Category Archives:
Palestinian Citizens of Israel

The 13 questions on life in Palestine that non-Palestinians always ask me

Inès Abdel Razek on

Al-Shabaka’s Inès Abdel Razek has been asked the same questions about her homeland so many times that she decided to write a simple document to answer them. She writes, “During these conversations, I wish I had a simple leaflet I could hand to my interlocutors that would lay out the answers I end up diligently repeating. This is where the idea of this FAQ emerged.”

Solidarity with Dareen Tatour now hot issue in Israel’s cultural wars

Yoav Haifawi on

Hundreds of Palestinians are arrested, interrogated, and sentenced to Israeli prisons for their pronouncements made on Facebook each year. But the most absurd case of them is that of poet Dareen Tatour. Yoav Haifawi reports from an solidarity event with Tatour in Jaffa: “the wall of silence and denial on the part of the Israeli government fell altogether when supporters of Dareen Tatour called for an artistic solidarity event in the Jaffa (Yaffa) Theatre on August 30, 2017. And when the walls fell, we faced a wave of threats and inciting language from top Israeli politicians printed in Israeli mainstream media.”

Israeli government threatens Jaffa theater over solidarity event for Dareen Tatour

Yoav Haifawi on

In retaliation for an upcoming event planned in solidarity with Palestinian poet Dareen Tabour, the Israeli Ministry of Culture has requested the Treasury to examine whether Yaffa’s (Jaffa) “Arab-Hebrew Theater” has violated the Nakba Law. Yoav Haifawi writes, “The common knowledge in Israel is that even as Palestinians are persecuted for anything or nothing, the freedom of expression for the Jewish population was more or less secure. Now the event in Yaffa may become a test case of the new laws and the old assumptions.”

The State of Israel on the nature of poetry

Yarden Katz on

Dareen Tatour, a Palestinian poet and citizen of Israel, was arrested in 2015 for posting a poem on Facebook. Tatour was charged with “incitement”, imprisoned for months and then kept under house arrest while awaiting trial. Transcripts from her trial were recently published and reveal the Israeli state’s inquiry into the nature of poetry: What is a poem? And what makes one a poet? Those were some of the questions raised by the state prosecutor in a tribunal that seems somewhere between an academic conference and a Stalinist show trial.

If it weren’t for our hubris we could learn so much

Howard Cohen on

Howard Cohen visits the home of his student Noor Abu al-Qia’an in the unrecognized Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran months after Israeli police killed his father Yakoub Abu al-Qia’an and demolished their house.

The ‘nation state of the Jewish people’ bill is just more Apartheid with a veil

Jonathan Ofir on

Yesterday, the Israeli Knesset passed a bill titled “Nation State of the Jewish People” in a preliminary vote. In explaining the need for the bill MK Avi Dichter said: “Israel is the state of all its individual citizens. It isn’t and won’t be the nation-state of any minority living in it…That is a right this bill gives to the Jewish People alone.” Jonathan Ofir says a close examination of this one statement, reveals a wealth of Zionist lies, contradictions, obfuscations, and sheer chutzpah.

The dispossessed

Howard Cohen on

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.

By their bulldozers you will know them

Hatim Kanaaneh on

Israel’s recent wave of house demolitions in Qalansawe and al-Araqeeb is just the latest in a long tradition of limiting Palestinian community growth so that Palestinians will leave and thereby allow more Jews to live on more of the land.

Israel’s violence at Umm Al-Hiran and the ethnic cleansing of Palestine

Jonathan Ofir on

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.

The challenges of being a Palestinian doctor in the ‘Jewish state’

Hatim Kanaaneh on

Hatim Kanaaneh’s village in the Galilee, Arrabeh, 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.

Arab Bedouins expelled for second time to make way for new Jewish community

Mersiha Gadzo on

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.

The link between Israel’s forest fires and the ‘muezzin bill’

Jonathan Cook on

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.

The Trials of Dareen Tatour: A year of detention and no end in sight

Kim Jensen and Yoav Haifawi on

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.

Palestinian citizens of Israel decry political suppression as police arrest Balad Party officials

Skylar Lindsay on

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.”

Palestinian fishermen struggle to survive next door to Netanyahu’s palatial suburb

Skylar Lindsay on

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.”

Israeli racism unmasks Netanyahu goodwill video

Jonathan Cook on

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?”

The trials of Dareen Tatour: racism, negligence, and the G4S connection

Kim Jensen on

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, King of the Natufians

Hatim Kanaaneh on

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.”

Coexistence in the land of ‘Hatikvah’

Steven Davidson on

Growing up in the US, the Israeli national anthem held special meaning for Steven Davidson. But after living with a Palestinian family in Hebron, the song gained a different meaning: “Hatikvah didn’t feel so close to my heart any more. Its solemn melody still aroused that sense of belonging through wandering, only now, this sense felt betrayed by the song’s words. Everyone singing Hatikvah in this room felt like they belonged in a state they barely knew of— to the exclusion of so many whose home this had once been.”

Poet on Trial: A visit to an Israeli court

Kim Jensen on

Kim Jensen reports from Nazareth at the third hearing in the Israeli government’s case against Dareen Tatour, the 33-year old Palestinian poet who is being prosecuted for “incitement to violence” on the basis of a YouTube clip and two alleged Facebook status updates. Jensen writes, “The wheels of justice grind slowly in the State of Israel, at least for Palestinian activists who endure de facto and de jure inequality under the law.”