Thursday, May 29, 2008

Traveling in Beit Hanina

Said Rhateb was born in 1972, five years after Israeli soldiers fought their way through East Jerusalem and claimed his family's dry, rock-strewn plot as part of what the Jewish state proclaimed its "eternal and indivisible capital". The bureaucrats followed in the army's footsteps, registering and measuring Israel's largest annexation of territory since its victory over the Arab armies in the 1948 war of independence. They cast an eye over the Rhateb family's village of Beit Hanina and its lands, a short drive from the biblical city on the hill, and decided the outer limits of this new Jerusalem. The Israelis drew a line on a map - a new city boundary - between Beit Hanina's lands and most of its homes. The olive groves and orchards were to be part of Jerusalem; the village was to remain in the West Bank.

The population was not so neatly divided. Arabs in the area were registered as living in the village - even those, like Rhateb's parents, whose homes were inside what was now defined as Jerusalem. In time, the Israelis gave the Rhatebs identity cards that classified them as residents of the West Bank, under military occupation. When Said Rhateb was born, he too was listed as living outside the city's boundaries. His parents thought little of it as they moved freely across the invisible line drawn by the Israelis, shopping and praying inside the walls of Jerusalem's Old City.

Four decades later, the increasingly complex world of Israel's system of classification deems Said Rhateb to be a resident of the West Bank - somewhere he has never lived - and an illegal alien for living in the home in which he was born, inside the Jerusalem boundary. Jerusalem's council forces Rhateb to pay substantial property taxes on his house but that does not give him the right to live in it, and he is periodically arrested for doing so. Rhateb's children have been thrown out of their Jerusalem school, he cannot register a car in his name - or rather he can, but only one with Palestinian number plates, which means he cannot drive it to his home because only Israeli-registered cars are allowed within Jerusalem - and he needs a pass to visit the centre of the city. The army grants him about four a year.

There is more. If Rhateb is not legally resident in his own home, then he is defined as an "absentee" who has abandoned his property. Under Israeli law, it now belongs to the state or, more particularly, its Jewish citizens. "They sent papers that said we cannot sell the land or develop it because we do not own the land. It belongs to the state," he says. "Any time they want to confiscate it, they can, because they say we are absentees even though we are living in the house. That's what forced my older brother and three sisters to live in the US. They couldn't bear the harassment."

from "Worlds Apart" by Chris McGreal in The Guardian
For years I have thought that someone like the BBC or Al Jazeera should do a piece about the situation of the people who live in Beit Haninah, especially "Beit Haninah al balad," also called "Beit Haninah tahht," Lower Beit Haninah. The village of Beit Hanina was occupied by Israel in 1967. It was outside of the Jerusalem municipal borders while under Jordanian and British Mandate rule, but Israel incorporated part of the land into the much enlarged municipal borders. As the excerpt above mentions, most of the village's land was incorporated into Jerusalem, but the oldest part of the village where most of the people lived was left in the West Bank. But lines on maps were not easily seen on the ground, before this decade at least, and the people of Beit Hanina went on trying to live their lives as normally as possible. The village grew over the years, as villages usually do. Many Hanayyna (people from Beit Hanina) built on their lands that had been annexed to Jerusalem, and "Upper Beit Hanina" became more built up than the older area down the hill. The close, interconnected families of Beit Hanina were spread out on both sides of the border.In the last 10 years, I don't remember precisely when it was completed, the Israelis built a highway that cut through Beit Hanina, between the Upper and Lower neighborhoods. This was one of those roads meant to connect the settlements to Jerusalem, and only Israelis and Jerusalem residents are allowed on it, even though it is in the West Bank. There were a couple overpasses, so that the new highway went over the roads connecting the two halves of the village. Some land was confiscated for the highway, some trees and houses were lost, but mostly life went on as it had before.
(click on the images for larger versions)
After the outbreak of the al Aqsa intifada in September of 2000 and the completion of that road, Israel started cutting off more and more of the roads that connected Jerusalem to the West Bank, so they could control who entered and exited through the checkpoints at the main roads. The old road between lower Beit Haninah and Bir Nabala just to the north was for a while a way to bypass the checkpoint on the main road between Ramallah and northern East Jerusalem. So the Israelis blocked the road to Bir Nabala with a large mound of rocks, earth and garbage scraped up from the land around it. You could walk around it or climb over it, but you couldn't drive through it. There are a lot of people in Bir Nabala who are in the construction business, and occasionally one of them would brave taking a bulldozer and clearing a path through for cars, but the Israelis would just come back and build the earth mound again. I used to feel sorry for the people in the last house on the road just before Bir Nabala, because it was sort of isolated and much closer to Bir Nabala. If they wanted to use a car to bring their grocieries to the house, they would have to go to Beit Haninah even though Bir Nabala was much closer. But I think for the majority of the residents of Lower Beit Haninah life went on without much change, because their "center of life" was very much focused on Jerusalem.

I have used Google Earth to measure the distance between two places in Beit Haninah to illustrate how upper and lower Beit Haninah have been cut off. The distance by road between point A in lower Beit Hanina and point B in Upper Beit Hanina on the map below is 0.48 miles (0.77km).
Then one day, the Israelis removed the earth mound between Bir Nabala and Beit Hanina, and instead blocked the underpasses that connected Upper and Lower Beit Hanina. That created a serious disruption in the Hanayyna's lives. Now, to get from one neighborhood to the other, they had to take a much longer route through Bir Nabala and the Ram checkpoint. What used to be a short drive of only a half a mile became over 4 1/2 miles (7.8km). Sure, 4 1/2 miles might seem short to you, but the road to Bir Nabala was very poor, and the cars had to go very slowly and if 2 cars passed each other, one of them had to drop its wheels off the pavement on one side. Then they had to wait to pass through the checkpoint, which was often crowded and time consuming. That is if they could pass at all. Anyone with a west Bank ID couldn't pass even if they owned land or even lived in the Jerusalem side, like the man in the story above. At first, the barrier was just another earth mound, and you could walk over it. Some people would dig it out a bit to make it easier for the old ladies and children to climb over. There were lots of kids who climbed over, because the Beit Hanina's girls' and boys' schools were on opposite sides! People from lower Beit Haninah were cut off from easy access to their property, jobs, better medical care, worship in their holy places and the city that was at the center of their lives. And of course families had a harder time visiting each other. But as long as the road was only blocked by stones and dirt, they kept going over it, on the lookout for the Israeli soldiers who occasionally sat on the road on the Jerusalem side.

So the Israelis decided they needed a better way to block the road.
And then as a testament to the Palestinian stubborn insistence to be able to live their lives on their own lands, they blocked it even more.
At the same time, walls and fences were built all along the Israelis-only road above. Don't forget, both sides of this barrier are occupied territory according to international law. The road that is blocked was just used for Palestinians from one Palestinian neighborhood to enter another Palestinian neighborhood, trying to maintain the way of life they had for ages.

And then it got worse.

The road between Bir Nabala and Ram was cut off not once, but twice by The Wall. There are pictures of the place the road now dead ends in this post of mine. The Israelis cut a road through a hill north of Bir Nabala to give the people of these encircled villages a route to Ramallah. It is a very nice, smooth road, until you get a bit past the new checkpoint. Then you are forced to drive slowly on a narrow, bumpy road to detour around the northern most point that Israel has added to the Jerusalem boundaries, around the old airport where Israel is considering putting a new settlement for Orthodox Jews. To go from Lower Beit Hanina to Upper Beit Haninah requires driving up the newly repaved road to Bir Nabala and passing through the new checkpoint, driving north of the airport on a road so narrow that 2 cars cannot pass with all their tires on the pavement, twisting and tuning though small roads in a densely populated residential area along the edges of Qalandia refugee camp, until you get to the Qalandia border crossing. Cars with West Bank license plates cannot cross into Jerusalem, so unless you have the right license plates, you have to get out and walk through the Qalandia crossing terminal. See this video to get an idea of what you have to go through there. Then you can get in another car and head south toward Upper Beit Haninah, but you will have to pass one more checkpoint before you get there!

The trip between 2 neighbors less than a half a mile apart is now 10 long, tiresome miles (over 16km) plus 3 checkpoints.

Seriously, could you live like this? What would you do if this was your neighborhood and your family that was separated like this?

All of the pictures in this post are from 's photo albums . Another good site dedicated to Beit Hanina is

Sunday, May 25, 2008


A friend of mine brought me seeds for these flowers a few years ago.
It was a wildflower mix, but these are much bigger than most of our local wildflowers.
I saved seeds and grew them again the next year.
They didn't do quite as well.
I didn't plant any this year but one "volunteer" grew back anyway.

Monday, May 19, 2008

a ruined mosque and the rest of the al Jazeera documentary on Jaffa

Al Jazeera has posted the second part of their documentary on Jaffa. This one deals with the aftermath of the war in 1948, looking at the lives of Jaffa residents who became refugees and those that stayed behind.

About half way through the last of the clips below, it tells of 2 mosques that were left after the Israelis destroyed the neighborhoods around them. One has been renovated, but the other is in a sad state. The Siksek mosque was built by members of the Siksek family over 100 years ago. The Israelis confiscated it, and sold it into private ownership. It was most recently used as a store room for a plastics factory. The reporter who did the documentary entered the mosque with a descendant of the family who built it, and he cried when he saw the destruction. I wish they had some clearer pictures of the interior, but here are 2 screen shots of the mosque incase you don't have the bandwidth to watch the video.

Here are the videos:
Palestine Street - The Bride in Exile - 15 May 08 - Part 1

Palestine Street - The Bride in Exile - 15 May 08 - Part 2

Palestine Street - The Bride in Exile - 15 May 08 - Part 3

Palestine Street - The Bride in Exile - 15 May 08 - Part 4

Sunday, May 18, 2008

alJazeera documentary on Jaffa

Al Jazeera has put online the first part of a documentary about Jaffa before and after the naqba. It is called Palestine street - The Lost Bride. I thought calling the street that already has several other names "Palestine Street" was kind of a lame idea, but the documentary was interesting. These 4 parts are only episode one. I love that al Jazeera has some of their programs up online, but I wish they could make it a little easier to watch the longer shows that are broken up into parts, by making a playlist for them so you don't have to hunt for the next part, or at least not saying that it is a "2 part documentary" and then dividing part one into "4 parts." Anyway, here it is all lined up for you.........

Palestine Street - The Lost Bride - 14 May 08 - Part 1

Palestine Street - The Lost Bride - 14 May 08 - Part 2

Palestine Street - The Lost Bride - 14 May 08 - Part 3

Palestine Street - The Lost Bride - 14 May 08 - Part 4

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Back to our regularly scheduled flowers...

I don't usually do so many political type posts, so, inshaAllah I will be going back to my usual mix. If I only concentrate on the politics, I get too depressed to get through my day.

One night last month my son came in saying that there was a "flower full of black bees." I don't know what kind of insect these are or why they were all having a pajama party on this one flower, but I snapped a picture with the flash, and by morning they were all gone.

Settlement on a mosque!?!?! Hebron / al Khalil

Buried, originally uploaded by subterranean_.

"From the rooftop of a Palestinian home you can see how the settlers are effectively building new homes on top of existing Palestinian houses and holy places. In the case of the Mosque below, because it could not be razed without fierce resistance, the settlers simply built above it.

The new settlers in the buildings above have recently arrived from Brooklyn, New York."

The situation in Hebron / al Khalil in the West Bank is one of the most shocking and extreme. Like many West Bank towns, it has settlements all around it, but there is also a settlement right inside the city. I have been reading about it for years, but this photo seriously shocked me. HOW can they build OVER a mosque??? Please look at this photo set on Flickr for more pictures and explanations.

West Bank Part Two: Hebron

This is a Door

This is a Door, originally uploaded by subterranean_.

This sewage system is the only means of school children crossing from one side of their town to the other. The school is located on this side of the barrier, and most of the children live on the other side.

The water is filthy, hazardous and utterly disgusting. "

This photo set on Flickr is about the wall. The pictures are well labeled and worth the time. I have been wanting to take a picture of the CTRL + ALT + DELETE graffiti for ages, but I have no other reason to get out of the car in that area. It is right near the Qalandia checkpoint and refugee camp.

Road 443

Please watch these excellent videos about Road 443. This road was built in the West Bank, on Palestinian land. When it was built, the people living next to it were told that they would benefit from it, but now they are not even allowed to use it.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, this first video really explains the situation.

The second half shows some of the non-violent demonstrations against this injustice.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Judaizing East Jerusalem

Today we are commemorating the nakba of 1948, when 750,000 Palestinians were displaced and dispossessed of their homes and land, but the nakba was not a one time event, it is a continuing process. 240,000 more Palestinians were made refugees in and around 180,000 of the refugees from 1948 were forced to move again. Even today, Palestinians from Jerusalem are being forced from their homes. Israel claims all of East and West Jerusalem as its "eternal and undivided capital," and in order to secure its hold on the land, Israel has pursued a consistent policy to create and maintain a Jewish majority in the city. This demographic battle has 2 strategies, first to encourage Israeli Jews to move into East Jerusalem, and second to move out as many Palestinians as possible.

The UN plan that partitioned Palestine into a Jewish and Arab state did not include Jerusalem in either the Israeli or Palestinian state, it was a "corpus separatum" to be governed by an international body, since the city contained the holy sites of Jews, Christians and Muslims. The fighting in 1948 left the western part of the city in Israeli hands and the Old City and East Jerusalem were incorporated into the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. When the eastern part of the city was captured in 1967, Israel declared sovereignty over both sides of the city and redrew the boundaries of the eastern side to include some undeveloped West Bank land and to exclude some of the Arab villages that had been considered part of Jerusalem prior to 1967. This was the first step in the process of Judaizing Jerusalem.

According to international law, all of the territory captured in the 1967 war, including East Jerusalem, is occupied territory and its inhabitants are protected by 4th Geneva Convention which insists on the right of return and forbids collective punishments among other things. Three United Nations Security Council Resolutions are directly related to the status of Jerusalem.

* In response to Israel’s occupation of foreign territory,

United Nations Security Council Resolution

(UNSCR) 242 of 1967 calls for the “Withdrawal of

Israel armed forces from territories occupied in

the recent conflict.”

• In response to Israel’s expansion of Jerusalem’s

borders, UNSCR 252 of 1968 states that the Security

Council “Considers that all...actions taken

by Israel...which tend to change the legal status

of Jerusalem are invalid and cannot change that


• In response to Israel’s attempt to annex Occupied

East Jerusalem, UNSCR 476 of 1980 states

that the Security Council “Recommends that all

actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power,

which purport to alter the character and status of

Jerusalem have no legal validity and constitute a

flagrant violation of the Geneva Convention relative

to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time

of War and also constitute a serious obstruction

to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting

peace in the Middle East.”

Palestinians in the annexed parts of East Jerusalem in 1967 were given "permanent resident" status in Israel. Residents who were not present at the time of the census after the war were excluded, including those that had gone abroad temporarily for work or educational reasons and those that fled from the fighting. Around 8,000 Jerusalemites lost their right to go home as a result of this. Permanent residents could become citizens if they were willing to swear allegiance to of the State of Israel, but unsurprisingly, few did. Jerusalemites were issued an ID card different from the IDs given to West Bank residents, and they have the right to live and work in Israel without other special permits and receive public education. They can buy land and vote in local elections. Since a 1988 Supreme Court ruling, they are also eligible for the national health insurance and social security benefits. And of course they pay taxes. A special permit is needed by Permanent Residents to leave and re-enter the country, and residency is not automatically granted to their spouse and children.

Israel has been changing the demographic balance of East Jerusalem by moving Israeli Jews into the area and pressuring Palestinians out. In an article in Forced Migration Review by Elodie Guego, the process of land confiscation and limits to Palestinian neighborhoods' growth is described:

Between 1967 and 1994 Israel confiscated 24.8 square kilometres of land in East Jerusalem, 80% of it belonging to Palestinians. Land expropriation is continuing. Today a mere 7% of the area of East Jerusalem remains available to Palestinians. Confiscated land has mostly been used for the construction of Jewish settlements and settlers’ bypass roads, in violation of international humanitarian law prohibiting an occupying power from transferring part of its own population into territory it has occupied. The Jerusalem Municipality has expediently used zoning restrictions to establish ‘green areas’, supposedly set aside for environmental and recreational purposes, but actually deployed as a tactic to remove the land from Palestinian use and create a reserve for Jewish housing.

The Town Planing Scheme (TPS), another key instrument of ‘quiet transfer’, restricts building permits in already built-up areas, the only areas available for Palestinian use. TPS has been used to restrict the development of Palestinian neighbourhoods. Palestinians are only permitted to build one- or two storey buildings while adjacent Israeli housing units may have up to eight floors. Palestinians must go through a complex and time-consuming administrative process to obtain a building permit. These cost around $25,000 – a considerable obstacle as Palestinian incomes are significantly below those of Israelis. Palestinians obtain a disproportionately small percentage of the building permits issued every year by the Jerusalem Municipality. Only 7.5% of the homes legally built during the period 1990-1997 belong to Palestinians.

It is ironic that despite promises to stop building settlements as part of the so-called peace plans (Oslo and the Road Map) the Israeli government has insisted that the settlements had to be allowed to expand for "natural growth," but Palestinians living in East Jerusalem on land they owned before 1967 are not usually allowed to build to accommodate their growing families. Even adding one room to an over crowded house is hard to do legally. The result is a housing shortage in Palestinian neighborhoods and extremely high prices for land and rents. As a result of the difficulty of obtaining permits, as many as one third of buildings in Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem are "illegal" according to Israeli law. These unlicensed houses are at risk of being demolished by the Israeli authorities. A fact sheet published by the Palestinian National Authority Ministry of Information explains the situation:

Between 1994 and 2006, 706 Palestinians houses were demolished.

While illegal construction also takes place in West Jerusalem, demolition orders are much less likely to be issued. In 2004 for example, the Jerusalem Municipality demolished 53% of illegal structures it located in East Jerusalem, compared to 26% in West Jerusalem; 95% of the demolition orders it issued against illegal structures in East Jerusalem were carried out, while only 65% of these orders were carried out in West Jerusalem.

East Jerusalem residents also receive less in the way of municipal services from the Jerusalem municipality. According to the same fact sheet:

While Palestinian Jerusalemites pay the same tax rates as their Israeli counterparts, whose per capita income is approximately 8 times higher, there are stark differences in the level of municipal services available to the two groups. Despite forming 33% of the city’s residents, just 12% of the municipal budget is allocated to East Jerusalem, while the rest goes to West Jerusalem.

The spouses and children of permanent residents are not automatically granted permanent resident status. If a Jerusalemite marries a resident of the West Bank, they have to apply for "family reunification," for the West Bank ID holder to be allowed to live in Jerusalem. In the Washington Report On Middle East Affairs, Katherine M. Metres says, The Israeli government's policy on family reunification is a bureaucratic nightmare. It is designed to pacify gullible human rights critics while frustrating Palestinians.” Until April 1994, it was "generally known" that Female residents' applications for their non resident husbands were usually refused. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel challenged that policy in an Israeli court, and now women can apply for family reunification. However, if the husband has any sort of security record, he will be refused. Ms. Metres explains:

Since a majority of young West Bank men have been incarcerated at some point during the intifada, a huge section of the population remains ineligible.

Refusing to let persons with "security records" live in Jerusalem puts Israel in violation not only of international law but also of minimum standards of fairness. First, the Israelis as an occupying power in East Jerusalem are prohibited by the Fourth Geneva Convention from altering the normal life of the civilians in such matters as residency with their families. Second, the security record of the relative submitting the application should never be considered as relevant, since the request is on behalf of a different person. Third, few persons with a security record have ever had an opportunity to defend themselves in a court of law since they were held without trial in "administrative detention." And finally, prisoners who actually received legal process have served their sentences. They should not be doubly punished, nor should their families.

Since May 2002, Israel has stopped accepting applications for family reunification for Jerusalem residents.

Children are registered according to their father's ID. A female Jerusalem resident cannot register her children on her ID. Children born in the West Bank cannot be registered on their parent's Jerusalem IDs. Those who are not registered on a Jerusalem ID will not be able to access public education or the healthcare Jerusalem residents are entitled to, even if their parents live and pay taxes in Jerusalem. When a child reaches 16, if he has not secured his own Jerusalem ID, he will not be able to pass though the checkpoints to enter Jerusalem even to visit his Jerusalem resident grandparents without a special permit. This whole policy is designed to pressure families where one spouse is from outside Jerusalem to leave Jerusalem.

As a result of the housing shortage, soaring land and rent prices, painfully high taxes and difficulty in obtaining family reunification, some Jerusalemites chose to move to the villages just outside the Jerusalem municipal boundaries. Then in 1995, Israel began taking the Jerusalem IDs of people who could not prove that their "center of life" was in Jerusalem. If they could not prove that they had lived and worked in Jerusalem during the previous 7 years, they might find themselves no longer allowed to live in the place they were born, or even to have to apply for a permit to visit their family home! This new rule was applied retroactively, and no warning was given so that residents could protect their status. To obtain birth certificates, family reunifications or travel permits, a long list of electric bills, tax papers and school records may have to be produced. Representatives of the Ministry of the Interior occasionally showed up at the listed homes of applicants to verify if the permanent resident was really living there. Accepting citizenship in another country is also grounds for the Ministry to revoke a permanent resident's ID. Traveling carrying the travel document Jerusalem residents are provided is difficult, and often involves long waits for visas, so many Jerusalemites who were able to take western citizenships took them, only to find they could no longer go home. However Israelis have no problems having dual citizenship.

Fearing the loss of their Jerusalem IDs many Jerusalemites moved back into the city, putting further pressure on the housing situation there, and leaving many vacancies in the villages on the boarders of Jerusalem, which had previously been experiencing a building boom. Other people who had lost their IDs were faced with a challenging life. They could stay in Jerusalem illegally, never leaving the city and trying to avoid the internal checkpoints that might be set up at a moments notice, or they could stay outside, cut off from their family home, jobs and places of worship. The "center of life" policy was suspended after 4 years because it was actually encouraging Palestinians to move back into Jerusalem, but it was revived after the outbreak of the Al Aqsa Intifada in 2002. The revoking of IDs has certainly continued. In 2006, 1,363 Jerusalem residents lost their IDs, 6 times more than the year before.

The Wall is the latest method of eliminating Palestinians from East Jerusalem. It runs right through many Palestinian neighborhoods, leaving many permanent residents out side. For instance, the Shofat refugee camp and West Anata, with 55,000 mostly Jerusalem residents, were left outside the wall. Families are separated and people are cut off from their jobs, schools, health care facilities and holy sites.

Israel is slowly, quietly, continuing the ethnic cleansing of East Jerusalem of its Palestinian residents. While the world ignores the situation, the nakba in Jerusalem continues with out any massacres and headlines.


Jerusalem / al Quds Factsheet

‘Quiet transfer’ in East Jerusalem nears completion

by Elodie Guego

Israeli Ethnic Cleansing Undiminished in Jerusalem

By Katherine M. Metres in the Washington report for Middle East Affairs

(Click map to enlarge)

map from

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

1000 year old mosques destroyed in the wake of the Nakba

from Palestine Remembered
Photographer K.A.C. Creswell
Copyright © Creswell Archive, Ashmolean Museum

I read an interesting article in Ha'aretz, an Israeli newspaper, about the destruction of 3 ancient mosques after the nakba and the creation of the state of Israel. They were in Yibna (Yavneh), Isdood (Ashdod) and Majdal (Ashkelon).

History Erased

By Meron Rapoport

In July 1950, Majdal - today Ashkelon - was still a mixed town. About 3,000 Palestinians lived there in a closed, fenced-off ghetto, next to the recently arrived Jewish residents. Before the 1948 war, Majdal had been a commercial and administrative center with a population of 12,000. It also had religious importance: nearby, amid the ruins of ancient Ashkelon, stood Mash'had Nabi Hussein, an 11th-century structure where, according to tradition, the head of Hussein Bin Ali, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, was interred; his death in Karbala, Iraq, marked the onset of the rift between Shi'ites and Sunnis. Muslim pilgrims, both Shi'ite and Sunni, would visit the site. But after July 1950, there was nothing left for them to visit: that's when the Israel Defense Forces blew up Mash'had Nabi Hussein.

This was not the only Muslim holy place destroyed after Israel's War of Independence. According to a book by Dr. Meron Benvenisti, of the 160 mosques in the Palestinian villages incorporated into Israel under the armistice agreements, fewer than 40 are still standing. What is unusual about the case of Mash'had Nabi Hussein is that the demolition is documented, and direct responsibility was taken by none other than the GOC Southern Command at the time, an officer named Moshe Dayan. The documentation shows that the holy site was blown up deliberately, as part of a broader operation that included at least two additional mosques, one in Yavneh and the other in Ashdod.
the rest of the article is here:

Yibna was said to be the site of Abu Hurierah's tomb (RA), but I have also read that his tomb is in Syria and Hussein Bin Ali's tomb is in Cairo, so Allahu 'alim.
The following list is from "Role of Palestinian Civil Society in the Protection of Holy Sites in Palestine" by Mr. Adnane Ibrahim Hassan Al Subah There is also a list of Christian sites that were destroyed, damaged or confiscated.

Mosques converted into facilities for other purposes

1- Al Bassa mosque - ‘Akka jurisdiction - (Shlomy) converted into a sheep enclosure.

2- Zaib mosque - ‘Akka jurisdiction - (Akhzif) converted into a storehouse for agricultural tools for the Aghzif Park.

3- Ain Zaitun mosque - Safad jurisdiction - converted into a cattle enclosure.

4- Al Ahmar mosque - Safad - converted into a meeting place for artists.

5- As-Souk mosque - Safad - converted into an exhibition hall for statutes and photographs.

6- Al Qal’a mosque - Safad - converted into the headquarters of the Safad municipality.

7- Al Khalissa mosque - (Kriat Shmona) - converted into a municipal museum.

8- Dar Al Baida mosque - East-north and south of the petrol station- converted into block of offices.

9- Al Burj mosque -‘Akka - converted into a university students’ affairs office.

10- Ain Hawd mosque - Jurisdiction of Haifa - converted into a restaurant and a bar.

11- The old mosque in Qissaria - Jurisdiction of Haifa - converted into an office for the architects of the Development Company

12- The new mosque in Qissaria - Jurisdiction of Haifa - converted into a restaurant and bar

13- Al Hamma mosque- the Golan - closed and used by the adjoining restaurant as a storage facility for alcohol and foodstuffs.

14- Siksek mosque - Yafa - the ground floor is used as a plastic plant and the first floor as a gambling joint.

15- Attabia mosque - closed down and used by a Christian as a house.

16- ‘Asqalan mosque - one side of it is a museum and the other is a bar restaurant.

17- Al Maliha mosque - Al Quds - part of the mosque is used as a house by a Jew and the terrace of the mosque is used to hold festivities for the neighbours.

18- The Great Mosque - Bir Sab’a - in a state of neglect but was previously used as a museum.

19- The Small Mosque - Bir Sab’a - converted into a shop run by a Jew.

Mosques and mausoleums converted into synagogues

1- Yaqub mosque and mausoleum - Safad - converted into a synagogue.

2- Yaquq mausoleum - jurisdiction of Tabariya - converted into a Jewish mausoleum called “Habquq.”

3- Sit Sukaina mausoleum - Tabariya - converted into a Jewish mausoleum called “Rachel.”

4- Sheikh Denial mausoleum - Dana, east of Tamra Azza’bia - Jurisdiction of Bissan- converted into a Jewish mausoleum called “Dan.”

5- Al ‘Afula Mosque - converted into a synagogue.

6- Kafrita mosque - Kafr Atta- converted into a synagogue.

7- Sheikh Chahada mausoleum - religious Jews visit this mausoleum with the intent of converting it into a Jewish mausoleum called “Zion Ibn Gideon.” Several violations have already been committed there.

8- Samaane mausoleum - northwest of Qulaiqila - converted into a Jewish mausoleum by the same name.

9- Benyamine mausoleum - north of Qulaiqila - converted into a Jewish mausoleum by the same name.

10- Ali Mausoleum - Alyazur - converted into a synagogue.

11- Mausoleum of Abu Huraira in Yibna - jurisdiction of Ramla - converted into a Jewish mausoleum for Rabbi Gimlael.

12- Mosque of Prophet Robin - South of Yafa - converted into a Jewish mausoleum called “Raobin Ibn Yaaqub.”

13- Mausoleum of Sheikh Gharbawi - west of Al Midia village - Modi’ine - converted into a Jewish mausoleum for Matatyahu.

Closed, Neglected and Demolished Mosques and Mausoleums

1- Umm Al Faraj mosque - jurisdiction of ‘Akka - (Ben Ammi) - demolished on 4/12/1997.

2- Wadi Al Hawarith mosque - jurisdiction of Tulkarem - (near Al Khudaira) - demolished by some Jews on 03/02/2000.

3- Sheikh Ni’ma mosque - Safad - demolished, but the minaret is still standing.

4- Al Khudar mausoleum - Al Bassa - Shlomy - in a state of neglect.

5- Al Zaidani mosque -Tabariyya- closed and in a state of neglect.

6- Al Bahar mosque - Tabariyya - closed and in a state of neglect.. The municipality of Tabariyya restored it for the purpose of using it as museum but it was burnt by a Jew on 6/2/2000.

7- Hittine mausoleum - jurisdiction of Tabariyya - (Kafar Zitim) - closed down several times by the Israeli land administration.

8- ‘Umqa mosque - ‘Umqa colony - closed, in a state of neglect and in danger of collapse.

9- Sheikh Mohammed Kwikat mausoleum - Bait Haemaq - in a state of neglect.

10- Prophet Yirchaa’s mausoleum - (Mitsoddat Yushaa) - jurisdiction of Safad- in a state of neglect.

11- Two mosques in Khan Jub Yussuf (Kibbutz Amead) - in a state of neglect.

12- Sheikh Ibriq mausoleum - Haifa coast - in a state of neglect.

13- Sheikh Ibriq mausoleum - Tabuun - in a state of neglect.

14- Prophet Hochan’s mausoleum - Hocha, north of Ibtine - jurisdiction of Haifa- restored by Muslims.

15- Mosque of Ibtine - jurisdiction of Haifa - in a state of neglect.

16- Ahmed mosque - ‘Akka - in a state of neglect.

17- Sumairiyya mosque - jurisdiction of ‘Akka - closed down by the Israeli Land Administration.

18- A mausoleum in Al Manchiyya - ‘Akka’ - inhabited by a Muslim family to preserve it.

19- Al Manchiyya mosque - in a state of neglect.

20- The Small mosque in Haifa - in a state of neglect ; Muslims are not allowed to restore and use it.

21- Assuhaili mausoleum - Balad Cheikh - Haifa - in a state of neglect.

22- Allujun mosque - Mjido- formerly converted into a carpenter shop, but now in a state of neglect.

23- Maalul mosque - jurisdiction of Nassera - demolished to a large extent and only a small portion remains.

24- A mausoleum in Tirat Al Karmal - Haifa jurisdiction - in a state of neglect.

25- Sarfand mosque - Haifa- (Hebonim) - in a state of neglect.

26- Ajzim mosque - coast of Haifa - closed down by the Israeli Land Administration. Anyone who violates the Israeli order risks going to prison.

27- Sheikh Ali mausoleum - Jab’- Coast of Haifa - in a state of neglect.

28- Umm Al ‘Alaq mosque - Rouha - (Rimat Handif) - in a state of neglect.

29- New mosque - Qissariya - demolished.

30- Sheikh Ahmed’s mausoleum - Al Khudaira - in a state of neglect.

31- Jamal Eddine Aqouch - south of Bir Sekka - in a state of neglect.

32- Saidna Ali mosque - Al Haram - (Herzelia) - restored by the Muslims and used for prayers.

33- Assadeq mausoleum - Majdal Sadeq - South of Kafr Qassim - jurisdiction of Ramla - in a state of neglect.

34- Prophet Yahya’s mausoleum - Al Muzairi’a - jurisdiction of Ramla- in a state of neglect.

35- Abi Al Awan’s mausoleum - Jamjuliyya - in a state of neglect.

36- Suraqa’s mausoleum - west of Qulaiqila - neglected.

37- A mausoleum in Al Midahdira - west of Tirat Bani Saab - in a state of neglect.

38- Maska mosque - west of Tirat Bani Saab - largely demolished.

39- Al Yazur mausoleum - jurisdiction of Yafa - in a state of neglect.

40- Ahmed Iqbal Usdud’s mausoleum - jurisdiction of Gaza - in a state of neglect.

41- Usdud mosque - jurisdiction of Gaza - partly demolished, in a state of neglect.

42- Sheikh ‘Awad mosque - ‘Asqalane - jurisdiction of Gaza - in a state of neglect.

43- Tamim Addari’s mausoleum - Bait Jibril - jurisdiction of Hebron - in a state of neglect, it was burnt three years ago.

44- Zakaraiyya’s mosque - north of Bait Jibril - in a state of neglect.

45- A mosque in Dir Sheikh - Al Quds mountains - in a state of neglect.

46- Ain Karem mosque - Al Quds - in a state of neglect. and used by drug addicts and prostitutes.

47- Lafta mosque - Al Quds - in a state of neglect.

48- Al Mijirmi’s mausoleum - Tantura - coast of Haifa - in a state of neglect.

49- Al Falluja mosque and mausoleum - jurisdiction of Gaza - the mausoleum was demolished one year and a half ago.

50- Mausoleum of Mohammed Al ‘Ajami - Al Majdil - Tabariyya - in a state of neglect.

Zionist Desecration of Cemeteries

1- Bulldozing of the cemeteries of ‘Aqer in the vicinity of Ramla, Salma, ‘Abbassiyya near Yafa, ‘Asqalane, and Istiqlal in Haifa. Houses, commercial centres and industrial zones were built where these cemeteries used to be.

2- Another group of cemeteries was converted into a rubbish dump, such as the cemeteries of Khayriyya and Yazur at the entrance of which a sign reads “Rubbish Dump”.

3- Other cemeteries were bulldozed to lay roads, set up animal farms or public parks.

4- The Ain Ghazal cemetery was converted into a municipal dump.

5- The Ain Hawd cemetery was converted into a parking lot.

Al Jazeera reports on Palestinian refugees and the Nakba

Al Jazeera English has presented several interesting reports this past week, in memory of the Palestinian nakba and the founding of the State of Israel.

Palestinian villages lost in 1948 war - 13 May 08

Palestinians struggle with land ownership - 13 May 2008

Aging Palestinians reflect on the past - 13 May 2008

The Promised Land? - Pioneers - 5 May 08 - Part1

The Promised Land? - Pioneers - 5 May 08 - Part 2

The Promised Land? - Conflict - 12 May 08 - Part 1

The Promised Land? - Conflict - 12 May 08 - Part 1

And in case you think that alJazeera is just Arab propaganda and never presents an Israeli point of view, you may watch these.

Riz Khan - Palestinian 'Right to returm' - 13 May 08 - Part1

Riz Khan - Palestinian 'Right to Return' - 13 May 08 - Part2

Slideshow: Inside Shatila

The BBC has a slide show of pictures from Shatila refugee camp in Lebanon. You might have to keep pausing it to both read the text and get a good look at the pictures, but it is definitely worth a look.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

valley views

My no frills, point-and-shoot camera can hold 11 pictures in it's memory at its best resolution, so each time I take a walk, I am limiteds to 11 pictures. It's so frustrating. So here are the 8 best for today. On the other side of that hill is Jerusalem.
I would love to be able to look at this view every day. But it is a heck of a walk up the hill. Until we get a car, I will stick to living in the ugly, built up valley where the public transportation is.
This house is all tumbled down on one side, but the other side is newer, and lived in. I guess they can't bare to tear down the house their grandfathers built.I love the rock walls and the old trees.
A few last wildflowers bloomed along this wall.I am seriously too tired to think of any more captions....
and I think I went too far with the sharpening on this next one. It looks weird somehow, doesn't it?Good night, and Happy (American) Mothers day to my Mom and all the other mothers out there!