A tiny Palestinian Bedouin town located in the West Bank hills outside of Jerusalem is bracing for an impending eviction to make way for plans to expand an Israeli settlement. This case has implications far beyond the 32 families who live there and the nearly 200 students who attend the school in the town. If the eviction moves forward, it will pave the way for a Jewish-only settlement bloc to divide the West Bank into two, rendering impossible the creation of a unified Palestinian state in the occupied territory.
Category Archives: On the ground reports
Naomi Kundera put out a call on Facebook for Lone Soldiers in the Israeli military to explain why they enlisted. The response was overwhelming. Many left homes in the U.S. to defend Israel, some wanted to escape troubled homes lives for adventure, others are described as “crazy.”
Nidal al-Azza, 50, is a Palestinian activist and leading advocate for Palestinian residency and refugee rights. Al-Azza sat down with Mondoweiss to discuss the current US foreign policy in Israel and Palestine, and the effects of Trump’s political decisions on the Palestinian people, Palestinian leadership, and the future of the Palestinian cause.
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.
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.
An Israeli district court sentenced Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour, 36, to five months in prison and a six-month suspended sentence on Tuesday for posting a poem she wrote to social media in 2015.
“Today I carry a not real coffin for one who was killed by the Israelis. Maybe these scouts will carry my real coffin or I will carry a real coffin one day,” 13-year-old Marah Al-Abadseh says during a children’s memorial to slain Gaza children at the Gaza border, July 27, 2019.
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.”
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.”
Protests have taken ahold of Haifa over the last few days as Palestinian citizens of Israel demonstrate against the actions of the Israeli military in Gaza. They were met by police who rights groups say used excessive force, including breaking the knee of one protester. “The first reaction of the police to stop the demonstration was to use violence,” Bashar Ali, 22, told Mondoweiss. “We can’t be surprised by this when at the same time Israeli soldiers are using deadly weapons on nonviolent demonstrations near Israel’s separation fence in Gaza.”
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.”
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.”
Many of the Eda Haredit, an ultra-Orthodox group in Jerusalem, are descendants of the Old Yishuv, Jews who resided in historic Palestine under Ottoman and then British rule. The group opposes the Israeli state and any attempts at assimilating them into the larger Israeli society. The cloistered neighborhood of Mea Shearim has become a symbol for the group and outside many Eda Haredit homes hangs a sign that reads: “Here lives a non-Zionist Jew.”
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.
On the February 5th, the Israeli High Court of Justice decided that seven structures in the village of Susiya, in the south Hebron Hills of the occupied West Bank, could be demolished by Israel without delay. These seven structures are home to 42 residents of the village, of which half are children. Susiya has become an international symbol of Palestinian villages resistance against displacement, and the villagers say more international solidarity is needed to prevent these demolitions.
“Their ultimate goal is no conspiracy theory,” reports Mersiha Gadzo on the growing movement to destroy the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque, in order to build a Third Temple: “One of the leading Temple movement organizations is the Temple Institute, which has had a blueprint ready for the temple’s construction since 2011. In 2014 they crowdfunded over $100,000 on Indiegogo to prepare architectural plans for their Third Temple.”
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.”
US President Donald Trump’s continued threats to cut funding to vital aid organizations such as UNRWA has marked an escalation in the widening rift between Palestinians and the U.S. after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December. This has spurred a nationwide boycott of the American government and prompted Palestinians to take to the streets in protest.
Palestinian activists shut down a meeting in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Tuesday between a delegation from the U.S. Consulate and Palestinian city officials, marking an escalation in the widening rift between Palestinians and the U.S. after Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December. After interrupting the meeting with banners comparing Trump to Nazis and ISIS, and shouting “you are not welcome anymore!” the American officials abruptly walked out of a conference room at the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
“One day they shot 43 teargas canisters at my house”–Murad Shteiwi, head of the popular committee in the West Bank village of Kufr Qaddum.