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The most memorable stories of 2015

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Week in, week out, resistance to Israeli brutality by Palestinians takes many forms. Those living under occupation and state violence contend constantly with emotional and physical losses. They face impossible moral choices in seeking to assert their humanity and stop atrocities. And most of the time, their actions and the factors that lead to them are ignored or misrepresented in the media.

One of Mondoweiss’s ongoing goals is to document not only the actions of those who resist, but also how they view their choices. We regularly publish the words of people who are working every day to make sense of life under military rule. Today, we are highlighting a few examples of these Interviews That Power Justice, stories published over the past several months that illuminate the realities of resistance.

If you agree that the world needs to hear these stories, please contribute today to Mondoweiss’s year-end campaign. With your help, we can reach our goal of $90,000 and unlock the remarkable $50,000 Challenge Fund that can move our work to the next level.

Mohammed Zaidan, attempted suicide bomber

In April 2002, the Israeli military assaulted Jenin refugee camp in collective punishment for residents’ participation in the second intifada. In the nearby city of Jenin, 17-year-old Mohammed Zaidan watched in horror. Within a month, Zaidan’s mounting grief, anger and frustration led him to attempt a suicide bombing operation.

Mohammed Zaidan displays two newspaper clippings of photos of the Israeli bomb disposal robot. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

Last June, Zaidan told Mondoweiss correspondent Dan Cohen his story. After the April attack on the camp, Zaidan managed to deliver food with the Red Cross. “I found bulldozers all over the place with dead and burned bodies all around,” he said. “The bombing was everywhere. It wasn’t aimed at a specific target.”

“I saw a woman keeled over with her face in the dough,” killed as she was making bread. “She had a bullet in the middle of her face,” he added. The gruesome sights made Zaidan intent on carrying out a suicide bombing.

In the June interview, Zaidan described his failed attempt, the injuries he suffered, and his experience over almost ten years in Israeli prison. Today he is a taxi driver in Gaza City, with a wife and family. He told reporter Cohen about his mental and philosophical state both at the time of his one violent act and today.

“I wouldn’t do it again. I would help in delivering food and tending to sick people,” he said. “But for me to do a suicide bombing? I wouldn’t – not because I failed but because of my age now….It’s still the same philosophy: You either live free or die free.”

Salah and Raweeda al-Hashlamoun, demanding accountability

On September 22, Hadil al-Hashlamoun was shot to death at a Hebron checkpoint by Israeli soldiers. While the military has claimed that al-Hashlamoun carried a knife, a Brazilian eyewitness photographed the events and has attested that no blade was present. Amnesty International has called the killing an “extrajudicial execution.”

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Mondoweiss correspondent Allison Deger was able to obtain an interview with Hadil al-Hashlamoun’s devastated parents. She heard from them of a young woman who was a keen student, a poet, increasingly devout and dedicated to volunteering. Hadil al-Hashlamoun’s focus on achieving and helping others within the limits of what is possible was the same approach taken by her father, who is an eminent physician. But now, both parents are furious at the cavalier destruction of their daughter’s promising future.

“As a poet, it’s impossible for her to harm anybody,” said Hadil’s mother, Raweeda al-Hashlamoun. “She was active and quiet, she was smart, she was planning her life for the future.” Father Salah al-Hashlamoun has no doubt that Hadil was not carrying a knife. “The Israelis always accuse—man or woman, child or elderly—that they killed or injured that person because they tried to stab a soldier,” Salah said. “My daughter was killed in an unfair and unjustifiable manner.”

The family are demanding that the Israeli military produce CCTV footage from the checkpoint showing that the knife came from Hadil, “or shut up.”

Ahed Tamimi, undeterred by armed Israeli soldier

In September, Mondoweiss’s Deger published another valuable interview. Young teenaged girls in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh were seen worldwide in a photo that went viral even in the mainstream media, when they joined other women in tackling an Israeli soldier who was hurting 12-year-old Mohammed Tamimi.

After the photo was published, 14-year-old Ahed Tamimi was approached by many reporters for her story. Ahed was pleased that the photo spread so widely, “so the world can see what happens.” She sat down for an extended interview with Deger, who also talked with other children in the village about the many years of violence Nabi Saleh has suffered even during nonviolent protests.

Nour Tamimi (L) and Ahed Tamimi (R). (Photo: Allison Deger)

Nour Tamimi (L) and Ahed Tamimi (R). (Photo: Allison Deger)

Nine-year-old Janna Jihad, a cousin and close friend of Ahed, has taken on the task of informing the world about Nabi Saleh’s protests. Her Facebook timeline, followed by close to 20,000 people, is filled with images of her relatives and classmates running from tear gas typically fired at protesters during the weekly marches. When she grows up, Jihad said she wants to report for CNN or Fox.

Interviews that Power Justice

These are just a few stories shared by Mondoweiss, giving glimpses into the world of people struggling with the impossible. If you found other interviews or first-person stories particularly meaningful, we’d like to hear from you. Please tell us in the comments — which were your the most memorable stories in 2015?

These intimate stories that convey life-and-death choices, daily struggles and heroic resistance are only possible with your support. Please contribute today to Mondoweiss’s year-end campaign and help insure that we will be able to continue to bring you stories that you remember and help pave the way to a more just future.

Multiply your donation to Mondoweiss by supporting our year end challenge.

Multiply your donation to Mondoweiss by supporting our year end challenge.

Philip Weiss and Adam Horowitz
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11 Responses

  1. philweiss
    philweiss
    December 22, 2015, 10:51 am

    PS. Two stories from the ground that I really liked:
    I’m really proud of Allison’s story about the Hashlamouns family because, it was important reporting on a simply horrifying story, reporting that no one else did, reporting that took real guts on Allison’s part. Most important, the story told me something I didn’t know. It showed us what a solid hardworking family she came from, people of restraint and dignity. This is the sort of family that is essential as stakeholders in any vision of a future for Israel and Palestine. The fact that this family lives under brutal conditions is devastating to read. But the fact that we’re reading it in the U.S. suggests that there may be progress.
    One other piece of reporting I liked. When Dan Cohen along with David Sheen were in Dimona and showed the racist graffiti in the streets against Arabs, and then made it a point to show that the children in that school could peer over the fence at it. They erased the kids’ faces, but they showed them perched over the wall. It was a touching moment, and also a simple documentation of persecution. One many readers won’t forget. I’m proud that we communicated that information
    http://mondoweiss.net/2015/08/landscape-southern-israeli

    • can of worms
      can of worms
      December 22, 2015, 1:27 pm

      “It showed us what a solid hardworking family she came from, people of restraint and dignity. This is the sort of family that is essential as stakeholders in any vision of a future for Israel and Palestine”

      What?

      Firstly , who are you to be praising restraint? For crying out loud.

      Nothing like moderates praising restraint . “I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is …the white moderate … who constantly says: ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods….” (Dr. King)

      Secondly , “This is the sort of family that is essential as stakeholders in any vision of a future”

      Who are you to be saying what “sort of family” is essential as stakeholders? All families are essential as stakeholders!

      Thirdly , correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t see anywhere in the article any indication of what “this sort of family” is . The only things I could find in the article regarding the family are:
      —- (1) Hadil’s father: “Salah al-Hashlamoun, 55, a doctor and head of a hospital in Hebron”
      —- (2) Hadil’s mother: “Hadil’s mother Rawhide al-Hashlamoun, 47.”
      Sooooooo…. What makes “this sort of family” what is “essential” as “stakeholders”?
      That the father was a medical professional??? Or perhaps, that the mother was 47? –Ah! I see your point.

      Sounds just like a nice, err, modern, err, Western, err, “hardworking” (protestant work ethic!), err, “restrained” (reasonable, subdued, unobtrusive, non-savage) family, just what should be “essential” for “stakeholders”.

      For pete’s sake.

  2. annie
    annie
    December 22, 2015, 2:24 pm

    i think we should give allison deger an award this year. her coverage of so many events and people has been spectacular.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      December 25, 2015, 3:18 pm

      “I disagree, I believe Alison Weir through her problematic selection…’

      How many G’s are you pulling “a4tech”? Are you sure the centrifugal force isn’t getting to your cerebral flow?

    • tree
      tree
      December 25, 2015, 9:53 pm

      Well, I’m sure that by a4tech’s logic (hmm,is that an oxymoron?) all Allison’s are the same. Deger, Weir, whatever, they are all whites so they all share an evil ideology.

      Clue for a4tech , Allison Deger is Mondoweiss’ reporter on the scene in Israel/Palestine. Not to be confused with…

      And BTW, Allison Weir’s “problematic selection” consists of consenting to interviews with anyone who wishes one and her detractors had to go back to a single interview in 2009 to hang her for what the interviewer said, not what she said. Meanwhile, JVP, on the other hand, which claims to have “zero-tolerance” for racists, accepted the invitation from J-Street, a Zionist organization, to present at their conference in 2011. “Zero tolerance for racists, except Zionists” is their type of “problematic selection” of target audience. An organization in a glass house throwing stones. Weir doesn’t adopt a “biased narrative” but you do, a4tech.

  3. a blah chick
    a blah chick
    December 23, 2015, 1:57 pm

    Congratulations Phil & Adam! You got can of worms to put down the fortified egg nog long enough to respond to you. Though I have no idea what he/she is rabbiting about.

    Also I look forward to who will win the Mondo/Just award for most postings this year. Named, by me, in honor of the first recipient.

    All hail our glorious Mondo overlords!

    • can of worms
      can of worms
      December 23, 2015, 5:41 pm

      congratulations Phil & Adam! You got can of worms to put down the fortified egg nog long enough to respond to you. Though I have no idea what he/she is rabbiting about.

      Thanks, abc, one of the things I’ve wanted to thank this year is the anonymous comments, which do not forgive you! And, I thank goodness for it — as it is always such a refuge from a world that never tells you when you’re wrong — or even cares to tell you specifically how you’re wrong —

      From,
      rabbit

      • can of worms
        can of worms
        December 23, 2015, 7:40 pm

        @ You got can of worms to put down the fortified egg nog long enough to respond to you
        And by god, you got CoW to put down the nog long enough, again, to respond to you, in a paroxysm of anger and despair.

        I am part of a family of the worst sort. raised in the gutter. never even met any ‘heads of hospitals’. however we are loveable, and very cute and, in the workings of our strange brain, we are the best future stakeholders

        When do I ‘put down the eggnog’? Hmmm. if I had any sense I wouldn’t, I guess. Anyway some of the conversations here are about things I do not know anything about, like, for example, American politics or intl law. Some are about things I know so well that they seem obvious & tired, like, for example, about the thousand crimes and perversions of Zionism. My fur frizzes when I trip along some shared sets of assumptions, that come at you like gaping traps where you really didn’t expect them…

        (and now, I tell myself: CoW, please please please just be quiet. And by god I will.)

    • can of worms
      can of worms
      December 23, 2015, 6:32 pm

      edit: In no way am I, in the least, critiquing the original excellent article, much less the family, but just the comment that, “it showed us what a solid hardworking family she came from, people of restraint and dignity. This is the sort of family that is essential as stakeholders in any vision of a future for Israel and Palestine”

      I was again trying to locate where the evidence of praiseworthy restraint came from, and what I could find was this: “Hadil’s family said the Israeli military must produce CCTV footage captured by cameras at the checkpoint that show the knife came from Hadil, ‘or shut up.’ ” (–as if all the IOF were doing was talking–)

      Please understand, we “rabbits” always get the sense that we aren’t hardworking enough, aren’t full of restraint, and, essentially, that nobody really cares for you as the future’s stakeholder.

      And, as one speaking in an occupation, I also find it hard when what is praised is restraint. It just touches a nerve.

      Who can really praise either uprising , or restraint?

      And as a rabbit, again, this is what happens — people just suppose they got you to come out of your hole, whereas you were simply traipsing along, like a happy go lucky, in a world where everything is already perfectly articulated.

      • annie
        annie
        December 23, 2015, 9:40 pm

        I was again trying to locate where the evidence of praiseworthy restraint came from,

        we heard you, you can keep looking. i too think they showed a lot of restraint and dignity. had my children been murdered, two in a row, i seriously doubt i could hold it together. but i have no more to say about your reaction. maybe others do, maybe it’s cultural, maybe you would like to express it yet another time.

  4. W.Jones
    W.Jones
    December 30, 2015, 9:27 am

    One of the most memorable stories was the Roundtable on Alison Weir.

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