Hiam al-Nawaja dreams to live in what she calls a “normal house.” The 23-year old mother of three small children and sheepherder manages in a cinder block frame insulated with a tarp a typical modest home in Susiya, a pastoral Palestinian village set in the rolling south Hebron Hills in the West Bank. Yet a few short decades ago Susiya’s residents had sturdy stone structures built over ancient caves on a hilltop one kilometer from where their town stands today. The former location, “old Susiya,” is close enough that al-Nawaja can see bulldozed remains from her kitchen window. It was destroyed in 1986 when Israel dismantled the town’s mosque to uncover an ancient Jewish synagogue dating back to the sixth century.
Category Archives: Occupation
Subhiya Abu Rahme, 60, propped up on her elbows and recounted her son’s last morning before the Israeli army killed him. Six years ago on April 17, 2009 Bassem Abu Rahme, 30, was shot in the chest with a tear gas canister in his West Bank hometown of Bil’in outside of Ramallah. The morning was a scorcher. Bassem went into the bathroom to cool off, musing, “I will shower or I will die.” Once clean and dressed, he walked to the garden behind the house. “I was working. He told me don’t tire yourself. It’s not good for you,” Subhiya said, relaying Bassem’s final words to her.
Bad pay, hard labor, nasty skin rashes, and poor sleep in constructions sites are just the tip of work conditions found in Israeli agricultural settlements, said a Human Rights Watch (HRW) in a report released Monday. The 75-page “Israel: Settlement Agriculture Harms Palestinian Children” is a devastating look into underage Palestinian laborers farming for Israeli companies.
Palestinian parliamentarian Khalida Jarrar was arrested by Israeli soldiers in the early-morning hours of March 2 from her Ramallah home, reported her family. In today’s early-morning raid, around 30 armed Israeli soldiers entered Jarrar’s home at approximately 1:15 am, confining her husband, Ghassan, to the spare bedroom, interrogating her, searching the home, and confiscating two computers while arresting Jarrar. “My mother always speaks the truth to power. She is a woman and a loved leader. That is why they went after her,” said Yafa Jarrar, one of Khalida’s daughters and a Palestinian activist, early on Thursday. “This occupation is vicious and their track record shows that anyone who speaks out against their aggression is a target.”
Today, March 30th Palestinians in Israel and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, marched for Land Day, Yom al-Arda in Arabic, which commemorates protest in the Galilee in 1976 where six Palestinian citizens of Israel were killed.
Boldly defying the U.S., the international community, and the Palestinian people, Netanyahu said in the clearest terms possible, “If I am elected there will be no Palestinian state.” What Netanyahu stated publicly is what has been true of all of Israel’s prime ministers, whether from the left, the center, or the right. For the past 22 years, all have been lying and misleading the world, pretending to seek peace with the Palestinians while pursuing policies to ensure there will never be peace and never be a Palestinian state. The irony is that the greatest of all these liars is the one who finally told the truth and we should thank him for it.
Stanley Heller remembers the life and scandalous death of Yusuf Shawamreh, 14, who was killed by Israeli soldiers on March 19, 2014 as he picked Akub, an edible wild-growing plant, on part of his family’s land in the West Bank.
Steven Salaita says we can understand the entirety of the Israel-Palestine conflict by examining its physical effect on the land. Read a slightly modified version of a talk Salaita gave on February 13, 2015 at the Palestine Center in Washington, DC titled “Natural History Under Siege.”
With more than a half-million Israeli citizens living over the Green Line in occupied Palestinian territory, it was only a matter of time before a frontrunner made a campaign stop there. For weeks election posters have plastered major intersections and checkpoints across the West Bank. Then yesterday morning Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the Judea and Samaria division headquarters with Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon in Beit El, outside of Ramallah, becoming the first party leader to hold a settlement election event.
Palestinian leaders decided Thursday night they will “end all forms of security coordination with Israel,” a much-criticized practice of shared policing across the West Bank and a staple of Israeli-Palestinian relations over the last two decades. Still the announcement included one loophole where Israel could salvage the security arrangement, signaling the Palestinian leaders could be seeking to leverage Israel’s security concerns as a tactic for the release Palestinian VAT-taxes frozen during the winter after the Palestinians acceded to the Rome Statute, joining the International Criminal Court (ICC) where they can charge Israel with war crimes.
Plumes of teargas wafted up the terraced hillside of the West Bank village of Bil’in on Friday when over 1,000 demonstrators marked ten years of weekly protests against Israel’s separation wall and occupation, outside of Ramallah. Israelis drove in from Tel Aviv, and international activists and Palestinians from nearby towns flocked to march from the center of Bil’in, to the hamlet’s agricultural grounds. As with every Friday, clashes ensued once protesters reached the outskirts of town where olive orchards and patch vegetable farms buffer Israel’s concrete barrier and one of the most populated settlements, Modi’in Illit.
Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are cashed strapped this winter because Israel is withholding $240 million in tax revenue to the Palestinian Authority as punishment for joining the ICC. This is radical, though it’s not unusual and something we’ve come to expect. But turning off the electricity in the middle of winter as blizzards sweep across the Middle East is nothing short of sadistic. The Los Angeles Times reports Israel cut the power to more than 700,000 Palestinians in two of Palestine’s largest urban areas, Nablus and Jenin, for more than 45 minutes “and warned that more outages are coming if Palestinian officials don’t pay millions of dollars in outstanding debt.”
972 reports: European diplomats joined Palestinian, international and Israeli activists at a sentencing hearing for Palestinian non-violent Palestinian protest leader Abdullah Abu Rahmah at Ofer Military Prison in the West Bank on Sunday. The military prosecutor demanded a harsh punishment consisting of a long prison sentence and a large fine claiming that Abu Rahmah is somebody who commits ideological crimes, thus his chance for rehabilitation is low and he must be given a punishment that will deter him from doing similar things in the future.
2014 was a harrowing and devastating year for many people living in Israel and Palestine. Violations of human rights, racism, and hatred did not stop after the 2014 Gaza war and today are commonplace. Presently, there is imminent concern for the increasing numbers of wrongfully detained Palestinian children from East Jerusalem and the West Bank who are subject to ongoing state violence, severe psychological trauma, and denied the basic human right to education.
The Israeli government told Abed Qotqot he could not build a structure on his property in the West Bank, so he decided to live in a cave to be able to stay on his land. Samer Jaber writes in memory of his friend, who died at age 54 while remaining steadfast on his land and fighting the Israeli government in court.
Israel destroyed 590 Palestinian buildings in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 2014, displacing 1,177 people, according to a new study by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). This constitutes the highest level of displacement in the West Bank since the UN began monitoring the issue in 2008.
A prosecutor for the International Criminal Court has opened an inquiry into possible war crimes carried out by Israel in advance of the Palestinian government’s official ascension to the court. Meanwhile, the Palestinians plan to re-file a UN Security Council resolution to end Israel’s occupation.
Within days of Palestinians announcing they would join the International Criminal Court (ICC), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced his country would stop transferring customs revenue to the Palestinian Authority. The punitive move was expected to lead to a crisis for the Palestinian leadership as government services would collapse across the West Bank. But the Palestinian Authority had an unexpected back up plan. The Arab League has agreed to provide emergency funds to cover the VAT-taxes frozen by Israel. This Arab League safety net will help the Palestinians avoid the expected temporary bankruptcy and allow them to move forward with pressing for war crimes at the ICC. In fact, financial support from the Arab League was a key component, along with joining the ICC, of long-term strategy to pressure Israel into negotiations.
Israel’s High Court ruled to freeze state plans to build a part of Israel’s “separation” barrier that would have gone through the middle of Battir, a victory for the farming village of 5,000 people located west of Bethlehem in the southern West Bank. Mondoweiss speaks with Hassan Muamer about what the ruling means for the village and for Palestinians.
Haj Ibrahim Abu el-Hawa, the 73-year old Palestinian proprietor of the Jerusalem “Peace House,” a modest hostel in the Mount of Olives, has shaken the hand of President Jimmy Carter, listened to Ravi Shankar perform in his honor, met the singer Alicia Keys and was a great friend to the settler leader Rabbi Menachem Froman. He is also indebted to the city of Jerusalem for nearly $100,000 in fines and taxes for building an extension to his family house. Because of this addition, Abu el-Hawa, a fixture of Jerusalem’s coexistence camp, has been entangled in legal woes that could end in his imprisonment and the demolition of his family home if he cannot cover the fines.
On Friday, American security personnel accompanying staff from the United States Consulate in Jerusalem drew their weapons on violent Israeli settlers who attacked a two vehicle U.S. convoy outside the Palestinian town of Turmusaya in the West Bank. Consulate staff were investigating a incident which took place on private Palestinian land on the first night of 2015 when six thousand recently planted olive saplings were uprooted, and dozens of old olive trees were destroyed by violent Jewish settlers from an illegal outpost the Adei Ad near Turmusaya. Officials from Turmusaya notified the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem and requested an investigation because some of the owners of the land are Palestinian-Americans. When the U.S. delegation arrived in the area to investigate settlers started hurling stones at the convoy.
The Palestinian leadership’s resolution to end Israel’s occupation through negotiations failed to pass the United Nations Security Council Tuesday evening. While Palestinian leaders had hoped to garner the nine votes needed to be approved by the 15-member council, only eight countries supported the measure. The United States and Australia voted against it while five others abstained. U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said, “We voted against it because we know what everyone here knows, as well—peace will come from hard choices and compromises that must be made at he negotiating table. Today’s staged confrontation in the UN Security Council will not bring the parties closer to achieving two-state solution.”
By mid-afternoon on Christmas Eve crowds had thinned from the limestone plaza that is Manger Square, buffering Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity and its winding old city. International tourists lingered, but the bulk of the celebrators were Palestinians—Christian and Muslim alike. A handful of children under ten years old wore costumes and sold candies for 25-cents.
Ally Cohen was monitoring Israeli checkpoints in Hebron with the International Solidarity Movement when she fell and sprained her ankle. She was in immobilized in pain and stuck just outside a settlement on Hebron’s infamous Shuhada Street. Just when she thought the situation could not get any worse a car pulled up next to her and Anat Cohen stepped out.
The United States is creating momentum for the French to forestall, or all together abandon, presenting a resolution to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on behalf of the Palestinians. France has been informed of an American alternative offer to the Palestinian pursuit of a draft resolution to negotiate an end Israel’s occupation of territories gained in June 1967, a French diplomatic source tells Mondoweiss.