Land theft
Israeli occupation authorities issued a decision Saturday to confiscate 16 dunums from village of Jalma, north of Jenin, in order to expand Al- Jalma military checkpoint, which is considered the main passage of the Palestinian occupied territories of 48. Khaled Abu Farha, chairman of Jalama village council, said to SAFA news agency on Sunday that the ownership of the confiscated land belonging to the citizens Fawzi Sadiq Abu Farha and Ahmed Saeed Abu Farha, both residents of the village. 

Violence / Aggression

Israeli aircraft opened fire at a group of Palestinians in the central Gaza Strip on Sunday morning, near the Kissufim border, witnesses reported … Locals said the fire targeted agricultural land near Qarara and the Al-Maghazi refugee camp, causing fear and panic among residents, with no injuries reported. Witnesses said the aircraft included helicopters, with Israel’s Army Radio confirming reports. 

Residents of Israel’s Kiyrat Shimona reportedly beat, and poured boiling water on a 26-year-old Palestinian worker on Friday night, who returned to Nablus for treatment in hospital. Munjid Besharat, from Tamun village, said he had worked for 14 months in an industrial-area factory of the northern Israel border community, and was surprised last week when three Israeli residents of the community surrounded and began beating him with sticks … Doctors at Rafidiya said Besharat suffered “second degree burns in the neck, chest, face, shoulders and back in addition to bruises all over his body.”

Five Palestinians sustained bruising on Sunday morning after Israeli special forces allegedly stormed a butcher shop in the Old City of Jerusalem, detaining five employees. A large Israeli police force was reported to have stormed the shop, near Bab Hutta, firing pepper spray and assaulting both customers and owners, from the Maswada family … Tiryaqi said police claimed the assault was sparked by “stares” from shop patrons directed at the officers. 

Activism / Solidarity / BDS

The Israeli army reportedly attacked a sit-in at the entrance of Beit Ummar, north of the West Bank city of Hebron, on Saturday, with organizers saying protesters were beat, sustaining light bruises. Palestine Solidarity Project spokesman Muhammad Ayyad Awad said the “sit-in was organized because of Israel’s continued imposing of oppressive procedures on the town, including blocking the entrance and preventing farmers from reaching their lands.” 

Mr. Rajmohan Gandhi will be travelling to the Palestinian Territories on April 4, 2010. The grandson of the late Indian leader and notorious freedom fighter, will be reconfirming his solidarity with the Palestinian people and the legitimate resistance to the unjust occupation. Accompanied by Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative, Mr. Gandhi will visit several areas and engage in many meetings in the cities and villages of the West Bank. This will allow him to witness first hand some of the most important signs of the Israeli policies of racism and apartheid.

US congressman Keith Ellison meets Palestinian students during visit where he was given a summary of the humanitarian situation in Gaza City on 3 April 2010, he will brief the US Congress on the situation when he returns. Ellison, who represents the fifth district of Minnesota, sits on the House Financial Services and Foreign Affairs committees.

Athens – On Tuesday 30th of March, Land Day in Palestine and also Global Day of BDS action against Israeli Apartheid, the Greek “Association for Solidarity with the Palestinian People – Intifada” set up an information booth in Korai Square, in the center of Athens. 

Indonesian NGO Medical Emergency Rescue Committee [MER-C] will cooperate with Turkish NGO Insani Yardim Vakfi [IHH] to access Gaza Strip in Palestine for humanitarian act through sea lane … Sarbini said IHH would give favorable support for MER-C to build Indonesian Hospital, which will cost around Rp 20 billion [US$2.2 million], in Gaza to help reconstructing the damaged area.

…In remarks reported by the Kuwaiti news agency (KUNA), engineer Kamal Musleh, the director of Rahma office in Gaza, said that the first part of this rehabilitation project will target 400 homes partially damaged during the war. Musleh added that the total cost of the first part is 1.5 million dollars funded by Al-Rahma foundation, noting that the project is aimed at all Gaza areas.

Restriction of movement / Siege / Humanitarian issues

The IDF is investigating the circumstances of the death on Saturday of a 63-year-old Palestinian man who had been delayed earlier at the Al-Hamra checkpoint in the northern Jordan Valley, Army Radio reported. Mohammad Damen Abed Al-Karim E’lieyat, a diabetic with high blood pressure, made several attempts to pass through the checkpoint but was held up by Israeli authorities because he held French citizenship, according to the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency … On Sunday morning, MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-Ta’al) said Defense Minister Ehud Brak was responsible for E’lieyat’s death and expressed hope that French President Nicolas Sarkozy would become involved in the matter.

Individuals who hold a Palestinian Authority ID, as well as persons judged by Israeli authorities to have claim to a Palestinian Authority ID by virtue of ancestry, will be considered subject to Israeli law and to regulations that Israel applies to residents of the West Bank and Gaza,regardless of whether they also hold U.S. citizenship [italics mine].” This is important. Basically, the American government, by continuing to maintain diplomatic relations with Israel, is ceding American-identifying authority to the Israeli government.  Put differently, within a circumscribed geographical space, the Israeli government gets to decide who is an American and who is a nigg… excuse me, a Palestinian.

Last week Israel deported three Swedish women from Ben-Gurion International Airport who had arrived in a group of seven young people of Jewish and Palestinian heritage, active members of a Jewish-Palestinian education group in Sweden … The policy of closing the country’s doors to visitors based on their political ideology is foreign to democratic countries. The fact that the group’s Jewish members were ultimately allowed to stay while the Swedes of Palestinian origin were not colors the affair with more than a tinge of race-based discrimination. The group came to Israel through the funding of the Olof Palme International Center, a Swedish nonprofit group with ties to the country’s labor movement. Its members are active in an organization that promotes coexistence between Jews and Palestinians in Sweden’s schools. Israel’s doors should have been opened to them. 

JERUSALEM (AFP) – Thousands of Christian pilgrims streamed into Jerusalem’s cavernous Church of the Holy Sepulchre to celebrate Easter Sunday at the traditional site of Jesus’s crucifixion and burial … Israel maintained a general closure of the West Bank imposed for the week-long Jewish Passover holiday, but the military said it issued more than 10,000 permits allowing Palestinian Christians to enter for up to two weeks. Another 500 Christians from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, about a quarter of the territory’s tiny non-Muslim minority, were also granted permits to travel to Israel and the West Bank, according to the military. The Palestinians have however complained of restrictions, including long waits at the hundreds of checkpoints scattered across the occupied territory.

Israeli authorities decided to partially open Gaza’s southern goods’ crossing with Israel on Sunday, for the transfer of limited food and fuel, a Palestinian official said.

Gaza, April 4, (Pal Telegraph) An Israeli army official announced today that Israel allowed the entry of limited amounts of cement into the Gaza Strip. The official, who preferred anonymity, said: “We will allow in the up-coming days the entry of some trucks carrying cement for a special rehabilitation project that fixes the drainage unit which is operated by the United Nations in the Gaza Strip”.

GAZA CITY (AFP) – Israel on Sunday allowed the first commercial shipment of clothes and shoes into the Gaza Strip since 2008 but said its policy towards the territory’s Hamas rulers had not changed. A Palestinian official had earlier said the five truckloads of clothes and five of shoes were the first such shipment since the summer of 2008, but later clarified that smaller amounts of such items had entered Gaza as part of international aid packages.

Motasem Dalloul, one of the dairy factory’s owners, that was completely destroyed by Israeli air force in a series of raids on Gaza three days ago, said that the shelling was not the first of its kind to hit the factory, it have been targeted in the first days of the last war…Dalloul continued, “I think that the bombing of the factory and similar institutions is expected since they deliver to those in Gaza materials considered as “forbidden” by the IOF who imposed a suffocating siege on Gaza and banned them from entering the sector”.

Tim King, Salem (Oregon) News – Israel launches retaliation strike, claiming to attack weapon manufacturing locations; so far it is confirmed that two targets were cheese factories.

A brief 2-minute trailer showing a vignette of scenes from the upcoming documentary film called “Strawberries, Roosters and the Chocolate Seas” by Nitin Sawhney and Roger Hill. All video footage was shot in January 2010. The trailer uses an ambient soundtrack recorded on-location in Gaza, composed of waves crushing along the seaside with a call for prayers in the background, as an intentional aesthetic. The tranquil soundscape juxtaposes with the visible signs of destruction and the invisible tensions in the air, one year after the siege in Gaza.

This Palestinian Life, a 28-minute documentary, surveys rural resistance in occupied Palestine: in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun, in the Jordan Valley, and in the south Hebron hills. The film was made by Egyptian-German journalist Philip Rizk, who lived in Palestine from 2004 to 2007, talking with those struggling under the daily violence and oppression of Israel’s occupation, and recording their stories. The project was political, a sort of ad hoc social history of agrarian resistance. Rizk narrates his wish to “Capture the stories of villagers because these examples of sumud … are the most rarely told.” This film begins to fix that problem.


Note: We know that some U.S. Internet providers have blocked the Hamas palestine-info site that the article below is taken from. We would appreciate hearing from our readers worldwide whether they can access the site.
The higher national committee in support of prisoners on Sunday said that the IOF had detained more than 1,400 Palestinians in the first quarter of 2010 including 90 from the Gaza Strip.

Israeli Border Guards detained a Palestinian man from the Gaza Strip on Sunday, after pursuing him through the streets of the central Israeli city of Rishon Lezion, police said. During the chase, police claimed, the suspect attacked an officer, causing bruising. As a result, backup forces were called to the scene, and fired warning shots in the air before detaining the man, reportedly working illegally in Israel. 

Political developments / Diplomacy

…Speaking at the end of Easter celebrations in Bethlehem, Fayyad said, “Next year, Inshallah (God willing), we shall celebrate in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in east Jerusalem, the capital of the Palestinian state.” “Our people, joined by all humanity, will celebrate the creation of the Palestinian independent state on all 1967 borders…

“The possibilities for war exist in the entire region,” Hamas’ exiled politburo chief Khaled Mashaal said Saturday following a meeting with leaders of Palestinian factions at his home in Damascus, Syria.

…Ahmad Assaf said comments made by Hamas leader Ayman Taha on the BBC Sunday were a “positive development,” adding that “Hamas has realized President [Mahmoud] Abbas’ call upon the movement, made more than once, to avoid disastrous Israeli reactions toward homemade projectiles.” 

Four Palestinian factions held a meeting in Gaza City on Saturday to discuss the latest developments across the occupied Palestinian territories and the increase in Israeli action in the Gaza Strip. 

Envoy to Washington tells CNN intel, equipment Israel gives to US helps in its war against terror — …Speaking in an interview with CNN, Oren said that if Israel did not exist, extremists in the region would join Al-Qaeda in its anti-American sentiment. “The US is much safer thanks to Israeli-American cooperation,” he said.

Other news

President Mahmoud Abbas issued a decree on Sunday banning all violations of privacy and personal freedoms, following the results of a Palestinian Authority inquiry into corruption allegations against his former chief of staff … Legal experts interpret the decree as signaling the need for court approval before recording private acts, such as phone tapping and video surveillance. The PA commission of inquiry completed its investigation into allegations against Al-Husseini on Monday, which was charged with investigating corruption and abuse of power, after he was shown on video allegedly soliciting sex in exchange for employment. 

The low wages earned by Palestinians working in Israel may undermine the salaries of unskilled Israeli workers, the Bank of Israel says.  The bank’s report, which looked into Palestinian employment in Israel, showed a roughly 20% increase in the employment of Palestinians in Israel in the years 2002-2008.

A police report said 464,000 tourists traveled to the West Bank, 137,000 of whom were international passport holders, while 83,000 were Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, living inside the Green Line … Tourism police further said they solved 73 cases related to securing antiquities and cultural heritage, having discovered six new antiquities in the West Bank, and 19 cases related to possession of antiquities. 

Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health officials said they prepared passports and necessary travel documentation for conjoined twins and their family to travel from Gaza to Saudi Arabia where doctors will separate the week-old infants. Twins Retal and Retaj Yaser Abu A’si will receive free medical care as a give from Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz, Ramallah-based Minister of Health Fathi Abu Moghli said. 

Dozens protest against sale of leavened products on premises, evacuated by special police unit. ‘I am the last Mohican. It’s really a mission,’ says restaurant owner

Analysis / Opinion

A tweet on twitter by the editor of the Electronic Intifada Ali Abunimah ‘Fayyad just gave away your right of return’ alerted me to access the link and discover that indeed, the Palestinian Authority Prime Minister has done the unforgivable. In an interview with Akiva Eldar of Haaretz, Fayyad made the following comment in response to question about refugees: “Of course, Palestinians would have the right to reside within the State of Palestine”.

No catalogue of Israeli oppression and persecution of the Palestinian people can be complete without the ongoing plight of the villagers of Tuwani in the southern West Bank. The small hamlet, which residents say dates back to time immemorial, has been a frequent target of harassment, vandalism, attacks and assaults of all sorts by the neighboring Jewish settlement outpost, known as Havat Ma’on.

For readers who may not be intimately familiar with English terminology, an oxymoron is a figure of speech by which contradictory terms are combined to form an expressive phrase or epithet such as cruel kindness and falsely true. (It’s derived from the Greek word oxymoros meaning pointedly foolish). For my contribution to the De-legitimizing Israel series, I’m going to confine myself to one question and answer. The question is: How can you de-legitimize something (in this case the Zionist state) when it is NOT legitimate?

… A civil uprising always comes as a surprise. Only when it’s happening do we begin searching for the early signs. Intelligence organizations will bicker over who predicted the revolt and who didn’t, pundits will say they told you so, and the immediate concern will be how to stem the rebellion already underway. As far as early signs go, any number of them are out there already … An outbreak of violence will certainly do wonders for Israeli interests. There’s nothing like a murderous terror attack to give Israel back its image of being the victim; it would give us an excellent excuse to stop the fake freeze on settlement construction and show Barack Obama who the real culprit is.

Investigative journalist Philip Weiss discusses the recent diplomatic dustup that exposed AIPAC’s primary allegiance to the Israeli government, the limited timetable for reversing land theft before the change is permanent, the conflict between Israeli ethnic chauvinism and deep-rooted US Jewish liberalism, the essentially racist and expansionist core of Zionism and Obama’s apparent offer of unity with Israel on Iran in exchange for a settlement freeze.

Does anybody know what Benjamin Netanyahu wants? Has anybody ever understood what his predecessors wanted? Where are they headed? And where are they leading us? One after another, Israeli politicians have been asked these questions, only to reply with the standard rejoinders: “You don’t expect me to answer this question” or “Let’s leave this for the negotiations.” Vague answers, obfuscations, evasive and noncommittal cliches – promises, promises. There was one clear, unequivocal answer – none. There is no other country whose citizens, friends and enemies have not the slightest clue about which direction it is facing. 

If international law matters to any American president, it ought to be President Obama who has taught constitutional law. Israel’s supporters are wrong to downplay the significance of illegal settlement activity as innocuous building in “Jewish neighborhoods” of Jerusalem. Contrary to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s claim that “building in Jerusalem is the same as building in Tel Aviv,” according to international law and longstanding U.S. policy, building in East Jerusalem is the same as building in Jenin – or any other city in the occupied West Bank.

1. André Brink, one of South Africa’s leading authors, whose opposition to the apartheid regime resulted in his novels becoming the first books in Afrikaans to be banned by the government: “I felt as if I’d rediscovered the hideous heart of apartheid: the way in which Palestinians, including some of the most wonderful people I’d ever met, are subjected to one of the cruelest forms of oppression on earth; the web of hypocrisy and lies through which the Israeli side tries to obscure and twist the truth.  During this visit there was one particularly shocking event: an old Palestinian man had his shack bulldozed by the Israeli army because he had presumed to install a water tank on its roof to catch the few drops of rain that fell there…”

As this occupation is total and unmerciful, so must our universal approach to fighting it and ending it be – We, at 1948: Lest We Forget, wish to respond to any call for a selective boycott of Israel, and to defy those voices which warn us Palestinians (and many international activists, for that matter) who criticise Israel for fear of being labelled ‘anti-Semites’ (although we are Semites). We also wish to challenge politicians who call for yet another round of talks (proximity or otherwise) on the Palestine/Israel question as we lost count of how many of these talks have we had in the last 62 years? All to no avail. In fact, with each set of talks, Palestine seems to be shrinking and it people squeezed within dozens of Bantustans.

2 Apr – Cairo – Israel today threatened a second Gaza war if Palestinian militants do not cease the rocket attacks that have increased as discontent simmers over a long-standing blockade. But while Gazans, supported by international human rights activists, have lambasted Israel for the blockade, often overlooked is the accessory role of neighboring Egypt. Egypt has also kept its border with Gaza largely closed, despite the intense public anger it arouses here and throughout the Muslim world.

“HOLD ME back!” is a part of Israeli folklore. It reminds us of our childhood. When a boy has a scuffle with a bigger and stronger boy, he pretends that he is going to attack him any moment and shouts to the spectators: “Hold me back, or I am going to kill him!” Israel is now in such a situation. We pretend that we are going to attack Iran at any moment and shout to the entire world: “Hold us back or…” And the world does indeed hold us back … FIRST OF ALL, a basic rule of Israeli reality: the State of Israel cannot start any large-scale military operation without American consent.

Jewish leaders say Obama-Netanyahu crisis is small potatoes in comparison with growing schism with Reform, Conservative Judaism in US. ‘If you lose support of young generation, Israel’s security at risk,’ they warn

Iraq, other Mideast

Excerpt: The worst attack so far this year took place in Baghdad leaving hundreds dead or wounded. At least 55 Iraqis were killed and 288 more were wounded there and across the country. Some of the casualties from the Baghdad blasts may have been foreign personnel, but reports suggests otherwise. Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebariwas quick to tentatively blame al-Qaeda. Meanwhile, casualty figures climbed in March due to the national elections, but if attacks continue, April figures could be even higher.

Three car bombs have hit the centre of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, in quick succession [Sunday], killing at least 30 people. The attacks, which injured about 160 people, appear to have been aimed at foreign embassies. One bomb struck near the offices of a leading pro-Iranian political figure, Ahmed Chalabi. The bombings shatter a period of relative calm after last month’s parliamentary elections.

Excerpts: A gruesome massacre that left at least two dozen Sunnis dead in an area just south of Baghdad has recharged concerns that a new period of sectarian bloodshed is at hand. Overall, at least 31 Iraqis were killed and 18 more were wounded across the country, mostly in what used to be called the Triangle of Death … Seven people were wounded during an I.E.D. attack on a bus in al-Sadda, which lies just north of Hilla.

Human rights activists in Egypt say the publisher of a recent book supporting Mohamed ElBaradei has been arrested. Mr ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, has recently returned to Egypt and launched a campaign for political reform.

An Egyptian criminal court on Sunday ordered the release of 16 senior members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood group who were detained in February. Egyptian authorities had accused the senior members of trying to set up training camps to stage attacks in Egypt. “The court has issued its decision but we are awaiting the execution of the verdict…and this is not guaranteed because this is a political case,” the Muslim Brotherhood’s lawyer Abdel-Moneim Abdel-Maksoud told Reuters.

Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, was quoted by state television as saying the two-day meeting — dubbed “Nuclear Energy For All, Nuclear Weapons For No One” — will start April 17, just days after a US-hosted summit on nuclear security.

…being in a heavy metal band in Jordan comes with risks, Mr Maqdadi said. In 1997, the Egyptian government labeled such groups as Satanic and arrested dozens of their members. Since then, panic has gripped Jordan too.

While millions will commemorate the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ this Easter Sunday, only a handful of people could discuss his works in the language of his day: Aramaic. Nearly all of them live in three Syrian villages, the last outposts in a region largely swept by the Arabic of Islam.

US, UK, other world news

Today in New York City, the U.S. is torturing a Muslim detainee with no prior criminal record who has not even gone to trial. For the last almost three years, Syed Fahad Hashmi has been kept in total pre-trial isolation inside in a small cell under 24 hour video and audio surveillance. He is forced to use the bathroom and shower in full view of the video. He has not seen the sun in years. He takes his meals alone in his cell.

Expletives were hurled across a Mississauga [Ontario, Canada] road yesterday afternoon, when the Jewish Defence League showed up to protest a speaker invited to Palestine House.
Today, Palestine House will host British-based journalist Abd Al-bari Atwan. Editor of the London paper Al-Quds Al-Arabi. 

London, Apr. 4 (ANI): A widely acclaimed British Muslim charity is being probed by the Charity Commission for allegedly channelling hundreds of thousands of pounds to a banned terrorist organisation. According to its accounts, the Muslim Aid paid 325,000 pounds to the Islamic University of Gaza, where leading Hamas figures teach….

Once it was grainy video footage on websites. Now the Taliban believes its best chance of winning the propaganda war lies in a magazine

The Kandahar warlord who has presidential protection
In the words of some residents, the half-brother of Afghanistan’s president is accused of being a “warlord, a terrorist”, a narcotics trafficker, and a contract monopolist. Others won’t even mention his name. “I can’t tell you anything about this. I’m too scared. Someone might kill me,” one resident said.

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