Category Archives: Palestinian Citizens of Israel
Howard Cohen relates the story of one of his students at an engineering college in the Negev struggling to keep up with his studies after Israeli police killed his father, demolished his home: “He had used the word killed, it was me who had used the word murder, but the words were irrelevant at this moment. He wasn’t interested in making a political statement to me, he was making an existential one. That was clear enough. ‘You see it’s so difficult for me,’ he went on, wiping away the tears that had welled up at the corner of his eyes and which threatened to stream down his face. ‘Everything was under the rubble. I even had a workbook for the class but that too was under the rubble together with my ID card and all our other belongings. They didn’t give us any time to leave. They bulldozed the house with all of our possessions in it. I’m trying to return to my studies. It’s important for me to continue, in spite of everything. But it’s so difficult for me. My head just isn’t there. And it’s going to be difficult for me to attend all the classes and prepare for the presentation.'”
A Palestinian state is anathema to Zionism – and must therefore be kept in the realms of fiction. The Palestinian state does not arrive, because Israel doesn’t intend, and never has intended, for the Palestinian dream to come true. After Palestinians accepted a partition of the land and initiated the peace process, Israel came up with a charade to convince the world it meant business– what Yitzhak Shamir called the “teaspoon” process.
Israeli police and authorities have rushed to produce a ‘terrorist’ narrative of an official killing; but autopsy indicates the Israeli teacher Yacoub Abu Al-Qia’an was executed at Umm al-Hiran village last week and left bleeding for twenty minutes when there were medical vehicles at hand. “They murdered him not once, but several times,” his brother Ahmed says.
Yesterday, Israeli police forces demolished homes and structures at Umm Al-Hiran, a Bedouin village in the southern Negev desert. Umm Al-Hiran is one of 39 ‘unrecognised’ Bedouin villages in Israel’s southern Negev and has faced state repression since the founding of Israel in 1948. Therefore it is best to understand yesterday’s violence and the case of Umm Al-Hiran as part of an overarching policy of ethnic cleansing.
Hatim Kanaaneh’s village in the Galilee has become known in the Israeli press as a “medical mecca” for the large number of doctors and medical professionals that call it home. Although some want to credit Israel for this, Kanaaneh says it has been accomplished through “resilience, often verging on plasticity,” in the face of institutional and societal discrimination in the Jewish state.
One-month-old Jowan Abu al-Qi’an will most likely be the last person born in the village of Umm al-Hiran in the Negev desert. The house that her family built out of stone will be demolished, and the Bedouin village will soon be razed to the ground to make way for the new Jewish community “Hiran.” “We’d like to live together. We told them that it’s OK for us to live with Jews, but the court said no. This place is just for Jewish people,” Umm al-Hiran resident Hassan Abu al-Qi’an says.
Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared his support this month for the so-called “muezzin bill”, claiming it was urgently needed to stop the dawn call to prayer from mosques ruining the Israeli public’s sleep. But the one in five of Israel’s population who are Palestinian, most of them Muslim, and a further 300,000 living under occupation in East Jerusalem, say the legislation is grossly discriminatory. Haneen Zoabi says legislation is not about “the noise in [Israeli Jews’] ears but the noise in their minds”. Their colonial fears, she said, were evoked by the Palestinians’ continuing vibrant presence in Israel – a presence that was supposed to have been extinguished in 1948 with the Nakba, the creation of a Jewish state on the ruins of the Palestinians’ homeland.
It was exactly one year ago that Dareen Tatour’s ordeal began. In the pre-dawn hours of October 11, 2015, Israeli police and border guards stormed into Palestinian poet’s family home without a warrant or an explanation for the shocking and disturbing intrusion. They arrested, interrogated, and eventually charged Dareen Tatour with the crime of ‘incitement to violence’ for posts she made on Facebook. A year later, there is no end in sight.
Over 30 activists and senior officials from the Arab National Democratic Assembly, or Balad party, have been arrested in recent weeks on charges ranging from money laundering to mishandling campaign contributions, in what many in the Palestinian community are calling a new wave of political persecution. “The arrests are being used to scare Palestinians by using false information,” said Balad Knesset Member Jamal Zahalka. “They are a means to stop Palestinians wanting to change their situation.”
Skylar Lindsay reports from Jisr al-Zarqa, the only town on the coast of Israel today with an entirely Arab population. Despite being on the Mediterranean, Jisr al-Zarqa is trapped. Fourteen thousand residents occupy a little 1.5 square kilometer strip of coastline where 80 percent of families live below the poverty line. The town is pushed up against the sea by Highway 2 and squeezed from the north by a kibbutz and on the south by Caesarea, the luxurious suburb Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu calls home. “Have you seen Netanyahu’s house?” Palestinian fisherman Khalid Jurban asks, jokingly. “See? Here there are Palestinians and Israelis living right beside.”
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.
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.”
Palestinian citizens of Israel today marked “Land Day,” an annual commemoration of protests that began 40 years ago on March 30, 1976 when Israeli police killed six during a demonstration over land confiscations. As in years past, a general strike was announced for one day, and thousands protested in the north and the south of the country in opposition to a similar looming round of land expropriations.
Palestinians across the occupied West Bank on Wednesday gathered to commemorate the 40th anniversary of “Land Day.” The first Land Day, on March 30, 1976, saw thousands of Palestinians take to the streets in protest of the confiscation of thousands of acres of Palestinian land in the northern Galilee region of Israel. During the protest, six demonstrators were shot dead and over 100 were wounded. Forty years later, Palestinians are still taking to the streets in protest of massive Israeli land grabs.