Sociable Lapwing (Vanellus gregarius) at Lebna dam, Cap Bon: 2nd for Tunisia


Originally posted on North African Birds:

A Sociable Lapwing (Vanellus gregarius) observed last November at Lebna Reservoir, Cap Bon, northern Tunisia by Csaba Pigniczki and Mohamed Ali Dakhli. The team were surveying the coastal wetlands of Tunisia (from Bizerte to Zarzis) to count and read the colour-rings of the wintering Eurasian Spoonbills (Platalea leucorodia) among other things. This is the second observation of this rare species in Tunisia, the first one was in March 1975 near Tabarka.

The Sociable Lapwing is listed as Critically Endangered in the IUCN red list, and breeds in Russia and Kazakhstan and winters in Sudan, eastern Arabian Peninsula, Pakistan and India. It is a rare visitor to the western Mediterranean region.

Thanks to both birdwatchers for the observation!

Sociable Lapwing (Vanellus gregarious), Lebna Reservoir, Cap Bon, Tunisia Sociable Lapwing (Vanellus gregarious), Lebna Reservoir, Cap Bon, northern Tunisia (photo: Csaba Pigniczki).

Global distribution of Sociable Lapwings (Vanellus gregarious) (map: BirdLife International). Global distribution of Sociable Lapwings (Vanellus gregarious) (map: BirdLife International).

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Holocaust survivors oppose Gaza war, get reaction: ‘Hitler didn’t finish the job’


This video about Hitler’s mass murder of Jews is called Shoah part 1 – A Film By Claude Lanzmann, 1985 with subtitles: ENG, SPA, PL, GER, FR.

By Bill van Auken in the USA:

26 August 2014

In a letter published as an advertisement Saturday in the New York Times, over 350 survivors of the Nazi Holocaust and descendants of survivors issued a stinging condemnation of “the massacre of Palestinians in Gaza and the ongoing occupation and colonization of historic Palestine.” …

The correctness of this assessment found speedy confirmation in the form of Facebook postings by Israeli rightists telling those who had signed the declaration to “go back to Auschwitz” or “go die in the gas chambers,” and lamenting that “Hitler didn’t finish the job.”

These disgusting reactions to the Holocaust survivors prove that the extreme Right lunatic fringe in Israel, unfortunately, are not any better than the extreme Right lunatic fringe in some Arab countries, or among ‘white nationalist’ anti-Semites in the USA, in Europe or elsewhere.

Indefinite ceasefire commences in Gaza: here.

An Israeli reservist asks: What did I fight for in Gaza? For now, writes the soldier, the well-brought-up Zionist young people continue to show up dutifully for reserve duty. But they are also filled with despair: here.

Against Gaza war, demonstration in Israel tomorrow


This video says about itself:

A protest condemning the Israeli assault on the Gaza strip, held in Habima square, Tel Aviv on July 12, 2014. The protest was organized after Israel’s military strike against the Gaza strip, killing dozens. Israel stepped up its offensive on the Gaza Strip, pummeling scores of targets and killing more than 120 people as Israeli leaders signaled a weeks-long ground invasion could be quickly approaching.

The protestors were disturbed violently by demonstrators from the right wing that expressed support of the army actions in Gaza.

From the peace movement in Israel:

Demo against the Gaza War, against the blockade, against occupation

Tel-Aviv Sat. 23.8.2014 8pm at Habima Square.

About this demonstration, from the Coalition of Women for Peace in Israel:

Stop the war! Protest demonstration – Saturday Aug. 23, 20.00, Habima Square, Tel Aviv

We must go on crying out. We must continue opposing the assault on Gaza and demanding the end of the siege. Only in that way can both peoples attain a secure life.

The brutal war in Gaza is a result of the dead end into which Netanyahu government led us, in its systematic avoidance of a just political solution for the two peoples.

Netanyahu chooses for a war of attrition and a continuation of the cruel siege imposed on the Palestinian people – a policy with no vision, nothing to offer, carried out at the expense of both peoples.

On Saturday we will call for an immediate end to the fighting, an end to the war and the bloodshed.

On the spot there will be demonstration stewards. Please follow their instructions regarding the conduct of the demonstration and its dispersion.

Maayan Dak
General Co-Coordinator
مركزة عامة شريكة
Coalition of Women for Peace
Mobile- 0508-575729

The indecisive manner in which the latest Gaza war has apparently concluded—leaving a horrific toll of death and destruction among the Palestinians and an unusually high number of dead Israeli soldiers—has left large sections of the Israeli population questioning what the war was all about and why it was waged: here.

Hoopoes and their eggs, new research


This video from Israel is called Hoopoe Nest (HD) V1 – Part 1 of 2.

And this video is the sequel.

From Wildlife Extra:

The colour of a hoopoe’s eggs may signal the health and strength of the mother bird

Hoopoe females protect their chicks from ‘bad’ bacteria by coating their eggs in ‘good’ bacteria.

The substance that they spread on the eggs with their bills and belly feathers comes from their uropygial, or preen glands. This causes the eggs gradually to change colour when they are incubated, from bluish-grey to a more saturated greenish-brown.

Studies led by Juan J Soler of the Estación Experimental de Zonas Áridas, CSIC in Spain, and published in Springer’s journal Naturwissenschaften – The Science of Nature, have shown that the preen gland secretion of incubating hoopoes is brown in colour and holds antimicrobial properties.

The colour is due to a combination of symbiotic bacteria found in the uropygial gland that provides protection against pathogenic bacteria.

These symbiotic bacteria help to protect the bird’s embryos from trans-shell infections, and are highly effective against Bacillus licheniformis, a well-known feather-degrading bacterium.

The darker the colour of the secretion, the more of the ‘good’ bacteria are present, and therefore the better the protection against ‘bad’ bacteria so a bird’s embryos and feathers stay healthy.

The researchers speculated that the egg colouration might be a way through which the female hoopoe signals to the male that, for future reference, she is good breeding material.

It is thought that the colour informs the male of the abundance of the antimicrobial bacterial community found in the female’s glands – a quality that she will be able to carry over to their offspring should they mate in the future.

Although further experimental work is needed to establish the validity of this signalling hypothesis, Soler hopes that the new results will encourage such research in hoopoes as well as in other birds.

See also here.

Dutch World War II anti-nazi returns Israeli medals because of Gaza war


This video from the USA says about itself:

Maurice and Netty Vanderpol, WWII Holocaust Survivors

21 May 2012

Dr. Maurice Vanderpol (b.1922) was born and raised in Amsterdam. In medical school when the Germans invaded and occupied Holland in 1940 and persecution and deportation of Dutch Jews began, Ries and his family spent two years in hiding until liberation on May 5th, 1945. After the War, he came to America, finished medical school and married Netty Swartz Vanderpol. He had a private practice as a psychiatrist and was a staff member at McLean Hospital for 35 years.

Netty Vanderpol (b. 1926) was born and raised in Amsterdam. During the German occupation of Holland she was forced to attend a school for Jewish children. One of her classmates was Anne Frank. In 1943 her father was imprisoned by the Nazis for assisted [sic; assisting] Allied pilots. Her father and family spent over a year in Terezin Concentration Camp in Czechoslovakia. In February, 1945 her family was with a group of inmates from the camp that was the only exchange of Jews for German POWs. As a needlepoint artist Netty has exhibited widely. Beginning in 1984, for some years she dedicated the focus of her needlework pieces to the Holocaust and its affect on her life. She then branched out to other designs and themes. Ries and Netty are both very active with Facing History and Ourselves. They established the Walter Suskind Memorial Educational Fund, an outreach arts program at the Citi Center for the Performing Arts, in Boston. They live in Needham and Edgartown.

Listen to Maurice and Netty Vanderpol speak about their experiences in hiding in Amsterdam and in Terezin Concentration Camp in Czechoslovakia.

From daily Haaretz in Israel:

Dutch nonagenarian returns Righteous Among the Nations medal after six relatives killed in Gaza

Henk Zanoli, who helped save a Jewish child from deportation to concentration camps, said holding on to the medal would be an ‘insult to the family.’

By Amira Hass

A 91-year-old Dutch man who was declared a Righteous Among the Nations for saving a Jew during the German occupation on Thursday returned his medal and certificate because six of his relatives were killed by an Israeli bombing in the Gaza Strip last month.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands today:

The victims are relatives of a niece of Zanoli. She married a man who was born in Gaza. His parents still lived there until July 20, when their house was bombarded by the Israeli Air Force. His mother, three brothers, a sister and a nephew of him lost their lives. Also someone who was with the family for a visit did not survive the attack.

Zanoli did not hesitate when he heard about the attack. He wrote a letter and sent to [Israeli] ambassador Daivon the honour ‘Righteous Among the Nations” back by courier. He sent the medal awarded to his mother as well. In the letter Zanoli wrote that it would be treason to his mother and to his family if he’d keep the medals.

“Shocking and tragic”

Zanoli and his mother hid Jewish boy Pinto from the nazis from 1943 to 1945. The father of the family had been deported two years earlier because he was openly against the nazis. He died in 1945 in Mauthausen concentration camp. A brother of Zanoli’s, who was in the resistance, was executed by the nazis.

It is not clear, according to Haaretz, why the house of Zanoli’s family was bombed. The newspaper has asked the Defense department if it was a target or that it was a mistake, but the armed forces would not react.

See also here. And here. And here.

From the New York Times in the USA:

Resisting Nazis, He Saw Need for Israel. Now He Is Its Critic

THE HAGUE — In 1943, Henk Zanoli took a dangerous train trip, slipping past Nazi guards and checkpoints to smuggle a Jewish boy from Amsterdam to the Dutch village of Eemnes. There, the Zanoli family, already under suspicion for resisting the Nazi occupation, hid the boy in their home for two years. The boy would be the only member of his family to survive the Holocaust.

Seventy-one years later, on July 20, an Israeli airstrike flattened a house in the Gaza Strip, killing six of Mr. Zanoli’s relatives by marriage. His grandniece, a Dutch diplomat, is married to a Palestinian economist, Ismail Ziadah, who lost three brothers, a sister-in-law, a nephew and his father’s first wife in the attack. …

Mr. Zanoli said he could envision a situation in which he would take the medal back.

“The only way out of the quagmire the Jewish people of Israel have gotten themselves into is by granting all living under the control of the State of Israel the same political rights and social and economic rights and opportunities,” he wrote. “Although this will result in a state no longer exclusively Jewish it will be a state with a level of righteousness on the basis of which I could accept the title of ‘Righteous among the Nations’ you awarded to my mother and me.”

In that event, he concluded, “be sure to contact me or my descendants.”

Under a coalition of Israeli left-wing political parties and organizations, thousands gathered in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square in the largest anti-war demonstration since the outbreak of violence in Gaza: here.