Category Archives:
On the ground reports

Jordanian-Palestinian resolution to the UN Security Council gives US and Israel wiggle room

Allison Deger on
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas appeals to all nations to vote in favor of the Palestinians "as an investment in peace," in a statement before the United Nations General Assembly, Thursday, November 29, 2012. (Photo: Richard Drew/AP)

Early this morning Jordan submitted to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) a draft resolution on behalf of the Palestinians to end Israel’s occupation of territory occupied in June 1967 through a negotiations process. The resolution would be the first to call for a third-party security presence to “guarantee and respect the sovereignty of a State of Palestine,” but it puts no deadline on Israel’s withdrawal.

U.S. seeks to counter Palestinian UN resolution with alternative offer, says French diplomat

Allison Deger on
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, and French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius give a press conference at the Quai d'Orsay in Paris Wednesday Nov. 5, 2014.

The United States is creating momentum for the French to forestall, or all together abandon, presenting a resolution to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on behalf of the Palestinians. France has been informed of an American alternative offer to the Palestinian pursuit of a draft resolution to negotiate an end Israel’s occupation of territories gained in June 1967, a French diplomatic source tells Mondoweiss.

Palestinian UN effort seeks to set ‘terms of reference’ for negotiations and promote shift away from US leadership

Allison Deger on
Mahmoud Abbas addresses the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly, September 26, 2014, NYC. (Photo: AFP/ Timothy A. Clary)

PLO official Dr. Mohammed Shtayyeh says the current Palestinian push at the UN Security Council comes “a serious junction in the history of Palestine.” Allison Deger reports that the proposed UN resolution marks a change in Palestinian strategy for the PLO. According to Dr. Shtayyeh the resolution is “not simply as part of a routine diplomatic issue. We are going to the Security Council because this is part of a strategic shift in the way that we are dealing with the struggle with the Israelis.” Although details of the resolution are not yet public, it appears this shift includes taking a harder line on Israeli settlement construction and looking toward Europe for leadership over the peace process instead of the United States.

PA to seek UN Security Council resolution giving Israel two years to end the occupation

Allison Deger on
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. (Photo: Khaled

The Palestinian Authority has announced it will seek a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution calling for an end of the Israeli occupation within a specific time period. The draft legislation gives Israel two years to remove its forces from lands occupied in June 1967 and reaffirms per-existing agreements for a framework of negotiations, said Ashraf Khatib a spokesperson for the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Negotiations Affairs Department via telephone to Mondoweiss. While the resolution makes no explicit mention of land swamps, it does support previous accords where the PLO granted Israel the possibility of territorial exchanges where up to 60% of settlers could remain in the West Bank.

PA considers ‘re-defining security coordination’ with Israel in wake of Palestinian govt minister death

Allison Deger on
Funeral for Palestinian minister Ziad Abu Ein at the seat of the Palestinian government, the Muqataa, in al-Bireh, near Ramallah, December 11, 2014. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Shop windows in Ramallah were shuttered yesterday within hours of Minister Ziad Abu Ein’s death from a heart attack following an assault by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank village of Turmusaya. Thousands poured through the streets during a state funeral held today with a ceremony at the Muqataa, the seat of the Palestinian Authority and a procession to a nearby cemetery.

‘Suicide Drones’ and the Spoils of War: Israeli arms manufacturers look to cash in on the war in Gaza

Dan Cohen on
An advertisement at the “Israel Unmanned Systems 2014” conference. (Image: Dan Cohen)

Three weeks after Israel’s latest assault on the Gaza Strip concluded, Israeli military and political leaders attended a conference next to Ben Gurion Airport to sell the successes of what Israel dubbed Operation Protective Edge, which killed more than 2,200 Palestinians including 521 children. The “Israel Unmanned Systems 2014” conference showcased the latest drone technology and previewed the industry’s prospects to a few hundred international buyers, vendors, and military figures. Inside a private conference room, political and industry leaders gave presentations — speaking in military euphemisms that avoided any uncomfortable references to the humanitarian catastrophe resulting from the 51-day bombing campaign. Among the offerings were suicide drones, “loitering munitions” that need to explode; a 16-year-old showing off high-tech robots designed by fellow high schoolers and future drone makers; and “premature” weapons, armaments that have not been fully tested before they are used on a live Palestinian population. Such is Israel the military power.

For the first time Israel’s high court wrestles with legality of punitive home demolitions

Allison Deger on
Palestinian women stand in front of Israeli border police officers in the Jerusalem district of Jabal Mukabar November 18, 2014. (Photo: Ammar Awad/Reuters)

Israel’s renewed policy of punitive home demolitions was challenged in its highest court yesterday. The case comes as the Israeli government has ordered the homes of six Palestinians suspected in a series of Jerusalem attacks to be demolished. In the past judges have heard arguments to overturn demolitions on a case by case basis, but this was the first in Israel’s history to address the legality of the practice as such. And the hearing came with immediate consequences. The homes of five Palestinian families are slated for demolition, and one demolition has already been carried out.

Israeli police ransack homes of 40 Palestinians during al-Shaludi home demolition

Allison Deger on
Home of Abdel Rahman al-Shaludi, the Jerusalem motorist from the October 22, 2014 light rail attack in Jerusalem, demolished by Israeli authorities early Wednesday morning, in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem (Photo: Allison Deger)

Israeli police ransacked seven apartments and urinated inside one while demolishing the Silwan apartment of Abdel Rahman al-Shaludi, 21, the Palestinian motorist from East Jerusalem who killed a three-month old Israeli-American Chaya Zissel and one Ecuadoran tourist in a light rail attack in Jerusalem on October 22, 2014. “They urinated on the mattresses in my brother’s apartment, said Enas al-Shaludi, 43, the mother of the deceased driver. “You can see the urine on the mattresses.” In addition to the demolition, which the family expected after receiving a demolition order last Friday, all of the other apartments in the four-story residential building were raided.

This is not yet an intifada, Palestinians say

Philip Weiss on
A Palestinian uses a sling shot during clashes with Israeli forces following a protest against Israeli restrictions to Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, at the Qalandia checkpoint near the West Bank city of Ramallah, Friday, Nov. 14, 2014. (Photo: AP/Majdi Mohammed)

Phil Weiss reports from East Jerusalem where Palestinians say the current violence in the city does not represent a third intifada . . . yet. But there could be an organized uprising if Jewish zealots’ incitements about the Al Aqsa mosque continue. In interviews, these Palestinians say that Israel’s escalation of violence in East Jerusalem has isolated and terrified neighborhoods. “There is no security. You are afraid economically, politically, and physically.” And the individual acts of violence by maddened Palestinians who feel they have nothing to lose reflects the universal demand for human dignity.

West Bank protesters cross separation wall in effort to get into Jerusalem

Allison Deger on
Palestinian activists use a metal ramp to cross the separation wall near the Israeli Qalandiya checkpoint between the West Bank city of Ramallah and Jerusalem, November 14, 2014. The activists were protesting against Israeli authorities allowing settlers to enter the Al-Aqsa mosque compound and Israel imposing restrictions on Muslims wishing to perform Friday prayers at Al Aqsa Mosque. (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills)

On Friday Palestinian protesters crossed Israel’s separation wall by Qalandia checkpoint, the artery from the West Bank to Jerusalem, demonstrating for access to the city that has been ensconced in unrest over the past three weeks. Using makeshift ladders tens of protesters walked over the barrier, but Israeli police prevented them from entering Jerusalem.

‘We are in a violent fight with extreme Islam’ — Feiglin leads rightists to pray at al-Aqsa Mosque

Allison Deger on
Moshe Feiglin speaking before supporters outside of the checkpoint to the Haram al-Sharif, Temple Mount, October 30, 2014. (Photo: Allison Deger)

It is nearly unheard of for Israeli police to block Jewish worshipers from reaching the Western Wall. But yesterday afternoon border authorities cinched back a hard plastic retracting wall of a Jerusalem checkpoint to reach the holy structures and for the first time in 14 years they also closed all access to al-Aqsa Mosque compound, preventing prayer in a campaign to stifle unrest smothering Jerusalem.

Thousands attend funeral for Palestinian-American child killed by Israeli army

Allison Deger on
A Palestinian man drapes a flag over the grave of Orwah Hammad as children pay respects in the West Bank town of Silwad. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Thousands gathered in the West Bank town of Silwad outside of Ramallah to bury Orwah Hammad, a 14-year old Palestinian-American from Louisiana who was killed by the Israeli army on Friday. Hammad was died after sustaining a gunshot wound to the neck and head during a demonstration against the killing of another Palestinian earlier in the week.

Family of Mohammed Abu Khdeir continues to wait for justice as Israeli court again postpones trial for his killers

Allison Deger on
Yosef Haim Ben-David leaving district court in Jerusalem where he is on trial for the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, October 20, 2014. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

Four months after the grisly slaying of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, his killers faced Jerusalem district court judges today to enter their pleas. Instead of responding to the charges, Yosef Haim Ben-David, the 29-year old settler from the Adam settlement and ringleader of the abduction, and two 16-year-old Israeli accomplices were all granted continuances. “I do not hope for anything from the Israeli court because it is a racist court,” said the deceased’s father Hussein Abu Khdeir, continuing, “It judges for the Israelis, not the Arabs.”

Identities of minors who admitted to killing Mohammed Abu Khdeir to be revealed Monday

Allison Deger on
A mourner holds the national flag as mourners gather for the funeral of Palestinian youth Mohammed Abu Khder, 16, (background image) in Shuafat, in Israeli annexed East Jerusalem, on July 4, 2014. Abu Khder, a Palestinian teenager was  kidnapped and killed, triggering violent clashes in East Jerusalem, in an apparent act of revenge for the murder by militants of three Israeli youths. (Photo: Thomas Coex /AFP/Getty Images)

On Monday three Israelis who have admitted to the killing of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, the 16-year old Palestinian who was burned to death over the summer after being abducted from behind his East Jerusalem home in a revenge killing for the unrelated kidnapping and slaying of three Israeli youths a month prior, will give their pleas in district court.

Why is the United Nations doing business with G4S, notorious prison supplier?

Kali Rubaii for Friends of Sabeel—North America on
eIMG_2129

In early September, I accompanied an Iraqi friend to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees office in Amman, Jordan to help register him officially as a refugee. There was a G4S logo on the gate attendant’s shirt. And G4S all over the compound. Why is the British company that serves Israeli prisons a UN contractor?

‘Get me out of the rubble, please, I’m alive’

Ishraq Othman on
Talal's 11-year son standing on the wreckage of Gehad's house

Amid leveled-down houses, on his half-cracked wooden chair, with every sip of his wretched cigarette, a sigh burst. And the flashback of that sore scene with her voice echoing overwhelmed his words which clobbered all languages. His wrinkled face, mingled with melancholy, can deeply be delved into. Prefacing his heartbreaking story with her last words ever, […]

Palestinian-American teen denied access to Israel’s airport

Allison Deger on
Dina Shehadah, 17, at her family home in al-Bireh near Ramallah. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Photo of Dina Shehadeh at her family home in al-Bireh near Ramallah by Allison Deger Dina Shehadeh, 17, was about to begin her senior year of high school in Ohio where she was born and raised. But two weeks ago, after spending the summer with her extended family in the West Bank, she was separated […]

A visit to the East Jerusalem hospital treating children injured by Israeli strikes on Gaza

Allison Deger on

Rich henna cups Alaa Abu Zeid’s eleven-year old bicep and glitter dots her forehead. She is the star of the second floor of St. Joseph Hospital in East Jerusalem where children who have been transferred from Gaza are receiving surgery after sustaining injuries from Israeli air strikes. Her recovery room is where the ten other […]

A brief respite in Gaza

Allison Deger on

Over the past three and a half weeks Israel’s Operation Protective Edge has sunk Gaza into a besieged land corridor of misery. The civilian casualties have exceeded 1,800, and over 500,000–a quarter of Gaza’s population–are displaced. Although overpowering, the devastation does have brief breaks. During ceasefire hours a semblance of normal life returns. When I had a […]

Who broke the ceasefire? Obama blames Hamas against the evidence

Max Blumenthal and Allison Deger on

In a bid to legitimize Israel’s violence in Gaza, Washington continues a disturbing pattern of baselessly blaming Hamas A beleaguered-looking President Barack Obama appeared before the Washington press corps on August 1 to lash into Hamas for supposedly violating the 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire that his Secretary of State John Kerry and the United Nations had labored so […]