In a sign that the United States is ratcheting up pressure on Palestinian leadership, the Trump administration sent notice to the United Nations Refugee Works Agency (UNRWA) that it is withholding over half of this year’s annual commitment, paying $60 million and freezing another $65 million. The move indicates the U.S. is leveraging its financial support to pressure Palestinian officials into acquiescing to its vision for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.
Munther Amira, a highly respected activist in the West Bank, was arrested on December 27 during a nonviolent protest and Israel has brought 12 charges against him, including throwing stones and organizing unpermitted marches. “It’s important to note that Israeli military courts have over a 99% conviction rate, and in Munther’s case, I think there is a clear political motivation here,” Jonathan Pollak, a member of Amira’s legal team, tells Mondoweiss, “it’s obvious that Munther’s political activism is not tolerated by the Israeli regime.”
If you think Trump’s “shithole countries” statement is bad, consider that such statements are routine in Israel, whose leaders have likened Palestinians to “cancer” and snakes and cockroaches, said that disloyal Palestinians should be decapitated with an “axe” or drowned, and have actually had a Muslim ban since the country was established.
J Street, the liberal Zionist group, has issued two statements expressing anguish about Ahed Tamimi slapping an Israeli soldier occupying her family property in Nabi Saleh. Neither mentions the fact that hours before the slapping an Israeli soldier shot her cousin in the face, apparently maiming him.
At a settlers’ winery in an illegal settlement outside Hebron, boxes are labeled “Made in Israel,” and a bottle of Riesling says “Jerusalem Winery, Israel” — false labels to get around EU restrictions on the sale of settlement goods. Two European visitors get photographic proof.
The city council of New Orleans unanimously passed a resolution which calls on the city to review and divest from companies that perpetrate human rights violations anywhere in the world. It was proposed by local Palestine solidarity activists who support the BDS movement for Palestinian human rights. “It’s not very different from the stance that a number of entities took when apartheid was commonplace in South Africa,” Councilmember-at-large and cosponsor Jason Williams said in adopting the resolution.
Pro-Israel groups are working to save the Hebrew program at Evanston Township High School, north of Chicago, where enrollment has slipped in recent years to only 34 students. “The message of these Hebrew programs are clear: If you’re going to learn Hebrew, you’re going to learn to love Israel. No room exists for students to master the language while disagreeing with Israel’s policies”–writes Liz Rose, former Hebrew teacher in a Chicago area public school, who lost her job when she attempted to show students the Palestinian side of the story.
The statistics show higher levels of Palestinian deaths, disabilities, home demolitions and poverty than at any other time since the dispossession of Palestinians in 1948. At the same time, there is an internal crisis of political leadership and Palestinian civil society is divided at a time when it is imperative that Palestinians show unity against the Israeli occupation. Haidar Eid writes, “the example of South Africa has a role to play in Palestine today. Not only can we learn about Israel by examining apartheid in South Africa, but we can also help to take the Palestinian cause forward by learning from the South African anti-apartheid struggle.”
After two decades fighting to remain in the United States, Amer Othman Adi spent the first days of 2018 saying goodbye to his friends and neighbors in his adopted hometown of Youngstown, Ohio. That is until his lawyer and supporters — including a Congressman — secured a final-hour stay of deportation yesterday, just a few days before Adi’s forced deportation to Jordan scheduled for Sunday. “I have been fighting this deportation for almost 23 years; I thought we had it solved,” Adi told a small group of teary-eyed friends and neighbors gathered at the hookah bar on Tuesday. “But when Donald Trump was elected I knew I was in trouble.”
The 101-year-old American Friends Service Committee, or AFSC, is barred from Israel by the government because it supports boycotts on behalf of Palestinians, many of them refugees. But last century the AFSC won a Nobel Prize for helping refugees of the Holocaust, including many Jews. The group is honored at the Israeli Holocaust memorial.
Israel issued a blacklist of 20 organizations that support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Among those barred entry are Code Pink, AFSC, American Muslims for Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace. “We wear this designation as a badge of honor,” said Yousef Munayyer of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights.
Appraisals of Ahed Tamimi’s looks have been featured in reports around the world on the 16-year-old girl who slapped a soldier in her occupied Palestinian village: her long blonde hair, her western-style clothing. But this is perverse and demeaning. Ahed Tamimi’s bravery has nothing to do with what she wears or what color her hair is. The discussion needs to be about what she did, not her looks.
Why is Haaretz, a supposedly liberal outlet, publishing a one-sided, decontextualized smear piece on the Tamimi family by a known propagandist?
Ahmad Kabariti reports from the ruins of the defunct Gaza International Airport, a wasteland of ruins and rotting animal corpses: This arid zone was once the first airport for Palestinians in Gaza, a step towards a dream of independent state. In 2000, during the events of the Intifada, Israel bombed the control tower, then the runway, and finally the elegant Moroccan-inspired terminals. In 2001, Israeli army bulldozers flattened what remained. The airport was the beginning of a dream of a state of Palestine, “but it has been turned it into a helipad for ghosts,” Mohammed Salah tells Kabariti.
In 2016, Trump adviser Steve Bannon said that Benjamin Netanyahu and Sheldon Adelson were “all-in” on moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and letting Jordan take over the West Bank, according to Michael Wolff’s new book. So who is setting U.S. foreign policy– but a foreign leader, backed by a billionaire who gave $25 million to the Trump campaign. But the media keep talking about Russia.
The Israeli military prosecution against Ahed Tamimi has indicted her on 5 counts. Jonathan Ofir analyses the most essential of them – ‘incitement’ – and how it is based on arguably flawed translation of her mention on Facebook of “martyrdom operations” to mean “suicide bombings,” in an effort to make Tamimi into a terrorist in the eyes of the world.
“Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the state of Palestine and it is not for sale for gold or billions,” Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas says after Donald Trump says he took Jerusalem “off the table” and will now strip Palestinians of 100s of millions in U.S. aid for refusing to negotiate.
The power of Ahed Tamimi’s slap in the eyes of Palestinians: “Your slapping of those soldiers speaks for all of us,” Hatim Kanaaneh writes. “Israelis slapped us in 1948 and in 1967 and innumerable times since. By slapping their faces, you are telling those aggressors to permit the return of the exiled Palestinian Refugees and to end the apartheid their state forces on us under the dogma of ‘the Jewish State.’”
Assaf Wohl has authored an empty book about Palestinian history, and now he hurls anti-Semitic tropes against New Zealand Jewish activist Justine Sachs, for persuading Lorde to cancel her performance in Israel. He calls her a “classic Jewish wimp,” and refers to the Holocaust, when some Jews collaborated with Nazis.
On the night of December 12, Israeli soldiers threw stun grenades at the home of Hamda Zubeidat, a mother of 12 in her late 70s, triggering her death by heart attack. Israeli police have not returned calls about consequences for the killing deep in occupied territory, as Hamda’s family struggles to make sense of her loss. A report by Yumna Patel from Hamda’s village in the Jordan Valley.
The Israeli government has announced that a stop on a new train line connecting Tel Aviv and Jerusalem will be named after Donald Trump. The station will be near the Western Wall in occupied East Jerusalem, and honor is meant to mark Trump’s announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The train line in question was already controversial as it was built in part of land taken from the West Bank village of Beit Iksa.
Yesterday, an Israeli military court extended Ahed Tamimi’s detention and postponed her trial. Mariam Barghouti reports from Ofer military court, where on Christmas day Palestinian families, including the Tamimis, gathered to attend the trials of their imprisoned loved ones. Wafa Daud, who was waiting to attend a hearing for her 19 year old son tells Barghouti, “Behind the numbers, there are the family members and friends that are also being punished in this system.”
Seven years ago it was a viral video of a Palestinian boy weeping as his father was arrested by occupying soldiers. Now it’s viral video of a Palestinian girl slapping Israeli soldiers. The occupation is endlessly horrifying to American liberal Zionists but they never do anything about it concretely. They just have their never-ending crisis. Their ethnocentrism ought to horrify their own children.
Today, the overwhelming majority of the world’s nations at the UN General Assembly voted 128-9 in favor of a resolution calling on the United States to overturn its decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Omar Barghouti, speaking on behalf of the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), responded by saying: “This vote is further proof that the far-right Israeli-Trump alliance is more isolated than ever as the overwhelming majority of nations are finally recognizing its fatal attempt to undermine both Palestinian rights and the very rule of international law. Holding Israel accountable for its egregious, decades-old human rights violations is crucial to upholding both.”
After young ‘Ahed Tamimi humiliated Israeli soldiers in occupied Nabi Saleh, the Israeli army needed to release a video of the 16-year-old girl’s arrest in the middle of the night. The incident shows that hasbara is directed mostly at Israelis and Jews to convince them of Israel’s rightness and strength, even if that means exposing the hateful practice of detaining children.