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Entries in Palestine (248)


Palestine Feature: Communications Minister Resigns Over Blocking of Websites (BBC)

Mahmoud AbbasThe communications minister of the Palestinian Authority has resigned, claiming it was trying to silence its critics and curb freedom of expression.

Mashour Abu Daqa said senior officials had ordered several opposition websites to be blocked over the past six months.

He said the moves were bad for the image of the PA in the modern world.

Security forces have also recently arrested four journalists and an activist who had criticised President Mahmoud Abbas and other officials.

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Israel Feature: As World Worries About Iran, Netanyahu Expands Settlements (Lynfield)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is moving to expand Israeli settlements in the West Bank at a time when international attention is focused elsewhere, with President Obama gearing up for reelection and the West targeting Iran's nuclear program.

Last week, the Netanyahu government took a variety of steps that, taken together, amount to a significant strengthening of Israel's hold in the West Bank, the biblically resonant territory occupied in 1967, which Palestinians claim as the heartland for their future state.

For Netanyahu, who heads a right-wing coalition with a strong pro-settler contingent, it was a delicate dance of one small step back and six larger steps forward for settlements.

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Palestine Opinion: Britain's Deportation of Sheikh Raed Salah (Patel)

Sheikh Raed Salah (Photo: EPA)The circumstances surrounding Home Secretary Theresa May's decision to issue an exclusion order against Sheikh Raed Salah is a cause for great concern. It is unacceptable that the British government ministers can be influenced heavily by lobby groups on the basis of little more than conflated "evidence" and hearsay, and to such an extent that a senior minister can actually be "misled" and operate under "misapprehension". That was the damning conclusion of the Upper Immigration Tribunal's vice-president who considered Sheikh Salah's appeal against the deportation order.

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Syria, Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: A Deadline Passes as 160 Die

2020 GMT: Back from a development break to find that today's deathtoll in Syria has reached 101, according to the LCCS. The Deir Balbaa district of Homs suffered the hardest hit, but the deaths were distributed as follows:

56 in Homs, 22 martyrs in Hama, 12 martyrs in Idlib, 6 martyrs in Daraa, 3 martyrs in Aleppo, 1 martyr in Harasta in Damascus Suburbs and 1 martyr in Deir Ezzor.

At this late hour, the LCCS also reports that the Assad military is raiding Qa'alat al Madiq, in Hama province.

So, on the day that withdrawal was supposed to start, there has been an escalation in Homs and Hama, a continuation of the campaigns against Idlib and Daraa provinces, and though Aleppo suffered far fewer action than previous days, it too is reporting casualties at the hands of the regime.

A friend of EA's quips that every time Kofi Annan speaks, Assad seems to kill a few dozen people, so for the sake of all of Syria we should hope that Annan gives up his mission of peace.

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Palestine Feature: What Happens When A Journalist Criticises the Palestinian Authority? (Haas)

Protest for Yusuf Al-ShayebJournalists who stood outside the court building exchanged jokes about the "six million dollars." No problem, we'll obtain them, someone said. That's small change, another said. But these light remarks did not hide concerns about their colleague, Yusuf Al-Shayeb, who was at the time on his way to the Magistrate's Court in Ramallah, to have his remand extended.

The Palestinian Authority's foreign ministry, headed by Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki, and the Palestinian diplomatic mission in France have submitted libel claims against Al-Shayeb --- who works for the Palestinian Al-Ayyam newspaper (which is associated with the PA ) and AlGhad, a Jordanian newspaper --- demanding compensation of six million dollars.

Of the two papers that he writes for, it was the Jordanian one that on January 29 published his report on claims of corruption at the Palestinian diplomatic mission in France. The report alleged that the mission's deputy ambassador, Safwat Ibraghit, compels Palestinian students to spy on Muslim groups in France and relay information to Palestinian and foreign intelligence services. Al-Shayeb also claimed that Maliki, Palestinian National Fund director Dr. Ramzi Khouri, and Abu Nabil, who handles funds for Fatah, were responsible for Ibraghit's promotion, despite complaints that have been leveled against him.

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Bahrain, Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: No Sleep Until....

1950 GMT: Al Jazeera finds this picture, reportedly taken in the town of Dael, Daraa, a small town that is no stranger to the ferocious crackdown of the Assad regime. The protesters hold signs, in English, and wave pre-Baath party Syrian flags, the symbols of the opposition. The message echoes that of many in Syria:

1945 GMT: A bold claim by the opposition in Quriyah, Deir Ez Zor:

"The Free Syrian Army killed the Major General Mohamed Hameem, the Commander, 17th Division-Armored Vehicles."

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Palestine 1st-Hand: A Gazan's Visit to Jerusalem (Abusalama)

Due to Israel’s apartheid checkpoints, it took us a day to reach Jericho, which is roughly one hour from Allenby Bridge. I waited eagerly, imagining myself walking around the old city of Jerusalem before heading to Gaza. We wasted over four hours waiting for the Israeli soldiers to let us pass through their checkpoints. Being from Gaza made my crossing procedures even more complicated. I spent the whole trip to Jericho counting minutes and hours. The more time we wasted, the less likely it became for me to tour Jerusalem. The time limit that Israel imposed by closing Erez at 7:00 pm made me stressful.

At sunset, I finished all the crossing and security procedures. I hurried to the exit to find my taxi driver sweating, standing by his parked car next to the door waiting for us. He rushed me inside the car, saying that he had to drive me to the District Coordination Offices (DCO) right away to get a permit to leave before it was too late. People from Gaza get permits to cross through Erez back to Gaza there, and people from West Bank get permits to enter Jerusalem and other “Israeli” territory.

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Palestine Opinion: The Hunger Strike of Hana Shalabi --- "Will Anyone See It?" (Kuttab)

Hana Shalabi has been on hunger strike for over a month. Her condition has been deteriorating so badly that prison officials had to transfer her to a Haifa hospital (though she wasn't admitted to the hospital).

Shalabi is protesting being held in administrative detention. These detentions are quasi-legal action through which Israel incarcerates individuals without charge or proper trial. Israel inherited this undemocratic procedure from the British mandate, which enacted it as part of the 1945 emergency regulations.

International humanitarian law frowns on this procedure and Israel was asked by the international community on numerous occasions to end this practice. Over 300 Palestinians are presently held without charge.

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Israeli Jets Kill 14 in Gaza; Rockets Fired into Southern Israel (Brulliard/Abdulkarim)

An explosion in Gaza today from an Israeli airstrike

An escalation of cross-border violence continued for the second day on Saturday, as the death toll from Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip rose to 14 militants and militant factions fired dozens more rockets into southern Israel.

Two militant groups in Gaza said those killed in at least 10 airstrikes from Friday to Saturday were their fighters, among them a top commander. Witnesses and medics said the latest airstrike, at midday Saturday, killed two militants in the crowded Gaza refugee camp of Khan Younis.

Militants vowed revenge after the initial strike that killed a leading commander on Friday, and they claimed responsibility for a subsequent torrent of more than 90 rockets that the Israeli military said were launched from Gaza toward southern Israel.

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Palestine Opinion: Have Hunger Strikers "Reinvigorated Resistance"? (Silver)

Woman with Poster of Hana al-ShalabiKhader Adnan and Hana al Shalabi have reinvigorated resistance and raised the long-flagging morale of people on the streets. This is a dramatic testament to the adage that change can only come from below --- so maybe it's time we stop looking to the top.

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