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The rise of psychological trauma in occupied Palestine

Megan Hanna on
A Palestinian man inspects a house after it was torched, in Duma, near the West Bank city of Nablus, July 31, 2015. (Photo: AP)

Recent Israeli raids on Palestinian hospitals and schools have coincided with a rise in psychological trauma in the occupied Palestinian territory. But it’s not just Israel’s military actions that are contributing to this worrying trend. The lack of accountability for settlers whose violent attacks are rarely prosecuted and seem to operate in an environment of impunity also play a part. A report from Médecins du Monde France released last month assessed the psychological damage to 72 direct and indirect victims of the Duma arson, where a Palestinian family was burned alive inside their home. Their findings showed that 82% of the beneficiaries are at severe risk of developing PTSD, and 45% are unable to carry out daily activities such as cleaning and cooking.

Zionism is blocking the path to peace

Mohammed Alhammami on
Israelis gathered on a hilltop outside the town of Sderot on Monday to watch the bombardment of Gaza. (Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

The most dangerous threat Palestinians face in their struggle for freedom and human rights, besides the Israeli war machine, is the absence of historical context. Political Zionism is an ideology that is inherently racist, supremacist, and exclusivist. If you seek to understand the conflict, if you believe in and strive for a just peace in Israel-Palestine, this is where your fight starts.

Israeli troops detain and interrogate 6-year-old Palestinian boy in Bethlehem

Kate on
Israeli soldier detaining 6-year-old Abdullah Youssef. (Photo: Maan News)

Ma‘an reports: Israeli forces detained a six-year-old Palestinian boy in Bethlehem’s ‘Aida refugee camp on Tuesday, locals said. The boy, Abdullah Youssef, was detained as clashes broke out in the area between Israeli military forces and Palestinian youths. The young boy told Ma‘an that Israeli soldiers began firing tear gas into a children’s playground in the refugee camp, forcing him and his friends to flee the area. Israeli soldiers who had entered the camp then detained him as he was running away, and interrogated him for several hours before the Palestinian liaison office intervened to have him released.

Rights Expert: Harsh interrogation of 13-year-old Palestinian boy ‘may amount to torture’

Megan Hanna on
Still of film showing Amhad Manasra's interrogation leaked by Ma'an (Source: Twitter)

A controversial video leaked to Palestinian media on November 8th depicts an Israeli interrogator verbally abusing and shouting curses at 13-year old Ahmad Manasra, who was indicted on October 30th by Israel’s Jerusalem District Court for attempting to murder two Israelis near the Pisgat Zeev settlement in East Jerusalem. Brad Parker, attorney and international advocacy officer at Defence for Children – Palestine, tells Mondoweiss: “The circumstances depicted in the video present a situation that may amount to torture. When determining if certain acts constitute torture, the child’s age must be taken into account. Israeli interrogators are seen relying on verbal abuse, intimidation and threats to apparently inflict mental suffering for the purpose of obtaining a confession.”

Why do Palestinians burn Jewish holy sites?: The fraught history of Joseph’s Tomb

Alex Shams on
Joseph's Tomb (Photo: Alex Shams)

On October 16th, a large crowd of Palestinians near the northern West Bank city of Nablus surrounded the religious site of Joseph’s Tomb and proceeded to light the shrine on fire. The attack elicited widespread outrage and for Israelis it seemed to indicate yet again that Palestinian violence is motivated by anti-Jewish hatred. The reality, however, is far different than the Israeli narrative would seem to suggest. The attack had almost nothing to do with religion, but instead how the Israeli military and settlement movement have used religion to expand their control over Palestinian land and holy places.

‘It Has Become A Prison’: The ghettoization of Hebron

Megan Hanna on
Tel Rumeida Checkpoint (Photo: Megan Hanna)

Hebron’s Old City is subject to dramatic new restrictions introduced last week. 50 families who live in Tel Rumeida had a mere few days to register their name and ID card to the Israeli authorities and they will have to undergo rigorous security searches every time they wish to leave or enter their homes. According to one resident, “They told me I have the number 36 [on the list with who’s allowed to go in and out], it’s just like in prison. They try to make you a number, you’re not a person”.

Israeli army makes post in Hebron activist house

Allison Deger on
Israeli soldiers inside of the Hebron-based Youth Against Settlements office/living quarters, Saturday November 7, 2015. (Photo: Youth Against Settlements)

“I won’t take compensation from occupation,” Issa Amro says of destruction to his property in Hebron by Israeli soldiers. Early Saturday morning Amro, 35, awoke to dozens of Israeli soldiers entering the Youth Against Settlements house and presenting him with a military order to seize control of the house for 24-hours. Amro, along with an Italian journalist on assignment with an Israeli paper, and two international activists who were staying at the Youth Against Settlements advocacy center were then ushered into a single bedroom where, with the exception of escorted bathroom breaks, they were forced to stay until after daybreak Sunday.

PLO report: Israel killed 73 Palestinians in October

Allison Deger on
Palestinians mourn over the body of 23-years-old Muhammad Shemasina, killed by Israeli soldiers on October, during his funeral ceremony in Jerusalem, on November 02, 2015. (Photo: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

During the month of October Israeli forces killed 73 Palestinians, and Palestinians killed 11 Israelis in more than 30 attacks amid increased violence dubbed the “knife Intifada” or “third Intifada” by Palestinian media. The month of October also saw the highest number of settler attacks on Palestinians in years. In total there were 287 incidents which included settlers running over Palestinians in hit and runs, torching agricultural fields, stoning Palestinian houses and, attacking the convoy of Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah.

Majority of Palestinian citizens of Israel blame gov’t for violence, fear revenge attacks, limit their movements

Allison Deger on
Palestinian citizens of Israel protest outside of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office in Jerusalem, 2013. (Photo:  Kobi Gideon/Flash90)

After violence took hold of Jerusalem at the beginning of October, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu charged the fault fell on Palestinian Authority, Hamas and the Islamic movement of northern Israel for inciting attacks against Israelis, and spurring demonstrations across the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza that have led to the killings of Palestinian protesters. Yet the 20-percent Arab-Palestinian minority in Israel believe that it is the Israeli government, and not the Palestinian leadership that is responsible for the outbreak of hostilities, according to a survey published by the Haifa-based think tank Mada al-Carmel.

As Israel clamps down on East Jerusalem, police evict Palestinian family for new settlement

Allison Deger on
Israeli workers add water pipes to a house in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of  Silwan, where the Abu Nab family was evicted earlier this week after Israelis won a petition for their removal. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Israeli police and barking dogs woke Abdallah and Fatima Abu Nab from inside of the couple’s bedroom shortly after daybreak Monday morning, and told them to immediately and permanently leave their house in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, bringing an end to an seven-year legal battle with Israeli settlers. This latest Israeli provocation took place in the heart of East Jerusalem where more than 40 Palestinians, and eight Israelis have been killed in shootings and attacks since the start of October.

East Jerusalem is closed for Palestinians, but settlers march unimpeded

Allison Deger on
Palestinian shop owner closes his store in the Muslim quarter of East Jerusalem following orders from Israeli police. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Israeli police shut hundreds of Palestinian businesses in the Muslim quarters of Jerusalem’s Old City Tuesday night, hours before a general order from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for “a closure on, or to surround, centers of friction and incitement” went into effect.

Netanyahu approves mandatory prison for stone-throwers

Allison Deger on
Israeli undercover police arrest a 10-year old Palestinian child on October 24, 2014. (Photo: Salih Zeki Fazlıoğlu/Anadolu Agency)

Amid clashes and killings that have blazed into a second week Israel’s cabinet unanimously approved mandatory minimum sentences for Jerusalemites and Israeli citizens who throw stones or launch heftier projectiles such as firebombs and fireworks.

Whose violence?

Michael Marder on
Undercover Israeli soldiers detain a Palestinian protester after assaulting him near Ramallah.  (Photo: Reuters)

The absolute unwillingness of the current Israeli government to engage in a meaningful dialogue with its Palestinians neighbors, with the view to urgently ending the occupation and creating a viable Palestinian state, is at the root of the language of force that, alone, is speaking today.

More than 1,000 clash with Israeli forces in Shuafat refugee camp as Netanyahu promises to crack down

Allison Deger on
Israeli police cordon off the site where a Palestinian stabbed two Israelis Thursday afternoon, critically injuring one, in East Jerusalem. (Photo: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

At dusk Thursday evening nearly 200 right-wing Israelis took to the streets of Jerusalem, chanting racist anti-Arab epitaphs and nationalist songs. The march came at the end of day that saw Israeli forces kill two Palestinians and Palestinian attackers wound nine Israelis, including two soldiers, in four separate attacks, the highest number of serious injuries inflicted on Israelis in recent weeks. At the time of publication the right-wing group was marching from West Jerusalem into Palestinian East Jerusalem.

Video: Undercover Israeli soldiers infiltrate Palestinian demonstration, beat protesters and shoot detainee in leg

Allison Deger on
Screen shot of a video filmed by journalist Ahmad Jarghoun where undercover Israeli forces shoot and detain a Palestinian protesters during a demonstration outside of Ramallah, October 7, 2015.

A brutal video shows undercover Israeli forces infiltrate a group of Palestinians protesters this afternoon near a checkpoint outside of Ramallah in the West Bank and open fire on the demonstrators. The video also shows unformed Israeli soldiers wound two more protesters with live rounds, critically injuring one by firing a shot into the back of the protester’s head.

Clashes break out across West Bank after Netanyahu declares ‘an all-out war’

Allison Deger on
Palestinian journalist Salah Zayyad, 35, recuperates in a Ramallah hospital after Israeli forces shot him in the abdomen at a demonstration near Qalandia checkpoint in the West Bank, October 6, 2015. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Scores of Palestinians were injured in clashes across the West Bank, after calls were made for a “day of rage” following a string of Palestinian attacks on Israeli citizens, Israeli incursions into the West Bank and Jerusalem—including the demolition of two homes overnight Monday—and a pronouncement from Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu that he is now “running an all-out war against Palestinian terrorism.”

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.