Category Archives:
On the ground reports

‘There is no justice here in Israel’: Two found guilty of murdering Mohammed Abu Khdeir, but ringleader verdict delayed

Allison Deger on
Aisha Abu Khdeir, aunt of shows a family album of pictures of Mohammed Abu Khdeir after an Israeli court issues guilty verdicts for two of the accused killers, and delays ruling on a third. (Photo: Allison Deger)

An Israeli court today convicted two Jewish minors who abducted and burned Mohammed Abu Khdeir alive in July 2014. The court delayed ruling on the alleged ringleader, 29-year old settler Yosef Haim Ben-David pending an additional psychiatric evaluation. “Frankly I was shocked. I hoped they all would get a punishment,” said the mother of the victim, Suha Abu Khdeir, 45, from her living room hours after the trial ended. “It’s like they burned him again.”

Israeli army makes post in Hebron activist house

Allison Deger on
Israeli soldiers inside of the Hebron-based Youth Against Settlements office/living quarters, Saturday November 7, 2015. (Photo: Youth Against Settlements)

“I won’t take compensation from occupation,” Issa Amro says of destruction to his property in Hebron by Israeli soldiers. Early Saturday morning Amro, 35, awoke to dozens of Israeli soldiers entering the Youth Against Settlements house and presenting him with a military order to seize control of the house for 24-hours. Amro, along with an Italian journalist on assignment with an Israeli paper, and two international activists who were staying at the Youth Against Settlements advocacy center were then ushered into a single bedroom where, with the exception of escorted bathroom breaks, they were forced to stay until after daybreak Sunday.

‘We have martyrs every day in Hebron’

Matthew Vickery on
Issa Amro

Hebron is an epicenter of resistance: Around a third of the 70 Palestinian deaths in October came from Hebron and the surrounding area. The city itself, which has always had a heavy Israeli army presence, is now seeing increased soldier numbers.

‘Can we not sacrifice ourselves?’: Thoughts from the intifada

Wa'd Manaf Abbas on
(Photo: Anne Paq)

Wa’d Manaf Abbas writes from Ramallah about the ongoing intifada, inspired by this Salvador Allende quote, “The people must defend themselves, but they must not sacrifice themselves. The people must not let themselves be destroyed or riddled with bullets, but they cannot be humiliated either.”

Three new checkpoints lock down an East Jerusalem neighborhood

Allison Deger on
Israel's latest security measures place roadblocks, a wall, and a checkpoint in the Jabel Mukaber neighborhood of East Jerusalem. (Photo: Allison Deger)

For the 30,000 Palestinian residents of Jabel Mukaber the checkpoints—and a new wall that is being constructed in the center of town, cement roadblocks suspending vehicle traffic and a border police force deployed throughout the neighborhood—have made the quiet hilltop town with a view from Tel Aviv to Jordan, a militarized enclave.

As Israel clamps down on East Jerusalem, police evict Palestinian family for new settlement

Allison Deger on
Israeli workers add water pipes to a house in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of  Silwan, where the Abu Nab family was evicted earlier this week after Israelis won a petition for their removal. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Israeli police and barking dogs woke Abdallah and Fatima Abu Nab from inside of the couple’s bedroom shortly after daybreak Monday morning, and told them to immediately and permanently leave their house in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, bringing an end to an seven-year legal battle with Israeli settlers. This latest Israeli provocation took place in the heart of East Jerusalem where more than 40 Palestinians, and eight Israelis have been killed in shootings and attacks since the start of October.

East Jerusalem is closed for Palestinians, but settlers march unimpeded

Allison Deger on
Palestinian shop owner closes his store in the Muslim quarter of East Jerusalem following orders from Israeli police. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Israeli police shut hundreds of Palestinian businesses in the Muslim quarters of Jerusalem’s Old City Tuesday night, hours before a general order from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for “a closure on, or to surround, centers of friction and incitement” went into effect.

Netanyahu approves mandatory prison for stone-throwers

Allison Deger on
Israeli undercover police arrest a 10-year old Palestinian child on October 24, 2014. (Photo: Salih Zeki Fazlıoğlu/Anadolu Agency)

Amid clashes and killings that have blazed into a second week Israel’s cabinet unanimously approved mandatory minimum sentences for Jerusalemites and Israeli citizens who throw stones or launch heftier projectiles such as firebombs and fireworks.

Mourners of Gaza mother and child killed in airstrike urge resistance– ‘3rd, 4th, 5th intifada, whatever it takes’

Dan Cohen on
The blast hole where the Hassan house in Gaza was bombed by Israeli warplanes, photo by Dan Cohen

Israeli F-16 strikes destroyed a house in the Mughraga area of Gaza overnight, killing five-months-pregnant Nour Hassan, 27, her two-year-old daughter Rahaf, and injuring her husband Yahya and their toddler son. All that remains of the house is a massive blast hole several meters deep and twenty meters wide amid scattered bits of clothing and personal belongings.

In Ramallah, thousands celebrate Palestine at the UN amid doubt it will result in meaningful change

Allison Deger on
Palestinians watch Mahmoud Abbas address the United Nations General Assembly and the raising of the Palestinian flag at United Nations headquarters via simulcast in Ramallah, September 20, 2015. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank city of Ramallah gathered outdoors Thursday evening to watch a simulcast of President Mahmoud Abbas address the United Nations General Assembly, and celebrate the raising of the Palestinian flag at UN headquarters. Despite the excitement at the event, many of the onlookers were skeptical of the achievement and voiced criticisms of Abbas’s announcement that the Palestinian Authority is no longer bound by the Oslo Accords.

Parents of slain Palestinian teen say Israeli forces planted knife

Allison Deger on
Hadil al-Hashlamoun at a Hebron checkpoint, moment before an Israeli soldier shot and killed her. (Photo: Youth Against Settlements)

Hadil al-Hashlamoun was shot to death at a Hebron checkpoint by Israeli soldiers on September 22. Al-Hashlamoun’s family, a witness who has since fled to his native Brazil, and the human rights group Amnesty International all insist Hadil posed no threat to the firing soldiers. Yet the Israeli military has said Hadil was carrying a weapon, a claim that is disputed by the sole eyewitness present for the full encounter. Al-Hashlamoun’s parents now assert that the Israeli military planted a weapon near her body more than 30 minutes after she was struck with live-fire.

Tolstoy’s War and Peace . . . and Palestine

Mohammed Alhammami on
A scene from War and Peace (Photo: Mohammed Sarsour)

On a recent September evening, two groups of culturally curious people, separated by countries and borders, virtually gathered together for art and social justice. At Said Al-Mishal Establishment for Culture and Science, Gaza’s Theatre for Everybody performed a short version of Tolstoy’s classic “War and Peace.” Simultaneously, on the other side of the world at London’s Az Theatre, a group of British and international supporters gathered to watch a previously recorded version of the same performance. The play was centered on two themes: condemning war and denouncing dictatorship.

Palestinians in Duma are angry that no one has been charged for murders, after 38 days

Allison Deger on
Palestinian mourners sit around the graves of Riham Dawabsheh, 27, front, her husband Saed Dawabsheh , center, and her 18-month-old son Ali, following her funeral procession in the West Bank village of Duma, near Nablus, Monday, Sept. 7, 2015. The mother of a Palestinian toddler killed in a West Bank firebomb attack was buried in her village Monday hours after succumbing to wounds sustained in the attack, which also killed the child's father and is believed to have been carried out by Jewish extremists. (Photo:Nasser Nasser/AP)

Thousands poured into the West Bank hamlet of Duma for a third funeral over the past five weeks, this time mourning Riham Dawabshe who died Sunday on her 27th birthday from injuries sustained during a settler arson attack on her home on July 31st. Riham’s youngest son, 18-month year old Ali Dawabshe was killed in the blasts that destroyed two apartments. Her husband Sa’ad Dawabshe, 32, died last month on the couple’s anniversary, also from wounds inflicted during the firebombing. Although the arsonists left a graffiti tag in Hebrew indicating the killings were a nationalist crime, to date Israel has not charged anyone with the murders.

Skunk water for Palestinian protesters, not right-wing Jews, in roads near Mohammad Allan’s hunger strike

Allison Deger on
Israeli police pepper spray Palestinians during a protest in support of Mohammed Allan, a Palestinian hunger striking prisoner. (Photo: Haim Schwarczenberg)

Bedlam stretched across the working-class Israeli town of Ashkelon yesterday after Israel reneged on what would have been a first medical visit by a Palestinian health official to Mohammed Allan, 31, a Palestinian hunger striking detainee hospitalized in the coastal Israeli city. For a second time in five days police dispersed Palestinian protesters in Ashkelon using force, and spraying heaps of putrid smelling liquid from a water cannon. This time, cloaking demonstrators, members of Knesset and Israeli bystanders alike.

‘They are the terrorists’–-Palestinians mourn a second death from settler arson attack

Dan Cohen and Allison Deger on
Duma villagers bury the body of Sa’ad Dawabshe. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

Hundreds of mourners from the northern West Bank poured into the hamlet of Duma to lay to rest a second Palestinian killed today after succumbing to wounds from a settler arson attack last week. Sa’ad Dawabshe, father of baby Ali Dawabshe who burned to death in the attack, died in the early morning hours in a hospital in southern Israel where he was being treated. His remains were transferred to his parents’ home outside of Nablus.

Mother of Palestinian baby burned to death tried to save her child

Allison Deger on
Nasser Dawabshe (R) addresses 2,000 Israelis at an anti-terror rally in Tel Aviv, 1 August 2015. (Photo Allison Deger)

Riham Dawabshe, the mother of 18 month-old Ali Dawabshe who burned to death in a settler arson attack Friday in the West Bank hamlet of Duma, tried to save her baby while fleeing from her home, engulfed in flames. Gasoline bombs had crashed into the building shortly after 1:30am and quickly it filled with opaque smoke. Dawabshe, herself on fire, grabbed a blanket she thought cradled her son. She rushed outside. But the blanket was empty, a fact the mother only realized when in her front yard. Yet at that time the fire had grown, making reentry impossible.

Hundreds of Israelis join protest to save Bedouin village on brink of demolition

Allison Deger on
The Palestinian village of Susiya in the south Hebron hills, slated for demolition. (Photo: Allison Deger)

For Palestinian-Bedouins living in the south Hebron hills under the threat of demolition and expulsion, victories are rare. Yet residents from the tin and tarp village of Susiya are uncharacteristically optimistic that they will receive a reprieve from the impending demolition of their village that is scheduled to take place before August 3rd.

Report from Ramallah: How Palestine is today

Francesca Borri on
Il Muro (the wall). (Photo: Andrea & Magda/Il Fatto Quotidiano)

Francesca Borri reports from Ramallah where business has replaced politics, and you can live without feeling the military occupation that lurks on all sides.

Palestinian teen killed on way to pray in Jerusalem

Allison Deger on
Martyr's poster for Mohammed Hani al-Kasbah, 17, killed by the Israeli military Friday morning near Qalandia checkpoint, Qalandia refugee camp. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Before sunrise 17-year old Mohammed Hani al-Kasbah went to morning prayers at a mosque one block from his house in Qalandia refugee camp in Jerusalem, which is separated from the rest of the city by Israel’s security barrier. By afternoon his remains were carried into the same building for a funeral after he was shot and killed by Israeli forces. Two older brothers were also killed by Israeli forces 14 years ago.

Palestinian farm struggles to survive in West Bank town caught between Israeli sewage and the separation wall

Allison Deger on
Fayez (R) and Mona Tneeb in their Tulkarm farm. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Fayez Tneeb marveled at his organically grown banana tree even though it is failing and rooted in a waste water stream. He and his wife Mona are proprietors of Hakoritana Farm in Tulkarm, located in the northern West Bank only 100 meters from Israel. For the Tneebs, harvesting pesticide-free agriculture that they take to a local market is a constant struggle. The couple’s plot of land is caught between an Israeli factory that manufactures fertilizers and agrochemicals, and Israel’s separation barrier.

Marking Memorial Day in Tel Aviv with Kahanists and Combatants for Peace

Dan Cohen on
As attendees filed into the Combatants for Peace event, Kahanists lit a candle display outside the venue that commemorate what they claim are Zionists fighters killed since 1860. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

On Tuesday night, a busload of Palestinians from the West Bank and hundreds of Israeli Jews filed into the Tel Aviv Exhibition Grounds to attend a Combatants for Peace event billed as an “Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day Ceremony: Honoring the Victims, Fighting for Peace.” Kahanist protesters had opposed Palestinian participation in the event and baited attendees as they entered. Dan Cohen reports on the proceedings and finds the Kahanists may be a bit more honest then their liberal Israeli counterparts.

A tale of two Susiyas, or how a Palestinian village was destroyed under the banner of Israeli archeology

Allison Deger on
Entrance to Susiya in the south Hebron hills, the West Bank. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Hiam al-Nawaja dreams to live in what she calls a “normal house.” The 23-year old mother of three small children and sheepherder manages in a cinder block frame insulated with a tarp a typical modest home in Susiya, a pastoral Palestinian village set in the rolling south Hebron Hills in the West Bank. Yet a few short decades ago Susiya’s residents had sturdy stone structures built over ancient caves on a hilltop one kilometer from where their town stands today. The former location, “old Susiya,” is close enough that al-Nawaja can see bulldozed remains from her kitchen window. It was destroyed in 1986 when Israel dismantled the town’s mosque to uncover an ancient Jewish synagogue dating back to the sixth century.