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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 [#8] April 2008
submitted by Palestine Family.net

Dear Friends of Palestine,

It's been a while since you've heard from us, but the website is always in our hearts!

I just had the chance to read the new diary of Raja Shehadeh, Palestinian Walks: Notes on a Vanishing Landscape (London: Profile Books, 2007). He describes his experiences using the image of going on a sarha, which means "to roam freely, at will, without restraint". Nowadays, of course, enjoying such a free walk is next to impossible for Palestinians in Palestine, and Shehadeh is straightforward in showing how the traditional Palestinian landscape, in fact, disappears under the pressure of settlements, checkpoints, and walls. Yet he manages to keep alive the spirit of the free walk and to preserve the memories of that freedom, notwithstanding the terrible ordeal that Palestinians are presently facing in their imprisonment (in particular now in Gaza). It is important for all Palestinians to keep the memories - but not just as a form of nostalgia. Keeping memories for future generations is what you and we are trying to do through Palestine-Family.net.

>Taboun: Pick of the Month
As our special pick during these months, we chose Summer Shabib's really beautiful photo series of the use of the traditional oven (taboun):

Already twice this year - the last time just this past week - the hills of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Beit Jala, and Hebron have been covered by snow. Click on the link below to see some landscape pictures and other photos of interest.

>New Book: Challenging the Wall
Both James Prineas and I, together with 13 other authors, have contributed to a new book entitled "Challenging the Wall: Toward a Pedagogy of Hope", which was issued by AEI-Open Windows. Together with Fuad Giacaman, I wrote about the concept of "sumud" or steadfastness in Palestinian daily life; and James focused on "Photography and Internet - Virtual Means to Defeating the Wall." The book contains both reflections and interviews - interviews with Palestinians who live close to the Wall and who speak not only of their suffering but also of their sources of energy and their understanding of freedom.
For more details, see:

Finally, we would really like to thank all those who have been regularly uploading items during these past few months. Some have even become real “correspondents” for PFN - especially Fayez Nasser from Toronto, Summer Shabib from Beirut, and now also Nasif Massad. Others are welcome to follow in their footsteps!

Thinking about freedom, especially for those in Gaza,

Toine van Teeffelen
(also on behalf of James Prineas)
Team Leaders, Palestine-family.net

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Notes on a Vanishing Landscape, by Raja Shehadeh
submitted by This Week In Palestine31.08.2007

Profile Books, UK, August 2007, 211 pages, £10.99

I could sit on this rock and look at the wide valley of Wadi El Eqda ("ethe knot') and the open hillside opposite, in between the stones there was a shiny, almost wispy layer of grass embossed with droplets of water that glistened in the sun. The lichen-covered rocks made the trickling water look black. The afternoon sun cast long shadows from the olive trees.

Palestine is a land of biblical beauty - of olive groves, grapevines, stone buildings, rolling hills, wadis and cliffs. It is also a land of violence and war. Human rights lawyer and writer Raja Shehadeh has lived on the West Bank since his family fled Jaffa in 1948. A peace activist of independent temper, he has seen at first hand the horrors of occupation - including the siege of Ramallah. For decades Shehadeh has found comfort in walking, following what in Arab culture is called sarha - meaning to roam freely, at will, without restraint: to go where the spirit takes you. In Palestinian Walks he invites the reader to come along for the unique experience of a sarha in Palestine. The six walks that comprise the book span a period of twenty six years evoking the land, its history and some of Palestinian's political struggles, disappointments and hope.

Palestinian Walks describes a vanishing landscape. Shehadeh takes us to beautiful hills, past rivers and sacred springs, to famous landmarks from A'yn Qenya, the Shukba Caves, from Wadi Qelt to the Dead Sea (now receding by a metre every year thanks to Israel's diversion of the river Jordan, an environmental catastrophe in the making). We take a walk with Selma Hasan, a PLO functionary from Tunis, who returned after the Oslo Accords (a settlement that undermined decades of Shehadeh's legal work on land rights). And we experience the everyday humiliations and harassment by Israeli soldiers - including a chance meeting with a settler who lives next to Shehadeh's hometown.

But there are also moments of extraordinary beauty. To my left at the perfectly still waters of the [Dead] Sea, transformed by the sun into a luminous platinum sheet, and to my right at the formidable wall of incandescent rock along which we were travelling, towering steeply, challengingly, seemingly an impenetrable line of defence, a mighty gateway into another world.

Palestinian Walks shows how Shehadeh's life, and the fate of the landscape are utterly intertwined. It is an intensely personal account of life in one of the world's most troubled regions, and a poignant story of how a pleasure so many of us take for granted - the freedom to roam through the countryside - is being destroyed. In the course of his encounter with the Israeli settler Shehadeh tells him, "Whether we call it Israel or Palestine this land will become one concrete maze."

Raja Shehadeh is the author of the highly praised When the Bulbul Stopped Singing and Strangers in the House, described by The Economist as 'distinctive and truly impressive' and both published by Profile Books. A Palestinian lawyer and writer who lives in Ramallah, he is a founder of the pioneering human rights organisation, Al-Haq, an affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists, and the author of several books about international law, human rights and the Middle East.

(Courtesy of the publisher)
>This Week in Palestine
September 2007

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submitted by Gabrielle O'Connor, 25.02.2008
I want to find any relatives of my mother who was born in Jerusalem in 1898, Her father was Neguib Madi (or Mahdi or Ma'di) and her mother was Sabina Meena. I don't know their parents' name. Her father was governor of Galilee, stationed in Beisan (Beth Shean or Beit Shan) and they lived also in Nazareth. She married (1st marriage) in about 1920, Bill Bedser, who was a British soldier after after the War. she came to Australia in about 1923. She was an only child but her mother adopted a boy in about 1910 but I don't know his name. She had cousins in Nazareth and the name Kiyat or Kyatt is one of the cousins' name. (Surname, I think) Hope someone can fill me in a little bit about her history or any relations in Palestine as I know very little about it as I was just not interested enough to ask her questions when I was young. And then, of course, it was too late.

Thank You

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>Thank You
submitted by Feride Facuse-Buch, 22.02.2008
I am very greatful for the work you have done in this web site, it has given me tools to explore and express my heritage of which I know so little, My grandparents left Bethlehem around 1920, they both died with hope of some day returning to their homeland, my father died 3 years ago, not able to fulfill that same dream, which now I carry with great hope that some day I will bring my children to a completly free Palestine, for all of those who left and never when back. Please, contact me if you have any information about my family.

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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 council), 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 - conduct 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, 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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