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Strangled Education: Reporting on higher education in Palestine and Israel

David Lloyd on
A bullet hole in the window of the library at the Palestine Technical University-Kedoorie, in Tulkarem, resulting from an IDF incursion in which numerous students and staff were injured, December 2015. (Photo: Lenora Hanson)

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 military takes computers and servers from Palestinian NGO in night raid

Allison Deger on
Health Development Information and Policy Institute in Ramallah after Israeli forces entered overnight and confiscated computers and servers. (Photo: Allison Deger)

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.

Gaza writes to Standing Rock: Your story is our story

Israa Suliman on
A mural in solidarity with the protests at Standing Rock created by "We Are Not Numbers" in Gaza.

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.”

Palestinian farmers are the first line of resistance to Israeli occupation

Clare Maxwell on
Palestinian farmer Ibrahim al-Khooli (Photo: Clare Maxwell)

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.

Israeli forces arrest 13-year-old Palestinian weeks after shooting him in both legs

Sheren Khalel on
Ramzi Abu Ajamia holding a photo of his left leg taken the day previously, when Palestinian doctors were fixing the work done on his leg during his Israeli detention, which left the wound infected and at risk of amputation. (Photo: Sheren Khalel)

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.

When bombs drop, Gazans joke…and pray

Pam Bailey on
Smoke rises following what witnesses said was an Israeli air strike, east of Gaza City October 5, 2016. (Photo: Ahmed Zakot/Reuters)

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.

Kafka in Area C

Yigal Bronner on
An Israeli military helicopter flies over the village of Daqiqa in the South Hebron Hills. Daqiqa is at risk of demolition. Palestinians must apply for permits in order to build in this area but only 1% of permits are granted, forcing people to build without permits and risk demolition. (Photo: Eoghan Rice / Trócaire)

“When Sa’id ‘Awad spotted the first pomegranate saplings popping up on his fields, he should have seen it coming. A part of him perhaps already understood that the long process threatening his land was nearing its logical conclusion; that the handful of tender trees would yield the poisoned fruit of dispossession.” Yigal Bronner reports on the the Kafkaesque tribulations of a Palestinian farmer in Area C of the West Bank.

A letter from Gaza to black America

Mohammed Alhammami on
Youth in Gaza show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. (Photo:

A Palestinian from Gaza writes a letter to African-Americans pointing out the many similarities share as oppressed peoples: “I do not have to be black to understand the words of Marin Luther King Jr. when he said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ I am a Palestinian who is extending his arms in brotherhood to another people who know and live my legacy of oppression.”

Shimon Peres and the nuclear world

Ted Snider on
Shimon Peres.

Shimon Peres was central to the creation of Israel’s nuclear weapon program, the development of the Apartheid regime’s nuclear weapon program in South Africa and was responsible for recasting Iran as a nuclear bogeyman and archenemy of the Western world. None of these three key moments will be mentioned as the press remembers Shimon Peres, but they all played important roles in the story of the nuclear threat faced by the world.

After building a protest movement, West Bank village of Nabi Saleh steps back from weekly Friday protests

Allison Deger on
Women and children of Nabi Saleh ambush an armed Israeli soldier attempting to capture a child in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, August 28, 2015. (Photo: Shadi Hatem/APA Images)

Over the summer, one of the founding villages of the Palestinian non-violent movement, Nabi Saleh, decided to stop holding the weekly Friday demonstrations that brought the small West Bank town international attention. The move comes following scores of arrests and a general fatigue among protesters. “The tear gas is inside the village, the clashes are inside of the homes, and it’s a small village which makes it difficult for the people to continue,” said Bassem Tamimi, a leader in Nabi Saleh who helped organize weekly marches over the past six years. He estimates that more than 350 people from his 600 person town have been injured in clashes with the army since 2010, and 50 were left physically disabled.

Israel’s plan to retool occupation includes color-coding ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Palestinians

Jonathan Cook on
Avigdor Lieberman. Photo: AP

Launched this month, Avigdor Lieberman’s plan for the Palestinians – retooling Israel’s occupation – received less attention than it should. It includes, the defense ministry producing a map of the West Bank marking in green and red the areas where, respectively, “good” and “bad” Palestinians live. Collective punishment will be stepped up in towns and villages in red areas, while green areas will reap economic rewards.

The endangered white cucumbers of Battir

David Kattenburg on
Vivien Sansour at an irrigation channel in Battir

Israel has been itching to run its Separation Wall across the occupied valley of Battir for years, a move that would surely destroy that valley. But Battir has UNESCO status because of its agricultural traditions, including terraced irrigation and heirloom apricot and cucumber, and this has put Israel’s plans on hold for the time being.

Palestinian mayor explains high death toll in small village: ‘Pressure births explosion’

Sheren Khalel on
The head of Religious Affairs in Sair told Mondoweiss that the municipality is struggling to come up with more space to bury those killed by Israeli forces in the future. (Photo: Sheren Khalel)

A year ago the Martyrs’ Cemetery in Sair, a town located in the southern occupied West Bank, was marked with graves a decade or more old. Today more than half the tombs are marked with dates from the past eight months. The village has been one of several epicenters of violence since the start of upheaval in October. Residents have endured the town being blockaded by Israeli forces, punitive home demolitions and thousands have had their Israeli work permits confiscated by authorities. The mayor of Sair village, Kayyed Jaradat tells Mondoweiss that Israel’s actions against the village have only fanned the flames of violence.

A losing battle in Israel’s High Court of Justice

Yotam Ben-Hillel on
The swearing in ceremony of Israeli Supreme Court Chief Justice, Justice Miriam Naor, January 15 2015. (Photo: Spokesperson unit of the President of Israel)

Two recent decisions in the Israeli High Court of Justice represent different policy trends regarding the Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem: using the annexed territory to Israel’s own benefit; and keeping a clear separation between the two city populations and treating its Palestinian inhabitants –residing in their hometown for many generations – as second-class citizens. These rulings and others have proven to East Jerusalem Palestinians that their Israeli IDs are no shield against the systematic discrimination of the Israeli judiciary.

Israel has demolished more Palestinian homes in first half of 2016 than all of 2015

Allison Deger on
Screen shot of B'Tselem video on increased demolitions of Palestinian homes in the West Bank and Jerusalem. More units were razed in the first half of 2016 than in all of  2016.

More Palestinian homes were demolished in the occupied territories in the first half of 2016 than in all of 2015, according to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. The increased demolitions have been accompanied by a rising number of new settler homes under construction, prompting the U.S. State Department to issue an atypical condemnation of the Jewish state.

My Name is Saleh: Notes on Palestinian childhood

Juliana Farha on
Palestinian children play as they perform the suffering of the Palestinian citizens to cross Israeli checkpoints, in the West Bank city of Nablus, on June 27, 2010. (Photo: Wagdi Eshtayah/APA images)

Ahead of this week’s House of Lords debate about the health and well being of Palestinian children, Juliana Farha reports from a sold-out presentation by Defense for Children International-Palestine at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies: “Ayed tells us that physical torture of Palestinian children was common a few years ago, but interrogators observed that those being tortured often call up reserves of strength to resist, rendering it counter-productive. Instead, they discovered, psychological terror can be more effective: threatening to arrest the child’s family members, for instance, or to revoke his father’s work permit.”

Israeli human rights organizations push back against law designed to ‘silence opposition’

Emily Mulder on
Israelis from the left-wing organization Peace Now protest in front of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residence in Jerusalem over the "Jewish state" bill, November 29, 2014. (Photo: Peace Now/Facebook)

Israel’s human rights NGOs pushed back this week after the Knesset passed a transparency law that critics say was the most recent attempt by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition to persecute the country’s left. Leading Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now vowed to wage legal war against the new law, which requires NGOs that receive more than half of their funding from foreign donors to declare their funding sources prior to addressing Knesset committees, speaking with public officials, as well as on publications and websites.

Separation and conquest: Israel’s ideological barrier

Amjad Alqasis on
A masked Palestinian protestor climbs Israel's separation wall during a weekly demonstration against Israeli occupation in the West Bank village of Nilin, on December 02, 2011. (Photo: Issam Rimawi/ APA Images)

Twelve years have passed since the International Court of Justice declared that Israel’s Annexation Wall is contrary to international law. A particular concern was the location of the Wall which the ICJ noted would lead to “further alterations to the demographic composition of the Occupied Palestinian Territory.” But, Amjad Alqasis says, the Wall is just another tool deployed by Israel to continue the process of colonizing Mandate Palestine: “Simply put, the Israeli endeavor aims at emptying Mandate Palestine from its indigenous inhabitants, including areas that lie today within the borders of Israel proper. The Wall is not only built by concrete stone, it is seeded in the Zionist ideology of separation and conquest.”

Israeli siege brings life to a halt in the southern West Bank

Allison Deger on
Entrance to Bani Na'im, cordoned of by Israeli forces. Bani Na'im is the hometown of a Palestinian teen who killed a 13-year old Israeli on Thursday. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Days away from the Eid holiday Shafooq Baloot, 25, does not know how or when she will do her annual clothes shopping. “We can’t go everywhere whenever we would like,” the English teacher tells Allison Deger. The Israeli army shut the main entrance to Baloot’s town with cement blocks and an earth mound after a teen from her village killed a 13-year old Israeli in a nearby settlement last Thursday. Over the weekend Israeli forces barricaded at least 20 more villages in the Hebron area, along with the southern entrance to the city of Hebron itself.

Israeli forces kill Palestinian teen by ‘mistake’

Kate on
15-year-old Mahmoud Raafat Badran (Photo: Ma'an News)

Ma’an News: 15-year-old Mahmoud Rafat Badran and his family had been driving home from a swimming pool late Sunday night when Israeli forces showered their car with gunfire, killing Mahmoud, and seriously injuring his two brothers 16-year-old Amir and 17-year-old Hadi, as well as Daoud Abu Hassan, 16, and Majd Badran, 16.The Israeli army later admitted they “mistakenly” opened fire on the innocent bystanders after Palestinian youth were reportedly throwing stones at Israeli settler vehicles nearby. Israeli media initially reported that Mahmoud and his teenage companions were “terrorists.”