Category Archives:
On the ground reports

Hamas wins major student elections in the West Bank for second year running

Sheren Khalel on
Thousands of students gathered at Birzeit for the student elections, flooding the campus with political garb, most of which showed support for one of three student groups affiliated with Hamas, Fatah and the PFLP.(Photo: Abed Al Qaisi)

Hamas scored another victory on Wednesday at Birzeit University in the occupied West Bank, winning 25 seats in the university’s student elections. The university, considered the most liberal of all campuses in the West Bank, is seen as an indicator for the political climate across the West Bank.

PA under renewed criticism for security coordination with Israel

Emily Mulder on
Palestinian supporters of the Hamas movement burn an Israeli flag during a demonstration against the political arrests and the violence against Hamas members by PA security in the West Bank, in Gaza City on June 11, 2014. (Photo: Mohammed Asad/APA Images)

The detention by Palestinian Authority security forces of three Palestinians who allegedly planned to carry out an attack inside Israel this week brought renewed public criticism of the PA amid a slew of political disputes. The PA finds itself pitted between a need to appease the Israeli authorities through security coordination and the mass upheaval such coordination brings among political rivals and the wider public.

Israeli army operation in downtown Ramallah causes sweeping fire

Allison Deger on
Palestinian assess damage to a West Bank shop burned beyond repair in a fire started by the Israeli military, al-Bireh. (Photo: Allison Deger)

A fire started by Israeli forces during a botched operation to dentate explosives in a West Bank commercial zone quickly spread and burned a Palestinian government office, at least nine stores and an open-air market, in the early morning hours Thursday.

Video: Israel demolishes every home in West Bank Bedouin village

Sheren Khalel and Abed Al Qaisi on
bedoindemolition

Israeli forces have demolished every home in the Bedouin village of Khirbet Taha in the northern West Bank district of Nablus during three separate demolitions since the start of the year. The village’s only school was also destroyed, leaving children to study in a dilapidated 100-year-old mosque — the only structure left standing in the village.

‘We don’t want to find ourselves in a position like apartheid South Africa’: A report from Israel’s first national conference against BDS

Antony Loewenstein on
Entrance to the Ynet-sponsored #stopBDS conference. (Photo: Antony Loewenstein)

One of Israel’s biggest newspapers, Yedioth Ahronoth, staged the country’s first national conference against the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement in Jerusalem. Antony Loewenstien reports, “It was a surreal day, filled with determination to defeat BDS, but participants were seemingly incapable of truly understanding why the movement was surging globally. Fear, paranoia, anger and determination was ubiquitous amongst the panelists and audience. BDS could never have imagined a more high-profile advertisement for its agenda.”

Palestinians in Gaza are drinking contaminated water

Abeer Abu Shawish on
Rayqa al-Malalha lives—along with her poor family—in the marginalized al-Araiba neighborhood of Rafah City in the Gaza Strip. The water supplied to al-Araiba’s 8,000 residents by the municipality is unsuitable for consumption. (Photo: Iyad al-Baba/Oxfam)

Palestinians in Gaza are regularly consuming contaminated water, even when the liquid they drink has already been treated at a purifying plant. In Gaza 45% of the water processed in desalination plants is contaminated, according to the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA).

Palestinians grapple with knife attacks as violence enters fifth month

Allison Deger on
Palestinians clash with Israeli security forces during a protest against the separation wall and Jewish settlement near the Ofer prison in the west of the city of Ramallah on the West Bank on March 11, 2016. (Photo: Anadolu Agency/ Getty Images)

The killing of Israeli civilians and the young age of the Palestinian attackers, along with their almost inevitable deaths at the hands of police, are raising tough questions for Palestinians. A recent event in Ramallah featuring Mariam Barghouti, Diana Buttu and Husam Zomlot was billed as a discussion of whether an “Intifada” has began, but the conversation soon turned to personal feelings about knife attacks on Israelis.

Suicides on the rise in Gaza

We Are Not Numbers on
Screenshot: Abu Setta contemplating suicide. Watania Media Agency - Gaza

What happens when a person is forced to struggle for years without enough money to support his family, and there is no way out?

PA continues crackdown on West Bank teachers strike as anger with anti-democratic Palestinian leadership spreads

Allison Deger on
Palestinian teachers protest in Ramallah in anti-government demonstration over salary increases, February 23, 2016. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Thousands of Palestinian teachers demonstrated yesterday afternoon in cities across the West Bank, marking the start of a third week of strikes. What began as a protest over a bureaucratic 2.5% pay increase in early February has quickly become a wider anti-democratic crackdown against Palestinian society’s beloved and underpaid public servants, teachers.

In Photos: Israeli forces close down village of 25,000 following deadly attack by three youths

Abed Al Qaisi on
Israeli forces closed all seven entrances to the village. Each entrance has seen clashes and protests, as residents continue to demand their village be opened.  (Photo: Abed al Qaisi)

Israeli forces closed down Qabatiya village in the northern occupied West Bank overnight Wednesday, following an attack carried out by three teens from the village who shot and killed a 19-year-old Israeli police officer, and seriously injured another. All three teens were shot dead at the scene, but Israeli forces retaliated by closing down the attackers’ hometown. Around 25,000 people in the large northern village are on lockdown.

‘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.