The beautiful Mediterranean Sea laps gently onto the white sandy beach near Gaza City’s port. Fishing boats dot the beach as fishermen tend to their boats and fix their nets.
Thirty-year-old Naifa Youssef and 50 other members of her Bedouin community live a precarious life, eking out a hand-to-mouth existence alongside the main road which links Jerusalem with the Dead Sea and the ancient city of Jericho.
The refugee camp of Yarmouk represents one of the most severe examples of the humanitarian crisis in Syria, with foreign aid agencies unable to enter the opposition-controlled area that been effectively besieged since December 2012.
Welcome to Bridge Over the Wadi primary school, one of five bi-national schools under the "Hand-in-Hand" initiative of the Centre of Jewish-Arab Education in Israel. The centre strives to bring children from both communities to learn together in Hebrew and Arabic in the hope that they’ll bridge the divide between the two peoples.
Over the past year more than 50,000 Palestinian refugees have fled violence, chaos and destitution in Syria to seek sanctuary in Lebanon. The vast majority have found themselves living in dire poverty, and trapped in chronically insecure existence.
The end of the world’s most enduring conflict was always regarded as the essential linchpin of Mideast security. As direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians resume following a three-year hiatus, it seems too late for peace between them - if the declared goal of a peace deal within nine months is achieved - to end the violence unleashed by the ‘Arab springs’.
So much about wine is a boast over its land of origin. The label reads, ‘Product of Israel’, but don’t let that deceive you. This particular Cabernet Sauvignon is produced in Israeli-occupied territory.
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.
A quiet diplomatic war is being waged by several European governments against the Israeli authorities, specifically the Israeli Civil Administration which controls the Israeli occupied West Bank.
“Three interrogators questioned me for three hours. I was handcuffed. They beat me, slapped me, kicked me, boxed me, accused me of throwing stones; played a video of a demonstration. I denied I was there. So again, they beat me up,” recounts Zein Abu-Mariya, 17, seated on a sofa next to dad.
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.
“At least we are not treated like dogs and made to feel so uncomfortable,” Amjad Samara, 30, a labourer from Nablus in the northern West Bank told IPS as he and a group of Palestinians waited at the checkpoint near Qalqilia to cross into Israel for their day job.
On his visit to Israel and the Palestinian Territories, U.S. President Barack Obama laid out his vision for a revival of the long-stalled peace talks. Yet, it was clear from his statements that a settlement freeze is no longer an immediate requirement. And, he carefully avoided mentioning the pre-1967 lines as the basis for a two-state solution, to the Israeli Prime Minister’s delight.
U.S. President Barack Obama arrives in Israel on Wednesday, his first destination abroad of his second term, to pay a visit to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu whose own second consecutive term will have started only 48 hours beforehand. No wonder that the true purpose of the U.S. President’s visit is defined as reaching out to the Israeli people.