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.'”
Category Archives: Israel/Palestine
Palestinian activists on Sunday filmed Israeli forces dragging 8-year-old Sufian Abu Hitah through the al-Harika neighborhood of Hebron in the occupied West Bank for more than hour. The video, received and edited by Israeli rights group B’Tselem, shows the boy crying and barefoot, being pulled by his arm by Israeli forces as they tried to get the boy to identify other children who soldiers suspected of throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba earlier that day.
Palestinian society has condemned Israel’s arrest and interrogation of Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as the next step in Israel’s fight against BDS. On Sunday, Israel arrested Barghouti on charges of tax evasion, raided his family home in Acre, Israel, held him for 16 hours and released him — however the BDS co-founder has been subjected to daily interrogations with Israeli authorities since then. Fellow BDS movement co-founder Adnan Ramadan says this is just another step in Israel’s strategy against the BDS movement: “It’s part of their war against the campaign, but it won’t work. They can arrest whoever they want, they can do more than that, but that won’t prevent people from continuing to use BDS as a tool in the struggle for Palestinian freedom.”
Palestinians are both scared and skeptical of the prospect of Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman going through with his threat to seize money from the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s (PLO) Palestinian National Fund (PNF), which delivers money to the families of Palestinian prisoners and those killed or injured by Israel under political circumstances. According to Liberman, the funds provide “massive support” to terrorism against Israel. Palestinians find the statement ironic, because on average families estimated that around three-fourths of the money sent to them is given to their loved ones in prison, who spend the money on commissary items within Israeli government prisons, essentially meaning the money is funneled into the Israeli government.
Rev. Alex Awad, who served as Dean of Students at Bethlehem Bible College, writes British Prime Minister Theresa May: “Britain was among the first in creating this tragic conflict but shouldn’t be the last in taking positive steps to resolve it. Let 2017 be the year that Britain conducts its policy for Israel and Palestine independently of the influence and dictates of the United States. A first step would be for Britain to recognize an independent Palestinian State in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip.”
“On the first night of the bombing, the Israeli navy shelled Beach Camp to the north, firing explosives into a thickly populated refugee camp that had no weapons to return fire. A few blocks inland, members of my team taught their children to dance to the peculiar backbeat of naval fire, to distract them from their fear. The colleagues living nearest me wanted to leave their families, to pick me up and shelter me in their homes,” writes Marilyn Garson, who worked for Mercy Corps and UNRWA in Gaza between 2011 and 2015, where she lived through two wars. Read her incredible memoir of that tumultuous time, which included her coming to understand her connection to Judaism while under fire from Israeli warplanes.
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.”
The UN-commissioned report on Israeli Apartheid that was shelved last week (two days after it appeared) is no doubt explosive. The very idea that Israel is guilty of the crime of Apartheid is one that should give everyone pause. But there is another explosion in the report. Israel and its supporters have desperately sought to shelve a discussion about Zionism as a racist ideology. The Apartheid report brings it back to the forefront.
Residents of the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of ‘Issawiya inaugurated what was described as the highest minaret in Jerusalem on Friday. Activist Omar Atiyeh, who was among a number of locals who supervised the construction of the minaret, told Ma‘an that the structure was 73 meters high. According to Atiyeh, the concept for the mosque’s minaret emerged more than a year ago as an attempt to emphasize the Arab and Islamic character of the neighborhood, which he said has been “completely surrounded” by Illegal Israeli settlements, a building belonging to Israel’s Hebrew University, and Israel’s Hadassah Hospital.”
Israel has both effected and veiled a comprehensive policy of apartheid directed at the whole Palestinian people in Israel, in occupation, and in exile, the stunning UN report says — and it was promptly veiled.
“I find myself incapable of bowing to fearmongering and threats, and not because of my role as an employee of the United Nations, but simply as a sane human being” — Rima Khalaf, former executive sec’y of UN ESCWA, after being forced to withdraw report labeling Israel an apartheid regime.
Around 2,000 mourners marched on Friday in the Bethlehem-area village of al-Walaja for the funeral of slain Basil al-Araj, 36, who was slain by Israeli forces March 6. Al-Araj’s ideology against normalization and security coordination is popular among leftist Palestinian youth. His success in eluding Israeli forces for six months, and then refusal to surrender when he was found, only made his ideas more popular.
Fourteen years ago today, an Israeli soldier driving a bulldozer ran over and killed American peace activist Rachel Corrie who was in the Gaza Strip protecting a Palestinian home from demolition.
Gaza’s first start-up incubator, Gaza Sky Geeks, has announced an open call for businesses, organizations, and individuals to submit their project ideas and coders in Gaza will build them for free.
How do you engage people with the Palestinian struggle for freedom, when you’re faced with the slickest and most well-funded propaganda machine the world has ever known? Rory Evans writes a trendy new hotel in Bethlehem created by the graffiti artist Banksy has opened to the public in an effort to breathe new life into the fight for Palestinian justice.
Taha Muhammad Ali is an unlikely dramatic hero. His arms shake with age and infirmity, his legs occasionally buckle, and he often appears lost on stage, as if adrift in a vast expanse of sadness. But for an hour the story of this Palestinian poet has a vice-like hold on our attention and our hearts.
The one-man show Taha receives its English-language premiere on Wednesday at the Kennedy Center for the performing arts in Washington DC. It offers not only a rare chance to learn about one of Palestine’s finest poets, but provides a visceral account of what it was like to live through the Nakba – the Catastrophe that befell hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who were expelled from their homeland in 1948.
Over the weekend, an Israeli activist campaigning to pardon a soldier who shot and killed a wounded Palestinian in Hebron last year, held a costume contest for children dressed as the soldier for the Jewish holiday of Purim.
Mahmoud al-Araj, the father of slain Basil al-Araj, left his home on Sunday expecting to take part in a peaceful demonstration outside a courthouse in Ramallah where a judge officially dropped an investigation into his son. He ended up in the hospital after getting caught in the middle of a chaotic crackdown by Palestinian Authority (PA) forces wielding heavy batons, and shooting pepper spray and tear gas at Palestinians protesting the death of Basil, the imprisonment of his five friends and the court’s decision to pursue charges against them for allegedly storing illegal weapons.
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.”
The intolerant Israeli government ban on foreign visitors who support boycott only strengthens the boycott movement, says Michael Walzer, the Princeton scholar. Some supporters of limited boycott are telling him, “We might as well support BDS.”
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.”
On March 8, women in Gaza marked International Women’s Day along with their counterparts in the countries across the globe. But in Gaza, International Women’s Day is less of a celebration and more of a harsh and painful reminder of three wars in the last decade, and years of siege. Laila Qarmout, 57, a member of the General Union of Palestinian Women said: “Women are indoctrinated from the age of five to see ourselves as less than our brothers or less than our husbands. Despite this, we have struggled a lot against the world’s only long-running occupation. Women know too well the iniquity of repression.”
On his second long-term hunger strike in the past year, Palestinian journalist Mohammed al-Qiq’s health is deteriorating faster than anyone expected, leaving his family to plea for support before it is too late. “If Mohammed were to quit his hunger strike now, the first one that almost killed him would be for nothing, so he feels he must continue his strike—not just for himself, but for all the other Palestinian prisoners on strike against their administrative detention as well — they must stay strong together,” Fayha Salash, Mohammed’s wife, tells Mondoweiss.
A new Israeli law bars entry to those involved in boycotting Israel and criminalizes even those who have supported a ‘partial’ boycott targeting settlements. Activists and organizations, even the liberal Zionist ones who have supported boycott of settlements, now have to ask themselves: If Israel does not differentiate between itself and its occupied territories, if Israel bars entry to any foreigner who boycotts (even if they are Zionist), why should the boycotters make the differentiation between Israel and its settlements?
“Shadi was arrested on December 30, 2015. He was just 12 years old. The news took my breath away; the whole family was in a state of shock. For a long time, none of us could eat or sleep properly. When I closed my eyes, all I could see was my little boy, scared and alone, in a freezing cold prison cell. I later learned that they had forced him to stand in there naked, at one point.” On International Women’s Day, Farihan Daraghmeh Farah tells the harrowing story of her son Shadi and how her family has struggled to free him from Israeli occupation prisons.