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> PFN Newsletter [#8] April 2008
> PFN Newsletter [#7] December 2007
> PNF Newsletter [#6] November 2007
> PFN Newsletter [#5] July 2007
> PFN Newsletter [# 4] June 2007
> PFN Newsletter [#3] April 4 2007
> PFN Newsletter [# 2] March 2007
> PFN Newsletter [# 1 ] December 2006
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PFN Newsletter [#7] December 2007
submitted by Palestine Family.net

Dear Friends of Palestine,

Let’s start with something to be proud of. Some of our readers have uploaded news about an author and artist from Palestine who have won awards during the past few months.


Susan Abulhawa, author of The Scar of David, has won the 2007 award for historical fiction in this year’s National Best Book Awards. The Scar of David is the story of a Palestinian family from the village of Ein Hod, which was emptied of its inhabitants by the newly formed state of Israel in 1948. The story is told in the first person by Amal, who was born into that family in a UN-administered refugee camp in Jenin, where her family would eventually die waiting, or fighting, to return to their beloved Palestine.

Palestinian-American artist Emily Jacir has won a Golden Lion for her work in the international exhibition of the 52nd Venice Biennale. Jacir’s contribution to “Think with the Senses, Feel with the Mind,” curated by Robert Storr, is titled “Material for a Film” and consists of photographs, texts, videos, and sound installations. The piece delves into the story of Wael Zuaiter, a Palestinian poet who was gunned down outside his apartment building in Rome in 1972. Jacir handed her award “to Palestine.”


The olive harvest in Palestine has just finished. The olive is the national product of Palestine. Olive picking used to be, and sometimes still is, a festive activity in the Palestinian countryside. PFN received a unique photo of Frank (Fayez) Nasser, from Bethlehem/Toronto, which shows the customs of olive picking as practiced more than 100 years ago in the Bethlehem region. In the accompanying text, Frank gives insight into the traditional practice of olive picking.
You are invited to help the Palestinian economy by buying Palestinian olive oil. One very good option is to order the oil through Canaan Fair Trade in Jenin. More information about this company can be found through the link below.


Palestinian cuisine is a tasty and typical element of Palestinian heritage.

Fadi Kattan, a Palestinian chef, uploaded an interesting article about his initiative to design the 2006 Palestinian Culinary Competition. To learn about his experience, click on the following link.

Another PFN user, Summer Shabib, has recently posted recipes of several Palestinian and Arab dishes on the site, with links to short videos on YouTube that illustrate the preparation process. We do not yet have the option of downloading videos on PFN, but in time it will come. Meanwhile a link to a site like YouTube is most convenient. The link below leads to Shabib’s recipe for Palestinian Mulukhia.

Each month brings more submissions that are uploaded to PFN and, consequently, more reasons for us to remain committed to PFN’s mission. By creating an open submission system, Palestine-Family.net provides a platform for members of the Palestinian community to instantly publish their photos, documents, and other items of interest, making them accessible to the whole community as well as other interested persons. A huge public archive has been created where information can be easily accessed and contacts can be made. The first results are there!

Wishing you all the best from Bethlehem/Berlin,

Toine van Teeffelen
Also on behalf of PFN’s founder James Prineas
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Bethlehem late 1800's -

Sometime from mid October to the end of November, the annual harvest of the olive trees was a joyfully exciting event for the whole community. Men, women and children participate in gathering the fruits. Schools and shops close for a few days, and everyone young and old gets involved.

Historians date the first olive trees in Palestine to 4,000 years before Christ. One may look outside his/her window to view olive trees that were planted 1,000 years ago, and still produce the precious olives.

Olives and their products have been a significant part of Palestinian culture since ancient times. The Greeks believe it was Athena, goddess of wisdom and war who gave mankind the divine fruit. The Romans also coveted the precious crop, and later the Venetians shipped it around the Mediterranean.

The olive tree is a universal symbol of peace. The expression "to hold out an olive branch" means to seek harmony and peace. In Palestine, the olive tree is prized for its historical presence, its beauty, its symbolic and its economic significance. Olive trees are a major commercial crop, and many families depend on it for their livelihood.

Many products are extracted from the olive tree. They include the olives which are preserved in various forms and are valued for their nutritional qualities; the oil which is used for lighting and cooking; the hard wood which is used for making durable furnishings and fragrant carvings; as well as numerous olive-oil-based products such as soaps, pharmaceuticals, beauty preparations and others.

It takes an olive tree more then twelve years to produce a fruit. Olive trees grow at a rate of 1-2 feet each year, reaching a height of 20-40 feet after about 40 years. They generally live for about 400 years, but many are known to be 700 or 1000 years old.

Olives and their oil have a spiritual significance not only in the Middle East, but also world-wide. They are mentioned many times in the Torah, the Bible and the Koran, and are known as symbols of peace, life and fertility.

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Canaan Fair Trade - Jenin

submitted by the Arab Educational Institute, 24.11.2007
A Warm Hello from Jenin, Palestine
Based in Jenin, Palestine, Canaan Fair Trade sells the delicacies produced by over 1,700 small farmers organized in informal cooperatives and represented by the Palestine Fair Trade Association (PFTA). We supply bulk as well as finished and packaged goods to Europe, North America and the Middle East. All of our products are offered with a Palestinian Certificate of Origin. A large and growing portion of them are certified Organic.

We Create Opportunity For Farmers and Communities

Canaan Fair Trade uses the fair trade concept to empower marginalized Palestinian rural communities caught in conflict so they can sustain their livelihoods and culture. To that end, we have built direct working relationships with these communities, paying sustainable prices for their agricultural products to ensure fair wages for labor along the supply chain.

We support farmers in enhancing production procedures and product quality, building their capacities to work collectively, and to sell to international markets.

We educate farmers about sustainable practices and support conversion to certified organic production. We ensure sterling quality standards, while implementing social and economic empowerment programs.

Canaan promotes cross-cultural, interfaith, and multi-ethnic connection of all participants in the production and trade processes:€” workers, farmers, processors, traders, exporters, importers, distributors, and consumers. The idea is to create one community connected by the fair exchange of goods in a cross-cultural setting.

The Reestablishment of Traditional Sustainable Farming In Palestine

By giving incentives to produce a high quality product, Canaan and its partners hope to reestablish traditional sustainable farming as an avenue for Palestinian farmers earning a livelihood. Fair trade provides a vehicle for alternative cultural expression and the opportunity for communities caught in conflict to connect with the outside world.

From our fields to your table.

For generations, our farms have given us some of the most delicately flavorful olives, almonds, tomatoes and other treasures of the earth.

In the tradition of Palestinian hospitality and in the spirit of fair trade, we invite you to experience these pleasures.


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The Scar of David by Susan Abulhawa

submitted by Arab Educational Institute, 08.11.2007

Susan Abulhawa, author of “The Scar of David,” has won the 2007 award for Historic Fiction in this year's National Best Book Awards.


The Scar of David is historical fiction about a Palestinian family from the village of Ein Hod, which was emptied of its inhabitants by the newly formed state of Israel in 1948. It is told in the first person by Amal, who is born into that family in a UN-administered refugee camp in Jenin, where her family would eventually die waiting, or fighting, to return to their beloved Palestine.

Set in lap of one of the 20th century’s most intractable political conflicts, this novel weaves through history, friendship, love, frayed identity, terrorism, exhaustion of the spirit, surrender, and courage. Three massacres and two major wars provide five corners to this novel:

Sabra and Shatila, Southern Lebanon, 1982;

US embassy bombing, Beirut, 1983;

Refugee camp of Jenin, West Bank, 2002;

The Naqbe, Mandate Palestine, 1948; and

The Six Day War, Middle East, 1967.

During the family’s eviction from their ancestral village, Amal’s brother Ishmael is lost in the mayhem of people fleeing for their lives. Just a toddler at the time, Ishmael is raised by a Jewish family and grows up as David, an Israeli soldier. During the 1967 war, Amal’s eldest brother, Yousef, comes face to face with David, his brother the Jew. Yousef recognizes his brother by a prominent scar across David’s face. The title of this story takes its name from this scar, and assumes other layers of meaning as it is told.

The end is the beginning: terrible suffering packaged by Western press into perfidious sound bites like “the Middle East Conflict” and “War on Terrorism.” But through the course of this story, a would-be suicide bomber is given a name, face and life of a man pushed to in comprehensible limits; an Arab girl of pious and humble beginnings escapes her destiny and lives the “American Dream,” which her soul cannot bear; an Israeli man becomes tangled in a truth he cannot reconcile, and his identity can find no repose but in the temporary anesthetic of alcohol; and a nation of destitute refugees, living under the general label of “terrorists,” emerges in the context of an unredeemed history. This story reveals Palestinians in the fullness of their humanity as they teeter on the margins of life against a cruel military occupation, a corrupt leadership, an indifferent international community, and the undaunted will to take their place among the nations as human beings, worthy of human rights and the basic dignity of heritage.

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Emily Jacir - Palestinian-American artist wins Golden Lion in Venice

submitted by Fuad Salem, 02.11.2007
"This is for Palestine."

Emily Jacir - Palestinian-American artist wins Golden Lion in Venice

Palestinian-American artist Emily Jacir has won a Golden Lion for her work in the international exhibition of the 52nd Venice Biennale. Jacir's contribution to "Think with the Senses, Feel with the Mind," curated by Robert Storr, is titled "Material for a Film" and consists of photographs, texts, videos and sound installations.

The piece delves into the story of Wael Zuaiter, a Palestinian poet who was gunned down outside his apartment building in Rome in 1972. According to Jacir's text, Zuaiter was "the first victim in Europe in a series of assassinations committed by Israeli agents of Palestinian artists, intellectuals and diplomats that was already underway in the Middle East."

The Venice Biennale is one of the oldest and most prestigious international art exhibitions of its kind, both loved and hated for its structure, which pairs an international show with individual, national pavilions.

For every edition, Golden Lions are awarded in several categories, including lifetime achievement (which was awarded this year to Malian photographer Malik Sidibe), art critic or historian (won by the Harvard professor Benjamin Buchloh, whose writings on such artists as Gerhard Richter have informed broader critical reception of the painter's work) and artist under the age of 40 (Jacir's prize).

The jury's citation credited Jacir for "a practice that takes as its subject exile in general and the Palestinian issue in particular. Without recourse to exoticism, the work ... establishes and expands a crossover between cinema, archival documentation, narrative and sound."

Though under 40, Jacir has become well known for the power of her projects, many of which are process-based, such as "Where We Come From" (2003). For the piece, she asked Palestinian refugees one question - "If I could do anything for you, anywhere in Palestine, what would it be?" - and documented her fulfillment of their wishes with photographs and videos.

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Jacob Abu-zeid - Washingtonville, New York/USA 19.11.2007 

My family lived in Dayr Tarif prior to nakbet 1948. This site is awesome, and has a great links and information. Wish you the best and good luck. Please contact me if you have any old photos of DAYR TARIF,Thanks.

Summer Shabib - Beirut-Lebanon 01.12.2007

Family village or town of origin: Jaffa
It has been great looking around this great site. Love all the info provided by the users. A great way to preserve our heritage and origin. Thank you!

Mary Hirezi-Harb - Baton Rouge,Louisiana,USA 16.11.2007

Family village or town of origin: Bethlehem
This site is awesome. I left Bethlehem when I was maybe six or seven, yet visited last in 1994. I am the daughter of Jabra Hirezi and Margaret Diek. Great work, whoevever started this site. Love it...Mary

Margo Alawi - Germany 20.10.2007 

Family village or town of origin: Bethlehem
I am a first generation Arab-American from the Alawi family. My father told me that I have family and relatives living in Bethlehem as well as Amman. He himself grew up in Rafidiya. I'd like to get in contact with any Alawi relatives out there.


Jalil Family

submitted by Jose Jalil , 13.10.2007
Can any one help with my family. My grandfather was born in Beit Jala around 1902, his name was Gabriel (Jabra) Mussa Jalil Kafati. Do you know anyliving relatives. We are also related to the Abumuhour family/ We are from Honduras

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Many of the team who brought you Palestine-Family.net are also working together on a website to help tinnitus sufferers (tinnitus, for those of you unfamiliar to it, is the ringing or humming in the ears which some people suffer from). As the first stage we are researching what exactly tinnitus sufferers are experiencing, and we've made a quick online questionnaire which tinnitus sufferers can fill in. It only takes about 5 minutes to complete, and is completely anonymous.

If you know of someone with tinnitus - or have it yourselves - it would be a huge help to fill in the form. The more responses we have, the more accurate our work will be. The internet-address of the site is below. If you know someone who has it please send them the address (and, if it's not too much to ask, if you know someone who has it but doesn't have internet access, it would be great if you would fill in the form with the answers they give you).


At the end of the survey one can - only if one wishes - leave us an email address so we can contact you with the results of the survey and the progress of the project.

Thanks for your help!

James Prineas
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Palestine-Family.net’s advisory committee

Hania Bitar (Director, Palestinian Youth Association for Leadership
and Rights Activation)
Andre Dabdoub (Project manager, historian)
Julia Dabdoub (Director, Arab Women’s Union)
Dr Kholoud Daibes (Director, Center for Cultural Heritage
Preservation, appointed as Minister of Tourism)
Mohammed Hourani (Ministry of Tourism)
Dr Sharif Kanaana (Anthropologist and folklorist, Birzeit University)
Dr Adnan Mousallem (Historian, Bethlehem University)
Maha Saca (Director, Palestinian Heritage Center)
Fadi Sanad (Director, Artas Folklore Center)
Mike Salman (Businessman, historian)
Dr Saliba Sarsar (Political Scientist, Monmouth University).
Dr Khalil Shokeh (Historian, member of the Bethlehem municipality
Prof. Dr Qustandi Shomali (Communication and information sciences,
Bethlehem University)

Palestine-Family.net’s Editorial Committee - James Prineas, Leyla
Zuaiter, Fuad Giacaman, Dr Toine van Teeffelen, Maisoun Al-Zawahra
and Tamara Habash - conducts editing tasks and decide about issues of
policy concerning the site. The editorial committee checks incoming
entries, encourages persons and institutions to submit, and approves
the choice of projects and partnerships.

Website Team in Berlin:

Christopher Jones, CreativeSenses.com
Eid-Sabbagh Rami-Habib
James Prineas
Maisoun Al-Zawahra
Stephan Jensen, Skygate.de
Tamara Habash
Thorsten Singer, Skygate.de

Website Team in Palestine:

Fuad Giacaman
Leyla Zuaiter
Toine van Teeffelen
Wesam Ahmad

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