Israeli soldiers enforce a curfew, keeping all Palestinian residents in their homes. Israeli settlers, who have taken over part of the city, are not affected by the curfew. Countless Palestinians have been injured or killed when they – sometimes unknowingly – violated curfew.BBC
If this doesn’t wake people up to what exactly what Israel is nothing will.
This is my drive into Ramallah. See where the wall opens? And that’s where it closes. Anytime the occupiers say so, the Palestinians are just locked in. This is the same force that is now running USA for Israel.
The West Bank closure system is a series of obstacles including permanent and partially manned checkpoints, concrete roadblocks and barriers, metal gates, earth mounds, tunnels, trenches, and an elaborate set of permit restrictions that controls and restricts Palestinian freedom of movement.
As Israeli citizens head to the polls to vote on Tuesday, the Israeli terrorist army will put Palestinians in the West Bank under complete closure and will seal the Gaza Strip entirely.
This means that as Israeli citizens living in settlements across the occupied territories may move freely back and forth across the Green Line separating Israel and the West Bank, millions of Palestinians are barred from doing so.
Even those tens of thousands of Palestinians who have permits to work inside Israel every day — primarily in construction and maintenance jobs — will not be allowed to go to work that day.
Unlike Israelis, for whom Election Day is a paid holiday, they will not be compensated for the one-day leave imposed on them by the Israeli military.
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, for whom leaving requires months-long processes of applying and waiting for an Israeli military permit, which is often denied, will be entirely stuck.
The closure is scheduled to begin at midnight Monday, April 8, and end at midnight on April 9. The army says it will make humanitarian and medical exceptions on a case-by-case basis out of humanitarian basis.
That same system, which others get to vote in, rules nearly every aspect of their lives, decides where they can or cannot travel, where they can live, whether they can hold political protests, where they may or may not build, and in some cases even what they can and cannot say.
The nearly half a million Israeli settlers who live in the West Bank are not only subject to a different set of laws, they have the right to vote in elections that can change those policies if they have grievances.
In the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army decides what goods may be imported and exported, where fishermen can fish, how much electricity is available on a daily basis, who can enter and exit the territory, and who can travel between different areas of the occupied Palestinian territories. None of the 1,961,000 people living there have a say in those policies.
Trucks at the Kerem Shalom crossing, the main passage point for goods entering Gaza from Israel, in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah, July 24, 2018. (Abed Rahim Khatib/ Flash90)
While Palestinians in the West Bank are barred the right to vote and the ability to travel freely, the soldiers tasked with carrying out the day to day of military occupation were given the privilege of kicking off the 2019 elections.
In the run-up to the elections, the IDF established 130 makeshift polling stations for soldiers on duty. At Ofer Military Base, which houses an infamous military court and prison, Israeli soldiers took part in the early voting process, allowing them to enjoy the fruits of the democratic process.
In the case of alleged knife attacks, the “attackers” are almost always facing a large number of armed IDF, and are a good distance away. If the “attacker” DID brandish a knife they could be shot AT and not harmed, especially not killed dead. The females are always petite and could just be pushed away or dodged. But..dead men tell no tales.
The part of @Ilhan‘s comments we didn’t discuss was the part about a decades-long [since the suspicious Jewish holocaust in Europe] human rights crisis. As Congress fixated on her, a 15-year-old Palestinian died after being shot in the head by Israeli soldiers & scores of daily injustices continued.
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) 03/08/2019 — The Israeli authorities returned the body of killed Palestinian 15-year-old Samah Mubarak to her family, on Friday evening, outside of Israel’s Ofer detention center in Beituniya west of Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank
The video is edited such that it does not show what happened in the seconds prior to the altercation and shooting.
Attempted stabbing attack in JLM: A 16 year old attacker, a resident of the West Bank, arrived at the az-Za’ayyem checkpoint and attempted to stab the security personnel with a knife. Quick response by the forces managed to neutralize her pic.twitter.com/vUO6vYcm1w
Israel has long had “cemeteries for the enemy dead,” also referred to as “cemeteries of numbers,” where Palestinians who died during attacks on Israelis are held in nameless graves marked by numbers. Israel dramatically increased its policy of withholding bodies since the beginning of a wave of unrest across the occupied Palestinian territory in October 2015, although it has scaled back on the policy in recent months.
A joint statement released in 2016 by Addameer and the Israeli minority rights group Adalah condemned Israel’s practice of withholding bodies as “a severe violation of international humanitarian law as well as international human rights law, including violations of the right to dignity, freedom of religion, and the right to practice culture.” Israeli forces had shot and killed Mubarak, on January 30th, at the al-Zaayim checkpoint, on a road that leads to the entrance of the illegal Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim, east of occupied Jerusalem.
Israel has held Mubarak’s body since the shooting, accusing her of wielding a knife in an attempt to carry out a stabbing attack against heavily armed Israeli soldiers deployed at the checkpoint. Mubarak is from the Qaddura refugee camp in central Ramallah.
Just two weeks ago an Israeli soldier cocked his gun & shot 21-year-old Palestinian Abed al-Fatah al-Sharif in the head when he had already been shot & was lying on the ground incapacitated. The Israeli occupying army alleges he stabbed an Israeli soldier but that can be dismissed with no further ado as propaganda to justify summary execution.
Photos like this–where unarmed Palestinians are surrounded by Gestapo-like military force ready to execute on the spot–show exactly what Palestinian Intifada is up against. Now we know exactly what kind of political pressure must be mobilized in defense of Intifada.
Occupied life goes on, business as usual: an Israeli shutdown of water supplies for 2,600 Palestinians, per Maan, and the nighttime clash on the Gaza border that killed Zaied. The military ― which receives more than $3 billion in U.S. aid per year ― then launched airstrikes into Gaza, one of the poorest areas in the world on pretext of launched weaponized balloons launch of armed balloons and a rocket into Israel.
Palestinian mourners carry the body of Samah Mubarak, aged 16, during her funeral in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank on March 9, 2019, after the Israeli army handed over the corpse of the girl.
‘Witnesses are so important’
The shooting happened just outside the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) home in Tel Rumeida, where volunteers said they saw whole incident.
Moments after, one of the volunteers Tweeted: “I saw everything. I saw soldiers loading the guns. He had his arms up and was shaking, he was unarmed and they just shot him.”
Two activists who live at the home told MEE that the volunteers at ISM strongly believe that the stabbing attack was fabricated.
One of the volunteers, who asked to remain anonymous, said that while she didn’t see the shooting herself, as she was ducking on the ground next to the window with a few others, she trusted the eyewitness accounts of her friends and fellow volunteers who stood, watching the whole thing.
“We know what has been happening lately, and that there have been a lot of important details left out, so we know witnesses are so important,” she said, adding that in most cases in which witnesses were able to film or photograph an incident, they were able to discredit some if not all of the entire Israeli account.
What Texas congressman Babin’s odd allegations hide is that he wants the Israeli narrative on Palestine to be the only narrative to which the Congress is exposed, and he wants to prevent the representatives from seeing the horror of the occupation with their own eyes.
The newly elected Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, who represents Michigan’s 13th District, is seeking to take a delegation of congressional representatives to the Palestinian West Bank, which is militarily occupied by Israel and where some 600,000 Israeli squatters have usurped Palestinian land belonging to the nearly 3 million Palestinians living there (another nearly 2 million live in the Gaza Strip).
Tlaib represents not only part of Detroit but Dearborn Heights and among her constituents are many Arab-Americans who strongly support Palestine and resent Israel’s colonization project of stealing their land and resources and ultimately hoping to displace them and make them refugees anew.
AIPAC has extracted an inflation-adjusted $250 billion from US taxpayers for its foreign principals. Influencing the conduct of US policy “by techniques outside normal diplomatic channels” has never stopped.
Ordinarily, the wealthy and powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (which ought to have to register as a foreign agent but doesn’t because it is so wealthy and powerful) pays for a trip of these Federal representatives to Israel, where they are introduced to Israeli politicians and given the Israeli story about the Palestinians. This is like visiting Columbia, South Carolina in the 1950s and asking the white state legislators there why Black South Carolinians are so poor and have such bad education and health statistics.
As a result of such successful boondoggles and lobbying, the US is now giving $23,000 to each Israeli family over the next 10 years, $38 billion in total, at a time when Federal employees are not being paid at all and are losing their mortgages and people in Flint, Michigan, are still expected to drink lead-poisoned water.
Israel is a wealthy country with a per capita income of $40,000 a year in nominal terms, slightly better than that of France. The only reason that the American public is forking over that kind of cash to the Israelis is that the Israel lobbies have given significant campaign contributions to many in Congress and expect them to put massive aid to Israel into the US budget as a quid pro quo.
Brian Babin, a congressman from Texas’s 36th district, is seeking to block Tlaib’s trip and that of her colleagues by attempting to get the Democratic leadership on the Hill to pull the money for it. Stopping powerful women from traveling to crucial security zones, as Trump stopped Pelosi from going to Afghanistan, seems to be a new plank of the Republican Party platform.
Babin got nearly $6,000 for his 2016 campaign from pro-Israel “industries,” according to this database, though such things are hard to measure because wealthy individuals may also be giving and then pressuring him.
By the way, although $6,000 may not sound like much money, actually contributions on that scale are extremely influential sometimes in tight races. You wouldn’t want the lobbyists to give it to your opponent– that would be like losing $12,000 to pay for radio and tv and internet ads.
Babin has through his congressional career voted for positions similar to those of Trump 95% of the time. He may as well be Trump. He voted to remove sanctions from three Russian companies run by oligarchs close to Vladimir Putin. He supported Trump in calling Hillary Clinton a “nasty woman.”
He opposes the US refugee program, which is part of our country’s treaty obligations, on the grounds that once admitted, refugees accept entitlements and become a public charge, and that if Muslim refugees are let in they will engage in terrorism and oppress women. of the 750,000 refugees admitted in the past 17 years, none has carried out a physical terrorist attack on US soil. As for oppressing women, he is the one who thinks they are “nasty.”
It is worth attending to Babin’s rhetoric. He complains that Tlaib’s planned trip will be “tax-payer funded.” But then so is Trump’s travel to what are essentially campaign rallies around the country. And that $38 billion Babin voted to give away to Israel is also taxpayer money, and it is hard to argue that he is working for the taxpayer.
Then Babin worries that for a congressional delegation to go to the Palestinian West Bank will harm relations between the United States as Israel. It is hard to see the logic here. US congressional delegations have routinely gone to the West Bank in the past and it hasn’t hurt US-Israeli relations at all, which are so warm that we are giving them $38 billion even after the visits to the West Bank.
Babin says that Israeli feelings will be hurt if congressional representatives visit Israel’s “adversary.”
The West Bank is under Israeli military occupation, so it is hard to see how visiting it is an affront to Israel. The junior partner in the Israeli occupation is the Palestine Liberation Organization, the constituent parties of which dominate the Palestine Authority. The Palestine Authority was created as part of the Oslo Peace accords and it recognized Israel in return for a pledge from Tel Aviv that Israel would withdraw from the Palestinian West Bank by 1998.
Israel pocketed the PLO recognition and declined to withdraw and then flooded hundreds of thousands of Israel squatters into Palestine, taking land, water and other resources away from the Palestinians with whom the Israeli government had concluded the Oslo Accords.
Nor is the Palestine Authority or just “Palestine” Israel’s “adversary.” It is a partner in a long-stalled peace process. Israeli authorities routinely cooperate on security with Palestine police and politicians.
Babin’s discourse imagines the Palestinian West Bank to be an independent country that is an “adversary” of Israel, instead of being an occupied territory of Israel itself, which gets security help from a PLO that was fooled into recognizing its occupier.
What Babin’s odd allegations hide is that he wants the Israeli narrative on Palestine to be the only narrative to which the Congress is exposed, and he wants to prevent the representatives from seeing the horror of the occupation with their own eyes. The 215,452 Palestinians in al-Khalil (Hebron) are terrorized by the some 800 Israeli squatters who have gradually usurped property in the city and who have attacked and menaced local Palestinians backed up by the full might of the Israeli army, which invades Palestinian homes at will.
Ironically, it is not clear that the Israeli authorities will let Tlaib into the West Bank. She practices Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) with regard to Israel, and the far right wing Likud government has been attempting to exclude people from entering Israel if they hold that position. Since Israel illegally occupies the West Bank, you can’t visit Palestine without going through Israel and the Israeli authorities. You might say that Netanyahu wouldn’t dare deport a sitting congresswoman. We’ll see.
Keen to distract from the impact of years of Israeli colonial control, Israel’s defenders try to make out that the city’s Christian Palestinians are the target of a “jihad” by their Muslim neighbours – and that “persecution” is the reason for the Christian population’s shrinking numbers. Yet surveys – here, here and here – consistently bear out the logical conclusion that the main emigration “push” factors are economic, political and rooted in Israeli occupation. A 2006 poll of Bethlehem residents found that 78 percent of Christian respondents cited “Israeli aggression and occupation” as “the main cause of emigration”.
European folkloric history indicate that Krumpus fits the mold of “the Jew”—a malicious child-murdering people seeking vengeance against the Christians.
Christians in Gaza suffer as much as the Palestinian Muslims. They are under bombardment. They have only eight hours of electricity of every 24 hours. They have a hard time getting fresh water. The Palestinian Christians, they don’t live in an isolated area where oh, this is a Christian town. No, they live among the Muslims in Gaza and therefore as much as the Muslims are suffering, the Christians are suffering, not only in the Gaza strip but also in the West Bank.”
It is another anxious Christmas for the inhabitants of Bethlehem. This is the time of year when they have a chance to break out of an isolation enforced in concrete since Israel enclosed the town with a “separation wall” more than a decade ago.
On Christmas Eve, in a centuries-old tradition, Palestinian and foreign pilgrims rub shoulders as they throng into the ancient Church of the Nativity to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of Jesus at its reputed location two millennia ago.
Outside, in Manger Square, the lights and baubles on a huge Christmas tree provide some festive glitz, while hawkers assail the tourists, exploiting the chance to sell them Santa hats and stocking fillers of plastic light sabres and illuminated spinning tops.
Most of the foreign pilgrims enter Bethlehem by coach through a gate in the wall heavily policed by Israeli soldiers. They disembark at the church’s entrance and most depart for Jerusalem as soon as the event is over.
Nowadays few tourists get to meet or talk to a Palestinian in Bethlehem. Earlier this year, Israel tried to further choke off tourism revenue by warning travel agencies that their groups must not stay overnight in Bethlehem’s handful of cheap hotels.
Largely sealed off from the world, Bethlehem is today almost as well-known for its graffiti, visible from coaches on the pilgrim trail through the wall, as the nativity. Amid iconic images by Banksy, the famous British street artist, is the handiwork of local paint-sprayers. One message to the world scrawled across the eight-metre-high grey slabs announces: “Merry Christmas from Bethlehem ghetto”.
The town now has access to little more than a tenth of its original territory, with homes cut off from farmland, water sources and historic landmarks. A host of ever-expanding Jewish settlements around Bethlehem have been gorging on the rich pickings of their imprisoned neighbours.
Bethlehem’s despondency was heightened this month by the decision of US President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. That declaration has sparked repeated clashes between Bethlehem’s youth and Israeli occupation forces.
Traditionally, the fates of these cities, the two primary destinations for pilgrims, were intimately tied. Before the construction of the wall, they were only a short drive apart. Now Jerusalem is almost unreachable for Bethlehem’s inhabitants, while Bethlehem itself has become an increasingly unappealing prospect for most outsiders.
Amid the gloom, however, there were two small tidings of joy this month.
Banksy, who earlier this year established a graffiti-themed hotel called the Walled Off Hotel – boasting the “worst view in the world” – put on an alternative nativity play for local children in the shadow of the wall and its armed watch-towers. A two-part BBC documentary shown last week about the planning and staging of The Alternativity gave international audiences a rare up-close view of life in the Bethlehem ghetto.
The other success was a screening this month on Capitol Hill of Leila Sansour’s documentary Open Bethlehem. Along with their invite, US Congress members were sent a “Bethlehem passport”, making them honorary citizens of the town.
Ms Sansour’s film was meant to prick consciences. It charts Bethlehem’s gradual incarceration and the decision of her own extended family to desert the town, like many other Christians, for opportunities abroad.
Today, Bethlehem’s Christians make up only 13 per cent of its population and more than three-quarters blame Israel’s blockade for the exodus. The Open Bethlehem campaign, spawned by the film, quotes James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, saying: “While every Christmas we sing of Bethlehem, most Americans know so little about the town and its people.”
In the only way they could, Bethlehem’s church leaders exacted a small revenge for Mr Trump’s Jerusalem declaration. They closed their doors to Mike Pence, the US vice-president and a pious Christian evangelical. His pre-Christmas visit to the region has now been postponed until next year.
Paradoxically, Mr Pence had originally intended to use the trip to highlight the persecution of Christians in the Middle East – though presumably not the kind of persecution represented by Israel’s wall.
Palestinian Christians see Mr Pence not as a potential saviour but very much at the heart of their problems. The vice-president is viewed as the latest personification of a Western evangelical tradition that has consistently betrayed Palestine’s Christian community.
Exactly a century ago, it was British government leaders like David Lloyd George and Arthur Balfour, men of deep Christian conviction, who prioritised the interests of European Jews over the Holy Land’s native Palestinians. The Balfour Declaration set in train a process of colonisation that dispossessed Muslims and Christians alike of their homeland.
Fast forward to today and tens of millions of evangelicals in the US, Israel’s new patron, helped to elect Mr Trump. They were the reason he selected Mr Pence as his running mate and why he cynically transformed the incendiary site of Jerusalem into a campaign vote-winner.
The priorities of Christians like Mr Pence derive not from natural justice, solidarity with fellow Christians or even cold calculation, but from supposed divine prophecy. They interpret the Bible as requiring a return of God’s chosen people, the Jews, to the Promised Land as a way to bring forward the end-time. In a cataclysmic Battle of Armageddon, Jesus will return, they believe. The truly faithful will rise to heaven to be with God while everyone else, including unrepentant Jews, will burn for eternity.
For this reason, a strong Israel – one that includes the Biblical lands on which the illegal Jewish settlements are built – is a central concern for millions of US evangelicals. In contrast, the slow erasure of Palestinian Christians, as well as the heritage and faith they have preserved in the region for 2,000 years, is of little consequence.
Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has gleefully exploited his ties to the powerful US evangelical lobby, happy that it dramatically increases his clout in Washington.
Anton Salman, a Palestinian Christian who recently became Bethlehem’s mayor, wrote in exasperation of these fellow Christians: “No church worthy of its name should offer a theological smokescreen for the denial of our most basic rights as Palestinians.”
In Bethlehem, there may soon be few Palestinian Christians left to protect its holy sites, preserve its rituals and liturgy or conduct the nativity celebration itself. And irony of ironies, it will have been fellow Christians who helped to harry this community to extinction.
The General Assembly of the United Nations voted overwhelmingly in favor on Friday of recognizing the Golan Heights region as Syrian territory.
A total of 151 votes were cast in favor of the draft resolution, while both the United States and Israel voted against it.
Another 14 states abstained from the vote, resulting in the adoption of this latest draft that calls for the condemnation of Israel’s occupation of the Golan Heights.
During the meeting of the General Assembly’s Fourth Committee, Syria’s Permanent Representative at the UN Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari said that the vast majority of nations favored the resolution, adding that it sends a clear message to Israel about its ongoing occupation of the Golan Heights.
Furthermore, Al-Jaafari said that this vote shows that the majority of members states are against the continuation of the Israeli occupation of the Syrian Golan, and also affirms that Israel’s attempts to annex the Golan are null and void and without any legal effect.
Syria’s Representative said that the United States’ vote against the resolution isn’t surprising, since Washington is Israel’s partner in its wars and aggression in the region.
He accused the U.S. of allowing businesses like Genie Energy, Afek, and AES Corporation of conducting the illegal exploration of the Golan Heights’ oil.
The Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah on Sunday called on the countries of the world to take coordinated measures to protect the Palestinian civilians from Israeli occupation and to compel the Israeli entity to abide by the rules of international humanitarian law and the principles of human rights.
In a statement carried by Palestinian news agency (WAFA) on the occasion of World Humanitarian Day, Hamdallah appealed to the United Nations, with its specialized organizations and bodies, to ensure the implementation of their principles to provide protection for volunteers and humanitarian and relief workers in refugee camps in the occupied territories, especially in the Gaza Strip, where 80% of the population lives on international aid.
He also stressed the importance of increasing international support for UNRWA to ensure that it continues to provide services to 6 million Palestinian refugees living in difficult conditions, adding that this aid is ‘the lifeline and one of the pressing responsibilities of the UN and the international community as a whole towards Palestine and its refugees crisis.
World Humanitarian Day is celebrated annually on 19 August to commend the aid workers who risk their own lives in the field of humanitarian services and to mobilize support for those affected by crises all over the world. (QNA)
First of all, as Amira Hass, the respected journalist from Haaretz, pointed out today in the newspaper, the blockade of Gaza, in its milder form, but still severe form, it goes back 27 years. It started in 1991 during the first intifada. The blockade was then significantly, qualitatively intensified after the Hamas won the parliamentary elections—what Jimmy Carter, who was an observer, called a completely and honest—completely honest and fair elections, in January 2006.
The immediate reaction of Israel, followed by the United States and then the EU, was to impose this brutal blockade on Gaza, which at a certain point even blockaded, prohibited chips, potato chips, baby chicks, chocolate from entering Gaza. And then, after Hamas preempted a coup, orchestrated by the United States, Israel and elements of the Palestinian Authority in 2007, Israel ratcheted up the blockade of Gaza.
Palestinian children wait for donated food while Israel eats theirs.
Now, who is responsible for the current crisis in Gaza? First of all, we have to be clear about—OK, let me start with who’s responsible. As you are no doubt aware, there’s been a—there’s a proliferation of reports, from the World Bank, from various U.N. agencies, UNCTAD, the IMF.
They put out report after report after report after report. And there’s a complete—there’s a consensus. There’s a consensus that the proximate cause of the horror in Gaza, the proximate cause, is the Israeli blockade. It’s not Hamas. There might be some Hamas responsibility, but it’s so marginal, so minimal, as compared to that blockade.
Children caged by occupation forces swinging their guns in Hebron
Now, we have to be clear, and I don’t want to get too dramatic about it, too emotive about it, but we have to be clear about that blockade. Number one, it’s a flagrant violation of international law, because it constitutes a form of collective punishment. Number two, since 2012, the United Nations—and these are very staid, conservative bureaucrats, who don’t use—they don’t use poetic language.
They start, in 2012, by saying—issuing a report in the interrogative: Will Gaza be livable in 2020? In 2015, UNCTAD issued a report. It then used the declarative. It said, on its present trajectory, Gaza will be unlivable in 2020. Now, bear in mind, literally unlivable. These are U.N. reports by professional economists. By 2017, the U.N., Robert Piper, he said, “We were too optimistic. Gaza passed the unlivability threshold years ago. Gaza, as we speak, it’s unlivable.”
Now, what does that mean concretely? Ninety-seven percent of Gaza’s drinking water is contaminated. Now, bear in mind, of the 2 million people in Gaza, 1 million or more, 51 percent, are children. One million or more are children. Sara Roy, who’s the world’s leading authority on Gaza’s economy—she’s at the Harvard Center for Middle Eastern Studies—in the latest edition of her standard work on Gaza’s economy, she says, “Innocent people, most of them young, are slowly being poisoned by the water they drink.”
Now, Sara is a very respected, cautious economist, or political economist, as she calls herself. “Innocent people, most of them children, are slowly being poisoned.” That’s what Gaza is today.
Now, to get back to Nikki Keddie—Haley, excuse me—to get back to Nikki Haley, she said, “What country in the world would do anything different to protect their border?” Let’s be clear: That is not a border, and that is not a border fence. Baruch Kimmerling, the sociologist in Hebrew University, the late sociologist, he said Gaza is the biggest “concentration camp” ever to exist.
David Cameron, the conservative British prime minister, he said Gaza is an “open-air prison.” Haaretz, the most respected of Israel’s newspapers, referred to the “Palestinian ghetto.” Israel’s snipers are poised not on a border. They’re poised on the perimeter—call it a concentration camp, call it a ghetto, call it an open-air prison.
And the people of Gaza—it’s unusual in the world today. As the United Nations Relief and Works Agency pointed out, they said Gaza is different than all the other humanitarian crises. Why? If there is a natural disaster, like a drought, people move. If there’s a human-made disaster, like Syria, people move. Gaza is the only place on Earth where the place is unlivable and the people can’t move. They can’t leave. They’re trapped.
And then that raises, for me, what’s the fundamental question. Even the human rights organizations which haven’t been bad, even they refer to Israel’s use of excessive force. They refer to Israel’s use of disproportionate force. Implicit in that language is, Israel has the right to use proportionate force. Israel has the right to use moderate force. In fact, leaving aside the legalities and the technicalities, let’s just look at the picture raw.
Israel doesn’t have the right to use any force. Two million people, half of whom are children, are trapped, caged in an unlivable space where they are, to quote Sara Roy, “slowly being poisoned.” Unless you believe that Israel has the right to poison 1 million children, it has no right to use any force against the people of Gaza. They have the right to break free from the cage Israel has created for them.
Journalists were targeted at the right of return march.
The proposed bill mentions NGOs such as B’Tselem, Machsom Watch and Breaking the Silence, calling them “anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian… and BDS organizations.”
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM – In a step aimed at covering up Israeli crimes, MK Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beytenu) has called for introducing a new bill punishing anyone who photographs or video-records soldiers while performing their duties in order to undermine their morale.
He made his proposal after a video went viral on the internet showing an Israeli soldier shooting at a Palestinian on Gaza border as other follow soldiers were verbally attacking other protesters.
According to the Hebrew newspaper Israel Hayom, the proposed bill calls for imposing a five-year prison punishment on anyone exposing on-duty soldiers’ behavior.
It also calls for jailing for 10 years anyone who does so with the intention of harming Israel’s national security.
The proposed bill mentions NGOs such as B’Tselem, Machsom Watch and Breaking the Silence, calling them “anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian… and BDS organizations.”
It claims that “for many years, there has been a disturbing phenomenon in Israel of documenting soldiers through videos, stills and voice recordings,” and that some NGOs have people follow soldiers all day long to try to “document them in a biased and slanted way… while sometimes accusing and insulting them.”
Ilatov said the time came to put an end to what he called “anarchy.” “It cannot be that any left-wing activist or organization, supported by foreign entities, can get free access and document, undisturbed, soldiers on duty.”
“We have the responsibility to give soldiers the optimal conditions to do their jobs, without them having to be worried about a left-wing activist or organization sending out their photo and trying to shame them.”
He’s said it countless times before in myriad ways. But he usually only says it in Hebrew. This week, however, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said in English, and on camera, that under his leadership Israel will never end the occupation of Palestine.
Speaking at the Economic Club of Washington earlier this week, Netanyahu dodged a question about whether he supports a one- or two-state solution, and outlined a vision that sounds a lot like an entrenched and enhanced version of the occupation as it exists today.
“I don’t want the Palestinians as citizens of Israel and I don’t want them as subjects of Israel. So I want a solution where they have all the powers they need to govern themselves but none of the powers that would threaten us,” the prime minister said.
“What that means is that whatever the solution is, the area west of the Jordan — that includes the Palestinian areas — would be militarily under Israel,” he continued. “The security, the overriding security responsibility would be Israel’s.”
The mainstay of Israel’s military occupation, of course, is Israeli military control over the Palestinian territories and Palestinians themselves. Through the Oslo Accords, Israel has been able to minimize and outsource much of its control over Palestinians to the Palestinian Authority, but insists on retaining what Netanyahu calls “overriding security responsibility.”
Even after a peace deal, or in Netanyahu’s words, “a solution,” the occupation of Palestine will continue. And without sovereign control of its territory, there would definitely be no independent Palestinian state.
Netanyahu has been saying this for years. In 2014, less than three months after the collapse of the Kerry peace talks, Netanyahu statedthat “that there cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the River Jordan.”
A year after that, in 2015, Netanyahu declared that a Palestinian state will never be established on his watch. Fast-forward to 2017 and the prime minister started promising that he will never remove any Israeli settlements from the West Bank, without which even basic Palestinian autonomy is inconceivable. And more than a decade ago Netanyahu was filmed bragging about how he set out to sabotage the Oslo Accords.
None of that is to suggest that Netanyahu alone is responsible for the lack of peace or Palestinian statehood. His views are not all that different than the vast majority of Israeli politicians who hope to replace him one day. But next time anyone tries to lay blame on the Palestinians for “refusing to return to the table,” remember how Benjamin Netanyahu keeps openly stating his unwillingness to ever end the occupation.
When it comes to Zionism, there is no difference in Israel between left and right. When it comes to occupation, which is part and parcel of Zionism, there is no meaningful difference between left and right…. The difference is only by rhetorics.-Gideon Levy
This article blames the ‘Right’, I just call it Israel. It doesn’t matter which party, you won’t see the path (genocide, sadism, etc) change by one party or the other.”
“Thousands of videos won’t change the fact – Breaking the Silence is an organization that slanders IDF soldiers around the world and is based on the distortion of facts and lies.”
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked made this Kafkaeqsue remark after video documentation contradicted the prosecutor’s version of events in the show trial of Breaking the Silence spokesperson Dean Issacharoff. This material, which revealed that the government had interrogated the wrong Palestinian in an intentional attempt to portray Issacharoff as a liar, led to the opening of a new case. But according to Shaked, new evidence won’t change her conclusion.
Children’s playground in West Bank
Since Shaked’s comments, at least five videoed accounts of even more severe IDF violence against Palestinians in the West Bank have surfaced. In one of the videos, a soldier from the Givati Brigade forcefully hits a Palestinian boy in the head, knocking him to the ground. In another, an Israeli Border Police officer throws a stun grenade at a Palestinian couple holding a baby. In the most disturbing video, IDF soldiers beat an already wounded Palestinian man, Yassin Saradih, and deny him medical treatment for a gunshot wound. Saradih died in IDF custody.
In all of the videos, these are ordinary combat soldiers. Indeed, their actions are so ordinary in the reality of the occupation that the day after Saradih died in IDF hands, the unit’s commander commended his soldiers for “neutralizing the terrorist.”
During Issacharoff’s case, the Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and Education Minister Naftali Bennett joined Shaked in calling the incident about which Issacharoff testified — beating a Palestinian detainee — a “war crime.” Yet neither Justice Minister Shaked nor anyone else on the Right has said anything about opening investigations against the soldiers who appear in the aforementioned videos.
Their silence proves Issacharoff’s central claim: the use of violence is an inextricable part of the routine of the occupation and of what soldiers are required to do. Each instance of violence that has come to light since the Isscharoff case has torn off a small piece of the hasbara (Israeli state-sponsored PR) mask — the denial of the occupation — that politicians try to maintain. The prosecution in the Issacharoff case went beyond its jurisdiction by declaring that Dean’s testimony was “a false claim” and that “the events did not occur at all,” as if the occupation were the invention of Palestinians and leftists.
Mohammed Tamimi, 15, was shot in the head with a rubber-coated bullet by the Israeli army shortly before the video of Ahed and Nur was filmed. (Activestills/Oren Ziv)
In a desperate attempt to obscure the violence of the occupation, the head of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the Israeli army unit that governs the occupied territories, announced that Mohammed Tamimi (who suffered a fractured skull when soldiers shot him in the head with a rubber-coated bullet) had not actually been shot, but had injured his head falling off of a bike.
Dozens of eye-witnesses, a CT scan, and a shell-casing removed from Mohammed’s skull were not enough to prevent the IDF from portraying the army and Israeli society as the victims of a Palestinian propaganda campaign. The missing part of Mohammed’s skull was, according to the army, the result of “the Palestinian culture of lies and incitement,” for after the boy “lied” about being shot in the head, the Palestinians were forced to operate on him, which is how part of his skull came to be missing. To prove this, our brave soldiers raided the village of Nabi Saleh, where Mohammed Tamimi lives, in the middle of the night to arrest the injured boy in his bed and bring him in for interrogation, where he allegedly confessed to have fallen off his bike.
The Right has met all of this with silence. Almost no one has asked: if in a case as obvious and terrible as Mohammed Tamimi’s, the IDF forced a confession, how many other false confessions are there? How many people are currently imprisoned for months and years on the basis of similarly forced confessions?
During my time as a soldier in COGAT in the Nablus area, I remember a young officer, a translator in the military courts, bragging about slacking on the job and not translating the forms that Palestinians needed to sign. Similarly, during the show investigation against Dean Issacharoff, the prosecutor questioned a Palestinian man — in Hebrew —who was not even present at the incident about which Dean testified. It was later revealed that the investigator had told the Palestinian man that he was being investigated because of some “lying soldiers,” and that the Palestinian man who was questioned had been beaten, but by a Border Police officer and not Issacharoff. By then, however, the system was no longer interested in the results of the investigation.
The 70 yr old occupation no longer requires the court system to justify its existence. The branches of government, which carry out and defend the occupation, now have a new task: the conquest of truth. The occupation has stripped Palestinians of the power to determine their own lives to such an extent that when Israeli soldiers shoot Palestinians in the head, monopoly over the truth remains in our hands — the hands of the occupiers.
Will the demagogues of the Right now admit that it is not the violence of the occupation that disturbs them, but those who expose that violence?
The Israeli Knesset on Wednesday approved a law that gives the interior ministry the authority to revoke permanent residence permits from Palestinians in Jerusalem on the grounds of a “breach of allegiance.”
The amendment to the “Entry into Israel Law 1952” will also nullify the Israeli Supreme Court’s ability to rule against any such decision made by the interior ministry.
According to the Knesset’s official website, Israeli MKs proposed the law after the Supreme Court in September overturned the ministry’s decision to revoke the permanent residence permits of four Jerusalemite Palestinians – three elected parliamentarians from Hamas, and a former minister.
Criticising the amendment, MK Dov Boris Khenin of the Joint List party said that “this is bad and dangerous legislation… Israel’s decision to annex East Jerusalem contradicts international law. The residents of East Jerusalem live there not because they chose to be Israelis but because it is their home.”
He said the law wants to impose an obligation of allegiance on people who do not have any loyalty to Israel.
The law does not elaborate on what a “breach of allegiance” might entail.
MK Jamal Zahalka of the Balad part said: “You [Israelis] entered East Jerusalem and you have to leave it. This law is a crime. The real law should be the entry of the police and the Israeli authorities into East Jerusalem, and in order to enter there, you will need a passport and visas.”
Since 1967, there has been a campaign to empty East Jerusalem of its Palestinian residents
– MK Issawi Frej
Almost 300,000 Palestinians in East Jerusalem hold permanent residence permits issued by the Israeli Ministry of Interior, and the “Entry into Israel Law” is the primary law that regulates IDs, birth and death certificates, marriage registration and issues travel documents.
Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip hold residency permits and legal documents issued by the Palestinian Authority.
Issuing documents by the PA is done through coordination with Israel, according to the Oslo Accords of 1993. Israel controls the border terminals and has the final say over who is allowed to get a residency permit from the Palestinian Authority.
Israel’s demographic attempts to change Jerusalem date back to 1967, when it occupied and annexed East Jerusalem, combining the large Palestinian population there with West Jerusalem’s Jewish population.
MK Issawi Frej said: “Since 1967, there has been a campaign to empty East Jerusalem of its Palestinian residents.”
“[There have been] 30 amendments since the enactment of the Entry into Israel law [in 1952] and every amendment is aimed at removing more Arabs from East Jerusalem.”
Although few Palestinians in Jerusalem have taken or been allowed Israeli citizenship, and almost none vote in municipal elections, Israel fears their growing numerical weight in the city, where they comprise nearly 40 percent of the city’s total population.
Since 1967, Israel has revoked the residency permits of more than 14,000 Palestinians, forcing them to leave Jerusalem.
Jaffa was the epicenter of the Palestinian economy before the Zionist invasion. Zionist military forces displaced 95 percent of Jaffa’s indigenous Arab Palestinian population.
Boxed Jaffa oranges being loaded for export, early 1920’s. Jaffa oranges were Palestine’s leading export. After 1948, Jaffa’s nationalized orange groves and the established markets for their products provided the major source of income for the new Zionist occupiers.
Jaffa Harbor, Palestine: Palestinian refugees flee Jaffa by boat for Gaza, Apr-May 1948. By the time Jaffa finally fell on 13 May 1948, fewer than 4,000 of its 70,000 residents remained.
“Since 1996, following the signing of the Oslo accords by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, Israel restricted Gaza fishers to 20 nautical miles off the coast. That was eventually reduced to 12 miles, then six and now to just three.”
Ismail Abu Riyala was hit by a bullet to the head
Being a fisher in Gaza is one of the world’s most dangerous occupations.
Since 1996, following the signing of the Oslo accords by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, Israel restricted Gaza fishers to 20 nautical miles off the coast. That was eventually reduced to 12 miles, then six and now to just three.
Israel has periodically banned Palestinians from going to sea entirely, according to Al Mezan.
Israeli forces routinely fire on fishing boats, damaging the vessels and injuring and sometimes killing crew members. Fishers are frequently arrested.
Since the year 2000, Al Mezan has documented nearly 1,300 Israeli violations against Palestinian fishers in Gaza.
These include some 1,200 incidents of shooting at fishing boats, causing the death of eight fishers and the injury of 134.
Israel has arrested more than 650 fishers and seized more than 200 boats and destroyed vessels and equipment, such as nets and lights, in more than 100 cases, according to Al Mezan.
Palestinian fishers in Gaza have also come under fire by the Egyptian navy. Abdullah Zeidan, 32, was killed by Egyptian forces while fishing along Gaza’s southern border in January.
Fishers, whose trade has long been part of Gaza’s culture and economy, have become one of the poorest groups in the territory, requiring sustained humanitarian aid, according to Al Mezan.
Of the 3,800 fishers registered with the Palestinian Fishermen’s Syndicate, only around half of them still practice the profession.
Yet more than 35,000 Palestinians in Gaza “still depend on this industry for their livelihoods,” according to the United Nations humanitarian monitoring group OCHA.
Fish caught off of Gaza’s coastal waters is a major source nutrition for Palestinians in the territory, though one that fewer and fewer can afford. After more than a decade of Israeli blockade, half of Gaza’s population of two million is moderately to severely food insecure.