Author

Akram Al-Wa'ra

Browsing
Palestinian human rights observers in Hebron under attack following TIPH expulsion

Following Israel’s expulsion of the TIPH observer group from Hebron last month, a group of Palestinian activists from the city formed their own team of observers to fill in the gaps. Mondoweiss followed the team around one morning, and in the span of half an hour, the group, including our cameraman, were attacked and harassed by Israeli settlers, while one international activist who was filming the altercation was arrested by police.

Earlier this month, Israeli forces bombed the Said Mish’al Center for Culture and Science in Gaza to the ground, claiming it was being used by Hamas for military operations. The center was beloved among Gazans and thousands of Palestinians mourned the destruction of the center, which had survived three Israeli offensives over the past decade. As Center Director Sameer Mish’al told Mondoweiss, “The occupation has always tried to stifle the voice of the Palestinian people. This place was like a beam of light. Through our work, we protected our culture.”

On June 27, at the Gaza fence, an Israeli sniper shot protester Adam Salem, 15, in the right leg. The Israelis then seized the resident of al-Shati refugee camp and carried him to the Israeli side, where he was operated on in Barzilai Medical Center, in Ashkelon. But Adam relates that doctors soon stopped visiting his room and the soldiers guarding his room abused him, till he was returned to Gaza on July 11 with a gangrenous wound. He tells his story in this video.

Akram Al-Wa’ra, Mondoweiss correspondent, writes: “I have witnessed many atrocities in my life here in Palestine. I have seen my friends shot and killed during protests and my family members arrested and thrown in jail. But nothing prepared me for what I witnessed in the footage from Gaza. If it wasn’t for organizations like Mondoweiss, many of these images would never be seen by the international community. My people need Mondoweiss to thrive and grow—please help now.”

Last week, Egyptian President Abd al-Fatah al-Sisi announced the opening of the Rafah border crossing with Gaza for the entire month of Ramadan, which he said was “in order to ensure the easing of the burdens on the brothers in the Gaza Strip.” Mondoweiss spoke to several Palestinians — students going abroad to study or in search of jobs, people traveling to reunite with families, and injured protesters seeking treatment in Jordan — as they waited for their chance to leave Gaza. The journey out of Gaza is far from simple, as only a select number of Palestinians with permission are allowed to leave.

Hundreds of Palestinians took to the streets of Jerusalem in protest as American and Israeli officials celebrated the inauguration of the US Embassy in Jerusalem on Monday, the eve of the 70th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba. “In America, they have the statue of liberty and pride themselves on freedom, but then they come to Palestine and support the racism of the Israeli occupation,” local activist Mohammed Abu al-Hummus told Mondoweiss. “This move shows us that  they do not understand the true meaning of democracy.”

Screenshot from the Mondoweiss video "Médecins Sans Frontières clinic overwhelmed by Palestinians wounded during March of Return"

Since the “Great March of Return” in Gaza began on March 30th, Israeli forces have violently suppressed the protests, killing over 40 Palestinians and injuring over 6,000 more. Doctors in Gaza have expressed concern that protesters have been targeted in the legs by Israeli live fire, noting Israel’s use of expanding or explosive bullets, that tear through soft tissue and make injuries extremely difficult to treat. Mondoweiss visits the Médecins Sans Frontières clinic in Gaza to hear who doctors are handling this situation and meet the injured Palestinians whose lives have been changed forever.

As the Great March of Return enters its fourth week, Nabeel Diab of the National Commission to Break the Siege of Gaza tells Mondoweiss: “The Palestinian people are eager to achieve their freedom, their independence, and their right to return to the villages where they were forced out of 70 years ago.” Diab is a member of a grassroots organization of activists who helped plan the march. He says that Israeli government claims that the protests are Hamas-led “are lies, and are defamatory statements that have no basis in reality.” Diab tells Mondoweiss: “This march is the embodiment of popular action involving children, women, and involving all the Palestinians that refuse to accept the occupation of our land.”

The family of Ahed Tamimi, the 17-year-old Palestinian activist who was imprisoned in December for slapping and kicking an Israeli soldier, released footage of the teenager’s interrogation during a press conference in Ramallah on Monday. The footage shows Tamimi resisting all efforts by the Israeli interrogators to coerce her into confessing to a number of charges and giving information about her family. “All of these tactics were used to try to break the symbol, the embodiment that Ahed has created through resisting the occupation,” Ahed’s father Bassem Tamimi said.