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.
Category Archives: Occupation
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.
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.
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.
In a video released by the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, an Israeli soldier is seen confiscating the bicycle of an eight-year old crying Palestinian girl, and then tossing it into nearby bushes.
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.”
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.
An internal Jerusalem department report reveals Israeli border police “initiated friction activity” to deliberately provoke violence in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Isawiyah, according to Haaretz.
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.”
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.
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.”
In the last decade the number of Palestinian refugees in the West Bank and Gaza has increased by one million, according to a survey conducted by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) in advance of World Refugee Day.
Khaled Makhamri was an excellent student enrolled in university in Jordan on a prestigious governmental scholarship. Now his family is trying to understand why he carried out one of the deadliest attacks in Tel Aviv in years. More than 60 of the attackers in the last 9 months came from Khaled’s district in the southern West Bank and his hometown of Yatta is a particularly difficult place to live. It has the highest school drop out rate in the occupied Palestinian territory, settler attacks on agricultural land in the outskirts of town are common, and Israeli army ordered home demolitions in the surrounding areas are frequent. “The reason why he did such a thing is the occupation, he is not working with any illegal organization,” his father tells Allison Deger.
Blue and white banners filled Jerusalem yesterday to mark 49 years of Israeli rule in the city. Crowds of settler youth chanted the slogan “the Jewish nation lives” as they marched under the ramparts of Damascus Gate. Many wore stickers supporting rabbi Meir Kahane, a former Knesset member kicked out of the government after calling for violence against Arabs, while others pasted their clothes with decals backing a greater Israel, a Jewish-nationalist movement that seeks to annex the occupied Palestinian territory. Meanwhile, Palestinians were barred from sections of the city and postponed the start of their own festivities for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan to avoid conflicts with the settlers.
Palestinian parliamentarian Khalida Jarrar returned to her West Bank home in Ramallah today after more than a year in an Israeli prison on charges related to her political activism. Jarrar was arrested in April 2014 first under an administrative detention order, a form of imprisonment without charge. In December of that year she signed a plea deal for a 14-month sentence after a lengthy hearing. After a tearful reunion with her husband, mother, and supporters at the checkpoint, Jarrar then traveled to her house in Ramallah. Once in her backyard amid shrubs and fruit trees Jarrar described her legal ordeal, and the long journeys she made to Israel’s military court to stand trial.
Mohammed Alhammami recalls stories he heard growing up of Jews, Muslims and Christians living alongside each other in historic Palestine as one people, not divided factions. But he wonders what about now? Can Jews and Palestinians (Christians and Muslims alike) really coexist in the Holy Land, after 68 years of Nakba?
When the plain-clothed men came for him, Kifah Quzmar, 27, did not need to be told why they were dragging him out of a popular Ramallah cafe on a sunny afternoon last week. “Call my brother,” he told bystanders before being tossed into the back of a tinted SUV parked outside. “The muhaberat are rotten,” Quzmar wrote on Facebook two weeks before he was detained, using the Arabic colloquial term for undercover Palestinian intelligence agents. In the West Bank, such words are a punishable offensive under a 1960 Jordanian law still on the books making illegal “insulting a public official.” The crime carries a maximum of a six-month prison sentence.
Welcome to Khadoori Institute. Located on the pre-1967 border with Israel in the city of Tulkarem, this Palestinian agricultural and technical college has lost 200 dunams of land to Israel’s separation wall and neighbors an Israeli chemical factory that was built in the occupied territories to circumvent environmental laws. In the 1990s the IDF took 23 dunums of school property to place a military training field on Khadoori’s campus and since tensions rekindled in October 2015, soldiers have shot at protesting students on campus with live bullets, rubber bullets, tear gas, pepper spray gas, and also sprayed skunk liquid over university buildings.
Palestinian astrophysicist Imad Barghouthi, a professor at Al-Quds University, is currently being held in Israeli administrative detention – imprisonment without charge or trial. His three-month sentence is indefinitely renewable on the basis of “secret evidence” to which he and his lawyer are denied access. “Imad is the source of love and kindness in our house. He is very joyful and he spreads positivity wherever he goes,” says Duha Barghouthi, 17, Imad’s daughter and a graduating high school student. “My father is a man who loves his country and he has paid a price for that.”
An Israeli investigation has revealed a 23-year old Palestinian woman and her 16-year old brother were killed last week at an army checkpoint in Jerusalem by civilian security contractors, not soldiers. The shooter, whose identity was not disclosed, is likely employed by the $180 million Israeli security conglomerate Modi’in Ezrachi.
A photo taken by the Christian Peacemaker Team shows Palestinian men being detained at a checkpoint in Hebron while Israeli soldiers take a group selfie.
Hamas scored another victory on Wednesday at Birzeit University in the occupied West Bank, winning 25 seats in the university’s student elections. The university, considered the most liberal of all campuses in the West Bank, is seen as an indicator for the political climate across the West Bank.
Israeli forces killed two Palestinians, a woman and a minor, Wednesday morning at Qalandia checkpoint in Jerusalem after the female threw knife at border officials, according to a preliminary Israeli police investigation.
Pronouncement by Netanyahu and cabinet on Israeli right to enter Area A shows Israel has abandoned two state program for a “one-state, two systems… apartheid” arrangement, Saeb Erekat of the PLO says
Antony Lowenstein talks with Amany Khalifa and Fayrouz Sharqawi from the organization Grassroots Jerusalem to discuss fighting Israeli occupation, media misrepresentation of Palestinians and the dangers of foreign funding for NGOs.