Fathy Shebana’s family has lived in Sinjil, a rural village between Ramallah and Nablus for as long as any of them can remember. Today, much of their land is gone, annexed by Israel for illegal settlements. Since Israel passed a new law retroactively legalizing at least a dozen settlement outposts built on private Palestinian land, Fathy and his community fear even more for the future of their land and livelihoods.
Category Archives: Occupation
Hundreds of Palestinians gathered at the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt over the weekend, waiting for their turn to be let through the checkpoint. The three-day opening allowed medical patients, students, and travelers with foreign passports to cross. With huge numbers of Palestinians desperate to leave Gaza, travelers typically pay an exorbitant amount of money to local brokers who coordinate their passage with Egyptian authorities. It’s been reported previously that Egyptian authorities ask for bribes of up to $10,000. Mondoweiss spoke with some hopeful travelers about their experience trying to get across the border from Gaza to Egypt while they waited in line.
In an incident caught on video yesterday, a group of Israeli settlers rode a red ATV into a densely populated Palestinian area in the West Bank city of Hebron to taunt and threaten locals. “If war breaks out the Jews will come here and evict and kill you all,” one settler yells.
In practice there has never been a serious limit on theft of Palestinian land. But now, after passing the “Regularization Bill,” Israeli government support for the plunder will be explicit in law. It will be impossible to blame the outposts on “rogue” settlers, or claim that Israel is trying to safeguard Palestinian property rights.
The new law legalizing theft of Palestinian land is very similar to earlier legislation the Israeli government passed after Partition in 1950 and after the occupation in 1967, giving legal title to Jews of land formerly owned by Palestinians, who had either fled, been expelled, or were gerrymandered out of Israeli bounds.
The Israeli Knesset on Monday passed a controversial new law that allows the Israeli government to expropriate private Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, making more than a dozen Israeli settlements legal under Israeli law. It is the first time in history that the Knesset has imposed Israeli civil law the occupied West Bank, which is under Israeli military and civilian rule. Xavier Abu Eid, a spokesperson for the PLO’s Negotiations Affairs Department said the law essentially “legalized theft of Palestinian land” adding that the legislation “negates peace and the possibility of the two-state solution.”
Mohammed al-Qiq, a Palestinian journalist who spent 94-days on hunger strike last year to challenge his administrative detention—Israel’s policy of imprisoning Palestinians without charge or trial—announced Monday a second hunger strike, this time against his re-arrest. Al-Qiq’s wife, Fayha Shalash, told Mondoweiss that the proceedings, which were held in Ofer Military Court, were illegitimate, “This whole thing is just a way to put Mohammed back in jail, they have no proof of anything against him, they just want to keep him away from everything.”
Israeli police evacuated more than 200 Israeli settlers Wednesday from the West Bank outpost of Amona, dragging families with young children out of the illegal community that was built more than a decade ago. It may seem that justice prevailed in favor of the original Palestinian landowners, but for many it is not a victory. Amona residents will ultimately be relocated in adjacent plots of land, which also belong to Palestinians.
Historian Avi Shlaim reveals a shift in his thinking on Israel and Palestine: Zionism was a colonial project well before 1967. And the US and Britain have traded roles as mother country.
A peaceful march broke out into clashes on Sunday, after Palestinians gathered in the occupied southern West Bank city of Bethlehem to demand Israeli authorities release the remains of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces to their families for burial. Samir al-Khadour, the husband of slain Majd al-Khadour, said, “To see all these people here gives me hope that I will get my wife’s body back one day.”
“We will soon be the majority!” says a huge billboard in the heart of Tel-Aviv. Written in Arabic and showing Palestinians with Palestinian flags it is meant to frighten Jewish Israelis into supporting a two-state solution. The Israeli press is reporting that many Israelis “erroneously thought this to be a hostile takeover of the media by Palestinian terror organizations,” but the campaign is actually the work of a ‘liberal’ organization from the center of Israeli politics.
Is a two-state “solution” still possible? Or is it time to push for one state with equal rights for all? Palestinian youths in Gaza respond to the Paris Peace Conference.
Based on the responses he has received it is clear that Jonathan Ofir’s latest article questioning the whole label of “terror” touched a raw nerve with Israelis and Israel supporters. Ofir asks, what is that nerve really? And why is it so offensive?
“We in Jerusalem have just experienced an unprovoked terrorist attack, a murderous attack that claimed the lives of four young Israelis and wounded others”, said Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu in a statement right after the car ramming attack in East Jerusalem two days ago. But is an attack on military personnel in occupied territory a terror attack? Jonathan Ofir writes, “By such rhetoric, Netanyahu blurs the distinction between military and civilian targets, a principle which is very important in the distinctions concerning terror. When we sum up the whole of the setting, what we actually have is a Palestinian under occupation, targeting a gathering which is rather exclusively manned by soldiers, military representatives of the army that is occupying him. All this falls, prima facie, within the distinctions regarding legitimate resistance to occupation. It does not matter how ugly it looks, we cannot without critical appraisal of the context just call it ‘terror.'”
Emad Abu Shamsiyah first started receiving death threats in March, after a video he filmed for Israeli rights group B’Tselem, which captured Israeli soldier Elor Azaria shooting dead Abed al-Fattah al-Sharif, 21, was released to the public. Now, the manslaughter ruling against Azaria has translated into anger among Israeli settlers and Shamsiyah cannot walk the streets of his neighborhood without fearing for his life. “It was already bad before, but after the court ruling, all these threats started to come in through my Facebook, telling me I will die and that people want to murder me,” Shamsiyah tells Mondoweiss.
This month, Israeli military authorities published a video on social media publicizing Palestinian attractions in the West Bank. At first glance, it looked like a generous promotional stunt by Israel to aid the Palestinians’ struggling tourism industry. But the deception at the campaign’s heart operates on several levels – and reveals much about Israel’s long-term policy towards the Palestinians.
This January, after several years of often-heated discussion and review, the Modern Language Association’s representative body will consider a resolution to endorse the Palestinian call for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. The relative absence of Palestinian testimony from debates at scholarly associations prompted a number of MLA members to visit the West Bank and Israel this summer to explore first-hand the conditions in which scholars and students have to work throughout historic Palestine. David Lloyd shares his experience from the trip.
Israeli forces busted through the doors of a Ramallah aid organization founded by a leading Palestinian politician in the early morning hours Wednesday, and took away computers, servers and security camera footage, and leaving behind a mess of shattered glass and tossed papers throughout the downtown office.
Israa Suliman writes from Gaza to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe: “Although we are of different color, religion, culture and place, I have learned, as I read about the protests at Standing Rock, that we have much more in common than differences. When I read your history, I can see myself and my people reflected in yours. I feel in my core that your fight is my fight, and that I am not alone in the battle against injustice.”
For the farmers in Wadi Qana embracing their land and their agricultural traditions is more than just a lifestyle choice, it’s a form of resistance. By maintaining their presence on the land, they keep settlements and the wall at bay and preserve a traditional Palestinian communal economy that is struggling against eradication.
In March, Ramzi Abu Ajamia got word that Israeli forces were looking for him. Terrified of getting arrested, Ramzi stopped sleeping at home and going to school. He succeeded in dodging Israeli forces for five months before he was spotted at clashes during an Israeli night raid on Dheisha refugee camp. Israeli forces spotted the boy on the streets around 1 a.m., and fired. Ramzi was shot in both legs and doctors were only able to remove the two bullets in his right leg. Ramzi underwent six surgeries over the course of a few weeks before he was sent home to recover. Then a few days into Ramzi’s homestay, Israeli forces stormed his house, blasting off the family’s front door before raiding the home and arresting the injured 13-year-old. “That night I had a feeling they would come for me, I was sitting up in my bed waiting,” Ramzi told Mondoweiss, both legs still bandaged and unhealed.
In the middle of the morning on October 5, sounds of bombs reverberated throughout Gaza. The news would trickle out later that an extremist Salafi fringe group had shot a crude rocket into an Israeli settlement, reportedly as a way of pressuring the Hamas government to release some of its members from prison. Some in Gaza said they believe the Salafis are actually being manipulated by the Palestinian Authority. Israeli forces responded with more than 30 airstrikes and tank hits in two hours, these are the Palestinian accounts of that incurrsion.