Posted By: Sammi Ibrahem Chair of West Midland PSC
Just 5 items below.
The first, “Ajami and Mas’ha: Evidence of the Continuing Nakba,” was in yesterday’s Today in Palestine compilation. But I have a few comments about the details concerning Hani Amer from Mas’ha, about whom I have written several times in the past.
The article below rightfully depicts the Nakba as continuing, but does not sufficiently depict the hardships that Hani and his family have to deal with. One correction, too, the article says that Hani was born in Kfar Qassem. He was born in Mas’ha, as was his mother. But his father came from Kfar Qassem. Prior to 1948 the two villages—Kfar Qassem and Mas’ha—were closely connected, with the olive groves and agricultural land between them belonging to families of both villages.
In 1948-49 many families from Kfar Qassem ‘escaped’ out of fear to Mas’ha. Today approximately ½ of the 2,500 or so people in Mas’ha were originally from Kfar Qassem. Hani’s mother did live in Kfar Qassem after her marriage and did, as many others, run away from there in 1948. The Jordanians, who governed the West Bank from 1949 till 1967, allotted the family plots of land in Azun Atma, a town on road 505, 5 minutes from Mas’ha by car. For the past 6 or 7 years road 505, which prior to the fence/wall was the main east-west road through the West Bank, has been closed to Palestinian traffic and taken over by Jewish colonies.
Consequently Hani to get to his fields must take a long detour, which can take an hour. This detour does not take him to his fields as did road 505 but rather to the northern end of the village where there is a check point. The length of the wait there depends on the soldiers. Once in Azun Atma, Hani has a further obstacle to cross. There is now a fence on the western side of the village, and Hani’s family’s fields are on the other side of the fence. So now Hani and his brother need permits to get through the gate in the fence and to go to the fields. They also need separate permits to bring a vehicle in. Not having a vehicle makes it impossible to bring the fruit and produce harvested to market.
Hani’s well, mentioned below, is used to provide water to other farmers in the village. 3 years ago Hani paid several thousand shekel to the Israeli electric company so that he would have electricity to run his water pumps. But the army will not allow him to have electricity, and the electric company won’t return the money. Also, one of the water pipes is broken and needs repair, but the army does not allow the equipment in to repair it, so the water goes to waste.
Additionally, in lieu of electricity Hani uses kerosene for fuel. This has to be brought from another village (Qalqilya) about a 40 minute drive from his wells. Both the truck bringing the kerosene and the driver of the truck need permits to deliver the kerosene to Azun Atma.
The army is trying to choke Azun Atma. It is a sore thumb among the colonies in the area. Hani, like the other villagers, is a victim of the occupation, and of Israel’s expansion and ethnic cleansing. And yet, Hani and his wife Muniera, despite all, manage to keep smiling and to not let their trials and tribulations break their will. I doubt that I would have been smiling had I had gone through what they have, which is a good deal more than either I or the article below have revealed.
Items 2 reports an IOF killing of a Palestinian at a checkpoint; item 3 reports that 3 workers were injured by a rocket shot from Gaza. I expect that tonight some Gazans will feel the reprisal.
Item 4 relates that the UN warns that Israel is planning to tighten controls at border crossings.
And item 5 is Uri Avnery’s take on Israeli McCarthyism.
All the best,
1. Palestine Chronicle
Ajami and Mas’ha: Evidence of the Continuing Nakba
Amer stands in the doorway of his home, surrounded by Israeli wall. (Photo: Alex Kane)
The Palestinian catastrophe, the Nakba of 1948, never really ended. What happened since then, as Yehouda Shenhav, an Israeli sociologist and the author of Bounded by the Green Line, puts it, is a “continuation of the  war by other means.” There are continuous efforts by Israel to displace Palestinians of their land all over the occupied territories and inside Israel.
Two such efforts are evident in recently hearing the stories of Hani Amer, a Palestinian resident of the West Bank village of Mas’ha, and of the Palestinians living in Ajami, a neighborhood in Jaffa.
Amer sits down in his living room, talking with passion and at times smiling, despite his home being surrounded by the illegal separation barrier and Jewish-only settlements. For seven years, Amer and his family have been struggling against the barrier, which restricts their freedom of movement and ability to farm their surrounding land. As he explains, “until now, we’re being displaced”– a microcosm of Israeli efforts to confiscate Palestinian land and to push Palestinians out. “The situation we’re living in is horrible,” Amer says.
But Amer’s story of displacement did not begin in 2003. Instead, it began in 1948, the year that Israel declared its independence in the midst of an ethnic cleansing campaign that expelled about 750,000 Palestinians. Amer is a refugee from Kafr Qassem, a Palestinian city east of Tel Aviv. If he had the chance, he says, he would return.
Amer is responsible for collecting water from his well. When he wants to go to the well, he has to make sure the Israeli army gate that leads to his land is open.
Amer tells of how he can only access his land at specific times in the day, and of the Israeli occupation’s harassment. For instance, at times Amer is forced to wait for what can be up to seven hours until the Israeli army lets him access his land.
“We are simple people facing a big entity,” he says. “The reason why we keep doing this is because we want to sustain our land.”
What Amer is up against is an individual family’s example of what the barrier and settlements are doing to Palestinians across the West Bank. In the village of al-Walajah, for example, the wall has surrounded “most of the village, with the side of the wall facing the Har Gilo settlement covered by Jerusalem stone and the side facing al-Walajah being exposed concrete,” according to the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem.
The same story of displacement—albeit a different chapter—is unfolding in the Palestinian neighborhood of Ajami. There, the combination of gentrification and discrimination against Palestinians has led to a deteriorating situation, according to Sami Abushhadeh, a PhD student at Tel Aviv University who is writing a thesis on Jaffa as a center of Arab culture during Mandate Palestine.
After the 1948 war, Ajami became a Palestinian ghetto when Israeli forces “surrounded [the Palestinians there] by a barbed wire fence for a number of months,” according to the Israeli organization Zochrot. But currently, real estate developers looking to make Ajami into a hot-spot for Jewish families are displacing some of the residents and threatening others with eviction.
Isabelle Humphries, writing in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, explains:
“Walking around Jaffa, our local Palestinian guide pointed out new exclusive building developments built upon the sites of recently demolished homes and buildings. Eviction orders are issued by Amidar, the housing company owned and operated by the Israeli government. Amidar claims to offer subsidized and rent-controlled housing in Israel, but the fact that its major stockholders are the Jewish Agency and the Jewish National Fund—two institutions openly mandated to support the Jewish population only—shows that it is not simply financial gain that authorities are pursuing. Indeed, since 1948 Palestinian representatives have been excluded from all stages of the urban planning process. Ben-Gurion’s vow that “Jaffa will be a Jewish city” remains the guiding principle.
As the cases of Mas’ha and Ajami show, Ben-Gurion’s vision of an ethnically exclusive state for Jews only remains the vision for the Israeli government today.
– Alex Kane is a student, journalist and blogger based in New York City. He is a writer for the Indypendent and a frequent contributor to the blog Mondoweiss. His work has also appeared in Salon, Electronic Intifada, Common Dreams, Palestine Chronicle, Gotham Gazette and Extra! He blogs at alexbkane.wordpress.com, and you can follow him on Twitter. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.
If you like this article, please consider making a contribution to the Palestine Chronicle.
Soldiers kill Palestinian at checkpoint
IDF soldiers shoot Palestinian man who approached Bekaot roadblock while yelling ‘Allahu Akbar’. Sappers find two pipe bombs on man’s body
A Palestinian man on Saturday was shot to death at the Bekaot checkpoint near the West Bank village of Tubas, southeast of Nablus.
The IDF said the man was carrying two pipe bombs and a knife.
Eyewitnesses said the Palestinian got out of a cab and approached the checkpoint while yelling “Allahu Akbar.” Passengers who were with him in the taxi began to walk away as they feared he might be carrying an explosive device.
According to eyewitness reports, the man wore a long coat and soldiers suspected he might be hiding explosives. The soldiers ordered the suspect to stop and then opened fire.
A sapper who was called to the scene found two pipe bombs on the Palestinian’s body.
Palestinian sources identified the man as 25-year-old Khaldoon Samoudi from the village of al-Yamun in the Jenin area.
2nd incident in a week
On Sunday, a Palestinian was shot to death at the same checkpoint. Soldiers claimed Mahmoud Muhammad Dharaghma, 20, ignored an order to stop, but Palestinian sources later said that he was unarmed.
“A female soldier screamed, and her friends fired live ammunition,” said a Palestinian eyewitness. Eight bullets were fired at Dharaghma.
January 08, 2011
Three foreign workers wounded in mortar attack near Gaza border
Three mortars fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israel on Saturday afternoon; two land in open territory but one strikes a populated area in a kibbutz along the Gaza border.
Three foreign workers were injured on Saturday when a mortar fired from the Gaza Strip exploded in the Sha’ar Hanegev region.
Three mortars were fired from the Gaza Strip around 2:00 p.m. in the afternoon. Two of the mortars landed in open territory but one struck a populated area in a kibbutz near the border fence, wounding three foreign workers and damaging property.
One of the foreign workers was in moderate-serious condition from shrapnel injuries to his chest. A second foreign worker was moderately wounded by shrapnel in his leg and a third was lightly wounded in the incident.
“This is, of course, a very serious incident, one of the most severe we have had recently, it represents an escalation that appears to have reached a new height,” said Alon Shuster, head of the local municipal authority.
The wounded men were transported to Soroka Hospital in Be’er Sheva for medical treatment.
Militant group Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack.
The wounded men men were the first in Israel to be hurt by rockets and mortars fired from Gaza since December when a teenage girl was cut by flying glass after a rocket landed near a kindergarten in the Ashkelon area.
Saturday’s incident occurred less than 24 hours after an Israel Defense Forces soldier was killed and four IDF troops were wounded in a friendly fire incident on the Gaza border as the soldiers engaged a group of armed militants who were apparently approaching the border to lay explosives.
Violence has escalated in recent weeks along the border, though both Israel and Gaza’s Islamist Hamas rulers say they are working to avoid a full-on confrontation.
More on this topic
IDF soldier killed, 4 wounded from friendly fire near Gaza border
West Bank The Qalandia checkpoint between East Jerusalem and Ramallah has the feel of a permanent border crossing
The United Nations says it is increasingly concerned that Israel is about to tighten access restrictions to the occupied West Bank.
It has been briefing aid agencies that Israel could soon increase restrictions and strengthen its checkpoints.
The Israeli army declined to comment but privately officials acknowledge that changes will take place in the coming months.
Israel controls all movement in and out of the Palestinian territory.
The West Bank has been under Israeli military occupation since 1967.
It is not know what form those changes will take. But UN officials say they fear they could involve making it more difficult for foreign workers to travel between Israel and the West Bank without getting pre-arranged permission.
They also believe the changes would make it harder for Palestinians living in Israel, especially Jerusalem, to gain access to the West Bank. They also say it would make it harder to get goods in and out.
‘More like Gaza’
The UN says it fears Israel could tighten its procedures so that entering and leaving the West Bank could become more like getting in and out of Gaza, where extremely tight restrictions apply.
“The collective punishment of 1.5 millions in Gaza has severely damaged Israel’s image around the world. I can not see how establishing a Gaza-style crossing regime would be in anyone’s interest,” said Chris Gunness, a spokesperson for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency which provides support for Palestinian refugees.
“I fervently urge Israel not to push ahead with its plan,” he added.
In recent months Israel has been carrying out building work to expand some of its West Bank checkpoints, making them appear more permanent.
All this happens as the Palestinian Authority under the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas, is increasingly talking about trying to independently seek a United Nations Security Council resolution to recognise a Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 borders.
In the 1967 Six Day War, Israel occupied the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem It also captured the Golan Heights from Syria.
It is believed Israel has been discussing changing its crossing procedures in and out of the West Bank for some time.
But some analysts believe the government could eventually introduce such measures as a response to any Palestinian move to achieve international recognition of a Palestinian state.
Israel has been very critical of such moves, saying a Palestinian state can only be achieved through negotiation with Israel.
In the past, Israel has argued that by strengthening security at the main checkpoints in and out of the West Bank, it has been able to relax some of the internal checkpoints, making it easier for Palestinians to move around.
More on This StoryIsrael and the PalestiniansPalestinians pursue ‘Plan B’ after failed talks [/news/world-middle-east-12099625]With peace talks suspended, the frustrated Palestinians pursue international recognition for an independent state on 1967 borders. The BBC’s Yolande Knell reports.