David Kattenburg reports from “Jerusalem Day” where ecstatic Zionists celebrating the 50th anniversary of Israel’s conquest of East Jerusalem were greeted by equally passionate Jewish-American and Israeli protesters intent on blocking the zealots’ march through the Damascus Gate of Jerusalem’s old city, into the heart of the Arab quarter.
At the California Democratic Party convention in Sacramento over the weekend Palestinian rights supporters steered to passage a groundbreaking resolution that puts California Democrats far ahead of the national and other state parties. Time will tell whether the new resolution can become a model for other Democratic Party institutions, and more importantly, whether it will help accelerate a shift in the party’s stance on Israel/Palestine.
A lightshow in Jerusalem on the 50th anniversary of the Jewish conquest in 1967 weaponizes the walls of the city in a triumphalist expression of the glory of religious nationalism. Goosebumps or shudders, see for yourself.
Every single home demolition is devastating to a family. Every single demolished family tells a unique and surreal story about the day when Israeli bulldozers rolled over their children’s schoolbooks, their grandmother’s prescription medicines, and letters from their uncle overseas. Nora Lester Murad tells the story of Ashraf and Islam Fawaqa and their four daughters — Ritaj, 9; Rimas, 7; Saba, 4; and Aya, a newborn whose Jerusalem home was demolished while they were taking Aya to an infant checkup.
As Israelis marked “Jerusalem Day,” a commemoration of Israel’s capture of the eastern half of the city in 1967 with a parade through the Old City, a group of left-wing American Jews and Israelis blocked their path with a sit-in. Traditionally the march is accompanied by Palestinians protesting outside of the Old City walls, voicing dissent against what is regarded as a celebration of Israel’s occupation of Jerusalem and the West Bank. This year the parade was obstructed by liberal Jews for the first time in recent memory.
At a religious nationalist celebration three nights ago of 50 years of Israeli occupation in Jerusalem, the highlight was a rendition of the late Leonard Cohen’s most popular song, Hallelujah. And that’s appropriate.
“Do our prisoners have to experience martyrdom to achieve the most basic of rights and do we have to be reunited with them once they are corpses instead of welcoming them home alive?!” Read a letter written by mothers of Palestinian prisoners to U.S. President Donald Trump.
Youth Against Settlement’s Issa Amro writes about signs settlers have posted inside of Hebron, “At the front of Shuhada street in the old city of Hebron is a street sign pointing multiple directions: Chabad Cemetery, Old Jewish Cemetery, Ancient Tel Hebron. The words are in Hebrew and English only. The purpose of the sign is not to provide directions but to erase Palestinian identity, and even the Arabic language, from the area. For more than a decade Israeli settlers have been installing these types of signs throughout Hebron. Over the past two years, the installation of these signs has increased exponentially.”
Phil Weiss reports from the streets of Jerusalem on the eve of Donald Trump’s visit there that it is clear Israeli Jews have made their choice — a Jewish state, not a democratic one. They fear the creation of a Palestinian state. Even the left is demoralized, and favors Israeli security over Palestinian rights. Netanyahu has achieved what Trump can only dream of, a broadly unified national politics, on an ethnic basis.
Hundreds of activists, organized by a coalition of Palestinian, Israeli and International organizations joined the families of Sarura to rebuild their village and create the “Sumud Freedom Camp.” The camp is located in an Israeli military firing zone on land belonging to the Palestinian village of Sarura, where families were expelled by Israeli forces in the 1990’s. The activists want to show a grassroots counterpoint to the high-level political process and U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to Israel/Palestine this upcoming week. The event also aims to mark 50 years of the 1967 occupation.
The Palestinian Festival of Literature celebrated its 10th year in 2017. With a slew of respected artists and writers on its program, the festival met in cities across the occupied West Bank and Israel. From Haifa, to Ramallah, to Nablus and Jerusalem, the festival once again brought people from across the world to the stage.
How much does the Israel lobby explain why negotiations have failed to bear fruit for the past 25 years? Rashid Khalidi says it’s beyond the lobby: Israeli and American politicians get funding from the same people. Important industries, like high tech and defense, are integrated in the U.S. and in Israel at the highest levels. As a result the U.S. and American political systems are on the same page, to the point that it is more accurate to think of them as one integrated political system than in terms of allies, he explains.
Tikva Honig-Parnass discovers a letter she wrote to her family in October 1948, inked on letterhead she found in a gas station that had belonged to a Palestinians who was likely expelled by her unit. Looking back Honig-Parnass reflects how it came to be that she never considered who owned the gas station, and what happened to him, a skill she developed as a youngster in Israel’s 48 Generation: “This complete ignoring of the personhood of the “enemy,” the serenity lacking in all feeling-without gloating or hatred were characteristic of the remote stance, the apparent lack of affect, of the 48 Generation towards the Palestinian Arabs. This stance was congruent with the perception of the latter as an “environmental nuisance” which should be dealt with in a rational manner, and without hatred, and when necessary-as in the case of the stationary–to make use of the spoils left behind after their removal. By then I was already experienced in the mental acrobatics involved in ignoring the ‘nuisance.'”
As Trump flies to the Middle East, he should consider: We’ve been at war there for 16 years. Israel may see that as a happy outcome, but we need to disentangle ourselves from Israel’s oppressive policies toward Palestinians if we seek a peaceful future.
After Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev wore a dress celebrating Israel’s conquest of Jerusalem at Cannes yesterday, social media lit up with parodies. The redesigns include an added separation wall into the Old City scene, air strikes over Gaza, soldiers raiding a Palestinian home, and a tribute to leading hunger striking prisoner Marwan Barghouti.
“The solidarity between Black and Palestinian people internationally is rooted in a profound historical framework, one of shared struggles and collective identities that push us to challenge notions of international solidarity,” writes activist and writer Devyn Springer.
In 1953, Joel Kovel had an epiphany as a Yale freshman that would ultimately determine his life’s course, against the US war machine and Zionism. He was tempted to return to Yale for his 60th reunion but thought better of it in light of the ordeal of Rev. Bruce Shipman.
Rebecca L. Stein talks with Rela Mazali, a founding member of the Israeli feminist organization Gun Free Kitchen Table which is working to decrease small arms proliferation in the Israeli public sphere and to eliminate the violence facilitated by easy access to firearms. In March the organization issued the report “Loose Guns: Israeli Controlled Small Arms in the Civil Sphere,” which finds that Israeli civil sphere is dangerously over-armed and that this condition has been normalized within mainstream Jewish Israeli society.
Nada Elia writes on Nakba Day, 2017: “I’m angry because I want to be normal, yet normalcy evades me, and I want to be post-nationalist, even if Palestine has never been allowed to become a nation. And I’m angry at the fact that, despite the century of abuse, we are one people (yes, a people) never allowed to be angry. This year, I don’t want to be grateful for being a survivor, “nice.” I want the right to be angry.”
Israeli forces killed unarmed Palestinian Saba Obaid, 23, yesterday during the weekly Friday protest in the occupied West Bank village of Nabi Saleh. He was shot in the upper body by a sniper and was pronounced dead shortly after in the hospital due to internal bleeding.
On Wednesday morning, two leaders of the Palestine solidarity movement in the US awoke to find they had been brazenly targeted by anonymous pro-Israel operatives who sought to paint American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) as supporters of terrorism. Hundreds of color-print flyers with the headline “A Sketchy Alliance—America at Stake” were found littered outside the California home of Hatem Bazian, AMP chairman and UC Berkeley professor as well as outside the New York home of JVP executive director Rebecca Vilkomerson. “I felt that I was being targeted and violated,” said Bazian, likening the tactic to that used by the Ku Klux Klan. “My home and my family [were] subject to intimidation.”
Last Sunday 16-year-old Fatima Hjeiji was shot dead by Israeli forces as she approached a group of five Israeli border police officers in Jerusalem, allegedly carrying a kitchen knife with the intention of attacking them. Sheren Khalel talks to her family who remembers the teen as an activist, poet, and stellar math student. “Even though Fatima was a young girl, she had a very strong personality — very strong,” Fatima’s grandfather says. “Ever since she was a little kid she was always carrying the Palestinian flag, speaking about Palestinian land. She went to Jerusalem to be in solidarity with the prisoners, she went to Jerusalem for Palestine.”
The Jahalin Bedouin in Jabal al-Baba face imminent demolition. Mersiha Gadzo reports: “Forty-two-year-old Atallah Mazara’a from the Jahalin Bedouin tribe recalls a time when residents were free to move, unhindered by concrete walls and unobtainable permits. Such a scenario today remains a distant dream, even though Jerusalem is only 2.5 miles away. Now, Bedouin communities stand in the way of the E1 zone, which would expand settlements from Ma’ale Adumim to occupied East Jerusalem.”