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Texas Independence Day Protest over Jailed Palestinian Family

There are different kinds of angry. Jay Johnson-Castro has tears in his eyes when he thinks about Suzi Hazahza at the immigration prison of Haskell, Texas. But he’s not going to cry without doing something, so next week, Johnson-Castro will walk sixty miles from Abilene to Haskell and hold a vigil for the release of Suzi Hazahza and “anyone else” being mistreated for their desire to be American. “I’m almost in tears trying to tell you how angry I feel,” says Johnson-Castro via cell phone as he drives home to Del Rio, Texas on Tuesday evening following three weeks of border protests. 

"No politics please -- we're Lebanese," say traders

BEIRUT, 20 February 2007 (IRIN) - “Please, no discussion of politics,” reads a sign that has appeared in shop windows in the Mazraa district of western Beirut. On a work-day afternoon, it is the only hint that the area’s bustling main streets — lined with snack-bars and grocers, clothes shops and jewellery markets — has witnessed a sharp rise in Sunni-Shia Muslim tensions over the past few months. “People would strike up conversations in here about politics and they’d turn into arguments. Now I can just point at the sign and say ‘come on, that’s enough’,” said the owner of a cubby-hole bookshop, who preferred not to give his name. 

Israeli activist given three-month suspended sentence after anti-Wall protest

Jonathan Pollak, an activist with Anarchists Against the Wall, was sentenced to three months in prison that will be activated if he is convicted of a similar charge again. Pollak was sentenced today after he was convicted together with 10 other activists for blocking a road in Tel Aviv in protest of the construction of the wall. He asked the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court to sentence him to jail time rather than community service or a suspended sentence, saying he has no intention to stop resisting the occupation. The ten other convicted activists were sentenced to 80 hours of community service. 

Warning notices affixed to 100 homes in unrecognized Bedouin village

On 13 February 2007, Adalah sent an urgent letter to Interior Minister Roni Bar-On and Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, demanding the cancellation of warning notices issued against approximately 100 homes in the unrecognized village of al-Nasasara in the Naqab (Negev) (located to the South-West of Kesseife). These notices, which were affixed to homes on 19 January 2007 demand that the homeowners appear before the Building Monitoring Unit in order to present explanations for “unlicensed building.” However, based on past experience, the sending of such warning notices constitutes the first step towards the issuing of orders to demolish homes and evacuate the village of its inhabitants. 

My birthday in Jabalya refugee camp

I spent my 25th birthday in Jabalya, Gaza’s biggest refugee camp. I have known Jamal, a taxi driver in Gaza, for almost two years. I could only protest so many times at his neglecting to host me in his home. In spite of the pleas of his children, whom I had met on a number of occasions outside his home, I realized today why he never did. I have often entered the homes of refugees while distributing food across the Gaza Strip and yet what struck me that day was the familiarity of Jamal sitting by my side against the unfamiliarity of his home. 

Arab couple refused residency in exclusively Jewish town

The application of an Arab couple, Fatina Ebriq and Ahmed Zubeidat, to live in the community town of Rakefet in the Misgav area of the Galilee was refused in March 2006 by the regional selection committee. Selection committees monitor, accept and reject applications for housing units in community towns, and often operate according to vague and arbitrary criteria. On 11 April 2006, Adalah Attorney Suhad Bishara filed an appeal on behalf of the couple to the Israel Land Administration (ILA) against the decision to refuse their application to live in Rakefet. 

Settlers abuse Ra'fat 'Askar, 16, imprison him and beat him

I live with my family near the Pisgat Ze’ev settlement. The Separation Barrier separates my house from the rest of the village of Hizmeh. I go to school in a-Ram and am in the eleventh grade. Last Tuesday [23 January 2007], around 7:00 P.M., I left home to go and visit my uncle ‘Abd al-Wali ‘Askar, who lives in Hizmeh. I went by foot, crossed the Hizmeh checkpoint and continued along the Hizmeh-‘Anata road. From my house to my uncle’s house is about one and a half kilometers. I walked slowly, and got to the road leading to his house at about 7:30. 

Controversy at Harvard after appointment of alum to Israeli army chief of staff

Gabriel Ashkenazi, a 2004 graduate of Harvard Business School who was appointed chief of staff of the Israeli Defense Forces this weekend, has come under fire from activists at Harvard who say Ashkenazi was responsible for human rights abuses before his arrival in Cambridge. [*] In e-mails to The Crimson, the activists alleged that Ashkenazi was responsible for abuses during Israel’s 22-year occupation of southern Lebanon and for his role in overseeing the construction of the barrier separating Israel and several of its settlements from the rest of the West Bank. 

Core issues absent from Rice's peace rhetoric agenda

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will meet today with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Ostensibly, they are to talk of a “political horizon” in order for Abbas to relay to the Palestinian people a “vision” of what could be. This now appears to be little more than a hallucination put out for public consumption. Borders, Jerusalem, and Palestinian refugees cannot be expected to highlight the agenda. Consequently, if these three issues are not central to discussions, this is not a political horizon but a cliff for Palestinians. A horizon, properly viewed, simply cannot omit these three central concerns. 

Book review: Two Palestinian women recall their lives in exile

Both Salwa Salem’s and Ghada Karmi’s childhoods were violently disrupted by what Palestinians call al-Nakba, or the Catastrophe — the involuntary mass exodus of nearly three quarters of the Palestinian population when the State of Israel was established in 1948. Marking the destruction of their country, this event would define their lives as ones of exile. In their respective memoirs, The Wind in My Hair and In Search of Fatima: A Palestinian Story, Salem and Karmi recall idyllic childhoods in Palestine before 1948 in a society rich with culture and defined by the extended family. Their individual experiences, chronicled in their engrossing works, give a window into that of a generation of Palestinians born into dispossession.