||Today in Palestine! ~ Headlines ~
Land theft / Ethnic cleansing|
Ayalon proposes Palestinian population transfer
- A peace deal could include a population swap in
addition to a land swap, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon
said told the London-based Arabic daily Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat on Saturday.
An alternative put forward by Ayalon would see the transfer
[of] the Palestinian minority in Israel with citizenship, as well [as]
villages still populated with significant numbers of Palestinians in
the north, in exchange for sovereignty over Israeli settlement blocs in
the West Bank, the daily reported. This swap would not include
Nazareth, he said
MK Tibi: Israeli Arabs not immigrants
Arab and leftist politicians are slamming
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon for promoting a land swap that
would see Arab Israelis come under Palestinian control. MK
Ahmad Tibi dismissed Ayalon's remarks,
saying that the deputy FM and his boss, Foreign Minister Avigdor
Lieberman, "have a basic flaw in understanding the fundamental values
of democracy and civil rights." "We are not chess pawns. We did not
arrive in the country on planes
and we did not immigrate here," Tibi said. "We do not wish to expel
anyone…but if someone wishes to expel us, I'll say this: Whoever got
here last will be leaving first. That way, there will be fewer fascists
Giving in to the settlers in Beit Sahour / Amira Hass
in Beit Sahur believe the Israeli settlers who
claim that the Israel Defense Forces was responding to the settlers'
pressure when it started erecting a new guard tower last week in the
eastern part of this largely Christian West Bank town. Locals do not,
however, accept the army's claim that the tower was added for
professional, military reasons. The settlers vow to keep up the
pressure - and Beit Sahur residents know all too well what they mean.
In the last 18 months, settlers from the Gush Etzion area have been
holding increasingly frequent protests against the "Arab construction"
in Beit Sahur.
Activism / Solidarity / Boycott, Sanctions & Divestment
Who would teargas 'Avatar'?
Haitham Al Katib: Bil`in reenacts Avatar film - Friday 12 Feb.
Two injured at the weekly Bil`in protest
been the case every Friday for the past five years, villages
joined by international and Israeli supporters marched from the village
after the midday prayers. A journalist and a villager sustained light
wounds, while scores were treated for the effects of tear gas
Israeli troops attack protesters near Bethlehem
Israeli soldiers attacked anti-wall protesters on Friday near the
southern West Bank city of Bethlehem using tear gas and sound bombs.
Today, villagers changed the route for their weekly march, ending up at
a nearby settler highway. This road is closed for Palestinians on
Fridays. Soldiers then forced people back to the village using rifle
butts and batons.
PSP: 5 international activists suffer tear gas
Five international activists suffered tear-gas
inhalation as they
assisted Palestinian farmers tend to their trees on Saturday in the
village of Saffa, north of Hebron, the Palestinian-founded popular
resistance organization the Palestine Solidarity Project said. PSP
spokesman Mohammad Awad said "Israeli authorities prevented 70 peace
activists who came to show solidarity with the farmers and forced them
to return, escorted by an Israeli patrol."
Israeli court frees non-violent protesters /
JERUSALEM // The Israeli courts ordered the release this week of two
foreign women arrested by the army in the West Bank in what
human-rights lawyers warn has become a wide-ranging clampdown by Israel
on non-violent protest from international, Israeli and Palestinian
activists. The arrest of the two women during a nighttime raid on the
city of Ramallah has highlighted a new tactic by Israeli officials:
using immigration police to try to deport foreign supporters of the
Palestinian cause ... The detention this week of Ariadna Marti, 25, of
Spain, and Bridgette
Chappell, 22, of Australia, suggests a revival of a long-running
cat-and-mouse struggle between Israel and the International Solidarity
Movement (ISM), a group of activists who have joined Palestinians in
non-violently opposing the Israeli occupation.
Only Democracy? -- new blog from Jewish Voice for Peace
Midnight arrests. Defamation of human rights
organizations. Expulsion of journalists. Human rights demonstrations
broken up with violence. Censored films. Confiscated laptops. That's
just a fraction of the reality on the ground in Israel/Palestine that
stands in contrast to the official story about 'the only democracy in
the Middle East.' That's why we're launching a new blog: The Only Democracy?
Fayyad takes on settlements
Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is
urging intense action against products manufactured in settlements,
calling to remove them from markets in the Palestinian Authority and
around the world.
Palestinian man killed by Israeli fire in Hebron
medical sources in Hebron, in the southern part of the
West Bank, reported that a Palestinian man, 41, was shot and killed by
Israeli soldiers on Friday evening in Bab Al Zawiya area, in the center
of the city.
The army claimed that the Ahmad Sayyid Faraj, 41,
attempted to stab a soldier, while eyewitnesses confirmed that he was
just walking in the street when a soldier opened fire at him.
Report: 2 Palestinians killed by IDF mortars near
Golani Brigade troops launch mortars towards four Palestinian gunmen
attempting to plant bombs along security fence; security officials say
incident part of growing phenomenon -- Unofficial
Palestinian sources in Gaza
reported at around noon Friday that two or three gunmen were killed in
an exchange of fire with IDF soldiers near the Kissufim crossing.
Despite circumstantial evidence, Shin Bet can't pin
decision is to be made by the central district
prosecutor in the coming weeks on whether to indict suspects in the
torching of the Kfar Yasuf Mosque. However, Haaretz has learned that
the prosecution considers the evidence presented by the Shin Bet
security service to be circumstantial and borderline in terms of an
indictment. Nevertheless, the Shin Bet is pressing for an indictment.
The Shin Bet's unit in charge of investigating Jewish terrorists
were involved from the outset in the probe into the December 11 burning
of the mosque.
Assassinations / Targeted killings
PA official: Israel's anti-terror campaign going too
overstepping boundaries with covert assassination campaign, Senior
Palestinian source tells London-based newspaper; Egyptian official says
Israel has stepped up anti-terror activity across Mideast
-- "Israel is overstepping their boundaries,"
the Palestinian source was quoted as saying. "Other countries don’t
want to become a killing field for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
... Among other attacks, The Times
explosion of a "tourist bus" outside Damascus that killed Iranian
officials and Hamas members. In another case, several people were
killed after a meeting between Hamas and Hezbollah members in Beirut
was also targeted.
Egypt navy 'detains four fishermen off Gaza' (AFP)
(AFP) - Egyptian naval forces have arrested four Palestinian
fishermen off the coast of the Gaza Strip, Palestinian officials and
witnesses said on Saturday ... Witnesses said the fishermen had
apparently strayed into Egyptian waters ... But the Hamas-run
agriculture ministry insisted the four men had been
arrested while "doing their job" and called on Egypt to stop
"oppressing" Palestinian fishermen.
Hamas: Affiliate, Islamic Jihad member detained by PA
with the Palestinian Authority detained two West Bank
residents from Qabatiya village in the northern West Bank on Friday
night, Hamas officials said, adding that the men were targeted for
their political affiliation. One of the men was affiliated with Hamas,
a party statement said, while the second was a member of the Islamic
Siege / Blockade
Authorities: Gaza Power Plant to cease functioning
...In a statement, the Energy Authority reported
that one generator had
already been shut down and the remaining amount of fuel in the Strip
was only sufficient to continue the plant's electricity output for a
few hours, putting shut-down at just after sunset ... The announcement
of an imminent power outage is the second in two
weeks, with an announcement of closure on 4 February, prompting an
emergency delivery of fuel on the following Friday, when Gaza crossings
are frequently shut. A generator was shut down on 6 February, but then
re-started later in the week.
Egyptian security detonates Rafah tunnel
Egyptian authorities detonated and collapsed a tunnel in the Yabna area
of Rafah on Saturday afternoon ... Medical sources added that no
injuries were reported following the tunnel's detonation.
Rafah crossing closed for 40 days, 167 people
The de facto border crossing administration said 267
stranded on the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing, most of whom are
patients ... Additionally, the administration said the Erez crossing
into Israel has
been partially functioning over the past week, with a total of 696
people leaving Gaza, among them 464 residents, 188 international
passport holders and 45 from Israel ... As for the Kerem Shalom
crossing, Gaza's southern border, the Gaza
administration said that between 4 February and 10 February 435
truckloads were allowed into Gaza of which 377 were goods for the
private sector, 44 contained humanitarian aid, 38 were from the World
Food Program, and 6 were for UNRWA. The crossing administration added
that 74 truckloads of fuel entered Gaza,
Border Control / Let him go to Haiti - Akiva Eldar
The following sentence is taken from a ruling issued
by Be'er Sheva District Court Judge Rachel Barkai: "Israel is one of
the few countries in the world that extends humanitarian medical aid to
citizens of other countries, as we are now witnessing the aid offered
to earthquake victims in Haiti."
This was the preface to the judge's decision to reject the petition
of Atsem Hamdan, a Gaza resident, who sought a permit to receive urgent
medical treatment at a Palestinian hospital in East Jerusalem.
Technical difficulties halt work on Gaza-Egypt wall
Work on the Gaza-Egypt steel barrier,
which has been going on with US assistance, has been halted in some
places due to technical difficulties, an Egyptian newspaper says.
According to workers, the border area's geological characteristics
are hindering work and preventing construction teams from laying steel
plates, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported on Friday.
Report: Projectile lands in western Negev, no
Radio reported a projectile landing in western the Negev late on
Friday, with no injuries or structural damages. The report said the
projectile was launched from Gaza, but no Palestinian faction operating
in the Strip claimed the attack.
Friday morning Israeli forces aimed artillery fire at a group of what a
spokesman called "armed men detonating an explosive device" near the
border wall, and fired in their direction. The Israeli daily Haaretz
reported two men were killed in the attack but the report remained
unconfirmed as of Saturday.
Racism / Discrimination
Israel upholds legality of Jews-only housing complex
The Tel Aviv District Court rejected a
week against a decision to lease land in Jaffa's Ajami neighborhood for
the exclusive use of members of the religious Zionist community ... The
petitioners said the decision was discriminatory,
because it would exclude anyone other than members of the religious
Zionist community from purchasing an apartment in the complex, which is
situated in a neighborhood where a majority of the residents are Arab.
This is especially unfair given the shortage of available housing in
the neighborhood, they argued.
Political developments / Diplomacy
Clinton: 'Blair and Mitchell to intensify efforts to
resume Middle East talks'
Secretary-of State, Hilary Clinton, stated Friday that U.S. Middle
East Peace Envoy, George Mitchell, and Middle East Envoy, Tony Blair,
will intensify their efforts to ensure the resumption of the stalled
peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Following talks with
Blair, Clinton said that the British official, as
a representative of the Quartet Committee, would intensify his efforts
with Mitchell in order to boost the chances of peace talks. She added
that the United States is committed to a two-state solution....
Al Aqsa TV yet to air PA sex scandal tape
Hamas-affiliated Al-Aqsa TV has yet to air a videotape Israeli
Channel 10 TV released Tuesday, which allegedly reveals Palestinian
Authority corruption in a sex scandal tape. On Thursday, Fatah
official in charge of Jerusalem affairs Hatim Abdul Qader was quoted
praising de facto government Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh for his
decision not to air the videotape, though it was not clear whether the
decision to avoid airing the clip came directly from the Hamas leader.
Abbas lashes out at 'Israeli attacks' against him
speaking on the issue of resuming peace talks under the auspices
of an American plan, Abbas referred to "Israel’s attack" on him via a
media interest in hundreds of leaked document and a sex tape allegedly
used in a corruption scandal involving land sales of Palestinian
property to Zionist Israelis. Abbas added that the attacks
were not all in relation to the corruption files, noting the Israeli
newspaper Israel Today quoted Israeli Minister of Infrastructure Uzi
Landao last week saying, “There is no difference between former
Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, and president Abbas since both had
the same goal of destroying Israel.”
Abbas aide in sex tape scandal urged to quit (AP)
RAMALLAH, West Bank — As sex tapes go, it's fairly tame — a man gets
undressed in a bedroom, slides under the covers, plumps the pillows and
calls to a woman to join him. But the man is a top aide to Palestinian
President Mahmoud Abbas, and a former Palestinian intelligence official
who secretly recorded the scene alleges the aide tried to trade his
influence for sex.
A stink bomb / Uri Avnery
week the Netanyahu government let off a stink bomb under the chair of
Mahmoud Abbas. For months now, Abbas has angered the prime minister ...
Now Netanyahu has decided to teach Abbas a lesson. For three days, day
after day and program after program, Channel 10 (Israel’s second
biggest TV station) has broadcast shocking “disclosures” about
financial and sexual scandals at the top of the Palestinian Authority.
Husseini must resign / Nasser Laham
Adults and children alike were left speechless when they saw what aired
on Israel's Channel 10 Monday. How could parents explain to their kids,
with any credibility, what they were witnessing? The shock was enormous.
matter what pain it causes him personally, chief of staff Rafik
Al-Husseini must resign immediately for the sake of the country and its
Right of reply / Fahmi Shabana
Concerning what was published by Ma'an News Agency's chief editor,
Nasser Laham, in regard to the latest corruption scandal ["Husseini
must resign," 11 February 2010], I would like to offer the following
Palestinian student senates threaten action over
transfer of grants
The Union of Student Senates in Palestinian universities will take
steps to ensure the closure of West Bank universities if demands for
the retention of student grants, rather than a transition to loans, are
not met by the Ministry of Education.
Art craft, industrial zone underway in Tulkarem
An agreement to construct an art craft and industrial zone in the West
Bank city of Tulkarem was signed on Saturday. Mayor
of Tulkarem, Iyad Al-Jallad, said the new zone is intended to
centralize factories and small workshops that have cropped up across
the city in residential areas, which he said were "an annoyance to
residents." The new zone will assist in the creation of jobs, Al-Jallad
Jerusalem Old City wall's tumultuous story makes
revamp a chore
Three years ago a
stone from the Old City wall in
Jerusalem fell into a church school yard next door. Fears that the wall
was crumbling spawned a complex project to restore its stones while
preserving traces of history left by inscriptions, shells and animals.
It turned out later that the stone had fallen from a Jordanian
support column rather than the Ottoman wall. But by then the NIS 15
million renovation project was already on its way.
findings unveil 1,500-year-old Jerusalem road
Until recently, archaeological excavation was not
permitted at the site, as it serves as a crossroad in the Old city, and
the entrance into one of the city's most popular markets. However, due
to digging in the area carried out by the Jerusalem
Development Authority in recent months, the Antiquities Authority was
able to excavate to confirm the map's findings. "It is
beautiful to see how David Street, one of
today's busiest streets, is actually upholding the ancient route of a
road that existed 1,500 years ago," said the supervising archaeologist
Dr. Ofer Shion.
Court: Terror suspects cannot be remanded in absentia
A law allowing courts to remand people suspected of
security offenses in absentia contravenes the Basic Law on Human
Dignity and Liberty, and is therefore unconstitutional, a nine-justice
panel of the Supreme Court ruled yesterday.
Analysis / Opinion / Human interest
Palestinian journalists scoff at 'farcical elections'
/ Khalid Amayreh
Independent and professional journalists throughout Occupied Palestine
are scoffing at the "Palestine Journalists Syndicate" journalists’
union elections which took place on Saturday, 6 February, under the
aegis of the Fatah organization, describing the event as a "farce" and
needs Goldstone / Bradley Burston
[Part two of Fear of peace will be the death of Israel ]
...This is about the lengths we will go, and the depths,
in order to protect what we so desperately need to believe about
ourselves. This is about how many others we will need to blame, vilify,
assault, scapegoat and smear, before we actually take one wholly honest
long look in the mirror.
This is about the war we made in Gaza, and what it did to Israel.
This is about how Israel's conduct of the war has done more damage to
the Jewish state than all the thousands and thousands of Palestinian
rockets and mortar shells put together.
Israeli society strong enough to face the future? / Aluf Benn
At the base of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's
worldview is profound anxiety over Israel's future and its fortitude in
the face of the threats surrounding it. Netanyahu is afraid that if
Israelis are pressed hard enough, they will simply get up and flee,
especially if presented with the material temptations of American
society and its satellites ... But the hard question
relates to processes of social
change in Israel: How will the program accommodate ultra-Orthodox and
Arab youth, who together will be a majority in their age group within a
few years? They are raised on other narratives, non-Zionist ones, and
Netanyahu's program is designed to present the "core of the Zionist
the honor card / Amnon Toledano
One characteristic of racism is the use of one
aspect of a culture as if it were its only feature, so that everyone
belonging to the culture is seen as one-dimensional, possessing only
this quality. This is how anti-Semites depicted Jews, as excelling in
trade, as though they were motivated solely by greed. Many
Israeli politicians have used the element of
honor in Arab or Muslim culture, and turned it into the dominant and
nearly sole characteristic of any Arab or Muslim, no matter who he is.
According to this stereotype, it is the only thing that interests them
... The Arab mentality theory also causes Israeli
leaders, with Netanyahu in the lead, to think that these same empty
gestures will make Palestinian leaders ignore the facts on the ground -
building in the settlements and heavy losses by the Palestinians,
because after all the only thing that interests them is their honor.
A retractionist-retentionist discourse / Daniel Levy
...There are any number of game-changing options to
consider. Maybe it is possible to engage Hamas (as is happening in the
ongoing Shalit negotiations), to lift the Gaza siege, and to accept
Palestinian unity instead of vetoing it, so as to facilitate an
empowered negotiating and implementing address. After all, Israel spoke
to the PLO before its charter was amended, and the United States
engaged Sunni ex-insurgents in Iraq and is encouraging dialogue with
the Taliban in Afghanistan. Alternatively, Israel could encourage
internationalization of the conflict, handing the territories over to
an international protectorate and international forces....
Brainwashing at work
Below a news item about one of those proliferating official recruitment
activities for high school students in Israel. Here the speaker is
Avigdor Kahalani, a former senior military officer, Knesset member,
government minister, and later head of the educational branch of the
Ministry of Defence and of the "The Association for the Wellbeing of
Israel’s Soldiers". As often happens, the English item on the Ha'aretz site is quite diluted.
The Hebrew version also mentions that the applauding
crowd responded to the speech with shouts of "death to the Arabs".
Our weekend outing / Doron Rosenblum
Where: The Golan Heights, Ein Mokesh and Hermon Land . What
to see: On the Golan Heights we drive between
basalt boulders along mine fields set off by rusty fences and
perforated warning signs, amid huge army bases. We look for the
vineyards and the horses, but find mainly IDF outposts, trenches and
rock-strewn firing ranges, dotted with mines ... Where:
Picnic between Na'alin and Bil'in. Why: Carpets of cyclamens, oak trees,
two types of rockrose - sage
leaf and hairy - hummingbirds, humming of army radios, prickly burnet
in the spring and prickly gatherings of demonstrators and soldiers in
every season of the year. And besides, it's close.
Sunset on the highway, not a day at the sea / JB
am a young Palestinian Christian woman in my early twenties. I was
excited to receive my holiday travel permit, allowing me to visit lands
occupied by the military in 1967, and Palestinian areas in Israel. Most
other months of the year I am not allowed to go into Jerusalem, or to
Yaffa or Haifa or Nazareth, because I am a Palestinian.
Films / Books
Twilight Zone: All that remains / Gideon Levy
week I watched the film whose full title is:
"The Time that Remains: Chronicles of a Present Absentee," a name that
recalls, perhaps unintentionally, "All That Remains," the monumental
work by historian Walid Khalidi about the 418 lost Palestinian
villages. It is a very sad movie, despite being full of humor, bitter
as that humor may be. It is also a very beautiful film, a careful
aesthetic evident in every image and detail; a magnificent dance of
occupation, a captivating dance of death, a feast for the eyes that are
supposed to shed a tear.
Sacco's Footnotes in Gaza: A thin black line / Amira Hass
"It is quite evident that the Israelis do not wish to
have United Nations observers circulating in the Strip and reporting
upon the actions they are taking against the civilian populace. From
the reports we receive from UNRWA personnel and from the very few
incidents that have been witnessed by observers, I have come to the
conclusion that the treatment of civilians is unwarrantedly rough and
that a good number of persons have been shot down in cold blood for no
These words were written not in the 2009
Goldstone report, but in a
letter dated November 13, 1956 - eight days after the end of the Sinai
Campaign and five days after Israel, under pressure from the United
States and the Soviet Union, announced its readiness to retreat.
Book review: The root of return / Steven Silber
Zeal for Zion: Christians,
Jews, and the Idea of the Promised Land, by Shalom Goldman. ...His
main focus is on Christian Zionism -- the belief
among Christians that the Jews have a religious claim to the Holy Land.
In short, Goldman, a professor of Hebrew and Middle Eastern studies at
Emory University, says that "Jewish Zionism would not have succeeded
without the help of Christian Zionism." Zionism, he writes, was the
"Jewish implementation of an idea that had been developing in Christian
circles for more than 300 years."
Friday: 19 Iraqis killed, 53 wounded
Excerpt: At least 19 Iraqis were killed and 53 more were wounded in new
attacks. Many casualties resulted from a bombing near Najaf. An incident
involving U.S. and Iraqi forces left as many 10 dead near the Iranian
border as well. Also, campaign season opened today across Iraq.
Campaigning for next month’s national election
today. The election could resolve
several problems that Iraq has left hanging until a new parliament is
however, if elections are found to be faulty, it could just as easily
sectarian violence instead.
Anti-Baath campaign a spur to Iraq Shiite voters
experts call claims that the former Baath Party of Saddam Hussein
is resurgent an election ploy. They say the two main Shiite blocs
feared a public swing away from sectarian politics.
Yemen Shi'ite rebels deny assassination bid (Reuters)
Rebels deny shooting at official on Friday * Saudi Arabia demands
rebels free 5 Saudis within 48 hours * One person killed during protest
in south Yemen
Salafis till fertile ground in Yemen
From the bedraggled southern outskirts of Sana’a, Sheikh Mohammed Ibn
Saleh and his fellow proselytisers fan across Yemen to preach the
merits of their austere, but increasingly popular, version of Islam,
known as Salafism. Their exhortations are often at odds with
many of the country’s diverse range of Muslims, whose various sects of
Sunnis and Shiites have prided themselves on coexisting peacefully for
over a millennium.
U.S., other world news
protest against Mohammad caricature in Oslo (Reuters)
2,000 people protested in Oslo on Friday over
the printing of a caricature of the Prophet Mohammad as a pig by a
Norwegian newspaper. Tabloid Dagbladet printed a photo of the cartoon on
Feb. 3 to
illustrate a front-page story describing how the Facebook page of the
Norwegian Police Security Service (PST) linked to pages featuring
caricatures of the Prophet. The links were posted by participants to
the Facebook group and removed by PST.
names envoy to the Muslim world
U.S. President Barack Obama said on Saturday he was
naming a special envoy to a top Islamic body to further Washington's
cooperation with the Muslim world.
Obama told a U.S.-Islamic World Forum in the Qatari capital Doha in
a recorded video message that he was naming White House official Rashad
Hussain as special envoy to the 56-member Organization of the Islamic
Coalition forces surround Taliban's Helmand
KABUL // Some 15,000 US, British and Afghan troops have encircled the
small town of Marjah, deep in southern Afghanistan, and were ready
yesterday to storm the defences of the Taliban’s last big stronghold in
Helmand province. For days now the onslaught has been expected, said to
be the biggest ever coalition operation in the nine-year war.
|For further information contact Shadi Fadda