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In Ramallah, thousands celebrate Palestine at the UN amid doubt it will result in meaningful change

Allison Deger on
Palestinians watch Mahmoud Abbas address the United Nations General Assembly and the raising of the Palestinian flag at United Nations headquarters via simulcast in Ramallah, September 20, 2015. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank city of Ramallah gathered outdoors Thursday evening to watch a simulcast of President Mahmoud Abbas address the United Nations General Assembly, and celebrate the raising of the Palestinian flag at UN headquarters. Despite the excitement at the event, many of the onlookers were skeptical of the achievement and voiced criticisms of Abbas’s announcement that the Palestinian Authority is no longer bound by the Oslo Accords.

Parents of slain Palestinian teen say Israeli forces planted knife

Allison Deger on
Hadil al-Hashlamoun at a Hebron checkpoint, moment before an Israeli soldier shot and killed her. (Photo: Youth Against Settlements)

Hadil al-Hashlamoun was shot to death at a Hebron checkpoint by Israeli soldiers on September 22. Al-Hashlamoun’s family, a witness who has since fled to his native Brazil, and the human rights group Amnesty International all insist Hadil posed no threat to the firing soldiers. Yet the Israeli military has said Hadil was carrying a weapon, a claim that is disputed by the sole eyewitness present for the full encounter. Al-Hashlamoun’s parents now assert that the Israeli military planted a weapon near her body more than 30 minutes after she was struck with live-fire.

Israeli government is too involved in settler movement to take on Jewish extremists, says leading Palestinian legislator

Allison Deger on
Aida Touma-Sliman (Center) during Knesset Committee on the Status of the Women, June 3, 2015. (Photo: Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Aida Touma-Sliman, a member of Knesset for the Joint Arab List, says that Israel could indict Jewish terrorists for the Duma murders but it lacks the political will to do so. “In the last few years there were 17 mosques and churches burned down or attacked by right-wing activists or racists,” she told Allison Deger. “These are the extreme cases, but everyday we hear about cases by the seashore, or at the nightclubs—or of hotels warning their visitors that they might have Muslims [guests].”

How Israel legitimizes vigilante terror

Dan Cohen on
Artwork inside the burned-out Dawabshe home blames the Israeli government for the firebombing. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

Immediately after the firebombing of the occupied West Bank village of Duma that killed eighteen-month-old Ali Dawabshe and later his parents, Israeli politicians competed to see who could be more extreme in their denunciations. But as the young parents of baby Ali succumbed to their wounds, the politicians who had been so vociferous were largely silent. What explains this gap between rhetoric and reality? Veteran Israeli journalist Akiva Eldar tells Dan Cohen the lack of Israeli accountability for Jewish vigilante violence is not new, “The message is that you can get away with murder, literally.”

Israeli defense minister says government knows who was behind Duma attack, but won’t prosecute

Allison Deger on
Israeli police investigate the damage of the Dawabshe family home in Duma, firebombed on July 31, 2015. The graffiti the assailants sprayed reads: "revenge." (Photo: Reuters)

Six weeks after settlers torched a Palestinian home in the West Bank hamlet of Duma killing three—Ali Dawabshe, 18-months, Sa’ad Dawabshe, 32, and Riham Dawabshe 27—no one has been charged for the crime. Now, Israel’s defense minister says he knows who is behind the arson attack but is refusing to indict, because doing so could expose government interlligence sources.

Settler group publishes anti-Palestinian children’s book titled ‘Occupation Shmuccupation’

Ben Norton on
An illustration from the book, which reads: (man on right) "Hey Jamil, need help with the olive harvest?" (man on left) "Don't bother, why get in trouble with the left-wing organizations?" 

CREDIT: Shlomi Charka / YNet

“Occupation Shmuccupation” is the name of a new children’s book published by the Yesha Council, a right-wing Israeli settler organization. The illustrated propaganda book teaches Israeli kids that “there is no such thing as the State of Palestine” and that “there is no solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” It also blames “price tag” attacks—in which Israeli extremists attack Palestinians or Palestinian homes, property, and/or crops, such as olive trees—on “internal conflicts between the Arabs over land,” that is to say on Palestinians themselves.

Palestinians in Duma are angry that no one has been charged for murders, after 38 days

Allison Deger on
Palestinian mourners sit around the graves of Riham Dawabsheh, 27, front, her husband Saed Dawabsheh , center, and her 18-month-old son Ali, following her funeral procession in the West Bank village of Duma, near Nablus, Monday, Sept. 7, 2015. The mother of a Palestinian toddler killed in a West Bank firebomb attack was buried in her village Monday hours after succumbing to wounds sustained in the attack, which also killed the child's father and is believed to have been carried out by Jewish extremists. (Photo:Nasser Nasser/AP)

Thousands poured into the West Bank hamlet of Duma for a third funeral over the past five weeks, this time mourning Riham Dawabshe who died Sunday on her 27th birthday from injuries sustained during a settler arson attack on her home on July 31st. Riham’s youngest son, 18-month year old Ali Dawabshe was killed in the blasts that destroyed two apartments. Her husband Sa’ad Dawabshe, 32, died last month on the couple’s anniversary, also from wounds inflicted during the firebombing. Although the arsonists left a graffiti tag in Hebrew indicating the killings were a nationalist crime, to date Israel has not charged anyone with the murders.

Riham Dawabshe dies, leaving one survivor of arson attack, Ahmad, 4

Allison Deger on
Riham Dawabshe dies
 "Sorry, your teacher, Reham Dawabshe will never return again"

Riham Dawabshe, 26, the mother of 18-month old Ali who was killed in a settler arson attack on her home in a remote Palestinian village five weeks ago, died Sunday night from injuries sustained in the firebombing. Riham had third degree burns on 90-percent of her body, and has been in a coma and on a ventilator since the July 31st attack.

Caught between Jerusalem and expanding settlements, uncertainty hangs over residents of Abu Nuwwar

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Abu Nuwwar struggles to survive in the shadow of the massive Israeli settlement Ma'ale Adumim. (Photo: Lydia Noon)

Ma’ale Adumim is also the third largest illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank, 4.5 kilometres east of the Green Line and next to the Palestinian town of Ezariya (Bethany). It lies at the heart of the Israeli government’s E1 project that seeks to connect the settlement with Jerusalem by building a corridor of settlements enclosed by the separation wall. Most of the 40,000 settlers who live in Ma’ale Adumim will never set foot in Abu Nuwwar – a village under threat of demolition as part of the E1 plan. Abu Nuwwar resident Ahmed explains, “Now every time we build something they say we can’t have it. They want us gone. They could come anytime and destroy everything”.

Self-defense patrols form in West Bank as PA fails to protect Palestinians following Duma firebombing

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An effigy of baby Ali Dawabshe sits in a melted stroller inside the room where Israeli settlers burned him alive. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

Since the settler firebombing that burned alive eighteen-month-old Ali Dawabshe and killed his father Sa’ad, Palestinians in Duma and other villages have formed night patrol groups to confront settler incursions. Unarmed, they have no means to repel settlers who have the full backing of the Israeli military. “We don’t have anything to defend ourselves or any equipment. We just try to warn people if we see something,” said one member of the Dawabshe family who identified himself as Akram, preferring to use a pseudonym for his own security.

Health Under Occupation: Constraints on access to healthcare in the Palestinian Territories

Zahra Bhaiwala on
A doctor walks through the rubble in Gaza to a patient's house, Summer 2014. (Photo: Dr. Akihiro Seita/UNRWA)

The Israeli occupation is the chief structural barrier to quality healthcare for Palestinians—it has exacerbated existing inequities in the population and has given rise to a host of issues unique to this devastating political reality. The structural aspects of the occupation —political, economic, and social— collectively mitigate access to quality health care for Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, and Jerusalem. Healthcare is not just measured in mortality statistics or disease prevalence. National health systems are highly influenced by the political climate surrounding them, and as Norwegian physician and activist Mads Gilbert puts it, “Medicine and politics are Siamese twins.”

Israel’s ‘blame the hand’ excuse for settler violence

Aaron Turgeman on
Netanyahu vows to expand the settlements during a 2015 campaign stop at Har Homa.

It is all too easy to point the finger at wild-eyed fundamentalist settlers, who have created their own version of a Biblical Wild West (Bank), terrorizing Palestinians, uprooting olive trees, vandalizing property and more recently, burning families. But let’s not forget: the settlers are not there on their own design. Without the Israeli army’s protection, without their superior legal status granted by the Israeli judicial system, without the resources and Israeli government support, they would not be there. By cracking down on “extremist settlers”, the Israeli government hopes to legitimize the ten-fold larger expansion of settlements.

‘They are the terrorists’–-Palestinians mourn a second death from settler arson attack

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Duma villagers bury the body of Sa’ad Dawabshe. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

Hundreds of mourners from the northern West Bank poured into the hamlet of Duma to lay to rest a second Palestinian killed today after succumbing to wounds from a settler arson attack last week. Sa’ad Dawabshe, father of baby Ali Dawabshe who burned to death in the attack, died in the early morning hours in a hospital in southern Israel where he was being treated. His remains were transferred to his parents’ home outside of Nablus.

Burning Palestinian Children: Settler violence is not exceptional

Tahseen Ellayyan on
A man from Duma peeks into the bedroom in which toddler Ali Dawabsheh was burned to death. (Photo: Jen Marlowe)

The burning to death of two Palestinian children over the past year by Israeli settlers is symptomatic of a larger violation of international law, established and maintained by Israel without limits: the Israeli settlement enterprise in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. It is one of the main obstacles towards achieving a lasting and just peace between Palestinians and Israelis.

Israel orders new demolitions for Bedouin community located in strategic Jerusalem corridor

Cait Arnold on
Jabal al-Baba

On August 3, 2015, a group of Israeli army vehicles and several Israeli Civil Administration representatives distributed seven demolition orders to the Bedouin community of Jabal al-Baba, which is located between East Jerusalem and the expansive Ma’ale Adumim settlement and at the heart of Israeli authorities’ E1 settlement plan. The plan aims to link settlements around Jerusalem, at once consolidating Israel’s illegal annexation of East Jerusalem and separating the north of the West Bank from the south. When asked what the Bedouin community would do if these homes were demolished, community representative Atallah Masara responded without hesitation, “We will rebuild again.”

Mother of Palestinian baby burned to death tried to save her child

Allison Deger on
Nasser Dawabshe (R) addresses 2,000 Israelis at an anti-terror rally in Tel Aviv, 1 August 2015. (Photo Allison Deger)

Riham Dawabshe, the mother of 18 month-old Ali Dawabshe who burned to death in a settler arson attack Friday in the West Bank hamlet of Duma, tried to save her baby while fleeing from her home, engulfed in flames. Gasoline bombs had crashed into the building shortly after 1:30am and quickly it filled with opaque smoke. Dawabshe, herself on fire, grabbed a blanket she thought cradled her son. She rushed outside. But the blanket was empty, a fact the mother only realized when in her front yard. Yet at that time the fire had grown, making reentry impossible.

Palestinian toddler killed in settler price-tag attack

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Israeli arsonists attack two Palestinian homes in the West Bank village of Duma, killing one Palestinian toddler. Arsonists also tagged the Hebrew word for "revenge" outside of the home. (Photo: Reuters)

A Palestinian toddler was killed in the central West Bank village of Duma in an overnight settler arson attack that targeted two homes. Eighteen-month old Ali Saad Dawabsha died in the gasoline fire-bombings, and his mother and brother were seriously injured. The wounded were transferred by helicopter to a Israeli hospital in Jerusalem for treatment. A funeral was held in Duma this morning for Dawabsha.

Hundreds of Israelis join protest to save Bedouin village on brink of demolition

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The Palestinian village of Susiya in the south Hebron hills, slated for demolition. (Photo: Allison Deger)

For Palestinian-Bedouins living in the south Hebron hills under the threat of demolition and expulsion, victories are rare. Yet residents from the tin and tarp village of Susiya are uncharacteristically optimistic that they will receive a reprieve from the impending demolition of their village that is scheduled to take place before August 3rd.