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Palestinians across the political spectrum express outrage over cancelled elections

Isra Saleh El-Namy on
A Palestinian woman casts her vote for the municipal elections at a polling station in Al-Bireh, a town adjacent to the West Bank city of Ramallah, on October 20, 2012. Hamas boycotted the elections that year. (Photo: Issam Rimawi/APA Images)

The Palestinian Authority’s high court has delayed elections, once set for Oct. 9, because of concerns that it was impossible to ensure free and fair voting in the Gaza. The decision comes as two rival Palestinian parties, Hamas in Gaza and Fatah in the West Bank, continue to struggle for power. Gaza-based analyst Ibrahim el-Madhoun tells Mondoweiss, “It is shameful and totally unacceptable that the Palestinian judiciary system serves particular political interests and does not abide with the Palestinian people’s aspirations.”

Israeli border police hold ‘stun grenade’ training in middle of Palestinian neighborhood

Kate on
An Israeli soldier throws a stun grenade at Palestinian protesters on August 27, 2013 in the West Bank city of Hebron. (Photo: Mamoun Wazwaz/APA Images)

Al Jazeera reports: “Israeli border police carried out stun grenade training in the Palestinian neighborhood of al-‘Issawiya in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem, a new video purports to show. In the recording, the neighbourhood, home to around 16,000 people, is quiet, raising questions as to why border police decided to practise there with the risk of provoking tensions. One officer is seen teaching another how to operate the grenade. “Throw lower,” he tells him. The trainee officer detonates the grenade between the homes and is praised for a “good job” before he walks away with the rest of the officers.”

Gaza farmers rebound despite Israeli siege

Sarah Algherbawi on
A Palestinian farmer collects grapes during harvest season at a vineyard in Gaza city on July 20, 2016. (Photo: Ashraf Amra/APA Images)

Yasser Shamallakh, 58, stopped growing fruit during the first Intifada, but two years ago he started again and has found success growing the crop, as have many other farmers in Gaza according to official figures. Although having been under a severe Israeli siege between 2007 and 2014, a combination of good weather and a lifting of Israeli restrictions has helped Palestinian agriculture bloom in recent years.

FIFA postpones decision on sanctioning Israeli teams in the occupied territories

Shireen Ahmed on
(Image: Carlos Latuff)

Last month, Human Rights Watch released a damning report emphasizing that soccer’s governing body, Federation International du Football (FIFA), should render a decision on Israel Football Association (IFA) teams that are being played on occupied Palestinian land. FIFA was expected to render a decision whether to suspend or expel six Israeli teams at at an executive meeting earlier this week, but in true FIFA form, the executive committee fouled and postponed their decision despite suggestions from special committee members, open letters from UN officials, and from academics and activists, an petition that garnered over 150,000 signatures, the HRW report, and an on-going digital campaign that calls for justice in sport. The oppression of Palestinian football by Israel is a hot-button issue for FIFA- which makes a profit from the matches and sponsorships of the IFA teams. While Israeli teams flourish, Palestinian football is hardly thriving due to a lack of resources, crumbling infrastructure, and unjust mobility restrictions on teams.

Israel’s bogus history lesson

Jonathan Cook on
(Screenshot: YouTube)

It was presumably intended as an Israeli history lesson to the world. A video posted to social media by Israel’s foreign ministry shows an everyday Jewish couple, Jacob and Rachel, in a home named the “Land of Israel”. A series of knocks on the door brings 3,000 years of interruptions to their happiness. First it’s the Assyrians, followed by the Babylonians, Hellenists, Arabs, Romans, Crusaders, Mamluks, and Ottomans – all straight out of Monty Python central casting. The chauvinism in portraying Jacob and Rachel as the only normal folk, stoically enduring barbarians butchering each other in their living room, is ugly enough. But it is harder still to take seriously an account in which the Palestinians suddenly appear out of nowhere in 1948, as Britain departs.

Israel detains 10 high school students in Jerusalem’s Old City

Kate on
Students at Dar al-Aytam school in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem, 2004. (Photo: Steve Sabella via

Israeli forces detained 17 Palestinians in raids across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem overnight and during the day Monday, including 10 teenagers at Dar al-Aytam school in Jerusalem’s Old City that Israeli police accused of throwing rocks. Locals told Ma‘an they were detained as they left school and were chased by Israeli forces through the alleys of the Old City. Samir Jibril, the director of the Palestinian Ministry of Education department, had told Ma‘an that the Israeli soldiers’ accusations of rock throwing were “bogus” due to the fact that there were “security bars” secured over all the school’s windows, making it nearly impossible for students to throw anything out of them.

Gaza’s population hits 2 million

Kate on
Tahany Shaath holds her three-day-old new-born son Waleed at their house in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah on October 12, 2016. (Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib/ APA Images)

“There are now more than two million residents in the Gaza Strip after baby Waleed Shaath was born last night in Rafah in southern Gaza,” interior ministry spokesman Iyad Bezm told AFP on Wednesday. Gaza, a tiny enclave squeezed between Egypt, Israel and the Mediterranean Sea and just 12 kilometres across at its widest point, has one of the highest population densities in the world, according to the United Nations. The territory could be “unliveable” by 2020, the UN said last year, due in large part to “high population density and overcrowding.”

‘They don’t want our pity, but they do welcome our solidarity’: Dr. Mads Gilbert on living under siege in Gaza

Jeff Smith on
Dr. Mads Gilbert speaking at Calvin College, Grand Rapids Michigan. (Photo: Nidal Kanaan_

Dr. Mads Gilbert recently spoke at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he provided an astute fact-based analysis of the situation in Gaza that was structured around powerful stories of Palestinian civilians whom he has met while working in makeshift operating rooms at Gaza’s Al-Shifa’ hospital. “There is a systemic Israeli attack on Gaza’s healthcare,” Dr. Gilbert explained.

Palestinian man killed by Israeli forces buried two hours later due to fear Israel would detain body

Kate on
Ali Atef Shyoukhi (Photo: Wadi Hilweh Information Center )

On Tuesday, Israeli soldiers fatally shot Ali Shyoukhi, 20, during a protest in Silwan just south of Jerusalem’s Old City. Shyoukhi was shot with a live round in his pelvis and bled to death as medics were unable to move him to the hospital due to the extensive military siege on the town. Hundreds of Jerusalemites participated in his funeral, which was held just two hours after he was killed out of fear that his body would be detained by Israel.

The Trials of Dareen Tatour: A year of detention and no end in sight

Kim Jensen and Yoav Haifawi on
Dareen Tatour at the Nazareth Court House, September 2016. (Photo: Oren Ziv, Activestills)

It was exactly one year ago that Dareen Tatour’s ordeal began. In the pre-dawn hours of October 11, 2015, Israeli police and border guards stormed into Palestinian poet’s family home without a warrant or an explanation for the shocking and disturbing intrusion. They arrested, interrogated, and eventually charged Dareen Tatour with the crime of ‘incitement to violence’ for posts she made on Facebook. A year later, there is no end in sight.

Palestinian gunman slain in East Jerusalem after killing two Israelis

Kate on
Misbah Abu Sbeih from Silwan, who was slain yesterday. Photo at Ma'an.

An Israeli police officer and an Israeli woman were shot dead and at least five others were injured in a drive-by shooting near the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah Sunday morning. The gunman, Misbah Abu Sbeih, a native of occupied East Jerusalem, was shot and killed by Israeli police at the scene.

Israeli forces arrest 13-year-old Palestinian weeks after shooting him in both legs

Sheren Khalel on
Ramzi Abu Ajamia holding a photo of his left leg taken the day previously, when Palestinian doctors were fixing the work done on his leg during his Israeli detention, which left the wound infected and at risk of amputation. (Photo: Sheren Khalel)

In March, Ramzi Abu Ajamia got word that Israeli forces were looking for him. Terrified of getting arrested, Ramzi stopped sleeping at home and going to school. He succeeded in dodging Israeli forces for five months before he was spotted at clashes during an Israeli night raid on Dheisha refugee camp. Israeli forces spotted the boy on the streets around 1 a.m., and fired. Ramzi was shot in both legs and doctors were only able to remove the two bullets in his right leg. Ramzi underwent six surgeries over the course of a few weeks before he was sent home to recover. Then a few days into Ramzi’s homestay, Israeli forces stormed his house, blasting off the family’s front door before raiding the home and arresting the injured 13-year-old. “That night I had a feeling they would come for me, I was sitting up in my bed waiting,” Ramzi told Mondoweiss, both legs still bandaged and unhealed.

When bombs drop, Gazans joke…and pray

Pam Bailey on
Smoke rises following what witnesses said was an Israeli air strike, east of Gaza City October 5, 2016. (Photo: Ahmed Zakot/Reuters)

In the middle of the morning on October 5, sounds of bombs reverberated throughout Gaza. The news would trickle out later that an extremist Salafi fringe group had shot a crude rocket into an Israeli settlement, reportedly as a way of pressuring the Hamas government to release some of its members from prison. Some in Gaza said they believe the Salafis are actually being manipulated by the Palestinian Authority. Israeli forces responded with more than 30 airstrikes and tank hits in two hours, these are the Palestinian accounts of that incurrsion.

Israel begins deporting women who tried to sail to Gaza

Allison Deger on
(Photo: Kia Ora Gaza)

Israel has begun to deport an all-female crew of sailors with the first two women returning to London hours ago after Israeli commandoes seized the Women’s Boat to Gaza, an activist ship skimming towards the Strip’s maritime borders yesterday.

Decolonizing the vocabulary of Palestinian human rights work

Amjad Alqasis on
An Israeli border police officer checks a Palestinian identity card (photo by Mati Milstein)

As human rights activists and organizations, we must be more careful in the way we articulate reality through the terminology we use. If Palestinian civil society seeks to struggle against the process of forcible displacement, we should not stratify our people, but rather use language to build a common struggle against a colonial project that aims to erase the presence of the indigenous Palestinian community. We should not, even indirectly, support this kind of destruction of the Palestinian people while accepting the division made by the colonial power. We have to control our own discourse, to challenge the Israeli narrative’s local and international dominance.

Kafka in Area C

Yigal Bronner on
An Israeli military helicopter flies over the village of Daqiqa in the South Hebron Hills. Daqiqa is at risk of demolition. Palestinians must apply for permits in order to build in this area but only 1% of permits are granted, forcing people to build without permits and risk demolition. (Photo: Eoghan Rice / Trócaire)

“When Sa’id ‘Awad spotted the first pomegranate saplings popping up on his fields, he should have seen it coming. A part of him perhaps already understood that the long process threatening his land was nearing its logical conclusion; that the handful of tender trees would yield the poisoned fruit of dispossession.” Yigal Bronner reports on the the Kafkaesque tribulations of a Palestinian farmer in Area C of the West Bank.

Palestinian Authority official arrested after criticizing Abbas decision to attend Peres funeral

Sheren Khalel on
Palestinians burn posters of former Israeli President Shimon Peres during a protest, in front of Red cross office in Gaza city, on Oct. 03, 2016. (Photo: Mohammed Asad/APA Images)

Osama Abu Arab, a well-known official at the Palestinian Authority’s military liaison office, was arrested by PA forces on Saturday after publically criticizing Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s decision to attend Shimon Peres’s funeral. Hours after Abu Arab’s arrest, an Abbas administration official said in an Israeli Radio interview that Abbas had “no regrets” in his decision to attend the funeral. In Beit Jibrin refugee camp, one young man, who asked to remain anonymous, told Mondoweiss that Abbas’ attendance at Peres funeral was just another indicator that the Palestinian President was “not on the side of the people.”

A letter from Gaza to black America

Mohammed Alhammami on
Youth in Gaza show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. (Photo:

A Palestinian from Gaza writes a letter to African-Americans pointing out the many similarities share as oppressed peoples: “I do not have to be black to understand the words of Marin Luther King Jr. when he said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ I am a Palestinian who is extending his arms in brotherhood to another people who know and live my legacy of oppression.”

Former Israeli spy chief likens Marwan Barghouti to Mandela

Philip Weiss on
Imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti

Efraim Halevy, former Israeli spy chief, defies Israeli government by saying that apartheid South Africa had no choice but to negotiate with Mandela, even though he was imprisoned for violent activity and the same holds for Marwan Barghouti, imprisoned Palestinian leader charged with terrorism.