Posts Tagged ‘palestine’

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Aftermath of the Flotilla attack in Ramallah

October 29, 2011

Massacre on the Gaza Flotilla:

Things have been crazy here the past couple of days. My boss and some co-workers were up all night Sunday to Monday morning in constant contact with the flotilla. They talked to them the last time like an hour before they were attacked….so they have been pretty emotional about everything.

We still cant get any information about who was killed, injured etc…because the Israelis have taken them all either to the hospital or to the prison. I can’t even imagine whats happening to those on board who were Arab Israeli/Palestinian. They’re probably getting the worst of it in the jails. hmmm…

Tensions were pretty high around here yesterday. My roommate told me what happened first thing in the morning and the news just kept getting worse throughout the day, although Im sure we don’t even know the half of what really happened thanks to the Israeli orchestrated media blackout.

It was really on the point of exploding here when the news came out that Skeikh Salah (an important sheikh from Israel) was shot in the head with live ammunition. Those were the first reports…and if he is really dead there’s gonna be BIG problems here–maybe even intifada size problems. But late yesterday Jerusalem Post reported that he wasn’t even injured…so Im not sure what’s going on but I know enough not to trust Israeli army spokespeople. Ha.

I couldnt believe it when the Army statement was that the peace activists attacked the soldiers first, and with AXES of all things. Ive heard that excuse before in many cases where Israeli soldiers killed Palestinians (usually teens) in cold blood. Thats their knee-jerk reaction “He attacked the soldiers with an axe!” Like everybody around here just carries axes around with them! Ridiculous, I had to laugh when I heard that was their excuse for killing up to 20 peace activists.

Media Blackout:

Anyways…so we are waiting patiently for the eye witnesses to be released so they can tell their side of the story. But Im sure Israel will keep pumping the mass media with their lies and fake videos (how could unarmed peace activists attack Israeli special forces???) showing the activists overpowering the Israeli commandos…bullshit. And when Israel finally does release the activists and the true death toll (and which nationalities were killed/injured) the world will have lost interest in this story Im sure.

Its depressing.

American Activist Shot in the Face with Teargas Canister at Demonstration:

 We had one pretty pathetic demonstration in Ramallah about the attack…by the end we attracted a good number of people–but it definitely didnt help to have the PA driving around threateningly with their police vans for arresting protestors and the Palestinian swat forces behind them. Hmm…

Then, Qalandia Refugee Camp, as usual, made the real protest. The kids from the camp came out and started throwing stones at Qalandia checkpoint. Press and international activists showed up throughout the afternoon. That’s when the American girl was shot in the face with a teargas canister. They took her to an Israeli hospital and she lost one of her eyes. But she will live, so that is good.

And what did the US say about any of this?? “This is a tragic loss of life”. They didnt even bother to condemn it–which doesnt mean much of course, but at least its something. Ughh….

Any Punishment for Israel?

The only hope is that the UN might get something passed (not likely with the US veto….) orrr that Turkey is pissed off enough to get NATO involved on the basis that Israel attacked a ship flying Turkish flags in international waters. “An attack on one member state is an attack on all member states”.  Somehow I dont have any hope that Israel will face any real punishment from this massacre–they have gotten away with MUCH worse.

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The “ULTIMATE Mission” Tour of Israel:

September 18, 2010

Convincing the World One Tourist at a Time that Israel is the ULTIMATE Victim

After the destruction and violence of the Second Intifada (caused by Israel’s constant provocation of the Palestinian people—culminating in Ariel Sharon’s illegal entrance into one of Islam’s most holy sites, the Al-Aqsa Mosque), the Lebanon War, and the most recent massacre—Operation Cast Lead—in the blockaded Gaza Strip, Israel’s tourism industry has faced many obstacles in attracting new tourists to the country.

In order to combat this trend, Israel has moved from organizing normal trips such as “Birthright”—where young Jewish people from other countries are taken on a free, 10-day trip of Israel to more ‘exciting’ and ‘extreme’ tours such as the “ULTIMATE Counter-Terrorism Mission”.

The ULTIMATE Counter-Terrorism tour was a week-long tour where the participants traveled around the country learning about Israel’s ‘struggle’ with counter-terrorism.  This tour was aimed at US policy makers, security officials, and lawyers.

Basically, instead of fighting the fact that tourists avoid the country because of the ‘terrorist threat’, Israel now uses it to attract a new, more extreme kind of tourist.

This effort has culminated with a new tour called “The ULTIMATE Mission to Israel.”  This tour will begin on June 8, 2009 and last for one week.  The point of these new tours is to sell the Israeli model for counterterrorism—and is a sick effort to glorify the killing of Palestinians, and the ongoing occupation, in the name of ‘pre-emptive self-defense’.

The tour is organized by Shurat HaDin, an Israeli Law Center dedicated to suing terrorists, terrorist organizations, and countries that support terrorism against Israel.  If Israel thinks it’s their right to sue terrorists, wouldn’t it be logical that the thousands of innocent Palestinian people who have been killed, injured, and had their lives ruined by Israel’s counter-terrorism policies should be allowed the same right?  Of course not—this is Israel, and there can only be one victim here.

The ULTIMATE Mission is described as a tour where you will experience a “military, humanitarian, historical, judicial, religious, and political reality check.”

In other words, over a week period, the organizers will try to convince the tourists that Israel’s policies, such as collective punishment, “targeted killings” (assassinations), apartheid wall, and more, are reasonable.  In the advertisement of the mission, it says that tourists will experience a “humanitarian reality check”, which sounds like they will try to convince the tourists that humanitarian efforts on behalf of the Palestinians are unfounded because they are ‘all terrorists.’

Racist?  Yes.  Glorifying the death and suffering of the Palestinians?  Yes.  Sick?  Yes.

While on the ULTIMATE mission, tourists will experience:

-A “real-life” briefing by officers in the IDF intelligence and operations branches

-Inside tour of the IAF unit who carries out targeted killings

-Live exhibition of penetration raids to “Arab” territory

-Observe a trial of Hamas terrorists in an IDF military court

-First hand tours of Lebanese front-line military positions and the Gaza border checkpoints

-Inside tour of the controversial “security fence” (the separation wall) and secret intelligence bases

-Meeting Israel’s Arab agents who infiltrate the terrorist groups and provide real time intelligence

-Briefing by Israel’s war heroes who saved the country

In other words, participants on the ULTIMATE mission will be able to see how the IAF kills ‘those Palestinian terrorists’, go on a raid into the West Bank and terrorize any Palestinians they come across—and maybe if they’re lucky they will get to see a real, live beating or arrest—which are arbitrarily carried out in the West Bank every day and night.

They will also see ‘one of those Hamas terrorists’ found guilty of some horrific offense in Israel’s “justice” system, meet Arab collaborators and informants, and basically become convinced that Palestinians are the terrorists and Israel is the victim.

They will be persuaded that although Israel has one of the most advanced militaries and intelligence organizations in the world and is backed by the richest and most powerful country in the world, it is actually threatened by Palestinians armed with stones, molotovs, and the extremely inaccurate qassam rockets.

Throughout the ULTIMATE mission where the participants get to see ‘terrorists’ being found guilty, beaten, arrested, and killed—they will also be staying in 5-star hotels, traveling in luxury buses, and eating in the “finest restaurants” along the way.  Getting excited yet?

More highlights of the tour include:

-Meeting with a former IDF chief of staff who will talk about the “strategic and tactical analysis of the threat to Israel from the Palestinians and Middle Eastern States”

—to convince the tourists of Israel’s right to pre-emptive self-defense so that they can return home and convince their friends, family, and hopefully governments to support Israel’s racist policies disguised as self-defense.

-Visiting the “Arab town”, Qalqilia

–to explain to the tourists why it is ‘necessary’ for this peaceful village to be completely surrounded by the separation wall, leaving only one entrance for the residents to enter and exit at the arbitrary will of the alternately bored and aggressive 18-year old soldiers guarding the checkpoint at the entrance.

-Meet bereaved parents of Israeli soldiers who died in the Lebanon War

–an experience that has to be organized in Israel, whereas if you walk down the street anywhere in the West Bank or Gaza Strip and talk to the first person you meet, you can find the same stories, and perhaps worse.  However, participants will not meet these people, reinforcing their perception of asymmetric Israeli suffering.

-Visit Sderot, one of the Israeli towns near the Gaza Strip and learn about the ‘qassam threat’ from Hamas

–Tourists will most likely visit the “living museum” Israel has set up there in which interested tourists can see the buildings that have been hit by qassams and see children who are hired to cry and act terrified there.

After this experience tourists will be convinced that Israel’s policies of targeted killings, arbitrary arrests and beatings, raids in Palestinian territory, extra-judiciary assassinations, checkpoints, and the separation wall are all necessary anti-terrorism policies—which couldn’t be further from the truth.

The ULTIMATE mission ends with coffee and cake at a 5-star hotel in Jerusalem.

Some testimonials of people who have gone on these missions before said that they returned home with “such a high” and told how they were able to “stare down Hezbollah terrorists across the Lebanese border”.

At the end of the trip most became convinced that Israel’s absurdly violent and unjust policies towards the Palestinians were well-founded and their “support for Israel and its people is more committed than ever.”  Israel is seen as the victim, and anything they do to the Palestinians—no matter how violent, inhumane, and illegal—are all acceptable in the name of self-defense.

 

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Suheir Hammad: Gaza

July 26, 2010
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16-Year Old Arrested, Fined After Being Shot By Settler

July 10, 2010

16-year old Ibrahim Al-Biss with his younger sister Yara

On June 3, an Israeli settler shot Ibrahim Al-Biss and his friend Moataz outside Al-Aroub camp. Three weeks later and only one week after the 16-year-old left the hospital, Israeli police detained the boy at Kiryat Arabat. After his father paid 1500 shekels to release him, the police served Ibrahim with a military court order. Written and photographed by Kara Newhouse.

“I still don’t believe it’s real,” Ibrahim said of the arrest. In the hospital after being shot he had told me that he felt the violent experience was just a dream.

On June 6, after encouragement from Israeli police, Ibrahim’s father, Muhammad Al-Biss, filed a complaint about his son’s shooting. Israeli law requires the police to investigate the incident. The family claim without police advice they would have dropped the matter, but they followed it to their cost.

On June 21, Israeli police called Ibrahim and Muhammad into Gush Etzion station regarding the complaint Muhammad filed against the settler. When the father and son arrived, the Israeli authorities there sent them to Kiryat Araba, where police handcuffed Ibrahim and held him from 2 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. on charges of throwing stones at settlers on Highway 60.

Ibrahim’s father remained with him the entire time. He said that the police told him the settler admitted to shooting the boys without provocation, but that someone from the camp had made the accusation of stone-throwing. Muhammad surmised that police obtained the testimony through intimidation or else made it up entirely. Ibrahim had affirmed before his arrest that he had not thrown stones at the settler’s vehicle. According to a representative of the Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem, the charges of stone throwing do not legally justify a self-defence argument for a settler’s shooting of the boys, however, a full investigation by Israeli police is unlikely.

Ibrahim suffered one bullet wound in the settler attack and underwent surgery on three internal organs. Now in his family home, his convalescence confines him to a couch except for when using the bathroom. At the police station, he was deprived of food, water and education. Muhammad insisted to the police that Ibrahim’s injury should have prohibited them from legally holding his son. A military doctor inspected the boy’s wound and confirmed that Ibrahim should be arrested in a hospital or have a full-time doctor with him. Instead, the police told his father to pay 1500 shekels in bail. When he did, they gave him a military court order telling Ibrahim to appear in trial on October 12.

The representative from B’Tselem said that even though Israeli military law allows for children above 16 to be tried in adult courts, Ibrahim is likely to have a juvenile trial. She reported that in 99% cases of stone throwing, the defendant takes a plea bargain and serves between three and five months in jail. Ibrahim’s family has not hired a lawyer for the case.

Mahmoud Jabari contributed to this report.

http://www.palestinemonitor.org/spip/spip.php?article1475

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Legalizing the Jerusalem Lie

July 1, 2010

A great article written by a friend of mine who works for Palestine Monitor (palestinemonitor.org):

Three months after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “spat in Obama’s eye” by timing high-level diplomatic visits with the announcement of sweeping development plans in East Jerusalem, the city is about to codify into law an even more ambitious master plan for taking over the entire heart of the stateless Palestinian nation. And once again, Bibi is off to Washington.

In symbolic microcosm, construction began this past weekend on the controversial grounds of the Shepherd Hotel. The compound lies in the traditionally Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, on the Palestinian side of the green line in Jerusalem, just north of the old city. The hotel itself was considered property of the Jordanian authority (having passed from the erstwhile ownership of the Grand Mufti Haj Amin Al-Husseini) until it was purchased in 1985 by Irving Moskowitz, a wealthy American Jew and a major financier of the Israeli settler movement.

In the wake of dramatic 2008-2009 settlement activity in Sheikh Jarrah — recall that several Palestinian families are now living in tents outside their former homes while protected Israeli settlers sleep inside — plans were floated to construct 20 Jewish-only housing units on the large property of the Shepherd Hotel. The plan was met with international condemnation and was silenced more than once, but it never went away. On Sunday, construction work began. The new development will see upwards of one hundred Israelis wedged into the heart of Palestinian East Jerusalem.

“You see, they want all Sheikh Jarrah,” says local resident Muhammad Sabagh. Muhammad has problems of his own, because a legal claim against his house is currently grinding through the Israeli courts. He hopes to be luckier than some of his now-homeless neighbors. “We don’t accept settlers in our neighborhood,” he says.

On Tuesday afternoon, there was no activity at the hotel site. A security guard present said that construction work had never begun. The heavy-duty digging activity on the weekend, he explained, was just to test the support strength of the ground.

For decades, East Jerusalem has been the intended capital of a future Palestinian state, but in recent months, Israeli officials have pumped up the volume on their propaganda slogan that all Jerusalem is “open and undivided.” In this view, the east-west distinction is no longer relevant, and Israelis should be able to build and develop on the occupied Palestinian side as freely as they do on the Israeli side.

In a statement issued this week, city officials cleverly obfuscated, “Just like any other municipality in Israel, Jerusalem Municipality hands out building permits in the entire city based on their compliance with professional criteria only, and without checking religion, race, or sex, which is against the law.”

This statement, however, includes a massive lie of omission, because it implies that Palestinians have equal building rights. While the city may not discriminate on “religion, race, or sex, which is against the law,” they in fact discriminate on the basis of citizenship. The Palestinians of East Jerusalem have been deemed “permanent residents” by Israeli authorities but specifically excluded from citizenship. This distinction is crucial because only citizens can legally obtain building rights from the Israeli Land Administration, which has jurisdiction over most of the city’s residential landscape — both East and West Jerusalem.

As a report issued by an Israeli non-profit organization, Ir Amim, concluded: “Of all the land designated for housing development in West Jerusalem and in the Israeli neighborhoods in East Jerusalem [35,000 dunams], at least 79% [27,642 dunams] is ILA land, and therefore theoretically off limits to the city’s Palestinian residents.”

This means that outside of traditional Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, Palestinians have the official legal basis for building or owning in just 20 percent of combined Jerusalem by virtue of their non-citizen status. And within that sliver of the city, along with their own already inhabited neighborhoods, obtaining legal permits is notoriously difficult, both financially and bureaucratically.

As important as these details are, we must be careful not to lose the forest for the leaves. The fact is that Israel holds East Jerusalem by occupation, taken by force in the war of 1967. Like the rest of the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem was never meant to be a part of any Israeli state. Under international law, to which Israel is bound as a signatory, the transfer of civilian population into occupied territory is a war crime. East Jerusalem belongs to the Palestinians.

Despite this inconvenient truth, just this week, the city’s right-wing Israeli Jerusalem Municipality approved a provocative and self-styled “Master Plan” for urban development. The new document codifies into law the formerly talking-point view that Jerusalem is “open and undivided,” providing the legal framework for unlimited Israeli expansion in occupied East Jerusalem.

Under the new arrangement, projects like the Shepherd Hotel compound in Sheikh Jarrah would require no special authorization. There would be no difference between East and West Jerusalem.

Further, the plan appears to allow residential development on previously protected land. In the past, Israel has softened the perception of its appropriation of Palestinian territory by declaring certain areas off-limits to housing development of any kind. Now even these so-called “green areas” are fair game, rendering many previous points of contention irrelevant.

For example, according to Israel’s daily newspaper Haaretz, “Despite the National Planning and Building Committee’s decision to designate the City of David – which sits in the heart of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan – as ‘a national park,’ the new master plan allows for the construction of residential units in the area.” So while Israel buttered the Silwan bulldozing announcement with promises that Israeli settlers would not move into the cleared neighborhood, the lie has been revealed.

Under the false banner that Jerusalem is “open and undivided,” the peace-killing initiatives underway in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan will become the new normal and predictably the basis of tomorrow’s bloody conflicts.

There may be a prospect that America will reign in its rogue state, to reign in its rogue municipality, but even with Israel’s premier knocking on Obama’s door, I wouldn’t hold your breath.

Michael J Carpenter is a post-graduate student of the University of Victoria in Canada with a special focus on human rights and security issues, currently residing in Ramallah.

http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=296074

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A Typical Morning in Palestine…

June 30, 2010

I wake up to the sound of a jackhammer at 8:00 am.

They’re making a nut, candy and coffee store under my apartment. They’ve already been working on it for over a month, starting in the morning before I wake up and working late into the night when I’m trying to go to sleep—drilling and banging directly below my room.

A truck drives by rattling and rumbling as it goes over the potholes in the road; honking. They always honk in front of my building for some reason.

Thoroughly disturbed from my sleep, I get out of bed and wander out to the living room and clean up some of the mess from last night. Having friends over most nights of the week probably isn’t doing wonders for our reputation around town. And here, everybody talks.

But after the latest rumor about the apartment, which contributed to our apartment being investigated by the PA, we all realized that whatever we do or don’t do in our apartment, our Palestinian neighbors will probably assume the worst because we are ijanaab (foreigners).

Our neighbors, along with the guys from taxi office downstairs—which is actually just a front for having two PA intelligence officers stationed near our apartment, watch our every move.

One day, the taxi drivers asked my roommate why he didn’t leave the building all day, and then only to take out the trash. They see everything, and they talk a lot. And in Palestine, gossip travels faster than a high velocity teargas canister.

This is how we ended up being investigated on suspicion of running a brothel out of our apartment.

Another truck honks.

I check the mirror to make sure I’m dressed modestly enough to avoid trouble in the streets—which around here would mean long pants and long sleeves, definitely no chest and preferably no neck either. Everything’s covered and I leave the building.

I walk past the taxi office where the manager is smoking arghile outside. He never talks, I like him. He’s never asked me to marry him or go drink “whiskey” in Jericho.

Mo’een is inside watching a documentary about polo games in Dubai on Al Jazeera. He invites me in for tea but I know it’s just a cheap ploy to hit on me and talk nonstop about his trip to Dubai and all the clubs and money and girls there.

I wave, and without stopping say I’ll stop by another time.

I somehow make it across the 5-way intersection of death, dodging trucks and taxis, and wait on the sidewalk for a service. The public transportation system here in the West Bank is amazingly unorganized but also incredibly efficient. A minute later a service comes around the corner.

I wave down the service and get in. There are men sitting in both rows, one of them moves to sit next to the other so that I don’t have to risk my reputation by sitting next to him; where who knows what could happen in the five minutes between Masyoun and Al Manara.

Over time, I’ve begun to appreciate the sentiment.

In the Ramallah streets, the service is king. Every other car, including taxis, defers to them. A service doesn’t stop to give the right of way to anyone or anything and speeds down the narrowing winding roads like a racing driver. Cars will come to a screeching to a halt in order to avoid breaking the pace of a service.

Its great for getting to work fast for 2 shekels, but not so great when you are in the last row and bouncing over speed bumps. In Ramallah, there are more speed bumps than nut, candy and coffee shops.

The speed bumps are completely unmarked—no reflective paint or anything, so sometimes we get ambushed by them while driving at full speed, making the car fly for a second and then thud to the ground.

After an adrenalin and speed bump-filled ride, we arrive in the center of Ramallah. Forget Israeli soldiers and demonstrations. This is the real battle ground—at least for women, especially an ejnabiyya.

I get out and walk up the road past the unfortunate boy that chops up kilos and kilos of onions every morning outside a falafel restaurant. I feel like I’m being teargassed as I try to avoid the paper and empty plastic coffee cups rolling across the street.

I keep my eyes down—eye contact is 99% fatal here. No way out of the situation without being whistled or whispered at. I make sure to stay well out of the way of passing men, so I don’t give them any opportunities to feel me up.

I cross the street by Al Manara, the main square of Ramallah and ground zero for sleazy men. I see a Palestinian woman who’s definitely from Ramallah. She’s wearing bright purple, knee-high spiky healed boots, skin tight jeans and sweater, with a matching bright purple hijab. She walks confidently, seemingly unaware of all the eyes on her.

Unlike foreigners, Palestinian girls take a certain pride in being looked at and complimented on the streets, probably because they know the men would never do anything too offensive or dare to touch them.

Foreign girls don’t get that privilege.

Maybe if foreign girls didn’t react stunned when those kinds of things happened and actually made a scene it wouldn’t be so common. But even after a year here it still surprises me. I’m used to western streets where you can dye your hair green and walk around practically naked with spikes around your neck and no one will give you a second glance.

If a Palestinian woman feels insulted by one of the men on the street, she reacts by taking off her shoe and whacking the guy with it. And to give credit to the men here, the offending man will stay still until she is done revenging her honor—or men standing nearby will hold him down.

In order to avoid all that, I walk down a side street that passes the souk which is full of men shouting out prices of vegetables. The alleyway is full of wooden carts piled with cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and pyramids of strawberries. People are haggling over prices and small boys are riding shopping carts around trying to rent them out.

There are old women from the nearby villages sitting on the sidewalks surrounded by fresh mint, sage, green almonds, and grape leaves they grew on their land. They wear traditional Palestinian embroidered dresses and white veils loosely wrapped around their hair as they wait to make a sale.

I pass the money changers standing together on the corner smoking cigarettes stuck in elegant cigarette holders. They’re holding stacks of shekels, dollars, and dinars while gossiping.

I narrowly avoid being run over by services as I pass the central bus station, and mistakenly catch the eye of the guy who sells coffee on the streets.

Now, this is no normal guy selling coffee from a stand on the street. This is a grown man who is dressed in a very orientalist costume made of shiny red and pink fabric, a fez on his head and a giant dallah coffee jug strapped to his back.

To pour the coffee he has to bend over like a child would while singing the “I’m a little tea pot” song. I’ve never seen anyone buy coffee from him and I’ve never asked why they dress up coffee sellers like genies in Ramallah.

My face turns red and I immediately look away as he begins looking me up and down mischievously. He says something to me in Arabic that I don’t catch as I try to get away from him as fast as possible. It would be humiliating to be caught being hit on by the Dallah coffee genie.

Turning the corner, my luck changes when I see my favorite Palestinian male—he’s around 10 years old and one of the kids who sells one shekel gummy candies to people around the bus station.

I give him some shekels and he gives me the gummies with a big smile on his face as he asks me whether I got married yet. He’s worried that I’m waiting too long.

I tell him I’m still too young, and he asks me how old I am. I say 24, and the look on his face tells me that is much too old to be unmarried. I tell him I’ll get married soon and he seems appeased.

With my faith in the male gender slowly returning, I pass the old men sitting on the sidewalk wearing kuffiyehs and smoking arghile. They discuss world politics as the busy Ramallah day unfolds on the street in front of them.

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Silwan Clashes

June 28, 2010

Palestinian protestors clashed with Israeli Border Police officers near Jewish settlements in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan yesterday.

What began as a confrontation between Palestinian residents and the settlers’ security guards escalated into a face-off between 150 Palestinians and Israeli Border Police officers. At the height of the clashes, the Israeli Border Police used teargas, rubber coated steel bullets, sound bombs, and reportedly even live ammunition against the Palestinian demonstrators and the boys who were throwing stones.

The Israeli Border Police shot teargas into Palestinian homes, breaking windows and injuring dozens of women and children with teargas inhalation, causing several to faint.

20 Palestinians needed medical attention for teargas inhalation, one Palestinian was reportedly injured by live ammunition, and several were hit with teargas canisters—all of whom had to be treated at the scene because the Israeli Border Police would not let the ambulances leave.

Several Border Police were injured by stones.

These clashes were a continuation of the demonstrations that began on Friday in response to the decision by the mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, to approve the demolition of 22 Palestinians homes in the Silwan area to make room for a tourist park.

On Friday afternoon, the Sheikh Jarrah protests (another Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem that is facing house demolition orders in order to make room for Jewish settlements) merged with the Silwan protests. Over 500 Palestinians, Internationals, and Israelis demonstrated against the demolition orders.

The neighborhood of Silwan is particularly contentious because it is located on top of the ancient remains of the 3000 year old City of David.  Israeli settlements have been built in the middle of this Palestinian neighborhood in an effort to slowly Judaize the area and Jewish development companies have funded archaeological digging in areas where Palestinian buildings once stood.