Category Archives:
Occupation

In Israel, the mask is finally off

David Glick on
A runner wears a mask depicting Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after an Election Race organised by a local gym at the Yarkon park in Tel Aviv March 16, 2015. (Photo: Reuters)

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.

The bitter anniversary of Yusuf Shawamreh’s death

Stanley Heller on
Yusuf Shawamreh collecting used shell casings at the separation barrier to sell as scrap metal in October, 2013 (Photo: B'tselem)

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.

Palestine, (un)Naturally

Steven Salaita on
An Israeli jack hammer starting to destroy Palestinian olive trees in Beit Hanina, 2008. (Photo: POICA)

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.”

On first campaign stop in West Bank, Netanyahu warns that ‘radical elements’ want to take over Israel

Allison Deger on
Palestinian workers wait for transportation to go back to the West Bank, next to election campaign billboards of Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Likud party leader, in Bnei Brak, Israel. (Photo: Oded Balilty/AP)

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 vote to end security coordination with Israel, a cornerstone of Oslo and the occupation

Allison Deger on
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas holds a

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.

Bil’in marks ten years of resisting the occupation

Allison Deger on
Tear gas canisters collected at the end of Bil'in's tenth anniversary protest, February 27, 2015. (Photo: Allison Deger)

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.

Israel turns off power to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the dead of winter

Annie Robbins on
Ramallah Feb 20, 2015 (photo: Twitter Elia Ghorbieh)

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.”

Israeli prosecutor calls Bil’in protest ‘ideological crime’ at Abu Rahmah sentencing hearing

Kate on
Abdallah Abu Rahmah in court in 2010. (Photo: Activestills)

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.

Palestinian youth face psychological trauma and educational neglect following Israeli detention

Leah R. Platkin on
Israeli soldiers arrest a young Palestinian boy following clashes in Hebron on June 20. (Photo: THOMAS COEX – AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

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 status quo that suffocates Palestinians

Samer Jaber on
Abdul Fatah Abed Rabbo, or Abed Qotqot as his friends and family used  to call him. (Photo: LIOR MIZRAHI FOR THE TORONTO STAR)

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.

Despite punitive Israeli tax freeze, Palestinians to pursue war crimes charges with Arab League financial help

Allison Deger on
Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas attends the 25th Arab League summit, held for the first time in Kuwait City, on March 25, 2014. (Photo: Yasser al-Zayyat/AFP/Daily News Egypt)

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.

Israeli high court freezes plan to build Separation Wall through West Bank village of Battir

Sarah Levy on
A view from Battir looking North, taken from very close to the green line. The Israeli railroad that runs through Battir does not stop in the village and is only for Israeli use. (Photo: Sarah Levy)

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.

Jerusalem’s interfaith ‘Peace House’ faced with Israeli demolition order

Allison Deger on
Haj Ibrahim Abu el-Hawa with his family in his home that has a standing demolition order, East Jerusalem. (Photo: Allison Deger)

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.

Israeli settlers attack US consulate convoy in the West Bank (Updated)

Annie Robbins on
One of the U.S. Consulate vehicles that was hit by a rock. (Photo: Rabbis for Human Rights via 972mag)

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.

Palestinian resolution fails at the Security Council, U.S. votes against ‘staged confrontation’ at the UN

Allison Deger on
Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour, left, and Jordanian Ambassador Dina Kawar talk to reporters after a meeting of Arab states at U.N. headquarters, Monday, December 29, 2014. (Photo: Seth Wenig/AP)

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.”

‘Go to Auschwitz!: Extremist settler confronts injured ISM volunteer in Hebron

Ally Cohen on
Shabaab wait for IDF to emerge at the entrance to the illegal Israeli settlement situated along Shuhada Street, June, 2014. (Photo: Sheren Khalel)

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.

U.S. seeks to counter Palestinian UN resolution with alternative offer, says French diplomat

Allison Deger on
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, and French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius give a press conference at the Quai d'Orsay in Paris Wednesday Nov. 5, 2014.

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.

Israeli police attempt to arrest Palestinian preschoolers for throwing rocks

Kate on
Israeli soldiers arrest a young Palestinian boy following clashes in Hebron on June 20. (Photo: THOMAS COEX – AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

The International Middle East Media Center reports: “Israeli police, on Tuesday, attempted to arrest two preschoolers during a raid on two homes in the occupied East Jerusalem town of Silwan, according to witnesses. WAFA correspondence reports that police raided the home of Mr. Mohammad Abd al-Raziq, in the Bir Ayoub neighborhood of Silwan, in search of two children aged three and five, for allegedly throwing rocks at them.”

Palestinian UN effort seeks to set ‘terms of reference’ for negotiations and promote shift away from US leadership

Allison Deger on
Mahmoud Abbas addresses the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly, September 26, 2014, NYC. (Photo: AFP/ Timothy A. Clary)

PLO official Dr. Mohammed Shtayyeh says the current Palestinian push at the UN Security Council comes “a serious junction in the history of Palestine.” Allison Deger reports that the proposed UN resolution marks a change in Palestinian strategy for the PLO. According to Dr. Shtayyeh the resolution is “not simply as part of a routine diplomatic issue. We are going to the Security Council because this is part of a strategic shift in the way that we are dealing with the struggle with the Israelis.” Although details of the resolution are not yet public, it appears this shift includes taking a harder line on Israeli settlement construction and looking toward Europe for leadership over the peace process instead of the United States.

PA to seek UN Security Council resolution giving Israel two years to end the occupation

Allison Deger on
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. (Photo: Khaled

The Palestinian Authority has announced it will seek a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution calling for an end of the Israeli occupation within a specific time period. The draft legislation gives Israel two years to remove its forces from lands occupied in June 1967 and reaffirms per-existing agreements for a framework of negotiations, said Ashraf Khatib a spokesperson for the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Negotiations Affairs Department via telephone to Mondoweiss. While the resolution makes no explicit mention of land swamps, it does support previous accords where the PLO granted Israel the possibility of territorial exchanges where up to 60% of settlers could remain in the West Bank.

PA considers ‘re-defining security coordination’ with Israel in wake of Palestinian govt minister death

Allison Deger on
Funeral for Palestinian minister Ziad Abu Ein at the seat of the Palestinian government, the Muqataa, in al-Bireh, near Ramallah, December 11, 2014. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Shop windows in Ramallah were shuttered yesterday within hours of Minister Ziad Abu Ein’s death from a heart attack following an assault by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank village of Turmusaya. Thousands poured through the streets during a state funeral held today with a ceremony at the Muqataa, the seat of the Palestinian Authority and a procession to a nearby cemetery.

‘Suicide Drones’ and the Spoils of War: Israeli arms manufacturers look to cash in on the war in Gaza

Dan Cohen on
An advertisement at the “Israel Unmanned Systems 2014” conference. (Image: Dan Cohen)

Three weeks after Israel’s latest assault on the Gaza Strip concluded, Israeli military and political leaders attended a conference next to Ben Gurion Airport to sell the successes of what Israel dubbed Operation Protective Edge, which killed more than 2,200 Palestinians including 521 children. The “Israel Unmanned Systems 2014” conference showcased the latest drone technology and previewed the industry’s prospects to a few hundred international buyers, vendors, and military figures. Inside a private conference room, political and industry leaders gave presentations — speaking in military euphemisms that avoided any uncomfortable references to the humanitarian catastrophe resulting from the 51-day bombing campaign. Among the offerings were suicide drones, “loitering munitions” that need to explode; a 16-year-old showing off high-tech robots designed by fellow high schoolers and future drone makers; and “premature” weapons, armaments that have not been fully tested before they are used on a live Palestinian population. Such is Israel the military power.