June 22, 2012 Arlington VA
The latest from Palestine.....
Fifth anniversary of Hamas takeover of Gaza is approaching. The fifth anniversary of Hamas rule in Gaza is approaching with apparently mixed results. The Associated press released an article by Ibrahim Barzak and Karin Laub which discusses the plusses and minuses of Hamas' rule, and the feeling of the residents of the Gaza Strip.
"The Islamists of Palestine were once respected as a supposedly honest alternative to corrupt secular rivals, the Western-backed Fatah group led by the late Yasser Arafat. But that luster has mostly been lost as miserable Gaza becomes even poorer and more aid-dependent. The corruption of the Fatah days is perceived to have persisted into Hamas' rule, as Audis, Porsches and Hummers are driven around potholed streets by a newly wealthy class of black market traders who benefit from the regime," said Barzak & Laub.
On the streets of Gaza, bitterness seems prevalent.
"I am not saying Fatah was better, but when I voted for Hamas I voted for change," said Fahmi Khamis, 42, a vendor who sells made-in-China household goods in Gaza City's outdoor market. "This did not happen. Instead, we lost a lot."
Meanwhile, there are also reports that Israel plans to demolish the Palestinian village of Susiya, which it calls an illegal settlement, even though the people havel ived there for decades in relative peace, although poor. Israel wants these people out of what they call "Area C", which has been extensively populated by Israeli settlers over the past few years, and would be part of israel in any eventual settlement, according to a report from CBS News.
There is international concern about the razing of this and other villages.
As CBS reports, "Critics say Israel has blocked virtually all Palestinian development in Area C, while expanding the Jewish settlements there. Only 5 percent of Palestinian requests for building permits in Area C have been granted in recent years, said Alon Cohen-Lifshitz of the Israeli group Bimkom, which calls for fair planning practices."
"Planning restrictions and demolition orders are part of a wider Israeli land grab, said Michael Sfard, an attorney for Israeli activists who have installed solar panels and wind turbines with German funding in 18 small communities in the southern West Bank."
"The federal government (Germany) and its EU partners are watching the situation ... very carefully," said a German Foreign Ministry spokesman Wednesday, on customary condition of anonymity. "They are calling for safeguarding the German and international projects ... and are in close contact with the Israeli authorities."
"Israel's Civil Administration, the branch of the military dealing with Palestinians in Area C, said it is working on more than a dozen master plans in the southern West Bank to regularize what it considers Palestinian squatters.
Maj. Guy Inbar, an Israeli spokesman, said some of the work is being held up because Palestinians are not cooperating. He said some of the Palestinians in the southern West Bank would be asked to move as part of such plans, but he declined to give details."
Qamar Assad, an attorney for Susiya, said the villagers have not been offered an alternate site.
Former Israeli Soldier trying to become a Palestinian. Finally, Fox News is reporting an interesting story. it seems that a former member of the Israel Defense Force (IDF) is trying to renounce his Israeli citizenship to become a Palestinian citizen.
As Fox reports, "In an odd twist to the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian saga, a former Israeli soldier has embarked on a new fight: He wants to renounce his Israeli citizenship and move to a Palestinian refugee camp in the West Bank."
"Andre Pshenichnikov, a 23-year-old Jewish immigrant from Tajikistan, was recently detained by Israeli police for residing illegally in the Deheishe Refugee Camp near Bethlehem. There he told police that he wants to break all ties with Israel, give up his Israeli citizenship and obtain a Palestinian one instead. Pshenichnikov is currently traveling in Europe for two months. When he returns, he hopes to move to the West Bank."
Interesting reading.. Comments?