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Author Archives: Alex Kane
Hundreds of New Yorkers marched over the Brooklyn Bridge Wednesday in a rally for Gaza. Video shows that as demonstrators streamed over the bridge, a huge Palestinian flag with the words “Boycott, Divest, Sanction” and “Gaza In Our Hearts” was flown off the side of the Manhattan Bridge, which can be seen from the Brooklyn Bridge.
Over 20 Jewish Voice for Peace members gathered outside the offices of the United Jewish Appeal-Federation of Jewish Philanthropies in New York, criticizing the group’s support for Israel’s policy towards Gaza, including the blockade of the coastal territory and the ongoing military assault. The action was one of many across the country that Jewish Voice for Peace has organized in recent days to highlight and critique Jewish establishment support for Israeli policy towards the Gaza Strip. In Philadelphia, six people were arrested after refusing to leave a Jewish Federations office, while in Durham, North Carolina, JVP members disrupted another Federation event to call for an end to the blockade and the occupation.
One month ago, 15-year-old Tariq Abu Khdeir was beaten senselessly by two Israeli police officers. Now, he’s back in his Tampa home, safe and sound. But his life has stayed topsy-turvy. He has had to tell his story countless times, and has been whisked away to demonstrations and events across the country. But despite Tariq’s ordeal, which began when his cousin Mohammed was kidnapped and burned alive by Israeli Jewish extremists, he wants to return to Palestine. Mondoweiss’ Alex Kane sat down with Tariq and his mother to talk about what happened to Tariq, and what the future holds.
Companies that have become notorious for supplying Israeli, Egyptian and Bahraini security forces with tear-gas have also supplied the police in Ferguson, Missouri with those products. Those companies’ weapons are being fired on protesters livid over the police shooting of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old unarmed black teen hit six times by an officer named Darren Wilson. The use of tear-gas, armored vehicles and high-powered rifles on the streets of an American city to quell protests have fed anger over Brown’s killing across the nation and has also sparked an unprecedented debate over police militarization in the country.
Israel and its supporters are pivoting to their next adversary: the United Nations Human Rights Council and William Schabas, who has been tapped to lead the inquiry. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach has already issued an advertisement printed in the New York Times calling Schabas a “friend” of Iran and an “apologist for anti-Semites.” Meanwhile, a report in the Times does a poor job at looking into Israeli war crimes–and why Schabas might be investigating them.
In recent days, well-documented accounts of war crimes have poured out of the Gaza Strip from journalists and human rights advocates. Many of these accounts have focused on Khuza’a, the site of intensive Israeli bombardment in late July. Journalists and human rights groups have reported that Israeli soldiers shot unarmed civilians, including people waving white flags, and used Palestinian civilians as human shields.
The best Middle Eastern food in New York is, without a doubt, found in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn at Tanoreen. But if you can’t make it to New York, you can still taste the fabulous cooking of Rawia Bishara, the owner of Tanoreen. Bishara’s new book, published this year, is filled with delectable recipes people can make in their own kitchen. Mondoweiss’ Alex Kane sat down with Bishara to discuss her book, Olives, Lemons and Za’atar: The Best Middle Eastern Home Cooking. Mondoweiss readers who donated over $80 as part of the website’s summer fundraising drive can receive the book, and readers who give over $200 will get a book and be invited to a delicious meal at Tanoreen with the Mondoweiss team.
CNN has changed former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren’s title from “analyst” to “ambassador” when he appears as a guest on the network. Sources knowledgable of the situation told Mondoweiss that the move comes after internal dissent within CNN that Oren’s classification as an “analyst” was not suitable. The former ambassador signed a contract with the network in January to appear as an “analyst” to discuss Israel.
The cease-fire announced by the U.S. and the U.N. last night to end Gaza fighting for 72 hours has completely broken down. There are conflicting reports as to who was the first who broke it: Israel or Palestinian militants, who are said to have captured a soldier. Whatever the case, the assault on Gaza is now escalating after an Israeli soldier was reportedly captured by militants who, in a suicide attack, ambushed a group of soldiers who were trying to destroy a tunnel in Rafah, the border town near Egypt.
Bombed homes, shelling and cars charred by missiles: Fidaa Zaanin on how Israel destroyed Beit Hanoun
Fidaa Zaanin, a resident of Beit Hanoun, has seen two punishing wars come and go. The only difference this time is that the ferocity of Israel’s assault, the third she has lived through, has surpassed the others. And that ferocity has hit her city particularly hard. The 25-year-old was forced to leave Beit Hanoun on July 26th after Israel launched a massive–and by many accounts indiscriminate–attack on areas near the border. On her way over to Gaza City, where she is now residing, Zaanin described a grim portrait of demolished homes, streets littered with ammunition and charred cars. Above, Palestinians walk amid destroyed buildings in Beit Hanoun during an humanitarian truce on July 26, 2014.
Israeli army fire hit a United Nations school in the Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza today, killing at least 20 Palestinians and injuring an estimated 90 people. The United Nations Relief Works and Agency (UNRWA)’s initial investigation placed the blame squarely on Israel for killing civilians and violating international law. “Last night, children were killed as they slept next to their parents on the floor of a classroom in a UN designated shelter in Gaza. Children killed in their sleep; this is an affront to all of us, a source of universal shame. Today the world stands disgraced,” UNRWA head Pierre Krähenbühl said in a statement.
A wave of civil disobedience actions has spread around the U.S. in recent weeks as Israel’s pummeling of Gaza continues apace. The activists, many of them young people, including Jews, are putting their bodies on the line in an attempt to draw attention to how the U.S. is implicated in the conflict in the Gaza Strip.
PLO official Hanan Ashrawi: Israel’s assault on Gaza is ‘state terrorism’ and should be referred to the International Criminal Court
Israel’s assault on Gaza is “state terrorism” and the state should be referred to the International Criminal Court over its war crimes, Palestine Liberation Organization official Hanan Ashrawi told Mondoweiss in an interview Friday. “When you target civilians, this is terrorism,” Ashrawi charged. The PLO executive committee member and prominent spokeswoman for the Palestinian cause also reiterated that the PLO backs a key cease-fire demand of Hamas: that Israel lift the blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has decimated the territory’s economy and cut it off from the outside world. Above, an emotional interview Ashrawi gave ABC News this past week, in which she said Israel was carrying out a “deliberate massacre” in the Gaza Strip.
Over 1,000 New Yorkers took to the streets on Thursday in a protest meant to call attention to U.S. complicity in Israel’s attack on Gaza. Organized by a wide coalition of Palestine solidarity groups, it was the latest action in New York City to call attention to the Israeli assault on Gaza. Here’s a collection of photos from the rally.
The U.S. cast the sole vote yesterday against establishing an investigation by the United Nations into war crimes committed in Gaza. The United Nations Human Rights Council voted 29-1, with 17 abstentions, to establish an inquiry. The European nations on the council all abstained.
The Israeli military shelled a United Nations Relief Works and Agency (UNRWA) school today, killing and injuring some of the Palestinians who had gathered there after fleeing their homes following Israeli messages to do so. News outlets on the ground in Gaza report that at least nine were killed, though the death toll may be higher. As Israel’s assault on Gaza intensified last week, they dropped leaflets in Palestinian neighborhoods urging them to flee ahead of heavy bombardment. Tens of thousands of people heeded the call, with UNRWA sheltering 140,000 people in 83 different schools. Above, a photo of the aftermath of an Israeli attack on a UN school in 2009, during Operation Cast Lead.
Nine Jewish activists protesting the Israeli assault on Gaza were arrested today after occupying the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) office in midtown Manhattan. The protesters, members of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and Jews Say No! (JSN), stood in the office for an hour, holding a banner, singing songs in Hebrew and English and reading the names of the more than 600 dead who have been killed as a result of the Israeli attack. The act of civil disobedience came amidst a wave of global protests against the Israeli attack.
Anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller spoke at a pro-Israel rally Sunday in New York City. Appearing at the same event was Eliot Engel, a Congressional Democrat. While Geller is a far-right anti-Muslim blogger who has said that President Obama is a Muslim and Engel is a liberal Democrat, those political differences melt away when it comes to showing up to support Israel’s assault on Gaza.
There is no where for Amal Sarsour to go–not when Israeli bombs, missiles, and artillery fire are blanketing Gaza. The 38-year-old Gaza City resident is cooped up in her home with her brothers and their families, who left their homes after the Israeli air force targeted their neighborhood. “We can’t get out of our house…We are targeted by bombing, missiles around us…There is no place to go, we feel that death [is] around us all the time,” Sarsour tells Mondoweiss’ Alex Kane.
Human rights organizations across the board are slamming Israel for committing war crimes in strikes that are wiping out civilians. Israeli spokespeople have claimed that the army scrupulously follows international law. But in report after report, groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have dismissed the military’s claims, saying that policies like bombing the homes of alleged militants are war crimes.
Four Palestinian children from the same family were killed today by an Israeli strike in an attack witnessed by many Western journalists. The four kids from the Bakir family were playing soccer on a Gaza beach before Israeli fired shells killed them. The names and ages of the victims are Ismail Mahmoud Bakir, 9, Ahed Atef Bakir, 10, Zakariya Ahed Bakir, 10, and Mohammad Ramiz Bakir, 11. The attack will likely be one of the most enduring memories of Israel’s assault on Gaza this year, just as the attack on the al-Dalou family in 2012 and the Samouni family in 2009 is still remembered today.
New Yorkers fed up with the political class’ support for Israeli assaults on Gaza protested outside City Hall this week. Their target was a press conference featuring New York politicians who support Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge,” which has killed over 200 people, the vast majority of them civilians.
Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer defended Israel’s unrelenting assault on Gaza Thursday night to Christians United for Israel (CUFI). Dermer said that every civilian death in Gaza is an “operational failure”–making for a lot of such failures, since at least 58 civilians have been killed by Israeli airstrikes. The ambassador also sought to link Hamas to the radical Sunni jihadist group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), though the groups have wildly divergent ideologies and goals.
Relentless bombing on Gaza continues: Israel kills media worker, 9 people watching World Cup on beach
The latest Israeli assault continued into its third day, exacting a bloody and growing death toll in the Gaza Strip. At least 81 Palestinians have been killed in three days, including 22 children. Late Tuesday, a driver for journalists was killed, as were nine Palestinians watching the World Cup at a beach coffee shop. There are no signs of the operation letting up soon. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that he is not “talking to anybody about a cease-fire right now. It’s not even on the agenda.”
An eyewitness to the brutal beating of Palestinian-American teen Tarek Abu Khdeir says that he was far away from the clashes taking place in Shuafat when he was pummeled by undercover Israeli forces. Leen Barghouti, the eyewitness, called the attack an “ambush” in her first interview with the media since witnessing the beating. Barghouti said Tarek Abu Khdeir “wasn’t anywhere near the main street” where the clashes took place. Israeli officials have claimed that Tarek and other Palestinians attacked Israeli forces and the video of the beating was “edited and biased,” but Barghouti’s account bolsters what Tarek and his family have said from day one: that the 15-year-old was not throwing stones or taking part in clashes that were sparked by the brutal murder of his cousin, Mohammed Abu Khdeir.