Thursday, 18 October 2012

Video: Before Their Diaspora — Palestinian scholar’s monumental pictorial history now available online

In a landmark new project, the Institute for Palestine Studies (IPS) has made available online Palestinian scholar Walid Khalidi’s immensely important work Before Their Diaspora: A photographic history of the Palestinians, 1876-1948 in its entirety for free. Not only that, but the IPS has gone to the trouble of fashioning an innovative new interactive website around the work.

You can watch Khalidi talk about his book and the new website in this video.

The book is great collection of photographs and historical documents of the Palestinian people from the late Ottoman period, up to the eve of the Nakba, the 1948 wave of ethnic cleansing that Israel used to establish itself. Everything is laid out in chronological order, with well researched captions, and contextual writings on the historical context of each period. The book is both an essential reference work and a useful introduction to the history.

The new interactive website has features useful even for those who own a physical copy. Photographs can be searched for according to location, era, subject and so forth.

Before Their Diaspora is hugely influential, and I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve seen it referenced in footnotes in books about Palestine over the years.The book reclaims the Palestinians’ own history, and debunks the Zionist myth that the Palestinians were not a people before the rise of Zionism and the establishment of Israel. more

Official: Qatari fuel to enter Gaza from Sunday

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Fuel donated by Qatar will be pumped into the Gaza Strip via an Israeli crossing starting on Sunday, a Palestinian crossings official said Thursday.

Delivery of Qatari fuel began in July, but was cut off after a border attack on Egyptian officers on Aug. 5, a Ma'an correspondent said.

Fuel supplies will resume Sunday after delivery from Egypt and through the Israeli Kerem Shalom crossing into Gaza, crossings director Nazmi Muhanna said. more

UN report: settlers destroy more than 7,500 West Bank olive trees

RAMALLAH, (PIC)-- UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has revealed that the Jewish settlers continued their attacks against the Palestinian farmers in the occupied West Bank since the beginning of the year where they destroyed more than 7500 olive trees.

Nearly half (48%) of the agricultural land in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) is planted with 8 million olive trees, the vast majority are in the West Bank, the report revealed, adding that the olive oil industry makes up 14% of the agricultural income for the oPt and supports the livelihoods of approximately 80,000 families.

OCHA report, issued on Thursday, stated that the olive harvest is an economic, social and cultural important occasion for the Palestinian society, while the occupation authorities deliberately prevented those who own agricultural fields located in the areas between the barrier and the Green Line or near the Jewish settlements in the West Bank to obtain permits allowing them to have access to their fields.

In 2011, 42% of applications for permits to access olive groves behind the Barrier submitted prior to the harvest season were rejected, compared to 39% in 2010, according to the report. more

Report: Meshal set to visit Gaza for first time

Arab VIPs including the emir of Qatar are expected to visit the Gaza Strip next week to "completely and officially end the Israeli blockade of several years," Hamas' television station reported Wednesday.

There were also unconfirmed reports that Hamas leader Khaled Meshal, who has never visited Gaza, will accompany the emir.

The station said Qatar is launching a huge reconstruction project in the Strip, for which building materials will be transferred through the Rafah crossing, which hitherto has been open for people only.

Earlier this week, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh announced that Gaza residents would witness historic developments in the coming week.

It's not clear whether the reference was to a planned visit by the emir, Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, which was meant to take place Tuesday but was put off indefinitely due to the escalation between Israel and Hamas.

Meanwhile, the Qatari ambassador in Gaza, Mohammed al-Amadi, announced at a press conference Tuesday that his country is investing $254 million in rehabilitating Gaza, the most significant investment in Gaza since Operation Cast Lead nearly four years ago.

The work is due to begin in three months. more

Israel calculated Palestinian calories for Gaza blockade

JERUSALEM (Reuters) -- Israel calculated the number of calories Palestinians would need to avoid malnutrition under its blockade of the Gaza Strip, according to a study which the Supreme Court forced the government to release.

"It was part of a research paper that came up in two discussions and that we never made use of," Israeli Defense Ministry official Guy Inbar said on Wednesday after the document was published by Gisha, an Israeli human rights group that petitioned to receive it.

Release of the document, presented in January 2008, shed new light on the thinking that helped to shape the blockade that Israel tightened in 2007 after the Gaza Strip was seized by Hamas.

Palestinians described the restrictions, which drew international criticism and were eased in 2010, as collective punishment stifling their economy. more