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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 more.. e-mail 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 movements President, Mahmoud Abbas, and ousted leader Mohammed Dahlan. This comes at a time preparations for the Seventh Conference are in full swing. Dahlans 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.
Lets 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. more.. e-mail 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 Naqshbandis 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. more.. e-mail Israels 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. more.. e-mail
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