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Academic Newsletter N° 58 (May 2020)

"The olive trees that tell the story of Palestinian dispossession"

The Palestinians of Saffuriya were expelled by force and barred from returning during 1948, leaving behind them ancient olive trees that today are tended to by Israeli Jews.
By Meron Rapoport (+972 Magazine, April 28, 2020 -
Doron Horowitz/Flash90):

The Defense Ministry's 'Memorial Day' gift, this year, to bereaved Israeli families: a bottle of olive oil, is produced in an area of the West Bank notorious for land grabs and settler violence. Over the weekend, 'Haaretz Magazine' published an article about Israelis growing ancient olive trees in the Galilee. The article focuses on the Noy-Meir family, who have been growing "hundreds of these ancient trees," many of which are between 200 to 800 years old, on land adjacent to Moshav Tzippori in the lower Galilee. The olive oil produced by Noy-Meir's company, Rish Lakish, received high praise from Ronit Vered, the article's author and Haaretz's food critic. But how did such ancient trees fall into the hands of the Noy-Meir family, which settled in Tzippori only 20 years ago? One does not need to be an arborist to look for an answer: Moshav Tzippori sits on land belonging to the destroyed and depopulated Palestinian village of Saffuriya. According to Palestine Remembered, a website dedicated to preserving the memory of the more than 400 Palestinian villages destroyed during the Nakba, Saffuriya was a relatively large community with over 5,000 residents in 1948.  The area around the village, according to Walid Khalidi's book "All That Remains" was "well endowed with fertile soil and surface and underground water resources, with olives being the village's chief crop." Saffuriya was conquered by the Israelis on July 15, 1948. According to village residents, only a small number of people remained in the village after it was bombed from the air by Israeli forces. The village being ethnicalle cleansed, on its ruins Jewish settlers built the settlement Zipori.
In short, the "hundreds of ancient olive trees" did not just grow out of thin air. The Palestinian residents of Saffuriya planted and cultivated them for centuries. The trees were stolen from them by force.


Actions -- Academia -- Annexation -- COVID-19 -- Gaza -- International -- Israel -- Jerusalem/Al-Quds -- Palestine -- Prisoners -- Refugees -- Resources -- Videos

Actions & Calls : 

BADIL Position Paper: "European Union Conditional Funding: Its Illegality and Political Implications" (7 May 2020):

The paper provides an in-depth analysis of the legality and political implications of Article 1.5 bis imposed in Annex II of the General Conditions Applicable to European Union-Financed Grant Contracts for External Action.

For the Position Paper (April 2020, pdf, 40p.): click here!

"Lettre ouverte d'Al-Haq au Conseil de sécurité des Nations Unies à propos des plans d'Israël d'annexer la Cisjordanie"

(Agence Media Palestine, 29 avril): 23 avril 2020: Al-Haq exprime son inquiétude qu'Israël, avec le soutien explicite des Etats-Unis (US), prenne de nouvelles mesures en vue de l'annexion illégale du Territoire palestinien occupé (TPO) et demande instamment à la communauté internationale d'intervenir immédiatement, prenant toutes les mesures nécessaires à sa disposition pour empêcher l'acquisition illégale et par la force du territoire palestinien par Israël.

"May 1 Statement by the Palestine New Federation of Trade Unions" (

 "We Palestinians express our solidarity with our sisters and brothers all over the globe in fighting the pandemic and the capitalist corporations which rake in profits on the backs of workers. Crises are moments of change and today we reiterate our call for more collective action to intensify the movements that eventually will overthrow the racist, colonial, capitalist, patriarchal and neoliberal world order that hinges on the exploitation and subjugation of workers..."

B'Tselem, "International Workers' Day: Israel continues to abuse Palestinian workers' rights during pandemic" (April 30):

Palestinian laborers from the West Bank who work in Israel (with or without permits) do not have their rights as workers protected - a reality that leaves them vulnerable to exploitation by employers. Those with permits have to set out from home early in the morning, undergo the grueling, degrading experience of crossing crowded checkpoints into Israel, and return home after a long, exhausting work day. Many also have to pay brokers thousands of shekels a month for the permit. Those who do not have a permit have to take risky routes to enter Israel, often endangering their lives. None of these workers receive the social benefits to which they are entitled, and they are exploited by their employers - while the state refrains from supervising their work conditions.

Joint Open Letter to the International Labour Organization (ILO)

Ref: Protection of Palestinian Workers During and After COVID-19

We, the undersigned civil society organisations, trade unions, and citizens across the world, address this joint open letter to the International Labour Organization (ILO) on the occasion of International Workers' Day, urging you to take action in the framework of your mandate to protect the rights, livelihoods, and dignity of Palestinian workers, men and women, and their families during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work has confirmed the essential role that ILO, one hundred years since its creation, must play for the achievement of 'social justice, democracy and the promotion of universal and lasting peace'.

# Lettre ouverte conjointe à l'Organisation Internationale du Travail (OIT)

"The European Union stands with Palestine: 38 million euros to support the payment of April salaries and pensions."
Office of the EU Representative (West Bank and Gaza Strip, UNRWA), Jerusalem, May 5:

As part of the #TeamEurope approach recently adopted by the 27 EU Member States to support partner countries and fragile populations to fight the coronavirus, the European Union has provided today 38 million euros contribution to the April salaries and pensions of around 43,000 of the Palestinian civil servants in the West Bank. 
This support will enable the Palestinian Authority to meet its commitments towards Palestinian civil servants notwithstanding the difficult fiscal situation brought about by the COVID-19 crisis. The 38 million euros contribution is funded by the European Union and targets civil servants, mostly working in the social sectors of health and education, as well as pensioners in the West Bank.

Cf. "Israel fumes after EU says Palestinian terror supporters can still get funds. Foreign Ministry summons ambassador in response to envoy to West Bank and Gaza saying Palestinian grantees may include those affiliated with blacklisted groups" (Raphael Ahren in: The Times of Israel, May 6).

EU-Med Human Rights Monitor: "EU Should Cancel 59M Euro Contract with Israeli Companies for Drones to Surveille Migrants" (May 5):

The EU's contracts of 59 million euro with Israeli military companies to supply war drones for the surveillance of asylum seekers at sea is immoral and of questionable legality. The EU purchase of Israel drones encourages human rights abuses in occupied Palestine while the misuse of any drones to intercept migrants and asylum seekers would lead to serious abuses in the Mediterranean, Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said in a statement today. The EU should immediately terminate these contracts and refrain from using drones against asylum seekers, especially the practice of returning such persons to Libya, thus thwarting their pursuit of safety.


"Aanklaagster Strafhof volhardt in onderzoek naar 'situatie in Palestina'" (The Rights Forum, 3 mei):

Fatou Bensouda, hoofdaanklaagster van het in Den Haag gevestigde Internationaal Strafhof, is op 30 april uitgebreid ingegaan op de reacties op haar voornemen om een officieel onderzoek in te stellen naar mogelijke Israëlische en Palestijnse oorlogsmisdaden. Zij concludeert dat er geen steekhoudende argumenten bestaan om van dat onderzoek af te zien... Het is nu aan de drie rechters van de Pre-Trial Chamber om een definitief oordeel te vellen over het voorgenomen onderzoek naar mogelijke oorlogsmisdaden. Naar verwachting volgt dat voor 1 september van dit jaar [zie haar verslag beneden onder, bij "Resources"].


The European Legal Support Center (ELSC): 2019 Annual Report

The ELSC is the first and only organisation providing professional legal support and assistance to organisations, groups and individuals advocating for Palestinian rights in Europe. Despite lockdown, support to the movement for Palestinian rights continues.

Dear friend, We hope that this newsletter finds you and everyone dear to you healthy and safe. As we all experience an unprecedented and challenging reality, our congratulations go to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign for the important victory in the UK Supreme Court defeating the Government over pensions divestment.

Then, we are happy to share with you our "2019 Annual Report" (pdf, 20p.). You will find in it an overview of accomplishments in the ELSC's first year on the main pillars of our program - Monitoring, Legal Defence and Empowerment of the movement for Palestinian rights.
We'd appreciate your feedback! A variety of tactics is being used to silence those who support Palestinian rights: from denial of public space and online platforms, smear campaigns, closure of financial accounts to enforcing the adoption of anti-BDS motions that falsely declare the Palestine solidarity movement as antisemitic. The ELSC is determined to challenge these measures through legal actions. Contact us if you or your group, association, NGO, foundation, have been intimidated, slandered, censored or banned from speaking out or carrying out solidarity actions, or if you have questions about your rights at:

"Associations et belges pour la libération de Georges Abdallah" (Charleroi pour la Palestine, 30 avril; Nederlands: De Wereld Morgen):

42 associations et de 229 personnes engagé.e.s belges ont signé un appel urgent pour la libération de Georges Abdallah. La crise du coronavirus accentue l'urgence de la libération immédiate de Georges Ibrahim Abdallah. Nous, organisations et belges soussignées, nous nous joignons aux nombreux appels à la libération immédiate des détenus pour pouvoir faire face au COVID-19 dans les prisons.


Academia :

Scholars and cultural figures stand against silencing of advocates for Palestinian rights in Germany.

11 May 2020 - Some 377 scholars and artists from more than 30 countries have signed a pledge opposing litmus tests and political interference by institutions, municipalities, and public officials in Germany aimed at silencing advocates for Palestinian rights under international law.
The pledge signatories state that they "hold a variety of positions on BDS, but we agree with the 40 Jewish organizations and also with the three German courts - most recently the Administrative Court of Cologne, in September 2019 - that have reaffirmed that support for BDS is a legitimate exercise of the universally recognized right of freedom of expression."

377 universitaires et artistes signent leur opposition à l'usage croissant en Allemagne de critères décisionnels de nature politique dans leur champ d'expertise

11 mai 2020 -- 377 universitaires et artistes de plus de 30 pays ont signé un engagement à ne pas apporter leur caution à l'usage de critères décisionnels de nature politique et, plus généralement, à l'interférence politique des institutions, des municipalités et des responsables publics en Allemagne, qui viseraient à réduire au silence les défenseurs des droits palestiniens selon le droit international.

Update May 12: 393 endorsers.

"The Seventh Palestinian Conference on Modern Trends in Mathematics and Physics," Birzeit University, 7-9 August 2020:

This is the seventh in a series of conferences held every two years since 2008. These conferences have succeeded in attracting faculty members, researchers and graduate students in Mathematics and Physics from all Palestinian universities, in addition to a distinguished group of international mathematicians and physicists, including scientists from the Palestinian diaspora.

Organizing Committee - International Scientific Committee.
Lists of international scientists having accepted already the invitation to give Plenary or Main talks: Mathematics - Physics* Registration form: click here.

"Palestinian University Unveils 'Home-Made' Ventilator" (Al-Quds U., April 29):

A Palestinian university on Thursday unveiled a "home-made" ventilator as West Bank hospitals brace for a potential wave of coronavirus patients. The device was released by Al-Quds University on the outskirts of Jerusalem a day after being certified for use in Palestinian hospitals. Hani Abdeen, dean of the university's medicine faculty, said that earlier this year, the occupied Palestinian territories (including the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem) had only had 180-200 ventilators.. "We have to rely on the knowledge, the expertise and the innovative ability of Palestinian intellectuals, scientists and medics in order to help our community," Prof. Abdeen said.


Annexation :

Ramzy Baroud, "100 Years of Shame: Annexation of Palestine Began in San Remo" (CounterPunch, May 8):

One hundred years ago, representatives from a few powerful countries convened at San Remo, a sleepy town on the Italian Riviera. Together, they sealed the fate of the massive territories confiscated from the Ottoman Empire following its defeat in World War I It was on April 25, 1920, that the San Remo Conference Resolution was passed by the post-World War I Allied Supreme Council. Western Mandates were established over Palestine, Syria and 'Mesopotamia' - Iraq. The latter two were theoretically designated for provisional independence, while Palestine was granted to the Zionist movement to establish a Jewish homeland there.


"Israeli annexation plans would lead to "cascade of bad human rights consequences", says UN expert" (UN Human Rights, Office of the High Commissioner, 1 May):

Michael Lynk, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, warned today that the new Israeli coalition government's plan to proceed with annexing significant parts of the occupied West Bank, including the Jordan Valley, will create "a cascade of bad human rights consequences"... "If Israel's annexation plans proceed, what would be left of the West Bank would become a Palestinian Bantustan, an archipelago of disconnected islands of territory, completely surrounded and divided up by Israel and unconnected to the outside world," the Special Rapporteur said.


Asa Winstanley, "Annexation of occupied territory is a crime" (Middle East Monitor, April 29):

Israel is about to annex large swathes of the occupied West Bank, making the territory formally part of the Zionist state according to Israeli law. The millions of Palestinians living in the West Bank will continue to be denied the vote and even the most basic of human rights by the despotic Israeli regime.


Sylvain Cypel, "Nétanyahou. À marche forcée vers l'annexion" (Orient XXI, 6 mai):

Benyamin Nétanyahou a réussi à former une coalition gouvernementale dont l'objectif principal est l'annexion d'une grande partie de la Cisjordanie. Il dispose pour cela du soutien de Donald Trump et de la passivité complice de la " communauté internationale ". Nétanyahou apparaît une fois de plus comme l'homme fort indiscuté du gouvernement. C'est lui, et lui seul, qui fixe les priorités. Comme l'écrit cruellement un chroniqueur israélien, il a « embauché Gantz comme garde du corps pour les trois ans à venir ». Et il incarne plus que jamais les courants politiques profonds qui animent la société juive israélienne.


Akiva Eldar, "The dark side of annexing the Jordan Valley: Whitewashing land theft" (Haaretz, May 6):

The political uproar and strategic debate over annexing land in the West Bank under the coalition agreement have diverted attention from one of the largest conspiracies to steal private land since the occupation began in 1967. Behind the ideological fervor and the alleged security motive, lies a plot to launder stolen land. With the stroke of a single annexation law, the Likud-Kahol Lavan-Labor government will at the same time solve the problem of peace and also launder one of the greatest thefts of land since Israel was founded.


Ramona Wadi, "'A Cascade of Human Rights Abuses:' Why the world must Halt Israel's Further Land Grab in Palestinian West Bank" (MEMo via Informed Comment, May 6):

UN Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk's criticism of the forthcoming US-Israeli annexation of more Palestinian land offers a good start to collective political action against Israel, if only the international community would show that it is willing. "The plan would crystallise a 21st century apartheid, leaving in its wake the demise of the Palestinian's right to self-determination. Legally, morally, politically, this is entirely unacceptable," declared Lynk.


Gideon Levy, "Let Israel annex the West Bank. It's the least worst option for Palestinians" (Haaretz, May 9):

What is the center-left camp in Israel afraid of when it comes to annexation? Why are the European Union and other countries feigning such a clamor against this coming development? Annexation has always been presented as the mother of all disasters, but we have to stop fearing it, and even say yes to it... With nobody intending to grant equal rights to the Palestinians, Israel will declare itself an apartheid state. Two people, one with full rights and the other with none - from the podium of the Knesset and the UN as well. Is it too naïve or optimistic to believe that most of the world would not remain silent nor would a great number of Israelis? Is there any realistic alternative? So, stop being afraid and let them annex. 


Juan Cole, "Top 5 Ways Netanyahu's Annexation of 30% of Palestinian West Bank will Devastate Israel" (Informed Comment, May 8):

The Israeli Supreme Court has ruled that, despite being indicted for corruption and press manipulation, Binyamin Netanyahu can take office as prime minister next week in a government of national unity that has him rotating the office with rival Benny Gantz of the Blue and White coalition after 18 months. Netanyahu's first order of business is to annex vast swathes of Palestinian territory, including much of the Jordan Valley.


Ziv Stahl, "What will happen to Palestinian land the day after annexation?" (+972, May 3):

The exact shape that annexation will take is still unknown. One thing is certain: Israel will use it to facilitate the theft of Palestinian land across the West Bank... Annexation should be seen in its full context: a unilateral act of aggression, a violation of international law, and an escalation of Israel's project of Palestinian dispossession. Annexation will strip Palestinians of the few, limited and often violated rights they have and keep them as right-less subjects for eternity, without a state of their own where they - like all other human beings - are entitled to equal citizenship.


Henri Goldman, "Israël-Palestine : au bout du tunnel, il n'y a rien" (Le blog cosmopolite, 3 mai):

"Le CCLJ (Centre communautaire laïc juif) salue la constitution d'un gouvernement israélien d'urgence nationale, mais déplore la voie ouverte à l'annexion des colonies" . C'est ainsi que l'organisation mainstream de la communauté juive organisée de Bruxelles titrait son communiqué du 23 avril. Dans le texte, le CCLJ ne se contente pas de "saluer" : il "se réjouit".


COVID-19 in the oPt:

Coronavirus in Palestine: the latest figures (8 May, Mondoweiss):

  • 547 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the occupied Palestinian territory; 355 in the West Bank; 172 in East Jerusalem; and 20 in the Gaza Strip;
  • 4 Palestinians have died of COVID-19 related causes;
  • 13,000 Palestinian workers entered Israel and will stay overnight there until the end of Ramadan;
  • Barbershops and salons allowed to open on Friday and Saturday this week;
  • Clothing and house wear shops are allowed to open this week;
  • 16,409 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Israel; 245 have died from COVID-19 related causes.

It has been two months since a state of emergency was declared in the West Bank, shuttering most of public life in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The closures were initially aggressive, kicking tourists out of the region, setting up isolation centers in hotels, and erecting medical checkpoints. Restrictions have eased in the last week in part due to the Muslim holiday of Ramadan, a month-long celebration that includes fasting between sunrise and sunset.

Yumna Patel, "Coronavirus Diary: Reaching our breaking point" (Mondoweiss, May 5):

This is the latest edition of our special coverage newsletter on the COVID-19 crisis in Palestine featuring dispatches directly from our Palestine correspondent Yumna Patel on the ground in Bethlehem. This newsletter is published Tuesdays and Fridays. 


Hagar Shezaf, "Palestinians in Israeli-controlled West Bank fall through cracks of coronavirus response" (Haaretz, May 4):

Palestinians in small villages of Area C don't receive the services they need to combat the coronavirus from either Israel or the Palestinian Authority. There are places in the West Bank where even washing your hands with clean water, the most basic rule to try stop the spread of the coronavirus, is virtually impossible. The village of Zanuta, which is located south of Hebron and like all villages in Area C of the West Bank is under Israeli control, is not connected to a clean water source... In addition, Israel continues to demolish structures in Area C. According to the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Palestinian Territories, there have been 23 demolitions of structures and infrastructure since early March.


Gideon Levy, "Israel after coronavirus: One crisis, one state - and that includes the Palestinians" (Haaretz, May 4):

All of a sudden Palestinians can sleep in Israel, Arab health workers are garnering praise and Israelis are experiencing an 'occupation.' Maybe this crisis will show that we are all human beings? ... Will Israelis draw conclusions from these small developments? Have the seeds been planted for a crucial change in outlook - the likes of which has never occurred before - that would lead Israelis to understand that the Palestinians are human beings just like us, with the same dreams and the same rights? There are no grounds for high expectations. The agents of war and hatred, nationalism and racism, remain just as powerful as ever. But still, two peoples, one epidemic, one state. For a moment, the only country in which two peoples live under three regimes has stopped its crazy pursuit of weapons and blood.


Gaza Strip:

Ramadan is underway in the tightly packed Gaza Strip. Officials have eased some restrictions on social distancing allowing Palestinians a reprieve from isolation to buy sweets and gifts to celebrate the Islamic holy month (Mondoweiss, May 8).

Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI): "Gaza cannot handle Covid 19" (30 April):

In the Occupied Territories, the fears everyone is experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are compounded by concerns over local capacity to handle the fallout, both in terms of health care services and economically. So far, there have been 342 verified cases of COVID-19 in the oPt, 325 in the West Bank and 17 in the Gaza Strip. Two patients have died in the West Bank and two in East Jerusalem, and the fear is that the peak is still to come. Gaza's health care system came into this crisis in a state of collapse caused by 13 years of siege and military assaults that have crippled many essential civilian services. [Haneen Kinani, Projects coordinator]


European Parliament, Parliamentary Questions, April 16: Subject: Gaza and the Israeli blockade in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Question for written answer to the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, by María Soraya Rodríguez Ramos: "What action will the EU take to push for an end to the Israeli blockade in order to ensure the civilian population can be protected by allowing medical and material resources into the Gaza Strip to tackle COVID-19?"

International :

Asa Winstanley, "UK Supreme Court boosts BDS" (The Electronic Intifada, April 29):

The UK's Palestine Solidarity Campaign won what it said was a historic legal victory for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement on Wednesday. BDS campaigners celebrated as the Supreme Court in London struck out an anti-divestment rule imposed by the government in 2016. As the ruling was made by the UK's highest court, it cannot be appealed.


Sarah Sakha & Ali Ibrahim, "Trump turns on colleges, colleges on human rights" (EI, 8 May):

The COVID-19 pandemic has required students supporting the Palestinian struggle for justice to postpone many of their activities. In New York's Columbia University, a student-led referendum on divesting from companies that profit off Israel's human rights violations, originally slated for April, has been delayed until the fall.


"Jewish scholars call for sacking of German antisemitism official for shameful attack on Mbembe" (Mondoweiss Editors, May 5):

Thirty-seven Jewish scholars have called for the replacement of Felix Klein, the German government coordinator for the fight against antisemitism. They did so in the below letter sent to German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, after Klein had joined the censorship campaign against the distinguished Cameroonian professor Achille Mbembe"We consider Mr. Klein unqualified and unfit for the important task assigned to him. He is a civil servant that operates and falls under your political responsibility. We call on you to replace Mr. Klein without delay as the German government Commissioner for Jewish Life and the Fight against Antisemitism."


Israel :

Yvonne Ridley, "Greater Israel is the objective as Netanyahu plans to wipe Palestine off the map" (Middle East Monitor, April 28):

When it comes to Palestinians and peace in the Middle East, world leaders and Western journalists have taken their eye off the ball due to the coronavirus pandemic. The increasingly bizarre views of US President Trump and his disastrous handling of Covid-19 have gripped everyone's attention. As has happened before, Israel has turned a disaster into an opportunity to carry out its nefarious plans while the world's media is looking the other way. Arch political rivals Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz are going to steal another 30% of historic Palestine, destroying once and for all any realistic prospects of a two-state solution.


Gideon Levy, "Where was the High Court till now?" (Haaretz, May 7):

The High Court of Justice is one of Israel's cleverest ploys. Nothing beats the High Court at embodying Israel as it wishes to be seen: enlightened, constitutional, democratic. The High Court is its Iron Dome when it comes to democracy. If there are injustices, the High Court will fix them. The war waged on the High Court in recent years by the right has only added to the illusion: This is a war over democracy that the enemy from the right seeks to destroy, so who if not the High Court will save us? Israel is a democracy just as that earlier South Africa was a democracy. Apartheid has not been enshrined in law here, but the way there has been paved - thanks in part to the High Court. The High Court will not stop the slide to apartheid just as it did not stop the occupation.


Philip Weiss: ''What Kind of Jew Is Shlomo Sand?' Bruce Robbins asks" (Mondoweiss, May 1):

Bruce Robbins, an English literature professor and political theorist at Columbia University, has long been active in the effort to bring democracy to Israel and Palestine. His latest effort is a documentary titled, "What Kind of Jew Is Shlomo Sand?" (see Videos) that he publishes today and that is embedded here. Shlomo Sand is the Israeli author of groundbreaking works on the history of Zionism, notably "The Invention of the Jewish People", in 2010; and "The Invention of the Land of Israel", in 2012. [Cf. S.Sand, "How I Stopped Being a Jew," 2014]


Rina Bassist, "Arab mayors in Israel strike against unfair distribution of pandemic funding" (Al-Monitor, May 5):

Arab Israeli local councils began a one-day strike this morning against the government's failure to allocate enough funds to compensate for their losses due to the novel coronavirus crisis. A committee of Arab Israeli council heads condemned the government's distribution of compensation to local governance for the loss of property tax payments from business owners who were forced to their close doors by coronavirus restrictions.


Jerusalem - Al-Quds :

Nir Hasson, "Dawn of a new era? Jerusalem and its Palestinian residents joining forces to battle coronavirus" (Haaretz, May 4):

East Jerusalem activists and Mayor Moshe Leon report close and efficient cooperation in the fight against the coronavirus, with representatives of both sides meeting several times a week on a regular basis.


Palestine :

"Palestinian youth and student organizations: It is time for the "Palestinian leadership" to go!" (Samidoun, May 7):

Statement for endorsement and circulation. Palestinian, Arab and international organizations are invited to endorse the statement below, which will be reissued with all additional signatories. To add the signature of your group or youth organization, please email
We, the undersigned Palestinian youth and student organizations, and with us the associations, organizations and institutions that have signed this statement, call on the masses of Palestinian youth and students throughout occupied Palestine and in exile to join us in a popular initiative for the advancement and initiation of national development for the restoration of the revolutionary democratic approach for a new stage of struggle. The core of this initiative is the objectives of our Palestinian people: return, liberation, and continuing struggle to achieve all of their legitimate national goals and aspirations, no matter how long it may take.


Halah Ahmad, "The Reification of Ramallah: Undermining a Palestinian Capital in Jerusalem" (Al-Shabaka, May 3):

Numerous civil society organizations have highlighted the role of tourism in legitimizing or advancing Israeli land theft in the West Bank, yet few describe how the governmental and cultural tourism investments of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Rammalah establish facts on the ground that can also undermine Palestinian calls for self-determination. The PA's investments in Ramallah, particularly in governmental buildings and monuments, obscure Palestinian claims to a capital in Jerusalem and solidify the Israeli agenda to deny Palestinians a capital in Jerusalem. 


Taher Al-Labadi, "Les travailleurs palestiniens captifs de la dépendance économique coloniale" (Ass. belgo-palestinienne, 6 janvier 2020):

Une main-d'oeuvre rendue disponible pour les besoins de l'économie israélienne. - L'occupation de la Cisjordanie et de la bande de Gaza en 1967 conduit à une transformation radicale de leur économie. D'une part, l'administration israélienne entreprend de confisquer des terres et des ressources dont elle prive la population palestinienne. De l'autre, elle procède à l'intégration de facto de ces territoires dans l'économie israélienne, dans le but de tirer avantage de leur main-d'oeuvre et de leurs marchés.


Yumna Patel, "Israel approves 7,000 new settlement units in southern West Bank" (Mondoweiss, May 8):

Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett has approved the expansion of the mega Efrat settlement in the southern occupied West Bank with 7,000 new housing units - nearly doubling the settlement in size. With Bennett's approval, Israel's Housing Ministry can move into the planning stages for the "neighborhood", which sits on 1,100 dunams (225 acres) of Palestinian land, known to locals as al-Nahla, and to settlers as Givat Eitam. The settlers of Efrat have been in engaged in a decades-long legal battle with Palestinians over the land, where dozens of Palestinian families from surrounding villages own land that they use for farming and agriculture.


Marjorie Cohn, "Israel's New Government Is Exploiting Pandemic to Annex 30 Percent of West Bank" (truthout, May 2):

After three indecisive elections, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his opponent Benny Gantz agreed to form a unity government in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the central pillars of this new regime is the unlawful annexation of the Jordan Valley and illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.


Prisoners : 

NGO HaMoked - Center for the Defence of the Individual (April 30):

To most of us, a detainee's right to call his family seems trivial. But as a rule, the Israel Prison Service bars Palestinians defined as "security inmates" from calling their families. No exception is made for child detainees, no matter how young. Their only contact with their families is through bi-weekly or monthly visits. And in late February, the Prison Service cancelled all prison visits, as part of Israel's efforts to stop the spread of Covid-19. This left thousands of Palestinian detainees completely isolated from the outside world, unable to communicate with their families at a time of widespread fear and concern.


"Euro-Med Monitor calls on Ramallah Governor to release Palestinian arrested over Facebook comment" (April 20):

The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor has expressed a grave concern over the arrest of Palestinian Ahmed Dawoud al-Khawaja by security services in the West Bank, for 12 days in a row, against the background of a comment he made to the Facebook page of Leila Ghannam, the Governor of Ramallah. The Euro-Med Monitor called on the Palestinian Authority to drop the charges against Ahmed Al-Khawaja, release him immediately, and stop any prosecution and detention against the background of freedom of opinion and expression.


Refugees :

Dalal Yassine, "Le Covid-19 est un désastre pour les Palestiniens du Liban" (Charleroi pour la Palestine, 7 mai):

Le Liban a récemment confirmé le premier cas COVID-19 parmi les réfugiés palestiniens du pays. C'était à Wavel, un camp de réfugiés situé dans la vallée de Baqaa près de Baalbek. Après le transfert du patient à l'hôpital universitaire Rafic Hariri de Beyrouth pour y être soigné, Bachir Khodr, chef du gouvernorat de Baalbek-Hermel, a annoncé que le camp serait fermé et surveillé par les forces de sécurité de l'État libanais. Le nombre de cas confirmés de COVID-19 au Liban a dépassé les 700 le 27 avril et le confinement à l'échelle nationale a été décrété en mars, mais il s'agit du seul cas de fermeture sécuritaire à l'intérieur du pays.


"Heinous Racism Prevents Palestinian Refugees with Lebanese Travel Documents from Returning to Lebanon" (EURO-MED, May 3):

Geneva - The Lebanese General Directorate of General Security issued a circular to the Lebanese embassy in the UAE not to allow the return of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon who are stranded in the UAE to Lebanon, without clarifying the reason behind this decision, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said in a statement... The circular No. 5932/M, which was issued on May 1, said that all Palestinians who were preparing to return to Lebanon on evacuation flights were informed that their names were removed from travel lists, prevented from boarding aircraft until a further notice.


Resources - Reports - Books :

ICC: "Prosecution Response to the Observations of Amici Curiae, Legal Representatives of Victims, and States."
ICC-01/18, 30 April 2020, PRE-TRIAL CHAMBER I. Public with Public Annex A (pdf, 60p.):


100. The Prosecution has carefully considered the observations of the participants and remains of the view that the Court has jurisdiction over the Occupied Palestinian Territory. It respectfully requests Pre-Trial Chamber I to confirm that the "territory"over which the Court may exercise its jurisdiction under article 12(2)(a) comprises the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza.

© Nadia Naser-Najjab, "Dialogue in Palestine. The People-to-People Diplomacy Programme and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict." I.B.Tauris (SOAS Palestine Studies), Jan 2020; hb, 248p., 9781838603847. Online prices: £59.50.

Since 1993, various international donors have poured money into a People-to-People (P2P) diplomacy programme in Palestine. This grassroots initiative - still funded by prominent external donors today - seeks to foster public engagement through contact and therefore remove deeply embedded barriers.This book examines the limited nature of this 'contact' and explains why the P2P framework, which was ostensibly concerned with the promotion of peace, ultimately served to reinforce conflict and power...


© Jess Bier, "Mapping Israel, Mapping Palestine - How Occupied Landscapes Shape Scientific Knowledge." MIT Press, June 2017, ISBN 978-026203615, 336p.

Review by Jamil Sherif (Middle East Monitor, May 8):

This is a work that will enthral those interested in the intersection of census data, map making using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and politics. It provides insights in the role of statistical and cartographic expertise in the various 'negotiations' between Israel and the Palestinians: "...the Israelis had long demonstrated, the way to gain political clout internationally was to produce maps that attempted to represent objective truths in a form that would be internationally recognised."


List of useful links, alphabetically classified per section, on BACBI's website's "Links" page (dd May 6, 2020):

--- International Palestine Solidarity Movements & Websites (149!);
Jewish Solidarity Movements (also listed in first list) (21);
Palestinian Universities and Institutes (17);
Palestinian Arts & Artists (26);
Palestinian NGOs (96);
Israeli Human Rights NGOs (37);
Israeli Dissident Academic Voices (14);
News Agencies (26);
Resources (3);
Israeli Big Brother (2).

PS: additions/suggestions are most welcome!

BACBI Culture: "Newsletter N° 52 (April 2020)"


Jonathan Cook: Palestinian Villages Hidden Under Israeli Forests (Saffuriya)

J.Cook: "The Palestinian villages buried under Galilee's tourist sites"

"What Kind of Jew is Shlomo Sand?" (Mondoweiss)

"Les chebabs de Yarmouk" - film d' Axel Salvatori-Sinz (bande Annonce HD VOST)

Belgian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel

Committee: Prof. Karel Arnaut (KU Leuven), Prof. ém. Marie-Christine Closon (UCL), Prof. Patrick Deboosere (VUB), Prof. Lieven De Cauter (KULeuven), Em. Prof. Herman De Ley (UGent), Em. Prof. Marc De Meyere (UGent), Prof. Serge Deruette (UMons), Lieve Franssen (dir. Brussels Brecht-Eislerkoor), Carl Gydé (director CAMPO), Prof. Perrine Humblet (ULB), Prof. Marc Jacquemain (ULiège), Em. Prof. Madeline Lutjeharms (VUB), Raven Ruëll (metteur en scène), Prof. ém. Christiane Schomblond (ULB), Dr. Nozomi Takahashi (UGent), Prof. Karin Verelst (VUB).


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