Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Here is al Jazeera's report on the little boy shot in Na'alin yesterday
Another video of the house in Beit Haninah being blown up. I couldn't find anything on al Jazeera about it.
Here is an al Jazeera report on the court ruling ordering the wall in the village of Jeyyous to be moved, giving the village back some, but far from all, of their agricultural land.
This is an episode of an al Jazeera series called "Street Food." It talks about food in Jerusalem, for both Israelis and Palestinians. It was interesting, but I have to admit that the part I liked best was the video of the markets in the Old City.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
The first is the raw footage of the explosion that brought the house down. LiveLeak reported that,
The city said that the four-story construction was "one of the most severe" building violations ever carried out in Jerusalem, and was in blatant violation of court-orders.However in the second video former Palestinian Legislative Council member Hatem Abdul Qadr said that the house was destroyed because the owners had only "added a few meters" to the legal building.
Five families lost their homes.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Times up. My tea is ready and I have to get to work. Wish me luck.
Friday, July 25, 2008
And this video is also about the same area, and the children who have a daily struggle just to get to school.
Monday, July 21, 2008
As frustrating as these water shortages are, it pales in comparison to what people in Gaza are going through. Read Contemplating From Gaza's account of a weekend with no water, no electricity, no gas for the stove and no gasoline for the car. And then to top it off, she gets comments from trolls who feel the need to imply that it is her fault that there are rockets fired from Gaza and call her filthy names. Personally, I have my comments moderated, and I won't let anything abusive be published here, but perhaps letting the morons have their say proves a point.
I don't want to see any innocent civilians suffer, not Palestinians nor Israelis.
An Israeli human rights group has just released graphic video footage obtained during clashes between Israeli troops and demonstrators protesting against the separation barrier on the West Bank. The video has sparked outrage, as it shows what appears to be an Israeli soldier shooting a Palestinian at close range. Al Jazeera's Emma Hayward reports.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
The only place so far I have seen this mentioned: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1003717.html
La Hawla Wala Quwata Illah Billah
There is no strength nor power except Allah
Saturday, July 19, 2008
My younger daughter got a 91.7! SubhanAllah walhamdulillah! She was in the sciences track. They have to choose arts or sciences in 10th grade. She was actually in tears when she got the result, because she had hoped to do better, but I am very pleased and proud of her. This is such a hard system, it is way more stressful than taking the SAT or ACT in the US. The tests are only offered once a year. I think if you fail one, you can take it again the same year, and if you fail more than one you can take them again the next year. But that is it, no more chances.
She took Islamic studies, Arabic, English, math, physics, chemistry, life science and "Industry and Agriculture." She got the highest grade in the West Bank in "Industry and Agriculture," although there might have been others with the same score. Funny thing is, I always thought she hated that class. And while I am bragging, and it is a mother's prerogative to brag, I must point out that all of the tests are in Arabic except the English exam, and the day she started kindergarten she barely knew any Arabic at all. We still mostly speak English in the home.
And there is more good news. Today they announced the first batch of students accepted into Bir Zeit University, and she was accepted into the Sciences department. I think she intends to major in chemistry, although I think her best tawjihi grade was in math.
The tawjihi results were announced at 10 AM on Friday on the local TV station and radio. They also publish all the names and scores of the students who passed in a special addition of the newspaper. I feel so badly for the ones who failed or had a poor result, and everyone knows it. How humiliating. By 11 AM we started to hear fireworks. Many people celebrate by setting off fireworks, real ones, but my husband and I are in complete agreement that we have no intention to celebrate by risking one of our kids' hands or eyes. It was fun to watch other people's fireworks, but I hope it didn't make my daughter jealous. I downloaded a fireworks screen saver, but it wasn't quite the same. Next weekend we will have a big party for her, inshaAllah.
I am so glad that this is all over, but the year after next it will be Number Two Son's turn.
Tawjihi exam a pillar of Palestinian society; results announced Friday
Bethlehem – Ma'an – The results for the university entrance exam, written by Palestinian students in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, were announced Friday at 10am.
The entrance exam, called the Tawjihi, determines not only whether a student will be permitted to enroll in university, but will also limit their selection of majors and classes.
On average, about half of the students sitting the exam pass, this year the number was 55.4%. A passing grade is 51%, and according to the Ministry of Education and Higher Education the median grade for the exam this year was 52%.
The tests are written over the period of twenty days in June, by 77,047 students, including 32,800 in the Gaza Strip and 44,247 in the West Bank. The majority of those writing have just finished their last year of high school, though those who do not pass the first time can write up to nine more exams to try and pass.
The exams are administered once a year, and comprise tests in a large variety of different subjects, including English, Arabic, Science, Math, Religion (students can choose from Islam or Christianity), Palestinian History, Geography, Biology, Physics, Industry and Agriculture.
Students choose the exams they are to take depending on their intended course of studies following high school. If the student fails one exam, then they do not pass the Tawjihi and cannot enroll in university.
The pass/fail results of the tests are announced nationwide over the radio, internet and television. Students are asked to report to their schools for the detailed breakdown of marks.
Following the announcement cities and towns erupt with fireworks and parades of celebrating students driving down main streets.
The Tawjihi has been part of the Palestinian schooling system for years. In the West Bank the exams started when the area was under Jordanian administration, and in Gaza students began taking the tests in the 1990s when the Palestinian Authority took over administration of the area from Egypt.
Up until 2006 the tests were based on the Jordanian curriculum books, but now anything published in the textbooks authorized by the Palestinian Authority is fair game for the test.
The long tradition of the exams, its high stakes for so many students, and the public nature of the results announcements, have together made sure that the tests are a staple of modern Palestinian society.
The Tawjihi is also one of the elements of Palestinian life common to Gazans, East Jerusalemites and West Bankers. When the Ministry of Education and Higher Education announced that the results for Gaza and the West Bank would be announced separately, students protested and asked that they could wait until all results could be announced together.
Even Palestinians in Israeli prisons were permitted to write the exams this year, although their results have not yet been released.
So far this year the highest grade was awarded to a Gazan student, who had an average on the tests of 99.3%
In years past there have been accusations that Israeli troops and road closures have been strategically planned to prevent students from getting to school to take the tests.
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Read Tunisianbelle's post Muslim While Flying, for her upsetting experience. This is the first time I have seen her blog, which I found via Global Voices.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
10-year-old subjected to torture by Israeli soldiers
A 10-year-old boy was subjected to physical abuse amounting to torture for 2.5 hours by Israeli soldiers who stormed his family’s shop on 11 June, seeking information on the location of a handgun. The boy was repeatedly beaten, slapped and punched in the head and stomach, forced to hold a stress position for half and hour, and threatened. He was deeply shocked and lost two molar teeth as a result of the assault.
On Wednesday 11 June 2008, at around 10:30am, 10-year-old Ezzat, his brother Makkawi (7) and sister Lara (8) were in their father’s shop selling animal feed and eggs in the village of Sanniriya, near the West Bank city of Qalqiliya. The children were suddenly startled to see two Israeli soldiers storm in to the shop.
Interrogation and abuse in the shop
One soldier wearing a black T-shirt started shouting in a loud, menacing voice in Arabic, “your father sent us to you to collect his gun”. A terrified Ezzat responded, “My father does not own a gun”. The soldier responded by slapping Ezzat hard across the right cheek and his brother Makawi across his face. The soldier then ordered Makkawi and Lara to leave the shop. Once the younger children had left the soldier demanded once again that Ezzat hand over his father’s gun. Although Ezzat repeated that his father did not own a gun the soldier ordered him to search for it in the sacks containing the animal feed. Ezzat kept insisting that there was no gun in the shop so the soldier slapped him once again, this time across his left cheek.
One of Ezzat’s friends, realising that something was wrong, tried to enter the shop but was kicked by the soldier standing at the door and prevented from entering. Soon a group of local people had gathered outside the shop. Some of the people in the group also tried to enter the shop but were prevented from doing so by the soldier at the door.
The soldier in the black T-shirt asked him once again to produce the gun. Ezzat answered, “We do not have anything”. The soldier responded by punching him hard in the stomach causing Ezzat to fall over on to empty egg boxes. Ezzat started screaming and crying out from pain and fear. The soldier in the black T-shirt started making fun of Ezzat and imitated him crying. Ezzat remained in the shop alone with the soldiers for a further 15 minutes when the soldier in black abruptly grabbed him by his T-shirt and dragged him out of the shop. Ezzat asked the soldier if he could lock up his father’s shop but the soldier said he wanted it to remain open so that it could be robbed. The soldier also threatened to put Ezzat in his jeep and take him away.
Once they were out of the shop, Ezzat was ordered to walk in front of the soldiers to his house, whilst a gun was pointed at his back. The soldiers hit him several times on the nape along the way. On approaching his house Ezzat saw many Israeli military officials surrounding the house and a number of green military vehicles parked outside. One of the olive coloured jeeps had the word “police” written on it.
Interrogation and abuse in the home
After arriving at the family’s home the soldier in the black T-shirt stood Ezzat in the yard and ordered him to search the flower basin for the gun. Before Ezzat had a chance to respond the soldier slapped him so violently that Ezzat fell down face first into the basin. Without giving him the chance to stand up the soldier grabbed him by his T-shirt and lifted him up roughly. He was then instructed in Arabic by another soldier to head to the guestroom.
On approaching the guestroom Ezzat could see his father standing by the door. The soldier slapped him on the neck and Ezzat fell to the ground. As Ezzat stood up the soldier slapped him a second time making him fall to the ground once again. All this happened in front of his father. He then grabbed Ezzat by his T-shirt and lifted him in to the air. The soldier told Ezzat’s father that he was going to take his son to prison. He also threatened to take Ezzat’s 19-year-old sister to prison. Ezzat was then pushed forcibly in to the guest room where his mother and four of his other siblings including his sisters Diana (19), Raghda (18), (Aya) 15 and brother Jihad (3), were being held. His mother was crying. Ezzat was also crying and when asked by his mother why he was crying, he said it was because he had been hit by the soldiers. His mother asked the soldiers to stop beating her son and to beat her instead.
After several minutes Ezzat was taken out of the guestroom and slapped several times by the soldier in black, once so hard that he fell to the ground. After being moved to several locations in the house Ezzat was told to stay in the boys’ bedroom. The same soldier then left the room but would return every five minutes to slap Ezzat and also to punch him several times in the stomach. Each time this took place Ezzat would shout and scream out in pain and burst in to tears. The soldier would then imitate him and make fun of him. The soldier hit him around six times.
Destruction of property and use of stress positions
A short time later, five soldiers entered the room and proceeded to destroy the family’s property using hammers. In all, the soldiers destroyed wooden ventilation panels in the attic, a small refrigerator in the bedroom and it contents, damage to the kitchen, a fan and the fireplace.
Ezzat spent one hour in the bedroom alone with the soldiers. In that hour he was ordered by the same soldier to stand on one foot for half an hour, with his back against the wall and with both his hands lifted up in the air (see picture). Ezzat was exhausted by this but was too scared to put his foot down on the ground. Eventually he was told by one of the other soldiers that he could put his foot down. He was then asked to sit down in a squat position. He managed to remain in this position for two minutes and then had to stand up. A female soldier then walked in to the room and asked him to sit on the refrigerator box.
Shortly after the soldier in the black T-shirt returned accompanied by Ezzat’s older sister Diana. He proceeded to ask Ezzat whether he cared for his sister to which Ezzat responded, “Yes I do”. The soldier then asked him to tell him where the gun was hidden and that if he told him where it was hidden that he would not tell Ezzat’s father. The soldier left the room with Ezzat’s sister. He then returned to the room on his own and hit Ezzat all over his body. He left the room once again and after a while came back offering Ezzat 10 Shekels in return for telling him where the gun was. Ezzat responded that he did not care about money. This made the soldier extremely angry and he took off his helmet and started throwing it at Ezzat from two metres away. Ezzat was in extreme pain. The soldier continued to hit him with the helmet and then left the room once again returning to slap him across his face and on his stomach. This continued for some time with the soldier leaving the room and returning to hit Ezzat and to question him over the gun.
Interrogation of family
Ezzat then witnessed the soldier in the black T-shirt and the female soldier leading his sisters and mother to one of the rooms close to the boys’ bedroom. They closed the door of the room but Ezzat could hear the soldiers shouting at them. He overheard the soldier telling the female soldier to hit his mother because she was refusing to take her clothes off to be searched. After the incident was over Ezzat’s sister informed him that they were all strip searched by the female soldier, while the male soldier waited outside.
Meanwhile, a soldier wearing black sunglasses entered the bedroom in which Ezzat was being held. He walked in pointing a rifle, a few centimetres away from Ezzat’s head. Ezzat was so terrified that he began to shiver. The soldier laughed and made fun of him. He asked Ezzat to tell him where the gun was and threatened to shoot him if he didn’t. Ezzat continued to maintain that there was no weapon hidden away. The soldier, getting agitated shouted at Ezzat, “for the last time, tell me where the gun is before I shoot you". Ezzat repeated that he did not have a gun. Hearing this, the soldier lowered his rifle and left the room. After about five minutes the soldier in the black T-shirt entered the room along with four other soldiers and said that they were leaving but would return.
The soldiers spent two and half hours in the house in total. After the incident Ezzat spent the night at his uncle’s house because he was too scared to sleep in his home. As a result of the physical assault Ezzat lost two of his molar teeth and is deeply shocked by the incident.
DCI/PS is appalled that Israeli authorities would subject a 10-year-old child to beatings, position abuse and threats over the course of several hours. The treatment of Ezzat falls within the definition of torture and other acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment as defined in the UN Convention Against Torture, to which Israel is a State Party. The treatment of Ezzat also infringes numerous other international conventions to which Israel is bound1, as well as Israeli military and domestic law2.
DCI/PS again calls on Israel to immediately ensure its compliance with the UN Convention Against Torture and to thoroughly and impartially investigate the allegations of torture and abuse of Ezzat and bring those found responsible for such abuse to justice.
DCI/PS also calls on the EU to make the upgrade of EU-Israel bilateral relations conditional upon measurable and confirmed progress by Israel to uphold the EU human rights standards in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
1. Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) – article 5; Fourth Geneva Convention (1949) – articles 27 and 31 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) – article 7; and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) – articles 2(2), 3, 16 and 37(a).
2. Israeli military law establishes the specific offence of “ill treatment” which prohibits the beating or other abuse of any person in a soldier’s custody: see Military Adjudication Law, 5715-1955, Article 65. See also articles 378-382 of the Israeli penal code.
** Take Action **
Please send appeals in English, Arabic, Hebrew or your own language to Israel and/or the EU:
- Urging Israeli authorities to comply with the UN Convention Against Torture and thoroughly investigate the allegations of torture and abuse of Ezzat and other Palestinian detainees and bring those responsible for such abuse to justice.
President of the State of Israel
Shimon Peres, President of the State of Israel
Office of the President
3 Hanassi St., 92188
Tel: +972 2 6707211
Fax: +972 2 5610033
Salutation: Dear President
Prime Minister of the State of Israel
Ehud Olmert, Prime Minister
Telephone: +972 2 6753277
Telephone2: +972 2 6753547
Saluation: Dear Prime Minister
Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs
Ms. Tzipi Livni, MK
9 Yitzhak Rabin Blvd., Kiryat Ben-Gurion, Jerusalem 91035
Fax: + 972 2 5303367
Salutation: Dear Foreign Affairs Minister
- Urging the EU to pressure Israel to immediately ensure its compliance with the UN Convention Against Torture and thoroughly investigate the allegations of torture and abuse of Ezzat and other Palestinian detainees and bring those responsible for such abuse to justice.
- Urging the EU to make the upgrade of EU-Israel bilateral relations conditional upon measurable and confirmed progress by Israel to uphold EU human rights standards in the occupied Palestinian territory.
- Making the EU aware of the recent inclusion of Palestine/Israel as a priority conflict for the implementation of the EU Guidelines on Children and Armed Conflict, and of the subsequent reporting tasks on child rights violations incumbent upon EU diplomatic missions and EU institutions in the field.
Mr. Bernard Kouchner, Ministre des Affaires Etrangères
Ministère des Affaires Etrangères français
37, quai d’Orsay, 75 007 Paris, France
Personal Representative for Human Rights (CFSP) of the EU Secretary General/
High Representative Javier Solana
Ms. Riina Kionka
175 Rue de la Loi BE 1048 Brussels, Belgium
Fax. : +32 2 281 61 90
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
The Commissioner for External Affairs and European Neighbourhood Policy
HE Ms. Benita Ferrero- Waldner
Spend all day rolling them. It has to be enough for 7! No, it was 8 that day, since My New Son-In-Law was here too.
They are no longer than 2 joints of my finger. Kaliliyya women have a contest to see whose are smallest!
Hours and hours of preparation, and they are gone in 15 minutes.
What's for dinner tomorrow?
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
It doesn't rain here all summer long. We probably won't have any significant rain again until late October, or even November. In the spring we have a lush growth of wild flowers as most wild plants rush to finish their growing season before the heat of summer and lack of water kills them off. By now, the beginning of July, the fields are brown and dry.
Every year we have water shortages in the summer, but this year seems worse than usual. Do you see the black barrels on the roof in the background of this picture?
According to the World Health Organization, the per capita minimal amount of water needed for household and urban needs is one hundred liters a day. Due to the chronic water shortage, water consumption in the northern West Bank has dropped to one-third this amount. In Tubas, per capita consumption is 30 liters; in Jenin, it is 38 liters. In Nablus and the Southern Hebron Hills, the figure is slightly higher than fifty liters a day.
Average per capita consumption throughout the West Bank is 66 liters, two-thirds of the minimal amount needed according to the WHO. These figures include water for livestock, meaning that the water consumed for personal use is even less.
In comparison, average daily water consumption in Israeli cities is 235 liters, and 214 liters in local councils, 3.5 times higher than Palestinian consumption in the West Bank.
I used to tell my kids when we were growing up that we have just enough water to make our lives reasonably comfortable, but not so much that we forget to be grateful for it.