Thursday, July 31, 2008

[ePalestine] Guardian : Palestinians capture violence of Israeli occupation on video (5min)

Dear friends, 

When history writes the chapter of how this Israeli occupation ended, the effort to collect video evidence of Israeli war crimes by the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem  in a remarkable project called Shooting Back , will be noted. 

Documenting is only 1/2 the story, prosecuting is the other 1/2,


Palestinians capture violence of Israeli occupation on video

In a graphic and hard-hitting film Peter Beaumont speaks to Palestinians filming abuse from settlers and Israeli armed forces

Peter Beaumont in Ni'ilin,
Wednesday July 30 2008


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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

[ePalestine] TWIP: Does the International Aid System Violate Palestinians' Rights? (A MUST READ)

You can also find this article in the new issue of This Week in Palestine .  After reading, please consider making a donation to Dalia Association .

Does the International Aid System Violate Palestinians' Rights?

By Dalia Association 

Self-determination is a fundamental principle of international lawi that enshrines the rights of individuals and peoples to freely pursue their economic, social, and cultural development, and the obligation of all states to respect and promote the realisation of these rights in conformity with the provisions of the UN Charter. For the Palestinian people, the lack of statehood, continued military occupation, and dispossession are key obstacles to self- determination. A less obvious obstacle to Palestinian self-determination is the international aid system itself. 

Palestinians in the occupied territory are the largest per capita (not absolute) recipients of international aid, but despite the billions of dollars spent, “development” has not resulted. Whereas the 60-year-long conflict with Israel is the obvious source of the problem, the international aid system is exacerbating hopelessness and helplessness by objectifying beneficiaries and making them feel like beggars. Palestinians’ lack of control over nearly all aspects of their lives - including how resources are used on their behalf - contradicts all enabling factors for health, democracy, sustainable development, and non-violent social change. 

Dalia Association, the first Palestinian “community foundation” was established in 2007 after founders conducted more than 150 interviews with Palestinian civil society activists, development professionals, and philanthropy experts. We found that governmental donors’ well-funded agendas are suffocating indigenous leadership, local initiative, and self-reliance. Palestinian civil society has lost credibility and impact through its dependence on international aid. Many Palestinian NGOs have become accountable to donors and alienated from the grassroots. Volunteerism, once vibrant, has given way to passivity as millions of people have come to rely on food aid, free shelter, and handouts. In other words, our research found that the international aid system disempowers Palestinians and denies their right to self- determination in the development process.ii 

Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory receive aid on the basis of two entitlements. First, they receive humanitarian assistance rendered necessary as a result of the continued military occupation. The Fourth Geneva Convention affirms the right of civilians to request and receive aid in times of armed conflict.iii This right is based on the broader obligation on states to respect and ensure respect for the right to life of all individuals in a conflict area, including the right to live as normal a life as possible and to have their vital services and facilities protected from harm. 

Second, Palestinians receive international development aid on the basis of their right to development. The Declaration on the Right to Development (1986) emphasises that “the right to development is an inalienable human right by virtue of which every human person and all peoples are entitled to participate in, contribute to, and enjoy economic, social, cultural, and political development, in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully realized.” Significantly, it goes on to emphasise the right to popular participation in development. 

Following the adoption of the Declaration, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights explained that the right to development imposes obligations both on individual states - to ensure equal and adequate access to essential resources - and on the international community as a whole - to promote fair development policies and effective international cooperation” (emphasis added). At the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights, these principles were reaffirmed by the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, which is based on the idea that “Democracy, development and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. Democracy is based on the freely expressed will of the people to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural systems and their full participation in all aspects of their lives.”iv 

Other agreements in international law also address the manner in which aid is to be given. For example, the UN Charter grants all peoples who have not yet gained independence, including Palestinians, the right to receive aid that “…recognize(s) the principle that the interests of the inhabitants of these territories are paramount, and accept(s) as a sacred trust the obligation to promote to the utmost, within the system of international peace and security…the well-being of the inhabitants of these territories.”v International law recognises that all states have a positive obligation to help others gain their right to self-determination, including economic development, which leads to economic independence. 

Realising the importance of economic independence in the context of decolonisation, the UN General Assembly in 1962 adopted Resolution 1803 concerning the permanent sovereignty over natural resources. This resolution clarifies that the rights of developing countries extend beyond “aid” to other mechanisms of international cooperation. It considers “…that it is desirable to promote international co-operation for the economic development of developing countries, and that economic and financial agreements between the developed and the developing countries must be based on the principles of equality and of the right of peoples and nations to self-determination…” and “that the provision of economic and technical assistance, loans and increased foreign investment must not be subject to conditions which conflict with the interests of the recipient State….”vi 

UN General Assembly Resolution 1803 (1962) further states: “International co-operation for the economic development of developing countries, whether in the form of public or private capital investments, exchange of goods and services, technical assistance, or exchange of scientific information, shall be such as to further their independent national development and shall be based upon respect for their sovereignty over their natural wealth and resources.” It recognises that “Violation of the rights of peoples and nations to sovereignty over their natural wealth and resources is contrary to the spirit and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and hinders the development of international co-operation and the maintenance of peace.”vii 

Critics argue, however, that the international aid system has developed primarily to serve donors’ political and bureaucratic interests rather than serving the rights and needs of beneficiaries. They say that regardless of international human rights law, international humanitarian law, and refugee law, and regardless of the good intentions of many individuals inside the system, the international aid system actually undermines local leadership, local agendas, grassroots participation, and the dignity that comes with self-reliance, responsibility, and equality. It does so by putting decisions concerning how resources are used into the hands of non-locals, applying standards of transparency and accountability to local actors that are not applied to donors and their agents, ignoring local circumstances (including the challenges of working under occupation), and failing to implement donors’ own principles and guidelines about professionalism and good donorship.viii Dalia Association’s own research found, for example, that donors’ procedural requirements (e.g., applications in English, financial reporting in donors’ accounting software, certain procurement rules) often disqualify a majority of civil society applicants, and those that do apply and are funded spend far more time, effort, and money servicing donors than they do serving their constituencies. 

Recently, some attention is starting to be paid to the ways that the international aid system must change to promote participation of beneficiaries. For example, the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness,ix signed by major donor countries and organisations, describes several key elements of “effective aid,” including “ownership,” “alignment,” and “mutual accountability.” However, since the Declaration was published, progress has been less than satisfactory. A recent watchdog report based on civil society critiques of the Paris Declaration concluded, “Donors remain reluctant to make pledges which limit the control they enjoy through holding the purse-strings of aid payments. There are still very few examples of contractual arrangements for aid which correspond with the goal of mutual accountability between donors and recipients.” Among other recommendations, it states that “Donors must respect recipient country ownership of the development process,” and “Donors must greatly improve the predictability of their aid and deliver it in ways that help build national systems.” It also states, “Aid terms must be fairly and transparently negotiated with participation of and accountability to poor people.”x 

Unfortunately, real, equal participation in aid-funded development by civil society lags even farther behind that of governments. Even in well-functioning democratic societies, the needs of grassroots and marginalised citizens are often poorly represented. Civil society organisations have emerged to speak up for those with less power. As long as civil society actors are not fully respected and included as development actors, the grassroots and marginalised citizens they represent will be even further excluded.xi 

There are other agreements, codes, and standards of practice that oblige donors and other actors in the aid system to improve practices in response to beneficiaries’ rights, for example, the Sphere Project and the “International Non-Governmental Organizations Accountability Charter.” Also, in 2005, donors convened high-level discussions that resulted in the “Principles for Good International Engagement in Fragile States,” in which they committed to: 1) Take context as the starting point; 2) Do no harm; 3) Focus on state-building as the central objective; 4) Prioritise prevention; 5) Recognise the links between political, security, and development objectives; 6) Promote non-discrimination as a basis for inclusive and stable societies; 7) Align with local priorities in different ways in different contexts; 8) Agree on practical coordination mechanisms between international actors; 9) Act fast … but stay engaged long enough to give success a chance; 10) Avoid pockets of exclusion.xii However, principles, declarations, and guidelines are inadequate if not accompanied by appropriate enforcement mechanisms. Ideally, such mechanisms would enable victims of donor- wrongdoing to claim and receive compensation. 

In sum, many of these efforts at aid reform, even if well-intentioned, have had limited impact because donors have often failed to comply both with their legal obligations stemming from the right to self-determination and the right to development, as well as their self-proclaimed practice guidelines. Unfortunately, there has also been a lack of grassroots and civil society efforts to hold donors and other aid actors accountable. Rights cannot be merely granted, they must be claimed. It is time for Palestinians to claim their right to participate fully and equally in controlling how resources are used on their own behalf. 

Dalia Association advocates for changes in the international aid system using constructive engagement with donors and donor agents, and by assisting Palestinian civil society organisations to claim their rights from their funders. More importantly, Dalia Association aims to decrease civil society’s dependence on international aid by creating alternative sources of funding, including a permanent endowment, income-generating activities, diaspora engagement, volunteerism, and local philanthropy. 

Dalia Association was founded by members of the Palestinian community from the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), the Gaza Strip, Israel, and the diaspora. We are diverse in terms of religion, gender, age, and politics, yet we are united by our commitment to mobilise, invest, and distribute resources according to local Palestinian priorities using community- based decision making. 

Dalia Association uses the following means in order to achieve this. 

Link people who have resources - expertise, ideas, contacts, equipment, money, and other assets - with community activists who need those resources to serve their communities. 

Fund hopeful, inspirational, and sustainable civil society initiatives, including community efforts that only need a small grant to supplement their local resources. A permanent endowment will be built over time to ensure sustainable income for current and future generations. 

Involve people of all kinds in expanding traditions of philanthropy, volunteerism, and working together to strengthen the Palestinian social fabric. 

Advocate for an international aid system that respects and responds to local priorities. 

As the first Palestinian community foundation, Dalia Association seeks to mobilise the abundant resources of the worldwide Palestinian community and its friends - resources such as steadfastness, traditions, creativity, faith, expertise, and money - and facilitate community- based decision making about how these resources should be used. In this way, we all become donors and we all become beneficiaries. 

As an endowed community foundation, Dalia will provide an independent, sustainable source of funds with transparent and accountable mechanisms for local control and a vibrant community organisation in which Palestinians can themselves be donors and implementers of their own social change and sustainable development agenda. In this way, we promote sustainability of Palestinian civil society and its institutions. 

Further, we are determined to help shape a dynamic and relevant civil society that is accountable to the people. We will develop new traditions of secular philanthropy and social responsibility alongside Islamic and Christian giving. We will re-inspire volunteerism not driven by factional politics, and re-inspire people’s hope and trust in self-initiative. 

We welcome participation of all kinds, including financial support. For more information about Dalia Association, visit or contact Nora Lester Murad at or 0598-248-807 (English) or Saeeda Mousa at or 0599-734-357 (Arabic). 

i United Nations Charter, Article 1(2), International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Part I, Article I; United Nations International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Part I, Article I.

ii See “Concept Paper” available at .

iii Article 30, Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilians in Time of War, 1949.

v Declaration Regarding Non-Self-Governing Territories, Chapter XI, Article 73, UN Charter (1945).

vi UNGA 1803 of 1962, available at .

vii Ibid.

viii “Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council: Towards a European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid. SEC(2007) 781 and 781, dated 13 June 2007. See also “Principles of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement” and “NGOs in Disaster Response Programmes” (1994) and the SPHERE “Humanitarian Charter” and Minimum Standards.

x “Turning the Tables: Aid and Accountability Under the Paris Framework” (available at ).

xi “Better Aid: A civil society position paper for the 2008 Accra High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness” (available at &Itemid=1 ).

xii “Principles for Good International Engagement in Fragile States & Situations” (available by searching at ).


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[ePalestine] The National: Palestinian family fights settlers (by Jonathan Cook)

The National

Palestinian family fights settlers

Jonathan Cook, Foreign Correspondent 
July 23. 2008 6:28PM GMT 

JERUSALEM // It must be the smallest Israeli settlement in the occupied Palestinian territories: just half a house. But Palestinian officials and Israeli human rights groups are concerned that it represents the first stage of a plan to eradicate the historical neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem, cutting off one of the main routes by which Palestinians reach the Old City and its holy sites. 

The home of Mohammed and Fawziya Khurd has been split in two since 1999 when the Israeli courts evicted their grown-up son Raed from a wing of the property. The elderly couple have been trying to regain possession, but were stymied last week when an Israeli high court backed the petition of a group of settlers and ordered the immediate eviction of the Khurds. The decision paves the way for the takeover of 26 multi-storey houses in the neighbourhood, threatening to make 500 Palestinians homeless. 

The verdict has been denounced by Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, and in the past few days the Khurds have been visited by foreign diplomats, including from the United States. In a letter to consulates in Jerusalem, including those of the United States, Britain, France and Germany, Rafiq Husseini, Mr Abbas’s aide, warned that the takeover of the Khurds’ home was part of a wider drive to change the geography of Jerusalem by forcing out Palestinians and replacing them with Israeli settlers. Such a development would deal a death blow to already-strained peace negotiations, he wrote. 

Today there are 250,000 Israeli Jews living illegally in East Jerusalem, and the Israeli government has announced that thousands more apartments are to be built – despite promises to the US government to freeze settlement growth. 

Israeli human rights groups and Palestinian solidarity activists, meanwhile, have been staging a 24-hour vigil at the Khurds’ home in the hope of preventing the order’s enforcement. 

According to Meir Margalit, an analyst on Israeli policies in Jerusalem, the Sheikh Jarrah evictions are part of a much bigger goal being pursued by shadowy settler groups, backed by the Israeli government, to establish wedges of Jewish settlement around the Old City and secure it for any future peace agreement. 

“The settlers have submitted a plan to the Jerusalem municipality seeking the demolition of Sheikh Jarrah’s Palestinian homes to make way for the building of 200 apartments for settlers,” he said. “They have chosen one of the most sensitive sites in East Jerusalem: it’s full of Palestinian political and cultural institutions. Its takeover would contribute significantly to the encirclement of the Old City.” 

The Khurds and other Palestinian families have been living in Sheikh Jarrah since the mid- 1950s, when the Jordanian government and the United Nations allocated them land as refugees. All had been forced out of areas that became Israel in 1948. 

After Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967, however, the settler organisations began pressing their claims to former Jewish homes. A religious organisation, the Sephardi Jewry Association says it purchased Sheikh Jarrah’s lands in the 19th century. The families’ lawyers, on the other hand, say the land belongs to the Darwish family. The courts have been unable to authenticate the documents, which date to a murky period of land dealings. 

Until last week’s decision, the courts had decided that the Palestinian residents should be allowed to stay in their homes as “protected tenants” until ownership could be determined. 

However, the courts insisted that the families pay rent to a trust set up in case they found in favour of the Sephardi Association at a later date. 

The families argue that, under the terms of the deal with the Jordanian government and United Nations, they were entitled to ownership of the properties after 30 years. The eviction order against the Khurds is believed to have been issued after Mohammed Khurd, 55 and bedridden, was unable to keep up his payments. 

The Khurds say they have faced constant pressure since settlers moved in next door. “At first we were offered a lot of money to leave,” said Mrs Khurd, 62. “When we refused, the settlers started making our lives a hell. The family next door changes every few months to make it difficult for us to start legal proceedings. 

“Armed Israeli guards have been posted on the path to our house and there are a network of surveillance cameras to watch our every move. Armed settlers have broken into the house, pointing their guns at us. 


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Saturday, July 26, 2008

AIM Word Factory (Arabic-English & English-Arabic Translation)

Dear friends,

Please excuse the commercial nature of this message. As many of you are long time subscribers to ePalestine, you are aware that I refrain from commercializing this list. However, this specific message has more to do with economic resistance to the Israeli occupation than it does marketing.

The attached notice is announcing the launch of a new service being offered via my consulting firm: a Professional Arabic-English & English-Arabic Translation Service. The service has been in a soft launch mode since the start of 2008 and we are now pleased to make the service available to all today.

Our translators are based in the Israeli-occupied territory (including the Gaza Strip) and the majority are women. Using our translation service will provide you with quality translations, as well as an opportunity to concretely contribute to sustaining Palestinian economic activity under extremely difficult conditions.

Please feel free to contact me at if you have any questions and we look forward to serving your translation needs. If you don't have a need (or even if you do) for such a service, please pass this on to someone or company you think may.


Friday, July 25, 2008

[ePalestine] Times Online: Jewish guerrillas told British: quit Palestine or die

From The Times 
July 19, 2008 

Jewish guerrillas told British: quit Palestine or die 

Fighters were led by future Israeli premier 

Marcus Leroux 

A pamphlet warning Britons to leave the Middle East or face death has come to light in a stash of illicit propaganda. 

The document does not hail from Basra or Baghdad, nor was it penned by the Islamists of al- Qaeda or the al-Mahdi Army. It was found in Haifa, about 60 years ago, and it was issued by the underground group led by Menachem Begin – the future Prime Minister of Israel and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. 

The document, which surfaced at an auction house this week, is addressed to “the soldiers of the occupation army” and aimed at British soldiers serving in Palestine, then under the British Mandate, preceding the establishment of Israel in 1948. The print has faded and the paper has discoloured since it was unearthed from a grove of trees in Haifa in the summer of 1947. Yet the language and the concerns remain current. 

Bombings and murders by underground groups, such as Begin’s Irgun, hastened the British withdrawal and the United Nations declaration that led to the founding of modern Israel. 

Irgun propaganda targeted the British Army’s wavering morale, already dented by the bomb attack on the Mandate’s headquarters – the King David Hotel in Jerusalem – which killed 91 people. 

In the document, Irgun tells British troops: “It is unavoidable that many Jewish soldiers and many British soldiers should fall. And it is only fair that these people know at least why they may be killed.” 

It adds: “Most of you have been in this country for quite a long time. You have learned what the word ‘terrorist’ means, some of you may even have come into direct contact with them (and heartily desire not to repeat the experience). But what do you know about them? Why does a young man go underground?” 

It then draws a parallel with what would have happened if, seven years earlier, Britain had been overrun by Nazi Germany. “Remember 1940. Then it seemed quite possible that your island country would be conquered and subjugated by Hitler hordes . . . what would you have done? Would you have gone underground?” The pamphlet says that the occupation is “illegal and immoral” and “parallel to the mass assassination of a whole people”, in language that echoes that used on a note pinned to the booby-trapped bodies of two British intelligence officers executed by Irgun that same summer. 

The pamphlet came from a stash confiscated and burnt by cyptographers from the Royal Signals regiment. Corporal Raymond Smith found them buried in a secluded grove marked by a white Star of David and was ordered to destroy them, but took one as a memento. A collector acquired the document from Corporal Smith, and brought it to Mullock’s auctioneers in Shropshire. 

Richard Westwood-Brookes, Mullock’s historical documents specialist, said the pamphlet was a remarkable find, which “ amounted to a manifesto for terrorist action”. He added: “It also raises the question as to who are ‘terrorists’ and who are ‘freedom fighters’. It’s a debate which raged through the troubles of Northern Ireland and continues in the Middle East.” 

Begin’s Irgun set aside its differences with Haganah, a rival underground Jewish group led by David Ben Gurion – the first Prime Minister of Israel, who once likened Begin to Adolf Hitler. 

Begin forged a political career as a hardliner, but, after becoming Prime Minister, signed the Camp David agreement with Egypt in 1979. 

The pamphlet, which is expected to fetch about £500, goes on sale at Mullock’s, in Shropshire, on August 6. 

Copyright 2008 Times Newspapers Ltd. 


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Thursday, July 24, 2008

[ePalestine] NYT: Tough Love for Israel? (By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF)

The New York Times

July 24, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist
Tough Love for Israel?

On his visit to the Middle East, Barack Obama gave ritual affirmations of his support for Israeli policy, but what Israel needs from America isn’t more love, but tougher love.

Particularly at a time when Israel seems to be contemplating military strikes on Iranian nuclear sites, the United States would be a better friend if it said: “That’s crazy” — while also insisting on a 100 percent freeze on settlements in the West Bank and greater Jerusalem.

Granted, not everybody sees things this way, and discussions of the Middle East usually involve each side offering up its strongest arguments to wrestle with the straw men of the other side. So let me try something different.

After I wrote a column last month from Hebron in the West Bank, my blog, , was flooded with counterarguments — and plenty of challenges to address them. In the interest of a civil dialogue on the Middle East, here are excerpts from some of the readers’ defenses of Israel’s conduct in the West Bank and my responses:

Jews lived in Hebron for 1,800 years continuously ... until their community was murdered in 1929 by their Arab neighbors. The Jews in Hebron today — those “settlers” — have reclaimed Jewish property. So I don’t see what makes them illegitimate or illegal. (Irving)

True, Jews have deep ties to Hebron, just as Christians do to Jerusalem and Bethlehem, but none of these bonds confer any right to live in these places or even visit them. If Israel were to bar American Christians from Jerusalem, that would not be grounds for the United States to send in paratroopers and establish settlements. And if Israel insists on controlling the West Bank, then it needs to give citizenship to Palestinians there so that they can vote just like the settlers.

One side is a beautiful, literate, medically and scientifically and artistically an advanced society. The other side wants to throw bombs. Why shouldn’t there be a fence? (Mileway)

So, build a fence. But construct it on the 1967 borders, not Palestinian land — and especially not where it divides Palestinian farmers from their land.

While I do condemn this type of violence, it pales in contrast to Palestinian suicide bombers, rockets and other acts of terror against Jews. (Jay)

B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights organization, reports that a total of 123 Israeli minors have been killed by Palestinians since the second intifada began in 2000, compared with 951 Palestinian minors killed by Israeli security forces.

To withdraw from the West Bank without a partner on the Palestinian side will find Israel in the same fix it has once it withdrew from Gaza: a rain of daily rockets. Yes, the security barrier causes hardship, but terrorist attacks have almost disappeared. That means my kids can ride the bus, go to unguarded restaurants and not worry about being blown up on their way to school. Find another way to keep my kids safe, and I’ll happily tear down the barrier. (Laura)

This is the argument that I have the most trouble countering. Laura has a point: The barrier and checkpoints have reduced terrorism. But as presently implemented, they — and the settlements — also reduce the prospect of a long-term peace agreement that is the best hope for Laura’s children.

If Israel were to stop the settlements, ease the checkpoints, allow people in and out more freely, and negotiate more enthusiastically with Syria over the Golan Heights and with the Arab countries on the basis of the Saudi peace proposal, then peace might still elude the region. But Israel would at least be doing everything possible to secure its long-term future, rather than bolstering Hamas.

If there is no two-state solution, there will be a one-state solution — and given demographic trends, that will mean either the end of Israeli democracy or the end of the Jewish state. Zionists should be absolutely clamoring for a Palestinian state.

Laura is right about the need for a sensible Palestinian partner, and the failures of Palestinian leadership have been legion. At the moment, though, Israel has its most reasonable partner ever — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas — and it is undermining him with its checkpoints and new settlement construction.

Peace-making invariably involves exasperating and intransigent antagonists and unequal steps, just as it did in the decades in which Britain struggled to end terrorism emanating from Northern Ireland. But London never ordered air strikes on Sinn Fein or walled in Catholic neighborhoods. Over time, Britain’s extraordinary restraint slowly changed attitudes so as to make the eventual peace possible.

I hope Mr. Obama, as a candidate or as a president, will be a true enough friend of Israel to say all this, warmly but firmly.

I invite you to comment on this column on my blog,, and join me on Facebook at

To reply to this with a letter to the editor send to:


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[ePalestine] EI: The Nakba, Intel, and Kiryat Gat (by Henry Norr) / PC: The Cost of Occupation (by Khalil Nakhleh)

it would make sense to read this: The Cost of Occupation

Rights-based justice leads to lasting peace, all else is wasting time,


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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

[ePalestine] JPOST: Haredim attack, wound two Arabs in J'lem neighborhood

Dear friends,

Here is the other event in Jerusalem today that your media will most likely ignore.  Guess how this would be covered if the roles were reversed.

Times are tense.

This madness is man-made,


Jul 22, 2008 23:12

Haredim attack, wound two Arabs in J'lem neighborhood 


Several hours after the terror attack in Jerusalem, ultra-orthodox Jews attempted to lynch two Palestinians, Army Radio reported. 

The incident occurred in the Makor Baruch neighborhood, known for its unlikely mix of religious study institutions and orthodox residents, and stores selling construction materials and power tools, carpentries, and other such outlets which draw many Arab shoppers and employees. 

According to eye witnesses, two battered and bleeding Palestinians barged into the yard of a family sitting Shiva [the Jewish week of mourning], followed by a raging mob. 

The family in the house protected the Palestinians and repelled the mob, which was comprised of furious yeshiva students. 

A member of the family said yeshiva students yelled at him from the balcony of the yeshiva, overlooking the house, calling to "kill Jews who protect Arabs." 

The two east Jerusalem residents were taken to Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem for treatment. 

The family that protected them remained mostly unscathed but one of its members was also attacked. "They would have killed me if they could," he said. The two men had told him the altercation began after an argument they had with a store owner drew some bystanders who within minutes intervened and started beating the Arabs. 

Waiting for the fury to subside, the man and his son led the Arabs to an alleyway so that they could escape. 

But then, the man recounted, hundreds of yeshiva students stormed after the two, beating them "to a pulp," the man said. Protecting them with his own body, he was confronted by two haredi men, one of whom was brandishing a 20 centimeter-long knife. 

He was wounded in his abdomen, at which point the crowd began to disperse and large police forces arrived. 

"All hell broke loose. After the terror attack, the public's blood boiled, and people became hot- headed, insane. These people that call themselves religious almost killed me and the two Palestinians. I was raised to defend any person. Luckily for me, I'm strong, but [if I would be stabbed] one centimeter above or below, and this would become a murder," the man said. 

Rabbi Yitzhak Bazri, of the David Bazri yeshiva nearby, said the mob did not come from his yeshiva. "We only have older students, and the attackers were young," he said. 

"This is a grave incident; no one should hurt innocents, Arabs or Jews. It's against halacha [Jewish law]. I hope they find the assailants and put them to trial," he said in condemnation of the incident. 


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Monday, July 21, 2008

[ePalestine] The Times of India : Israel using rats to drive away Arabs?

The Times of India - Breaking news, views.

Israel using rats to drive away Arabs? 

21 Jul 2008, 0016 hrs IST,PTI 

JERUSALEM: Israel is using rats to drive Arab families out of their homes in the Old City of Jerusalem, Palestinian Authority's (PA) official news agency Wafa has alleged. 

"Rats have become an Israeli weapon to displace and expel Arab residents of the occupied Old City of Jerusalem," it said in a report. "Over the past two months, dozens of (Jewish) settlers come to the alleyways and streets of the Old City carrying iron cages full of rats. They release the rats, which find shelter in open sewage systems," the report said. 

The official Palestinian news agency quoted unnamed Arab residents as saying that they had tried to eliminate the rats with various poisons, but to no avail. 

Israel's goal was to "increase the suffering of the (Arabs) in Jerusalem by turning their lives into a real tragedy and forcing them to evict their homes and leave the city," Hasan Khater, secretary-general of Islamic-Christian Front in Jerusalem, was quoted by the agency as saying. 

Wafa , controlled and funded by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' office, has in the past accused Israel of using wild pigs to drive Palestinians out of their homes and fields in the West Bank. 

Jerusalem Municipality spokesman, Gidi Schmerling, dubbed the report a work of "pure fiction", with no connection to reality, the Jerusalem Post reported. 

Copyright © 2008 Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. 


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[ePalestine] Prosecute Israeli soldier NOW - SHOCKING Amateur 1 min video catches war crime!!

20 July '08: B'Tselem: Prosecute soldier who fired 'rubber' bullet at Palestinian detainee, Investigate the involvement of an officer in the event and suspected cover-up 

Today, B'Tselem is publishing a video clip documenting a soldier firing a rubber coated steel bullet, from extremely close range, at a cuffed and blindfolded Palestinian detainee. The shooting took place in the presence of a lieutenant colonel, who was holing the Palestinian's arm when the shot was fired. 

The incident took place on 7 July, in Nil'in, a village in the West Bank. A Palestinian demonstrator, Ashraf Abu Rahma, 27, was stopped by soldiers, who cuffed and blindfolded him for about thirty minutes, during which time, according to Abu-Rahma, they beat him. Afterwards, a group of soldiers and border policemen led him to an army jeep. The video clip shows a soldier aim his weapon at the demonstrator's legs, from about 1.5 meters away, and fire a rubber coated steel bullet at him. Abu-Rahma stated that the bullet hit his left toe, received treatment from an army medic, and released by the soldiers. 

A fourteen-year-old Palestinian girl from Nil'in filmed the incident from her house in the village, and B'Tselem received it this morning. 

B'Tselem does not know if any proceedings were opened against those involved. However, residents of Ni'lin told B'Tselem that they saw the soldier the following day, still serving in his unit. 

B'Tselem immediately forwarded a copy to the Military Police Investigation Unit commander, with demand that an immediate Military Police investigation be opened, if it hasn't already, and that the soldier be brought to justice. Additionally, B'Tselem demanded that the involvement of the lieutenant colonel who was holding the detainee is investigated. B'Tselem stressed that members of the security forces are obligated to report unlawful acts. It is even more serious is a high-ranking officer participates in such a whitewash. 


This same story reported on Ha'artez at:


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Saturday, July 19, 2008

[ePalestine] BOOK REVIEW of Raja Shehadeh's "PALESTINIAN WALKS" by James Zogby

Holy Land Lost

by James Zogby

Al-Ahram Weekly
On-line Issue No 905:
10-16 July 2008



"Raja Shehadeh's Palestinian Walks provides a rare
historical insight into the tragic changes taking place in
Palestine." - Jimmy Carter

The very words "Holy Land" evoke powerful imagery. But the scenes that come
to mind are rapidly disappearing from the landscape.

The occupation of the West Bank -- a military and political reality that
dominates the lives of Palestinians -- has become concretised: with massive
housing projects connected by ribbons of highways; a wall and barbed wire
barrier winding its way from north to south, cutting through villages,
encapsulating others; and hundreds of checkpoints -- all overtaking and
transforming the once open terrain.

Raja Shehadeh has described all this in vivid detail in his most recent
book, Palestinian Walks: Forays into a Vanishing Landscape. A hiker from a
young age, Shehadeh tells his story in a novel way. Detailing six walks he
has taken in and around his home in Ramallah during the last 30 years, he
invites his readers to witness the transformations that have occurred, that
increasingly circumscribed his movements and marred his beloved land.

In his early years, Shehadeh set out roaming the hillsides to discover the
life his parents and grandparents lived. The hills of the West Bank, once
described by Western travellers as desolate and barren, come to life in
Shehadeh's narrative.

Dry one season, yes, but in the spring they were covered with flowers and
new life. Conforming to this rough environment, generations of Palestinian
farmers adapted their lives to the seasons and mastered these hills, naming
every spring, wadi (valley) and cliff, and cultivating olives, grapes and
family plots. It was the world they knew and the land they loved.

As they defined the land, it, too, defined them, shaping Palestinian culture
and social relations for generations.

This is what Shehadeh saw, in the beginning. The cycle of life, at one with
its environment, that had existed for millennia. It was the Holy Land we
know from picture postcards, lithographs and biblical stories. But it is
being lost, and this is a tragedy -- not only for the Palestinians, though
especially for them.

"The biography of these hills is in many ways my own, the victories and
failures of the struggle to save this land also mine. But the persistent
pain at the failure of that struggle would in time be shared by Arabs, Jews,
and lovers of nature anywhere in the world. All would grieve, as I have, at
the continuing destruction of an exquisitely beautiful place."

As the book progresses, the landscape changes; marked by the ever-increasing
intrusions of the occupation. Walks became more difficult and, in some
cases, fraught with danger.

"The other day I had to plead with a soldier to be allowed to return home. I
told him that I really did not know a curfew had been imposed on Ramallah. I
was away all day and hadn't listened to the news. 'I'm tired,' I said,
'please let me through.' Oh, the humiliation of pleading with a stranger for
something so basic."

"How unaware many trekkers around the world are of what a luxury it is to be
able to walk in the land they love without anger, fear or insecurity, just
to be able to walk without political arguments... without the fear of losing
what they've come to love, without the anxiety that they will be deprived of
the right to enjoy it."

As settlements grew (there are now almost half a million Israelis living in
settlements in these occupied lands), not only did Palestinians lose
ancestral lands and agricultural areas, they also lost freedom of movement,
their way of life, and their hope for the future.

"The [settlement] master plan viewed our presence here as a constraint and
was aimed at preventing 'undesirable development'. By creating new human
settlements where none existed, connecting them with roads and isolating
existing ones, it would not only strangle our communities but also destroy
this beautiful land, and in a matter of a few years change what had been
preserved for centuries."

Jerusalem, too, was impacted. At first, cut off from the rest of the West
Bank by a ring of settlements and a maze of highways, and now by a
meandering and oppressive wall, the heart has been excised from the rest
Palestine. Both the city itself and its once surrounding communities have
suffered. The impact has been economic, social, cultural and psychological.

"As we descended towards East Jerusalem... I realised that the beautiful
Dome of the Rock was no longer visible. It was concealed by new
construction. This was by design. Not only had Israeli city planners
obstructed the view of this familiar landmark, they had also constructed a
wide highway along the periphery of Arab East Jerusalem, restricting its
growth and separating it from the rest of the city. Highways are more
effective barriers than walls in keeping neighbourhoods apart. Walls can
always be demolished. But once built, roads become a cruel reality that is
more difficult to change. No visitor would now sigh, let alone fall on his
knees as many a conqueror and pilgrim in the past had done, upon beholding
the Old City nestled in the hills. Now contorted, full of obstructions,
walls and ugly blocks, it is a tortured city that has lost its soul."

There is much more to Palestinian Walks. Woven through the narrative are
stories of the author's family and accounts of legal challenges to land
confiscations (Shehadeh is a noted human rights lawyer).

This is not an explicitly political book filled with diatribes and
prescriptions. Nor is it a hopeful book. Shehadeh has written about a land
fighting against time. "As our Palestinian world shrinks, that of the
Israelis expands, with more settlements being built, destroying forever the
wadis and cliffs, flattening hills, and transforming the precious land that
many Palestinians will never know."

This book is real, and it is disturbing, and deserves to be read by everyone
who calls that land Holy.

The writer is president of the Arab American Institute.

Web link

“Palestinian Walks: Forays into a Disappearing Landscape”
Raja Shehahdeh
Publisher: Scribner
Published: 3 June 2008


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