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Hamas shuts down Gaza crossing, blaming Israel for assassinating leader

Kate on

Ma’an News Agency reports, “The Hamas-run Ministry of Interior in Gaza closed the Palestinian side of the Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel on Sunday morning, denying residents of the besieged coastal enclave passage in both directions, as local sources described a ‘state of alert’ in Gaza with severe security measures being imposed across the small Palestinian territory.”

Rasmea Odeh accepts plea deal, loses US citizenship in exchange for no jail time, will leave the US

Kate on

The Rasmea Defense Committee announced yesterday Palestinian activist Rasmea Odeh, “has made the difficult decision to accept a plea agreement. She will plead guilty to Unlawful Procurement of Naturalization, lose her U.S. citizenship, and be forced to leave the country, but will exit the U.S. without having to serve any more time in prison or ICE detention, a victory, considering that the government had earlier fought for a sentence of 5-7 years.”

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.'”

Israel arrests 18 Palestinian members of a WhatsApp religious chat group

Kate on

Ma’an News Agency reports: “Israeli forces have detained 18 Palestinians from occupied East Jerusalem and West Bank for being in a WhatsApp group with a Palestinian who was killed by Israeli forces on Monday [near the Lion’s Gate to the Al-Aqsa Mosque] after allegedly carrying out a stabbing attack. Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement on Sunday that the detained were all members of a group called “Road to heaven” on the messaging application, which she said was used to share religious messages.”

Israel jails Palestinian writer for her novel about occupation

Kate on

The Palestinian prisoner rights group Samidoun reports novelist Khalida Ghosheh was released on bail on Saturday. Still, she faces charges over her fictional book about Palestinians collaborators for Israel. Samidoun writes, Ghosheh said while in jail “the interrogators claimed that her novel poses a threat to collaborators working with the occupation, saying that the novel reflects her own experiences and aims to warn young people about ways [the Israeli authorities] may attempt to compel them to become collaborators.”

Israeli lawmakers advance bill to ban Muslim call to prayer

Kate on

In a hotly contested session of Knesset, Israeli lawmakers passed the first reading of a bill to ban the Muslim call to prayer, sparking Arab representatives to walk-out mid-session. Al Jazeera reports, “A law to muffle mosques’ amplified calls to prayer in Israel and occupied East Jerusalem won preliminary approval on Wednesday in a charged parliamentary session where Palestinian legislators denounced the measure as racist. The bill passed a preliminary reading with 55 votes in favour and 48 against as the assembly broke out into chaotic arguments.”

Trump’s pick for amb. to Israel funded settlements in Jerusalem’s Muslim Quarter

Kate on

Haaretz reports Trump’s pick for U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman has a “leadership role in an organization that raises funds for the West Bank settlement of Beit El [that] is frequently cited as grounds for disqualifying him from becoming U.S. ambassador to Israel. It now emerges that Friedman’s financial ties to the settlement movement run deeper than Beit El. Friedman has also made contributions over the years to Ateret Cohanim, a right-wing organization that buys land in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City and Arab East Jerusalem for creating a ‘Jewish presence’ there.”

‘All the houses received [demolition] orders’: Israel to destroy entire Bedouin village in the West Bank

Kate on

Haaretz reports: The IDF’s Civil Administration in the West Bank on Sunday distributed some 40 demolition orders in a Bedouin village in Area C, which is under full Israeli civil and military control. Residents say the issuing of dozens of demolition orders is unprecedented in the area. “All the houses received [demolition] orders,” A’id Khamis Jahalin, a local resident, told Haaretz. “I’m scared. This time is different. Then they gave one [demolition order] or two, but such a blow, it’s something. They gave 42 orders. They gave for everything, there are no structures here in all the area that didn’t receive an order. I spoke with our lawyer, they gave us up to five days [to object], that’s a short time,” said Jahalin. Israeli authorities confirmed that such a widespread issuance of demolition orders was unprecedented in the area, and this is a declaration of intention in advance of an attempt to evacuate the entire village.

On rewards against terror and for justice

Marc H. Ellis on

The Council on Islamic Affairs (CAIR) has offered a $5,000 award for anyone with knowledge of those threatening Jewish community centers in the United States. Violence has to be condemned unequivocally. If the center of American democracy is to hold under Trump’s assault, all hands against violence must be on deck. But the level of incitement against Muslims and the undocumented, now extending to Jewish institutions, isn’t simply a Trump phenomena. Jews aren’t only victims in this cycle. These same Jewish institutions now under threat contribute to the cycle of violence they are now threatened with.

Elderly father of slain Palestinian dies ‘of shock’ in Umm al-Hiran

Kate on

The 100-year old father of Yacoub Abu al-Qee‘an [or al-Qi‘an] died Thursday morning after succumbing to shock over the death of his son, who was killed by Israeli police while defending his village of Umm al-Hiran from eviction. Israeli authorities are in the process of razing and expelling the Palestinian-Bedouin residents of Umm al-Hiran, in order to establish a Jewish-Israeli community in the same location.

Israel demolishes home of 100-year-old Palestinian woman leaving her homeless

Kate on

In the latest instance of Israel’s demolition campaign in the Negev region of southern Israel, homes were demolished in two unrecognized Bedouin villages on Wednesday, while Israeli police surrounded the village of Umm al-Hiran. Among those left homeless, a 100-year old Palestinian woman and her 60-year old daughter, both of whom are unable to walk due to health issues.

Jewless Holocaust. Israel first.

Marc H. Ellis on

Who would have thought the Holocaust would become a central issue in the first weeks of the Trump administration? This year the White House statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day changed radically; Jews mysteriously disappeared from the Holocaust. And yet, in the White House It appears that a Jewless Holocaust is being coupled with an Israel First foreign policy. The early days of the Trump Administration are full of surprises.

Palestinian teen killed by Israeli forces during raid on Jenin refugee camp

Kate on

Ma‘an reports: “Israeli forces shot and killed a 19-year-old Palestinian Muhammad Mahmoud Abu Khalifa and injured several others early Sunday morning in Jenin refugee camp in the northern occupied West Bank, after clashes erupted following an Israeli army raid into the camp. State-run Palestinian news agency Wafa said that Abu Khalifa was left on the ground for hours before paramedics were able to evacuate his body.”

Trump administration has no comment on Israeli settlement boom

Kate on

Israel announced plans on Tuesday for 2,500 more settlement homes in the occupied West Bank, the second such declaration since U.S. President Donald Trump took office. White House spokesman Sean Spicer dodged a question Tuesday on whether the administration supports the Israeli government’s policy.

Thank you for keeping Mondoweiss going–and growing!

Tova Perlmutter on

Last month, we asked you to support Mondoweiss’s independent journalism and readers’ response was generous and thoughtful—both financial contributions and moral support flooded in. In fact, for the third year in a row, our year-end campaign set new records, with donations exceeding our $120,000 goal by more than 20 percent!

Today, it is apparent that the coming challenges will be even greater than anticipated. In addition to terrifying anti-Muslim policies, those who promote the most narrow, supremacist vision for both the U.S. and Palestine have declared war on facts as well as people. In the face of “alternative facts,” Mondoweiss pledges never to pull back on telling the truth. Thank you for your support, which will allow Mondoweiss to continue reporting, add new features and channels for information, and reach out to more people who need accurate journalism.