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What I learned crossing the Qalandia Checkpoint

Léa Georgeson Caparros on
Artists, including the author, center, traveling with the Palestine Festival of Literature travel through the Qalandiya checkpoint on May 24, 2015 in Ramallah, Palestine. (Photo: Rob Stothard for The Palestine Festival of Literature)

Léa Georgeson Caparros writes about crossing the Qalandia checkpoint while traveling in the occupied Palestinian territories with the Palestine Festival of Literature in May 2015.

Obfuscating the truth: The UN report on war crimes in ‘Operation Protective Edge’

Jerome Slater on
Judge Mary McGowan Davis, head of Gaza inquiry

The UN Human Rights Commission report on last summer’s Gaza war is inappropriately “balanced.” It is more or less equally critical of Israeli and Hamas actions, without regard to the differences between the vast and horrific extent of civilian destruction caused by Israel and the far lesser civilian deaths and destruction that resulted from the largely ineffective Hamas attacks. –Scholar Jerome Slater

US journal ‘Biography”s special issue on Occupied Palestine is launched in Gaza

Yousef M. Aljamal on
Cover Art for Biography -- Life in Occupied Palestine,  Volume 37, Number 2, Spring 2014
Photographer, Eloise Bollack

Refaat Alareer and Lina Alsharif are among contributors to a special issue of the journal Biography on Life in Occupied Palestine, published by the University of Hawaii Press. Editor Cynthia Franklin says The quelling of free speech in the United States works in tandem with Israel’s human rights violations against Palestinians.


Leila Abdelrazaq on
Baddawi excerpt Mondo_Page_7

Read an excerpt from the new graphic novel “Baddawi”, by Leila Abdelrazaq. Baddawi is the story of a young boy named Ahmad struggling to find his place in the world. Raised in a refugee camp called Baddawi in northern Lebanon, Ahmad is just one of the many thousands of refugee children born to Palestinians who fled their homeland after the war in 1948 established the state of Israel. Leila Abdelrazaq explores her father’s childhood in the 1960s and ’70s from a boy’s eye view as he witnesses the world crumbling around him and attempts to carry on, forging his own path in the midst of terrible uncertainty.

Hamas military wing claims responsibility for killing Israeli in the West Bank

Kate on
Palestinians raise Hamas flags at what remains of the house of Hussam Qawasmeh, accused by Israel of being part of the plot to kidnap three hitchhikers. (AFP/Hazem Bader, File via Maan News)

Ma’an News: Hamas military wing Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades reportedly claimed responsibility for Friday’s West Bank shooting that left an Israel man dead and another lightly injured. A statement released by the group identified the “Marwan Qawasmeh and Amir Abu Eisha Brigade” as the group directly behind Friday’s shooting, adding that “the operation was carried out days before the first anniversary of the martyrs Marwan Qawasmeh and Amir Abu Eisha.” The two were killed by Israeli forces after being accused of kidnapping and killing three Israeli teenage settlers near Hebron last summer in what many say was a triggering point for last summer’s Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip.

The living martyr, a visit to the Bakr family in Gaza

Dan Cohen on
Sharifa Bakr sits in front of posters commemorating Ahed and Zachariah Bakr, photo by Dan Cohen

Israel absolved itself of responsibility for the killings of four boys from the Bakr family who were playing soccer on the beach in Gaza. Dan Cohen visits the home. A survivor of the attack, Muntasir is called “the living martyr.” Wounded badly in the attack, he requires medical attention and tells himself if only they’d held his hand, his brother and nephew would still be alive

Journey through a fractured landscape

Sandy Tolan on
Elementary school, Hebron.  The children's play area across from the school was closed in order to accommodate buses from nearby settlements. (Photo: Sandy Tolan)

Statistics tell a certain kind of grim story in the landscape of Palestine. Yet the numbers, telling as they may be, can’t begin to evoke the feeling of the transformed Palestinian landscape, nor the profound power imbalance that defines relations between Israel and the Palestinians. Author Sandy Tolan writes, “Only a road trip through Palestine can do that.”

Ending memoricide– the Nakba Museum project

Alice Rothchild on
Photo  in the Nakba museum, photo by Hamde Abu Rahma

The deliberate state-sponsored erasure of Palestinian voices and the evidence of their centuries old existence constitutes a form of historical genocide, of attempting to destroy the memory of a people’s history and thus the people themselves.” Alice Rothchild says that the creation of the Nakba museum project in Washington is a deeply political act.

PLO: Abbas to head new Palestinian government, weighs national unity with Hamas

Allison Deger on
Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas chairs a meeting of the PLO Executive Committee in Ramallah, February 26, 2013 (Photo: Issam Rimawi/Flash90)

The fate of the Palestinian national consensus government, a unity coalition between leaders in the West Bank and Gaza, will be decided in the next few days after reports yesterday that the West Bank heads will resign and establish a new authority late this evening following disputes with Hamas over their rule in Gaza. Little is known about who will fill the replacement government, but President Mahmoud Abbas is poised to continue his role as the chief official of the union under the promise of future elections for his seat and cabinet members, according to an official with the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).

Israel’s race to economic (and moral) bankruptcy

Jonathan Cook on
The Israeli flag flying over Israeli settlements in the West Bank (Photo: Reuters)

Two recent reports suggest that Israel could face catastrophic consequences if it fails to end the mistreatment of Palestinians under its rule, whether in the occupied territories or in Israel itself.

Caught between stigma and pity, Amaari refugee camp refuses to succumb

Mariam Barghouti on
Summer camp event hosted by PSCD, 2014, Ramallah West Bank. (Photo: PSCD)

The Palestinian Society for Care and Development in Amaari refugee camp was created in 1998 in response to the cries of the disabled people in Amaari camp. The organization struggles to survive in part because of a stigma against the refugee camp in Palestinian society. “There is an institutionalized discrimination towards the people of the camp and organizations from the camp, mainly perpetuated by the Palestinian Authority and extended to the rest of Palestinian society” explains Shaher, a member of the organization, in a weak voice, as though he has reiterated that sentiment one too many times.

Fire in the olive orchards, as two nonviolent protests against occupation are suppressed

Kate on
Tear gas in Bil'in, photo by Shadi Hatem

Five Palestinians were injured, two critically, when Israelis forces opened live fire on the Kafr Qaddum weekly march Friday. And dozens of residents suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation after Israeli soldiers assaulted the weekly nonviolent protest against the Wall and Settlements in Bil‘in village, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah.

Israel failed to interview eyewitnesses to soccer boys’ slaughter

James North on
last moments of boys on the beach playing soccer, from the Irish Mirror

Israeli military says it sought witnesses to slaughter of four boys playing soccer on Gaza beach July 16, but Guardian’s Peter Beaumont was never contacted, and he contests many assertions in the report whitewashing Israel for responsibility in the killings.

Why haredi Jews should resist military service

Michael Lesher on
Rabbi Yoel Schwartz greets Religious Jewish soldiers attend a swearing in ceremony as they enter the orthodox Jewish IDF “Nahal Haredi”  unit. May 31, 2012. (Photo: Flash90)

The battle over whether ultra-Orthodox (or “haredi”) Jews should serve in Israel’s armed forces never seems to end – but it also never seems to touch on the right issue: the occupation.