Jodi Melamed is on the front lines of a joint Palestinian-Jewish effort to reclaim confiscated land through strategic nonviolence: taking back the village with a peaceful protest encampment, “Eight days ago, I woke up with 130 other American and international Jews on a rooftop in the South Hebron Hills and in order to avoid being stopped at checkpoints, hiked into the village of Sarura to take part in an unprecedented number of Jews from abroad who are participating in a Palestinian-led coalition seeking to return families forcibly evicted from that village in the 1990s, and to launch a resistance camp, modeled on Standing Rock, to test the power of nonviolence to reverse the systematic displacement of occupation in the West Bank.”
Category Archives: Occupation
Every single home demolition is devastating to a family. Every single demolished family tells a unique and surreal story about the day when Israeli bulldozers rolled over their children’s schoolbooks, their grandmother’s prescription medicines, and letters from their uncle overseas. Nora Lester Murad tells the story of Ashraf and Islam Fawaqa and their four daughters — Ritaj, 9; Rimas, 7; Saba, 4; and Aya, a newborn whose Jerusalem home was demolished while they were taking Aya to an infant checkup.
Michael Merryman-Lotze remembers Israel’s siege on the West Bank city of Ramallah during Operation Defensive Shield: “The night of April 2 was one that I won’t forget. That was the night that the Israeli military took over the Preventative Security Office in Betunia. They surrounded the building with tanks and forced out the Palestinian police inside, arresting many. They searched the prison, releasing criminals and detaining others. They then proceeded to destroy the compound, firing tanks and missiles into the buildings throughout the night.”
Youth Against Settlement’s Issa Amro writes about signs settlers have posted inside of Hebron, “At the front of Shuhada street in the old city of Hebron is a street sign pointing multiple directions: Chabad Cemetery, Old Jewish Cemetery, Ancient Tel Hebron. The words are in Hebrew and English only. The purpose of the sign is not to provide directions but to erase Palestinian identity, and even the Arabic language, from the area. For more than a decade Israeli settlers have been installing these types of signs throughout Hebron. Over the past two years, the installation of these signs has increased exponentially.”
The Palestinian Festival of Literature celebrated its 10th year in 2017. With a slew of respected artists and writers on its program, the festival met in cities across the occupied West Bank and Israel. From Haifa, to Ramallah, to Nablus and Jerusalem, the festival once again brought people from across the world to the stage.
After Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev wore a dress celebrating Israel’s conquest of Jerusalem at Cannes yesterday, social media lit up with parodies. The redesigns include an added separation wall into the Old City scene, air strikes over Gaza, soldiers raiding a Palestinian home, and a tribute to leading hunger striking prisoner Marwan Barghouti.
Rebecca L. Stein talks with Rela Mazali, a founding member of the Israeli feminist organization Gun Free Kitchen Table which is working to decrease small arms proliferation in the Israeli public sphere and to eliminate the violence facilitated by easy access to firearms. In March the organization issued the report “Loose Guns: Israeli Controlled Small Arms in the Civil Sphere,” which finds that Israeli civil sphere is dangerously over-armed and that this condition has been normalized within mainstream Jewish Israeli society.
Last Sunday 16-year-old Fatima Hjeiji was shot dead by Israeli forces as she approached a group of five Israeli border police officers in Jerusalem, allegedly carrying a kitchen knife with the intention of attacking them. Sheren Khalel talks to her family who remembers the teen as an activist, poet, and stellar math student. “Even though Fatima was a young girl, she had a very strong personality — very strong,” Fatima’s grandfather says. “Ever since she was a little kid she was always carrying the Palestinian flag, speaking about Palestinian land. She went to Jerusalem to be in solidarity with the prisoners, she went to Jerusalem for Palestine.”
The Jahalin Bedouin in Jabal al-Baba face imminent demolition. Mersiha Gadzo reports: “Forty-two-year-old Atallah Mazara’a from the Jahalin Bedouin tribe recalls a time when residents were free to move, unhindered by concrete walls and unobtainable permits. Such a scenario today remains a distant dream, even though Jerusalem is only 2.5 miles away. Now, Bedouin communities stand in the way of the E1 zone, which would expand settlements from Ma’ale Adumim to occupied East Jerusalem.”
Israeli Prison Services released footage of hunger strike leader Marwan Barghouti supposedly breaking the strike by eating a snack on the toilet. There seems to be no bottom to the abyss Israel is willing to sink to in its desperation to save its image against the current Palestinian hunger strike.
Amira Hass reports for Haaretz: “In 2013, a UNICEF report said Israel was systematically abusing young detainees, new data shows little has changed.”
The fifth annual Palestine Marathon kicked off on Friday in the West Bank city of Bethlehem—with 6,000 runners participating, this year’s marathon was the largest ever in the city. The marathon, which takes place every year to publicize Israel’s restrictions on Palestinian freedom of movement, saw runners from at least 65 different countries, according to Bethlehem Mayor Vera Baboun.
While the White House is still formulating a new policy towards Israeli settlements, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu got out in front of the forthcoming changes by announcing his own set of rules, with differing messages aimed at the Trump administration and right-wing members of his coalition. The policy is still vague. Reportedly it will restrict where settlers can build in the West Bank, but not how many or how often, according to cabinet members who were in the meeting and spoke to Israeli media anonymously.
Palestinian activists on Sunday filmed Israeli forces dragging 8-year-old Sufian Abu Hitah through the al-Harika neighborhood of Hebron in the occupied West Bank for more than hour. The video, received and edited by Israeli rights group B’Tselem, shows the boy crying and barefoot, being pulled by his arm by Israeli forces as they tried to get the boy to identify other children who soldiers suspected of throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba earlier that day.
Around 2,000 mourners marched on Friday in the Bethlehem-area village of al-Walaja for the funeral of slain Basil al-Araj, 36, who was slain by Israeli forces March 6. Al-Araj’s ideology against normalization and security coordination is popular among leftist Palestinian youth. His success in eluding Israeli forces for six months, and then refusal to surrender when he was found, only made his ideas more popular.
How do you engage people with the Palestinian struggle for freedom, when you’re faced with the slickest and most well-funded propaganda machine the world has ever known? Rory Evans writes a trendy new hotel in Bethlehem created by the graffiti artist Banksy has opened to the public in an effort to breathe new life into the fight for Palestinian justice.
Mahmoud al-Araj, the father of slain Basil al-Araj, left his home on Sunday expecting to take part in a peaceful demonstration outside a courthouse in Ramallah where a judge officially dropped an investigation into his son. He ended up in the hospital after getting caught in the middle of a chaotic crackdown by Palestinian Authority (PA) forces wielding heavy batons, and shooting pepper spray and tear gas at Palestinians protesting the death of Basil, the imprisonment of his five friends and the court’s decision to pursue charges against them for allegedly storing illegal weapons.
On March 8, women in Gaza marked International Women’s Day along with their counterparts in the countries across the globe. But in Gaza, International Women’s Day is less of a celebration and more of a harsh and painful reminder of three wars in the last decade, and years of siege. Laila Qarmout, 57, a member of the General Union of Palestinian Women said: “Women are indoctrinated from the age of five to see ourselves as less than our brothers or less than our husbands. Despite this, we have struggled a lot against the world’s only long-running occupation. Women know too well the iniquity of repression.”
On his second long-term hunger strike in the past year, Palestinian journalist Mohammed al-Qiq’s health is deteriorating faster than anyone expected, leaving his family to plea for support before it is too late. “If Mohammed were to quit his hunger strike now, the first one that almost killed him would be for nothing, so he feels he must continue his strike—not just for himself, but for all the other Palestinian prisoners on strike against their administrative detention as well — they must stay strong together,” Fayha Salash, Mohammed’s wife, tells Mondoweiss.
“Shadi was arrested on December 30, 2015. He was just 12 years old. The news took my breath away; the whole family was in a state of shock. For a long time, none of us could eat or sleep properly. When I closed my eyes, all I could see was my little boy, scared and alone, in a freezing cold prison cell. I later learned that they had forced him to stand in there naked, at one point.” On International Women’s Day, Farihan Daraghmeh Farah tells the harrowing story of her son Shadi and how her family has struggled to free him from Israeli occupation prisons.
Banksy’s new hotel has drawn much praise from the international community for its initiative to attract tourists to the West Bank and educate them through space as a medium and an object of art, but Tamara Nassar says, “Banksy’s hotel is a form of gentrification that exploits Palestinian suffering and imposes an ‘art space’ that thrives on fulfilling an example of white fantasy in travel, in order to witness war zones as an educational and historical amusement when in fact it is very present and happening in real-time.”
A Palestinian state is anathema to Zionism – and must therefore be kept in the realms of fiction. The Palestinian state does not arrive, because Israel doesn’t intend, and never has intended, for the Palestinian dream to come true. After Palestinians accepted a partition of the land and initiated the peace process, Israel came up with a charade to convince the world it meant business– what Yitzhak Shamir called the “teaspoon” process.
Part two of a three-part series on Palestinian sports teams and the BDS struggle looks at the Palestinian Football Association’s efforts at pressuring FIFA to sanction Israel.
Aline Batarseh writes, “Despite Israel’s efforts to “unify” the city, Jerusalem remains divided. No one understands this reality better than the people who live in this contested city. Despite the fact that Israelis and Palestinians live in close proximity to one another, there is little communication between them. I personally have never socially interacted with an Israeli in my life. We live separate—and unequal—lives.”