Palestine coverage through 18 August 08

August 19, 2008

This selection of 18 articles from the week between August 11 and August 18th reflects some of the main issues being covered, not including the death of Mahmoud Darwish and Raja Shehadeh’s hiking through the hilltops of the West Bank. Another thing not covered (other than in the two concluding commentaries below, #s 17 and 18) is the so-called “shelf agreement” for Israel’s final borders proposed by Olmert to Abbas. While such an offer would normally dominate the news in any given week, the utter emptiness of the offer (no viable Palestinian territory, no equitable exchange for lands annexed) is not worth comment beyond the two pieces at the end of this selection laying out precisely why the “shelf agreement” is a non-starter.

Despite this, there is news of diplomatic activity from Rice’s apparent plan for another trip to the region, to Olmert’s “gesture to Abbas” of releasing 200 arbitrarily detained (i.e., abducted) Palestinian prisoners, to efforts to resolve controversy over one recent example of attempted Israeli colonization of further Palestinian land in the West Bank (through new outposts) by simply moving the outpost adjacent to another parcel of land illegally occupied by Israelis (turning the outpost debate to one about settlement expansion). And so the deck furniture is rearranged by yet another Israeli government clinging to the sinking ship of settlements while purportedly supporting a two-state solution.

Several articles below speak to the receding hopes for any two-state solution, precisely as a result of such strategies on the part of the Israeli government. An additional theme of the selection below is the continuing harassment, torture and murder to which Palestinians are daily subjected by Israel — ranging from the story about the exoneration of those who killed Palestinian journalist Fadel Shana, to stories about settler attacks on Palestinians, to the priceless piece on the apartheid system of 1948-Israel, where Palestinian citizens are not permitted in municipal swimming pools.

Finally, as Ramadan approaches it is fitting to include coverage of the ongoing shortages in Gaza, forcing a run on banks and restrictions on the desperate measures taken by Palestinians — e.g., trying to run cars on cooking oil — in order to avoid an even more extreme food shortage, i.e. the lack of cooking oil for Gazans to prepare their Ramadan iftar meals. As ever, a review of the week’s news from Palestine leaves one with little to do but hope that the next week proves somewhat less dire.

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Palestine coverage through 23 Feb 08

February 24, 2008

Today’s news roundup begins with the grim tally of Palestinians killed and injured by the most recent rounds of Israeli strikes within their territories. The story of the Japanese translator shot in the eye by the IDF as he observed a nonviolent protest of the Wall at Bilin is especially typical of the senseless brutality of life day-in, day-out under Israeli occupation. It is also representative of the stories that are never picked up from the wires in the mainstream press because they might suggest to English-speaking audiences that Palestinians are engaging in nonviolent resistance.

Additional pieces that reflect the daily struggle to survive under occupation include news of the extension of the Israeli closure of all Palestinian representation in East Jerusalem as well as the denial of 94% of all requested permits to build in the West Bank and East Jerusalem submitted by Palestinians even as settlement activity to create Israeli facts on the ground in occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank goes forward. Read the rest of this entry »