occupy banks

A Palestinian protester uses a sling to hurl stones towards Israeli troops during clashes near the Israeli settlement of Bet El, near the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, by Mohamad Torokman.

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A group of teenage girls in school uniforms giggle as they share crepes topped with candy and chocolate sauce and oozing hazelnut Nutella. It’s a Saturday afternoon and the girls are at the new Nutella shop in Jerusalem’s Shuafat Palestinian refugee camp.

The scene is rare in this densely populated and impoverished urban camp. The potholed street outside the café is tense and crowded, as a group of little Palestinian schoolboys fight alongside zigzagging traffic.

But inside the shop, it’s bright and quiet. The décor is an ode to Nutella, with a localized twist. The walls are adorned with large photos of the café’s special hazelnut crepes and waffles, while a chocolate fountain bubbles by the counter, alongside a passage from the Quran. There’s also a picture of a headless woman in an “I love Nutella” tank top carrying an Arabic sign reading “If Nutella was a man, I’d marry it.”

Shuafat’s Nutella shop in Jerusalem is the latest in a series of similarly named cafés that have also popped up in the Israeli-occupied West Bank over the last two years. With unemployment and poverty widespread and a political malaise afflicting everyday life, these cafés provide female and family friendly spaces where people can enjoy and access a globalized craze that’s seemingly normal — unlike much else around them.

In Jerusalem And West Bank, Nutella Cafes Offer A Sweet Refuge

Photos: Miriam Berger for NPR

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Youngest Palestinian prisoner finally free.

Dima Al-wawi, 12, is finally free from the Israeli prison this Sunday morning. Dima was one of the youngest girls in the world to be
imprisoned.

She was received by the Palestinian Ministry of Prisoners, Issa Qaraque, and her family at the Israeli military checkpoint in Tulkarem, in the occupied West Bank.

On February 18, the Israeli military court at Ofer prison sentenced the 12-year-old Palestinian girl to four months and a half in prison and an eight-thousand-shekel.

Al-Wawi, a 7th grader from the occupied West Bank town of Halhoul, near Hebron, was arrested on February 9 while on her way to school wearing her school uniform.
Since her arrest, Dima’s family were living under extremely difficult psychological circumstances.

They received a letter from her, though the hands of her lawyer.
Subhia al-Wawi, Dima’s mother, in an interview with a PNN reporter stated that her daughter sent her and her family a the letter through their lawyer, since they are not allowed to see the child.

With tears in her eyes, al-Wawi read the letter: “My beloved mom, dad, and dear brothers:  I miss you all so much and I know that you are with me.  I am good, healthy, fine and happy. With love, Dima.”

Al-Wawi said that as any other child, her daughter has the right to play and to eat properly, referring to Dima’s arrest and captivity in an Israeli jail, violating Dima’s children rights.

She added that Dima’s lawyer tried to appeal and to prove that the accusations against her daughter are false, but all in vain.

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Living Under Occupation,

Old Palestinian lady arrives home to find Jewish settlers have stolen and took over her house

Twenty settlers (with sleeping bags), accompanied by private armed security and backed by Israeli police forces, entered an extension of the Palestinian house, and started clearing it of the family’s belongings.

One Palestinian resident, Khamis al-Gawi, has been arrested shortly after the settlers arrived, and is still being held at a local police station. Two international activists, American and Swedish nationals, who were filming the settlers taking over the house were also arrested by the police and their video cameras confiscated.

Palestinian students pray in a classroom in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron on October 19, 2015 next to an empty chair of their former classmate 16-year-old Bayan al-Osaily (portrait) covered in a traditional Palestinian keffiyeh scarf, who was killed by an Israeli soldier. 

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“Here lies my brother”: Short video recalls life of murdered Palestinian teen

On May 15, 2014, Mohammad Abu Daher, 16, was fatally shot in the back by an Israeli soldier in the occupied West Bank city of Beitunia. One hour earlier, Israeli forces shot and killed Nadeem Nawara, 17, in the same spot. 

Mohammad’s family and friends were struck hard by his loss. “Here Lies My Brother,” a short film produced by DCI-Palestine, attempts to provide a glimpse beyond the headlines to see the impact prolonged military occupation has on Palestinian families.

-, Kfar Qaddum : A picture taken through the screen of a broken television set shows a Palestinian protester throwing stones during clashes with Israeli security forces following a demonstration against the expropriation of Palestinian land by Israel in the village of Kfar Qaddum, near Nablus in the occupied West Bank, on April 10, 2015. AFP PHOTO / JAAFAR ASHTIYEH                        

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لعل الله أن يخاطب الريح كما فعلها مع النار..
يقول لها كوني دفئاً وسلاماً على عباديَ الصامدين، فلن يضرهم من خذلهم وهم في رباط إلى يوم الدين!

Millions of Palestinians bunkered down at home Wednesday as they faced down the first day of huge winter storm that has brought a mixture of rain, hail, and snow accompanied by heavy winds crashing into the Holy Land this week.

Palestinian authorities on Wednesday afternoon announced that all official business would be closed Thursday because of the storm, which has been nicknamed “Huda” in Palestine and Jordan and “Zina” in Lebanon, and urged people to take safety measures in the coming days.

The storm is expected to last until Sunday, bringing snow in higher areas around Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Hebron in the occupied West Bank as well as in northern Palestine, while flooding is expected along the coastal plain, including in the Gaza Strip.

Temperatures have dipped far below averages and are expected to hover around or just above freezing in the West Bank both day and night over the next week.

Palestinian authorities on Wednesday praised the role of civil defense units and medical centers until now, as they worked overtime to respond to emergencies and braced for the work to be done in the coming days.

Already in some areas across the region temporary electricity cuts have been reported, but many fear the worst is yet to come.

___ The worries are especially high in the Gaza Strip, where widespread flooding only last month in a much smaller storm in December prompted the United Nations to declare a state of emergency.

Official Palestinian news agency Wafa said that dozens of homes were already flooded by Wednesday afternoon, forcing “hundreds” from their homes.

The agency quoted Gaza municipal authorities as as warning of a coming “humanitarian crisis.”

Nearly 110,000 Palestinians were left homeless by Israel’s bloody summer assault on the besieged coastal enclave, and the vast majority remain without any permanent residence due to Israeli restrictions on the import of reconstruction material.

In Dec. 2013, one of the worst winter storms in 50 years caused flooding of around half-a-meter in parts of Gaza, forcing at least 10,000 to flee their homes.

Electricity shortages due to Israel’s eight-year-long siege of Gaza and the subsequent fuel shortages it has caused, meanwhile, delayed clean up, as water pumps could not be fully deployed.


A Gaza street scene during flooding in Dec. 2014 (MaanImages)

With more than 100,000 Gazans already homeless this time around, many fear this year’s storm could have deadly serious consequences.

Gaza electricity authorities only recently declared that irregular power outages would be put in place to deal with continuing fuel shortages as a result of the Israeli blockade, on top of the “six hours on, 12 hours off” schedule that is already in regular usage.

In the West Bank, meanwhile, many fear a repeat of the Dec. 2013 experience with Storm Alexa, when massive power outages struck across the region as a result of downed power lines.

In that storm, Israeli engineers insisted on repairing lines instead Israel and those serving Jewish settlements in the West Bank before helping their Palestinian colleagues in the West Bank repair connections, leaving hundreds of thousands of Palestinians without power even as Israeli Jews in neighboring settlements received electricity.

The storm has already caused major suffering across the Levant, killing at least two Syrian refugees in Lebanon due to cold.

Millions of Syrian and Palestinian refugees who fled Syria remain scattered in lightly-protected camps across Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, and Iraq, and fears are growing that not enough has to been done to help them brace for the winds, rains, and snow expected to pummel the region.