This January, after several years of often-heated discussion and review, the Modern Language Association’s representative body will consider a resolution to endorse the Palestinian call for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. The relative absence of Palestinian testimony from debates at scholarly associations prompted a number of MLA members to visit the West Bank and Israel this summer to explore first-hand the conditions in which scholars and students have to work throughout historic Palestine. David Lloyd shares his experience from the trip.
Category Archives: Israel/Palestine
After a fire erupted in the illegal Israeli settlement of Halamish, dozens of Palestinians have been detained in the occupied West Bank village of Deir Nidham. And it has been blockaded by the Israeli army, “turning the lives of 1,600 into a prison,” locals told Ma‘an.
Jewish national self-determination (also known as Zionism) is an unshakable right and today an indivisible part of Jewish identity. You question it at your peril. Despite all that, Robert Cohen is chucking it in. You can have it back he says. He doesn’t need it.
Israeli forces Monday at noon besieged the Palestinian Bab al-Rahma cemetery outside occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, denying the entry of Palestinians attempting to bury the body of a woman. The cemetery has been in use for 1000 years but Israelis want to use part of it for a national park.
News of a possible rapprochement between Egypt and the Gaza Strip is welcomed by the Palestinian population of the besieged territory. While one motivation for the Egyptian shift may be economic, analysts in Gaza believe that Abdel-Fatah el-Sisi’s government may be seeking to undermine Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas as well.
One-month-old Jowan Abu al-Qi’an will most likely be the last person born in the village of Umm al-Hiran in the Negev desert. The house that her family built out of stone will be demolished, and the Bedouin village will soon be razed to the ground to make way for the new Jewish community “Hiran.” “We’d like to live together. We told them that it’s OK for us to live with Jews, but the court said no. This place is just for Jewish people,” Umm al-Hiran resident Hassan Abu al-Qi’an says.
“We are dedicating this memorial in honor of two young lives that have been snuffed out unjustly,” said Reverend Graylan Hagler of DC, dedicating a shrine in Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem to Tamir Rice, 12, and Abd al-Rahman Obeidallah, 13, killed within months of each other by authorities.
Surfing enthusiasts in Gaza hope to meet other surfers from around the world and participate in global competitions, but Israeli travel restrictions prevent them from leaving the besieged strip. Israel also bans the fiberglass material needed for surfboards, which makes the sport difficult.
Hiba Anis Mustafa Shurafa guides students in her Gaza classroom, instructing them on the art of how to hold a pen and keep a steady hand when writing out letters. She understands the task is challenging because, like her students, Shurafa has Down syndrome.
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.
Under a quarter of American Jews voted for Donald Trump, yet the Republican candidate received 49% of the Israeli-American vote. On Tuesday, November 22, Mondoweiss reporters asked Israelis in West Jerusalem’s Zion Square what they thought about the election of Donald Trump and found overwhelming support for the incoming U.S. president. “In this difficult time all over the world, it’s time for strong leaders,” says one Trump admirer.
Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared his support this month for the so-called “muezzin bill”, claiming it was urgently needed to stop the dawn call to prayer from mosques ruining the Israeli public’s sleep. But the one in five of Israel’s population who are Palestinian, most of them Muslim, and a further 300,000 living under occupation in East Jerusalem, say the legislation is grossly discriminatory. Haneen Zoabi says legislation is not about “the noise in [Israeli Jews’] ears but the noise in their minds”. Their colonial fears, she said, were evoked by the Palestinians’ continuing vibrant presence in Israel – a presence that was supposed to have been extinguished in 1948 with the Nakba, the creation of a Jewish state on the ruins of the Palestinians’ homeland.
Israeli security forces shot and killed Mohammad Zeidan, a Palestinian boy said to be 14 or 16, near Shu’fat checkpoint in Jerusalem Friday after he allegedly approached guards with a knife. He is the 241st Palestinian killed in the last 14 months of unrest characterized by lone knife attacks.
On Monday, Israeli security guards at Qalandiya checkpoint shot and killed Jihad Muhammad Said Khalil, 48, after he allegedly drew a knife and then engaged in a fistfight with a guard. He is the 240th Palestinian killed in the last 14 months in the series of lone-rebellions.
Israel is set to demolish the Bedouin village of al-Hiran, with 1000 people in it, to put a Jewish village called Hiran in its place “for strictly racial reasons”. But a global outcry seems to have stopped the demolition for one day.
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.'”
Palestinian medical sources have reported that Mohammad Sa’id Abu Sa’da, 26, was killed on Friday evening, and three others injured, after Israeli soldiers stationed across the border fence opened fire on Palestinian protesters in central Gaza.
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.
Israeli forces busted through the doors of a Ramallah aid organization founded by a leading Palestinian politician in the early morning hours Wednesday, and took away computers, servers and security camera footage, and leaving behind a mess of shattered glass and tossed papers throughout the downtown office.
Israa Suliman writes from Gaza to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe: “Although we are of different color, religion, culture and place, I have learned, as I read about the protests at Standing Rock, that we have much more in common than differences. When I read your history, I can see myself and my people reflected in yours. I feel in my core that your fight is my fight, and that I am not alone in the battle against injustice.”
For the farmers in Wadi Qana embracing their land and their agricultural traditions is more than just a lifestyle choice, it’s a form of resistance. By maintaining their presence on the land, they keep settlements and the wall at bay and preserve a traditional Palestinian communal economy that is struggling against eradication.
Benjamin Netanyahu is reported to be anxious about a Trump White House. Why? However hawkish Netanyahu appears to outsiders, he is relatively moderate compared to the rest of his government coalition partners and the Israeli prime minister could find himself outflanked by Naftali Bennett if the Trump administration approves settler demands to annex most or all of the West Bank. Netanyahu’s realization of his Greater Israel dream may prove pyrrhic.
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.
An Israeli planning committee approved a huge shopping center for settlers near Maccabim checkpoint, in occupied Palestinian territory. The Civil Administration seeks to build two additional shopping malls in the Al-Khalil (Hebron) area.
The implications of Donald Trump’s shocking victory in the U.S. presidential race have not taken long to emerge in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, as the Israeli officials seem to be seizing the chance to create facts on the ground before Trump’s four-year term even begins. Hussam el-Dajani, a political commentator based in Gaza, says the incoming administration’s policy is unclear, but if the U.S. gives Israel a green light to expand settlements in the West Bank, “Palestinians will detonate in the face of Israel.”