Jodi Melamed is on the front lines of a joint Palestinian-Jewish effort to reclaim confiscated land through strategic nonviolence: taking back the village with a peaceful protest encampment, “Eight days ago, I woke up with 130 other American and international Jews on a rooftop in the South Hebron Hills and in order to avoid being stopped at checkpoints, hiked into the village of Sarura to take part in an unprecedented number of Jews from abroad who are participating in a Palestinian-led coalition seeking to return families forcibly evicted from that village in the 1990s, and to launch a resistance camp, modeled on Standing Rock, to test the power of nonviolence to reverse the systematic displacement of occupation in the West Bank.”
Category Archives: Israel/Palestine
A lightshow in Jerusalem on the 50th anniversary of the Jewish conquest in 1967 weaponizes the walls of the city in a triumphalist expression of the glory of religious nationalism. Goosebumps or shudders, see for yourself.
Ma’an News Agency reports, “Three Palestinian security guards of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem were assaulted and detained by Israeli police on Wednesday, as hundreds of right-wing Israelis and settlers took to the holy site in celebration of ‘Jerusalem Day.'”
Haidar Eid writes from Gaza that Palestinians there fully understand that the deliberate withholding of food or the means to grow food or the access to food is yet another strategy of Israel’s occupation, colonization, and apartheid in Palestine. But, he writes, “what we in Gaza cannot fathom is: Why it is allowed to happen?”
Every single home demolition is devastating to a family. Every single demolished family tells a unique and surreal story about the day when Israeli bulldozers rolled over their children’s schoolbooks, their grandmother’s prescription medicines, and letters from their uncle overseas. Nora Lester Murad tells the story of Ashraf and Islam Fawaqa and their four daughters — Ritaj, 9; Rimas, 7; Saba, 4; and Aya, a newborn whose Jerusalem home was demolished while they were taking Aya to an infant checkup.
As Israelis marked “Jerusalem Day,” a commemoration of Israel’s capture of the eastern half of the city in 1967 with a parade through the Old City, a group of left-wing American Jews and Israelis blocked their path with a sit-in. Traditionally the march is accompanied by Palestinians protesting outside of the Old City walls, voicing dissent against what is regarded as a celebration of Israel’s occupation of Jerusalem and the West Bank. This year the parade was obstructed by liberal Jews for the first time in recent memory.
The Palestinian Authority did its best to impress Donald Trump during his visit to Bethlehem, repainting roads, cleaning up the streets and hanging U.S. flags all along his scheduled path, but the opinions of Palestinian activists ranged from critical to enraged at the U.S. President’s visit and the possibility of renewed peace talks under U.S. leadership.
Former governor Mike Huckabee is filmed leading thousands of right-wing Israelis in prayer at Joseph’s Tomb outside of Nablus in the early morning hours, prompting clashes between the Israeli military and Palestinians. Ma’an News Agency reports, “Clashes erupted between local Palestinians and Israeli soldiers who escorted some 4,000 right-wing Israelis to Joseph’s Tomb east of Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank overnight Sunday, when at least two Palestinians were detained and several others suffered from tear gas inhalation. Among the group of Israelis who arrived to the site under armed protection was Mike Huckabee, former US governor of the state of Arkansas.”
“Do our prisoners have to experience martyrdom to achieve the most basic of rights and do we have to be reunited with them once they are corpses instead of welcoming them home alive?!” Read a letter written by mothers of Palestinian prisoners to U.S. President Donald Trump.
Michael Merryman-Lotze remembers Israel’s siege on the West Bank city of Ramallah during Operation Defensive Shield: “The night of April 2 was one that I won’t forget. That was the night that the Israeli military took over the Preventative Security Office in Betunia. They surrounded the building with tanks and forced out the Palestinian police inside, arresting many. They searched the prison, releasing criminals and detaining others. They then proceeded to destroy the compound, firing tanks and missiles into the buildings throughout the night.”
Youth Against Settlement’s Issa Amro writes about signs settlers have posted inside of Hebron, “At the front of Shuhada street in the old city of Hebron is a street sign pointing multiple directions: Chabad Cemetery, Old Jewish Cemetery, Ancient Tel Hebron. The words are in Hebrew and English only. The purpose of the sign is not to provide directions but to erase Palestinian identity, and even the Arabic language, from the area. For more than a decade Israeli settlers have been installing these types of signs throughout Hebron. Over the past two years, the installation of these signs has increased exponentially.”
Phil Weiss reports from the streets of Jerusalem on the eve of Donald Trump’s visit there that it is clear Israeli Jews have made their choice — a Jewish state, not a democratic one. They fear the creation of a Palestinian state. Even the left is demoralized, and favors Israeli security over Palestinian rights. Netanyahu has achieved what Trump can only dream of, a broadly unified national politics, on an ethnic basis.
A source with the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) close to the Negotiation Affairs Department vehemently denied allegations made on Saturday, which stated that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was planning on proposing a deal that would give up 6.5 percent of Palestinian lands in negotiations during U.S. President Donald Trump’s upcoming visit on Tuesday.
Ma‘an News reports: “Following a deadly shooting carried out by an Israeli settler near the Huwwara village in the occupied West Bank district of Nablus, an Israeli settler distributed candy to passing Israeli vehicles south of Nablus on Thursday in celebration of the settler killing a 23-year-old Palestinian earlier in the day. An Israeli settler killed Muataz Hussein Hilal Bani Shamsa and injured Palestinian journalist Majdi Eshtayya after exiting his car and indiscriminately shooting live ammunition on a crowd of Palestinians during clashes that erupted with Israeli forces following a march held in solidarity with a mass Palestinian hunger strike”
Hundreds of activists, organized by a coalition of Palestinian, Israeli and International organizations joined the families of Sarura to rebuild their village and create the “Sumud Freedom Camp.” The camp is located in an Israeli military firing zone on land belonging to the Palestinian village of Sarura, where families were expelled by Israeli forces in the 1990’s. The activists want to show a grassroots counterpoint to the high-level political process and U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to Israel/Palestine this upcoming week. The event also aims to mark 50 years of the 1967 occupation.
The Palestinian Festival of Literature celebrated its 10th year in 2017. With a slew of respected artists and writers on its program, the festival met in cities across the occupied West Bank and Israel. From Haifa, to Ramallah, to Nablus and Jerusalem, the festival once again brought people from across the world to the stage.
Tikva Honig-Parnass discovers a letter she wrote to her family in October 1948, inked on letterhead she found in a gas station that had belonged to a Palestinians who was likely expelled by her unit. Looking back Honig-Parnass reflects how it came to be that she never considered who owned the gas station, and what happened to him, a skill she developed as a youngster in Israel’s 48 Generation: “This complete ignoring of the personhood of the “enemy,” the serenity lacking in all feeling-without gloating or hatred were characteristic of the remote stance, the apparent lack of affect, of the 48 Generation towards the Palestinian Arabs. This stance was congruent with the perception of the latter as an “environmental nuisance” which should be dealt with in a rational manner, and without hatred, and when necessary-as in the case of the stationary–to make use of the spoils left behind after their removal. By then I was already experienced in the mental acrobatics involved in ignoring the ‘nuisance.'”
After Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev wore a dress celebrating Israel’s conquest of Jerusalem at Cannes yesterday, social media lit up with parodies. The redesigns include an added separation wall into the Old City scene, air strikes over Gaza, soldiers raiding a Palestinian home, and a tribute to leading hunger striking prisoner Marwan Barghouti.
Ma’an News Agency reports, “The Palestinian Central Elections Commission (CEC) reported that Fatah, the ruling party of the Palestinian Authority (PA), maintained a majority of local council seats, despite independent lists having scored a higher number of votes. While approximately 65 percents of seats up for grabs during Saturday’s election went to registered or independent lists in 145 municipalities, another 181 villages and towns mainly saw Fatah lists run unopposed. As anti-PA sentiment has continued to grow over the past year, a number of political factions, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), decided to boycott the elections.”
Rebecca L. Stein talks with Rela Mazali, a founding member of the Israeli feminist organization Gun Free Kitchen Table which is working to decrease small arms proliferation in the Israeli public sphere and to eliminate the violence facilitated by easy access to firearms. In March the organization issued the report “Loose Guns: Israeli Controlled Small Arms in the Civil Sphere,” which finds that Israeli civil sphere is dangerously over-armed and that this condition has been normalized within mainstream Jewish Israeli society.
In the latest tragedy for a well-known Gaza fishing family, Israeli forces have shot and killed Muhammed Majed Bakr, 25, while he was out fishing. Muhammed was the cousin of the four young boys killed in an incident that appalled the world when they were hit by an Israeli naval shell during the 2014 offensive against Gaza.
A display of Israeli-style community policing before an audience of hundreds of young schoolchildren was captured on video last week. Were the 10-year-olds offered road safety tips or advice on what to do if they got lost? No. In Israel, they do things differently. The video shows four officers staging a mock anti-terror operation in a park close to Tel Aviv. The team roar in on motorbikes, firing their rifles at the “terrorist”. As he lies badly wounded, the officers empty their magazines into him from close range. In Israel it is known as “confirming the kill”. Everywhere else it is called an extrajudicial execution or murder. The children can be heard clapping. The police were unrepentant about their staged execution, calling it “a positive, empowering” demonstration for the youngsters. The event was hardly exceptional.
Palestinians on Monday commemorated the 69th anniversary of the Nakba, meaning “catastrophe,” during which over 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly displaced from their homes in 1948, as Israel was declared a state. While the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees is generally at the center of all Nakba day commemorations, this year Palestinian prisoners took the front seat.
Ahmed Kabariti reports from Gaza: “Among Palestinians residing in Gaza, the prevailing view of the electricity crisis is that the PA wants control inside of Gaza and is using energy to send a message to Hamas — give up control of Gaza, or you will pay the cost of chaos.”