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Shuafat Refugee Camp, Jerusalem
It has never been easy for the people of this isolated refugee island, plagued by poverty during the wars of 1948 and 1967. But in the past two weeks, conditions in East Jerusalem’s Shuafat camp have become even more intolerable.
Israel has made life more difficult for residents of the Shuafat refugee camp since an attack on the camp’s military checkpoint on October 8 killed one Israeli soldier and seriously wounded another.
Since then, Israel Defense Forces troops have raided homes in the middle of the night, intensively using stun grenades and tear gas in and around the homes as they searched for the suspected gunman, the resident, Udai Tamimi. The stricter restrictions created long lines of cars at the entrance and exit of the camp, leaving residents with the feeling that Israel is denying them freedom and movement.
“They are punishing us collectively,” said resident Asa’ad Ali. “We are in a state of crisis. We are humiliated by the checkpoint politics to prove that they are still in power after the security lapse on the day of the attack. If you go to the zoo in Jerusalem, you will find animals that are getting rights that we have not had here for decades.’
Ten days after the shooting at the checkpoint, not far from where Tamimi was believed to be hiding, he carried out another shooting attack, leaving an Israeli soldier lightly wounded before being shot dead by Israeli soldiers. Israel responded by imposing even more restrictions on the growing refugee camp.
More than 130,000 Palestinians live in East Jerusalem’s Shuafat refugee camp and the neighboring town of Anata, according to the camp’s information center. It is the only remaining Palestinian refugee camp within the municipal limits that Israel built for Jerusalem after it took control of the east of the city in 1967. But despite being within the municipality, the camp does not have the proper infrastructure or services that other neighborhoods in Jerusalem have. achieve, such as garbage collection, water pipes, sewage system and sanitation.
Jerusalem municipal authorities did not respond to CNN’s request for comment on the lack of public services in the refugee camp.
A wall isolates the camp from the rest of the city. The camp’s residents, all of whom have Jerusalem Israeli identification papers, must pass through a checkpoint to enter Jerusalem for school, work and shopping.
Atallah Ismail was mourning his mother last week while searching for Tamimi. He died two days after the checkpoint attack in a Jerusalem hospital. Ismail was not allowed to stay with him.
“They encourage us to lose the last drops of hope. Life is becoming more and more unbearable here,” he said. “I couldn’t say goodbye to my mother. We couldn’t even think about taking his body to his home before burying it so that those who loved him and raised him could see him one last time. As there is a closure that will prevent us from even taking it to the cemetery, they were buried in the Lion’s Gate cemetery without a funeral.’
Israel denies that the Shuafat camp is completely closed
“The Shuafat checkpoint has been open since Monday [October 10] under a strict control of vehicular and pedestrian traffic based on operational necessity, a shooting at the site a few days ago as part of the continued hunt against the terrorist, “said the Israeli police in a statement on October 12.
A general strike was announced in the camp on the day of the police declaration, to reject what residents see as a blockade, nightly home invasions of residents and arrests by Israeli police who were still searching for the shooter.
Hundreds of young people blocked the entrance to the camp that day. Shops closed their doors and lined up with Israeli police and border police, ready to clash.
Maha Abrash, 35, had an appointment at the hospital when she was 32 weeks pregnant.
“I worry a lot about losing the baby or giving birth early. I have been in pain for three days and the tear gas affected me terribly,” he said. “I tried to cross three times, but we can’t use a car to cross and we’re allowed to walk alone, but standing in line can take hours.”
Violence and tensions in the West Bank and East Jerusalem have escalated rapidly this year, with Israeli forces making further incursions into the West Bank and Palestinians firing on the West Bank and Israel.
Residents of the Shuafat refugee camp see it as a ticking time bomb, accusing Israeli politicians of playing a game with their lives ahead of the November 1 election.
“If I wake up because of Israel and I don’t find bread or milk or basic necessities for my children because of Israel, yes, I will go on the offensive,” said Asa’ad Ali, a resident of the camp. “It’s teenage-style Israeli politics… People should be allowed to love life because we live or die with dignity. They should give people their rights instead of looking at how to put them on the ground.”
Iran’s top adviser to Khamenei calls for Saudi and Iranian embassies to reopen
Iran and Saudi Arabia should reopen their embassies to facilitate a rapprochement between the two regional rivals, a senior adviser to Iran’s supreme leader said on Tuesday, amid moves by Tehran and Riyadh to revive ties, Reuters reported. “We are neighbors of Saudi Arabia and we have to live together. Both countries’ embassies should be reopened to solve our problems in a better way,” said Ali Akbar Velayati, according to the semi-official ISNA news agency.
- Background: Iran and Saudi Arabia, the Middle East’s leading Shiite and Sunni Muslim powers, severed ties in 2016 as both sides sided with opposing sides in proxy wars across the region, from Yemen to Syria and elsewhere. Last year, Tehran and Riyadh started direct talks in an attempt to improve relations. Baghdad has organized five rounds of talks so far, the most recent in April.
- Why does it matter?: Iran has accused Saudi Arabia of supporting protests in the Islamic Republic, saying its media coverage has “raised the youth of Iran”. This week, the commander of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard, Hossein Salami, warned Saudi Arabia not to stand in the way.
Israel will help Ukraine develop an air defense warning system, but will not send weapons
Israel will help Ukraine develop an air defense warning system, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced on Wednesday, but the country has no plans to provide the weapons system.
- Background: Gantz made the announcement at a meeting with European Union ambassadors in Israel. But Gantz added that “as long as Israel supports and protects Ukraine, NATO and the West” and will continue to send humanitarian and defense equipment, “Israel will not deliver weapons systems to Ukraine due to various operational considerations…we will continue to support Ukraine.” within our borders, as we have done in the past,” he added. Israel’s ambassador to Ukraine, Yevgen Korniychuk, told CNN on Wednesday that Israel’s offer came “too late.”
- Why does it matter?: Gantz’s comments come days after Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman and former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned Israel against supplying Ukraine with military weapons. Medvedev’s warning appeared to be in response to a tweet from an Israeli government minister that it was time for Israel to provide “military aid” to Ukraine after Russia began using weapons made by Iran.
Iranian sports officials are urging FIFA to ban Iran from the World Cup
A law firm has sent a letter to FIFA on behalf of a group of current and former Iranian athletes urging the soccer governing body to suspend the Iranian Football Federation and ban Qatar from the 2022 World Cup.
- Background: “Iran’s brutality and belligerence towards its own people have reached a point, calling for an unequivocal and firm separation from the world of football and sports,” says the press release issued with the letter. The letter states that the actions of the Iranian football federation violate the statutes and rules of FIFA. CNN has reached out to FIFA and the Iranian Football Association for comment.
- Why does it matter?: In September, 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died after being arrested by the country’s morality police, apparently for not wearing the hijab properly. Iranian authorities have since launched a brutal crackdown on protesters, and have sided with the country’s authoritarian regime on a number of grievances.
The Iranian authorities’ playbook for silencing dissent includes harassing, torturing, and disappearing opponents of the regime. Watch CNN’s Jomana Karadsheh report:
Visitors arriving in Qatar for the World Cup will soon be able to visit the country’s two newest residents: a pair of giant pandas.
The pandas arrived in their new home in Qatar this week and are a gift to China ahead of the upcoming World Cup, where visitors will be able to see them.
Pandas live in southwest China’s Sichuan province, and are used to warm forests high up in the mountains.
Originally named Jing Jing and Si Hai when they lived in China, the pandas were given new Arabic names for life in the Middle East. Jing Jing is now Suhail, and is called Si Hai Thuraya.
The 4-year-old male and 3-year-old female will be housed in an enclosed indoor space that mimics the dense forest of their natural habitat, Qatar state media said.
Qatar is located in a hot desert climate, but it boasts of being the first country in the Middle East to host black and white creatures and provide a suitable environment.
The pandas will be quarantined for 21 days before being seen by visitors, and will live in Al Khor Park, 35 km from the capital Doha.
“Panda Park is expected to be one of the most important tourism and leisure destinations that will attract visitors from inside and outside Qatar,” Qatar state media said. The tiny Gulf state is expected to welcome more than a million fans for the duration of the Cup, which kicks off on November 20.
Pandas are considered a national treasure in China. They were presented to Qatar as a sign of the two countries’ strong friendship, Qatari and Chinese state media said.
According to the agreement signed by Qatar and China, the pandas will live in Qatar for the next 15 years, Chinese state media said.
Author: Nadeen Ebrahim