Jerrold Kessel

Palestinians break records to reclaim culture

RAMALLAH, occupied West Bank (IPS) — Nasser Abdulhadi is a mild-mannered man who runs a restaurant. He was always known as the jovial sort. One day, his friends say, he stopped being jovial. He chose instead to fight for a world title for one of his country’s national dishes, and through that to gain worldwide recognition for Palestine. 

Raze illegal buildings -- unless they are Jewish

SILWAN, occupied East Jerusalem (IPS) - Backed by armed security men, the municipal inspectors race their jeeps through the narrow alleyways and up a hillside crowded with buildings. One block of flats stands out for its unusual seven-story height in an area of the city where two or three storied buildings are the norm. And then there is the giant, blue-and-white Israeli national flag draped demonstratively over the front of the building, from the roof down to the ground. 

Palestinians cling to their homes in Silwan

OCCUPIED EAST JERUSALEM (IPS) - “Make sure your father gets this,” the municipal inspector tells a ten-year-old boy at the gate of the concrete house in an alleyway in the al-Bustan quarter of Silwan, a Palestinian neighborhood right under the shadow of the walled Old City. “This” is a court-approved demolition notice, “No. 59.” It’s for a house under imminent threat of being torn down by the Israeli authorities because it does not have the requisite building permit. 

Homeless by Israeli policy

SUR BAHER, occupied East Jerusalem (IPS) - The latest round brings the number of East Jerusalem Palestinians displaced since the beginning of the year by forced evictions or house demolitions to over 600, according to figures released by UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees. Altogether on Tuesday, six buildings were knocked down, leaving 26 people homeless. 

Jerusalem Palestinians defining their own future

OCCUPIED EAST JERUSALEM (IPS) - Almost a year ago a barely noticed event took place in Sawarha, a Palestinian neighborhood in the Israeli-occupied part of the city. On that November day, Israeli Jerusalemites were voting in a new mayor and a new city council. On that same day, in this neighborhood home to 25,000, people were ignoring the Israeli-run elections. Instead, they were focused on electing their own local council. 

Palestinians in limbo in occupied East Jerusalem

OCCUPIED EAST JERUSALEM (IPS) - In the early morning sunlight, the smoky window of the plush new apartment reflects back a golden tinge from the Dome of the Rock that stands at the heart of Islam’s third holiest shrine. Down across the valley from the walled Old City, families have already started moving into some of the 91 apartments in this new 240-family compound of Jewish settlers. 

Egypt close to brokering Hamas-Fatah agreement

JERUSALEM (IPS) - Under a complex twin-pronged initiative from the US and Egypt, Israel’s hard-line government is moving towards backtracking on two major planks of its policy in the Occupied Palestinian Territories — resisting demands for a blanket freeze on all settlement building in the West Bank, and acquiescing in the end of its tight siege of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.