On Friday, April 20, Israeli soldiers invaded the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, home to the Tamimi family. The Israeli forces instigated clashes with Palestinian youth which lasted several hours, during which the soldiers shot scores of tear gas, fired rubber-coated metal bullets and live ammunition that wounded two of the protesters. “What’s happening now is what is happening every week, sometimes everyday, since nearly nine years”, explained Belal Tamimi. “The soldiers try to surround the village, they don’t want anyone to be near the spring area that the settlers occupied nine years ago. Every Friday, the situation is horrible.”
Category Archives: On the ground reports
Many of the Eda Haredit, an ultra-Orthodox group in Jerusalem, are descendants of the Old Yishuv, Jews who resided in historic Palestine under Ottoman and then British rule. The group opposes the Israeli state and any attempts at assimilating them into the larger Israeli society. The cloistered neighborhood of Mea Shearim has become a symbol for the group and outside many Eda Haredit homes hangs a sign that reads: “Here lives a non-Zionist Jew.”
When he was 15-years-old, Hamza Abu Hashem was attacked by Israeli military dogs, and left with serious injuries on his legs, arms, and shoulder. In a video of his attack, Israeli soldiers can be heard saying “give it to him, son of a bitch” and “who’s afraid?” as the teenager cried and screamed in pain. Now, four years after the attack that left his mind and body scarred for life, Hamza, along with his family, is suing the Israeli government over the attack, as well as the Dutch company that has been supplying Israel with attack dogs for more than 20 years.
On the February 5th, the Israeli High Court of Justice decided that seven structures in the village of Susiya, in the south Hebron Hills of the occupied West Bank, could be demolished by Israel without delay. These seven structures are home to 42 residents of the village, of which half are children. Susiya has become an international symbol of Palestinian villages resistance against displacement, and the villagers say more international solidarity is needed to prevent these demolitions.
“Their ultimate goal is no conspiracy theory,” reports Mersiha Gadzo on the growing movement to destroy the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque, in order to build a Third Temple: “One of the leading Temple movement organizations is the Temple Institute, which has had a blueprint ready for the temple’s construction since 2011. In 2014 they crowdfunded over $100,000 on Indiegogo to prepare architectural plans for their Third Temple.”
Badee Dwaik: At the demonstration the children carried signs protesting the occupation, an all encompassing word for the abuses and indignities that are carried out against them by Israeli soldiers and settlers. They chanted, “every child deserves a childhood.”
US President Donald Trump’s continued threats to cut funding to vital aid organizations such as UNRWA has marked an escalation in the widening rift between Palestinians and the U.S. after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December. This has spurred a nationwide boycott of the American government and prompted Palestinians to take to the streets in protest.
Palestinian activists shut down a meeting in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Tuesday between a delegation from the U.S. Consulate and Palestinian city officials, marking an escalation in the widening rift between Palestinians and the U.S. after Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December. After interrupting the meeting with banners comparing Trump to Nazis and ISIS, and shouting “you are not welcome anymore!” the American officials abruptly walked out of a conference room at the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
“One day they shot 43 teargas canisters at my house”–Murad Shteiwi, head of the popular committee in the West Bank village of Kufr Qaddum.
Sheren Khalel reports: Released from prison a week ago, Issa Amro has jumped right back into work. At a small house atop a hill in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood of Hebron he sat gathered in a circle with activists, NGO workers, a lawyer and friends sipping coffee under the shade of trees in the front courtyard of the home. The topic, as usual, was the Israeli occupation — however Amro was not released from Israeli custody last week, but rather the Palestinian Authority’s, and he was not arrested for his activism in Hebron, but rather a Facebook post defending a man who criticized the Palestinian leadership.
Almost one month after Israeli forces shot him seven times during a night raid in Deheisha refugee camp, 22-year-old Raed al-Salhi succumbed to his wounds on Sunday in Jerusalem’s Hadassah hospital. Israeli forces had warned Raed al-Salhi in late July that they were coming for him. “They called him and told him ‘we will shoot you in front of your mother’,” Khaled, 24, one of Raed’s four older brothers told Mondoweiss. Two weeks after the call, on August 9, 2017, Israeli forces shot Raed in the courtyard behind his home at 4 a.m, as his mother sat inside the family’s living room just feet away.
Hip-hop artist Abu Rahss is denied from entering Israel in order to be a counselor a skateboarding summer camp: “Unfortunately, I was denied entry after eight hours of being interrogated aggressively and treated unpleasantly by Israeli border security at the Allenby Bridge border crossing with Jordan.”
“They pushed me away when I tried to give Ahmed some clothes. It was very cold,” a mother in Nabi Saleh tells Richard Hardigan of her son’s recent arrest by Israeli soldiers. Nearly 100 children from Nabi Saleh have been arrested since demonstrations against settlements began in the village in 2009.
Over 2,000 Israeli Yemenite Jews and supporting activists gathered in Jerusalem last Wednesday to mark an annual day of awareness for what families say was a state-sponsored program to abduct Yemenite Jewish infants and other Israeli children born to parents who were recent immigrants from Arab countries.
Nora Lester Murad and her friends organize an Iftar dinner next to the rubble of a demolished Palestinian house in East Jerusalem, “We planned the Iftar to show solidarity with Ashraf and Islam, and the tens of thousands of Palestinian families whose homes have been demolished, partially demolished, or sealed, and who live every day under the imminent threat of demolitions by the Israel authorities. Home demolition is not merely an Israeli administrative policy, as it is often presented in the western media. Home demolition is part of Israel’s political strategy to expel Palestinians from any place they want control, often through the establishment of Jewish settlements. My friends and I felt that the least we could do to show these families–families who are on the frontline of the continuing Nakba–that they have real allies, that they are not alone.”
Mersiha Gadzo collects the tales of villagers who were expelled from towns outside of Jerusalem in 1967, where today an Canada Park, popular picnic spot, sit atop the rubble of the destroyed Palestinian houses.
Howard Cohen visits the home of his student Noor Abu al-Qia’an in the unrecognized Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran months after Israeli police killed his father Yakoub Abu al-Qia’an and demolished their house.
Jodi Melamed is on the front lines of a joint Palestinian-Jewish effort to reclaim confiscated land through strategic nonviolence in the South Hebron Hills: taking back the village with a peaceful protest called the Sumud Freedom Camp.
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.
Ahmed Kabariti reports from Gaza: “Among Palestinians residing in Gaza, the prevailing view of the electricity crisis is that the PA wants control inside of Gaza and is using energy to send a message to Hamas — give up control of Gaza, or you will pay the cost of chaos.”
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.”