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.
“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.
The rumbling drone of a fleet of U.S. helicopters carrying security and administrative personnel could be heard long before the eight choppers came into view over the Ramallah horizon on their way to the Palestinian Authority (PA) presidential compound in the West Bank de facto capital Ramallah.
In an extraordinary move, a civilian has been sentenced to a year’s imprisonment for posting a picture on Facebook of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas dressed in a Real Madrid soccer outfit and kicking a ball. The sentencing is among several instances of a targeting of media in Palestinian areas.
Molotov cocktails, clouds of teargas, live gunfire, ambulance sirens wailing as they ferried the wounded, and round after round of rubber-coated metal bullets exploding in the street…these were familiar scenes in Palestinian protest.
Gaza is becoming increasingly radicalised as Hamas continues its crackdown on civil liberties, press freedom and the rights of women. In the last few weeks a number of journalists have been arrested and accused of being involved in “suspicious activities”, several detainees shot dead by police during arrest attempts, and female students asked to abide by a strict Islamic dress code.
Unknown to the Israeli government or the Israeli electorate, hundreds of Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza took part in the recent Israeli elections by default thanks to an act of civil disobedience by Israeli peace activists.
“Before she was murdered, she wasn’t alive. We’ll tell her story backwards from her murder to her birth”…so begins a powerful new song by critically acclaimed Palestinian hip-hop band DAM to draw attention to the continuing murder of Palestinian women by male relatives declaring that “family honour” has been damaged by alleged sexual indiscretions.
A new Palestinian group called the National Union Battalions (NUB), comprising Palestinians from across the political spectrum, has called for a third Palestinian uprising or Intifada. Simultaneously, Israeli intelligence is warning that conditions on the ground in the West Bank are ripe for another Palestinian revolt.
Egypt is facing its worst political crisis since the January 2011 revolution ousted former dictator Hosni Mubarak, with analysts warning of a possible civil war. Furthermore, unlike during the revolution, opposition to the current regime is bitterly divided between Islamists and more secular Egyptians.
Three people have been killed, more than 400 wounded and over 200 arrested as clashes between Egyptians protesting President Muhammad Morsi’s attempt to expand his presidential powers and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and Egyptian security forces continue to rock the capital and enflame major cities around the country.
As Israel and Hamas separately celebrate the ceasefire and their “victory” over the other following Israel’s blistering eight-day military assault on the Gaza strip, civilians continue to pay the price.
The ceasefire has brought extremities in Gaza. In the morning the coastal territory woke up bashed and bloody from one of Israel’s most intensive nights of bombardment since a week’s tit for tat violence broke out between Hamas and Israel. By late morning the coastal strip was ghostly quiet, gripped with fear as people stayed indoors awaiting the inevitable retaliation from Israel for a bus bombing carried out in Tel Aviv by Palestinian extremists. But as night fell thousands of Gazans took to the streets in joyful celebration in what they see as victory over Israel.
Egyptian bullies who sexually harass women in the streets, often taking advantage of mob situations and the anonymity these provide, are getting a taste of their own medicine - and they don’t like it.
The tranquil, green, upper class Cairo suburb Maadi is a bubble of privilege separated from the city’s noisier, dirtier and overcrowded suburbs where working class Egyptians struggle to make ends meet and where Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood (MB) has established a strong following.
Civilians in the town of Bani Walid, 170 km south-east of Tripoli, are facing a humanitarian crisis as Libyan security forces lay siege to the stronghold of Muammar Gaddafi supporters, cutting off water, food and medical supplies.
Farrah Hamary looks the picture of despair as sweat trickles down his face in Tripoli’s heat and humidity. Hamary is too afraid to give his full name or to allow his picture to be taken.
It could be premature to believe that the storming of Islamist militia bases by Benghazi citizens on Friday could spell the end for Libya’s Islamist militants. Just as it was premature to claim when moderate Libyan political parties took the majority of votes during the July elections that Libya had bucked the Islamist trend sweeping the region.
The revolution might officially be over in Libya but the ground war continues. But one enemy is motionless and often hidden, and Libyans are continuing to pay the price with hundreds maimed and killed.
The killing of U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens comes in the wake of a new threat of Islamic fundamentalism that has rocked Libya over the last few weeks.
In the aftermath of Libya’s revolution, Libyan fighters and weapons are flooding areas of conflict in neighbouring countries, according to local fighters and officials in several countries.