Friday, July 8, 2011

Palestine Summer Encounter blog

What will happen to this place and these people should the occupation bring walls and bulldozers in the name of 'security'?

Battir is a Palestinian village, located on the hills of Palestine about 30 miles from the Mediterranean Sea. (Youtube Video)

Battir is a Palestinian village, located on the hills of Palestine about 30 miles from the Mediterranean Sea. It lies along the border of the West Bank and has an estimated population of over 4,000. It has received coverage due to the Israeli railroad that passes through the town, between the residential area and the farmlands. It prevents the residents from accessing their own land.

For more information on Battir, please visit:

Arab Spring's songbird brings "Liberty" to the West Bank

Souad Massi, an Algerian singer and songwriter living in France, performs during the Palestine International Festival 2011, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Tuesday, July 5, 2011. The Arabic on the wall on the background reads: " Palestine International Festival" . (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Reuters News Story:

Arab Spring's songbird brings "Liberty" to the West Bank

"... Blending sounds from north Africa, the broader Arab world, Flamenco, pop and American folk, her songs touch on themes including love, exile and her homeland and are mainly written in Algerian dialect and French.

Her early career was threatened by Algeria's civil war, which broke out in 1991. Musicians and artists were targeted in the conflict between the state and armed Islamist groups. Raised in a working-class area of Algiers, she moved to France in 1999.

A success in France and north Africa, Massi has begun to achieve wider fame in the eastern Arab world, where Egyptian and Lebanese pop stars tend to dominate the airwaves.

Her album "Liberty" addresses issues including the oppression faced by women in Arab north Africa and racial discrimination in France.

Political oppression in the Arab world was also on her mind when producing the album, which was partly inspired by the writings of the 14th Century Arab philosopher Ibn Khaldoun..."

Thursday, July 7, 2011

DailyGood: Bill Moyers: Naomi Shihab Nye

"Walk around feeling like a leaf. Know you could tumble any second. Then decide what to do with your time." Naomi Shihab Nye

Jul 7, 2011
-- Renowned poet Naomi Shihab Nye writes about button-hooks, onions and her grandmother's tea. Her poems speak of ordinary things -- things we take for granted until it's almost too late. For her poetry is a "conversation with the world, conversation with those words on the page, allowing them to speak back to you -- conversation with yourself." The daughter of a Palestinian father and an American mother, she's lived in old Jerusalem, in St. Louis, and now with her own family in San Antonio, Texas. Bill Moyers carries a poem of hers in his wallet, and interviews her here. DailyGood: Bill Moyers: Naomi Shihab Nye

Palestinians report dramatic rise in settler attacks

A Palestinian uses an olive tree branch to extinguish a fire that was allegedly set ablaze by Jewish settlers in the northern West Bank village of Salem in November 2010. Attacks by Jewish settlers on Palestinian farmland and crops increased "dramatically" in June, according to a report released by the Palestinian Authority AFP photo

Palestinians report dramatic rise in settler attacks

Attacks by Jewish settlers on Palestinian farmland and crops increased "dramatically" in June, a report released by the Palestinian Authority has shown.

"Since the beginning of June, the settlers attacks escalated dramatically, especially against the land and the trees. In the first week of June, settlers burnt 350 trees Deir al-Hatab village near Nablus, 20 grape vines in Hebron and uprooted 40 grape vines in Beit Ummar village," said a statement from the government released on Wednesday.

Settlers also burned dozens of acres of farmland and more than 1,000 olive trees, the report said.

"These attacks are part of a campaign to terrorise Palestinian farmers and their families. When settlers destroy trees by burning or bulldozing, they are destroying a family?s means of earning its living," it said.

"Such attacks are so frequent that the Israeli authorities must be able to take action if they choose to. But there is little evidence of settlers being brought to justice.

"They seem to be above Israeli law."...READ MORE

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

West Bank demolitions highlight struggle for Jordan Valley

West Bank demolitions highlight struggle for Jordan Valley

the Occupation

"The Palestinian territories have already been under 44 years of illegal occupation, the longest foreign military occupation in modern history. Our political establishment should not waste another moment without dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with the urgency it requires from us morally and strategically. We must work on this like we’re trying to end the occupation yesterday. Nothing less than people's lives is at stake." Omar Baddar

Living the Occupation

Did the Red Cross say there's no humanitarian crisis in Gaza?

Did the Red Cross say there's no humanitarian crisis in Gaza?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Born at a checkpoint

Born at a checkpoint

House demolitions and evictions

The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) estimated that more than 24,800 Palestinian homes had been destroyed between 1967 and 2010 as a result of military incursions, and punitive and administrative demolitions (ICAHD, April 2011). In 2005, the Israeli government declared it would no longer carry out punitive demolitions (MFA, 20 May 2004; B’Tselem, February 2002), which are illegal under human rights and international humanitarian law (HRW, October 2004; UNSC, 19 May 2004) The practice, however, has continued. In the Gaza Strip, such demolitions accounted for nearly ten per cent of all demolitions during the 2008-2009 offensive (COHRE, May 2009).

Israeli authorities have also continued to demolish Palestinian homes, infrastructure and livelihood structures, on administrative or judicial grounds, citing their failure to prove ownership or hold a building permit, or the building’s location in a “closed military zone” or Israeli-designated nature reserve (OCHA, 27 May 2008; AI, June 2010). Since the Oslo Accords, administrative demolitions have mainly taken place in East Jerusalem and Area C of the West Bank. In East Jerusalem, the violation of building regulations is classified as a criminal offence, meaning Palestinian owners can be prosecuted under Israeli criminal law.

Palestinian construction is prohibited in 70 per cent of Area C, and a range of restrictions in the rest of the area make it virtually impossible to get a building permit (OCHA, December 2009). In practice, the Israeli authorities allow Palestinian construction in only one per cent of Area C, much of which is already built-up. Only 13 per cent of land in East Jerusalem is approved for construction, compared with the 35 per cent expropriated for Israeli settlements (OCHA, March 2011).

Over 94 per cent of Palestinian applications for building permits in Area C submitted between January 2000 and September 2007 were denied, leaving little choice for Palestinians but to build “illegally” and so risk the demolition of their buildings and displacement. From 2000 to 2009, 5,600 demolition orders were issued for Area C, and more than 1,600 buildings demolished (OCHA, May 2008 and December 2009). In East Jerusalem there were in early 2011 1,500 pending orders, putting 9,000 Palestinians at risk of displacement (IRIN, January 2011; OCHA, March 2011).

In 2010, more than 430 buildings were demolished in East Jerusalem and Area C, 45 per cent more than in the previous year (DWG, January 2011; AI, July 2010). Nearly 600 Palestinians, almost half of whom were children, were displaced, and the livelihoods of more than 14,300 people affected placing these communities at risk of displacement (OCHA, January, November, and December 2010; DWG, January 2009 and January 2010). Demolitions whether of houses or livelihood structures often affects entire communities. They include and are often accompanied by the seizure of livestock, equipment and other livelihood assets which heightens the vulnerability of those displaced, and the communities affected. From January to June 2011, the Israeli authorities demolished nearly 230 buildings, displacing more than 580 people (IRIN, April 2011; UNWRA June 2011; HRW June 2011).

No end to internal displacement


From Tents to Checkpoints: A Palestinian Refugee’s Return Home

"I couldn’t bring myself to pack for my trip till the night before we left. Something about the thought of where I was going didn’t seem real. Falasteen has always been more of a dream than a reality. I used to listened to my parents tell stories about the struggle of my family’s history. I listened to family talk about the land they left behind, I went anti-occupation rallies for the thousands of people killed, and I even began organizing and giving speeches at events and demonstrations. I wrote poems about return, I read books, I ate Falasteeni food and danced debka with Falasteeni family and friends. And despite the fact that my life almost completely revolved around being Palestinian, Palestine was simply the paradise that lived in the people I love.

I didn’t know what to pack. How do I pack 63 years of my family’s exile into a duffel bag? My parents were stateless refugees who never returned, my grandparents died in refugee camps, and I was about to be the first of my family to step foot on homeland. How do I pack 63 years of heartbreak?" J. Dubbs

From Tents to Checkpoints: A Palestinian Refugee’s Return Home (Part I)