Archive | November 24th, 2010

DOROTHY ONLINE NEWSLETTER

NOVANEWS 

Dear Friends,

 

The 7 items below say not a word about the new law that the Israeli Knesset enacted last night making a referendum obligatory if insufficient numbers of MKs agree to returning land to Palestinians when and if the day comes.  Most newspaper reports that I managed to read believe that the law will pose an obstacle for Israel to achieve peace.  But who ever said that Israel wants peace?  If you are interested, here are a few links (the Washington Post, oddly, said nary a word on the subject)—

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-11817445

http//www.nytimes.com/2010/11/23/world/middleeast/23mideast.html?_r=1&ref=middleeast

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/nov/23/israel-palestine-withdrawal-referendum

http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=196410

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/barak-israel-s-enemies-will-use-referendum-law-against-us-1.326313

 

From my standpoint, the new law is negligible.  The problem is that the world lets Israel get by with everything.  ‘Israel doesn’t want peace?  So be it,’ the world says.  Of course there are anti-Zionists who do not keep quiet.  But governments?  They are all rah rah Israelis.  We just have to keep plugging at it until the grass roots movements opposing Israeli policies grow large enough to impact upon governments. 

—–

The first 3 items are about prisons and prisoners.  The initial one is about 14 year old Mohammed, who looks younger than 14, and who was taken prisoner on Saturday along with 6 Israelis and Internationals who were demonstrating at Beit Omar.  But whereas the 6 others were released after several hours, the boy (being Palestinian) was taken to Ofer military base, and chucked into prison, where he apparently still is 3 days later, with no idea of when he will be released or if he will be.  This item is accompanied by video and by the latest update.  Also, I have added links to information about international law on the treatment of children and on Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.  Among these is a video of about 5-6 minutes well worth your time (not to be confused with the video of the demonstration). 

Item 2 informs us that nightly incursions by the IOF continue, and that now not only Abu Rahma, a leader of the non-violent demonstrations in the village, remains imprisoned, but that also his son (who is not yet 16) has been taken into captivity.  The IOF is doing its best to trample the non-violent demonstrations and to cause them to become violent.  Israel knows how to deal with violence much better than with non-violence.  Why does the world allow this immoral and ultimately useless conduct on Israel’s part to continue?

 

Item 3 informs us that Abu Rahma remains in jail, even though he has completed serving his term.  His, Attorney Gabi Lasky, hits the nail right squarely on the nose in claiming “that the decision to remand him after he completed his sentence makes a mockery of the law and of ‘justice itself.’”  But that’s Israel, as she adds,” The military courts are a well oiled machine of unfair and biased legal procedure. Today’s decision proves that.”

 

Item 4 reports another eviction of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem.  Ugly.  My guiding principle is not to do unto others what I would not want done unto myself.  Apparently these Jews who chuck Palestinians out of their homes have a different law—‘take whatever you can, and to hell with justice, with humanity, with anything that smacks of either.’

 

Item 5 is today’s Haaretz editorial about how settlers and Israeli government policies find new ways to embitter Palestinians.

 

Items 6 and 7 are each personal stories—6 is about another airport ‘security’ harassment, 7 about a ‘mixed’ marriage that despite the hardships is working.

 

I have added an 8th brief item that flowed into my inbox a short while ago, because it finally allows me to end this message on a positive note; it can’t eliminate the bitter taste left by the first 5 items, but it nevertheless is pleasant to see that some of our endeavors are bearing fruit, and that not everyone ignores what is happening here.

All the best,

Dorothy

 

PS.  Have decided to stop apologizing for sending too much.  What, after all, would  you have omitted from the items below?  Do your best.  That’s all that any of us can do.

================================== 

Mohammad’s capture at the Beit

[forwarded by Mazin Qumsiyeh]

From Johanna “This footage is from the demo on Saturday, November 20, 2010. It shows when the  soldiers started pushing the kids and then they started to arrest people and  throw sound bombs and  then tear gas! And then there is the footage from the  little Mohamed being arrested. Actually he was 14 years old. He is still in  Jail and tomorrow he has a hearing. The soldiers claim that he threw stones.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HnI36hMuAg

 

——-

Link to pictures of 13 year old Mohammad’s ‘capture

[pictures forwarded by Ofra Lyth]

http://picasaweb.google.com/106959095743439505913/ChildPrisoners#

 

The latest update about him, from today at around noon, is this from Maria:

I know folks have been asking about the status of Mohammad Awad, the boy arrested at Saturday’s Beit Ommar demonstration, so here’s what I know: 

He has a new lawyer from an NGO that provides lawyers for underage arrestees. He did not see a judge today, and as far as I know we are not sure when he will. That’s all we have so far, but if I hear anything else I’ll let you know. 

 

Here’s the report and footage from Saturday’s demonstration: http://palestinesolidarityproject.org/2010/11/20/one-palestinian-youth-five-solidarity-activists-arrested-in-beit-ommar-demonstration/  [the same video as in Mazin Qumsiyeh’s forward above]

 

Links to information about international laws on child imprisonment and on Israel’s imprisonment of Palestinian children

 

http://mwcnews.net/focus/analysis/1789-imprisoning-palestinian-children.html

 

a strong video report on Palestinian child imprisonment by Israel—about 5-6 minutes

http://botlbrush.com/blog/?p=688

http://web61388.aiso.net/resources/infoDetail.asp?ID=10131&flag=report

International law on the rights of children

 

http://www.dci-pal.org/english/camp/freedom/display.cfm?docid=246&categoryid=14

Campaign to release Palestinian children

 

1. For close up photos of the soldier’s capture and treatment of Mohammad, see

 

http://picasaweb.google.com/106959095743439505913/ChildPrisoners#

—–

Links to information about international laws on child imprisonment and on Israel’s imprisonment of Palestinian children

 

http://mwcnews.net/focus/analysis/1789-imprisoning-palestinian-children.html

 

a strong video report on Palestinian child imprisonment by Israel—about 5-6 minutes

http://botlbrush.com/blog/?p=688

http://web61388.aiso.net/resources/infoDetail.asp?ID=10131&flag=report

International law on the rights of children

 

http://www.dci-pal.org/english/camp/freedom/display.cfm?docid=246&categoryid=14

Campaign to release Palestinian children

 

=======================

2. Military Incursions continue in the Occupied village of Bil’in.

http://www.bilin-ffj.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=329&Itemid=1

Military Incursions continue in the Occupied village of Bil’in. Bil’in 11 – 23 – 2010 at 2:30 am, Israeli forces stormed the village of Bil’in in a night raid. Four soldiers raided the home of Adeeb Abu Rahma, one of the prominent organizers of the non-violent demonstrations against the Wall. Adeeb Abu Rahma has been imprisoned by Israel for the last 17 months. Tonight, Israeli forces arrested Mohammed Adeeb Abu Rahma, Adeeb’s son, who is under 16 years old. It is unknown where he was taken. Mohammed is Adeeb’s only son. He was helping the family with their affairs while Adeeb remains unjustly detained by Israel. Seven daughters and Adeeb’s wife also live in the home that was raided. In this inhumane attack on the Abu Rahma house, Mohammed was beaten by the Israeli soldiers when he peacefully resisted arrest.

During filming of the raid, local journalists Haitham Al-Khatib and Hamde Abu were mercilessly beaten by Israeli Occupation Forces and caused extensive damage to Haitham’s Camera, wanting Haitham to stop filming what was happening during the incursion. This is what happened in Bil’in today and this is what happens in the village of Bil’in and other Palestinian villages every day.
==============================

3. Ynet,

November 23, 2010

 

   ‘Anti-fence activist still in jail after completing sentence’

 

Palestinian sources say military court preventing release of leader of Bilin protests against separation fence who was convicted of incitement, despite having completed his prison term

 

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3988460,00.html

 

Ali Waked

 

The president of the Military Court of Appeals Colonel Aharon Mishnayot accepted a military prosecution request Monday and ordered the arrest of Abdullah Abu Rahma who serves as the director of the Bilin village’s popular committee against the seperation fence, despite the fact that he completed his prison sentence for his involvement in organizing the anti-fence protests last Thursday, Palestinian sources reported.

 

Anti-fence activists and members of the committee claim that the decision goes against Supreme Court guidelines regarding jailing prisoners who completed their sentences, which stipulates it can only be done in special circumstances. The military prosecution approached the court at the last minute to prevent Abu Rahma’s release Thursday and initiated a hearing on the case.

 

In October, Abu Rahma was sentenced to 12 months in prison for incitement and the organization of unauthorized protests. After his imprisonment, the European Union issued a special statement where it defined Abu Rahma as a protector of human rights. EU representatives attended all the hearings in his case. 

 

EU foreign affairs chief Catherin Ashton expressed concern over the case and claimed that Abu Rahma’s arrest was meant to prevent him and other Palestinians from realizing their legitimate right to non-violent protest against the separation fence.

 

‘We’re determined to contiune non-violent struggle against fence’ (Photo: Activestills)

 

Muhammad Khatib, member of the popular committee, told Ynet that the decision illustrates the security establishment’s policy of fighting the leaders of non-violent protest at any cost. “This decision will not affect our activity. Abdullah and other leaders’ arrests prove they do not affect our determination to continue fighting against the expropriation of our lands and against the fence. 

 

“We are determined to fight against the injustice and shall keep championing the popular, non-violent struggle.” 

 

Abu Rahma’s Attorney Gabi Lasky claimed that the decision to remand him after he completed his sentence makes a mockery of the law and of “justice itself.” She nevertheless noted she was not surprised: “The military courts are a well oiled machine of unfair and biased legal procedure. Today’s decision proves that.”

==========================

4. Haaretz,

November 23, 2010

 

Palestinian family evicted from East Jerusalem home claimed by Israeli rightists Elad association, which intervened on behalf of the rightists, say that the family had sold the home and agreed to evacuate voluntarily; residents say deal was not legal, as landlord no longer alive.

 

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/palestinian-family-evicted-from-east-jerusalem-home-claimed-by-israeli-rightists-1.326295

 

By Nir Hasson

 

Israel Police forces on Tuesday evacuated a Palestinian family from their home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber, after right-wing activists claimed to have purchased the building.

 

The non-profit group Elad, which intervened on behalf of the settlers, said that the family had agreed to evacuate after selling their home.

 

The 16 residents of the home say that the sale was illicit as the name of the landlord written on the deal is no longer alive. They also claim that the landlord left the house to the family in his will. Large police forces were on hand to monitor the situation, but no violence was reported.

 

The house in question was purchased by the Wohl Investments group. Left-wing activists have accused the group as serving as a front company for Elad in rthe acquisition of Palestinian property in East Jerusalem.

 

The Elad association has been operating in East Jerusalem for about 20 years. It has acquired and received many properties belonging to Palestinians in Kfar Silwan, adjacent to the Old City, and manages the national park in the City of David on behalf of the state.

 

In recent years, the association has invested many millions to finance the archaeological excavations undertaken by the Antiquities Authority in Silwan. Palestinians in Silwan contend that Elad has “taken over” substantial sections of the village.

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5.  Haaretz,

November 23, 2010

 

A new way to embitter Palestinian lives

Settlers in the occupied territories are converting springs and other water sources into memorials and tourism sites.

 

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/a-new-way-to-embitter-palestinian-lives-1.326217

 

Haaretz Editorial

 

Settlers in the occupied territories have found a new way to embitter Palestinians’ lives: converting springs and other water sources into memorials and tourism sites, as Zafrir Rinat reported in yesterday’s Haaretz. As if it were not bad enough that Palestinians have no access to most of these springs since they are barred from using roads near the settlements, Israeli flags now fly over these water sources and they are walled off by fences and guards.

 

“Over the last two years there has been great development in the tourism field, and as part of the development program [sponsored] by the Tourism Ministry and the council, fouled springs are being turned into pleasant tourism sites … and opened to the general public,” the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council wrote in one of its publicity brochures.

 

But they aren’t open to the entire public. The whitewashed language used to justify the new venture is only a prelude to this statement: “For obvious security reasons, and due to the terrorist attacks that have occurred in the past, the Israel Defense Forces do not allow Arabs access to springs near the settlements.”

 

This is the time-honored system for abusing the Palestinians and driving them off their lands, under the settlers’ dubious orchestration. First they set up a settlement (which is ostensibly legal ) or an outpost (which is illegal even by Israeli standards ). Next, the IDF, which is committed to ensuring the settlers’ safety, refuses to allow Palestinians to travel in that vicinity.

 

But even this is not enough for the settlers, so they create provocations. For their takeover of the springs does not just deny the Palestinians access to water sources; it also, and primarily, creates a violent provocation. Putting up a sign that erases a spring’s Arab name and invents a Hebrew name to replace it, or destroying an ancient building and putting up a memorial in its place in an attempt to create an exclusive Jewish settler memory, are provocations solely for the sake of provocation.

 

“Access to the springs is liable to change, in order to prevent violent friction,” the IDF Spokesman’s Office says. So the settlers are being rewarded twice over: Instead of punishing them for their Wild West behavior, the state is standing behind them and supplying them with protection and funding.

 

The Tourism Ministry must understand that such shameful colonialist acts are liable to make it hard to market Israel as an open democracy. The ministry would do better to reconsider the costs and benefits of this project and remove its aegis from the settlers’ disruptive behavior.

==========================

6, “An El Al spokesman said in response, ‘he passenger was checked in accordance with all security orders. Security is El Al’s guiding principle, and the security officers are doing an excellent job under difficult conditions.’” [below] [ What diffiicult conditions??? But let them keep at it.  Fewer and fewer tourists will come. Apart from this, it is sad that there are “proud” Israelis (Yahli, below) who have served in combat units yet know nothing about this country, its colonialism, and the suffering it is causing Israelis,  and yet more Palestinians.  Dorothy]

———

 

Ynet,

November 22, 2010

   

    ‘I may never return to Israel’

 

Australian tourist writes open letter to Israelis about her experience with airport security. ‘I never want to go through that again even if it means not coming back to Israel,’ she says

 

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3988184,00.html

 

Nicki

 

I am a 24-year-old female Australian law student and first visited Israel last year. I had a really enjoyable trip visiting friends and as such, decided to return for a second trip to visit their newborn baby this year. However, I had an experience with Israeli security at the airport flying from Amsterdam that would make me think twice about traveling to Israel again in the future.

 

Before checking-in for my flight, passengers were required to undergo a brief security interview. As part of this, I was asked what I was doing in Amsterdam and who I was staying with. My answer: “Visiting two Australian friends from law school currently living in Holland.” Security asked for their names. I had nothing to conceal and neither did my friends, so I gave security their names as requested. This should have been a simple affair if it was not for the sole reason that one of my friends, born and raised in Australia, happened to have an Arabic sounding surname. 

 

Immediately and without explanation, my bags and passport were taken from me and further security appeared demanding to know whether this girl was really Australian. I found this question offensive: she is as “Australian” as I am, just without my “stereotypical” blond hair and blue eyes. They started questioning her background, which made me think: if she or I were any type of security threat, would I openly say her name? Of course not. The situation didn’t seem rational to me.

 

I was directed to a different boarding gate to all other passengers. A lady was waiting for me at the gate and ordered me to follow her into an isolated, underground section of the terminal where I was placed in the custody of approximately five security officers . Needless to say, a very intimidating and confusing situation.

 

There, security officers spoke between themselves in Hebrew, which I cannot understand, and provided me with no explanation of what was happening even though I kept asking. Again, without any explanation, I was ordered to a private room with two female security officers with the only English instructions being “move over there and bring whatever money you have with you.” 

 

This did not clarify things for me. I again tried to enquire what was going on because, but again, they continued to communicate only in Hebrew and still I received no response to my questions. Eventually I received a response when I asked, “Is this a random security check?” One lady paused and barked at me, “No.” I was silent after this. 

 

In this room, I was strip searched. I was ordered to remove my shirt, pants and bra. Again, no explanation was given as to why I was being ordered to remove my clothes. The security officers still spoke in Hebrew on radios between the rooms. I was ordered to put my clothes back on and join the other security officers in the first room. I was given a chair in the corner of the room behind a partial screen to sit and wait while every item of my backpack was examined in detail, my laptop was taken from my sight and the occasional question thrown at me across the room.

 

‘I was ordered to remove my shirt, pants and bra’ (Archive photo: Reuters)

 

By this point, I was feeling very intimidated and uncomfortable. I was alone in a separate underground area of the terminal and surrounded by security officers. I was being treated as if I was guilty of a crime, yet I did not even know what the allegation was nor did I have any idea of what was happening as everyone was speaking in Hebrew and still refusing to answer my questions.

 

Finally I was declared no risk to security. However, my laptop, camera, iPod were put in a separate box and taken away from me without explanation. I watched all my photos from three months abroad, my laptop with important documents on it and covered only by a small piece of bubble wrap in a cardboard box, and my Australian phone disappearing down the hallway without any explanation after I had just been told I was no security threat.

 

I boarded the flight, completely bewildered, confused and upset about the situation that had just occurred. I was not offered any kind of apology or explanation. This process had taken over an hour.

 

Unfortunately, this is not the only negative experience I have had with Israeli security. Upon leaving Tel Aviv last year I underwent a routine search and a keffiyeh I had bought as a souvenir in Jerusalem was jumped upon. A security guard held up the keffiyeh in the air and stated (I remember his exact words): “Do you realize what this is?” I replied, ‘Yes it’s a keffiyeh, they are being sold everywhere in Jerusalem.” The disdain in his voice was clear as he asked again, “Yes, but do you realize what this represents? This is a symbol calling for the end of Israel.” 

 

I was taken to a separate room and searched extensively. I ultimately lost my laptop battery as I was not allowed to fly with it and it never turned up at my destination (hence my concern for my valuables this time). I was shocked at the way I was treated for buying a keffiyeh and I was shocked at the comments of the security officer in relation to the keffiyeh.

 

I do understand the importance of airport screening and security measures. However, I am offended that I would be subjected to such degrading treatment solely because I am friends with an Australian woman of Arabic dissent and I was provided with no explanation or apology for this treatment. Furthermore, I found it incredibly inappropriate to refer to the keffiyeh I had in my bag an item of disdain and danger. 

 

Despite having some of my closest friends in Israel and having an enjoyable visit both times, I walked away from the security area simply thinking, “I never want to go through that again even if it means not coming back to Israel.” Sure I could have not said my friends’ Arabic sounding surname and it would have saved a lot of hassle. However, when asked a question by security and I have nothing to hide in any way, why should I have to conceal my friends’ name? 

 

The only positive experience in the flight from Amsterdam was one of the young trainee security officers standing uncomfortably to the side during this whole process. After I was declared not a security risk and we were alone, she took one look at me and learned forward and whispered, “I think you need a cup of tea after this.”

 

I hope that in the future, Israeli security officers show more respect in their work. Indeed, my time at the airport heading out of Israel was uneventful and an example of the fact not all security officers are behaving in this way but those that do are indeed having a negative impact on visitors to Israel.

 

El Al: Security our guiding principle

Tens of thousands of tourists are familiar with Nicki’s negative experience on her way to the Holy Land. According to figures released by the Prime Minister’s Office about half an year ago, some 300,000 people are detained every day while entering Israel, just because their name or personal profile are similar to those of a suspicious person. 

 

A total of 100,000 tourists are detained every year, some of them having to go through the same experience Nicki went through during her two visits.

 

Amy Cohen’s parents, for example, were detained based on “intelligence information” received by the Immigration Authority. “They told them that they were missionaries and had to leave Israel,” says Amy. “They were released after 13 hours in custody, not before they were forced to sign a document promising not to engage in any missionary activity.” 

 

Apart from potential missionaries or terror activists, airport security has also detained people who seemed to be trying to immigrate to Israel illegally, including some foreign sportsmen who arrived in the Holy Land to join Israeli teams and were deported instead.

 

“Nicki and I have been good friends for years, and she really loved Israel on her first visit,” says Yahli Shereshevsky, 28, a fellow researcher at the Hebrew University’s Faculty of Law. “I was amazed and shocked by the treatment given to such a lovely, innocent and kind girl.

 

“Beyond the shock, such an incident has a negative impact on the State’s image and character. I am a proud citizen of the State of Israel, and many times I find myself praising the country in conversations with friends from abroad. I served in a combat unit in the army and I fully understand the State’s need to defend itself.

 

“But the need for security checks has nothing to do with the humiliating way they are implemented. In what way would the State’s security have been harmed had they answered Nicki’s questions, apologized from the bottom of their hearts for the discomfort she suffered, and considered the need to undress her and invade her privacy by examining the pictures and files on her computer?

 

“Nicki’s case illustrates the damage one single person can cause in his treatment of those arriving at Israel’s gates. Unfortunately, in this case it was more than one person, and after I began investigating I discovered that this is a much more widespread phenomenon.

 

“I don’t think this is an intentional policy of the State or airlines, but they are responsible, and in the current situation they are helping damage the State’s image and hurting its visitors.” 

 

An El Al spokesman said in response, “The passenger was checked in accordance with all security orders. Security is El Al’s guiding principle, and the security officers are doing an excellent job under difficult conditions.” 

 

Yehuda Shohat contributed to this article

==============================================

7.  The Independent,

23 November 2010

 

A love that knows no boundaries

The marriage between a Palestinian and an Israeli has survived war, poverty and family ostracism.

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/a-love-that-knows-no-boundaries-2141140.html

 

Donald Macintyre reports

 

Imad and Dalia Hamdan have worked hard to keep their family together, but want to emigrate from Gaza City

 

When Nicole Hamdan, a Jewish Israeli citizen, failed to report for compulsory army service a couple years ago, the military police came knocking at the doors of her uncles in the Tel Aviv suburbs of Holon and Bat Yam. It is only possible to imagine the officers’ surprise at learning the following: that Ms Hamdan was now living with her parents and three younger brothers and sister in a two-room house in Gaza – “Hamastan” in popular Israeli politician-speak; that she speaks Arabic as well as she speaks Hebrew; and that she dresses in the conservative ensemble of abaya and hijab favoured by most women in the territory.

 

The military closed the file on their lost recruit. For Nicole, 21, who also uses the name Yasmin these days, is the oldest daughter in one of the more unusual family units in the besieged territory of 1.5 million people – that of Imad Hamdan, a Palestinian from a refugee family in Gaza, and his wife, Dalia, the Israeli Jew who married 22 years ago after finishing her own army service.

 

Nicole’s parents’ life together would not have been easy in the best of circumstances. But for Imad, who speaks good Hebrew, and Dalia, a somewhat less-fluent Arabic speaker, their marriage has had to be particularly strong to withstand war, unemployment, poverty, family ostracism and cultural differences.

 

Luckily, it shows every sign of being just that. They met back in the late Eighties in what Imad, now 50, clearly regards as the good – and now unimaginably far-off – old days. That was a time before Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin signed the Oslo Accords, when Gaza’s borders were porous and it was as easy for Israelis to go there as it was for Palestinians from Gaza, like Imad, to travel into Israel for work.

 

He was a construction contractor in Tel Aviv, and the pair were introduced by Imad’s business partner and his wife, who had brought the young Jewish woman to a restaurant for dinner. Although she had grown up in the ethnically mixed city of Jaffa, Imad’s date for the evening came from a rightwing family. “She hated Arabs then,” he says, joking. But the couple hit it off over the hamburgers and spent most of the night talking on the beach.

 

It was not long before the couple married, to the consternation of the Dalia’s family. As permitted in Islam, Dalia was Imad’s second wife – though his first subsequently died of cancer. For the first five years, with Imad working regularly in Israel, the couple nevertheless lived with Dalia’s mother, which was not always easy.

 

“My mother used to tell him: ‘I love you a lot but your problem is you’re an Arab’,” Dalia says. Imad agrees: “Every Jewish mother wants her daughter to marry a Jew.”

 

For fear of upsetting her mother, Dalia had an abortion when she became pregnant. But it appears to have been her brothers – who even one time offered Imad money to leave their sister – who over the years have been the main opposition to the marriage, up to and including this year.

 

“Three months ago my brother called and asked me to go to Erez,” Dalia says, referring to the main passenger crossing between Gaza and Israel. “He said everything will be all right and I should go with him back to Israel.”

 

But she sums up her reaction to such overtures like this: “Of course I want to have good relations with my family. But I will not leave my husband.”

 

Ten years ago, shortly before the start of the second Intifada, the marriage took an even more unusual turn. While Imad stayed in Tel Aviv for his work, Dalia’s relations with her own family were increasingly strained. By now she had three children, all born in Israel. In poor health, she came to Gaza to be cared for by Imad’s mother. “I loved her a lot,” Dalia says. “She was really very good to me, like a mother to me.”

 

Although Imad came back to join his wife, he continued to work in Israel; despite the conflict the family was relatively well off, with a Peugeot 504 parked in the yard of their house in the Sheikh Radwan district of Gaza City.

 

Their youngest son, Rami, now seven, was born in Gaza, the only one to have a Palestinian rather than an Israeli ID. Now the closure means there is no work in Israel for the tens of thousands who once crossed from Gaza every day, and precious little inside the territory itself. Life is much more difficult now, with Imad’s only source of income selling roasted nuts in the street. “Sometimes I make only 10 shekels (£1.75) a day,” he explains. “I don’t have real work and it means that I can’t afford for Yasmin to go to university.”

 

Yet none of these privations have tempted Dalia to leave her husband and return to Israel. Although Imad says his own family has always been “loving and open” to his wife, he acknowledges that – especially since the beginning of the second Intifada – “when you are married there are always problems on both sides”.

 

While he insists that the couple has faced a “lot less” opposition in Gaza that Dalia did from her family, he adds: “When you are in the street some people will say – oh she’s Jewish.” Dalia converted to Islam in the Nineties – though, referring to her ID and official status back home, Imad points out: “In Israel she’s still a Jew.”

 

Dalia says: “I don’t like all Arabs. I like the ones that are good to me. But life is good, I’m happy here.”

 

For purely economic reasons, Imad would like to emigrate. He is currently pursuing a dream of resettling in Canada. He is not the only Palestinian in Gaza to touch on the paradox that life was, in his words, “a million times” better – at least, financially – before 1994, which brought the creation of the Palestinian Authority and the withdrawal of Israeli occupying forces.

 

Imad, who sees himself as politically “independent” and supports neither Fatah nor Hamas , says he blames the Oslo Accords – “not a real peace agreement” – for beginning the erosion of the freedom with which Gazans used to be able to travel in and out of the territory for work. He would rather the family lived in Israel.

 

Inter-marriages in Israel

 

* Data on Jewish-Arab marriages in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza is sketchy and the International Crisis Group in 2004 said that inter-marriage was “highly unusual” in Israel and “frowned upon by vast majorities” in both communities.

 

Estimates have ranged from a few hundred to over 1,000, and a UN High Commission on Refugees report on the issue in the same year cited anecdotal evidence that – unlike the Hamdans – many couples eventually separate, divorce or leave the country, especially when they have children.

 

The report cited the Israeli organisation New Family, which campaigns on behalf of families of every type, as pointing out that only marriages between coreligionists are recognised. Marriages are only legally sanctioned when carried out by the religious authorities of each community. And in cases of different religions, one spouse must convert to that of the other.

 

donald macintyre

 

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8.This just now appeared in my inbox!  Another piece of positive news, so seldom these days, that I had to share.  From Ohal Grietzer.  May many more follow suit, and governments soon after begin to censor Israel and impose the sanctions on it necessary to bring its leaders to alter their policies 100%!.

 

Tindersticks cancellation message (to those who can’t access facebook):

tindersticks (official)

 It is with sadness that tindersticks announce the cancellation of their forthcoming concerts in Tel Aviv.

When agreeing to play our music in Israel we, perhaps naively, believed that the music we make is beyond political considerations.

Over the past weeks, the pressure exerted on us by people and organisations, some clo…se to us, has shown us that this is not the case. It is difficult to defy a rapidly growing movement with whose aims we agree, even if we are not wholly convinced by their methods.

The songs we looked forward to playing and singing have already been tainted and their enjoyment stifled, if not completely drowned out by the political furore.

We sincerely look forward to a time when we, and others, can make our music for the people in the Middle East for the pure joy of the music itself.

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on DOROTHY ONLINE NEWSLETTER


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