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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Palestinian children woken in night to be photographed by soldiers

Youngsters in West Bank village were forced out of bed for Israeli military 'mapping' exercise
Balil Tamimi, resident of Nabi Saleh, West Bank
Balil Tamimi, whose children were woken past midnight to be photographed by Israeli soldiers Photograph: Harriet Sherwood/
I went to Nabi Saleh earlier this week, a West Bank village which has been the scene of weekly protests over a nearby spring for almost two years.
It's a small village of around 550 residents and the spring is located on land that the Palestinians say is privately owned. But settlers from Halamish, across the valley, began construction work in 2008 to turn the spring into a picnic site and leisure attraction for Jews only.
The villagers' weekly demonstrations which followed have become an established part of the popular protest movement in the West Bank, which is largely non-violent – or at least starts out that way.
The Israeli army nearly always intervenes in these protests, usually by using crowd-dispersal equipment including tear gas, stun grenades, foul-smelling water canon, rubber bullets and sometimes live bullets.
(I was in Qusra, another village, last Friday shortly before a Palestinian man was shot dead by Israeli soldiers. A small group of settlers, maybe 15, had come down the hill with Israeli flags, and scores of men and youths from Qusra rushed to prevent them entering the village following earlier attacks including the vandalising of a mosque. The Israeli military, which was on the scene within minutes, began firing tear gas almost immediately – before any stone-throwing began. I left quite soon after, having been momentarily blinded by the gas, and did not witness subsequent events. An IDF statement later that day spoke of "a violent riot, during which Palestinians hurled rocks at security personnel. During the riot, security personnel used riot dispersal means and eventually, live fire." But, as I witnessed, the "riot dispersal" began before the "riot".)
The Nabi Saleh protests have been reported extensively. But a conversation I had with one of the villagers highlighted a practice of which I was previously unaware.
Bilal Tamimi (many of the village residents are part of the extended Tamimi family) said that soldiers often come to arrest villagers – including children – at night, a practice documented by B'Tselem, Defence for Children International - Palestine and other NGOs. But he said that, earlier this year, the army also came at night to photograph and record the identity details of children. He described what happened in his family:
"They came at 12.10am, and woke me up. They asked me how many children I have. They looked at my ID papers [where the children are listed] and asked me to wake up the two older ones, who are above 10 years. I said, they are sleeping. The soldiers said, wake them anyway.
"They wrote down the numbers and took pictures of the boys. Then they said they could go back to sleep."
According to a report by B'Tselem, No Minor Matter, published in July:
"The photos were taken for what the army calls 'mapping': the army did not have any basis for suspecting any particular minor they awoke to photograph, but they wanted to build a reservoir of pictures they could later use for identification purposes, should the minor be involved in stone-throwing or other violent activity. In response to a report on the issue which was broadcast on Channel 10 News, the army said that 'it uses a variety of means to maintain order and security'."
It's hard to see why it's necessary to get children as young as 10 out of bed in the middle of the night to be photographed, questioned and/or arrested.
According to a report submitted to the UN by DCI on August 1, 52% of Palestinian children arrested by the Israeli military over the previous year had been detained between midnight and 5am.
My colleague from the Independent, Catrina Stewart, recently wrote a shocking account of what happened during one interrogation, which was recorded on video.
Bilal Tamimi has been recording the Nabi Saleh protests on a video camera lent to him by the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem since January 2010. "Our demonstrations are non-violent," he told me. "The camera is our weapon to document what happens."
He acknowledges that children from the village "sometimes throw stones - but mostly after the soldiers fire [tear] gas." The villagers "are used to living with this situation", he says, but as tensions continue to rise in the West Bank, "we fear it will get worse".

Elderly Palestinian Attacked by Settlers in Bethlehem

Date : 27/9/2011   Time : 21:03

BETHLEHEM, September 27, 2011 (WAFA) – ‘Atsion’ settlers attacked on Tuesday Salem Eid, 65, from Jurat ash-Sham’a, in Bethlehem, while on his way to his agricultural land.

Hussien Zawahreh, coordinator of the popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements, in the West Bank, stated that those called the ‘settlement’s security members’ arrested the old man, while another number of settlers attacked him and beat him up.

He added that the Israeli forces came to the place, arrested Eid and transferred him to the settlement’s jail before releasing him in a later time.

M.G. /F.R.

Miles Of Smiles 6 Heading To Gaza Soon

author Wednesday September 28, 2011 08:36author by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies

The Miles of Smiles 6 solidarity convoy will be heading to the Gaza Strip in the coming days by sailing to Al Arish Egyptian port before heading to the besieged coastal region by land.
Convoy organizers stated that the Miles of Smiles 6 will be heading to the Gaza Strip once again to “draw a smile on the faces of the children, the sick, and the disabled in the besieged Gaza Strip".

They added that the suffering of the Palestinian people in Gaza should not be forgotten, and that the illegal Israeli siege should not be allowed to continue.

Preparations and final touches are taking place in coordination with the Ministry of Health in Gaza in order to ensure all urgently needed medications, medical supplies, and equipment are onboard the convoy.

Coordination with the Egyptian authorities is currently taking place to ensure that all needed documents are filled in accordance with Egyptian directions and laws, while coordination with the Palestine Affairs office at the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, is also underway while mainly focusing on giving a high priority to the passage of medical supplies into the coastal region.

Convoy organizers stated Tuesday that the convoy will likely arrive in Cairo on October 2nd, and will be holding meetings with several Egyptian officials and institutions.

On October 5th, the convoy will be heading to the Al Arish Egyptian Port in preparation to enter Gaza on the same day. Convoy members will remain in Gaza until October 10th.

There will be approximately 100 persons representing different Arab and European organizations accompanying the convoy. Convoy members are from different countries including Britain, France, Algeria, Jordan, Bahrain, Morocco, Tunisia and Lebanon.

Medical supplies onboard the convoy is estimated by $1.3 Million, including medications totally missing in Gaza, power chairs, 40 wheelchair accessible vans, sports equipment, in addition to physiotherapy and occupational therapy equipment.

There are more than 1.6 Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip, %80 of them are below the official poverty lines, while %65 of the residents are unemployed. One Million Palestinians in Gaza depend on international relief.

Over 300 patients have died since the siege began due to a lack of essential medical equipment, and having been denied exit passes by the Israeli government to receive treatment outside of Gaza.

More than 170 medicines, and 140 other medical items, are currently out of stock in the Gaza Strip due to the ongoing siege despite Israeli claims of easing it.

Map of the Day: Countries that Support Palestine’s UN Bid

Today’s map comes via Chris Albon. (Really, though, it is just an excuse to link to this great summary from What’s in Blue about the next procedural steps on Palestinian membership to the United Nations.)

The map is from and purports to show “countries that will support Palestine’s UN bid for statehood this month.”

What’s interesting about this map to me is just how…typical it is. The greatest cleavages in the United Nations are not between the United States and Russia or China, or between Europe and and the United States or Africa and the rest of the world. Rather, when the thorniest political and economic questions come before the world body, the general split is between the north and global south.  Developed countries in the Europe, North America, and the British Commonwealth tend to form a united front against the developing world –  and vise versa. In terms of traditional cleavages at the UN, the Palestine UN membership question, at least as of today, is pretty characteristic.

Basim Hjazee Demolished His House with His Own Hands

Wednesday, 28 September, 2011 | 00:05
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) --  Basim Hjazee was forced to demolish his own house which lies in the neighbourhood of al Abaseya in Silwan.

Hjazee received a demolition order from theJerusalemMunicipalityas well as a fine 15,000 NIS ( $1=3.70 NIS)  before Jerusalem Municipality  bulldozers reached the house to demolish an added room.  His house is 54 square meters and houses 5 family members. It is worth mentioning that it is not the first time theJerusalemMunicipalityobliged Hjazee to remove the roof of the same room and made him pay 7500NIS.

EU slams Israel settlement expansion

Tue Sep 27, 2011 6:21PM GMT

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton
The European Union has criticized Israel for its illegal expansion of settlement units in the occupied Palestinian territories.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said on Tuesday that Israel's plan to build 1,100 new illegal housing units in East al-Quds (Jerusalem) “undermines the talks with Palestinians and should be reversed,” AP reported.

Ashton also expressed “deep regret” over the ongoing settlement expansion activities.

Israel authorized a plan for construction of 1,100 illegal units in the Gilo neighborhood of East al-Quds (Jerusalem) on Tuesday. Israeli officials said the plan is one of the phases of a multi-year process for the expansion of the Gilo neighborhood.

Meanwhile, Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat described the recent plan as “1,100 No's” to the resumption of Israel-Palestine talks.

Victoria Nuland, the spokesperson for the US State Department, also expressed “deep disappointment” about the Israeli decision.

In September 2010, Israel resumed the expansion of illegal settlements in Palestine after a 10-month partial freeze, prompting the Palestinian Authority (PA) to break off the US-sponsored talks with the Tel Aviv regime that had been resumed after a lengthy stalemate.

Acting PA Chief Mahmoud Abbas said on Sunday that new talks with the Israeli regime would not be resumed unless there is a complete halt in settlement expansion activities.

However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ruled out a freeze on the illegal process on Monday, saying there was “no need for another moratorium on settlement construction.”


Settlers gather south of Bethlehem, block cars

Published Tuesday 27/09/2011 (updated) 27/09/2011 22:00

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli settlers gathered on Tuesday at the junction between the Tuqu village southeast of Bethlehem and prevented some cars from passing through, witnesses said.

Onlookers told Ma’an that dozens of settlers went out in a march near Tuqu junction and forbade the Palestinian cars from passing by throwing stones toward them.

In Jurat Ash-Sham'a village south of Bethlehem, settler security guards detained Salem Ali Hussein, 65, while he was on his way to pick grapes, said anti-wall activist Hassan Barjyeh.

He was later taken by the Israeli army to the Etzion military base before being released.

Hasbara in Helsinki

Here we go again. Catherine Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy chief, is portraying the Israel-Palestine conflict as one between equals.
In a speech today, Ashton congratulated herself for increasing Europe’s involvement in something called the Middle East peace process. “I have worked to achieve a greater EUrole as I believe we are ideally placed as a friend of both parties,” she said.
What kind of friend is the EU leadership to the Palestinians? The kind that refuses to heed an appeal made by representatives of a wide cross-section of Palestinian society in 2005 for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel.
That is illustrated this week in Helsinki, where the European Union Contest for Young Scientists is taking place. Sponsored by the European Commission (a political body to which Ashton belongs), it features two finalists from Israel.
Greenwashing apartheid
Both of the qualifying projects chime with the propaganda of the Israeli state, or hasbara as it is known in Hebrew. The first one is in the social science category and seeks to demonstrate that fascism has roots in left-of-center politics. “Hopefully, this insight would be useful in fighting future fascism,” a blurb for the project says – without adding that Avigdor Lieberman and his ilk are nurturing a quasi-fascist intolerance in Israel.
The second project tries to reinforce the myth that Israel is ecologically responsible. Titled “Antileaks,” it designs a system for detecting leaks in water systems. I would be interested to find out if the system will be installed in Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Israeli settlers consume an average of 280 liters per day (in a desert environment), whereas Palestinians living in the West Bank have to make do with 73 (less than the 100 liters minimum recommended by the World Health Organization).
The Commission has some nerve supporting Israeli water conservation projects. For – as I have written repeatedly – it is a generous contributor of grants to makers of Israeli weapons like Elbit, Israeli Aerospace Industries and Rafael. Those firms helped destroy 30 kilometers of water networks, 6,000 home water tanks and 11 wells during Israel’s assault on Gaza in late 2008 and early 2009.
“Avoid” Israel’s arms
On a more positive note, the European Parliament voted today that the EU should “avoid” involving countries that do not respect human rights, UN resolutions or international law in scientific research projects with potential military applications. This call was contained in aposition paper approved by the Parliament on the future of EU research policy. Even though Israel was not named, the call was clearly directed at the Zionist state. Israel is the most active non-European participant in the Union’s multi-annual research programme.
Undoubtedly, the BDS activists who have urged members of Parliament (MEPs) to take up the cudgels against Israel deserve a drink to celebrate this vote. But the activists should restrict their imbibing to one glass and get straight back to work. Democracy is routinely ignored in the EU’s corridors of power, so there is little immediate likelihood that Israeli arms companies will be deemed ineligible for further science grants just because that is what a majority of elected representatives advocate. The future, though, is unwritten. With enough public support, the momentum created by the BDS campaign should prove unstoppable.

aman Kanak-kanak Pertama Bantuan Indonesia Diresmikan di Gaza

Kamis, 22/09/2011 06:10 WIB

Petunjuk arah menuju TK Bintang Al-Quran atau Najmul Quran (foto: Sahabat Al-Aqsha)
Dengan izin Allah Ta’ala kemarin (20/9) jam 10 pagi waktu Gaza, satu lagi ikatan hati yang bersejarah antara rakyat Indonesia dan Palestina kembali disimpulkan.
Taman Kanak-kanak Bintang Al-Quran (Najmul Quran) yang merupakan bantuan dari masyarakat Indonesia secara resmi memulai tahun ajaran baru 2011-2012 di kawasan Jabaliya Al-Balad, di sebelah timur laut Jalur Gaza.
Pintu gerbang TK Bintang Al-Quran (foto: Sahabat Al-Aqsha)
Kemarin pagi, sekitar 200 anak yatim, fuqara, dan miskin di kawasan yang telah menjadi kamp pengungsi sejak tahun tahun 1948 itu kelihatan gembira. Mereka mengenakan seragam hijau cerah, dan siap menikmati TK itu secara gratis mulai tahun ini.
Acara peresmian dihadiri pejabat Kementerian Pendidikan Palestina Abdul Aziz Al-Batch, Syeikh Ya’qub dari Yayasan Salam, Ustadz Abdurrahman (relawan MER-C Indonesia), para ulama dan pemimpin masyarakat, para relawan Indonesia, dan para orang tua murid.
Pembagian seragam baru dan kinclong (foto: Sahabat Al-Aqsha)
Lusinan bendera Palestina dan bendera Indonesia kecil terbentang dan berkibar di mana-mana, juga di tangan puluhan anak. Spanduk besar latar belakang acara bertuliskan, “Selamat Datang Para Tamu yang Mulia di Acara Peresmian Taman Kanak-kanak Bintang Al-Quran.”
Pembagian tas keren, angkat yang tinggiii...! (foto: Sahabat Al-Aqsha)
TK Bintang Al-Quran merupakan proyek kemanusiaan Sahabat Al-Aqsha yang bekerja sama dengan Yayasan Salam (Gaza) dan Al-Sarraa Foundation for Humanitarian Relief (Damaskus) bentukan Ikatan Ulama Palestina.
Direktur TK ini bernama Raja’ Yusuf Al-Hirtsani, seorang Hafizhah (Penghafal) Al-Quran asli Gaza yang juga istri dari Abdillah Onim, relawan MER-C Indonesia yang sudah sekitar setahun ini berbakti (membangun Rumah Sakit Indonesia) di wilayah Palestina yang sedang dikepung dan diembargo Zionis Israel itu.
Senyum manis gadis Gaza (foto: Sahabat Al-Aqsha)
Dalam sambutannya, Raja’ yang lulusan Faculty of Applied Sciences, Gaza Islamic University, menyampaikan, “Kehadiran TK yang dibantu rakyat Indonesia melalui Sahabat Al-Aqsha ini sangat tepat waktunya. Soalnya, sejak awal musim panas, dua taman kanak-kanak di Jabaliya Al-Balad terpaksa ditutup karena kehabisan biaya. Terima kasih masyarakat Indonesia…”
Dalam menjalankan tugasnya, Raja’ dibantu 6 rekan guru lainnya yang berpengalaman, seorang sekretaris, dan seorang pembantu umum. Seluruh guru dan karyawan yang bekerja di TK ini ditanggung gajinya oleh masyarakat Indonesia lewat Sahabat Al-Aqsha.
Menjelang peresmian TK Bintang Al-Quran (foto: Sahabat Al-Aqsha)
Gedung yang disewa oleh Sahabat Al-Aqsha untuk TK ini berukuran sekitar 600 meter per segi. Di tengahnya ada halaman bermain seluas 250 meter per segi. Ruangan yang bisa dipakai kelasnya ada 6, ditambah sebuah ruangan kantor guru dan direktur, serta gudang.
Menurut Amirrul Iman, Direktur Operasional Sahabat Al-Aqsha, untuk tahap awal, seluruh pelayanan yang diberikan TK Bintang Al-Quran selama setahun ke depan dianggarkan sebesar 209 juta rupiah.
Ustadzah Raja' Yusuf Al-Hirtsani Al-Hafizhah, Direktur TK Bintang Al-Quran memberi sambutan (foto: Sahabat Al-Aqsha)
“Alhamdulillah, dana itu merupakan sumbangan masyarakat di Jakarta, Depok, Bekasi, Bogor, Bandung, Jogja, Solo, dan Pekanbaru,” jelas Amirrul. Sahabat Al-Aqsha menyampaikan penghargaan setinggi-tingginya kepada mereka yang tak bisa disebut namanya satu per satu.
Atas nama masyarakat Indonesia dan Sahabat Al-Aqsha, Amirrul juga menyampaikan penghargaan dan terima kasih setinggi-tingginya kepada para relawan MER-C yang ada di Gaza yang telah bekerja keras membantu peresmian TK ini. “Bulan Ramadhan kemarin juga pembagian buka puasa bersama kaum dhuafa di Gaza dibantu oleh saudara-saudara kita para relawan yang jauh dari sanak keluarga itu,” kata Amirrul.
Dua putri Gaza membacakan sajak dan menyanyikan nasyid (foto: Sahabat Al-Aqsha)
Amirrul menambahkan, “Sahabat Al-Aqsha masih mengundang masyarakat Indonesia untuk membantu TK ini karena diperkirakan, dalam musim dingin yang akan terjadi akhir tahun ini biaya-biaya akan bertambah.”
Diantara yang harus segera diatasi, menurut Amirrul, kebutuhan menyediakan mobil antar jemput. Sekitar 50 orang anak yatim, faqir, dan miskin pengungsi yang bersekolah di TK itu bertempat tinggal cukup jauh. “Ada yang tinggalnya 20 kilometer dari TK ini,” terang Raja’.
Asyiiiik kita sekolaaah... (foto: Sahabat Al-Aqsha)
Untuk sementara ini van tua bermerek Volkswagen disewa seharga kurang lebih 4 juta rupiah per bulan. Mobil bekas –kondisi bagus– yang rencananya akan dibeli untuk operasional TK ini bermerek Hyundai, seharga sekitar 25 ribu dollar.
Dalam sambutan tertulis di acara peresmian kemarin, Sahabat Al-Aqsha menjelaskan, “Nama ‘Bintang Al-Quran’ dipilih sebagai wujud kekaguman rakyat Indonesia pada kedekatan rakyat Gaza dengan Al-Quran. Rakyat Gaza begitu cinta kepada Al-Quran. Layaklah Allah menolong rakyat Gaza dalam menghadapi teror dan kezaliman Zionis.”
Ke Bintang Al-Quran, siapa mau ikut? tariiiik...!!! (foto: Sahabat Al-Aqsha)
TK Bintang Al-Quran merupakan proyek kemanusiaan terbaru Sahabat Al-Aqsha di Palestina. Sebelum ini, jaringan silaturrahim keluarga Indonesia-Palestina yang berdiri sejak 2007 itu telah menunaikan berbagai amanah masyarakat Indonesia untuk proyek-proyek lainnya.
Diantaranya pembangunan sumur air minum (tube well) di tiga titik di Jalur Gaza dengan kedalaman antara 100-150 meter. Di kamp pengungsi Filistin di Damaskus, Sahabat Al-Aqsha mendirikan klinik perawatan dan pengobatan gigi bekerja sama dengan MER-C, KISPA, dan Haluan (Malaysia).* (
Pasukan Bintang Al-Quran siap meluncur... (foto: Sahabat Al-Aqsha)

MTA rejects proposed bus and subway ads calling the enemies of Israel 'savages'

Monday, September 26th 2011, 1:41 PM

Pamela Geller has threatened to sue, claiming a failure to run the piece would violate the First Amendment.
Bryan Smith for News
Pamela Geller has threatened to sue, claiming a failure to run the piece would violate the First Amendment.

The MTA has rejected a proposed bus and subway ad calling Israel's enemies "savages."

Anti-Muslim firebrand Pamela Geller earlier this month submitted the poster in response to ads in 18 stations urging the US end military support to Israel.

Geller's proposed advertisement states: "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat jihad."

CBS Outdoor, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's media management company, wrote Geller her proposed ad violates authority standards.

It's unacceptable because it "demeans an individual or group of individuals," a CBS executive wrote Geller.

CBS Outdoor is willing to discuss possible revisions to the text, or Geller can request a "formal and final determination," the executive wrote last week.

Geller previously said she would sue, claiming a failure to run the piece would violate the First Amendment.

The ad from Pamela Geller rejected by the MTA.

The MTA will post a pro-Israel ad submitted by another organization, officials said.

It will begin a 30-day run at the end of the month in the same 18 stations where the military-aid message are installed.

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