||Today in Palestine! ~ Headlines ~
Land theft / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid / Settlers
Jerusalem’s Israeli district planning and building committee is
scheduled to convene this week to discuss major construction projects
near Al-Buraq, also known as the Wailing Wall, the Moroccan Gate, and
other sites close to the Al-Aqsa compound in the Old City of occupied
East Jerusalem, according to Israeli news reports.
The plan, formulated by the Prime Minister's Office and the Ministry of
Immigrant Absorption, consists of a marketing campaign aimed at
expatriate Israelis as well as a package of tax, education and health
insurance benefits for Israelis who have lived abroad for five or more
years to return to Israel. According to the Central Bureau of
Statistics, around 750,000 Israelis currently live overseas, with around
60 percent in North America and 25 percent in Europe.
— Diana Safieh was just seven years old when her family fled their west
Jerusalem home on a spring night in 1948 in fear of bloody clashes
between Jewish and Arab forces. Now at nearly 70, she wants to catch at
least a glimpse of a fading memory. "My father would say: 'We will never
leave Jerusalem,'" the elegant and sprightly Palestinian woman from an
upper middle-class Christian family tells AFP on an emotional journey of
return ... Panic had been spreading in the neighbourhood for months,
with people abandoning homes. "By May 13, it had become unbearable,"
says Safieh. In the middle of the night, little Diana and her brother
Jean were woken up by their father. The family was packed into the car
and sped off to the convent where a relative was a nun.
simple toolbar application on a laptop or iPhone is the settlers’ latest
weapon in efforts to galvanize activist support for continued Jewish
presence in Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem. Earlier this week, when
the US State Department said Israel had promised not to build in the
east Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo, those with the application
already on their toolbars were immediately alerted to call the Prime
Minister’s Office and seek clarification.
...As part of the Israeli-Palestinian investigation, police found many
shells from a light weapon at the scene where the youth's body was
found. The evidence fit the testimonies of the stone throwers who had
reported that a number of shots were fired. The Palestinian police also
recovered the bullet from the youth's body at the hospital and delivered
it to the Israel Police for forensic analysis. Israeli and Palestinian
officers are scheduled to meet today to discuss the findings. The fact
that the Palestinians agreed to carry out an autopsy, which led to the
recovery of the bullet, is in itself a rare event.
Solidarity / Boycott, Divestment, & Sanctions
...Weaving a haphazard
route through the valley that carves a line between Iraq Burin village
and her farmland, the demonstration began its ascent of the mountain
deemed off-limits by the Israeli military. For local protesters,
reaching these lands represented far more than the sum of its parts –
the assertion of the right to exist on their land, and the right to
defend those same lands from the usurping forces of a foreign state.
Further up the mountain the demonstrators forged, at each moment
expecting to be met with the dull thud of sound grenades and the smoke
of gas canisters propelled from the end of a soldier’s M-16 – yet
pushing ahead nonetheless. The victory of reaching the mountain’s summit
– a first for the demonstration, and many of its individuals – was
This is video of the Israeli occupying army breaking
up a demonstration in Nabi Saleh in the West Bank yesterday. Thanks
to Joseph Dana, who points out that after the first ugly portion
involving an Israeli woman (beaten to the point that her head was
bleeding), the video shows soldiers firing on Palestinian villagers who
are participants in the "white intifada."
This past Friday, May 14, the
town of An Nabi Saleh held its weekly demonstration. Overly aggressive
Israeli military tactics started a colossal brushfire, which reaped
viable farmland. The weekly demonstration confronts the illegal
expansion of Halamish settlement onto village land. Great local support
brought out over 100 Palestinians, Israelis and Internationals.
Leftist protestors and Palestinian residents are already quite familiar
with tear gas, stun grenades and even rubber bullets, but on Friday they
were in for a surprise: Dogs. Security forces arrived near the village
of Dir Nizam in the Binyamin area accompanied by the Border Guard's
canine unit. "They chased us with vicious dogs," one of the protestors
FARAKHEEN, Gaza: Early Sunday morning, farmers from the village of
Farakheen (east of Khan Younis) will be accompanied by members of the
International Solidarity Movement, as they harvest lentils in the
Israel-imposed “buffer zone”. Previous farmer-accompaniment actions have
been met with live ammunition as recently as mid-February.
MAALEH ADUMIM, WEST BANK -- In Mishor Adumim, a bougainvillea-lined
industrial zone inside this West Bank Jewish settlement, at least 17
businesses have closed since Palestinians began boycotting its products
several months ago. For the Israelis, it's "an insufferable situation,"
according to Avi Elkayam, who represents the settlement's 300 factory
owners. But for Palestinians, it might be the strategy they have been
LONDON, May 16, 2010 (WAFA) - Hundreds of
demonstrators demanding justice for the Palestinian people gathered
outside Downing Street Saturday, in the first rally outside the Prime
Minister's residence since David Cameron moved in last week. The new
Government were presented with their first letter in Downing Street,
asking them to take tougher measures to gain Israel's compliance with
international law was read aloud outside the gates of Downing Street by
the actor and comedian, Alexei Sayle. Lauren Booth was also there to
support the calls for peace and justice. The letter was then delivered
to No 1O by MPs, union leaders, and heads of human rights organisations.
A key in Palestinian colours, symbolising the loss of Palestinian land
and homes to create Israel, was also delivered.
Cold peace with Jordan: Israelis good were burned in Jordan Saturday,
during protests against Israel in the Hashemite Kingdom's capital
marking Nakba Day.
Some 2,000 protestors urge government to quit territories to safeguard
state -- The rally, organized by members of the so-called "Zionist
leftist camp," was held under the banner: "Zionists don't settle." The
demonstration was organized by the National Left movement, Peace Now,
the Geneva Initiative, Meretz, the Ofek student cell from Hebrew
University, and Labor Party activists. Many of the participants held up
Israeli flags during the rally.
The president of the Interdisciplinary Center, Uriel Reichman, described
the human rights watchdog B'Tselem as a "fifth column" and said that
inviting its representatives to speak at the college was "disgraceful,"
students who spoke to the president told Haaretz. Reichman denies ever
making the statements.
The Tel Aviv District Court denied on Sunday an
appeal by Anat Kam to ease the conditions of her house arrest.
Kam, who is charged with leaking 2,000 confidential military documents
to journalist Uri Blau, asked to be allowed out of her house for two
hours a day.
On May 11, 2010, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that Mordechai Vanunu,
will “serve a three-month jail sentence handed to him by Jerusalem
District Court and not community service.” Vanunu is scheduled to return
to jail on May 23, 2010, because the ‘justices’ refused his offer to do
community service in occupied east Jerusalem as they do not view that
side of town to be a part of their community. On May 12, 2010, Amnesty
International urged the Israeli government not to re-imprison Mordechai
Gideon Levy raises an important issue: the
incorporation of Mizrahi Jews into the elites of Israeli society ...Some
are more integrated, while others less so. The elite that is apparently
the most Ashkenazi of all is that of the radical left.
My previous post, Novelistic Scabs, criticizing Atwood and Ghosh, didn't
get approved in the comments to her posting of the two's "acceptance
speech" for the Dan David prize on Atwood's blog. It was deleted
twice. She does allow critical views. My post wasn't more critical than
other comments she let through. It was more detailed, and rather than
merely challenging them on moral grounds, it also paid close attention
to how poor the logic of their arguments was. I guess that was just too
Israeli-Arab activist who has been detained for the last 11 days must be
allowed to speak to an attorney, the Association for Civil Rights in
Israel said Sunday. The ACRI on Sunday sent a letter to Attorney-General
Yehuda Weinstein, demanding that he allow Amir Makhoul to speak to an
attorney, something that he has reportedly been forbidden from doing for
the last 11 days since he was arrested in a raid by Shin Bet agents on
his family’s apartment in Haifa.
Restriction of movement / Blockade
Interior Ministry has renewed a military order banning Fatah Jerusalem
Affairs official Hatem Abdel Qader from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque
compound for a further six months. Abdel Qader was earlier summoned for
interrogation by Israel's General Security Service, the Shin Bet, where
the order was handed down. The ban was issued according to British
Mandate Emergency Law of 1945, and therefore is not issued by an Israeli
court, but the order is subject to appeal, a lawyer told Ma'an.
Prominent academic and critic of Israel Noam Chomsky was denied entry by
Israeli authorities at the Allenby Bridge crossing between Jordan and
the West Bank on Sunday, the Associated Press reported ... "The
occupation informed Chomsky that the decision to bar his entry into the
West Bank was handed down from the highest Israeli officials in the
Israeli Interior Ministry, in particular due to his stances, and his
intention to give a lecture in Birzeit University," Barghouti said.
Anti-Israel activist, former British MP George Galloway, invited as
special guest -- LONDON – A conference at Oxford University on Thursday
that blamed Israel for the poor state of healthcare in the Palestinian
territories has been lambasted by a number of prominent Jewish medical
professionals. They accused it of being politicized and one-sided.
Gaza’s crossing and borders administration announced Sunday that the
Rafah crossing between Egypt and southern Gaza Strip would continue to
operate for a second day in both directions. The department said in a
statement that patients would travel Sunday along with special cases who
coordinated with the Egyptian authorities. The statement explained that
13 buses were transporting special cases, and two carrying patients
headed this morning to Abu Yousif An-Najjar Hospital in Khan Younis en
route to the Rafah crossing.
Egyptian authorities permitted the entry of food supplies into Gaza
through the Al-Auja crossing on Sunday, sources said. Head of the
Egyptian Red Crescent Suzanne Mubarak, wife of President Hosni Mubarak,
instructed border officials to permit the delivery of 265 tons of food,
including flour, through the southern commercial goods crossing after
coordinating with Israel, sources said ... The Al-Auja crossing is
largely kept closed by Egyptian authorities and is the sole commercial
goods crossing between Gaza and Egypt.
Israeli authorities will open Gaza’s Kerem Shalom crossing Sunday to
allow in limited quantities of humanitarian aid and commercial products
including cement and crushed rocks to be used for construction of
Faced with a hopeless future and no prospects of a university education
in the Gaza Strip, Mahmoud Al Burai has come a long way thanks to Shaikh
Mohammad's generosity -- For many, getting a university degree is a
luxury they can ill afford. Such was the case for Mahmoud Al Burai.
Living in Palestine, about to graduate secondary school in 2001, he was
the top of his class. In normal circumstances, scoring an average of
99.7 per cent would make the world his oyster, but in the Gaza Strip it
did not mean much.
Israel declared Gaza a 'hostile entity', car prices have leaped by at
least 50 per cent, and even more than doubled in some cases -- You can
get a brand new BMW in the impoverished Gaza Strip, but it'll come in
pieces which you'll have to weld together. And you'll have to pay about
twice as much for the privilege ... With cars out of reach of the
average wallet, only about one-third of Gaza families own one.
GAZA CITY (AFP) – Passionate about football but
cut off from the world, the Gaza Strip has its own World Cup, a popular
initiative aimed at forcing a lifting of the Israeli blockade on the
tiny Palestinian enclave. The mock World Cup, in which 16 local teams
posed as the national squads of countries like France, Serbia and the
United States, came to a climax Saturday with "France" routing "Jordan"
to take take the championship.
City (CNN) -- Take a soccer-crazy crowd and a traditional Palestinian
opening ceremony. Add a splash of corporate sponsorship, and sprinkle in
some black-clad, gun-toting security. What you're left with is the
World Cup of soccer -- Gaza style. The 16-team, two-week tournament
culminated Saturday with the field narrowed down to France and Jordan.
Political developments / Diplomacy
Within 48 hours of becoming Foreign Secretary, William Hague faces a
political crisis over the Middle East. The emirate of Dubai has named a
British citizen as a 19th suspect of the killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh,
the Hamas official murdered in the emirate four months ago, apparently
by a group that included holders of forged British passports. According
to a source in the United Arab Emirates, the suspect arrived in Dubai
under his own name and carrying a genuine British passport ... British,
Irish and French governments have asked Israeli ambassadors to explain
the use of their national passports in the killing. The involvement of a
genuine British suspect will not improve diplomatic relations between
London and Tel Aviv.
(Reuters) – Leaders of rival Palestinian factions displayed rare unity
on Saturday as they marked their "day of catastrophe" or nakba at a
rally in Gaza, raising hopes of reconciliation between the two bitter
rival parties. It was the first time leaders from Islamist Hamas and the
more secular Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had
shared the platform at a large public gathering since Hamas seized the
Gaza Strip from Fatah in a 2007 civil war.
Hamas official Mahmoud Zahhar said Sunday that “Hamas is awaiting a
response from Fatah and the Palestinian Authority to a mechanism
suggested by Hamas to push forward reconciliation efforts between both
The Aqsa Brigades, Fatah's military wing, accused the Hamas government
of opening fire and injuring a brigade leader in the central Gaza Strip
on Saturday. A statement released Sunday by an Al-Aqsa sub-division, the
Nidal Amoudi Brigade, said the Dark Bats -- a moniker given to Hamas
gunmen -- opened fire at Hasan Abu Zeid, causing three gunshot injuries
to the knee and ankle, in the An-Nasr area of Gaza.
Fatah Central Committee member and unity talks official Azzam Al-Ahmad
denied receiving new suggestions on entering into a reconciliation deal
from rivals Hamas, the official said Sunday. "So far, we haven't felt
that any substantial changes have been made by Hamas toward signing the
Egyptian reconciliation document," Al-Ahmad said, speaking to the Ma'an
authorities closed down the Palestinian Authority Municipal Inspectors
building in the Old City of Hebron on Sunday, the city's mayor
said. Hebron Mayor Khalid Al-Useili said the procedure was "illegal and a
violation of the Hebron agreement," and would endeavor to reopen the
office immediately. Al-Useili said Israeli authorities accused the PA of
allowing its police force to operate secretly in the area, known as H2
and under full Israeli control, which would constitute a contravention
of the Hebron Protocol and Agreement signed on 15 January 1997 between
the PA and Israel.
Residents say Hamas police have evicted dozens of Gaza residents and
torn down about 40 homes in the southern Gaza Strip. The demolitions
were carried out Sunday in the city of Rafah on the Gaza-Egypt
border. Gaza's militant Islamic rulers said the homes were built
illegally on government land.
after state comptroller uncovers insufficient coverage of topic in
sector, Ynet learns Holocaust will be subject on one of mandatory
questions on history matriculation exam. Senior Education Ministry
official: We discovered astonishing ignorance on topic in sector.
Teachers will also visit Auschwitz
MK Mohammad Barakeh (Hadash) criticized a decision forcing Arab schools
to include Holocaust studies in their curriculum. "Teaching the
Holocaust from a reclusive Zionist perspective turns it into a Zionist
product that connotes contempt. Just as the lessons of the Holocaust
must be taught, so must the story of the catastrophe that plagued the
Palestinian people on the Nakba of 1948," he said.
Avigdor Lieberman's right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party will on Sunday
make a renewed push to link 'loyalty' to the state with civic rights by
putting a new citizenship law before the Knesset ... If passed, the law
will grant aid to Israelis who have served in the military or done other
forms of national service, including land grants, cut-price higher
education and employment assistance.
Rawabi, West Bank - The state Palestinians dream of may not actually
exist by next summer, as the Palestinian premier recently promised. But
at the very least, a city upon a hill may have started to rise, with
ground already being broken in the first planned Palestinian community –
and the first new Palestinian city to be built in centuries.
The international campaign to
erode Israel’s legitimacy is slowly expanding its reach into the online
encyclopedia Wikipedia, according to Israeli sources familiar with the
Web site’s operations.
The percentage of households that have a computer in the
Palestinian Territory is 49.2%, of which 51.1% in the West Bank and
45.6% in Gaza Strip, compared with 26.4% in 2004. As for Internet
connection, the results showed that 28.5% of households in the
Palestinian Territory have an Internet connection, of which 27.2% in the
West Bank and 30.9% in Gaza Strip, compared with 9.2% in 2004. The
percentage of households that have TV dish in the Palestinian Territory
is 92.0%, of which 92.4% in the West Bank and 91.2% in Gaza Strip,
compared with 74.4% in 2004. The results also indicated that 47.5% of
households in the Palestinian Territory have a phone line, of which
51.4% in the West Bank and 40.0% in Gaza Strip, compared with 40.8% in
2004. Data showed that 92.4% of households have a mobile phone in the
Palestinian Territory, of which 91.9% in the West Bank and 93.2% in Gaza
Strip, compared with 72.8% in 2004.
Gaza is to soon witness the start of works of a solar street power
project, to light the vital ‘Valley of Fire’ road, the sole link between
the southern and northern cities of the West Bank. The QR1.5mn project
is a Qatar Charity (QC) initiative aimed at promoting the endurance of
Palestinians, against the Israeli-imposed isolation, and is expected to
benefit 1mn people.
Just 42 percent of Israel's Jewish population defines itself as
secular, according to Central Bureau of Statistics data released
Sunday. Also according to the report, 8% of Israel's Jews describe
themselves as haredi, 12% as religious, 13% as "religious-traditional"
and 25% as "traditional-not so religious."
Israel Antiquities Authority workers on Sunday finished digging up most
of the graves at the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon and have yet to
find any Jewish tombs in the area. The excavation works were expected
to be completed on Sunday night.
detaining 25 ultra-Orthodox men for attacking officers, rioting in
protest of relocation of graves in favor of new emergency room, police
arrest 15 additional suspects for setting fire to fallow land near
Shikma Prison. Forty protestors arrested in Jaffa
Bulldozers, tractors arrive at Barzilai Hospital around midnight for
relocation of ancient graves underway on Sunday. Netanyahu: Cabinet acts
in favor of public welfare. Litzman calls move 'foolish.' Fifteen
haredim detained by police following protest on site
The High Court of Justice was presented with a petition Sunday demanding
that it order the Knesset and the Education Ministry to explain why
ultra-Orthodox schools are not being forced to teach basic subjects,
such as Mathematics and English. Among the petitioners are Professors
Amnon Rubinstein Uriel Reichman, and Brigadier-General (Res) Elazar
Stern, former head of the IDF Human Resources Branch and chief education
Analysis / Opinion / Human interest
Here in the Holy Land, as Christians we should be in
the forefront of non-violent action since one of our very basic
commandments is not just to love our neighbor but love our enemy also.
We know this directly from Christ who always forgave others no matter
what. However, in a high conflict area like the West Bank, this is
easier said than done. It’s a struggle for Christians, Muslims and Jews
to get along. First, the only Jewish people we know are the Israeli
soldiers. And truly, it takes all of Christ’s love in your heart to
love people who are always pointing guns at you.
Blind optimism, group think, and a
fundamental misreading of developments are not unique to Palestinian
politics; all movements are lost in disarray at some points in history.
The trouble with Palestine is that these two delusions, a debate trapped
between the limited parameters of the one-state and truncated two-state
narratives, has lost complete touch with reality.
the international boycott against apartheid South Africa is credited
with leading to the regime's downfall, here it is considered irrelevant
and unworthy of comparison -- ...Israel itself is one of the world's
prolific boycotters. Not only does it boycott, it preaches to others, at
times even forces others, to follow in tow. Israel has imposed a
cultural, academic, political, economic and military boycott on the
territories. At the same time, almost no one here utters a dissenting
word questioning the legitimacy of these boycotts. Yet the thought of
boycotting the boycotter? Now that's inconceivable. The most brutal,
naked boycott is, of course, the siege on Gaza and the boycott of
request from the Palestinian Refugees by Eitan Bronstein. My sisters
and brothers the refugees of Palestinian, today is the 15th of May, the
Nakba Day, and I have one request from you; a heartfelt request from the
son of occupiers, as an occupier, to those who paid the price for this
occupation. No, I do not ask for forgiveness for the occupation, or the
destruction and expulsion that occurred in the Nakba of 1948 ... my
request is more modest, and I hope that you could relate to it because
without it I will not be able to continue to hope and to believe that it
is possible to live in this land ... My request is, therefore, that you
persist and will not give up your right to return.
Though Israeli civilians are forbidden from entering Palestinian cities
in the West Bank, journalists are exempt from the ban. I tried several
times to coordinate my visit with the Israeli army, but it took so long
to get back to me that I became fed up with waiting, climbed into my car
in Jerusalem and headed east ... The road was under construction, and I
was diverted onto a rough dirt track, advancing well into the city’s
outskirts before finally spotting a checkpoint. The soldiers manning the
checkpoint wore Israeli combat vests, uniforms and boots and appeared
to be from the Golani Brigade. I readied my identification as I
approached. Only when pulling to a stop did I spot the Palestinian flag
and notice that the soldiers were carrying Russian-made Kalashnikovs.
These were no Israelis. The Palestinian troops asked where I was from,
glanced at my passport, smiled and waved me through. “Welcome to
Palestine,” they said. Heading north, I passed a giant sculpture of a
key topped with a Palestinian flag and painted with the slogan “We Will
Return” -- a reminder that the Palestinians have not given up on their
right to return to the homes they occupied inside Israel before fleeing
in the 1948 war.
Excerpt: At least eight Iraqis were killed and 14 more were wounded in
the latest attacks, which included an artillery strike from Iranian
territory. No U.S. casualties were reported despite two direct attacks
on troops. Also, it appears that P.M. Maliki is locked in to be the
premier for another term.
(AFP) – Al-Qaeda's front organisation in Iraq has announced new leaders
to replace those killed in April in a US-Iraqi operation, an Internet
monitoring service reported on Sunday. The US-based SITE Intelligence
Group said that the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) made the announcement on
May 15 in posts on jihadist forums.
(AFP) – Iraq, which last year awarded 10 contracts to oil majors,
expects to add 600,000 barrels per day of new oil to boost output to 3.2
million bpd by end 2011, a top official was quoted as saying
- May 15 - Violence in Iraq has increased since Mrach elections
and al-Qaeda recently announced that they will launch a new series of
attacks against security forces and and Shias. Mosques have also been
attacked leading to Muqtada al-Sada, the Shia cleric who leads the Mhadi
Arny malitia, offering "hundreds of believers" to support security
forces. So far the government has rejected the offer. Al Jazeera's Zeina
Khodr reports from Baghdad
U.S., other world news
The Obama administration has “screwed up the messaging” about its
support for Israelover the past 14 months, and it will take “more than
one month to make up for 14 months,” White House chief of staff Rahm
Emanuel said on Thursday to a group of rabbis called together for a
meeting in the White House. “During the elections there were doubts
about President Obama’s support for Israel, and now they have
resurfaced,” Emanuel said, according to one of those who participated in
the meeting. “But concerning policy, we have done everything that we
can that is in Israel’s security – and long-range interests. Watch what
the administration does.”
Police in Paris suburb arrest Jewish teens suspected of being involved
in death of security guard who refused to allow them into hardware
store. Local Muslim elements confident alleged murder was hate crime
Jailed Pakistani begs consulate for help
Pakistani man grabbed in Thursday’s immigration raid in Watertown
pleaded with a consulate official for help in figuring out why he’s
jailed and possibly linked to the financing of the Times Square terror
Aftab Ali Khan, said to be in his 20s, called the
Consulate General of Pakistan in Boston from a city jail after his
arrest searching for answers, said Consul General Barry D. Hoffman. “He
was very gentle and very young and very scared,” Hoffman said. “He just
wanted to know what he should do. He was totally puzzled by the entire
Maine - The South Portland computer programmer nabbed on a visa
violation by law enforcement officials probing the attempted car bombing
in New York’s Times Square is said to be a “gentle person” sickened by
terror attacks. Mohammad Shafiq Rahman, who’s known as Shafiq to
friends, acknowledged he once knew car-bomb suspect Faisal Shahzad but
hadn’t seen him for years and didn’t know Shahzad to have strong
political beliefs, said Larry Adlerstein, owner of Artist and Craftsman
Supply in Portland. Rahman had worked there since August.
Mass. -They came to buy gas and show their support in Brookline
Saturday morning for Elias Audy. Several dozen supporters, including
family, friends, city officials and customers rallied at Audy's Mobil
gas station raided by federal agents investigating a financial
connection to the attempted Times Square bombing. Audy was not the
target of the raids, but one of his part-time employees was. Audy
immigrated from Lebanon in the 1960s. [but he is Christian - would the
support have happened had he been Muslim?]
Afghan President Hamid Karzai arrived in London yesterday as US generals
express doubts that the fight against the Taliban is having any
success. The US and Nato commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley
McChrystal, who was boasting of military progress only three months ago,
confessed last week that "nobody is winning". His only claim now is
that the Taliban have lost momentum compared with last year.
|For further information contact Shadi Fadda