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Leaked Hamas charter illustrates movement’s maturation as a political actor

Toufic Haddad on

Hamas’ new charter was leaked Sunday evening and published by the Lebanese network Al Mayadeen. Toufic Haddad, the author of the book “Palestine Ltd: Neoliberalism and National Liberation in the Occupied Territory,” says the document illustrates the movement’s maturation as a major domestic political actor and responds to broader regional and international trends of sectarianism and the “war on terror” by repeatedly emphasizing Islam and Hamas’ tolerance, moderation and opposition to all forms of oppression, including making a clear distinction between Zionism and Judaism. Haddad writes that in the end, “Hamas’ conservative statist tendency is revealed, as the movement clearly strives to insert itself within the regional order, rather than being a part of fundamentally transforming it.”

Against Trump’s request, Israel moves to build first ‘official’ new settlement in two decades

Sheren Khalel on

The Israeli government on Thursday rejected a request made by U.S. President Donald Trump last month to hold back on settlement activity in the occupied West Bank with the announcement of plans to establish the first new settlement to be legally created under Israeli law at the start of construction in nearly 20 years. PLO Legislative Council member Hanan Ashrawi pointed out the irony of the Israeli government’s announcement taking place on Land Day, a Palestinian commemoration of Israel’s 1976 land grab, during which 5,000 acres of land was confiscated, six Palestinians were killed and hundreds more injured: “Forty-one years later, Israel’s policies remain unchanged as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his extremist, racist coalition government continue to persist with their systematic policies of settler colonialism, apartheid and ethnic cleansing, showing a total and blatant disregard for Palestinian human rights, independence and dignity.”

JDL member arrested for attacking Palestinian-American teacher ran anti-Muslim website

Allison Deger on

Kamal Nayfeh, 55, was an out-of-towner waiting to hug goodbye his daughter who lives in Washington DC, in the moments before he was beaten by members of the Jewish Defense League (JDL), outside of a policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Nayfeh and his daughter, who witnessed the attack, talk to Mondoweiss’s Allison Deger about the event and its aftermath. “I’ve been seeing a trend towards violence and all of those violent group are re-emerging. The country is so divided, and all of those groups that never had a voice are popping out and showing their hate,” Nayfeh says.

‘Jerusalem’ on Gaza TV set is as close as many Palestinians will get to real thing

Ahmad Kabariti on

Amid the quiet of Gaza’s white sand dunes that cover the grounds of Israeli settlements evacuated more than a decade ago, Palestinian actors playing ultra-orthodox Israelis get in a fight. They are shooting the dramatic series “Heaven’s Gate” on the Hamas-owned Al Aqsa TV network, which will premiere this summer during Ramadan. The show is filming in Gaza, but the show is set in Jerusalem, and the city has been recreated inside of the besieged strip. This is as close to visiting the holy city as any of the actors have come.

Palestinian-American teacher brutally attacked by Jewish Defense League outside AIPAC conference

Allison Deger on

A 55-year old Palestinian-American instructor at a community college in North Carolina was brutally beaten by members of the Jewish Defense League (JDL) while walking by the AIPAC conference in Washington DC on Sunday, according to a video and statement released by the Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU). The man was identified as Kamal Nayfeh. The JDL affiliates “punched and kicked him and hit him in the face with flag poles, leaving him with cuts and bruises all over his face and body,” said the IMEU statement. Photos were taken of Nayfeh after the and beatings show his face bloodied and bruised.

The martyr’s daughter: a review of ‘Where Can I Find Someone Like You, Ali?’

Jamal Najjab on

In her one-woman show “Where Can I Find Someone Like You, Ali,” Raeda Taha recounts her life as the “daughter of a martyr.” On May 8, 1972, Taha’s father, Ali Taha, and three other armed Palestinians were killed during a botched airplane hijacking. Taha was 7 at the time. So began her life as the daughter of a Palestinian “shaheed” (“martyr” in English)—a term that signifies a special place in Palestinian society. Taha provided her audiences with a touching, at times heart-breaking but never sentimental, glimpse into the lives of Palestinians who have lost family members at the hands of the Israeli military.

‘Negation of the diaspora’ as Zionist antisemitism: The JCC bomb threats came from an Israeli Jew

David Shasha on

After many months of speculation, Michael Kaydar, a Jewish teenage resident of Ashkelon in Southern Israel, has been charged with carrying out the JCC bomb threats. One aspect of the story, and its connection to an Israeli, that has not been discussed is the intense loathing of the Jewish Diaspora in classical Zionist thought. Kaydar has opened a chasm in the relationship between Israelis and the Jewish Diaspora and reignited the most elementary questions about Jewish identity in the supercharged atmosphere of Trumpworld Fascism and its intense racism; a racism which is not limited to White Christians, but is also present in their Israeli Jewish counterparts.

Clandestine network of Gaza hackers says Palestinian sentenced to 9 years for spying on Israeli drones didn’t do it

Sarah Algherbawi on

No one doubts that Majd Oweida, 23, is brilliant, but it is what he did with his brilliance that is a source of contention between his parents who are advocating for his release from an Israeli prison, and Israel’s security service who have accused him of hacking their drones for Islamic Jihad. Sarah Algherbawi searches for answers. She tracks down a hacker who may or may not be a part of an illicit espionage gang, and takes her investigation to Hamas and those tied to Islamic Jihad. None of them claimed Majd, a local hero of sorts, a Palestinian robot designer and talent scout of the popular program “Palestinians Got Talent.”

The dispossessed

Howard Cohen on

Howard Cohen relates the story of one of his students at an engineering college in the Negev struggling to keep up with his studies after Israeli police killed his father, demolished his home: “He had used the word killed, it was me who had used the word murder, but the words were irrelevant at this moment. He wasn’t interested in making a political statement to me, he was making an existential one. That was clear enough. ‘You see it’s so difficult for me,’ he went on, wiping away the tears that had welled up at the corner of his eyes and which threatened to stream down his face. ‘Everything was under the rubble. I even had a workbook for the class but that too was under the rubble together with my ID card and all our other belongings. They didn’t give us any time to leave. They bulldozed the house with all of our possessions in it. I’m trying to return to my studies. It’s important for me to continue, in spite of everything. But it’s so difficult for me. My head just isn’t there. And it’s going to be difficult for me to attend all the classes and prepare for the presentation.'”

Reading Maimonides in Gaza

Marilyn Garson on

“On the first night of the bombing, the Israeli navy shelled Beach Camp to the north, firing explosives into a thickly populated refugee camp that had no weapons to return fire. A few blocks inland, members of my team taught their children to dance to the peculiar backbeat of naval fire, to distract them from their fear. The colleagues living nearest me wanted to leave their families, to pick me up and shelter me in their homes,” writes Marilyn Garson, who worked for Mercy Corps and UNRWA in Gaza between 2011 and 2015, where she lived through two wars. Read her incredible memoir of that tumultuous time, which included her coming to understand her connection to Judaism while under fire from Israeli warplanes.

Confronting apartheid has everything to do with feminism

Rabab Abdulhadi, Suzanne Adely, Angela Davis & Selma James on

Rabab Abdulhadi, Suzanne Adely, Angela Davis & Selma James write: “Attacking the International Women’s Strike on March 8, supporters of Israel argued that the decolonization of Palestine has no place in feminism and further asked if there is a place for Zionists in the feminist movement. We turn the question around and ask if the occupation of Palestine, the bombings of Gaza, the apartheid that applies two separate and unequal systems to Israel’s relationship to Palestinians – can be compatible with feminism? While Israel’s apologists were posing such questions, the Israeli army, as reported by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, was busy shutting down two events in Jerusalem marking International Women’s Day.”

No room for Zionism in any movement for justice

Nada Elia on

A necessary and productive debate has been going on in US feminist circles following the International Women’s Strike on March 8, with its openly anti-colonial, pro-Palestine platform. In an Op-Ed, writer Emily Shire questioned whether there was room for Zionists in the feminist movement. This exchange is the latest chapter in a long conversation in activist circles around Palestine as a feminist issue. The question Shire should have asked is “Is there room for Zionists in any justice movement?” The answer is No.

Apartheid wears a veil

Jonathan Ofir on

Israel has both effected and veiled a comprehensive policy of apartheid directed at the whole Palestinian people in Israel, in occupation, and in exile, the stunning UN report says — and it was promptly veiled.

UN bowed to ‘fearmongering and threats’ from powerful governments to cover up ‘painful truth’ of Israeli apartheid — UN official’s resignation letter

Mondoweiss Editors on

“I find myself incapable of bowing to fearmongering and threats, and not because of my role as an employee of the United Nations, but simply as a sane human being” — Rima Khalaf, former executive sec’y of UN ESCWA, after being forced to withdraw report labeling Israel an apartheid regime.

Thousands attend funeral of Basil al-Araj, fugitive activist killed by Israeli forces

Sheren Khalel on

Around 2,000 mourners marched on Friday in the Bethlehem-area village of al-Walaja for the funeral of slain Basil al-Araj, 36, who was slain by Israeli forces March 6. Al-Araj’s ideology against normalization and security coordination is popular among leftist Palestinian youth. His success in eluding Israeli forces for six months, and then refusal to surrender when he was found, only made his ideas more popular.

Victim’s daughter responds to anti-Arab attack in Oregon: ‘I don’t want this to be considered a hate crime’

Layla Abdel-Jawad on

Last week a man in Salem, Oregon was charged with assault, intimidation and unlawful use of a weapon after he yelled at an employee working in a Middle Eastern restaurant, “go back to your country, terrorist” and then attacked him with a plastic pipe. The victim’s daughter, Layla Abdel-Jawad writes the man, Jason Kendall, suffers from a mental illness and should not be charged with a hate crime.

UN agency labels Israel ‘apartheid regime’– and Israel likens organization to Nazis

Allison Deger on

A United Nations agency today labeled Israel an “apartheid regime,” in a report where the country was said to be guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt” of the “grave charge” of operating systematic discrimination and oppression against the Palestinian people.

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) who published the document, “Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian, People and the Question of Apartheid,”[PDF] is mandated to review Israeli aggressions.

Now is not the time to be intimidated by Israel’s activist travel ban

Emily Siegel on

Interfaith Peace-Builders Program Director Emily Siegel writes: The new law passed last week in the Israeli Knesset targets individuals active in Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaigns against Israel. We see the principle goal of the legislation to be Israel’s attempt to intimidate activists not to travel; to not try and enter; not to see the realities on the ground that only strengthen the need for BDS and other forms of activism. Israel’s political and military establishment would be thrilled if activists in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for human rights stopped visiting Palestine. We should not give them that satisfaction.

An unlikely dramatic hero, poet Taha Muhammad Ali takes the Kennedy Center stage

Jonathan Cook on

Taha Muhammad Ali is an unlikely dramatic hero. His arms shake with age and infirmity, his legs occasionally buckle, and he often appears lost on stage, as if adrift in a vast expanse of sadness. But for an hour the story of this Palestinian poet has a vice-like hold on our attention and our hearts.

The one-man show Taha receives its English-language premiere on Wednesday at the Kennedy Center for the performing arts in Washington DC. It offers not only a rare chance to learn about one of Palestine’s finest poets, but provides a visceral account of what it was like to live through the Nakba – the Catastrophe that befell hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who were expelled from their homeland in 1948.