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  • Hope during wartime: A Palestinian return

    The displaced former residents of Kafr Bir’im decided in the summer of 2013 to return to their village, and since then, they haven’t left. The author and his partner visited them one year later. By Eitan Bronstein Aparicio (translated by Ami Asher) We had to travel as far as Kafr Bir’em to find faith in these sad and desperate times, during the terrible war on Gaza. We spent an entire day with the Bir’em returnees. The last time we visited this community of internally displaced villagers was exactly one year ago, in their traditional summer camp, organized in order to…

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  • Gaza war diary II: No one is safe, everyone is a target

    Walid Abuzaid offers a look into the everyday reality of living in Gaza during the current violence. As the fighting worsens, he asks why Palestinians should settle when they haven't got the rights they deserve. By Walid Abuzaid Thursday, July 17 It’s 10 p.m. when the power finally returns. The electricity has been down since 11 p.m. last night. The power company said the electricity lines were down during the bombardments and that there’ll only be six hours of electricity every day. I turn on the water heater so I can finally shower in the morning, since Eimar is asleep…

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  • Palestinian human rights leader: 'Cast Lead was a joke compared to this'

    LISTEN: Israeli human rights lawyer Michael Sfard speak to Raji Sourani, founder and director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, about the ongoing destruction in Shujaiyeh, the use of human shields and the fate of Gaza's civilian population.  By Michael Sfard and Raji Sourani Raji Sourani: Hello Michael Sfard: Raji? This is Michael. Can you speak now? R: Yes, yes. M: So, how was last night? R: Well last night was difficult, the worst in the last two weeks. This is incredible evil. Ambulances weren’t able to reach the areas which were under heavy bombardment by tanks and F16s. And…

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  • Death in Gaza, fireworks in Bethlehem

    Though tawjihi, matriculation, celebrations seem light on the surface, they point to a bleak political reality in the West Bank. I heard the first gunshots at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, 30 minutes before the “humanitarian ceasefire” went into effect. My elderly landlady stuck her head out the window. “What’s going on?” she shouted to where I sat in the garden. She speculated that it could be clashes in Dheisheh refugee camp, which is within earshot of our house. But when we heard fireworks and horns honking, we figured it was a celebration. “Maybe,” I told her, “it’s because of the…

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  • Gaza war diary: 'A second of silence, then the bombs go off'

    Despite the danger, Walid Abuzaid couldn't be separated from his home in Gaza for very long. And though coming home means facing possible death, he refuses to give in to hate.  By Walid Abuzaid Thursday, June 27 I was in Cyprus when it all started. When we heard about the kidnapped teens, we were thrilled by the possibility of another prisoner release. Hamas would be held responsible for the kidnapping, but we treat our prisoners well – at least the one prisoner we've ever had. It's my last night in Cyprus and one of so few in which I smile…

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  • An open letter to the family of Mohammed Abu Khdeir

    As Israel and the Palestinians descend further into open violence, concerned Israelis challenge their fellow citizens in an attempt to forge a joint Israel-Palestinian resistance to violence.  (Translated from Hebrew by Idit Arad and Matan Kaminer) Our hands shed this blood, our hands set Mohammed Abu Khdeir on fire, our hands fanned the flames. We have been living here for too long to claim that we did not know, we did not understand, we were not able to foresee. We witnessed the actions of the vast machine of incitement to racism and revenge operated by the government, the politicians, the…

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  • I am the woman who translates the names of the dead

    In these frenzied days, I look for routine and find it in the task of translating names. Not that anyone reads all of them, but here's another child, and another, and a last name that gets repeated again and again. And then I realize that a whole family has been wiped out. By Michal Rotem (Translated by Sol Salbe) For several days now I've been translating the names of those killed in Gaza to Hebrew. It was not my idea, and I'm not an expert in literary Arabic, but I volunteered my meager translation skills to help John Brown, because…

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  • Israel bars prominent Palestinian artist from traveling to N.Y. exhibit

    Palestinian artist Khaled Jarrar travels regularly to exhibit and discuss his art. This time, the Israeli army simply said no, you can't go. Khaled Jarrar, a prominent Palestinian artist based in Ramallah, was supposed to be in New York by now for an exhibit at the New Museum, a Manhattan hotspot for contemporary art. Except Israel isn’t letting him go. Jarrar arrived at the Allenby border crossing at 3:00 p.m. yesterday. Rather than cross into Jordan, as he has done many times over the last few years, he was told he could not exit due to “an intelligence order.” After 10 hours spent waiting,…

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  • There's still room for optimism: A letter to Sayed Kashua

    ‘You were supposed to be optimistic, you were supposed to give us hope. Instead you are only proposing despair.’ A letter to Israel’s best known Hebrew-language Palestinian author, columnist and entertainer, who after the racism and violence of recent weeks wrote that he's lost hope in coexistence. By Maisalon Dallashi Dear Sayed, You broke my heart when you cried out in your weekly Haaretz column. You've made the tears trickle down of their own accord. You made me want to escape out of my body and run. This is not how I imagined our first meeting. In my mind I saw…

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  • The abnormal normality of the occupation and its 'escalations'

    To pretend as though the events of recent days are extraordinary is to ignore the context that led to this ‘flare-up’ and is disrespectful to the millions of Palestinians who wrestle with the occupation every day, in both the West Bank and in Gaza. It’s Wednesday. The death toll in Gaza is in the dozens and rising as Layla*, a Christian Palestinian, gets into my car. We live in Bethelehem. She needs a ride to pick up her tasrich (permit) from the Civil Administration’s office in Gush Etzion, where Israel and the Western media claim that the current “flare-up” began.…

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  • Gaza is terrible? Try daily life

    Gaza is unlivable and Tel Aviv is surreal. Then there's all the rest. I spent today at a meeting of Israelis and Palestinians in East Jerusalem, planned well before the current escalation. Around 7:30 a.m., I was showering when sirens went off, followed by three low booms. Since the shower is about the only comfortable place in the sticky coastal area these days, I didn’t move. It no longer seemed interesting enough to post on social media. At 8:30 a.m. I picked up two colleagues and we drove 38 miles (60 kilometers) from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. With a bit…

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  • France Decapitated (again)

    [Completely off topic] The New York Times' Roger Cohen recently traveled to Paris and didn't like what he saw. His latest op-ed is titled "France Decapitated," and it predicts a dark future for The Republic. My favorite Francophile, former Haaretz Editor in Chief Dov Alfon, who now publishes a great Hebrew-language magazine called Alaxon, adds some figures from the NYT's archive (on his Facebook page): Year in which The New York Times first described France as "a state in decline": 1852 Number of times the "decline" of France was described in The New York Times since then: 35,400 Date of the…

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  • A portrait of the enemy in Tel Aviv

    The enemy in Tel Aviv is a shapeless wail in the morning. It has no point of origin, it arises from the air, a warning without warning. A noise from a void. The enemy is a tremble in coffee number one, a soft boom over bread and butter at the restaurant last night.  It is the grinning diners who twist toward me when I turn toward them: “Keeps things interesting,” they chuckle. “How is the atmosphere in the South tonight?” asked the anchor on the news  to reporters in the South. “They’re used to it down here,” she gushes. “They’ve…

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