On 50th anniversary of its occupation, Gaza is a community on edge of a health crisis. Drinking water in Gaza has become largely unavailable. Children have shown signs of water related diseases and permanent organ damage due to high levels of ingested chemicals from what little water is available. Recently, UNRWA indicated that 87 percent of residents live below the poverty line.
Monthly Archives: June 2017
Among the general US population, the number of those “unreachable” by Israel is 9 percent, but among Jewish college students the number is much higher 13 percent. And that is a “national security issue” for Israel’s future, says Fern Oppenheim of the Brand Israel Group.
Ismail Zeyada, a Dutch citizen of Palestinian origin, has started a civil lawsuit holding two Israeli commanders responsible for the attack on his family home in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge. Six of Ziada’s family members were killed in the July 2014 attack: his mother (70), three of his brothers, his sister-in-law and a 12-year old nephew. Zeyada’s attorney, well-known human rights lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld, says, “You can’t bomb a house inhabited by civilians. Deliberately killing six of them, without necessity, is considered a war crime.”
A new study titled, “Sounding the Alarm: The American-Israeli Relationship” by an American Zionist group says that Israeli PR (or hasbara) isn’t working, and the more Americans learn about Israel, the less favorably they feel about the country. The report says that Americans have learned a lot more about Israel since 2010, but that knowledge has fostered the country’s unfavorable reputation, and fed the “delegitimization” campaign, because Americans increasingly feel that Israel does not share their values.
Challenging Benjamin Netanyahu from the left, Israeli labor leader Ehud Barak says that it is urgent that Israel allow the establishment of a Palestinian state– but he assures an Israeli audience that the state will be “non-viable,” because it is demilitarized and completely surrounded by Israeli forces.
Al Quds TV reporter Linda Shalash has been targeted many times by the Israeli military while wearing the identifiable blue flak jacket with “PRESS” in large print. Still, she writes, “I believe from the bottom of my heart that sharing news stories from Palestine with people around the world is the most powerful way to mobilize resistance and cripple the oppressive, ethnocratic regime. I appreciate all that Mondoweiss does to multiply the impact of reporters like me. If you agree that we must increase the numbers and passion of people worldwide who challenge injustice in Palestine, join me in supporting Mondoweiss.”
Moriah Ella Mason participated in the Sumud Freedom Camp last month rebuilding a Palestinian Bedouin village in the South Hebron Hills with more than 100 Jewish activists. Mason traveled with her father, and the two were separated during an army raid on the village, “In one of the scariest moments, I watched the live stream as the soldiers began to cut down our large tent while a group of our activists sat inside, chanting and singing in Hebrew and English. Later my dad would tell me he was standing in a separate blockade outside the tent as the soldiers cut the fabric and tore it down around the people inside, punching several through the fabric in the process. That was the hardest part for him. Witnessing this violence. And as horrible as this violence was, the fact that it was limited to punching, pushing, and choking was a result of the privilege we held as international Jews. When Palestinians protest alone, the IDF typically uses tear gas, rubber bullets, mass arrests, and even live fire.”
Iran today is not a unified, expansionist juggernaut, but an increasingly corrupt, discredited regime that faces rising opposition. But U.S. policy reflects the Israeli and Saudi claim that Iran is supposedly unified, powerful and expanding, so it must be confronted everywhere.
George Smith shares the history of Naomi Shemer’s song Yerushalayim Shel Zahav (Jerusalem of Gold) which became Israel’s unofficial second national anthem soon after if debuted on the eve of the 1967 war. Smith writes, “In the case of Jerusalem of Gold, no matter who sings it, the taint of Jewish supremacism just can’t be avoided. It’s intrinsic to Shemer’s lyrics.”
Ron Kampeas reports for the JTA: “Haim Saban, a major donor to the Democratic Party, is backing a bill that would slash funding to the Palestinian Authority unless it stops payments to Palestinians jailed for attacks on Israelis. The participation of the Israeli-American entertainment mogul in the initiative of the lobbying affiliate of the Israeli-American Council is significant because Democrats until now have been reluctant to back the bill as it stands.”
The context of the occupation was missing from media coverage of two alleged Palestinian attacks on Israeli police in Jerusalem.
A new ‘ethics code’ authored by the same professor who wrote the IDF ethics code, seeks to combat BDS advocacy by Israeli academics.
Shimrit Baer writes, “The territories occupied in 1967 have become the focus of international activism because every aspect of life is controlled by the occupier, there are walls and checkpoints, shootings and tear gassing of civilians, detentions without charge, child arrests, bulldozed houses and fields, military raids, unfit drinking water, humanitarian crises–“etc.” The strategic focus on West Bank colonial “settlements” is something that few question. Meanwhile, the placebos of power within the state are serving to inhibit significant internal/external pressures for historical redress. In the scheme of things, importance has to go to Zionist Space as an arena of change. Any civil rights activism without the conscious disruption of Zionist Space is only make-belief.”
Mondoweiss contributor Ahmad Kabariti shares a personal story of being pressured by Israeli officials to share information with them in Gaza. He says it shows the power of adversarial journalism and the need to support news outlets telling the truth about what is happening in Palestine: “Just about every Palestinian journalist has had at least one experience similar to mine. Israel’s attempts to neutralize our profession take many forms, from bullying to physical force to bribes. I’m sharing this part of my personal history to help Mondoweiss’s readers understand how vital it is as an avenue to broadcast our reporting—to defy the efforts to silence us. I am asking you to show your solidarity with our work by donating to Mondoweiss to support publication of our journalism.”
Nora Lester Murad and her friends organize an Iftar dinner next to the rubble of a demolished Palestinian house in East Jerusalem, “We planned the Iftar to show solidarity with Ashraf and Islam, and the tens of thousands of Palestinian families whose homes have been demolished, partially demolished, or sealed, and who live every day under the imminent threat of demolitions by the Israel authorities. Home demolition is not merely an Israeli administrative policy, as it is often presented in the western media. Home demolition is part of Israel’s political strategy to expel Palestinians from any place they want control, often through the establishment of Jewish settlements. My friends and I felt that the least we could do to show these families–families who are on the frontline of the continuing Nakba–that they have real allies, that they are not alone.”
Recently a Mondoweiss writer based in Palestine told us, “Anyone working in the country who describes the state’s repression of free speech is risking being kicked out for good.” You know that we who fight for justice in Palestine are tearing down the wall of lies brick by brick and that every effort to silence the truth shows the urgent need to invest in more truth-telling. We ask today that you donate to help Mondoweiss continue and increase our work informing the world of what happens in Palestine, and how U.S. policy underwrites the oppression. Every time Israel’s guardians lash out to silence truth, their fear testifies that our reporting is making a difference. Please give today to help us keep them shaking in their shoes.
A West Bank settlement is building a $100 million medical school and doubling the size of its campus. The forthcoming project will be named after casino mogul and settlement financier, Sheldon Adelson. Haaretz reports, “Ariel University is to double in size within the next five years, according to a plan now being promoted by Education Minister Naftali Bennett. Ten or twelve new buildings are to be added for new faculties in research and teaching at the university, located in the West Bank settlement of Ariel, as well as a new medical school, to be named after U.S. billionaire businessman Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam. The subcommittee on funding of the Council for Higher Education in Israel recently approved the plan, which will also lead to a major increase in the student body from its current figure of 11,000. The funding subcommittee estimated the cost of the expansion at about 400 million shekels ($113 million). Funding is to come from the university’s state-funded budget, from its income from tuition and from donations.”
Mersiha Gadzo talks to villagers who were expelled from towns outside of Jerusalem in 1967, where today an Israeli park and popular picnic spot is built over the rubble of the destroyed Palestinian houses, “Twelve-year-old Ahmad Ali Zaid awoke at 5 a.m. on June 6, 1967, to the sound of loudspeakers blaring outside his home, demanding that the sleeping residents of Beit Nuba village immediately leave their homes. ‘Leave your homes, leave the village. Go to Jordan; this is a military zone,’ the voice commanded as Israeli tanks rolled through. ‘Anyone who doesn’t leave will have their house demolished on top of them.’ In their pajamas, with no time to even put on shoes, residents frantically rushed outside.”
“Politically, ideologically and in some sense spiritually, I was born in June 1967,” Israeli settler and ambassador Dani Dayan tells a liberal Zionist gathering in New York, in yet another reflection of how rightwing ideology is ingrained in US Jewish life and in Israeli politics.
Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi explores the roots of Puerto Rican-Palestinian solidarity, beginning with movements in the 1970s, “Palestinian Puerto Rican solidarity is extensive and includes various organizations and individuals in multiple locations and during different time periods. In Chicago for example, the solidarity expressed by the embrace of the two freed political prisoners, Rasmea Odeh and Oscar López Rivera goes back to the 1970s. The late Palestinian community leader Samir Odeh was instrumental in forging those ties of solidarity. In fact, leaders who accompanied Oscar López to the Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York remembered Samir as one of their comrades from “back in the days.” In New York, even before Palestinian and Arab students began to organize themselves within the Organization of Arab Students (OAS), the Young Lords Party had already declared support for the Palestinian anti-colonial struggle. During the 2011 delegation to Palestine in which Angela Davis participated, former Young Lords Party and Puerto Rican Student Union member and long-time anti-war and trade union organizer Jaime Veve, recalled how, as a young student involved in the Oceanhill-Brownsville struggle for community control, he had two posters on his wall, Angela Davis and Leila Khaled.”
“Israel is in gravest danger from within, from its own actions… The proposed legislation before you has its origins in the right-wing Israeli government … and comes out of a well-funded campaign” — Howard Horowitz urges Westchester County Board of Legislators to turn down a resolution against Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).
Israeli authorities on Friday rescinded 250,000 Israel entry permits from Palestinians hours after a deadly attack in Jerusalem left four dead and several injured, a spokesperson for the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) told Mondoweiss. Three Palestinians were shot dead after killing an Israeli police officer and injuring several others in an […]
The Palestinian Authority (PA) has shut down at least 11 news websites from being accessed in the occupied West Bank, all of which are reportedly affiliated with either the Hamas movement or Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah rival, Mohammed Dahlan. Several sites said they were trying to work around the blockage issues to reach readers.
Journalist Aaron Cantú has written about policing, propaganda, drugs, and politics for Mondoweiss, The Intercept, Al Jazeera, The Baffler, and many other publications. He was arrested while covering a protest on the morning of Donald Trump’s inauguration and now faces up to 70 years in jail on charges of felony rioting, conspiracy to riot and destruction of property. Julie Ann Grimm, Cantú’s editor at the Santa Fe Reporter, says, “His arrest was scary, the threat of being imprisoned for the rest of your life for just doing your job and observing a protest is … I don’t even know how to finish that sentence. But we’re really not going to let this action by the federal government or by the prosecutors in Washington, D.C. slow him down or to put a muzzle on his voice as a journalist.”
The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem reports Israeli soldiers detained Baraa Kanan, 19, and abused him for seven hours, before dumping him on the side of the road at night to find his own way home. From Ma’an News Agency: “‘They didn’t let up. I was terrified that they were taking me to some lonely spot so that they could murder me and no one would find me.’ Kanan added that soldiers finally stopped, at which point one said to Kanan ‘You’re a big-time terrorist. I’m going to shoot you.’ Kanan said that he heard the soldier load his gun and felt the gun be placed on his head. ‘I was sure he was going to kill me,’ he said. Kanan said that the soldiers then beat him again, and ‘covered his legs with earth and then removed it.’ According to B’Tselem, he was also transferred to a tent and made to sit on the floor. The soldiers’ removed his blindfold and forced him to say ‘Muhammad is pig’ and ‘Muhammad is a dog’, and snipped off bits of his hair with scissors.”