The Month in Pictures: December 2012

4 January 2013

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Shireen Issawi displays a birthday cake on the occasion of the birthday of her brother, Samer Issawi, who has refused food in Israeli prison since August, during a demonstration outside Damascus gate in the Old City of Jerusalem, 16 December.

(Mahfouz Abu Turk / APA images)

Palestinians closed 2012 with political prisoners at the top of the agenda, as the issue regained prominence following a year of historic hunger strikes. On 18 December Israeli forces raided the home of, arrested and briefly detained Shireen Issawi, the sister of long-term hunger striker Samer Issawi, after she and her family protested Israel’s refusal to let them attend Samer’s court hearing earlier that day.

According to the Palestinian human rights group Addameer, whose Ramallah offices were raided by the Israeli army last month, there are 4,656 Palestinians in Israeli prison as of 1 December. Of these prisoners, 177 are children (21 are under the age of 16), 178 are held without charge or trial and 13 are members of the Palestinian Legislative Council.

Israeli border police occupying the West Bank city of Hebron shot and killed Palestinian teenager Muhammad al-Salaymeh on 12 December, the boy’s 17th birthday.

Meanwhile in Gaza, thousands remained without water and electricity one month after Israel’s eight consecutive days of bombing and shelling of the coastal territory. Israel violated the Gaza ceasefire agreement by arresting and firing at Palestinian fishermen, including 14 fishermen from a single family, and firing at and injuring Palestinian farmers and laborers near the boundary with Israel. In Syria, thousands of Palestinians fled their homes amid escalating violence near Damascus.

According to the UN Agency for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), nine Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank in 2012 and more than 3,000 were injured (statistics as of 18 December). Israeli settlers injured 162 Palestinians during the year, while 48 settlers were injured by Palestinians. Israeli forces demolished 589 Palestinian-owned structures in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, 195 of which were residences, displacing 871 persons.

In Gaza, 305 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces and almost 1,900 were injured. Palestinian fire from Gaza killed seven Israelis during the year and injured 251. Israel continued to tightly control Gaza imports and exports; permitting roughly a third of the weekly truckloads of goods entering Gaza as was allowed prior to the blockade imposed in 2007. Israel allowed a weekly average of five truckloads of exports from Gaza in 2012; the weekly average before the blockade was 240 truckloads, according to OCHA.

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Palestinian teenager Muhammad al-Salaymeh is mourned during his funeral in the West Bank city of Hebron, 13 December. Israeli border police occupying Hebron shot the teen dead at a checkpoint on his birthday.

(Issam Rimawi / APA images)

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Palestinian security forces carry the body of Hatem Shadid during his 7 December funeral in the West Bank village of Allar, near Tulkarem. Shadid was shot dead by Israeli forces after allegedly ramming their car and attacking them with an axe near the northern West Bank village of Deir Sharaf days earlier.

(Nedal Eshtayah / APA images)

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Palestinians watch as an Israeli bulldozer destroys a home in East Jerusalem district of Sur Baher on 1 December after an Israeli court ruled that the house was built without a municipality permit. Many Palestinians end up demolishing their homes themselves to avoid the high cost of paying for Israeli government bulldozers, or go to prison for not being able to pay.

(Mahfouz Abu Turk / APA images)

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Israeli soldiers walk past graffiti during clashes with Palestinians in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya after a demonstration in solidarity with Palestinian prisoner Samer Issawi, who comes from the village and has been on extended hunger strike, 19 December.

(Mahfouz Abu Turk / APA images)

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The new illegal settlement of Leshim is built on the lands of the West Bank village of Kafr al-Dik, near Salfit, 7 December.

(Ahmad Al-Bazz / ActiveStills)

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As Israeli soldiers look on, Jewish settlers from the Yitzhar settlement throw stones at Palestinians farmers from the village of Madama near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, 17 December.

(Emad Drimly / Xinhua/Zumapress)

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An Israeli soldier detains a Palestinian farmer from the northern West Bank village of Madama during the same confrontation with Israeli settlers photographed above.

(Emad Drimly / Xinhua/Zumapress)

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Palestinian children stand next a wall sprayed with Hebrew-language graffiti reading “Migron” (the name of a settlement) and “battlefield” in the village of Majdal Bani Fadel, near the West Bank City of Nablus, 20 December. According to Palestinian security officials, two cars were set on fire by Jewish settlers who raided the village.

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Fadel Hammadi and his son, Abed, hold copies of the Quran as they sit on top the rubble of a mosque that was demolished by Israeli forces in the West Bank village of al-Mufaqara, south of Hebron, 4 December.

(Oren Ziv / ActiveStills)

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Israeli soldiers block the path of a Palestinian shepherd and his sheep near the West Bank village of al-Mufaqara, south of Hebron, 21 December.

(Oren Ziv / ActiveStills)

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A Palestinian woman in the West Bank village of Kafr Thulth, near Qalqilya, tries to avoid walking in sewage water from the nearby Israeli settlements, 25 December. Villagers say that the sewage water has been an ongoing problem for four years.

(Ahmad Al-Bazz / ActiveStills)

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A Palestinian boy carries empty tear gas canisters after an Israeli military incursion to village of Beit Liqya near the West Bank city of Ramallah, 10 December.

(Issam Rimawi / APA images)

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Hassan Safadi (right), a former political prisoner and long-term hunger striker, joins a candlelight vigil in the West Bank city of Nablus in solidarity with hunger striking prisoners Ayman Sharawna, Samer Issawi, Tareq Qa’dan, Jafar Ez-Din and Yousef Shaban, 27 December.

(Ahmad Al-Bazz / ActiveStills)

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Palestinians stage a hunger strike sit-in in Jerusalem in solidarity with hunger-striking Palestinians in Israeli prison who are demanding their release from detention without trial, 25 December.

(Mahfouz Abu Turk / APA images)

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Israeli border police check the ID card of a Palestinian during a human rights march in Tel Aviv, 7 December.

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An African refugee sits in a van after he was arrested by the immigration authorities in South Tel Aviv, 22 December. Israeli leaders have launched a deportation campaign targeting African asylum-seekers.

(Oren Ziv / ActiveStills)

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Palestinian youths sit on top of a USAID billboard while watching Hamas’ 25th anniversary celebration in the West Bank city of Hebron, 14 December.

(Oren Ziv / ActiveStills)

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Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal and Palestinian Prime Minister in the Gaza Strip Ismail Haniyeh wave to the crowd upon his Meshaal’s arrival to Gaza City, 7 December. Meshaal made his first-ever visit to the Gaza Strip amid tight security for festivities marking the ruling Hamas movement’s 25th anniversary.

(Ezz Al-Zanoon / APA images)

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Palestinian resistance icon Leila Khaled, who lives in exile, participates in a Gaza City rally organized by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine to celebrate the 45th anniversary of its founding, 6 December.

(Ashraf Amra / APA images)

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Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas meets with Jordan’s King Abdullah II during their meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah, 6 December. It was the first visit by a head of state since the United Nations status upgraded Palestine’s observer status the previous month.

(Thaer Ganaim / APA images)

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Palestinian teachers and graduates who were barred from employment by the Ministry of Education stage a sit-in outside the Council of Ministers in the West Bank city of Ramallah, 10 December.

(Issam Rimawi / APA images)

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Palestinian children wait for the return of members of the Fatah movement at the Rafah crossing with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip, 3 December. Eleven Fatah members who fled Gaza to Egypt in 2007 during Hamas-Fatah fighting returned after the Hamas government gave amnesty to them.

(Khaled Omar / Xinhua/Zumapress)

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Palestinian women chant slogans during a protest calling for an end to violence against women by Israeli forces in Gaza City, 20 December. More than a dozen women were killed during Israel’s eight-day attack on Gaza the previous month.

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Members of the Freedom Theater perform during a memorial event for Mustafa and Rushdi Tamimi in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, 7 December. The event was held to mark a year since the killing of Mustafa Tamimi, who was shot in the face with a tear gas canister at close range by Israeli soldiers. Rushdi Tamimi was shot with live ammunition during a Gaza solidarity protest in the village the previous month and died a few days later. Those responsible for the deaths of the two have still not been brought to justice.

(Oren Ziv / ActiveStills)

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Palestinian children with special needs demonstrate outside buildings destroyed by Israel in Gaza City on the occasion of the International Day of People with Disability, 4 December.

(Majdi Fathi / APA images)

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A poster on an Oslo, Norway, street announces a demonstration protesting Israel’s attacks on Gaza, 29 December.

(Ryan Rodrick Beiler / ActiveStills)

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Palestinian laborers repair a bombed smuggling tunnel linking the Gaza Strip to Egypt, 2 December. Israeli warplanes bombed most of the smuggling tunnels in the southern Gaza Strip during eight consecutive days of attacks the previous month.

(Eyad Al Baba / APA images)

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Palestinian farmers pick strawberries in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia, 15 December. Israel granted special approval for the export of a small amount of strawberries and flowers from the Gaza Strip to the European market.

(Ashraf Amra / APA images)

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A Palestinian carpenter carves a wooden sculpture of baby Jesus at a workshop in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, 20 December.

(Issam Rimawi / APA images)

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Palestinian Orthodox Christians return to the village of Abud from the nearby ancient monastery of St. Barbara in the Israeli-occupied West Bank during a parade to celebrate the St. Barbara’s Day, 16 December.

(Issam Rimawi / APA images)

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Palestinians celebrate the lighting of the Christmas tree in Manger Square outside the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, 15 December.

(Issam Rimawi / APA images)

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Palestinian brides during a mass wedding ceremony in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, 19 December. The event was organized for Palestinian couples who are unable to afford a wedding.

(Eyad Al Baba / APA images)

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Palestinian children play in Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip, 20 December.

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A rainbow is seen over Gaza City after a rainy day, 13 December.

(Majdi Fathi / APA images)