Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘West Bank

2020 worst for homeless Palestinians in Israel

Tamara Nassar Rights and Accountability 5 January 2021

While people around the world were told to stay home due to the pandemic, Israel made more Palestinians homeless in 2020 than it has in years.

Israel demolished and confiscated more than 850 Palestinian structures throughout the year, displacing 1,000 people. More than half of those displaced were children.

Israel targeted almost any kind of structure Palestinians need for sustainable life, including homes, agricultural buildings, infrastructure and water sanitation facilities.

The number of demolitions last year was also the highest annual total since United Nations monitoring group OCHA began keeping records in 2009 – with the exception of 2016.

These figures do not include some 5,000 Palestinians whose livelihood was affected by demolitions and seizures throughout the year without being displaced.

Heavily armed soldiers watch Hyundai bulldozer demolish a home while two men observe nearby

Israeli forces demolish a Palestinian home east of Yatta, near the West Bank city of Hebron, on 29 December. Mosab Shawer APA images

In 2020, the number of Palestinians who had to demolish their own homes in occupied East Jerusalem under Israeli orders also increased. The irony s that Palestinians are coerced to do this to avoid having to pay for Israeli wrecking crews.

Area C

The vast majority of demolitions and seizures took place in occupied East Jerusalem and Area C, the 60% of the occupied West Bank that remains under complete Israeli military rule.

Most of Area C was supposed to be gradually transferred to Palestinian Authority control following the signing of the Oslo accords in the 1990s. But that never happened.

Israel controls all planning and construction in the area under an openly discriminatory regime.

Palestinians are subjected to Israeli military orders that regulate every aspect of their lives, while Israeli settlers living in Jewish-only colonies built illegally in occupied territory are subject to Israeli civil law.

Israel forbids virtually all Palestinian construction in Area C.

“Palestinians are allowed to build in less than 1% of Area C and in only about 15% of East Jerusalem,” OCHA recently stated.

This forces Palestinians to build on their own land without Israeli permits and live in constant fear that Israeli occupation forces may seize or destroy their property.

“This system works primarily to demolish structures,” Israeli human rights group B’Tselem stated, and is part of Israel’s long-term efforts to change the demographics in the area and ensure a Jewish majority in preparation for annexation.

Palestinians are also denied access to basic infrastructure, such as water and electricity, in those areas. Many rely on donor-funded solar panels for electricity and water storage.

But even donated structures are not safe from Israeli destruction.

In 2020, Israel demolished or confiscated about $350,000 worth of donor-funded structures, many provided by the European Union.

Apart from muted statements and photo opportunities at sites threatened with demolition, the EU has done nothing to hold Israel accountable for destroying tens of millions of dollars of projects funded by European taxpayers over the years.

Largest demolition in years

In November alone, Israeli forces demolished and confiscated more Palestinian structures in a single month on record since 2009, according to OCHA.

November also witnessed the largest single demolition in occupied territory in years, when Israel leveled most of the occupied West Bank community of Khirbet Humsa.

Israeli forces arrived in Khirbet Humsa on 3 November and demolished 76 structures. More than 70 Palestinians were made homeless, including 41 children – totaling 11 families.

Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar called the demolition “a grave crime” at the time and asserted that “the United States of America should not be bankrolling ethnic cleansing.

In the first week of 2021, Israel has already demolished 12 structures and displaced three Palestinians.

Note: The first Palestinian Intifada (civil disobedience/resistance) was done in 1936-39 because the mandated British power refused to hold municipal elections on account that the Jews represented only 20% of the population.

Can you Guess from which town the Third Palestinian Intifada (mass civil disobedience) Will Start? This article was posted in 2013.

Note: the first Intifada took place in 1936 and lasted 3 years against the British mandated power for denying municipality elections to the Palestinians, on the basis that the Jew were a minority (about 20%). Britain dispatched 100,000 soldiers to quell this Intifada and trained Jews to fight. Only the start of WWII stopped the intifada

South of the village of Nabi Saleh, you can see the red roofs of Halamish, an Israeli settlement on the hilltop across the valley.

This settlement was founded in 1977 by members of the messianic nationalist group Gush Emunim, and growing steadily on land that once belonged to residents of Nabi Saleh and another Palestinian village.

Next to Halamish is an Israeli military base, and in the valley between Nabi Saleh and the settlement, across the highway and up a dirt path, a small freshwater spring, which Palestinians had long called Ein al-Kos, bubbles out of a low stone cliff.

In the summer of 2008,the youth of Halamish began building the first of a series of low pools that collect its waters. Later they added a bench and an trees for shade.

The land surrounding the spring has for generations belonged to the family of Bashir Tamimi, now 57 of age,

(Years after, the settlers retroactively applied for a building permit, which Israeli authorities refused to issue, ruling that “the applicants did not prove their rights to the relevant land.” Recently, several of the structures have been removed.)

When Palestinians came to tend to their crops in the fields beside it, the settlers threatened them and threw stones at them.

It took the people of Nabi Saleh more than a year to get themselves organized.

In December 2009 they held their first march, protesting not just the loss of the spring water, but also the entire complex system of control — of permits, checkpoints, walls, prisons — through which Israel maintains its hold on the region.

Nabi Saleh quickly became the most spirited of the dozen or so West Bank villages that hold weekly demonstrations against the Israeli occupation. Since the demonstrations began, more than 100 people in the village have been jailed.

Ben Ehrenreich wrote:

“On the evening of Feb. 10, the living room of Bassem Tamimi’s house in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh was filled with friends and relatives smoking and sipping coffee, waiting for Bassem to return from prison.

His oldest son, Waed, 16, was curled on the couch with his 6-year-old brother, Salam, playing video games on the iPhone that the prime minister of Turkey had given their sister, Ahed (this young girl that defied with fists the Israeli soldiers).

Ahed had been flown to Istanbul to receive an award after photos of her shaking her fist at an armed Israeli soldier and this resistance won her, at age 11, a brief but startling international celebrity.

Their 9 year-old brother Abu Yazan was in tears in the yard, wrestling with an Israeli activist friend of Bassem’s.

Nariman, the children’s mother, crouched in a side room, making the final preparations for her husband’s homecoming meal, laughing at the two photographers competing for shots from the narrow doorway as she spread onions onto oiled flat-breads. Slide Show

On the living-room wall was a “Free Bassem Tamimi” poster, left over from his last imprisonment for helping to organize the village’s weekly protests against the Israeli occupation, which he has done since 2009.

Bassem was gone for 13 months to prison that time, released for 5 months before he was arrested again in October.

A lot happened during this latest stint: another brief war in Gaza, a vote in the United Nations granting observer statehood to Palestine, the announcement of plans to build 3,400 homes for settlers, an election in Israel.

Protests were spreading around the West Bank.

That night, the call came at about 7:30. Twenty people squeezed into three small cars and headed to the village square. More neighbors and cousins arrived on foot.

(All of Nabi Saleh’s 550 residents are related by blood or marriage, and nearly all share the surname Tamimi.)

Then a dark Ford pulled slowly into the square, and everyone fell silent. 

Is This the town Where the Third Intifada Will Start?Peter van Agtmael/Magnum, for The New York Times. Protesters fleeing from tear gas launched by the Israel Defense Forces. In the background, the Israeli settlement of Halamish. More Photos »

Bassem, who is 45, stepped out of the car, straight-spined, his blue eyes glowing in the lamplight. He seemed a little thinner and grayer than the last time I saw him, in July.

He hugged and kissed his eldest son. Ahed was next, then one by one, in silence, Bassem embraced family and friends, Palestinian activists from Ramallah and Jerusalem, Israeli leftists from Tel Aviv.

When Bassem had greeted everyone, he walked to the cemetery and stopped in front of the still-unmarked grave of his brother-in-law Rushdie, who was shot by Israeli soldiers in November while Bassem was in prison.

He closed his eyes and said a quick prayer before moving on to the tomb of Mustafa Tamimi, who died after being hit in the face by a tear-gas canister in December 2011.

Back at home, Bassem looked dazed. Nariman broke down in his arms and rushed outside to hide her tears.

The village was still mourning Rushdie’s death, but the young men couldn’t keep up the solemnity for long. They started with little Hamoudi, the son of Bassem’s cousin, tossing him higher and higher in the air above the yard.

They set him down and took turns tossing one another up into the night sky, laughing and shouting as if they never had anything to grieve.

Nariman told me that by her count, as of February, clashes with the army have caused 432 injuries, more than half the injured were minors.

The momentum has been hard to maintain — the weeks go by, and nothing changes for the better — but still, despite the arrests, the injuries and the deaths, every Friday after the midday prayer, the villagers, joined at times by equal numbers of journalists and Israeli and foreign activists, try to march from the center of town to the spring, a distance of perhaps half a mile.

And every Friday, Israeli soldiers stop them with some combination of tear gas, rubber-coated bullets, water-cannon blasts of a noxious liquid known as “skunk” and occasionally live bullets.

Last summer, I spent three weeks in Nabi Saleh, staying in Bassem and Nariman’s home.

When I arrived in June, Bassem had just been released from prison.

In March 2011, Israeli soldiers raided the house to arrest him. Among lesser charges, he had been accused in a military court of “incitement,” organizing “unauthorized processions” and soliciting the village youth to throw stones.

(In 2010, 99.74 % of the Palestinians tried in military courts were convicted.)

The terms of Bassem’s release forbade him to take part in demonstrations, which are all effectively illegal under Israeli military law.

Thus, on the first Friday after I arrived, just after the midday call to prayer, he walked with me only as far as the square, where about 50 villagers had gathered in the shade of an old mulberry tree.

They were joined by a handful of Palestinian activists from Ramallah and East Jerusalem, mainly young women; perhaps a dozen college-age European and American activists; a half-dozen Israelis, also mainly women — young anarchists in black boots and jeans, variously pierced.

Together they headed down the road, clapping and chanting in Arabic and English. Bassem’s son Abu Yazan, licking a Popsicle, marched at the back of the crowd.

There were the journalists, scurrying up hillsides in search of better vantage points.

In the early days of the protests, the village teemed with reporters from across the globe, there to document the tiny village’s struggle against the occupation.

“Sometimes they come and sometimes they don’t,” Mohammad Tamimi, who is 24 and who coordinates the village’s social-media campaign, would tell me later.

Events in the Middle East — the revolution in Egypt and civil war in Syria — and the unchanging routine of the weekly marches have made it that much harder to hold the world’s attention.

That Friday there was just one Palestinian television crew and a few Israeli and European photographers, the regulars among them in steel helmets.

In the protests’ first year, to make sure that the demonstrations — and the fate of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation — didn’t remain hidden behind the walls and fences that surround the West Bank, Mohammad began posting news to a blog and later a Facebook page (now approaching 4,000 followers) under the name Tamimi Press.

Soon Tamimi Press morphed into a homegrown media teamBilal Tamimi shooting video and uploading protest highlights to his YouTube channel; Helme taking photographs; and Mohammad e-mailing news releases to 500-odd reporters and activists.

Manal, who is married to Bilal, supplements the effort with a steady outpouring of tweets (@screamingtamimi).

News of the protests moves swiftly around the globe, bouncing among blogs on the left and right.

Left-leaning papers like Britain’s Guardian and Israel’s Haaretz still cover major events in the village — deaths and funerals, Bassem’s arrests and releases — but a right-wing Israeli news site has for the last year begun to recycle the same headline week after week: “Arabs, Leftists Riot in Nabi Saleh.”

Meanwhile, a pilgrimage to Nabi Saleh has achieved a measure of cachet among young European activists, the way a stint with the Zapatistas did in Mexico in the 1990s.

For a time, Nariman regularly prepared a vegan feast for the exhausted outsiders who lingered after the protests. (Among the first things she asked me when I arrived was whether I was a vegan. Her face brightened when I said no.)

Whatever success they have had in the press, the people of Nabi Saleh are intensely conscious of everything they have not achieved.

The occupation persists. When I arrived in June, the demonstrators had not once made it to the spring. Usually they didn’t get much past the main road, where they would turn and find the soldiers waiting around the bend.

That week though, they decided to cut straight down the hillside toward the spring.

Bashir led the procession, waving a flag. As usual, Israeli Army jeeps were waiting below the spring. The four soldiers standing outside them looked confused — it seemed they hadn’t expected the protesters to make it so far.

The villagers marched past them to the spring, where they surprised three settlers eating lunch in the shade, still wet from a dip in one of the pools. One wore only soggy briefs and a rifle slung over his chest.

The kids raced past. The grown-ups filed in, chatting and smoking. More soldiers arrived in body armor, carrying rifles and grenade launchers.

Waed and Abu Yazan kicked a soccer ball until a boy spotted a bright orange carp in one of the pools and Abu Yazan and others tried to catch it with their bare hands, splashing until the water went cloudy and the carp disappeared.

Four settlers appeared on the ledge above the spring, young men in sunglasses and jeans, one of them carrying an automatic rifle. Beside me, a sturdy, bald officer from the Israel Defense Forces argued with an Israeli protester. “I let you come,” the officer insisted. “Now you have to go.”

The children piled onto the swing the settlers had built and swung furiously, singing. A young settler argued with the I.D.F. officer, insisting that he clear the protesters away.

“What difference does 10 minutes make?” the officer said.

Every 10 seconds makes a difference,” the settler answered.

But before their 10 minutes were up, one hour after they arrived, the villagers gathered the children and left as they had come, clapping and chanting, their defiance buoyed by joy. For the first time in two and a half years, they had made it to the spring.

They headed back along the highway, which meant they would have to pass the road leading to Halamish.

Ahed, her blond hair in a long braid, clutched a cousin at the front of the procession. As they approached the road, a border-police officer tossed a stun grenade — a device that makes a loud bang and a flash but theoretically, at least, causes no bodily harm — at Ahed’s feet, and then another, and another.

Within a few seconds, the marchers were racing up the hill back toward their village, tear-gas grenades streaking through the sky above their heads.

On warm summer evenings, life in Nabi Saleh could feel almost idyllic. Everyone knows everyone. Children run in laughing swarms from house to house.

One night, Bassem and Nariman sat outside sharing a water pipe as Nariman read a translated Dan Brown novel and little Salam pranced gleefully about, announcing, “I am Salam, and life is beautiful!”

Bassem is employed by the Palestinian Authority’s Interior Ministry in a department charged with approving entrance visas for Palestinians living abroad. In practice, he said, P.A. officials “have no authority” — the real decisions are made in Israel and passed to the P.A. for rubber-stamping.

Among other things, this meant that Bassem rarely had to report to his office in Ramallah, leaving his days free to care for his ailing mother — she died several weeks after I left the village last summer — and strategizing on the phone, meeting international visitors and talking to me over many cups of strong, unsweetened coffee. We would talk in the living room, over the hum of an Al Jazeera newscast.

A framed image of Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque hung above the television (more out of nationalist pride than piety: Bassem’s outlook was thoroughly secular).

Though many people in Nabi Saleh have been jailed, only Bassem was declared a “prisoner of conscience” by Amnesty International. Foreign diplomats attended his court hearings in 2011. Bassem’s charisma surely has something to do with the attention. A strange, radiant calm seemed to hover around him. He rarely smiled, and tended to drop weighty pronouncements (“Our destiny is to resist”) in ordinary speech, but I saw his reserve crumble whenever one of his children climbed into his lap.

When Israeli forces occupied the West Bank in 1967, Bassem was 10 weeks old. His mother hid with him in a cave until the fighting ended. He remembers playing in the abandoned British police outpost that is now the center of the I.D.F. base next to Halamish, and accompanying the older kids who took their sheep to pasture on the hilltop where the settlement now stands. His mother went to the spring for water every day. The settlers arrived when Bassem was 9.

Halamish is now fully established and cozier than most gated communities in the United States. Behind the razor wire and chain-link perimeter fence, past the gate and the armed guard, there are playgrounds, a covered pool, a community center and amphitheater, a clinic, a library, a school and several synagogues. The roads are well paved and lined with flowers, the yards lush with lemon trees. Halamish now functions as a commuter suburb; many of the residents work in white-collar jobs in Tel Aviv or Modi’in. The settlement’s population has grown to more than double that of Nabi Saleh.

I first met Shifra Blass, the spokeswoman for Halamish, in 2010. She talked about how empty the West Bank — she used the biblical name, Judea and Samaria — was when she and her husband emigrated from the U.S. in the early 1970s, intent on establishing a Jewish presence in a land they believed had been promised to them. Relations with the surrounding villages, she told me, had remained cordial, friendly even, until the first intifada. (When I asked people in Nabi Saleh about this, no one remembered it that way.) During the second intifada, three residents of the settlement, Blass said, were killed by gunfire on nearby roads. They weren’t near the village, but attitudes hardened.

When I visited Shifra again last month, she was not eager to talk to me about the conflict over the spring and the lands surrounding it. “We want to live our lives and not spend time on it,” Blass said. She dismissed the weekly demonstrations as the creation of “outside agitators who come here and stir the pot — internationalists, anarchists, whatever.” It was all a show, she said, theater for a gullible news media. “I’ll tell you something: it’s unpleasant.”

On Fridays, Shifra said, the wind sometimes carries the tear gas across the valley into the settlement. “We have some grown children who say they cannot come home from university for Shabbat because of the tear gas. They call and say, ‘Tell me how bad it is, because if it’s really bad, I’m not coming.’ ”

When the first intifada broke out in late 1987, Nabi Saleh was, as it is now, a flash point. The road that passes between the village and the settlement connects the central West Bank to Tel Aviv: a simple barricade could halt the flow of Palestinian laborers into Israel.

Bassem was one of the main Fatah youth activists for the region, organizing the strikes, boycotts and demonstrations that characterized that uprising. (Nabi Saleh is solidly loyal to Fatah, the secular nationalist party that rules the West Bank; Hamas, the militant Islamist movement that governs Gaza, has its supporters elsewhere in the West Bank but has never had a foothold in the village.)

Bassem would be jailed 7 times during the intifada and, he says, was never charged with a crime. Before his most recent arrest, I asked him how much time he had spent in prison. He added up the months: “Around four years.”

After one arrest in 1993, Bassem told me, an Israeli interrogator shook him with such force that he fell into a coma for eight days. He has a nickel-size scar on his temple from emergency brain surgery during that time. His sister died while he was in prison. She was struck by a soldier and fell down a flight of courthouse stairs, according to her son Mahmoud, who was with her to attend the trial of his brother. (The I.D.F. did not comment on this allegation.)

Bassem nonetheless speaks of those years, as many Palestinians his age do, with something like nostalgia. The first intifada broke out spontaneously — it started in Gaza with a car accident, when an Israeli tank transporter killed four Palestinian laborers. The uprising was, initially, an experience of solidarity on a national scale. Its primary weapons were the sort that transform weakness into strength: the stone, the barricade, the boycott, the strike.

The Israeli response to the revolt — in 1988, Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin reportedly authorized soldiers to break the limbs of unarmed demonstrators — began tilting international public opinion toward the Palestinian cause for the first time in decades. By the uprising’s third year, however, power had shifted to the P.L.O. hierarchy. The first Bush Sr. administration pushed Israel to negotiate, leading eventually to the 1993 Oslo Accord, which created the Palestinian Authority as an interim body pending a “final status” agreement.

But little was resolved in Oslo.

A second intifada erupted in 2000, at first mostly following the model set by the earlier uprising. Palestinians blocked roads and threw stones. The I.D.F. took over a house in Nabi Saleh. Children tossed snakes, scorpions and what Bassem euphemistically called “wastewater” through the windows. The soldiers withdrew. Then came the heavy wave of suicide bombings, which Bassem termed “the big mistake.”

An overwhelming majority of Israeli casualties during the uprising occurred in about 100 suicide attacks, most against civilians. A bombing at one Tel Aviv disco in 2001 killed 21 teenagers. “Politically, we went backward,” Bassem said.

Much of the international good will gained over the previous decade was squandered. Taking up arms wasn’t, for Bassem, a moral error so much as a strategic one. He and everyone else I spoke with in the village insisted they had the right to armed resistance; they just don’t think it works. Bassem could reel off a list of Nabi Saleh’s accomplishments. Of some — Nabi Saleh had more advanced degrees than any village — he was simply proud. Others — one of the first military actions after Oslo, the first woman to participate in a suicide attack — involved more complicated emotions.

In 1993, Bassem told me, his cousin Said Tamimi killed a settler near Ramallah. Eight years later, another villager, Ahlam Tamimi escorted a bomber to a Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem. Fifteen people were killed, eight of them minors. Ahlam, who now lives in exile in Jordan, and Said, who is in prison in Israel, remain much-loved in Nabi Saleh.

Though everyone I spoke with in the village appeared keenly aware of the corrosive effects of violence — “This will kill the children,” Manal said, “to think about hatred and revenge” — they resented being asked to forswear bloodshed when it was so routinely visited upon them.  Manal told me, “lost his father, uncle, aunt, sister — they were all killed. How can you blame Said?

The losses of the second intifada were enormous. Nearly 5,000 Palestinians and more than 1,000 Israelis died. Israeli assassination campaigns and the I.D.F.’s siege of West Bank cities left the Palestinian leadership decimated and discouraged.

By the end of 2005, Yasir Arafat was dead (assassinated by Israeli poison), Israel had pulled its troops and settlers out of Gaza and the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, had reached a truce with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. The uprising sputtered out. The economy was ruined, Gaza and the West Bank were more isolated from each other than ever, and Palestinians were divided, defeated and exhausted.

But in 2003, while the intifada was still raging, Bassem and others from Nabi Saleh began attending demonstrations in Budrus, 20 minutes away. Budrus was in danger of being cut off from the rest of the West Bank by Israel’s planned separation barrier, the concrete and chain-link divide that snakes along the border and in many places juts deeply into Palestinian territory. Residents began demonstrating. Foreign and Israeli activists joined the protests. Fatah and Hamas loyalists marched side by side.

The Israeli Army responded aggressively: at times with tear gas, beatings and arrests; at times with live ammunition. Palestinians elsewhere were fighting with Kalashnikovs, but the people of Budrus decided, said Ayed Morrar, an old friend of Bassem’s who organized the movement there, that unarmed resistance “would stress the occupation more.”

The strategy appeared to work.

After 55 demonstrations, the Israeli government agreed to shift the route of the barrier to the so-called 1967 green line. The tactic spread to other villages: Biddu, Ni’lin, Al Ma’asara and in 2009, Nabi Saleh. Together they formed what is known as the “popular resistance,” a loosely coordinated effort that has maintained what has arguably been the only form of active and organized resistance to the Israeli presence in the West Bank since the end of the second intifada in 2005. Nabi Saleh, Bassem hoped, could model a form of resistance for the rest of the West Bank.

The goal was to demonstrate that it was still possible to struggle and to do so without taking up arms, so that when the spark came, if it came, resistance might spread as it had during the first intifada. Bassem said: “If there is a third intifada,we want to be the ones who started it.

Bassem saw three options:

1.  “To be silent is to accept the situation, and we don’t accept the situation.”

2. Fighting with guns and bombs could only bring catastrophe. Israel was vastly more powerful,

3.  “But by popular resistance, we can push Israel power aside.”

As small as the demonstrations were, they appeared to create considerable anxiety in Israel. Paul Hirschson, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told me that while the West Bank demonstrations do not pose an “existential threat” to Israel, they “certainly could be more problematic in the short term” than a conventional armed revolt.

Eytan Buchman, a spokesman for the I.D.F., took issue with the idea that the weekly protests were a form of nonviolent resistance.

In an e-mail Eytan described the protests as “violent and illegal rioting that take place around Judea and Samaria, and where large rocks, Molotov cocktails, improvised grenades and burning tires are used against security forces. Dubbing these simply demonstrations is an understatement — more than 200 security-force personnel have been injured in recent years at these riots.” (Molotov cocktails are sometimes thrown at protests at the checkpoints of Beitunia and Kalandia but never, Bassem said, in Nabi Saleh.)

Buchman said that the I.D.F. “employs an array of tactics as part of an overall strategy intended to curb these riots and the ensuing acts of violence. Every attempt is made to minimize physical friction and risk of casualties” among both the I.D.F. and the “rioters.”

One senior military commander, who would agree to be interviewed only on the condition that his name not be used, told me: “When the second intifada broke out, it was very difficult, but it was very easy to understand what we had to do. You have the enemy, he shoots at you, you have to kill him.” Facing down demonstrators armed with slings and stones or with nothing at all is less clear-cut. “As an Israeli citizen,I prefer stones. As a professional military officer, I prefer to meet tanks and troops.”

But armies, by their nature, have one default response to opposition: force. One soldier who served in Nabi Saleh testified to the Israeli veterans’ group Breaking the Silence about preparing for Friday protests. “It’s like some kind of game. Everyone wants to arm themselves with as much ammo as possible. . . . You have lots of stun grenades . . . so they’re thrown for the sake of throwing, at people who are not suspected of anything. And in the end, you tell your friend at the Friday-night dinner table: ‘Wow! I fired this much.’ ”

According to a leaked 2010 U.S. State Department memo, Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrahi of Israel “expressed frustration” with the West Bank protests to American diplomats, and “warned that the I.D.F. will start to be more assertive in how it deals with these demonstrations, even demonstrations that appear peaceful.” The memo concluded that “less-violent demonstrations are likely to stymie the I.D.F.,” citing the Israeli Defense Ministry policy chief Amos Gilad’s admission to U.S. officials, “We don’t do Gandhi very well.”

Sagi Tal, a former I.D.F. soldier, who was stationed near the villages of Bil’in and Ni’lin, which also held weekly demonstrations, explained to me that his unit sometimes conducted night raids to gather intelligence or make arrests and sometimes simply so “that they should feel that we are here and we are watching them.”

After dinner one Sunday, Nariman put on a DVD shot both by her and Bilal, the village videographer. (“From the beginning,” Bilal told me at the march on the previous Friday, filming calmly as tear-gas grenades landed all around us, “we decided that the media is the most important thing in the popular resistance.”)

We watched a clip shot in the house in which we sat: soldiers banged on the door late at night and rifled through the boys’ room as Salam and Abu Yazan cowered beneath the covers and Nariman yelled in Arabic: “What manliness this is! What a proud army you’re part of!” The soldiers confiscated a gas mask, two computers, Waed’s camera and two of his schoolbooks — geography and Palestinian history. (In an e-mail, an I.D.F. spokesman described such night raids as “pre-emptive measures, taken in order to assure the security and stability in the area.”)

We watched footage of Nariman being arrested with Bilal’s wife, Manal, early in 2010. Soldiers had fired tear gas into Manal’s house, Nariman explained. Manal ran in to fetch her children, and when she came out, a soldier ordered her back in. She refused, so they arrested her. Nariman tried to intervene, and they arrested her too. They spent 10 days in prisons where they were beaten repeatedly, strip-searched and held for two days without food before each was dumped at the side of a road. (The I.D.F.’s Buchman said, “No exceptional incidents were recorded during these arrests.” He added that no complaints were filed with military authorities.)

We watched a clip of crying children being passed from a gas-filled room out a second-story window, down a human ladder to the street. Early on, the villagers took all the children to one house during demonstrations, but when the soldiers began firing gas grenades into homes, the villagers decided it was safer to let them join the protests. We watched footage of a soldier dragging a 9-year-old boy in the street, of another soldier striking Manal’s 70-year-old mother. Finally, Nariman shook her head and turned off the disc player. “Glee” was on.

One Friday, shortly after the marchers had barricaded the road with boulders and burning tires in order to keep the army out of the village center, a white truck sped around the bend, a jet of liquid arcing from the water cannon mounted on its cab. Someone yelled, “Skunk!” and everyone bolted. Skunk water smells like many things, but mainly it smells like feces. Nariman wasn’t fast enough. A blast of skunk knocked her off her feet. Moments later, she was standing defiantly, letting the cannon soak her and waving a Palestinian flag at the truck’s grated windshield. An hour or so later, smelling of skunk and shampoo, she was serving tea to a dozen protesters.

Every Friday was a little different. Some demonstrations were short and others almost endless. Some were comic, others not at all. Some days the I.D.F. entered the village, and others they stuck to the hills. Sometimes they made arrests. The basic structure, though, varied little week to week: a few minutes of marching, tear gas fired, then hours of the village youth — the shebab — throwing stones while dodging tear-gas canisters and rubber-coated bullets until the sun set and everyone went home. Or failed to make it home.

It was strange, asymmetric combat: a few dozen masked shebab ranging in age from 8 to 38, armed with slings and stones, against 20 or more soldiers in armored vehicles and on foot, dressed in helmets and body armor, toting radios and automatic weapons. The shebab put a great deal of thought into tactics, trying to flank and surprise the soldiers. But even when their plans were perfectly executed, they could not do much more than irritate their enemies. The soldiers, though, would inevitably respond with more sophisticated weaponry, which would motivate the shebab to gather more stones Friday after Friday despite — and because of — the fact that nothing ever seemed to change, for the better at least.

I asked one of the boys why he threw stones, knowing how futile it was. “I want to help my country and my village, and I can’t. I can just throw stones.”

We see our stones as our message,” Bassem explained. The message they carried, he said, was “We don’t accept you.”

While Bassem spoke admiringly of Mahatma Gandhi, he didn’t worry over whether stone-throwing counted as violence. The question annoyed him: Israel uses far greater and more lethal force on a regular basis, he pointed out, without being asked to clarify its attitude toward violence. If the loincloth functioned as the sign of Gandhi’s resistance, of India’s nakedness in front of British colonial might, Bassem said, “Our sign is the stone.”

The weekly clashes with the I.D.F. were hence in part symbolic. The stones were not just flinty yellow rocks, but symbols of defiance, of a refusal to submit to occupation, regardless of the odds. The army’s weapons bore messages of their own: of economic and technological power, of international support. More than one resident of Nabi Saleh reminded me that the tear gas used there is made by a company based in Pennsylvania.

One afternoon, I visited the family of Mustafa Tamimi, who was 28 when he died in December 2011 after being shot at close range with a tear-gas canister from the back of an Israeli Army jeep. (An I.D.F. investigation concluded, according to Buchman, that when the soldier fired the canister “his field of vision was obscured.”) The walls were covered with framed photos: an action shot of Mustafa in profile, his face behind a red Spider-Man mask as he slung a stone at soldiers outside the frame.

In the weeks before her son’s death, Ekhlas Tamimi, his mother, told me that soldiers had twice come to the house looking for him. When she got a call that Friday asking her to bring Mustafa’s ID to the watchtower, she thought he’d been arrested, “like all the other times.” Beside me, Bahaa, a tall young man who was Mustafa’s best friend, scrolled through photos on a laptop, switching back and forth between a shot of Mustafa falling to the ground a few feet behind an I.D.F. jeep, and another, taken moments later, of his crushed and bloody face.

Ekhlas told me about a dream she’d had. Mustafa was standing on the roof, wearing his red mask. There were soldiers in the distance. She called to him: “Mustafa, come down! Everyone thinks you are dead — it’s better that they don’t see you.”

He turned to her, she said, and told her: “No. I’m standing here so that the Israeli soldiers will see me.”

“This is the worst time for us,” Bassem confided to me last summer. He meant not just that the villagers have less to show for their sacrifices each week, but that things felt grim outside the village too. Everyone I spoke with who was old enough to remember agreed that conditions for Palestinians are far worse now than they were before the first intifada.

The checkpoints, the raids, the permit system, add up to more daily humiliation than Palestinians have ever faced. The number of Israeli settlers living in the West Bank has more than tripled since the Oslo Accords. Assaults on Palestinians by settlers are so common that they rarely made the news. The resistance, though, remained limited to a few scattered villages like Nabi Saleh and a small urban youth movement.

I sat down one afternoon in Ramallah with Samir Shehadeh, a former literature professor from Nabi Saleh who was one of the intellectual architects of the first intifada and whom I met several times at Bassem’s house. I reminded him of the car accident that ignited the first uprising and asked what kind of spark it would take to mobilize Palestinians to fight again. “The situation this time is 1,000 times worse. There are thousands of possible sparks,” and still nothing has happened.

In the 1980s, youth organizers like Bassem focused on volunteer work: helping farmers in the fields, educating their children. They built trust and established the social networks that would later allow the resistance to coordinate its actions without waiting for orders from above. Those networks no longer exist. Instead there’s the Palestinian Authority. Immediately after the first Oslo Accord in 1993, the scholar Edward Said predicted that “the P.L.O. will . . . become Israel’s enforcer.”

Oslo gave birth to a phantom state, an extensive but largely impotent administrative apparatus, with Israel remaining in effective control of the Palestine Authority’s finances, its borders, its water resources — of every major and many minor aspects of Palestinian life. More gallingly to many, Oslo, in Said’s words, gave “official Palestinian consent to continued occupation,” creating a local elite whose privilege depends on the perpetuation of the status quo.

That Palestinian  elite lives comfortably within the so-called “Ramallah bubble”: the bright and relatively carefree world of cafes, NGO salaries and imported goods that characterize life in the West Bank’s provisional capital. During the day, the clothing shops and fast-food franchises are filled. New high-rises are going up everywhere. “I didn’t lose my sister and my cousin and part of my life,” Bassem said, “for the sons of the ministers” to drive expensive cars.

Worse than any corruption, though, was the apparent normalcy. Settlements are visible on the neighboring hilltops, but there are no checkpoints inside Ramallah. The I.D.F. only occasionally enters the city, and usually only at night. Few Palestinians still work inside Israel, and not many can scrape a living from the fields.

For the thousands of waiters, clerks, engineers, warehouse workers, mechanics and bureaucrats eeking a living in Ramallah who spend their days in the city and return to their villages every evening, Ramallah — which has a full-time population of less than 100,000 — holds out the possibility of forgetting the occupation and pursuing a career, saving up for a car, sending the children to college.

But the checkpoints, the settlements and the soldiers are waiting just outside Ramallah, and the illusion of normalcy made Nabi Saleh’s task more difficult.

If Palestinians believed they could live better by playing along, who would bother to fight? When Bassem was jailed in decades past, he said, prisoners were impatient to get out and resume their struggles. This time, he ran into old friends who couldn’t understand why he was still fighting instead of making money off the spoils of the occupation. “They said to me: ‘You’re smart — why are you doing this? Don’t you learn? Don’t you want to make money..’ ”

At times the Palestinian Authority acts as a more immediate obstacle to resistance. Shortly after the protests began in Nabi Saleh, Bassem was contacted by P.A. security officials. The demonstrations were O.K., he said they told him, as long as they didn’t cross into areas in which the P.A. has jurisdiction — as long, that is, as they did not force the P.A. to take a side, to either directly challenge the Israelis or repress their own people. (A spokesman for the Palestinian security forces, Gen. Adnan Damiri, denied this and said that the Palestinian Authority fully supports all peaceful demonstrations.)

In Hebron, P.A. forces have stopped protesters from marching into the Israeli-controlled sector of the city. “This isn’t collaboration,” an I.D.F. spokesman, who would only talk to me on the condition that he not be named, assured me.“Israel has a set of interests, the P.A. has a set of interests and those interests happen to overlap.”

Bassem saw no easy way to break the torpor and ignite a more widespread popular resistance. “The P.A  have the power, more than the Israelis, to stop us.” The Palestinian Authority employs 160,000 Palestinians, which means it controls the livelihoods of about a quarter of West Bank households. One night I asked Bassem and Bilal, who works for the Ministry of Public Health, how many people in Nabi Saleh depend on P.A. salaries. It took them a few minutes to add up the names. “Let’s say two-thirds of the village,” Bilal concluded.

Last summer, my final Friday in Nabi Saleh was supposed to be a short day. One of the shebab was getting engaged to a girl from a neighboring village, and everyone planned to attend the betrothal ceremony. The demonstration would end at 3.

Four armored cars waited at the bend in the road, the skunk truck idling behind them. Manal pointed to the civilian policemen accompanying the soldiers. “There is a new policy that they can arrest internationals,” she explained. Earlier that month, as part of the effort to combat what Israelis call the “internationalization” of the conflict, the defense forces issued an order authorizing Israeli immigration police to arrest foreigners in the West Bank.

About half the marchers headed down the hillside. Soldiers waiting below arrested four Israelis and detained Bashir, the owner of the land around the spring. Everyone cheered as Mohammad raced uphill, outrunning the soldiers. (Three months later they would catch up to him in a night raid on his father’s house. He was imprisoned until late December.)

I saw Nariman standing in the road with a Scottish woman. I walked over. Two soldiers grabbed the Scottish protester. Two more took me by the arms, pulled me to a jeep and shoved me in. I showed my press card to the driver. His expression didn’t change. Two frightened young women, both British, were already locked inside.

After almost an hour, the soldiers brought a Swede and an Italian who had been hiding in the convenience-store bathroom. More soldiers piled in. I showed one my press card and asked if he understood that I was a journalist. He nodded. Finally, the driver pulled onto the road. As we passed the gas station, the shebab ran after us.

“They were so beautiful a few minutes ago, right?” the soldier beside me said as the shebab’s stones clanged against the jeep. “They were so cute.”

They drove us to the old British police station in the I.D.F. base in Halamish. While I was sitting on a bench, an I.D.F. spokesman called my cellphone to inform me that no journalists with press cards had been detained in Nabi Saleh. I disagreed. (The next day, according to Agence France-Presse, the I.D.F. denied I had been arrested.) A half-hour later, an officer escorted me to the gate.

As I walked back to Nabi Saleh, the road was empty, but the air was still peppery with tear gas. I made it back in time for the engagement party and flew home the next day. The five activists detained with me were deported. Two nights after I left, soldiers raided Bassem’s house. The following week, they raided the village five days in a row.

This past October, the popular resistance movement began to shift tactics, trying to break the routine of weekly demonstrations. They blocked a settler road west of Ramallah, and the following week staged a protest inside an Israeli-owned supermarket in the settlement industrial zone of Shaar Binyamin. Bassem was arrested outside the market — soldiers grabbed at Nariman and dragged Bassem off when he stepped forward to put his arms around her.

Less than two weeks later, Waed was arrested at a Friday demonstration. Soldiers beat Waed “with their fists and their rifles.” When he appeared in court, Waed was still bruised. The judge threw out the charges. But while he was detained, he was in the same prison as his father and saw him briefly there. “When I said goodbye to him,” Waed told me with obvious pride, “he had tears in his eyes. I was stronger than him.”

On the day of Waed’s arrest, a camera caught Ahed shaking her fist, demanding that soldiers tell her where they were taking her brother. The Internet took over: video of the tiny, bare-armed blond girl facing down a soldier went viral. She and Nariman were invited to Istanbul, where, to their surprise, Nariman said, they were greeted at the airport by dozens of children wearing T-shirts printed with Ahed’s photo. They drove past billboards displaying Ahed’s image. Reporters followed them everywhere. Crowds gathered when they walked in the streets. They were taken to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the southeastern city of Urfa, Nariman said, and flew back with him to Istanbul on his plane.

Not everyone reacted so enthusiastically. One right-wing blogger dubbed Ahed “Shirley Temper.” The Israeli news site Ynet took the images as evidence that “Palestinian protesters use children to needle I.D.F. soldiers in the hope of provoking a violent response.”

In mid-November, Israeli rockets began falling on Gaza. Protests spread throughout the West Bank. “We thought it was the start of the third intifada,” Manal told me. The demonstrations in Nabi Saleh stretched beyond their usual Friday-evening terminus. One Saturday in November, Nariman’s brother Rushdie — who worked as a policeman near Ramallah and was rarely home on Fridays — joined the shebab on the hill. He was standing beside Waed when he was hit by a rubber-coated bullet.

Then the soldiers began shooting live ammunition, but Rushdie was hurt and couldn’t run. As he lay on the ground, a soldier shot him in the back from a few meters away. Nariman ran to the hillside with her video camera and found her brother lying wounded. “I wanted to attack the soldier and die with Rushdie right there, but I knew I had to be stronger than that,” Nariman said. “Why is it required of me to be more humane than they are?” Rushdie, who was 31, died two days later. An I.D.F. investigation found that soldiers fired 80 shots of live ammunition and neglected to “control the fire.” The unit’s commander was reportedly relieved of his command.

When the fighting stopped in Gaza, the protests in the West Bank ceased. I went back to Nabi Saleh in January, three weeks before Bassem was expected home. The village seemed listless and depressed, as if everyone were convinced of the futility of continuing. On my first Friday back, the demonstration ended early: the shebab had a soccer match in another village. It rained the next week, and everyone went home after an hour. “We are still living the shock of Rushdie’s killing,” Mohammad told me.

Elsewhere in the West Bank, though, momentum was building. In late November, Netanyahu announced plans to build 3,400 settlement units in an area known as E1, effectively cutting off Jerusalem from the West Bank. Just before I arrived in January, popular-resistance activists tried something new, erecting a tent “village” called Bab al-Shams in E1, symbolically appropriating the methods of land confiscation employed by settlers. “The time has come now to change the rules of the game,” the organizers wrote in a news release, “for us to establish facts on the ground — our own land.”

The numbers were relatively small — about 250 people took part, including Nariman and a few others from Nabi Saleh — and, on direct orders from Netanyahu, soldiers evicted everyone two days later, but the movement was once again making headlines around the globe. Copycat encampments went up all over the West Bank — some in areas where the popular resistance had not previously been active.

The day after his release, Bassem told me that even sitting in prison he had felt “a sense of joy” when he learned about Bab al-Shams. The popular resistance was finally spreading beyond the village demonstrations. “We have to create a sense of renewal,” he said, “not only in Nabi Saleh but on a larger scale.” The village’s losses — and his own — he acknowledged, were daunting. “The price is now higher,but if we don’t continue, it would mean that the occupation has succeeded.” It would take constant creativity, he said, to hold onto the momentum. He didn’t know what it would look like yet, but just talking about it seemed to add inches to his height.

Within days, thousands of Palestinians would protest around the West Bank, first in solidarity with prisoners on hunger strikes to demand an end to the indefinite detention of Palestinians without trial, later in outrage at the death of a 30-year-old prisoner named Arafat Jaradat. Once again, the words “third intifada” were buzzing through the press. Avi Dichter, the head of Israeli domestic security during the second intifada and the current minister of Home Front Defense, cautioned in a radio interview that an “incorrect response by the security forces” might push the protests into full-out revolt.

When I saw Bassem in February, I asked him whether he was worried that the uprising might finally arrive at Nabi Saleh’s moment of greatest self-doubt, that it might catch the village drowsing. “It doesn’t matter who is resisting,” he said. “What’s important is that they are resisting.”

On the last Friday I was there, the wind was against the demonstrators. Nearly every grenade the soldiers fired, regardless of how far away it landed, blew a cloud of gas up the road right at them. A dozen or so villagers watched the clashes from the relative safety of the hillside. Bassem’s cousin Naji was sitting on a couch cushion. Mahmoud, Bassem’s nephew, poured coffee into clear plastic cups. Bright red poppies dotted the hill between the rocks. The way was clear, but no one tried to walk down to the spring.

When the demonstration seemed over, I trekked back to the village with a young Israeli in a black “Anarchy Is for Lovers” T-shirt. He told me about his childhood on a kibbutz bordering the Gaza Strip. His parents were “right-wing Zionists,” he said, “hard-core.” They didn’t talk to him anymore. A group of soldiers appeared behind us, and we ducked into Nariman’s yard as they tossed a few stun grenades over the wall.

Later that evening, at Naji’s house, I watched Bilal’s video of the same soldiers as they strolled down the drive, lobbing tear-gas grenades until they reached their jeeps. They piled in and closed the armored doors. One door opened a crack. A hand emerged. It tossed one last grenade toward the camera. Gas streamed out, the door closed and the jeep sped off down the road.

Ben Ehrenreich won a 2011 National Magazine Award in feature writing. His most recent novel is “Ether,” published by City Lights Books. Editor: Ilena SilvermanAdvertisem

Good progress in Boycott, Sanction and Divest Israel businesses in the West Bank

This Palestinian movement, along with all movements confronting apartheid and racism and colonial powers exploitation, has earned a victory in Germany judicial system

الوليد خالد يحيى (Al walid Khaled Ya7ya)

كاتب صحفي

انتصار جديد تحققه حركة مقاطعة “إسرائيل” وسحب الاستثمارات منها “BDS ولكن هذه المرّة في أروقة المحاكم الألمانيّة،

يُضاف إلى سلسلة من الانتصارات الماديّة والمعنويّة التي تحققها الحركة في الميادين الاقتصاديّة والثقافيّة والأكاديميّة حول العالم.

وأفضى قرار لمحكمة في العاصمة برلين يوم 3 آب/ أغسطس الجاري، إلى تبرئة النشطاء ماجد أبو سلامة، وروني باركان وستافيت سيناي، من تهمة “الاعتداء” التي كانت صلب موضوع دعوة رفعتها إحدى منظمات اللوبي الصهيوني في ألمانيا، إثر رفعهم شعاراتـ وصراخهم بهتافات،

خلال مشاركة عضو الكنيست “أليزا لافي” في ندوة حول حقوق المثلييين بجامعة هومبولت في حزيران/ يونيو 2019، حيث تعتبر مشاركتها في وعي المُقاطعة تجميلاً لصورة كيان عنصري استعماري احلالي.

كسب معركة ضد اللوبي الصهيوني

انتصار قانوني على دعوة اللوبي الصهيوني، عزز “حشره في الزاوية الضيّقة” وهو تعبير الناشط في حركة المقاطعة ماجد أبو سلامة، دلل به في حديث لـ” بوابة اللاجئين الفلسطينيين” على أهمية هذا الانتصار على جماعات الضغط الصهيونية، التي يشهد نشاطها المعادي لحركة المقاطعة في ألمانيا، تكاثفاً مدعوماً بميزانيات وخطط وإمكانيات، سخّرها كيان الاحتلال ضد الحركة، التي باتت تمثّل خلال السنوات الأخيرة، مصدر قلق كبير يعكس الصورة الحقيقية لنظام  ” الابارتايد” الإسرائيلي.

ولأنّ أليزا لافي أيضاً، هي مسؤولة اللجنة الأوروبيّة التي تعمل ضد حركة المُقاطعة في أوروبا والعالم، ويسخرّ لها كيان الاحتلال ميزانيّة تقدّر بملايين الدولارات، أكسب ذلك الانتصار القانوني على الدعوةِ الصهيونية، قيمة مُضافة، فالزاوية تضيق بالفعل، وفق الناشط سلامة الذي قال: إنّ “حركة المُقاطعة باتت تشكّل خطراً حقيقياً على صورة إسرائيل في العالم، واستطاعت خلال سنواتها الـ15 الأخيرة، تكبيد دولة الاحتلال خسائر بمليارات الدولارات، وتجريدها من الكثير من الاستثمارات، وإفقادها الكثير من التعاون الأكاديمي والثقافي والفنّي”.

“إسرائيل دولة مُلاحقة من كل الشعوب الحرة”

التضييقات على حركة المُقاطعة تُعزز صحوتها

ويعتبر الناشط ماجد أبو سلامة، أنّ جملة التضييقات التي تتعرّض لها حركة المقاطعة من قبل اللوبي الصهيوني الفاعل في أوروبا، تُعزز من صحوتها، وتدفع المزيد إلى الانضام إليها والتفاعل معها، وهو ما انعكس خلال مجريات المُحاكمة، التي شهدت تجمّعاً لمئات الناشطين من الفلسطينيين والعرب والمتضامنين الأجانب،

وبعضهم قَدِموا من عدّة دول أوروبيّة للوقوف إلى جانب النشطاء خلال مُحاكمتهم، مُضيفاً :” هذا يدلل على أنّ اسرائيل دولة مُلاحقة من الشعوب الحرة في كل أنحاء العالم، فالطلبة بالجامعات يصوتون ضد أي علاقة لجامعاتهم مع إسرائيل، و في محاكمتنا كان من اللوبي الصهيوني 7 أشخاص، بينما معنا وقف أكثر من 150 ناشطاً من أحزاب ومجموعات حقوقية ألمانيّة، والكثير من النشطاء المتضامنين الذين جاؤوا من دول اوروبية متعددة للوقوف معنا ضد المحاكمة”.

116797670_10222717606310671_8222354345163079134_o.jpg

دفعة أمل والمزيد من القوة والشجاعة والإصرار على مواصلة النضال في ظل التضييق الاستثنائي على نشاط حركة المُقاطعة، هو ما أعطاه هذا الإنجاز القانوني للحركة، فحجم الضغط على النشاط الداعم للحق الفلسطيني في ألمانيا، لا يقتصر فقط على  حكومة الاحتلال،

بل إنّ الحكومة الألمانيّة باتت تعمل كـ”دولة ثانوية” لحكومة الاحتلال وفق الناشط أبو سلامة، من خلال تضييقها على الجالية الفلسطينية والعربيّة وكل صوت حر يحاول أن يدافع عن حقوق الشعب الفلسطيني ويعرّي الاحتلال “هذا الانتصار القانوني ضيّق على اللوبي الصهيوني، وهو كان بمثابة دعوة لشعبنا الفلسطيني والجالية العربية هنا وكل حر،

أنّ يستغل الميزات الموجودة عنده، وأن يخصص وقتاً للقتال والنضال من أجل حقوق شعبنا المسلوبة” حسبما أضاف.

لسنا مُتهّمين إنّما نُلاحق مجرمي الحرب

ولعلّ ما يُلفت الانتباه في هذه المُحاكمة للنشطاء، ويبرز جانباً آخراً لأهميّة نتيجتها، يكمن أيضاً في تحويلهم لها إلى محكمة لمجرمي الحرب الصهاينة، وفضح جرائمهم وتعريتهم ومُلاحقتهم، لا سيّما أنّ أليزا لافي واحدة من مجرمي الحرب الصهاينة المسؤولين عن جريمة العدوان على قطاع غزّة عام 2014 والتي أفضت إلى مجازر ضد الإنسانيّة، بشغلها حينذاك منصب عضو “لجنة الدفاع” التي أقرّت العدوان.

“لم نتعامل مع المحكمة بصفتنا متهمين بل سلطنا الضوء على جرائم الاحتلال”

يقول أبو سلامة لـ”بوابة اللاجئين الفلسطينيين”: “نحن تعاملنا مع المحكمة ليس بصفتنا متهمين، نحن رفضنا أن نتحدث عن مسألة اعتراضنا أو دخولنا على ندوة اللوبي الصهيوني في ألمانيا، في محاولة منا لتسليط الضوء على جرائم هذه المجرمة، وتسليط الضوء على صورة اسرائيل المجرمة المنتهكة لحقوقنا بشكل مستمر السارقة لأراضينا،

ولنؤكد على أنّ هذه المقاومة و الثورة مستمرة” مُضيفاً: “نحن معنيون أنّ يشعر هؤلاء المجرمون بالخوف والتوتر، وأن يشعروا بإحساس أهلنا بكل فلسطين، هذا الإحساس الذي نحاول أن نعززه ونحيط به الصهاينة”.

نسعى لملاحقة مجرمي الحرب

ماباتت تشكلّه حركة المقاطعة “BDS” على الكيان الصهيوني، لا يظهره فقط جحم الضغوطات التي تمارسها حكومة الاحتلال على نشطاء الحركة في كل أصقاع الأرض، وخصوصاً في أوروبا حيث تتواطأ بعض الحكومات معها بشكل جلي، إنّما أيضاً بما حققته من إنجازات موجعة، وتحقيقها خروقات كبيرة في الوعي العالمي، إزاء طبيعة كيان الاحتلال العنصريّة الإجراميّة.

بهذا الصدد، يقول ماجد أبو سلامة لـ”بوابة اللاجئين الفلسطينيين” إنّ أهم ما يميّز حراك المُقاطعة، ليس فقط مُقاطعة “إسرائيل” ومُقاطعة بضائع المستوطنات فحسب، بل لكونه حراكاً شاملاً يسعى لتكريس حالة المُقاطعة الاقتصاديّة عبر الحضّ على سحب الاستثمارات من كيان الاحتلال، وفرض عقوبات عليه، وإحداث أوسع نطاق من المُقاطعة الثقافية والفكرية والأكاديمية، فضلاً عن مُلاحقة مُجرمي الحرب وفضحهم.

وتنطلق فكرة النضال في صفوف الحركة، من أنّ فلسطين عنوان للحق والعدالة، وبالتالي :”نحن ننطلق من هذه الفكرة بصراعنا ضد كل من ينتهك العدالة وحقوق الإنسان وأي فعل إجرامي في دولة مثل دولة الابرتايد الإسرائيلي التي تتعامل بنظام عرقي عنصري” يقول أبو سلامة.

 ويشير إلى عدّة انتصارات حققتها الحركة من ضمن الكثير ومنها :” انتصار بجامعة ساوس في بريطانيا، وجامعة مانشستر التي سحبت كل استثماراتها من إسرائيل”.

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الكثير من الانجازات التي حققتها حركة المُقاطعة، جعلتها بمثابة “أكبر خطر استراتيجي على اسرائيل” وفق الناشط أبو سلامة، “وصارت خزّاناً للأمل والمقاومة، وأهم تفرّعات الثورة الفلسطينية في الداخل والخارج” حسبما أضاف.

BDS” نشاط فاعليته بوعيه ولا مركزيته

لا يتسّم نشاط حركة مُقاطعة ” إسرائيل” وسحب الاستثمارات منها وفرض عقوبات عليها “BDS” بالعشوائيّة، رغم اللامركزيّة في عملها، الذي يبدو أنّه أحد عوامل قوّتها وانتشارها، ويوفّر لمجموعاتها ونُشطائها، الحركيّة الميدانيّة الحرّة والمؤثّرة في أيّ مكان وكلّ زمان، يتقرر فيه القيام بنشاط ما ضد المصالح الصهيونية.

يوضح ماجد أبو سلامة لـ”بوابة اللاجئين الفلسطينيين” أسلوب عمل الحركة، لافتاً إلى أنّه يعتمد على الوعي والفهم والدراية لأهداف الحركة ومنطلقاتها التي يعرضها بيان الحركة المُقرّ سنة 2005، ويقول:” نحن شبكة من الناس الذين يعملون بشكل لا مركزي، ولنا إطار فعلي إداري يتتبّع سير الأنشطة” لكنّه يشير إلى أنّ الانضمام إلى المجموعة لا يحتاج إلى تقديم طلب أو الخضوع إلى هيكلية تنظيميّة، بل يكفي لأي إنسان حر أو مجموعة أو عائلة، أن تشكّل نفسها ضمن أفكار ووعي الحركة، وتبدأ بنشاطها في مكانها تجاه أي شركة أو مؤسسة تتعامل مع الاحتلال.

” حركة المقاطعة باتت تنتمي الى أسرة ضخمة في العالم”

ويضيف أبو سلامة، أنّ عدم مركزيّة الحركة، لا يعني أنّها حركة غير منظّمة، ويوضّح في هذا الصدد قائلاً:” إنّ في الحركة أجنحة تجتمع بشكل شهري، وكل جناح أو مجموعة، يضم عشرات الشبّان والفتياة وكبار السن من الناشطين اجتماعيّاً وسياسياً وحقوقيّاً حول العالم، ولدينا مئات المجموعات على مستوى أوروبا”.

ويلفت الناشط المقيم في ألمانيا، إلى أنّ حركة المقاطعة باتت تنتمي الى أسرة ضخمة في العالم، وصار لها شرعية من أحزاب ونقابات واتحادات في دول عديدة، مشيراً إلى تبني اتحاد العمّال في النرويج لوثيقة الحركة، والذي ممكن أن يكون ذلك خطّاً تسير عليه العديد من المؤسسات والمجموعات أن تتبنى الوثيقة وتعمل على أساسها.

حملاتٌ سنويّة تخوضها حركة المُقاطعة بشكل دوري، وتصب بشكل أساسي ضد الشركات التي تتعامل عسكريّاً مع كيان الاحتلال الصهيوني في مجال الأسلحة أو طائرات الاستطلاع وسواها من تقنيات تستخدم لأغراض حربيّة، إضافة إلى الشركات التي تتعاون مع الاحتلال في سرقة الأراضي والموارد الطبيعية الفلسطينية، أو التي تسعى لتجميل صورة الاحتلال فنيّاً وثقافيّاً.

BDS أبطلت بيع أكثر من 10 آلاف تذكرة لمهرجان يوروفيجن في تل أبيب”

ويشير الناشط أبو سلامة، إلى نشاط الحركة ضد تنظيم الاحتلال لمسابقة ” يورو فيجن” الفنيّة كأحد الأمثلة، وتمكّنت حينها من إبطال بيع أكثر من 10 آلاف تذكرة لحضور المهرجان الغنائي الأوروبي الشهير الذي أقيمت فعالياته في تل أبيب في أيّار/ مايو 2019.

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وينوّه كذلك، إلى حالة الوعي التي شكلّتها حركة المُقاطعة، من” خلال الناس الواعية بأهمية السلاح الفلسطيني الذي انطلق من فلسطين و تبناه كل حر في كل انحاء العالم” وفق أبو سلامة، لافتاً إلى أنّ ما تعمل وفقه الحركة من وعي كبير واستناد إلى معلومات ومعطيات وابحاث وتعميم الدراية بعملها وأهميّته لدى نشطائها، يشكّل لكيان الاحتلال اشكاليّة كبيرة.

ويختم حديثه مع موقعنا :” نحن بعلمنا نحاول أن نكون واضحين، وأن يكون هناك بحث وكمية معلومات ضخمة تمكّن من يناضل معنا من امتلاك وعي كافٍ، فحركة المقاطعة نضال واعي وهذا ما يخيف دولة الأبارتايد،

وعي يشترك به كل الأحرار، سواء الفلسطينيين الذين يحركهم انتماؤهم إلى فلسطين، أو الدوليين الذين يتحرّكون بايمانهم للفكرة ومركزيّة فلسطين في صراعنا الأممي ضد الاستعمار والإمبريالية والصراع من أجل إسترجاع الحق”.

How many UN resolutions for a State of Palestine is required for the US to bow down to the world community?

Note: Re-edit of “UN Passes Five Resolutions In Favor Of Palestine “December 5, 2015

And yet, the US does Not want to hear anything resembling fairness, equitable and rights for a displaced population by the colonial powers to Return Home.

Currently, the US of Trump want to offer All Palestinian Lands to Israel (West Bank), and including the Syrian Golan Heights and Jordanian lands in Ghour al Ordon

The resolutions endorse the return to peace talks, denouncing settlements in disputed East Jerusalem and in support of the work of the UN Committee fighting for the rights of the Palestinian people.
(What of the colony settlements in West Bank? Funded by US taxpayers)
A week ago, Mahmoud Abbas rescinded the Oslo agreement and banned all security intelligence services with Israel.
Jordan monarch has warned that Jordan will cancel parts of the Wadi Araba peace agreement with Israel during King Hussein.

New York, New York (IMEMC) – The overwhelming majority of General Assembly of the United Nations, Wednesday, voted on 5 draft resolutions in favor of Palestine.

The decision comes after the Assembly discussed the two articles, “the Palestinian Cause” and “the Conditions in the Middle East.”

According to Al Ray, the first resolution was entitled, “Using Amicable Methods to Resolve the Palestinian Cause”. The voting results were 148 in favor to 6 against, with 8 abstentions.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in this Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012 file photo. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

The second resolution regarding “Jerusalem” passed with 144 votes in favor to 6 against, and 10 abstentions.

The third resolution was entitled, “The Informational Program about the Palestinian Cause”, which is being handled by the administration of media affairs in the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and passed with 147 votes in favor to 7 against, and 9 abstentions.

The fourth resolution was entitled “Committee for Palestinians Right to Exercise Ownership of Their Inalienable Rights.” The voting results were 94 in favor to 7 against, with 56 abstentions. (Those abstending States do Not consider Inalienable Rights should cover the Palestinian people?)

The last resolution, entitled, “The Section of Palestinians Rights in the Secretary-General of UN”, passed with 91 votes in favor to 7 against, with 59 abstentions.

After the voting process, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, gave a speech to show his gratitude and thanks to the member countries of the UN for their initial stand, and their votes in favor of the resolutions that show their support to the Palestinian cause.

Mansour added that the international community represented by the United Nations’ protection of international law is a source of comfort and support to the Palestinian people.

It will help them in their continuing journey of resisting and striving to maintain their inalienable rights, and bringing an end to the Israeli occupation, which will liberate the state of Palestine and its Capital of East Jerusalem, and fulfill the two-state solution.

The ambassador also affirmed the importance of the resolutions approved by the UN concerning Palestine, saying that what affects the credibility of the United Nations is not as some claim, the adoption of these resolutions but the nonexistence of a necessary political will to force Israel to show respect to these resolutions and apply it.

Note: A reminder that the UN also voted in 1948 for the right of return to the Palestinians to their homelands.Why it is Not reiterated and enforced?

Pictures of girls and art activities in Palestine

 

The banana represents a sensitive person who is suffering from the nails sticking into him, said Oussama Diab. The artwork is called "Human Being."

The banana represents a sensitive person who is suffering from the nails sticking into him, said Oussama Diab. The artwork is called “Human Being.”

"New Pieta" reconfigures Michaelangelo's "Pieta" sculpture, but adds a keffiyah to Jesus Christ to show him as a Palestinian rebel. "Mary here is the mother of all Palestinian martyrs," said Diab. "Every day there's a new Jesus Christ in Palestine. Every day there's a new Mother Mary crying for her Jesus Christ."

“New Pieta” reconfigures Michaelangelo’s “Pieta” sculpture, but adds a keffiyah to Jesus Christ to show him as a Palestinian rebel. “Mary here is the mother of all Palestinian martyrs,” said Diab. “Every day there’s a new Jesus Christ in Palestine. Every day there’s a new Mother Mary crying for her Jesus Christ.”

The balloons in front of this woman's head represent the nice ideas she has in her head, Oussama Diab said of his artwork "Balloon."

The balloons in front of this woman’s head represent the nice ideas she has in her head, Oussama Diab said of his artwork “Balloon.”

In "Barcode 1," said Diab, the child behind the barcode is the victim of people who are dealing in weapons and driving children to take up arms for their own interests.

In “Barcode 1,” said Diab, the child behind the barcode is the victim of people who are dealing in weapons and driving children to take up arms for their own interests.

This picture, called "Barcode 2," is taken from a photograph of one of the Palestinian intifadas and, says Daib, shows how politicians advertise violence. "Although the picture is from the Palestinian intifada, it refers to all violence everywhere," said added.

This picture, called “Barcode 2,” is taken from a photograph of one of the Palestinian intifadas and, says Daib, shows how politicians advertise violence. “Although the picture is from the Palestinian intifada, it refers to all violence everywhere,” said added.

Diab says this picture was inspired by the saying "Free in my own freedom." He said it is a positive artwork, where the woman is free to color her own life to make it better. "She is free from old ideas," he said.

Diab says this picture was inspired by the saying “Free in my own freedom.” He said it is a positive artwork, where the woman is free to color her own life to make it better. “She is free from old ideas,” he said.

Oussama says this picture came from the idea of spraying on walls to represent freedom. "Instead of writing the word freedom, this man is spraying his own brain and ideas to express freedom," he said.

Oussama says this picture came from the idea of spraying on walls to represent freedom. “Instead of writing the word freedom, this man is spraying his own brain and ideas to express freedom,” he said.

Noor Daoud, 23, in her BMW. Daoud is about to compete in a professional drift race in the United Arab Emirates, which she hopes will be the start of a top-flight international career.

Noor Daoud, 23, in her BMW. Daoud is about to compete in a professional drift race in the United Arab Emirates, which she hopes will be the start of a top-flight international career.

The Speed Sisters say many people have no idea they are women until they take their helmets off. These are (from left): Betty Saadeh, Noor Douad, Marah Sahalka and Muna Ennab.

The Speed Sisters say many people have no idea they are women until they take their helmets off. These are (from left): Betty Saadeh, Noor Douad, Marah Sahalka and Muna Ennab.

Marah Zahalka taking a turn during a race in Bethlehem. Palestinian street car races, held at makeshift venues such as airfields, often attract 1,000 spectators.

Marah Zahalka taking a turn during a race in Bethlehem. Palestinian street car races, held at makeshift venues such as airfields, often attract 1,000 spectators.

Muna Ennab watches a race in Ramallah. Her t-shirt refers to drift racing, a driving technique in which the driver deliberately oversteers and the rear wheels skid.

Muna Ennab watches a race in Ramallah. Her t-shirt refers to drift racing, a driving technique in which the driver deliberately oversteers and the rear wheels skid.

Marah Zahalka (left) and Noor Daoud, the two youngest Speed Sisters, both in their early 20s, are close friends and fierce competitors.

Marah Zahalka (left) and Noor Daoud, the two youngest Speed Sisters, both in their early 20s, are close friends and fierce competitors.

Betty Saadeh, from Bethlehem, joined the Speed Sisters in 2010 and was the fastest woman on the Palestinian circuit in 2011. Both her father and brother also race cars.

Betty Saadeh, from Bethlehem, joined the Speed Sisters in 2010 and was the fastest woman on the Palestinian circuit in 2011. Both her father and brother also race cars.

Marah Zahalka with her father Khaled, who has supported her career. Some of the Speed Sisters have received encouragement from their families, while others have had to persuade them of their choice.

Marah Zahalka with her father Khaled, who has supported her career. Some of the Speed Sisters have received encouragement from their families, while others have had to persuade them of their choice.

Speed Sisters of the West Bank

Speed Sisters of the West Bank

“A Watershed Moment in Palestinian History”: Interview with Jamal Juma’

Israel/Palestine

 on 

For weeks now, (since the pronouncement of Trump on Jerusalem Capital of Israel) Palestinians everywhere have been galvanized by events taking place in the Gaza Strip, the site of weekly (since March 30) mass protests demanding the end of the siege and blockade of Gaza (in place now since 2007) and the right to return to the homes from which they or their elders had been transferred (kicked out) since Israel creation in 1948.

Dubbed the Great March of Return, Palestinians in Gaza have assembled as close as they can to the Israeli-designated buffer zone separating Gaza from Israel. (Going on for the 16th Fridays)

Israeli soldiers at a distance, crouched behind earth barriers that they created in the days preceding the march, and at absolutely no danger of attack from the unarmed protestors, pick off demonstrators at their leisure (with live bullets, assassinating over 160  and targeting the legs to handicap the marchers, over 1,600 badly injured)

By June 14, at least 129 Palestinians had been killed and 13,000 injured; the dead included medics like the 21-year-old Razan al-Najjar and journalists including Yaser Murtaja—typically seen as off-limits in conflict zones but transformed by Israel into prime targets.

Jamal Juma’ leads a nonviolent march against the Israeli Separation Wall in the West Bank town of Al Walaja.

On June 4, I spoke to Jamal Juma’, coordinator of the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, about the popular resistance in Gaza, the Trump administration’s policy toward the question of Palestine, and Palestinian options to chart a new course.

Ida AudehI interviewed you in August 2011 to learn more about the separation wall and its effect on communities in its path. Describe Israel’s current system of control over the occupied territories, of which the wall is a part.

Jamal Juma’: It is clear that the wall was designed to isolate and lay siege to Palestinians. The project to place Palestinians under siege by means of the wall has been completed.

On the popular level, we see serious activity in search of an alternative to the status quo, the largest and the most important of which is taking place now in Gaza with the Great March of Return.

These actions are important for a number of reasons. They changed the stereotypes about Gaza as a launchpad for rockets, a place of terrorism that has been hijacked by Hamas.

In fact, the marches in Gaza since March 30 represent a widespread popular movement, massive popular resistance. Just like the first intifada emerged from Jabaliya in the Gaza Strip, today we have the beginnings of a mass civil disobedience movement.

(Note: the First Intifada took place in 1935 against the British mandated power for refusing to organize democratic elections, even in municipality, on the ground that the Jews were minorities. It lasted 3 years. Britain had to dispatch 100,000 troop to quell this civil disobedience and exacted horror torture techniques)

Gaza has a population that is resisting, and Hamas does not control this resistance. The discourse we generally hear, that Hamas is leading people to their death, should be recognized as racist and dehumanizing.

For that reason, the marches in Gaza are very important in defining the trajectory of the Palestinian question and restoring the role of popular resistance to the forefront. They lay the popular foundation for the coming phase. They might also have prevented another massive disaster.

I think Israel was preparing to implement the Trump administration’s proposals; the scenario that the Israelis were planning for was to pull Gaza into a military confrontation, which would justify more intense bombing than it has done in the past.

(Actually, an Israeli pre-emptive re-occupation of Gaza would serve the Palestinian cause and foil the USA new idea of a resolution by re-transplanting the existing Palestinians)

The borders with Egypt would open, and people would flee into Egypt. But the mass participation in the march thwarted that plan.

IA: I find it hard to understand how Ramallah can be so tranquil considering the carnage in Gaza.

JJ:  It might seem that what is happening in the West Bank is not at all comparable to what is happening in Gaza. And that is true, it isn’t as massive. But actions are taking place in the West Bank, and they are also important.

On a weekly basis people are gathering to protest at the checkpoints.

Since 2011 there have been continuous outbursts (in Arabic, habbat); for example, in Jerusalem in the Bab al-Shams encampment and in the aftermath of the Abu Khdeir and Dawabshe killings (January 2013, July 2014, and July 2015, respectively).*

These outbursts were significant and exemplary, the way Gaza is today. They reminded us of what the Palestinian people are capable of doing.

I expect that these outbursts here and there will lead to widespread civil disobedience. Young people in Jerusalem and the West Bank have been going out to checkpoints in the hundreds, on a daily basis, and these conditions put one in the mindset of the first intifada.

We should take note of what Palestinians in Israel are doing as well.

There are youth movements that are taking action in ways that are very impressive and a source of pride.  They defy the occupation and they involve large numbers of people, in Haifa and elsewhere (The women marches).

IA: Let’s look at the relationship of Palestinians to formal political bodies. Recently the Palestinian National Council held its first meeting in 22 years. One might have thought that over the course of more than two decades, several issues and events warranted a meeting – regional events, the assassination of Yasir Arafat, and the status of the Oslo accords come to mind.

But the convening of the PNC doesn’t seem to have generated much popular interest.

JJ: People did not pay much attention to it, but in fact they should be talking about it because it poses a threat. Meeting for the first time in 22 years, it did not even discuss what it has done since the last meeting!

What it did do is effectively cancel itself, which means it is changing the structure of the PLO. There is an attempt to replace the Central Committee with a body consisting of the private sector, the political currents in the PA today, and elements of the security apparatus.

No representation of Palestinians from the 1948 areas, or the diaspora, or even the Palestinian street. This is a threat to the Palestinian project.

The PLO as it has been transformed by Mahmoud Abbas threatens the national cause. It has been hijacked; our task is to restore it as a representative and unifying entity that works to support the Palestinian cause. The reform should be led by Palestinian groups and movements.

People have no confidence in the leadership; they don’t think it is capable of leading in the coming phase.

In fact, the outbursts I referred to earlier had the potential of triggering a third intifada. People were waiting for a leadership to emerge, as happened during the first intifada; three months into the intifada, a unified leadership emerged and took charge.

But this time, the PA wasn’t interested in assuming that role; three months into these protests, the PA sent its people to disrupt actions and prevent young people from gathering at checkpoints. The national factions were unable to form a unified leadership for obvious reasons.

IA: What is the alternative?

JJ: People have to create a national movement that can lead the change. What will lead the movement for change will not be a single individual. It will be a widespread national movement that has a real relationship with people on the ground, a movement that will direct the street. This is the only way change will take place. People have been waiting fora long time, but who are we waiting for?

There is not going to be a great charismatic leader. We don’t talk about a heroic leader, we talk about a heroic people and a leadership of institutions.

We want a Palestinian state that represents all Palestinians. Within that broad outline, we say that right now, we have to protect the Palestinian project – the right to self-determination, and we all struggle for that right.

We don’t have to get into a discussion about the final outcome. The time for the two state solution is clearly over—and in fact, that proposal provided the basis for trying to destroy our cause. The other option is clear. But like I said, we don’t want that discussion to detract from our focus now or to place us in conflict with the position of the PLO.

(I do disagree: the 2-State option is very much ripe after Trump project fail, and it will fail)

How do we support the Palestinian project? We have to confront what is happening in Jerusalem, the settlements. There has to be a practical program, not just slogans on paper. Palestinians in the diaspora should support these activities, get involved in the boycott movement, because we are part of that boycott movement.

We are trying to keep the political work and the boycott movement separate to protect the boycott movement, because there is a Palestinian effort underway to weaken the BDS movement; through normalization, by invoking the PLO position.

We consider the boycott movement an essential component of our activism.

This is what people are discussing today, here and with our people in the 1948 areas, and in the diaspora. Many meetings have taken place, and they are being expanded. I expect that in the next few weeks there will be a meeting to put in writing some of the agreed upon principles underlying all of these actions.

There has to be a movement that preserves the unity of the Palestinian people and protects the national cause from liquidation. That’s what we are working on now.

Notes

* The 2013 encampment known as Bab al-Shams was an attempt by Palestinians to thwart Israeli plans to establish a settlement on land in the E1 zone, between East Jerusalem and the Jewish-only settlement Ma’ale Adumim; the Israeli plan was designed to permanently sever the West Bank from East Jerusalem. Another encampment, Bab al-Karama, was set up in Beit Iksa and stormed by Israeli soldiers two days later.

In July 2014, Israeli settlers in Jerusalem abducted 16-year-old Mohammad Abu Khdeir from Shufat and set him on fire; the ensuing demonstrations resulted in 160 Palestinians injured.

Israel’s assault on Gaza began five days later.

One year later, settlers set fire to the Dawabshe home in Duma. The soul survivor of the attack was a 4-year-old child; the child’s parents and infant brother were killed.

In 2015, a tent encampment, “Gate of Jerusalem,” was set up in Abu Dis to protest the Israeli government’s plans to displace Bedouin communities there.

Beginning in September 2015 and lasting until the end of the year, protests spread from the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem throughout the West Bank; 108 Palestinians were killed and 12,260 were injured.  Palestinians in Israel demonstrated in solidarity.

About Ida Audeh is a Palestinian from the West Bank who lives in Colorado. She is the editor of Birzeit University: The Story of a National Institution, published by Birzeit University in 2010. Other posts by .

Notes and tidbits on FB and Twitter. Part 67

Stop regurgitating that the Republicans are isolationist who refrain from global armed conflict. Do you know of any Republican President who didn’t launch a major war outside the USA in this century?

Now that China stepped in publicly in Syria’s peace process means that “economics” that started this civil war have been mostly resolved

All the stories, faces and emotions your see in your night dreams are All about you, and nobody else. Your brain is telling you how he comprehends and assimilates your entity. Grab your courage and take stock.

In Beirut, architecture is an invention to encourage forgetting how this city used to be. Replaced by modern concrete that has no sense or link to the citizens memories

Burning insulation in in UK released cyanide poison? Killed 79 residents.

Life is of what we remember and how we remember events and emotions. Gabriel Garcia Marquez

There are difficult periods in life that we spend tending to survival, days in, days out. And we try to bury these periods deep in our memory, and they are the ones that afflict our subconscious

Je reconnaissais á la repugnance qu’il m’inspirait qu’il s’agissait sans doute d’un ami

C’était le genre de personage dont les sentiments humanitaires, la sensibilité exaspérée, finissent par ressembler á une véritable haine de l’humanité.

La simplicité d’un objectif unique et résolu est celle de tous les héros “populaires”

Notre continent (USA) n’a pas perdu son attrait pour les gens qui ne se sentent libre qu’une arme au poing

Ces petits malins qui croient que la condition humaine est une question d’organisation: des mesures á prendre

Oui, on dit toujours ca: On veut conserver la nature et la faune. Mais pourquoi les nations mandataires ne montrent pas la voie? Complex de culpabilité? Faux.

Pourquoi les institutions Européennes facilitent la tâche des institutions Israeliennes qui exercent les mêmes culpabilités (racism, apartheid, administrative detention..) vis á vis des Palestiniens?

Un monde fut soulevé durant WWI: Tous ses soldats venus de l’Inde et d’Afrique pour prendre les premiéres lignes de défense. Defendre quoi? Ils ne le savaient pas. 

L’independance de l’horreur des occidentaux viendra aprés

It’s the internal narrative that seeks disaster, just as much as it craves reassurance

Discovering a hundred ways that don’t work is the only way to learn anything of importance

Work creates value. A job is a place to hide and get away

Pour leur varies saloperies, ils s’ habillent

Une colére généreuse et un rêve utopique des actes contre nature et contre la nature, les experiences atomiques en plein air, les camps de concentrations, les regimes totalitaires, le racism endemique et les systems d’apartheid, l’extermination des tribues indigenes…Et la pureté qu’il faut pour causer de grandes massacres.

Americans Disproportionately leading the charge in Settling the West Bank. Are they being nudged there by the stealth efforts of the Israeli government and its NGO allies?

Quds/Jerusalem Day (June 23): We shall Not forget our occupied territories
Erdogan is a modern highway robber and kidnapper of States. He pressured Merkel for $billions to stop immigration and now blackmails Qatar for symbolic security with a couple of outdated tanks

Anonymous launched a hacking campaign against Israel

In a previous attack on Monday, Anonymous knocked out multiple Israeli government sites after one of the organization’s members died in the West Bank over the weekend.

22-year-old Tayeb Abu Shehada was killed during a protest in the village of Huwwara in the West Bank after Israeli settlers and soldiers opened fire on demonstrators, reported Bethlehem-based Ma’an News Agency.

Anonymous ‘knocks out’ Mossad website over Israel’s Gaza offensive

Hacker group Anonymous has reportedly taken down the website of the Israeli secret service Mossad in protest of Israel’s military incursion in Gaza. The ‘hacktivists’ have already targeted a number of organizations in their mission to stop the Gaza genocide.

Mossad’s website went offline at around 00:40 GMT and is still down at the time of writing. The Israeli government has yet to make any comment on the supposed hack attack.

Published time: July 31, 2014 06:18
Edited time: July 31, 2014 06:57
AFP Photo / Daniel Roland

Anonymous launched a hacking campaign against Israel coinciding with the beginning of Operation Protective Edge on July 7.

Anonymous claims that since its operation began, it has taken down “thousands” of Israeli-based websites.

The hacktivist group also released 170 log-in details last Monday which they said belonged to Israeli officials.

Anonymous has also issued an appeal to all of its followers to intensify their attacks on Israeli websites.

“We are calling upon the Anonymous collective, and the elite hacker groups to join our crusade, and to wage cyber war against the state of Israel once more,” said a public statement from the group posted online last Friday.

“As a collective ‘Anonymous’ does not hate Israel, it hates that Israel’s government is committing genocide & slaughtering unarmed people in Gaza to obtain more land at the border.”

The group launched hundreds of attacks on Israeli sites two years ago during the Israeli Defense Force’s (IDF) previous operation ‘Pillar of Defense’ in Gaza.

Anonymous succeeded in leaking the data of 5,000 Israeli officials and hacking into the Israeli deputy premier’s Twitter and Facebook accounts.

The conflict in Gaza shows no signs of relenting with both the IDF and Hamas continuing to exchange rocket fire. The Palestinian Health Ministry reports than over 1.350 people have been killed in Gaza, while the Israeli side has lost 56 soldiers to the fighting

 

A story of a transferred Palestinian since 1948 and other essays

A Palestinian living in New York:

“My grandmother witnessed the following events:

– she lived during the British mandate of Palestine and its turmoil
– the 1948 war and Nakba (Transfer to neighboring States of Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria)
– the 1956 Israeli invasion of Gaza
– the 1967 six days war and Israeli occupation of Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank
– the 1973 war

Then she moved with my grandfather to Lebanon to witness:
– the 1978 Israeli invasion of Lebanon
– Lebanon civil war that started in April 1975
– the 1982 Israel massive invasion of Lebanon and entering the capital Beirut and shipping of Palestinian fighters

Then she returned to Gaza to witness:
– the 1987 first intifada (Mass disobedience movement. It was Not the first: 1935 to 38 against the British mandated power and England had to dispatch 100, 000 soldiers to tame it, along with the latest torture techniques)
– the Oslo peace agreement
– the 2000 second intifada
– the 2006 Israeli operation against Lebanon and the victory of Hezbollah after 33 days of war
– Israel cast lead operation 2008/2009 on Gaza
– Israel pillar of cloud operation of 2012 on Gaza
– Israel protective edge operation 2014 on Gaza

Last time I called her she asked me to take care of myself and to focus on my studies- hoping for a better future.

My grandmother’a calendar is full of war and bloodshed. She is in Gaza now and I’m in New York unable to go see her or see my family and beloved.

Since 1948 when she hears the drums of war, she gets dressed and prepares her papers and precious stuff getting ready to become forth, fifth, or sixth time refugee in her country.

Freedom is precious guys, if you live in freedom and dignity you never need to complain….”

Krys Ta wrote:

I kind of feel sorry for holders of passports that could get them practically anywhere. They never get to experience ‘doing an exam’ every couple of months, waiting for results, nailing your interview questions, perfecting your bank account statements, showing up on time, scheduling appointments months ahead, waiting in line for your number…

It’s horrible what they do experience.

They just go to the country of destination? For us at least when you get the visa you feel like you succeeded. You might not want to travel anymore even.

Khalas (finally) you succeeded in that extremely hard test of perfecting your visa application results that you were worthy.

Worthy enough to get granted access to another country where you will spend YOUR money and help thrive their economy.

In a way, we are heros.

Yalla bye. #fuckBorders #قوم_بقا

The Outrageously Racist
The Stereotypical Sexist
The ‘I don’t care about traffic lights’
The Truly Kind & Wise
The Intellectual 
The Hardworker But ‘There’s no more hope for Lebanon’
The Smart/Skilled But ‘there’s no more hope for anything in life’
The ‘There’s no place better than Lebanon’
The ‘Any place is better than Lebanon’

Chapters from a book I could write about my daily encounters with Taxi drivers in Lebanon this summer.

Are the Palestinian Territories Occupied?

IMEU published in July 13, 2012

June 5, 2012, marked the 45th anniversary of the start of the 1967 War, when Israel launched a surprise preemptive attack against Egypt and began its military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, and Syrian Golan Heights.

Since that time, Israel has ruled over millions of Palestinians in the occupied territories by military decree, granting them no political rights while relentlessly colonizing their land.

Forty-five years on, Israel’s occupation and settlement enterprise become more entrenched by the day, leading many observers to conclude that the creation of a sovereign and territorially contiguous Palestinian state alongside Israel (i.e. the two-state solution) is no longer possible.

The following fact sheet provides an overview of 45 years of Israel’s occupation and settlement enterprise.

INDEX

SETTLEMENTS and their purposes

(Click here for 2012 UN map showing land allocated to settlements in the West Bank)
(Click here for Peace Now’s interactive “Facts on the Ground” settlement map)

Almost immediately after the 1967 War ended, Israel began to colonize the occupied territories in violation of international law, with Jewish-only “settlements.”

The settlement enterprise was established with the purpose of creating irreversible “facts on the ground,” thereby solidifying Israeli control over the occupied territories and ensuring that under any future diplomatic agreement Israel would retain possession of vast and strategically important tracts of Palestinian territory.

The settlement enterprise was also intended to ensure that a genuinely sovereign Palestinian state would never emerge in the occupied territories.

In the words of Henry Siegman, Executive Director of the American Jewish Congress from 1978 to 1994 and former Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations:

‘A vivid recollection from the time I headed the American Jewish Congress is a helicopter trip over the West Bank on which I was taken by Ariel Sharon [the former Israeli prime minister and defense minister and godfather of Israel’s settlement enterprise].

With large, worn maps in hand, he pointed out to me strategic locations of present and future settlements on east-west and north-south axes that, Sharon assured me, would rule out a future Palestinian state.’

In 2011, respected Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem noted: “The extreme change that Israel has made in the map of the West Bank prevents any real possibility to establish an independent, viable Palestinian state in the framework of exercising the right to self-determination.”

FACTS & FIGURES

‘And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem.

Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda. And all this with authority and permission. All with a presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress.

‘The disengagement is actually formaldehyde. It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians.’

  • As of 2012, there are more than 500,000 Israeli settlers living in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. Of those, upwards of 300,000 live in the expanded boundaries of East Jerusalem. In addition, approximately 20,000 settlers live in settlements in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.
  • As of 2012 there were some 130 official settlements and more than 110 “outposts” (nascent settlements built without official government approval) in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
  • According to Human Rights Watch: “Palestinians face systematic discrimination merely because of their race, ethnicity, and national origin, depriving them of electricity, water, schools, and access to roads, while nearby Jewish settlers enjoy all of these state-provided benefits… While Israeli settlements flourish, Palestinians under Israeli control live in a time warp – not just separate, not just unequal, but sometimes even pushed off their lands and out of their homes.”
  • From 1993 to 2000, as Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) negotiated what came to be known as the Oslo Accords, the number of Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem), nearly doubled, from 110,900 to 190,206 according to Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem. Accurate figures for settlements in occupied East Jerusalem, which are mostly built and expanded before 1993, are harder to find, but as of 2000 the number of settlers in East Jerusalem stands at more than 167,000 according to B’Tselem.
  • Settlements and related infrastructure (including Israeli-only roads, army bases, the separation wall, closed military zones, and checkpoints) cover approximately 42% of the West Bank.
  • In a 2012 report entitled “Torpedoing The Two State Solution,” Peace Now, the leading experts on Israel’s settlement enterprise, documented a 20% rise in construction starts in the West Bank in 2011 over the previous year.
  • Israel withdrew its soldiers and 8000 settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005, however Gaza remains under Israeli occupation according to international law as Israel continues to control all entry in and out of the territory, as well as its coastline and airspace.
  • In 2004, Dov Weisglass, a top advisor to then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said that the withdrawal of settlers from Gaza (the “disengagement” plan) was intended to “freeze” the peace process, by alleviating international pressure on Israel to take further action, stating,

LEGAL STATUS

  • The pre-amble of UN Security Council Resolution 242, which was passed shortly after the 1967 War, in November 1967, stresses “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war.” The text of Resolution 242, which is the cornerstone of the two-state solution and international efforts to make peace in the region for more than two decades, calls for the “Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.”
  • Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War states that, “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”
  • The Hague Convention also forbids occupying powers from making permanent changes in the occupied territory unless it is a military necessity.
  • In its 2004 advisory opinion that deemed the wall that Israel is building in the West Bank illegal, all 15 judges of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) also found Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, to be in contravention of international law.
  • Successive Israeli governments have argued that settlement building does not violate international law, however a formerly classified document dated September 1967 shows that the legal counsel to Israel’s Foreign Ministry, Theodor Meron, advised the government of Prime Minister Levi Eshkol that “civilian settlement in the administered territories contravenes the explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention.” Disregarding the opinion, in September 1967, Eshkol’s Labor government authorized the establishment of the first civilian settlement, Kfar Etzion, on the outskirts of Hebron in the West Bank.
  • International human rights organizations like the International Committee of the Red Cross, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch have all condemned Israel’s settlement enterprise as illegal.
  • Numerous United Nations resolutions have also affirmed that Israel’s colonization of Palestinian land in the occupied territories is a violation of international law.
  • In 1979, the Security Council passed Resolution 446, which states: “the policy and practices of Israel in establishing settlements in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967 have no legal validity and constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.”

US POLICY ON SETTLEMENTS

  • The official policy of the United States, in line with the rest of the international community, has always been that Israeli settlements are illegal.
  • In 1979, the State Department issued a legal opinion declaring that settlements were “inconsistent with international law.”  However, presidents from both parties have chosen to look the other way more often than not rather than confront Israel over the issue.
  • One notable exception occurred in 1991, when President George H. W. Bush threatened to withhold $10 billion in loan guarantees after Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir refused to halt settlement construction to facilitate the start of peace talks with the Palestinians. Under pressure from Congress, Bush relented and approved the guarantees on condition that only “natural growth” would be allowed, a loophole quickly exploited by the Israelis who soon began building at a faster rate than ever.
  • 2003’s Roadmap for Peace called for a freeze on all settlement construction, including so-called “natural growth” and the removal of all settler outposts.
  • Shortly after taking office in 2009, President Barack Obama began to urge Israel to stop all settlement construction as part of an effort to revive peace talks. After strenuously resisting, in November 2009 Prime Minister Netanyahu agreed to a 10-month partial construction “moratorium.” However, it contained so many loopholes and exceptions (it didn’t cover public infrastructure, construction that had already been approved, or settlements in occupied East Jerusalem) as to render it meaningless. When the 10 months were over, settlement construction resumed as before and a year later, in September 2011, Peace Now reported that in the intervening 12 months settlement growth doubled, more than making up for the partial slowdown.
  • In November 2010, the Obama administration attempted to lure Israel into agreeing to a three-month partial construction freeze by offering a package of incentives including 20 F-35 fighter jets worth $3 billion, a promise that the US would continue vetoing any UN Security Council resolutions critical of Israel, and a promise not ask for another freeze after the three months expired. Despite the enormous size of the offer, Netanyahu turned it down.
  • In February 2011, the Obama administration vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that condemned Israeli settlements as illegal, despite the fact that the resolution reflected official American policy as it has stood for the past four decades.

SETTLER VIOLENCE –

(Click here for UN map “Settler Violence Incidents in 2011”)

  • Many settlements like Yitzhar, Kiryat Arba, and Itamar, are home to heavily armed religious extremists who frequently attack Palestinians and their property, including physical assaults and murder, graffiti and arson attacks against mosques, and the destruction of olive trees and other crops.
  • In March 2012, the Guardian newspaper reported that senior European Union officials had drafted a confidential report concluding that Jewish settlers are engaged in a systematic and growing campaign of violence against Palestinians and that “settler violence enjoys the tacit support of the state of Israel.”
  • Under Israel’s occupation regime, Israeli settlers living in the West Bank are subject to the civilian laws of Israel, with the attendant legal rights and protections, while Palestinians are subject to Israeli military law, and are granted virtually no legal rights or protections.
  • According to a 2012 report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
    • The weekly average of settler attacks resulting in Palestinian casualties and property damage increased by 32% in 2011 compared to 2010, and by over 144% compared to 2009.
    • In 2011, three Palestinians were killed and 183 injured by Israeli settlers. In addition, one Palestinian was killed, and 125 others injured, by Israeli soldiers during clashes between Israeli settlers and Palestinians.
    • In 2011, approximately 10,000 Palestinian-owned trees, primarily olive trees, were damaged or destroyed by Israeli settlers, significantly undermining the livelihoods of hundreds of families.
    • In 2011, 139 Palestinians were displaced due to settler attacks.
    • Over 90% of monitored complaints regarding settler violence filed by Palestinians with the Israeli police in recent years have been closed without indictment.
    • There are 80 communities with a combined population of nearly 250,000 Palestinians vulnerable to settler violence, including 76,000 who are at high-risk.
  • The most notorious instance of settler violence was carried out by an Israeli-American settler, Brooklyn-born Baruch Goldstein, who massacred 29 Palestinians as they prayed in Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque in 1994. More than 100 others were wounded in the attack. In the unrest that followed, another 25 Palestinians were killed by Israeli soldiers. Just over a month after the Cave of the Patriarchs massacre, Hamas launched its first suicide bombing against Israeli civilians.
  • In May 2012, Haaretz newspaper reported that the Israeli army was examining 15 complaints about Israeli soldiers who allegedly stood by and did nothing as Palestinians were beaten or attacked by settlers. Also in May 2012, a settler was filmed shooting a Palestinian near Nablus while Israeli soldiers stood idly by.
  • The aforementioned Haaretz article noted: “From the beginning of the second intifada in September 2000 through December 2011, [Israeli human rights organization] B’Tselem filed 57 complaints regarding IDF soldiers who allegedly did not prevent violence against Palestinians or their property. [Israeli authorities] told B’Tselem that investigations have been opened so far into only four of those cases, two of which were closed with no action against the soldiers.”
  • A 2012 UN report documented the rising use of threats, violence and intimidation by settlers to deny Palestinians access to their water resources in the West Bank. It found that Israeli settlers have been acting systematically to gain control of some 56 springs, most of which are located on private Palestinian land. The report also criticized Israeli authorities for having “systematically failed to enforce the law on those responsible for these acts and to provide Palestinians with any effective remedy.”

– ‘PRICE TAG’ ATTACKS –

  • In recent years, settlers have begun so-called “price tag” attacks against Palestinians and their property in response to Israeli government actions that displease them, such as the dismantling of settlement outposts.
  • The price tag campaign has included a string of more than a dozen arson attacks against, and desecrations of, West Bank mosques. In two cases, mosques inside of Israel’s internationally recognized borders were also torched.

EAST JERUSALEM 

(Click here for 2010 map of settlements in East Jerusalem)
(Click here for interactive “Jerusalem and its Environs” map)

– LEGAL STATUS –

  • Following the 1967 War, Israel unilaterally expanded East Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries and formally annexed it. Neither move has been recognized by the international community, including the United States.
  • Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem has been repeatedly rejected by the international community through a series of UN Security Council resolutions, including Resolutions 252267471476 and 478. Resolution 252 (1968) states that the Security Council “[c]onsiders that all…actions taken by Israel…which tend to change the legal status of Jerusalem are invalid and cannot change that status.”
  • Although Israel has attempted to make a distinction between them, according to international law, there is no legal difference between East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied territories. As such, Israel has no internationally recognized legal claim to any part of East Jerusalem, including the Old City and its holy sites.
  • Recently, the Israeli Supreme Court has begun recognizing as legitimate legal claims from Jews to properties in East Jerusalem that were allegedly owned by Jews prior to Israel’s creation in 1948. As a result, at least three Palestinian families and one shop owner have been evicted in recent months to make way for Jewish settlers who claimed ownership of the land pre-1948. At the same time, the Supreme Court refuses to recognize legal claims by Palestinian Arabs to properties owned in what became Israel in 1948.

 

– FACTS & FIGURES –

‘Restricted access to East Jerusalem had a negative impact on patients and medical staff trying to reach the six Palestinian hospitals there that offered specialized care unavailable in the West Bank. IDF soldiers at checkpoints subjected Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) ambulances from the West Bank to violence and delays, or refused entry into Jerusalem even in emergency cases… The PRCS reported hundreds of violations against its teams and humanitarian services during the year. Most incidents included blocking access to those in need, preventing their transport to specialized medical centers, or maintaining delays on checkpoints for periods sometimes lasting up to two hours.’

  • Following its capture in 1967, Israel expanded the municipal boundaries of East Jerusalem, which comprised about four square miles, annexing an additional 45 square miles (more than 17,000 acres) of the occupied West Bank to the city.
  • Since 1967, Israel has expropriated approximately 5776 acres of Palestinian land in East Jerusalem.
  • Palestinian residents of Jerusalem contribute around 40% of the city’s taxes but only receive 8% of municipal spending.
  • In an attempt to separate and isolate East Jerusalem from the rest of the occupied West Bank, Israel has built a ring of settlements around its outskirts. This ring has been reinforced by the wall Israel is constructing, which also separates Israeli settlements in and near East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank.
  • Since 1993, Israel has prohibited non-Jerusalemite Palestinians from entering the city unless they obtain an Israeli-issued permit, which is rarely granted. As a result, over four million Palestinians are denied access to their holy places in Jerusalem, are prohibited from studying in East Jerusalem, and are denied certain medical treatments that are only available in East Jerusalem hospitals.
  • The State Department’s Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 2011 noted:

THE ‘JUDAIZATION’ OF EAST JERUSALEM –

Revoking residency rights and social benefits of Palestinians who stay abroad for at least seven years, or who are unable to prove that their “center of life” is in Jerusalem. Since 1967, Israel has revoked the residency rights of about 14,000 East Jerusalem Palestinians, of which more than 4,500 were revoked in 2008.The encouragement of Jewish settlement in historically Palestinian-Arab areas. While severely restricting the expansion of Palestinian residential areas and revoking Palestinian residency rights, the Israeli government, through official and unofficial organizations, encourages Jews to move to settlements in East Jerusalem.

Systematic discrimination in municipal planning and in the allocation of services and building permits. According to a 2011 report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

‘Since 1967, Israel has failed to provide Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem with the necessary planning framework to meet their basic housing and infrastructure needs. Only 13 percent of the annexed municipal area is currently zoned by the Israeli authorities for Palestinian construction, much of which is already built-up. It is only within this area that Palestinians can apply for building permits, but the number of permits granted per year to Palestinians does not begin to meet the existing demand for housing and the requirements related to formal land registration prevent many from applying. As a result, Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem find themselves confronting a serious shortage in housing and other basic infrastructure. Many residents have been left with no choice other than to build structures “illegally” and therefore risk demolition and displacement.’

Demolitions of Palestinian homes and structures built without difficult to obtain permission from Israeli authorities. Since 1967, approximately 2000 Palestinian homes have been demolished in East Jerusalem. According to official Israeli statistics, from 2000 to 2008 Israel demolished more than 670 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem. The number of outstanding demolition orders is estimated to be as high as 20,000.

According to Human Rights Watch’s 2012 World Report:

‘Israel usually carries out demolitions on the grounds that the structures were built without permits, but in practice such permits are almost impossible for Palestinians to obtain in Israeli-controlled areas, whereas a separate planning process available only to settlers grants new construction permits much more readily.’

  • According to the 2009 US State Department International Religious Freedom Report: “Many of the national and municipal policies in Jerusalem were designed to limit or diminish the non-Jewish population of Jerusalem.”
  • According to Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem: “Since East Jerusalem was annexed in 1967, the government of Israel’s primary goal in Jerusalem has been to create a demographic and geographic situation that will thwart any future attempt to challenge Israeli sovereignty over the city. To achieve this goal, the government has been taking actions to increase the number of Jews, and reduce the number of Palestinians, living in the city.”
  • In 2010, Jerusalem city councilman Yakir Segev stated: “We will not allow residents of the eastern [occupied Palestinian] part of the city to build as much as they need… At the end of the day, however politically incorrect it may be to say, we will also look at the demographic situation in Jerusalem to make sure that in another 20 years we don’t wake up in an Arab city.”
  • Methods used by Israel as part of an effort to “Judaize” or alter the religious composition of Jerusalem by increasing the number of Jews while decreasing the number of Palestinians, include:

DENIAL OF FREEDOM OF WORSHIP

  • Since 1993, Palestinians living in the West Bank have been forbidden by Israel to enter East Jerusalem without a difficult to obtain permit. As a result, millions of Palestinian Muslims and Christians living in the West Bank and Gaza are prevented from accessing their holy sites in Jerusalem.
  • According to the 2010 State Department International Religious Freedom Report: “[Israel’s] strict closure policies and the separation barrier constructed by the Israeli government severely restricted the ability of Palestinian Muslims and Christians to reach places of worship and to practice their religious rites, particularly in Jerusalem.”
  • The same State Department report noted: “The Government of Israel’s construction of a separation barrier, begun in 2002 due to stated security concerns, has severely limited access to holy sites and seriously impeded the work of religious organizations that provide education, healthcare, and other humanitarian relief and social services to Palestinians, particularly in and around East Jerusalem.”

THE WEST BANK WALL: Wall of Shame

(Click here for 2011 UN map of the wall)

In June 2002, under the pretext of security, the Israeli government began unilaterally constructing a wall, much of it on Palestinian land inside the occupied West Bank. (Since 1994, the Gaza Strip has been surrounded by an Israeli wall that cuts off the 1.6 million Palestinians living there from the rest of the world. See section on Gaza restrictions.)

– LEGAL STATUS –

  • In July 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued an advisory opinion deeming the West Bank separation wall illegal. The court said the wall must be dismantled, and ordered Israel to compensate Palestinians harmed by its construction. It also called on third-party states to ensure Israel’s compliance with the judgment. While the ICJ’s decision was an advisory opinion, and therefore not binding on the parties, it is an authoritative statement of the status of the wall in international law.

– FACTS & FIGURES –

  • As of May 2012, more than 325 miles of the wall had already been built, at a cost of $2.6 billion (US).
  • Once completed, the full length of the wall will be between 420 and 440 miles (according to the Israeli Ministry of Defense and B’Tselem, respectively) – more than twice the length of Israel’s internationally recognized border with the West Bank.
  • Eighty-five percent of the wall will be built not along Israel’s internationally recognized pre-1967 border, but on Palestinian land inside the occupied West Bank.
  • When finished, the wall, along with the settlements, Israeli-only highways and closed military zones, are projected to cover 46% of the West Bank, effectively annexing it to Israel.
  • Critics have accused Israeli authorities of designing the wall’s route to envelop as much Palestinian land and as many Israeli settlements as possible on the western, or Israeli side, while placing as many Palestinians as possible on the eastern side. In total, about 85% of the Israeli settler population is expected to end up on the Israeli side of the wall.
  • The wall also surrounds much of occupied East Jerusalem, cutting its more than 200,000 Palestinian residents off from the rest of the occupied West Bank.
  • During construction of the wall, Israel has destroyed large amounts of Palestinian farmland and usurped water supplies, including the biggest aquifer in the West Bank.

 

RESTRICTIONS ON PALESTINIAN MOVEMENT

(Click here for 2011 UN map of barriers to movement in the West Bank)

  • At any given time, there are upwards of 500 checkpoints, roadblocks, and other barriers to Palestinian movement inside the West Bank – an area smaller than Delaware – hindering Palestinians from moving between their own towns and cities and the outside world.
  • Palestinians are prohibited from driving on the vast network of settler roads built inside the West Bank, which are restricted to Israeli citizens.
  • In addition to limiting movement of individual Palestinians, Israeli restrictions also impede the flow of commercial goods and commerce, with adverse effects on the Palestinian economy and development.
  • According to a September 2011 report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
    • 522 roadblocks and checkpoints obstruct Palestinian movement in the West Bank, compared to 503 in July 2010.
    • 200,000 people from 70 villages are forced to use detours between two to five times longer than the direct route to their closest city due to movement restrictions.
    • One or more of the main entrances are blocked to Palestinian traffic in ten out of eleven major West Bank cities.
    • 4 of the five roads into the Jordan Valley are not accessible to most Palestinian vehicles.
    • Almost 80 percent of land in the Jordan Valley is off-limits to Palestinians, with the land designated for Israeli settlements’ ‘firing zones’ and ‘nature reserves.’ (See here for 2012 UN map)
    • Palestinian access to their private land around approximately 55 Israeli settlements is highly restricted.

GAZA RESTRICTIONS ON MOVEMENT

(Click here for December 2011 Gaza access and closure map)

– SIEGE & BLOCKADE –

‘The prolonged blockade of Gaza, which had already been in place for some 18 months before the current fighting began, amounts to collective punishment of its entire population.‘The Fourth Geneva Convention specifically prohibits collective punishment. Its Article 33 provides: “No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.”’

‘Israel’s punitive closure of the Gaza Strip, tightened after Hamas’s takeover of Gaza in June 2007, continued to have severe humanitarian and economic consequences for the civilian population.‘Gaza’s economy grew rapidly, but the World Bank said the growth depended on international assistance. The economy had not returned to pre-closure levels; daily wages, for instance, had declined 23 percent since 2007. Israel’s near-total restrictions on exports from Gaza hindered economic recovery. Due to low per capita income, 51 percent of the population was unable to buy sufficient food, according to UN aid agencies.

‘Israel allowed imports to Gaza that amounted to around 40 percent of pre-closure levels, the UN reported. Israel continued to bar construction materials, like cement, which it said had “dual use” civilian and military applications. Israel allowed shipments of construction materials for projects operated by international organizations, but as of September Gaza still had an estimated shortage of some 250 schools and 100,000 homes.’

  • Since the early 1990s, Israel has restricted passage to and from Gaza, but in 2006, following Hamas’ victory in Palestinian elections, Israel tightened its restrictions severely and imposed a total naval blockade on the tiny coastal enclave.
  • Israel’s siege and naval blockade of Gaza are acts of collective punishment, which is illegal under international law, and is considered as such by the United Nations and human rights organizations such as Amnesty International.
  • A 2009 Amnesty International report following Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s devastating military assault on Gaza in the winter of 2008-9, stated:
  • In 2011, the UN released the so-called Palmer Report on Israel’s attack against the Freedom Flotilla in May 2010 that killed nine Turkish activists (one of them a US citizen). The report deemed Israel’s blockade legal, however it was widely considered a politicized whitewash, containing the important caveat that “its conclusions can not be considered definitive in either fact or law.”
  • Shortly after the Palmer Report was released, an independent UN panel of experts released a report concluding that Israel’s blockade of Gaza does violate international law, stating that it amounts to collective punishment in “flagrant contravention of international human rights and humanitarian law.” The International Committee of the Red Cross and a UN fact-finding mission into Israel’s attack on the Freedom Flotilla reached the same conclusion in 2010.
  • Israeli officials have admitted that the siege is not motivated primarily by security concerns, but is part of a strategy of “economic warfare” against the people of Gaza. In 2006, senior advisor to then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Dov Weisglass, said the goal of the Gaza siege was to put the 1.6 million people of Gaza “on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.”
  • Despite the fact that Israel loosened restrictions under international pressure following the assault on the Freedom Flotilla in 2010, the siege and blockade continue to strangle Gaza economically. According to a 2012 Human Rights Watch report:

‘NO-GO’ ZONES –

(Click here for UN map showing no-go zones)

  • In May 2010, Israel declared “no-go” zones within 300 meters (328 yards) from the wall that surrounds Gaza. In practice, however, the UN has concluded that the no-go zone is actually 500 meters (546 yards). Palestinians who venture into this area risk being shot by Israeli soldiers without warning. Numerous Palestinian civilians, including children and the elderly, have been wounded and killed in these areas.
  • Human rights organizations such as B’Tselem have documented dozens of cases of cases in which Israeli soldiers opened fire at people who posed no threat and were much farther than 300 meters (328 yards) from the wall – up to 1,500 meters (1640 yards) away.
  • According to UN statistics, the area of the official no-go zones, together with the area in which entry is effectively restricted due to a real risk of gunfire, covers about 39 square miles, or 17% of the total area of Gaza.
  • The no-go zones affect some 113,000 Palestinians (7.5% of Gaza’s population), causing harm to their homes, land, workplaces, and schools. Seven schools are located in these areas.

RESTRICTIONS ON FISHING –

(Click here for UN map showing nautical fishing limit)

‘In addition to the harsh restrictions on fishing, B’Tselem has documented cases in which naval forces have attacked and harassed fishermen. The documented cases include, for example, gunfire, detention, delay, and confiscation of boats and fishing equipment.‘The prohibition on entering deep waters and the danger now inherent to every excursion to sea deny fishermen access to areas abundant with fish, limiting their catches [to] small fish of poor quality. As a result, it is extremely hard to earn a living from fishing, or even cover fishing expenses. Given the lack of other sources of income in the Gaza Strip, some fishermen are left no option but to violate the prohibition and endanger their lives.

‘The fishing sector in Gaza has suffered a sharp blow. According to various estimates, the livelihood of some 3,000 families in Gaza, comprising some 19,500 people, depends directly on the fishing industry, and another 2,000 families make a living from affiliated industries, such as building and maintenance of boats and sale and maintenance of equipment. The imports also raise the cost of fish, preventing many families from obtaining an important source of protein. Because of the short supply, the price of fish has risen.’

  • In the Interim Agreement signed by Israel and the PLO as part of the Oslo Accords during the 1990s, Israel agreed to allow fishing boats from Gaza to travel some 20 nautical miles from shore, except for several buffer zones near the borders with Israel and Egypt to which they were denied entry altogether. But according to a 2011 report from B’Tselem: “In practice, however, Israel did not issue permits to all the fishermen who requested them, and allowed fishing up to a distance of 12 nautical miles.”
  • Since Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s devastating military assault on Gaza in the winter of 2008-9, the Israeli navy has reduced that limit to three nautical miles.
  • According to the aforementioned 2011 B’Tselem report:

PRISONERS

– FACTS & FIGURES –

‘Israeli military justice authorities arbitrarily detained Palestinians who advocated non-violent protest against Israeli settlements and the route of the separation barrier. In January a military appeals court increased the prison sentence of Abdallah Abu Rahme, from the village of Bil’in, to 16 months in prison on charges of inciting violence and organizing illegal demonstrations, largely on the basis of coerced statements of children.’

  • According to the Israel Prison Service, there were about 4424 Palestinian prisoners and security detainees being held in Israeli prisons as of the end of April 2012. According to prisoners’ rights organization Addameer, there were 4653 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel as of May 1, 2012.
  • Since 1967, Israel has imprisoned upwards of 700,000 Palestinians from the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, or about 20% of the total population of the occupied territories.
  • Those who are charged are subjected to Israeli military courts that human rights organizations have criticized for failing to meet the minimum standards required for a fair trial.
  • According to Amnesty International’s 2011 Annual Report on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories: “Palestinians in the [occupied territories] subject to Israel’s military justice system continued to face a wide range of abuses of their right to a fair trial. They are routinely interrogated without a lawyer and, although they are civilians, are tried before military not ordinary courts.”
  • According to Human Rights Watch’s 2012 World Report:

TORTURE & ABUSE –

  • Until 1999, the use of torture by Israeli military and security forces was both widespread and officially condoned under the euphemism of “moderate physical pressure.” Methods included beatings, forcing prisoners into painful physical positions for long periods of time, and sleep deprivation.
  • In 2000 it was revealed that between 1988 and 1992 Israel’s internal security force, the Shin Bet, had systematically tortured Palestinians during the first, mostly nonviolent, uprising against Israel’s occupation, using methods that went beyond what was allowable under government guidelines for “moderate physical pressure.” These methods included violent shaking, tying prisoners into painful positions for long periods, subjecting them to extreme heat or cold, and severe beatings, including kicking. At least 10 Palestinians died and hundreds of others were maimed as a result.
  • In 1999, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the use of “moderate physical pressure” was illegal, however reports of torture and abuse of Palestinian prisoners continued unabated. Amnesty International’s 2011 Annual Report on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories states:

    Consistent allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, including of children, were frequently reported. Among the most commonly cited methods were beatings, threats to the detainee or their family, sleep deprivation, and being subjected to painful stress positions for long periods. Confessions allegedly obtained under duress were accepted as evidence in Israeli military and civilian courts.”

  • Other abusive practices employed by Israel against Palestinian prisoners include the use of solitary confinement, denial of family visits, and forcing prisoners to live in unsanitary living conditions.
  • The harsh conditions endured by Palestinians in Israeli prisons prompted a series of hunger strikes, including a mass hunger strike by more than 1500 prisoners in early 2012 leading to some concessions from Israel. The concessions reportedly included an end to the use of solitary confinement as a punitive measure and allowing family visits for prisoners from Gaza.

ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION –

  • Israel uses a procedure known as administrative detention to imprison Palestinians without charge or trial for months or even years. Administrative detention orders are normally issued for six-month periods, which can be extended indefinitely.
  • Administrative detention was first instituted by the British during the Mandate era in 1945, prior to the creation of Israel.
  • There are currently as of May 29, 2012,approximately 308 Palestinians being held in administrative detention.
  • Since 1967, some 100,000 administrative detention orders have been issued by Israel.
  • Although there are none currently being held in administrative detention, Israeli authorities have in the past used the procedure against Palestinian children as well as adults.
  • Israel’s frequent use of administrative detention has been condemned by human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, as well as Israeli human rights groups like B’Tselem.
  • An end to the use of administrative detention was one of the main demands of a recent wave of hunger strikes by Palestinians in Israeli prisons.
  • In May 2012, Israeli Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch implicitly admitted that Israel uses administrative detention for reasons other than stated urgent “security” concerns, urging authorities to “use it only if there’s a need.”

CHILD PRISONERS

  • As of April 2012, there were 220 Palestinian minors in Israeli prisons.
  • Since September 2000, Israel has arrested and imprisoned more than 7000 Palestinian children.
  • Like all Palestinians from the occupied territories, Palestinian children are subject to Israeli military tribunals.
  • Palestinian minors are frequently arrested in the middle of the night by Israeli soldiers, taken away without their parents and harshly interrogated without a guardian or lawyer present.
  • According to a recent report by the Israeli NGO No Legal Frontiers, which followed the cases of 71 Palestinian children as they made their way through the Israeli military court system:
    • The most common offense was throwing stones and Molotov cocktails. In most cases the object was not actually thrown, did not hit a target, or cause any damage. In no case was serious harm caused.
    • In 94% of cases the children were held in pre-trial detention and not released on bail.
    • In 100% of cases, the children were convicted of an offense.
    • 87% of them were subjected to some form of physical violence while in custody.
  • Under pressure from human rights organizations and children’s rights advocates, the Israeli army announced in 2011 that it would raise the age that Palestinians are treated as adults from 16 to 18 years of age, however, critics complain that they are still subject to the same unjust and abusive treatment accorded Palestinian adults.

HOME DEMOLITIONS

‘Israel usually carries out demolitions on the grounds that the structures were built without permits, but in practice such permits are almost impossible for Palestinians to obtain in Israeli-controlled areas, whereas a separate planning process available only to settlers grants new construction permits much more readily.’

  • Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states: “Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, or to the State, or to other public authorities, or to social or cooperative organizations, is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.”
  • Israel has demolished approximately 27,000 Palestinian homes in the occupied territories since 1967.
  • Demolitions are carried out for three stated reasons: military purposes; “administrative” reasons (i.e. a home or structure is built without difficult to obtain permission from Israel); and to deter or punish militants and their families, a violation of provisions of international law that prohibit collective punishment.
  • According to Human Rights Watch’s 2012 World Report:
  • Since 1967, some 2,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished in occupied East Jerusalem. According to official Israeli statistics, from 2000 to 2008 Israel demolished more than 670 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem. The number of outstanding demolition orders is estimated at up to 20,000.
  • Palestinians in East Jerusalem are often forced to choose between demolishing their own homes and paying for Israeli authorities to do it.

THEFT & DESTRUCTION OF NATURAL RESOURCES

After taking control of the occupied territories in 1967, Israel began to exploit their natural resources. Most critically in the semi-arid region, Israel began to exploit aquifers and other water sources.

According to international law, including Article 55 of the Hague Regulations, an occupying power is prohibited from using an occupied territory’s natural resources for its own benefit. An occupying power may only use resources in an occupied territory for military necessity or for the benefit of the occupied population. Thus, Israel’s exploitation of Palestinian resources such as water for use in Jewish settlements and inside Israel proper is a clear breach of international law, a position supported by human rights organizations such as Amnesty International.

Despite this clear prohibition, in December 2011, in response to a petition filed by Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that Israeli companies could continue exploiting Palestinian resources in the occupied territories.

WATER –

‘In the Gaza Strip, 90 to 95 per cent of the water from its only water resource, the Coastal Aquifer, is contaminated and unfit for human consumption. Yet, Israel does not allow the transfer of water from the Mountain Aquifer in the West Bank to Gaza.‘Stringent restrictions imposed in recent years by Israel on the entry into Gaza of material and equipment necessary for the development and repair of infrastructure have caused further deterioration of the water and sanitation situation in Gaza, which has reached [a] crisis point.’

‘According to Amnesty International, Palestinians received on average of 18.5 gallons of water per person per day, falling short of the World Health Organization’s standard of 26.5 gallons per person per day, the minimum daily amount required to maintain basic hygiene standards and food security.’

‘Between January and July, according to the UN, the Israeli military destroyed 20 water cisterns, some of which were funded by donor countries for humanitarian purposes.’

‘Palestinian residents reported that water supplies were intermittent, and settlers and their security guards denied Palestinians, including shepherds and farmers, access to the springs.’

  • While Israeli settlers water their lawns and fill swimming pools, Palestinians living nearby often cannot access an adequate amount of water for drinking, cooking, or proper hygiene.
  • In the West Bank, Israeli settlers consume on average 4.3 times the amount of water as Palestinians. In the Jordan Valley alone, some 9000 settlers in Israeli agricultural settlements use one-quarter the total amount of water consumed by the entire Palestinian population of the West Bank, some 2.5 million people.
  • A 2012 UN report documented the rising use of threats, violence and intimidation by settlers to deny Palestinians access to their water resources in the West Bank. It found that Israeli settlers have been acting systematically to gain control of some 56 springs, most of which are located on private Palestinian land. The report also criticized Israeli authorities for having “systematically failed to enforce the law on those responsible for these acts and to provide Palestinians with any effective remedy.”
  • According to a 2010 Human Rights Watch report, 60,000 Palestinians living in Area C of the West Bank (which is under full

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