All posts for May 2010

Diplomacy ‘failing Palestinians’

May 18th, 2010 | Posted in Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine
    Al Jazeera by As’ad AbuKhalil May 2010


    Photo: Palestinian solidarity rally in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Every year, Arabs around the world commemorate al-Nakba or “the catastrophe” on May 15 – the day following Israel’s declaration of statehood in 1948.

But poems and speeches are now too embarrassing to recite and Arab governments barely seem interested in remembering – so busy are they trying to win Israel’s approval for direct or indirect negotiations.


Solidarity protests in Bil’in

May 18th, 2010 | Posted in Boycott, Palestine
    Toronto Star by Gil Yaron May 15 2010


Photo Valerian Mazataud Palestinian facing Israeli repression at weekly protest in Bil’in.

He is wheelchair-bound, but every Friday Rami Burnat can be found in the front lines of those clashing with Israeli soldiers at the outskirts of Bilin, a small Palestinian village in the hills around Ramallah.

For five years now, weekly demonstrations have turned Bilin into a prototype of peaceful protest. The rallies usually run the same course. At around 11:30 a.m. the protesters gather in front of the small mosque. The atmosphere is cheerful: Colourful flags beat in the wind; activists chant rhythmic slogans in Arabic. A circle of young men is dancing to an Arab song blaring out of a cellphone connected to a speaker. Other youngsters try to pick up the female volunteers from Israel and the rest of the world, who flock to Bilin every Friday to demonstrate their solidarity with its plight. Eventually, the demonstration gets going and sets off to the fence at the outskirts of the village.


Noam Chomsky banned by Israel

May 18th, 2010 | Posted in Culture, Palestine
    Haaretz by Danna Harman and Amira Hass, May 18 2010.


    Photo Door on stairway in Palestine.

Noam Chomsky has decided not to try to travel through the Allenby Bridge border crossing a second time. Instead, he will hold his scheduled lecture at Birzeit University by video conference from Amman. The lecture will also be broadcast live on Al Jazeera television.

Despite reports in the Israeli media that Israel would allow Chomsky to cross, the linguist discovered yesterday that there was no official guarantee of this. He told his hosts at Birzeit he felt the Israeli authorities were playing games. His daughter and friends, who are traveling with him, also said they prefer not to tire the 81-year-old with another fruitless journey.


Gaza youth learn music and challenge the occupation

May 17th, 2010 | Posted in Culture, Palestine
    Eva Bartlett, Electronic Intifada, 14 May 2010


    Photo: Strings on an oud highlighted by decorations on instrument.

Gaza City, occupied Gaza Strip – “Why are you rushing? Isn’t it nicer like this?” Mohammed Omer, oud (an oud is similar to a lute) teacher at the Gaza Music School, asks his student. Omer takes the oud and demonstrates, playing the song slowly, gracefully, with the ornamentations that are key to Arab music.

Mohammed Abu Suffiya, the 10-year-old student, has only been studying for six months but has already learned to read music and play a working rendition of a well-known song by Lebanese singer Fairouz.


First Ship Sets Sail for Gaza

May 15th, 2010 | Posted in Palestine

“Israel’s Intimidation Tactics Won’t Stop Us” Free Gaza Movement May 2010


    Photo: Hiyam Noir. Breaking Gaza siege in 2008.

London – 14 May 2010 – At 22:45 local time tonight, the MV Rachel Corrie, a 1200-ton cargo ship, part of the eight-vessel Freedom Flotilla, set sail from Ireland on its way to the Mediterranean Sea. There, ships from Turkey and Greece will join her, then sail to Gaza.

This past week reports from Israel have indicated that the Israeli authorities will not allow the Freedom Flotilla to reach Gaza with its cargo of much-needed reconstruction material, medical equipment, and school supplies. According to Israeli news sources, clear orders have been issued to prevent the ships from reaching Gaza, even if this necessitates military violence.


Iron Dome defense system gets new backer: Barack Obama

May 15th, 2010 | Posted in Palestine
    May 2010 by Amos Harel Haaretz


    Photo Jerusalem skyline on foggy morning in Palestine.

The budgetary difficulty that has been delaying Israel’s armament with the anti-missile defense system Iron Dome has apparently been resolved. The Pentagon has issued a message to Israel’s Defense Ministry that U.S. President Barack Obama has approved the transfer of special assistance totaling $205 million (just under NIS 800 million) for the purchase of more than ten Iron Dome batteries.

The Iron Dome missile defense system aced a test run in January, and event that convinced senior defense officials that the defense system was on its way to becoming operational and that it will be able to effectively protect against short-range missiles, such as Katyushas and Qassams, which often hit Israeli towns.


Israel seeks to silence dissent

May 14th, 2010 | Posted in Palestine by Ben White, Tuesday 11 May 2010


    Photo: Palestinian stands at Israeli checkpoint.

Last Thursday, in the early hours of the morning, a Palestinian community leader’s home was raided by Israeli security forces. In front of his family, the wanted man was hauled off to detention without access to a lawyer, while his home and offices were ransacked and property confiscated.

While this sounds like an all-too typical occurrence in West Bank villages such as Bil’in and Beit Omar, in fact, the target in question this time was Ameer Makhoul, a Palestinian citizen of Israel and head of internationally renowned NGO network Ittijah.


Palestinian civil society slams OECD over Israel’s accession

May 14th, 2010 | Posted in Boycott, Palestine

Press release, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee, 10 May 2010


    Photo: Palestinian walks along the Israeli apartheid wall.

Palestinian civil society represented by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), a wide coalition of the largest Palestinian mass organizations and trade unions, issued a strong condemnation of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) decision today to welcome Israel as a member of the organization at its ministerial meeting to take place on 27-28 May. A BNC spokesperson commented: “By accepting Israel, OECD member countries show a blatant complicity with Israeli war crimes, destroying the very foundations of international law. Rewarding Israel entrenches its impunity and dashes any realistic hope for achieving a just peace in the region.”


Israeli Soldiers Continue Targeting Palestinian Photographers in West Bank

May 14th, 2010 | Posted in Independent Media, Palestine
    Wafa Palestine News Agency, May 2010.


Photo: Israeli military cameras line the apartheid wall in Palestine.

Palestinian press photographers have always been targeted by the Israeli forces and at least three have been arrested and two others have been physically attacked by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank since the start of April. “These incidents must stop,” Reporters without Borders said. “The Israeli army must investigate them and punish the soldiers responsible.”

In the latest incident, an Israeli soldier fired a tear-gas grenade at photographer Muammar Jamil Awad, while he was covering the weekly protest in Beit Jala (a village 10 km south of Jerusalem) against the Israeli separation wall. He was taken directly to Jerusalem’s Sheari Tzedek hospital for treatment to a head injury.


Israel bows to pressure and admits arrest of rights activist

May 14th, 2010 | Posted in Palestine
    Tuesday, 11 May 2010 The Independent by Catrina Stewart in Jerusalem


Photo: Israeli settler graffiti in the Palestinian city Hebron

The Israeli authorities finally revealed yesterday that they had been holding a prominent Israeli-Arab human rights activist for several days and had accused him of spying for Lebanon’s Hizbollah guerrillas.

Israel appeared to buckle under intense domestic pressure to release details of the case against Amir Makhoul after a gagging order issued by the courts had prevented the media from reporting details of the case. The order, which covered details including his identity, riled democracy advocates in Israel after a similar case last month involving the secret house arrest of an Israeli journalist.


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