Obama & Congress: Treat Iranian and Israeli nuclear programs the same.
The Global March to Jerusalem - North America has started a petition to President Obama and members of Congress: Treat Iranian and Israeli nuclear programs the same.
Will you take 30 seconds to sign it right now? Here's the link:
Here's why it's important:
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), has announced that they "remain strongly committed to the passage of the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act." The proposed act seeks to impose new sanctions on Iran, which would presumably annul the agreement negotiated by Secretary of State Kerry and the Obama administration to restrict Iran's uranium enrichment program far below weapons grade and to eliminate existing stocks of partially enriched uranium. President Obama has said that he will veto the legislation if it passes Congress.
We support President Obama and members of Congress who oppose the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act. Those who support the act should pair it with a Nuclear Weapon Free Israel Act, with the same sanctions to be applied to Israel as to Iran if it does not comply equally with the same constraints on its nuclear program. The US must be consistent in its foreign policy and hold all nations to the same standard.
The best solution is a nuclear weapons free Middle East and a nuclear weapons free world.
You can sign the petition by clicking here
The Global March to Jerusalem - North America
Why is Congress acting aginst the US constitution?
by Dr. Sarah Marusek | reposted from Mid East Monitor
In the days following the official resumption of US-led "peace talks between Israel and Palestine, the Israeli government decided to expand its list of illegal settlements eligible for government subsidies and approved a plan to build more than 1,000 new settler homes in the Occupied Territories. Meanwhile the US Congress was busy introducing a new bill to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's undivided capital. Although Congress already passed a similar bill called the Jerusalem Embassy Act back in 1995 that required the US to transfer its embassy to Jerusalem, the previous bill allowed the White House to indefinitely delay its implementation. Not so with the proposed "Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of the State of Israel Act."
But as The Christian Science Monitor reports, last month a federal appeals court decided that Congress had overstepped its constitutional powers when it passed a 2002 law requiring US consular officials to list “Israel” as the place of birth of American children born in Jerusalem. In the opinion the presiding judge wrote, “Congress plainly intended to force the State Department to deviate from its decades-long position of neutrality on what nation or government, if any, is sovereign over Jerusalem.” The court’s decision to uphold the exclusive power of the executive branch to conduct diplomacy and recognize foreign nations means that the legality of this latest act is also highly questionable.
So if the 1995, 2002 and 2013 acts are all unconstitutional, why are members of Congress repeatedly acting against a constitution they otherwise profess such sacred allegiance to? Here enters the Israel Lobby. While the Lobby’s best-known organization is the powerful America-Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, the real-world reach of the Lobby is far wider, as following one direction of the bill’s money trail shows.
Among the new bill’s bipartisan co-sponsors is Brad Sherman, a US Representative from California and a member of the Democratic Party who received a financial donation from the Irving Moskowitz Foundation during his 2012 re-election campaign.
The Irving Moskowitz Foundation declares that it is "committed to making a difference in people’s life regardless of race, religion, or politics," even though its Jewish American founder Irving Moskowitz once told The Washington Post that his desire is to "do everything I possibly can to help reclaim Jerusalem for the Jewish people." The foundation’s web site details some of the charitable projects that it financially supports, focusing mainly on small community projects in Hawaiian Gardens, a deprived city in the state of California, as well as tornado relief efforts in the state of Oklahoma.
However according to the Center for Responsive Politics, the foundation also mad donations of around $50,000 to political candidates and parties in 2012, and unlike Sherman they are mostly Republican. Indeed between 2006-2012 only seven per cent of the foundation’s political contributions went to Democrats. Furthermore, in 2012 the foundation made a $1 million donation to American Crossroads, a Super Political Action Committee (PAC) co-founded by Karl Rove that raises funds for the Republican Party. By law Super PACs are allowed to receive anonymous donations and spend unlimited funds on political candidates and parties, even during elections.
Still, although his recent political donations are indeed generous, Moskowitz's most favored aid recipients by far are illegal Israeli settlers.
The Huffington Post reports that as far back as 1969, Moscowitz, a retired physician, started buying up hospitals in the US only to sell them for a profit that he then spent on land purchases in Jerusalem as well as donations to settlers in the West Bank and Gaza. But it was not until he launched a bingo operation in 1988 that his “philanthropy” reached new levels. All bingo outfits in the state of California must be operated by charities. Located in the same impoverished Hawaiian Gardens where his charity already had a history of giving, the cash-strapped city allowed him to retain 99 percent of the bingo operation's revenue.
And the revenue has certainly been vast. According to Mother Jones, by 2000 the club was earning up to $50 million a year. After expenses it was donating as much as $17 million per year, with the majority of this money, reportedly around two thirds, being spent on Judaizing Palestine, especially Occupied East Jerusalem. The political blog Think Progress reports that Moskowitz’s foundations have given "huge sums to developments there," including the purchase and demolition of the historic Shepherd Hotel to build housing for settlers. Many millions have also been directed to the group Ateret Cohanim, which focuses mainly on purchasing Arab property in East Jerusalem.
Sherman’s ardent pro-Zionism explains why he, a Democrat, is also receiving funds from Moskowitz’s Republican friendly foundation. Last year Sherman spearheaded an international campaign against the Palestinian Authority’s bid for statehood recognition by the UN General Assembly, and he even launched a campaign for the US government to prosecute American activists onboard the 2010 Freedom Flotilla as terrorists because they delivered humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza, conflating the civilian population with Hamas by citing "The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996."
On the other hand, Moskowitz’s support of extremist settlers is well documented. Think Progress reports that "Moskowitz’s and his wife’s foundations have donated more than $300,000 to the Hebron Fund," a New York based charity that supports Israeli settlements. According to the news website Salon, “tax documents show that the Hebron Fund sends money directly to its Israeli sister organization whose director and founding officers include two men convicted by the Israeli government for their roles in deadly attacks on Palestinians carried out by the Jewish Underground in the 1980s.” This includes Rabbi Dov Lior, who according to author Sefi Rachlevsky was responsible for planning terror attacks during the heyday of the Underground. Rachlevsky argues in Haaretz that Menachem Livni, a convicted killer and former head of the Underground, testified that Lior not only preached and delivered religious rulings about the need to murder Arabs, but was also involved in planning the details of particular terrorist acts, including a failed attempt to blow up six buses with the object of killing hundreds.
Moskowitz has also supported Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, who was arrested in 2010 by Israeli security forces for inciting violence after authoring a book that justifies the killing of non-Jews. Shapira claimed that killing Palestinian babies was necessary because it would be too dangerous “if they are allowed to grow into evil people like their parents.”
So Moskowitz and his foundations are arguably supporting not only the ongoing Judaization of the Occupied Territories, but also violence against Palestinians.
According to a report published by Settlements in Palestine, a research and advocacy group, the Hebron Fund is only one of many US organizations that raised $274 million in tax-exempt donations for Israel's West Bank settlements between 2002-2009. But even though these organizations are violating both international law and US foreign policy by funding illegal settlements, according to Salon the US Treasury actually "gives tax breaks to groups whose sole purpose is to raise funds for the settlements."
And on top of that, all the millions Moskowitz spends from the bingo operation are also tax exempt, which seems even more egregious considering that the co-sponsors of the new bill on Jerusalem are arguing that it should be passed because moving the embassy will save the government money. But when you actually follow the money, it just shows that any real efforts for peace in the Middle East will never be brokered by the US.
Millions mark Quds Day around globe
reposted from: http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/08/03/316926/millions-mark-quds-day-around-globe/
Millions of people around the world have held demonstrations to mark the International Quds Day to show support for the Palestinian resistance against Israel.
Millions of people in different countries held massive rallies on Friday in solidarity with the oppressed Palestinian nation, voicing their anger at the policies of the Israeli regime and its allies and calling for the liberation of Palestine.
Quds Day is held annually on the last Friday of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan during which demonstrators call for the liberation of Palestine and an end to Israeli occupation.
Muslims in more than 80 countries, including Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Australia and Indonesia, attended Quds Day demonstrations to support the Palestinians and condemn the Israeli occupation.
In August 1979, the late founder of the Islamic Republic, Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, declared the last Friday of the Muslim fasting month International Quds Day, a day of global solidarity with Palestine.
Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state on the territories of the West Bank, East al-Quds, and the Gaza Strip, and are demanding that Israel withdraw from the Palestinian territories occupied in a war in 1967.
This year’s Quds Day comes on the heels of fresh US-brokered talks between Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel. The two sides held talks in Washington earlier this week and are reportedly set to resume talks by mid August.
However, many Palestinians believe the talks are doomed to failure because the Israeli regime and Washington are pushing for the Palestinians to unconditionally surrender.
Last Palestinian-Israeli talks broke down in September 2010 after Tel Aviv refused to freeze its settlement activities in the occupied West Bank.
The presence and continued expansion of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine has created a major obstacle for the efforts to establish peace in the Middle East.
Israeli law tears Palestinian families apart
by: Miriam Pellicano Last Modified: 19 Jul 2013 10:33 Reposted from Al Jazeera
More than 14,000 Palestinians have had their residency status revoked in East Jerusalem [Reuters]
East Jerusalem - If Tasneem, 14, a Palestinian living in East Jerusalem, could speak to the Israeli Minister of Interior, she would deliver this message: "Give us the right to be a family and give us the freedom to live. Don't imprison us."
Tasneem's family is one of thousands affected by the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law, which prohibits Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza from obtaining permanent or temporary resident status in East Jerusalem or Israel. The citizenship law applies to married couples even when one spouse holds Israeli residency or citizenship.
A system of "quiet deportation" of East Jerusalem families has developed as a result of the restrictive laws applied to Palestinians in the city. Between 1967 and 2011, more than 14,000 Palestinians have had their residency status revoked.
Since Israel's 1967 annexation of East Jerusalem, a move unrecognised by the international community, Palestinians have rarely been granted citizenship rights, only residency rights. Palestinians live with the threat of having their residency revoked.
As a result, a generation of Palestinian children have grown up living in uncertainty and fear. Children tell Defence for Children International Palestine, a local Palestinian child rights organisation, that they are often afraid, sad, or feel different to peers who are afforded different entitlements.
For Tasneem, the purpose of the law is clear. "It's a demographic law," she explains. "They don't want more Palestinian people in Jerusalem."
While the law was first issued as a temporary order in 2003, its enforcement has been extended several times, despite the Israeli High Court of Justice describing it as "a disproportionate violation" of the rights of Arab citizens and residents of Israel. In April this year, the Knesset approved an extension of the citizenship law bringing the prohibition on family reunification into its 11th year.
Living With Uncertainty
Parents with residency rights in Jerusalem and a Jerusalem identification card cannot automatically transfer their status to their children.
Alaa, an 11-year-old from the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwan, is currently in the process of applying for residency status, which his mother currently holds. He is in the middle of a lengthy and onerous application process that is required in order to register him with the Interior Ministry. It will be difficult for him to obtain Jerusalem residency status if his family fails to submit the request before his 12th birthday. If they apply after he turns 14, it will be impossible for him to receive any residency status
The convoluted nature of registration has left families with children holding various statuses. Once children turn 18, they are unable to submit an application for child registration or family reunification. This leaves females in particularly vulnerable situations, as it obligates women to live alone or apart from their families, which is contrary to the general customs and traditions of the Palestinian family.
Alaa's mother notices that as he passes through a checkpoint he sinks in his seat and gets tears in his eyes. "I'm afraid that I will be left in the West Bank while the rest of my family stays in East Jerusalem," he says.
Mohammad Shihabi is a lawyer with the Community Action Centre (CAC), which has an office to support families lodging applications for residency status in East Jerusalem.
"If children are not yet on their parent's ID card, and they are waiting on the process to obtain some kind of status, they can be subject to harassment at the checkpoints," Shihabi says.
"Registration processes can take years, and renewal of permits often requires a security check that may take anywhere from two months to one year. During this time children are particularly vulnerable."
Palestinian child prisoners 'abused'
Alaa is on alert when there is trouble in Silwan, which has a growing Jewish settler presence and where arrests of Palestinian children are common.
"I am very afraid when children are arrested," he says. "I stay inside the house when this happens and I don't move." Since he is not registered on his mother's ID, he is worried about what could happen to him.
The citizenship law has deleterious effects on children, including hampering the registration of children of Israeli residents - with a West Bank spouse - the denial of health, education and insurance services, and most importantly, the right to equality and family life.
In June 2007, HaMoked and several other human rights organisations filed a petition before the Israeli High Court of Justice challenging the citizenship law. The organisations highlighted the effect it has on children, and that the law not only separates spouses from each other, but also separates parents from their children. Ultimately, the challenge was rejected and the law was upheld.
'Prisoners in their own city'
The children have not grown used to the idea their father must stay in Eziriya, a suburb separated from Jerusalem due to the annexation. A song played on the children's channel about fathers disturbs them. "They cry when they hear the song," she says. "It is very hard on them."
"The families are under a constant state of pressure," says Rema Rezeq, a coordinator at the CAC's Women's Empowerment Unit. "Spouses don't know if their partner will be granted a permit to enter. Children become upset and distressed that their parent is separated from the family, or are sad when they see how their parents must live. They live with the constant fear that they will never see their parent again."
Since 2008, there has been an absolute prohibition of family reunification for any person from Gaza over the age of 14. This confines children to living in Gaza without one of their parents, or forces the parent to give up their entitlements in Jerusalem and move to Gaza.
There are potentially 10,000 unregistered children in East Jerusalem, which means they are exempt from a variety of social and education benefits. They are not able to obtain a driver's licence or permits, and cannot legally seek employment. They live a life in limbo, without either Jerusalem or West Bank identification. This leaves thousands of Palestinians as stateless persons. Their future and security are precarious in the city.
Sabah, 40, returned to Jerusalem three years ago after separating from her husband in the West Bank. Despite a court order that gives her custody of her children, she can only arrange entrance permits for her children to be with her and not residency status for them.
"I am afraid for their future," says Sabah. "They are high academic achievers, but cannot go to university here. If they go to a University in the West Bank, they will be away from me, and they do not want to live there alone."
Even if families are issued temporary or entrance permits, their renewal is dependent on a security check that can take anywhere from a few months to a year, which delays the reinstatement of an entrance permit. During renewal periods, entitlements are frozen for children and families, which can leave families without health, education and insurance benefits.
"It makes their future education difficult, their movement is restricted, and they cannot marry here," says Sabah. "My children feel like they are prisoners in their own city."
Repeated phone calls and emails for comment on this story to the Interior Ministry went unanswered.
Countering the 'demographic threat'
The revocation of residency rights and the exile and deportation of Palestinians in East Jerusalem is one direct measure the Israeli government implements to counter the "demographic threat" to the state of Israel.
Palestinians are at risk of losing their Jerusalem residency if they chose to go overseas to study, work or live. If residents are overseas for more than three years and are unable to prove that their centre of life is in Jerusalem or Israel, they will lose their right to renew or update their ID. Residency can also be revoked if Palestinians naturalise.
In contrast to the precarious status of Palestinians with Jerusalem residency, the Foundation for Middle East Peace reports "a large number of Israelis have dual nationality, including an estimated 500,000 Israelis holding US passports (with close to a quarter-million pending applications)."
While Palestinians navigate prohibitive and discriminatory legal and administrative systems to remain in Jerusalem, the Israeli government is financially supporting tens of thousands of immigrants to settle in Israel and illegal Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the occupied Palestinian territories.
The Ministry of Immigration Absorption, through their financial assistance programs, provides generous housing, education and health incentives, as well as generous tax exemptions to assist immigrants in their settlement process.
While immigrants can take advantage of these generous and attractive incentives, Palestinians are subject to exclusion from the National Insurance Institute (NII) if they cannot comply with measures that target their status and residency rights. They can lose their social and health insurance benefits by not complying with various caveats.
"This law exists to insult the people here in Palestine," says Alaa. "Its purpose is to degrade the Palestinians."
When DCI-Palestine fieldworkers asked him about his vision for the future, he tries to remain positive. "I will get the ID," he says. "I want to finish my education and I see beautiful things in my future."
If he could speak to the Minister of Interior, Alaa says he would request one thing: "Bring my father back to my home."
EU orders member states: Exclude West Bank settlements from any future deals with Israel
Jerusalem describes move as an 'earthquake,' says will makes it impossible to sign accords with Brussels.
Reposted from Haaretz | By Barak Ravid | Jul.16, 2013 | 6:29 AM
The European Union has published a binding directive to all 28 member states forbidding any funding, cooperation, awarding of scholarships, research funds or prizes to anyone residing in the Jewish settlements in theWest Bank and East Jerusalem. The regulation, which goes into effect on Friday, requires that any contract signed by an EU country with Israel include a clause stating that the settlements are not part of the State of Israel and therefore are not part of the agreement.
A senior Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, described the new ruling, which was published on June 30, as an "earthquake."
"This is the first time such an official, explicit directive has been published by the European Union bodies," the senior official said. "Until today there were understandings and quiet agreements that the Union does not work beyond the Green Line [the pre-1967-war border]; now this has become a formal, binding policy."
The official noted that the significance of the regulation is both practical and political: From now on, if the Israeli government wants to sign agreements with the European Union or one of its member states, it will have to recognize in writing that the West Bank settlements are not part of Israel.
In the Prime Minister's Office and Foreign Ministry there is great tension and anxiety over the new regulation and its implications for Israeli-EU relations. The efforts of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Deputy Foreign Minister Ze'ev Elkin to stop the move have all failed. Senior EU officials say they would like to hold talks with Israel concerning the new directive, but since it will go into effect by the end of this week, the chance of its being amended is extremely slim.
"We will have to decide what to do from this day forward," a senior Israeli official said. "We are not ready to sign on this clause in our agreements with the European Union. We can say this to the Europeans, but the result could be a halt to all cooperation in economics, science, culture, sports and academia. This would cause severe damage to Israel."
The new directive was published by the European Commission, which is the executive branch of the European Union. The ruling determines the parameters for cooperation between the Union, along with its member states, and Israeli private and governmental entities between 2014 and 2020.
The most significant part of the directive is its "territorial clause," which for the first time will appear as a binding rule on all agreements between the European Union and Israel. The new clause determines the areas in Israel that are entitled to cooperation with the Union, and those that are not. The territorial clause determines that all agreements will be valid only within Israeli borders recognized by the European Union, meaning the borders prior to the 1967 Six-Day War.
The new directive forbids any cooperation by European Union members with private or governmental bodies located beyond the Green Line. It allows cooperation with Israeli government offices in East Jerusalem, such as the Justice Ministry, but only if the activities themselves are carried out within the 1967 borders.
EU: 'Prevents boycott of Israel'
Senior European officials briefed the Israeli delegation to the European Union in Brussels about the new directive immediately after it was published, and offered to discuss how it would be implemented in pending agreements.
Thus, for example, the new regulation is already in force in negotiations between Israel and the European Union over the EuroMed Youth agreement, which deals with joint youth projects, conventions, classes and exchanges of delegations. EU negotiators told Israeli representatives that the EuroMed Youth agreement must include the 'territorial clause' spelling out that the pact can only be implemented within the Green Line.
EU officials said the new rules were drawn up as a result of the decision by European foreign ministers last December, which stated that "all agreements between the State of Israel and the EU must unequivocally and explicitly indicate their inapplicability to the territories occupied by Israel in 1967."
The EU delegation is Israel further noted: "The guidelines are also in conformity with the EU's longstanding position that Israeli settlements are illegal under international law and with the non-recognition by the EU of Israel's sovereignty over the occupied territories, irrespective of their legal status under domestic Israeli law."
The new rules are intended to prevent a boycott against Israel, and to enable Israel to cooperate in EU projects and benefit from the funding they bring, the delegation pointed out. The European Union "wants to be sure that Israel's participation is not put in question so that Israel will be in a position to make use of all possibilities offered by the new financial framework," the delegation stated.
Jerusalem protest in solidarity with Jordanian strikers as their condition worsens
July 3, 2013
The Palestine Information Centre reported that Palestinian Jerusalemite youths rallied in Bab El-Amud on July 3, in occupied Jerusalem in solidarity with Jordanian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails.
Local sources said that the young men raised the Palestinian and Jordanian flags and photos of the detained captives in addition to posters in various languages demanding their immediate release.
The committee of relatives of Jerusalemite prisoners said that the rally was in response to calls by Jerusalemite youths to stand alongside Jordanian captives especially those on hunger strike.
It said that the hunger strikers are in difficult health conditions and are subjected to Israeli occupation pressures. They have been on hunger strike for 63 days as of July 3.
Shaheen Mir'i, the brother of Jordanian hunger striker Munir Mir'i, said that the conditions of the five Jordanian hunger strikers are very serious, saying their voices have become almost inaudible.
Occupation forces Jerusalem resident to demolish his home
Sunday, 23 June 2013 / Palestine News & Info Agency - One resident of Jerusalem Saturday demolished his house with his own hands after Israel issued a demolishing order of his home which houses 8 members of his family.
Munther Hijazi, a 57 year old Jerusalemite living in al-Sa’diya neighborhood in the old city said that he demolished his 55-meter-square house after he received a demolishing order last year.
Hijazi said that he has been fighting in court for the last few years and paid fines that amount to 36,000 shekels.
Hijazi, one of the many Jerusalemites and Palestinians who are forced to demolish their homes, chose to demolish his house with his own hands to save the large sum of money he will have to pay to the Israeli Municipality to demolish his house.
He said that the cost of using a bulldozer to demolish a house is over 100,000 shekels. If he uses a bulldozer, he will have to pay in order to demolish his house.
Hijazi said that Israel has appointed a hearing in September to make sure he demolished his house. He will have to pay yet another fine if he doesn’t remove the rubble of his house.
'It’s not only a financial loss, but a psychological one,' He said.
Umm Muhammad, Hijazi's wife expressed sorrow for the demolishing of her house.
She said, "I have lived in the house for over 14 years and now we are forced to demolish it under the pretext of not having a permit. As if Israel ever agreed to issue us permits to build homes and live with dignity."
Hijazi’s child, Nadia, while crying for the loss of her home, said "Here I used to sleep with my friends. Now I don’t have a bedroom or a home."
Advisor on Jerusalem affairs to the Palestinian President’s Office, Ahmed Al-Ruweidi, said that Israel threatens to demolish about 20,000 homes in Jerusalem; 450 of which to be demolished in 2013.
He pointed out that 11 homes were demolished in the last three weeks, which sets off alarm bells.
An Insight Into Palestinian Resilience in Gaza
by SARAH MARUSEK, June 17, 2013
In the eyes of many Westerners, Gaza is a dangerous and war torn place. Even activists, including myself, often imagine Gaza primarily as a place of suffering, and one that has unfairly come to eclipse the affliction of all of Palestine. But while Israel’s wars of aggression against the people of Gaza, as well as its brutal siege, have cost many lives and inflicted countless casualties, Gaza today is a remarkably calm, protected and beautiful place where everyday lives go on, despite the continued suffering of its people. Indeed, Gaza is a place where the heart and soul flourish even if the body is ailing; where people and community are so alive and resilient that it rekindles one’s hope in humanity.
I only know this now because I traveled to Gaza earlier this month to participate in the second annual Global March to Jerusalem (GMJ) on Friday, 7th June 2013, when thousands of Palestinians and international activists mobilized in peaceful demonstrations around the world to draw attention to Israel’s continued violations against Jerusalem and its people. Although Israeli police violently suppressed GMJ demonstrations in Jerusalem and throughout the West Bank, peaceful mass demonstrations did successfully take place in Gaza and the neighboring countries of Jordan and Egypt, as well as in Tunisia, Mauritania, Morocco, Yemen, Malaysia, and Turkey. In addition, there were demonstrations in solidarity with the GMJ all around the world, including several major cities across Europe and North America.
On Friday, 7th June I was fortunate enough to join Palestinians and a group of international activists in a peaceful mass rally in Beit Hanoun, the nearest point possible to Jerusalem in Gaza. Many thousands attended the rally, and during my address I promised to carry their voices back home with me to the US in order to communicate their struggle to live under the footprint of a racist occupying power that my government funds and arms. Of course, the few days I spent in Gaza are hardly enough to fulfill this promise. There are too many voices that I was not able to hear, both because there was not enough time and because of my identity as an American woman. But I am hoping that what I can offer begins to communicate the complex life stories of a people resisting against horrific injustices, while at the same time encouraging other Westerners to travel to Gaza in order to do the same.
My entry into Gaza was made possible by the Miles of Smiles convoy organized by the International Committee for Breaking the Siege on Gaza (ICBSG). While there have been many international convoys entering Gaza in recent years, all of which bring much needed aid to the besieged people of Gaza, the Miles of Smiles convoy offers something unique by focusing on development aid. The first Miles of Smiles convoy reached Gaza in November 2009, and since then the ICBSG has successfully organized twenty additional convoys into Gaza. Our convoy included activists from Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Malaysia, South Africa, the UK, and the USA.
Miles of Smiles works closely with Partners for Peace and Development for Palestinians (PPDP) to sponsor projects that empower Palestinians to develop the means to live dignified lives on their own terms. The PPDP is a UK-based organization that works with a dedicated team of Palestinian employees and volunteers in Gaza to offer interest-free loans and small grants to Palestinians, helping them to establish family businesses and development projects. One example of this is a small bakery that we visited during the first night we spent in Gaza, which thanks to a PPDP loan generates employment for an entire family.
PPDP’s Palestinian employees and volunteers in Gaza coordinated our program, which included many different activities that allowed us access to a diverse array of Palestinian voices and experiences. For example, our second day in Gaza we met with the children and spouses of Palestinians who are currently imprisoned by the occupation authorities, often without any formal charges ever being brought against them. And even when Palestinians are tried, it is in military courts – an apartheid system of justice that separates Palestinian children from their fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters.
Earlier that day we also visited a government hospital that specializes in caring for children. We asked one of the doctors there what the needs of the hospital are, and his answer was a lack of resources – a problem that more international activists could easily help alleviate if the US and Europe did not impose such draconian penalties for working with Hamas, the ruling party of the government in Gaza that Israel and its Western allies label as a terrorist organization because of its resistance activities against the occupation. The doctor explained to us that they have many doctors, in fact too many to employ. Even during Israel’s recent war against Gaza in November of last year they had a sea of volunteers to help. However the hospital still needed equipment and medication to meet the needs of their patients. Indeed according to the human rights organization B’Tselem, Israeli forces killed 167 Palestinians during last November’s military operation, at least 87 of them civilians and more than one third under the age of 18. As we visited some of the sick children I felt so helpless and angry because as an American I am unable to contribute anything to the important work of this hospital, which saves innocent children’s lives. Fortunately, those in Arab countries are able to donate without fear of prosecution, and their contributions help keep the hospital running.
On our fourth day we visited Islamic University, the best university in Gaza (there are seven in total) and ranked among the top 250 universities around the world. Founded in 1978, the university’s campus is modern and beautiful, servicing around 20,000 students each year. The university offers many degrees across the arts and sciences, with Islamic values guiding the behavior of the students as well as the curriculum, which is in line with international scientific standards. But even this university has suffered unjustly under the occupation. During Israel’s December 2008 war against Gaza, occupation forces destroyed 74 of the university’s laboratories, as well as a library, a collective punishment against the entire population. Lest anybody think that this was collateral damage, Israel deliberately bombed the university in six separate air strikes. When I think of violent acts that would terrorize me as a teacher and a scholar, this ranks among the worst. And yet this terrorism is exactly what my government is uncritically supporting.
During our time in Gaza, we also met with Prime Minister Ismael Haniyeh, and distributed aid to orphans as well as to needy families thanks to the generosity of our Libyan delegation (as well as my own friends and colleagues who kindly donated money so that I could distribute toys to children). But most of us will never really know what it is like to live under a violent occupation. What it is like to be cruelly besieged by your neighbor and demonized by Western countries for fighting back. We spoke to some graduates of Islamic University who are involved in the Gaza student community, to try and learn more about their own experiences.
One member of the convoy, an American filmmaker of Pakistani origin, remarked how surprising it was that the Palestinians working with us were not more angry. One young man responded that, in fact, they are very angry, but that they still have to live. He explained that he holds his pain and suffering deep inside himself, as do other Palestinians in Gaza. It has to be contained for fear that if expressed it could destroy their lives. And even though he spoke these words calmly and quietly, the inner anguish distorted his face and the grief filled his wide eyes. He told us that he lost seven friends in the last war against his people. On his way to sit his university exams he also saw bombs destroy the buildings around him. His exams were postponed. But what really made the suffering intolerable was getting through the cold nights during that war.
I can only conclude that this coldness is symbolic of a world where an occupying power can terrorize and ethnically cleanse a native population with impunity. Because if there were any warmth left in our hearts, then we would all be doing everything that we possibly could do to stop Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people. Convoys like Miles of Smiles help, as do solidarity activities like the GMJ, but considering the extent of their suffering, the Palestinians deserve more from all of us.
Sarah Marusek earned her PhD in social science from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University and is currently a traveling faculty member with SIT Study Abroad. She is also a member of the International Executive Committee of the Global March to Jerusalem.
Marching for dignity: Thousands take action against the occupation of Palestine
by SARAH MARUSEK, June 12, 2013
Gaza – 46 years ago this month, Israel seized East Jerusalem, the home of many significant holy sites for Muslims, Christians and Jews, as well as the proposed capital for any future Palestinian state. Since then, Israel has increasingly undertaken measures – the placing of restrictions on Palestinian movement, the construction of a separation wall, the confiscation of Palestinian land, and the building of Jewish-only settlements – that are threatening to push out the Palestinian presence in Jerusalem entirely.
Indeed, according to a report issued last December by the International Crisis Group, Jerusalem "no longer is the city it was" even "in 2000, when Israelis and Palestinians first negotiated its fate." And this was the case despite the fact that many countries and international institutions have frequently criticized the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, and the UN has deemed some of the above measures against international law.
In the absence of any international effort to really try to stop Israel's attempt to "change facts on the ground" in the holy city, many thousands of Palestinians mobilized on Friday, June 7 in a Global March to Jerusalem (GMJ) to draw attention to the continued violations against East Jerusalem and its people. This action is part of a process of Palestinians once again increasingly mobilizing through non-violent political actions, such as the recent mass prisoner hunger strikes, weekly demonstrations against the separation wall, and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign.
Palestinians held a peaceful mass rally in Beit Hanoun, the location closest to Jerusalem in Gaza, however Israeli police violently suppressed demonstrations in Jerusalem and throughout the West Bank. Peaceful mass demonstrations also took place in the neighboring countries of Jordan and Egypt, as well as in Tunis, Mauritania, Morocco, Yemen, Malaysia, Pakistan and Turkey.
While the Arab media covered these events in great detail, unfortunately many Europeans and Americans will not learn about the GMJ, even though some solidarity demonstrations also took place across Europe and North America. And even if they did learn about these peaceful protests, it would probably take more – like a documentary film (and possibly even an academy award nomination) – to begin to communicate to many Europeans and most Americans the context for why these protests are happening at all, about what the Israeli occupation really means for Palestinians living in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Back in 2011, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) at the UN issued a worrying report that Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem were becoming increasingly vulnerable. And two years later, the situation has deteriorated even more.
Palestinians cannot move freely in Jerusalem, or between the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Numerous checkpoints either deny them entry or delay their passage from one place to another, limiting their access to health and educational services, separating their families, and threatening their livelihoods. Indeed Palestinians from the West Bank, both Christian and Muslim alike, must have permits to even access places of worship. And Israel grants few permits, often completely denying them to men under the age of 40, as was the case during Ramadan last year, preventing many Palestinian males the freedom to pray at one of Islam's holiest sites, the Al-Aqsa Mosque. And earlier this year the PLO accused Israel of only issuing 30 to 40 per cent of the permits requested by West Bank-based Palestinian Christians hoping to spend Easter in Jerusalem. Israel's continued construction of the separation wall further limits Palestinian mobility, as well as isolates the East Jerusalem economy. A recent report by the UN blamed Israeli "segregation policies" for causing deep economic isolation, leaving more than 80 per cent of Palestinian children living in poverty.
According to the human rights organization B'Tselem, 8.5 per cent of the West Bank area (including Jerusalem) was seized during the construction of the separation wall, which began in 2002. Although the International Court of Justice, the principal judicial organ of the UN, declared in 2004 that construction of the wall must cease, and demanded that those sections located in the occupied territories be dismantled, construction of the wall continues to this day.
The Israeli authorities also regularly demolish Palestinian homes and businesses on the pretext of rules and regulations, but in reality it is extremely difficult for Palestinians to get permission to build or register anything, even when existing homes have been lived in for many years. Despite the massive need to build new homes for Palestinians, only 13 per cent of East Jerusalem is zoned for Palestinian construction, and much of this area is already built-up. Furthermore, the number of permits that Israel grants each year is well below Palestinians' extraordinarily high demand for housing.
These kinds of bureaucratic measures often reify the physical structures of occupation that isolate East Jerusalem, making life for Palestinians in the city unbearable. For example, Palestinians in East Jerusalem are defined as permanent residents, but only if they can prove that their "centre of life" lies within either West Jerusalem or Israel. And according to the OCHA report, the application process for those Palestinians who seek to unify their families is now almost impossible to successfully complete.
And then, of course, there are the illegal settlements. Over one third of the area within the extended boundary of East Jerusalem has been appropriated for settlements (remember this is in comparison to the 13 per cent approved for Palestinians). Approximately 180,000 Jewish settlers are living in settlements today, and Israel has plans to continue building settlements in East Jerusalem, despite international condemnation.
On top of all this oppression, extremist settlers regularly carry out "price tag" attacks against Palestinians, including their Christian and Islamic holy sites, supposedly in retaliation for Israeli government policies that are unpopular with the settler population. Only last Friday, settlers attacked the Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem by spraying graffiti on its walls with anti-Christian slogans like "Christians are monkeys" and "Christians are slaves." Israeli police forces also continue arresting politically active Palestinians in East Jerusalem, including women and children, many of who are being held in indefinite detention without charge. Dozens have been arrested in the last month alone.
These are just some of the characteristics of occupation that Palestinians living in East Jerusalem have to endure, and help to explain why so many Palestinians symbolically marched to Jerusalem on Friday. Similar to the recent wave of Arab uprisings, this is as much about politics as about human dignity. But in this case, if change is ever to be realized, then the world has to do more than just issue statements and reports about ending the occupation of a city that is so important to our shared history that we should all be doing everything that we possibly can to ensure that Jerusalem belongs to us all.
Sarah Marusek earned her PhD in social science from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University and is currently a traveling faculty member with SIT Study Abroad. She is also a member of the International Executive Committee of the Global March to Jerusalem.
Mass protest aims to focus attention on Jerusalem
Reposted from Electronic Intifada
By: Joe Catron and
Global March to Jerusalem participants called for solidarity with political prisoners, an end to the occupation and for national unity.
Activists demonstrated internationally on Friday as part of efforts to focus attention on Israel's aggression against Palestinians in Jerusalem.
Known as the Global March to Jerusalem, the protests marked the 46th anniversary of the Naksa (setback) - Israel's 1967 occupation of the Gaza Strip and West Bank, Syria's Golan Heights, and Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. Whereas the Sinai was returned to Egypt in 1982, the other territories remain under Israeli occupation.
The international mobilization followed the first Global March to Jerusalem on 30 March - the date marking Land Day, commemorating Israel's killing of six Palestinian citizens in 1976 - last year.
"Gaza deserves all the support we can give," said Zaher Birawi, Global March to Jerusalem's international committee member and spokesperson. Birawi arrived in Gaza last week with the aid convoy Miles of Smiles 21's international delegation for the event. "But it should be in the context of fighting the occupation, with a clear vision toward Jerusalem."
Birawi, who is a London-based television producer from Asira al-Shamaliya in the West Bank, added, "Gaza alone is not the issue ... Jerusalem, and the whole occupation, is the issue."
While associated with Islamic movements, primarily in Palestine and other Arab countries, the event does not restrict its appeal or participation, Birawi said. Jerusalem, he said, "is not a Palestinian duty only. It is for Palestinians in a political context, maybe. But in a cultural and religious context, Palestinians are not the owners of the city. It is for all people and all religions, and should be protected by the whole world."
This year's march came amid rising tensions between Jerusalem Palestinians and Israeli occupation forces. Israeli soldiers and settlers have repeatedly invaded the al-Haram al-Sharif complex, which contains the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque.
And a 4 May attack by Israeli police on worshipers celebrating Holy Saturday outside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre prompted a rare public rebuke by the heads of Christian churches in Jerusalem ("A statement regarding police measures on Holy Saturday," Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, 13 May 2013).
Israel's repressive measures don't only affect Palestinians' freedom to worship in Jerusalem. Israeli evictions of Palestinians and construction of new settlements and their infrastructure, as well as economic measures targeting Palestinians, continue. "The main reason for these projects is to actually cut off Jerusalem from the West Bank and make a connection between the Maale Adumim settlement and Jerusalem," The Electronic Intifada contributor Maath Musleh said in March.
The movement urging boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel has targeted many of the companies that support Israel's occupation and settlement of Palestinian land in Jerusalem. Some, like the French corporation Veolia, have suffered painful losses as a result. Others, such as the British-Danish security company G4S, face growing campaigns.
In Jerusalem, nearly a hundred Palestinians, accompanied by a handful of international activists, assembled at the Damascus Gate in the Old City following Friday prayers last week.
Although the demonstration was peaceful, a larget contingent of Israeli police quickly moved to block exits in the Damascus Gate area.
Demonstrators of all ages were draped in Palestinian flags, and chants were led by a group of older women. They called for solidarity with political prisoners, an end to the occupation and for national unity. "One homeland from Gaza to the West Bank," several chanted.
As the march began, Israeli officers on horseback cut the line in half. Dozens of police in riot gear immediately poured into the area.
Before the march could reach some 50 meters, the police officers attacked several protesters and bystanders alike. A female foreign national was snatched up, handcuffed and stuffed in the back of a police car, though it was not clear if she was part of the demonstration.
In one instance, an Israeli officer pushed a Palestinian photojournalist to the ground. Once he hit the pavement, he was kicked several times by officers until fellow journalists and demonstrators helped lift him up and drag him to safety.
Making no distinctions, officers on horses repeatedly charged in the direction of civilian bystanders, press and Palestinian medical services.
Seventeen-year-old Muath Abu Irshaid was arrested for "taking part in an unlicensed demonstration," according to Raja Eghbariya of the secular Palestinian nationalist movement Abna al-Balad, which sent a bus of participants to Jerusalem.
In the northern Gaza Strip, a large demonstration was held at the Erez checkpoint in Beit Hanoun at the boundary with Israel. Buses from as far south as Rafah - on Gaza's border with Egypt - streamed into the protest site after Friday prayers as protestors mingled on a road stretching from a stage near the closed crossing.
"The whole world must learn about the settlements in Jerusalem," said government worker Mahmoud Kamel, who attended the march with his eight-year-old son Obeida. "This is the first thing. There are no reasons for the policies against civilians in Jerusalem. And they are taking place on land that has been ours since before our grandfathers and grandmothers."
In Beit Hanoun, members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad held the majority of partisan flags and signs. Members of other factions also participated, albeit in smaller numbers.
"We want peace, freedom and security," said Mahmoud Rouka, a Palestinian Democratic Union (FIDA) activist. "We want to be able to travel across our own country. The Global March to Jerusalem is a time for Palestinian people here, in the West Bank, in '48 [present-day Israel], and in other countries around Palestine to look toward Jerusalem."
Palestine Liberation Organization member parties, including Fatah, endorsed the Beit Hanoun gathering but their members kept a low profile during it. In the West Bank, Fatah-affiliated media announced and reported local events.
Organizers suggested that Fatah's increased participation this year may have stemmed from the success of last year's march, as well as expectations of large protests in Alexandria and Cairo, where Egypt's governing Muslim Brotherhood mobilized alongside the al-Asala, al-Nour, and al-Wasat political parties.
Compared to last year, the turnout was notably smaller in Jerusalem. Eghbariya said that "some activists, political parties, and even the Islamic movement [in Israel] declined to participate because of a rumor that the event was organized by Hamas and the fear that Israel would respond harshly."
Dr. Sarah Marusek, a Global March to Jerusalem international committee member and spokesperson from Brooklyn, New York, who also arrived in Gaza with Miles of Smiles 21, confirmed these concerns. "There was a lot of fear to organize in Jerusalem - it's very difficult right now, because there have been so many arrests in Jerusalem," she said. "Many of the student leaders who were working with us before are now in Israeli prison. This political situation has made it hard to mobilize."
One of the organizers of the West Bank events last year, according to Marusek, was Hassan Karajah, the 28-year-old youth coordinator of the Stop the Wall campaign who was arrested by Israel in January.
Marusek added that smaller numbers across the region stemmed from organizers' late start planning this year's events, due to the conflict in Syria.
Tamer Khalefa, a local organizer of the Global March to Jerusalem, said the march would be staged again next year. "It's important to mark the anniversary not just because of daily aggression at al-Aqsa [mosque] but also because of the general situation in Jerusalem," he said. "This includes home demolitions, anti-Arab discrimination, land theft and all human rights violations."
Clashes between protesters and the Israeli military also occurred across the West Bank, particularly in areas near Bethlehem and Ramallah.
In Bilin, a village featured in the acclaimed 5 Broken Cameras documentary film, Palestinian, Israeli and international activists were attacked by Israeli forces who fired rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas and stun grenades near Israel’s wall in the West Bank.
In Kafr Qaddoum, situated between Nablus and Qalqilya, dozens reportedly suffered tear gas inhalation ("Clashes across West Bank as Palestinians mark war anniversary," Maan News, 7 June 2013).
Other Global March to Jerusalem events occurred in Argentina, Canada, Germany, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Mauritania, Norway, Pakistan, Russia, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Yemen, according to the march's organizers.
"Coordinating a global movement is really difficult," Marusek said. "But it's really inspiring."
Contacts established during the 2012 Global March to Jerusalem made it easier to mobilize quickly this year, she said. "This is our second GMJ, so we had already created a structure of networks and relationships. We already had key contacts in place. We have national committees in Palestine, in Gaza and the West Bank."
"We try to choose people who can work with all the parties" as local coordinators in the Middle East, she said. "It's an international movement, but it’s also very much Palestinian-led. It can be a struggle working with Europeans and North Americans who are used to working on projects that are more activist-led."
"We are a peaceful movement, and we expect Israel's response to be violent," Marusek said. "But nonviolence is the path we chose."
Joe Catron is a US activist in Gaza, Palestine. He works with the Union of Agricultural Work Committees and other Palestinian groups and international solidarity networks, particularly in support of the boycott, divestment and sanctions and prisoners' movements. He blogs at joecatron.wordpress.com and can be followed on Twitter @jncatron.
Patrick O. Strickland is a freelance journalist whose writing has appeared in Al Jazeera English, Al Akhbar English, The Electronic Intifada, Middle East Monitor, Palestine Monitor, and others. Follow him on Twitter @pstrickland.
The people of the world demand the liberation of Jerusalem on Friday, 7th June 2013
Tuesday, 4 June 2013 / GMJ – The Global March to Jerusalem (GMJ) is proud to announce our preliminary program for marches around the world on Friday, 7th June 2013, to mark the forty-sixth anniversary of the occupation of the eastern part of the holy city of Jerusalem, which includes the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and other sacred sites. The aim of this year’s GMJ is to raise global awareness about the continuing crimes against Palestinians in Jerusalem and the increasing violations against the holy city’s religious sites, both Christian and Muslim. This Friday, the GMJ will hold peaceful mass demonstrations in Palestine and the neighboring countries, heading towards Jerusalem or the nearest possible point, as well as in major cities around the world.
The first question we wish to address is, “why do we march?”
Over the last year in Jerusalem, we have witnessed the Occupation authorities:
Announcing and constructing more illegal settlements
Issuing and executing more demolitions of Palestinian homes and buildings
Carrying out more mass arrests of Palestinians, including women and children, many of whom are being held in indefinite detention without charge
Inciting more religious conflict by conducting regular raids of the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, as well as the Haram Al-Sharif Compound
Issuing provocative statements threatening the sovereignty of the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, as well as the Haram Sharif Compound
Continuing the construction of a separation wall that annexes Palestinian land, divides Palestinian communities and disrupts Jerusalem’s economy
We have also witnessed extremist Zionist settlers committing more hate crimes against Palestinians, including the horrific “price tag” attacks that deface Muslim and Christian religious sites, destroy Palestinian property, and raze the livelihoods of Palestinians.
At the same time, we have also witnessed Palestinians’ continued nonviolent resistance, including: a mass prisoner hunger strike; the erection of tent villages to protest against the building of more settlements; weekly demonstrations against the separation wall; and public campaigns demanding the right of return, an end to occupation, the boycott, divestment and sanction of apartheid institutions, and the liberation of Palestine.
Building on this Palestinian movement of nonviolent resistance, our peaceful march will send a strong message to the Zionist Occupation to confirm the following: that we have not, and nor will we ever, forget Jerusalem and its holy sites; that we will not be silent witnesses to the brutal crimes perpetuated by the Zionist Occupation against Jerusalem and its people, which threaten the holy city’s Arab identity and its Muslim and Christian holy sites; that we are coming; and that the free people of the world are with us.
On Friday, 7th June, the Global March to Jerusalem will hold peaceful demonstrations in Jerusalem, Ramallah and Bethlehem. Tens of thousands will mobilize in the Gaza Strip, heading towards the northern border near Beit Hanoun. Mass rallies will assemble in Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Mauritania and Malaysia. Large protests will be held in Istanbul, Ankara and London, and people will gather in New York City and Vancouver.
More demonstrations in support of the GMJ will be announced in the coming days, and we urge all freedom loving people of the world to join us to demand an end to the Zionist occupation of Jerusalem and Palestine, to protest against the apartheid policies of the Zionist state, and to call for the liberation of Jerusalem and all of Palestine.
The International Media Committee for the Global March to Jerusalem
Our Call to action: http://gm2j.com/main/call-for-action/
Official web site (Arabic and English): http://gm2j.com
Main Facebook page (Arabic): https://www.facebook.com/GMJ2013
Main Facebook page (English): https://www.facebook.com/TheGlobalMarchToJerusalemEnglish
Abbas Warns Israel Over Al-Aqsa Mosque
By Elad Benari Reposted from Arutz Sheva 5/13/2013
The Palestinian Authority on Sunday sent a warning to Israel, over what it calls its attempts to harm the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount.
Speaking during a meeting of the PLO's Executive Committee, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas that it is impossible to hold back in the wake of what he called the attacks by Israel on the Al-Aqsa Mosque and PA Arabs in Judea and Samaria, in particular by local Jewish residents.
"We cannot remain silent over such actions, nor can we accept their recurrence," Abbas said. "If Israel is dreaming about establishing facts on the ground through its daily attacks against the Al-Aqsa Mosque, then it is deluded."
He added, "Eastern Jerusalem is our capital city, Al-Aqsa belongs to us, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre belongs to us, and we will not accept [the Israelis’] harassment.”
Arabs continuously accuse Israel of "Judaizing" the Temple Mount, sometimes resorting to ridiculous propaganda such as accusing Israel of using chemicals to erode the foundations of the mosque in order to cause it to collapse.
At the same time the Waqf, which was left in charge of the Temple Mount after Israel liberated it during the 1967 Six Day War, consistently destroys Jewish antiquities on the compound in a direct violation of a ruling by the Supreme Court.
The Waqf has removed every sign of ancient Jewish presence at the site. At the entrance to the Temple Mount, a Waqf sign says, “The Al-Aqsa Mosque courtyard and everything in it is Islamic property.”
Israeli Police, in an attempt to appease the Waqf, discriminate against Jews. They limit the number of Jewish worshippers allowed on the Temple Mount at one time in order to prevent conflict with Muslim worshippers. They often close the Mount to Jews in response to Muslim riots – despite evidence that Muslim riots have been planned in advance for the specific purpose of forcing Jews out.
Last week, Israeli police questioned and released Jerusalem's most senior Muslim cleric, Mufti Mohammed Hossein, for suspected involvement in throwing chairs at a group of Jews on the Temple Mount.
The United States subsequently called for both Israel and the Palestinian Authority to exercise restraint over the tensions at the compound.
Israel detains Grand Mufti of Jerusalem
Reposted from Al Jazeera 08 May 2013
Israeli police have detained the top Muslim cleric in the Palestinian territories and are questioning him over the latest disturbances at a Jerusalem shrine.
Mohammed Ahmad Hussein, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, was taken from his home by detectives and was being questioned at a police station "on suspicion of involvement in a disturbance that took place yesterday [Tuesday] on Temple Mount," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
"Some chairs were thrown at a group of Jews on the Temple Mount," which Muslims refer to as Al-Haram Al-Sharif, Rosenfeld said of the previous day's incident.
On Tuesday, approximately 40 Israeli settlers who were on a tour and were being escorted by Israeli police entered the al-Aqsa Mosque area, according to local media reports.
Israeli police had set up checkpoints and prevented Palestinians from entering to pray.
Jordan's parliament voted unanimously on a memorandum to expel the Israeli ambassador from Amman, while also demanding the Jordanian ambassador in Tel Aviv be recalled, in response to the detention of the mufti, according to Jordan's Petra News Agency.
The House of Representatives voted to "demand the government request the Israeli ambassador in Amman to leave the Kingdom in response to the actions of the Israeli occupation against the al-Aqsa Mosque."
Jordan is also the Arab patron of Occupied Jerusalem.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas "condemned the occupying Israeli authorities' detention of Jerusalem mufti Mohammed Hussein," his office said in a statement.
Abbas "demanded the Israeli government release the mufti immediately, and said the arrest represents an audacious challenge to freedom of worship".
Rosenfeld would not elaborate on what the mufti's alleged involvement in the incident was, saying the cleric could be released later. Senior clerics are rarely detained in Jerusalem.
Hussein's detention comes on Jerusalem Day, when Israel marks the "reunification" of the city after it captured the Arab eastern sector from Jordan during the 1967 Six-Day War.
The contested site, where the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is built above the ruins of the biblical Jewish Temples, is one of the region's most sensitive and its fate is at the heart of the conflict.
Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad was transported from the sacred mosque in Mecca to Al-Aqsa during his Night Journey.
Israeli steps to quell Palestinian disturbances there have led to riots in the past.
Mayor wants 'sole Jewish rule' in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israel's mayor of Jerusalem said Tuesday that Palestinians will never have sovereignty in the Holy City, suggesting that they rename Ramallah as "northern Jerusalem" instead.
Speaking to The Times of Israel news site, Nir Barkat said it was in Jerusalem's DNA to be under "sole Jewish rule" and pressure from the international community to stop building on occupied territory was "illegal."
"The answer is no separation of the city … If the world pushes us there, it’s just a matter of time before things will fall apart," Barkat told the Times on the eve of Jerusalem Day, a controversial national holiday celebrating what Israelis call the "reunification" of the city.
The international community views Palestinian East Jerusalem to be under occupation.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jerusalem Mayor Nir
Barkat arrive at a special cabinet meeting marking Jerusalem Day at
Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem May 20, 2012. (Reuters/Abir Sultan/Pool)
Barkat said it was "ridiculous" that Jews were not allowed to pray in the highly sensitive Al-Aqsa compound and added that he was uncomfortable with the status quo on the issue.
There are around 360,882 Palestinians in Jerusalem, or 38 percent of the city's population, and East Jerusalem is widely viewed as the future capital of a Palestinian state.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967 and formally annexed the area in 1980 after passing the 'Jerusalem Law' in a move never recognized by the international community.
Finding themselves involuntarily under Israeli control, Israeli rights group ACRI says Palestinians in Jerusalem do not play any part in policy-making in the city, even though Israeli authorities have an obligation to uphold their rights.
Once a center for Palestinian political, economic, religious and cultural life, the "effects of annexation, neglect, rights violations, and the completion of the Separation Barrier have led to an unprecedented deterioration in the conditions" of East Jerusalem, ACRI says.
Israeli court orders demolition of part of mosque in Jerusalem
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) May 5th, 2013 -- An Israeli court has rejected an appeal to stop the demolition of part of a mosque in Ras al-Amoud in East Jersualem, the mosque's imam says.
The court in Jerusalem ruled that a section of Muhammad Al-Fatih Mosque was built without a license and must be demolished, Sheikh Sabri Abu Diab told Ma'an.
The imam said the section under threat is used by female worshipers.
The 70-square-meter section was built in 2009 to increase the mosque's capacity, particularly on Fridays, the Muslim day of worship, as thousands of people who are denied access to Al-Aqsa Mosque pray in Ras al-Amoud instead, Abu Diab said.
Engineers and lawyers tried to get a license for the additional section but Israeli authorities refused, he added.
A Jerusalem court first ordered the demolition of the section in 2012, but the decision was appealed.
The latest decision cannot be appealed, but Palestinian members of Israel's Knesset Ibrahim Sarsour, Masoud Ghanayim and Talab Abu Arar have said they will try to stop the demolition.
The rest of the mosque was built in 1964 on land owned by the endowment foundation. "It was built before the annexation of Jerusalem," the sheikh said.
Israel bulldozes 4 apartments in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) 29/04/2013 -- Israel razed four apartments on Monday in the al-Tur neighborhood of East Jerusalem, in spite of several attempts to revoke the demolition order, owners said.
Israeli authorities evicted 24 Gaith family members -- including five children and an elderly woman -- from the apartments ahead of the demolition, Rushi Ghaith, one of the owners, told Ma'an.
The apartments were scheduled for demolition in December but the family secured a court-ordered injunction to stop it from going ahead until September, Ghaith said.
The Ghaith family lawyer said they had successfully stalled attempts to raze the apartments since September 2004, when Israeli authorities handed down the demolition notice because the home was built without a licensing permit. The family's case to reverse the demolition order is ongoing.
Ghaith said the family has been fined 88,000 Israeli shekels since the case began.
Two of the family members have been diagnosed with cancer, including one of the owners, he added.
Local field researcher Ahmad Sub Laban said Israel has earmarked the area for the construction of an illegal outpost called National Park 11092 A.
"This project confiscates 740 dunams of Issawiyah lands and al-Tur lands. According to Israeli law, no construction is permitted on these lands," he said.
The plan was frozen after international condemnation, he said, and is awaiting re-approval from the Israeli government.
According to the UN, 33 percent of all Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem lack Israeli-issued building permits, which are difficult to obtain, potentially placing at least 93,100 residents at risk of displacement. Since 1967, the Israeli authorities have demolished some 2,000 houses in East Jerusalem.
Settlers Burn Cars, Home, Trees In Jerusalem
Sunday April 28, 2013 by IMEMC & Agencies
A group of extremist settlers torched, late on Saturday at night April 27, nine cars that belong to the United Nations in its headquarters in Jabal Al-Mokabbir, south of occupied East Jerusalem. The settlers also burnt a Palestinian car, a home and trees in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in the city, several injuries have been reported.
Maale Adumim Settlement - IMEMC
Resident Mahmoud Al-Maghrebi, told the Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA) that armed extremist settlers burnt his car in Sheikh Jarrah, and also burnt a home that belongs to one of his relatives leading to excessive damage, and three injuries.
He added that a 65-year-old woman and two young men suffocated after inhaling smoke resulting from the fires, and were moved to a local hospital.
Al-Maghrebi further stated that the settlers torched gardens that belong to the Al- Maghrebi, Ja’ouni and Al-Khatib families, and that the police did not open an investigation after claiming that they have to wait for the report of the Israeli Civil Defense teams “to determine the causes of the fires”, WAFA reported.
Maisa Abu Ghazala of the Wadi Hilweh Information Center quoted UN sources in Jerusalem stating nine of the UN cars have been burnt, and that the UN refrained from revealing any further information.
Extremist Israeli settlers in occupied Palestine are responsible for hundreds of similar attacks, in addition to other attacks targeting Muslim and Christian holy sites, graveyards, and Palestinian orchards.
Palestinian prisoner in deal with Israel to end fast
Originally posted by Reuters
RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - A Palestinian prisoner held by Israel has agreed to end an on-off hunger strike on Monday which lasted for more than eight months in exchange for an early release, Palestinian officials told Reuters.
The fast by Samer al-Issawi, 32, from a suburb of Jerusalem, had stoked weeks of street protests and concerns by Israel that his death might lead to mass unrest.
Issawi agreed on a deal brokered by Israeli and Palestinian officials to serve eight months for allegedly violating bail conditions for an earlier release, after which he will be freed to his Jerusalem home, Qadura Fares, head of the Palestinian prisoner organization, told Reuters.
Issawi's lawyer and sister conveyed the offer just before midnight to his bedside in Israel's Kaplan hospital, where he had been under Israeli guard and receiving intravenous vitamins but was refusing food.
Israel convicted Issawi of opening fire on an Israeli bus in 2002, but released him in 2011 along with more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for an Israeli soldier held hostage by the Hamas Islamist group in Gaza.
He was re-arrested last July after Israel said he violated the terms of his release by crossing from his native East Jerusalem to the West Bank, both majority-Palestinian areas, and ordered him to stay in jail until 2029 - his original sentence.
An Israeli official told Reuters last week that Issawi had crossed into the West Bank as part of "continued involvement in attempting to establish terror cells."
Monday's deal dispenses with conspiracy charges and will see Issawi serve eight months for leaving Jerusalem - a decision Palestinian officials say will likely be endorsed by an Israeli military court on Tuesday.
Both Palestinian and Israeli officials have visited Issawi frequently in recent weeks to reach a compromise and pre-empt the violence his death could provoke.
The Palestinian Authority, based in Ramallah, has said it will try to prevent any mass uprising against Israel and has renounced violence in its quest for statehood.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is keen to give U.S. President Barack Obama a chance to renew stalled Israeli-Palestinian talks after his visit to the region last month.
Israel holds some 4,800 Palestinians it accuses of committing or planning violence against it. 207 Palestinian security prisoners have died in Israeli jails since 1948, Palestinian officials say.
(Reporting By Ali Sawafta; Writing by Noah Browning; Editing by Michael Roddy)
Occupation forces suppress peaceful march commemorating the Nakba in Jerusalem
Wednesday, 17 April 2013 / Occupied Palestine
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) suppressed on Tuesday a Palestinian peaceful march in the occupied city of Jerusalem to commemorate the sixty-fifth anniversary of the Nakba.
Jerusalemite sources reported that Israeli soldiers and policemen attacked a peaceful march launched on Tuesday from the Salah al-Din Street, east of Jerusalem, to commemorate the Nakba anniversary with the participation of dozens of Jerusalemite youths who chanted slogans against the occupation.
The occupation military forces dispersed the masses of marchers and arrested five of them. Three of the detainees were subsequently released, while the Israeli forces extended the detention of two others pending further investigation.
The occupied city of Jerusalem has been witnessing security tension that has recently increased after large groups of Jewish settlers announced that they will organize a series of raids into Al-Aqsa Mosque to perform Talmudic prayers in its courtyards.
Zionists tour al-Aqsa Mosque compound
Wednesday, 17 April 2013 / Ma’an News Agency
Around 60 right-wing Israelis raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound through the Moroccan Gate early Tuesday, witnesses said.
Israeli security officers escorted groups of Israeli extremists who toured the compound before leaving through the Chain Gate.
Worshipers who were performing prayers at the time chanted Allah Akbar in protest at the visit.
Meanwhile, Israeli police detained five Palestinians putting up Palestinian flags on Salah Addin street, a Ma’an reporter said.
The flag-raising was in response to Israelis putting up Israeli flags across Jerusalem for Israeli Independence Day.
Settlers carry out provocative acts in Occupied Jerusalem
Tuesday, 16 April 2013 / Kuwait News Agency
Israeli settlers carried out a series of provocative acts in occupied Jerusalem late last night, local media reported Tuesday.
Local radio stations reported early this morning that large numbers of Israeli settlers arrived in Occupied Jerusalem, as part of Israeli celebrations of “Liberation day”, and carried out provocative acts against Palestinians in the area, in addition to destroying a Palestinian store in the old town.
Eyewitnesses stated that the Israeli police in Jerusalem did not arrest the settlers and troublemakers.
Jewish extremist groups are scheduled to walk in a demonstration starting in front of the Israeli Prime Minister’s home in Jerusalem reaching the Al-Aqsa Mosque later today. This coincides with Palestinian marches, marking the 65th anniversary of “Al-Nakba”.
The Jewish extremists are demanding full Israeli sovereignty on Al-Aqsa Mosque and permission for Jews to carry out their religious rituals within its grounds.
The Global March to Jerusalem (GMJ) to take place on 7th June 2013
The International Executive Committee of the Global March to Jerusalem announces this year’s March to take place across the globe on Friday 7th June 2013. This date coincides with the 46th anniversary of the occupation of the eastern part of the Holy City, which is home to the al-Aqsa Mosque, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and other sacred sites.
The GMJ international leadership has confirmed that it is being organised in response to the continued Zionist occupation of the Holy City, its persistent violations against the city and its indigenous Arab inhabitants – both Christian and Muslim, and its continued racist practices which are incompatible with UN resolutions, international law and international humanitarian law. This requires the initiative of all popular forces across the globe in organising anti-occupation activities, and also requires that all lovers of peace and freedom stand against the policies of the systematic and racist Judaisation of the Holy City.
Popular organisations, supporters of the Palestine Cause and lovers of world peace across the globe must not stand silently and idly by and watch as the city of peace is transformed into a den of Zionist racism. They must not stand by as the worst Zionist crimes are committed against it, its people and the holy sites within it in full sight and hearing of the world community, as well as international organisations, which fail to lift a finger when it comes to the occupying state – a country which enjoys the absolute support of the world’s colonial powers, particularly the United States.
As such, organisers of the GMJ intend to make it an annual occasion to mobilise popular efforts and energies toward exposing the racist character of the occupying state of Israel, and to demand the liberation of Jerusalem and the rest of Palestine from occupation. They derive their motto “the peoples of the world demand the liberation of Jerusalem” from the spirit of the Arab Spring revolutions, which confirm that the will of the people is invincible.
This peaceful world march and the activities that accompany it will clearly emphasise that the peoples of the world, and all those who love peace, freedom and justice stand as a single unit in opposition to apartheid policies: the expulsion of the Jerusalemite population; the construction of the Wall and settlements; the Judaisation of the Holy City and the transformation of its identity; and the threat of demolishing or expropriating its sanctuaries.
Massive marches will be organized in Palestine and surrounding countries towards Jerusalem or the nearest point possible to it according to the circumstances of each country, and through coordination between all groups and institutions of civil society taking part in the march.
Mass demonstrations and large rallies will be organised in the main public squares in the big cities of the world. Protests also will be organised in front of Israeli embassies in the capitals of different countries across the world to demand an end to the occupation of Jerusalem and the rest of Palestinian land.
The International Executive Committee for the March
London-April 13th 2013
For further information, please call the spokesman for the GMJ, Mr. Zaher Birawi on mobile number 00447850896057 or via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
IJC warns the Occupation plans to build Talmudic garden near Al-Aqsa
Monday, 8 April 2013 / Occupied Palestine – The International Jerusalem Center warned of Israeli intentions to establish a Talmudic garden on confiscated Jerusalemite lands near Al-Aqsa Mosque from the eastern side.
The Center said that the occupation authorities decided to build a Talmudic garden, a garbage dump and an infrastructure network over an area of more than 1,232 dunums of confiscated Jerusalemite land, owned by citizens in the towns of Issawiya, Tur and Anata.
It stressed in a press statement on Sunday that in case of the implementation of such a serious settlement plan, these Jerusalemite towns will be deprived of urban expansion, isolated from their Arab surrounding, and exposed to more restrictions.
The IJC warned that the plan comes within the framework of a larger settlement scheme that aim to connect Maale Adumim – one of the largest settlements in the West Bank – with a number of smaller settlements in the vicinity of the Old City.
It also asserted that the occupation wants to isolate and besiege the Jerusalemite towns of Issawiya, Tur and Anata, in preparation to displace the population, and besiege the rest of the eastern side of Jerusalem.
The IJC urged the Palestinian leadership to move in order to stop these Israeli schemes, based on the international resolutions that consider Jerusalem an occupied land, especially after Palestine obtained the status of non-member observer state at the United Nations.
It also called for resorting to the International Criminal Court to stop the Israeli occupation authorities’ schemes against Jerusalem and its residents.
Abbas suspends ICC Jerusalem complaint
Sunday, April 7 2013 / By Anne Gearan, The Washington Post – Beginning a tentative round of Middle East shuttle diplomacy, Secretary of State John F. Kerry is asking for small concessions from both Israel and the Palestinians to smooth the way for new talks, U.S. and other officials said Sunday.
Kerry first visited Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who has resisted new talks for most of the past four years. His government had sought to file a complaint with the International Criminal Court against Israel over home building in Jerusalem but put the plan on hold shortly before Kerry arrived.
Kerry was expected to ask Abbas to drop or suspend the complaint as a way to build confidence among Israeli leaders that talks can be fruitful, Arab officials said.
Palestinian prisoners go on hunger strike en masse to protest inmate’s death
Thursday, 4 April 2013 / By Arthur Bright, The Christian Science Monitor – Thousands of Palestinian prisoners began a planned three-day hunger strike this morning in protest of the death of a Palestinian inmate who died of cancer yesterday, while in Israeli custody.
The Palestine News Network writes that some 4,500 Palestinian prisoners sent back their food this morning as part of a protest over the death of Maisara Abu Hamdiyeh, a 64-year-old Hamas member who was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in February. The Palestinian establishment widely blames his death, the cause of which has not yet been conclusively determined, on Israel for failing to provide him with adequate care, reports Haaretz.
“The Israeli refusal to address our appeals to release [Abu Hamdiyeh] led to a deterioration in his condition,” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said. “We turned to many countries and to the international community to act on behalf of the Palestinian prisoners but Israel did not sway from its position.”
The Palestinian Prisoners’ Committee also accused Israeli authorities of intentionally and negligently delaying treatment for Abu Hamdiyeh.
But Israel’s Prison Service said that it had done all it could for Abu Hamdiyeh since he was diagnosed in February, including transferring him to the Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba and beginning the process to grant him an early release, the Jerusalem Post reports.
“The [release] board held one discussion on the matter and was supposed to hold another one this week,” said Gondar Nasim Sabiti, a Prisons Service district commander.
The Christian Science Monitor reports from Gaza that Abu Hamdiyeh’s death also spurred a rare public protest in Gaza by Hamas’s armed wing, which has been keeping a low profile.
Supporters gathered at a local mosque at dusk, armed gunmen from the Qassam Brigades spilling out of at least five pick-up trucks to kick off the march in a rare public appearance since the November cease-fire.
They were followed by several thousand supporters on foot, from elderly men limping along to bands of rowdy children. With the death of Hamdiyeh and [Arafat Jaradat, a prisoner who died last month – allegedly due to Israeli torture, according to Palestinians] and several prominent Palestinian prisoners on very prolonged hunger strikes, the prisoner issue has garnered the attention of both Fatah and Hamas officials in recent months.
Supporters of both factions are particularly irritated that Israel has rearrested prisoners like Jaradat who were released as part of the prisoner swap to secure the release in 2011 of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was kidnapped and held in Gaza for several years.
The Ma’an News Agency adds that Hebron and East Jerusalem “shut down” as part of a general strike in mourning of his death.
Abu Hamdiyeh had been serving a life sentence after being convicted of several crimes, including attempted murder in connection with a 2002 bombing plot. An autopsy is scheduled for today, and his funeral is set to take place tomorrow.
The prison protests come amid signs that the November ceasefire between Israel and Hamas is weakening. Yesterday and today, there was an exchange of fire between Israel and Gaza, as Israeli warplanes carried out an airstrike in northern Gaza and several Palestinian rockets were fired, hitting near Sderot, in response. No injuries were reported from either attack, reports CBS News.
The Proliferation of Stealth
Settlements in Jerusalem
By Jodi Rudoren, The New York Times – The Muslim call to prayer
resounds through the traffic circle in the Palestinian enclave of Ras
al-Amud, through the taxi stand where waiting drivers sip sweet coffee
and the vegetable market where boys help their fathers after school. It
can also be heard down the street in Maalot David, where a few Jewish
families have quietly taken up residence in newly renovated apartments
with prime views of Jerusalem’s Old City.
Maalot David is not a typical Israeli settlement, a planned community
in the hills, surrounded by gates and guards, where Jews live separate
and apart from nearby Palestinian villages. It is a new apartment block
sandwiched into the very fabric of Arab East Jerusalem, a construction
many say fundamentally undermines the idea that the area could ever
serve as the capital of a Palestinian state.
Palestinians Blocked from al-Aqsa for
Ahram Online – Israeli police forces announced restrictions on Muslim
Palestinians who seek to enter Al-Aqsa mosque for Friday prayers, the
London-based Al-Hayat newspaper reported Friday.
The newspaper stated that intelligence information, which reveals that
Palestinians might seek to commit “riot acts”, came behind such
The order allows only Palestinians carrying Israeli identity cards and
above 50 years old to enter the mosque. Palestinians who cannot meet
these criteria are banned to pray in the mosque, with an exception
granted to women.
Occupation Forces Arresting Children
to Prevent Third Intifada
By Jillian Kestler-D’Amours, Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse – Most are
ripped from their beds in the middle of the night. Others are taken
while playing in the street, or leaving school. Many are blindfolded
and shackled on their way to interrogation, which lasts for several
hours at a time, all without a lawyer or family member present. Many
are beaten, verbally abused, and pressured to sign confessions for
crimes they didn’t commit.
The experience of Israeli arrest, interrogation and detention causes
severe psychological damage, and leaves lasting scars on Palestinian
detainees, their families and communities. It is especially traumatic,
however, for the over 7,500 Palestinian children under the age of 18
that have been arrested by the Israeli authorities since 2000.
Al Aqsa Mosque's Displaced Worshippers
by Anna Lekas, Daily Beast – Monday night, a march of extremist Israeli
settlers took over the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem,
filling the streets with Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers
enforcing a strictly “Jews only” policy on the streets of the Muslim
Quarter that put the nearly 30,000 Palestinian residents of the Muslim
Quarter under curfew until the march was over.
This follows a week of attacks of this nature on Al-Aqsa Mosque—the
third most holy site in Islam just a few meters away from the Dome of
the Rock, the iconic golden crowning glory of Jerusalem.
News Black-Out and Political Farce
Over Jerusalem Clashes
By Dr. Daud Abdullah, Middle East Monitor – Despite their
ferocity, last Friday’s clashes in the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa
failed to make international headlines. The virtual news black-out was
indicative of prevailing attitudes towards Jerusalem as a whole.
Palestinian officials argue, and rightly so, that even the Arab media
is complicit in this neglect. With every outrage committed in Al-Aqsa
Mosque tensions rise to boiling point, evoking memories of September
2000 when Ariel Sharon ignited the second intifada with his provocative
incursion into the Mosque compound.
Palestinians in Gaza March to
Denounce Attacks on al-Aqsa Mosque
Aletejah TV – Massive crowds of Palestinians held a rally in Gaza City
on Friday to denounce Israeli settler attacks against holy sites in
Jerusalem and to call for a serious mobilization to save the Holy City.
WATCH VIDEO HERE
Video of IOF Storming al-Aqsa Mosque
GMJ – On Friday, International Women’s Day, Israeli Occupation Forces
stormed al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, attacking both male and female
Police Enter Jerusalem Holy Site and
Disperse Palestinian Protesters
Reuters – Israeli police fired stun grenades to disperse Palestinian
worshippers who had thrown rocks and firebombs at them after Friday
prayers at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City, police
Dozens of officers entered the politically sensitive area, one of
Islam’s holiest sites to break up several hundred protesters.
Occupation Army Attacks Student
Solidarity Vigil in Jerusalem
By Saed Bannoura, IMEMC & Agencies – Dozens of Israeli soldiers and
police officers, attacked on Wednesday evening, Palestinian students at
the Hebrew University, near Al-Esawiyya town, in occupied East
Jerusalem, as they were holding a vigil in support of Palestinian
detainees holding hunger strike in Israeli prisons. Three students have
Occupation Forces Palestinian to
Demolish His Own Home
Middle East Monitor – Israel’s Municipality of Jerusalem has forced a
Palestinian citizen to demolish his own home which was located in the
Occupied Old City of Jerusalem.
The demolition order against the home was issued by an Israeli court on
the grounds that that building had been constructed without a permit.
Two Women Assaulted in Jerusalem Hate
Two female teachers on their way to a shiva in Jerusalem were assaulted
by haredi youths who pelted their car with stones and shattered one of
its windows.One assailant was identified by one of the teachers and was
promptly arrested. Later, the two were attacked again when the tires on
their car had been punctured.
"Youth Against Settlements" Launch
Campaign in Jerusalem
By Badia Dwaik – The group “Youth Against Settlements,” which protests
against the situation in Hebron including the closure, destruction and
curfew in Shuhada Street, has started a campaign to hang up hundreds of
posters with the Open Shuhada Street logo all around Jerusalem,
including the Western Wall and Israeli Government offices.
Soldiers Assault Palestinians, Remove
Woman's Veil at al-Aqsa Mosque
PNN – On Wednesday 6th March, Al-Aqsa Association for Waqf and Heritage
said in a press statement that Israeli settlers and soldiers stormed
al-Aqsa mosque and assaulted several Palestinian worshipers in clashes
erupted at the mosque’s courtyards.
Raed Salah to Obama: Don't Visit
By Hassan Shaalan, Yediot Ahronot – Two weeks before Barack Obama’s
expected arrival in Israel, Raed Salah, the leader of the Islamic
Movement’s northern branch, warned of the possible implications of the
president’s visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
Dozens of the movement’s supporters demonstrated outside the US Embassy
in Tel Aviv and called on Obama to avoid entering the Temple Mount with
an Israeli escort.
MK Attempts to Enter Dome of the Rock
By Patrick O. Strickland, Bikya News – Israeli MK Moshe Feiglin was
removed from the Temple Mount in East Jerusalem, reports Israeli daily
Jerusalem Post. Following his attempt to enter the Dome of the Rock,
Israeli police had to remove him from the site and it was closed off to
Feiglin is a member of the right-wing Likud-Beitenu party. In the past,
he has supported a call for the expulsion of the Palestinian citizens
of Israel who do not sufficiently prove their loyalty to Israel. In
November 2012, he authored a political platform that called for Israel
to “restore…complete sovereignty over Jerusalem and the Temple Mount,”
where the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque is located.
Soldier Desecrates Quran in al-Aqsa
Ahram Online – An Israeli officer attacked Palestinian female students
inside Al-Aqsa Mosque and desecrated a copy of the Holy Quran,
according to Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage.
“One of the Israeli officers located inside the courtyards of Al-Aqsa
Mosque attacked two students from a girls’ school near Buraq Mosque
next to the Mughrabi Gate,” the media department chief at the
Foundation Mahmoud Abu Atta said.
Jerusalem 'Price Tag' Cases Doubled
By Adiv Sterman, The Times of Israel – Fifty-six “price tag” attacks
against Palestinians occurred in Jerusalem and the surrounding area
over the past year, police reported Sunday, but charges have yet to be
filed against a single suspect in any of the incidents.
According to the report, in only 12 of the incidents were suspects
The number of incidents marks a 100 percent rise since 2011, when 28
cases were recorded, police said.
Palestinians Protest Against
Apartheid Marathon in Jerusalem
Press TV – Palestinians held a bike-racing event in the West Bank in
protest against an Israeli marathon being held in Jerusalem-al Quds.
The planning committee organized the event to ride from al Azarya to
Jericho. The ride was planned along the Israeli settler route from
coupsa to Ma’ale Adumim, which has been closed off to Palestinians.
A further action was held in Jerusalem al Quds to counter the Israeli
marathon. The youth in the demonstration handed out papers to
participants in the marathon to portray Tel Aviv’s human rights abuses
and Israeli policies such as settlement expansion in the West Bank.
Extremists Attack Palestinian Woman
And Rip Off Her Hijab
Al-Akhbar – A Palestinian woman waiting at a light rail station in
Jerusalem on Monday was attacked and stripped of her headscarf by
religious Jewish women, Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv reported Tuesday.
According to bystanders, a young Jewish woman punched the Palestinian
suddenly as she was passing by the station. A friend of the assailant
began aiding her in beating the Palestinian, pushing her against the
wall, and ultimately ripping off her headscarf.
EU Report Slams Settlements, Calls
For Economic Sanctions
RT – An internal report by the European Union has come down hard on
Israel’s decision to continue settlement construction in occupied East
Jerusalem, threatening to end economic projects that involve the Jewish
The harshly worded 15-page report provides recommendations to the 27
member-states for responding to Israel’s activities in the occupied
territories – which the document described as “systematic, deliberate
and provocative” – and endorses a strategy that aims at “making it
impossible for Jerusalem to become the capital of two states.”
New Protest Tent Challenging
Evictions in East Jerusalem
By Andrew Beale, The Electronic Intifada – On 8 February, a tent was
set up in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem to
protest against the evictions being undertaken by Israel.
Erecting such tents is a currently popular tactic in the Palestinians’
struggle against occupation and apartheid. In the last six weeks, at
least five “tent cities” have gone up in the West Bank, including Bab
al-Shams, erected in opposition to plans to develop Israeli settlements
in the “E-1” area between East Jerusalem and the settlement of Maale
Occupation Attacks and Kidnaps
Palestinians in Jerusalem
By Saed Bannoura, IMEMC News – The Al-Aqsa Foundation for Waqf
(Endowment) and Heritage, reported that dozens of Israeli soldiers
invaded the yards of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in occupied East Jerusalem,
violently attacked several Palestinian youths, and kidnapped four.
Occupation Announces Confiscating
Lands in Jerusalem
(PIC)-- Civic Coalition for Defending the Palestinians' Rights in
Jerusalem warned of the occupation authorities' intention to confiscate
lands and expand settlements, within the policies of judaizing
According to a statement issued by the coalition on Saturday, Israel
Land Administration (ILA) announced its intention to confiscate lands
for settlement expansion, including the land on which the Cliff hotel
is build; an area of 2975 square meters.
Video Captures IOF Storming Al-Aqsa
GMJ – On Friday, Israeli Occupation Forces attacked Palestinians
rallying in support of hunger striking prisoners at al-Aqsa Mosque in
Palestinians Protest as Hunger
Strikers in Hospital
Palestinians demanding the release of hunger-striking prisoners clashed
with Israelis in the West Bank and east Jerusalem on Friday, as three
fasting inmates were taken to hospitals.
Around 2,000 Palestinians marched in the northern West Bank city of
Nablus, while protesting worshippers at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in
Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem threw stones at police, a police
spokesman told AFP.
Occupation Court Defers Release of
Al Jazeera – Palestinian hunger striker Samer Issawi has appeared in an
Israeli court, where his lawyers attempted to get him released on bail,
as hundreds protest across the West Bank.
Gaunt and wheelchair-bound, Issawi appeared on Tuesday before a
Jerusalem civil court, which deferred releasing him for at least
House Demolition in Jerusalem
Palestine News Network – On Monday 18th February, the Israeli
municipality of Jerusalem demolished a house belonging to the
Palestinian family, Abu Safa, in Beit Hanina, a neighborhood north of
Jerusalem, under the pretext of building without an authorization.
Message from Samer el Issawi, Day 209
"I turn with admiration to the masses of our heroic Palestinian people,
to our Palestinian leadership, to all forces, parties and national
institutions. I salute them for standing by our fight to defend our
right to freedom and dignity.
I draw my strength from my people, from all the free people in the
world, from friends and the families of the prisoners who continue day
and night chanting for freedom and an end to the occupation.
My health has deteriorated dramatically and I’m hung between life and
death. My weak body is collapsing but still able to be patient and
continue the confrontation. My message is that I will continue until
the end, until the last drop of water in my body, until martyrdom.
Martyrdom is an honor for me in this battle. My martyrdom is my
remaining bomb in the confrontation with the tyrants and the jailers,
in the face of the racist policy of the occupation that humiliates our
people and exercises against us all means of oppression and repression.
Seven Palestinians Kidnapped in
IMEMC & Agencies – Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Friday evening,
seven Palestinians during clashes that took place after the army
invaded Be’er Ayyoub neighborhood, in Silwan, south of the Al-Aqsa
Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem.
Local sources reported that the army broke into and searched several
homes that belong to the Al-Rweidy, Al-Rajaby, and Shweiky families,
and attacked three women of Al-Rweidy family causing minor injuries and
panic among the children.
The sources said that the kidnapped residents have been identified as
Ahmad Rweidy, 19, his brothers Khader, 28, and Kanaan, 26, their
relative Haider Rweidy, 35, Younis Shweiky, Ziad Al-Rajaby, and
Oscar Nominated Film Exposes the 1980
Plot to Destroy Al-Aqsa Mosque
CNN – Six former heads of Israel’s internal security service speak out
about the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
CLICK TO WATCH FILM
Extremists Vandalise Muslim Cemetery
Agence France Presse – Suspected Jewish extremists scrawled anti-Arab
graffiti on the headstones in an ancient Muslim cemetery in west
Jerusalem, police and witnesses told AFP on Thursday.
“The words ‘price tag’ and Stars of David were scrawled on around a
dozen tombs in the Muslim cemetery in Mamilla in central Jerusalem,” a
police spokeswoman told AFP, saying an inquiry had been opened.
An AFP correspondent at the scene said the vandals had also written
“Mohammed is dead” and “Maale Rehavam” on the tombs some of which date
back to the 12th century.
Palestinians Protest New Apartheid
Road Dividing East Jerusalem Village
By Jillian Kestler-D’Amours, Al-Monitor – Shouting “No, no, no to Road
4” and walking hand in hand, hundreds of Palestinian children, men and
women poured into a fenced-in Israeli construction site in Beit Safafa
Sunday, Feb. 10 in protest of an Israeli roadway residents say will
destroy their village.
“Everything is going to be changed. It’s not going to be the same Beit
Safafa I know, so of course I’m going to be against it because it’s not
logical,” said 25-year-old resident and protest organizer Duaa Subhi.
“It will be like the separation wall in the West Bank, but inside the
Israel Begins Work on Magharba Gate
Bridge in Jerusalem
(WAFA) – Work began Tuesday on a section of the controversial Magharba
Gate wooden bridge that leads to al-Haram al-Sharif, one of Islam’s
most sacred sites, in Jerusalem’s Old City, according to witnesses.
The work is believed to be a prelude to the construction of a more
permanent steel bridge that is supposed to eventually replace the
Dozens of Israeli Soldiers Break Into
the Aqsa Mosque
(PIC)-- Dozens of Israeli army soldiers stormed the Aqsa mosque on
Tuesday morning as the Aqsa Foundation warned of the escalation in such
Israeli intelligence agents accompanied 51 soldiers who entered the
Aqsa in two batches and toured its Qibli mosque, Marwani mosque, and
the Dome of the Rock. Eight Jewish settlers also broke into the Aqsa
IOA Plans Confiscation of More
(PIC)-- The Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) are planning the
confiscation of more Jerusalemite land to build a new road serving
The local committee for construction and planning announced on Tuesday
that a meeting would be held on Wednesday to discuss the expropriation
of land in Beit Hanina suburb, north of occupied Jerusalem.
MK Tibi Joins Protest Against East
(Ma'an) -- Palestinian MK Ahmad Tibi joined hundreds of protestors on
Sunday to demonstrate against the construction of a highway in an East
Protestors in Beit Safafa formed a human chain and set up tents to
protest the construction of Road 4, which would confiscate part of the
neighborhood's land and divide the area in two.
IOF demolishes Palestinian Family's
(PIC)-- The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) demolished in the late
hours of Friday evening a protest tent in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood
set up by Shamasneh family in protest against the decision to evict
them from their home early next month.
The IOF has demolished and confiscated at 11pm the protest tent in
Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, before withdrawing, Shamasneh family
explained to Wadi al-Hilweh Information Center.
Shamasneh family has set up a protest tent outside their house in
Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood against the decision to evacuate the
family's home for the benefit of settlers.
Historic Buildings Around Al-Aqsa
Continue to be Demolished
*Israeli bulldozers are demolishing
historic arches and facades of Islamic buildings dating back to the
Mamluk and Ottoman eras.
(MEMO)--For the third day in a row, Israeli bulldozers are demolishing
historic arches and facades of Islamic buildings dating back to the
Mamluk and Ottoman eras on the north side of Buraq Square. The site
lies just 50 metres from the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa.
Protest Tent in Threatened Sheik
By Adam Whittock - February 09, 2013
150 activists turned out in solidarity on February 8 to erect a protest
tent outside a Palestinian house in Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem.
All ten members of the Shamasna family living inside the house have
been told by Israeli authorities to leave by March 1 or face forced
eviction. They are the fifth family to face expulsion in the
neighbourhood during the current eviction phase that the Israeli
authorities have initiated.
Palestinian Home Demolished in East
Reuters – Israeli border police demolished on Tuesday (February 5) a
two-floor building in East Jerusalem housing 24 members of an extended
“They are demolishing because they say there is no permit to build, and
here live around 45, old and young people, and they didn’t even give us
a chance to move the clothes from the house,” said Saleh Abu Castairo,
resident of the house that was demolished.
Occupation Bulldozers Demolish
Ancient Islamic Structures in Jerusalem
Palestine News Network – Heritage said that the Occupation bulldozers
continue, for the second day, their demolition of the facades and
arches of a historic building on the North side of Buraq Square, about
50 meters from al-Aqsa Mosque by the Western Wall. The Foundation
reported that most of the demolition is now complete.
Occupation MK Storms al-Aqsa Mosque
(PIC)-- MK Moshe Feiglin, from the Likud
Beiteinu party, stormed Al Aqsa Mosque on Tuesday at 1:30 pm, guarded
by the occupation forces, Al-Aqsa Foundation for Waqf and Heritage
Al-Aqsa mosque witnessed a state of alert by the occupation forces,
while hundreds of Muslim worshipers, Jerusalemites, residents of
1948-occupied territories and students gathered in al-Aqsa mosque
Squares expressing their anger and rejection of such raids.
20,000 Children Separated From
Families in Occupied Jerusalem
By Nasouh Nazzal, Gulf News – The Islamic Christian Commission for the
Support of occupied Jerusalem has accused Israel of separating 20,000
Palestinian children from their families by denying them permission to
live with their families in occupied East Jerusalem.
Speaking to Gulf News, Dr Hanna Eisa, who heads the commission, said
that in denying the Palestinian children the right to live with their
families, Israel is engaged in a clear act of ethnic cleansing of the
holy city. “Those kids have also been denied the right to obtain
permanent residency to unite with their families in the holy city,” he
Occupation Cracks Down on
Palestinians in Jerusalem
By Nir Hasson, Haaretz – Changes at the top of the Jerusalem District
police are being felt in the eastern part of the capital. Palestinian
residents in East Jerusalem have complained that the police, under New
district commander Maj. Gen. Yossi Prienti, have been implementing an
almost declared policy of collective punishment against neighborhoods
considered too disruptive.
Two weeks ago such an enforcement/punishment operation ended in Isawiya
in north Jerusalem, and a week ago a new operation started in Silwan.
The operations included numerous arrests, roadblocks to inspect
vehicles, tax collection, house demolitions, shutting off water,
various fines, searches and random checks of identification, and more.
Increasing Threats Against al-Aqsa
Quds Media Center – Researcher Amr Jamal said that the movie, published
by Israeli Foreign Ministry and which shows the demolition of the Dome
of the Rock and the establishment of the alleged Temple on its ruins,
reflects the practical steps applied on the ground to achieve this
The Palestinian researcher specialized in Jerusalem affairs told Quds
Press that the occupation authorities had completed the preparation of
all architectural plans for the construction of the alleged Temple.
Occupation Continues Demolitions in
Agence France Presse – Nine people were injured and seven arrested in
the east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwan on Monday after clashes
broke out as Israeli forces demolished several structures, local
activists told AFP.
“Bulldozers demolished two structures and some parts of a house and
they also uprooted trees,” activist Fakri Abu Diab said. “Clashes
erupted and nine people were injured, including a woman who was shot by
a rubber bullet inside her house and taken to Makassed hospital for
treatment,” he said, adding that seven people were arrested.
Racism Exposed in Jerusalem Football
By Ori Lewis, Reuters – An Israeli soccer club notorious for the
anti-Arab chants of its fans plans to recruit two Muslim players,
fuelling protests in the stands that a senior cabinet minister
condemned as shocking and racist.
At a Premier League game on Saturday, Beitar Jerusalem supporters held
a banner reading “Beitar will always remain pure”. Other signs hoisted
by fans also protested against its owner’s intention to have two Muslim
Chechen players join.
Extremists' Attack on Palestinian
Children on Jerusalem Bus
By Nir Hasson, Haaretz – At least three passengers on a public bus in
Jerusalem harassed a group of Arab sixth-graders on their way home from
school this week, with one woman calling them monkeys, issuing death
threats, and hitting one of the girls and pulling her hair, according
to the girl’s father.
Ayub, the father, said his daughter has grown accustomed to verbal
abuse while passing through Jewish neighborhoods, but that this was the
first time she was physically assaulted. He said only one passenger
came to the children’s defense and asked the woman to desist.
Aqsa foundation: The IOA stepped up
its diggings in Maghariba area
(PIC)-- Al-Aqsa foundation for endowment and
heritage said that the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) intensified
its excavations at Al-Maghariba Gate ramp to the west of the Aqsa
In a report, the foundation stated that the IOF raised the number of
diggers and their working hours, and expanded the area of its
More Occupation Desecration of
Historical Islamic Cemetery in Jerusalem
(MEMO) Israel is continuing to desecrate the Ma'man Allah Muslim
cemetery in Jerusalem, with a new wave of construction on the historic
site. Details were revealed by Al-Aqsa Foundation for Religious
Endowment and Heritage on Monday.
The foundation reported that Israeli bulldozers are digging to a depth
of 15 metres at the cemetery to build what they call a "Museum of
Tolerance". The project covers around 6 acres of the site and is being
sponsored by the US based Simon Wiesenthal Centre. Other parts of the
cemetery have been destroyed to build a coffee shop and storage rooms
for the construction workers. Many headstones have been destroyed, some
dating back almost 1,400 years.
Occupation Plans to Cage E1 Area With
By Patrick O. Strickland, Bikya News – On Monday it was announced that
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak decided to alter the route of
Israel’s separation wall to cut Palestinians off from the E1 Area of
the West Bank, Ha’aretz reports. The fence will run between Jerusalem
and Ma’ale Adomim, the largest Jewish settlement in the West Bank, and
will block villagers from the neighboring Al-Za’im from the E1 Area.
Palestinian Fury at Call to Destroy
By Nasouh Nazzal, Gulf News – The Palestinian
Higher Sharia Judicial Council has demanded that candidates running for
the Israeli general elections should remove Al Aqsa Compound (Al Haram
Al Sharif) in the occupied East Jerusalem from their election campaigns
as the holy site should not be used to make electoral gains.
According to the council’s chairman and head of the Palestinian Sharia
Higher Court, Shaikh Yousuf Dowais, the use of Al Aqsa Compound (Al
Haram Al Sharif) in electoral campaigns constitutes a violation of
Shaikh Dowais has strongly denounced the call of Jeremy Gimpel, one of
Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home), an Israeli hard line party running in
the Israeli elections, for the total destruction of the Dome of the
Rock, a central part of Al Aqsa Compound (Al Haram Al Sharif) and one
of the holiest sites for Muslims, and its replacement with a rebuilding
of the Temple of Solomon, which Jews believe lies beneath the Dome of
the Rock and Al Aqsa.
How 20 Tents Rocked Israel
Bab al-Shams at night, January 12, 2013. (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills)
By Jonathan Cook
When the Palestinian leadership won their upgrade to non-member
observer status at the United Nations in November, plenty of sceptics
on both sides of the divide questioned what practical benefits would
accrue to the Palestinians. The doubters have not been silenced yet.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has done little to
capitalise on his diplomatic success. There have been vague threats to
"isolate" Israel, hesitant talk of "not ruling out" a referral to the
International Criminal Court, and a low-key declaration by the
Palestinian Authority of the new "state of Palestine".
At a time when Palestinians hoped for a watershed moment in their
struggle for national liberation, the Fatah and Hamas leaderships look
as mutually self-absorbed as ever. Last week they were again directing
their energies into a new round of reconciliation talks, this time in
Cairo, rather than keeping the spotlight on Israeli intransigence.
So instead, it was left to a group of 250 ordinary Palestinians to show
how the idea of a "state of Palestine" might be given practical
meaning. On Friday, they set up a tent encampment that they intended to
convert into a new Palestinian village called Bab al-Shams, or Gate of
Eviction of Bab al Shams Exposes
Israel as a Lawless State
The Bab Al Shams protest village before it was forcibly evacuated by
Israeli forces. (Issam Rimawi / APA images)
Max Blumenthal –Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was clearly
troubled by the establishment of Bab Al Shams, a Palestinian protest
village erected on privately-owned Palestinian land, the planned route
of what Israel calls the “E-1” corridor in the occupied West Bank.
The E-1 area was to be capstone of Israel’s settler-colonial
enterprise, a long segment of housing units expanding east from the
Jews-only mega-settlement of Maale Adumim, permanently severing East
Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank and virtually slicing the West
Bank in half. And now, 400 Palestinians and their supporters stood
directly in the way of the plan.
Netanyahu defiant over E1 settlement
that will sever the West Bank
By Hugh Naylor
E1, WEST BANK // Israel's prime minister yesterday shrugged off weekend
Palestinian protests over the construction of a Jewish settlement that
would sever the West Bank in half and prevent the creation a
continguous Palestinian state, vowing to press on building new settler
homes in a critical area.
Speaking to Israel's army radio, Benjamin Netanyahu insisted "there
will be construction" of a new settlement in an empty stretch of land,
known as E1, which could cut off Palestinians in the West Bank from
their desired capital in East Jerusalem. His government expedited plans
for 3,000 homes in the area last month, seen as punishment for the
Palestinian upgrade in the United Nations as a non-member-observer
Occupation Forces Evict Palestinian
Peace Camp Protesters
By Harriet Sherwood, The Guardian – The Israeli state has swung into
action against a group of Palestinian activists who established a tent
village on a rocky hillside east of Jerusalem, with hundreds of
security officials carrying out an eviction under the orders of the
prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, in the early hours of Sunday
According to activists, a large military force surrounded the
encampment at around 3am. All protesters were arrested and six were
injured, said Abir Kopty.
On Saturday evening, Netanyahu demanded the Israeli supreme court
overturn an injunction preventing the removal of the protesters, and
ordered the area to be declared a closed military zone.
Palestinians Reclaim Land Slated for
Zionist Settlement, Create New Village
Al-Akhbar – Palestinians Friday morning inaugurated a tent village
named Bab al-Shams in an area near Jerusalem referred to by Israelis as
E1, defying an immediate eviction notice from the Israeli civil
administration and military.
The group is entitled to a six day grace period before they are
required to apply for a permit, according to a High Court ruling.
Lawyers had been awarded an injunction earlier in the day to preempt
“We won’t budge. We will remain steadfast with the will of God,” one of
the village coordinators, Abdullah Abu Rahmeh told Al-Akhbar.
Solidarity Sit-In for Palestinian
Prisoners at al-Aqsa Mosque
By Occupied Palestine – Jerusalemite citizens participated on Thursday
in a sit-in in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails,
after the Asr prayer inside the al-Aqsa Mosque, despite the cold and
snow waves in all Palestinian towns and villages.
The participants held pictures of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli
jails as well as the prisoners on hunger strike, and banners reading
slogans in solidarity with the prisoners, stressing on the prisoners’
right to achieve all their demands.
Building Approval Binge in Jerusalem
The Jerusalem-area settlement of Ma'ale Adumim (Photo: Ammar
(by Alex Kane) The contentious plan to build in the E1 corridor
has been put on hold for now. The reason? Forging ahead with the plan
would do irrevocable damage to Israel’s worldwide image and spark
international consternation at a time when Israel needs Western
support. But at the same time, a building approval binge has taken
place in other areas in Jerusalem.
Settlers attack on the Mosque of the
Prophet Daud in Jerusalem
(PIC)-- For the second time in two weeks, Israeli settlers stormed the
historical Mosque of the Prophet Daud in Jerusalem, and they broke the
ceramic and marble tiles covering three walls. The tiles date back to
the 17th century.
The incident sparked widespread anger and condemnation amongst those
concerned with holy places in Jerusalem, especially that it is not the
first time the mosque is attacked. The occupation authorities have
already seized the mosque and turned its first floor into a Jewish
Ethnic cleansing is the only way for
Israel to have a "united" Jerusalem
(Middle East Monitor)
When Benjamin Netanyahu launched his election campaign this week he
taunted the world community and cocked a snook at international law
with a defiant pledge to build more settlements in occupied Jerusalem.
The move was universally condemned. Recognising that this was more than
electoral demagogy, though, no one was prepared to risk the
consequences of any response more substantial. For better or worse,
Jerusalem's future is now set to determine the course of international
Israel's surge of settlement activity in Jerusalem seeks, above all, to
perpetuate its self-proclaimed "basic law" on Jerusalem. Passed in July
1980, this legal construct envisaged an "integral and united Jerusalem"
as the capital of Israel.
The Second Half of 2012: More
Demolitions, Arrests, and Attacks Against the Citizens of Jerusalem
SILWANIC – The city of Jerusalem witnessed yet another year of the
occupation and is greeting new year empty of hope. This hopelessness is
a result of the ongoing oppression, settlements and projects to make
Jerusalem a Jewish-only city, and of the ongoing arrests, attacks,
house demolitions and financial fines against the Palestinian citizens
In the report issued by The Information Center of Wadi Hilweh about the
last 6 months of 2012, most of the attacks against Palestinians in
Jerusalem were highlighted, as well attacks on their property and holy
places. The report included information about the arrests, the
demolitions, the attacks, the settlements, the expulsion from the Aqsa
Mosque and the forcible shutting down of Palestinian organizations.
Jerusalem's "Extreme Makeover" and
By Scott Lucas, Enduring America – The announcement of significant new
Israeli settlement construction in East Jerusalem has put the spotlight
on the city, but the changes it has undergone since 2000, when the
parties first negotiated its fate, are far broader and have far deeper
roots. Israelis, Palestinians and the international community must
adjust their strategies accordingly, or Arab East Jerusalem will
continue its perilous decline, with catastrophic consequences for all…
A pair of companion reports from the International Crisis Group
describes how East Jerusalem has been altered in recent years,
physically, but also socially, politically and emotionally.
Occupation Approves Another 1,200
Settlement Units Around Jerusalem
By Peter Beaumont, The Guardian – Israel has given the green light for
the fast-track development of a further 1,200 settlement units around
Jerusalem. It brings the total number of new approvals to 5,500 in just
over a week, the largest wave of proposed expansion in recent memory.
The latest plan, which would see almost 1,000 new apartments built over
Jerusalem’s green line in Gilo, comes as the Israeli media is reporting
mounting pressure on the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, to drop
his commitment to a two-state solution from his platform for
re-election in January.
Israel to Demolish Palestinian Homes
by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies
Israeli soldiers, and personnel of the Jerusalem City Council,
distributed Sunday new orders against a number of Palestinian homes in
occupied East Jerusalem.
Local sources reported that the army invaded As-Sowwana neighborhood,
near the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, and imposed a tight siege
on the area before posting the warrants on the doors of several homes
under the pretext that they were built without construction permits.
Netanyahu Vows to Build in Jerusalem
Associated Press – Israel’s prime minister has vowed to build in
Jerusalem despite criticism from the United Nations, dismissing the
international body in particularly strong terms.
Four EU Nations to Condemn
Occupation's Settlement Plans
Reuters – European nations in the 15-member United Nations Security
Council are set to jointly condemn Israel over its plans for Jewish
settler homes in east Jerusalem, a European diplomatic source said on
Israel approved plans for a further 1,500 homes on Monday after
provoking international protests earlier this month against a project
for another 3,000 such homes in a sensitive area known as E1.
15 Injured by IOF Fire in Jerusalem,
By Saed Bannoura, IMEMC & Agencies –
Palestinian medical sources reported, on Friday evening, that 15
Palestinians have been injured by Israeli military fire in Al-Esawiyya
town, in occupied East Jerusalem, and five residents have been
kidnapped after the army invaded the area and conducted provocative
acts against the residents.
Local sources reported that hundreds of residents were holding a
nonviolent procession in solidarity with Palestinian detainees on
hunger strike in Israeli prisons.
The sources added that the soldiers violently assaulted the nonviolent
protesters after the army invaded the area, and issue that led to
clashes with the soldiers.
Extremist Settlers Write Racist
Graffiti on Christian Monastery
by Saed Bannoura, IMEMC & Agencies – A number of extremist Israeli
settlers wrote, on Wednesday at dawn, racist graffiti attacking
Christianity and Jesus Christ on the walls of a monastery in occupied
Jerusalem, the WAFA News Agency reported.
The graffiti written on the walls of the monastery included “Price
Tag”, and several insults against Jesus Christ. The settlers also
punctured the tires of three vehicles parked near the monastery.
The attack is part of numerous attacks targeting churches, mosques and
even graveyards in different parts of occupied Palestine, including
Occupation Escalates its Excavations
(PIC)-- Zaki Igbaria, head of "Al-Aqsa Foundation for Waqf and
heritage" in 1948-occupied Palestine, warned of the expansion of
occupation's excavations down and around the vicinity of Al Aqsa
Mosque, and specifically in the region of the Umayyad palaces located
in the southern side of Al-Aqsa.
Tension Mounts in East Jerusalem as
the Occupation Prepares Settlement Construction
– Israel is continuing to take apparent retaliatory measures in wake of
the United Nations decision last week to accept Palestine as a
non-member observer state.
the Palestinian Jerusalem neighborhood A-Tur, tensions escalated on
Tuesday after bulldozers arrived to demolish a home located in the
premises of a designated national park. The local families’ lawyer has
won a delay in the slated demolition.
two weeks, the Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee will
discuss a controversial plan to build 1,700 homes in the East Jerusalem
Jewish neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo, in the north of the capital. The
committee will reconvene the following day in an emergency session to
approve another project, this one for hundreds of homes in Givat
Hamatos, a Jewish neighborhood in the south of the city. It too is
located on the other side of the Green Line. In addition, after a
two-year hiatus during which the Interior Ministry demolished no homes,
this week supervisors from the ministry began patrols in Arab East
Jerusalem in preparation for resuming the destruction of illegally
For First Time Britain, France May
Recall Ambassadors in Protest at Occupation's Settlement
By By Barak Ravid, Haaretz – Moves against Israel will be made in next
the few days following Netanyahu’s decision to move ahead on
construction in E1 and build 3,000 housing units in settlement blocs
east of Jerusalem, say senior European diplomats.
Britain and France are poised to take action − possibly including the
unprecedented step of recalling their ambassadors, according to senior
European diplomats − in protest at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s
decision to move settlement construction ahead in the area known as E1,
between Ma’aleh Adumim and Jerusalem.
“This time it won’t just be a condemnation, there will be real action
taken against Israel,” a senior European diplomat said.
After UN Vote, Netanyahu Authorizes
New Building in Settlements
By Joel Greenberg, The Washington Post – Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu has authorized construction of 3,000 new homes and
planning for thousands more in West Bank settlements and in East
Jerusalem, a senior government official said Friday, a day after the
United Nations voted to upgrade the Palestinians’ status there to an
The move, a first Israeli response to the decision by the international
body, drew sharp denunciations from Palestinian officials and a rebuke
from Washington, which had backed Israel at the United Nations. Critics
said planned building near Jerusalem would cut links between the
northern and southern West Bank, seriously damaging prospects for a
viable Palestinian state.
Vatican Hails UN Palestinian State
Vote, Calls for Special Status for Jerusalem
Reuters – The Vatican hailed the United Nations’ implicit recognition
of a Palestinian state on Thursday and called for an internationally
guaranteed special status for Jerusalem, something bound to irritate
The 193-nation U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a
resolution to upgrade the Palestinian Authority’s observer status at
the United Nations from “entity” to “non-member state,” the same status
as the Vatican.
Occupation Arrests Palestinians and
Further Limits Access to Holy Site
Al-Jazeera – Israel has restricted Palestinian access to the Al-Aqsa
mosque compound and arrested six Hamas members, a day after one
Palestinian was killed by Israeli fire along the Gaza-Israel border.
The shooting tested a tenious ceasefire agreement signed by Hamas-led
Gaza and Israel on Wednesday night.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud party are preparing for a
primary on Sunday amid signs its popularity is slipping among Israelis
who would have preferred a ground invasion of the Hamas-controlled Gaza
Occupation to Evict Bedouin in
Jerusalem to Make Room for a Waste Landfill
By Nir Hasson, Haaretz – The Jerusalem municipality plans to evict some
120 Bedouin from the eastern part of the city to make room for a
The city says the 500-dunam dump, which will be located in a wadi below
a road leading east from the city to the West Bank settlement of
Ma’aleh Adumim, will handle construction waste from the entire
The landfill is expected to completely fill the wadi in about 20 years,
after which the plan calls for building a public park atop it.
Zionist Mayor Wants IOF Headquarters
Moved to Jerusalem
*photo: Rick Sterling
Israel HaYom – Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat is promoting a plan to
transfer the Israel Defense Forces General Staff headquarters from the
Kirya complex in Tel Aviv to a location just outside the Jerusalem
neighborhood of Ramot. According to the proposed plan, an upscale
neighborhood encompassing 734 housing units and a country club will be
constructed near the base to accommodate soldiers and officers
European Nations Slam Occupation's
Plan to Building New Housing in Palestine
By Anshel Pfeffer, The Associated Press and
Haaretz – Governments of a number of European states came out on
Wednesday against the tenders recently issued by Israel’s Housing
Ministry for the construction of new housing units across the Green
Line in Jerusalem and in West Bank settlements.
Criticizing Israel’s decision to go ahead with the construction of more
than 1,200 new homes, Germany’s Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said
in a statement that Germany expects all sides in the Middle East
conflict “to refrain from anything that will make the resumption of
negotiations more difficult.”
Occupation Pushes Forward With 1,200
Homes in East Jerusalem Settlements
Associated Press in Jerusalem – Israel says it is pushing forward with
the construction of more than 1,200 new homes in Jewish settlements, in
an apparent warning to the Palestinians to rethink their plan to ask
the United Nations to recognise an independent state of Palestine.
The Israeli government announced late on Monday that it was accepting
bids from contractors to build the homes in two Jewish enclaves in East
Jerusalem, Ramot and Pisgat Zeev. The homes are among 1,200 whose
construction Israel ordered to be fast-tracked in November 2011 after a
key UN body granted full membership to Palestine.
Family Leaves East Jerusalem Home
After Settler Attack
Ma’an – Jewish settlers on Monday attacked a
Palestinian family in East Jerusalem, forcing them from their homes,
the family said.
Mahmoud Abu al-Hawa told Ma’an the settlers smashed the windows of his
home in al-Tur and ransacked his elderly mother’s room, causing her to
pass out, he said.
Jerusalem Patriarchate Threatens to
Close Holy Sepulchre
Al-Akhbar – Jerusalem’s Greek Orthodox patriarch Theophilis III has
threatened to close the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to protest
Israel’s freezing of the patriarchate’s bank accounts.
The patriarchate has owed the city’s municipality $2.3 million shekels
since it sidestepped a centuries’ old payment exemption on places of
worship and started billing the church for water.
India-Palestine Solidarity Forum:
International Conference for Justice and Peace in Palestine
Eid al-Adha Prayers at al-Aqsa Mosque
By Mahmoud Illean – Eid al-Adha prayers in al-Aqsa Mosque the first day
of Eid al-Adha in Mdjana, Jerusalem. Photos courtesy of Demotix.
SEE MORE PHOTOS
Netanyahu Says No Curb On Jerusalem
Agence France Presse – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
yesterday pledged to continue unhindered construction in Jerusalem,
including in its annexed eastern sector, despite criticism from the
“We are not putting any limitations on building in Jerusalem, it is our
capital,” he said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting.
“The same way that (states) build in every capital—London, Paris,
Washington, Moscow—Israel builds in Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said. “Our
bond to our capital is no less ancient and powerful.”
The interior ministry on Thursday gave final approval for plans to
build 797 homes in Gilo, a settlement neighbourhood in the southern
flanks of East Jerusalem on land seized during the 1967 Middle East war
and later annexed in a move not recognised by the international
Occupation Approves Expansion of
Settlement Near Jerusalem
Reuters – Israel on Thursday issued a detailed plan for the building of
some 800 new homes on annexed land in the West Bank that is certain to
attract further international condemnation of its settlement policies.
A planning committee issued a call for bids from contractors to start
building 797 housing units on the western slopes of the urban
settlement of Gilo, an area that Israel seized in the 1967 Middle East
war and later declared part of Jerusalem.
The annexation has never been recognized internationally.
Zionist Attacks on Al-Aqsa Mosque
Middle East Monitor
– On the 43rd anniversary of the arson attack on Al-Aqsa Mosque by an
Israeli extremist, Al-Quds International Institution has issued a
report detailing the increasing number of Israeli assaults against the
Noble Sanctuary. Observers believe that are all part of Israel’s
“Judaisation” programme for the Holy City and Islamic religious sites.
The report, which covers the year to 21 August 2012, shows a clear
increase in the scale of Judaisation activities. So much so that the
Institution says that the situation needs national, regional and
international action to stop Israeli aggression against Al-Aqsa and the
city of Jerusalem.
Child violently attacked by Zionist
By Saed Bannoura, IMEMC News – Last Friday, several Israeli policemen,
in full riot gear, violently attacked and punched a Palestinian child
from Jerusalem and kidnapped him. The child was released Tuesday and
was placed under house arrest.
A video captured by Palestinian cameraman, Amjad Arafa, shows several
Israeli policemen forcing the child, Hasan Al-Afeefy, onto the ground,
face down, while one policeman was punching him to the head and another
policeman holding the child’s hand behind his back to cuff him.
Occupation Forces 'Deploy at Al-Aqsa
– Hundreds of Israeli forces deployed around the al-Aqsa Mosque
compound on Sunday morning, a local foundation said, as tensions
continued at the Jerusalem religious site amid Jewish holidays.
Israeli troops confiscated the identity documents of worshipers in
al-Aqsa and ordered a large number of youth to leave the compound, the
Al-Aqsa Foundation for Heritage and Islamic Endowments said.
Occupation Forces Fire Stun Grenades
at Stone Throwing Worshipers at Al-Aqsa Mosque
Israeli police have stormed the world’s third-holiest Islamic site and
fired stun grenades at worshipers in response to being pelted with
stones. Two people have been injured and one arrested as a result of
Zionist Tour of Al-Aqsa Compound
– Worshipers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in Jerusalem’s Old City
clashed with a Jewish group touring the holy site on Thursday,
The Al-Aqsa Foundation for the Islamic Waqf and Heritage said around
140 Israelis toured the mosque, sparking physical and verbal scuffles
with Muslims praying at the compound.
Jewish Settlers, Rabbis Break into
By Khalid Amayreh
With the so-called "peace process" going nowhere, mainly due to Israeli
refusal to give up territories it illegally occupies, and also to US
unwillingness and/or inability to pressure Israel do so, the Israeli
government continues to make provocations and "create facts" aimed at
destroying all remaining chances for peace.
This week, Israeli authorities allowed a large number of fanatical
Jewish settlers to enter and tour Al-Aqsa Mosque's esplanade. The
settlers, dressed in religious attire and wearing kippa head-caps, were
protected by a heavy police presence.
Jerusalem Monastery Vandalised in
By Adrian Blomfield, The Telegraph
– Suspected Jewish extremists stepped up a campaign against Christian
sites in Israel yesterday by vandalising a monastery in Jerusalem close
to some of the faith’s most revered places of pilgrimage.
Vandals scrawled the words “Jesus, son of a whore” on the gates of the
Monastery of St Francis, part of a complex on Mt Zion held by tradition
to mark the spot of the Last Supper and the death of the Virgin Mary.
The attack was at least the fourth on a Christian place of worship this
year and the second in under a month.
Settlers, Rabbis Storm Al-Aqsa Mosque
Jordan News Agency – About 130 Jewish settlers accompanied by rabbis
and escorted by Israeli police on Sunday stormed Al Aqsa mosque
compound in occupied East Jerusalem in the latest provocation against
local Arabs and Muslim worshippers, Al Aqsa Foundation for Waqf and
In a statement, the Jerusalem-based foundation said the extremist
settlers forced their way into the compound, known as Haram El Sharif
(noble sanctuary) and tried to perform prayers as Israeli police stood
Occupation Forces Further Restrict
Palestinian Mobility in Jerusalem
By Oz Rosenberg, Haaretz
– The Defense Ministry sealed off on Wednesday morning the Ras Khamis
checkpoint, one of the only two exits of the Shoafat refugee camp,
which serves 65,000 people. The move contravenes a 2008 High Court
Replacing the checkpoint, another portion of the separation barrier
will be constructed. The barrier already seals the camp off from three
directions. This is despite the fact that the refugee camp is part of
the Jerusalem Municipality.
GMJ-NA Condemns the DNC's Violation
of Protocol on Jerusalem Vote and Applauds Delegates who Voted Against
Amendment Regarding the Status of Jerusalem
The Global March to Jerusalem-North America condemns the recent events
leading up to and culminating in the Democratic National Convention's
botched vote to amend the party's platform to declare Jerusalem as the
“capital of Israel”. DNC rules stipulate that any amendment must
receive a two-thirds majority at the convention in order to be passed;
despite that it was clear to everyone watching, that the vote was
evenly divided. Nevertheless, the DNC leadership ignored the voices
within their own convention and passed the amendment regardless of not
having a majority. This decision is a clear example of how under
extreme pressure from President Obama, the Republican Party and AIPAC,
DNC leaders were forced to amend their 2012 party platform to include
text stating that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel even if it means
acting against democracy and international law.
Colonists, Members of Occupation's
Intelligence, Break Into Al-Aqsa Mosque
30 members of Israel's intelligence community headed by Likud member
Moshe Feiglin, and groups of settlers, broke into al-Aqsa mosque since
early hours of Thursday morning.
Al Aqsa institute said in a press release that Moshe Feiglin, escorted
by settlers, broke into the mosque to perform Talmudic rituals,
under the protection of Israeli forces.
Catholic Church Condemns "Price-Tag"
Attack on Monastery
By Nir Hasson, Haaretz
– The Catholic Church condemned the so-called “price-tag” attack
against a Christian monastery on Tuesday, with high-ranking church
offices denouncing the “teaching of contempt” against Christians
prevalent in Israeli society.
Earlier Tuesday, the door of a Christian monastery in Latrun, the
Abbaye de Notre-Dame de Sept-Douleurs, near Jerusalem, was set on fire
in the morning and anti-Christian slogans were found spray-painted on
the monastery’s walls.
The arson and graffiti are suspected to be a “price tag” attack,
following the recent evacuation of Migron, a settlement outpost in the
Al Quds Monastery Torched, Racist
Graffiti Sprayed on Walls
-- Vandals torched the wooden door of a monastery near Jerusalem on
Tuesday and pro-settler graffiti daubed in Hebrew was discovered on the
building's stone walls, Israeli police said.
"Police have opened a special investigation into the incident," Israeli
police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said of the arson that occurred at the
"43 Years Later, Al-Aqsa Mosque Still
By International Middle
East Media Center & Agencies
– The Higher Islamic Committee and the Islamic Waqf Department in
occupied Jerusalem, issued a statement commemorating the 43rd
anniversary of burning the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem by an Australian
fundamentalist, and said that the Mosque and all holy sites in
Palestine are still facing ongoing and escalating threats by Israeli
extremists and fundamentalists.
Mufti of Jerusalem: "We Need the
Backing of Muslims Around the World"
By Khaled Amayreh, Al-Ahram Weekly – Hundreds of
Palestinian Muslims have been converging on Al-Aqsa Mosque in Israeli
occupied East Jerusalem in what is seen by many as a psychological
challenge to Israeli claims that the town is an integral part of
Israel’s “eternal and undivided capital”.On Friday, 10 August, an
estimated half a million worshipers were able to make it to the Haram
Al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) esplanade. The sea of humanity came from
all over the West Bank as well as Arab towns and villages across
Israel. Strongly discriminated-against Palestinian Arabs make nearly
one fourth of Israel’s total population. No Gazans were allowed to
reach the Muslim sanctuary.
Zionist Lawmaker Submits Bill to
Divide Al-Aqsa Mosque
– Israeli right-wing lawmaker Aryeh Eldad Thursday submitted to the
Israeli parliament, the Knesset, a draft bill calling to allow Jews
freedom to worship in al-Aqsa Mosque, one of Islam’s holiest sites,
according to Israeli sources.
The bill calls for allowing Jews to hold prayer at the mosque, located
in Jerusalem’s Old City, on specific days while Muslims will be allowed
to use it on other days, a situation similar to what is happening at
the Ibrahimi mosque (Cave of the Patriarchs) in Hebron.
The Global March to Jerusalem Calls
for a Global Movement to Save Jerusalem
– The Global March to Jerusalem joins the voices of concern in
Jerusalem, Palestine and, indeed, the world over, about the latest as
well as consequent threats to the al-Aqsa Masjid and the Dome of the
Rock, as well as the Haram Sharif in Jerusalem and the policy of
“Judaisation” that the Zionist leadership is pursuing with the explicit
intent of removing Muslim, Christian, Arab and all other traces of
non-Jewish history, culture, religion, archaeology and demography from
the city of Jerusalem and all other areas under Zionist control.
Occupation Court Rules Muslims in
Gaza Cannot Pray at Holy Sites
Agence France Presse
– An Israeli court on Tuesday backed an Israeli government policy of
allowing Christians from the Gaza Strip to pray at Israeli and West
Bank holy sites, and denying the enclave’s Muslims the same right.
The Supreme Court rejected an appeal lodged by six Gaza Muslims and
Israeli non-governmental organisation Gisha to challenge a ruling of
the Beersheba District Court, which refused to intervene against the
Israeli Occupation intensifies
efforts to impede al-Aqsa Ramadan pilgrimage
– Under tight Israeli security, thousands of Palestinians make their
way to Jerusalem through checkpoints in Bethlehem and Qalandiya. Access
to the al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third holiest site, has been denied for
men aged between 12 and 40 on the third Friday of Ramadan. Israeli
police say the restrictions are imposed for security reasons.
WATCH GUARDIAN VIDEO HERE
Third Friday of Ramadan, Occupation
stops Worshippers From Going to Al-Aqsa Mosque
On Friday, 3rd August, Israeli occupation intensified its procedures at
the checkpoints that were placed at the entrances of the occupied
Jerusalem and hindered the arrival of more than 320,000 worshipers from
the West Bank to al-Aqsa mosque to pray in the third Friday of the holy
Government in Gaza Warns Against
Attacks on Al-Aqsa Mosque
Information Centre –
The Palestinian government in Gaza has called on all Arab, Islamic, and
international organizations to check the Israeli occupation authority’s
tampering with the holy Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem.
The foreign ministry said in a statement on Thursday that the Israeli
decision declaring all Aqsa courtyards as public parks aimed to allow
Jews free access into the holy compound at any time.
Al-Aqsa to be Converted into a Park
by Kelly Joiner - IMEMC & Agencies
The Jerusalem municipality has issued a decision to convert al-Aqsa
mosque’s yards into public parks and gardens that would be open to the
general public, according to Sheikh Kamal al-Khatib, deputy head of the
Islamic Movement in occupied lands.
On Tuesday, the Palestine News Network reported on a press release
issued by al-Khatib stating that this was part of an effort by the
Israeli authorities to erase the history of Palestinians in Jerusalem
and end Muslim control of their own holy sites.
Muslim Groups Denounce Attacks
on Al-Aqsa Mosque
Muslim groups throughout the Middle East have denounced the recent
Zionist attacks against al-Aqsa Mosque and urged immediate action to
protect the holy site.
The Jordanian Islamic party asked Arab and Muslim governments to
“condemn the recent attacks and to act to stop them,” pointing out that
“the attacks violate the international laws and conventions.” It also
called on the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation
and human rights organizations “to intervene to stop the recent serious
assaults.” Read more
Hezbollah denounced the storming of al-Aqsa and released a statement
that warned “this is not the first crime that targets the holy al-Aqsa
Mosque, and won’t be the last if the Muslims will go on with their
silence and ignoring to the dangers the holy mosque has been facing,”
adding that the holy mosque has been under the danger of judaization or
Israelis Resume Demolition of
Historic Bridge to Al-Aqsa Mosque
Middle East Monitor
– The Israeli occupation authorities are resuming their demolition of
the historic Al-Magharibah Bridge to Al-Aqsa Mosque. Details of the
Israeli project were disclosed during a press conference arranged by
Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage. The work, it is alleged,
will also undermine the foundations of Islam’s third holiest mosque.
The Foundation used still and video images to support its claims.
Dozens of workers can be seen clearly using pick-axes and shovels to
destroy the bridge. Others are seen taking away the debris. Israel has
made it clear that a synagogue is to be built in place of the bridge.
Al-Aqsa Foundation has maps of the area showing this to be the case.
According to the Israeli plan, Al-Magharibah Bridge and Gate will be
replaced by a more modern bridge capable of allowing heavy military
vehicles to have access to the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa. This will,
claims the Foundation, enable the Israelis to move large numbers of
security forces into the compound with relative ease. “That is one of
the purposes of the current work,” said a representative of the
MK calls for moving Aqsa Mosque to
build the alleged Temple in its place
rightist Knesset member Aryeh Eldad of the "National Union" bloc has
proposed to his government to “cut up and move” the Aqsa Mosque in
order to build the alleged Temple in its place.
Eldad said, during a march around the walls of the Old City of
Jerusalem: “when the time comes to build the holy Temple and that will
be soon, we will then cut up the structure which is there now”. “We
will cut it up, and they can take it wherever they want”.
Romney Jerusalem remarks “harm US
Agence France Presse – US presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s
endorsement of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is “harmful” to US
interests in the Middle East, a senior Palestinian official said on
“Romney’s declarations are harmful to American interests in our region,
and they harm peace, security and stability,” Palestinian negotiator
Saeb Erakat told AFP.
“Even if this statement is within the US election campaign, it is
unacceptable and we completely reject it. The US election campaign
should never be at the expense of the Palestinians,” he said.
“Romney is rewarding occupation, settlement and extremism in the region
with such declarations.”
At a speech in Jerusalem, Romney on Sunday hailed Jerusalem as Israel’s
capital, in an apparent endorsement of a position held by the Jewish
state but never accepted by the international community.
Israeli Occupation Forces Kill Palestinian at Checkpoint
Al-Jazeera – Israeli soldiers have shot dead one Palestinian and
wounded two others after opening fire on a car at a checkpoint in the
occupied West Bank.
Palestinian medical and security sources said Akram Dair, 40-years-old,
was driving in a car before dawn on Monday when border guards near
Ramallah opened fire on him and the two other Palestinian passengers in
The three Palestinians, said to be heading to Occupied Jerusalem for
prayers, were taken to a hospital in Ramallah.
They Demolish and We Rebuilt. This is
The Palestininan community of Silwan in East Jerusalem sits at a
geographically important location for the Israeli regime as it is
located right below the Old City. The regime has, for decades, expanded
its domain by expropriating the land of Palestinian families who have
live there for generations.
In Silwan live about 18% of the Palestinians in East Jerusalem; it is
home to 55,000 residents. Silwan was at one point recognized as "the
center of the intifada" in the 1980s, due to its politically active and
Israeli forces have for decades expropriated the land of Silwanian
families in order to accommodate Jewish settlers and to expand the
Jewish touristic and religious enterprise. The Elad Association, the
richest and most powerful Jewish settlement association, has enforced
its occupying power to slowly turn Silwan into a Jewish region by
monopolizing on the history of the region while dismissing the
historical importance it has for Palestinian families.
The settler association continues to appropriate Palestinian land on
the grounds that it is a territory of 'archeological, historical, and
religious importance' as well as making use of its monopoly of the law,
by expropriating homes under the 'absentee property law.' In addition,
11 touristic parks have replaced hundreds of Palestinian homes.
Today, close to 65% of Silwanians face house demolition orders
Israel Breaks up Ramadan Meal in
Al Akhbar --
July 29, 2012
Israeli police barred a traditional iftar meal for breaking the Ramadan
fast which was to take place at an East Jerusalem hotel on grounds it
had been organized by Hamas, a Palestinian activist said on Sunday.
During the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which began last weekend,
Muslims are expected to abstain from food, drink and sex from dawn
until sunset, when they break their fast with a meal known as iftar.
According to Fakhri Abu Diab, a group called the Silwan Charity
Foundation was preparing for a mass iftar meal at the Panorama Hotel in
Ras al-Amud on the Mount of Olives.
However, two hours before the meal was to begin "Israeli police came
and prevented it from taking place on the grounds that the foundation
is financed by Islamic movements, including Hamas," said Abu Diab, an
activist in the flashpoint neighborhood of Silwan.
Army Invades Al-Aqsa Mosque, Attacks
By Saed Bannoura, IMEMC
& Agencies – Israeli soldiers and policemen invaded, on Saturday
night after midnight, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in occupied East Jerusalem,
and attacked several worshipers while trying to forcefully remove them
out of the mosque; clashes were reported and two worshipers were
The Al-Aqsa Foundation for Waqf and Heritage reported that the two
kidnapped worshipers are young men from Jerusalem.
The Foundation added that hundreds of worshipers remained in the
Al-Aqsa Mosque for the third night in a row, and that their stay was
facilitated by the Islamic Waqf Department while the Israeli military
and police are trying to prevent any worshiper from staying overnight
at the mosque or its yards.
IOA forces Jerusalemite to demolish
part of his home, arrests another
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)--
The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) forced a Palestinian
Jerusalemite, Yacob Rasheq, to demolish an annex in his house in the
town of Silwan in Jerusalem.
Eyewitnesses confirmed that the IOA obliged Rasheq to demolish a part
of his house in Al-Bustan neighborhood under the pretext that he did
not obtain a construction license from the municipality.
The Israeli municipality of Jerusalem forced the Palestinian civilian
to demolish his house giving him seven days to demolish it by himself
or the municipality would do it and he would pay a fine of at least 17
Israel – Temple Mount War Moves Begin
as Iran Back Up
…by Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich
On July 23, 2012, in a scathing attack against the Wagf (literally
translated to endowment), the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) opinion
piece’s opening paragraph stated:
“This year, as Israel observes the traditional period of national
mourning for the destruction of the Holy Temple on Tisha b’Av (which
starts at sundown on Saturday), it has again been revealed that the
Islamic Wakf is carrying out unsupervised work at the Temple Mount,
potentially causing irrevocable damage to Judaism’s holiest site”.
A December 2011 al-Akhbar article fully elaborates on the Israeli
attacks against the Islamic Waqf for the purpose of land grab
which includes homes, shops, and even Moslem cemeteries.
But there is another dimension to these attacks – a messianic aspect
which is far more alarming than just stealing land from their rightful
owners. The inherent danger from the Israeli obsession over the Temple
Mount was first elaborated in an article dated June 2010 called “Nukes
And Temples” – highlights of which is as follows.
Evidently, American presidents wish to continue to guard Israel’s
nuclear “secret”. Today, the secrecy continues, as does the aid —
perhaps towards a messianic return – the building of the Third Temple.
Israel Continues Demolition of
-- Israeli authorities are continuing to demolish the Mughrabi gate of
the compound housing the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Al-Aqsa Foundation for
Endowments and Heritage said Thursday.
The foundation said in a statement that Israel's excavations at the
site had been conducted secretly but were now being carried out
The group has been monitoring the gate, and says dozens of workers have
been demolishing earth and stones at the site.
Workers are also digging up earth around the gate where the foundation
says Israeli authorities plan to build a synagogue for women. Under the
Mughrabi gate there is another passage, the Prophet gate, which leads
to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the foundation added.
Jewish Settlers Enter Al-Aqsa Mosque
Under Protection of Security Forces
– More than 120 Jewish settlers entered Al-Aqsa Mosque on Wednesday
morning. Al-Aqsa Foundation for Islamic Endowments and Heritage said
that several groups of illegal settlers entered the Noble Sanctuary
from Al-Magharebeh Gate and spread around the compound in several
places. There, it is reported, they established religious study circles
and performed a number of prayers.
IOF Arrest Imam of Al-Aqsa Mosque
(Alresalah.ps) On Thursday, 26th July, Israeli occupation forces
arrested at dawn, Imam of al-Aqsa mosque after they broke into the
mosque, closed its gates and forced the worshipers to leave.
Sources in Jerusalem said that worshipers were at the mosque for
al-Fajer prayer and suddenly the Israeli police broke into the mosque,
arrested the mosque's Imam and took him to an unknown location.
Israeli Police Intensify Raids of
East Jerusalem's Issawiya Neighbourhood During Ramadan
(Alternative Information Centre)
Israeli police and border police have escalated raids of the East
Jerusalem neighbourhood of Issawiya since the beginning of Ramadan last
Friday. Village residents report that police officers raid the village
each day after midnight, conducting searches of homes and detaining
Israel to Annex More of East Jerusalem
by Craig Harrington - IMEMC
On Tuesday Israel announced plans to take full municipal control of a
section of East Jerusalem that lies on the other side of its separation
Israeli officials in Tel Aviv have been discussing taking full
municipal control of the rest of East Jerusalem for several years.
Their latest plan will bring portions of the city suburbs that lie east
of the separation wall under Israeli jurisdiction, reports Ma’an News.
Israel Destroying Umayyad Palaces
Next to Al-Aqsa Mosque
(Middle East Monitor)
Israel has stepped-up its plans to destroy the Umayyad Caliphate
palaces south of Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowments and Heritage has revealed that Israel
has stepped-up its plans to destroy the Umayyad Caliphate palaces south
of Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Israelis have also extended a network of bridges
and stairs around the archaeological area adjacent to Al-Aqsa, aiming
at the transformation of the entire area to provide service facilities
for the so-called Third Temple.
The foundation asserted that "if and when Israel's works in the Umayyad
palaces are completed, this will result in the Judaisation of the
entire region south of Al-Aqsa mosque under the pretext of the "Torah
Park". This is linked by an underground tunnel with the entrance of the
Wadi Hilweh neighbourhood in Silwan.
Israelis, soldiers tour Al-Aqsa mosque
-- Dozens of Jewish worshipers entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque guarded by
Israeli soldiers on Monday, the Al-Aqsa Foundation for Waqf and
Around 58 Jewish worshipers and 28 Israeli soldiers toured the mosque,
the foundation said in a statement. Such visits are provocative,
particularly in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the group added.
Palestinian wedding: 3 countries, 2
ceremonies, 1 couple
(Ma'an) By Daoud Kuttab
This week, family and friends crossed international borders, military
checkpoints and overcame the usual political bureaucracies to attend my
daughter’s two weddings. Why two weddings? Let me explain.
Like me, my daughter Tamara is a Jerusalemite. The bridegroom, Alaa,
lives in the Bethlehem area town of Beit Jala. It takes minutes to move
between these adjacent towns, but they are kilometers away because of
the 45-year-old political and military situation caused by Israel’s
occupation of Arab lands.
The situation is further complicated by the unilateral Israeli decision
to annex Jerusalem. So, according to Israeli law (which not a single
country, including the US, recognizes), Jerusalem is part of Israel and
therefore under civilian Israeli rule, Beit Jala is occupied territory
and the two are separated by walls and checkpoints.
Israeli Attorney General Claims:
Al-Aqsa is Part of Israel's Lands
Israeli Army broadcast published that Israeli Attorney General Yehuda
Vainshtein, claimed that al-Aqsa mosque and its surrounding is an
integral part of Israel's lands, so the Israeli laws must be
implemented, especially the two laws issued by the Temple Mount
Antiquities Rescue Committee; the Law of Planning and Construction,
1965, and the Antiquities Law of 1978.
The Army radio also said "Because of the special nature of the site,
laws should be applied with the utmost sensitivity, taking into account
the pragmatic considerations."
Uniting the Global Movement for
of Palestinians to stand up for their rights endures. (Activestills)
By Paul Larudee, published at Palestine Chronicle
'The old will die and the young will forget.' - David Ben Gurion, 1948
When I first went to Palestine in 1965, Ben Gurion's prediction seemed
plausible. Palestinians and the Palestine solidarity movement
were nearly invisible outside the Middle East. The Palestinian
narrative was not commonly heard, except among academics and
specialists who rarely had the opportunity to address the public.
Building an international movement was an unlikely dream and dependent
mainly upon the good graces of sympathetic governments and NGOs, which
Today, the prediction seems more like wishful thinking, bordering on
delusion. Both Palestinians and their allies throughout the world
are more numerous and better organized than ever. They are
mounting increasingly sophisticated movements to challenge the Zionist
project of expelling the indigenous population from Palestine and
replacing it with racially and ethnically selected immigrants.
The reasons for this are many. Foremost is the enduring
determination of Palestinians to stand up for their rights and to
correct the wrongs done to them, even when the likelihood of prevailing
appeared dim. This determination spawned Palestinian champions
that included resistance fighters, writers, academics, artists and
politicians who have carried the cause into new dimensions and to new
Israeli Eradication of History:
by Jonathan Cook, Al-Akhbar English – The discovery of a rare aerial
photo of Jerusalem in the 1930s, taken by a Zeppelin, has provided the
long-sought after proof that when Israel occupied the Old City in 1967
it secretly destroyed an important mosque that dated from the time of
Saladin close to the al-Aqsa mosque.
The destruction of the Sheikh Eid mosque – in an area widely considered
to be the most sensitive site in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict –
revives questions about Israel’s continuing abuse of Islamic holy
places under its control.
Foundation: Israel dug under Al-Aqsa
-- Israeli workers have dug a patch of earth from the bottom of the
Mughrabi gate of the compound housing Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Al-Aqsa
Foundation for Endowments and Heritage said Monday.
The foundation said trucks transported the dirt from the base of the
holy site after it was dug up manually overnight to avoid notice.
It warned that Israel is conducting secret excavations at night which
will obliterate Palestinian heritage.
The compound, the Haram al-Sharif, is in the old walled city of
Jerusalem, which Israel captured along with the West Bank in a 1967 war
and annexed in a step not recognized by the international community.
Israel Plans to Resume Construction
of Annexation Wall in Jerusalem
by Kelly Joiner, IMEMC & Agencies – An Israeli army officer
revealed plans to resume construction of the annexation wall in
Jerusalem in the coming weeks.
Israeli army colonel Ofir Hindi, head of the administration responsible
for construction of the annexation wall, revealed plans to continue
construction on the wall in Jerusalem in the upcoming weeks.
Israeli news agency Yediot Ahranot reported on discussions during an
Israeli Supreme Court hearing regarding an appeal Palestinians have
submitted to stop construction.
Construction of Wall around Jerusalem
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israel's plans to resume building its separation
wall around Jerusalem signal plans to complete the "judaization" of the
holy city, a Fatah central committee member warned Thursday.
Amal Hamad said the move was Israel's "most dangerous action" since it
occupied the West Bank and Gaza in 1967.
"The role of the apartheid wall around Jerusalem is to facilitate the
annexation of settlement blocs" Hamad said in a statement.
Israel Plans Military College in East
Agence France Presse – Israel’s interior
ministry has approved the construction of a military academy on land in
the Mount of Olives in Arab east Jerusalem, Israeli activists and
officials told AFP on Wednesday.
The plan is likely to spark controversy and has already been dubbed a
“This project to construct a national defence college in Jerusalem was
voted on a month ago by the Jerusalem municipality planning committee
and another interior ministry committee confirmed it on Monday,” Pepe
Alalu, a council member in the Holy City, told AFP.
The public has 60 days to appeal the plan before it can be formally
“There’s little chance that an appeal will be accepted by the interior
ministry given that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu supports this
project,” said Daniel Seidemann, director of the NGO Terrestrial
Israel Demolishes Historic Islamic
Sites in Jerusalem
June 26 2012 / By Saed Bannoura, IMEMC News – The Al-Aqsa
Foundation for Waqf and Heritage issued a press release, on Monday,
revealing that Israeli bulldozers destroyed and demolished historic
Islamic sites dating back to the Umayyad and Abbasid eras, in addition
to the Ottoman era in occupied Jerusalem. Some of the demolished sites
are a mosque and a school building dating back to the Umayyad era.
said that the so-called Israel’s Archeological Authority
has been destroying and burying ancient Islamic sites over the last
five years during excavations in Al-Boraq area, 100 meters west of the
recognize peaceful Palestinian resistance movement
West has been largely silent on Palestinian nonviolent resistance,
which is unifying groups like Fatah and Hamas. Unless the West
recognizes these peaceful initiatives, some Palestinians may question
whether civil protest is any better than its violent alternative.
By Sarah Marusek / June 7, 2012 , the
Christian Science Monitor
border police detain a Palestinian demonstrator during a protest June 5
in the West Bank city of Hebron, marking the anniversary of the 1967
Middle East War. Op-ed contributor Sarah Marusek observes: 'While in
the past many Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon have supported the
path of armed resistance to fight for their rights, today they are
peacefully taking to the streets.' --Darren Whiteside/Reuters
Some ask why the Palestinians seem to have been left behind in the
so-called Arab Spring. In fact, they have not.
in Lebanon, the Palestinian territories, and throughout the Middle East
region have been engaging in nonviolent resistance over the past year.
But the Western media have been largely silent in their coverage of
this remarkable movement, which is unifying groups as disparate as
Fatah, Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and The Popular Front for the Liberation
Unless the West recognizes these peaceful
initiatives, some Palestinians may question whether nonviolent civil
resistance will be any better than its violent alternative.
Resistance and Resilience
(1st published at Global Research;
re-published at In
by Eva Bartlett and Ali Mallah
the passing of the 64th anniversary of the Nakba, (the establishment of
the illegal Zionist state on the land and homes of Palestinians),
should we mourn or celebrate? Professor Nurit Peled–Elhanan wrote
of her mourning:
“I will mourn on Nakba Day. I will mourn for vanished Palestine most of
which I never knew. I will mourn for the holy land that is losing its
humanity, its landscape, its beauty and its children on the altar of
racism and evil. I will mourn for the Jewish youngsters who invade and
desecrate the homes of families in Sheikh Jarrah, throw the inhabitants
into the street, and then sing and dance in memory of Baruch Goldstein,
the infamous murderer of Palestinian children, while the owners of the
desecrated houses with their children and old people are sleeping in
the rain, on the street, opposite their own homes. ...All these things
I will mourn on Nakba Day. I will join the millions of dispossessed,
downtrodden and humiliated who have not given up on the future and who
still believe there is a chance, who stand as witnesses and as
firebrands of the true human spirit.…”
the last 64 years, Palestinian women, men, elderly, and youth have
steadfastly and spiritedly resisted the occupation and the Zionist
state. It is a resistance that continues flourishing among Palestinians
from all walks of life both inside and outside Palestine, be they
farmers, workers, students, poets, or intellectuals.
The People United:
A Presentation and Discussion
about the Global March to Jerusalem
The Gaza contingent of the Global March to Jerusalem, March 30, 2012
WHERE: Strawberry Creek Lodge, 1320 Addison St., Berkeley
WHEN: 7:30 p.m., Thursday, May 31, 2012
WHO: Paul Larudee, possibly with
other Bay Area GMJ organizers
FOR MORE INFO: email@example.com,
Free will donations gratefully accepted
Possible GMJ 2013 Proposal: A Human Chain Around Palestine???
The 2008 Gaza human chain, organized by the Popular Committee Against
“Land Day” demonstrations saw tens of thousands in
Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the occupied West Bank and Gaza
The Real News – March 30th marks the Palestinian annual “Land Day”.
This year protests were organized under the banner of a “Global March
to Jerusalem”, to mark the point that millions of Palestinians are
prevented from reaching the holy city from Arab countries, Gaza, and
the West Bank. In solidarity, tens of thousands protested in Lebanon,
Jordan, Syria, and in the occupied Palestinian Territories. The Real
News’ Lia Tarachansky reports from East Jerusalem where Israeli forces
met protesters with policemen on horses. At least one demonstrator died
in Gaza and dozens were injured in the various demonstrations.
Organizers say Jerusalem march