Stories written by Jillian Kestler-D'Amours
Originally from Montreal, Quebec, Jillian Kestler-D'Amours is an independent reporter and documentary filmmaker based in Jerusalem since May 2010. She is a regular contributor to Free Speech Radio News, The Electronic Intifada and Al Jazeera English, and her first documentary film, ‘Sumoud: The Struggle for al-Araqib’, will be released by the Alternative Information Centre in Fall 2011. | Web

Politics Eats Into Palestinian Breadbasket

In the Jordan Valley, contrasts are stark. Lush green agricultural fields and fenced-in greenhouses belong to the Israeli settlements that dot the landscape and benefit from the area’s abundant water supply on one hand. On the other, Palestinian farmers denied access to their lands and other resources by the Israeli authorities struggle to cultivate the most basic crops and make a living wage.

While Officials Talk, Israelis Build

Large spools of black tubing and plastic-wrapped water tanks lay strewn across a dusty construction site. A handful of Palestinian labourers, speaking quietly in Arabic, shuttle the items to the two unfinished, three-storey apartment blocs behind them.

Asylum Seekers Struggle to Survive Under Israeli Restrictions

Tesfahiwet Medin holds a university degree and experience as a nurse. But six years after escaping the violent dictatorship in his native Eritrea, the 39-year-old says he feels like a part of him is missing, as he's been prevented from continuing in his profession in Israel.

Turkish Activists Bring Humour, Creativity to Social Media

Sitting with hundreds of other protesters in the centre of Istanbul's Gezi Park Thursday night, Arzu Marsh rummages through her backpack to show off what she calls her makeshift "emergency kit": medical masks, a red spray-bottle filled with a liquid that lessens the effect of tear gas, a scarf and some food.

Gezi Park Highlights Years of Destructive Urban Development

Few imagined that the symbolic act of standing in front of bulldozers in Istanbul's Gezi Park in an effort to block a development project near the city's central square would have caused the reaction it did.

Isolation Devastates East Jerusalem Economy

Thick locks hug the front gates of shuttered shops, now covered in graffiti and dust from lack of use. Only a handful of customers pass along the dimly lit road, sometimes stopping to check the ripeness of fruits and vegetables, or ordering meat in near-empty butcher shops.

Multimedia Project Tackles LGBT Rights in Palestine

Public discussions about sexuality and gender diversity are difficult to start in many places. But a new multimedia project that is garnering buzz in Palestine aims to reverse this trend and open up dialogue within Palestinian society around these historically taboo issues.

Multimedia Project Tackles LGBT Rights in Palestine

Public discussions about sexuality and gender diversity are difficult to start in many places. But a new multimedia project that is garnering buzz in Palestine aims to reverse this trend and open up dialogue within Palestinian society around these historically taboo issues.

Walking Tours Connect Palestinians to Their Past

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.

Against Push for Peace Talks, Outposts Continue Israeli Land Grab

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.

Bedouin Resist Israeli Shove

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.

Palestinians Fight Unlawful Deportation

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.

Palestinian Expulsions Mapped in Hebrew

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.

Tents Take on Settlements

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.

Aid Hurting Palestinians

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.

New Order Drags Back Released Prisoners

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.

Golan Heights Braces for More Fighting

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.

Turkey’s EU Hopes Could Free Media

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.

Israel Using Crowd Control Weapons ‘Unlawfully’

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.

Kurdish Rights Back in Focus in Turkey

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.

Renovating an Embattled City

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.

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