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Strangled Education: Reporting on higher education in Palestine and Israel

David Lloyd on
A bullet hole in the window of the library at the Palestine Technical University-Kedoorie, in Tulkarem, resulting from an IDF incursion in which numerous students and staff were injured, December 2015. (Photo: Lenora Hanson)

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.

I hereby chuck my right to Jewish national self-determination

Robert Cohen on
The Israeli flag flying over Israeli settlements in the West Bank (Photo: Reuters)

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 surround ancient Jerusalem cemetery, prevent Palestinian burial

Kate on
Bab el-Rahme cemetery outside the eastern wall of Old City of Jerusalem

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.

Analyst: Egypt is mending relations with Gaza to hurt Abbas

Isra Saleh El-Namy on
Palestinians wave a national flag and an Egyptian flag as they take part in a rally calling on Egyptian authorities to open the Rafah crossing, outside the crossing in the southern Gaza Strip September 16, 2013. (Photo: APA Images/Eyad Al Baba)

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.

Arab Bedouins expelled for second time to make way for new Jewish community

Mersiha Gadzo on
The Abu al-Qi'an family in their home in Umm al-Hiran. (Photo: Mersiha Gadzo)

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.

Despite Israeli restrictions, surfers in Gaza hope to join global competition

Mohammed Asad on
(Photo: Mohammed Asad)

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.

Israeli settlers celebrating weekly Torah portion smash Hebron shop windows

Kate on
Israeli troops guard Israeli settlers during a weekly tour through the Old City of West Bank city of Hebron, June 4, 2016. (Photo: Wesam al-Hashlamoun/ APA Images)

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.

Video: Israelis look forward to the Trump presidency

Mondoweiss Editors on
"I'm very happy Mrs. Clinton lost. She's an enemy of the Jewish people," says one person interviewed in West Jerusalem's Zion Square.

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.

The link between Israel’s forest fires and the ‘muezzin bill’

Jonathan Cook on
(Image: Carlos Latuff)

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 forces kill Palestinian child after alleged stabbing attempt

Kate on
Mohammad Zeidan, photograph at IMEMC

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.

Israeli settlements put on hold due to US pressure may be restarted

Kate on
Jewish settlement in West Bank (Photo: Reuters)

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.'”

‘Welcome to the bi-national state’: Livni says Knesset bill to legalize settlement outposts sets stage for annexing West Bank

Kate on
Tzipi Livni (Photo: Yoshiko Kusano/World Economic Forum)

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 military takes computers and servers from Palestinian NGO in night raid

Allison Deger on
Health Development Information and Policy Institute in Ramallah after Israeli forces entered overnight and confiscated computers and servers. (Photo: Allison Deger)

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.

Gaza writes to Standing Rock: Your story is our story

Israa Suliman on
A mural in solidarity with the protests at Standing Rock created by "We Are Not Numbers" in Gaza.

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.”

Palestinian farmers are the first line of resistance to Israeli occupation

Clare Maxwell on
Palestinian farmer Ibrahim al-Khooli (Photo: Clare Maxwell)

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.

Trump may kill Netanyahu with kindness

Jonathan Cook on
Benjamin Netanyahu

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.

‘We will kill you!’: Israeli settlers attack Palestinians harvesting olives

Kate on
One of the Palestinians wounded in the alleged settler attack west of Ramallah, November 5, 2016. (Photo: Iyad Hadad, B'Tselem)

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.

Analyst: If Trump gives Netanyahu a green light ‘Palestinians will detonate in the face of Israel’

Isra Saleh El-Namy on
A Palestinian man watches Donald Trump's victory speech on TV in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on November 9, 2016. (Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib/APA Images)

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.”