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May 2008

A must debka at Beit Sahour


Gaza : Slow death everywhere

Israel’s continued siege is taking Gaza back to the Stone Age, reports Saleh Al-Naami

Armed with a sharp axe, Jihad Abu Hamam creeps about once a week into the woods on the eastern border of Al-Qarara village in the southern Gaza Strip. He cuts tree branches there and pulls them to his house two kilometres away. Jamila, his wife, uses these branches as kindling that she lights to cook their food each day, ever since the family’s store of gas for cooking ran out a month ago due to the Israeli decision to bar the entry of gas to the Gaza Strip.

“My wife and I agreed to light a fire once a day to cook on so that the firewood would last as long as possible,” Abu Hamam told Al-Ahram Weekly. Going to the woods once a week is a major risk, he admits, for they are close to Israeli army positions where soldiers do not hesitate to open fire and kill any Palestinian they see nearby. Many Palestinians have lost their lives after entering this wooded area.


Lack of evidence stalls investigation of UFO sightings

By TAWNELL D. HOBBS / The Dallas Morning News

Whether a UFO visited two Central Texas towns will remain a mystery – at least for now.

“All the video that we’ve analyzed hasn’t provided substantial proof,” Ken Cherry, Texas state director of the Mutual UFO Network, said Sunday. “Without definite evidence, we’re left with the word of our witnesses.”

The Erath County towns of Stephenville and Dublin were thrust into the national spotlight in January after dozens of people – including a pilot and business owners – said they saw a large, silent object with bright lights flying low on Jan. 8. Two military jets were in hot pursuit, the witnesses said.


60 years on Al Jazeera

60 Years of Division

On May 14, 1948 the state of Israel was declared. It followed a joint failure from the UN and Britain to find an agreed solution to the instability that occurred after a wave of Jewish immigrants moved from Europe to Palestine.

Sixty years later it seems any solution to the conflict remains as elusive as ever. In a series of special programmes Al Jazeera looks at the history of the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians, asks what has been achieved since 1948 and discusses the future for all those in the region.

Sixty years of bloodshed

I am probably as tired of writing about Israel as you are hearing about it. However, today is supposed to be the big day when Ben Gurion declared Israel’s independence. I thought the link was appropriate. I don’t know why he declared independence because there was no Israel to liberate from whatever forces of darkness they conjured out of their manipulated histories. But declare he did and today we celebrate 60 years of genocide against the Palestinian people who were living on the land- and had been for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years- and whom they murdered, exiled and slandered without pause until this day. In the process they wiped out all signs of Palestinian occupancy and changed the names of all of the towns.

Remembering 1948 and looking to the future

Twenty-six-year-old Jamila Merhi was forced from her family’s home in Akbara village near Safad, Palestine in 1948. Now, 86, she lives in the Shatila refugee camp in Beirut, Lebanon and still holds onto a copy of her family’s deed for their land in Palestine. (Matthew Cassel

Read here : Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 13 May 2008

Photostory: Total occupation, a journey around Hebron

Eddie Vassallo writing from Hebron, occupied West Bank, Live from Palestine, 12 May 2008

Seeing my camera, the man entreats me, “Take pictures, please. Tell people. Please tell people.”


Oh Beirut !

From here

I was a slave in Puglia

The correspondent of L'espresso

The correspondent of L’espresso
picking tomatoes in the field

by Fabrizio Gatti

Exploited. Underpaid. Lodged in filthy shacks. Beaten to death if they complain. Diary of a week in hell amidst the foreign laborers in the province of Foggia

The boss wears a white shirt, black trousers and dusty shoes. He’s from Puglia, but he hardly speaks Italian. To make himself understood he seeks the assistance of his bodyguard, a Maghrebin who is in charge of keeping everything under control in the fields. “Find out what this guy wants. If he’s looking for work, tell him we don’t need anyone, today.” The boss speaks in dialect and drives away in his SUV.

The Maghrebin speaks perfect Italian. He doesn’t wear any stripes on his sweaty shirt but it’s quite obvious that he’s the caporale, the “gang master.” “Are you from Romania?” A grimace is all it takes to convince him. “I can hire you. Tomorrow,” he promises. “Do you have a girl friend?” “A girlfriend?” “You have to bring me a woman. For the boss. If you bring him one, he’ll put you to work right away. Any girl will do.” He points to a twenty year-old woman and her companion, working on the conveyor belt of a huge tractor that is being used to gather tomatoes. “Those two are Romanians, just like you. She slept with the boss.” “But I’m alone.” “No work for you then.”


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