Today in Palestine! ~ Headlines ~

Land Theft and Destruction
Israel to raze 12 Palestinian buildings near Jenin
Jenin – Ma’an – Israeli authorities have delivered demolition orders to 12 residents of the West Bank village of Barta’a Ash-Sharqiya, a community isolated between the Israeli separation wall and the Green Line near Jenin.  A member of the village’s Municipal Council, Tawfiq Qabaha, said that Israeli forces “broke into several homes, searched and ransacked their contents, and handed over demolition orders for homes and other structures.”

Activism/Solidarity/Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment
Blockage In Jordan (Resolved) - Plea to Egypt to Open Rafah

Women to join rights march in Gaza
AMHERST - On a day that many people will be cleaning up the wrappings from presents and eating leftovers from Christmas, four area women will be heading overseas to Cairo on Sunday to join with more than 1,300 delegates from 42 countries for a New Year's Eve day march into Gaza.

Gaza Freedom March: The Siege Has to End
'Is this our fate? Is this what we are worth? Nothing more than pictures on the wall?' said Um Rabia referring to what has now become a custom in Palestine, covering walls in the streets, homes and shops with pictures of deceased family members. Um Rabia' children were killed by an automatic watch tower as they were walking to school. No soldiers, no officers and no government has ever been forced to take responsibility for this action and if trends are abided to then it is very hard to believe justice will be served in any near future. Unfortunately, Um Rabia' story is a very common story in Palestine. If this trend is not stopped, soon there shall be no more wall in the streets, in homes and in shops left uncovered.

A Week of Actions for Palestinian Victims and Gaza War
Several Organizations are preparing for a memorial week for the Palestinian victims over the past 60 years. The organizations are picking the last week of the barbaric attacks on Gaza “Gaza genocide-war” to be the yearly annual week to mark the suffering thousands of Palestinians who passed the mayhem and exile.

Villages challenge occupation on human rights day, Jo Ehrlich writing from al-Tuwani
Al-Tuwani is a Palestinian village in the south Hebron Hills of the occupied West Bank. The village, home to approximately 200 residents, is more than 1,000 years old. Al-Tuwani falls under Area C (which covers some 60 percent of the occupied West Bank), an outcome of the Oslo accords which means the Israeli army has full control over all security, planning and construction in the village. There is no running water and a diesel generator provides electricity for a few hours a day. Al-Tuwani's residents have faced repeated obstacles from the Israeli army to any type of development in the village, from halting construction of a medical clinic to confiscating electricity lines. Meanwhile, Israeli settlers in the nearby illegal settlements Ma'on and Havat Ma'on continually harass villagers and poison their livestock.

Barghouthi: Anti-wall protests should be boosted
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Palestinians living in areas threatened by the Israeli separation wall should be empowered to resist the theft of their land, Palestinian National Initiative Secretary-General Mustafa Barghouthi told demonstrators on Friday.

US campaign for academic boycott gaining strength
The United States Campaign for an Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel was formed in the immediate aftermath of Operation Cast Lead, bringing together educators of conscience who were unable to stand by and watch in silence Israel's indiscriminate assault on the Gaza Strip and its educational institutions. Today, over 500 US-based academics, authors, artists, musicians, poets and other arts professionals have endorsed our call.

You are invited to submit short videos [less than 5 minutes] on the theme of Israeli Apartheid
Videos should reflect the nature, realities, and/or consequences of the apartheid policy in Israel and the occupied areas.

War on protest
The war the police and the Israel Defense Forces are openly waging against protests by left-wing and human rights activists has heated up in recent weeks. As a result, concern is growing over Israel's image as a free and democratic country, one that accords equal and tolerant treatment to all its citizens and residents.  Nonviolent protests in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah against the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes by extreme right-wingers have met with a violent and disproportionate police response. The IDF has responded with insufferable harshness to protests against the separation fence in the Palestinian villages of Bil'in and Na'alin.

Violence and Aggression

Palestinians: Settlers fire at Burin homes; none injured
Palestinian sources reported that settlers form the Yitzhar settlement, near Nablus, fired at home of the nearby Palestinian village of Burin.   According to the reports, security forces called to the scene dispersed the settlers. No injuries or damage were reported.,7340,L-3824972,00.html

Israeli forces detain 3 in night raids
Jenin – Ma’an – Israeli forces detained three Palestinians during raids in the northern West Bank early on Friday, Israeli and Palestinian sources said.  Palestinian security officials said Israeli forces invaded the city of Jenin and surrounded the residence of Majdi Jamil Al-Aqhash, in the eastern neighborhood of the city.

Israeli forces detain Hebron teen
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israeli Border Police detained a 17-year-old Palestinian at military checkpoint in the center of the city of Hebron on Thursday for allegedly carrying a sharp tool.  The teen was arrested “after arousing their suspicion,” according to the Israeli news website Ynet.  The teen was handed over to police for interrogation, the report added. The reported incident took place at a checkpoint near the Ibrahimi Mosque.

Humanitarian Issues//Siege/War on Gaza
Gaza Blockade Set to Remain in Force Even if Shalit Freed
25/12/2009 Israel would most likely keep the blockade of the Gaza Strip in place even if Gilad Shalit were released in the prisoner swap currently being negotiated.   Media reports had speculated that once Shalit was released, Israel would no longer have an excuse to continue imposing the blockade. However, all of the supplies that Israel lets into Gaza are medical and humanitarian. It does not allow in electronics or other equipment that do not fall under that category.   After Shalit was captured in June 2006, Israel claimed that his capture was one of the reasons behind the continued blockade.   According to senior defense officials, though, the blockade would likely remain in place following Shalit's release. This would be possible due to a resolution passed in former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's cabinet in September 2007, which officially defined the Gaza Strip as a "hostile entity."

Israel seals Gaza goods crossings
Gaza – Ma’an – Israel decided to seal all commercial crossings with the Gaza Strip on Friday including Kerem Shalom, Nahal Oz and Karni.  On Thursday, Israel opened the Kerem Shalom crossing, allowing 72 truckloads of goods to cross into Gaza, and holding another 20 truckloads at the crossing, according to Palestinian liaison official Raed Fattouh.

Israel closes road leading to Nablus-area village
Nablus – Ma’an – Israeli military bulldozers closed a road leading in to the West Bank village of Madama, south of Nablus on Thursday, local officials said.  A member of the Municipal Council in the village, Ihab Tahsin Qat said bulldozers constructed earth mounds that make the road inaccessible, blocking access to more than two thirds of the village’s farmland, and severing the main link to the Nablus-Qalqiliya road.

UN expert slams 'tragic' international failure in Gaza
Special Rapporteur for Occupied Palestinian Territories urges Israel's European, North American allies to threaten it with economic sanctions if blockade not lifted; calls for swift implementation of Goldstone Report conclusions.,7340,L-3824428,00.html

OPT: The basics - accessing safe water
Even before the conflict, access to safe drinking water was a problem in Gaza. Over two years of blockade meant that vital equipment needed for the construction, maintenance and operation of water and sanitation facilities was unavailable. Already weakened infrastructure was further damaged during the military offensive.

Gaza 12 months on: responding to need, pressing for action
The most recent conflict in Gaza ended on 18 January 2009. It accelerated the decline of already serious humanitarian conditions.  The international community responded swiftly. The UK was at the forefront of this response. We pledged nearly £47 million pounds to support immediate humanitarian needs, early recovery and reconstruction activities.

Israel Declares War on Peace NGOs

JERUSALEM – One year after the devastating attack on Hamas in Gaza a new wave of reports castigating Israel for war crimes has emerged.  Now, Israel is fighting back with a report on the reports, picking on international NGOs such as Amnesty, Christian Aid, Oxfam, Trocaire , Finn Church Aid, Diakonia, and Cordaid. The immediate target of Israeli ire is a collective report entitled "Failing Gaza: No rebuilding, no recovery, no more excuses," issued by these NGO, based in Europe.

Twilight Zone / Cut off, Gideon Levy
Three years after it was sealed to the Israeli media, and one year after Operation Cast Lead, Gaza remains a collection of memories
Last Friday night, the phone rang at my house. It was Munir. We hadn't spoken for several months, and every conversation with him stirs powerful feelings in me. Last month marked three years since the last time we met.  I remember it well: We drove together to Indira Gandhi's preschool (the proprietor of this school in Beit Lahia had been named after the late Indian leader). Two days before that, the Israel Defense Forces had fired a missile near a minibus transporting the children, killing two, plus other bystanders and the young teacher, Najwa Halif - all this in front of 20 youngsters on their way to kindergarten.  When we arrived at the well-tended kindergarten, funded by donations from Germany, Gandhi showed us the preschoolers' drawings: children lying on the ground and bleeding, a teacher in a pool of blood, a plane and a tank firing barrages of missiles. This is what the kids of Indira's kindergarten have grown up with. It is also my last memory of the Gaza Strip. Since then, I haven't been permitted to go there.

Arabs in the Service of Israel
Egypt bans Gaza convoy from Red Sea port
Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – Egypt refused permission on Thursday for a Gaza-bound aid convoy in led by British MP George Galloway to enter the country through the Red Sea port of Nuweiba.  There will be "no entry from Nuweiba. Entry can only be through Al-Arish," on the Mediterranean coast, Hossam Zaki told the French news agency AFP.

Egyptian opposition to Gaza Freedom March has ‘hardened’
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry’s opposition to the Gaza Freedom March has "hardened" since it announced on December 20 that it would not allow the Code Pink-organized demonstration to enter the Strip from Rafah, on the Egyptian border. So a friend informs, and the San Francisco paper confirms.

Israel is now welcome at UAE
While censorship grows in the UAE, I have received news that the UAE censors have lifted the ban on Israeli websites two or three months ago, without fanfare or announcements.

Political Developments
Hamas still debating whether to exile prisoners for Shalit
A delegation of senior Hamas officials was expected in Cairo and Damascus on Friday to discuss Israel's offer for a prisoner swap that would see the release of abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.  According to A-Sharq al-Awsat, Hamas is still divided on whether to accept Israel's proposal, which includes a demand that some of the prisoners freed in the swap be exiled away from the Gaza Strip.

Report: Mashaal opposes swap deal
London-based al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper says Hamas members in Gaza want to accept Israel's latest offer, but organization leaders in Damascus are against deal which will not include senior prisoners. Hamas source tells al-Hayat newspaper, 'Israel will wait a long time if it fails to pay the price.,7340,L-3825081,00.html

Netanyahu 'refused to discuss checkpoints'
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected several requests from his cabinet in recent months to discuss the policy of removing military checkpoints from the West Bank, Israel Radio reported on Friday.   The requests came from right-wing members of the government who see a direct link between the removal of checkpoints and attacks on Israelis.

Other News
Ahmad Tibi could be next Knesset opposition leader
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked opposition leader Tzipi Livni, raising the possibility that a Palestinian could become the opposition leader.  This parliamentary situation arose due to Knesset rules which stipulate that a member of the largest faction outside the ruling coalition becomes the head of the opposition.

Jewish group: Carter's apology to Jewish community a 'publicity stunt'
The holiday season brought U.S. Jews a surprising gesture from former president Jimmy Carter recently, when he issued a letter of apology for "stigmatizing Israel".

Residents of Sheikh Jarrah celebrate Christmas despite ongoing settler expansion
On Wednesday, 23 December, residents of Sheikh Jarrah organised a Christmas celebration outside the occupied homes of the Gawi and al-Kurd families. At 11am two trees, donated by the Jerusalem Collation, were brought by the Palestinian community, and were continually decorated thoughout the day. The decorations started from handmade paper baskets filled with candy for the children, a panda bear and monkey toys, who had been living outside with the Ghawe family, and ended with streamers, tensile, and a bright lit up star. The best decorations were the Palestinian flags flowing across the trees.

Chief Rabbinate In Israel Demands Not Displaying Christian Symbols
As the Christian world celebrates Christmas, and as Christians in Palestine and in Israel celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem, the Chief Rabbinate in Israel recommended that hotels and restaurants in the country should refrain from displaying Christian symbols.

World pray for peace on Christmas Eve in Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM, Dec. 25 (Xinhua) -- People from all over the world gathered in the holy city of Bethlehem in the West Bank on Christmas Eve Thursday, praying for peace on the special occasion.  The birthplace of Jesus Christ was crowded and festive as people flooded the usually quiet half-empty Palestinian city. Palestinian Muslims and Christians, foreigners and even Jews arrived in succession to join in the Christmas celebrations.  With better security situation in the West Bank this year, Bethlehem is expecting the biggest number of Christmas tourists.

Analysis/Op-ed/Human Interest
Up next for Obama: Mideast peace, Akiva Eldar
Officials in Jerusalem watched tensely as the Obama administration worked to push major health insurance reform through both houses of Congress.  Senate Democrats passed the landmark health care bill in a climactic Christmas Eve vote that could define President Barack Obama's legacy and usher in near-universal medical coverage for the first time in U.S. history.  The 60-39 vote on a cold winter morning capped months of arduous negotiations and 24 days of floor debate. It also followed a succession of failures by past congresses to get to this point.

‘Newsweek’ columnist endorses Goldstone Report
I’m doing something good this Christmas; I’m reading the Goldstone Report. It’s amazing. I never did read it through. It’s the greatest work by a Jewish writer since Norman Mailer left town. No it’s not literary, but it’s a fervent effort to give dignity to the lives of Palestinian civilians gunned down in their homes because Israeli soldiers were pursuing a policy of frightening the population and "communicating" with bullets. I see now why the Goldstone report will resonate for a long time. Because it’s overwhelming. Because its findings are inarguable– or so far uncontested. Because it’s been nullified by the Israel lobby, and this offends the world, when civilians are wantonly murdered and there is zero accountability.

“If everything is anti-Semitism, then there is no anti-Semitism at all.”
Every time the State of Israel is confronted with substantial international criticism for its political behavior and its violations of basic international standards, it counter-attacks by using the infamous tool of accusations of anti-Semitism. One remembers the campaign on anti-Semitism launched by Ariel Sharon and his friends throughout the world, Jews and non-Jews, after the murder of Muhammad al-Dura in Gaza in September 2000, in order to create a diversion (in the very words of Roger Cukierman, then chairman of the French Jewish umbrella organization—CRIF) and to transform the victim into a victimizer and the victimizer into a victim: for more than two years, western media “exposed” the anti-Semitism of the critics of Israel instead of denouncing the massacres committed by the Israeli military in Gaza and the West Bank.Sixty five years after the end of WWII, the ashes of the victims of Nazi genocide have not yet disappeared from the sky of Poland, and the accusation of anti-Semitism remains connected to one of the bloodiest crimes of the twentieth century; as French journalist, Daniel Mermet, one of the targets of this campaign, pointed at, “no accusation can be worse, and even after you are proved not guilty of charge, the bad smell of such an accusation will be with you forever.”

U.S. led World Community Fails, Palestinians on Brink of Explosion, Nicola Nasser
"In the absence of all hope, we cry out our cry of hope," Palestinian Christian leaders, representing churches and church-related organizations, meeting in Bethlehem on December 11, concluded in their 13-page document titled "Kairos Palestine - 2009: A Moment of Truth," enlisting Christians worldwide in proactive efforts to end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. Their "cry" symbolizes the popular mood of their people as well as the political status quo.  On both sides of the inter-Palestinian divide between the U.S. - backed presidency and the Israeli - hunted legislative, the Fatah - led West Bank (where the leadership of the Palestine Liberation organization (PLO) is committed to peace, direct negotiations and security coordination with the Israeli occupying power, but the 16 -year old "peace process' has reached an impasse and the negotiations are deadlocked in a one -year old stalemate over the cancer - like expanding Jewish colonial settlements) and the Hamas - led Gaza Strip (where the Islamic resistance Movement (Hamas) is strictly committed to ceasefire save in self - defense while conducting indirect negotiations mediated by Egypt and Germany over an exchange of POWs), both political and military solutions for the century - old Arab - Israeli conflict have failed and aborted all prospects of peace, which have proved an elusive mirage, a stark failure of the U.S. led world community. An imminent explosion seems the only breakthrough ahead.

‘They Planted Hatred in Our Hearts’
Joe Sacco’s account of mass killings of Palestinians in 1956 impressively combines graphic artistry and investigative reporting.

Three teachers among six killed in Iraq: police (AFP)
AFP - Six people, including three teachers and the brothers of a town mayor, were killed on Friday in three separate attacks in Iraq, police said.

Thursday: 36 Iraqis Killed; 180 Iraqis, 1 Iranian Wounded
Although the Christmas holiday will be celebrated in Iraq tomorrow, gunmen chose to target Shi’ite Ashura pilgrims instead of Christians today. At least 36 Iraqis were killed and 180 more were wounded in mostly Ashura-related violence. One Iranian pilgrim was injured, though more victims could be foreign nationals. Because Christians have chosen to quietly celebrate their holiday this year, Ashura [...]

Iraqi priest says Christians must 'not be afraid' (AFP)
AFP - A senior Iraqi priest in his Christmas sermon on Friday urged Christians not to be intimidated by a string of deadly attacks against the minority community but warned they should not linger near churches.

Iraqi Crisis Report: Women Struggle to Find Work
Unemployment among women said to be impoverishing hundreds of thousands of families.  After her husband was killed in a car bombing near Baghdad in 2005, 45-year-old Um Hasan supported her five children by collecting empty aluminium cans and selling them to factories.  Today, Um Hasan is being trained as a seamstress at the Baghdad-based Women's Support Centre and receives a government stipend to help her look after her family.

Iraqi Crisis Report: Farmers Hit Hard Times
A shortage of domestic fruit and vegetables is being felt in bazaars across Iraq, with families groaning about rising prices and perplexed by an unfamiliar array of produce grown abroad.  "All the fruits and vegetables we sell now are imported, except for a few vegetables like celery and spring onion, which we still have to import in some seasons," said Saed Abdullah, 47, a long-time grocer in Erbil's Shekhalla bazaar.

U.S. and other world news
Noam Chomsky - America is not a Democracy

Yemeni air strike kills 30, targets home of US cleric
"If the American government helped in attacking one of [its own] citizens, this is illegal," said Aulaqi, his voice cracking. "Nidal Hassan killed 13 people and he's going to get a trial. My son has killed nobody. He should face trial if he's done something wrong."

Jesus in Islam
Muslims don't worship Jesus, but they do revere him and believe about him much that Christians do.
For further information contact Shadi Fadda

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