Monday, 13 June 2011

Today in Palestine! ~ Saturday, 11 June 2011

Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlers
Israel bans exit of Jerusalem mufti to attend Jordan conference
AMMAN (PIC) 11 June -- Israeli authorities have prohibited Jerusalem's grand mufti Ikrima Sabri from going to the Jordanian capital Amman to take part in a conference that started Saturday on human rights in Jerusalem. It was announced during the conference titled "Jerusalem: the right of man, the responsibility of a nation" that Sh. Sabri would not be able to attend because he was barred from exiting the Palestinian territories. The conference was slated to shed light on the displacement of Palestinians and Judaization in Jerusalem.

2 detained, blindfolded by Israeli military in illegal demolition near Al Hadidya
JVS 11 June -- At 3pm yesterday 2 army jeeps carrying 8 soldiers came to the home of the Oudeh family. They demanded that the family take down their tent house and their two animal shelters. The army did not present the family with a demolition order or any other documents requiring the family to leave their land. ... Talib Oudeh, the father of the household, refused to demolish his own home. He and his son Tariq were handcuffed, blindfolded and taken outside. Two of the women from the family were also detained. The soldiers spent over an hour taking down the family’s tent and animal shelters.

B'Tselem: Map of area in the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea closed to Palestinians

PA: Armed settlers raid Nablus village
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 11 June -- Dozens of armed Israeli settlers on Saturday attacked residents of Qusra village in the northern West Bank, Palestinian officials said. PA settlement affairs official Ghassan Doughlas said settlers beat several residents at the entrance of the village, south of Nablus, and smashed the windscreen of a truck belonging to Husni Abu Reeda. Doughlas said the settlers were from an illegal outpost Alei Ayin, which the Israeli army recently evacuated. Settlers from the outpost were suspected of torching and vandalizing a mosque near Ramallah on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, in the nearby village ‘Iraq Burin, Israeli forces sprayed tear gas and stun grenades at protesters in an weekly anti-settlement rally, residents said. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli forces surrounded the village on Saturday morning to stop activists joining the protest.


Gaza tunnel worker dies from electric shock
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 11 June -- A Palestinian died Saturday from an electric shock while working in a smuggling tunnel under the Gaza-Egypt border, medics said. Gaza medical services spokesman Adham Abu Salmiya identified the victim as Mahmoud Abed, 23. Medics say over 160 Palestinians have died in the network of underground tunnels since Israel imposed a siege on the Gaza Strip in 2006.

Rafah crossing operates despite works [construction]
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 11 June -- Four busloads of passengers will leave Gaza to Egypt through the Rafah crossing on Saturday, Palestinian officials said. The terminal will then close for maintenance work, but will operate normally on Sunday. Travelers at the crossing said scaffolding was erected on the Egyptian side, but that buses could still pass.

Israeli occupation navy boats fire at Palestinian fishermen off the coast of Raf
RAFAH (PIC) 10 June -- Israeli occupation naval boats opened fire on Thursday evening at Palestinian fishing boats off the southern Gaza Strip Rafah coast. Palestinian naval police in the Gaza Strip said that the Israeli boats opened machine gun fire at the fishing boats forcing the Palestinian fishermen to flee to the shores, no casualties among the fishermen were reported.

Minister: Gaza medical crisis 'unprecedented'
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 11 June -- Hospitals in the Gaza Strip are suffering a critical shortage of medicine and medical supplies, Hamas Health Minister Bassem Na‘em said Saturday.
The crisis was unprecedented even during Israel's massive offensive on Gaza in December 2008, Na‘em said, adding that the situation was worsening by the day.

Health minister says crisis worsened after unity deal
GAZA (PIC) 11 June -- Gaza health minister Bassem Na‘im said Saturday that the health crisis in Gaza has taken a turn for the worse following the unity deal signed by factions ruling the Palestinian territories in May. 'We have called on our brothers in Ramallah in order to solve the crisis and quickly send Gaza's share of medicine provided by the health ministry at the soonest time. But that hasn't happened so far, ' Na‘im said. "I want to emphasize here that we don't want to politicize the issue at all, but rather to end it for the benefit of the Palestinian citizen firstly, ' he added ... Na‘im said that the Palestinian government in Gaza is trying to resolve the crisis quickly by using a million dollars deducted from the salaries of the health ministry's staff in an emergency measure. But he said the move would not be enough to solve the entire problem.

The sea
I was recently forwarded an email with numerous photos of Gaza, most of them old, pre-siege, late 90s even. A few photos included Palestinians at the sea, as if to say since they are under siege they should not take advantage of the one resource left to them, albeit massively polluted by their own sewage. The point of the photo email was to accuse Palestinians in Gaza of lying: "you are not under siege, you have 3, 4, even 10 storey buildings, there are hotels and nice cafes… how dare you lie to us and pretend you are suffering"... There is food in Gaza, therefore there is no siege. Wrong. There is food -- much of it smuggled through the tunnels from Egypt -- which that vast majority (80%) of severely impoverished food-aid dependent population could never afford.

Video: Europe, Israel's biggest trading partner
PressTV 11 June -- A new report compiled by 80 international aid organizations sheds light on Israeli restrictions on the transfer of goods and aid to the West Bank and Gaza. The report reveals this is costing NGOs at least 4.5 million dollars every year. Press TV has conducted an interview with Andrea Becker, the head of advocacy for Medical Aid for Palestinians [MAP]. Following is a transcript of that interview.

Israeli army

A dozen Palestinians hurt in Israeli chase of their vehicle
HEBRON (WAFA) 11 June -- Twelve Palestinians were hurt, five seriously, after their cars crashed into a valley following an Israeli army chase east of Yatta, a village south of Hebron, according to medical sources. They told WAFA that two vehicles carrying 12 workers fell into a valley following a chase by Israeli army vehicles. Palestinian and Israeli ambulances helped evacuate the wounded to hospitals while an Israeli army helicopter moved the five seriously injured to hospitals in Israel, said the sources. No reason was given for the chase.

Activism / Solidarity

Video: Bil‘in protest 10 June 2011 - Haitham Khatib
Bilin-ffj 10 June -- In spite of the scalding heat, dozens of villagers from Bil‘in marched once again together with international and Israeli solidarity activists to the Apartheid Wall in protest to its illegal annexation of 60% of the village’s land for the construction of Jewish-only settlements.

IOF cracks down on peaceful protests in West Bank
WEST BANK (PIC) 11 June -- Dozens suffered the effects of breathing tear gas after the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) cracked down Friday on a weekly rally in Bil‘in protesting Jewish settlement construction and the separation barrier erected there.
Elsewhere on Friday, the IOF used fists and rifle butts to hamper the progression of local and foreign activists during more marches in Al-Ma‘sara village in Bethlehem province.
More peaceful marches were launched in Shukba and nearby villages west of Ramallah to protest a crushing plant recently erected in the village. They marched toward the hundreds of dunums of land that Israel had confiscated to build the crusher a year ago. The IOF stopped them before they reached the crusher using tear gas and rubber bullets as several protesters sustained breathing difficulties. Explosions made by the crusher have caused heavy damage to nearby homes.

Israeli soldier to activists who were detained near Beit Ommar: 'I could kill you'
ISM 11 June -- On Saturday June 11 three ISM activists were stopped by the Israeli army when trying to enter the village of Beit Ommar in the southern West Bank. The activists were going to participate in a non-violent demonstration against the illegal settlements in the area. As the activists tried to enter the village Israeli soldiers stopped them and claimed that the area had been declared a closed military zone ... The activists then attempted to leave the village when the soldiers apparently changed their mind and dragged them from the bus they had boarded. No explanation was given when the activists asked why they were being detained. One of the soldiers had a more aggressive approach than the others, and was interested in discussing politics with the activists. He called them "leftist shits," and told them "I could kill you," before spitting at them and cursing them in Hebrew. He also told the activists that Palestinians were terrorists and that Beit Ommar was a dangerous village ... The demonstration in Beit Ommar went ahead as planned and protesters managed to successfully reach and work on the land belonging to the farmers of Beit Ommar.

From Palestine to Tucson, solidifying the bonds of solidarity
EI 11 June -- As youth activists organizing to defend and preserve Ethnic Studies in Arizona, we’d like to highlight some related, global issues in our struggle. Arizona residents alert to the history of these lands know very well the issues of human displacement, expulsion, transfer, ethnic cleansing and extermination. More importantly, they know of the historical consequences of equality denied and justice delayed. Speaking as Arizona youth intermingled with indigenous, white, Arab, Jewish and Chicana/Mexicana roots, Arizona’s history relates to us as descendants of both settler and indigenous peoples. This history can provide insight into the Israel-Palestine conflict and prospects for peace in those torn borderlands of 1948, 1967, and today. A review of the history of modern Palestine reflects a startling image of the conquest and colonization of traditional indigenous lands settled by the US.

Naksa Day

Families of Naksa Day martyrs deny ties with deadly Yarmouk clashes
DAMASCUS, (PIC) 11 June -- The families of those killed on Israeli borders during Naksa Day protests on June 5 have denied ties with the strife in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus that left some 14 dead. Palestinians angrily mourning the reported 23 who died while trying to make the Palestinian refugees' right of return a reality were said to have rushed the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine–General Command headquarters at the camp, blaming the leading faction for egging on the Naksa Day protests. The PFLP-GC security guards were forced to respond with fire as the protesters torched the headquarters building.

Majdal Shams lawyer to sue gov't for Naksa Day violence
JPost 10 June -- "You don’t use a hammer to kill flies," says Rami Abu Gabel, stressing that protesters, both on the Syrian and Israeli sides were unarmed -- Rami Abu Gabel, a lawyer from Majdal Shams in the Golan, announced on Thursday that he would submit a petition to the High Court over the use of what he termed “excessive force” by security forces against demonstrators during the Naksa Day protests on the Syrian border.

IDF not expecting additional border riots
Ynet 11 June -- IDF officials postulated Saturday that the violent protests that took place on 'Nakba Day' and 'Naksa Day' respectively are not likely to reoccur in the near future, though the army is maintaining a state of alert. The 'Naksa Day' protests, they add, were not a battle for Palestinian right of return but rather an organized attempt by the Syrian regime to deflect attention from its brutal crackdown on anti-government protesters.,7340,L-4080651,00.html

US media buys Israel's Naksa spin, ignoring contrary evidence / Alex Kane
7 June -- Variations on the line the Israeli government fed to Israeli media yesterday about the killings of demonstrators in the Golan Heights Sunday [5 June] have made its way to the U.S. media, despite there being little evidence produced to support their claims ... The Israeli disinformation about the Naksa Day killings are similar to what happened after the flotilla raid and the death of Jawaher Abu Rahmah. But the U.S. media continues to print Israeli spin without investigating what really happened.


Hunger strike by detainee with untreated brain tumor enters second week
IMEMC 10 June -- A Palestinian man being held in an Israeli prison has entered the second week of hunger strike after Israeli authorities refused to allow him to receive treatment for a recently diagnosed brain tumor ... In March he was rushed to Soroka hospital in Beersheva, south of Israel, where his brain tumor was diagnosed. Since that time, [Akram] Mansour has been requesting medical treatment for the tumor, which causes frequent fainting spells. Israeli authorities have denied his requests for medical care, and have denied requests by Mansour's family for his early released – he has served 33 years of his 35 year sentence. Other prisoners have also offered to join the hunger strike if Mansour is not provided with medical treatment.

Report: Egypt takes lead on Shalit deal
Ynet 10 June -- Egyptian source tells London-based al-Hayat newspaper Cairo is currently studying Israel and Hamas' positions after which indirect negotiations will commence. Meanwhile, Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk says no chance German mediator would rejoin talks,7340,L-4080312,00.html

Political / Diplomatic / International news

White House waiting for Netanyahu to accept Obama's peace principles
Haaretz 11 June -- There is a chance to avert the UN General Assembly vote in September on the recognition of the Palestinian state, said the White House official in a conference call with U.S. Jewish leaders. The Palestinians have been “fairly forthcoming on this score,” he stressed, and now the ball is in Netanyahu’s court.

Former diplomats: Recognize Palestine
Ynet 11 June -- Amid Jerusalem's efforts to block international recognition of a Palestinian state in September, former senior Israeli diplomats warned Saturday that Israel's current strategy might cause more harm than expected. In a conversation with Ynet, Prof. Ruby Seibel, the former legal adviser to the Foreign Ministry and an international law expert said, "We must say 'yes' to a Palestinian state, but set the conditions.,7340,L-4080609,00.html

US congresswoman seeks to deny UN aid if Palestinian state recognized
PNN 9 June -- Leading Republican congresswoman, chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida [who else?], plans to introduce legislation which would prevent any US funding to any UN body that would recognize a Palestinian state or would change the status of the PLO observer mission. Any UN entity that would grant such recognition, either by passing a UN resolution or through granting membership to Palestine in any participating agencies, would then no longer receive US funding.According to Capitol Hill aides, the measure would be included in a comprehensive bill for reforming the UN which she expects to file in the next few weeks.

Hamas: European recommendation proves West's boycott 'mistake'
GAZA (PIC) 11 June -- Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said Saturday that calls by former European officials to end the western boycott of Hamas shows that Europe has realized its mistake in cutting Hamas out of the regional arena. Abu Zuhri called on the EU to respond to the calls and honor the results of Palestinian elections of 2006 ... Twenty-four former European premiers and foreign ministers have called on the US and EU foreign policy chief Katherine Ashton to support the Palestinian unity deal and change foreign policy in the Mideast.

Iran to host conference targeting Israel's nuclear program
dpa 11 June -- Iran will host a conference on nuclear disarmament that will target the international community's policy of overlooking Israel's nuclear programs, official media reported Saturday. Deputy Foreign Minister Mehdi Akhoundzadeh, who will chair the conference, said the focus would be on Israel's policy of nuclear ambiguity and its refusal to neither confirm nor deny its alleged possession of nuclear weapons.

Moussa committed to Palestinian-Israeli peace but not at any price
Haaretz 10 June -- Amr Moussa, the Arab League's outgoing chief and leading Egyptian presidential candidate told French television on Thursday that he is committed to working toward a Palestinian-Israeli peace, but not at any price, according to an AFP report. "Egypt's position will have to get back to a position of influence in the region and to follow the right policy, which is to establish peace, not at any price," he told France 24 during a visit to Paris.

US arms deal with Egypt to continue
Reuters 11 June -- Pentagon official says upheavals and regime changes in Middle East will not affect U.S. military sales to Egypt.

Jordan, Israel affirm resumption of Egyptian gas supply
AMMAN (PIC) 11 June-- Jordanian official sources and Hebrew media affirmed that the supply of Egyptian gas to both Jordan and Israel was renewed as of Friday night after one and half month of halt due to an explosion that targeted the pipeline in northern Sinai.[and the unfair price paid by Israel that was supposed to be adjusted?]

'Abbas shuts down web sites run by Dahlan supporters'
JPost 11 June -- Activists claim move is part of PA president's punitive measures against former Fatah security commander; five sites blocked in total.

Other news

US Homeland Security asks Jewish groups to be vigilant for terrorists
Haaretz 11 June -- Jewish Federations are the first faith-based group to partner with the security agency in its campaign urging Americans to keep a watchful eye on others for potential involvement in terror crimes.

Anti-conversion group to soldiers: Don't convert
Ynet 11 June -- A group challenging the legitimacy of State-controlled conversions circulated thousands of flyers in synagogues across Israel this week, urging non-Jewish soldiers not to convert and to demand that military clergymen be installed according to their various denominations. The group -- "Jews against Conversion" -- stated that the State of Israel is virtually compelling hundreds of thousand of immigrants to convert to Judaism, thus infringing on their rights.,7340,L-4080185,00.html

Suspected Arab hackers target right-wing MKs
JPost 9 June -- ..Cyber-vandals calling themselves “Team Kuwait Hackers” replaced the usual contents of Hotovely’s site with a picture of a man in a keffiyeh waving a Palestinian flag and holding a Koran ... Eldad’s site was apparently taken down by hackers from Syria.
"If Syrian hackers found time to break into my web site -- which explains that there is no need for another Palestinian state because there already is one in Jordan -- Assad will apparently have to kill thousands more in order for Syrians to understand what’s really important," he said..

Palestinian artists unveils world's largest oil painting
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 11 June -- Ukraine-based Palestinian artist Dr Jamal Badwan on Wednesday unveiled the biggest oil painting in the world in a public park in Kiev. Palestinian Authority Minister of Tourism Khloud Daibes and hundreds of Ukrainians and Palestinians attended the show ... Badwan told Al-Jazeera's Arabic-language website that the painting was inspired by Noah's Ark.

Israeli and Palestinian students to study entrepreneurship and launch businesses at Babson College
Newswise 10 June -- 44 Israeli and Palestinian students (20 Palestinians, 17 Israeli Jews, and 7 Israeli Arabs) will learn entrepreneurship skills and establish businesses this summer at Babson College [Wellesley, Massachusetts], building a spirit of peace and understanding through entrepreneurship to bring back to their countries.

Analysis / Opinion

End these settlers' attacks against our mosques and churches / Khalid Amayreh
9 June -- On Tuesday, 7 June, illegal Jewish settlers under the full protection of the Israeli army set fire to yet another mosque in the occupied West Bank, the fifth in less than two years. Responsibility for security in all of the villages where these attacks took place lies exclusively with the Israeli army... Not surprisingly, Muslims are not the only victims of Zionist Jewish terror and racism. In recent months, there have been several attempts by Jewish settlers to burn down churches in Jerusalem. The settlers' religious hostility towards Christians, Christianity and Jesus exceeds by far their hostility to Islam. Some settlers, for example, believe that Jesus is the most evil being ever created and upon uttering or hearing his name recite, "May his name be damned and memory erased." One settler leader, who is also a rabbi, once referred to Christ as "the Hitler of Bethlehem." Some people might think that words, even such emotionally charged words, are innocuous. But words can and do kill. The path to the Holocaust began with words, and we all know how that ended.

A brown-haired young man / Uri Avnery
11 June -- MY HERO of the year (for now) is a young brown-haired Palestinian refugee living in Syria called Hassan Hijazi ... The border crossing of the refugees near Majdal Shams caused near panic in Israel. First there were the usual recriminations. Why was the army not prepared for this event? Who was to blame -- Northern Command or Army Intelligence? Behind all the excitement was the nightmare that has haunted Israel since 1948: that the 750,000 refugees and their descendants, some five million by now, will one day get up and march to the borders of Israel from North, East and South, breach the fences and flood the country. This nightmare is the mirror-image of the refugees’ dream.


Statement on Malek Jandali and ADC / Josh Ruebner
10 June -- For more than one decade, I have worked closely with the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) ... As the National Advocacy Director of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, I have worked with ADC - an important member of our coalition - on innumerable initiatives and campaigns to challenge U.S. support for Israeli occupation and apartheid ... It is within this context that I wish to express my deep disappointment that ADC asked Malek Jandali not to perform his song Watani Ana (I Am My Homeland) at this year’s convention. Jandali’s hauntingly beautiful composition is an anthem for the Arab Spring. ["I am my homeland, and my homeland is me. The fire in my heart burns with love for you! Oh my homeland, when will I see you free? ..."]

'The War You Don't See' - Pilger film banned by Lannan Foundation
[with videos] An open letter to Noam Chomsky and the general public. Dear Noam - I am writing to you and a number of other friends mostly in the US to alert you to the extraordinary banning of my film on war and media, 'The War You Don't See', and the abrupt cancellation of a major event at the Lannan Foundation in Santa Fe in which David Barsamian and I were to discuss free speech, US foreign policy and censorship in the media.

WikiLeaks: The unknown prisoners of Guantánamo (Part 4) / Andy Worthington
9 June ...In the years since the documents relating to the CSRTs were released (and information relating to their annual follow-ups, the Administrative Review Boards, or ARBs), I attempted to track down the stories of these 201 men, and managed ... to discover information about 112 of these prisoners, but nothing at all was known about 89 others (except for their names, and, in some cases, their date of birth and place of birth). With the release of the WikiLeaks files, all but three of these 89 stories have emerged for the very first time, and in this series of articles, I am transcribing and condensing these stories, and providing them with some necessary context. The first 51 stories were in Part One, Part Two, and Part Three, and the penultimate installment is below.

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River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

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