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Meet Gaza's female geeks
Hunter Stuart, Al Jazeera 11/30/2016
     The Gaza Sky Geeks mentorship programme has been encouraging more girls and young women to learn coding.
     Gaza City - Joumana Sroor learned how to code at the age of 12.
     By 15, she and a team of three other girls in Gaza had built a prototype for a web application called Early Alert, which notifies users of traffic, crowds, accidents or crimes happening near them.
     Although Sroor says she does not always find encouragement for her technological pursuits in Gaza, there is one place where she feels at home: A seed accelerator and workspace in Gaza City's bustling al-Rimal neighbourhood called Gaza Sky Geeks.
     "The people here are like my second family," Sroor told Al Jazeera inside the loft-like space, amid the buzz of dozens of Palestinian designers, developers and freelancers who work here daily.
     The organisation, founded in 2011 with a $900,000 grant from Google, provides mentorship and support to startups in Gaza to help to grow the territory's nascent tech industry.
     Since 2013, four companies that went through the Gaza Sky Geeks "incubation" process secured investments ranging from $30,000 to $65,000, the accelerator's social media coordinator, Dalia Shurrab, told Al Jazeera.
     Gaza Sky Geeks is now focusing on bringing more girls and women into the fold. Currently, about half of the founders of the startup companies that Gaza Sky Geeks mentors are women, said Rana Alqrenawi, who is in charge of the organisation's female-centred programmes. The goal is to get to 80 percent, she said, in an effort to overcompensate for the current gender gap in the tech world. -- See also: Gaza start-ups aim to break the siege
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Abbas-Dahlan conflict and possibilities of winning and losing
Izz Al-Din Ahmad Ibrahim, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 11/29/2016
     Fatah is at a serious turning point with the escalation of conflict between its two main poles: the movement’s President, Mahmoud Abbas, and ousted leader Mohammed Dahlan. This comes at a time preparations for the Seventh Conference are in full swing. Dahlan’s supporters regard this conference as a weapon that targets their continued presence not only in the Fatah movement but in the entire Palestinian scene.
     Intensification of the conflict, which is leading to near daily arguments between two people who were companions in the near past, is overshadowing issues that are more important for the Palestinian political scene, and is distracting attention from issues that are related to the core of the Palestinian cause and the future of the conflict with the occupation. This leads us to ask questions about the reality of the conflict and its background, and most importantly, who is benefitting from it and who is aggrieved, and to which result it will lead in the end?
     The conflict, or rather the division, which is affecting the biggest movement on the Palestinian arena, will necessarily be negatively reflected on the presence and the future of the Palestinian cause, and will add one more division at a time Palestine is in so much need of uniting all efforts to confront the occupation and its escalating aggressive policies.
     Let’s agree to the fact that in their battle, both men continue to use the name of late President Yasser Arafat and his legacy, although together they were like a spearhead in the project to politically strangle him, and even oust him, before his siege in the headquarters of the administrative centre in Ramallah.
     At some point, the two men even formed an alliance against Arafat, and it is no secret that it was Abbas who put pressure on Arafat, with regional and international support, to appoint Dahlan as minister of internal security in 2003, after late Arafat rejected this demand repeatedly.
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The Sufis of Nablus
Andrea Valentino, Palestine Monitor 11/27/2016
     In the corkscrew lanes of Nablus’ medieval centre, just a few steps from the austere beauty of the grand mosque, there is a low room with some plastic chairs and rich carpet. At first glance, it looks the same as any other Muslim holy place. But this room is actually a tekyeh, home to the Naqshbandi sect of Sufism. The Naqshbandi have been in Palestine since the 1600s, but are not native to the region. As Hassanayn Maulana, an expert on Nablusi culture explains, the word tekyeh hints at the Naqshbandi’s origins. “The word is of Persian or Kurdish origin,” Maulana says. Indeed, Naqshbandi culture was introduced to Palestine by a Persian from Bukhara, in central Asia. But if the sect was founded elsewhere, a small group of Palestinians have keenly taken on its distinctive practices. Indeed, Naqshbandi customs are wildly different from those of a typical Muslim congregation. This became clear as soon as the sermon started. In a normal mosque, the imam discusses an issue, with the audience listening in silence. But during his sermon, Naqshbandi Sheikh al-Masri encouraged the men seated around the edge of the tekyeh to contribute to the debate. When one quoted a Koranic verse, the others would nod and mutter prayers approvingly. After the sermon, the Naqshbandi distinguished themselves even further from mainstream Islam. Two of the worshipers began to play a pair of battered green drums in the middle of the room, while another couple joined in on the cymbals. The playing got louder and louder until the cacophony shook the entire body. This is the point. As Sheikh al-Masri explained, “we use rhythm as a way of getting close to God.” This practice is known as dhikr, whereby devout Sufis repeat short phrases to focus the mind and glorify God.
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Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the Negev must stop
Arabs48.com, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 11/29/2016
     Under the pretext of development, the Israeli occupation authorities have been working for decades to displace Arab residents from the villages and neighbourhoods in the Negev Desert. Since the start of the Israeli occupation of Palestine in 1948, all of the indigenous Palestinians who managed to stay in their homes have been called Israeli-Arabs. Consecutive Israeli governments have been trying to assimilate Arab communities, but most of them insist on maintaining their Palestinian identity.
     Negev is the battlefield for one of the fiercest struggles of this kind. The Israeli government has tried to implement several “development plans” over the years in an effort to move the Palestinian communities to what are, in effect, reservations or “Bantustans”, taking them off their land and destroying their traditional way of life. Many of those affected are Bedouin who are promised homes in new townships, compensation and other preferential treatment. Although some of the people have accepted the Israeli offers and moved willingly, the government has not fulfilled its pledges.
     One of the latest projects was the five-year economic development proposal called the Prawer Plan. The “Israeli-Arabs” rejected it and organised massive protests until the government suspended it. Agriculture Minister Ori Ariel has now revived Prawer and allocated 3 million New Israeli Shekels towards it. His cabinet colleague, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, has agreed to include it in the 2017 budget.
     To oblige the Palestinians to leave their homes, successive Israeli governments have cut basic services such as electricity, water and the sewage infrastructure. They have also carried out mass demolitions of homes in the targeted villages and neighbourhoods, one of which — Al-Araqib — has been demolished 105 times; the residents rebuild the village every time the government bulldozers destroy it.
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BDS supporter seeks presidency of UK Jewish students union
Electronic Intifada: 2 Dec 2016 - Eran Cohen says many students feel “pushed out” of Jewish societies that emphasize links to Israel.
G4S ditches Israel businesses
Electronic Intifada: 2 Dec 2016 - A six year campaign pressuring the security firm wields major win.
Ontario lawmakers vote to smear BDS movement
Electronic Intifada: 2 Dec 2016 - False accusation of anti-Semitism being used to stifle criticism of Israel, human rights defenders say.
Europe's "turbo boost" for war industry will benefit Israel
Electronic Intifada: 2 Dec 2016 - A general who played a major role in the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza helped shape Europe’s agenda on weapons innovation.
Palestinian accused of arson released by Israel
Electronic Intifada: 1 Dec 2016 - Rains may quench fires, but cannot dampen government’s anti-Arab incitement.
The Month in Pictures: November 2016
Electronic Intifada: 2 Dec 2016 - A monthly roundup of photographs documenting Palestine, Palestinian life, politics and culture, and international solidarity with Palestine.
Trump Elects Israel ‘Aparheid’ Critic, James Mattis as Defence Secretary
Palestine Chronicle: 2 Dec 2016 - US President-elect Donald Trump has sparked Israeli concerns following his announcement that he intends to nominate General James Mattis to serve as Secretary of Defense. The retired US Marine Corps General nicknamed “Mad Dog” served in both Iraq and Afghanistan and has been an outspoken critic of the Obama administration, especially in regards to the policy in the Middle Eastern and North African. The General, who is known for his hawkish policies is also a heavy critic of the Iran nuclear deal and is vehemently against the closure of Guantanamo Bay. He has previously claimed that Iran “remains the single most belligerent actor in the Middle East.” Republican Jews Embrace James Mattis as Defense Chief — Despite Israel 'Apartheid' Remarks https://t.co/GsgcU8LOnm via @jdforward — Nathan Guttman (@nathanguttman) December 2, 2016 He has also been condemned by pro-Israel groups for his comments that settlements in the occupied West Bank are leading...
Abbas Addresses Future of Fatah, Palestine during Party’s 7th Congress
Palestine Chronicle: 1 Dec 2016 - Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas delivered a speech on Wednesday evening during the Fatah party’s seventh congress, addressing a scope of issues ranging from the political movement itself to conflicts in the Arab world. Abbas’ two-and-a-half-hours speech marked the second day of Fatah’s seventh congress, which has gathered some 1,322 members of the party in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah. Abbas stated that the Fatah conference would reinforce the Palestinian people’s march towards achieving their national goals, stressing that Fatah would not give up on its goals or identity. Palestinians deserve more than Mahmoud Abbas https://t.co/zuMut5bzrc via @972mag #FreePalestine — Charafa (@freeworldun) December 1, 2016 The organization of the congress, the first since 2009, was the embodiment of Fatah’s convictions and commitment to democratic values, Abbas claimed. Abbas was promptly reappointed as chairman of Fatah on the first day of the five-day conference, during which the political faction...
PSC: New Statesman Caves into Pressure, Censors Palestine
Palestine Chronicle: 1 Dec 2016 - In a press release issued on December 1, the UK-based Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) added its voice to others who have accused the New Statesman publication of censoring Palestinians. A day earlier, PSC had launched a public action calling for the New Statesman to republish an article by Salah Ajarma, co-founder and Director of the Lajee Cultural Centre in Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem. “The New Statesman originally published the piece as part of a two year partnership with the PSC, but deleted it without warning or explanation, following a campaign by the pro-Israel blogs UK Media Watch and Honest Reporting . Within 24 hours of PSC launching the public action over 3,000 people have emailed Jason Cowley, the editor of the New Statesman, calling on him to republish the article, apologize to Salah, and affirm the New Statesman’s commitment to freedom of expression,” the statement read. Its readership and potential...
Palestine Awarded Electronic Education Award in Belguim
Palestine Chronicle: 1 Dec 2016 - Palestine has been announced the winner of the E-learning curriculum category in the Digital for Development Award, which is rewarded to outstanding initiatives that use digitization and new technologies as a lever for development to achieve sustainable development. This year, 22 programs applied to win the award. Sabry Saidam, the Minister of Education in Palestine expressed Palestine’s honor following winning the award, noting that Palestine has made it to the world knowledge map, after winning the Best Teacher Award, the Best Arab School Award and after scoring high in the Intelligent Mental Arithmetic Tests. MinDevCo @alexanderdecroo awards first #PrizeD4D to Palestinian e-learning project, #AksantiMed , #Solarly . More: https://t.co/xWNoG4C0gq pic.twitter.com/TMVpMaMNIe — Belgium MFA (@BelgiumMFA) November 30, 2016 “This award is a recognition of the sufficiency of the programs implemented by the Ministry to improve the quality of education in Palestine,” Saidam said. Busri Saleh, the Ministry’s Deputy who attended the ceremony to...
Fatah’s Central Committee Re-elects Mahmoud Abbas for New Term as Leader
Palestine Chronicle: 30 Nov 2016 - Fatah members attending an extraordinary party conference re-elected Mahmoud Abbas for a new five-year term as leader yesterday, the head of the Palestinian National Council Salim al-Zaanoun announced. “The Central Committee unanimously recommended Mahmoud Abbas as leader for Fatah,” Al-Zaanoun was reported as saying by the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) official news agency Wafa . Hailing Abbas’ re-election, Al-Zaanoun said: “President Abbas has the most credibility as he is the…hope [for Fatah].” Palestinians re-elect Mahmoud Abbas to a new term as Fatah party leader https://t.co/SVjMqmVYCj pic.twitter.com/bou2uDLbPu — Bloomberg (@business) November 30, 2016 Speaking to the Fatah members after he was re-elected, Abbas said: “This conference is writing a new chapter of Fatah’s history.” Addressing the gathering, he continued: “You are currently living the present which is based in light of the past…You are laying the foundations for a stronger chapter of our pioneering movement and reinforcing the principles…of the movement.” He added:...
Less Symbolism, More Action: Towards Meaningful Solidarity with Palestine
Palestine Chronicle: 30 Nov 2016 - By Ramzy Baroud The Palestine Solidarity Campaign has designated the week, November 25 to December 3, as the ‘biggest-ever campaign’ aimed at boycotting Israeli products and those of companies that contribute to the Israeli military occupation of Palestine. In a recently issued press release, the civil society-led group highlighted “99 actions that will take place across the world to highlight what they described as “HP companies’ complicity in Israel’s violations of international law and human rights abuses.” BDS activities are expected to be staged across at least 18 countries, spanning 6 continents. The sharp increase in the boycott campaign activism is a direct result of Israeli pressure – joined by western governments – to thwart the boycott movement. Even financial institutions, such as the Bank of Ireland , have joined in on these efforts, shutting solidarity groups’ accounts and simply trying to raise the price tag for those who dare to...

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