Category Archives:
Occupation

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.”

Family of Tel Aviv attacker tries to understand how star pupil turned to violence

Allison Deger on
Mohammed Makhamri, father of Palestinian identified by local media as one of the shooters in the attack in Tel Aviv last Wednesday where four Israelis were killed, stands in his son Khaled's bedroom, Yatta. (Photo: Allison Deger)

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.

Palestinians forced to delay the start of Ramadan as Israel celebrates 49 years of ruling Jerusalem

Allison Deger on
Jerusalem Day paraders march through the Muslim Quarter of the Old City. (Photo: 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 returns to West Bank after more than a year in Israeli prison

Allison Deger on
Palestinian parliamentarian Khalida Jarrar in her West Bank home in Ramallah after being released from an Israeli prison on Friday June 3, 2016. (Photo: Allison Deger)

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.

After 68 years of Nakba, is coexistence still possible?

Mohammed Alhammami on
Palestinian boy climbs through an opening in Israel's separation barrier in Shuafat near Jerusalem. February, 2009. (Photo: REUTERS/Baz Ratner)

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?

Palestinian jailed for Facebook post casts light on PA attacks on free speech

Allison Deger on
Kifah Quzmar, 27, in his home after he was detained by Palestinian intelligence agents for "insulting a public official" on Facebook. (Photo: Allison Deger)

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.

‘This is not an environment to learn’: Palestinian college struggles to exist next to IDF training ground

Steven Davidson on
Khadoori Institute students escape teargas enveloping the campus greenhouses, fleeing towards the campus quad (Photo: Steven Davidson)

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.

‘Love of country fills his soul’: Daughter of imprisoned Palestinian astrophysicist speaks out on her father’s case

Charlotte Kates on
Duha and Imad Barghouthi (Photo provided by Duha Barghouthi)

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.”

Meet the private contractors manning Israel’s checkpoints

Allison Deger on
A member of the Israeli security forces gestures towards Palestinian men while they wait to cross Qalandia checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem, in the occupied West Bank, 2013. (Photo Issam Rimawi/APA Images)

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.

The banality of evil as captured in a selfie

Adam Horowitz on
(Photo: Christian Peacemaker Teams)

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 wins major student elections in the West Bank for second year running

Sheren Khalel on
Thousands of students gathered at Birzeit for the student elections, flooding the campus with political garb, most of which showed support for one of three student groups affiliated with Hamas, Fatah and the PFLP.(Photo: Abed Al Qaisi)

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.