Ronen Bergman’s book Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations tells that story of how from 1979 to 1983 very senior Israeli officials conducted a large-scale campaign of car-bombings that killed hundreds of Palestinians and Lebanese, most of them civilians. While the book has received the highest praise from reviewers, this secret operation has not been mentioned once. Remi Brulin writes this is a perfect illustration of the political discourse on “terrorism”: “The secret car-bombing operation Israeli officials conducted in Lebanon in the early 1980s represents a remarkable historical example of such ‘silences,’ and of the ‘rules’ that underlie the discourse on ‘terrorism’ and ensure that certain things simply ‘cannot be said,’ certain facts simply aren’t ever mentioned.”
At least 70 Palestinians were injured by Israeli live fire Friday, the lowest casualty toll since the protests began at the Gaza fence five weeks ago. Medics also treated 1,073 people, for tear gas inhalation, the Gaza health ministry said, but it was the first day no Palestinian was killed by Israeli sniper fire.
When Palestinian novelist Susan Abulhawa published a column in the Philadelphia Inquirer urging the Philadelphia Orchestra to cancel a trip to Israel because the country is slaughtering unarmed protesters in Gaza, Jewish leaders in the city flew into action, demanding that the paper publish a rebuttal and that editors take a training against BDS. The Israel lobby in action.
Since the “Great March of Return” in Gaza began on March 30th, Israeli forces have violently suppressed the protests, killing over 40 Palestinians and injuring over 6,000 more. Doctors in Gaza have expressed concern that protesters have been targeted in the legs by Israeli live fire, noting Israel’s use of expanding or explosive bullets, that tear through soft tissue and make injuries extremely difficult to treat. Mondoweiss visits the Médecins Sans Frontières clinic in Gaza to hear who doctors are handling this situation and meet the injured Palestinians whose lives have been changed forever.
The residents of the Bedouin town Umm Al-Hiran have signed an agreement with the Israeli government to be relocated under threat of demolition and more violence to make way for the Jewish town of “Hiran”. This “voluntary” response to the government’s “generous offer” tells us a lot about Zionism, and how Israel understands its own history.
The good news from Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech on Iran’s “secret atomic archive” yesterday is that it was so cheaply theatrical that it is being widely dismissed as vaudeville. He used the word secret 15 times, and in the encore pulled back a black curtain on his evidence. The bad news is that the world doesn’t matter; Netanyahu is pushing war against Iran in Syria to one person, Donald Trump, who loves cheap theatrics.
Rebecca Miles has lived her entire life in Lapwai, Idaho and since 2009 she has been the Executive Director of the Nez Perce tribe. Miles writes that the struggle for Palestinians rings familiar to her struggle as a Native American where indigenous people must struggle for the use of their own waterways, resources and ways of life.
Yoav Hifawi visits Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour to see how her story fits within the context of the Palestinian Nakba. What he discovered is Dareen is the descendant of Palestinians who were displaced from their villages during the Nakba, one of which fell after a brutal massacre.
Many Palestinians and their allies had long maintained that the Palestine predicament was absolutely unique, but Nada Elia says an increasingly larger number of Palestinians now appreciate the similarities between their oppression and the oppression of others. Elia writes, “As we commemorate seventy years of Palestinian Nakba, seventy years of ongoing catastrophe, we can finally envision freedom through the end of Palestinian exclusivity: we exist, as a distinct people, despite the Zionist claim to the contrary, and we are not terrorists one and all, but freedom fighters and civilians standing up for our human rights, as freedom fighters and disenfranchised civilians have stood up and will continue to stand up for their human rights all around the globe.”
Israeli snipers have killed 44 Gazans during protests and wounded nearly 2000. A senior officer told Haaretz that most Gazans killed by the IDF since March 30th were killed accidentally. The claim directly contradicts IDF’s official statement of 31st March, in which the army claimed that “nothing was carried out uncontrolled, everything was accurate and measured, and we know where every bullet landed.”
Once again, the New York Times has turned over its coverage of the ongoing Gaza protests to Hasbara Central, Israel’s propaganda apparatus. Its article, on the fifth Friday of the Great March of Return, should be regarded not as a “report,” but as a prior justification for the full-scale massacre Israel is surely planning as the Gaza marches lead toward the May 15 culmination on Land Day.
Israel is alienating liberal Zionist support by killing unarmed protesters, by its more overt annexation of the West Bank, by its domestic racism, and its gleeful embrace of Donald Trump. Marilyn Garson says that Netanyahu is ripping open a space of liberal doubt and a campaign for Palestinian rights can fill that vacancy.
The Israeli border police officer who shot and killed Palestinian teenager Nadim Nuwara in 2014 was sentenced on Wednesday by an Israeli court to nine months in prison and a $13,940 (50,000 NIS) fine for negligent homicide. Nuwara’s father Saim said the sentence “does not even come close to justice.”
Natalie Portman’s decision to boycott an awards ceremony in Israel is putting pressure on other liberal Zionists to take real action to try and end the occupation, and scaring other liberal Zionists who fear that she is fostering the BDS campaign.
Israeli government officials are justifying the killing of four children in Gaza protests in the last 2 weeks. Education Minister Naftali Bennett says a 14-year-old boy killed Friday should have been in school, not at protests; while an Israeli government ministry posts a photo of a child in diapers holding a rock at the protests and says Palestinian children should be given books not rocks.
Israeli soldiers are caught on camera cheering on the shooting of Palestinian protesters in the West Bank: “We don’t need live fire. It’s not good for the video.”
Israeli human rights activists submitted a Freedom of Information request concerning the international network of anti-BDS activity by Israeli ministries – and were surprised to find that the Justice Ministry was directly involved.
On Friday, April 20, Israeli soldiers invaded the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, home to the Tamimi family. The Israeli forces instigated clashes with Palestinian youth which lasted several hours, during which the soldiers shot scores of tear gas, fired rubber-coated metal bullets and live ammunition that wounded two of the protesters. “What’s happening now is what is happening every week, sometimes everyday, since nearly nine years”, explained Belal Tamimi. “The soldiers try to surround the village, they don’t want anyone to be near the spring area that the settlers occupied nine years ago. Every Friday, the situation is horrible.”
Roger Cohen argues in the New York Times that the right of return is code for pushing Jews into the sea. Joseph Levine issues a challenge to Cohen and other liberal Zionists: “It’s time to stop the scare tactics, stop using loaded language about “destruction” and “throwing into the sea” and face the consequences: either defend liberal democracy consistently or admit that one is willing to sacrifice it for ethnic nationalism.”
For the fourth week yesterday, on a peaceful and unilateral battlefield, thousands of angry young Palestinian men went close to the border fence separating Gaza and Israel to protest, facing dozens of Israeli soldiers who lay positioned behind sandy hills. Four Palestinians were killed by live ammunition, and another 152 injured.
The Gaza killings have had a huge effect on world opinion. Tonight they became even bigger. In an astonishing move, the Israeli-American film star Natalie Portman, 36, informed an Israeli foundation she would not show up at the awards ceremony of Israel’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize because recent events have been “extremely distressing” to her, an obvious reference to Israel’s killings of nearly 40 unarmed Palestinian protesters.
Einat Weizman tells the story of her attempts to stage “Prisoners of the Occupation,” her documentary play about the lives of Palestinians prisoners that became the focal point of a cultural and political battleground in Israel.
Barnard and Columbia University administrations have often targeted Palestinian solidarity and censored Palestinian voices on campus, but yesterday Barnard students voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution calling on the university to divest from companies complicit in Palestinian human rights violations. With 1,153 total votes cast, yesterday’s turnout was the largest in Barnard’s history according to the Student Government Association. The final vote 64.3% in favor and just 35.7% opposed.
A photo essay of homemade gas masks demonstrates the creativity and resilience of Palestinian protesters demanding their rights in Gaza.
As the Great March of Return enters its fourth week, Nabeel Diab of the National Commission to Break the Siege of Gaza tells Mondoweiss: “The Palestinian people are eager to achieve their freedom, their independence, and their right to return to the villages where they were forced out of 70 years ago.” Diab is a member of a grassroots organization of activists who helped plan the march. He says that Israeli government claims that the protests are Hamas-led “are lies, and are defamatory statements that have no basis in reality.” Diab tells Mondoweiss: “This march is the embodiment of popular action involving children, women, and involving all the Palestinians that refuse to accept the occupation of our land.”