Every year, in late August, Palestinians begin celebrating the grape harvest, a quintessential part of Palestinian life and heritage. For farmers, a years worth of intensive labor has led up to this moment, when they cut the grapes off the vines and take their wares to markets and street carts. For most, the profits made off of a year’s harvest will support their entire family financially until the next year. This year’s harvest, for many farmers across the occupied West Bank, is bittersweet, marred by the violence of months past.
Category Archives: Occupation
Yoav Litvin interviews Holy Land Trust Executive Director Sami Awad on the role of Christian theology and nonviolence in the struggle for Palestinian justice. “True justice is not defined as revenge or retaliation, but a holistic means to address violence through accountability, repentance and forgiveness for the atrocities that have been committed and the pursuit of a future that is based on equality, rights and opportunity for all,” Awad says.
Today Jerusalem’s mayor Nir Barkat promised to kick out the UN agency responsible for refugee services, saying the move will support Israeli “sovereignty and unity of Jerusalem,” and called to “increase the Israelization” of East Jerusalem.
As the US declares it will stop assistance to UNRWA, the Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem was fraught with worry. “Do you think the kids will go to school tomorrow?” a woman asked. “May God help us,” another could be heard saying.
Norwegian activist Kristin Foss was again shot with a rubber bullet by an Israeli soldier in the occupied Palestinian Kafr Qaddum on Friday, for the second time in a week. And the Israeli commander said, “we don’t shoot women” and the Israeli ambassador says there must be a reason.
As the long-fought battle to save the village of Khan al-Ahmar from demolition continues, another fight is taking place on the sidelines — one that could have life changing effects on the fate of the Bedouins in Khan al-Ahmar, and the future of the occupied West Bank.
In a pre-dawn raid Israeli forces killed a 15-year-old Palestinian boy.
Just outside the walls of the Old City in occupied East Jerusalem, a years long demographic battle between the Israeli state and Palestinian residents of the city has found new life in recent weeks. Last week Israel advanced a bill allowing residential settlements to be built inside areas zoned for national parks in East Jerusalem. Jawad Siyam of the Wadi Hilweh Information Center tells Mondoweiss: “This is all done with the intention of emptying Jerusalem of Palestinians and part of the plans to make Jerusalem a Jewish-majority city.”
Israel finally built an access road to the West Bank village of Khan al-Ahmar last week, after half a century of delays. But the only vehicles allowed along it are the bulldozers scheduled to sweep away its 200 inhabitants’ homes. As Bedouin resident Ibrahim Abu Dawoud observed: “For us, leaving the desert is death.”
Israeli forces began razing buildings in two Palestinian-Bedouin villages today in preparation for taking over the land, alarming human rights groups who say such a move would effectively cut the West Bank into two. Angela Godfrey-Goldstein of Jahalin Solidarity called the move Trump’s gift to Netanyahu for July 4th, while lawmakers from Britain’s Labour party called for a decisive response.
The detention of Palestinian legislator and feminist Khalida Jarrar is, in many ways, unexceptional. In Israel, where mainstream political discourse is decidedly anti-democratic, the detention of Palestinians, including lawmakers, without charge or trial is an everyday occurrence. No evidence has been brought against Jarrar, and yet there is every chance that she could spend the rest of her life in the Israeli military detention system.
Palestinians took to the streets of Ramallah city Sunday night, demanding that the Palestinian Authority end its sanctions on the besieged Gaza Strip that have exacerbated a humanitarian crisis in the small Palestinian enclave. The crowd chanted “With our souls and blood, we will save you Gaza” and “Shame on you, you sold Gaza in dollars.”
On Sunday, Mohammad Tamimi, 15, was thrown into the back of an unmarked car by undercover Israeli agents dressed as Arabs in the occupied village of Nabi Saleh and detained until the end of the night. Mohammad is recovering from a life-threatening injury after being shot in the head by Israeli forces five months ago.
“We build, or we don’t build, either way, they, take our money and our dreams. Together we need to find a new way to stay here,” said Mariam, 16, a Palestinian from the Bedouin village of Abu Nuwar.
Israeli settlers have built 32 cemeteries across the West Bank. Palestinians say these markers are painful reminders that settlers have no intention of ever leaving the occupied Palestinian territory. In the last two years, Israeli cities in the West Bank, Ariel and Ma’ale Adumim, have established cemeteries. Ghassan Daghlas: “It affects us psychologically. The graves have a hidden message that they will never leave our country.”
On December 10, 2017, 17-year-old, Abdul-Khaliq Burnat was on his way to buy pizza from a neighboring village, when Israeli armed soldiers ambushed the car that he and his two friends were travelling in. He has now been sentenced to serve 19 months in Ofer Military Prison for stone throwing and cutting the fence at the illegally built separation wall on his village’s land. In addition, the court decided that Abdul-Khaliq’s family must pay a fine of 18,000 NIS (around $5,100). The family is now raising funds to pay this large fine.
The Israeli border police officer who shot and killed Palestinian teenager Nadim Nuwara in 2014 was sentenced on Wednesday by an Israeli court to nine months in prison and a $13,940 (50,000 NIS) fine for negligent homicide. Nuwara’s father Saim said the sentence “does not even come close to justice.”
On Friday, April 20, Israeli soldiers invaded the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, home to the Tamimi family. The Israeli forces instigated clashes with Palestinian youth which lasted several hours, during which the soldiers shot scores of tear gas, fired rubber-coated metal bullets and live ammunition that wounded two of the protesters. “What’s happening now is what is happening every week, sometimes everyday, since nearly nine years”, explained Belal Tamimi. “The soldiers try to surround the village, they don’t want anyone to be near the spring area that the settlers occupied nine years ago. Every Friday, the situation is horrible.”
Haaretz reports: “Israel says the migrants have 60 days to accept the offer to leave the country for an unnamed African destination in exchange for $3,500 and a plane ticket. Those who don’t by April 1 will be incarcerated indefinitely.”
When he was 15-years-old, Hamza Abu Hashem was attacked by Israeli military dogs, and left with serious injuries on his legs, arms, and shoulder. In a video of his attack, Israeli soldiers can be heard saying “give it to him, son of a bitch” and “who’s afraid?” as the teenager cried and screamed in pain. Now, four years after the attack that left his mind and body scarred for life, Hamza, along with his family, is suing the Israeli government over the attack, as well as the Dutch company that has been supplying Israel with attack dogs for more than 20 years.
Wasan Abu-Baker pens a reflection on growing up in Palestine as a “child of the stone” dedicated to Ahed Tamimi. She recalls when her father first came home to live with the family after years in prison. Wasan was already seven: “I still remember those days when we came home from school and then going out to the field to pick the olives, then coming back home to finish our homework. After the harvest was completed we would take the olives to our family factory where the olives were pressed to make olive oil. I remember standing next to my dad to have a taste of the freshest olive oil along with my pita bread. He used to say that once you drink olive oil it becomes part of your soul. I will never forget and miss always miss the smell of olives on those days.”
Badee Dwaik: At the demonstration the children carried signs protesting the occupation, an all encompassing word for the abuses and indignities that are carried out against them by Israeli soldiers and settlers. They chanted, “every child deserves a childhood.”
The Israeli military spying unit 8200 came to public attention in 2014 when reserve soldiers refused to serve as “tools for the deepening of the military regime in the occupied territories.” Now, facing a shortage of soldiers the unit will be seeking to get its recruits from the 10th grade.
A month after she slapped a soldier in occupied Nabi Saleh, 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi faces a final bail hearing today at court. She has been imprisoned since December 19. Professor Asa Kasher, author of the IDF ‘ethics code, opines that Ahed Tamimi is dangerous, because she may slap again.
The Israeli military prosecution against Ahed Tamimi has indicted her on 5 counts. Jonathan Ofir analyses the most essential of them – ‘incitement’ – and how it is based on arguably flawed translation of her mention on Facebook of “martyrdom operations” to mean “suicide bombings,” in an effort to make Tamimi into a terrorist in the eyes of the world.