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June 2015

Exclusive: Palestine seeks to charge Israel with ‘apartheid’ and war crimes at The Hague

Allison Deger on

Palestinian leaders seek to charge Israel with the crime of “Apartheid,” and 22 other charges including seven war crimes, according to Shawan Jabarin, the director of the Palestinian human rights group Al Haq. The thick set of documents were ceremoniously handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC) today at headquarters in The Hague, yet yesterday morning Jabarin was given exclusive access to the report in Ramallah.

Interview with a suicide bomber

Dan Cohen on

Mohammed Zaidan awoke in an Israeli hospital, recovering from serious injuries to his stomach, eye socket, head and arm. At the height of the second intifada the Jenin resident had gone on a suicide bombing operation, but the explosives he brought failed to properly detonate. Fifteen years later, Dan Cohen interviews Zaidan in his home in Gaza City where he recounts why he decided to become a suicide bomber, what his life has been like since the failed attack and whether he would do it again.

Mourning hate crimes from South Carolina to the Sea of Galilee

Nadya Raja Tannous on

Nadya Raja Tannous writes about the destruction of the Church of the Multiplication on the shores of the Sea of Galilee by Israeli settlers and the massacre of 9 people by a white supremacist in a church in Charleston, South Carolina.

In letter to John Kerry, 19 reps stand up for Palestinian children behind bars

Kate Gould on

In arguably the strongest signal Congress has ever sent in support for Palestinian human rights, 19 members of Congress sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urging the Department of State to make the human rights of Palestinian children a priority in the U.S. bilateral relationship with Israel. Rep. Betty McCollum makes it clear that this letter is intended to result in decisive action. In the Congresswoman’s own words: “Israel’s military detention of Palestinian children is an indefensible abuse of human rights. I hope this letter results in State Department pressure on the Government of Israel to end this systemic abuse immediately. Palestinian children should be treated exactly the same as Israeli or American children, without the fear that one day soldiers will arrest them, beat them, and lock them away in prison.”

Controversy ignites as Joint Arab List member joins Gaza flotilla

Kate on

AFP reports: An announcement by a [Palestinian] lawmaker that he plans to join a pro-Palestinian flotilla seeking to break Israel’s blockade on Gaza caused outrage Monday among the country’s political class. Basel Ghattas, an Israeli MP with the Joint Arab List, sparked controversy after he announced he would join other parliamentarians and public figures from around the world in the latest attempt to reach Gaza by ship later this month.

One story behind the suicides taking place in Gaza

Anas Jnena on

The Palestine News Network announced this week that the suicide rate in the Occupied Territories jumped 68.4 percent last year. In Gaza, Al-Shifa Hospital said that at least one person attempted suicide every day. Gaza writer Anas Jnena shares one story of an attempted suicide in the besieged Gaza Strip that helps sheds light on the statistics.

Irish activists hit hard against 1st Irish dance competition in Israel

Stan Hoben on

In March, The Carey Academy, Israel announced the 1st Israeli Feis, a competitive tournament of traditional Irish dancing, to take place in Tel Aviv in August. In response, the Irish Palestinian Activist Collective has called on organizers to cancel it in solidarity with the Palestinian BDS call: “Your performance in Israel is the moral equivalent to performing in South Africa during the apartheid era.”

UN report on Gaza war includes stories of civilian executions, attacks on ambulances and targeting of humanitarian facilities

Allison Deger on

The 51-day summer war between Hamas and Israel was not only “heartbreaking,” but rampant with “possible war crimes” according to a much anticipated United Nations report published Monday. Investigators conducted nearly 300 interviews over the past year. All took place outside of Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, as Israel denied entry to the researchers. Witnesses and victims—both Israeli and Palestinian—gave testimonies about the targeting of civilians, medical facilities and United Nations shelters, along with the existence of human shields (and the lack thereof), collective punishment, and the proportionality of the attacks.

When a police officer is actually a soldier

Dan Cohen on

A Palestinian stabbed an Israeli member of the Border Police at the Damascus Gate Sunday, and Netanyahu hailed the victim as a “fighter”. The Border Police serve as soldiers in the occupation, and the use of the term police is pure semantics.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin calls for removal of Israeli flag

Philip Weiss and Adam Horowitz on

A thought experiment: Israeli president Reuven Rivlin announced today that he was removing the Israeli flag from his presidential residence in Jerusalem as an acknowledgment of the more than 500 children killed by Israel in Gaza a year ago.

What I learned crossing the Qalandia Checkpoint

Léa Georgeson Caparros on

Léa Georgeson Caparros writes about crossing the Qalandia checkpoint while traveling in the occupied Palestinian territories with the Palestine Festival of Literature in May 2015.

‘Six Jews sitting in the White House discussing the Palestinian state’

Philip Weiss on

“Six Jews sitting in the White House, three Israelis and three American Jews, discussing the Palestinian state. It happens all the time. Very often the only non Jewish person in the room was the vice president or the president.” But Michael Oren says the American Jews are often married to non-Jews and don’t feel a sense of shared peoplehood with Israel

Obfuscating the truth: The UN report on war crimes in ‘Operation Protective Edge’

Jerome Slater on

The UN Human Rights Commission report on last summer’s Gaza war is inappropriately “balanced.” It is more or less equally critical of Israeli and Hamas actions, without regard to the differences between the vast and horrific extent of civilian destruction caused by Israel and the far lesser civilian deaths and destruction that resulted from the largely ineffective Hamas attacks. –Scholar Jerome Slater

US journal ‘Biography”s special issue on Occupied Palestine is launched in Gaza

Yousef M. Aljamal on

Refaat Alareer and Lina Alsharif are among contributors to a special issue of the journal Biography on Life in Occupied Palestine, published by the University of Hawaii Press. Editor Cynthia Franklin says The quelling of free speech in the United States works in tandem with Israel’s human rights violations against Palestinians.

Baddawi

Leila Abdelrazaq on

Read an excerpt from the new graphic novel “Baddawi”, by Leila Abdelrazaq. Baddawi is the story of a young boy named Ahmad struggling to find his place in the world. Raised in a refugee camp called Baddawi in northern Lebanon, Ahmad is just one of the many thousands of refugee children born to Palestinians who fled their homeland after the war in 1948 established the state of Israel. Leila Abdelrazaq explores her father’s childhood in the 1960s and ’70s from a boy’s eye view as he witnesses the world crumbling around him and attempts to carry on, forging his own path in the midst of terrible uncertainty.