Last Wednesday Mohammed Jahalin and his family were ordered out of their houses in the Jahalin Tribe Bedouin encampment west of Jericho and watched as the metal blades of Israeli bulldozers smashed through their homes. In 2016, Israeli forces demolished homes, particularly Bedouin homes, in record numbers and in the first 23 days of 2017, Israeli forces demolished 119 Palestinian-owned structures, leaving 177 Palestinians displaced. “They keep tearing down our homes, and it’s so expensive to rebuild,” he said. “But we don’t know what else to do, we are refugees, we don’t own land, we have nowhere else to go. Tell us where to go where we can continue our way of life and we can do that, but right now we have nowhere else to go, this is our home,” Jahalin says.
US President Donald Trump’s first week in office far exceeded our worst fears. Nevertheless, as the orders came in, millions of Americans were ready. When, barely a week in office, Trump issued his Muslim Ban, cities and smaller towns across the nation erupted again in rallies and marches. One of the chants heard at the protests was “From Mexico to Palestine, All Walls Will Fall.” It is a chant that indicates an awareness of our connected struggle. And just as “Gaza to Ferguson” has entered and taken hold of American consciousness, expanding our understanding of solidarity and intersectionality, so “No Ban No Wall” and “All Walls Will Fall” must and will become part of American resistance.
Some 10,000 protesters gathered in Battery Square Park in lower Manhattan, to listen to an array of speakers; from grassroots organizers Linda Sarsour of Mpower Change and Steven Choi of the New York Immigration Coalition to New York State Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.
“As long as Israel is under threat, as long as Israel is not secure,” there will not be a divorce between American and Israeli Jews, says Abe Foxman. “If there is peace– that’s when you are going to deal with the issue of divorce.” So is that why Israel is always at war?
Just a day after newly-sworn President Donald Trump vowed to make good on his campaign promises to build a US-Mexico border wall and ban Muslim immigrants, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) of New York organized an “emergency rally for Muslim and Immigrant Rights.” Chanting ‘No ban, no wall!’ more than 3,000 people gathered in Washington Square Park in New York last night in a show of solidarity with Muslim and immigrant American communities.
Along with initiating the process to further militarize the US-Mexico border, Donald Trump will reportedly be signing an executive order to restrict immigration from Muslim-majority countries that are considered to be a ‘national security threat’—these include Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. Hisham, a permanent US resident originally from Iraq, has been watching the news almost non-stop for any updates on Trump’s immigration policy. He says as his voice shakes, “I don’t know what I’m going to do. My fiance and her mother are going to be stuck [in Najaf] and I can’t explain to them why. How can I tell them that [Trump] is targeting Iraq because of “national security”? What has Iraq done? I’m confused and hurt. Refugees running from hell shouldn’t have to worry about another hell trying to get to a place of safety.”
“Has liberal Zionism died and has religious nationalism won in Israel?” New Yorker editor David Remnick asks, acknowledging that many see “only one state” in Israel and Palestine. But he suggests it’s a recipe for endless conflict.
Israel’s recent wave of house demolitions in Qalansawe and al-Araqeeb is just the latest in a long tradition of limiting Palestinian community growth so that Palestinians will leave and thereby allow more Jews to live on more of the land.
There were demonstrations across Palestine today over Trump’s inauguration and plans to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. Six protesters were arrested after they set up a tent on the outskirts of the illegal Jerusalem settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, which many in Israel’s government want to annex.
Since the end of World War 2, the United States has attempted to overthrow more than 50 foreign governments, most of them democratically-elected. And other sharp observations from a great wit of the left, William Blum.
Yesterday, Israeli police forces demolished homes and structures at Umm Al-Hiran, a Bedouin village in the southern Negev desert. Umm Al-Hiran is one of 39 ‘unrecognised’ Bedouin villages in Israel’s southern Negev and has faced state repression since the founding of Israel in 1948. Therefore it is best to understand yesterday’s violence and the case of Umm Al-Hiran as part of an overarching policy of ethnic cleansing.
A peaceful march broke out into clashes on Sunday, after Palestinians gathered in the occupied southern West Bank city of Bethlehem to demand Israeli authorities release the remains of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces to their families for burial. Samir al-Khadour, the husband of slain Majd al-Khadour, said, “To see all these people here gives me hope that I will get my wife’s body back one day.”
Al Jazeera’s four-part series on the Israel lobby’s actions in Britain shows the primary function of the Labour Friends of Israel and other groups with the Israeli embassy is to smear Palestinians and their supporters with charges of anti Semitism, and thereby control the limits of public opinion about the Jewish state.
There is ample evidence that Louis Brandeis converted to Zionism at 56, after a life removed from Jewish concerns, so as to get on to the Supreme Court, which President Wilson had made clear was impossible unless he was a “representative Jew.” Brandeis’s hagiographers, including Jeffrey Rosen, CEO of the Constitution Center, in his new biography from Yale Books, erase this history lest it would throw a shadow on a Zionist hero.
“We will soon be the majority!” says a huge billboard in the heart of Tel-Aviv. Written in Arabic and showing Palestinians with Palestinian flags it is meant to frighten Jewish Israelis into supporting a two-state solution. The Israeli press is reporting that many Israelis “erroneously thought this to be a hostile takeover of the media by Palestinian terror organizations,” but the campaign is actually the work of a ‘liberal’ organization from the center of Israeli politics.
A central question of the Middle East Peace Process remains: can the two-state solution be saved? On Sunday, a conference in Paris will try to relaunch the moribund peace process and the French Initiative has been warmly received by the Palestinian leadership as a final chance to save the two-state-solution: “Two states today is possible. Tomorrow, it might be too late” warned Muhammad Shtayyeh, Fatah Central Committee Member, who nevertheless remains optimistic. “The reality on the ground, the demography on the ground, the geography on the ground, shows that a two-state solution is still possible today”. However, Palestinian public opinion no longer reflects this official position. A recent poll shows that 65% of Palestinians no longer believe the two-state solution is viable due to ongoing settlement expansion. “The more people think the two-state solution is no longer viable, the more likely they it is that they will shift and support a one-state solution” explains Dr. Khalil Shikaki, Director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research.