Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Video: Bedouins resist Israeli plan to expel 40,000 and “Judaize” their land

With the European Union’s recent decision to stop subsidies to any Israeli projects in the occupied West Bank, a lot of media attention has once again been focused on Israeli settlements there.

What has attracted much less international attention is an Israeli plan to force tens of thousands of Palestinian Bedouins out of their homes in the southern Naqab (Negev) region, land that most countries recognize as part of present-day Israel.

This video report from The Real News Network provides essential background, noting that some 200,000 Bedouins live in the Naqab, about half of them in so-called “unrecognized villages” that have existed since before the Israeli state was founded. more

Why are Egyptian media demonizing Palestinians?

On 6 July, Egyptian TV host Shafki al-Moniri, on Al-Yawm TV, apologized to her viewers that she wasn’t in the country a week earlier for the 30 June protests that served as the backdrop for the army’s ouster of President Muhammad Morsi.

But she had been eager to fly home as soon as possible to join the celebrations. As her fellow passengers were checking in for their flight to Cairo from Barcelona, she recounted that one traveler “was very nervous and we didn’t know why he was nervous. We boarded, and a while later, Egypt Air had to offload him.” He turned out to be Palestinian, al-Moniri said.

“The flight attendant explained that there is an order to offload this passenger,” and there was more delay as the passenger’s luggage was located.

She said she was sure this wasn’t an action against all Palestinians, but that there must be a question mark over the particular Palestinian removed from the flight.

At that moment, al-Moniri said, she felt safe because “the army and the police forces are wide awake and acting properly.”

After telling this story, al-Moniri, overcome with emotion and joy, broke down in tears on camera as she repeated, “I love you Egypt, I love you Egypt,” and had to be comforted by her fellow TV host.

It is unclear if al-Moniri knew that in fact, one of the first acts taken by the military regime that overthrew Morsi on 3 July, was to ban Palestinians from entering Egypt through Cairo airport, leaving thousands stranded all over the world, preventing them from returning home to Gaza through Rafah crossing — the sole point of entry and exit for the vast majority of Gaza’s residents. All over the world, Palestinians were denied boarding on Cairo-bound flights and dozens were deported from Cairo’s airport.

These actions against Palestinians have been widely justified with constantly repeated rumors — never backed by evidence — that Palestinians are interfering in Egypt’s affairs, causing turmoil, and are even responsible for attacks on Egyptian security forces by militant groups in the Sinai peninsula.

The allegations have been levelled at Palestinians in general, and Hamas in particular.

To further feed the paranoia, on 8 July a speaker on Al Kahera Wal Nas TV made the allegation that toppled President Morsi is “of Palestinian origin,” an inflammatory and bigoted allegation in the present atmosphere. After the guest made the supposed revelation, the host, instead of asking for evidence, turned to the camera and said, “we must repeat it, President Morsi is of Palestinian origin.” more

Israel charges Haniyeh's sisters for entering Gaza

BEERSHEBA, Israel (Ma'an) -- Israel on Tuesday indicted two sisters of Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh for entering the Gaza Strip.

Sabah Haniyeh, 47, and Laila Abu Raqeeq, 64, are being charged for entering Gaza in December 2012, according to the lawyer for the prosecution.

The sisters, who hold Israeli IDs and live in Tel as-Sabi in southern Israel, had applied for Israeli permission to enter Gaza in 2006 and 2009 but were refused. more

Gaza economy loses $230 million due to tunnel closures

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The economy of the Gaza Strip lost an estimated $230 million in June due to the closure of smuggling tunnels by Egyptian authorities, Gaza's minister of economy said Tuesday.

Over 20,000 people have lost their jobs in the construction industry as a result of shortages in raw materials which usually arrive through the network of smuggling tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border, minister of economy Alaa Rafati told Ma'an.

"The siege Israel imposed on Gaza is still in effect, though it was loosened at a certain point thanks to the tunnels," Rafati said.

Nearly 90 percent of projects funded by Qatar and Turkey have been suspended due to a lack of supplies to Gaza since June 15.

Supplies allowed through by Israel via the Kerem Shalom crossing only cover around 30 percent of the population's needs, Rafati said. more

Haniyeh urges Egypt to stop media incitement

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh on Tuesday urged Egyptian officials to put an end to incitement against Palestinians in the country's media.

"It is in our interest that Egypt remains powerful and united, so it can resume its leading role in the Arab and Islamic world to restore Palestine and free Jerusalem," Haniyeh said at Ramadan prayers.

Hamas officials have been contacting their Egyptian counterparts to end media speculation that Hamas has been playing a role in social and political unrest in the country.

"We haven't played any role in the Egyptian arena because we insist on our declared policy of non-intervention in the internal affairs of any Arab or Islamic country," the Hamas PM said, stressing that the group had not sent militants to the Sinai peninsula. more