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Book Review: Ramzy Baroud's "The Second Palestinian Intifada"


Over the last five years, the Palestinian people have faced a host of obstacles in their fight for sovereignty, preventing them the opportunity to create a life those in the Western world brag about. A principal impediment facing the Palestinian struggle today is the constant reaffirmation that the Palestinian people — deemed by Israel and the US — are “terrorists,” “militants,” or animalistic beings lesser than those of the “civilized world.” In Ramzy Baroud’s new book, The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of People’s Struggle, this myth is shattered. 

Photostory: Climbing the Hill to Jerusalem and Bethlehem


Central Tel Aviv along the beach seems like such a relaxed and cosmopolitan place. From here one can ignore the cataclysmic events taking place to the north in Lebanon, to the south in Gaza, to the east in the West Bank and even further to the east in Iraq. I feel tempted to just go swimming here in the Mediterranean Sea, let my feet nourish the sand, and just relax on this beach to work on my tan. It would be easy to remain oblivious here in Tel Aviv to all the turmoil surrounding us here, but I must move on. I board the bus to Jerusalem, which is filled to capacity, and plop myself on the floor in the back, surrounded by young IOF soldiers. 

Palestinian Brain Drain


Since Oslo, the Palestinians have been trying to establish and build sustainable institutions that would form the basis of an independent state. This necessitates investment by Palestinians in the diaspora both in terms of money and skills. Such a vital objective for Palestinians is now being severely undermined by the insistence of Israel and western countries on isolating and starving the Hamas-led Palestinian government that came into power in January 2006 after fair and democratic elections. Israel is currently withholding from the Palestinian Authority millions in Palestinian funds it has collected in the form of taxes and custom duties. 

"Popcorn" bombs: The casualties continue


Yasmine is 11 years old, from a small village in the south of Lebanon and a good tour guide around her family’s garden as she shows you the remaining unexploded cluster bombs. Two to give a count — one is hiding high in the grape vine and the other next to a little rock. They look nonthreatening, just little odd metal canisters calling to be removed. But Yasmine is good at protecting you. She firmly asks you not to touch them nor get close to them, only to laugh later as she teases you that you can never know when the one on the grape vine would fall, “so you’d better be ready to run”. 

Online Exhibition: Memorial of the 50th Anniversary of the Kafr Qasem Massacre


Fifty years ago, on October 29, 1956, 49 Palestinian residents of Kafr Qasem were murdered by Israeli border police who at that time were officially attached to the military. Countless more were wounded and left bleeding and unattended. Their families were unable to offer aid because of a 24-hour curfew lasting for some two days and three nights. Violation of the curfew was punishable by death. In the following two days (while the families were thus imprisoned in their homes) the Israelis unceremoniously buried the victims without permission or the presence of witnesses. 

Spanish aid worker kidnapped in Gaza


Unknown gunmen have on Monday afternoon, kidnapped a Spanish aid worker named Roberto Vila Xesto in the central Gaza Strip. Eyewitnesses told Ma’an’s reporter that the Spanish citizen was accompanying another aid worker, Celine Gagne, and an interpreter in a car travelling on Salahaddin Street, in Deir al-Balah in the middle of the Gaza Strip, when a number of gunmen blocked the way and kidnapped him, taking him from the car. Vila Xesto, 34, from Ourense in Galicia, is in Gaza working for the institution “Cooperacion por la Paz” [Cooperation for Peace], which works closely with the International Committee of the Red Cross. 

Gaza's medical lifeline cut by border closures


Hopes that the single border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt would reopen and bring relief to hundreds of Gazan medical patients have been dashed after reports of an imminent Israeli attack on the border were met by the deployment of thousands of Egyptian troops to the area. Maariv, an Israeli daily newspaper, reported on 27 October that the Israeli government had discovered tunnels allegedly used by Palestinian militants to smuggle weapons from Egypt to the Gaza Strip. It said the Israeli government planned to attack the border region with precision-guided rockets. 

Destruction and displacement hamper vaccination campaign


The destruction in villages and displacement of residents in southern Lebanon from the recent war posed problems for medical volunteers on the first day of a national emergency polio immunisation campaign for children on Monday. “Usually, we would know exactly where to go to immunise the children,” said nurse Nawal Saab, a member of one of the teams carrying out door-to-door immunisations in Bint Jbeil, 110 km south of Beirut. “This year, because so many houses have been destroyed and so many families have had to move in with relatives, outreach has been rendered more complicated.” 

Photostory: Each Friday in Bil'in


I travel from Ramallah in a group taxi with several activists affiliated with the International Solidarity Movement to the agricultural village of Bil’in. We are here with Israeli activists as well. All of the major Israeli peace and justice groups are with us today, along with prominent members of their leadership. Peace Now (Gush Shalom), Rabbis for Human Rights, Israeli Anarchists against the Wall, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, Ta’ayush and There is a Law (Yesh-Din). This latter group was formed to document violence that settlers commit against Palestinians so that they can be prosecuted. 

Is Al-Jazeera International losing its Arab identity?


As al-Jazeera Arab satellite television channel is celebrating its tenth anniversary, with achievements unprecedented in the history of Arab media, al-Jazeera International (AJI) which encompasses al-Jazeera.net/English plus the yet-to-be launched al-Jazeera English TV, is slowly but definitely losing its original Arab identity. Indeed, a fleeting look at AJI’s English website these days would be sufficient to make one realize how far and deep the Qatari-based media outlet has departed from its original defining character.