• Life in Gaza
    The young men were giddy to meet us. Three of them crowded around the computer screen, playfully pushing against one another, laughing. “This is the first time I applied to leave Gaza” said Anas Jnena. “It was really hard on me to not get out at least one day. I live in a prison.” The young men are writers, members of We Are Not Numbers, a group of 300 young Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, and Lebanon who are sharing and celebrate their stories, with experienced authors mentoring the youth. We were a delegation of seven staff aides for members of Congress, and ten citizen “accompaniers” — four from Santa Cruz County — organized by Rebuilding Alliance. We were in Jerusalem, meeting them via teleconference because State Department policy states that “U.S. government employees are not allowed to travel to Gaza and are restricted from traveling close to the Gaza border areas.” The Government of Israel did not provide clearance in time for most of the speakers to leave Gaza to join us, and some were denied outright without being given a reason. Tarneem Hammad, writer with We Are Not Numbers and English teacher. (Photo: Joshua Grossman) Then, two women ... read more
    Source: Mondoweiss Israel PalestinePublished on 2018-05-19
  • UN head says Gazans ‘caged in a toxic slum from birth to death’ as human rights council votes to investigate Israel
    The United Nations hightest human rights group voted Friday in Geneva to investigate Israel for human rights violations in “the military assaults on the large-scale civilian protests that began on 30 March 2018” in the Gaza Strip, after convening a special session. The the United Nations Human Right Council (UNHRC) passed the resolution with 29 votes in favor and 14 abstentions. The U.S. and Australia alone voted against it. U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley criticized the council after the meeting, defending Israel for engaging in “legitimate defense of its own border against terrorist attacks.” “It is another shameful day for human rights,” Haley said. Israeli Ambassador to the UN Aviva Raz Shechter lambasted the decision, stating while “Israel deeply regrets any civilian loss of life,” the responsibility for the death of demonstrators who were shot by Israeli forces “can only be attributed to Hamas’s cynical exploitation of its own population, in a violent campaign against Israel.” “Israel unilaterally disengage from Gaza in summer 2005. There is no occupation in Gaza. It is a myth,” she said, referring to the protest on Monday as a “riot.” Shechter mocked the notion that Palestinians were hosting a “peaceful protests”. “By supporting the ... read more
    Source: Mondoweiss Israel PalestinePublished on 2018-05-19
  • Statement: Israeli police using brutality and unnecessary force against peaceful protesters
    Editor’s Note: The following statement was issued today following the police crackdown Friday night on a protest in Haifa against the Israeli massacre in Gaza.  Haifa. Saturday, 19 May 2018. In light of recent barbaric and inhumane military actions carried out against unarmed protesting Palestinian civilians in Gaza by Israeli forces, culminating in the killing of 106 Palestinians, 15 of whom were children, and injuring more than 12,000 innocent civilians, and with the merciless excessive and unnecessary use of force, such as the use of live ammunition (over 3500 rounds), protests have erupted all over the world and in Israel in solidarity with Gaza and its victims. Amongst the many hotspots, Haifa experienced the highest number of Police brutality cases and arrests of activists and high school students. Demonstrators have been gathering daily to peacefully express their right to protest and stand by the “March of Return” victims. Police have escalated their intervention and use of violence against protesters each day culminating in the mass arrests and brutality witnessed on Friday night. There is no doubt the Police and Special Forces on site were well equipped and prepared to disrupt the peaceful demonstration in Haifa. On Friday night it did not take long for the Police to barge in and charge the crowd, ... read more
    Source: Mondoweiss Israel PalestinePublished on 2018-05-19
  • Facing the Past in Montgomery: Beyond the Nakba to historical justice
    Rain had fallen the night before in Montgomery, Alabama. We had traveled there to visit the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, an ambitious project by the Equal Justice Initiative to give witness to formerly enslaved Black people terrorized by lynching in the South.  By the time we made our way to the newly landscaped memorial site, a brilliant sun and clear skies were heating the earth. We entered the solemn space, heavy with mourning for the over 4,400 people who were executed simply because they were Black. The memorial is composed of hundreds of steel monuments. As we made our way through the memorial, we recognized a hauntingly familiar scent. Steel, as it rusts, smells like blood. Our delegation of Palestinian human rights defenders faced the steel monuments reading the names of those dehumanized, tortured and killed, sometimes in front of crowds of white spectators who brought their children with picnic lunches to watch the killing. In the case of the lynching of Jesse Washington in Waco, Texas in 1916, the victim’s fingers were chopped off and sold as souvenirs while 10,000 spectators looked on. We continued through the memorial, the ground gently sloping down. Soon the steel monuments, ... read more
    Source: Mondoweiss Israel PalestinePublished on 2018-05-18
  • Holding Gaza close this Ramadan season and beyond
    It is just after sunrise on the first day of Ramadan, and I am in Mali. This landlocked West African country is one of the most vulnerable in the world, and notorious for land grabs. My mind is indeed on land grabs, but it is thousands of miles away. I’m so angry about Gaza. It’s the kind of anger that leaves me shaken but not shocked, like a heartbreak long in the making, or a confirmation of terminal illness in the family that could have been prevented. On one side, this is not mine to grieve. I am not Palestinian, nor do I live the kinds of struggles that come with daily life in Gaza. This time around, I do not personally know any of the dead—at least not yet. When I go to a protest in any given part of the world, I most often emerge with a camera full of images of smiling and determined faces, colorful flags held high. In Gaza, emerging from a peaceful demonstration unharmed—or even alive—is clearly not a given. On the other side, I grieve this because it is deeply personal. Despite the roll of the dice that dictated the circumstances of my ... read more
    Source: Mondoweiss Israel PalestinePublished on 2018-05-18
  • Protesting is not enough
    This year’s commemoration of Al Nakba was especially tragic.  As Israeli occupation soldiers and military snipers killed over sixty Palestinian protestors in Gaza, Zionists were beaming outside the new US embassy in Jerusalem, the crowning moment of President Trump’s imperial hubris.  Social media  buzzed with photos of the smiling colonizers’ faces next to the newly-minted US embassy plaque, juxtaposed with pictures of bloodied Palestinian refugees in Gaza still demanding their human rights.  Ivanka Trump, described by the New York Daily News as “Daddy’s little ghoul,” stood gleefully next to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while less than one hundred miles south, mothers, sisters, fathers, lovers, were mourning yet more Palestinian deaths in the Gaza Strip.   Yet horrific as the violence was, most of us fully expected it.  Indeed, as I scanned the day’s headlines, words like “unprecedented,” traumatic,” even “bloodbath,” paled for me when compared to that sober but most truthful one:  “predictable.” The seemingly unending injustice of occupation and a siege that has been described as “incremental genocide,” punctuated by episodes of hypermilitarized violence, is what Palestinians mean by “Al Nakba is ongoing today.” Our catastrophe is not a historical moment that happened in 1948, and can ... read more
    Source: Mondoweiss Israel PalestinePublished on 2018-05-18
  • Hundreds gather in Boston to protest Gaza killings and 70 years of ethnic cleansing in Palestine
    More than 300 Palestinians and their allies gathered on Tuesday, May 15 in Boston to mark the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, the catastrophic Israeli ethnic cleansing of Palestine, and to protest Israel’s massacre of Gazans participating in the Great March of Return. A fierce storm did little to dampen the fervor of the crowd, who were forced to move from the streets of downtown Boston to the welcoming sanctuary of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul at the height of the lightning and thunder. The event, entitled “Remembering and Resisting: 70 Years of Ongoing Ethnic Cleansing in Palestine,” was organized by the Boston Palestinian Community, the Alliance for Water Justice in Palestine, Boston-wide Students for Justice in Palestine, Grassroots International, Jewish Voice for Peace-Boston, Massachusetts Peace Action, Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East, and United for Justice with Peace; more than two dozen other Boston area organizations endorsed the event. These groups came together to remember the ways in which the Nakba is ongoing in terms of ethnic cleansing, a continuing refugee crisis, militarization of many Palestinian communities, mass incarceration of Palestinians (especially under military occupation), the building of walls and fences of confinement and separation, racism ... read more
    Source: Mondoweiss Israel PalestinePublished on 2018-05-18
  • On Gaza: The end will continue
    This is part of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page. Recent events in Gaza hit hard, coinciding as they did with the 70th anniversary of Israel and the Palestinian Nakba. Will Gaza soon fade from the global news? Israel can no longer be thought without the Nakba, can it? During the 1st intifada I wrote that the Israeli occupation was over. Some thought this an optimistic assessment, as if life for Palestinians and Israelis would now move beyond occupation. That wasn’t what I was thinking, just the opposite. I thought the Rubicon had been crossed and either Israel would negotiate a two-state solution or place its foot on the accelerator and take as much of Palestine as it could. Neither happened exactly as I thought. Yet I was hardly wrong either and the question of questions remains thirty years after my initial understanding: When an occupation becomes permanent is it still an occupation? Words are important. Though clearly some of the expressed horror at Israel’s actions in Gaza bespeak a disturbing subtext about Jews in this and that position of power, the overwhelming expressions of horror are ... read more
    Source: Mondoweiss Israel PalestinePublished on 2018-05-18
  • Donald Trump is a hero to Jewish Israelis
    Donald Trump is a hero to Jewish Israelis. They extol the president for speaking his mind no matter who he offends, and following through on his word. “Trump is an amazing president. What he promises he makes to happen,” says Rami, 45, the owner of a luggage shop. “He doesn’t care about the opinion of other people. This is how the president of the biggest country in the world needs to act.” I interviewed 20 Israeli Jews in West Jerusalem after the embassy move and the Gaza massacre this week, and there was near universal agreement that Trump is a strong leader and a man of action, qualities Israelis admire. “I think it’s time for such a leader that is not politically correct, not a diplomat but when he says something he means it,” Devorah, a 60-year-old, told me. “Maybe it’s time [for a leader] to be less diplomat and more human being.” “It’s hard to believe, but he has been very good to us, Trump,” Nehama, a well-coiffed 47 year old with her son, said. “We [Israelis] have never been in such good position in the world. I think God puts the words in his mouth. I believe there ... read more
    Source: Mondoweiss Israel PalestinePublished on 2018-05-18
  • Peace begins with Israel ending the Nakba
    On Monday, the Trump administration broke with more than 70 years of official US policy and the position of the international community by moving its embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. As if to rub salt in their wounds, it was be inaugurated the day before Palestinians commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Nakba (the Catastrophe), when nearly a million Palestinians were displaced and became refugees during Israel’s establishment. In Israel, the Nakba is not only ignored, it is outright denied or even justified. Yet if there is to be peace in this region – and I think it is possible – it begins with acknowledging the Nakba, understanding it, and working to reverse it. Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948, which saw the transformation of half of Palestine’s population into stateless refugees, is not a mere historic event: it has persisted unabated until today.  Since 1967, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were either expelled from or denied re-entry when they traveled outside the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, inside Israel’s recognized borders, its policy of “Judaizing” the south and north of the country often result in a quiet transfer of Palestinians through expropriation of ... read more
    Source: Mondoweiss Israel PalestinePublished on 2018-05-17
  • Canadian doctor: Israeli soldiers shot me in both legs as I was treating injured protesters in Gaza
    On Monday May 14, while treating patients with gunshot wounds in Gaza during the Great March of Return, Canadian physician Tarek Loubani was shot in both legs by Israeli forces. One medic on his team, Musa Abuhassanin, was killed while attempting to providing care Palestinian protesters. Loubani published an account that noted he and the medical staff were wearing “high visibility clothing” and when they approached injured Palestinians, they did so with their hands raised as to show soldiers they were unarmed medical professionals.  After Loubani was wounded, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called for an investigation and issued a statement, “We are appalled that Dr. Tarek Loubani, a Canadian citizen, is among the wounded – along with so many unarmed people, including civilians, members of the media, first responders, and children.”
    Canada deplores and is gravely concerned by the violence in the Gaza Strip that has killed dozens and injured countless people, including a Canadian citizen. Full statement: — Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) May 16, 2018 WARNING: Graphic images and content. few days ago, I wrote about our first day of field trials for an open source 3D printed tourniquet in Gaza. The Glia team ... read more
    Source: Mondoweiss Israel PalestinePublished on 2018-05-17
  • Murder as a way to make a political point
    Gaza is a small, densely populated sliver of land whose 1.8 million inhabitants have been suffering under an Israeli blockade for the past 11 years (with Egyptian cooperation). Half of Gaza’s population is under 16 years of age. The unemployment rate is 44%. Knowledgeable people call it an open air prison controlled by Israel. Here is Noam Sheizaf, writing in Slate in July 2014: “I[I]f I had to explain the whole thing briefly, I would use the following metaphor: We’ve built two giant prisons. Let’s call them “West Bank Prison” and “Gaza Prison.” The West Bank Prison is similar to a minimum-security facility, where prisoners get to run their own affairs as long as they behave. They are entitled to vacations from time to time, and once a year they are even taken to the beach. Some lucky people get below-minimum-wage jobs in nearby factories, and when you consider the low prices in the prison canteen, it’s actually not a bad deal. “Gaza, on the other hand, is a maximum-security facility. It is difficult to visit and impossible to leave. We allow in essential food, water, and electricity so that the prisoners don’t die. Apart from that, we don’t really care about them—that is unless they approach the prison ... read more
    Source: Mondoweiss Israel PalestinePublished on 2018-05-17
  • Debunking 18 claims justifying this week’s Gaza massacre
    After spending a great deal of time online, I read and watched endless virtual conversations about who’s at fault and who’s not in the wake of the over 60 casualties in Gaza on Monday. Discussions varied from whether Israel is exercising a righteous act of self-defense, or if Palestinians are legitimately organizing a peaceful protest; whether it is a conflict between two equals who are both guilty, or it is between an army of a state and an occupied territory packed with civilians? It’s mind-blowing how people have the energy to keep repeating the same claims over and over again for days and weeks, ignoring outside information. That is why I have decided to spare others the time, effort, and emotion, by writing out the most common claims I have seen regarding the events of the Great March of Return, followed by my responses. Those interested in fact-checking these common falsehoods, can find them in one place. The one claim that I will not deal with, one of the most popular, is that of: “The Bible say God give the land of Israel to the Jewish people?” Fundamentalists, regardless of faith, will never see beyond their own holy books. This list isn’t ... read more
    Source: Mondoweiss Israel PalestinePublished on 2018-05-17
  • ‘NYT’ writer who claims Zionism and human rights are intertwined ignores Palestinians
    “Jews are welcome to fight for human rights–as long as they check their Zionism at the door,” laments James Loeffler in his May 14, 2018, op-ed piece in The New York Times.  Loeffler’s essay, The Zionist Founders of the Human Rights Movement,” published on the day the U.S. Embassy moved to Jerusalem–the same day Israel killed 60 Palestinian protesters–argues that Zionism and human rights are historically intertwined.  According to Loeffler, the “modern left” has forgotten “that Zionism and the modern human rights movement share a braided history.”  Loeffler’s essay, however, is a justification of liberal Zionism, and a convenient one, too, leaving out the Palestinian point of view while Israel celebrated the embassy move on its 70th birthday.   Loeffler, an associate professor of history at the University of Virginia, and author of Rooted Cosmopolitans: Jews and Human Rights in the Twentieth Century, has written his essay from the familiar perspective of Zionists who claim to be liberal but who do not consider the Palestinian point of view as they shape their political worldview.   He is eager to point out that Zionists were always part of the human rights movement. But, much like the embassy move, his article placates Israel ... read more
    Source: Mondoweiss Israel PalestinePublished on 2018-05-17
  • Gaza massacre ends American political oath: Israel support is bipartisan
    To be in Israel during a historic massacre, as I was on Monday, is a special experience, and one whose meaning will sink in for a while. I wonder what I will remember in five years’ time, or ten. This is what I can tell you two days later. All that afternoon in the gathering and protests in the hot sun near the new embassy in South Jerusalem, the latest casualty figures were coming over the phones. “Did you hear, there’s a sea of blood at the border,” a friend had called to inform me at 4, and subsequent texts brought the numbers. 25. “37 dead so far. This country is irredeemable,” wrote my friend. It seemed impossible that the number would grow and yet it did. It was over 50 by the time the protests wound down. That night he and I went to the big West Jerusalem Hotels. The King David and the David Citadel. The ones where important people stay. We saw Norm Coleman the former Minnesota senator eating with a group. We saw Josh Block of the Israel Project chatting with a tall man vaguely familiar from Zionist events. We saw the Israeli insider David Weinberg talking with ... read more
    Source: Mondoweiss Israel PalestinePublished on 2018-05-16