Today in Palestine! ~ Headlines ~

Land theft / Apartheid

Israel okays 28 new settlement buildings, despite freeze
Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Thursday ordered the IDF to issue a temporary freeze order, but at the same time allowed the construction of 28 new public buildings in settlements. Meanwhile, Haaretz has learned that the state is expected to ask the Supreme Court for more time to evacuate illegal outposts ... efforts were underway Thursday to maximize the impact of the freeze on the international arena. So far, the Israeli announcement had not had a warm reception in the international community.
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1131124.html

Civil Administration distributes freeze orders
Officers of the Civil Administration began Friday to hand out orders to Judea and Samaria council heads commanding them to stop issuing construction permits in settlements, just two days after the cabinet decision on a 10-month settlement construction freeze. In addition, Defense Minister Ehud Barak confirmed reports that his ministry sent an aircraft to photograph West Bank settlements, in order to document the construction taking place there.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3811686,00.html

Analysis / Settlers have been working for months to undermine construction freeze
By Amos Harel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu owes much gratitude to the Yesha Council and the members of the rightist flank in Likud. Were it not for their public opposition over the past two days, someone might have suspected that the decision to freeze settlement construction permits for 10 months was an even smaller Israeli concession than it originally appeared to be.
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1131086.html

Anti-wall protests mark UN partition anniversary
Israeli forces opened fire on anti-wall protesters in two West Bank villages on Friday, according to news reports. Commemorating the UN's annual International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, residents of Bil'in and Nil'in, two villages near Ramallah, rallied against Israel's separation barrier on Friday afternoon. Dozens reportedly suffered tear-gas inhalation in both areas, although there were no reports of more serious injuries. Activists said Israeli forces fired stun grenades in addition to the tear-gas.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=243025

Arabs, leftists protest in Beit Jarrah
Activists protest eviction of Arabs from east J'lem homes by Jewish owners bearing court orders -- Police and rescue forces were alerted to the scene, but no violent incidents were reported. The protestors beat on drums and called, "Thieves, thieves, get out of the homes", and "Release Beit Jarrah".
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3811728,00.html

Help save the Palestinian village of Lifta from total destruction
Lifta, a most picturesque Palestinian village, lies on the slopes of West Jerusalem below the highway linking it to Tel-Aviv. It has been abandoned since the invading Hagana underground forces backed by the Stern Gang drove the last of its Palestinian inhabitants in 1948 during the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. It was the one single event which changed the nature of the place and the whole region ... Now the Jerusalem Municipality has produced plans to turn Lifta into a luxurious and exclusive Jewish development – reinventing its history in the process.
http://sabbah.biz/mt/archives/2009/11/27/help-save-the-palestinian-village-of-lifta-from-total-destruction/

IRIN: Travel restrictions eased
TEL AVIV, 26 Nov (IRIN) - The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) has announced that restrictions on the West Bank's population in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) will be eased during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha between 26 November and 2 December. According to the IDF, the following policies will be implemented for the period: * Palestinians will be allowed to enter Israel to visit immediate family members * Israeli citizens will be able to enter the city of Tulkarem by car via checkpoint 407; ...
http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=87201

Settlers

Palestinian woman suffers stroke after settlers invade her family's house in Sheikh Jarrah
On Thursday, November 26, 2009 at 1:00am, five settlers and settler security, who are currently occupying the Gawi family house in Sheikh Jarrah, attempted to take over a section of a house belonging to the Palestinian al-Kurd family. The Israeli police were alerted immediately, however, before they managed to arrive, the settlers started attacking the Palestinians living in the house. One settler violently pushed a member of the al-Kurd family, Maysa, against a wall and thereafter grabbed her son, Munjad, by the lapel. After their arrival and a long discussion with the al-Kurd family concerning the legal status of the house, the Israeli police reluctantly escorted the settlers out. As a result of the tumult, Refka Kurd, 85, suffered a stroke. She was taken to a hospital and is in stable condition. This is the third settler incursion into the al-Kurd family house in the last three weeks.
http://palsolidarity.org/2009/11/9481

Settlers take over 10 acres of farm land owned by Palestinian farmer
Israeli settlers took over on Thursday 10 acres of lands owned by Palestinian farmers from Yannon village, northern West Bank. Villagers said that settlers invaded the village then took over the land and started to work one it using machinery they brought with them. The farmers clashed with the Israeli settlers. No injuries were reported in both sides. The villagers said the settlers are from the nearby illegal settlement of Gado'nim.
http://www.imemc.org/index.php?obj_id=53&story_id=57229

Israeli forces close Huwwara as settlers demand access to Nablus
Israeli forces closed the Huwwara checkpoint and the main road near the village for two hours Thursday night in an effort to contain several dozen settlers trying to access Joseph's Tomb in Nablus ... Israeli law requires settlers wishing to enter Palestinian cities in the West Bank to arrange military escorts ...  Locals speculated that the sudden demand to enter Nablus may have been a move by settlers to test the limits of their government's latest move to partially curb construction in West Bank settlements.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=243007

Violence / Aggression


Palestinian killed as IAF strikes Gaza rocket launchers
The Israel Air Force bombed a rocket-launching squad in the Gaza Strip Friday morning, killing one person and seriously wounding three others. A military source said the dead gunman belonged to a radical, previously unknown Palestinian armed faction inspired by al-Qaida, calling itself "Jaljalat." 
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1131186.html

Gaza mortar shells land in Palestinian territory
Two mortar shells fired from Gaza landed inside Palestinian territory on Thursday, according to Israel’s military. A spokesperson said the military was able to confirm the two shells, both of which landed inside Gaza. There were no reports of casualties or damage. Palestinian paramilitary groups did not immediately claim responsibility for any shelling.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=242989

Report: Soldiers beat Hebron man on way to mosque Thursday
The reports, according to the observers, corroborated the vendors' story that the "young man was stopped and asked for his identity card. A soldier pushed him against the wall. When the youth asked, 'Why do you push me?' the soldier beat him. He was struck on the head, stomach with a rifle butt and kicked in the groin. His mother intervened as did an older shopkeeper." ... The mother hung on to her son and refused to have him taken through the gate to the army barracks. "The soldiers kept pushing back the crowd of about 100 Palestinians during a loud and animated exchange between the soldiers, the mother and several men.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=243019

Palestinian to testify against regiment commander
Ashraf Abu Rahma, a resident of the West Bank village of Naalin, who was shot in the leg by an Israel Defense Forces soldier while handcuffed and blindfolded in July 2008, was summoned Thursday by the Military Court in the Tel Aviv's Kirya base, Ynet has learned. Early next week, the incident's victim will face the two defendants in the affair, Lieutenant-Colonel Omri Burberg, who served as commander of the 71st regiment at the time, and the shooting soldier, Staff Sergeant Leonardo Corea.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3811653,00.html

Palestinian shot in Hebron over alleged knife attack
A Palestinian was shot and wounded after reportedly stabbing and injuring two Israelis outside the settlement of Kiryat Arba in Hebron on Thursday. The incident reportedly took place near a gas station at the entrance to the settlement.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=242982

AFP: Israel says it foiled suspected bomb attack
JERUSALEM — Israeli troops foiled a suspected attempt to bomb the southern resort city of Eilat by a militant who attempted to infiltrate the desert border with Egypt, an army spokesman said on Friday. On Wednesday evening, a patrol spotted a "silhouette on the Egyptian border and fired warning shots," the spokesman said. On Thursday morning, soldiers "found a bag containing 15 kilos (33 pounds) of explosives abandoned at the site where the suspect fled," he added.
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5h2sPQEhINLJA3OcGa24ih08-c-cg

Detention


Updated list: Israel pardons 90 former Fatah fighters
Israel has agreed to remove 90 former Palestinian fighters from its list of “wanted” men on the eve of the Muslim Eid Al-Adha holiday, Palestinian sources said on Thursday. Not all the men were fully pardoned.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=242990

US asked Israel to release 1,000 Fatah prisoners: Lieberman
Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s Foreign Minister, head of the Yisrael Beiteinu fundamentalist party, stated that the United States asked Israel to release 1000 detainees of the Fateh movement, headed by Mahmoud Abbas.
http://www.imemc.org/index.php?obj_id=53&story_id=57227

PA minister: No peace deal without prisoner release
Issa Qaraqe, the minister of detainees and detainees affairs, said on Thursday he would not sign a peace agreement with Israel until all Palestinian prisoners had been released from its jails. Speaking at an international conference in Jericho on the plight of Palestinian prisoners, Qaraqe said children and women in Israel's jails deserved the attention of the international community, which he urged to intervene.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=242983

Prisoner release hot topic among Eid visitors this year
The families of 10,000 Palestinian detainees greeted their relatives this Eid Al-Adha with wishes that their sons or daughters be among those released in a swap deal between Israel and Hamas. The detainees issue was the hot topic this year as family members went from home to home greeting each other and wishing blessings on friends and kin. Pondering the authenticity of media reports, many questioned whether or not there would be a deal this time around.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=243020

Israel denies entry to Americans attending Jericho prisoners conference
Israeli border guards denied Americans Dhoruba Bin Wahad and Naji Mujahid entry into Palestine on Monday as they attempted to travel to Jericho for a conference on Palestinian prisoners illegally incarcerated in Israeli jails.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=243021

Gaza families upset at jilt from Jericho prisoners conference
The Gaza Committee of Parents of Detainees called the conference on Palestinian prisoners in Jericho a "great national step" in efforts to gain international recognition for the abuse of prisoners by Israeli officials, but expressed disappointment over their exclusion from the proceedings.  Members of the Gaza delegation said they had been promised invitations by conference organizers, but said they never received any sort of request for their attendance.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=242806

Blockade


One Gaza crossing opened
Israeli authorities opened the Kerem Shalom border crossing in Gaza, as the Karni and Nahal Oz crossings were closed on Thursday. Palestinian crossings official, Raed Fattuh, said that between 110-120 trucks of commercial produce and humanitarian aid would be allowed into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=242905

French humanitarian aid allowed into Gaza
Egyptian authorities permitted the entry of humanitarian aid and stationery donated by French charities into the Gaza Strip via the Rafah border crossing on Wednesday evening, according to an official for the Arab Doctors’ Union, Mustafa Tayeh ... The French charities' donation included nine tons of medical equipment, which arrived along with the delivery of stationery ... Meanwhile, Israeli authorities have refused to permit the transfer of a consignment of toys donated to Palestinian children in Gaza, which remains at the Al-Oja commercial border between Egypt and Israel, despite Egypt’s consent to the delivery of the toys.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=242925

Gaza gov't warns of medicine shortage
The de facto Gaza government’s Ministry of Health warned of a severe shortage of medicine, resulting from the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip, it was announced on Wednesday. Munir Al-Barsh, the general director of pharmacology for the Gaza Ministry of Health, stated that “among the medicines that have run out include the ones used for the artificial kidney unit, surgeries and other needed medicines.”
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=242749

In Gaza - `Eid: beautiful, impossible
I wake in the early hours of the morning, as the rush of `Eid begins: prayers call out from mosques around Gaza, Palestine. In the living room of my friends’ home, the prayers surround me, like the carols and church bells did at Christmas as a child. In fact, there are other parallels: the sound of children rising early, excited. Their squeals and the sounds of their play continues through the day, as it did with Christmases past. The same sense of reverence, anticipation, and for the children, glee.
http://ingaza.wordpress.com/

In Gaza - One year later, young fisherman still trying to heal
...Musleh was initially wounded early in the morning of 5 October 2008 when Israeli soldiers shot at him from a distance of 100 metres. “Doctors told me there was an entry wound of two square centimetres and an exit wound of 10-15 square centimetres. They said the shot fractured my shinbone and severed arteries in my leg,” Musleh testified to B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights group. At the time of his shooting, Musleh and Ahmad al-Bardawil were fishing 2 km off the coast of Rafah, 3 km from the Egyptian border, according to their GPS device.
http://ingaza.wordpress.com/2009/11/26/one-year-later-young-fisherman-still-trying-to-heal/

Syrian official: Arabs discuss football while Gaza is besieged
President Assad's senior advisor slams Arab world for being preoccupied with Egypt-Algeria 'soccer war' while so much blood is being spilt in Strip
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3811543,00.html

Political news

Report: Shalit deal on verge of completion
Fox News reported Friday that a deal aimed at securing the release of captive Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit was close to completion, and that it will likely be carried out next week ... Sources said Friday that talks aimed at advancing the deal would resume on Monday, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returns from his trip to Germany and the Muslim holiday of `Id al-Adha concludes.
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1131217.html

Egypt: Israel must freeze construction in East Jerusalem as well
Egyptian newspaper reports Prime Minister Netanyahu telephoned President Mubarak to personally brief him on 10-month settlement freeze, but was criticized by Cairo for missing part in plan
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3811637,00.html

PA was informed in advance of settlement construction freeze
Ynet learns Israel, Palestinians conducting talks in secret so as not to draw criticism against Abbas, Fayyad; officials in Jerusalem estimate PA will announce return to negotiation table within a few weeks. Jordan says West Bank construction freeze 'insufficient'
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3811518,00.html

BDS


Reflections on the BDS conference at Hampshire
By Philip Weiss. The spirit of the Hampshire College conference on Boycott Divestment and Sanctions that I attended last weekend is captured by Adam Horowitz’s post of Sunday. There was a stirring sense of youthful leadership, and a sense that the left in America can no longer seek to divorce itself from the cause of Palestinian self-determination. No, that divorce, which has existed for 40 years and that allowed the likes of Alan Dershowitz to say that he’s a "liberal," is at an end for the young.
http://mondoweiss.net/2009/11/reflections-on-the-bds-conference-at-hampshire.html

Other news

Institutionalized voyeurism
By Amira Hass. Not surprisingly, the public debate over the law for a biometric database has ignored the fact that the Israeli authorities are goading the Palestinians to surrender biometric data of their own - handprints, fingerprints and facial images indicating the distance between an individual's nose and eyes. Since 2005, such data has been contained in the magnetic cards introduced in 1989 as additional identification cards for Palestinians.
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1130498.html

Statistics bureau: Muslim growth rate on the decline in Israel
The birthrate of the Muslim community in Israel is declining, according to data released by the Central Bureau of Statistics ahead of Eid al-Adha, the Muslim Feast of the Sacrifice. According to the bureau's report, the Muslim community's growth rate dropped one percent in 2009 to 2.8 percent, down from 3.8 percent in 2008. However, the Muslim growth rate is still the highest among all groups in Israel, with the Druze population growing at 1.8 percent a year, Christian Arabs at 1.3 percent and Jews at 1.6 percent a year.
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1130925.html

Mouths filled with hatred
By Larry Derfner. News stories about young Jewish bigots in the Old City spitting on Christian clergy - who make conspicuous targets in their long dark robes and crucifix symbols around their necks - surface in the media every few years or so. It's natural, then, to conclude that such incidents are rare, but in fact they are habitual. Anti-Christian Orthodox Jews, overwhelmingly boys and young men, have been spitting with regularity on priests and nuns in the Old City for about 20 years, and the problem is only getting worse.
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1259231077244&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Mob chases film crew out of Mea Shearim
Dozens of ultra-Orthodox youths in the Mea Shearim neighborhood drove out a film crew on Thursday, reportedly throwing stones and hurling curses at the student filmmakers.
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1259243015556&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Opinion / Unsafe on the street
Recent violence against women frightening because it’s so public -- By Elana Sztokman. There is no fear – no fear of the law, no fear of retribution, and clearly no fear of women fighting back. A man can throw acid on a woman or push her down on a bus and know fully in his heart that nothing will happen to him. On the contrary, he will be embraced by his entire community, lauded by his leaders who may wear religious garb but are far from the Divine. No fear of God either, as it were. This is a threat to all of us. If men take ownership of women’s body on the street, that affects all of us.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3810857,00.html

Western Wall countering haredi violence?
Has public discourse on ultra-Orthodox take-over of holy site manifested in active action? Sign instructing separation between men, women in upper square removed, Israeli flags re-placed at site. Western Wall rabbi says sign mistakenly left after holidays, flags temporarily removed due to construction work
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3811138,00.html

Poll: 39% blame IDF for troops' insubordination
A poll performed by Ynet together with the Yesodot Center for Torah and Democracy reveals that the Israel Defense Forces are regarded as mainly responsible for disobedience during outpost evacuation, followed by right-wing rabbis and the refuseniks themselves ... Asked which constituted an unlawful order, 49% replied that eating un-kosher food was unlawful, 31% cited Shabbat desecration, 28% noted uprooting settlers from homes, 16% said deporting children of foreign workers and 15% said that evacuating Arab-Israelis from their homes amounted to an unlawful order. Some 16% noted that all of the above orders were unlawful while 20% claimed none were such.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3809088,00.html

PA acquitted in terrorism case on lack of evidence
A resident of Afula who was injured in a terrorist attack in the city eight years ago will not receive compensation from the Palestinian Authority. On Thursday, Nazareth District Court rejected Shula Gaon's claim that the PA, and its leader at the time, Yasser Arafat, is legally responsible for the attack. The case continued despite Arafat's death in November 2004.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3811247,00.html

Lest we forget that Israel was founded by violence:
Old Jewish weapons cache found in Sharon region
Moshav Herut resident finds rusty case with rifle, five loaded guns hidden in ground during British Mandate era, takes weapons home. Daughter discovers arms in warehouse, calls police
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3811403,00.html

Jerusalem gazelles get guaranteed home after a 10-year battle
Three does are all that remain of the famed herd of 25 native gazelles that once lived in Emek Ha'tzvaim ("Gazelle Valley"), in the heart of Jerusalem. But yesterday, after a public struggle lasting nearly almost a decade, the Jerusalem District Planning and Building Council gave final approval to a plan aimed at ensuring the does' future and enabling the repopulation of the herd.
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1130761.html

Frayed cloak, rusty dagger
Seems someone on the Mossad’s hit-list just won a reprieve. A botched assassination exercise by Israel’s overseas intelligence service on Monday has thrown a rare spotlight on its secret tactics, as well as raising questions about professionalism.
http://blogs.reuters.com/axismundi/2009/11/25/frayed-cloak-rusty-dagger/

Analysis / Opinion


I (don't) believe
By Yossi Sarid. ... It may be true that official Israel is the cleverest in the world, but the world is not completely dumb. It is still able to recognize the ball made of rags Israel is now trying to roll onto the Palestinian field ... I suddenly remembered that seven years ago the Israeli government committed itself to "freezing all settlement activity, including natural growth," as was stated in the road map. It also committed itself to "immediately dismantling outposts set up since March 2001." Another commitment was to present the Americans at an early date with the markings of the outer borders ("the blue line") of every settlement.
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1131100.html

Pugnacious Netanyahu pushes US to call for 1967 borders
This is a guest note by Daniel Levy, who served as the lead Israeli drafter of the Geneva Initiative and directs the New America Foundation/Middle East Task Force. ...The new language came in Secretary Clinton's description of what American expects the outcome of negotiations to be - for an "independent and viable [Palestinian] state based on the 1967 lines". Senator Mitchell quoted Clinton in repeating the call for a Palestinian state "based on the 67 lines." Every conflict and every situation has its own lingua franca. In the Israeli-Palestinian context, a state based on the 67 lines is the dog-whistle for what constitutes a real, no-B.S. two-state outcome. It is also language that the US has conspicuously avoided using - avoided that is until today.
http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/2009/11/pugnacious_neta/

Analysis / Is Netanyahu positioning himself to be the next Ariel Sharon?
By Yossi Verter. These days are especially tough for Benjamin Netanyahu - perhaps his roughest since returning to the prime minister's office eight months ago. Ministers and confidants describe him as a man who hardly recognizes himself in the mirror anymore.
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1131091.html

Bring on the transparency

By Didi Remez. The government of Israel is waging an aggressive campaign to suppress internal dissent. Most of its targets have been organizations operating in the occupied territories, and the campaigners would have us believe that they are acting in the interest of "national security." However, a closer look indicates that they are motivated by a general disrespect for the role of civil society in a democracy. Any NGO in the government's way seems to have become fair game; indeed, officials have even started calling refugee-aid groups a fifth column.
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1130954.html

Review of that Sand book by someone who has actually read it
Here's Deborah Maccoby's review of the book, The Invention of the Jewish People, by Shlomo Sand: "Shlomo Sand’s controversial book, written to debunk popular mythology about the Jewish people and its relation to its Holy Land, has itself created its own mythology among people who don’t appear to have read it. Thus Sand is said to deny the right of Israel to exist, on the grounds that the Jewish people of modern times has no genetic connection with the ancient Jewish inhabitants of the land. As a corollary to this, Sand’s claim that the Palestinians are (allowing for historical admixtures) the genetic descendants of the ancient Jews of the Holy Land ( who were, Sand writes, mostly converted to Islam at the time of the Arab conquest of the Holy Land in the 7th century CE - is taken to mean that he is saying that the Palestinians, not modern people identifying as Jewish, are the real Jews..."
http://jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com/2009/11/review-of-that-sand-book-by-someone-who.html

Iraq

Thursday: 9 Iraqis killed, 54 wounded
Excerpt: On the eve of Eid al-Adha, at least nine Iraqis were killed and 54 more wounded. The holiday, which commemorates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, is set to begin Friday for Sunnis and Saturday for Shi’ites ... At a British inquiry, former British Ambassador Christopher Meyer said Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice tried to find a connection between the Sept. 11 attacks and Saddam Hussein just hours after attacks took place ...Three people were killed and at leat 39 others were wounded when two homemade bombs exploded at a Mussayab vegetable market. A car bomb in Yusufiya left two dead and nine wounded at a bus station....
http://original.antiwar.com/updates/2009/11/26/thursday-9-iraqis-killed-43-wounded/

UK diplomat questions post of Jews on Iraq panel
A British diplomat has criticized the appointment of two leading Jewish academics to the UK's Iraq Inquiry panel, stating it may upset the balance of the inquiry ... Miles said the two academics were Jewish and that Gilbert was an active Zionist. He also said they were both strong supporters of former prime minister Tony Blair and the Iraq war.
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1259010973336&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull

Syria

The heartbreak of Golan Heights weddings
(with video) For Syrians who choose to marry a resident of the Golan Heights, occupied by Israel since 1967, their wedding is a happy occasion as much it is a sad one. Once married, they can never return to their homeland, meaning that their wedding day might be the last time they see their family and friends ... We make ourselves heard on what's known as ‘the screaming hill'. Golanaise families gather on the hill and shout out to their families on the other side through loudspeaker. Between us there is a valley of 200 or 300 metres, scattered with mines. We can hear the echo of each other's voices, shouts and cries of joy."
http://observers.france24.com/en/content/20091126-heartbreak-golan-heights-weddings-syria-israel

The Golan Heights' long wait
The city of Quneitra is preserved in devastation as attempts to improve Syria's relations with its neighbours and the US stall - By Simon Tisdall. The Syrian authorities have made no attempt to rebuild here. Until Israel vacates the two-thirds of the Golan Heights it first seized in 1967 and annexed in 1981, as Syria insists it must, they prefer symbolism to salvage. "This is a human tragedy," said Mohammad Ali, a senior official in Syria's Golan governorate of which Quneitra forms a part. "There are over 400,000 Syrians from the Golan who live as expellees..."
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/nov/27/golan-heights-syria-us

The Golan is moving closer to Israel, geologists say
The northern city of Kiryat Shmona and the Golan Heights are just a few kilometers apart geographically. But from a geological perspective, they are worlds apart. The Golan is part of the Arabian geological plate, which also includes Jordan, Syria and the Arabian peninsula. Kiryat Shmona, however, is part of the Galilee, which is in turn part of the Sinai plate, connected to Africa. Some 20 million years ago, the two plates began to move opposite one another. This movement, which continues today, created the Syrian-African Rift, along which the Dead Sea and Lake Kinneret are located.
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1131089.html

Yemen


Yemen - Nasser Ridhwan: "I had nothing in my life besides my wife, who I've now lost"
Nasser Ridhwan, 78, is a recent arrival in the al-Mazraq Camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Haradh District, Hajjah Governorate, some 130km southwest of his home village of Mashnaq, near Dukhan Mountain, which has become a battleground in fighting between the Saudi army and Houthi-led Shia rebels ... "I don't know where she is now; missing, dead, gone with other people. She was alone when I left her. We had been married for more than 65 years, but had no children - this was our destiny. "I had nothing in life but my wife, who I’ve now lost. I don't know how she will survive because it is the first time in 50 years for me to disappear from her..."
http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?ReportId=87070

Saudi troops 'captured' by Houthi rebels in Yemen
27 Nov - Nine Saudi soldiers have been captured by Houthi rebels during fighting in northern Yemen, a rebel spokesman says ... The Saudi defence ministry has confirmed nine soldiers are missing and may have been taken prisoner. The Houthis accuse Riyadh of supporting the Yemeni armed forces by letting them launch attacks from its territory. Later, the rebels said on their website that Saudi planes had carried out bombing raids about 30km (19 miles) inside Yemen.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8382484.stm

Lebanon

Report: Lebanese man charged with spying for Israel
By Jack Khoury.  Lebanon has indicted one of its citizens for spying for Israel since 1990, the pan-Arab newspaper Al Hayat reported Thursday. Osama Berri, 54, is accused of having had contact with the enemy during wartime. Berri was arrested on November 18 in southern Lebanon, where he resides.
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1130900.html

Injustices in Lebanon
"Khaled is not a unique case. Hundreds of young women and men live in a similar ordeal. Their main crime is being born to Lebanese women who had the misfortune of having children from non-Lebanese men. By the time you read this story, Khaled might have been deported. He has now reached an impasse. No employer will hire him and declare him. He cannot afford or navigate through the confusing and expensive administrative paperwork and red tape."
http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2009/11/injustices-in-lebanon.html

Lebanon 'accepts' Hezbollah's weapons; Congress prepares reply

By Franklin Lamb, Beirut. "It is the right of the Lebanese people, Army and the (Hezbollah led-) resistance to liberate the Shebaa Farms, the Kfar Shuba Hills and the northern part of the village of Ghajar as well as to defend Lebanon and its territorial waters in the face of any enemy by all available and legal means." So reads the Policy Declaration of the new Government of the Republic of Lebanon, issued on 11/26/09, four days after the celebration of Lebanon’s 66 years of independence from the French colonial power, achieved in 1943.
http://palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=15574

Report: Israel prepared to leave Ghajar within hours

Lebanon's al-Akhbar newspaper says Jewish state has informed UNIFIL it will evacuate northern part of Lebanese village shortly. UN official estimates move aimed at reducing international criticism against Israel
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3811039,00.html

Other


Why Afghans dig empire graveyards

By Nicolas J S Davies. Afghanistan is known as the "graveyard of empires." But just why do empires keep sending thousands of their young people to die in Afghanistan? American blood-letting in Afghanistan is generally explained in terms of the Taliban and al-Qaeda, but it was the earlier U.S. involvement in Afghanistan (in the 1980s) that led to the emergence of these movements in the first place, not the other way around ... Conventional military powers consistently underestimate the Afghans until they are over-committed and faced with humiliation. The first modern empire brought down by the Afghans was the 200-year-old Safavid Empire of Persia...
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/11/24-7
For further information contact Shadi Fadda

 
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