHINGTON - April 9 - Josh Stieber, who is a former soldier of the “Collateral Murder” Company, says that the acts of brutality caught on film and recently released via Wikileaks are not isolated instances, but were commonplace during his tour of duty. “A lot of my friends are in that video,” says Stieber. 

On April 9, 2003, exactly seven years ago, Baghdad fell under the US-led occupation. Baghdad did not fall in 21 days, though; it fell after 13 years of wars, bombings and economic sanctions. Millions of Iraqis, including myself, watched our country die slowly before our eyes in those 13 years. So, when the invasion started in March of 2003, everyone knew it was the straw that would break the camel's back.....

A novelist and former prisoner of Saddam Hussein's regime gives her reaction to the Wikileaks Iraq video -- I know the area where this massacre was committed. It is a crowded working-class area, a place where it is safe for children to play outdoors. It is near where my two aunts and their extended families lived, where I played as a child with my cousins Ali, Khalid, Ferial and Mohammed. Their offspring still live there.

The release last Monday of the US military video Collateral Murder by Wikileaks has already being dubbed a landmark equal to the Abu Ghraib pictures. It could not have come at a more appropriate time as global organisations of journalists commemorate today a similar slaughter of journalists that took place at the hands of the US army seven years ago. Just before noon on 8 April 2003, journalists billeted at the Palestine hotel in Baghdad watched in horror from their balconies as an M1A1 Abrams tank fired a heat round from nearly a mile away on the Jumhurya bridge toward the hotel. 

Collateral Murder forces us to confront the deplorable unreality of US aggression and the grim fate of those caught in its scope -- Like many of the millions who have viewed, re-viewed and analysed the video, it instantly reminded me of a videogame, specifically the game that currently sits inside my Wii – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare ... One of the most alarming aspects of Collateral Murder is that it demonstrates how similar the logic of the Apache pilots is to that of the average gamer. 

Excerpt: Thousands of Iraqis demonstrated on the seventh anniversary of the fall of Baghdad, but violence itself remained light. At least three Iraqis were killed and five more were wounded. Also, a foreigner of unknown nationality was wounded in Baghdad. Meanwhile, the Islamic State of Iraq militant group took responsibility for a deadly triple bombing targeting foreign embassies last Sunday but also denied any connection for a coordinated attack against apartment buildings just two days later.

Excerpt: At least seven Iraqis were killed and six more were wounded in light violence. Security officials across the country are re-evaluating their plans after two days of devastating attacks in Baghdad this week. In Fallujah, a pair of bombs killed a woman and wounded four family members. A bomb in Qayara killed two policemen and a soldier. A 10-year-old child and a soldier were killed during a blast inHammam al-Aleel. Gunmen killed the head of the local Awakening Council in Jurf al-Sakhar.

Other Mideast

BEIRUT: Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) leader MP Walid Jumblatt stressed during a meeting Thursday night with Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah his support for the resistance and the need to embrace it, according to a statement by Hizbullah. Jumblatt also thanked Nasrallah for mediating his last trip to Damascus after five years of ruptured relations with Syria.

BEIRUT: Recriminations flowed Friday following the armed clashes between Palestinian militiamen in the Bekaa Valley. Internal Security Forces (ISF) confirmed the arrest of four members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), following gun battles at the group’s Ain al-Bayda base near the town of Kfar Zabad on Thursday.

Dr. Mohammed ElBaradei is quickly becoming the Middle East’s most prominent progressive voice. Candidly and calmly articulating beliefs long held by average citizens, he does so not from a faraway think tank in the United States or Europe, but from the very heart of the Arab world.

On Easter Sunday, 2010, Al Ahram published a photo on its front page, that shows ElBaradei, ex-IAEA Chief and a possible candidate for Egypt's 2011 Presidential Race, sitting next to Margaret Scobey, U.S. Ambassador in Egypt, attending Easter Mass at the Orthodox Cathedral in Abbassia, Cairo ... The message intended by this photo is multi-faceted. First, it is an attempt to say that El Baradei, ex-Chief of IAEA, represents U.S. interests in Egypt. Second, it is an attempt to alienate Muslim conservatives by showing ElBardaei and Scobey participating in this Christian ceremony.

WASHINGTON, Apr 7, 2010 (IPS) - The Yemeni government and Houthi rebels should investigate allegations that war crimes took place during recent hostilities between the two groups in the northern region of the country, according to a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report released Wednesday.

U.S., other world news

US officials have confirmed a Yemen-based Muslim cleric has become the first US citizen added to a CIA list of targets for capture or killing. Anwar al-Awlaki is a US-born cleric accused of having ties to the failed Christmas Day airline bombing and the shooting at Fort Hood. Many legal experts have questioned the legality of the assassination order under US and international law. We speak with Philip Alston, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary and Arbitrary Executions. [includes rush transcript]

We take a look at the threat of deportation that non-citizen veterans of American wars continue to face despite US military promises of citizenship. We talk to Rohan Coombs, a Jamaican-born US vet who was in the US Marine Corps for six years and served in the Persian Gulf War. He spent eight months in prison for a marijuana-related conviction. The day he was to be released he was told he would be deported. He speaks to us from an immigration jail. We also speak with immigration attorney Craig Shagin ... An estimated two to three thousand non-citizen vets of US wars face deportation [includes rush transcript]

The Pentagon is reeling after two lethal episodes uncovered by diligent journalism show trigger-happy U.S. Army helicopter pilots and U.S. Special Forces slaughtering civilians, then seeking to cover up their crimes.

How does a website run by just five full-time staff generate so many scoops? Archie Bland investigates -- When the [UK] Ministry of Defence first came across Wikileaks, staffers were stunned. "There are thousands of things on here, I literally mean thousands," one of them wrote in an internal email in November 2008. "Everything I clicked on to do with MoD was restricted... it is huge." 

While President Barack Obama speaks overseas of his vision of a world without nuclear weapons, his military commanders at home are quietly accelerating a programme to develop and deploy a new class of conventional intercontinental ballistic missiles which will have the capacity to strike targets anywhere in the world within an hour.
For further information contact Shadi Fadda

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