After years of oppression and fragmentation, Palestinians in the occupied city are remobilizing around a common political goal. After days of deliberations, the Israeli government finally removed metal detectors from the entrances of the Aqsa compound on Monday evening. Reports say the decision may have been linked to an agreement reached with Jordan’s King Abdullah, as part of a deal to resolve a brief diplomatic crisis that followed Sunday’s attack at the Israeli embassy in Amman. [tmwinpost] Israeli authorities are now seeking to install “smart” cameras that can identify visitors to Al-Aqsa using facial recognition software. Palestinians argue that this…Read More... | 11 Comments
“The story of the occupation is here for everyone to see,” Dror Etkes mutters, half smiling, as we stand on a hilltop in the West Bank settlement of Haresha. "The problem is very few people are willing to see it.” The view from Haresha, one of several settlements that comprise the “Talmonim bloc,” approximately 10 kilometers northwest of Ramallah, is spellbinding in both its beauty and scope. Looking west, the foreground is littered with rows of Jewish settlements dotting the arid hills. Beyond them is a row of Palestinian villages — Ras Karkar, Ein Ayub, and Deir Ammar — lined…Read More... | 4 Comments
Ellis Kadoorie hoped that by establishing an agricultural school in Tulkarm, he would be helping to educate and improve the conditions of Palestinians and Jews alike. Little did he know it would become a microcosm of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. By Tamar Novick and Arie M. Dubnov The Kadoorie Agricultural School holds a special place in Israeli national memory; a second home for figures like the poet of the 1948 war, Haim Gouri, the future generals Yigal Allon and Yitzhak Rabin, and many of the Palmach generation, the school is seen as the spiritual soil from which sprouted the mythological Sabra. “Kadoorie…Read More...
We who are Syria’s neighbors, among whom so many of Syria’s victims have sought shelter, owe it to them — and to ourselves — to speak honestly and without shame about this singularly Arab tragedy. In so doing, we must create space for our Syrian sisters and brothers to lift their voices above those of others. Khalil, the produce vendor, is producing a map, on a cardboard scrap, that tells of cherries. Sourced from points north, they are sweeter, he tells me, because they are darker. But I want to know how: how did Syrian cherries end up, fresh and firm,…Read More... | 20 Comments
It's time for Israel to recognize that it can coexist with its neighbors without fear or feelings of superiority. Academia can lead the way. By Assaf David The perception of Israel as a foreign entity in the Middle East, hence a fortress under threat, is shared by all major purveyors of knowledge and discourse in the political and public Israeli-Jewish sphere. Alas, the academia, as well as the so-called "peace camp," do not offer an alternative perception, which would view Israel for what it really is: a country becoming well-integrated into the Middle East, and one that can and should live in the region without…Read More... | 11 Comments
A recent article in 'The Washington Post' praises efforts by the Israeli government to bring in cheap labor from Jordan as a sign of growing peace. The problem? It all comes at the expense of Palestinian workers. By Hagar Shezaf A Washington Post article published earlier this week praised a new pilot project between the governments of Jordan and Israel as a “little peace” in the Middle East. To support the argument, the article applauded the fact that room cleaners named Ahmad and dishwashers named Mohammad are being brought in from Jordan to work in Israel’s southern city of Eilat.…Read More... | 2 Comments
Jordan scraps a ban on Mashrou' Leila, a progressive and incredibly popular Lebanese band, following an international uproar Mashrou' Leila, the immensely popular Lebanese will be allowed to perform in Jordan, the government announced after the cancellation of a concert scheduled for Friday sparked an enormous backlash. Jordan is one of the few places where the band's many Israeli and Palestinian fans are allowed to travel to see their concerts. But last Tuesday, they were told that the concert in Amman's Roman Theater was cancelled because it violated the "authenticity" of the place. [tmwinpost] It later emerged that Amman District…Read More...
Pumping Red Sea water into the Dead Sea to save it from drying up ignores environmental consequences, experts warn. Rights groups decry the plan as an 'attempt to force the Palestinian population to consent to their own dispossession.' By Keren Simons Israel and Jordan last Thursday signed a historic agreement to cooperate over their shared bodies of water, in a move to protect the shrinking Dead Sea and to address the looming potable water crisis in the two countries. A pipeline from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea is proposed to refill water in the salt lake, and desalinization plants…Read More... | 10 Comments
Israel was borne of a need to escape a violent Europe. Now Israelis feel a constant need to escape a violent Israel. The deconstructed tourist trail reaches the deepest south, which is where they often go. Part nine of Yuval Ben-Ami’s journey through the Holy Land’s most popular tourist sites. Off the Sinai smuggling routes, there's a place called Coral Beach - that's where you wanna go, to get away from it all. It is only a short bus ride from central Eilat, so you can get there fast and take it slow. Just don’t go wandering the hills on your…Read More... | 5 Comments
Five hundred words and three photos from one place. This time: a church in the middle of a minefield, water you can walk on, an international border with no soldiers and a legal limbo that wouldn't make sense anywhere else. What is the strangest place in the world? Depends how you define "strange." In English, one must differentiate between strange, weird, bizarre and my personal favorite: eerie. If there ever was an "eerie" place in this delusional country between the river and the sea, it can be found close to the Jordan River. In the following photo one can see tourists…Read More... | 1 Comment
A new survey by the BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, a non-profit organization that works to defend and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees, attempts to understand how youth of Palestinian heritage (third or fourth generation of displaced Palestinians) identify with their ancestry. BADIL conducted a survey focusing on identity and social ties among Palestinian youth residing in Mandate Palestine (West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and Israel), Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. The results reveal that between 55 to 70 percent of the respondents in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon regard themselves as Palestinians; 45 percent of Palestinian citizens of Israel regard themselves as…Read More... | 3 Comments
The Syria nightmare has gotten worse than imaginable, and now the only thing conceivably worse is what can be expected in the foreseeable future. In this awful environment, some interesting data has appeared about public attitudes from two important parts of the world: the U.S. and the Middle East. Here are a few thoughts about the findings. Please read this as not as a collection of cold statistics, but as a tally of how human beings assess the lives and value of other human beings, their responsibility to humanity and their fears and morals. U.S. on Syria: 45 percent of Americans…Read More... | 11 Comments
The United Nation agency for Palestinian refugees is reporting that three separate incidents in Syria claimed last week the lives of five children. One of the children died in Dera'a and four others in Damascus. According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East UNRWA, Mohammad Al-Khateeb (aged 14) was killed on March 15 by a bullet as he was returning home on foot after buying bread from a bakery in his neighborhood in Dera'a. On March 19, Hisham Mahmoud (aged 10) and Farhat Mubarak (aged 11), were killed at the crossroad of Yazour and Safad Streets in Yarmouk, Damascus. They were…Read More... | 10 Comments
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