“Now who I do talk Hebrew to? Palestinians.” An American activist who grew up in the Orthodox Jewish community describes her long road from Zionism and a belief in Israel’s goodness to a dedication to human rights and anti-Zionism.
Category Archives: Features
Israeli forces raided homes in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukabbir on Sunday and detained at least five relatives of Fadi Ahmad Hamdan al-Qunbar, a Palestinian who was killed earlier in the day after carrying out a deadly vehicular attack. Israel is also withholding his body, denying family reunification requests, and planning demolition of his house.
One possible consequence of the Azaria verdict is that will help protect Israel from international accountability. Yonah Jeremy Bob writes in the Jerusalem Post: “At the ICC, Hebron shooter Elor Azaria’s manslaughter conviction may affirm the credibility of Israel’s apparatus for prosecuting its own soldiers. This is important because it is the decisive issue affecting whether the ICC will dive deeper into the Israeli- Palestinian conflict.”
Ma‘an reports: 2016 saw the highest number of incursions on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound by right-wing Israelis than previous recorded years, according to the Islamic Endowment (Waqf) that manages the holy site. The religious trust said in the statement that a total of 14,806 Israeli settler incursions occurred on the compound in 2016 via the Old City’s Moroccan Gate. These incursions included assaults on employees of the Islamic Waqf, with Israeli forces routinely banning them from entering the holy site.
Muckraking journalist George Seldes said it best: “The truth is not in the commercial media because the truth is a dagger pointed at its heart, which is its pocketbook.” Today is the last time this year that we will ask for your donations to maintain and grow Mondoweiss’s independence and leadership in defining, documenting and strategizing resistance to injustice. (If you have already donated, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts!) Today we also follow the Mondoweiss tradition of ending each year by listing the year’s posts that received the most views. We present the top stories of the 1500+ published in 2016—a very diverse group. And this year our look back goes beyond a quantitative list to highlight the pieces that make us particularly proud.
Scholar-activist Nada Elia writes: “I believe that BDS will play as important a role in restoring Palestinian rights as the global boycott of South Africa did in ending apartheid there. The BDS movement will achieve its full potential impact through mass information—by more and more people learning how they can advance the movement, and by corporations and governments understanding the breadth of BDS support. This is where Mondoweiss plays a pivotal role. In recent years, the growth in our movement’s success has been enabled by constant reporting and opinion pieces published in Mondoweiss, where they reach hundreds of thousands of readers regularly. I urge you to join me in supporting Mondoweiss as a key movement tool. By connecting those of us building power, Mondoweiss makes a difference that is essential for any hope of justice in our lifetime.”
Activist Felice Gelman writes: “What’s allowed Palestinians to endure under a hostile and oppressive rule for seventy years? I’ve been involved with the Palestinian struggle in many ways and I know that one of its most important elements is culture. Culture is where the heart speaks. I’m writing today to highlight the essential work of Mondoweiss in covering art and culture in Palestine, and to ask you to join me in supporting that work.”
Nadya Raja Tannous writes, “On my trip to Standing Rock, I saw a kind of overarching control, surveillance and government force that is horrifyingly similar to life in occupied Palestine. Because of Mondoweiss, what I saw on the ground in Standing Rock reached communities who could not witness it themselves. Please join me in donating to Mondoweiss to support their commitment to covering real news on pertinent issues that mainstream news outlets don’t cover.”
2016 has been deadliest year of the past decade for West Bank children, according to Defense for Children International–Palestine. In the past year Israeli forces have killed 31 Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Ayed Abu Eqtaish, Accountability Program director at DCIP, says, “Intentional lethal force now appears to be routinely used by Israeli forces, even in unjustified situations, with no accountability, putting more and more children at risk.”
Diana Buttu writes, “If we are ever to awaken the world to what Israel stands for, we will do it with the power of our stories. I respect enormously the ability Mondoweiss has developed to gather these stories and share them more broadly all the time. By reaching millions of people each year, Mondoweiss is taking on the responsibility the mainstream media shirks: educating the public about Palestine. Join me today in growing Mondoweiss’s influence.”
James Zogby writes: “Since the 1970s, I’ve been involved with advocacy for Palestinian human rights and have sought to inform the discourse in the United States about Palestinians and other Arab concerns. So I know what it takes for Mondoweiss to persist in publishing ground-breaking analysis and corrective journalism in the face of hatred, scorn and discrediting. I appreciate Mondoweiss as a vital source of truth, and I have contributed to sustain and grow the site’s valuable work. I’m writing now to urge all of you to join me in keeping Mondoweiss on the job.”
Two IDF soldiers shot Palestinian teenage Samir Awad from behind eight times in January 2013, killing him. Nearly four years and a string of investigative failures later, it looks unlikely that either of the accused will go to jail.
Organizer Laila Abdelaziz writes: As a Palestinian American, I look at the challenges we face as opportunities to organize and to resist. My activism has taken me from my state’s legislature to the White House, from national conferences to small community meetings. And in all these contexts—state, local, national, international—Mondoweiss’s reporting has been essential to connect those of us in the struggle. Please join me in supporting Mondoweiss and the crucial role this space provides for communicating, sharing, and supporting Palestinian rights activism in the United States and beyond.
Richard Edmondson reports on his Fig Tree blog: Ahed Tamimi was slated to be part of the No Child Behind Bars/Living Resistance speaking tour that is to tour the US beginning on January 15, 2017, but according to an email sent out yesterday by the Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA), she has been denied a visa to enter the country.
As 2016 draws to an end, here are some of the year’s most remarkable examples of resistance to injustice: key stories and videos you will want to review and share with others. You can make a difference for justice in Palestine today, by supporting Mondoweiss. We need to raise $120,000 in order to fulfill our mission adequately in 2017 and beyond. With your help, reporting is resistance; reporting spreads resistance; reporting advances resistance.
From the International Solidarity Movement: This weekend in al-Khalil brought thousands of extremist Jews and settlers from all over Israel and abroad to celebrate the week’s Torah study on Chayei Sara (Life of Sarah), where Abraham purchases the cave of Machpelah (which they think is in al-Khalil) in order to bury his wife Sarah. On Friday evening, a group of settlers coming from the illegal settlement Kiryat Arba attacked one of the two remaining Palestinian shops on their way to the Ibrahim Mosque in Hebron. The Israeli soldiers present did not prevent them from committing this crime.
Happy holidays from Mondoweiss.
Haaretz reports: “Jerusalem’s zoning board is set to discuss a plan on Wednesday to build 500 homes in Ramat Shlomo, a Jewish neighborhood located over the Green Line in East Jerusalem. The plan was approved two years ago by the Jerusalem Planning and Building Committee, but was later suspended due to pressure from the U.S. In anticipation of the inauguration of Donald Trump as U.S. president in January, city officials have begun to ‘thaw’ building projects in the capital that had been ‘frozen.'”
Reuters reports: Israel’s parliament gave preliminary approval on Wednesday to a disputed bill that would retroactively legalize Jewish settlement outposts built on privately owned Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank. The far-right Jewish Home party and members of Netanyahu’s Likud faction have pushed for the law, in part to try to circumvent a Supreme Court order to destroy the settlement outpost of Amona, where 40 families live on Palestinian-owned land. The demolition is set for Dec. 25.
Gideon Levy & Alex Levac report for Haaretz: It was a pogrom. The survivors are five congenial Palestinian farmers who speak broken Hebrew and work in construction in Israel, with valid entry permits. They are convinced that they survived last Saturday’s attack only by a miracle. “We will kill you!” the assailants shouted, as they beat the men over the head and on their bodies with clubs and iron pipes, and brandished serrated knives. The only “crime” of the Palestinians, who were in the midst of harvesting their olives when the settlers swooped down on them, was that they were Palestinians who had the temerity to work their land.
Please tell us your reaction to Donald Trump’s election victory and your suggestions for how Palestinian justice work in general, and Mondoweiss’s journalism in particular, should regroup and move forward. Even though the implications for US foreign policy are not yet clear, the immediate outpouring of racist and Islamophobic rage across the country would seem to confirm our worst fears. Here at Mondoweiss we are starting to understand what this will mean for our work and how we must change accordingly. As always our focus will be on documenting, analyzing and challenging the ongoing Israeli dispossession of the Palestinian people. But one immediate change following the election is that we plan to expand our coverage of the racism and violence here in the U.S. that is finding political expression and power through the Trump victory.
AFP reports: Jerusalem’s mayor Nir Barkat has warned that Palestinian homes built without an Israeli permit in the city’s annexed east could be demolished if authorities dismantle a wildcat Jewish settlement. The threat was made following a ruling by Israel’s Supreme Court ordering the evacuation and demolition of the Amona outpost, where around 40 families are living on private Palestinian-owned land near the West Bank city of Ramallah.
From Samidoun: “A bus full of Palestinian families was detained for two hours by Israeli occupation forces after a visit with their loved ones on Wednesday, 26 October in the Negev desert prison, on the grounds that one of the mothers of the prisoners had with her a photograph of her imprisoned children.”
Ma‘an reports: “Israeli authorities have banned 5-year-old Ibrahim from visiting his father, Palestinian Muhammad Ahmad Abd al-Fatah Abu Fanunah, in prison, Abu Fanunah’s wife said to Voice of Prisoners (Sawt al-Asra) radio on Sunday. Umm Mahmoud told the radio station that she has also been banned from visiting her husband ever since he was detained on Oct. 22, 2015, calling the Israeli policy of preventing family visits a means to pressure Palestinian prisoners.”
No charges to be filed against civilian guards who shot and killed a Palestinian woman and her brother at the Qalandiya crossing in occupied West Bank in April, Times of Israel reports. Maram Hassan Abu Ismail, 23, and her brother Ibrahim Saleh Taha, 16 — both of occupied Beit Surrif — were killed by guards in April after Abu Ismail allegedly threw a knife at the guards.