Tag Archives: Palestinian Territories

Global Event | Christmas

Christmas for the Vulnerable Christians of the World


Source: Al Jazeera YouTube

One of the most important days in the Christian holiday canon, Christmas is celebrated by the devout, the lapsed, and the unbelieving alike as a time of gift-giving, decorating, and shared cheer. However, many of the worlds Christians, minorities in their communities, continue to face persecution as religious-extremist, nationalist, and other reactionary forces gain footholds around the world. From Indonesia to Egypt, religiously diverse societies have experienced increased sectarian tensions as parallel forces—anti-Christian sentiment and Islamophobia—have disrupted what was once stable co-existence. This roundup takes a look at recent developments in the plight faced by some of the most vulnerable Christians around the world. Continue reading Global Event | Christmas

Global News | Palestinians

U.N. Security Council passes resolution condemning Israeli settlements in West Bank following U.S. abstention
  • The 15-member council passed the resolution 14-0-1 after it was taken up by members from four countries following its withdrawal by Egypt under pressure from U.S. President-elect Trump and Israel.
  • Israel’s settlements in the West Bank, on the increase in recent years under the conservative government of PM Benjamin Netanyahu, have involved the expropriation of land from Palestinians and the demolition of Palestinian villages.
  • Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., defied pressure from Trump, U.S. legislators, and conservative Israeli lobbyists in abstaining, paving the way for a united international declaration of the settlements as in violation of international law.

Read more:
U.N. Security Council demands end to Israeli settlements, U.S. abstains” (Reuters)
Israeli settlements: UN Security Council calls for an end” (BBC)
U.S. Abstains as U.N. Security Council Votes to Condemn Israeli Settlements” (The New York Times)

(Image Credit: Baz Ratner/Reuters)

Israel News | Israelis & Palestinians

Israel revokes travel permits for tens of thousands of Palestinians following Tel Aviv killings
  • Four Israelis were killed and six wounded after two Palestinian gunmen opened fire in a Tel Aviv market.
  • In response, the government cancelled entry permits for some 83,000 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza for three days, revoked work permits for more than 200 of the attackers’ relatives, and increased its security presence in the occupied West Bank.
  • Following a condemnation of the homicides, the U.N. warned Israel that their response could be classified as collective punishment, illegal under the Geneva Conventions.

Read more:
Tel Aviv Terror: What We Know So Far About the Sarona Shooting” (Haaretz)
Palestinian Gunmen Open Fire in Tel Aviv, Leaving Four Dead” (The New York Times)
Palestinians barred from entering Israel after Tel Aviv killings” (The Guardian)
U.N. says Israeli move on Palestinian permits may be collective punishment” (Reuters)

(Image Credit: Tomer Appelbaum/Haaretz)

May Day || Global

Global May Day 2016

One of the few truly global holidays, International Workers’ Day (May Day) is both a worldwide celebration of the working classes as well as a day to draw attention to ongoing insecurities workers around the world face. May Day has historically had a twofold purpose: a day for workers to voice their concerns over contentious labor policies and for governments to reaffirm their commitments to workers’ rights and just labor practices. At times little more than public relations campaigns and at others violent clashes between governments and workers, global May Day events have highlighted the diverse relationships between labor, employers, and government around the world. Here are the highlights of May Day 2016 in more than 30 countries:


Asia Pacific

Bike rallies were held in Pune as Indian PM Narendra Modi saluted workers on Antarrashtriya Shramik Diwas, a public holiday. Pakistan‘s major labor unions convened in Lahore to speak out against poor working conditions, violations of international labor conventions, and ongoing privatization in the country. As Bangladeshi officials addressed labor relations and welfare reforms amidst a day of union-organized programming, in Kathmandu, Nepali workers marched while awaiting the ratification of the Labour Act, which guarantees greater social security for workers. Across the Indian Ocean, Australian union leader singled out penalty rate protection and tax reform as major Labour Day issues, with the date of the holiday having been a point of contention as well.

Throughout East Asia, workers rallied to draw attention to labor conditions and call for reforms, from ending contractualization in the Philippines to protecting job security in South KoreaHong Kong saw thousands take to the streets to demand fair and standardized working hours along with a universal pension program. In Malaysia, PM Najib Razak took the day to announce an increase in the national minimum wage and an insurance scheme proposal.

Europe & Eurasia

In cities across France, tens of thousands marched in protest against proposed labor reforms that would loosen the country’s controversial employment and job security policies. Jeremy Corbyn became the first U.K. Labour party  leader to attend a May Day rally in a half-century when he spoke to a crowd of thousands in London, reaffirming solidarity against anti-immigrant sentiment and addressing anti-Semitism accusations that have plagued his party recently. Spain saw thousands across its cities gather, many protesting ongoing austerity measures. An estimated 800,000 gathered in Rome‘s San Giovanni Square, with this year’s event dedicated to slain Italian student Giulio Regeni.

Some 2,000 convened in rain-soaked Zagreb to hear labor leaders protest the increased retirement age and ongoing poverty in Croatia. Moscow hosted a mass demonstration in the city’s Red Square estimated in size from the tens of thousands to 100,000, while thousands gathered in Istanbul’s Bakirköy district under a heavy police presence in the wake of urban suicide attacks and ongoing violence across Turkey.

The Americas

From New York to Los Angeles, demonstrations in the U.S. highlighted widening economic inequality in the country and an election season marred by racist, xenophobic, and Islamophobic sentiment. While most protests took place without incident, a peaceful march turned violent in Seattle, leading to five injured officers and nine arrests. A similar outbreak in Montreal led to one injury and 10 arrests.

In Latin America, Brazil‘s embattled president and Workers’ Party leader Dilma Roussef rallied alongside hundreds of thousands across the country as her impeachment proceedings continue and workers fear the inauguration of her center-right vice president. Cuba‘s May Day parade continued the national tradition of expressing support for the Castro regime rather than directly celebrating labor or expressing concerns over labor conditions. In Argentina, President Mauricio Macro backed employers and touted labor proposals that had spurred mass demonstrations only days before. Elsewhere in the region, minimum wage increases were announced in Venezuela and Bolivia and a march took place in Santiago as Chilean President Michelle Bachelet announced a review of her labor reforms after the Supreme Court rejected a key provision granting exclusive negotiating rights to unions.

Middle East & Africa

Police in Egypt blocked hundreds of workers from assembling in a Cairo office as labor leaders and international organizations called for the government to decriminalize independent union organization. In Israel, more than 5,000 youth marched in Tel Aviv, while a Palestinian trade union renewed its call for the establishment of a minimum wage and the dismantlement of the Gaza blockade. A government-sponsored event in Dubai reportedly drew nearly 200 workers, though labor practices in the UAE continue to draw international scrutiny.

South of the Sahara, events popped up across South Africa as politicians sought to address the country’s high unemployment rate and appeal to workers ahead of August elections. In Nigeria, President Mohammadu Buhari spoke to thousands of workers in Abuja, touting his anti-corruption campaign. A Mozambique labor leader addressed a crowd in Maputo about the debts of state-owned companies and the need for wage and workplace reform. As the decline of oil prices has created economic hardship throughout Angola, the country’s two labor unions marched to draw attention to deteriorating worker conditions and the need for infrastructure maintenance. Workers in Ghana protested the privatization of the management of the state-owned Electric Company of Ghana, while the government insisted the company was still run by the state. Meanwhile, Ethiopia sidestepped Sunday commemorations altogether by moving May Day to May 3, when labor leaders plan to highlight ongoing struggles to organize Ethiopian workers.

Israel & Palestinian Territories Feature | Palestinian Youth

Palestinian Youth, from Classroom to Jail Cell

Comprising nearly half of those who have attempted or carried out attacks against Israelis since October, Palestinian youth have found themselves imprisoned in increasing numbers as a result of Israel’s two-tier criminal justice system. Since October, the number of imprisoned youth has more than doubled to 430, including 103 under the age of 17. While Palestinian families and human rights advocates have called for rehabilitation over punishment, Israeli authorities have cited the severity of the crimes as cause for the imprisonments, which would be illegal were the youth Israeli. The New York Times investigates recent cases of youth imprisonment, from the impact of the media to the effects youth violence has had on Palestinian families and communities.

Read:
Surge in Palestinian Youths in Prison Tests Israel’s Justice System” (The New York Times)

Additional reading:
Israeli forces detain two Palestinian children over alleged stabbing plans” (Ma’an News Agency, via Al Bawaba)
Leaderless Palestinian Youth, Inspired by Social Media, Drive Rise in Violence in Israel” (The New York Times, October 2015)
Palestinian youth devise a new, personalized approach to the Intifada using social media” (Ma’an News Agency, via Al Bawaba, October 2015)

(Image Credit: Rina Castelnuovo/The New York Times)

Israel & Palestinian Territories News | Palestinians & Bedouins

Israel triples rate of demolition of Palestinian and Bedouin structures in the West Bank
  • Since the beginning of 2016, the average monthly demolition rate has increased to 165 a month, a dramatic increase from the 50-per-month of 2012-2015.
  • The coordinator of Israel’s activities in the West Bank indicated the increased rate is an attempt to get through the 11,000 outstanding demolition orders.
  • Palestinian and Bedouin structures are deemed illegal in the West Bank if built without difficult-to-get permits, in a designated (but often seldom-used) firing range, or in violation of colonial-era planning and zoning restrictions.

Read more:
With demolitions, Israel tightens squeeze on West Bank Palestinians” (Reuters)
UNRWA Condemns Ongoing Israeli Demolitions of Palestinian Homes” (teleSUR English)
35 Palestinians left homeless due to massive demolitions by the IOF, Wednesday” (Palestine News Network)

(Image Credit: Abed Omar Qusini/Reuters)

Palestinian Territories Feature | Women

Hair and Hope for Palestine’s Cancer Victims

teleSUR English profiles an effort by the Aid and Hope Program to provide Palestinian women who have experienced hair loss during cancer treatment with wigs. With cancer the second-leading cause of death in Gaza, the campaign, entitled Be Beautiful, addresses the physiological and psychological effects of chemotherapy among the many afflicted women.

View the video on teleSUR English’s YouTube channel.