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By Salena Tramel
August 19th, 2011
Soon after shameful attacks killed six in southern Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu said that militants would pay “a very heavy price.” And then his warplanes proceeded to pound civilian areas with missiles. So far nine Palestinians—including two children—have been killed, and dozens injured. Retaliatory strikes have not always been limited to sought-after militants but have also affected the more vulnerable and punishable civilian population.
Ahmed Sourani, from the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees, a Grassroots International partner near Gaza City, said that they were getting shelled from both sides, even though it is not yet clear who was responsible for the attacks in Israel. “We are very scared about this escalation,” he admitted.
In Bir Nabala, a neighborhood in East Jerusalem, Israel’s separation Wall provides a concrete backdrop to what was once a view of the old city. On a stormy afternoon, Bir Nabala’s head of counsel Haj Tawfik Nabeli guided me through the ghostly streets isolated from the rest of the city by massive sections of the eight-meter high Wall that is, in Nabeli’s words, “affecting every single aspect of life.”
By Alice Rothchild
July 25th, 2011
July 20, 2011
Eight years ago this month, the International Court of Justice ruled in an advisory opinion that “the construction of the wall, and its associated régime, are contrary to international law.” While neither the state of Israel nor the corporations like Elbit Systems Ltd., which profit from the wall, have heeded the advice of this ruling, Palestinian communities’ resistance continues to grow in both scale and creativity.
As they often did on any given day, the al-Jarah family gathered for some tea, a time-honored Gazan tradition and valued opportunity for relaxation and catching up. They enjoyed the tranquility of being together in the protection and comfort of their courtyard. As they were sipping their tea, a deafening explosion ripped through the air, spraying rubble through the courtyard and demolishing their home. All that remained were piles of debris and the remains of six bodies. The al-Jarah family died after being hit by a missile from an unmanned drone.
Over the last couple of days official Washington has been abuzz with what President Obama said, and didn't say, about the 1967 borders between Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. The president didn't say anything that hasn't been official U.S. policy under both Republican and Democratic administrations since at least President Carter's time. And, for good measure, nothing different than what the international community has been saying since even before then!
Below is an article from Grassroots International’s ally, the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, outlining actions planned for the commemoration of the 63rd anniversary of the Nakba on May 15, 2011. Al-Nakba, which means “the catastrophe” in Arabic, commemorates the day in 1948 on which Palestinians either fled or were forced to leave their homes, villages and towns as war broke out between the newly declared State of Israel and neighboring Arab countries in the wake of Israel’s declaration of statehood on May 14, 1948.
GAZA CITY— The turnstile locks behind me and I’m standing in a small metal room. I flashback to the first time I crossed Erez checkpoint last year and remember the claustrophobic feeling of walking into a trap, three small metal doors blending into the steel. This time, I know the drill, and place bets on which one of these gateways to Gaza will randomly open. One finally does, revealing a seemingly endless open-air tunnel that snakes through the expanse of the buffer zone. I have been waiting for this moment, for the long walk alone to the other side. I crank up Gran Vitaly’s “Looming Hurricane” on my iPod and weave through the cage, separated from heavily armed soldiers by razed agricultural land. Time stands still for a while, and then before I know it, I’m back in the Strip.
After a relatively quiet few months in Gaza, conflicts between Israelis and Palestinians have erupted anew, with each side claiming retaliation rights. Flexing its superior military might—and causing mighty damage—the Israeli armed forces have intensified their attacks on the blockaded territory. And just like during operation “Cast Lead,” Gazan civilians are paying the heaviest price.