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Dear Friends,

 

Well by now you all know the big news, surely: Israel ‘exterminated’ a leader of a Palestinian organization, and the Palestinians did what Israelis knew they would do: they returned fire.

 

The situation has escalated, and I would guess that more Palestinians will die before this ends, and Israelis will be lucky if none of them is hurt.

 

La Clinton once again opens her mouth: “Israel has a right to defend itself,” she shouts!  But even Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper, says that this time Israel started the fray.  So, don’t the Palestinians have a right to defend themselves?  Not that I support violence of any kind, but why does she signal out Israel, which has the 4th most powerful military in the world?

 

Apart from that, the question is why Israel’s leaders would want to start ‘action’ on a Jewish holiday, which brings crowds out to celebrate in costumes and parades?  This question has been bugging me since it all began.  I do not accept Israel’s excuse that the guy that was assassinated was planning an attack.  I personally have heard the army lie more than once, when I have attended this or that demonstration and then heard the IOF’s interpretation of what happened.  And Bibi is known to be a non-truth teller.

 

The only reason that seems to me to explain why Israel began all this mess is that its leaders have decided either to test the new missile destroyers as The Iron Dome or to get an inkling of what Israel can expect from Gaza should Israel attack Iran.  The long and the short of it is that once again inhabitants of Israel’s southern communities are living in shelters, and inhabitants of Gaza are wondering who next?

 

The first 2 of the 5 items below are reports on this episode, the one from the Independent, the other from Haaretz.  The latter tends to present the Israeli picture, whereas the Independent is more objective.

 

Item 3 contains a video (as well as text) showing how the IOF violently disperses a peaceful demonstration on International Women’s Day.

 

Item 4 relates some of the problems that a village situated between the wall and the green line faces.

 

Item 5 also contains a video, this one of Bi’lin’s Friday demonstration.

 

Let’s hope that there will be no more killing, injuring, destroying.  Enough.

 

Dorothy

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1 The Independent

 

Saturday, 10 March 2012

 

Toll from Israel Gaza strikes now 14 militants [now15. D]

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/toll-from-israel-gaza-strikes-now-14-militants-7553514.html#

 

Ibrahim Barzak

 

The worst exchange of strikes between Israel and the Gaza Strip so far this year entered its second day today, as Israeli aircraft carried out raids that have so far killed 14 militants according to a Palestinian count, and militants responded with nearly 100 rockets.

 

The flare-up began yesterday with a strike on a commander who the Israelis say was planning an attack. This unleashed a fierce rocket barrage by Palestinian militants from the coastal territory toward Israel’s southern border communities. One of those rockets seriously wounded an Israeli civilian and sent families scattering into bomb shelters.

 

By midday today, militants fired 92 rockets at Israel — far more than the total number fired from the beginning of this year until this exchange of strikes began, a military spokesman said. He spoke anonymously in line with military regulations.

 

Egypt said it was trying to shackle together a cease-fire to halt the violence, but truce hopes seemed distant.

 

Gaza residents said they could hear the low whooshing noise of militants firing rockets from border areas toward Israel.

 

In the skies above them Israeli drones hovered, making tinny noises. Hundreds of Palestinian mourners gathered on the streets to bury their dead. They were carried in coffins, their bodies too torn up to be wrapped up in cloth, as Muslim tradition dictates. Masked militants among them sprayed machine gun fire above their heads in angry grief.

 

On Israel’s southern border areas, residents were told to stay home and to refrain from holding large outdoor events.

 

Palestinian militants said they would press on.

 

Gaza’s Hamas rulers condemned the Israeli strike but, pointedly, their militants did not fire rockets at Israel. Still, Israel’s military said it would hold the militant group responsible for any attacks that initiated from Gaza.

 

The Palestinian militants were killed in eight airstrikes overnight and this morning, said Gaza health spokesman Adham Abu Salmiya. He said some 20 more civilians were wounded by flying shrapnel from the exploding missiles, some of which targeted militants deep in civilian areas of the crowded territory.

 

The most recent airstrike targeted two Palestinian militants on a motorbike in the border town of Bani Suheila in the south-east of Gaza, Abu Salmiya said.

 

The flare-up began midmorning yesterday, when an Israeli airstrike targeted the commander of one of the militant groups behind the abduction of an Israeli soldier five years ago.

 

Zuhair Al-Qaissi’s killing prompted Palestinian militants in Gaza to fire over 92 rockets at Israel so far, according to the latest count by Israel’s military.

 

The military said its air defence systems intercepted some 25 rockets before they landed.

 

Some of the militants killed were planning to fire rockets, said Palestinian militant spokespeople. Other militants were targeted, but it wasn’t immediately clear why.

 

Three militants walking on Gaza City’s main upscale boulevard were hit by an airstrike last night, leaving a shallow gash in the road. Another was hit while driving a car in the central Gaza City town of Deir al-Balah.

 

The Israeli military said it targeted Zuhair al-Qaissi, the commander of the armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, a militant group closely aligned with Gaza’s Hamas rulers.

 

It was the highest profile killing Israel has undertaken against militants in the coastal strip in several months.

 

The military said al-Qaissi was plotting an infiltration attack into Israel similar to the raid from Egypt’s Sinai peninsula that they claim he orchestrated in August, which killed eight Israelis and injured 40 more.

 

The militant group has never taken responsibility for the attack.

 

The explosion tore apart al-Qaissi’s blue sedan and killed his son-in-law, Mahmoud Hanini — himself a top PRC field commander. Another low-ranking Gaza militant also died.

 

That strike unleashed the furious Palestinian response.

 

“(We) won’t give this occupation a free truce while our leaders and heroes are being killed,” said Abu Mujahid, spokesman for al-Qaissi’s group.

 

“Although the price will be difficult, there is no choice,” he said.

 

Israel said it would continue to defend its civilians.

 

“The (army) is prepared to defend the residents of Israel and will respond with strength and determination against any attempt to execute terrorist attacks,” the military said in a statement. The military warned Hamas would “bear the consequences” of any attacks launched from Gaza.

 

Egypt’s envoy to the Palestinians said Israel had violated a long-unspoken truce on the Gaza border and called for calm.

 

“We are calling on all sides to return to a cease-fire,” said Egyptian consul Yasser Usman from the West Bank city of Ramallah.

 

Gaza’s Hamas rulers condemned the Israeli strike. But in a pointed message, they did not let their militants fire rockets at Israel. Instead, they quietly allowed other Palestinian militants to unleash salvos.

 

In previous flare-ups, Hamas has used such a strategy to allow Palestinian militants to burn off their anger, with an eye towards the exchange of strikes eventually quieting down.

 

The Popular Resistance Committees are responsible for dozens of deadly attacks against Israelis and its members are among the most active rocket launchers from Gaza into Israel.

 

But the group is mostly known for carrying out the 2006 abduction of Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit and holding on to him for more than five years until he was freed for over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners last year.

 

Israel often targets Gaza militants it says are preparing attacks, but tensions have been relatively calm in recent months with Israel mostly targeting smuggling tunnels from Egypt and refraining from attacking individuals. Al-Qaissi, who is also known as Abu Ibrahim, is the highest profile casualty in Gaza since his predecessor, Kamal Nairab, was killed seven months ago in a similar fashion.

 

The Israeli military insisted it did not want an escalation but said it was “prepared to defend the residents of Israel.”

 

AP

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2 Haaretz

Saturday, March 10, 2012

 

More rockets fired from Gaza as violence in Israel’s south runs into second night

Hundreds of thousands of students in Israel’s south will not attend school on Sunday; Since Friday, nearly 100 rockets have been fired at Israel from Gaza.

 

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/more-rockets-fired-from-gaza-as-violence-in-israel-s-south-runs-into-second-night-1.417706

 

By Barak Ravid, Gili Cohen , Avi Issacharoff, Yanir Yagna and Natasha Mozgovaya

Tags: Gaza Gaza rockets IDF Hamas Islamic Jihad

After a several hours of quiet on Saturday, more rockets were fired toward southern Israel in the evening, bringing the total number of rockets fired over the weekend to over 100.

 

Schools was called off in Sunday in Ashkelon, Be’er Sheva, Ashdod and other regional councils in Israel south, affecting some 207,000 students.

 

Late on Saturday, five rockets were fired toward Eshkol Regional council. In response, IAF planes struck a Gaza munitions plant.

During the escalation that began on Friday, the Iron Dome system intercepted 28 of the 31 rockets it targeted. The missile defense system is designed to only intercept rockets identified as heading toward populated areas.

 

Also on Saturday, Palestinians said that an Israeli air strike killed two people riding on a motorcycle in Gaza’s Khan Younis, bringing the total number of militants reportedly killed to 15.

 

Victoria Nuland, U.S. State Department Spokesperson said the U.S is “deeply concerned by the renewal of violence in Southern Israel.” She added that the U.S. condemns “in the strongest terms the rocket fire from Gaza by terrorists into southern Israel in recent days, which has dramatically and dangerously escalated in the past day. We call on those responsible to take immediate action to stop these cowardly acts.”

 

U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton criticized on Saturday the barrage of rockets fired from Gaza to Israel. Meeting with Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni at Newsweek’s annual Women in the World Summit in New York, Clinton added that “Israel has the right to defend itself.”

 

Earlier, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with regional council heads in Israel’s south and said Israel will continue to strike whoever plans attacks on Israeli citizens. “We will improve the home front defenses even more,” Netanyahu said, “also by purchasing more Iron Dome systems, which proved themselves again this weekend.”

 

On Friday afternoon, the Israel Air Force launched a strike in Gaza and killed the leader of the Popular Resistance Committees, Zuhir al-Qaisi, who was believed to be planning a large terror attack on Israel’s southern border.

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3  Saturday, March 10 2012

Independent commentary and news from Israel & Palestine

 

|Haggai Matar

http://972mag.com/watch-army-disperses-international-womens-day-demonstration-in-west-bank/37516/

 

WATCH: Army disperses International Women’s Day demonstration in West Bank

More than 250 Palestinian and Israeli women and men were attacked by military forces at a demonstration at the Qalandia checkpoint. Several injuries were reported, including one woman who was hospitalized after being shot with a rubber-coated bullet.

Palestinian women facing soldiers near Qalandia checkpoint (Oren Ziv / Activestills)

Palestinian women facing soldiers near Qalandia checkpoint (Oren Ziv / Activestills)

The demonstration started Thursday at noon, with some 200 Palestinian women marching from Ramallah towards Qalandia – the main checkpoint on the way to Jerusalem. Demonstrators chanted slogans and held tri-lingual signs linking the feminist struggle with the struggle against the occupation. The women were joined by an international delegation, including European Parliament Member and former Vice President Luisa Morgantini, and later on by several dozen Israeli women from the Women’s Coalition for Peace.

Upon nearing the checkpoint the demonstration was suppressed by Israeli army and Border Police forces, who at first used stun grenades and the “skunk” water canon, and then moved on to “the scream machine”, tear gas and rubber-coated bullets. All this took place on the main road towards the checkpoint, which was, as always, packed with a row of cars waiting to be searched, whose drivers suffered collateral damage from the soldiers’ attack.

 

After several attempts to proceed in spite of the army’s acts, most women retreated back toward Ramallah, and as the soldiers started following them, several youth began throwing stones. Clashes went on for a while. Several demonstrators were injured, and one needed medical treatment after being shot with a rubber-coated bullet.

“The 8th of March symbolizes an accumulated struggle for women all around the world for freedom and justice”, said Amaal Khresha of the Palestinian Women’s Working Association for Development. “For Palestinian women under the occupation, this day is a day of marking the struggle against the occupation.” Arabia Mansur of the Women’s Coalition for Peace added that occupation and militarism will never enable the development of a society that offers women a life of happiness and dignity. “We must put a stop to the sort of education which teaches children to see reality through the barrel of a gun, and women have to stop participating in such education,” said Mansur.

The demonstration also focused on solidarity with administrative detainee Hana Shalabi, who is now on the 24the day of a hunger strike. As reported before here, Shalabi’s physical condition is deteriorating, and a decision in her appeal against her detention order is due beginning of next week.

At about the same time, several hundred Jewish and Palestinian women with Israeli citizenship demonstrated for Women’s Day in the streets of Tel Aviv, demanding civil rights, equality, and fair employment.

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4 Saturday, March 10 2012

Independent commentary and news from Israel & Palestine

 

Between a wall and a Green Line: Palestinian life in ‘Seam Zone’

http://972mag.com/between-a-wall-and-a-green-line-palestinian-life-in-seam-zone/37537/

 

By Ariel Bardi

Al’Seefer lies uphill from the settlement of Beit Yatir, just beyond the South Hebron Hills, but the tiny Palestinian village feels worlds apart from the 33-year-old settlement. Indeed, the daily lives of Al’Seefer’s residents, some 60 in number, are mired in extraordinary logistical challenges on account of the village’s physical location: flanked by the Green Line on one side and by the separation barrier on the other, it belongs to the no man’s land known as the Seam Zone.

http://972mag.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/IMG_8110.jpg

Al’Seefer (photo: Ariel Bardi)

Visually, the two agricultural communities make for incongruous neighbors. One has been carefully cultivated from the roots up, the other systematically neglected. The extent of their stark economic disparities is immediately apparent: Beit Yatir, its telltale red-roofed homes planted like crops in neat, rectilinear rows, presides imposingly over the hilly terrain. Al’Seefer merely blends in. Due to strict bans on construction, the village’s building materials are often limited to tarp and corrugated sheet metal, while its remaining houses are left woefully derelict.

Still, while Al’Seefer’s economic disadvantages may be in plain view, restrictions on the small community’s mobility – in many ways, a far greater problem – go largely unnoticed. Due to their unique location, village residents, as the saying goes, are stuck “between a rock and a hard place,” corralled by their northern neighbors, yet forbidden from formally entering into Israeli territory. (read “Stuck,” a report on Al’Seefer by Hebron International Resource Network.) The majority of the villagers are children, many of school age, who must make their way across the checkpoint every morning in time for the first bell, a process that can take up to an hour.

Mahmoud A’buqbeita, 45, is speaking out about the routine hardships he and his family face, in the hopes that something will change. His problems are numerous: the closest accessible water source lies just beyond the checkpoint. Villagers are legally forbidden from driving a car with Israeli license plates, so they either maneuver carts to the border, then walk, or else make the entire day’s journey on foot. Medical care presents the same logistical quagmire, and many residents of Al’Seefer, including Mahmoud’s elderly mother, mostly make do without. Al’Seefer families also receive no visitors, as their family and friends are unable to cross the checkpoint without proper documentation. Villagers themselves must obtain special permits every three months in order to remain on their own land.

http://972mag.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/IMG_7593.jpg

Members of the A’buqbeita family in their home (photo: Ariel Bardi)

Mahmoud and his family hosted me for a couple of days as I compiled research on their perilously complicated living situation. Though my time with them was brief, I was able to observe first-hand the effects of their social and physical isolation. The open fields and scattered hills that surround the family’s small plot of land belie a gnawing claustrophobia, to which I had already succumbed by the second morning. The family of fourteen and I, along with three other researchers, had spent the previous evening piled in front of a small television set. At the time of my stay, the family received only an hour or so of electrical power per day from Mahmoud’s brother, who has obtained Israeli citizenship – and thus far better amenities – through his Nazareth-born wife. In honor of our visit, however, we were treated to a full evening’s viewing entertainment; the ten A’buqbeita children were enthralled. I asked the family how they tended to wile away the wintry evening hours with no lights, let alone several channels’ worth of programs. They told me that they sit in the dark, or sleep.

In considering the largely invisible restrictions that have been placed on the family’s range of movement, I couldn’t help but think of the electronic fences that encircle the lawns of certain American suburban homes – invisible barriers, but ones still deeply felt by those they’re designed to keep in.

On the other hand, the checkpoint, which divides Al’Seefer from the rest of the West Bank, is a permanent, observable presence. It snakes around the green line in order to keep Beit Yatir on the Israeli side of the barrier, leaving the village entirely cut off and vulnerable to settler intimidation, a persistent fear. The village children must pass alongside the settlement on the way to their nearby elementary school, and are often victims of harassment from drivers traveling along the busy road. I escorted several children to their classes on my last morning with the A’buqbeita family. While they made it through the checkpoint in record time with four internationals in tow, it was clear how such a procedure – repeated twice daily – could prove intolerable. The children’s stoic, habitual acceptance of this frustrating formality helps to contextualize the more mundane implications of life under occupation, when all that it appears to involve is a lot of waiting around.

The quality of life in Mahmoud’s home improved shortly after my visit: the household is now outfitted with solar panels, courtesy of the Israeli activist group COMET-ME, which provides renewable energy solutions to off-grid communities throughout Palestine. On February 27, the Israeli Civil Administration issued demolition orders to four communities in the Southern Hebron Hills, on the grounds that they lack permits; earlier in the month, COMET-ME had also been given stop work orders for two other electrification systems. While Mahmoud’s family is still with power, COMET-ME estimates that over 500 people will be affected by the ruling. Until then, the communities, which, much like Mahmoud’s, are rural and isolated, will keep waiting, with nowhere to go.

Ariel Bardi is a PhD student at Yale University.  She is in Israel and the West Bank researching and photographing settlements.

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Friday victory for the captive Hana    Al-Shalabi    

Two citizens were injured in addition to dozens of cases of suffocation  from poison gas in the village of Bil’in ,west of Ramallah.

Two citizens were wounded ,Abdullah Mohammed Yasin, 19 years old, was shot by a rubber bullet in his back .Aed al Khateeb ,18 years old, got a rubber bullet in his leg, in addition to dozens of cases of asphyxiation from poison gas in the weekly march organized by the Popular Committee Against the Wall in Bil’in. The march comes to  support the Palestinian prisoners, especially the prisoner Hana Shalabi  in her hunger strike  which started 23 days ago. The march included the participation of people of Bil’in , Israeli and international peace activists.

The march  began after Friday prayers from the centre of the village heading  to the land which was liberated last June. Participants raised Palestinian flags and yellow banners with a picture of the captive leader Marwan Barghouti,  they chanted slogans, called for national unity, national slogans for the departure of the occupation , destruction of the apartheid wall, slogans for the Palestinians to remain faithful to Palestinian constants and to support Jerusalem, they also called for freedom of Palestinian prisoners

 Upon the arrival to Abu Lemon area , protesters were able to remove some of the barbered wire, made holes, and broke through the fence , then the soldiers who were situated behind the concrete wall shot rubber bullets , stun grenades and canister tear gas toward the participants. This caused the injury of  two citizens and caused suffocation of dozens of participants .Some young demonstrators threw stones at the soldiers.

For its part, the Popular Committee Against the Wall in Bil’in denounced the arbitrary decision by the Court towards  the photographer captive Hamza Bornat, that sentenced him to18 months  in prison and a 5000 NIS fine. This sentence comes after four months of his arrest, knowing that this arrest is the second one after he was arrested two years ago and sentenced  to  9 months in prison because he took part in a peaceful demonstration in Bil’in.

Bil’in 7th International Conference

10-13 April 2012

 Dear Martin Linton

On behalf of The Popular Struggle Coordination Committee & the Bil’in Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements, it is my honour to invite you to participate in the 7th International Conference for Popular Struggle in Bili’n the 10th – 13th of April 2012.

For this reason your participation will be of great significance; as an International Support Committee of Popular Struggle in Palestine will be formed.

The program for this year’s conference includes panel discussion, field trips to exposed areas in the West Bank, introductions to coordinators of the popular committees in Palestine and discussions of the current situation.

The main tentative themes of the conference will include

1.       First day in Bil’in (Ramallah) : Opening

                                                                  Experience and updates from the ground

                                                                 Palestinian-Israeli relations; between joint work and normalization

2.       Second day in Hebron (old city):  social media (creative means in popular struggle)

                                                                          Political parties and popular struggle

                                                                          International Solidarity Movement speaking (Global Intifada)

3.       Third Day in Silwan (Jerusalem): Jerusalem

                                                                 BDS Movement

4.       Fourth day in Bil’in : Central demonstration

 Looking forward to see you in Bili’n

 The Popular Struggle Coordination Committee

&

The Popular Struggle Committee of Bil’in

majdarmajdar@gmail.com

00970(0 598403676

00970(0 568403676

  Bil’in –Palestine 

 

The Israeli Ofer Court   sentenced photographer Hamza Suleiman Yassin Bornat from the village of Bil’in west of Ramallah  to 18 months  in prison and 5000 NIS fine  two days ago . 


The Israeli Ofer court sentenced  photographer Hamza Suleiman Bornat  for the second time two days ago.

The first time was  in 2010 when he was  only 17years old  and sentenced  to  9 months in prison because he took part in a peaceful demonstration . 

After his release he became a student at  the Secondary School in Bil’in.

As he was arrested again ,he is unable to  take the Tawjehe exams and to finish school and therefore deprived from education  for the second time .

His “crime” was to take pictures of Israeli solders in Al Nabi Saleh during the a demonstration four months ago .

He was also known to work as photographer volunteer for the Friends of Freedom and Justice Society and its media centre documenting the crimes of the occupation.

In a message to the world (The Occupation crime committed against the  Children ).

I want the world to know what is going on in Palestine  against children and how children and young people are treated under Israeli occupation

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