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.”
Category Archives: Palestinian Citizens of Israel
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.”
Members of Israel’s opposition coalition will filibuster overnight to stall a vote on a controversial bill to expand the Knesset’s power to oust one of their own. The expulsion bill, formerly called the suspension bill, grants parliamentarians the authority to permanently kick their peers out of office, without loose criteria for disqualification. It is aimed at one member: Hanin Zoabi of the Joint List.
At about 3:00 am on October 11, 2015, Israeli police and border guards kicked open the door of the Tatour family home and hauled Dareen Tatour off in her pajamas. The police had no warrant and offered no explanation for the shocking pre-dawn raid. It was only after twenty days of imprisonment and four interrogations that Tatour and her family finally learned the exact nature of the charges. She was being held for “incitement” because of two Facebook posts and a poetry video clip that she posted on YouTube. Nine months later, an Israeli court issued Tatour a 48-hour pass to visit her family in Reineh, a small Palestinian town outside of Nazareth, where Kim Jensen talked to Tatour about her case, her work, and her aspirations as an artist.
The UN removed portions of an Israeli exhibition at the international body’s headquarters in New York this week that alleged Israel’s equal treatment of Palestinian citizens and touted Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, claims deemed by the UN as falling out of line with international law. Two panels out of 13 in the display were barred in order that it “conform with the purposes and principles” of the UN, Farhan Haq, spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, told Mondoweiss.
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.
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.
Palestinian writer Sayed Kashua says that he was a “hostage” living in “fear” in Israel even as he created hugely successful TV show in Hebrew, the language of his “oppressor.” And that his work is worth nothing.
Palestinian leaders inside Israel and other members of the Palestinian community respond to a new Pew poll that found almost half of Israeli Jews think “Arabs should be expelled or transferred from Israel.” Diana Buttu says, “It is acceptable to be racist in Israel: the Prime Minister has made latent racism mainstream.”
Adalah, The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, has released a new report (PDF) on discriminatory and anti-democratic legislation being considered by the Israeli Knesset. “We are being introduced to new laws and bills that in some way are narrowing the meaning of democracy here,” Adalah legal advocate Nadeem Shehadeh said in a tells Mondoweiss.
A Pew survey of Israeli attitudes reflects the deep racism in Israeli Jewish society: most Jews (48 to 46) want Palestinian Israelis to be transferred or expelled from the state, and 4 out of 5 say they like discriminatory legal system. More than 3/4 of Palestinians say that the U.S. is too supportive of Israel.
Israel’s large Palestinian minority held its first-ever conference on BDS – boycott, divestment and sanctions – this past weekend in spite of anti-boycott legislation introduced five years ago that exposes activists in Israel to harsh financial penalties. One participant called it a sign that the Palestinian minority was slowly emerging from the law’s “reign of terror”.
Benjamin Netanyhu’s government is drafting legislation that ought to resolve in observers’ minds the question of whether Israel is the democracy it proudly claims to be. It breathes new life into the phrase “tyranny of the majority”. But in this case, the majority will be Jewish MPs oppressing their Palestinian colleagues.
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.
A rarely told story of the 1948 war that founded Israel concerns Nazareth’s survival. It is the only Palestinian city in what is today Israel that was not ethnically cleansed during the year-long fighting. Nazareth was not only an anomaly; it was a mistake. The reason for Nazareth’s survival are the actions of one individual. Ben Dunkelman, a Canadian Jew who was the commander of the Israeli army’s Seventh Armoured Brigade, disobeyed orders to expel Nazareth’s residents. Dunkelman’s role has been largely obscured in the historical record – and for good reason. Israel would prefer that observers make an unjustified assumption: that “Christian” Nazareth survived, unlike other Palestinian cities, because its leaders were less militant or because they preferred to surrender. Dunkelman’s story proves that was not the case.