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Mondoweiss
Here are the headlines from Mondoweiss for 04/01/2012:

Sullivan forces American attention on the settlements
Mar 31, 2012 12:11 pm | Annie Robbins

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Israeli settlers al-Shuhada street, Hebron  (Photo:Hazem Bader/AFP/Getty)
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Andrew Sullivan

I'm ecstatic about this new post by Andrew Sullivan.  He's got a firm grip on the main artery of of Israel's relentless expansion and he's not backing down, he's doubling down, driving it home and not letting go. He clenches their argument by  the throat, shakes it til the bones starts to rattle, and then strangles unmercifully. In this must-read 25-plus paragraph piece, he takes it all the way.

Let's pick up where we left off a few days ago  Sullivan unmasks Goldberg:

I repeat: What would be a very good way to remove those settlements?

And now in his favorable review of Peter Beinart's book, the Crisis of Zionism, titled Why Continue To Build The Settlements? Sullivan continues to place the settlements center stage, where they belong.  In his previous interrogation of Goldberg he didn't use Netanyahu's Goldberg's own analysis to make his points, this time he does several times over:

The answer is that the settlements are there because the current Israeli government has no intention of ever dividing the land between Arabs and Jews in a way that would give the Palestinians anything like their own state; and have every intention of holding Judea and Samaria for ever. Netanyahu is, as Beinart rightly calls him, a Monist. He is the son of his father, Ben Zion, as Jeffrey Goldberg has also insisted on. But what Peter does is spell out one side of the Netanyahu vision that Goldberg elides.

Vladimir Jabotinsky was a huge influence on Netanyahu's father and Netanyahu himself. He's a complicated figure, as Beinart readily concedes. For Jabotinsky, what it all came down to in the end was "the single ideal: a Jewish minority on both sides of the Jordan as a first step towards the establishment of the State, That is what we call 'monism'." My italics. The Revisionist Zionists (whence eventually Likud) envisaged a Jewish state that would not only include the West Bank but the East Bank as well, i.e. Jordan.

Ben Zion Netanyahu followed Jabotinsky's vision, and his willingness, even eagerness, to use violence to achieve it: "We should conquer any disputed territory in the land of Israel. Conquer and hold it, even if it brings us years of war ... You don't return land." Ben Zion Netanyahu even favored the "transfer" of Arabs living in Palestine to other Arab countries.In 2009, Netanyahu Sr, put his position this way to Maariv:

"The Jews and the Arabs are like two goats faing each other on a narrow bridge. One must jump into the river." "What does the Arab's jump mean?" asked the interviewer, trying to decipher the metaphor. Netanyahu explained: "That they won't be able to face the war with us, which will include withholding food from Arab cities, preventing education, terminating electrical power and more. They won't be able to exist and they will run away from here."

Suddenly, the situation in Gaza and much of the West Bank makes more sense, doesn't it? It's a conscious relentless assault on the lives of Palestinians to immiserate them to such an extent that they flee. And if you do not think that Bibi Netanyahu's father isn't easily the biggest influence on his life and worldview, read Jeffrey Goldberg. Money quote:

By all means do read the money quote. Sullivan's taking on the rotten core of Zionism using Netanyahu's dad to drive home the argument:

"withholding food.... preventing education, terminating electrical power ....They won't be able to exist". 

Sounding very very ugly indeed.

So yes, it's a review of Beinart's book. But more importantly it's an evisceration of Israel's expansion policies, a further unmasking of Zionism, via Goldberg. The very same Goldberg who's assured us that he will be getting back to us very shortly on two fronts:

a) Netanyahu’s perspective on Israel striking Iran (off the table for now, as of this week) and

b) Having accused Sully of being a "scapegoater of Jews" and claiming he would disengage from the spat, Goldberg changed his mind (cornered) and promised readers he would provide them with: "the specific examples" of Sully's intransigence.

Goldberg is traveling, he hasn't written a stitch since then, nothing I've run across anyway. And since the war's off til next year, filling us in on Bibi's perspective of why an Iran strike would be successful is a moot point.

Sullivan is not on holiday though, we're very certain of that. He's got Goldberg boxed in.

The best part of all this is the placement of settlements on the front burner during an election cycle. Americans need to understand the ugliness of Israel's expansion policy, they need to fully grok how the ethnic cleansing of Palestine is happening every single day.


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Fire and flowers at Erez
Mar 31, 2012 12:01 pm | Johnny Barber

flower at Erez crossing
Photo of youth at Erez crossing by Johnny Barber

I have returned from Beit Hanoun [in northern Gaza]. A terrible day. I spent the early afternoon at a demonstration attended by several thousand people. The Hamas authorities refused to allow the people to march to the border and clashes broke out with the police. The police beat several people with clubs.

When we finally found a way to get around the Hamas cordon, we found shebab (kids from roughly the age of 12 to 25) at Erez Crossing. They were throwing stones at the Israeli side of the crossing. Tires were on fire and several kids were pulling the concertina wire away from the crossing. Every so often, the Israeli soldiers in the watchtower would shoot..

[Official reports say one Palestinian youth was killed.] So far 2 killed, 20+ shot, several in critical condition. I put down my camera to try and help with casualties, but as each kid got shot a huge chaotic crowd formed around them as they were rushed to motorcycles which ferried them to the Palestinian side of the crossing and waiting ambulances.

The rock throwing continues, the casualties will go up. Thinking about oppression & resistance. Thinking about peace...


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‘Judaizing’ Beit Hanina in East Jerusalem, with backing from Americans
Mar 31, 2012 10:09 am | Jeff Halper

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Natche family home under threat of eviction by settlers, Beit Hanina. (Photo: Michael Salisbury)

Driving Palestinians out of their homes in "east" Jerusalem is, as you can imagine, a dirty business. But its not terribly difficult. The Palestinians are a vulnerable population, poor (70% subsist on less than $2 a day), completely unprotected by the law or Israeli courts, and targeted by determined Jewish settlers with all the money and political backing in the world – much of its coming, of course, from the US, mainly from orthodox Jews and Christian Zionists.

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Police entering Natche home. (Photo: Felizitas Hoffmann)

Over the past few days settlers led by Arieh King have been harassing Palestinian residents of Beit Hanina where, according to King, settlers will "very soon" take over four houses, plus an additional two houses in the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, where violent nighttime evictions aided by the Israeli police have become commonplace. The immediate target of window-breaking, curses, violent encounters and now a police search of the home "for weapons" is the Natche family of Beit Hanina (see pictures).

King is the front-man for Irving Moskowitz, a wealthy owner of bingo casinos in Hawaiian Gardens, a poor Latino community near Los Angeles, who is bankrolling some 17 settlements around East Jerusalem to "buffer" the Old City and "Judaize" East Jerusalem (see the StopMoskowitz website.) A friend and benefactor of Netanyahu, Moskovitch was behind the opening of the tunnels under the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem in 1996 that resulted in the deaths of 80 Palestinian protesters.

The Moskowitz/King strategy is to establish settlements in the heart of Palestinian neighborhoods, often in houses acquired by dubious and violent means. Among the settlements established or on the way are the City of David (Silwan), just below the al-Aqsa mosque; Ma'ale Zeitim and Ma'ale David in the Ras-el-Amud quarter on the southern side of the Mount of Olives; Beit Hoshen on the Mount of Olives, where several Palestinian families were violently evicted from their homes and which flies an enormous Israeli flag; Beit Orot, on the northern part of the Mount of Olives, where last year Mike Huckabee laid the foundations for an expanded settlement; the Shepherds Hotel and Sheikh Jarrah, now renamed Shimon Hatzadik; a plot in the village of Anata to the east of the Hebrew university; and now the homes in Beit Hanina.

While King, Moskowitz and other organized settler groups frame their taking of Palestinian homes as "reclaiming" Jewish properties from before 1948, Palestinians are legally prevented from even approaching the courts to reclaim their lost properties in "west" Jerusalem-- the homes, businesses and lands that once comprised 40% of the now all-Jewish part of the city. King works through a company called The Israel Land Fund that, according to its website, "is dedicated to enable all Jews (Israeli and non-Israeli citizens) to own a part of Israel. It strives to ensure that Jewish land is once again reclaimed and in Jewish hands. House by house, lot by lot, the Israel Land Fund is ensuring the land of Israel stays in the hands of the Jewish people forever."

Just how sleazy the settlement racket is can be gleaned from The Israel Land Fund’s website. It employs, we learn, three full-time employees who "are well versed in Arabic, and all served as officers in the Israel Defense Force." It adds menacingly and tellingly: "These skills are frequently called into play in their dealings with Arab sellers and with the local population in areas that the Fund is active." The Fund’s employees are proficient in English, we are told, "since the Fund’s main proponents are from the English speaking public."

The "process" of acquiring an Arab property, described on the website, also offers insights into King’s methods. First, "the buyers [i.e. Jews] will be shown properties or land they may be interested in purchasing, without directly identifying the property. This is to prevent the possibility of over-exposure of the property [read: the neighbors, or even the people living in the home who think they own it, might find out] which may result in the cancellation or withdrawal of the property by the seller [not necessarily the owners nor the people who believe the home belongs to them] or cause damage to the deal." Only when "the buyers" are sufficiently committed will The Fund then conduct negotiations on their behalf. "It is only at this stage, once the ILF is convinced of the seriousness and authenticity of the buyers, that the ILF will reveal the seller and enable the buyer to visit the property."

The "settlement business" cannot function, of course, without extensive official support. Settler groups and their lawyers are able to keep even weak or non-existent cases in court for years with the help of their deep pockets and compliant judges. Palestinians, even those with strong cases, simply cannot afford the expenses of litigation. If a Palestinian or his children run afoul with the law, especially in cases of alleged stone-throwing, the settlers, through their lawyers and sympathetic police, can extricate the person – for a price, often his home. The municipality is enlisted either to threaten families who are targeted for various building violations with fines or to issue demolition orders against their homes, and building permits elsewhere are used as inducement to get Palestinians to leave targeted areas, such as Silwan.

Deals are also struck. Rumors are that the Natche home in Beit Hanina will be offered to a poor Palestinian family in the Old City whose home is small and cramped but is strategically located for purposes of judaization. Poor and vulnerable families are enticed to sell for exorbitant sums (hence we don’t want to "over-expose" a potential property), or houses are "bought" from an absentee relative in some far-off country and the family evicted in the middle of the night without even knowing their home was sold. (Good lawyers can solve any legal complications.)

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Um Suleiman after the police raid. (Photo: Felizitas Hoffmann)

So from the Natche family to the judaization of Jerusalem, compliments of a California bingo parlor-cum-casino operated on the backs of low-income Latinos and English-speaking Jewish "buyers".
 


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Head of Bill Kristol’s lobby group calls on Israeli army to use Palestinian protesters as ‘target practice’
Mar 31, 2012 09:51 am | Philip Weiss

Bill Kristol is the chairman of the Emergency Committee for Israel, Noah Pollak is the top staffer at the shop. From Pollak's twitter feed (and thanks to ThinkProgress for spotting it):

Global March to Jerusalem needs a more accurate name, like Global March to Become Target Practice for the IDF.

Pollak has earlier called for "disproportionate force" against Palestinians and for shooting released Palestinian prisoners.

Rachel Abrams is on the board of ECI and has called upon Israel to throw Palestinian children into the sea to be eaten by sharks.


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The Palestine National Orchestra: a view from the violin section
Mar 31, 2012 09:38 am | Tom Suarez

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Palestine National Orchestra, 2010. (Photo: Los Angeles Times)

The Palestine National Orchestra, Palestine’s flagship symphonic ensemble, is the brainchild of the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music, Palestine's preeminent institution for both Western and Arabic music. When the Conservatory's Michele Cantoni asked me to join the PNO for their March 2012 series, I eagerly accepted. What follow are my own personal reflections.
The Belgian-British composer Tim Pottier manages the orchestra, its repertoire, musicians, programming, and tirelessly navigates the Orwellian realities of Israeli occupation. Generous individuals, organizations, businesses, and even local restaurants make the concert series financially possible and demonstrate a deep community involvement.

Typical of major symphony orchestras, the PNO is international in its composition. In addition to its core of Palestinian musicians and extranationals who, ever-subject to Israel's tri-monthly permit renewal, have made Palestine their home, the PNO taps musicians from elsewhere in the Middle East, from Europe, and the Americas. Many teach at the Said Conservatory (branches in Ramallah, East Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Nablus), or the highly regarded Al Kamandjati in Ramallah, founded by the Palestinian violist Ramzi Aburedwan. English is the one language understood by all PNO members, and so serves as the lingua franca during rehearsals. At meals and over coffee, Arabic and European languages intermingle.

We performed concerts in both Amman (Jordan) and Ramallah (Occupied Palestine), all under the direction of Matthew Coorey (Khoury), an Australian conductor of Lebanese descent who is based in the UK. In keeping with welcome trends toward more correct performance practice, the second violins were opposite the first violins, where the 'celli are more commonly seen. Communication between the two violin sections is more difficult with this arrangement, but it is effective: their separate lines become clearer and the 'celli are angled to project forward.
Coorey landed his opening downbeat to the Coriolan Overture of Beethoven without a moment's pause, giving the work's arresting opening a special urgency. Beethoven allows little relief from the violence, conflict, and ultimate suicide of the Roman general who lived in the 5th century BC, and Coorey made full use of the ending's prolonged dissonance between the bassoon and 'celli that keeps the painful tension all the way to three closing pizzicati.

The PNO's first clarinetist, the brilliant young Syrian clarinet Kinan Azmeh, performed one of his own compositions dating from 2007. Written in the unusual meter of 21/16, the intriguing "November 22" juxtaposes the semi-improvisational solo clarinet against a steady rhythmic figure from the bass and sustained lines from the upper strings. Azmeh explains that it depicts "homesickness while away from home," in which the rhythmic figure is "how the slow and steady rhythm of life keeps moving regardless of one’s emotions," while the clarinet intones familiarity, childhood, homesickness. The piece begins quietly with a gradual buildup to great commotion, and then ebbs, very gradually, to quite literally nothing, heightening the audience’s already rapt attention.

Alexander Suleiman performed the Schumann cello concerto with both virtuosity and intelligence, and his playing of the concerto’s slow movement was among the most beautifully crafted I have heard. Suleiman’s musical experience is broad, championing new music as well as early music performance practice. He is professor of cello at the University of Southern California, and was recently appointed artistic director of the Art Conquers Borders Academy in Bremen.
Coorey’s energetic approach to Mozart's "Haffner" Symphony captured the excitement, humanity, and humor of the work, and his fast tempi were particularly demanding of the strings, for whom Mozart is always acrobatics on eggshells. The new urtext parts the PNO wisely used caught my curiosity, as they differed in small detail from the older editions I was familiar with.

The final work was Stravinsky's colorful and hilarious Pulcinella Suite, from the commedia dell'arte ballet about three couples' jealousies and flirtations. A string quintet formed by Nabih Bulos and Basel Theodory (violin), Aidan Pendleton (viola), Alexander Suleiman (‘cello), and Priscila Vela Vico (bass) intermingles with wind solos by principal flute Ahmed Qatamesh, oboe Andrea Shaheen, bassoon Maher Farkouh, horn Yousef Assi, trumpet Rani Elias, and trombone Riccardo Benetti, deftly showcasing Stravinsky's transparently scored adaptation of music traditionally, if tenuously, ascribed to Pergolesi.

Two encores— the "Fire Dance" from Manual de Falla's El Amor Brujo, and the Palestinian nationalist song Mawtini, proved insufficient, one audience satisfied only after we repeated the last movement of the Mozart symphony.

The PNO faces the logistical and funding challenges common to all orchestras. But in addition it confronts something far more impenetrable: an ever-present military occupation and crippling apartheid laws. Sold to the West as self-defense, Israel's hold on daily Palestinian life seeks to destroy what its tanks and F-16s can't. Thus the PNO is an act of defiant normalcy, a refusal to be defined by the 64 years of neo-colonial oppression that is the reality of everyday existence in Palestine.
This refusal of victimhood is powerful—indeed so powerful that it lay beyond the comprehension of the BBC and the popular Israeli newspaper Haaretz. The venerable BBC couldn't even get past the orchestra’s name, with its implicit statement of sovereign identity. In its report about the ensemble's debut, the BBC erroneously called it the "Palestinian" National Orchestra.[1]

Both it and Haaretz seized upon the PNO's 2011 programming of Gyorgy Ligeti's Concert Romanesc to re-explain the PNO in harmony with the Israeli narrative. According to Haaretz,[2] the Palestinian musicians purposefully chose Ligeti, a Hungarian Jewish Holocaust survivor, as their way of "conceding the tragic refugee history of [Israeli] society" and to say "we are brothers" in tragedy. Yet again, the Holocaust is exploited to empower more terror, and the "left-wing" Haaretz cries tears of commiseration with the very people its nation is brutalizing, as though "the conflict" were the doing of some Other Force to which Israel, too, is victim. Implicitly, Haaretz has the PNO agreeing that the apartheid Israeli state was the answer to Europe's displaced Jews, and that the fascism it imposes upon Palestinians is the inevitable result of this. Thus the Concert Romanesc served to have Israeli mythology vindicated by its victims.

The truth—that the Ligeti had been an independent Palestinian artistic decision made by Tim Pottier, without any thought to Israel—lay outside the Israeli narrative. Yet in a final twist to sooth its liberal audience, Haaretz jubilantly concluded that the music "managed to get through the checkpoints and the walls as though they never existed." Forgetting, for the present purpose, the question of why Israel has checkpoints and walls on other people’s land in the first place, let's take a brief look at how Palestinian musicians do, and don't, get through the three ghettos into which it has dissected Palestine—Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem.
To start, one must first acknowledge that one and a half million Palestinians are automatically erased from our story, as they are severed from the world by the Israeli siege of the Gaza Strip. Israel even blocks music from Gaza for its "security".[3] String broke? Bad reed? Need music? You’ll have to get someone to smuggle them through the tunnels from Egypt. Rare exceptions that Israel may cite are meaningless: one cannot commit musicians, venue, travel, and audience on the remote chance that Israel will not sabotage the project.

This writer's personal experience will suffice to illustrate. I was among a group of people invited to a professional event in Gaza City sponsored by the World Health Organization and the European Union. Applications to Israel were made well in advance by these international agencies, all to Israel's specifications. But shortly before the event, despite a year of planning and prior approval, and despite Israel's claim not to be occupying Gaza, it blocked our entry without explanation. When I refused to leave the gate to the Erez crossing, IDF soldiers physically removed me.
Musicians in the West Bank can travel across their own border to Jordan, though the crossing is unpredictable, expensive, and sometimes much worse. Within the West Bank, Palestinians are impeded by Israel’s ever-increasing settlements, and walls that splice villages and families in two. Normal endeavors that musicians elsewhere take for granted—getting to a routine rehearsal in a neighboring town—can be risky and humiliating, and is always unpredictable.

East Jerusalem has different problems. Unlike the West Bank, in which Israel maintains a military occupation, or Gaza, which remains sealed like a massive internment camp, Israel claims to have actually annexed East Jerusalem. The annexation is illegal (not even the ever-compliant U.S. recognizes it), and thus Israel’s ethnically predicated laws have no legal jurisdiction there. But they are, by military force, the laws that control.

"Residency" is the coveted status in East Jerusalem for non-Jews. A Palestinian whose family has lived there for centuries lives in fear of ethnicity-based expulsion on arcane technicalities manufactured for the purpose. Simply leaving East Jerusalem—concert tour, study—can be used as an abdication of residence. Other families become "illegal" when Israel expands the border of Jerusalem to include parts of the West Bank.

The arcane apartheid laws that de facto (not legally) rule occupied East Jerusalem change with neither notice nor transparency. This past January, the Jerusalem Children’s Orchestra, another initiative of the Said Conservatory, was to perform at the National Theatre in East Jerusalem. But suddenly and without notice, Israel lowered the age at which Palestinian children need special permits to enter East Jerusalem, which until then had been fifteen. In this case, Israel's sabotage of Palestinian achievement succeeded—the new regulations could not be met in time, and so many of the young musicians would be prevented from performing. The concert was cancelled.

Israel was only partially successful when the Palestine Youth Orchestra prepared to perform in the West Bank cities of Ramallah and Nablus. The French authorities, holding more clout than Palestinians, helped the orchestra apply for the permits Israel mandates. Permission was granted and arrangements were made. Israel then arbitrarily changed the permissible dates, but the Said Conservatory, not to be stopped, rescheduled concerts, rehearsals, travel, and housing. But then Israel changed the permits' dates a second time. When even that failed to sabotage the project, Israel refused either to approve or deny permission for an oud player whose participation was crucial. This new obstacle was thwarted only when the resourceful Tim Pottier masterminded a media coup that would have caused the Israeli authorities more embarrassment than the issue was worth to them. In the end, the double rescheduling put the event into Ramadan, and fifteen children were stopped from participating until the last few days.

At this point, it is worth reminding the reader that nothing here involves Israeli permission to enter Israel; it is Israeli "permission" for Palestinians to enter Palestine.

The Oslo Accords simultaneously allowed the Palestinian Authority a facade of sovereignty, placards on office doors boasting the Palestinian Ministry of This-&-That, while actually tightening Israel's yoke around their land. One dressing of make-believe sovereignty was the issuance of Palestinian passports, but passports of a nation that doesn't exist have little meaning. Nor are Palestinian refugees outside Palestine eligible; they hold travel documents that are valid for a short period of time and afford limited privileges. Travel is especially difficult for them, and merely changing planes on an unbroken flight can require special visas and expense.

The PNO operated with the Said Conservatory's accumulated savvy about Israel bureaucracy, and all the permits Israel requires for the orchestra's Palestinians had been meticulously secured for our March 15th concert in the West Bank. Israel, however, made two of the permits valid only for April 5th. For three weeks, Tim tried to get the Israeli authorities to correct the dates, but was met with the traditional stonewalling, and two days before the Ramallah concert he had to fly in an oboist from Spain and get a bassoonist from Jordan.

One must remember that Palestinians are refugees only because Israel has for six and a half decades defied United Nations' demands that it allow those it had ethnically cleansed to return to their homes, broken the explicit promises upon which it was admitted to the UN, violated the UN Partition agreement which facilitated the creation of the state itself, and indeed violated the 1917 Balfour Declaration which Israel cites as a precedent.

But instead of Israel being held accountable, we set out for the West Bank leaving our two colleagues, oboist Haneen Hamadeh and bassoonist Iyad Hafez, behind. Haneen, whose roots are in Nablus (West Bank), lives in Amman. Iyad, the son of Palestinian refugee from Acre, lives Apolid (stateless) in Italy, and had flown to Amman to join us. They had played all the rehearsals for the concerts.

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Tom Suarez at the Erez crossing, 2008. (Photo: ActiveStills)

The roughly 40 km from Amman, through the Jordan Valley, over the Allenby Bridge, and west to Ramallah took the six hours we expected, most of it at the Israeli-controlled border facility. The Israeli "processing" is an arduous and often demeaning affair, especially for Palestinians, and one must work around its limited weekend hours. Israel collects a punitive exit tax at the Palestine-Jordan crossing which it does not impose on the Tel Aviv airport (which Palestinians are forbidden from using).

Bringing instruments and equipment through Israeli control of Palestine's border is also problematic and expensive. Musical instruments are detained, refused entry, and sometimes damaged by the Israeli authorities. In our case, we were assisted by the French government: they provided a government vehicle that enjoys diplomatic immunity from search. With it, the PNO transported its timpani and basses between Jordan and the West Bank.

After the first couple of security checks, I and two Palestinians were pulled aside for special screening, then released to the interminable wait at the holding facility with the rest of the orchestra. As time passed with our entrance to Palestine uncertain, musicians began unpacking their instruments and doodling. Soon we risked the first movement of the Haffner symphony from memory, and then turned to the Schumann 'cello concerto with one part per section propped up on chairs. (Someone videoed part of this, and it can be found on Youtube.) Israeli officials approached and reacted with differing body language, some baffled, others annoyed or bemused, or even visible touched.

Israeli control of the movement of Palestinian and foreign musicians, and the havoc wreaked by its military occupation, make reliable planning impossible. If this presents the PNO with daunting challenges and significantly higher expenses for a limited concert series close to home, it makes a more ambitious and international schedule for a Palestinian ensemble all but impossible.

Viewed thus, calls one hears for the boycott of Israeli cultural institutions are nothing more than calls for simply fair play, for a host country to insist that no guest block another guest.

And it is this that we, citizens of nations that empower the so-called "conflict" in Israel-Palestine, must face. The war against Palestinian culture is not the unfortunate side-effect of bureaucracy intended, if perhaps over-zealously, to "defend Israel". That war is, rather, the explicit purpose of that bureaucracy. The occupation is much more than colonies and tanks, more than its blocking the return of displaced persons, more than its campaigns of expropriation and ethnic cleansing. It is even more than Israel's core MO: that, like the Orwell novel written in the year of its founding, it must forever manufacture an ever-present external threat in order to justify its actions.

The occupation is, most insidiously, the occupation of a people—the systematic destruction or theft of their history, culture, arts, and self-worth. And as with past regimes predicated on racial supremacy, it has maintained a theatre of integrity through a system of laws that is internally consistent.[4] There are checks and balances, precedent, courts, systems for redress, and all the other trappings of legal procedure, enabling the state to claim that theirs is a system based on justice and democracy.

But the PNO is vivid proof that Israel's efforts to define Palestinians will fail. My time with the PNO was musically and intellectually exhilarating, one of camaraderie and solidarity of purpose. The musicians are sophisticated, with wide interests and diverse experiences, all determined to work together to produce a Palestinian orchestra that would be at home on any concert stage the world over.

Thanks to Tim Pottier for help clarifying details of bureaucracy and legal status.

1. "Palestinian orchestra to hold debut concert in Ramallah," BBC, 31 Dec 2010.
2. Ben, Noam Zeev, "In Israel, Palestinian orchestra produces sounds of independence," Haaretz. 14 Jan. 2011.
3. There is no transparency to the laws of Israel's siege, but on musical instruments see, e.g., Hass, Amira, "Israel bans books, music and clothes from entering Gaza," Haaretz. 17 May 2009.
4. For a good analysis of this, see Baker, Abeer and Matar, Anat (eds), Threat: Palestinian Political Prisoners in Israel. Pluto Press. 2011.
 


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Jews utilize 85% of historical Palestine (and counting)
Mar 31, 2012 09:14 am | Kate

and other news from today in Palestine:

Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Restriction of movement

Israel defense ministry plan earmarks 10 percent of West Bank for settlement expansion / Akiva Eldar
Haaretz 30 Mar -- For years Israel’s Civil Administration has been covertly locating and mapping available land in the West Bank and naming the parcels after existing Jewish settlements, presumably with an eye toward expanding these communities. The Civil Administration, part of the Defense Ministry, released its maps only in response to a request from anti-settlement activist Dror Etkes under the Freedom of Information Law ... A total of 569 parcels of land were marked out, encompassing around 620,000 dunams (around 155,000 acres) − about 10 percent of the total area of the West Bank. Since the late 1990s, 23 of the unauthorized outposts were built on land included in the map. The Civil Administration is endeavoring to legalize some of these outposts, including Shvut Rahel, Rehelim and Hayovel. Etkes believes this indicates the settlers who built the outposts had access to the administration’s research on available land − more proof of the government’s deep involvement in the systematic violation of the law in order to expand settlements, he says. The maps name numerous communities that do not exist. These include Shlomzion, on land belonging to the Palestinian town of Aqraba, east of Nablus; Lev Hashomron, on the land of Kafr Haja, between Nablus and Qalqilyah; Mevo Adumim, on the lands of al-Azariya and Abu Dis; and Mitzpeh Zanoah and Mitzpeh Lahav, in south Mount Hebron ... More than 90 percent of this land is east of the separation barrier, beyond the main settlement blocs.
link to www.haaretz.com


Jews control 85% of historic Palestine, says Statistics Bureau
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 29 Mar – Jews constitute around 52% of the total population living in historical Palestine and utilize more than 85% of the total area of the land, press release issued by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics said Thursday. Arabs make [up] the remaining 48% but are allowed to utilize only 15% of the land, it added ... The PCBS said while the Jordan Valley makes up 29% of the West Bank, Israel controls approximately 90% of it. Fewer than 65,000 Palestinians remain there today compared to 9,500 settlers ... It added that While Palestinians represent 30% of the population of Jerusalem, they pay 40% of the value of the taxes collected by the municipality. Yet, the Jerusalem municipality only spends 8% on providing services to Palestinians ... Data from Israeli human rights organizations indicate that about 25 thousand homes have been demolished in the occupied Palestinian Territory since 1967.
link to english.wafa.ps

Israel has approved 1800 illegal settlement units since the beginning of the year
MEMO 30 Mar -- It has been disclosed that the Israeli occupation authorities have seized hundreds of acres of agricultural land in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem for the benefit of illegal settlement and Judaisation projects. A report prepared by the Palestine Liberation Organisation to coincide with Land Day also claims that Israel has given approval for 1,800 new housing units on illegal settlements since the beginning of 2012. It seems, says the PLO, that the pace and scope of the Israeli occupation is being stepped up, with more Palestinian land being stolen by force. This year alone, Israel has seized more than 3.5 million square metres of Palestinian land to expand its illegal settlements and construct the "apartheid" wall.
link to www.middleeastmonitor.org.uk

Settlers expand illegal outpost in Nablus
NABLUS (WAFA) 29 Mar – Israeli settlers Thursday added four mobile homes to an illegal settlement outpost east of Yanoun, a village southeast of Nablus, according to a local activist. Ghassan Daghlas, in charge of settlements file in the Palestinian Authority in the northern part of the West Bank, told WAFA that Israeli settlers also detained four Palestinian shepherds near the village. Settlers intensified their presence around settlements across Nablus governorate after the Palestinian municipality of Nablus announced it will plow the land around settlements on the eve of Land Day.
link to english.wafa.ps

A little power to some Palestinian people, for now / Jillian Kestler-D'Amours
SHE’B EL-BUTTUM, WEST BANK, Mar 30, 2012 (IPS) - A handful of makeshift homes built from small boulders and plastic tarps and secured with thick ropes sit in the isolated community of She’b El- Buttum in the South Hebron Hills. A few metres away, several rows of solar panels and two wind turbines are affixed to the rocky hilltop, providing electricity to the village’s 150 residents ... The Israeli Civil Administration - the Israeli military body that controls Area C of the occupied West Bank - has issued stop-work orders on solar panel and wind turbine systems in six separate communities in South Mount Hebron, including She’b El-Buttum. Area C is the part of the West Bank under Israeli control, while Area A is under Palestinian control and Area B under joint control. These orders in Area C are seen as the first step to demolishing the renewable energy systems entirely. The systems were installed by Israeli group Community Electricity and Technology Middle East (COMET-ME), and funded in large part by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
link to ipsnews.net

Israel reverses decision denying entry to British-Palestinian humanitarian doctor
Haaretz 30 Mar -- The Interior Ministry on Wednesday reversed a previous decision to deny entry into the country to a British-Palestinian ophthalmologist, following an inquiry by Haaretz. Ali Dabbagh, a 57-year-old Palestinian ophthalmologist who holds British citizenship, was denied entry into the country on Monday by the Interior Ministry. Dabbagh, who holds a senior position in a hospital in Kuwait, arrived at the Allenby Bridge border crossing accompanied by his wife Sana. Dabbagh was invited to run a training course at Jerusalem’s Augusta Victoria Hospital on treatment of eye diseases and the prevention of blindness in diabetics.
link to www.haaretz.com

Land Day

Medics: Palestinian killed in Gaza rally
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 30 Mar -- Israeli fire killed one young Palestinian man and injured over 30 others in clashes at two sites in the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian medical official said Friday evening.  Adham Abu Salmiya identified the victim as Mahmoud Zaqout, 20. He was shot and killed near the Erez crossing, the official said. Thirty-one others in the Erez area were injured and taken to Kamal Adwan Hospital. In Khan Younis, six people were hospitalized. Three people were critically injured, Abu Salmiya added.  Medics said the Israeli army used live fire to prevent protesters from approaching frontier barriers in the small coastal territory. Israeli officials said soldiers fired warning shots to deter the protesters. Hamas forces had set up checkpoints to prevent protesters reaching the border area, but many of the activists bypassed them, an activist who attended protests in Beit Hanoun said. Ebaa Rezeq says she witnessed at least six of the injuries which came after Israeli forces fired on a crowd that arrived at the border area.
link to www.maannews.net


In Pictures -- Israeli police and Palestinians clash during Land Day protests
Guardian 30 Mar -- Land Day demonstrations mark the killing of six Arabs by Israeli forces in 1976 during protests against plans to confiscate land in the Galilee region
link to www.guardian.co.uk

Video: Palestine Land Day ... Qalandia 30.03.2012 By haithmkatib@gmail.com
Demonstration at Qalandia checkpoint today for Palestinian Land Day. The Israeli army is ruthless against the peaceful demonstrators as usual. Seeing familiar faces, thank you all for being there and carrying on the fight for justice
link to www.youtube.com

Land Day protesters plant trees near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 30 Mar -- Demonstrators near Bethlehem marked Land Day on Friday by planting olive trees on land slated for confiscation by Israel. Protesters gathered in Beit Jala waving Palestinian flags and chanting slogans against land theft. The demonstration was organized by local civil society organizations.
link to www.maannews.net

Video: Issawiya Land Day
AIC 29 Mar -- Residents of Issawiya and A-Tur -- two East Jerusalem neighborhoods -- planted olive trees on Thursday, March 29th, to mark the annual Land Day in Palestine. The action was organized in protest of the Jerusalem municipality's recent decision to zone Issawiya and A-Tur lands for the purposes of building an Israeli national park. Residents say this will take away the only land available to build new Palestinian homes and accommodate the natural growth of their neighborhoods. For more information, visit http://alternativenews.org
link to www.youtube.com

From Gaza to Sakhnin we are all united with Bil‘in
ISM Gaza posted 29 Mar by Nathan Stuckey -- Today [27 Mar], in Beit Hanoun, Land Day came early.  The weekly Tuesday demonstration against the occupation and the no go zone was in honor of Land Day and the six martyrs who gave their lives defending their land thirty six years ago ... We gathered on the road in front of the Beit Hanoun Agricultural College in preparation for the march into the no go zone.  There were about 50 of us, the Beit Hanoun Local Initiative, the International Solidarity Movement, other foreign activists, and Gazan activists from all over Gaza.  Palestinian flags flew high, music played over the megaphone, and we unfurled banners in memory of the martyrs of 1976.  Young men carried olive trees, hoes, shovels and water.  We would plant the trees in the no go zone today.
link to palsolidarity.org

Land Day live report
[video, photos; events starting at 9:17 and updated through the day] BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 30 Mar -- 17:31: Demonstrations have continued all day in the Gaza Strip, where activists are reporting casualties after Israeli forces opened fire near the border. Gaza medical official Adham Abu Salmiya reports over two dozen people injured -- three of them seriously -- after separate clashes near Beit Hanoun and Khan Younis. Protester Ebaa Rezeq says she witnessed at least six of the injuries which came after Israeli forces fired on a crowd that had bypassed Hamas police checkpoints to arrive at the border area. Rezeq says Israeli forces used live fire after they managed to remove a part of a metal fence near the wall. Israel says it fired warning shots at protesters near the border, but Rezeq disagrees. "People are falling here like flies," she says. "Blood everywhere".
16:24: Palestinian members of the Israeli Knesset have joined thousands protesting in northern Israel's Deir Hanna vilalge, Israeli media reporting....
link to www.maannews.net

Photos: Damascus Gate demonstrators attacked by Israeli forces
MEMO 30 Mar - EXCLUSIVE PICTURES Thousands of Palestinians gathered earlier today at Jerusalem's Damascus Gate to take part in a rally to commemorate Palestinian Land Day. Protesters were attacked by thousands of armed Israeli forces, some of whom were on horseback. Tear gas was fired into the unarmed crowds while dozens of were arrested and taken away. The main entrance of the of the Old City was also closed off by military checkpoint to prevent people from getting to the Al-Aqsa mosque.
link to www.middleeastmonitor.org.uk

Protester seriously injured in Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 30 Mar -- A Palestinian protester was seriously injured in Bethlehem on Friday after being hit in the face by a tear-gas canister, a Ma‘an correspondent said. Ali Arafa, 20, was taken to hospital in Hebron. He was injured when Israeli forces fired tear-gas canisters and stun grenades at Palestinians who threw stones at a checkpoint in a rally marking Land Day.
link to www.maannews.net

Seven injured in clashes with Israeli troops in Bethlehem
IMEMC 30 Mar -- Hundreds of Palestinian civilians marched towards Jerusalem marking the 36th anniversary of land day. The marchers were first stopped by the Palestinian security forces however they managed to reach the gate of the wall separating Bethlehem from Jerusalem. As protesters reach the gate, youth threw rocks and firebombs at the wall and the nearby military tower. Israeli troops responded by firing tear gas and sound bombs which resulted in wounding three Palestinians as they were hit with shrapnels of the sound bombs.  Their wounds were described as moderate.  Dozens others were treated for the effect of tear gas inhalation. A source from the Palestinian Red Crescent Society told IMEMC that one resident was hit with a tear gas canister in his back causing burns and bruises. The wounded was identified as Yousef Sharqawi from Bethlehem....
link to www.imemc.org

Tens of thousands participate in Jerusalem march in Gaza
GAZA (PIC) 30 Mar -- Tens of thousands of Palestinians marched on Friday towards the Beit Hanoun crossing in the northern Gaza Strip from different parts of the Strip. Different Palestinian factions participated in the march. The popular action committee of Hamas said that dozens of buses carried protesters from different parts of the Gaza Strip amidst huge participation in demonstrations which also mark Land Day. The Prime Minister of the Gaza government, Ismail Haneyya, participated in the march accompanied by the Egyptian parliamentary delegation which is visiting Gaza.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

Red Crescent medics treat 339 protesters in West Bank
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 30 Mar -- The Palestinian Red Crescent treated 339 protesters on Friday at protests around the West Bank to mark Land Day, a spokesman said. Muhammad Ayyad told Ma‘an that five people were seriously injured and 55 hospitalized ... Three people in Bethlehem were critically injured, one of whom was hit in the face by a tear gas canister. A protester in Jerusalem was hit in the jaw by a rubber[-coated steel] bullet and in Kafr Qaddum, near Qalqiliya, a protester was hit in the pelvis by a tear gas grenade, Ayyad said. The largest rally took place in Qalandiya, a checkpoint near Ramallah, where 249 were treated for injuries and 20 hospitalized. Ayyad said Israeli forces injured nine medics and damaged three ambulances at the protest...
link to www.maannews.net

A Zionist view of the day's events
IDF: Next challenge -- Prisoner Day
Ynet 30 Mar -- The IDF expressed contentment with its handling of Friday's Land Day protests, in which one Palestinian was reported killed and dozens were injured. "Overall, no dramatic incidents took place, and the security forces in the Palestinian cities did not allow the demonstrations to spread," IDF Spokesman Brigadier-General Yoav Mordechai said.
link to www.ynetnews.com

Amnesty: Stop excessive force against demonstrators
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 30 Mar -- Amnesty International's deputy director for the Middle East and north Africa called Friday for Israel to stop using excessive force against demonstrators. Ann Harrison said reports that dozens were hurt at demonstrations were "extremely worrying, particularly in the light of frequent and persistent use of excessive force against Palestinian protesters. "We are also concerned at reports that Palestinian Authority security forces have tried to prevent protests in areas under their control, while Hamas security forces have beaten protesters in Gaza. "All those involved in policing demonstrations should respect freedom of assembly and must adhere to international policing standards," Harrison said in a statement.
link to www.maannews.net

Global March to Jerusalem website blocked in Israel; decoy site directs to hasbara video
Mondo 30 Mar -- Yesterday, a Mondoweiss reader in Haifa sent us the following note: "...Also, in googling "Global March to Jerusalem" the first site listed is a news item from "Israel News Agency" with the headline "Iran Sponsored Global March to Jerusalem Launches Website" When you click on the link given on that page for the march's website -- www.March2Jerusalem.com -- you are directed to a you tube hasbara video denying Israel as an apartheid state:
link to mondoweiss.net

Tens of thousands of Jordanians participate in Jerusalem march
KAFRAIN (PIC) 30 Mar -- Tens of thousands of Jordanians and foreign and Arab solidarity activists participated in the Global March to Jerusalem at the Kafrain area in the northern Jordan valley near the Jordanian Palestinian border. Leader of the Muslim Brotherhood Dr. Hammam who lead the Friday prayers said in his sermon: "The liberation of the Aqsa Mosque is getting closer as the people started to free themselves from the tyrants..." Thousands of Jordanians traveled to the place of the demonstration in an area from which Palestine can be seen at a distance to rally for Jerusalem and to mark the Palestinian Land Day. PIC correspondent in Amman said that hundreds of buses from all Jordanian districts transported  participants to Kafrain. Dr. Yahya Halloum, coordinator of the Global March said that delegates from 80 countries participated in the march.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

Why Land Day still matters / Sam Bahour & Fida Jiryis
Haaretz 30 Mar -- Today, with no resolution in sight to the historic injustices inflicted upon them, Palestinians in Israel and elsewhere use this day to remember and redouble their efforts for emancipation.
link to www.haaretz.com

The story of the land / Sarah Ali
Mondo 30 Mar -- As we now commemorate the Land Day, we honor the people who stood up for their land back in 1976 when Israel announced thousands of Palestinian dunams to be confiscated. During marches held to protest against that declaration of Israel, six people were killed. The 30th of March brings back a memory of our Land, my father's Land ... That an Israeli soldier could bulldoze 189 olive trees on the land he claims is part of the "God-given Land" is something I will never comprehend. Did not he consider the possibility that God might get angry? Did he not realize that it was a tree he was running over? If a Palestinian bulldozer were ever invented (Haha, I know) and I were given the chance to be in an orchard in Haifa for instance, I would never uproot a tree an Israeli planted. No Palestinian would. To Palestinians, the tree is sacred, and so is the land clasping it.
link to mondoweiss.net

Other violence

PCHR Weekly Report: 5 wounded, 19 abducted by Israeli forces this week [22-28 March]
IMEMC 30 Mar -- ...the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights found that Israeli forces wounded 3 Palestinian civilians during an incursion into Rammoun village, northeast of Ramallah. A child was also wounded by the explosion of a mysterious object near Nablus. Additionally, a Palestinian civilian was wounded by Israeli settlers who attacked Palestinian shepherds near Ramallah.... Full report
link to www.imemc.org


B'Tselem -- The human toll: Killing of Palestinian and Israeli civilians
From 1 January‐31 December 2011, Israeli security forces killed 115 Palestinians, 18 of them minors (under age 18). One hundred and five Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip. Of these, 37 were not taking part in hostilities, 49 took part in hostilities, and 14 were the object of targeted killing. Regarding the remaining four persons, BʹTselem does not know if they were taking part in hostilities. In addition, one Palestinian policeman was killed while in a building belonging to the Hamas navy. Nineteen of the fatalities were shot near the Gaza perimeter fence; 11 of them took no part in any hostilities at the time. Israeli security forces also killed two Egyptian non‐combatants along the Gaza perimeter fence.
In 2011, Palestinians killed 11 Israeli civilians. Eight were killed in the West Bank: five members of the Fogel family ... were stabbed and shot to death in their home in the Itamar settlement; A man was shot by a Palestinian policeman when he entered the area of Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus (which is under control of the Palestinian Authority) without prior coordination with the Israeli military; and Asher Palmer and his infant son were killed as a result of stones thrown at the car in which they were traveling on Route 60. Another Israeli civilian was shot to death in the Jenin refugee camp -- the identity of the shooter and the background of the shooting remain unclear.
link to www.btselem.org

Report: Palestinian attacked on Jerusalem train
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 30 Mar -- A group of Israelis attacked a Palestinian man on a train in Jerusalem on Thursday night, Israeli radio reported. Israeli police detained two attackers. Two others fled, the report said. The victim was hospitalized with light injuries, the report added.
link to www.maannews.net

Emergency Committee for Israel Executive Director: IDF should use protesters for 'target practice'
Noah Pollak, the executive director of the neoconservative Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI), tweeted his own preferences this morning: Global March to Jerusalem needs a more accurate name, like Global March to Become Target Practice for the ISF #GMJ
link to thinkprogress.org

Gaza siege

Egypt food aid to enter Gaza, PA official says
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma‘an) 29 Mar -- A Palestinian Authority representative at the Oja crossing says Israeli authorities allowed the Egyptian Red Crescent to bring food aid into Gaza on Sunday. Omar Hadhud told Ma’an that the Red Crescent will send a shipment of food and will hand it to the UNRWA in Gaza. The shipment consists of 150 tons of flour and 500 large cartons of cooking oil.
link to www.maannews.net


Red Cross to fuel Gaza hospitals, official says
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 29 Mar -- The Red Cross will provide the ministry of health in Gaza with 150,000 liters of fuel in the next few days to ease the crisis facings its hospitals, officials said Thursday.
link to www.maannews.net

Gaza ambulances out of service due to fuel crisis
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 29 Mar  -- The health ministry in Gaza said Thursday that 36 ambulances were offline due to the fuel crisis. Spokesman Adham Abu Salmiya said the ambulances were parked because the ministry has run out of fuel needed to power them. The shortage comes despite a deal announced Tuesday by the Palestine Electricity Company Egypt to provide gas to Gaza.
link to www.maannews.net

Gaza official says PA blocked Egypt fuel deal
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 30 Mar -- The electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip is at least partly a result of Egypt's refusal to deal directly with the government in Gaza, a spokesman said Thursday. Ahmad Abu al-Amarin said the government attempts to buy Egyptian fuel in official ways but "some sides" are putting up obstacles to tighten the siege on Gaza and make them buy Israeli fuel at higher rates. Al-Amarin said the authority made a deal with the Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum to supply Gaza with fuel through the Rafah crossing and the point of delivery was approved. His government paid $2 million to the ministry but the West Bank government moved in and blocked the deal, al-Amarin said.
link to www.maannews.net

Egypt security thwart Gaza fuel smuggling
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma‘an) -- Egyptian police and military forces on Thursday thwarted the smuggling of fuel into the Gaza Strip from a site in the northern Sinai, a Ma‘an correspondent reported. Police seized 53,000 liters of fuel en route for sale on the black market in Gaza, security sources said. A truck was stopped after a chase and the fuel on board was seized, the sources said.
link to www.maannews.net

Limited Israeli incursion into southern Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 29 Mar -- Israeli military vehicles crossed into the Gaza Strip late Thursday in a limited incursion, witnesses said. Israeli tanks and bulldozers crossed into territory east of Rafah and aircraft fired nearby, the witnesses reported. An Israeli military spokeswoman said Israeli forces fired at open areas in the southern Gaza Strip "in order to thwart terror activity." Hours earlier, a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed in Eshkol regional council, the Israeli army said.
link to www.maannews.net

Egyptian security detain 15 Palestinians
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma‘an) -- Egyptian authorities detained 15 Palestinians who infiltrated Thursday into Egypt through tunnels from Gaza, officials told Ma‘an. Security sources said the Palestinians were detained during a campaign searching a tourist site in the town of El-Arish. The Palestinians, who were not identified, were taken to the general prosecutor. They were charged of entering Egypt illegally. The Palestinians entered through the tunnels due to difficulty entering via Rafah, the sources said.
link to www.maannews.net

Hanaa al-Shalabi

Officials say deal reached to free Hana Shalabi
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 29 Mar -- A deal to release Palestinian hunger-striker Hana Shalabi to the Gaza Strip temporarily was reached late Thursday, officials with knowledge of the negotiations told Ma‘an. The officials say Shalabi will be sent to Gaza for three years in exchange for giving up a 43-day strike against Israel's policy of holding detainees without charge. The Palestinian prisoners society confirmed the deal in a statement praising Shalabi's resolve. It expressed its appreciation for her efforts to bring attention to Israel's policies toward prisoners.  Qadoura Fares of the prisoners society said Shalabi agreed to the deal "in return for ending her strike and being freed. ... We reject deportation, but this is her decision and her own life," Fares said. ... Israel had previously held Shalabi for 25 months but released her in October under a prisoner swap with Hamas, which controls Gaza. Israeli authorities say Shalabi remains an active member of Islamic Jihad, but her father, Yehia, said that since the exchange his daughter had not been active in the group. An Islamic Jihad spokesman, Daoud Shihab, denied knowledge of the deal. If it exists, he said, the agreement would have been made without his group's involvement as it rejects deportation.
link to www.maannews.net


Deportee urges Shalabi to reject Gaza deal
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 30 Mar -- A Palestinian who was deported to Gaza in 2002 has urged Hana Shalabi not to accept a deal under which she will be deported ... Fahmi Canaan, from Bethlehem, was one of 26 Palestinians deported to Gaza in 2002 after taking shelter in the Nativity Church in Bethlehem. Israeli forces surrounded the church for 40 days before the deal was reached to deport the men inside, who were wanted by the Israeli army. But Canaan said Thursday that the deportees were told they would be allowed to return home after two years but Israel reneged on the deal. He said Israel did not abide by its agreements and warned that Shalabi may face the same fate.
link to www.maannews.net

PA: Israel deportation policy 'a war crime'
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 29 Mar -- Israel's policy of deporting Palestinians is a war crime, a top Palestinian Authority official said Thursday after a deal to send a detainee to Gaza. Prisoners minister Issa Qaraqe told Ma‘an his ministry rejects the policy which it considers a war crime. Hana Shalabi was subjected to pressure from the Israeli intelligence services and was taken advantage of due to her deteriorating condition, Qaraqe told Ma‘an following the deal ... Hussein al-Sheikh told Ma‘an that the Palestinian government in Ramallah rejects the deportation policy and played no role in negotiations that would lead to such an outcome.
link to www.maannews.net

Amnesty: Palestinian detainee in Gaza deportation deal should be released to West Bank
AI 30 Mar -- A deal that led to Palestinian Hana Shalabi halting her hunger strike and moving to the Gaza Strip for a three year period could amount to a forcible deportation, Amnesty International said ..."The fact that Hana Shalabi was denied access to her independent lawyers raises serious concerns about her deportation to the Gaza Strip," said Ann Harrison, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
link to www.amnesty.org

Other political detainees

Female detainee freed after 2 weeks of questioning
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 30 Mar -- Israeli authorities released detainee Amani al-Khandakji, 27, after two weeks in Israeli detention, a prisoners rights group reported Friday. The detainees center in Nablus said Israel freed Amani after intensive investigations at Bitah Tikva detention center. Amani was detained in a raid on her home.
link to www.maannews.net


Israeli court orders six-month administrative detention of Sheikh Hadid
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 29 Mar -- The Israeli court of Ofer prison on Wednesday issued a six-month administrative detention against Hamas-affiliated reformer Sheikh Hussein Abu Hadid, aged 65 from Al-Khalil city.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

Occupation arrests Muhammad Amr 24 hours after his release from PA jail
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 30 Mar -- Israeli Occupation Forces, on Friday morning, arrested Muhammad Amr (24 years) from the southern West Bank city of al-Khalil just 24 hours after he was released from a PA jail. Sources close to the family of Amr told PIC correspondent that IOF troops raided the home of Amr at 2:00 am and arrested the young man who spent 20 months in PA jails. In an interview with the PIC conducted hours before his arrest,  Amr held the PA preventive security fully responsible if he gets arrested by the IOF because he said he was not known to the IOF and that during his imprisonment by the PA he was tortured to make confessions regarding his relationship with Ma’moun al-Natshe who was assassinated by the IOF.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

Hamas warns over condition of detained militant
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 Mar -- Hamas warned Wednesday that it holds Israel responsible for the mistreatment of a militant leader in Israeli jail who refused to undergo a DNA test. Imprisoned Al-Qassam Brigades leader Abbas al-Sayyed was assaulted three times last week, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement, calling al-Sayyed's treatment an assassination attempt.
link to www.maannews.net

Captive Bilal Diab hospitalized
JENIN (PIC) 30 Mar -- Human Rights sources said that hunger strike captive Bilal Diab was moved to Assaf Harofeh Hospital in Tel Aviv after the deterioration of his health. Diab has been on hunger strike for a month. The head of the legal department at the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS), lawyer Jawad Boulus said that the captive collapsed several times, the last of which was on Thursday morning. He noted that the captive was in critical health, aggravated by the detention conditions.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

Israeli police detain 14 Palestinians in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 30 Mar -- Israeli police detained 14 Palestinians in Jerusalem on Friday at demonstrations to mark Land Day, officials said. Palestinian Authority Minister for Jerusalem Affairs Hatem Abdul Qader was among the 14 detained, said prisoner society director in Jerusalem Naser Qaws. He was released after several hours, Qaws said. The detainees were taken to the Russian Compound where they were beaten by Israeli officers, he added.
link to www.maannews.net

Activism / Solidarity / BDS

National M.S.Ch.A. endorses BDS!
March 30, 2012 — At the 18th annual national conference of M.E.Ch.A. (Movímíento Estudíantíl Chícan@ de Aztlán), the largest association of Latin@ youth in the US, chapter leaders voted by a landslide decision to endorse the global call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) on Israel, due to its military occupation and settlement of Palestine. The announcement that M.E.Ch.A. chapter leaders endorsed BDS comes on the coinciding international observances of 'César Chávez Day' and 'Land Day', commemorating ongoing civil rights and anti-colonial struggles for Latin@s and Palestinians. The chapter delegations (including some 600 delegates) met in Phoenix, AZ, last weekend, the site of the very first M.E.Ch.A. conference in 1993.
link to sjpalestine.com


Report: New 'fly-in' planned for April
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 29 Mar -- Pro-Palestinian activists plan to hold a second 'fly-in' to Ben-Gurion International Airport in mid-April, an Israeli newspaper reported Thursday, quoting an organizer.  Mazin Qumsiyeh told The Jerusalem Post that some 1,500 to 2,500 participants from 15 countries were planning to join the initiative, which includes educational and volunteer activities in the West Bank. Last summer Israeli authorities detained and expelled more than 100 people who came on a similar trip. Many others were barred from flight lists by airlines following complaints by Israel. "The point is to show the world that Israel is preventing people from visiting Palestine," Qumsiyeh, an academic at Bethlehem University, told the English-language newspaper.
link to www.maannews.net

Video: Students in Palestine and the US mark Land Day by calling on TIAA-CREF to to divest
30 Mar -- Marking Palestinian "Land Day", students from Palestine and colleges and universities around the United States have joined the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) in sending a video message to one of the largest financial services companies in the United States: divest from corporations that profit from the Israeli occupation. A three minute video calls on TIAA-CREF to end its investments in corporations that profit from Israel's military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.
link to mondoweiss.net

Fatah to support boycott of settlement produce and promote Palestinian goods
MEMO 30 Mar -- Fatah has declared that purchasing goods and produce made on Israeli settlements constitutes "a national crime against the rights of the Palestinians". Spokesman Osama Al-Qawasmi added that a boycott of such produce is a "national duty" for all Palestinians. "The Israeli occupation is trying to break the will of the Palestinian people and thwart all attempts to build a national economy," said Mr. Al-Qawasmi ... The Fatah official stressed that his movement will launch a national campaign on Sunday to support Palestinian products, with backing from local unions and trade associations.
link to www.middleeastmonitor.org.uk

Politics / Diplomacy

UN Security Council members 'to visit Palestine'
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 29 Mar -- All members of the UN Security Council have accepted an invitation to visit the occupied Palestinian territory except the US, PLO observer to the UN Riyad Mansour said Thursday.The US is still considering the visit but all other countries in the 15-member council have confirmed they will send delegations, Mansour told Ma‘an. "The American delegation is studying the issue in Washington," he said. The US blocked a Council visit to Palestine in 2011. The visit would be historic because the Council has not visited Palestine for 30 years, Mansour said. But if Washington refuses to send a delegation, an informal visit will be arranged for the other Council members, he added.
link to www.maannews.net


UK election sees stunning upset, as pro-Palestinian, anti-war candidate returns to Parliament
The UK’s Labour Party has just been dealt a massive blow. While they’ve been crowing about the Conservative government’s handling of the budget and the ongoing fuel panic and strike threats, George Galloway, a former party member and current leader of the far-left Respect Party (which stood fifth in the elections last year) has snatched a parliament seat that Labour has held for the last forty years from under Ed Miliband’s nose, the Guardian reports.
link to www.businessinsider.com

Other news

PA foreign minister defends arrest of journalist
BAGHDAD (Ma‘an) 30 Mar -- The Palestinian Authority foreign minister on Thursday defended his role in the arrest of a journalist who the government is accusing of defamation and libel over a January newspaper story. Riyad al-Malki told reporters on the sidelines of an Arab summit in Iraq that the arrest of Yousef al-Shayeb was justified, and suggested he and the government were victims.
link to www.maannews.net


Media group urges PA to stop arresting journalists
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 30 Mar -- A Palestinian free media watchdog expressed concern Thursday after a court in Ramallah extended the detention of a correspondent for a Jordanian newspaper. Yousef al-Shayeb must remain behind bars another 15 days while the government investigates allegations of "slander" and "defamation" over a report published in al-Ghad alleging high-level corruption. The Palestinian center for development and media freedoms, known as Mada, demanded al-Shayeb's release and called for an end to "the policy of arrest and detention of journalists" in Palestine.
link to www.maannews.net

Prison officers conclude training course in quelling prison disorder
JERICHO (WAFA) 28 Mar -- Twenty Palestinian prison officers from the Corrections and Rehabilitations Centers Department (CRCD) concluded on Wednesday multi-skills training courses in combating threatening situations in the West Bank city of Jericho, an EUPOL COPPS press release said. The Palestinian Special Police Force (SPF) trainers taught the participants how to deal with inmates in the event of a challenging situation, but without inflicting injury and violating inmates’ rights.
link to english.wafa.ps

Analysis / Opinion

Words! A Poem / Samah Sabawi
EI 30 Mar -- I've been down this road before: Someone tries to teach me how to use words that can 'open doors'. Offering me tips in communication. “Instead of saying ‘Apartheid’ try a ‘system of segregation’”. “Downplay the ‘Nabka’ and focus on the occupation”. And “if you write a statement, make sure you start every paragraph with clear support for the two state solution and don’t forget to end it with a Hamas condemnation. I stand / Dispossessed / No congress behind me / No statesmen surround me / No lobby to breathe hellfire / No media eager to appease....
link to palestinechronicle.com


The real danger / Adam Keller
30 Mar -- ...The entire might of the great IDF, mobilized to face the unarmed Palestinian march on Land Day. Does it look ridiculous? Preposterous? Disproportionate? Not at all. For the  most powerful army in the Middle East which is one of the strongest in the world is facing something which all its might cannot defeat. Facing the array of tanks and artillery and gunboats and fighter planes and nuclear bombs is the boy with the stone at a checkpoint and the detainee on hunger strike in a prison cell, to the brink of death. Facing this army is a people living already for several generations under conditions of occupation and oppression and exile and humiliation, and who did not give up -- nor will they give up -- the dream of being a free people in their country. It is the Palestinian little David who is nowadays facing the Goliath who stands armored from head to toe.
link to adam-keller2.blogspot.com

Liberty and justice for non-Muslims / Andrew Rosenthal
NY Times 30 Mar -- Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, genuine concerns about national security as well as politically-motivated concerns about the same thing have led to a fundamental shift in the balance between civil liberties and law enforcement. That much is indisputable, and widely discussed. Yet it’s rarely acknowledged that this shift has led to what’s essentially a separate justice system for Muslims. In this system, the principle of due process is twisted and selectively applied, if it is applied at all.
link to loyalopposition.blogs.nytimes.com

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Land Day in Pictures: Israel, Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank
Mar 31, 2012 08:19 am | Allison Deger

Yesterday, Palestinians marked Land Day by protesting against the Israeli land confiscations with demonstrations in the West Bank, Gaza, Israel, Lebanon, and Jordan. This year, the protests were also supported by a solidarity campaign known as the Global March to Jerusalem, where Palestinians and allies marched to the Israeli controlled borders of the occupied Palestinians territories. The largest march on the border was in Jordan with between 20,000 and 30,000 protestors, and in Lebanon between 2,000-3,000 marched. In Egypt, the demonstration was cancelled after the state military stopped protestors from joining the march, which would have approached the Rafah crossing with the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli military and police attempted to disperse the protestors, aggressively using crowd dispersal and projectiles, including live ammunition. In Gaza, Israeli fire killed 20-year-old Mahmoud Zakot, and hundreds were injured in the West Bank and Gaza. Palestinians threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at Israeli forces.

The West Bank

Across the West Bank, demonstrations took place with reports of excessive Israeli force, including water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets. Additionally, a Long Range Acoustic Device, a sound machine emitting high-frequency noise, and a machine spraying a "skunk" smelling liquid were used on protestors. The Red Crescent counted over 200 people were injured in Qalandia alone, with 85 from rubber bullets. Between 14 and 34 were arrested in Jerusalem, but the total number of arrests is still unknown.

Major protest were held in the cities of Bethlehem, Beit Ummar, Budrus, Jerusalem, Kfar Kadum, Nabi Saleh, Nablus, , Ni'lin, Qalandia, and Safa.

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Israeli border police use pepper spray on Palestinian protestor, near Jerusalem.                     (Photo: Ammar Awad/Reuters)
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Qalandia (Photo: Majdi Mohammed/AP)
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Palestinian sprayed by Israeli police, Qalandia. (Photo: Abbas Momani/AFP)
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Israeli police on horseback suppress demonstrators near the Damascus Gate, Jerusalem.  (Photo: Sebastian Scheiner/AP)
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Palestinian man dragged by Israeli forces near the Damascus Gate, Jerusalem. (Photo: Reuters)
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A Palestinian climbs the wall at a checkpoint, Bethlehem. (Photo: Nasser Shiyoukhi/AP)

Gaza 

Near the Erez crossing in Gaza, Israeli forces used fired water cannons, tear gas and live ammunition into crowds of demonstrating Palestinians, resulting in the death of 20-year-old Mahmoud Zakot. In response, Palestinians threw rocks, burned tires and set fire to an Israeli security tower. Protestors in Gaza also participated in the Global March to Jerusalem.

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The funeral of 20-year-old Mahmoud Zako, Gaza. (Photo:Mohammed Salem/Reuters)

The Global March to Jerusalem in Gaza

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Arabic trans. "Global March to Jerusalem," Gaza. (Photo: Joe Catron)
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Demonstrators praying, Gaza. (Photo: Joe Catron)
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Demonstrators marching, Gaza. (Photo: Joe Catron)
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Gaza. (Photo: Joe Catron)
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Land Day demonstrators, Gaza. (Photo: Julie Webb-Pullman)
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Land Day demonstrators, Gaza. (Photo: Julie Webb-Pullman)
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Gaza. (Photo: Joe Catron)
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Gaza. (Photo: Joe Catron)

Lebanon

In Lebanon, between 2,000 and 3,000 protestors amassed in Arnoun near the Crusade-era Beaufort castle located nine miles from the Israeli border.

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Palestinian youth dancing in near the Beaufort castle 9 miles from the Israeli border, Arnoun, Lebanon. (Photo: Mohammed Zaatari/AP)
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Children near Beaufort castle, Arnun, Lebanon. (Photo: Mahmoud Zayyat/AFP)

Israel

In Israel, demonstrators gathered in the Northern villages of Sakhnin, Araba, and Dier Hanna. On Land Day, Sakhnin holds a special significance, as it is the site of the first Land Day protest in 1976. Today, there is a monument in the village by Palestinian artist Abed Abdi, commemorating the six Palestinians who were at the march by killed by Israeli forces

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Palestinians demonstration near Haifa, Araba, Israel. (Photo: Jack Guez/AFP)

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