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I continued to act as if I was above feeling afraid. Till the last war

We Are Not Numbers on
Painting by Malak Mattar

Haya Abdullah Ahmed writes, “Although I love to write, I refused to write about the war or the injured in Gaza. The number of jokes I told or laughed increased. And when I heard that my best friend’s husband had been killed in an Israeli attack, I cried bitterly but not for long. And then it hit.”

A French, a Palestinian, and a black woman all wade into a pool

Nida Hussain on
In 2011, a landlord was brought before the Ohio Civil Rights Commission for putting this sign on a swimming pool used by their tenants. (Photo: Ohio Civil Rights Commission)

During the same week that African-American swimmer Simone Manuel scored a historic victory at the Olympics, an Israeli Regional Council leader called for segregated swimming pools for Israeli Jews and Palestinians while three French towns banned burkinis from public beaches. These stories all remind us that racism and sexism still permeate the very same societies often touted as progressive, democratic, pluralistic, and post-racial.

Amid mass hunger strike, UN deplores number of Palestinian detainees, now at an eight-year high

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Prominent Palestinian journalist Omar Nazzal has joined hunger strike. Image from Addameer

“The number of administrative detainees is at an eight-year high. I reiterate the United Nations’ long-standing position that all administrative detainees — Palestinian or Israeli — should be charged or released without delay,” Robert Piper, the UN coordinator for the occupied territories, said, as detained journalist Omar Nazzal has joined a hunger strike to protest detention.

The endangered white cucumbers of Battir

David Kattenburg on
Vivien Sansour at an irrigation channel in Battir

Israel has been itching to run its Separation Wall across the occupied valley of Battir for years, a move that would surely destroy that valley. But Battir has UNESCO status because of its agricultural traditions, including terraced irrigation and heirloom apricot and cucumber, and this has put Israel’s plans on hold for the time being.

UN data shows Israel tightened Gaza siege in July

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Palestinian workers demonstrate against the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip during a rally marking May Day, on May 1, 2016, in Gaza City. Israel has maintained a blockade of Gaza since 2006, and recently banned the supply of cement and construction materials for the private sector, citing security concerns. (Photo: Mohammed Asad/ APA Images)

Middle East Monitor reports: New data released by a United Nations agency and an Israeli NGO has confirmed that Israel’s blockade on the Gaza Strip actually tightened during July.

As Israeli High Court considers demolition decree, Susiya’s fate rests in the court of world opinion

Iris Keltz on
Palestinian children play at a tent in the West Bank village of Susiya (Photo: Reuters)

The ancient Palestinian village of Susiya, in the south Hebron hills faces the threat of demolition by the Israeli military. This is not the first time the village had been threatened, but this time Israeli officials are under international pressure, including the United States. Israel’s High Court will decide whether or not to implement another demolition decree, but Iris Keltz writes the real fate of Susiya rests in the court of world opinion.

‘It’s like we’re born with guns in our hands’: Young Israelis face prison as they resist military conscription

Jaclynn Ashly and Yumna Patel on
Tair Kaminer, the longest serving female conscientious objector served 155 days in military prison. (Photo: Mesarvot/Refusers Support Network)

Omri Baranes is a 18-year-old conscientious objector who served 67 days in military prison for resisting Israel’s obligatory military draft in protest of the nearly half-century occupation of Palestine. “Even before I knew anything about the occupation of Palestine, I couldn’t understand why our culture was centered on violence,” Baranes tells Mondoweiss. “It’s like we are born with guns in our hands. Our society is so militant and most Israelis never learn anything else.”

Political analyst: Upcoming Palestinian elections last chance to end internal divide

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)

Fatah and Hamas reached consensus in July to hold municipal elections on October 8th. The agreement came about amid reconciliation efforts aimed at ending internal Palestinian political divisions. Hani el-Massri, a Palestinian political analyst based in Gaza, believes this election cycle is the last best chance to settle the division.

The dark secret of Israel’s stolen babies

Jonathan Cook on
Yemenite Jews en route from Aden to Israel, 1949–1950. (Photo: Wikimedia)

It is possibly Israel’s darkest secret, in a country whose short history is replete with dark episodes. Last month Tzachi Hanegbi, minister for national security, became the first government official to admit that hundreds of babies had been stolen from their mothers in the years immediately following Israel’s creation in 1948. In truth, the number is more likely to be in the thousands.

The color of freedom

We Are Not Numbers on
One of Basel El-Maqosui's  paintings from the 2008-9 war on Gaza (photo: We Are Not Numbers)

Gaza painter Basel El-Maqosui’s time as artist-in-resident in Connecticut has transformed his art. He had only dreamed of using pink in a war zone.

Olympian at the checkpoint: why a Palestinian swimmer couldn’t train in Jerusalem

Chloé Rouveyrolles and Jimmy Hutcheon on
Mary al Atrash, a 22-year-old swimmer from Beit Sahour that will represent Palestine in the 2016 Olympic Games.

Mary al Atrash, the Palestinian swimmer, finished third in her heat in the 50 meter freestyle yesterday in Rio but her time wasn’t good enough to enter the semifinals. And despite a propaganda explosion by Israel, Atrash could not train at a full-sized pool in Jerusalem because checkpoints would have made the trip too difficult and time consuming to even try.

Settler on motorcycle kills 85-year-old Palestinian shepherd and his donkey

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Medical personnel responding to 85-year-old Palestinian shepherd and donkey near Nablus, from Ma'an

Mousa Mohammad Salmna, an 85-year-old Palestinian shepherd, and the donkey he was riding died on Wednesday after they were run over by an Israeli settler driving a motorcycle near Nablus. Palestinian security sources told Ma‘an News Agency that an investigation was opened to determine if the incident had been a deliberate attack or an accident.

Netanyahu’s Academy-award performance of dehumanization is why the conflict persists

Yakov Hirsch on
Ayoub Sroor, describing the attack on him in 2008 by Israelis

Mr. Netanyahu, I have a question: How long will “the world”, who unlike you believes the Palestinians are human beings like the rest of us, continue to just look on as you talk the talk and walk the walk of the most dangerous demagogues in history? A meditation on Netanyahu’s video dehumanizing Ayoub Sroor, a helpless Palestinian father in the occupation.

Google blames bug for removing ‘West Bank’ and ‘Gaza’ from Israel/Palestine map

Wilson Dizard on
(Image: Carlos Latuff)

Google blames a malfunction for removing the terms “West Bank” and “Gaza Strip” from its map of Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. “The move is also designed to falsify history, and geography as well as the Palestinian people’s right to their homeland, and a failed attempt to tamper with the memory of Palestinians and Arabs as well as the world,” the Palestinian Journalists Forum said in a statement. But other commentators pointed out the new map inadvertently reflected the one-state reality in Israel/Palestine. “If only it was one state with equal rights for all, as Google’s maps suggest,” AJ+ correspondent Dena Takruri wrote on social media.

Palestinian mayor explains high death toll in small village: ‘Pressure births explosion’

Sheren Khalel on
The head of Religious Affairs in Sair told Mondoweiss that the municipality is struggling to come up with more space to bury those killed by Israeli forces in the future. (Photo: Sheren Khalel)

A year ago the Martyrs’ Cemetery in Sair, a town located in the southern occupied West Bank, was marked with graves a decade or more old. Today more than half the tombs are marked with dates from the past eight months. The village has been one of several epicenters of violence since the start of upheaval in October. Residents have endured the town being blockaded by Israeli forces, punitive home demolitions and thousands have had their Israeli work permits confiscated by authorities. The mayor of Sair village, Kayyed Jaradat tells Mondoweiss that Israel’s actions against the village have only fanned the flames of violence.

A losing battle in Israel’s High Court of Justice

Yotam Ben-Hillel on
The swearing in ceremony of Israeli Supreme Court Chief Justice, Justice Miriam Naor, January 15 2015. (Photo: Spokesperson unit of the President of Israel)

Two recent decisions in the Israeli High Court of Justice represent different policy trends regarding the Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem: using the annexed territory to Israel’s own benefit; and keeping a clear separation between the two city populations and treating its Palestinian inhabitants –residing in their hometown for many generations – as second-class citizens. These rulings and others have proven to East Jerusalem Palestinians that their Israeli IDs are no shield against the systematic discrimination of the Israeli judiciary.

Israel has demolished more Palestinian homes in first half of 2016 than all of 2015

Allison Deger on
Screen shot of B'Tselem video on increased demolitions of Palestinian homes in the West Bank and Jerusalem. More units were razed in the first half of 2016 than in all of  2016.

More Palestinian homes were demolished in the occupied territories in the first half of 2016 than in all of 2015, according to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. The increased demolitions have been accompanied by a rising number of new settler homes under construction, prompting the U.S. State Department to issue an atypical condemnation of the Jewish state.

Israeli mayor: No Arabs in our pools because their ‘hygiene culture is not like ours’

Kate on
(Image: Carlos Latuff)

Last week the head of the Lower Galilee Regional Council, Moti Dotan, said he didn’t want Arab citizens of Israel using community swimming pools because they have a different “hygiene culture” that is “not like ours.” A Haaretz editorial says Dotan isn’t a racist outlier, but a reflection of the Israeli mainstream: “Dotan’s statement is fed by a leadership that has made the exclusion and isolation of this country’s Arab citizens the backbone of Israeli patriotism.”