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The Wall: News & Background - December 2011
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Memorial to 418 Palestinian Villages Which Were Destroyed, Depopulated and Occupied by Israel in 1948, by Emily Jacir, Refugee tent and embroidery thread, 138 ISRAEL: Triggering Tourism
IPS Commandos embedded in a pristine touristic resort bordering Egypt and Jordan sounds unreal? Though theirs are borders of peace, it appears Israel's best defence against would-be Islamist militants isn't just a good fence. Crack fighters might help make better neighbours. And, better tourism.

Israel to Take Over Land Near Salfit for Wall
WAFA - 16:38-SALFIT, December 31, 2011 (WAFA) – Israeli authorities Saturday issued several notices to take over land in Az-Zawiya and Masha, towns west of Salfit, for the expansion of the Apartheid Wall, accordin...

31 December 2008: The Abu Areeda family
Palestinian Center for Human Rights 12/31/2011
      "Before my mother's death we used to be very happy on 1 January, have celebrations and visit people. Now we are all silent in the last hour of each year and on 1 January we don't celebrate the new year. We visit our mohter's grave. We remember."
     Around 23:30 on 31 December 2008, an Israeli warplane fired a missile at Najma Parc, a small green strip in the main street of the residential al-Shaboura neighbourhood in Rafah, killing two civilians and injuring dozens of others. Iman Abu Areeda (34) was one of the two casualties, killed by a piece of shrapnel that penetrated her brain. Seven members of the extended Abu Areeda family who were also in the house at the time of the attack were mildly injured by shrapnel. The Abu Areeda family was displaced for several weeks after the attack as the external walls in the front side of the house were destroyed. The internal walls and furniture were also damaged.
     It was about half an hour before midnight on 31 December when electricity in the area was cut. Iman went to cover her youngest son, Mohammed, who was sleeping in his room. As she was leaning over him, the missile hit a few dozen meters away from their family home. The shrapnel that came through the outer wall killed her. Iman left behind her husband Mahmoud Abu Areeda (now 39) and their 7 children: Majd (20), Randa (19), Basel (18), Hibba (14), Islam (12), Watan (9), and Mohammed (6).
     “My mother died when I was 15 years old. It was the age that I needed her the most. I was in shock and I couldn’t believe that she died. I still do not believe it. I felt like not going to school any longer but I pushed myself and kept going because I know she would have wanted me to do so,” says Iman’s second oldest son, Basel.
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'US reassures Israel over Saudi fighter jet deal'
Jerusalem Post 30 Dec 2011 - Arms deal to Saudis will increase Israeli security against Iranian threat, 'Wall Street Journal' quotes US official as saying.

Israeli Forces Designate al-Khader Land "Closed Military Areas"
PNN - PNN On Wednesday, Israeli authorities distributed notices that annonced dozens of al-Khader lands, West of Bethlehem, as closed military areas, under the pretext that they want to continue building the Apartheid wall....

Israel Killed 118 Palestinians, Demolished 535 Buildings in 2011, Says Official
WAFA - 16:23-RAMALLAH, December 28, 2011 (WAFA) – Israel killed 118 Palestinians and demolished 535 buildings in 2011, Wednesday said head of the Palestinian bureau in charge of the Apartheid Wall and Settlements ....

Displacement Looms Over Bethlehem�s Christians
Arab American Institute 28 Dec 2011 - Two new Israeli settlements, Har Homa and Givat Hamatos, will completely alter the two thousand-year-old geography and biblical landscape which connects two of the holiest cities in Christendom: Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Israeli checkpoints at breaks in the wall surrounding Bethlehem on its northern border already constitute...

28 December 2008: The Abu Taima family
Palestinian Center for Human Rights 12/28/2011
      "Living under occupation means that whatever hopes we have, it will fall apart one day. For example, you bring up your child and put all of your hopes in him or her, but then they come and kill your child and all your hopes are destroyed."
     In the early morning of 28 December 2008 Mahmoud Abu Taima, his wife Manal, and their two oldest sons, Khalil and Nabil were collecting zucchini from their lands in Khuza’a village, east of Khan Younis. After a few hours the two brothers went to their uncle’s farmland a few hundred meters further west. At around 8:30 the Israeli army fired a shell from the border fence which landed between the two boys. Nabil (16) was killed and Khalil was critically injured.
     “You must understand, the area was very calm. Many farmers were working on their lands. It is an open area. I saw a projectile coming from the border fence towards the farm lands. Then I heard the explosion. I immediately ran towards the place of impact because I knew my sons were in that area. By the time that I arrived, people had already put the boys on a donkey cart to bring them to the hospital,” recalls Mahmoud Abu Taima (40). Khalil was critically injured by shrapnel in the chest and limbs and underwent a life saving surgery immediately after arriving in the hospital. “While we buried Nabil we were expecting that they would bring Khalil’s body from the hospital too,” says the boys’ mother Manal (37).
     The Abu Taima family, who have their home in Abasan village, east of Khan Yunis, has been traumatized by the death of their son and brother Nabil. His parents, and 6 eldest siblings Khalil (20), Naima (18), Isra’ (15), Mohammed (14), Abdel Rahman (9), and Ibrahim (6) all have dear memories of him. “Nabil was a part of us and he had a big place in my heart. I remember him in every moment and I feel that he is present with us. Like now, when I drink tea, I remember him and feel that he is present. When I eat my meals I feel as if he is still here with us. I can never forget him,” says his father Mahmoud.
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Al Jab'a: ’If the judge is your enemy, who are you going to complain to’
Sarah Morand, International Solidarity Movement 12/28/2011
      At first sight Al Jab’a appears as an idyllic Palestinian village, and sitting in a lovely garden under big olive trees, this seems like a perfect escape to the country side: white houses, friendly people, nice nature, and a splendid view until you glance just 500 meters from the village’s border.
     Al Jab’a is surrounded by illegal settlements, a soldier camp, one major checkpoint, the construction of the separation wall as well as one permanent roadblock which blocks access to Jab’a’s land and the neighboring village of Surif. Since Al Jab’a only has about 1000 inhabitants and lacks a hospital, markets, and high school, the restriction of movement means that everyone has to go two to three kilometers by foot in order to do their basic shopping and to reach school, work and healthcare. Sometimes even that is impossible.
     “When my wife was pregnant and was about to give birth, they didn’t let us cross the checkpoint. They forced us to go back and my wife had to give birth at home,” Naser, a senior of the village, said.
     As Naser guided ISM volunteers through his village, the roadblock obstructing the village from free movement was visible. One women explained that since her husband is sick and she does not want to leave her children alone, she has to walk with them every 4th day to do the basic shopping and to buy milk for her baby.
     The restriction on movement should also be seen in context of everyday Israeli harassment which aim at making life unbearable in order to make people leave the village. Many houses have a demolition order as do its trees, plants, fences, walls and mailboxes. The big sign which welcomes visitors at the entrance has one and so do the two small plants that are put next to it. -- See also: ISM: More about Al Jab'a
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IOF soldiers detain five Gazans near security fence
PIC - Israeli occupation forces (IOF) detained five Palestinians after charging them with crossing the security fence surrounding the Gaza Strip on Sunday night.

Rights group calls for stop of Israeli shooting of activists
WAFA - 14:16-RAMALLAH, December 25, 2011 (WAFA) – The Palestinian rights group, Stop the Wall, has sent an urgent complaint to UN Special Rapporteurs and diplomatic missions urging them to investigate Israeli targ...

[] Troops Attack Bil'in Weekly Protest; Dozens Injured
Uruknet December 24, 2011 - Israeli soldiers attacked on Friday the weekly nonviolent protest against the illegal Israeli Annexation Wall and settlements, in Bil'in village, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah. Dozens of local residents, Israeli and international peace activists and a Japanese delegation participated in this week's protest. The week's protest focused on the...

It’s the Right Moment for Churches to Pay Attention to Israel’s Occupation
Intifada-Palestine: 25 Dec 2011 - The Kairos Palestine Document calls on churches to pay attention to Israel’s occupation. ( Najeh Hashlamoun / APA images ) by James M. Wall / The Electronic Intifada In his book  Kairos for Palestine , Rifat Odeh Kassis deals with a topic that is as fresh... more

Troops Attack Bil’in Weekly Protest; Dozens Injured
IMEMC - Israeli soldiers attacked on Friday the weekly nonviolent protest against the illegal Israeli Annexation Wall and settlements, in Bil’in village, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah. ...

New 'wall museum' tells women's stories
12/24/2011 - BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A unique museum has been set up on the path of Israel's wall, which snakes through the West Bank city of Bethlehem. An initiative of the Sumud Story House, it is designed to communicate Palestinian women's stories about the "truth of Palestinian life which the wall tries....

In photos: Santa joins West Bank wall protest
12/23/2011 - MaanImages / Bilin popular committee - Santa Clauses with Palestinian flags rallied against Israel's wall in the occupied West Bank on Saturday, Dec. 23, ahead of Christmas. Soldiers dispersed the protest with tear gas. At the rally, Palestinians called for national unity, resistance and freedom for prisoners. The Bilin popular committee appealed to the Palestinian....

Christmas Tree Consists of Walls, Wires, Gas Bombs
PNN - by Monjed JadouIt’s a Christmas tree, but it differs from the traditional one this year. It holds a clear political message reflecting the suffering of Palestine under the Israeli occupation. It’s a...

[] Christmas Tree Consists of Walls, Wires, Gas Bombs
Uruknet December 23, 2011 - It's a Christmas tree, but it differs from the traditional one this year. It holds a clear political message reflecting the suffering of Palestine under the Israeli occupation. It's a message for the world to wake up their conscience and help stop the aggression, walls and settlements imposed on the people of...

Occupation municipality plans to abandon neighbourhoods outside the wall
PIC - The Israeli occupation mayor of Jerusalem put forward a plan which aims to give up responsibility for Palestinian neighbourhoods outside the apartheid wall.

It's the right moment for churches to pay attention to Israel's occupation
Electronic Intifada: 22 Dec 2011 - James M. Wall The Electronic Intifada A new book about the Palestine Kairos Document tells the story of the Christian churches’ effort to communicate the suffering imposed by Israel on Palestinians.more

Happy Christmas, O prisoners of the Little Town of Bethlehem
Palestine Chronicle: 22 Dec 2011 - By Stuart Littlewood O little town of Bethlehem How still we see thee lie Above thy deep and dreamless sleep The silent stars go by Yet in thy dark streets shineth The everlasting Light The hopes and fears of all the years Are met in thee tonight While carving the turkey for your family and merrily quaffing mulled wine ‘midst happy laughter, remember that the romantic Little Town of Bethlehem at the centre of our childhood Christmases is now “an immense prison” in the words of Michel Sabbah, former Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, and entirely surrounded by Israel’s ugly 8-metre separation wall bristling with machine-gun towers. The good citizens of Bethlehem are cut off from their capital Jerusalem, only six miles away, the rest of the West Bank and the whole world. Consider that the United Nations, for obvious reasons, designated Jerusalem and Bethlehem a protected international zone under UN...more

Israel Bulldozes Industrial Structures In Silwan
IMEMC - Israeli bulldozers destroyed on Tuesday industrial stalls in Ath-Thoury neighborhood, in Silwan, south of the Al Aqsa Mosque, in occupied East Jerusalem, as part of the destruction that is ongoing to a playground that belongs to the Ibrahimi College, a few meters away from the Jerusalem Wall. ...

Israeli forces detain 3 men trying to cross Gaza border
12/20/2011 - GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces detained three men overnight Monday in the central Gaza Strip after they reportedly approached the security fence separating Israel and the coastal enclave. Witnesses said that the men were trying to cross the border illegally to work in Israel. Soldiers fired flares near the border and deployed forces....

Life and death in the seam zone
Alternative Information Center - A young Palestinian man shares his personal story of life in the seam zone--the area of the West Bank that falls on the Israeli side of the separation barrier--and how movement restrictions may have cost his...

[] Israel Bulldozes Industrial Structures In Silwan
Uruknet December 20, 2011 - Israeli bulldozers destroyed on Tuesday industrial stalls in Ath-Thoury neighborhood, in Silwan, south of the Al Aqsa Mosque, in occupied East Jerusalem, as part of the destruction that is ongoing to a playground that belongs to the Ibrahimi College, a few meters away from the Jerusalem Wall. Israel is trying to remove...

This Holy Land battle focuses on tourists' wallets
LA Times 19 Dec 2011 - Israel and the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority compete for Christian pilgrims' business in Bethlehem, where scores of buses arrive each day to visit Jesus' birthplace. A 45-foot-high artificial Christmas tree towers over Manger Square, and downtown Bethlehem is festooned with sparkling decorations. There's even a...

Shu'fat: Forced to pay taxes from behind a checkpoint and wall
12/19/2011 - International Solidarity Movement - By Jenna Bereld and Samar, 19 December 2011, International Solidarity Movement, West Bank - On December 18, 2011 residents of Shu'fat and activists protested against the separation wall in front of the new checkpoint. A certain loss of demonstrators was noted, since thirty-five organizers were arrested yesterday by Israeli policemen in their homes in.... Related: Images: Forced to pay taxes from behind a wall

Jewish Extremists Attack Christmas Carolers
Intifada-Palestine: 19 Dec 2011 - Bethlehem Bible college choir performs next to Israel's separation wall in Bethlehem. (MaanImages/Munther Isaac, HO) BETHLEHEM( Ma’an )- Settlers attacked a Palestinian choir bus returning from a carol concert in Nablus on Saturday evening, choristers told Ma’an . The singers, from Bethlehem... more

Christmas in the Holy Land
Intifada-Palestine: 19 Dec 2011 - By: Jamal Kanj * The Christian world is celebrating the birth of the Prince of Peace this month. At a time when his birth place is surrounded with abominable Israeli separation walls reminiscent of the dark period that gave birth to Jesus.... more

Eldar: ethnocentrism has called on religious and secular alike
Mondoweiss - Akiva Eldar Writing in Ha'aretz today, veteran journalist Akiva Eldar argues that "Israel can be Jewish without being racist," but admits that, in Israel, "there is no wall separating the religious from the secular." He writes, "Jewish ethnocentrism - and the desire to erase the collective...

Beit Surik and Stop the Wall thank Rho city council for condeming Pizzarotti for Complicity with Israeli Apartheid
Global BDS 19 Dec 2011 - For background on the issue, this is from a recent Press release from the Italian Coalition Stop That Train: On 30 November, the City Council of Rho, in the province of Milan, approved a resolution expressing “moral and political condemnation of Pizzarotti & C. S.p.A. for...

Christmas in the Holy Land
Jamal Kanj, Intifada-Palestine 12/19/2011
      The Christian world is celebrating the birth of the Prince of Peace this month. At a time when his birth place is surrounded with abominable Israeli separation walls reminiscent of the dark period that gave birth to Jesus.
     The Gospel of Matthew tells the story that Jesus Christ was born in the city of Bethlehem. After Jesus’s birth, Herod the Great, “King of the Jews,” ordered the killing of all children younger than two years old.
     Fearful for the baby’s safety, Joseph and Mary fled Bethlehem for Egypt before returning four years later following the demise of King Herod. To avoid the son of the “evil king,” Mary and Joseph decided to skip Bethlehem and moved to their home town of Nazareth.
     Ironically, more than 2000 years ago and under the horrid kingdom of an “evil king,” Mary and Joseph succeeded in making the 300 miles trip in peace. Today, in the only [Jewish] democracy in the Middle East, a 3 mile jaunt would be impossible to make freely. Like fellow Natives, Palestinian Christians from Bethlehem and surrounding villages can’t visit their holy places in Jerusalem without “unattainable” special security permits.
     Native Palestinian Christians, the likely decedents of the first Christians who witnessed the star on the eve of December 25; represent the only lasting Christian presence in Palestine for over 2000 years. Now and for the first time in recorded history, Christian presence in the city of Nativity is under serious threat by Israeli military occupation and racial economic strangulation.
     In an interview with the Voice of America, Bethlehem mayor Victor Batarseh indicated that, “due to the stress, either physical or psychological, and the bad economic situation, many people are emigrating, either Christians or Muslims, but it is more apparent among Christians, because they already are a minority.”
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Issawiya: a Palestinian village, boxed in by the occupation
Mikaela Levin, Alternative Information Center 12/19/2011
      The struggles of the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Sheik Jarrah and Silwan have garnered a lot of media attention in recent years, but the plight of the 16,000 Palestinian inhabitants of Issawiya has gone, for the most part, ignored. Although they pay taxes to the Israeli government, they receive next to nothing in return. Residents find themselves separated from other Palestinian communities and hemmed in by settlements and a military base.
     In Issawiya, narrow streets of broken concrete serve as playgrounds and barbed wired fences separate the community from their lands. Issawiya looks like the typical impoverished village in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. But it's not-- its residents pay taxes like Israeli citizens and live only a 15-minute drive from downtown Jerusalem.
     Like the rest of East Jerusalem, Issawiya was occupied by the Israelis in the wake of 1967 war. But even before that, residents experienced life under occupation. During the almost 20 years of Jordanian control, Mount Scopus was considered by both Jordan and Israel as a demilitarized zone, a neutral space under the United Nations control. During this time, the Israeli government managed to convince the UN, on more than one occasion, to the village entrance for hours on end. Nobody was allowed to exit or enter during those periods.
     Today, that entrance is an alley which borders the Hebrew University on Mount Scopus, separating the imposing building from the humble Palestinian houses. Over the years, the state of Israel has built new entrances to Issawiya, but it has also dictated its borders, setting boundaries which exclude more than 50 percent of the villagers' lands.
     The state has effectively boxed Issawiya in with the Hadassah hospital, Hebrew University, the settlement known as French Hill, and the separation wall which rises behind the village and separates the Palestinians from Issawiya from the Palestinians from Anata and from the Shoafat refugee camp. And, finally, at the other end of Mount Scopus, the military base built by the Israelis five years ago.
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Barkat proposes dividing Jerusalem
Jerusalem Post 17 Dec 2011 - In speech at National Defense College last week, mayor suggested a 'land swap' between Jerusalem land outside of the security barrier.

The Jews Go To War (With Themselves) – An Analysis by Dr. Lawrence Davidson
Intifada-Palestine: 17 Dec 2011 - At the Kusra mosque, "Mohammed is a pig" was spray-painted on the wall. (Photo by Michele Monni) by Dr. Lawrence Davidson Part I On 12 December 2011 hundreds of Israeli settler fanatics besieged a West Bank IDF army base. They destroyed... more

In Photos: The construction of segregation
12/16/2011 - International Solidarity Movement - By Jenna Bereld and Samar, 16 December 2011,International Solidarity Movement, West Bank - Today, Israeli soldiers once again denied the Palestinians' right to assemble and protest against the construction of the illegal separation wall. About fifty villagers of Qalandia gathered after the Friday prayer and went to the construction site in a peaceful demonstration....

Legal researcher on Israel: 'Segregation within segregation within segregation'
Mikaela Levin, Alternative Information Center 12/12/2011
      When people discuss apartheid in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), they tend to talk about the discrimination against the Palestinians on both sides of the separation barrier. Simone O’Brien, a legal researcher at Badil, proposes a more complex approach to the subject. O'Brien argues that apartheid has evolved in Israel throughout the last six decades and that, instead of recreating the segregation between white and black in South Africa, Israel has come up with a model of segregation within segregation within segregation that involves all of historic Palestine.
     “Gazans today are completely separated; they can’t go to 48 Israel or to the West Bank, except for very exceptional cases based on humanitarian reasons," O'Brien said. "Today even spousal reunification is not [considered] a humanitarian reason. The people in the West Bank can’t get to East Jerusalem in most cases and the fact that refugees are banned from returning is, in itself, an act of apartheid. Also, the Jordan Valley is now pretty much a closed zone and the H2 area of Hebron is too a closed zone."
     Simone’s research is part of a legal report that Badil, a local NGO from Bethlehem that works on the Palestinian refugees’ right of return, will publish in the next months. The main goal of the research is to use legal tools to prove that the state of Israel imposes apartheid on its own Palestinian citizens and on the Palestinian population in the OPT.
     Just some weeks ago, in November, Simone travelled to South Africa to attend the Russell Tribunal, a new version of the famous tribunal created in 1966 by renowned intellectuals from all over the world to judge the atrocities committed in Vietnam. Today, the new members of the tribunal gathered to hear testimony from experts as to whether the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories constitutes apartheid.
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Settlers Torch A Mosque In Ramallah
IMEMC - A group of fanatic Israeli settlers burnt, on Thursday at dawn, a mosque in Borqa village, east of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and wrote racist graffiti on its walls. The attack is the latest of a series of attacks against Palestinian mosques and property. ...

MIDEAST: Fighting Settlers' Impunity and Immunity
IPS The outer stone walls of the unused 12th century Ayyubid mosque in the Israeli centre of the city carried the black scars of attempted arson and hatred. "Price tag", the signature read.

[] Right wing Israelis torch Jerusalem mosque
Uruknet December 14, 2011 -- Right wing Israelis set fire to a mosque in Jerusalem overnight, Israeli police said. "During the night, there was an attempt to set fire to a disused mosque in the city center," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP. "Police also found graffiti on the walls. The police have opened an investigation." Vandals...

Why we’re celebrating hope this Christmas
Victor Batarseh, Ma’an News Agency 12/16/2011
      It all started in Bethlehem.
     From here, the Christmas message was revealed to mankind; a message of joy, love and peace.
     And here we are today, after more than 2,000 years, reviving this eternal remembrance in faith and love, happily cheering and singing songs of joy and triumph.
     "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." This verse spreads joy in our hearts and proves for us that nothing is impossible for God, not even realizing peace.
     Palestinians have always suffered from occupation and oppression, and still undergo violations of their rights. We live in a city surrounded by a wall that cruelly and severely obscures it, prohibiting its people from moving freely on their lands.
     Around 70,000 acres of Bethlehem's arable land behind the wall have been seized this year by the Israeli occupation authorities, who decided the landowners were "absent" and referred their land to Israel's "absentee property custodian."
     Our hearts grieve for what our city has become, and it pains us to imagine what the birth of our lord Jesus Christ would look like today.
     Saint Joseph and Virgin Mary would be stopped and searched entering Bethlehem or departing on their flight to Egypt. The Magi would run into a huge concrete wall. The shepherds would not be able to graze their sheep; their land would have been confiscated. -- See also: In photos: Christmas season arrives in Palestine
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Israeli Settlers Try To Torch Historic Mosque In Jerusalem, Spray-paint Anti-Muslim Graffiti
IMEMC - Late on Tuesday night, a group of Israeli settlers attempted to burn down the now disused mosque of Akasha Bin Mohsin. They were unable to obtain entry, and so proceeded to torch the exterior, and spray-painted graffiti including ‘Mohammed is a pig’ on the blackened walls. ...

Right wing Israelis torch Jerusalem mosque
12/14/2011 - JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Right wing Israelis set fire to a mosque in Jerusalem overnight, Israeli police said." During the night, there was an attempt to set fire to a disused mosque in the city center," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP."Police also found graffiti on the walls. The police have opened an investigation....

Israeli mayor 'willing to cede land beyond wall'
12/14/2011 - BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Israeli mayor of Jerusalem said Tuesday that lands outside of the area allocated for Israel's West Bank barrier could eventually be abandoned to the Palestinian Authority, Israeli media reported. Nir Barkat was quoted by Israel's Maariv newspaper telling graduates of the National Security Academy that he....

Life next to the separation wall, with Israeli soldiers on the roof
Alternative Information Center - The Hassan family was only allowed to come back to their house in 2010. For five years, after the Israelis built the separation wall right through one of the walls of their home, they were forbidden...

Israeli court remands right-wing activists over provocation near Jordan border
Ha'aretz - 15 arrested after crossing border fence, seizing abandoned churches in a deliberate attempt to gain attention of the Jordanian authorities.

New report documents children under fire in Gaza
12/13/2011 - International Solidarity Movement - 13 December 2011, AlertNet - Twenty-eight cases of children being shot at by the border fence between Israel and the Gaza strip whilst gathering building materials like gravel, or working by the fence, have been documented by Defence for Children International in their latest report ‘Children of Gravel'. The shootings reportedly took place between.... Related: AlertNet and Defence for Children International

Africa: Israel Hopes to Block Inflow of Illegal Africans 13 Dec 2011 - THE Israeli cabinet has voted unanimously to finance a $160 million programme to stanch the flow of illegal African migrants by stepping up construction of a border fence and expanding a detention center to hold thousands of new arrivals.

New report documents children under fire in Gaza
AlertNet 12/13/2011
      Twenty-eight cases of children being shot at by the border fence between Israel and the Gaza strip whilst gathering building materials like gravel, or working by the fence, have been documented by Defence for Children International in their latest report 'Children of Gravel'.
     The shootings reportedly took place between March 26 2010 and October 3, 2011, according to Defence for Children International (DCI)-Palestine Section . According to DCI, the Israeli soldiers often fire warning shots to scare off workers by the border. Their report also states that 'these soldiers sometimes shoot and kill the donkeys used by the workers, and also target the workers, usually, but not always, shooting at their legs.'
     'That children are in a situation where they need to work to help their parents meet basic family needs is an infringement of their rights. That children are in the line of fire to meet these needs is appalling,' says World Vision Programme Director for Gaza, Siobhan Kimmerle.
     Forty percent of Gaza's population is unemployed and 80% of the population is completely reliant on foreign assistance. In addition, Israeli restrictions limit the amount of construction material entering the Gaza borders for reconstruction and development. As a result, many workers collect gravel and sell it to builders to use for concrete. The children among the gravel collectors earn about US$8-$14 per day to help support their families.
     The North Gaza governorate is one of the most impoverished governorates in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) and the neediest in the Gaza Strip. In comparison to the other governorates in the Gaza Strip, North Gaza's food insecurity rate is the highest at 60% and the unemployment rate the second highest at 39%. World Vision works with communities in North Gaza to help improve family livelihoods and help ensure their children are cared for and protected. -- See also: AlertNet and Defence for Children International
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Israel closes Al-Aqsa compound footbridge
12/12/2011 - JERUSALEM (Reuters) -- Israel on Monday closed a footbridge at Jerusalem's holiest and most volatile religious site after deeming the structure unsafe. The wooden ramp was erected as a stopgap after a snowstorm and earthquake in 2004 damaged a stone bridge leading up from the Western Wall to the sacred compound where the al-Aqsa.... Related: Israeli settlers raid Jordan border

Israel's growing wall of steel fences off Egypt
12/12/2011 - NETAFIM, Israel (AFP) -- Far from the uproar of Cairo's Tahrir Square, Israel has been doubling its efforts to erect a giant, impenetrable security barrier along its 240-kilometer border with the Egyptian Sinai. Work on the new border fence began a year ago, in a project initially aimed at stemming the growing tide....

Israeli settlers raid Jordan border
12/12/2011 - BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli settlers raided the Jordanian borders on Monday evening in protest over Amman's involvement in a dispute over a footbridge to Jerusalem's al-Aqsa Mosque. An Israeli military spokeswoman said initial reports indicated that 30 Israelis crossed the security fence and entered a closed military zone on the.... Related: Israel closes Al-Aqsa compound footbridge

Qalandia: White sky of tear gas looms over apartheid wall construction
12/12/2011 - International Solidarity Movement - By Rana H. , 9 December 2011, International Solidarity Movement, West Bank - Peaceful protesters came face to face with Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) in Qalandia on Friday before soldiers began to fire tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at the civilian group including children, women, and elders. Qalandia village is protesting the construction of the apartheid....

Hamas: Israel declaring war on Muslim holy sites with closure of Jerusalem bridge
Ha'aretz - Wooden ramp leading from Western Wall Plaza to Temple Mount and Al-Aqsa mosque closed due to concerns it may collapse; Hamas condemns move as 'Zionist aggression.'

Photo Story: The last honours for Mustafa Tamimi
Stop The Wall - Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign This photo story has captured some of the moments of the funeral of Mustafa Tamimi from Nabi Saleh. Mustafa Tamimi, 27, died on Saturday December 10 of wounds sustained after the Israeli occupation forces shot him in the face on Friday at the weekly popular...

Palestinian dies of wounds after being shot in the face by Israeli occupation forces
Stop The Wall - Palestinian Grassroots Anti-apartheid Wall Campaign Mustafa Tamimi shot at protest on Eve of Human Rights Day Nabi Saleh, West Bank – Palestinian activist Mustafa Tamimi, 28, died this morning of wounds sustained after the Israeli occupation forces shot him in the face on Friday at the weekly popular protest in...

Israel Steps Up Efforts to Stop Illegal Immigration From Africa
New York Times 11 Dec 2011 - The government said it would spend $160 million to build an Egyptian border fence, expand detention centers and increase the policing of companies that hire immigrant workers.

Avoiding the regional ramifications of stalemate
Hassan A. Barari, Bitterlemons 12/8/2011
      For Jordan, the impasse of the Israeli-Palestinian track could not be more threatening. Time and time again, King Abdullah II has stressed that the failure of a two-state solution would be detrimental to the national security of his country. For this reason, Amman has pushed both Palestinians and Israelis to get their act together and hammer out an historic deal to allay the fears of Jordanians.
     Two weeks ago, the king made a rare visit to Ramallah to meet President Mahmoud Abbas and discuss ways of resuming peace negotiations with Israel. Implicit in this visit was Jordan's desire to play a role after Egypt had pulled back from its longstanding status as third party and bridge between Israel and the rest of the Arabs. Also, the king received Israeli President Shimon Peres in Amman to discuss ways of reviving the stalled peace process.
     It is hard to avoid the conclusion that Jordan--after having been kept in the dark for years regarding Palestinian-Israeli interactions--is looking for ways to expand its regional role. Indeed, Jordanians have begun to feel that they cannot afford to sit idly by while regional developments sweep the region at an alarming rate. The timing of the Ramallah visit was very important as Khaled Meshaal, the head of Hamas' political bureau in Damascus, is expected to visit Jordan soon. Almost ten years after being expelled from Jordan, Hamas leaders seek to mend fences with Amman in case the regime in Syria falls. Explicit in the king's latest moves is a message to Hamas leaders that in reconciling with them Jordan is not about to shift gears and change its diplomacy concerning the desired outcome of the peace process.
     Public debate in Jordan has focused for some time on threatening Israeli moves in Jerusalem. The Mughrabi bridge issue is a source of concern for Jordanians who have little faith in the Israeli government. Additionally, statements coming from Israeli right-wing politicians have reinforced deep-seated suspicions of Israel's intentions vis-a-vis Jordan.... -- See also: Bitterlemons: Jordan and the Palestinian issue
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Dozens teargased in the village of Bil'in west of Ramallah
12/9/2011 - International Solidarity Movement - By Sameer Bornat, 9 December 2011, Friends of Freedom and Justice-Bilin - Dozens were wounded by poison gas suffocation in the weekly march organized by the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Bil'in, with the participation of a delegation from Belgium, dozens of Palestinians, and international and Israeli peace activists. The march.... Related: Friends of Freedom and Justice-Bilin and Israeli Occupation Forces gas Bil'in: Images

Locals protest as Israeli barrier rips through Qalandia
12/9/2011 - International Solidarity Movement - 7 December 2011, International Solidarity Movement, West Bank - Today, in the town of Qalandia, north of Ramallah, Palestinian and international solidarity activists tried to stop the illegal construction of the separation wall.  The Israeli government issued a map that shows the new tracing of the wall. According to this map the wall would take more....

Eve of Human Rights Day: activist in Nabi Saleh looses eye as Israel escalates repression
Stop The Wall - Palestinian Grassroots Anti-apartheid Wall Campaign The second anniversary of the start the popular resistance by the people of Nabi Saleh was marked by the brutal injury of young Mustafa Abdul-Razzaq al-Tamimi, 27, who was shot in the face at less than 10 meters. This occurred while the UN Special Rapporteur...

On International Solidarity Day with Palestine, Israeli Repression Continues
Stop The Wall - Palestinian Grassroots Anti-apartheid Wall Campaign On International Solidarity Day with Palestine, Israeli Repression Continues Coinciding with the international day of solidarity with the Palestinian people, the weekly protests against the apartheid wall and settlements was suppressed by the occupation forces, who shot protesters with live bullets and metal bullets covered...

East Jerusalem hospital cut off from all communication due to technicians' fears to visit area
Ha'aretz - Al-Quds maternity hospital in Kafr Akeb is an Israeli hospital under Health Ministry supervision; technicians will not visit hospital to fix phone line, internet service, outside separation fence, without security escort.

Fact sheet: Israel’s tightening control over Jerusalem
Mya Guarnieri, +972 Magazine 12/7/2011
      Sergio Yahni at the Alternative Information Center compiled and I edited and added to this fact sheet about Jerusalem. It’s a great resource for journalists or anyone with a general interest in the political situation of Jerusalem, which embodies the history of Israel/Palestine as well as what is happening now in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
     “The 75 kilometer wall being built in East Jerusalem is an instrument of social engineering designed to achieve the Judaization of Jerusalem by reducing the number of Palestinians in the city.” - Professor John Dugard, United Nations Special Rapporteur
     Fact and Figures about Jerusalem
     Total population: 773,800 (2009)
     Population: 65 percent Israeli citizens; 35 percent Palestinians (2010)
     Settler Population in East Jerusalem: 192,000 (2009)
     Poverty: 41 percent of all Jerusalemites live below the poverty line, 65 percent of Palestinian families live below the poverty line (2010)
     Between 1967 and 2006, Israel had revoked the residency rights of around 8,269 Palestinian Jerusalemites.
     Planning and Construction
     In 1967, the state of Israel annexed 71 square kilometers of land to the Jerusalemmunicipality. Of them, six and a half square kilometers were part of Arab East Jerusalem under Jordanian rule and 64.5 square kilometers belonged to 28 Palestinian towns and villages.
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Israel, Occupy Wall Street, and anti-Zionism
Brian Kwoba, Israeli Occupation Archive 12/2/2011
      The Occupy Wall Street movement in the US is reverberating around the world. In Tel Aviv, Israel, for example, a tens-of-thousands-strong protest on October 29 “showed influences from the Occupy Wall Street movement, including signs saying ‘we are the 99%,’ and one sign that read ‘Occupy Oakland!’” (Jerusalem Post). Though much smaller in scale, this protest revives the recent memory of the summer’s July 14 (J14) movement in Israel, which received much criticism from the Palestine solidarity community for its failure to condemn the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, let alone the issue of Zionism itself.
     As one such activist argued, “the hypocrisy of J14 is that while it may have supposedly been about social justice, it simply refused to address the occupation of Palestine.”
     On this basis, many progressives and Palestine solidarity activists withheld support from the movement, instead criticizing it for its weaknesses and limitations. I think this was and is a big mistake, even though the “mainstream” of the Israeli protest movement was and still is largely silent on the oppression of Palestinians. Let me explain.
     Occupy Wall Street, NOT Palestine
     First of all, let’s be clear: Israel is a colonial-settler and apartheid state. Internationally, it must be boycotted, sanctioned, and divested from with all the vigor we can muster until (at minimum) it ends of the occupation, grants full equality to all of its citizens, and cedes the right of return to the Palestinians of the diaspora.
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Latin Church In Beit Jala Holds Prayers On Lands Threatened By Wall, Settlements
IMEMC - As part of the weekly nonviolent protests against the occupation, settlements, the Wall, and the illegal Israeli attempts to annex lands that belong to the Cremisan Christian Monastery In Beit Jala, Palestinian Christians held prayers on lands that belong to residents of the town, located near the West Bank city of Bethlehem. ...

Israel Prevents Thirty Farmers From Entering Their Lands
IMEMC - The Israeli Authorities prevented on Thursday thirty Palestinian farmers from Anin village, west of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, from entering their lands and orchards isolated behind the Annexation Wall in the area. ...

Panetta: Israel must mend fences in region
AlJazeera 2 Dec 2011 - US defence secretary says Israel needs to reverse its growing isolation by reaching out to Turkey, Egypt and others.

Committee: Israel rabbi plans new construction at Western Wall
12/1/2011 - JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- A joint Muslim and Christian organization warned Thursday that the rabbi of the Western Wall plans to build a second level at the holy site abutting Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. The Islamic Christian Commission in Support of Jerusalem and the Holy Sites said the design was highly dangerous to the Haram....

Lawyer: Israel court orders Qalandiya changes
12/1/2011 - RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israel's supreme court ruled Wednesday that authorities in the occupied West Bank should construct a checkpoint for pedestrians and cars at the entrance of Qalandiya village. The ruling followed an appeal by attorney Ghayath Nasser against the route of the wall, which lasted five years. The court determined that.... Related: Clashes erupt after court decision on Qalandiya

Israeli forces uproot 100 olive trees and ‘arrest’ a farmer’s tractor to extend wall in Occupied Territories
Mondoweiss - link to link to link to link to link to link to link to link to link to link to link to link to link to link to link to link...

Why Moscow doesn't believe Washington on Missile Defense… or on just almost nuthin'…
Voltaire Network 1 Dec 2011 - Most in the civilized world are blissfully unaware that we are marching ineluctably towards an increasingly likely pre-emptive nuclear war. No, it's not at all about Iran and Israel. It's about the decision of Washington and the Pentagon to push Moscow up against the wall with...

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