Egyptians in Israeli prisons begin a hunger strike

Israel has so far released 5 Egyptian inmates, all from the Sinai Peninsula, who confirmed the fact that they were exposed to poor conditions and harsh treatment by Israeli prison officials.

Egyptian prisoners in Israeli prisons began a hunger strike on Wednesday in protest over poor conditions, discrimination, lack of adequate meals, and being forced to work in Israeli factories and farms for low wages.  (AFP Photo)

Egyptian prisoners in Israeli prisons began a hunger strike on Wednesday in protest over poor conditions, discrimination, lack of adequate meals, and being forced to work in Israeli factories and farms for low wages.

Egyptian prisoners in Israeli prisons began a hunger strike on Wednesday in protest over poor conditions, discrimination, lack of adequate meals, and being forced to work in Israeli factories and farms for low wages. Other accusations included falsified intelligence reports regarding inmates presented to Israeli judges, failure to transport inmates to hospitals in the event of sickness, and inmates being prevented from taking part in Friday prayer services and being forced into solitary confinement without justification. Mustafa Al-Atrash, the coordinator responsible for the state of Egyptian prisoners in Israel, whose numbers total 80, said that most inmates are from the Sinai peninsula and entered Israel seeking better work opportunities.

He added that inmates began the strike in order to pressure the Israeli government to improve their living conditions and convince Egyptian authorities to intervene to secure their release. Despite this, he said, no actions had so far been taken by the Egyptian government, adding that repeated requests had been made to Egypt’s Foreign Ministry offices at the country’s embassy in Tel Aviv to help the inmates obtain lawyers. Until now, inmates have only received legal representation from Israeli appointed lawyers.

He added that further steps would be taken on the part of inmates over the next several days, saying that inmate families also planned on protesting outside Egyptian government offices.

Israel has so far released 5 Egyptian inmates, all from the Sinai Peninsula, who confirmed the fact that they were exposed to poor conditions and harsh treatment by Israeli prison officials.

Egyptian inmates called on President Mohamed Morsi and Egypt’s Foreign Ministry to intervene to secure the release of those being held, demanding further that they be granted their rights as inmates and be treated equally with the rest of Israel’s prison population.

(Source / 01.05.2013)

Israel killed 4 Palestinians and arrested 259 in April

Israel killed 4 Palestinians and arrested 259 in April

Ahrar– In its monthly report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Ahrar center for human rights and Prisoners studies found that there were 259 abducted cases across West Bank and Gaza strip.

In April the highest numbers of detainees were from Hebron. According to Ahrar Center there were (94) detention cases in Hebron.

(42) Detention cases in Jerusalem, (22) in Nablus, (24) in Bethlehem, (18) in Qalqilya, (20) in Ramallah, (25) in Jenin, (4) in Tubas, (4) in Salfeet, (6) in Tulkarem including Reyad Naasar who was shot by the occupation forces before his arrest.

In Gaza strip, the occupation soldiers detained near the Gaza strip’s borders, Mohammad Khalid Abu Owili, 23.

The center monitored that there were (10) cases were abducted at the checkpoints and two cases at Al-Karamah crossing between Jordan and Palestine including Atta Ayyash, 61, the martyr Yahya Ayyash’s uncle, who was on his return to Jordan after two days visit to his family in Rafat village northern West Bank. In addition to Ahmad Khalid, the brother of the writer prisoner Walid Khalid.

During April, there were four martyrs including martyr prisoner Maysarah Abu Hamdieh, 64, who was suffering from throat cancer, and died due to medical negligence.

In addition to two martyrs, Naji Balbisi, 19, and Amer Nassar, 17, who have been shot dead by the Israeli forces in Tulkarem.

In Gaza strip,  Haitham al-Mishal, 25, was killed when an Israeli warplanes fired at his motorcycle.

(Source / 01.05.2013)

Saudi Arabia launches powerful ad campaign against domestic violence

Saudi Arabia's first anti-domestic violence ad.

Saudi Arabia’s first anti-domestic violence ad.

Saudi Arabia, a country not exactly known for progressive attitudes toward women, has launched its first major anti-domestic violence campaign — its latest effort to embrace, at least superficially, some women’s rights reforms.

The ads in the “No More Abuse” campaign show a woman in a dark veil with one black eye. The English version reads “some things can’t be covered.” The Arabic version, according toForeign Policy‘s David Kenner, translates roughly as “the tip of the iceberg.” A Web site for the campaign includes a report on reducing domestic violence and emergency resources for victims.

Exact figures on domestic violence are hard to come by. The State Department’s most recent human rights report cites estimates that 16 to 50 percent of Saudi wives suffer some kind of spousal abuse. Saudi law does not criminalize domestic violence or spousal rape, and social repercussions can make reporting violence of any kind difficult. Both rape and domestic violence “may be seriously underreported,” according to the State Department report.

The Saudi government has begun to address the problem, at least in name. In 2008, a prime ministerial decree ordered the expansion of “social protection units,” its version of women’s shelters, in several large cities, and ordered the government to draft a national strategy to deal with domestic violence, according to the U.N. Several royal foundations, including the King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue and the King Khalid Foundation, have also led education and awareness efforts.

None of this changes the fact, of course, that Saudi Arabia remains an often difficult place to be a woman. The World Economic Forum ranks the country 131st out of 135 for its record on women’s rights, citing a total lack of political and economic empowerment.

The country has a strong record on women’s health and education, however: On metrics such as enrollment in higher education, Saudi Arabia actually scores well above the global average.

Some of those well-educated women are leading the fight against domestic violence now.Maha Almuneef, a pediatrician, directs the National Family Safety Program, an anti-violence effort that has also benefited from the patronage of Saudi Arabia’s Princess Adela.

“Reporting violence and abuse should be compulsory and there should be a witness protection program,” Adela said at a 2009 conference on ending the country’s domestic abuse.

(Source / 01.05.2013)

Neem de honing, maar breek de bijenkorf niet

By Marianna Laarif

Alles wat omgeven is met vriendelijkheid is aantrekkelijk en al hetgeen waarin dit ontbreekt bederft. Als je iemand ontmoet en je glimlacht naar hem en je zegt iets vriendelijks, dan laat je een eigenschap van een echt succesvol iemand zien. Deze karaktereigenschap zien we zelfs terug bij een bij. Als een bij op een bloem neerstrijkt (om een praktische reden) dan vernielt hij de bloem niet, omdat Allah vriendelijkheid beloont met dat wat Hij geeft voor vriendelijkheid. De persoonlijkheden van sommige mensen zijn net als een magneet. Zij trekken een ieder die dichtbij is aan, doordat ze geliefd zijn om hun vriendelijke woorden, hun goede manieren en hun nobele daden.

Het verkrijgen van die vriendschap van anderen is een kunst die beheerst wordt door degenen die grootmoedig en vroom zijn; zij worden constant omgeven door een groep mensen. Alleen al hun aanwezigheid tijdens een bijeenkomst van mensen, is een zegen. En wanneer zij afwezig zijn, worden ze gemist en wordt er naar hen gevraagd. Deze gezegende mensen hebben een gedragscode die luidt:”.. Beantwoord (het kwade) met wat beter is, dan zal degene met wie je in vijandschap leefde als een oprechte vriend worden.” (Soerat Foesilat 41:34).
Zij verwijderen de kwaadaardigheid bij anderen door middel van oprechtheid, vergevensgezindheid en vriendelijkheid. Zij vergeten het kwaad dat hen is aangedaan en zij herinneren zich het goede dat zij ontvangen hebben. Bedrog en harde woorden mogen tegen hen gericht zijn, maar zulke woorden passeren hun oren zonder deze te betreden en vervolgen hun weg zonder ooit terug te keren. Zij verkeren in een staat van rust. Mensen in het algemeen, en moslims in het bijzonder, zijn gevrijwaard van elk kwaad afkomstig van hun handen. De profeet Mohammed (vrede en zegeningen zij met hem) zei: Een moslim is degene voor wiens tong en handen de moslims veilig zijn en de gelovige is degene die anderen vertrouwen over hun leven en rijkdom (overgeleverd door Moesliem).
Hij (vrede en zegeningen zij met hem) zei verder: Waarlijk, Allah heeft mij opgedragen om contact te houden met degenen die mij verlaten, degene te vergeven die mij onrecht aandoet en te geven aan degenen die mij onthouden.
Uit het boek: Laa tah’zan (treur niet) van Sheikh Aa-iedh Ibn Abdiellaah Al Qarniey

Syria’s other war: intra-rebel skirmishes

Rebel groups battling a common enemy – the regime of President Bashar al-Assad – are frequently confronting each other.

The gash on Abu Ahmed’s face has almost healed but the troubling memory of Syrian rebels thrashing him with rifle butts evokes fear of another looming war: an intra-rebel conflict.

Rebel groups battling a common enemy – the regime of President Bashar al-Assad – are frequently confronting each other, with ideological rifts emerging in the highly fragmented opposition as Syria’s civil war grinds on in its third year.

Ahmed, the commander of a Liwa al-Tawhid Brigade, came under attack last month when angry Free Syrian Army rebels seeking to free a comrade detained by another brigade raided a primary school run by his wife.

Ahmed, mistaken for the head of the other brigade, was knocked unconscious in front of students and staff, and dragged off to their base before the rebels realized they had beaten up the wrong man.

“They apologized and went on to hunt for the FSA man they were after,” said Ahmed, a burly-framed commander flanked by Kalashnikov-wielding men from his brigade who now guard the school round the clock.

“The kids were so terrified some of them did not come to school for days. Possessing lethal weapons does not give you the right to behave like warlords,” he said at the school, surrounded by shell-ravaged buildings.

Growing incidents like these of intra-rebel skirmishes – some of them fatal – highlight an intense contest for power in rebel-controlled areas, with many like Ahmed bracing for what they fear will be another war in post-Assad Syria.

Last month, Abdullah, another Liwa al-Tawhid rebel, was killed while driving to the brigade headquarters. He was shot in the neck. His brother Diaa accuses FSA’s Sawt al-Haq Brigade of having orchestrated the killing over a petty personal dispute.

A sharia Islamic court in Aleppo is currently investigating the case.

“This is not a good time for rivalry. This is a time to unite against Assad’s regime,” Diaa said.

Even more ominous is the growing friction between Islamist fighters and the ostensibly secular-leaning FSA brigades.

What started as an uprising against four decades of Assad family rule has mutated into a full-scale civil war with no end in sight.

Sunni fighters from neighboring countries have poured into the country, including veterans of the revolution in Libya and jihadists linked to al-Qaeda in Iraq, out to create an Islamic state.

That has created unease with indigenous FSA brigades which espouse a more moderate interpretation of Islam.

“As the situation in Syria continues to deteriorate, clear fault lines marking the battle for post-Assad Syria are emerging. In particular, rivalries among different rebel groups are taking shape along ideological lines,” said Mona Yacoubian, a senior adviser for the Middle East at the Washington-based Stimson Center.

“Groups with a more moderate, inclusive vision of post-Assad Syria are pitted against more radical extremists with an ultra-conservative interpretation of Islam. Already these groups have engaged in limited skirmishes with each other.”

An ideological divide

Clashes erupted last month between the moderate-leaning Faruq Brigade and the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front in Tal Abiyad, on the border with Turkey, in a sign of festering tensions over ideology, with up to four people reportedly killed.

It was one of the bloodiest skirmishes highlighting the ideological divide.

“The al-Nusra group and its allies have an agenda that other opposition groups don’t share – creating an Islamic emirate and fighting the global jihad, which makes conflict all but inevitable,” said Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

“A conflict between rival opposition groups is all but certain in Syria once Assad falls and perhaps even sooner.”

Some FSA groups face an internal dilemma over al-Nusra, unable to ignore their battlefield prowess as the group emerges as one of the strongest in the fight against Assad’s forces.

But they are equally uneasy over al-Nusra’s capture of key infrastructure in the country’s north and east, including oil and gas plants, a hydroelectric dam and grain silos.

“They [al-Nusra fighters and allies] have left their homes, their countries to come fight our war,” said Abu Basir, an FSA brigade commander in Latakia on the Mediterranean coast, who regularly collaborates with al-Nusra on the battlefront against Assad.

“But this is our country and we don’t want outsiders to come and rule over it. They must realize that they have to leave once the war ends,” he said, warning that tensions could spiral otherwise.

(Source / 01.05.2013)

Ayman Abu Daoud re-arrested after 4 months of his release

 

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Israeli occupation is still having a policy of re-arresting many liberated Palestinian prisoners, and refuses to end it, and aims to rule them either new provisions, or complement the rest of their previous rule.

One of those prisoners who have been arrested, is captive Ayman Youssef Ahmed Abu Daoud, 31, from Al Khalil, who was arrested by the occupation after his liberation by “wafa alahrar” deal three years ago, he spent in prison seven years and half after he was sentenced to 36 years.

Nabilah Turkey, the wife of captive Ayman Daoud, who works as a teacher in a kindergarten in the city of Al Khalil, said to Ahrar center for Prisoners studies and human rights, that her husband, who taught Islamic law at Al-Quds Open University, in the city of Al Khalil, was arrested for the first time on 27/7 / 2004, and sentenced to 36 years in prison on charges of injuring a settler, but he was released in the exchange deal but, the occupation re-arrested him again.

Demolition of the family home

Nabilah Turkey completes to the center that the occupation and after the first arrest of her husband, came to their house, which located in Al Khalil at dawn, and told them that they intend to demolish the house. She said that they could not save anything, or take it out of the house. This was shocking news for Ayman, when he knew of the demolition of his home, and our old son” and stolen amount of money was in the house, and his cellular devices, and Ayman considers the second liberated prisoner who was re-arrested by the occupation from “wafa alahrar” deal after the arrest of the prisoner Ayman Alsharawneh.

Prisoner Abu Daoud, is suspended in Megiddo prison, and the occupation authorities are trying to rule him for the remainder of the previous rule.

The sons Mohammed, 9 years, and Qutaiba, 5 months, who came to the world and his father in the prison. Their mother went to visit their father for the first time and she was pregnant with him, the soldiers then returned and prevented her from the visit, although she had visit permission and despite suffering pregnancy pain and the discomfort way.

“Abu Mohammed” saw his son Qutaiba for the first time in captivity, it was a beautiful moment to see his son but painful because he saw to him inside the prison.

Prisoner Ayman Abu Daoud, was the brother of the prisoner Mahmoud Abu Daoud, 25 years, and who is serving two years and 10 months, who spent two years and 8 months, three years ago, when he was arrested for the first time and he was 16 years old, and was arrested once another in the age of 21 and spent under the administrative detention for 3 months, and Mahmoud is a student at Palestine Polytechnic University, he finished only one year.

prisoners Ayman and Mahmoud Abu Daoud, are the brothers of martyr Raed Abu Daoud, who died in 2001 when he was trying to save an injured person by the Israeli bullets in the area called (Alharamieh vally) near the Ibrahimi Mosque, he was fired by the soldiers and he was 21-year-old.

For his part, Fuad Al-Khuffash the director of the center said thar Ayman threatened to restore the previous rule, which is more than 30 years under Israeli law 186 which threatens captive Ayman Alsharawneh and Samer al-Issawi.

Al-Khuffash said that prisoner Ayman and his family suffer from media neglect.

(Source / 25.03.2013 / 01.05.2013)

“I can only give false assurances to my children”

Jamal Ismail Faris Baker- The Fisherman’s Narrative

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 Today, 1 May 2013, marks the International Labour Day, which commemorates peoples right to work, along with their protection of human rights in the work place. However, as the rest of the world celebrates this day, the situation of fishermen in the Gaza Strip continues to deteriorate.

Jamal Ismail Faris Baker (48) a fisherman from Gaza City with a family of 9, has been fishing for 35 years now and has witnessed the steady decline of the fishing industry in Gaza. Life spiralled out of control for Jamal a few days after the conclusion of Israel’s military operation Pillar Of Defence on the Gaza Strip in November 2012.

Under the November 2012 ceasefire between the Israeli and Palestinian authorities, the fishing limit was supposedly extended from three nautical miles to six nautical miles. However, in March 2013, this fishing limit was reduced to the previous three nautical miles.

Jamal relished the opportunity of the extension of the fishing limit to six nautical miles in November 2012, “We were very happy to hear the news that the fishing limit had been increased. We thought this would improve our situation. I borrowed my friend Talal’s fishing boat, so that we could fish in deeper waters.”

However, on the morning of 28 November 2012, Jamal’s boat was attacked and destroyed by an Israeli gunboat, “That day my son Khader (19) and three other fishermen went fishing early in the morning. They went with a group of 4-5 other fishing boats. I was at the shores doing some work and waiting for them to return with the catch. Shortly after they set sail, my phone rang and my son told me that an Israeli gunboat was attacking our boat. I was shocked to hear that. I asked him what was happening there and he told me that they were just around 2 nautical miles from the shore and the Israeli forces were firing bullets at our boat. Khader told me that the motor of the boat was damaged in the firing. Suddenly the call disconnected. I thought that he had been injured in the attack.” Jamal continues to say, “I then called my nephew who was on another one of the fishing boats. He told me that Khader and the other three fishermen had to jump in the seawaters because our boat had been destroyed in the attack. He told me that some fishing boats went to rescue them but he couldn’t see what was happening exactly. I was not concerned about the boat, I was scared about what had happened to my son, as my nephew couldn’t see him. In some more time two fishing boats returned to the shore and they brought the three other fishermen with them. That time I got really worried, as I couldn’t find Khader. I called my nephew again and this time he told me that Khader had been arrested by the Israeli forces.”

Khader spent 4 hours on the Israeli gunboat. Jamal’s anxiousness about his son’s wellbeing knew no bounds during that time, as he explains, “I was so scared that I could not speak. My voice just did not come out of my mouth. During the incident some media persons and other people gathered around me and asked me about what was happening but I could not answer any of them. I was too worried to answer anyone’s questions. I just wanted Khader to come back safely. I thought they were going to take Khader to Ashdod, because that’s what they do to fishermen who get arrested. But after 4-5 hours I saw Khader coming back to the shores with the damaged boat. He was tired and scared because of the incident. I cannot tell you how relieved I was to see him. Luckily he was not injured in the attack.” Jamal wants to know why his boat was attacked, but has not found any satisfactory answers, “Khader and other with him were only fishing. They were not even outside the 3-mile limit. I don’t understand why they were attacked.”

Since that terrible day Jamal or Khader have not been able to fish again, “After Khader returned we inspected the boat. It was completely destroyed and could not be used again. Luckily Talal did not pressure me to pay him for the boat, and he simply asked if Khader and others were ok. But along with the boat I lost all my fishing equipment, including the fishing rods, which cost around 10,000 Jordanian Dinars (approximately USD 14,000). Also I had taken the fuel and bate on credit. That cost around 4,000 shekels (approximately USD 1200). After the attack the creditors demanded the money from me, but I had absolutely nothing to pay them back. I hardly earned NIS 10-15 every day before they attacked the boat. After that day I have not earned a single penny. How can I pay them back? My creditors filed a complaint with the Gaza authorities. Because of the complaint I cannot go fishing now.” The Gaza authorities have blacklisted Jamal and his family from fishing for not being able to pay their debts. Jamal expresses his frustration by saying, “what am I supposed to do now? Should I beg and steal to feed my family.”

After the incident Jamal had to borrow money from his brother to support his family, “I took around 6000 shekels from my brother, but that is not sufficient to feed and take care of 10 people for six months. Khader and I cannot fish anymore and that is the only skill we have, so we cannot work anywhere else too. None of my other children are employed, and 4 of them are still in school. Other than this  I have also taken debts from the markets as I just cant pay them. Today I owe around 10,000 shekels and I don’t know how I am going to pay anyone back.”

 

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Jamal explains his family’s dire situation, I get very angry at my situation. My son Khader is 19 years old. He has friends who wear nice clothes, and eat good food at good places. When he sees this he feels very sad, but he doesn’t ask me for any money because he knows I cant provide anything. If I had something valuable I would have sold it to pay the debts. Also the roof of my house was cracked in the November attacks. When it rains the whole house gets filled with water. I cannot even get that repaired. My younger children ask me for fruits and sweets, but I cannot give them that. I can only give false assurances to my children.”

Jamal states his frustration for being abandoned by the Gaza authorities, “they do not help me. I get no aid, no food, no money from them. They will not let me work to repay my debts because of the money I owe”. He also goes on to say that, “many fishermen receive help, but to get it you must know someone in power”

Israel’s attacks against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip, who do not pose any threat to the security of the Israeli naval forces, constitute a flagrant violation of international humanitarian and human rights law. The fishing exclusion zone, maintained through arbitrary arrests and attacks, constitutes a measure of collective punishment, which is prohibited under Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The right to work, including in just and favourable conditions, is provided for under Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as under Article 6 and 7 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). Moreover, Article 11 of the ICESCR recognizes “the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions.”

(Mail / Source / 01.05.2013)

Wall threatening Battir: Contending with the green

In the West Bank village of Battir, Israel’s Separation Wall threatens to cut farmers off their land and destroy famed, millennia-old agricultural terraces. Struggling to prevent destruction, villagers have joined forces with environmentalists and battle the Wall in court. An unusual success, this initiative even brought an Israeli state authority to speak out against the Wall. On Wednesday May 1st, court hearings enter a second round. In the discourse surrounding Battir, however, arguments for protecting the landscape threaten to drown concern for people’s rights.

 

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In the struggle to save the ‘Battir paradise’, are the concerns of local residents being ignored? 

The Battir village sprawls on an edge of the West Bank plateau just south of Jerusalem. Houses overlook fertile valleys which the area’s numerous springs have carved out of rock bed. Lush agricultural terraces line the hills, and down in the valley curve historic railway tracks linking Jerusalem with the coast. The few trains each day passing Battir nowadays, however, do no stop anymore.

Picturesque Battir harbours contested political frontiers. The Green Line, determined in 1949 and seemingly still the border of a Palestinian state-to-be, runs right through village lands. The division is invisible thus far: Villagers continue to cultivate their lands on the Israeli side due to a unique agreement struck in 1949 with Israel’s Moshe Dayan in return for guaranteed safe passage for Israeli trains. But the idyll is doomed to end as Israel’s planned Separation Wall will cut Battir’s cultured landscape into pieces. Villagers and environmentalists have risen up in opposition.

International media deplore damage to “paradise”

Since plans for the Separation Wall began to be debated around 2004, the issue of Battir has received prominent attention. Political bodies in both Palestine and Israel considered the village, UNESCO became involved to protect the village’s heritage and the topic was covered extensively by the international media. The prestigious British Guardian deplored in June 2012 that the Separation Wall “threatens Battir’s ancient terraces.” The New York Times and other papers ran similar stories. A major German daily even celebrated Battir’s “Resistance through heritage preservation.” Yet while these pieces well described the threat to this “paradise” of a landscape, the Wall’s impact on the people of Battir has been relegated to a back seat. In fact, contentions against the Wall as such – after all, declared illegal by the International Court of Justice – hardly find mention any more.

 

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The struggle against the Separation Wall in Battir reflects the evolving struggle against the Wall throughout the West Bank and Jerusalem 

The environment, culture, livelihoods, freedoms – the Battir struggle is caught up somewhere in this mix. In many ways, the case highlights both the creativity and fragmentation that evolved in fighting the Separation Wall. Resistance, after all, is a struggle with occupation, but also a struggle in itself, as the framing of issues is constantly re-negotiated.

An Israeli state body opposes the wall in Battir

Concerning Battir, opponents of the Wall make for an unusual mix: Even an Israeli state authority recently came out against the planned route of the wall through the village. Their concern – protecting the landscape – differs from the villagers’, who seek to protect dignified livelihoods. Before the Israeli court, however, these disparate parties come together in opposition to the Wall.

Beginning in 2004, the Battir village received various military orders confiscating lands for construction of the Separation Wall. Villagers appealed the Wall in Israeli courts, arguing it would cut them off from their lands and disrupt the cultured landscape, including the sensitive irrigation system. In 2012, Battir residents were joined by the environmental organisation Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME), pleading to alter route and type of the Wall around Battir. The appeal of FoEME added strength to the villagers’ petition by pointing out that protecting Battir’s landscape was in the interest of Israel, too. A daring move, the organization sued the Israel Nature and Parks Authority to come out with a statement on the matter. To the surprise of many, the authority spoke out against the Wall. Considering that Israeli security improved since the route of the Wall was conceived in 2005, the authority argued, public interest in “protecting this special and valuable area” now demanded that “alternatives” to the Wall be considered. That was in December 2012.

Israeli Ministry of Defense: Build fences, not walls

Israel’s Ministry of Defense responded by suggesting to exchange the proposed Wall with a “fence”. Villagers and environmentalists oppose the proposal: A fence still makes access to their fields dependent on soldiers’ benevolence, argue the villagers; wire still destroys the terraces, environmentalists lament.

On May 1st, court hearings will enter their second round. Gidon Bromberg, Israeli head of FoEME, is optimistic: “We feel in quite a strong position right now: In the end we made an Israeli government authority speak out against the Wall.”

His organization, however, is not well regarded by many in Palestine: Founded with the hopes of the Oslo peace process years, FoEME was conceived as a cross-border initiative, with teams in Israel, Jordan and occupied Palestine. It thought to promote more sustainable use of the region’s resources, especially water. Now the organization is accused of “normalisation,” a derogative referring to initiatives linking Palestinian issues with Israel while not explicitly fighting Israel’s occupation of Palestine. To Battiris, the term is more than a critical label: People debate with fervour how to associate with the environmentalists.

No level playing-field in West Bank hills

“We must not forget that we are not equal players,” says Hassan Muamer, who runs the Battir Landscape Ecomuseum, an initiative aiming to conserve Battir’s cultured environment and continue its sustainable use. With support of UNESCO, his team has mapped the area and renovated hiking paths for locals and tourists alike. “When FoEME suggested bringing Israelis here for a day of hiking to draw attention to the case, I could not agree: How could I when I know very well that Palestinians cannot hike the other side of the valley?”

Nonetheless, it was decided to engage with the Israeli environmentalists. A conscious choice that in many ways suits the village that never shied away from striking compromise when it secured Battir’s integrity. “There have not been protests here since the first Intifada,” Muamer points out, “we opted for agriculture as resistance.”

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For Battir residents, farming is their primary form of resistance to Israel’s occupation 

To this end, his project seeks to reinvigorate farming in Battir’s terraces. Cultivating the famed Battiri eggplant, for example. Any work in the landscape, however, is undertaken with care: “We can refurbish existing structures, but we refrain from building any new ones. Why provoke a demolition?” About 75% of Battir’s lands are designated as Area C and thus subject to full Israeli control. The remains are Area B, where civil matters are governed by the Palestinian Authority. Building any permanent structures in Area C requires the permission of Israel’s military administration. The lack of such permission can mean disaster, proven weekly as “unrecognized” buildings are demolished by Israeli bulldozers. The Makhrour restaurant is a case in point: It was torn down in mid-April just outside of Battir.

If you cannot enclose them, observe them

According to observers, the Makhrour demolition illustrates that plans for the Wall now run hot in Jerusalem’s south. Construction of the Wall in this area had been delayed for years. Earlier this week, however, Israeli courts ruled legal the route of the Wall encircling theCremisan monastery in a nearby valley. Works on the Wall are quickly proceeding in the village of Al-Walaja, neighboring Battir. Settlements on all sides, meanwhile, are rapidly expanding.

Whereas still no Wall or fence seals off Battir, cameras have been installed on a nearby hilltop which – according to soldiers patrolling the area – enable 24/7 surveillance of the area, including vast parts of Battir’s old town. “As soon as villagers cross the invisible border, patrols come to check,” Muamer describes. If environmental concerns convince the Israeli courts to oppose a Wall or fence, the alternative would likely mean more surveillance. That is in a best-case scenario. Of personal freedoms there is no mention.

(Source / 01.05.2013)

Zahar: the resistance will respond to the occupation in a timely manner

 

GAZA, (PIC)– The leader in the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas, Mahmoud Zahar, said that the Israeli escalation against the Gaza Strip is not an isolated incident but is part of the Israeli daily aggressions.

The resistance will respond to the occupation in a timely manner, he said on his Facebook page on Wednesday, adding that there should be an Arab understanding of our position.

Israeli aircraft assassinated on Tuesday the citizen Haytham al-Sahal in Gaza strip, claiming that he was involved in shelling Umm Rishrash (Eilat) recently.

The Israeli leaders have escalated their threats against the Gaza strip following the formation of the new Israeli government to impose Israeli control after the resistance victory during al-Furqan and Shale Stones wars.

Hamas called on Egypt to pressure the Israeli occupation in order to commit to the truce and stop its aggression.

“We will not accept the sporadic firing of rockets from either the Gaza Strip or Sinai. We will act, and are acting, in order to defend Israeli citizens,” the Israeli war minister said.

(Source / 01.05.2013)

#GazaUnderAttack | Occupation moves dozens of tanks and tons of equipment to sites adjacent to Gaza

 

images_News_2013_04_30_tanks-gaza-border_300_0[1]GAZA, (PIC)– Israeli occupation military forces have transferred dozens of military vehicles and tons of equipment and ammunition to military sites adjacent to the Gaza Strip, threatening to wage a new military operation on Gaza.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Palestinian resistance fighters have been taking their advanced positions in order to repel any possible Israeli aggression.

A new cold war broke out between the Israeli occupation forces and the Palestinian resistance along the border, which extends from Rafah in the south to Beit Hanoun in the north on nearly 40 kilometers.

A field observer told Quds Press: “There has been an unusual and strange movement of the occupation army since Friday afternoon, on the eastern border with the Gaza Strip.”

He added that a big number of Israeli military vehicles have been gathered in the east of the town of Johr al-Dik, southeast of Gaza City.

The occupation trucks have transferred to this site more than sixty tanks, in addition to a large number of ammunition and artillery shells, which demonstrates that Israel might launch a military operation soon.

(Source / 01.05.2013)