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.”
Category Archives: On the ground reports
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.
Sheren Khalel reports: Released from prison a week ago, Issa Amro has jumped right back into work. At a small house atop a hill in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood of Hebron he sat gathered in a circle with activists, NGO workers, a lawyer and friends sipping coffee under the shade of trees in the front courtyard of the home. The topic, as usual, was the Israeli occupation — however Amro was not released from Israeli custody last week, but rather the Palestinian Authority’s, and he was not arrested for his activism in Hebron, but rather a Facebook post defending a man who criticized the Palestinian leadership.
Almost one month after Israeli forces shot him seven times during a night raid in Deheisha refugee camp, 22-year-old Raed al-Salhi succumbed to his wounds on Sunday in Jerusalem’s Hadassah hospital. Israeli forces had warned Raed al-Salhi in late July that they were coming for him. “They called him and told him ‘we will shoot you in front of your mother’,” Khaled, 24, one of Raed’s four older brothers told Mondoweiss. Two weeks after the call, on August 9, 2017, Israeli forces shot Raed in the courtyard behind his home at 4 a.m, as his mother sat inside the family’s living room just feet away.
Hip-hop artist Abu Rahss is denied from entering Israel in order to be a counselor a skateboarding summer camp: “Unfortunately, I was denied entry after eight hours of being interrogated aggressively and treated unpleasantly by Israeli border security at the Allenby Bridge border crossing with Jordan.”
“They pushed me away when I tried to give Ahmed some clothes. It was very cold,” a mother in Nabi Saleh tells Richard Hardigan of her son’s recent arrest by Israeli soldiers. Nearly 100 children from Nabi Saleh have been arrested since demonstrations against settlements began in the village in 2009.
Over 2,000 Israeli Yemenite Jews and supporting activists gathered in Jerusalem last Wednesday to mark an annual day of awareness for what families say was a state-sponsored program to abduct Yemenite Jewish infants and other Israeli children born to parents who were recent immigrants from Arab countries.
Nora Lester Murad and her friends organize an Iftar dinner next to the rubble of a demolished Palestinian house in East Jerusalem, “We planned the Iftar to show solidarity with Ashraf and Islam, and the tens of thousands of Palestinian families whose homes have been demolished, partially demolished, or sealed, and who live every day under the imminent threat of demolitions by the Israel authorities. Home demolition is not merely an Israeli administrative policy, as it is often presented in the western media. Home demolition is part of Israel’s political strategy to expel Palestinians from any place they want control, often through the establishment of Jewish settlements. My friends and I felt that the least we could do to show these families–families who are on the frontline of the continuing Nakba–that they have real allies, that they are not alone.”
Mersiha Gadzo collects the tales of villagers who were expelled from towns outside of Jerusalem in 1967, where today an Canada Park, popular picnic spot, sit atop the rubble of the destroyed Palestinian houses.
Howard Cohen visits the home of his student Noor Abu al-Qia’an in the unrecognized Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran months after Israeli police killed his father Yakoub Abu al-Qia’an and demolished their house.