Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sleepless in Gaza and Jerusalem

Day 51: Ashira joins her friend Bakrieyh on a tour of some Palestinian villages that were emptied out in order to make way for Jewish immigrants in 1948. Today marks Israel's Independence Day, which is known to Palestinians as al-Nakba, the Catastrophe; when Palestinians lost their country and Israel came to being.

In Gaza, Eman pays a visit to her friend Umm Walid who lives in Beit Lahia.

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Deporting Gandhi from Palestine

The Israeli government's recent announcement of Army order No. 1,650 was just the latest act of provocation in a series of calculated measures to derail any possible resumption of peace negotiations. Under this new draconian measure, anyone who doesn't have a "permit" to be in the West Bank is to be considered an "infiltrator" and subject to expulsion or risk up to seven years in jail.

Expulsions and deportations are not something new for the Israeli military administrative system which was established in 1969, shortly after the occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights in the 1967 Six-Day War. At the time, the Israeli military was given the legal power to expel "infiltrators" without trial for various unspecified "security reasons."

Two particular Palestinian communities will be impacted by order No. 1,650: Palestinians with Gaza residencies and Palestinians with East Jerusalem residencies, as well as foreign-born residents of the West Bank. But many Palestinian and Israeli experts believe that it's the foreigners living amongst Palestinians who are the real target of the Netanyahu government. Many believe that this is part of an ongoing Israeli effort to silence dissent and crack down on international solidarity members and activists who travel to Palestinian areas to support protests and rallies, often bringing with them the eyes of the outside world.

Now that Israel has almost completed its "Separation Wall", it wants to build a "Wall of Silence" and control the flow of information and limit the presence of foreign-born eyewitnesses on the ground. The question is, why now?

Read more on the Huffington Post

Friday, April 9, 2010

Look Who's Missing from Washington

This upcoming Monday and Tuesday, President Obama will also meet with leaders of more than 40 countries with the expectation of issuing a joint statement on the challenges and importance of nuclear security. He hopes to bring everyone to agree on a common "work plan" for cracking down on the illicit trade of nuclear material. Of course we know that Iran, which will be absent from the summit, will top the agenda.

But it's not only Ahmadinejad who will be missed at the summit on nuclear security; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has canceled his visit to the US.

According to Israeli media sources, PM Netanyahu made the decision after learning that Egypt and Turkey intended to raise the issue of Israel's presumed nuclear arsenal. "Presumed" that is, because Israel has never confirmed or denied that it possesses atomic weapons.

Read more on the Huffington Post

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Call it "Elections in Sudan"

The Iraqi elections are over but failed to produce a clear winner. While former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi narrowly finished first in the poll, it might take weeks before we find out if he'll be able to build the coalition needed to achieve the magic number of 163 seats in the Iraqi Parliament in order to form a government. But there is another election soon to take place in Sudan, and let me start by predicting the results: current President Omar el-Bashir will be elected for another term.

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