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Egypt Napk National Park Day 12

10th March 2020

Sooty Gulls squabbling over fish bits at Napk National Park

While I’ve been away on my road trip over the Sinai Mountains, Wifi has almost been hard to get at the digs that I’ve stayed at. This was the case in some of the hotels I stayed in at Sharm El Sheikh before I left to St Katherine. However, the day before I moved on, I stayed overnight at My Home Hostel on the north end of the city. The Wifi was spot on and for that reason, as well as free fruit, very helpful staff and good cook, I’ve returned. I was only staying for two days but they gave me a good deal if I stay for a week instead.

As I’m only a few minutes from Napk National Park, I paid my $10 and drove north along the dirt track . Through the gates and immediately on my left was an Osprey only meters away perched on a wall. In about three miles I went through two checkpoints, each wanting to see my passport and left the visitors center behind, full of tourists. The track followed the Red Sea close in to my right where there were small numbers of Greater Sand and Kentish Plover, 4 Black-headed Gull and 2 Caspian Tern. More Osprey were at close range on the deck feeding on their kill and I observed an individual return from fishing at sea with a very large fish. The park boast the most northerly mangroves but really it’s only small scattered patches along the 5 mile track. You couldn’t go any further and I had to return the way I came making a few detours along the many side roads going deeper inland towards the mountains.

With the Osprey giving some cracking views I was hoping that one of them might of been ringed but not on this occasion

4 Black-headed Gull moving north

The mosque with Sharm El shiekh in the distance

One of the larger patches of Mangroves

A shipwreck close inshore

I spent most of the day in the park and it was the return drive that I saw most of the species especially wheatear. A female Hooded Wheatear kept me entertained as I observed her trying to kill a lizard that she had caught, so I thought. I have no idea how it happened but the lizard was holding onto the upper throat of the wheatear and she was trying to shake it off as you can see in the photos below. Other wheatear included 8 Northern, 10 Isabeline and a single male Desert Wheatear. The only other birds of note were 2 Tawny Pipit and Short-toed Lark and as I was almost back at the entrance of the park, I could see gulls up ahead while I was driving, disappearing on and off behind a ledge, near the shore. I was hoping that they would be White-eyed Gull and out of the car with my camera and I started running towards the two fishermen who had thrown scraps of fish which in turn, was attracting the gulls down. As I approached the the two men, still running, I couldn’t help but notice the way they were looking at me. The older man started laughing and said ‘ We thought you had a gun!’ That’s happened before where someone thought I had a gun and not a camera. To my disappointment, they were all Sooty Gull. Still cracking gulls, but I saw 100s of them in Oman last year. I’m not leaving Sharm until I see a White-eyed Gull

One of the dirt tracks heading east towards the visitors center

At first when I observed this female Hooded Wheatear, I thought that she had caught a lizard

It turned out that the lizard was in fact clinging on to the upper throat of the wheatear. I had no idea how this happened but she was desperately trying hard to shake it off as you can see from the record shots

The lizard let go and the wheatear flew off. Looks innocent to me but why was this reptile holding onto the bird?

There were a total of 10 Isabeline Wheatear

I so much wanted to see a Desert Wheatear and I got this stunning male!

Some 16 Sooty Gull just before dark on the beach

Israeli soldiers kill a teen, injure 112 unarmed Palestinians


Mohammad Abdul-Karim Hamayel, 15, shot in the head by an Israeli sniper while taking part in an unarmed demonstration on Palestinian land.

Israeli snipers fatally shot a 15-year-old in the head with an expanding bullet, shot a 17-year-old in the head with a steel bullet (he remains in critical condition), shot a TV journalist in the head, etc…

Reposted from IMEMC:

The Palestinian Health Ministry has reported that Israeli soldiers killed one teen, and injured at least 112 Palestinians, during the ongoing protest on the al-‘Arma Mountain, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

The Ministry said Mohammad Abdul-Karim Hamayel, 15, was shot with an expanding bullet in the head. He was rushed to a local hospital before succumbing to his serious wounds.

Tarif Ashour, the spokesperson of the Health Ministry, said at least thirteen Palestinians were rushed to Rafidia governmental hospital, including a seventeen year old, who was shot with two rubber-coated steel bullets in his head. He was rushed to surgery, and remains in critical condition.

Shortly afterward, the soldiers shot two Palestinians with rubber-coated steel bullets in their heads, causing hemorrhaging in the brain; one of them remains in life-threatening condition.

In addition, a journalist working for the Palestinian TV, identified as Bakr Abdul-Haq, was shot with a rubber-coated steel bullet in his head, and at least thirteen other residents were shot with similar rounds.

The total number of injuries stood at more than 112 Palestinians at the time of this report, among them, 90 were suffering the severe effects of teargas inhalation, and eighteen who were shot with steel bullets.

The soldiers also abducted at least three young men, after more than 40 additional military vehicles invaded the area.

Israeli settlers invading area

The protests are still ongoing as more soldiers and fanatic illegal colonists [aka settlers] continue to flock to the mountain and prevented many Palestinian ambulances from approaching it.

The head of the Beita Fuad Maali Village Council told Wafa reporters that scores of illegal Israeli colonists began storming the mountain last night and are still in the place, explaining that hundreds of Palestinian citizens remain stationed on the mountain to repel their invasion.

Ghassan Douglas, a Palestinian Authority official who monitors Israel’s colonialist activities, said that there have been calls by colonists to storm the mountain, in an attempt to control an archaeological historical site above its summit, and install an illegal colony [aka settlement] after occupying the entire Palestinian Mountain. [Since Israeli settlements are illegal under international law, IMEMC and many others feel that the terms “colony” and “colonists” are more accurate terms for them.]

Yumna Patel reports on Mondoweiss:

…Around two weeks ago, settlers from the notoriously violent Itamar settlement published a call on social media to take to the mountain, which they believe is an ancient Jewish religious site, and seize control of it.

After becoming aware of the settlers’ plans, dozens of men and youth from Beita took to the mountain and erected a sit-in tent to establish their presence as a deterrence against the settlers.

Despite the settler group not receiving permission from the Israeli army to go to the mountain, a smaller group of settler youth decided to go ahead anyway.

“There were around 10 settlers, and a group of soldiers who came to protect them and escort them up the mountain,” local activist Minwer Abu al-Abed, 56, told Mondoweiss.

According to al-Abed, the soldiers unsuccessfully attempted to escort the settlers up the mountain, shooting live ammunition, rubber bullets, and tear gas along the way.

“The settlers were attempting a violent takeover of our land, but of course they [soldiers] were only there to shoot at the Palestinians,” al-Abed said.

Videos of the confrontations, which went viral on Palestinian social media, showed crowds of Palestinian youth hurling stones at the settlers and soldiers until the latter were forced to flee the area.

Despite over 90 injuries being recorded that day, the village celebrated it as a victory.

“We made our presence known, and defended our land against the settlers,” al-Abed said, proudly adding that “not a single settlement” has been built on Beita’s land, which he attributed to the steadfastness of the townspeople.

The settlers, however would make two more attempts to seize the mountain, each time with more firepower and support from the Israeli army.

On March 2, another failed attempt led to the injury of a dozen Palestinians, including two with live ammunition.

The third and fatal attempt took place on Wednesday morning — just hours after Israel conducted a massive arrest campaign in the village —  and though the settlers were unable to seize the mountain, it ended with the death of a young teenager.

‘We will never leave this land’

Clashes between Palestinians and settlers, as the latter attempt to takeover the former’s land, are not uncommon in the West Bank, particularly in Nablus.

Settlements like Yitzhar, Itamar, Brakha, have become household names in the surrounding Palestinian villages, who face constant settler attacks on their land, agriculture, livestock, homes, and people.

So when the settlers set their sights on al-Arma, the residents of Beita were not surprised.

“The fight to defend al-Arma is not a new one,” al-Abed told Mondoweiss, adding that settlers have been attempting to take over the hilltop for decades, ever since the 1980s.

“They believe there is a Jewish site on the mountain, and that that gives them a right to it,” he said. “But there are Canaanite ruins here, proving our connection to this land.”

According to al-Abed, hundreds of Beita’s residents have been arrested over the years, many in connection with protests at Jabal al-Arma. Two others, he said, were martyred when trying to defend the mountaintop.

“Not only does this mountain have historical significance for us, but its important to the daily life of the people of Beita,” al-Abed said, adding that the townspeople not only farm on the hilltop, but also use it for recreational activities, family picnics, and barbecues.

“As Palestinians, we will never leave this mountain. The people of Beita will never give up,” he said.

Trump, Netanyahu to blame

While the hilltops surrounding Nablus are dotted with dozens of Israeli settlements and outposts, much of the stolen Palestinian land used to build them is located in Area C — the more than 60% of the West Bank under full Israeli control — making it easier for settlers to take over.

Jabal al-Arma, however, was designated as Area B under the Oslo Accords, putting matters like construction and agricultural access to the land under the authority of the PA.

For years, the villagers believed that the fact that the mountain was located in Area B would legally protect it from being taken over by the settlers.

But when Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett amped up efforts to extend Israeli control over Area B, any sense of security felt by the villagers went out the window.

“These recent attempts by the settlers to take over Jabal al-Arma are clearly related to the policies of the right-wing government in Israel,” al-Abed said.

And to make matters worse, al-Abed noted, the release of the US peace plan in January only further emboldened the settler movement across the West Bank.

“Who do you think gave the settlers and Netanyahu the greenlight to go ahead with annexation, and all of their other plans?” he asked.

“Trump did this. When he released the peace plan, he told Israel ‘take whatever you like.’ And now Palestinians are paying the price.”

Yumna Patel

Yumna Patel is the Palestine correspondent for Mondoweiss.

Other posts by Yumna Patel.


Previous incidents of Israel soldiers shooting people in the head

Children Shot in the Head: Not Just in Pakistan

Gabrielle Giffords, Tom Hurndall and Palestinian Children

Timeline of Israelis and Palestinians killed in the conflict

Why is the US Honoring a Racist Rabbi?

Author: Kris Webb 10

I love to throw sticks at trees! I also can’t get enough of music! I also blog about my observations on Scilly and wherever I go around the world and what’s sometimes on my mind. I’ve visited over 30 countries and some more times than once. I’ve worked and volunteered in Nepal, USA, Peru, Gambia, Costa Rica, 3x Australia, and refugee camps in Palestine The profile image is one I took while in Palestine of a brave Israeli holding high the Palestinian flag in front of the Israeli Offensive Forces during protests in Belin

One thought on “Egypt Napk National Park Day 12”

  1. Thanks for all the postings from your travels – looks like you are having a great time and getting some good photos. Stay safe! Andrew


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