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A Tale of Two Cities - Jerusalem
Jerusalem
By David Vaaknin
07 Oct 2014

October 2-5, 2014
Jerusalem

Perhaps the most culturally significant city in the world, Jerusalem is a mosaic of religions, cultures, and traditions. It is a city where the past and the present collide in a both harmonious and conflictual way. Hip shopping malls are frequented by both secular Israelis and orthodox Jewish clientele who adhere to an ancient way of life; Palestinians buy mobile phones from a telecommunications kiosk in the walled old city; and international tourists marvel at one of the world's oldest churches. On the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, the city's modern highways and light rail tramline stand empty as the use of all electronics is discouraged in recognition of the holiday. These photos illustrate the layers of this timeless, yet modern city.

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Israeli Artillery Hits Southern Lebanon
Shebaa Farms
By Karamallah Daher
06 Oct 2014

October 7, 2014
Shebaa Farms, Lebanon

Israeli forces fire artillery shells into southern Lebanon after two IDF soldiers were wounded by an improvised explosive device. Hezbollah later claimed responsibility for the attack on the Israeli soldiers.

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Jerusalem - the birthplace of Monotheism
Jerusalem
By Noe Falk Nielsen
02 Oct 2014

The Wailing Wall with the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque in the background in the Temple Mount.

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Jerusalem - the birthplace of Monotheism
Church of the Nativity
By Noe Falk Nielsen
01 Oct 2014

The site where Jesus is said to have been born. Church of Nativity, Bethlehem, West Bank.

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Jerusalem - the birthplace of Monotheism
Jerusalem
By Noe Falk Nielsen
30 Sep 2014

Jewish devotees attend evening prayer at the Wailing Wall. The wailing wall is the last remaining part of the second temple built by Herod in 19 BC. The wall comprised the western wall of the former temple, thus its alternate name the "Western Wall".

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Jerusalem - the birthplace of Monotheism
Jerusalem
By Noe Falk Nielsen
30 Sep 2014

Christian woman pray at the site where it is said Jesus was laid to rest.

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Jerusalem - the birthplace of Monotheism
Jerusalem
By Noe Falk Nielsen
29 Sep 2014

The Dome of the Rock towering above the Wailing Wall in the right foreground. The Foundation Stone inside the Dome is significant to both Muslims, Christians and Jews.

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Jerusalem - the birthplace of Monotheism
Jerusalem
By Noe Falk Nielsen
29 Sep 2014

Christian woman lighting a candle for Jesus at the site of the cave at the Church of theHoly Sepulcher in Jerusalem.

Wheelchair Basketball Heals Wounds in...
Nablus
By adrian
25 Sep 2014

September 25, 2014 Nablus, Palestine Established in the aftermath of the First Intifada, Nablus' wheelchair basketball team is amongst the most prominent in the West Bank. The squad includes players from the city and surrounding villages as well as Nablus' three refugee camps, and features several members of the current Palestinian national team. Many of the members obtained their disabilities from injuries sustained during the first and second Intifadas. Others were either born with, or developed debilitating conditions. Mu'awia Muna, the head coach of the Nablus team, is clear to stress that the team makes no differentiation between the causes of players' disabilities and that the fundamental issue at hand is the need "to provide sporting opportunities for all disabled people". Wheelchair basketball was one of the first Paralympic sports to develop in Palestine and, more than twenty years after its establishment, the Nablus wheelchair basketball team continues to train weekly. However, there are many obstacles faced by the club in its quest to continue work. Access to potential training venues and playing surfaces present constant challenges. Many sporting facilities in Palestine are now quite old and are not equipped with suitable disabled access. Lack of funding is also a major issue for all Paralympic sports in Palestine. The Nablus team's current wheelchairs have seen many years of regular use and are now in desperate need of replacement. With sports wheelchairs costing as much as 2000 euro each, the team needs to secure substantial support in order to continue to provide for the needs of Nablus' disabled athletes.

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"State Land"- Fresh Territory Seizure...
Bethlehem
By Vinciane Jacquet
20 Sep 2014

September 16-19, 2014
West Bank, Palestine

At the end of August, 2014 Israel seized nearly 1000 acres of Palestinian land in the West Bank in order to make room for new Jewish settlements. The residents of the Palestinian village of Wadi Fukin, which is located on the seized land, were delivered eviction notices and had some of their farmlands destroyed, all with the purpose of having them abandon their village. The villagers have refused to leave and now face a lengthy struggle to stay on their land.

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Protecting an Ancient Damascus Synagogue
Damascus
By Abdu al-Fadel
19 Sep 2014

September 19, 2014
al-Madares Street, Jobar, Damascus

Local citizens protect and maintain an ancient Jewish synagogue in the besieged Damascus suburb of Jobar, despite the heavy damage inflicted on it by heavy clashes between the FSA and Syrian Army. Located at the end of al-Madares street, the synagogue is believed to date from 720 BCE and was a temple for the prophet Khedr and prophet Elias.

The monument was largely neglected by the Syrian government before the war and has been damaged many times with mortars and bombs during the war. However, its local caretaker, and the inhabitants of the area continue to care for the building, as they have for decades.

Shot list:
Various shots show the location of the synagogue and the damage to the building.
Various shots show the remains of the synagogue, such as historical artifacts and some ancient writings
Various shots show an underground chamber that is said to have been used by prophet Khedr to pray
Various shots show the massive destruction that happened around the synagogue

Sound Bites:
Abu Loay, a member of the local committee of Jobar, interested in the issue of the synagogue, explains the story of the synagogue from its establishment to the present day.
(00:39)

Interviewer: How long have you had this job?

Abu Loay: We have been taking care of the synagogue for the past 2-3 years. There used to be a guard here, but he left after the problems started, and then the inhabitants of the area left, so we came here, the men and myself. We are taking care of it. The citizens and the elderly of this town asked us to stay here and guard the synagogue and until now, it has not been attacked.

Interviewer: How was the synagogue looking when you started working here?

Abu Loay: It was amazing, it had fence and it was an ancient historical monument, it goes back thousands of years.
Interviewer: Were there any Jews living in the area?

Abu Loay: Here in Jobar we did not have any Jews, but back in the days of our grandparents, we used to have Jews. When I was a child, I remember there was a big percentage of Jews in the Jewish street. They used to come every Saturday from the Jewish street to visit the synagogue here. When Israel was established, many of the Jews left, that was along time ago.

Interviewer: Were there huge numbers of Jews in Damascus?

Abu Loay: Yes of course, they all used to live in the Jewish street, an area named the Jewish street, in the old city of Damascus.

Interviewer: When did they leave and where did they go?

Abu Loay: Most of them went to Israel, the government back then gave them a choice, to either stay here or leave, and a lot of them chose to leave.

Interviewer: How was the synagogue destroyed?

Abu Loay: About two years ago, from the side of Harasta, they [Syrian Army] attacked us with the multiple rocket launcher. Over 15 shells were dropped at the same time. I took footage of the incident and then I tried [to expose the attack], I went to many media outlets, trying to call the Jews to come and protect the synagogue, but nobody responded. They [Syrian Army] hit the ceiling in two spots and the kitchen burnt down.

Interviewer: Why did you keep protecting the synagogue if the Jews themselves did not respond and did not come to protect it?

Abu Loay: First of all, the synagogue is located in my town, I am from Jobar. Secondly, it is a legacy, not only for the Jews, but also for us. It is a legacy for the citizens of Jobar. It is thousands of years old and it is as valuable as any church or mosque.

Interviewer: Being here in the synagogue, do you feel any attachment to this place?

Abu Loay: I swear I feel like it is my own home. I was sleeping right here, with my wife and children, and if I have to go somewhere I lock the place up. I was residing here for about six months.

Interviewer: How did you feel when the synagogue was attacked and destroyed?

Abu Loay: I felt like I lost a piece of my heart. Only someone who lives here will understand the true value of this synagogue.

Interviewer: Do you think there is a way to repair the synagogue?

Abu Loay: In this condition, all of this wreckage must be removed, they destroyed it. Go back to the old pictures of the synagogue and compare, it used to be heaven.

Interviewer: Do you speak Hebrew?

Abu Loay: No I only speak the language of Jobar.

Interviewer: Do you mind escorting us on a tour around the synagogue?

Abu Loay: Of course, I do not mind, let’s take the tour.
(04:28)

(04:33) Here there used to be the main door, and there, it used to be a kitchen. There is the room I used to sleep in.
This room was an office and I used to sleep in it. The women used to sleep upstairs, and this was a storage room. The main temple is in the back. This is the only tree that is still living.

(05:44) This is a new building, and there were rooms and the rooftop.
That used to be the entrance of the synagogue, and there use to be two rooms up there. And there was a water well.
Can you see this slot in the wall, they used to store the oil cans in their. Near the pile of rocks there used to be the alter. Those two chambers are completely destroyed.

(07:17) Look at the pigeon nest in the gap in the wall. That was here before the shelling.
This is an old school, and there used to be a wall here, the old school is for UNRWA [United Nations Relief and Works Agency].
There used to be a room, then a small hall and then another room, all ancient.
This carpet is from the remains of the temple, they used to love those colors, our brothers the Jews. This is another one, everything valuable we were able to find after the destruction, we removed it.

(08:39) Here used to be a huge bronze round plate, and here is the step of the prophet. Here they used to keep the oil, here they used to have books, and there was the seating area. The building was ancient and the temple had a very high ceiling.

(09:30) Here, where I am walking, used to be the few steps leading to the alter. Where I am standing now is the location of the alter. It was about half a circle and made out of wood and the chandeliers above it, it used to be amazing.

(10:20) Those gaps in the walls used to have frames, and here used to be a painting, and next to it a bronze box labeled "Charity".
And here, as we said before, they used to keep the oil.

(11:28) Here is the prayer chamber, our grandfathers used to say that the prophet Khedr used to come to pray here. This hole in the ceiling was an air vent for this chamber, but the shelling has destroyed most of the room.

(12:21) Look what the destruction did to it. The last time they dropped vacuum bombs on this area, the buildings around the synagogue were also destroyed.

(12:41) There used to be four candlesticks and a chair, an antique chair, they are not destroyed, we preserved them.

(13:05) This is the wreckage of the synagogue. They [Syrian Military] attacked us with many types of weapons, including jets. The last airstrike, they dropped vacuum bombs on us and destroyed all of the buildings.

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"state land"- fresh land seizure thre...
By Vinciane Jacquet
18 Sep 2014

September 19, 2014.
Bethlehem checkpoint, Palestine

A Palestinian man taking part in the "Combatants for Peace" protest demanding an end to occupation, land seizures, and destruction of the wall.

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"state land"- fresh land seizure thre...
By Vinciane Jacquet
18 Sep 2014

September 19, 2014
Bethlehem checkpoint, Palestine

The anti-occupation, anti-land seizure protest organized by the "Combatants for Peace" organization is followed by a military car.

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"state land"- fresh land seizure thre...
By Vinciane Jacquet
18 Sep 2014

September 19, 2014
Bethlehem checkpoint, Palestine

The Israeli-Palestinian association "Combatants for Peace" marches near the separation wall in protest of the occupation. The white bird represents Palestine as a prisoner.

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"Where Should We Go?": Gaza Refugees ...
Gaza
By Yasser Abu Wazna
18 Sep 2014

Footage Information
Location Palestine, Gaza Strip, Gaza city, Tal el Hawa, Mamlaket El Bahrin Prep. School (UNRWA)
Recording date 18,09,2014
Duration 00,05,25
Format MP4
Description
"With some families from Shejayya neighborhood, Om Mohammad has taken this school as a shelter since the last war against Gaza started in last July. She and her expanded family, which consists of 11 member including her old aged parants, evacuated their house soon after it had been dimolished by IDF artilary. All the family are staying in a 24 square meter class room. The class room is the only place where they can live now. ""We hope we people could help us return to our house... We don't have money to rent a house"", Om Mohammad says. On the other hand, Om Tamer stays with her five little children and her husband in a small room in the same school. She has delivered her baby as soon as she arrived the school in the begining of the last war. ""I do not think there will be a solution for our problem in the near future. They (UNRWA) asked as to leave the place and rent some house to stay in. We don't even have money to rent a house, I could not even secure milk poweder to feed my babies,"" Om Tamer says.
They are going to stay in the school until their house will be rebuilt. They don't have money to rent an apartment. ""Our condition is very hard. My husband and sons in addition to all other members of the family are unemployed"" Om Mohammad says. The family lives in a miserable conditions since they lost their house and did not get any promise to get their house rebuilt. In addition, they cannot stand living in the classroom as its space does not match their big families. As a result of displaced families’ existence, Al Bahrin school students are spread to other UNRWA schools to start the school year as well as other Gazan students who returned to school few days ago."
Shot list
From To Location Subject
00,00 00,05 School - interior Establishing shots
00,06 00,35 School - interior Daily life inside the school
00,36 00,48 Inside Om Mohammad's classroom Om Mohammad parants and her son asleep
00,49 01,03 Inside Om Mohammad's classroom Om Mohammad 's sister plays with her nephews
01,04 01,06 Inside Om Mohammad's classroom Om Mohammad’s mother
01,07 01,21 In front of Om Mohammad's classroom Om Mohammad hangs clothes
01,22 1,42 Inside Om Mohammad's classroom Om Mohammad with her family tides the classroom
01,43 01,59 In front of Om Mohammad's classroom Through the window, students in a sport class in a neighboring school
02,00 02,43 Inside Om Mohammad's classroom Om Mohammad's interview
02,44 02,50 Inside Om Mohammad's classroom Family kids play
02,51 02,58 Inside Om Mohammad's classroom Om Mohammad washes kitchenware
02,59 03,08 In front of Om Tamer's room Family kids
03,09 03,24 Inside Om Tamer's classroom Om Tamer tidys her room
03,25 04,30 Inside Om Tamer's classroom Om Tamer's interview
04,31 04,35 Inside Om Tamer's classroom Om Tamer with her babies
04,36 04,44 In front of Om Tamer's room Abu Tamer drinks tea
04,45 05,22 Insdie the school School's inhabitants bring water from watertanks downstairs

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"state land"- fresh land seizure thre...
By Vinciane Jacquet
17 Sep 2014

September 18, 2014.
Wadi Fukin, West Bank, Palestine

Ahmad Sokar, mayor of the village (center), and his assistant (left), are visiting Ibrahim (right), whose land is going to be seized.

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Erasing palestine- historic village n...
By Vinciane Jacquet
17 Sep 2014

September, 18, 2014
Lifta, Israel

Construction of a new project has already begun at the bottom of the village. Officially, authorization has not been given by the courts to demolish the village. However, it has been said that the construction is part of a new railway line between Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv. Some say that the new railway will not affect Lifta, while others are not so sure.

The Israeli government has been battling with the courts to destroy the village for the past 20 years in order to make way for new luxury hotels, housing units, a shopping mall, a museum and a recreation park.

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Erasing palestine- historic village n...
By Vinciane Jacquet
17 Sep 2014

September, 18, 2014
Lifta, Israel

Yacoub Odeh lived with his family in Lifta. His home is still there. The roof of his home was completely blown up by the Israeli Army in 1969, and the remains of the house are visible in the background, immediately to Yacoub's right.

He remembers a childhood of gardens, olive groves, and races with the other children to arrive first at school in the upper part of the village.

In 1967, he was arrested for "resistance" and spent 17 years in jail. The Israeli army destroyed his house as punishment.

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"state land"- fresh land seizure thre...
By Vinciane Jacquet
17 Sep 2014

September 18, 2014. Wadi Fukin, Palestine.

View of Wadi Fukin. On the roof of a house, two Palestinian girls look at the Green Line separating Israel from the West Bank.

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Erasing palestine- historic village n...
By Vinciane Jacquet
17 Sep 2014

September, 18, 2014
Lifta, Israel

View of the lower part of the village.

Lifta was an important strategic location for the Israelis because it was the western gate to Jerusalem. Israel started to expel Lifta's inhabitants in November 1947 by first threatening the inhabitants. The women and children fled, while the men remained. The village was then attacked by Israeli forces during the 1948 war and the rest of the men were either killed, arrested, or expelled.

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"We Have Not Forgotten Israel"-Interv...
Beirut
By Levant Desk
17 Sep 2014

September 17, 2014
Southern Suburbs, Beirut, Lebanon

A wounded Hezbollah fighter, fresh from battle against IS in Syria, gives an exclusive interview discussing the state of Hezbollah in Syria, the battle against IS and Nusra, his opinion about the American strikes against IS, and Hezbollah's readiness for a new war with Israel.

The fighter who was recently wounded in battle against IS and Nusra in the Qalamoun mountains describes human wave attacks by IS and Nusra and the military logistics of Hezbollah's fight in Syria.

The fighter's voice has been altered to protect his identity.

Transcript:

00:16-00:20
Q: Can you give us your code name?
A: My name is Hussein.

00:21- 00:36
Q: We know that you were recently on a frontline, and you were injured, and you just returned [home]. If it is not confidential, can you tell us which frontline you were on?
A: In Qalamoun.

00:37-01:00
Q: People hear that there are battles in Qalamoun, but of course as a person on the frontline, you know more. Tell us who you are fighting in Qalamoun. Who is the enemy in Qalamoun?
A: Jabhat Al Nusra, ISIS, of course half of them are foreigners: Saudis, Kuwaitis, Afghanis, Lebanese. It is a mix.

01:01-01:10
Q: Do you have an idea about how many [ISIS/Nusra] fighters there are?
A: There are around 12,000 to 7,000, and they are constantly increasing in number.

01:11-01:19
Q: So there is still an influx [of Nusra/ISIS fighters] from Syria?
A: Yes, the majority are coming from Arsal, even though this [route] is now supposed to have been controlled [by the Lebanese Armed Forces], the influx from Arsal.

01:20-01:50
Q: From your close quarters engagement and fighting with them, how trained are they?
A: They have high capabilities, but their way of attacking, they come in huge numbers. For example, and this is causing us some losses, if we have a position that can withstand the attack of a 100 fighters, you would find 600 fighters attacking us, and this is causing losses for us.

01:51–02:20
Q: And their arms?
A: Like our weapons. Cornets, 23mm guns, 14.5 mm guns, 57mm guns, grad rockets, of course they are using grad rockets. [They use] traditional battle weapons. They have canons, mortars, and rockets. They mostly rely on snipers. When they initiate an attack, they would have around 100 snipers spotting and providing covering fire. So the battles are very hard.

02:21-02:36
Q: Is The Resistance [Hezbollah] getting any military support from the Syrian Army?
A: Some air support, but while fighting [on the ground], there is not supposed to be any Syrian army members.

02:37-03:12
Q: When your group is fighting, are the orders coming from The Resistance or the Syrian army?
A: For The Resistance, the orders 100% from The Resistance. The leadership is from The Resistance. The orders come from the The Resistance’s group commanders. There is a field commander, there is a military commander on the ground, and there is a commander higher than him in the operations room. The Resistance only. Sometimes if we need anything from the Syrian army, we give them the coordinates and they hit the location [from the air].

03:13-03:59
Q: How intertwined are the front lines [between ISIS/Nusra and Hezbollah]?
A: Very intertwined. There can be areas where there is 500m distance between us, sometimes 300m, or 200m. You may get surprised by them in some areas. At times they may not be prepared for us and we launch a surprise attack on them. We do infiltration operations and use explosive charges. And spotting is constant, naturally; we know who we want.

04:00-04:48
Q: What do you remember from the day you were injured?
A: They launched a massive attack on us. Some men with us were martyred, and some were wounded. Then we our backup arrived. When the injury happened, I was still able to fight until the medics came and we fixed the situation. I stayed on the ground for a while until more [Hezbollah] groups came and helped us. Then the medics evacuated us. That is all I remember from the battle, but it was a massive attack. You have to consider they were around 2000 members. This is how they attack, they come in waves and they don’t let you rest. Attack after attack, attack after attack, attack after attack. And they don’t care how many of their men die; those [Nusra/ISIS] fighters who flee the battle get killed [by their commanders] when they return [to their base].

05:00- 05:25
Q: What did you feel when you were wounded? What was the first thought to go through your head? Did you know how serious your injury was? What did you feel?
A: I felt some pain. When I first was wounded, I did not feel anything, but the hit was hot. Then it became harsh. After 15 minutes, I was not able to move properly, so I became still and I said the Shahada [a mantra used to declare one’s faith in Islam]. This [martyrdom/death] is the reason we are coming here.

05:26-05:36
Q: Where were you injured?
A: In my back
Q: Was it mortar shrapnel or a bullet?
A: No, it was an M16 bullet. A sniper.

05:37-05:54
Q: How do you perceive the “Takfiri” [Extremist] enemy in front of you?
A: I perceive him as the enemy of all humanity, and fighting him is a duty.

05:55-06:14
Q: Do you feel that there is a possibility of negotiating with these “Takfiri” groups, or with Free Syrian Army groups, if there are any left?
A: With the Free Syrian Army, maybe at some point. However, with Jabhat Al Nusra, and ISIS in particular, there is no possibility. No possibility at all.

06:15-06:24
Q: Is this a battle until the end?
A: It is a battle until the end and we are with fighting them in Lebanon before they spread.

06:25-06:48
Q: How long are you staying here to rest?
A: For now, I will stay here for no less than 2 months to recover. I cannot go back [to the frontline] before 2 months.

06:49-06:51
Q: Are you excited about going back to the frontline?
A: Naturally.

06:55-07:27
Q: Can you give me an estimated number of The Resistance fighters?
A: The thing with The Resistance is that I cannot give you a number. Each unit knows what it has. For example, I do not know what there is in another unit. In Hezbollah, each team is on its own, each unit on its own. One unit does not know what the other unit has. But I can tell you that we have our weight up [in Syria] and that we have not forgotten Israel.

07:30-08:07
Q: In your opinion, is Hezbollah ready for a two front war?
A: The amount of men fighting [on the Israeli front] has not doubled, but tripled the amount who were fighting in the July War [2006 War with Israel]. They [the fighters on the Israeli front] do not know what is going on in Syria, their job is there [on the Israeli front].

Q: So they [the fighters] are separated?
A: They are separated.
Q: How ready is The Resistance?
A: Since 2006 until now, The Resistance has always been ready and is ready for any war at any time, and on all fronts.

08:08-08:44
Q: Did any of your comrades get martyred while you were near them?
A: Of course
Q: Can you tell us about an incident?
A: A man [Hezbollah fighter] was martyred, and he was telling me, “send my regards to my mother, this is how I was martyred”. I told him not to be afraid and I comforted him, but the bombardment was very heavy. I moved him to another place and we waited with him until the aid came, but he was already martyred. And of course I sent his regards to his mother and I gave her his scarf with his blood.

08:45-9:29
Q: When one of the men with you gets martyred, do you feel that this encourages the rest to fight or does it cause some sort of frustration?
A: Our resolve is always strong for a simple reason. No one hit me on my hand to become a fighter. I feel am threatened here in Lebanon. We are seeing what is happening in Iraq, we saw what happened in Syria. These people have no mercy for anyone. No one is forcing us to go fight. On the contrary, there are many who are told to stay here because there is no need for them to go fight. I can assure you that if the Sayyed [Hassan Nasrallah] calls for a war, we will have 300,000 fighters in a matter of hours.

09:30-10:10
Q: Is there any place where you wish things were better? Logistically or artillery wise, or maybe more orders?
A: We are doing what we are capable of doing. On the contrary, we have the best food, the best weapons, the best training and the best morale. We know who we are fighting. We know that we have no blood on our hands, we are exonerated in this world from that. We have no problems from that aspect and we are very comfortable. The more blood we lose, the stronger we get.

10:11-10:46
Q: We heard recently that an international alliance was born to attack ISIS targets. In your opinion, can we consider Hezbollah and the United States as having an intersection of interests?
A: There is no intersection at all. ISIS is a creation of America. Israel made ISIS to get to where we are now and they were not able to succeed. I think this is another link in the July War [2006 War with Israel] chain, and God willing, we will break it.

10:47-
Q: If there is a message you would like to tell the people listening to you, what message would you like to send?
A: We are victorious, as God is one, and I would like to reassure [our solidarity with] all of humanity and all of its sects. For ISIS, all sects are its enemies, even the Sunni. Anyone who saw what is going on in Iraq, in Mosul, how they are walking the streets, shooting people right and left, without knowing their identity or nationality or to which sect they belong. All they do is kill and destroy, and it is a duty to fight them. We will win and God will make us victorious because we are right.

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FSA Expand Control of Golan Heights
Quneitra
By Abdu al-Fadel
17 Sep 2014

September 17, 2014
Al-Hamidiya, Golan, Syria

FSA fighters battle Syrian Army forces as they take the town of Al-Hamidiya, located on the Syrian-Israeli border in the Golan Heights. Included in the footage are shots of deserted Syrian Army barracks.

Transcript:

(0:13) We are wandering now inside one of the regime's barracks in al-Hamidiyah after the "Mujahideen" took it over. These are the fortifications that they were using, and you can see here the regime's leftovers. (0:39).

(1:04) Fighter #1: Thank God, we were able to completely free the town of al-Hamidiyah from the hands of the regime. [We won] thanks to the FSA fighters, along with other units fighting with us, and of our strategic location in Quneitra. We left the regime with huge losses in both number of soldiers killed and the amount of material lost. (1:52)

(1:53) Fighter #1: God willing, the military operations will not end until we free all the remaining territories held by the regime in Quneitra. This is likely because we are 1KM from downtown (2:10).

(2:24) Contributor: Clashes in the town of Al Hamidiyah (2:29).

(2:46) Fighter #2: After setting Al Hamidiyah free, we are looking forward to freeing the city of Baath, located on the frontline. We resisted some attacks from the regime, and, god willing, it will be free within days and the victory is near (3:18).

(3:19) Contributor: What kind of weapons were you using? Were there any attacks from the regime using heavy armored vehicles? (3:25).

(3:25) Fighter #2: The regime tried to break in many times from different areas, but, thanks to God, the FSA resisted and held the regime back (3:47).

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"state land"- fresh land seizure thre...
By Vinciane Jacquet
17 Sep 2014

September 17, 2014
Wadi Fukin, West Bank, Palestine

Mara, 13, is looking at a Palestinian coin for the first time of her life.

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"state land"- fresh land seizure thre...
By Vinciane Jacquet
17 Sep 2014

September 17, 2014.
Wadi Fukin, West Bank, Palestine

Mohamed, 7, is playing next to his school (in the background). Israel refused authorization to renovate the school. This part of the village is also often targeted with teargas.

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"We Don't Cut Throats...We Fight" - I...
Beirut
By Levant Desk
17 Sep 2014

September 17, 2014
Southern Suburbs, Beirut, Lebanon
Interview with Hezbollah Group Commander

A Hezbollah commander, fresh from battle against IS in Syria, gives an exclusive interview discussing the state of Hezbollah in Syria, the battle against IS and Nusra, his opinion about American strikes against IS, and Hezbollah's readiness for a new war with Israel.

The commander discusses details about battlefield issues and difficulties. He also declares that he "hopes for a war to start between the Zionist enemy and Hezbollah soon", and that he has "no problem with the American people," but does have "a problem with American policies."

The commander's voice has been altered to protect his identity.

Q: Can you please introduce yourself? Name or codename
A: In the name of God, the merciful. My name is Jaafar, I am a member of Hezbollah.

Q: Please tell us about the amount of people signing up to fight with Hezbollah?
A: Thank God, volunteers are coming in on a regular basis. It [enrollment] has increased after the war in Syria and the 2006 war. [It increased] Especially after the Syrian war because it is known and in the open now. They [Syrian opposition] want The Resistance’ head, Hezbollah’s head. You are probably seeing the events and measures being taken by media outlets [to fight Hezbollah], or even the nature of movements on the ground are affecting [fighting] Hezbollah. Hezbollah gains strength from the blood of the martyrs. This is a grace from God and we are thankful for that.

Q: In the recent battles, in Arsal and Qalamoun, it is obvious that Hezbollah is taking casualties. How big are these casualties in comparison to those suffered by the ‘Takfiri’ [extremist] groups?
A: Specify what you mean by casualties. Human casualties? There are no human casualties. There are martyrs and wounded people, not casualties. If you are talking about materials losses we might agree with you, but if you are talking about people, we have martyrs and wounded men, not casualties. These people are fueling this cause and this march, our martyrs in who we take pride. Material losses are the casualties that we can agree with you on.

Q: How can we compare martyrs and wounded of Hezbollah to the casualties among the ‘Takfiri’ [extremist] groups?
A: We in Hezbollah do not hide any martyrs and this is not in our traditions. When a Hezbollah fighter is killed, he is buried on the second, third, fourth or first day, depending on the battlefield and the moving of the body, and when his parents wish to bury him in his hometown. Nothing more.

You need to see the other side, they are not organized. Everyone works according to their own thoughts or according to those financing them. As for Jabhat Al Nusra, who are the terrorist group with the biggest presence on the border between us and Syria, I don’t believe that they talk about their casualties.

As for our intelligence and security services, we always give them accurate accounts in names and numbers, if you have noticed, while they [Jabhat al-Nusra], on the other hand, do not announce [their casualties] until a while after they have been killed. This is the difference between them and us.

Q: What is the level of Hezbollah’s readiness at this point in time regarding the danger of a war on both the eastern front [Syria] and southern front [Israel] simultaneously?
A: The Resistance [Hezbollah] against Israel, who are stationed on the southern borders of Lebanon, are entirely concentrated on the Israeli occupier in body, mind, and soul. The
operations of the young men fighting on the eastern Lebanese-Syrian borders is entirely unrelated to the battles with the Israeli enemy, and anyone who thinks otherwise is delusional.

Q: So if we need to know a percentage of readiness?
A: With Israel? More than 100%, and this is the case all of the time. You can even label it as ‘holy’. Regarding the situation in the whole of Lebanon, Hezbollah is completely ready in all areas that Hezbollah has influence. We have nothing to do with areas where Hezbollah hold no influence.

Q: Now that you’ve mentioned this, we have heard news that Hezbollah is helping, either through training or arming, some parties in the Christian border towns. How accurate is that?
A: To be honest with you, I do not have information from Hezbollah about this subject in particular, but I have information from someone close to those (Christian) villages, like Deir El Ahmar and Ras Baalbak. Something like that is going on, so I have not heard this from Hezbollah, but I have heard it from someone close and he has confirmed this to me. This is all I can say

Q: Can you please clarify? What did he confirm? What did he say?
A: He confirmed that Hezbollah is protecting Christians with all possible means. For those who want to defend themselves with their own hands and weapons, Hezbollah is providing them with the means to be ready, which includes arming individuals.

Q: How many Christians are actually signing up for this?
A: I have heard that 90% of [Christian] villages… and the Lebanese Forces [political party] and the Phalange Party are not happy with that because no one is providing them with any support.

Q: In the Qalamoun and Arsal fronts, to be specific, who is Hezbollah fighting against?
A: 83 countries, all of them. Those who were fighting us in Qusair are now fighting us in the outskirts of Arsal, that is the mountainous area outside Arsal. Not inside Arsal, we are present in the mountains defending our land, country and Resistance. We will be where we should be. There are many nationalities: Uzbeks, Chechens, Egyptians, Palestinians, all of the gulf and Arab countries. We have 83 countries operating against us: the Europeans, Americans, British, you name it. God willing we will be victorious.

Q: Since you have mentioned the Americans, we are hearing that American and other airstrikes against ISIS are already underway. Can we say that there is a temporary intersection of interests between Hezbollah and the United States?
A: If I were to answer you about the Americans and their ISIS allies, we would be wasting time. You are a politician and a journalist and you understand these things, so us talking about this would be like us making fools out of each other. They (ISIS and the US) are allies and one team, period.

Q: If we were to give a description of the nature of the struggle now, the Americans are now bombing some ISIS positions and Hezbollah is fighting against ISIS and other groups.
A: When we fought ISIS, Nusra and terrorism everybody stood against us. Now everyone is saying what we were saying, but there is a difference in dealing with it. Hezbollah started two and a half years ago. They should come to us and strike an alliance with us. Isn’t that right? We are way ahead of all of them.

Q: In your opinion are these airstrikes and this alliance a pretext or a prelude to bomb some (Syrian) regime positions in Syria?
A: You need to see what is being prepared internationally. It will not be long. All will be clear in a matter of days. I do not have accurate information about this subject and I am not a political analyst. I can tell you about the nature of the terrain and soldiers. The geography of the battlefield, or what took place in this position or that. However, to talk about something international that I am not familiar with would be beyond me.

Q: Can you please tell us, without revealing any secrets, where is Hezbollah present on the ground in Syria?
A: I can answer about the areas that I was present in. The Sayyida Zeinab shrine [in Damascus], Ghouta [Damascus], Jobar [Damascus], the Damascus suburbs, and the mountains separating Lebanon and Syria. There is a Hezbollah presence in all of these areas. Qusair and the outskirts of Qusair. Aleppo. I have some friends who operate in Aleppo, in an area called Zahra, which has been under siege for three years. I have not heard of, seen, or been to other places.

Q: What is the nature of the frontlines in these places? Can we briefly talk about every front and how intertwined the lines are [with Nusra/ISIS/FSA]? How close is the engagement with the enemy?
A: This depends on the geography and terrain. In some places it’s house-to-house, window-to-window, man-to-man, and on some fronts, no one advances, neither them nor us. In the wider, more open areas, the snipers use 23mm and 57mm guns, not the Dushka or the12.7mm guns [because of the large distances]. Imagine that. The distances are vast. Every terrain has it’s own circumstances, geography and weaponry. There are some mountainous areas with rough terrain that have their own style because you can’t hide from each other at close range. You need to secure a hilltop and fortify it [and advance from] from one hilltop to another or one mountain to another. This is not house-to-house, so the nature of terrain makes a big difference.

Q: Was there a certain front that proved to be more difficult than others?
A: in terms of terrain or combat?
Q: Both
A: The mountains. There are vast distances beyond what the eye can see. This doesn’t offer the same help you get in towns like Qusair. This requires more troops and heavier weapons, aerial bombardment, artillery and tank fire. It has it’s own style and takes more time.

Q: Since you have mentioned aerial bombardment, what is the extent of coordination between Hezbollah and the Syrian army when it comes to military operations?
A: This is up to the leadership of Hezbollah. We have 100% accuracy when it comes to targeting. The targets that we request the Syrian air force to bomb are hit with 100% accuracy. Not 75% or 50% like it used to be before. This has changed after the battle of Qusair. This is what I can help you with. There were mistakes before, I won’t deny it, it happened with a number of groups. However, this stopped after Qusair.

Q: On the ground, in the areas where Hezbollah is present alongside the Syrian army, who has command on these fronts?
A: We do not participate in any attacks alongside the Syrian regime. The Syrian Army handles one front and we handle another. We deal with ours and they deal with theirs. Sometimes, this hasn’t happened to me, the Hezbollah and Syrian Arab Army forces are engaged and intertwined. However, in the fights that I was involved with in Hezbollah, we were in one place and the Syrian Arab Army was in another. Yes there exists coordination, but the lines are not intertwined.

Q: So in this case who is in command?
A: When you [Hezbollah] are on a certain front and they [the Syrian Army] are on another front, the field commander [of each side] has command, but the coordination is present so that we wouldn’t shell each other with artillery.

Q: We heard on Israeli Media that threats were being made against Lebanon and that there were preparations for war. In your opinion, how serious is this? And how will The Resistance [Hezbollah] retaliate? And what is their level of readiness?
A: We in The Resistance do not take the words of the Zionist enemy lightly. We have political and military minds and analysts who observe and analyze, in depth, on the short and long run when it comes to the Zionist enemy. This is due to wise leadership headed by the secretary general Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.

Q: So you take the threats seriously?
A: We do not neglect anything regarding the Zionists, even if it were a small or big thing. All gets dealt with seriously and meticulously.

Q: Could there be an imminent war on the southern front? [Israeli front]
A: This is what we hope for.

Q: Can you please give me a complete answer because my question will not be aired?
A: This is what Hezbollah hopes for, for a war to start between the Zionist enemy and Hezbollah soon, God willing. This is what we hope for. This is what every member of Hezbollah hopes for.

Q: Can we say that The Resistance is fully ready?
A: Of course, you can say that with the utmost confidence.

Q: Tell us about a certain incident that will allow me to illustrate the influx of volunteers joining Hezbollah’s ranks. Do you recall a certain incident?
A: In what respect? Be more specific.
Q: In terms of influx and people wanting to join.
A: This is an ongoing process in Hezbollah. This [Hezbollah] is a school [of resistance] ever since they [Israelis] occupied our land in south Lebanon and Hezbollah, thanks to God and the young men, is growing in numbers. Hezbollah never deteriorated. For 30 or 32 years, since 1982, Hezbollah is on the rise, and thanks to the almighty God, whoever fights Hezbollah falls, declines and perishes. God willing, and the biggest proof of that is the Israeli withdrawal and the blows that were delivered to the Takfiris [Extremists] in Syria. We are continuing, God willing. This is a universal war against us and we are all-in.

Q: What do you say to some media outlets who are saying that Hezbollah and the Americans are now allies?
A: We are not even remotely concerned with these outlets. We never relied on those media outlets that you are asking about, nor on human rights or the United Nations charter. We do not care about all that. We rely first on God and then ourselves.

Q: So can you tell me if Hezbollah and the Americans are allies?
A: Your question is out of place.
Q: it is out of place because you and I know each other.
A: This is my opinion and my doctrine. This is all I can answer. We do not have a problem with the American people; we have a problem with American policies. Take a look at American policies in the Middle East and the world, from the times of Hiroshima until this day, and you will know if Hezbollah is with it or against it. We will let the viewers decide that.

Q: Is there a certain message that you would like to send to an audience that might be Arabic or western that will be viewing this interview?
A: We rely on people’s intelligence and awareness. [We do not rely on] People who are bought with money or intimidated by force or the media. There are honest people who take to the streets carrying the banners of resistance from Hamas to Hezbollah to the Islamic Jihad. These people and this resistance will never die. These people are there, but their rulers are corrupt. The people are present, just give them some hope of being able to express their opinions freely and they will do just that. They are entirely with us.

Q: There is a question that I forgot to ask at the beginning. Through your engagement with Takfiri [Extremist] groups, what can you say about the level of their training and arming?
A: They are being armed by all countries and their training comes from places as ranging from Turkey to Chechnya, to Iraq, the Balkans and Somalia. All of the areas where Al Qaeda and Wahhabis are active, from Yugoslavia, to Bosnia, and Serbia. Those who have not fought in these places are being trained in Turkey and Jordan, and in Saudi Arabia, according to some information. We are fighting 83 countries and an influx of money and media outlets and weapons and hundreds of thousands of fighters, but it is very well known where the Banner of God and his prophet lay. It lies with the just cause.

Q: Do you, as a person and as a Hezbollah fighter, have any fears that, after the upcoming airstrikes against ISIS, extremist fighters will spillover into Lebanon?
A: God willing, we are waiting for them. They are attacking civilians, children, old people and women.
Our fight with the Takfiris [Extremists] is in the battlefield, not in the different media outlets. We are in the field. If they want to fight Hezbollah, let them leave the civilians out of this and, if they are men as they claim, we are here. Let them come face us. We don’t kidnap or cut throats, we fight. The prisoner we take is a prisoner of war, while they cut throats of prisoners and wounded.

Q: Since you mentioned prisoners, it is no secret that Hezbollah has taken prisoners from these groups.
A: That is possible. I can neither confirm nor deny that. It is possible.
Q: I want to ask you about how you treat the prisoners you take from these groups, if you have taken any prisoners.
A: We follow the rules of the Islamic religion. When we released the Israeli enemy hostages, they themselves talked about how [well] they were treated. So how do you think we will treat those who are neither Jewish nor Zionists? Time will prove that

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"state land"- fresh land seizure thre...
By Vinciane Jacquet
16 Sep 2014

September 17, 2014.
Wadi Fukin, West Bank, Palestine

Mohamed and his father Mustafa on their land. Israel cut down all of their olive trees, but they still find reason to love and laugh.

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"state land"- fresh land seizure thre...
By Vinciane Jacquet
16 Sep 2014

September 17, 2014.
Wadi Fukin, West Bank, Palestine

The farmers produce their own olives, olive oil and vegetables. But their way of life is endangered by the building of settlements around them.

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"State Land"- Fresh Land Seizure Thre...
By Vinciane Jacquet
16 Sep 2014

September 17, 2014.
Wadi Fukin, West Bank, Palestine

This Israeli settlement just above the Palestinian village of Wadi Fukin. The sewage water of the settlement discharges directly on land of the Palestinian farmers, ruining the harvest and natural springs.

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"State Land"- Fresh Land Seizure Thre...
By Vinciane Jacquet
16 Sep 2014

September 17, 2014.
Wadi Fukin, West Bank, Palestine

Hassan is 82 years old. In 1948, Israel took half of his land. He is now living in a cave with his wife. He says: "It is not enough to take our land, they also want our caves, they want everything. But it is our life". Israel actually wants the cave so it can build new settlements on the mountain.

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Erasing palestine- historic village n...
By Vinciane Jacquet
15 Sep 2014

September, 16, 2014
Lifta, Israel

The entrance of one of the two old schools in Lifta. Now, people come to the village to cool down and often use the schools to have a barbecue. The remnants of charcoal from a barbecue can be seen on the right.

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Erasing palestine- historic village n...
By Vinciane Jacquet
15 Sep 2014

September, 16, 2014
Lifta, Israel

Marina El-Ghoul is a Palestinian from Gaza. Her family fled when she was 2 and she has been raised in the United States. She is about to go to Gaza again for the fist time to work there as an emergency responser. When she heard about the story of Lifta, she came down to the village and posed for a photograph to support the right to return. Written arabic on the wall: "Lifta is ours. We will come back".

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Erasing palestine- historic village n...
By Vinciane Jacquet
15 Sep 2014

September, 13, 2014
Lifta, Israel

A stone from the doorframe has been removed from one of Lifta's old houses. Regardless of the Israeli government's plan to demolish the village, Lifta is still endangered because people come to steal pieces of stone and floor tiles that are too expensive on the market.

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Erasing palestine- historic village n...
By Vinciane Jacquet
15 Sep 2014

September 16, 2014
Jerusalem, Israel

Jalal was born in Lifta. When he was 12, he had to leave the village with his family. He lived in the upper part of Lifta. His childhood home was demolished a long time ago to make room for an administrative building instead. He used to take his boys to Lifta, "to let them know it is their land". He says, "We have the right to be there. It is my land. It is not fair to bring other people from all over the world to my home. I want the right to return". The village of Lifta is situated in a rugged valley and is difficult to access. Therefore, Jalal cannot visit the village anymore.

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Erasing palestine- historic village n...
By Vinciane Jacquet
12 Sep 2014

September, 7, 2014
Lifta, Israel

Young Israelis bathing in the former spring of Lifta.

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Erasing palestine- historic village n...
By Vinciane Jacquet
12 Sep 2014

September, 13, 2014
Lifta, Israel

In 1959, Israel considered Lifta a "national reserve". Since 1967, the Israeli army has been using the village for military exercises because the environment and rough, hilly terrain are similar to Lebanon. This also contributes to the continuing damage done to the village.

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Erasing palestine- historic village n...
By Vinciane Jacquet
12 Sep 2014

September, 7, 2014
Lifta, Israel

A verse from a poem by Palestnian poet Mahmoud Darwish graffitied on a wall inside one of the old homes in Lifta. The verse reads, "This land deserves life."

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By Vinciane Jacquet
12 Sep 2014

September, 7, 2014
Lifta, Israel

A legend says that in the 1970's, Israeli art students rushed to the village because they had heard that the government was about to give it houses away for a very cheap price in order to turn it into an artists colony. Each student chose a house and painted his or her name on the wall outside. Here then name 'Gershtein', is written in big black letters, along with the date the date (here 30.05.7), and the word 'taken' to the left of date. The national archives are not accessible regarding this issue, so it is impossible to find out if the story has some truth to it or not.

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Erasing palestine- historic village n...
By Vinciane Jacquet
12 Sep 2014

September, 13, 2014
Lifta, Israel

Partial view of Lifta from an old house surrounded by barbed wire. The municipal council of Jerusalem said the barbed wire is a safety precaution used to keep people from entering what is said to be the unstable structure of the house.

However, some Palestinians feel the barbed wire is used to keep people from visiting the old houses.

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Erasing palestine- historic village n...
By Vinciane Jacquet
06 Sep 2014

September 7, 2014
Lifta, Israel

The natural spring of the village is now a place where youth come to bath. Most of people who come to Lifta to enjoy the spring or the peaceful environment are Israeli. Here, a young Palestinian relaxes alone on the edge of the water.

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Erasing palestine- historic village n...
By Vinciane Jacquet
06 Sep 2014

September, 7, 2014
Lifta, Israel

On a sign giving directions to the village, the Arabic writing of "Lifta" has scratched out of the sign.