Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Israeli forces injure journalists during Bethlehem solidarity march
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 4 May — Dozens of Palestinians including two journalists were injured as Israeli forces suppressed a march in solidarity with hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners in the southern occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem on Thursday. Protesters, some of whom dressed up as prisoners, demonstrated in solidarity with some 1,600 Palestinian prisoners who have been consuming only a mixture of salt and water for 18 days. The protesters also demanded the release of the bodies of slain Palestinians who remain held inside Israel. Clashes erupted as protesters reached Israel’s illegal separation wall. Witnesses told Ma‘an that journalist Safiyyeh Omar was injured with a stun grenade in her leg, while photojournalist Abed Hashlamoun was injured with a rubber-coated steel bullet in the leg. Dozens of protesters suffered from severe tear gas inhalation.
Separately, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) organized a solidarity march in Ramallah city in the central West Bank. The march set off from the headquarters of the PLO to the grave of late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and finally to a sit-in solidarity tent at al-Manara circle in the center of the city. Members of the PLO Mahmoud Ismail, Ghassan al-Shakaa, Abed al-Rahim Mallouh, heads of public unions and heads of PLO institutions, Ramallah and al-Bireh governor Laila Ghannam, Mustafa al-Barghouthi and families of prisoners took part in the march.The mother of the youngest Palestinian prisoner, 12-year-old Shadi Farah, gave a speech on her son’s detention conditions, highlighting that the child was sentenced to three years of actual prison time and five years of suspended sentence.
Israeli soldiers shoot eight Palestinians in Nabi Saleh
IMEMC 5 May — Israeli soldiers shot and injured, Friday, eight Palestinians, including five with live fire, and caused scores to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation, in Nabi Saleh village, north of Ramallah, in central West Bank. The soldiers invaded the village and attacked dozens of protesters, and fired live rounds at them, wounding five, in addition to injuring three others with rubber-coated steel bullets and causing dozens to suffer the severe effects of teargas inhalation. Clashes took place near the main entrance of the town after the soldiers used excessive force against nonviolent protesters, marching in solidarity with the hunger striking Palestinian detainees. Medical sources in Nabi Saleh said all the wounded Palestinians who were shot with live army fire are from Deir Ghassana nearby town. It is worth mentioning that the soldiers closed, several days ago, the main gate of the village, blocking the road leading to Ramallah and nearby towns, an issue that prevented ambulances from entering it, which forced the Palestinians to use unpaved dirt roads, using their private cars, to move the wounded to hospitals in Salfit governorate, which are relatively far from Ramallah.
Army injures three Palestinians, including one journalist, in Kufur Qaddoum
IMEMC 6 May — Israeli soldiers attacked, Friday, the weekly protest in Kafr Qaddoum town, in the east of the northern West Bank governorate of Qalqilia, shot and injured three Palestinians, including a teenager and a photojournalist, while many suffered the effects of teargas inhalation. The Popular Committee in Kafr Qaddoum said the soldiers assaulted the weekly procession in the town, and fired many rubber-coated steel bullets, gas bombs and concussion grenades, while local youngsters hurled stones and empty bottles on the invading army vehicles. It stated that the soldiers shot Nidal Eshteyya, a Palestinian photojournalist working for a Chinese news agency, with a gas bomb in his back. The committee also said that a child, identified as Sobhi Obeid, 16, was shot with a gas bomb in the head, ande a young man with a rubber-coated steel bullet in his leg, and six youngsters suffered the severe effects of teargas inhalation. Morad Eshteiwy, the media coordinator of the Popular Committee in Kufur Qaddoum, said the protesters marched carrying flags and signs in solidarity with the hunger striking detainees in Israeli prisons.
Dozens injured during clashes across West Bank in solidarity with hunger strikers
[many photos] BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 5 May — Israeli forces suppressed several protests in the occupied West Bank on Friday held in solidarity with the some 1,600 Palestinians in Israeli prisons on the 19th day of a mass hunger strike, while dozens of Palestinians were injured in clashes. In the village of Beit Ummar in the Hebron district, two Palestinians were injured with live bullets in their feet after Israeli forces opened live bullets at protesters during a march launched in the village in solidarity with the hunger strikers, according to the Head of the Palestinian committee for prisoners’ families Ali Ayya Awwad. Awwad told Ma‘an that the march was set off from the mosque in the central part of the village after Friday prayers and headed to the “seam zone” — unilaterally declared areas around Israel’s separation wall where Palestinians are not allowed to be, where Israeli soldiers suppressed the march and “attacked protesters.” He said that clashes were still ongoing at the center of the village as of 3 pm…
In the nearby village of Ni‘lin, their weekly march was held in solidarity with imprisoned hunger strikers. Israeli forces suppressed the demonstration with tear gas, causing several protesters to suffer tear gas inhalation, according to Muhammad Omera, member of the village’s popular resistance committee. Israeli forces also attempted to detain Palestinian demonstrators, and succeeded in detaining an Israeli peace activist, whose name was reported just as “Ari.” In Bil‘in, another Ramallah-area village, Israeli forces detained the head of the village’s council Basil Mansour and his deputy Ahmad Abu Rahma, both of whom are activists in Bil‘in’s popular resistance, during a weekly march in the village dedicated to supporting the prisoners. Palestinians in Bil‘in held their march while holding pictures of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners and shouting slogans demanding the immediate release of all imprisoned Palestinians.
In the district of Salfit, dozens of Palestinians performed Friday prayers at a solidarity tent erected in Salfit city in support of the hunger strikers. The demonstration was organized by the Fatah movement in Salfit, the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs, and PPS. Local residents of Salfit city, families of Palestinian prisoners, and representatives of the Palestinian National Work Committees all attended the prayers. Head of PPS in Salfit Nizar al-Daqruq told Ma‘an that solidarity activities would continue stressing the importance of immediate actions that must be taken to save the lives of the hunger strikers and put pressure on Israel to release them. Al-Daqruq added that more solidarity activities would be taking place in the coming days….
Shin Bet nabs West Bank shooting attack terror cell
Times of Israel 4 May — The Shin Bet security services reveals details of an operation that caught a Palestinian terror cell responsible for a number of shooting attacks on security forces and Israeli civilians in the area around Jenin, in the West Bank. The suspects were detained on suspicion of committing some 10 shooting attacks over the past few months around the communities of Shavei Shomron, Hermesh, Shaked, and the Salem Military Post. There were no injuries in the attacks but some damage was caused to property. The frequent nighttime attacks “were a significant threat to civilians and security forces in the Samaria region,” the service says in a statement, giving the Hebrew name for the northern West Bank. Security forces apprehended two suspects from Fahma, southwest of Jenin, on April 4. They were identified as Louis Ahmad Shapik Zaabana, born 1983, an attorney linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terror group, and his cousin Mahmoud Shapik Zaabana 26.
Israeli soldiers abduct eight Palestinians in the West Bank
IMEMC 4 May — Israeli soldiers abducted, on Thursday at dawn, at least eight Palestinians, seven of them during extensive and violent searches of hones, and one who was abducted from his work in occupied Jerusalem. The Hebron office of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) said the soldiers invaded Beit Ummar town, north of the city, searched many homes and abducted two former political prisoners, identified as Mohammad Jamal Abu Mariya, 21, and Hussein Ramzi al-‘Allami, 22. The soldiers also smashed the front door of a home, belonging to Yousef Mohammad Bahar, and ransacked the property after breaking into it, and searched a garage owned by his son, Mohammad. Also in Hebron, the soldiers invaded homes in Yatta town south of the city, and abducted a former political prisoner, identified as Khalil Hammad Zein, after searching his home, and the home of his brother Zein. The soldiers also searched a blacksmith’s workshop, owned by Mahmoud Zein, and confiscated several machines, reportedly for being used to manufacture weapons. In the al-Fawwar refugee camp, south of Hebron, the soldiers searched homes and summoned for interrogation two former political prisoners, identified as Sami Janazra and Othman Abu Arram.
In related news, the soldiers invaded Abu Dis town, southeast of occupied East Jerusalem, searched homes and abducted a young man, identified as Eyad Nabil Jaffal.
Furthermore, the soldiers invaded Bal‘a town, east of the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem, searched several homes and abducted Ahmad Aref Zreiqi, 25.
In Nablus, in northern West Bank, the soldiers invaded Huwwara town, south of the city, and abducted Waleed Khaled Nimir, after searching his home. Another Palestinian, identified as Mohammad Mustafa ‘Aseeda, 20, was abducted from his home in Tal village, south of Nablus, while Ahmad Lutfi Marshoud, from Balata refugee camp, east of Nablus, was abducted from his work in Jerusalem.
Israeli soldiers abduct a former political prisoner near Qalqiliya
IMEMC 6 May — Israeli soldiers abducted, on Friday evening, a former Palestinian political prisoner, from Salfit governorate, in northeastern West Bank, after stopping him at a military roadblock, east of Qalqilia, in northern West Bank. Eyewitnesses said the soldiers abducted Essam Mansour, from Deir Istiya town, east of Salfit, and took him to an unknown destination. The soldiers also stopped and searched dozens of cars and interrogated many Palestinians, while inspecting their ID cards.
On Friday at dawn, the soldiers abducted two Palestinians, including a teenager, from their homes in Teqoua’ [or Tuqu‘] town, east of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank.
Israeli forces seal Nablus-area village
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 6 May — Israeli forces sealed the main entrance of the village of Beita in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus on Saturday morning. Witnesses told Ma‘an that Israeli bulldozers, escorted by Israeli forces, sealed the main crossroads of the village with large dirt mounds. Israeli forces then prevented Palestinians from entering or leaving the village until further notice.
Israeli settlers close main road in Bethlehem-area village during protest
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 5 May — Dozens of Israeli settlers gathered on the main road of the village of Tuqu‘ in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem on Friday to protest Palestinian youth throwing rocks at their vehicles in the area. Crowds of Israeli settlers closed the main road connecting the Hebron district to the rest of the southern West Bank. Witnesses said the the settlers chanted “anti-Arab slogans.” Israeli settlers waved Israeli flags, while the Israeli army and police forces raided the village and “provided the settlers with security.” Locals added that Israeli soldiers had also stationed themselves on rooftops of nearby buildings.
Freedom and Dignity hunger strike
Palestinian prisoners enter 20th day of mass hunger strike
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 6 May — Some 1,600 Palestinian prisoners entered their 20th day of a mass hunger strike demanding humane treatment in Israeli prisons and an end to Israel’s policy of imprisoning Palestinians without charge or trial, as more Palestinian prisoners have joined the strike, while Israel Prison Service (IPS) has continued cracking down on the hunger strikers.
According to the Media Committee of the Freedom and Dignity Strike — a joint committee formed by the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) and Palestinian Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs, five more Palestinian prisoners in Israel’s Ofer prison joined the hunger strike on Friday. The committee identified the prisoners as Ghalib Ward, Ahmad Batahna, Shadi Shalalda, Ashraf al-Zin, and Zakaria Kabia. The committee said that 21 Palestinian prisoners also joined the hunger strike on Thursday after IPS transferred five Fatah-affiliated hunger-striking prisoners to solitary confinement.
The committee also added that representative of the prisoners in Ofer prison Akram Hamed said that the hunger strikers’ sections in the prison have been raided daily and subjected to “suppressing procedures,” noting that despite this and the continued deterioration of the health of some of the hunger strikers, they were determined to continue until their demands are met.
Meanwhile, the the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East Gregory III Laham declared a solidarity hunger strike for Saturday in support of the prisoners.
The Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs released a statement on Saturday, outlining Israeli violations and policies against the hunger strikers, which they listed as:….
Barghouthi: ‘Israel cannot silence us, nor isolate us, nor break us’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 5 May — In a letter obtained by the office of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Secretary-General on Wednesday, the 17th day of the “Freedom and Dignity” mass hunger strike, Marwan Barghouthi, the Fatah leader organizing and leading the strike, wrote of the conditions he and other prisoners have been facing as the strike entered its third week. “Israel has decided to respond through incitement, solitary confinement of hunger strikers and repression, with the illusion that this will make us abandon our sacred struggle and our legitimate demands,” Barghouthi said, referring to a series of punitive measures that the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) has carried out against prisoners since day one of the strike. Barghouthi, who organized the strike that launched on April 17, Palestinian Prisoner’s Day, told readers of the letter that he was writing from solitary confinement on behalf of some 1,600 prisoners partaking in the strike. “Israel cannot silence us, nor isolate us, nor break us,” Barghouthi said, highlighting the effects of Israel’s daily detention raids on Palestinian communities and families, adding that mass incarceration of Palestinians was a tactic “to exhaust and intimidate our people and destroy its ability to struggle against the occupation.”“This occupation has violated our cities, villages, refugee camps, holy places and Jerusalem, and it arrests dozens of Palestinians daily and subjects them to torture and ill treatment, including during interrogation, and falsely accuses them and adopts arbitrary decisions against them through their legitimate courts, civilian and military, and conducts policies and actions that constitute grave breaches under international law and crimes for which those responsible must be held accountable.”Barghouthi went on to call for unity among Palestinian factions, saying that the Palestinian people, if united, are “capable of creating miracles.” He also said that the cause of Palestine and “the rights of our people,” were “the most noble and just cause of our time.”….
Israeli government may bring in foreign doctors to force-feed Palestinian hunger strikers
IMEMC 5 May by Saed Bannoura — As a mass hunger strike of Palestinian prisoners enters its third week, Israeli authorities told reporters that they are considering bringing in foreign doctors to force-feed the prisoners. The decision, which has not been finalized, comes after last year’s Israeli High Court ruling that force-feeding fits within Israeli law. But even though the Israeli High Court said that it’s allowed, the Israeli Medical Association has banned its doctors from participating in the practice. Force-feeding is considered torture under international law. The United Nations Human Rights Commission has condemned the practice, and the World Medical Association has called for disciplinary proceedings against any doctor or medical professional who participates in force-feeding. The doctors would be brought in from an unspecified country, and would be held in a medical facility of the Israeli Prison Service. The Israeli government plan to import doctors would break with world medical standards, but the government prefers to carry out the widely-condemned practice of force-feeding instead of considering the demands of the hunger striking prisoners….
Israel moves 41 hunger striking detainees to Ohali Kidar prison
IMEMC 4 May — The Media Committee of the “Freedom and Dignity” hunger strike in Israeli prisons, said the Israeli Prison Authority has transferred, Thursday, 41 hunger striking detainees from Asqalan Prison to Ohali Kidar. The committee stated that the soldiers conducted repeated and extensive invasions and searches of the detainees’ rooms and belongings, before transferring the 41 to Ohali Kidar. It added that the detainees were forced out of their rooms into the prison yard, many times last night, and at dawn, during the extensive searches that lasted for several hours. Israel resorts to repeated invasions into the rooms and sections of various detention centers, especially during hunger strikes, and constantly keeps transferring the detainees, inflicting more hardships on them to force them to end their strikes.
ICRC: Prisoner visits with families are Israel’s obligation under international law
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 5 May — The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which is in charge of coordinating with Israeli authorities to arrange family visitations for Palestinian prisoners, released a statement Wednesday calling upon Israel to abide by international humanitarian law and increase family visits to Palestinian prisoners detained inside Israel. The statement quoted Jacques de Maio, head of the ICRC delegation in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, as saying that “family contact must be improved, not further restricted,” referring to Israel’s suspension of family visits for hunger-striking prisoners, and of the visitation permits for their families. “According to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, Palestinians are entitled to these visits, which can only be limited for security reasons, on a case by case basis, but never for strictly punitive or disciplinary purposes,” the statement said. The statement pointed out that under International Law and the Fourth Geneva Convention, an occupying power is forbidden to hold prisoners from an occupied territory outside of the occupied land, however the vast majority of Palestinian prisoners from the occupied West Bank and Gaza are held in prisons inside Israel. Consequently, family members of prisoners have less access to their relatives, as they need special permits that are difficult to obtain, and have to undertake long trips to see their loved ones, with checks and waiting times when crossing checkpoints and at the prison….
Marwan Barghouti’s son: ‘My father is a terrorist exactly like Nelson Mandela’
Haaretz 5 May by Gideon Levy & Alex Levac — Aarab Barghouti, 26, is the son of Marwan Barghouti, the jailed Fatah activist who is leading a Palestinian hunger strike in Israeli prisons. He is convinced the Israelis will never have another partner for peace like his father — Aarab Barghouti was a toddler when I became friends with his father, Marwan Barghouti, and he was still a boy when his father was arrested by Israeli forces and subsequently tried and sentenced to five cumulative life terms, plus 40 years, after being convicted of five counts of murder and an additional count of attempted murder. The last time I met the father while he was still a free man was in November 2001; he was wanted but had not yet been apprehended. After someone smeared an unknown substance on the windows of the safe house where we were set to meet, the meeting was moved elsewhere. The next time I saw him was in Tel Aviv District Court. That was also the last time. Aarab, his youngest son, was 11 when his father was arrested, and is now a handsome, impressive student of 26. With a fashionable kaffiyeh draped around his neck, he takes his seat for a lengthy Skype conversation with me from his place of residence in San Francisco …
His father was convicted by an Israeli court on five counts of murder, I tell Aarab; it’s clear that to the Israelis he is a terrorist. “It was a political trial that was not based on any evidence or facts,” Aarab replies. “My father was fair and clear: he denied everything and argued that it was a political trial. He was sentenced to five life terms. [Nelson] Mandela was also sentenced to life imprisonment. My father is a man of peace. He always sought peace. The only thing he will not forgo is his people’s rights. Ask any Palestinian – not only in Palestine but everywhere in the world – and more than 90 percent will agree that my father’s policy and his thinking about a solution are the right road. He is not asking for much, but the Israeli government does not want people who seek the rights of the Palestinian people. “In prison, too, my father seeks peace. Nothing will change that. Only Israeli propaganda presents him as a terrorist. Nelson Mandela was also portrayed as a terrorist. He spent 27 years in prison. And then he became a hero and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. My father is a terrorist exactly like Nelson Mandela. To the Israelis I want to say: If you admire Mandela, you should know that my father is repeating Mandela’s story. And if you do not esteem Mandela, I don’t care what you think. I am certain that one day the Israelis will reach the conclusion that the only solution is peace, and you will never have another partner like him. One day, the Israelis will see who Marwan Barghouti is.”….
The humanitarian impact of the Gaza electricity crisis, May 2017
UN OCHA 4 May — …Health services: – Hospitals working at minimal capacity. – Only the most critical services continuing, such as intensive care units and neonatal intensive care units; other services put on hold. – Elective surgeries being postponed, increasing risk of complications. – Patients being discharged prematurely after surgery. – Sterilization and cleaning services reduced, giving rise to infection rates. – Number of patients referred outside Gaza increasing. – Condition of health equipment rapidly degrading through eg. the constant fluctuation in the current of electricity. – Over time, if fuel supplies dwindle, some hospitals expected to close in order to preserve fuel for the central hospitals serving largest catchment population. This would immediately affect pregnant women, elderly and those with chronic illness Water and sanitation services, including solid waste management: Wastewater plants operating on shortened treatment cycles, decreasing the quality of sewage routinely discharged into the sea and increasing pollution levels. More than 100,000 cubic meters of raw sewage or poorly treated effluent is now being discharged to the sea daily. More than 55 wastewater pumping stations located at heavily populated areas now at increased risk of flooding, overflow and contamination, due to unpredictable electricity supply and shortage of services. The production rate of 48 (small scale) desalination plants now reduced to 15 per cent of maximum capacity of 20,000 cubic meters per day. Water supply reduced to once every four days for 35 per cent of the population. Water quantity supplied now decreased from 90 liter/ capita/day to 40-50 liters/capita/day….
Israeli-Jordanian-Palestinian venture seeks help on Gaza resource crisis
JPost 4 May by Sharon Udasin — A regional environmental group is calling for the participation of a third-party mediator on water and electricity issues in Gaza in hopes of averting a humanitarian, ecological and security crisis there. The Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian co-directors of the organization EcoPeace Middle East emphasized the urgency of the situation in a letter sent last week to Norway’s envoy for the Middle East peace process, ahead of the biannual Ad Hoc Liaison Committee meeting for Palestinian development assistance this week in Brussels. Despite a number of practical advancements that have taken place in Gaza in recent months, EcoPeace said, immediate action is necessary to prevent a “further deterioration of conditions on the ground. “We are concerned that current conditions will lead to severe humanitarian implications for the two million people living in Gaza,” EcoPeace wrote in its letter to committee chairman Tor Wennesland. “The outbreak of pandemic disease is a prime concern, with national security implications for the Palestinian Authority, Israel, Egypt and the broader international community.”
Overseen by Norway, the 15-member AHLC coordinates development assistance for the Palestinians and is co-sponsored by the EU and US. Informal talks took place Wednesday; the formal portion of the meeting takes place today….
Egypt to open Rafah crossing with Gaza in one direction for three days
GAZA (Ma‘an) 4 May — Egyptian authorities side decided on Thursday to open the Rafah border crossing, in one direction, with the Gaza Strip for three consecutive days this week. Egyptian authorities informed the Palestinian Authority (PA) that Egypt will open the Rafah crossing on Saturday, Sunday and Monday of this week (May 6-8) to allow those stuck in Egypt to return to Gaza. Egyptian officials said the order came upon request by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to Egyptian President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi.
Israeli military fires shells at Palestinians near Gaza perimeter fence, killing a 15-year-old and injuring another man
B’Tselem 4 May — On the evening of 21 March 2017, at around 9:00 P.M., three Gaza residents – Yusef Abu ‘Athrah, 15, and Muhammad al-‘Aker, 24, who both live in Rafah Refugee Camp, and ‘Abdallah a-Rikhawi, 29, who lives in the city of Rafah – set out for land that belongs to Abu ‘Athrah’s family in a-Shokah, east of the city of Rafah. The land lies some 300 to 400 meters from the fence between Gaza and Israel. Relying on Abu ‘Athrah’s familiarity with area, the three Palestinians were planning to walk from his family’s plot to the fence in order to cross into Israel to seek work. At around 10:00 P.M. they reached the Abu ‘Athrah plot, gathered wood for a campfire, and started preparing supper. About two hours later, around midnight, while their food was cooking, the military fired a tank shell at them … The shells fired killed Yusef Abu ‘Athrah when he was about 300 to 400 meters away from the fence. Muhammad al-‘Aker was hit by shrapnel in the abdomen and both legs. In testimony he gave to B’Tselem field worker Muhammad Sa‘id on 23 March 2017, Muhammad al-‘Aker described the moments after the shelling began: I heard a loud explosion very close to us and felt sand and gravel flying around me. I started running and my friends did too, each one in a different direction. The explosions continued around us. The military also fired a lot of flares. I kept running as fast as I could through the fields. It was very dark and I fell over several times, but I was so scared that I just got up and kept running. I had no idea where my friends had gone and couldn’t hear either of them…
In his testimony, he explained why he had decided to try and cross the fence into Israel: “I’ve been out of work for years. I looked for work for a long time, any job at all, to provide for my children, but I couldn’t find anything because Gaza’s economy is in very bad shape. Over time, my financial situation grew worse so I couldn’t even buy food for my kids. I racked up large debts to the grocery stores and other various shops. That’s why I thought I’d try to sneak across the border into Israel, so I could work there, even though I knew I might die along the way. But I didn’t expect to be shot at before we even reached the fence. We thought we were safe on the farmland where we were sitting when we were shot.”…
The military’s response, as quoted by the media, attests to a ‘shoot first and ask questions later’ policy. B’Tselem’s investigation found that the two men and the teen had been several hundred meters away from the fence and were in no way attempting to plant an explosive device. The military opened fire on them although they posed no danger
Black Palestinians face subtle racism in Gaza
GAZA (Gulf News) 5 May by Ahmed Alnaouq — Black Palestinians constitute a minority of one per cent of the total population of the two million inhabitants living in Gaza Strip. While it is difficult to accurately pinpoint their exact origins, many say they came from Ghana, Sudan and Egypt — or at least that’s what has been passed down through their oral history. Many first came to Palestine during the Islamic conquests as slaves to serve their owners in the seventh century. It is also reported that another wave of Africans immigrated to Palestine in the late 19th century to work as merchants or fighters under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. Despite their deep roots in Palestine, many still encounter racism and discrimination, although it is to a much lesser degree than how poorly people of colour are treated in other countries — particularly the US. Mohammad Obaid, 26, a folklore dancer and founder of the Dabke Club for children, thinks his ancestors originally came from Sudan. “My grandparents worked as merchants in 1948 areas, which is considered Beersheba in Israel today. They were displaced when Israel was created and we have lived in Gaza ever since,” he told Gulf News. At least 11,000 black Palestinians live in Al Jalla‘a district of Gaza in a neighbourhood called “Al ‘Abeed” which means slaves in Arabic. Among friends and co-workers, Obaid is known as Samara — which means dark skinned.“I am proud of who I am, so I don’t take it in a bad way,” he said. “I consider it to be a distinguished nickname which gives a special flavour to my personality.”Although there is no official discriminatory policy against black Palestinians, Obaid says that subtle racism makes his life more difficult than lighter skinned Palestinians … Many black Palestinians are not considered for jobs that require direct communication or interaction with customers. The majority of Palestinians do not marry black Palestinians, although recently there have been some changes in mentality. “Where I live, people accept to marry black Palestinians, but in other areas it is strictly forbidden,” he said. It is worse for black Palestinian women — while dark-skinned men may be able to marry light-skinned Palestinians, the reverse is mostly not accepted … And Obaid says the security forces have been recently very harsh on black Palestinians. When the cops pulled him and his friends over recently, he was the only one from the passengers pulled out for further security checks … But for Karama, a 34-year-old Palestinian woman, who has a black father and white mother, race has never gotten in the way of her success. “I personally haven’t experienced any discrimination,” she told Gulf News. “Blacks are sometimes preferred by some organisations who seek diversity.”Karama has participated and led many different social work initiatives and ceremonies, but she acknowledges that having a white mother could be the reason.
Archbishop of Canterbury makes surprise visit to Gaza
The Guardian 4 May by Harriet Sherwood — The archbishop of Canterbury has made a surprise visit to Gaza during his 12-day tour of the Holy Land. Justin Welby spent three and a half hours in the Gaza Strip, which has been the scene of repeated conflicts over the past decade and is governed by the militant group Hamas. The archbishop, who was accompanied by the Anglican bishop of Jerusalem, Suheil Dawani, and two aides, was granted Israeli permits and given security clearance at the last minute, after earlier this week seeking permission to enter the Gaza Strip. Welby described his short visit to the densely populated and impoverished territory as “extraordinary”. About 1.9 million Palestinians live in Gaza, which is surrounded on three sides by walls and fences and blockaded by the Israeli navy along its coastline … In Gaza City, Welby visited St John’ Eye hospital and al-Ahli Arab hospital, which is under the auspices of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. The archbishop, who led a service in the hospital chapel, said the “generous humanitarian care” was inspiring.
Opinion: Tragic consequences / Michael Jansen
Gulf Today (UAE) 5 May — Gaza’s ongoing electricity crisis is a tragic consequence of the refusal of Fatah to recognise its defeat by Hamas in the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary election … For years, Gaza has been starved of electricity … Israel is primarily responsible for the crisis. It prevents the repair of the Gaza power station, compels Gaza to buy Israeli fuel for the Gaza plant at high prices, prevents or postpones repairs to the electricity grid and blocks the import into Gaza of spare parts for damaged equipment and installations. As occupying power, Israel is bound by international law to provide for the people it occupies. Israel has never assumed this responsibility and has relied on the UN and the international community to sustain the lives of Palestinians living in Gaza, East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Providers of aid, therefore, protect and prolong Israel’s occupation and suppression of the Palestinian people. Once the Palestinian Authority was established in 1994, it was supposed to assume responsibility for the welfare of Palestinians in the Israeli occupied lands while, under the Oslo Accord of 1993, Israel was expected to withdraw its occupation regime. Based initially in Gaza, the Authority did take charge as best it could as long as President Yasser Arafat was in charge although he moved his administrative base to Ramallah in the Bank. After Arafat’s death in late 2004 his deputy, Mahmoud Abbas, was elected president on a platform of negotiating a peace deal with Israel … Abbas capitulated to pressure from the US and Europe to hold parliamentary elections in 2006, five years past the expiry of the term of the first legislative council … Hamas won 74 seats, Fatah 45 and other factions took the rest. The difference was small in the number of votes taken by Hamas and Fatah but Fatah had made the mistake of putting up multiple candidates for each constituency. Hamas even won all the seats in Ramallah, except for two reserved for Christians. Jimmy Carter again gave the election a positive report.
Carter also went to Ramallah to try to persuade Abbas to accept the result of the election and work with Hamas. Instead, he did the opposite. He refused, cut relations with Hamas, denied its legislators freedom of movement in the West Bank, and ordered Authority civil servants in Gaza to stay at home while continuing to collect their salaries from Ramallah. Consequently, Hamas had to rely on Fatah dissidents or appoint its own people. Abbas was encouraged to adopt this line by the US and Europe which demanded Hamas agree to halt attacks on Israel, recognise Israel and accept agreements negotiated by the Palestine Liberation Organisation/Fatah with Israel. Hamas indirectly fulfilled these demands as early as 2008 but its adversaries insisted on total submission, which has not been forthcoming … Abbas has remained adamantly opposed to reconciliation and reunification in spite of Israel’s deadly assaults on Gaza in 2008-09 and 2014 and popular pressure for unification. Recent efforts to bridge the gulf between Hamas and Fatah have failed. This is why the current electricity crisis has its roots in the 2006 Palestinian legislative election. Abbas is now involved in a power struggle with Hamas’ leadership and is determined to use electricity pressure to force Hamas to submit to the increasingly weak, discredited Palestinian Authority … For many years the European Union funded fuel for Gaza, but since handing over the responsibility to Abbas there have been frequent crises over provision and payment. One of the major issues is a 150 per cent tax the Authority places on fuel supplies bought at considerable expense from Israel. Gaza simply cannot afford such a large expenditure. Abbas, unfortunately, does not understand he is the president of all Palestinians in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza….
Status of Jerusalem
Jordan rejects any attempt to undermine Arab identity of Jerusalem
IMEMC/Agencies 4 May — Jordan’s King Abdullah II, on Tuesday, welcomed Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, and reviewed the Kingdom’s efforts to safeguard Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, in addition to discussing the latest developments in the Middle East. The meeting, held at al-Husseiniya Palace and attended by King’s Personal Envoy and Advisor for Religious and Cultural Affairs, HRH Prince Ghazi bin Mohammad, touched on the key role of Arab Christians and their contributions in the region in its past, present and future. According to Al Ray, the meeting dealt with Israel’s unilateral actions in Jerusalem which threaten Islamic and Christian holy sites, with the King reiterating that Jordan totally rejects any attempt to undermine the Arab identity of the holy city …The Archbishop of Canterbury commended Jordan’s role to highlight the true image of Islam, expressing his appreciation to His Majesty for his custody and protection of holy sites and the Christian communities in Jerusalem as part of the Kingdom’s custodianship over the city’s holy shrines.
$1m in Israeli aid for UNESCO cut over Jerusalem resolution
IMEMC/Agencies 4 May — Israel said, on Wednesday, that it will cut back $1 million in aid for UNESCO, in response to a recent resolution which is critical of Israeli policy in Jerusalem. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who announced the decision at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, said that he had ordered the foreign ministry to immediately implement the order. Meanwhile, Days of Palestine reports,the Israeli Foreign Ministry summoned the Swedish Ambassador to Israel, Carl Magnus Nesser, on Wednesday, following Sweden’s support for the UNESCO resolution. The Israeli Minister of Culture and Sport, Miri Regev, called on the government to close the UNESCO headquarters in Jerusalem and confiscate the building. On Tuesday, UNESCO passed a resolution that criticises Israel over its continuing archaeological excavations in East Jerusalem’s Old City. According to the resolution, the excavations are a violation of international law. The proposal was presented by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan.
Israel spars with the world at UNESCO
+972 Blog 5 May by Talya Ezrahi & Yonathan Mizrachi — The latest bout between Israel and UNESCO suggests that the world is warming up to Israel’s conflation of the Jewish people’s religious and historical connection to Jerusalem with its claim to exclusive sovereignty over the city — Israel’s success at UNESCO this week was a diplomatic coup. In a work of crafty diplomacy, Israel succeeded in undermining an agreement between the Arab states and 11 EU countries which softened the wording of a resolution that it believes disputes its claims to Jerusalem. Nevertheless, we are told that as a result of heavy pressure by Netanyahu and the Foreign Ministry, more countries opposed a UNESCO resolution concerning Israel than had in years. Why did Israel invest so much effort into foiling a resolution it ought to have regarded as less objectionable? … Because the resolution continues the tradition of calling Israel the “occupying power” in East Jerusalem and declares the Basic Law on Jerusalem (through which Israel officially annexed East Jerusalem) null and void. And on the eve of Israel’s celebration of 50 years since the “liberation of Jerusalem,” anyone who dares call into question the legitimacy of Israel’s rule over East Jerusalem, or its right to crown a united Jerusalem as its capital will face the full force of Israel’s diplomatic machine. But what might appear to be just another diplomatic victory actually suggests something much more profound: the beginnings of the international community accepting Israel’s conflation of the Jewish people’s religious and historical connection to Jerusalem with its claim to exclusive sovereignty over the city. Another clause in the resolution assailed Israel for the persistent excavations and tunneling in and around the Old City. This is part of the same story. For the past two decades Israel has spared no effort or money in reshaping Jerusalem’s historic landscape and creating tourist routes that are dominated by a narrative of Jewish belonging … The increasing cooperation between government authorities and right-wing settler groups demonstrates the extent to which Israel has adopted the settlers’ strategy of using archaeological sites as a means to take over territory and dominate the historical narrative … But even the most impressive artifacts cannot blind us to the fact that East Jerusalem is disputed territory. Alongside the impressive remains associated with the history of the Jewish people, Jerusalem is rich with remains from other periods of history, from the Canaanite period to modern times. The Palestinians also have historical, religious and political claims on this city….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Judaization
Israeli forces demolish Negev Bedouin man’s home for 10th time in 2 years
NEGEV (Ma‘an) 4 May — Israeli authorities demolished the home of a Bedouin man for the tenth time in the span of two years in the Bedouin town of Tel al-Sabi in southern Israel on Thursday, locals said. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli bulldozers escorted by the Yoav unit of the Israeli police entered the town, located in the Negev desert, on Thursday morning and prevented residents from approaching the area to remove belongings from the home targeted for demolition. They added that it was the sixth time since the beginning of 2017 and the tenth time in the span of two years that Israeli authorities had demolished a home belonging to Salman Abu Sabila. Bedouin communities in the Negev have been the target of a heightened demolition campaign since the beginning of the year….
Israeli soldiers demolish residential and commercial structures in Jerusalem
IMEMC 4 May — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Thursday morning, the at-Tour neighborhood, overlooking the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem, and al-‘Eesawiyya town, in the center of the city, and demolished residential and commercial structures. The demolished commercial structures are owned by Khalil Abu Sbeitan and Rami Sayyad; the army claimed there were built without construction permits. Also in Jerusalem, the soldiers invaded al-‘Eesawiyya town, and demolished several commercial buildings, owned by Motea‘ Aby Ryala and Mahmoud Abu Ryala, under the same allegations. [Ma‘an photos here ]
Israeli forces demolish East Jerusalem home, leaving 6 Palestinians homeless
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 5 May — Amid a spate of demolitions in occupied East Jerusalem, Israeli authorities Thursday demolished a home in the town of Sur Bahir, leaving six Palestinians homeless. Israeli bulldozers, escorted by crews from Israel’s Jerusalem municipality and armed Israeli forces, demolished a house in Sur Bahir belonging to Ashraf Fawaqa. Fawaqa told Ma‘an that forces raided his house without prior notice, and began emptying and evacuating the house in preparation for demolition. Authorities told Fawaqa that his home would be destroyed for lacking nearly impossible to obtain construction permits. According to Fawaqa, he had been trying to obtain licenses for his house since he built it six years, but to no avail, pointing out that had paid more than 200,000 shekels ($55,403) in lawyers’ fees over the years. He added that while the Jerusalem municipal court, magistrate court and central court approved the demolition, the Israeli Supreme Court had frozen the demolition. Despite the Supreme Court’s freeze on the demolition, Israeli forces destroyed Fawaqa’s 100 square meter house, leaving him, his wife, and their four children — the eldest of which is eight years old — homeless.
Israeli forces prevent Palestinians in Salfit-area village from praying on their lands
[photos, short video] SALFIT (Ma‘an) 5 May — Israeli forces prevented Palestinians from performing Friday prayers for the third consecutive week in the village of Deir Istiya in the occupied West Bank district of Salfit near an agricultural road that was closed by Israeli forces last year, preventing Palestinians from accessing their lands. Local resident Nitham al-Khatib told Ma‘an that Israeli forces prevented Palestinians from performing prayers on their lands, saying that their lands were the site of Israeli military posts. Al-Khatib added that a verbal dispute erupted between the Israeli soldiers and Palestinians. However, no clashes had erupted. He added that after they were denied access to their lands, they performed prayers at the closed road that leads to their lands.
Weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory (27 April – 3 May)
PCHR-Gaza 4 May — 37 Palestinian civilians were wounded during peaceful protests in the West Bank. Among the wounded were 14 children, one of whom was wounded in al-Eisawiya village, northeast of occupied Jerusalem. 14 journalists, including 3 female ones, were beaten while covering a protest in occupied Jerusalem. Fire was set to 10 stores and 2 restaurants in Beita central market, due to which they were completely burnt. Israeli forces continued to target the Gaza Strip border areas, but no casualties were reported. Israeli forces conducted 60 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 2 limited ones in the southern Gaza Strip. 85 civilians, including 27 children and a girl, were arrested. Fifteen of them were arrested in occupied Jerusalem. 12 of them, including 6 children and the girl, were arrested during peaceful protests. Storming the vicinity of Hebron Governmental Hospital and a Palestinian civilian was arrested. Israeli forces continued settlement activities in the West Bank. Settlers attacked Burin and Ourif villages, south of Nablus, and set fire to dozens of olive trees. Israeli forces continued to target the Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip Sea. Two fishermen were arrested in the northern Gaza Strip and their boat was confiscated. Israeli forces turned the West Bank into cantons and continued to impose the illegal closure on the Gaza Strip for the 10th year. Dozens of temporary checkpoints were established in the West Bank and others were re-established to obstruct the movement of Palestinian civilians. Four civilians were arrested at military checkpoints in the West Bank. [Details follow]
Over 170 sports clubs in the occupied West Bank call on FIFA to suspend Israel’s membership
RAMALLAH (BDS Movement) 4 May by PACBI — In a letter issued today, over 170 Palestinian football clubs and sports associations urged FIFA to immediately suspend the Israeli Football Association’s (IFA) membership for its inclusion of seven football clubs that are based in illegal settlements. The letter comes just days before FIFA’s annual Congress where FIFA is scheduled to make a decision on Israel’s settlement-based clubs, which contravene both international law and FIFA’s own statutes. Palestinian athletic clubs call on FIFA to “uphold human rights and implement FIFA statutes without discrimination at the upcoming congress on May 11” by immediately suspending IFA’s membership for its inclusion of sports clubs that are based in illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The letter cautions that “Palestinian football rights, FIFA’s reputation as champion of human rights” depend on FIFA’s decision in this regard. Sports clubs from across the occupied West Bank added their name to the letter including the Hilal Al Quds Club, The Beit Sahour Women’s Club, Hebron Youth Club, Orthodox Club in Bethlehem, Bi’lin Club and Dheisheh Youth Athletic Club. Palestinian clubs recall FIFA’s “historic role in the fight against apartheid in South Africa when it expelled the South African Football Association at its 1976 congress.” They urge FIFA to once again take this “historic opportunity” to show a serious commitment to human rights. The letter raises concern over reports that FIFA will give the IFA six months to exclude settlement teams, seeing it as a continuation of FIFA’s delays….
Palestinians flock to first Palestinian bank in Jerusalem
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 4 May — The National Bank (TNB) announced April 17 the inauguration of the Dahiat al-Barid branch in al-Ram, northeast of Jerusalem, in a first for banks in Palestine since 1967 after the annexation of East Jerusalem to Israel. Hundreds of Palestinian customers residing in Jerusalem have been flocking to the branch to open bank accounts and have their banking transactions executed by a Palestinian bank. TNB’s move encouraged two other banks to take the same step. The Bank of Palestine and the Bank of Jordan obtained approval by the Palestinian Monetary Authority (PMA) but are waiting for equipment requirements to be met to start operating in the city of Jerusalem. The opening of bank branches aims to facilitate banking operations with the Palestinian Jerusalemites living on the other side of the separation wall, in light of the difficulty of movement from Israel to the West Bank to reach Palestinian banks….
West Bank walking trail highlights Palestinian culture, history
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 3 May by Rasha Abou Jalal — A group of Palestinians and foreign tourists departed April 19 on a 21-day hiking expedition to explore the history and sites of the West Bank. The trail they’ll follow is called Masar Ibrahim al-Khalil (MIAK), which is Arabic for Abraham’s Path. The expedition aims to highlight the suffering of the Palestinian people on the one hand, and introduce foreign tourists to the Palestinian culture, heritage and history on the other. MIAK kicked off in 2009 as a nonprofit community-based tourism initiative. The 321-kilometer (200-mile) walking trail begins in the village of Rummaneh, northwest of Jenin in the northern West Bank, and ends in Beit Marsam to the south of Hebron in the southern West Bank. The trail runs through 53 Palestinian villages and Bedouin communities. Three nongovernmental organizations — Palestine Wildlife Society, Rozana Association and Siraj Center for Research and Studies — work on developing tourism in Palestine and protecting and preserving traditions and heritage, and are part of the MIAK initiative. George Rishmawi, the executive director of MIAK, told Al-Monitor, “The purpose of this trip is to introduce local and foreign participants — with the help of 15 local tourist guides — to the historical presence of the Palestinians, and give them the opportunity to live with the villagers and experience different lifestyles and share food, discover agricultural fields and learn about the various types of plants and wild animals.” He added, “This journey also aims to expose the suffering of the Palestinian people and the injustice caused by the settlements, the demolition [of Palestinian homes] and the displacement [of Palestinians] by the Israeli occupation forces.” Folktales are a part of the event and traditional parties are organized by Palestinian dabke groups in the different villages, in addition to other activities such as cycling. Rishmawi explained that this trail is open year-round for locals and tourists who wish to explore the West Bank; it is a permanent event that anyone can join….
A Palestinian radio station in the West Bank tackles catcalling, divorce and sex
PRI 4 May by Shaina Shealy — If you’re listening to Besan 101.9 in Ramallah, you might catch something you don’t usually hear on the radio in the West Bank — conversations about the harassment of women on the street. The station manager, Muna Assaf, recently sent her reporters to ask people what they think about the catcalls that women in Ramallah are bombarded with on a regular basis. One of the derisive remarks that Assaf has heard recently is, “Your breasts are better than chicken breasts!” The next day, Assaf aired some of the responses that her reporters collected, on a show called “Echo of the Street.” One man said boys should be more polite but women need to cover themselves more. To which Assaf throws up her hands. Harassment isn’t about modesty, she says — it’s about men and their sense of power. “They do catcalling because they think they can do it,” she says. “They think they have the power.” … Assaf is a small woman in her 50s with a maroon-tinged pixie cut. Almost all of her staff is under 30; half are women. The station’s shows address topics including sex education, family planning, economic empowerment, continuing education and relationships between men and women. Assaf’s background is in public health and nursing, but she wanted to have a broader impact. So she pitched an idea for a radio show to the owner of 101.9. Instead of giving her a show, he made her the station manager. Assaf says, in that role, she has to be strategic. Palestinian society is getting more conservative, she says, so she has to be careful about how she frames taboo topics on the radio. She says to make real change, her messages have to reach everyone: women and men, atheists and religious people. So, for example, when she talks about sex, she says her starting point is the Qur’an….
How one Palestinian couple hopes to bring back mosaic art
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 3 May by Ali Dolah — The house of Said al-Ghazali, 63, in Silwan town south of Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem gives the impression of being in the Italian city of Rome. Mosaic paintings — which Said handmade to reflect the art and architectural history of Rome after visiting there six months ago — cover his walls. In early April, after continuous hard work since the beginning of 2017, Said managed to turn his house into an Italian mosaic museum to revive this art that disappeared in the Palestinian territories and in which people have shown no interest. Mosaic is an ancient form of art that was used to cover the floors of a variety of buildings in Rome during the Roman Empire. This art requires great attention to detail and precision….
IDF radio commander: Don’t call it the West Bank
+972 mag 4 May by Edo Konrad — Yaron Deckel, who heads the third most popular radio station in Israel, orders his staff to refrain from using the term, saying it has been ‘adopted by the Palestinians and the Left — The commander of Israel’s Army Radio has ordered his staff to refrain from using the term “West Bank” while on air. Yaron Deckel, who has served as the station commander since February 2012, sent a directive to his staff in which he said the decision was made since “West Bank” has been “adopted by Palestinians and the Left,” instead ordering them to use the word “territories” (“shtachim”) to describe the land beyond the Green Line. Deckel is a veteran journalist who over the past five years has pushed the station — often viewed as left-leaning — to the right, including by canceling a number of shows belonging to left-wing hosts and hiring right-wingers. Earlier this year, Deckel fired Khen Elmaleh after she published a Facebook post expressing sympathy for Yacoub Abu al-Qi‘an, who was accused by police of deliberately running over an officer in an alleged terrorist attack (al-Qi‘an, it turns out, most likely did not carry out a premeditated attack, but was shot and killed by police nonetheless). Deckel’s directive is not a new one. Army Radio management told ultra-Orthodox news outlet, Kikar HaShabbat, that Deckel was merely issuing a reminder to the staff after one broadcaster used the term “West Bank” on a show. “As part of his job as editor-in-chief, and as he requested throughout his tenure, the Army Radio commander repeatedly requested to use a neutral term that is not biased to any side… even the army uses the term ‘Judea and Samaria’ and not the term ‘West Bank,’ which was adopted by the Palestinian narrative.”….
What the West gets wrong on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
+972 Blog 5 May by Mitchell Plitnick — On April 21, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the Palestinians must prove that they want peace. “I think the first test of peace is to say to them, ‘Hey, you want peace? Prove it,” Netanyahu told Fox News’ Sean Hannity. This is very typical of Netanyahu’s statements on peace over the years. But perhaps it’s time to consider the issue too rarely discussed by those of us who work for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The government’s actions aside, most Israelis do very much want peace. But on the Palestinian side, again setting aside the statements of Palestinian Authority leaders, peace is not at the top of the agenda. This is one of the biggest, most fundamental disconnects in the Western approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Palestinians are not struggling for peace; they are struggling for freedom. That struggle may be against second-class citizenship for Palestinian citizens of Israel, the expansion of settlements and land confiscation in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, or the strangling siege in Gaza. But in all cases, it comes down to a struggle for freedom and a future where today’s Palestinians and future generations can forge their own future outside the yoke of Israel. This goes beyond the obvious hypocrisy Netanyahu displays on a regular basis. His occasional statements of support for two states are empty, as he makes clear when he routinely accompanies them with qualifiers such as the need for Israel to maintain control over the Jordan Valley. Indeed, many Palestinians hear Israeli desires for peace as nothing more than a preference for Palestinians to acquiesce in their own oppression….
Book Review: What does the future hold for non-Jews in the Jewish state?
+972 mag 4 May by Natasha Roth — “The Unchosen: The Lives of Israel’s New Others,” Mya Guarnieri Jaradat, Pluto Press, 2017 — A new book about Israel’s crusade against asylum seekers and undocumented workers strikes at an essential truth about the precarious status of non-Jews in a self-defined Jewish state — In a small apartment in south Tel Aviv, a Filipina woman hides her Christmas tree in the hallway, away from the windows, fearing that were someone to spot it from outside she might be found out and wind up being deported. On the outskirts of a park in the same city, prospective employers size up a row of African asylum seekers, trying to determine who is the strongest and therefore who will be the best pick for a day’s cheap labor. In a church not far away, immigration agents burst in and detain an African man, despite his having a valid visa. These picture postcards from Israel are scattered throughout Mya Guarnieri Jaradat’s new book … The book chronicles, through a blend of assiduous reporting and frank anecdotes, the country’s war on non-Jewish migrants, be they asylum seekers or foreign workers … The backdrop is instantly recognizable, too: populist rabble-rousing, media scare stories, ill-fated attempts to blunt structural racism, and shocking episodes of street-level brutality. Zoomed out from the specifics, we may as well be reading about France, Hungary, Slovenia, or even the United States … Jaradat nails down an essential truth: that the unifying factor in the government’s (and much of society’s) treatment of these groups is that they are non-Jews in the Jewish state. From there it is a small step to understanding that Israeli attitudes toward Sudanese, Eritreans, Filipinos, and Thais are inseparable from those toward Palestinians….