A year ago the Martyrs’ Cemetery in Sair, a town located in the southern occupied West Bank, was marked with graves a decade or more old. Today more than half the tombs are marked with dates from the past eight months. The village has been one of several epicenters of violence since the start of upheaval in October. Residents have endured the town being blockaded by Israeli forces, punitive home demolitions and thousands have had their Israeli work permits confiscated by authorities. The mayor of Sair village, Kayyed Jaradat tells Mondoweiss that Israel’s actions against the village have only fanned the flames of violence.
Category Archives: Israel/Palestine
On June 21, Israeli soldiers killed Mahmoud Badran, 15, by “mistake” in the occupied territories and also shot taxi driver Ehad Othman in the head. Othman miraculously but upon his return home, discovered that not only had his taxi been confiscated, but his work permit and entry permit into Israel had been revoked, according to +972.
Two recent decisions in the Israeli High Court of Justice represent different policy trends regarding the Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem: using the annexed territory to Israel’s own benefit; and keeping a clear separation between the two city populations and treating its Palestinian inhabitants –residing in their hometown for many generations – as second-class citizens. These rulings and others have proven to East Jerusalem Palestinians that their Israeli IDs are no shield against the systematic discrimination of the Israeli judiciary.
250 Palestinian worshippers, all above the age of 50, traveled to Jerusalem via the Erez crossing between the besieged enclave and Israel to attend prayers, before immediately returning to the Gaza Strip. The number of Palestinians permitted to worship at Al-Aqsa was reduced by Israel in recent weeks
More Palestinian homes were demolished in the occupied territories in the first half of 2016 than in all of 2015, according to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. The increased demolitions have been accompanied by a rising number of new settler homes under construction, prompting the U.S. State Department to issue an atypical condemnation of the Jewish state.
Last week the head of the Lower Galilee Regional Council, Moti Dotan, said he didn’t want Arab citizens of Israel using community swimming pools because they have a different “hygiene culture” that is “not like ours.” A Haaretz editorial says Dotan isn’t a racist outlier, but a reflection of the Israeli mainstream: “Dotan’s statement is fed by a leadership that has made the exclusion and isolation of this country’s Arab citizens the backbone of Israeli patriotism.”
In a video released by the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, an Israeli soldier is seen confiscating the bicycle of an eight-year old crying Palestinian girl, and then tossing it into nearby bushes.
With cameras surrounding him at a demonstration in occupied Nil’in last Friday, Ayoub Sroor, a Palestinian father who has suffered numerous assaults from soldiers, dared Israeli soldiers to shoot his three-year-old son. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has cruelly distorted the episode to say that Palestinians hate their own children.
Moara Crivelente, Brazilian journalist and activist, reports on her detainment and deportation at the Tel Aviv Ben Gurion International Airport: “Scattered inscriptions written with toothpaste and food on the bunks and walls of an Israeli facility at the Ministry of Interior Population, Immigration and Borders Authority (PIBA) declare: ‘for each International Solidarity Movement you deport back home, ten more will come!’ Me and many before me read those words as we waited for our deportation. After hours of interrogation at the Tel Aviv Ben Gurion International Airport, we received a 10-year ban from entering the State of Israel for ‘security reasons.’ With no further explanation, we were declared a threat.”
In an effort to apologize for last year’s notorious election-day comment when he warned that “the Arabs are coming out to vote in droves,” Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu took to social media to last week to urge Palestinian citizens to become more active in public life. They needed to “work in droves, study in droves, thrive in droves,” he said. “I am proud of the role Arabs play in Israel’s success”. Swiftly and predictably, the reality of life for Israel’s 1.7 million Palestinians upstaged Netanyahu’s fine words. In a radio interview, Moti Dotan, the head of the Lower Galilee regional council, sent a message to his Palestinian neighbors: “I don’t want them at my [swimming] pools.” Sounding like a mayor in the southern United States during the Jim Crow-era, he added: “Their culture of cleanliness isn’t the same as ours. Why is that racist?”
On July 17, 2016, a group of young American delegates traveled to Israel-Palestine in order to observe the conditions under which Palestinians live, and to gain a better understanding of the situation on the ground. Upon their arrival, a US Campaign staffer and four other members of the group — all carrying US passports — were interrogated by Israeli border police about their backgrounds and political involvement. Four of the five delegates who were questioned, held, and denied entry were people of color and Muslim, and the fifth had a long beard. Israel has ethnically and religiously profiled visitors so often that the State Department’s travel advisory for Israel reads: “Some US citizens of Arab or Muslim heritage not on the Palestinian Population Registry or otherwise prohibited from entering Israel have experienced significant difficulties and unequal and hostile treatment at Israel’s borders and checkpoints.”
U.S. elections have an outsized effect on the residents of many countries, but among the most impacted are those imprisoned in the occupied Palestinian territories. In this video, 21-year-old Besan Aljadili, a writer for We Are Not Numbers in Gaza, responds to the nomination of Hillary Clinton for U.S. president.
In the late afternoon of July 26, 2016, Dareen Tatour briefly found herself a free woman. For a fleeting, puzzling hour and a half, the young Palestinian poet who is being aggressively prosecuted by the State of Israel for “incitement to violence” found herself standing alone by the side of the road outside Damon prison when she should have been getting transported home to continue her court mandated house arrest. The state’s apparent lack of concern about Tatour’s actual whereabouts demonstrates one of two things: either the Israeli security services are inept, or they have already caught a whiff of the obvious—that the mild-mannered poet poses no security threat whatsoever—and that this trial is entirely a political stunt.
Ma‘an reports: Ten new Palestinian prisoners on Sunday joined a mass open hunger strike in solidarity with prisoner Bilal Kayid, according to Issa Qaraqe, the head of the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs, a day after reports emerged that Kayid’s health had sharply deteriorated after almost 50 days without food. Qaraqe says that around 100 Palestinian prisoners began solidarity hunger strikes in different Israeli prisons in support of Kayid.
Yaser el-Shanti, the head of the Gaza Water Authority, has said that 95 percent of the water in Gaza is not safe for the human use. Isra Saleh El-Namy interviews Gaza residents who explain how they are coping. Samer el-Shaer in Rafah says, “This water is not safe, we are sure of this. Its taste, or even color are very worrying, this is why we do not trust it.”
Residents of Bil’in village were joined in solidarity by international and Israeli activists, including several activists from the Black Lives Matter movement. Two protesters were arrested as the demonstration was dispersed.
On the heels of the Israeli government announcing 1500+ illegal settlement tenders since Monday, the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a strongly worded statement, available in Arabic only, that said in part, “as long as these countries’ bilateral relations with Israel are treated separately from the occupation all Palestinian land will be annexed in the not too-distant future, relieving these countries from the trouble of circulating their useless condemnations.”
Nesma Seyam shares a diary entry written during Israel’s 51 day attack on Gaza in the summer of 2014: “I have finally realized that what I have experienced was truly a dream and why it had occurred that night. My soul was aching, and my lust for sweets was an attempt to sooth the bitterness in my heart. But all the sweets in the world would still not be enough to erase the cruelty, strife, and bitterness in our hearts.”
The Israeli army states that a commander wasn’t lying when he said he fired rubber bullets at Palestinian youths; but an x-ray clearly shows a bullet in the skull of one of the victims.
The broadcast of Mahmoud Darwish’s famous poem, ‘ID Card’, by the Israel Army Radio made the country’s far-right defense minister, Avigdor Lieberman equate the poem to Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Manash Firaq Bhattacharjee writes “Israel would do well to ignore its propagandists and allow that contrary voice of the Palestinian poet to be heard. Or else only the deaf and the deafening will be left to prolong this endlessly bitter saga of violence.”
Ma‘an reports: Israeli forces demolished the Bedouin village of al-Araqib in the Negev region of southern Israel for the 101st time on Wednesday morning. The demolition followed several weeks of Israeli bulldozers entering the community to level lands, which escalated to Israeli police conducting raids on the community and detaining several Bedouins after locals attempted to stop the bulldozers. The first demolition of al-Araqib took place a little over six years ago on June 27, 2010.
Jerusalem official Meir Turgeman says the municipality is taking advantage of U.S. election season to push forward on stalled construction projects in the occupied territories, including expanding the settlement of Ramot.
As U.S. financial, military and diplomatic support for Israel bleeds into yet another presidential cycle, Americans are faced with reconciling lofty rhetoric on justice and security with actual policy domestically and abroad.
Hatim Kanaaneh writes about Brig. Gen. Ofek Buchris, an Israeli general recently indicted for “rape and indecent acts,” who lives one town over from him: “Part of my anguish about the report is the geographic location of the accused general’s residence; Mitzpe Netoufa is practically in my backyard. The basic concept of a Mitzpe—Hebrew for ‘lookout’—the hilltop-positioned barbed-wire-encircled Jewish-only settlement dreamt up by Ariel Sharon in the 1970s to protect the promised land of the Jews from potential ‘goy’ usurpers. Those ‘goys’ turn out actually to be us, the Palestinians who have been ‘squatting’ on the land since the Romans destroyed their second temple! Be that as it may, the good general’s purpose in life and that of his fellow Mitzpe Netoufa religious Jewish residents, is to watch over me so I won’t steal my own Netoufa (Battouf) Valley Land.”
In what was intended as a message to Palestinian citizens of Israel on “equality and dignity for all,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s accidentally called Arabs “goats,” and received backlash from Palestinian political parties for staging a “hypocritical charade.”