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On the ground reports

Joint List leads march to Jerusalem demanding recognition and equal rights for Bedouin

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Ayman Odeh (2L) and Fadi Masmara (R) outside of Beersheva during the Bedouin March for Recognition from the Negev to Jerusalem, Thursday, March 26, 2015. (Photo: Allison Deger)

There are still a few weeks before head of the Joint List Ayman Odeh begins his first term in Israel’s parliament, yet he has already led a protest across the country. This past weekend Odeh led the “March for Recognition” with hundreds of Bedouins who live in unrecognized villages. The 130 kilometer trek from the southern Negev desert to Jerusalem officially ended on President Reuven Rivlin’s doorstep Sunday afternoon.

Palestinians mark the 39th anniversary of Land Day

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Palestinian children hold up spent tear gas canisters after a Land Day demonstration in the West Bank village of Huwara, south of Nablus, March 30, 2015. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Today, March 30th Palestinians in Israel and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, marched for Land Day, Yom al-Arda in Arabic, which commemorates protest in the Galilee in 1976 where six Palestinian citizens of Israel were killed.

Joint List to lead mass march on Jerusalem, as Netanyahu forms a gov’t

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Ayman Odeh, head of the Joint Arab List, at campaign headquarters in Nazareth, Israel. (Photo: Allison Deger)

While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in the final hours of forming a ruling coalition to lead the country, the Joint List is organizing a mass march. Unrecognized villagers will camp and walk their way to Israel’s seat of government, all while their party’s leadership is tightening ties with presumed opposition heads in the Zionist Camp.

‘We aim to shape the democratic and moral alternative in this country’ — an interview with Ayman Odeh

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Ayman Odeh (R) at a campaign event in Yirka, a Druze village in the Galilee in northern Israel, Friday March 13, 2015. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Months ago questions were raised if, at all, there would be any Arab representatives in the next Knesset. Then the groups unified under a single banner headed by Ayman Odeh, 41, a first time Knesset candidate from Haifa who started his career in public office at the age of 23 on Haifa’s city council. Now the long road is coming to and end and the Joint Arab List is the third largest party in the country with the potential, for the first time, to influence the outcome of elections.

Bil’in marks ten years of resisting the occupation

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Tear gas canisters collected at the end of Bil'in's tenth anniversary protest, February 27, 2015. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Plumes of teargas wafted up the terraced hillside of the West Bank village of Bil’in on Friday when over 1,000 demonstrators marked ten years of weekly protests against Israel’s separation wall and occupation, outside of Ramallah. Israelis drove in from Tel Aviv, and international activists and Palestinians from nearby towns flocked to march from the center of Bil’in, to the hamlet’s agricultural grounds. As with every Friday, clashes ensued once protesters reached the outskirts of town where olive orchards and patch vegetable farms buffer Israel’s concrete barrier and one of the most populated settlements, Modi’in Illit.

How Rahat became a symbol of Israeli inequality

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Bedouins clash with Israeli police in the southern Israeli city of Rahat on January 19, 2015 (Photo: Menahem Kahana/AFP)

Khalid Ja’ar once worked for Birthright, showing American Jews the “Bedouin experience” in the Negev. But after his son was killed by Israeli police and the town of Rahat has become a focus of Palestinian resistance, and Ja’ar’s world has changed.

Despite punitive Israeli tax freeze, Palestinians to pursue war crimes charges with Arab League financial help

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Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas attends the 25th Arab League summit, held for the first time in Kuwait City, on March 25, 2014. (Photo: Yasser al-Zayyat/AFP/Daily News Egypt)

Within days of Palestinians announcing they would join the International Criminal Court (ICC), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced his country would stop transferring customs revenue to the Palestinian Authority. The punitive move was expected to lead to a crisis for the Palestinian leadership as government services would collapse across the West Bank. But the Palestinian Authority had an unexpected back up plan. The Arab League has agreed to provide emergency funds to cover the VAT-taxes frozen by Israel. This Arab League safety net will help the Palestinians avoid the expected temporary bankruptcy and allow them to move forward with pressing for war crimes at the ICC. In fact, financial support from the Arab League was a key component, along with joining the ICC, of long-term strategy to pressure Israel into negotiations.

‘Go to Auschwitz!: Extremist settler confronts injured ISM volunteer in Hebron

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Shabaab wait for IDF to emerge at the entrance to the illegal Israeli settlement situated along Shuhada Street, June, 2014. (Photo: Sheren Khalel)

Ally Cohen was monitoring Israeli checkpoints in Hebron with the International Solidarity Movement when she fell and sprained her ankle. She was in immobilized in pain and stuck just outside a settlement on Hebron’s infamous Shuhada Street. Just when she thought the situation could not get any worse a car pulled up next to her and Anat Cohen stepped out.

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.