DEIR GHASSANEH, Occupied West Bank
A reddish-brown dome sits atop an ancient stone house, used hundreds of years ago for prayer. It peeks out from the surrounding trees as the rolling green valleys and hills of the central West Bank stretch out into the distance.
Ibrahim Makhlouf reaches for two wooden planks lying in the hallway and places them expertly in an L-shape along the seams of his front door.
Dozens of metal and wooden tents cling to the rocky hillside, just outside of Jerusalem along the road leading to the Dead Sea, while the unmistakable red roofs of Israeli settlements peak out from behind opposite hilltops.
Hind Ibrahim Abeyat has spent most of her life separated from her father. “Every house in Palestine has something – someone in prison, a martyr,” the 19-year-old told IPS from her family home in Abeyat village, near Bethlehem.
Fireworks went off over the Tel Aviv skyline this week as thousands of flag-waving Israelis marked the 65th anniversary of their country’s founding. At the same time, a smaller group of Israeli activists explored the other, most often ignored, side to their country’s creation: the forced displaced of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians.
Tent cities are being set up by Palestinians all over the West Bank to protest against Israeli settlements, building on a protest during the visit of U.S. President Barack Obama last month.
Local food for local people. That’s the idea behind Sharaka (‘partnership’, in Arabic), an entirely volunteer-run, Palestinian organisation that aims to bring locally grown products directly to Palestinian dinner tables.
The release of over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in late 2011 set off scenes of jubilation throughout the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Jerusalem, as families joyously welcomed their loved ones homes after months and years apart. But for many of these same families, an Israeli military order – that allows Israel to re-arrest released Palestinian prisoners based on secret evidence – has now shattered those happy reunions.
After Israeli war planes reportedly bombed targets in Syrian territory last week, individuals and groups in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights are quietly preparing for the possibility of escalating violence between Syria and Israel.
As negotiations in Turkey’s efforts to join the European Union remain stalled, many worry that the Turkish government has little incentive to curb its ongoing crackdown on media freedoms and freedom of expression.
The Israeli army is systematically using crowd control weapons and live ammunition unlawfully against Palestinians in the West Bank, signaling a widespread breach of military regulations and an alarming culture of impunity, a leading Israeli human rights group has warned.
After over a year without accountability for a Turkish aerial bombing that killed 34 Kurdish men and boys, Turkey has come under heavy criticism for what many say is a widespread culture of impunity, especially when it comes to the treatment of its Kurdish citizens.
Every day, Anas Maraka sees his family’s home, but can’t go inside. “It’s hardest for my grandfather,” said Maraka, referring to the house overlooking Shuhada Street, once the central marketplace in Hebron’s old city.
As campaign posters pop up around Israel ahead of the country’s upcoming parliamentary elections, Bedouin citizens of the state are still reeling after being denied the chance to elect their own local council representatives.
Afnan Hamad stands proudly in front of a booth at the Ramallah Cultural Palace exhibition hall, three plastic bottles filled with discoloured liquid on the table in front of her.