18 May 2011

Nakba Day, from Golan to New York to al-Walaja to Qalandia to Maroun Ar-Ras

Nakba day protest, Qalandiya checkpoint, 15/5/2011. Photo by: Oren Ziv/ Activestills.org

Mondoweiss | 17.05.2011

Aftermath of Nakba Day

Lebanon's Palestinians bury victims of Israeli cross-border shooting
TYRE, Lebanon (AFP) 16 May -- Thousands of bereaved Palestinian refugees laid to rest Monday victims of a cross-border Israeli shooting the day earlier, as shops and schools in the camps closed for a day of mourning. In the Al-Bass refugee camp, thousands gathered for the burial of 17-year-old Mohammed Salem, one of 10 protesters shot dead by Israeli troops at the Lebanese border, where Palestinians gathered to mark Nakba Day. More than 100 others were wounded when the crowd of thousands of refugees came under fire from Israeli troops near the Lebanese border town of Maroun Ar-Ras ... Palestinian factions in Lebanon said talks were still underway to determine what action they would take following Israel's attack on protesters, who had been unarmed when they approached the Lebanese side of the border.

Monday strike called to mourn Nakba fallen
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 16 May -- Islamic and national factions had called for a two-hour general strike in the West Bank on Monday, to mourn those killed during events marking the 63rd anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba. Coordinator of the factions Wasel Abu Yousef said the strike would begin at 8:00 am and end at 10:00 am

Gaza ambulance service gives account of casualties
MEMO 16 May -- EXCLUSIVE PICTURES Adhan Abu Selmiya, the media spokesman for the Ambulance Services in the Gaza Strip, confirmed that the number of casualties admitted to the four hospitals across the sector yesterday as a result of Israel's military aggression against civilians in the area, had reached 60. Israeli Occupation Forces opened fire on crowds of civilians who went out in a peaceful march to commemorate the 63rd anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba

Israel still searching for Golan returnees
MAJDAL SHAMS, Golan Heights (AFP) 16 May -- Police were on Monday searching the Golan for Druze from the Syrian side of the heights who breached the border into the occupied part of the plateau in a march Sunday that saw two killed ... The news that searches continued for those who had entered the area, which came under Israeli control during the war of 1967, came following reports in the Israeli press saying all had been forcibly returned by Israel's military. Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said hundreds of police had been working through the night in the Golan Heights town of Majdal Shams to seek out any protesters who had not returned to Syria.

IOF troops attack civilians in Arub refugee camp
AL-KHALIL, (PIC) 16 May -- Israeli occupation forces (IOF) attacked Palestinian citizens in Arub refugee camp in Al-Khalil on Monday with gas and sonic bombs causing suffocation among many of them. Local sources said that Palestinian students marched in the streets of the camp north of Al-Khalil to commemorate the Nakba but were met with violent force on the part of the IOF. They said that the soldiers also used rubber-coated bullets to disperse the peaceful march.

Israel remains on alert after Nakba Day violence; Syrian infiltrator arrested
(AP) 15 May -- The Israel Defense Forces said Monday that Israel's frontiers are quiet after a violent day of border breaches, though security forces remained on alert for more violence. Israel Police arrested Monday an unarmed man from Syria who tried to make his way out of the Golan Heights into central Israel.

Israel extends closure of West Bank
TEL AVIV (Ma‘an) 16 May -- A statement from Israel's military announced a 24-hour extension of a West Bank closure "as part of the situation assessments adopted by the defense establishment." A closure had been imposed on the area starting Saturday night ... Israel's military statement said the "closure will be lifted on the night of Monday, May 16th, 2011 at 23:59."

Defense minister: Border infiltrations are just the beginning
Haaretz 16 May -- Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Sunday that Israel Defense Forces soldiers succeeded in defending Israel's sovereignty when Palestinian refugee demonstrators breached the border with Syria and attempted to cross the border with Lebanon. Barak cautioned, however, that Israel will in the future have to deal with similar and perhaps more complex incidents.

Press freedom group condemns injury of photojournalist
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 16 May -- The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms on Monday condemned the use of "indiscriminate fire" by Israeli forces on Palestinian protesters, which injured hundreds including at least two journalists. Freelance photographer Mohammad Osman, 25, and local radio correspondent Mohammad Bakr Allouh, 23, were both injured while covering the Palestinian commemoration of Nakba Day ... Osman was covering the March of Return in the Gaza Strip, a report from the center said. The photographer was hit with live rounds to his chest and right hand ... Osman will be transferred to Turkey for treatment, the report added.

More from Nakba Day

In Photos: Palestinians mark dispossession
15 May 21:05 -- Ma‘an Images. Nice photos of kids especially.

Qalandia Nakba demonstration in photos / Joseph Dana
972mag 15 May -- Over 1000 Palestinians demonstrated today at the Qalandia checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah. The demonstration was organized by the March 15th youth movement to mark the Nakba day. In the course of the full day long demonstration, over 100 people were injured including 20 serious injuries.

Video: Scores injured in Qalandia Nakba Day demonstration / Joseph Dana
978mag 16 May -- Over 1000 men, women and children marched in Qalandiya Sunday to mark the Nakba. The Israeli military stopped the march using heavy handed crowd control measures which resulted in over 100 injured including 20 medium to serious injuries. The demonstration lasted from morning until night with one attempt at upending the eight metre high Qalandiya barrier.

Video: Thousands march in New York City to mark 'Nakba Day'
Press TV 16 May -- They were led by children -- members of a generation that has only known Palestine as a notion -- a memory passed down from their parents and grandparents ... There were numerous other Nakba demonstrations across the US -- in Miami, Washington DC, and elsewhere.

Canadian rally on Nakba Day anniversary
Press TV 16 May -- Many people came out to join the May 15th movement in Vancouver ... many are eagerly awaiting a date to be announced for the Tahrir, a 25-metre boat carrying 45 activists, including humanitarian delegates from across the country, high profile Canadians, and journalists, to set sail with Freedom Flotilla 2. [one pointed out that Canadian PM Harper's gov't was the first in the West to support the siege of Gaza]

Israeli forces violently arrest demonstrators in Al Walaja
15 May -- At 11 AM on al-Nakba remembrance day, 500 residents from the West Bank village of al-Wallajeh and international supporters marched towards the Israeli Apartheid Wall. The Wall was built to separate the villagers from their original land from which they were expelled in 1948. The demonstration was violently attacked by the Israeli military with rubber coated steal bullets, tear gas and protesters were beaten with batons and rifles. One youth was hospitalized after being injured by a rubber-coated steal bullet. Eight Palestinians, including twins aged 11, and 6 internationals (American, Dutch, German and Canadian nationals) were arrested. The army proceeded to raid the village and invade each house, searching for people who had participated in the demonstrations. The raids as well as confrontations between the army and the village youth are ongoing.

Video: Al Waraja, Nakba Day 15 May 2011
Wheels of Justice -- Hundreds of Al-Walaja villagers joined with internationals and Israelis marched peacefully toward the old Al-Walaja (area cleansed of Palestinians by Israel in 1948) to commemorate the Nakba and to demand their right of return to their original home and lands. Israeli soldiers reacted violently and arrested human rights activist and professor Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh as he vocally protested Israeli soldiers' violence against peaceful protesters. [Dr. Qumsiyeh is still in custody]

New video of Israeli army firing on demonstrators in the Golan Heights / Joseph Dana
972mag 16 May -- New videos are starting to emerge from the occupied Golan Heights where the Israeli army attacked unarmed demonstrators coming from the Syrian side of the border yesterday. The video is a testament to unarmed demonstration in the face of military gunshots. The scenes of unarmed men, woman and children swaying flags and chanting while being shot at conjure images from Egypt’s Tahrir square at the height of the Egyptian revolution.

Video: Top cop smacks [female] Arab lawyer in the face at Nakba demo
978mag 16 May -- As more videos are surfacing and telling of yesterday’s events,one of them is going viral. In it you can see Kobi Bachar, deputy commander of the Galilee District Police, slapping an Arab lawyer roughly in the face after she asked him why he was arresting protesters.

Photo: Gun-wielding undercover Israeli officer dressed as Palestinian woman
(Reuters) An undercover Israeli police officer dressed as a Palestinian woman opened a car door after helping detain a Palestinian protester. [one of the must‘aribeen, the special military unit whose members who disguise themselves as Palestinians? Not usually as Palestinian women, though.]

Palestinian Christian groups commemorate Nakba
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 16 May -- Civil society groups representing Palestinian Christians commemorated the 63rd anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba on Sunday, in an event that saw more than 100 gather beside the separation wall in Bethlehem ... Wi‘am director Zughbi Zughbi lead the gathered group in song, and gave a speech, urging Palestinian Christians and Christians around the world to stand by the oppressed regardless of religion, color, or nationality.

Nablus philanthropist's grandson injured in Lebanon
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 16 May -- The grandson of Palestinian philanthropist Munib Al-Masri was injured by Israeli fire in Lebanon on Sunday, sources told Ma‘an. Al-Masri's grandson, also named Munib, is a university student in Lebanon. He joined a protest in the town of Maroun Ar-Ras at the country's southern border with Israel to mark the 63rd anniversary of the Nakba ... His grandfather, a Nablus resident, has been named as a candidate for prime minister in the transitional Palestinian Authority government.

Arab-government collaborators

Video: Egypt army blocks pro-Palestinian march
Ehab Zahriyeh, Press TV, el-Arish 16 May -- Thousands of Egyptians had planned to march to the Egypt-Gaza border to stand in solidarity with Palestinians on Nabka of the Day of Catastrophe. Egyptian security forces prevented buses from carrying them. Egyptian soldiers also fired gunshots to disperse thousands of protesters at the Israeli embassy. The army also stopped activists from crossing the Suez Canal into the Sinai Peninsula and set up checkpoints along the main road leading to the Rafah Border Crossing. Alternative routes exist to get to the border through local Bedouin farms and villages turning a 30-minute trip into three hours. An activist from Cairo was the only person to make it to the border. (Protester: "the Egyptian struggle is now the Palestinian struggle")

Protests outside Israeli embassy in Cairo
CAIRO (AFP) 16 May -- Egyptian protesters demanding the expulsion of Israel's ambassador clashed with riot police outside the Israeli embassy in Cairo on Sunday, leaving at least 24 people wounded. The police, who were backed by the army, fired dozens of tear gas canisters at the protesters, who ripped out paving stones to throw and burned tyres ... Sunday's protest, the third in as many days, came hours after senior Israeli defense ministry official Amos Gilad was in Cairo for talks with Egyptian officials, in the first visit by a top official from the Jewish state since a popular uprising toppled president Hosni Mubarak in February.

Protest at Israeli embassy, Cairo, 15 May / Gigi Ibrahim
Marking the 63rd anniversary of the Nakba at the Israeli Embassy in Cairo, thousands of Egyptians flooded the streets with Palestinian flags demanding end of all relations with Israel. The day that started peaceful turned ugly when protesters were demanding to replace the Israeli flag with the Palestinian one. Army & police attacked protesters all night with tear gas, rubber bullets, machine guns, live ammo, and topped it with at least 50 arrested, 2 dead, and at least 120 injured. Thanks to the EgyArmy we are liberating ourselves and the whole Arab world. SCAF: your days are numbered, once you kill us to protect Israeli Embassy, that's when your TIME IS UP!!

Jordan police say 25 hurt in Nakba clashes
AMMAN, Jordan (AFP)  16 May -- Jordan's public security department said on Monday that 25 people, including 11 policemen, were injured in clashes when authorities barred demonstrators from marching on the Israeli-controlled border of the occupied West Bank ... Police on Sunday barred more than 500 people from marching on the border to mark the 1948 creation of Israel ... The demonstrators, including 200 students, were intercepted a few kilometers from the King Hussein crossing, or Allenby Bridge, on the Jordan River that defines the frontier with the Israeli-occupied West Bank, less than an hour's drive from Amman ... Jordan's Islamist opposition movement condemned the crackdown. "The attack by police on peaceful protesters who were stressing the commitment of Jordanians to the Palestinian right of return was shocking," the powerful Islamic Action Front said in a statement.

PA police quash Bethlehem Nakba protest
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 16 May -- Palestinian Authority police prevented young men from the three refugee camps in the district from marching toward Israel's separation wall, which cages the city in from the north, in events marking Nakba Day.

Ignorance of the Palestinian narrative and those who foster it

Video from Israeli TV: "The Nakba? It has to do with Arabs, right?"/ Ami Kaufman
This clip was shown on the Friday evening news show on Channel 10, two days before Nakba Day. [wonder if they're still as ignorant after Sunday's events... the Israeli gov't tactic of putting 'Arabs' out of sight and mind certainly seems to have worked so far]

The New York Times's shameless Nakba distortion / Matthew Taylor
[and the US MSM is not far behind in keeping Americans ignorant] 15 May --The NYT's front page leader propagandistically claims (emphasis added): "Israel's borders erupted as thousands of Palestinians marched from Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, and the West Bank on the anniversary when Arabs mourn Israel's creation." I call this a distortion because Palestinians actually mourn the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Can you imagine what it would be like if the NYT stated this honestly and plainly? Palestinians mourn the personal and collective impact -- lives, homes, and land lost, refusing their right to return. By framing it as mourning "Israel's creation" - shifting the focus from legitimate Palestinian suffering to the debatable merits of Jewish state-centric nationalism - the NYT promulgates the Zionist frame of "they want to destroy the state of Israel."

Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlers

Death of E. Jerusalem teen puts spotlight on Beit Yonatan
Haaretz 16 May -- The circumstances of the death of Milad Ayyash, 16, on Saturday morning in East Jerusalem raise many questions. Ayyash was apparently killed by shots fired from the Beit Yonatan apartment complex, inhabited by Jewish settlers, in the predominantly Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan ... The death of Ayyash raises questions about the role of private security guards employed by the state to protect Jews living in the heart of large Arab neighborhoods.

Hebron: Settlers set fire to homes as residents mark Nakba
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 15 May 21:22 -- While residents protested in the city center, settlers from the illegal settlement of Kiyrat Arba in Hebron threw four Molotov cocktails at a home adjacent to the settlement, setting it on fire. Inside the home were 30 family members including women and children, observers from the European Temporary International Presence In Hebron teams said. Home owner Abed Al-S‘eifan's home was saved with the help of neighbors, his relative told Ma‘an.
In Hebron's former downtown, now closed following the arrival of some 500 Israeli settlers since 1967, volunteers and Fatah officials organized a Hebron rally marking the 63rd anniversary of Nakba. More than 100 came out for the rally in the central city, where 200 black balloons were flown. Red Crescent medics said that one was treated for fractures after he was beaten by Israeli forces, nine were treated for wounds from rubber-coated bullets, and 18 were treated for tear-gas inhalation after Israeli forces quashed the protest.

Activists in Hebron accompany farmer suffering from settler attacks
ISM 15 May -- This past week in the outskirts of Hebron, ISM activists have been helping farmer Abd al Kareim Al Jabuni to work his land after him and his family have suffered continuous harassment from settlers who have prevented them from working their land. In the most recent settler attack on Monday 8th, settlers stole the crops that Abd al Kareim had gathered during the day, took them to another field and tried to set them on fire. To prevent further attacks, he has asked ISM activists to be present whilst he works on his fields. Six members of Abd al Kareim’s family have been injured after unprovoked attacks by settlers.

Activism / Solidarity

Do you see that land? That land is mine and I cannot go there
[photos] ISM Gaza 14 May -- On May 8, 9, and 10th the farmers of Khuza‘a harvested their wheat. Khuza‘a is a village near the Israeli border in the southern Gaza Strip. For three days they visited the fields, starting very early in the morning and picking the fruits of their land. For three days the Israeli occupation forces fired from their automated turret while the farmers continued to harvest their grain. However, they did not allow the Israeli Occupation Force to prevent them from going to their land.


Israel fires warning shots at aid ship to Gaza
JERUSALEM (AFP) 16 May -- Israeli naval forces fired warning shots at a Malaysian-flagged aid ship as it approached the Gaza Strip on Monday, forcing the vessel to retreat to Egypt, organisers and the Israeli military said.  "The MV Finch, carrying sewage pipes to Gaza, had warning shots fired at it by Israeli forces in the Palestinian security zone this morning at 6:54 am (0354 GMT)," said Shamsul Azhar from the Perdana Global Peace Foundation. "The vessel was in the Palestinian security zone, about 400 meters from the Gaza shoreline, when they were intercepted by Israeli naval forces," he told AFP, adding it was now anchored 30 nautical miles away in Egyptian territory ... The Perdana Foundation is helmed by former Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamad, an 85-year-old firebrand who was a strident critic of the West and Israel over the treatment of Palestinians during his two decades in power. According to co-organizers in Ireland, activists from Ireland, Canada, Malaysia and India are aboard the ship.

Israeli navy shoots at Malaysian aid ship off Gaza coast
AIC 16 May -- The Israeli navy fired on Monday 16 May at the Malaysian ship "Spirit of Rachel Corrie", which carried humanitarian aid destined for residents of the Gaza Strip ... The boat left the Greek Port of Piraeaus on Wednesday 11 May, carrying 7.5 kilometres of plastic pipes to assist in rehabilitating the sewage system ... According to EWASH, a network of Palestinian and international groups which focus on issues of water and sanitation in the occupied Palestinian territory, the daily release of some 80 million litres of untreated or only partially treated sewage into the Mediterranean Sea is due primarily to Israel’s siege of the Gaza Strip. Due to the hazardous level of water and sanitation, the Palestinian population in Gaza suffers from various health problems, including typhus and hepatitis.

Malaysia society blasts Israel for attacking its ship en route to Gaza
KUALA LUMPUR, (PIC) 16 May - Aman-Palestine Malaysia society has denounced the Israeli attack on Monday against a vessel chartered by it to carry relief material to the Gaza Strip. The society said in a statement that the Israeli gunboats fired at the vessel while on its way to Gaza, affirming that the ship was in international waters. The society affirmed that such piracy would not deter international solidarity ships from persisting in sailing to Gaza carrying badly needed materials.

Gaza crossing opens for limited transport
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 16 May -- Israeli authorities announced the partial opening of a single Gaza import terminal on Monday, for what liaison officers told Ma'an would be 300 truckloads of aid and commercial goods. The number is significantly higher than the daily average of the previous week, which was 227 loads per day for five operational days. It remains well below the pre-siege average of 467 loads per day over six open days.


IOF soldiers arrest 120 Jerusalemites during Nakba anniversary
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC) 16 May -- Israeli occupation police arrested 120 Jerusalemites including a number of children for participating in marches to commemorate the Nakba. The Israeli radio said that police would ask on Monday for extending the detention of some them in preparation for charging them. It claimed that 25 Israeli policemen were injured during the latest events, three of them are still hospitalized.

12-year-old boy detained by police
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 16 May -- A 12-year old Palestinian child from Silwan has been sentenced to house arrest by Israeli authorities. Samer Hamza Shalloudi was handed a 5-day sentence after his father refused to pay the 500 NIS bail to secure his release from Israeli arrest. Shalloudi was arrested with 15-year old Ahmad Nader Odeh yesterday, who has since been transferred to prison to await his trial. Odeh faces accusations of participation in protests against settlement activity in Silwan. Although Israeli law states that children under 13 years of age cannot be arrested in other than exceptional circumstances, police have attempted to transfer Shalloudi to prison as well.

Israel detains Islamic Jihad leader without charge or trial
JENIN (Ma‘an) -- Israeli military authorities on Monday sentenced an Islamic Jihad leader to six months in prison without charge or trial, a detainees' center said. Sheikh Bassam Al-Sadi will be held at Ofer military prison near Ramallah under administrative detention, the center said. Al-Sadi was detained immediately after Hamas and Fatah signed a reconciliation agreement in Cairo, the center noted, adding that he was detained only two months after finishing an 8-year sentence in Israeli prisons. [PIC added: A responsible source in Islamic Jihad said that the PA intelligence rounded up at least 10 Jihad members including a disabled person.]

Center: Tortured prisoner needs psychological treatment
TUBAS (Ma‘an) 16 May -- A Palestinian detainee needs psychological treatment after being tortured and held for long periods in solitary confinement by Israeli forces, a detainees' center said. The center in Tubas said Israeli authorities tortured Rafat Odeh with boiling oil. Odeh did not suffer any psychological problems until he was detained by Israeli forces, the center said, adding that his parents were extremely concerned and urged President Mahmoud Abbas to look into the issue. [End]

Israel postpones release of 3 Gaza prisoners
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 16 May -- Israel postponed the release of three Gaza men from prison was without explanation, a prisoners support center in Gaza City told Ma‘an on Monday. The men were due for release on Sunday, but were instead transferred from the Negev prison to the Ashkelon prison, a statement said.

Poll suggests that 41% of Israelis agree with Hamas conditions for Shalit's release
MEMO 16 May -- An opinion poll conducted by Israel's Dahaf Institute has revealed that just over half of Israelis do not reject the release of any number of Palestinian detainees, including those who killed Israelis, in return for the release of the abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit being held by Hamas. Interestingly, 41% accept the conditions set by Hamas for the release of Shalit, who was captured while on active duty against the people of Gaza.

Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions

Buses, billboards and digital displays - 'End military aid to Israel' goes national / Caren Levy-van Slyke
Mondo 16 May -- From coast to coast, the movement to end military aid to Israel has an emerging public face. In Chicago, CJPIP (www.cjpip.org) has launched Phase 2 of our successful public transportation advertising campaign on the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) system. And in this “End Military Aid to Israel Spring”, we have been joined by activist groups from coast to coast – with new ad campaigns going live in Boston and Washington DC (to coincide with Move Over AIPAC ) over the past couple of weeks.

Israeli businessmen plan peace initiative to head off BDS 'South African-isation' of Israel
AIC 15 May -- The Hebrew online news site Calcalist reports that some of Israel’s most senior and powerful businessmen conducted a meeting last week to begin promotion of the “Israel Initiates” peace initiative in order to head off the growing international movement of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.

Political / Diplomatic / International news

Israel to renew transfer of tax funds to Palestinian Authority
Haaretz 15 May -- Bowing to international pressure, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz confirmed a statement issued by a Palestinian official on Sunday that he would renew the transfer of millions of dollars in suspended tax transfers to the Palestinian Authority.

Hamas and Fatah begin talks on new Palestinian unity government
Reuters 16 May -- Talks between Hamas and Fatah to hammer out details of a joint Palestinian government began in Cairo on Monday after Egypt brokered a deal to end their four-year feud. The discussions center on the make-up of an interim government unifying the Fatah-run West Bank with the Gaza Strip controlled by Hamas, and on preparations for a general election within a year.

Israel to complain to UN about Syria, Lebanon over Nakba Day clashes
Haaretz 16 May -- Complaint against Syria and Lebanon's 'violation of international law' follows similar Lebanese complaint to UN against Israel

Egypt poll leader calls to change policy toward Israel
CAIRO, Egypt (AFP) 16 May -- The frontrunner in Egypt's upcoming presidential election, Amr Moussa, distanced himself from his country's past policies towards Israel and told AFP in an interview his government would be frank with the US.

UN calls for restraint after Nakba Day deaths
NEW YORK (Ma‘an) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has "closely followed" Israel's reaction to peaceful protests in across the region as Palestinians marked Nakba Day, a statement from the body's Mideast envoy said Monday. Ban "is deeply concerned that a significant number of people have been killed or injured," spokesman for the envoy Richard Miron said in a statement ... Fourteen protesters were killed over the weekend and hundreds were injured at rallies calling for the recognition of the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and the reunification of the divided Syrian Golan Heights.

US accuses Syria of inciting Israel border clashes
Reuters 16 May -- Lebanese delegation files complaint at UN after 10 people killed in border clashes; Israel's delegation plans to follow suit, with complaints against both Syria and Lebanon -- The White House on Monday accused Syria of inciting deadly border clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinian demonstrators, saying Damascus was trying to distract attention from its own violent crackdown on protests.

Italy to upgrade Palestinian delegation to full diplomatic mission
Haaretz 16 May -- In recent months, countries including Britain, France, Spain, Portugal and Ireland have made similar moves to upgrade status of PA delegation.

Netanyahu: Israel willing to 'cede parts of our homeland' for a true peace
Haaretz 16 May -- Prime Minister tells Knesset that a Palestinian government that refuses to recognize Israel is no partner for peace; he also says Israel must stop blaming itself for the cycle of violence and start looking at the 'reality' of the situation with 'open eyes'.

Stormy summer Knesset session expected
Haaretz 16 May -- MKs planning series of steps as possible response to declaration of Palestinian state in September; reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah expected to spark clashes between right and left -- The coalition of Benjamin Netanyahu currently enjoys a stable majority and is expected to easily weather the four no-confidence motions that will be filed by the opposition today. However, there are three scenarios that may result in the breakup of the government in the current Knesset session.

Other news

Haifa university prevents Arab MK Zoabi from delivering lecture
HAIFA, (PIC) 16 May -- The Haifa university administration disallowed a lecture for Arab MK Hanin Zoabi on the occasion of Nakba under the title of "No to racism on Nakba anniversary." The administration, which cancelled another earlier lecture for Sheikh Raed Salah the leader of the Islamic movement in 1948 occupied Palestine, prohibited all activities for the Arab students. The students branch of Zoabi’s party in the university said that the administration’s practice had turned into a routine, vowing to protest the practice and not to remain silent.

UNRWA: We will continue to serve refugees
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 16 May -- Despite financial challenges, UNRWA will continue to provide services for Palestinian refugees, the agency said Sunday. A spokesman for the UN Relief and Works Agency, which serves 4.8 million Palestinian refugees across the region, said there would be no reduction in services despite difficulties secure financial resources. Local popular committees had said the agency was reducing its services due to the Israeli government's refusal to hand over Palestinian tax revenue.

UNRWA employees in Gaza announce strike
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 16 May -- UNRWA employees in Gaza will go on strike for several hours on Monday evening to protest the firing of their colleagues, the UN workers' union said.

Video: Glenn Beck announces 'Restoring Courage' rally in Jerusalem
HuffPost 16 May -- Glenn Beck announced on his radio show Monday that he is planning to hold a rally in Jerusalem in August called "Restoring Courage." ... Beck went to Israel and Jerusalem last week. He warned his listeners on Monday that he thinks disaster is imminent for Israel, because of a "two state solution that cuts off Jerusalem" from the world. "God is involved in man's affairs, but so is the force of darkness," Beck continued ominously. "I believe I've been asked to stand in Jerusalem. Many in the history of man have had the opportunity to stand with the Jewish people...and they have failed." He asked listeners to "stand with me, in Jerusalem" in August.

IDF pulls plug on soldiers' internet access
Haaretz 16 May -- Citing security and budget, army unveils program cutting off Facebook, Twitter and Gmail, drawing ire of suddenly disconnected enlisted ranks ... A new threat has arisen recently, in the form of social networks such as Facebook, to which soldiers have posted photographs and operational details that tarnished the IDF's image and may also have jeopardized security.

Analysis / Opinion

When the Shoah met the Nakba (One group lost all...while the other found everything they needed) / Max Blumenthal
15 May -- The Nakba briefly appears in Tom Segev’s magisterial history of Israel and the Holocaust, “The Seventh Million.” In a single (very long) paragraph, Segev tells the story of how survivors of a genocide were transformed by the Zionist enterprise into participants in a campaign of ethnic cleansing. Segev writes on pp. 161-62: “Then the War of Independence broke out, and tens of thousands of homes were suddenly available. This was what Shaul Avigur called ‘the Arab miracle’: Hundreds of thousands of Arabs fled, and were expelled from their homes. Entire cities and hundreds of villages left empty were repopulated in short order with new immigrants. [note how he compares the erasure of Palestinian villages with that of the massacre site of the Lakota Sioux at Wounded Knee]

Erased and written over: How Nakba villages sank into Israeli landscape / Noga Kadman
972mag 16 May -- Noga Kadman’s landmark book, Erased from Space and Consciousness (Hebrew, November Books, 2008), tracks a key element of the history of the Nakba: The absorption of the remains of over 400 Palestinian villages scattered across historic Palestine into the Israeli geographical and emotional landscape. She shares with us two excerpts from the book: The introduction, describing the work she’s done to track the process; and a part from Chapter Five of the book, listing quotes from the memoirs and journals books of the Jewish communities planted near or on top depopulated Palestinian villages – often within days or weeks of the original inhabitants’ departure

Palestinians in Lebanon, at the lonely end of the Arab uprisings / Matthew Cassel
Guardian 16 May -- Never is a refugee's right to return brought into question - except when that refugee is a Palestinian -- Climbing up the mountain to reach the Palestinian right-of-return protest in Maroun al-Ras in south Lebanon on Sunday felt a bit like being back in Tahrir Square. The thousands of mostly Palestinian refugees were smiling as they joked about the strenuous climb, and helped each other up the mountain to reach the site where they were going to stage their demonstration. Some knew it could even be dangerous, but that didn't matter as much as the rare opportunity to join together and call for their rights ... Sunday's protest wasn't ended by Israel's force but by that of the Lebanese army.

Analysis: IDF worried border protests just beginning / Yaakov Katz
JPost 16 May -- Demonstrations and violence in North likely just the promo for what can be expected in September ahead of Palestinian statehood declaration -- On Sunday, it was 1,000 Syrians who marched on the border with Israel. Next week, it could be 10,000 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip who will march toward the Negev, or Palestinian refugees in Jordan who march toward the Jordan Valley. The successful infiltration on Sunday by a group of just under 100 Syrians into the Druse village of Majdal Shams on the Golan is being viewed by the IDF as just the beginning.

Haaretz editorial: Israel can't detach the Palestinian issue from Syria and Lebanon
16 May -- Israel does not control the march of events, or the march of time. An unresolved problem will continue as a source of trouble, and explode at some particularly painful juncture. The effort to deal with the Palestinian issue as though it were separate from the northern border issue has turned out to be illusory; for its own good, rather than as an act of mercy, Israel must do its utmost (which means doing a whole lot more than what is has done up to now ) to solve the entire imbroglio.

Tel Aviv dismayed over El Arabi's appointment as Arab League secretary-general
MEMO 16 May -- In the first Israeli reaction to the appointment of Egypt's Foreign Minister, Dr Nabil El Arabi, as a replacement for Amr Mussa as the new Secretary General of the Arab League, Israeli media organisations, including certain state outlets, have reported that he had become the leader of 22 Arab States to work against Israel and its interests in the region. Israeli media sources including Ha'aretz, Jerusalem Post, Yediot Ahronot and Israel Radio confirmed that the fears of the government in Tel Aviv over El Arabi's appointment have become greater than ever due to his history of criticism of the Zionist state.

Nakba anger points to third intifadeh / Mel Frykberg
QALANDIA, Occupied West Bank , May 16, 2011 (IPS) - Israeli confidence that Nakba day, marked by The Great March on May 15 in the occupied Palestinian territories, Israel and neighbouring Arab countries, would remain under control, has backfired badly. Three days of mourning, marked by protests, demonstrations, marches and rioting culminated in a "The Great March Day" on Sunday. Thousands of unarmed Palestinian refugees marched on Israel’s borders from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt.  Dozens in Syria managed to scale the border fence and cross into the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Approximately 14 protesters from Lebanon and Syria were shot dead by the IDF, which accused Lebanese forces of being responsible for the Lebanese deaths. The crossings took Israeli intelligence and security officials by surprise.

On remembrance and hope for peace and equality / Akiva Eldar
Haaretz 16 May -- Yesterday, when media outlets incessantly reported about the security forces' preparations for "disturbances" on Nakba Day, Jewish and Arab pupils at Bridge Over the Wadi united to honor Palestinian memories. Less than a week after they stood together to honor the fallen in Israel's wars, Jewish and Arab teachers alike asked that everyone become acquainted with the people and places on the other side of the conflict, which has yet to end.

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