An Israeli tank occupies Bethlehem's Manger Square in front of the Church of the Nativity in 2002.

VIDEO: Bethlehemites deported to Gaza after 2002 church siege

My first visit to Palestine was a little over 12 years ago, just days after the end of the siege of the Church of the Nativity by Israeli forces. Following the siege, 13 Palestinians were exiled to Europe and 26 to the Gaza Strip. In my last visit to Gaza this year, I happened to meet some of the Bethlehemite deportees as they rallied in front of UN offices to present a similar petition to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. In this video, spokesman Fahmi Kanan explains the situation faced by Bethlehem deportees in the open air prison that is Gaza.

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Keef Gaza? (How’s Gaza?)

One of my last projects for the Alternative Information Center was a photo exhibition titled, “Keef Gaza? (How’s Gaza?)” which opened on June 10. The title and the concept came from the phenomenon that because so few Palestinians (or foreigners)…
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Children from Aida Refugee Camp carry keys symbolizing the right of return toward the Israeli separation wall during a Nakba commemoration event, Bethlehem, West Bank, May 14, 2014.

Nakba commemorations and clashes from Gaza to Galilee

During this year’s Nakba Day commemorations, I was able to attend events in the destroyed village of Lubya in the Galilee region in the north, Maghazi Refugee Camp in Gaza, Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem, and a march to the Green Line in the West Bank village of Al Walaja. For those unfamiliar with Palestinian history, the Nakba, Arabic for ‘catastrophe,’ is the term given to the forced displacement of some 750,000 refugees from 500 Palestinian communities by Zionist militias before, during and following the 1948 War.

Activists from an organization calle "Zion Fighters" wave American and Israeli flags at a Glenn Beck rally in Jerusalem.

A pre-independence poetic public service announcement

Inspired (provoked) by a Haaretz headline admonishing leftists to “recapture the Israeli flag”, informed by a recent action in Jaffa in which said flag was spattered with symbolic blood, and with Israeli refuser Moriel Rothman’s poetry flup-flup-flupping in my memory, in anticipation of my own nation’s flag-flupped Selective Memorial Day and Independence BBQ and Fireworks Day in the coming weeks and months, I offer the lines of poetry that immediately came to mind in the midst of this mish-mash.

Iman Katamish (right) mourns among family members at the flag-draped body of her mother Noha, Aida Refugee Camp, West Bank, April 15, 2014. Noha Katamish, who had asthma, died from the effects of a tear gas grenade fired into her home by Israeli forces the previous day. She was the mother of one daughter.

Tear gas kills

Family and neighbors buried Noha Katamish the day after she died from the effects of tear gas fired into her home by Israeli forces in Aida Refugee Camp Monday. The 45-year-old mother of one daughter suffered from asthma, which likely compounded the choking effects of the gas grenade that was fired through her living room window as soldiers invaded the camp.