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Israel will imprison soldier, 19, for publicly criticizing the occupation

Ben Norton on
19-year-old Israeli soldier Shachar Berrin, who is being imprisoned for criticizing Israel's illegal occupation
CREDIT: Screen capture from the DW show "The New Arab Debates"

Shachar Berrin, IDF soldier of 19, is going to prison for a week because during the public filming of a television program on May 14, he spoke about the widespread racism he has seen among Israeli occupation forces. He recalled an incident in which an Israeli soldier told fellow IDF troops to stop harassing Christian tourists because “come on, they are people, not Palestinians.”

Palestinian Festival of Literature begins tonight!

Yasmin El-Rifae on
Susie Abulhawa at PalFest last June photo by Rob Stothard

Over a dozen writers arrive in Ramallah from different parts of the world this week to take part in the Palestine Festival of Literature, a traveling roadshow that puts on public literary events featuring Palestinian and visiting writers in different cities in the evenings

Besieged in Gaza from birth to death

Dan Cohen on
The walkway from Gaza to Israel at the Erez crossing. (Photo: Oxfam)

Leila Najjar is 25 years old and six months pregnant. She and her husband Mohammed Sulaiman want to be together for their child’s birth, but she may not see him for years. That’s because Najjar lives in Gaza and Israeli authorities won’t let her pass through the Erez crossing to join Sulaiman who is studying in Australia. Najjar and her husband are not alone. Countless other Palestinian families are separated by Israeli restrictions as well.

Israel detains Palestinian National Football Team one day after Netanyahu promised FIFA to facilitate travel of Palestinian athletes

Mondoweiss Editors on
The Palestinian National Football Team delayed by Israeli Forces at the Allenby/Al Karamah Crossing. (Photo: Palestine Football Association)

This evening Israeli Forces delayed the Palestinian National Football Team at the Allenby/Al Karamah Crossing, the only international border for Palestinians living in the Occupied West Bank. The national team was on its route to Tunisia as part of their preparation for its upcoming official matches. This new Israeli violation occurred less than 24 hours after Mr. Sepp Blatter, president of FIFA, left Israel and Palestine, having received a commitment from Israeli PM Mr. Netanyahu about facilitating the travel of Palestinian athletes.

The final straw: The real reason why Palestine wants Israel out of FIFA

Raio Costa on
The Palestinian national soccer team.  (Photo: AP/Tara Todras-Whitehill)

In March, Palestine was supposed to compete in the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Doha but was unable to because Israel would not allow the team to leave the Gaza Strip. Even though beach soccer is nowhere near as important or popular as association football, barring an entire team from participating in a tournament was the final straw for the Palestinian Football Association.

Netanyahu: Jerusalem was always the capital ‘of the Jewish people alone’

Ben Norton on
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the Jerusalem Day celebration at the Mercaz Harav yeshiva in Jerusalem, on May 17, 2015. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed Jerusalem has always been the capital “of the Jewish people alone, not of any other people” at a Jerusalem Day ceremony on Ammunition Hill, in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem on May 17. Netanyahu also pledged to “continue to build and nurture [Jerusalem], to expand her neighborhoods.”

‘Jerusalem Day’ and the sacralization of propaganda

Michael Lesher on
"Muslim Quarter  flooded with Jerusalem Day marchers chanting to rebuild Jewish Temple" - @joshmitnick via Twitter.

Michael Lesher writes, “‘Jerusalem Day,’ celebrated in Israel on Sunday – the annual commemoration of the IDF’s seizure of East Jerusalem in June 1967 – ought to be the most unsettling day of the year for religious Jews.”

Siege on Gaza prevents children from receiving needed medical formula

Dan Cohen on
Ahmad Najjar smiles in the container his family now live in across the street from the rubble of his home. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

Two and half year old Ahmad Najjar is one of 700 children in the Gaza Strip who suffer from Phenylketonuria (PKU), a hereditary disease that causes phenylalanine to build up in the body that can inhibit mental and physical development. The disease is easily treatable in wealthy countries — PKU requires a medical formula that is often in the form of milk as well as a carefully planned diet — but in the Gaza Strip, where 80% of the regular diet is detrimental to PKU patients, this formula is impossible to find due to the Israeli/Egyptian siege.

The burden of remembering

Amer Hussein on
A map of the village Amer Hussein's grandparents came from (Qannir, Haifa).It was drawn in 2006 from memory by one of the village elders and contains the names of the houses of every family as well as other landmarks.

Amer Hussein’s grandmother passed away three days ago, just days before the 67th commemoration of the Nakba, when she was forced from her home in Palestine. He writes, “I was not left with a key to a house like many other Palestinians; my only inheritance is their memories. Memories handpicked like sweet grapes from their vineyard to compose a memory book; our passport for return, and a burden to never forget the 6 olive trees, the jasmines and the water well.”

Memory (on Nakba Day)

Mariam Barghouti on
On 4 January 1948 the Zionist militia Lehi detonated a truck bomb outside the 3-storey 'Serrani', Jaffa's Ottoman built Town Hall, killing 26 and injuring hundreds. (Photo: Wikipedia)

On Nakba Day, Mariam Barghouti writes about her grandfather. She says even when his memory fails, sometimes mixing up his grandchildren, he can still tell you the stories of Palestine in perfect detail. She says such recollection acts as the burden and savior of Palestinians. She writes, “It is within that memory we find pain, and within that memory we implement our existence.”

Yossi Beilin’s back to the future confederation

Marc H. Ellis on
Yossi Beilin, former foreign minister for Israel

Old wine in a new bottle. Former Israeli Foreign Minister Yossi Beilin says Israelis are fearful of a one-state solution and Palestinians need Israelis to get their economy running, so he proposes a federation.

‘So wait, the Nakba is…?': Listening to Israelis discuss the Nakba

Yara Dowani on

A new Israeli organization called De-Colonizer produced a video asking Israelis on the street in Tel Aviv about the meaning of the word “Nakba.” The answers range from the nonsensical to the profound. Yara Dowani served as an Arabic translator on the project and responds to what she saw: “Reading the answers gave me a very unpleasant feeling about the ignorance that most of the Israelis are living. Should I blame the Israeli education system for example? Or blame those who don’t know what the meaning is because they don’t look for the truth and search for it?”

‘For Palestinians, history is never behind us': Family memories on Nakba Day

Sarah Aziza on
Me, Sarah Aziza, and my grandmother, circa 1993

Sarah Aziza shares her family’s story during the Nakba and the importance of Nakba Day as way to remember: “Nakba Day, like all ‘days of remembrance,’ is thus important not simply as an end in itself, but for the difficult and ground-breaking work that faithful reckoning with the past might inspire. May honesty, humility, and imagination lead us forward.”

New Netanyahu government to expand support for Israeli settlements

Kate on
Israeli settlements in the West Bank (Photo: Reuters)

The Alternative Information Center reports: Israel’s new government is planning to “legalise” West Bank settlement construction conducted in contravention of Israeli law, according to the coalition agreement between Likud and the Jewish Home. This stands in stark contrast to the demolition policy implemented by Israel against Palestinian-owned homes built without permits.

In Israel, racism is standard procedure

Lauren S. Marcus on
A ad for the party in

Lauren S. Marcus writes about trying to attend a DJ pool party in Israel with some Palestinian friends: “’Identification cards, please,’ said the woman at the entrance. I had a sinking feeling in my stomach as soon as I heard the words. I passed the woman my card. She looked over it without a second thought and my female friend was given the same treatment. We were quickly waved through to enter the party. As soon as she saw our male friend’s ID, she clucked and shook her head slightly. I knew exactly what had happened; she saw his city of residence and his name, both of which are distinctly Arab.”