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Cut the Gordian Knot — a response to Ban Ki-moon’s landmark speech

Annie Robbins on
Gordian Knot

In his last year as UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon gives a landmark speech saying it is only human nature for Palestinians to respond to 50 years of occupation and illegal settlement activity with violence, but the media are quick to swamp the story with Israeli PM Netanyahu’s reaction

Video: Life inside Hebron’s closed military zone

Sheren Khalel and Abed Al Qaisi on

Muhanned Qafesha, a resident of Tel Rumeida in Hebron, takes Mondoweiss through the arduous journey residents of the city have been subjected to since Israel made the town a closed military zone in November. Israeli soldiers detain and harass filmmakers Sheren Khalel and Abed Al Qaisi as they attempt to report Qafesha’s story.

Israeli military seals Palestinian town following fatal stabbing attack in West Bank settlement

Kate on
Israeli security forces secure the area near the scene of what Israeli police said was a stabbing attack by two Palestinians on two Israelis in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Beit Horon. (Photo: Reuters)

On Tuesday, a 24-year old Israeli woman died of wounds sustained Monday morning when she was stabbed at Horon settlement. The attack was carried out by Ibrahim Osama Yousif Allan, 23 from the village of Beit ‘Ur at-Tahta west of Ramallah and Hussein Muhammad Abu Ghush, 17, from the Qalandiya refugee camp north of Jerusalem. In response, Israeli military forces have sealed all entrances and exits to Beit Ur at-Tahta which prevents movement for the around 6,000 Palestinian residents of the village.

Among the settlers

Philip Weiss on
Junk at a socialist kibbutz Naaran in the Jordan Valley. In the background, primitive radio receivers and the hills around Jerusalem. (Photo: Philip Weiss)

Israeli settlers on the West Bank tell Phil Weiss they are continuing the work of redeeming the land for Jews that early Zionists began when they expelled Palestinians in 1948, and that in the last year even the Tel Aviv establishment has come to recognize that there will never be a Palestinian state. Weiss reports from five days he spent undercover in Israeli settlements using the Airbnb service.

The world the settlers made

Philip Weiss on
Modulars for newcomers at the Ofra settlement in the West Bank. One advertises religious items, mezzuzahs and tefilin. (Photo: Philip Weiss)

Read part two of Phil Weiss’s undercover report from the Israeli settlements. Israeli society broadly has turned its back on the idea of a Palestinian state and supports the colonization of East Jerusalem and the West Bank. There is now one state because that is what Israeli Jews want, but the American media won’t tell us that.

‘Why do they hate us?’ — Israeli version

Jonathan Ofir on
British MP Gerald Kaufman on a trip to Israel in 2010

Israelis’ angry response to Swedish FM Margot Wallstrom demonstrates primal Israeli fears of enemies. Israelis justify extrajudicial executions of Palestinian assailants because others’ irrational, primitive hatred is a pretext for Zionism. No matter that Palestinians live under occupation, and the world notices.

Netanyahu taps Internet freedom activist known for pranking Iranian officials as new spokesperson

Alex Kane on
David Keyes is reportedly Benjamin Netanyahu's new English-language spokesman. (Photo: Wikipedia/Creative Commons)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will reportedly have a new English-language spokesperson in March: David Keyes, who has made a name for himself as an Internet freedom advocate. Keyes is the executive director of a group called Advancing Human Rights, and runs, a database of Internet dissidents. Now Keyes, who has long-standing ties to the Israeli elite, is going to work for a man whose security forces have locked up dozens of Palestinian activists for social media posts in recent years.

Israeli mayors initiate boycott of Sweden over foreign minister’s criticism

Jonathan Ofir on
Saban Forum 2013: A Conversation with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, moderated by David Ignatius, Columnist, The Washington Post. (Photo: Ralph Alswang)

Following Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström’s remarks about “Israel executing Palestinians without trial”, 15 Israeli mayors who were planning to fly to Sweden have decided to change their destination, even as Israel’s former foreign minister calls on Israelis to boycott Ikea.

13-year-old Palestinian girl shot dead at gate of settlement

Kate on
Anatot settlement, from Alternative Information Center

Ruqayya Eid Abu Eid, 13, was reportedly killed by Israeli gunfire outside the illegal West Bank settlement of Anatot after she allegedly tried to stab a security guard. The Palestinian girl lived in a village neighboring the colony.

Palestinians in Hebron demand Israel return bodies of family members killed by the IDF

Sabrina Tucci on
Palestinians gathered at a solidarity tent in Hebron demanding the release of the body of their children (Photo: EAPPI)

On the evening of January 1st Israeli authorities returned the bodies of 14 Palestinians from Hebron city who were killed while suspected of carrying out attacks on Israelis during the wave of tension which had started in October 2005. These 14 bodies were buried the following day, but others are yet to be returned to their families. “They have no right to keep our children, we want them back now”, the father of one of the young men killed says.

Video: Children of the Camp

Sheren Khalel and Abed Al Qaisi on

Filmmakers Sheren Khalel and Abed al Qaisi wanted to know exactly how much the children who live in Bethlehem’s Aida and Beit Jibrin refugee camps understood about the military occupation going on around them, and how normal they believed their lives were. With their parents permission, Khalel and al Qaisi asked five children from the streets of the two camps what they thought. All of the answers were spontaneous and unrehearsed, and as it turned out, the kids understood — and have experienced — quite a lot.

Palestinian cooking school uses food to resist Israel’s occupation

Megan Hanna on
Women prepare ingredients in Beit al Karama kitchen. (Photo: Megan Hanna)

Megan Hanna reports from Bait al Karama – “the House of Dignity” – a cooking school situated in the heart of the Old City of Nablus. Established in 2008, the school rests on the principle that it is just as effective to fight the Israeli occupation through food as Molotov’s and stones.

The shrinking margin of freedom for Palestinian citizens of Israel

Nadim Nashif and Raya Naamneh on
Head of the Islamic Movement of Northern Israel Sheikh Ra'ed Salah outside of Ramle prison near Tel Aviv, 2010. (Photo: Yossi Zeliger/Flash 90)

Israel still portrays itself as a Jewish and democratic state. Yet in practice, as its Palestinian citizens can attest, it functions as a Jewish ethnocracy, leaving small margins of freedom for its Palestinian citizens that have been steadily shrinking in the past few years. Now the Israeli state has come under the complete control of the far right wing, which sees no need even for such limited margins of freedom. This is evident in the wave of discriminatory legislation and the use of the Emergency Regulations against established non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and movements such as the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel.

Israel arrests human rights campaigner Ezra Nawi and puts gag order on case as part of growing ‘witch hunt’ against activists

Philip Weiss on
Ezra Nawi

In the last nine days, Israeli authorities have cracked down on activists associated with Ta’ayush, the Jewish-Palestinian partnership that works to stop settlement growth in the occupied territories. There is a gag order on the case, but details have emerged. Israeli authorities have arrested Ezra Nawi, the great campaigner against human rights abuses in the occupied territories, as well as another member of Ta’ayush and a staffer of the human rights group B’Tselem.

Israeli restrictions and escalating violence threaten to turn Jerusalem’s Muslim Quarter into a ghost town

Allison Deger on
Mohamed Abu Hilmi sells Palestinian scarves in the Christian quarter of Jerusalem's Old City. He took out a loan last month, as sales for Old City merchants declined since tensions began in October. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Green metal panels shutter recently out of business storefronts along al-Wad Street, a narrow stone road inside of Jerusalem’s Old City walls that links Damascus Gate to the holy sites of the Western Wall and the al-Aqsa mosque. During the summer foot traffic was heavy on this Muslim quarter walkway lined with souvenir mongers and restaurants. Yet six stores on al-Wad street alone have closed since October when violence erupted across Israel and the West Bank in what many Palestinians are calling the start of an uprising.

Israeli Supreme Court approves demolition of Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran to make way for Jewish town of Hiran

Kate on
(Image: Adalah)

IMEMC reports: The Israeli Supreme Court refused to reconsider a decision to demolish the unrecognized Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran, and ordered to evict all its residents, Adalah center reported on Sunday. Adalah, the legal center for Arab minority rights in Israel, requested that the court reconsider its decision to approve Israel’s plane to evict the village’s 1,000 Palestinian Bedouin residents, in order to build Jewish town of Hiran, and expand the Yatir Forest over its ruins.

As the calendar turns to 2016, there is not much hope for the future in Gaza

Isra Saleh El-Namy on
Ahmed Jaber's brother studies in the dark during Gaza's long hours of power outage. (Photo: Isra Saleh El-Namy)

For Ahmed Jaber, the new year has brought nothing special to his cramped house which he shares with his parents and other seven siblings. 2016 has started in Gaza in abysmal darkness as the power crisis has worsened, putting nearly all facets of life into serious danger. “What does it mean to celebrate the New Year,” Ahmed asks. “The word celebration does not even exist in our terminology; it is a very luxurious expression which has no place in Gaza”.

Groundbreaking Human Rights Watch report shows how settlement businesses contribute to Israeli occupation

Philip Weiss and Adam Horowitz on
Human Rights Watch report cover shows Barkan, an Israeli residential settlement and industrial zone located in the occupied West Bank, that houses around 120 factories that export around 80 percent of their goods abroad. In the background is the Palestinian village of Qarawat Bani Hassan. (Photo: Human Rights Watch)

In a groundbreaking new report, Human Rights Watch has joined the chorus of voices calling on countries to label goods made in the Israeli occupied territories as the products of settlements, and calls on countries to withhold aid to Israel that can be used to “offset the costs of Israeli government expenditures on settlements.” The report titled Occupation, Inc.: How Settlement Businesses Contribute to Israel’s Violations of Palestinian Rights puts pressure on a “multitude” of private companies to stop doing business in the occupied territories, because they are helping to sustain an illegal settlement project that deprives the Palestinian population of their human rights.

Extremists vandalize Jerusalem church with Hebrew threats: ‘Death to heathen Christians’

Allison Deger on
Anti-Christian graffiti sprayed on the Dormition Abbey church in Jerusalem. (Photo: Latin Patriarch)

For the second time in a year, Israeli vandals targeted a Christian church in Jerusalem Sunday with extremist anti-Christian graffiti. Assailants tagged the religious site with messages in Hebrew: “Death to the heathen Christians, “the enemies of Israel”, “Let his [Jesus’] name and memory be obliterated” and “Christians to Hell.”