As a result of over two weeks of Israeli bombardment, thousands of Palestinian civilians have fled their homes in the north of Gaza and sought refuge in schools run by the UNRWA, the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees.
The longstanding Israeli practice of labelling settlement products “Made in Israel” is leading to mounting opposition to the occupation.
Israeli settler Gadi Blumenfeld distributes machetes to 15 Palestinian labourers and instructs them to cut the thorns off of his dates’ fronds. “I might be stabbed in the back,” he says, “but thanks to farming, we keep the area safe from terrorists.”
The full moon sets; another dawn rises over Route 443. For over 40,000 Israeli residents and settlers commuting daily between Jerusalem and the Tel Aviv metropolitan area, it isn’t yet rush hour.
Jinba is in the crosshair of ‘Firing Zone 918’ - and ‘Firing Zone 918’ is a microcosm of the Israeli occupation. Together with seven other communities, Jinba is slated for demolition to make way for an Israeli training ground. Forced eviction hangs over a thousand Palestinians.
As the Syrian war intensifies sectarian clashes in Lebanon’s northern coastal city Tripoli, Palestinians in the area worriedly watch the violence from the sidelines.
“We wanted to do something to bring focus to the plight of Palestinian political prisoners, of which there are around 5,000 in Israeli jails, including hunger strikers, children, women,” says Mohannad Barakat, 30, one of seven Palestinians who have made a Palestinian version of the Gangnam style.
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.
“It was the first day of the cease-fire. An Israeli soldier shot once in the air and within seconds shot me in the leg. He was only a few metres away." Haithem Abu Dagga, 26, an electrician and farm labourer, will not be able to work for as many months as it takes his right leg to heal. The bullet exited his leg but fractured his shin bone.
Dozens of Israeli tanks slowly made their way south on the back of flatbed trucks along Israel’s Road 6 highway Sunday. Emblazoned with Stars of David and Hebrew letters, and carrying frayed Israeli flags, the movement of these tanks has left many believing that Israel will soon launch a large-scale ground operation into the Gaza Strip.
“See the bullets from the 1948 and 1967 wars,” Badr Abu Ad-Dula says, showing the scars of the old frontline on the outer walls of the building where he and his family of 13 live. “Here’s the Jordanian outpost.” The elderly Palestinian points at a loophole, now a bedroom window.
Filistin Hamdallah looks disoriented, walking without purpose amidst the furniture strewn in the courtyard, as if she was moving home. Only the fresh laundry hanging on wires indicates that the Palestinian family is here to stay, to stay in conditions with Jewish neighbours that show just how difficult the divisions in Jerusalem can be.
Just before the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime one year ago, Huda and her Palestinian family were forcefully evicted from their Tripoli home.
“This is King David’s palace!” proclaims the Israeli tour guide with much fanfare, ignoring the cautionary “King David’s Palace?” legend on the sign. Opportunely opening the Bible, he reads from 2 Samuel 6:16, “As the Ark of the Lord came to the City of David…”
Sitting in an airconditioned car along Road 60 in the heart of the occupied West Bank, Ovad Arad explained how he goes about his job: driving unannounced into Palestinian towns and villages, taking photographs, having coffee with families, and leaving almost as quickly as he arrived.