Saturday, January 26, 2013

Palestinians rebuild Al Karama protest village

Dear friends,
on Friday, Palestinian activists rebuilt the second Palestinian protest village, Bab Al Karama, which had been destroyed by Israeli Occupation Forces.

Please find Maan News below update on the village.

in solidarity, Kim 

***

Palestinian re-erect tents at Bab Al Karama
by Maan News: 25 January 2013



JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Dozens of Palestinian activists entered a demolished protest village in northwest Jerusalem on Friday, starting to rebuild the al-Karamah (Dignity) encampment.

The tent village was established last Friday to protest Israel's land confiscation and settlement building in the area of Beit Iksa.

On Monday, Israeli troops demolished all the tents and evacuated all the activists in the camp.

Activists entered the village on Friday and performed the weekly prayer, before re-erecting tents and planting olive trees, witnesses said.

Beit Iksa, surrounded by Israeli settlements, is set to be entirely encircled by Israel's separation wall, cutting it off from Jerusalem.

When completed, the wall will annex 96 percent of Beit Iksa's land, according to a study by the Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem.

The Al-Karamah village was the second protest village set up, and torn down, this month.

Earlier, activists established the Bab al-Shams village near East Jerusalem, in a protest against Israel's plans to build the "E1" settlement on the land, severing the West Bank from Jerusalem.






3rd Palestinian Protest Village, Al-Asra, established near Jenin


Dear friends,
a third Palestinian protest village has been established by Palestinian activists near Jenin on land belonging to the village of Anin.  The protest village has been given the name Al-Asra, or "prisoners" village.  Hundreds of Palestinian activists have sought to defend the village against IOF attacks. 

I will update as more information comes to hand.

in solidarity, 
Kim 
***

CLASHES BREAK OUT AT NEW PROTEST VILLAGE IN JENIN
By Maan News: 26 January 2013

Protestors pictured in Anin village.(MaanImages/Raed Abu Baker)



JENIN (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces assaulted a Palestinian official on Saturday during clashes at a newly erected protest village in Jenin, witnesses said.

Dozens of Palestinian activists set up the Al-Asra, or prisoners, protest village in the village of Anin, northwest of Jenin, on Saturday, Palestinian Authority Minister of Prisoners Issa Qaraqe announced during a press conference.

Anin village is located next to Israel's separation wall.

The governor of Jenin Talal Dweikat and member of the Palestinian Legislative Council Jamal Hwail attempted to enter the village with activists, but were prevented from doing so by Israeli forces.

Physical clashes ensued, and Israeli soldiers assaulted Hwail and fired tear gas at the activists, witnesses said, causing several injuries.

The brother of hunger striker Yousef Yassin, from Anin village, was arrested by soldiers, witnesses said.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said that "200 Palestinians hurled rocks at soldiers, who responded with riot dispersal means." No injuries or arrests were reported, she added.

The Al-Asra protest village is the latest action in a wider strategy of popular Palestinian resistance to Israeli land annexation






On Friday, activists rebuilt the al-Karamah (Dignity) village which was torn down by Israeli forces on Monday.

The tent village was established to protest Israel's land confiscation and settlement building in the area of Beit Iksa, set to be entirely encircled by Israel's separation wall once completed.

Last week, Israeli forces tore down the tented village Bab al-Shams, set up to protest Israel's plans to build the "E1" settlement on the land, severing the West Bank from Jerusalem

Friday, January 25, 2013

Yousef Munayyer: What Israel's Election Outcome Means - And Doesn't Mean.



Dear friends,
as many of you will be aware the Israeli elections were held this week.  While much of the Israeli and international media, as well liberal Zionists have been claiming that Netanyahu was reburked during the election and that there was a shift in Israeli politics to the "centre-left", such claims at best are wishful thinking. 

Palestinian American writer and political analyst, Yousef Munayyer, in his latest article disputes these claims by the media and many liberal Zionists.  In his latest article, which was published on Peter Beinhart's Open Zion on the Daily Beast website, Munayyer explains what Israel's election outcome really means.

In solidarity, Kim


****  


by Yousef Munayyer Jan 23, 2013

The ballots have been cast and counted and the Israeli election is now over. Post-election reporting and analysis have been rife with speculation and misinformation. Here is what the outcome of this election actually means and doesn’t mean:

It does not mean Israeli voters have rebuked Netanyahu’s policies toward the Palestinians. Many have characterized this outcome as a setback for Netanyahu. In a sense they are right in that his party has fewer seats, but his policies toward Palestinians and Palestinian territory remain largely unchallenged. It is important to keep in mind that the new star of Israeli politics, Yair Lapid, whose party garnered about 19 seats to become the second largest party, did not run on a platform that distanced him from Netanyahu’s policies on Palestinians. Rather, his campaign was focused primarily on two issues: redistribution of social responsibility—particularly as it relates to exemptions for religious communities—and redistribution of wealth through programs for middle-class Israelis. It was a platform that largely resonated with the significant outpouring of protestors in 2011 demanding economic reforms. 

Of course, those protests were far more about the price of cottage cheese than anything relating to Palestinians, the occupation or colonization. Likewise, the rise of Lapid just reinforces the reality that popular mobilization in Israel in opposition to Netanyahu is only coalescing around economic issues and not in opposition to his policies vis-√†-vis the Palestinians. Lapid and Netanyahu know that Yesh Atid’s mandate isn’t one of peace, and thus, while Lapid’s seats offer him some leverage in coalition negotiations, it won’t be in areas that ultimately matter for peacemaking.

 130122-ephron-bibi-election-tease
Oded Balilty/AP

It does not mean there is a half-half split between Right and Left. 
This is perhaps the most common misconception I’ve seen in post-election commentary and analysis. There are some who lament the rightward trend in Israeli politics who would like to see things this way; the reality is it just isn’t the case. Americans, familiar with what a former professor of mine used to refer to as our “system of donkeys and elephants,” are particularly susceptible to this misconception. Israeli politics, however, involves far more actors, cleavages and ethno-religious interests. Anyone using the right-left spectrum should be able to define what this spectrum is. Few actually do.

The half-half divide is more appropriately described as a split between Netanyahu’s natural allies and his political opposition. This should not be conflated with an ideological divide or even a policy divide, particularly as it relates to the occupation. Further, the “left” bloc that some have referred to includes non-Zionist Arab parties, which picked up about 9-12 seats. These parties have never, in the history of the Israeli political system, been included in a governing coalition. While their presence places some limits on the largest party’s (in this case Netanyahu’s) ability to shape a coalition, including them in an ideological voting bloc with Zionist parties displays a fundamental misunderstanding of their politics and their place in a hostile Zionist political system. Just like in 2009, when Netanyahu’s was the second largest party, it is still he and only he who is in a realistic position to cobble together a coalition. Yes, the coalition that emerges will either be slightly different from the last due to the inclusion of Lapid, or less stable due to the loss of seats, but it will nonetheless have Netanyahu at its center of power and his control of policy toward Palestinians will remain largely unchecked.


It does not mean the prospects for a renewed diplomatic process increase. 
The diplomatic process, albeit fruitless when in motion, was at a complete halt in recent years. Many believed that certain variables needed to be defined before the parties would set their diplomatic strategies and these included the outcomes of the American and Israeli elections. Well, now we know the outcomes. President Obama has been re-elected and so has Netanyahu. Netanyahu has survived four years of Obama’s tepid initiatives at engaging the Palestinian issue with excuse after excuse.  From the saga of the settlement freeze that wasn’t, to advancing the Iranian nuclear issue to the top of the U.S.-Israeli agenda, to propagating the notion that the most cooperative Palestinian Authority in history is an insufficient negotiating partner, Netanyahu has managed to evade even a semblance of progress while continuing colonization of Palestinian territory. Of course, Netanyahu’s allies in the U.S. Congress and public sphere have been instrumental in keeping the President in check. Think the second term will be any different? Maybe you should ask Chuck Hagel about that.

Netanyahu has to dodge and parry for about two more years before all attention turns to Obama’s potential successor. During this time many of the same excuses will likely be employed and two others might be introduced as well. Netanyahu may use a fragile coalition as an argument that he cannot make any significant moves on settlements. Potential changes to Palestinian leadership, should reconciliation actually occur, will also be easily exploited by Netanyahu as yet another reason to maintain the status quo.

This election outcome does mean that Israel has shifted right. 
Some breathed a sigh of relief when Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home party only garnered 11-12 seats instead of the expected 14-15, and believed this meant that the notion that Israel was shifting right was unfounded. Well, there are two significant problems with this. First, the Jewish Home party significantly exceeded the number of seats—seven—that its components (remnants of the National Union and Jewish Home of 2009) received in 2009. The number of seats they received this time would have been higher if not for an increased turnout in the Tel Aviv bubble, where voters are largely oblivious to the occupation but wary of anything religious.

Second, and perhaps more importantly, the number of seats Bennett’s party receives is not the only metric of rightward shifts in Israel. Take for example the fact that during the primaries for the Likud—which led the self-proclaimed most pro-settlement government in Israeli history—that party elected even more pro-settler elements into its leadership. The Likud, which then merged with Avigdor Lieberman, the man who was routinely referred to as “far-right” and “ultra-nationalist” only one election ago, is the largest party in the Israeli political system and now has others to its right. Last, keep in mind that while the members of the governing coalition and some of their natural allies were openly and staunchly pro-colonization and even annexation, no party in the Zionist opposition vociferously challenged the Israeli settlement enterprise—with the possible exception of Meretz, which took in a grand total of 7 seats. Those 7 seats, by the way, were considered a remarkable and unexpected triumph.

It does mean that Israelis overwhelmingly deemphasized peace as a priority. 
The opposition parties that emphasized socio-economic issues and deemphasized peace, Labor and Yesh Atid, were the biggest winners. Labor focused on reaching out to female voters as well as economic issues. Lapid’s Yesh Atid stuck mostly to economic issues and reforming conscription laws to include religious communities. Parties that stressed a resumption of negotiations, even under staunchly Zionist terms, like Livni’s Hatnuah, performed significantly worse. If Israeli voters rejected anything about Netanyahu’s stances in this election, it wasn’t his pro-settlement policies and hawkishness on Iran, but rather the degree to which the government prioritized these matters over economic matters affecting the average Israeli. That successful opposition parties did not dare link the two is an indictment of just how much the polity has deemphasized peace, and has become complacent about the military occupation of millions of souls.

It does mean that the Apartheid system will be further entrenched. 
Ultimately, this election will bring little change in the status quo. The incentives for the next Israeli government, just like the last Israeli government and the one before it, are tilted heavily toward perpetual occupation—that is, Apartheid. Even before the ballots were counted, Washington made clear that the outcome of the election would not change its stance toward the issue. Domestic U.S. politics, as evidenced by the prostration of Chuck Hagel to pro-Israel interest group demands, is likely to ensure that U.S. policy continues to alleviate the costs of perpetual occupation through unwavering military, economic and diplomatic support, so that Israel’s colonial enterprise is always a politically and economically profitable one. Israeli politics can then continue to focus inward, debating how best to ensure prosperity for Jewish Israelis, while walling off Palestinians and the vast majority of the rest of the world.

Half the people living under Israeli state control, Palestinians, either cannot vote or are treated as second-class citizens. The outcome of these elections shows that Israelis will not challenge that reality. It must be our duty to ensure that the counting of some ballots does not act as a fig leaf for the disenfranchisement of millions of others.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Israeli Occupation Forces demolish Bab Al Karama protest village

Dear friends,
reports are coming in that the IOF invaded Bab Al Karama at around 2am Monday morning (21 January 2013)  and have demolished all the tents and structures. Activists/residents of Bab Al Karama report that approximately 25 military jeeps surrounded the protest village and prevent activists from live streaming or taking photos of the destruction of the village.  

I have included below a short video on the camp, as well as a recorded live stream taken on 20th January, when the IOF invade the village for the second time. 

Unfortunately, I have not been able to down load and embed the live stream recorded video by activists on 21st January describing the third IOF invasion and demolition of Bab Al Karama (activists were prevent from taking photos and live streaming by the IOF at the time of the destruction).  However, I have included a link to the footage so you can watch

Also included is a report from Maan News and also some photos via twitter from Maath Musleh on the IOF invasion and destruction.

It appears activists at Bab Al Karama may not be leaving the land, despite the destruction. Instead they apparently will attempt to stay and plant olive trees.
I am not sure if this is completely accurate information or not, but I will update when I have more information.

In solidarity, Kim   

 ***

Palestinians gather at new West Bank protest camp
video by MinWashtingonNews

Recorded Live Stream on 20 January of Second IOF invasion of Bab Al Karama


Recorded Live Stream on 21 January describing Third IOF invasion and the destruction of Bab Al Karama: CLICK HERE



By Maan News, 21 January 2013 


BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces on Monday morning demolished a protest village erected by Palestinian activists last week in northwest Jerusalem to protest Israeli land confiscation.

Activists told Ma’an that Israeli troops demolished all the tents and evacuated all the activists in the the Al-Karamah (Dignity) village in Beit Iksa.

Head of the local council of Beit Iksa Kamal Habbaba told Ma’an that large numbers of Israeli troops escorted bulldozers to the protest village. Palestinian citizens were also prevented from accessing the area.

Local groups set up the new tented protest village northwest of Jerusalem on Friday, the second such initiative against Israeli settlement building in as many weeks.

On Wednesday, Israeli forces tore down the tented village Bab al-Shams, set up to protest Israel's plans to build the "E1" settlement on the land, severing the West Bank from Jerusalem.

Beit Iksa, surrounded by Israeli settlements, is set to be entirely encircled by Israel's separation wall, cutting it off from Jerusalem.

When completed, the wall will annex 96 percent of Beit Iksa's la
nd, according to a study by the Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem.

***
PHOTOS By Maath Musleh

 IOF invade Bab Al Karama
                            IOF demolition of structure built by Palestinians at Bab Al Karama which was being used as a Mosque.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Israeli Occupation Forces attack Palestinian protest village, Bab Al Karam

Dear friends,
the IOF have attacked/invaded the newly establish Palestinian protest village, Bab Al Karama (Gate of Dignity) established on Friday on Palestinian land at Beit Iska.  This is the third attack on the village in as many days.

I have included below a report from the Palestinain news agency, Maan News on the assault on the village.

In solidarity, Kim

***


BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Dozens of people were lightly injured on Sunday as Israeli forces raided a newly erected Palestinian protest village in northwest Jerusalem, activists said.

Local activist Nabil Habana said Israeli forces raided the al-Karamah (Dignity) village in Beit Iksa and issued demolition and evacuation orders.

Activists tried to prevent soldiers from reaching their tents, with soldiers firing tear gas canisters and sound bombs at the protesters, Habana added.

Earlier, Israeli troops entered the al-Karamah village at around 7 a.m., photographing the structures and preventing more protesters and supporters from arriving.

It was the third time troops had entered the area.

Spokesman for the protest village, Bilal Kiswani, said the repeated incursions by Israeli forces indicate that the al-Karamah village will be demolished soon.

There are over 100 activists from nearby areas at the protest village, and they will remain on the land despite Israeli orders to leave, he added.






Local groups set up the new tented protest village northwest of Jerusalem on Friday, the second such initiative against Israeli settlement building in as many weeks.

On Wednesday, Israeli forces tore down the tented village Bab al-Shams, set up to protest Israel's plans to build the "E1" settlement on the land, severing the West Bank from Jerusalem.

Beit Iksa, surrounded by Israeli settlements, is set to be entirely encircled by Israel's separation wall, cutting it off from Jerusalem.

When completed, the wall will annex 96 percent of Beit Iksa's land, according to a study by the Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem.



Friday, January 18, 2013

BREAKING NEWS: PALESTINIAN ESTABLISH NEW PROTEST VILLAGE CALLED BAB AL-KARAMA @ BEIT ISKA

Dear friends,
news is just coming through from Palestine now that Palestinian activists have established a new protest village at Beit Iska called Bab Al-Karama or Gate of Dignity.

Please find below an initial report from Maan News on the establishment of Bab Al-Karama, as well as photo of the village from WAFA News Agency.

I will continue to update this blog as more news/information comes to hand.

in solidarity,
Kim

***



Photo by Maan News

Maan News: 18 January 2012
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian activists on Friday established a new tented protest village northwest of Jerusalem, the second such initiative against Israeli settlement building in as many weeks.

Activists set up three tents and a small building in the area near Beit Iksa, naming the village al-Karamah (Dignity).


Locals said around 400 Palestinians performed Friday prayers in the open area.


Saed Yakrina, an activist from nearby village Beit Ijza, said the camp was "a message to Israel and all democratic societies that we are human, and we want peace."


Activists from across the political spectrum, mainly from nearby villages, have gathered and will sleep in the tents overnight, he told Ma'an.


Beit Iksa, surrounded by Israeli settlements, is set to be entirely encircled by Israel's separation wall, cutting it off from Jerusalem.


Israeli authorities ordered the confiscation of 500 dunams of the village's land three weeks ago, and do not permit any new building in the town, Yakrina said, noting that Israeli settlements were still expanding.


"We are looking for a life without checkpoints, walls and settlements," he said.


Israeli forces immediately shut down the military checkpoint at the entrance to Beit Iksa to prevent more activists and supporters from accessing the protest site, witnesses said.


On Wednesday, Israeli forces tore down the tented village Bab al-Shams, set up to protest Israel's plans to build the "E1" settlement on the land, severing the West Bank from Jerusalem.


Palestinian lawmaker Mustafa Barghouthi on Friday said Bab al-Shams and al-Karama were a new dimension in the Palestinian struggle and that more protest villages would be established. 


"The spirit of popular resistance which Bab al-Shams disseminated is being strengthened today in other areas including Izbat al-Tabib and Beit Iksa," the secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative said in a statement. 


A rally was held in Izbat al-Tabib in the Qalqiliya district of the northern West Bank on Friday to protest Israeli plans to demolish a school in the village. 


The rally showed that popular resistance against Israel's occupation is spreading, Barghouthi said.

***
PHOTOS OF BAB - AL KARAMA BY WAFA NEWS AGENCY