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Academic Newsletter N°63 (October 2020)


Spotlight (11) -- Actions (5) -- Academia (3) -- Analyses (5) -- BDS (1) -- COVID-19 (3) -- International (4) -- Israel (3) -- Palestine (4) -- Prisoners (2) -- Refugees (1) -- Resources (3) -- Videos (2)

The Occupied Palestinian Territories
Between Environmental Injustice and Ecocide

"Palestine: Climate change
is not just a natural phenomenon but a political one."

Abeer Butmeh is an environmental activist from Palestine and coordinator of the Palestinian Environmental NGO Network (PENGON). She talks to Muna Dajani about her work with PENGON and how she sees climate justice as central to the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Working on environmental issues in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), and on climate change campaigns in particular, might not seem like a priority, especially in the context of the Israeli occupation. However, it is relevant as it pertains to the everyday access to natural resources, and their use and control. After decades of precarious conditions related to military and resource exploitation, working on combating climate change and its impacts cannot be separated from politics. Climate change is therefore not just a natural phenomenon but a political one, exacerbating pre-existing injustice and inequality. The Israeli occupation exacerbates the climate risks facing Palestinians by denying them the right to manage their land and resources, making them more vulnerable to climate-related events...
Protracted injustice regarding the conditions of resource distribution, combined with the imminent threat of climate change impacts on Palestinian communities, means that climate change is framed as a justice issue in Palestine and not merely an issue of state-led legislation. 

"Facts and Figures", by Abeer Butmeh

The Palestinian Environmental NGOs Network - Friends of Earth Palestine

What does it mean to enter "occupied" land? It means that we enter a territory inhabited by two kinds of people. One group consists of 450,000 West Bank Jewish settlers who have all possible rights and protection from Israeli national institutions. The other group is comprised of West Bank 2.6 million Palestinians, stateless people, who are denied most basic human rights: to work, to study, to a free movement, to health care, to ownership of their property.

Pollution Caused by settlers:

1. Solid waste

  • The 450,000 Israeli settlers living in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, generate 500 tons/day of solid waste. 
  • Around 80% of the solid waste generated by Israeli settlers living in the West Bank is dumped at Palestinian lands and dumping sites, whereas the remaining 20% is dumped at dumping sites located inside Israel.


We, the Palestinian Environmental NGOs Network (PENGON- FoE Palestine), appeal to environmental organisations around the world to refrain from working with the Jewish National Fund (JNF), an organisation responsible for the displacement of our people, theft of their property, colonisation of land and the destruction of the natural environment.

"On the Wall and nature:
The ongoing Israeli war on the Palestinian environment"

Ramzy Baroud & Romana Rubeo (Stop The Wall

Now that the structure, which Palestinians call the "Apartheid Wall", is near completion, its political  significance, colonial aims and devastating impact on Palestinian communities are glaringly obvious, despite Israeli propaganda efforts to morally and legally justify  its existence. Less obvious, however, is the long-term environmental damage as a consequence of the Apartheid Wall... In a matter of a few decades, it has disfigured, beyond belief, the land inhabited by Palestinian Muslims, Christians and Jews for thousands of years. 

"'Make the Desert Bloom':
Manufacturing the Israeli Territory/Narrative"

(Léopold Lambert, The Funambulist, April 7, 2015):

The main actor of the modification of the territory from 1950 to today has been the Jewish National Found (JNF, Hebreeuws: Keren Kayemet LeYisrael), a (transnational) non-governmental organization created in 1901 by the World Zionist Organization that, until then, had been collecting money (thanks to small money boxes like the ones shown above) within the worldwide Jewish diaspora during the first half of the 20th century, in order to buy as many parcels of land as possible from the Palestinian farmers and landowners. The new function of the JNF after the military takeover of the land by the Israeli army was to "plant trees" (as the subtitle of its website suggests synthetically). In an age where ecology essentially functions through the pictorial, planting trees could not be seen in any other way than a genuine one. However, this strategy of afforestation (growing a forest where there is not any) is as politically charged as the other (more explicit) means of implementing the apartheid state described at length on this blog. The newly grown (pine) forests had a double-role: the first one consisted in hiding the last vestiges of the pre-Nakba Palestinian villages... The second contributed to the "Europeanization" of the Israeli territory, considered "too Arab" by the Ashkenazim Zionist movement.  Continue...

OCHA: Protection of Civilians Report | 8 - 21 September 2020

* Some 550 Palestinian-owned trees were uprooted or otherwise vandalized, reportedly by Israeli settlers, in three incidents.
The largest incident took place on land cultivated by three families from Biddya village (Salfit), where settlers bulldozed and destroyed 445 fruit trees, an agricultural structure and 1.7-km-long stone walls and iron fences. According to Israeli sources, the settlers claim ownership over the land and intend to establish a new settlement there, despite the lack of building permits or official approval. The other two incidents occurred in Areas B and C, near As Sawiya village (Nablus), where some 100 olive trees were cut down or otherwise vandalized. Since the beginning of the year, nearly 5,000 Palestinian-owned trees, mostly olives, have been destroyed or damaged. The annual olive harvest season will officially start on 7 October, amid serious access restrictions to land near settlements and behind the Barrier.


"Explosive Remnants of War risk civilian lives in Gaza
amid funding crisis

(UNRWA, 24 Sept 2020):

On 26 Sept 2019, the cleaner at Al Bahrain Elementary Boys School in Gaza city found a suspicious object in the school backyard... "Once the school administration was informed, we implemented the safety procedures which we were trained in," explained Ataa Salman, the school principal. "No one was allowed to approach the object, and we evacuated the school backyard. UNRWA security team arrived quickly and ensured that there was no immediate threat. The next day, a United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) team came, removed the Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) item and cleared the area."

UNMAS began its operations in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) in 2009, following the 2008-9 hostilities in the Gaza Strip and Israel. Since then, the intermittent hostilities and clashes in Gaza have resulted in continuous ERW contamination. These explosive items can be found in residential areas, agricultural fields and among debris, endangering farmers, school children, and construction workers, among others. Since 2014, 19 Palestinians have been killed and 170 injured by ERW. Continue...

"It Takes Time to Unravel the Ecology of War in Gaza, Palestine: Long-Term Changes in Maternal, Newborn and Toddlers' Heavy Metal Loads, and Infant and Toddler Developmental Milestones in the Aftermath of the 2014 Military Attacks," in: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14 Sept 2020 (pdf, 18p.).

Authors: Nabil al Baraquoni (IU Gaza), Samir R. Qouta (School of Social Sciences & Humanities, Qatar), Mervi Vänskä (Dpt of Psychology, Tampere, Finland), Safwat Y. Diab (ibid.), Raija-Leena Punamäki (ibid.), & Paola Manduca (Assoc. for Scientific Research, Genova, Italy). 

Introduction: New-generation weapons, used in current wars and military operations, expose civilians to severe health hazards through heavy metal contamination [1]. Pregnant women and their progeny are particularly vulnerable to heavy metal intake, affecting mother metabolic changes and fetal development.

"Israel Is Systematically Poisoning One Million
Palestinian Children"

(Robert Inlakesh, Portsize, Jan 20, 2019):

We have now entered 2020, the year in which experts at the United Nations once predicted Gaza would become unlivable. But the sad reality is not only that those same experts said that Gaza was already unlivable in 2017, but that now the population of 2 million residing in Gaza are under the real threat of genocide.
Sara Roy of Harvard University's Centre for Middle Eastern studies, who is considered the leading scholar on Gaza's economy, has written that "innocent human beings, most of them young, are slowly being poisoned in Gaza by the water drink and likely by the soil in which they plant." Continue...

Sara Roy, "The Gaza Strip.
The Political Economy of De-development"

Expanded Third Edition, 2016.
Introduction: "De-development Completed: Making Gaza Unviable."
"Destruction and Long-term Impacts"
(pp. L-LVII, quotations, pp. L-LII)

The most devastating aspect of the buffer zone policy1 is the long-term ecological damage it inflicts, not only on the arable land, but also on the maritime area off the coast... Much of the destruction to agricultural land and structures since the 2005 disengagement took place during Operation Casted Lead in Dec 2008-January 2009. The terrible destruction visited upon Gaza's agricultural sector during OCL was concentrated in - but not confined to - the buffer zones. In the final days of the assault, some 200 tanks and tracked vehicles systematically working back and forth along Gaza's eastern border bulldozed and flattened 7,847 acres of agricultural land - citrus trees, other fruit-bearing trees, greenhouses, nurseries, farms, etc. - compacting the soil...
It is important to emphasize the long-term if not permanent damage inflicted on agricultural land by leveling operations...
Soil compaction resulting from the IDF's methodical movement back and forth over the same piece of land with bulldozers or other tracked vehicles forces farmers to deep plow. However, deep plowing is problematic without sufficiently irrigation, which remains a serious problem in the buffer zone due to the destruction of ground water wells (the main source of irrigation). Deep plowing in such conditions turns the land into a non-arable dustbowl. Non-arability is further exacerbated by the suspected toxicities of some soils resulting from their saturation by chemicals, sewage, and weapon debris.
The resulting desertification process will, in the absence of remedial measures, ensure that the land becomes totally irredeemable. One concern is that the Israeli army may have bulldozed lands as deep as two kilometers from the Israeli border with the intention of further restricting access to food and rendering the land non-arable over time...

n.1:  20% of arable land is restricted from use because it falls within the Israeli-enforced security buffer zone near the border fence with Israel.

Zena Agha, "Climate Change, the Occupation, and a Vulnerable Palestine"
(Al-Shabaka, March 26, 2019):

Climate change is among the greatest threats facing humanity. Its effects are global, wide-ranging, and distributed in a highly unequal manner. Although Palestinians and Israelis inhabit the same physical terrain, Palestinians under occupation will suffer the effects of climate change more severely. The ongoing Israeli occupation - now in its fifty-second year - prevents Palestinians from accessing resources and pursuing measures to support climate change adaptation, which is understood here as the adjustment in human or natural systems in response to the effects of climate change.

Staat van Beleg : Overview September 2020 (5 okt)

Palestine's fragmented political landscape poses some of the greatest challenges to coping with climate change. Three different and often conflicting entities govern the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea: the Israeli government (presiding over the modern state of Israel, occupied Jerusalem, the occupied Golan Heights, de facto Area C, and the Jordan Valley in the West Bank), the Palestinian Authority (Areas A and B in the West Bank), and Hamas (the Gaza Strip). This differentiated political and social reality has resulted in a vast imbalance in the experiences of the effects of climate change, the ability to tackle it, and the ability to produce harmonized assessments and evaluations of its effects due to poor and inconsistent data collection. Continue...

PS: For a selection of publications on Climate Change in Occupied Palestine:
click here!

Actions & Calls : 

Petition | Petició| Pétition | Petizione | Petitie | Petição

Palestinian Lives Matter!

FR: Depuis 53 ans déjà, les Palestiniens étouffent sous le genou de l'occupation israélienne...
NL: Al 53 jaar happen de Palestijnen onder de knie van de Israëlische bezetting naar adem...

We, citizens of all continents, demand that our governments and political leaders stop the Israeli oppression of the Palestinians by all available means. That will only happen if the whole world stands up against injustice. Sign the petition in order to do just that.
This petition will be presented to the governments of Israel, the Netherlands and all other countries from which we receive signatures, as well as the EU and the UN.

Oct 82,548 Signatories (target: 5,000).



Call for Action: Protect Ras Al'uja School from Demolition!

Palestinian Grassroots Anti-apartheid Wall Campaign (Sept 28, 2020)

As across the world schools are slowly opening again after COVID19 lockdowns, we call on you to ensure in Palestine schools are not demolished. Palestinians are sounding the alarm over the potential demolition of a newly built school in Ras Al'uja Bedouin community, the Jordan Valley, by the Israeli occupation authorities...
Your support to the Right to Education Campaign launched by popular committees and Palestinian civil society organizations to strengthen the steadfastness of Palestinians in the Jordan Valley to resist the Israeli annexation is crucial now!

Please support us by
calling on your foreign ministry and your consulate in Palestine to take action to stop the demolition of schools and infrastructure and to guarantee Palestinians the Right to Education.

"Prominent Palestinian Astrophysicist set to administrative detention by Israeli military order!"

Escalating their campaign for his release, Scientists for Palestine (S4P) continue to call scholars from over the world to join their plea and demand the immediate release of Prof. Barghouthi.
On August 10th, Prof. Barghouthi wrote a
first letter from prison: click here!
September 12th he delivered to the S4P a second letter: "On my current administrative detention," click here!  This second letter is also available in French (on AURDIP). Are available in Spanish (pdf): S4P's call and the second letter ("Sobre mi situación actual en detención administrativa").

[Oct 4: already 2.986 signatories, of whom 1072 'academic'].

"Le gouvernement Vivaldi n'oubliera pas les Palestiniens!"

Association belgo-palestinienne (cdp, 2 oct 2020):

Pour la première fois, un accord de gouvernement belge aborde de front la défense des droits des Palestiniens. L'Association belgo-palestinienne (ABP) s'en félicite, et se mobilisera pour amplifier les ambitions du nouvel exécutif en la matière.

Depuis la campagne pour les élections de mai 2019 jusqu'au récent processus de formation gouvernementale, la société civile belge solidaire avec la Palestine s'est ardemment mobilisée pour faire entendre sa voix auprès des décideurs politiques. Ces efforts ont payé: l'accord de gouvernement rendu public ce mercredi mentionne explicitement la nécessité de contribuer à une paix juste au Proche-Orient.
Le prochain exécutif, précise l'accord, effectuera notamment "de nouveaux pas dans le sens d'une politique de différenciation bilatérale et multilatérale à l'égard des colonies israéliennes". Il s'agit d'une étape essentielle (mais non suffisante) à une éventuelle interdiction des biens produits dans ces entités illégales, dont l'existence représente le premier frein au développement du Territoire palestinien occupé (TPO). Il s'engage en outre à mettre en oeuvre des contre-mesures au cas où Israël s'avançait sur la voie de l'annexion du TPO, au niveau de l'Union européenne si possible, avec un nombre plus restreint d'États membres si nécessaire. Cette approche permet d'envisager une réponse crédible aux violations israéliennes du droit international et des droits humains, dans un contexte où il est désormais presque impossible d'obtenir un consensus européen sur cette question. Le texte ouvre également la porte à une reconnaissance de l'État de Palestine.

Independent Jewish Voices Canada - Voix juives indépendantes Canada

Antisemitism is a real problem and must be fought in all its forms. Yet the primary goal of those promoting the IHRA definition of antisemitism is to ban or criminalize criticism of Israel and of Zionism, and silence support for Palestinian rights. The IHRA definition thus represents a threat to the struggle for justice and human rights in Israel/Palestine.

"Open Letter from 435 Canadian Academics Opposing the IHRA Definition of Antisemitism" - "Lettre ouverte de 435 universitaires canadien·ne·s sur la définition de l'antisémitisme selon l'IHRA" :

Nous, membres de la collectivité universitaire canadienne et signataires de la présente pétition, déclarons que nous nous opposons à ce que les universités et autres organismes publics du Canada adoptent la définition de travail de l'antisémitisme formulée par l'Alliance internationale pour la mémoire de l'Holocauste (IHRA).

Academia :

 Webinar & Seminar of the Dpt of Sciences of the Tunisian Beit al-Hikma
Friday, October 30, at 5 pm in Tunis (5 pm in Paris & 11 am in Chicago) 

Speaker : Prof. GEORGE SMITH (Univ. of Missouri, the 2018 Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry) 
Title : "RNA vaccines for COVID-19: Technology and a new vision for the pharmaceutical market."

The lecture will be given in English by video-conference, transmitted live to Beit al-Hikma in Carthage, and simultaneously broadcasted on the Academy's channels (FB and Youtube).
Poster (pdf): click here!  Contact: Prof. Ahmed Abbes.

"Palestine Academy for Science and Technology" (PALAST)

Executive Director: Ayman Al Haj Daoud. Al Bireh, Ramallah.

The Academy is a national independent institution, aiming to catalyze the advancement of science, scientific research, technology and innovation in Palestine, and to effectively deploy them as levers for economic, social and human development. Towards this purpose, the Academy works in sync with all partners from academia, government and business at home and in the diaspora, to coordinate and streamline national efforts in the science and technology fields. The Academy is led by Professor Marwan Awartani, with its headquarters in Jerusalem and offices in Ramallah and Gaza.

"Scientific Journal Refuses Normalization of Illegal Israeli
Settlement-Based Ariel University"

(No Academic Business as Usual with Ariel University, Sept 28):

The scientific journal Molecules has taken steps to avoid normalization of Ariel University, an Israeli academic institution located in an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied Palestinian territory in violation of international law.
Molecules recently announced a
special issue with a guest editor from Ariel University, whose affiliation was falsely listed as "Ariel University, 65 Ramat HaGolan Street, Ariel, Israel." Academics supporting the call from authoritative Palestinian higher education bodies for non-recognition of Ariel University raised concerns with Molecules over this misleading information. In a letter to the editors, they urged the journal to "correctly and factually" indicate the professor's affiliation as "Ariel University, illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel, Occupied Palestinian Territory." Molecules invited the guest editor to correct her affiliation, which she refused to do. As a result, Molecules was forced to withdraw the special issue, which has now been removed from its website

Analyses and Comments :

Ramzy Baroud: "Palestinians Are Not Numbers: On the Future of the Palestinian Discourse" (CounterPunch, Sept 25):

Palestine can never be truly understood through numbers, because numbers are dehumanizing, impersonal, and, when necessary, can also be contrived to mean something else entirely. Numbers are not meant to tell the story of the human condition, nor should they ever serve as a substitute for emotions. Indeed, the stories of life, death - and everything in-between - cannot be truly and fully appreciated through charts, figures and numbers.

"Palestine. Une histoire rythmée par les intifadas"
Maher Al-Charif (OrientXXI, 29 sept):

Fin septembre marquera le vingtième anniversaire de la deuxième intifada, une étape importante dans la lutte du peuple palestinien pour son droit à l'autodétermination. Ce mouvement populaire s'inscrit dans le sillage de deux révoltes historiques : la grève générale et la révolte armée de 1936-1939 contre le mandat britannique sur la Palestine historique, et la première intifada de décembre 1987 en Cisjordanie et dans la bande de Gaza, contre l'occupation israélienne.

Marwa Fatafta, "Rendre des comptes : L'OLP, d'hier à demain"

(Al-Shabaka via: Charleroi Pour la Palestine, 3 oct):

En ces temps de pandémie du Covid-19, génératrice d'un très grand inconfort personnel, de nombreuses pertes en vies humaines et d'un chaos financier à l'échelle planétaire, et au moment où Israël se prépare à annexer en tout ou en partie les Territoires palestiniens occupés (TPO), il est impératif que le peuple transforme la crise en opportunité. Plutôt que d'attendre qu' Israël étrangle lentement l'Autorité palestinienne (AP) mise en place par les accords d'Oslo, il est plus que temps de dissocier l'Organisation de libération de la Palestine (OLP) et l'AP et d'oeuvrer à restaurer le mandat de l'OLP, sa représentativité et ses responsabilités envers le peuple qu'elle prétend représenter.  Continue...

[Titre original: "Accountability: the PLO's Bridge from the Past to the Future," trad. par Jean-Marie Flémal. Le texte fait parti du dossier d'Al-Shabaka (Aug 2020), "Reclaiming The PLO, Re-Engaging Youth" (Reprendre l'OLP, réengager la jeunesse). Pour les données du dossier voir "Resources, ici en-bas."]

Haidar Eid, "Gaza in a World Without Walls"

Edited by the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign:

What does a world without borders mean to a Palestinian living in the besieged Gaza Strip? Or, put differently, what needs to be done in order to remove all the walls, physical and immaterial, surrounding the tiny coastal Strip, which is suffering under a multi-tiered system of oppression? In this essay, I will address the issue from a personal point of view and then move towards addressing the more pressing question of what is to be done?   

Renowned Jewish Historian: "Stop Using the Term 'Antisemitism.'"

Prof. David Engel (professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at NYU) insists events that occurred in different eras and different places aren't necessarily connected (Ofer Aderet, Haaretz, Sept 29):

In the lead article of "Zion" (a quarterly journal of the Historical Society of Israel), which builds on and takes forward his 2009 essay, "Away from a Definition of Antisemitism," Prof. Engel argues that antisemitism is an arbitrary, vague and flawed term used to refer to an overly broad array of historical, social and political phenomena from different eras and different places that aren't necessarily all linked. He takes a stance against the leading scholarly view that says antisemitism has a long history running in a nearly straight line from ancient times until today...


"Columbia University students pass college's first-ever Israel boycott referendum"
(JTA & Hannah Dreyfus, Haaretz, Oct 1):

Students at Columbia University have passed a first-ever referendum to boycott and divest from companies that "profit from or engage in the State of Israel's acts towards Palestinians." The news was released to the Columbia student body via email Tuesday morning, the day after the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. The referendum, which was voted in favor by 61 percent of undergraduate students, follows several previous attempts by Palestinian groups to bring a BDS vote to the student body. Continue...

"Columbia students voted overwhelmingly to divest from Israel, and president responds dismissively - Rashid Khalidi"

(Philip Weiss, Mondoweiss, Oct 3). 

R.Kh.: "When the students express themselves this decisively you would think that the president of a university largely dependent on student tuition would at least make a gesture of respect for their democratically expressed opinion. Instead, the president has shown contempt for the democratic process. I'm not suggesting that students should decide investment policy. I'm suggesting there should be respect for their opinions and this was disrespectful of the opinions of the overwhelming majority of the students of Columbia College."
[Prof. Khalidi is the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia U.]


COVID-19 in the oPt:

Second Palestinian child in Israeli custody tests positive for COVID-19
Defense for Children International Palestine (DCIP), Sept 30:

Ramallah, September 30, 2020 - A 14-year-old Palestinian boy detained by Israeli forces from the occupied West Bank in mid-September tested positive for COVID-19 after spending two days in Israeli custody.
Israeli forces detained the 14-year old Palestinian boy around noon on September 15 in the Bab al-Zawya area of the occupied West Bank city of Hebron. He was transferred to an Israeli police station in Kiryat Arba, an illegal settlement in the southernmost West Bank governorate of Hebron. After he was interrogated and accused of stone-throwing, Israeli authorities transferred him to Etzion detention center around 8 p.m. Around 1:30 a.m. on September 17, Israeli authorities transferred the boy from Etzion detention center to Megiddo prison located inside Israel, north of the occupied West Bank. He arrived at Megiddo prison around 4 a.m. and was placed in a room with two other Palestinian child detainees. On September 17, Israeli authorities administered a COVID-19 test after breakfast, the child told DCIP. Two days later, on September 19, Israeli prison authorities informed the boy he had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. 

PS Already on 23 July Israeli forces imprisoned a 15-year-old child from his home in the Jalazone refugee camp who was the first known case of a Palestinian child detainee contracting the virus... "There is no way Israeli forces can justify the detention of a child currently infected with COVID-19,", Ayed Abu Eqtaish, a program director with DCIP, stated (Tamara Nassar, "Palestinian child jailed by Israel has coronavirus ", EI, 7 Aug).

"Structural violence in the era of a new pandemic:
the case of the Gaza Strip"

by David Mills of Boston's Children's Hospital, Bram Wispelwey of Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital, Rania Muhareb formerly of the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq, and Mads Gilbert of University Hospital of North Norway
THE LANCET, Correspondence, March 26, 2020):

As the world is consumed by the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), it should be of no surprise that epidemics (and indeed, pandemics) are disproportionately violent to populations burdened by poverty, military occupation, discrimination, and institutionalised oppression. Structural violence rooted in historical, political, and social injustices determines health patterns and creates vulnerabilities that hamper the effective prevention, detection, and response to communicable disease outbreaks. In the occupied Gaza Strip, the convergence of these forces in the era of a pandemic have the potential to devastate one of the world's most vulnerable populations. 

Makbula Nassar: "'A glimpse into the chaos': How Israel's COVID-19 policy neglects Palestinian citizens" (+972, Sept 21):

Israel's failure to conduct Arabic outreach and include Arab professionals has made it harder to stem the virus' spread in Palestinian towns, experts warn. Israel entered a weeks-long lockdown on Friday to stem a second wave of the coronavirus... The map of the outbreak is increasingly falling along ethnic, national, and geographic lines - just as poverty and crime have long been. Will we, Palestinian citizens, become Israel's backyard for the coronavirus as well, such that the hardships we endure will barely matter to the country? Continue...

International :

"Euro-Med Monitor regrets EU diplomats visit to southern Israel"
(Euro-Med Monitor, Oct 7):

Geneva - The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor sent a letter (Oct 5) to EU diplomats and ambassadors in the Palestinian Territories to protest against EU diplomatic delegation's visit to Israel's southern region, which borders the besieged Gaza Strip, while neglecting to visit Gaza itself. This visit, Euro-Med noted, may consequently confer legitimacy on Israel's brutal practices against Gaza's population. Continue...

For a copy of the full letter (pdf): click here!

"Israël sloopte voor miljoenen aan Europese projecten" - The Rights Forum (30 sept):

Europese hulpprojecten voor Palestijnen worden door Israël op grote schaal gesloopt. Daarmee is ook Nederlands belastinggeld gemoeid. De kwestie roept twee vragen op. Hoe groot is de schade precies? En waarom grijpt niemand in? - Op 10 september publiceerde de VN-organisatie OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) alarmerende cijfers over het toegenomen aantal Palestijnse bouwwerken dat door Israël op de bezette Westelijke Jordaanoever is gesloopt of geconfisqueerd. In de maanden maart tot en met augustus, waarin de Westoever in de greep van de corona-pandemie was, zijn er 389 gesloopt. Vijftig daarvan waren gefinancierd door internationale donoren.  Continue...

Gregory Mauzé, "Les accords d'Abraham, ou la normalisation de l'injustice" (Association belgo-palestinienne, 26 sept):

En engageant un processus de normalisation entre Israël et ses voisins arabes du Golfe, le duo Trump-Netanyahou montre une nouvelle fois son efficacité à enterrer la question palestinienne, avec la complicité de la communauté internationale... Israël se délectera à n'en pas douter de la généreuse carotte. Les fruits de l'approche européenne seront en revanche bien amers pour les Palestiniens. Selon OCHA, 390 structures civiles ont déjà été détruites ou confisquées en Cisjordanie entre mars et août 2020, et 205 personnes déplacées sur le seul mois d'août. Des chiffres inédits depuis janvier 2017.  Continue...

Philip Weiss, "'Fundamental disrespect for Israel' - AOC's Rabin reversal roils supporters" (Mondoweiss, Sept 29):

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's withdrawal last Friday from an October memorial to Yitzhak Rabin is an act of irreverence for an Israeli leader I don't think we've seen before at her political level; and the drama has roiled the pro-Israel community. A number of advocates weighed in, before Yom Kippur, with apoplexy/concern... "Liberal Zionists were happy when Palestinians had no voice in this country. And now they are horrified at the prospect of having to deal with a counter narrative in an arena where there was always a Zionist monopoly" (Scott Roth).  Continue...

Israel :

Fact Sheet: "What is the Jewish National Fund?" (Institute for Middle East Understanding, June 26):

Since it was established at the Fifth Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, in 1901, the JNF has played a key role in the Zionist movement and subsequently the Israeli government's dispossession of indigenous Palestinians in order to create and maintain a Jewish-majority state in their place. In its early years, it worked to acquire land for European Jewish colonists, often purchasing it from large landowners who lived abroad and dispossessing Palestinian peasant farmers in the process. Continue...

Joseph Haddad, "The other pandemic: Racism" (The Times of Israel, blog, Oct 1):

This past weekend, just before the second lockdown began, when the state was busy with political battles over prayers and protests, Fadi, an Israeli-Arab currently in his medical internship, came to the Yitzhar settlement in order to conduct a coronavirus test for a patient. But when he arrived at the entrance to the settlement, the security guard refused to allow him to enter for the sole reason that he was an Arab. Continue...

Nir Hasson, "The last Jewish community holding out against Zionism" (Haaretz, Aug 18):

The ultra-Orthodox group Eda Haredit does not believe in the State of Israel, Zionism or the Israeli army. One of its most prominent members, Rabbi Mordechai Mintzberg, says the group will never sell out, unlike the rest of the Haredi public.

Palestine Occupied :

"The Palestinian Olive Harvest Is Under Threat"
(HaMoked, Oct 4):

The olive harvest season starts this week - a time of great cultural and economic significance for Palestinian society. This year's harvest is set to be even more challenging than usual, due to Coronavirus restrictions and the freeze in coordination between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. The PA typically facilitates permit applications for Palestinians whose lands are trapped behind the Separation Barrier, and coordinates access to olive groves in restricted areas near Israeli settlements. As a result of the PA's halt in coordination, Palestinians must now go to Israeli military coordination offices (DCOs) to request permits directly.
For the duration of the harvest season
HaMoked - Center for the Defence of the Individual - is expanding its freedom of movement team who will receive calls from individuals and communities, advocate directly with the Israeli military, and petition the courts to ensure Palestinian farmers can access their groves. 

"Following Adalah's legal action against East J'lem home demolitions: Israel freezes demolitions nationwide" (Adalah, 5 Oct 2020):

Hundreds of Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem were left homeless after Israel accelerated home demolitions between first and second wave of COVID-19. Adalah: Israel must allow legal home construction and stop criminalizing Palestinian residents.

"Arbeid onder Israëlische bezetting: surveillance en uitbuiting" (Sira Blancquaert, Anouk Rasson, Heide Vercruysse & Jorn Verschuere, De Wereld Morgen, 1 okt):

Anas begon op zijn 20ste te werken in de bouwsector. Hij woont al zijn hele leven in Jalazone, een vluchtelingenkamp niet ver van Ramallah, in de Westelijke Jordaanoever. In 1977 vestigden Israëlische kolonisten zich in de buurt van het kamp en stichtten ze er Beit El, een illegale nederzetting. Voor inwoners van het Jalazone kamp zijn permanente militaire aanwezigheid, uitkijktorens bemand door Israëlische soldaten en regelmatige patrouilles een dagelijkse realiteit. Continue...

Hagar Shezaf: "Israel to approve 2,500 new settlement homes, after 8-month lull in council's meetings" (Haaretz, Oct 7):

Planned construction includes isolated West Bank settlements and some of it blocks off Palestinian villages and towns. - The Civil Administration's supreme planning council, the Israeli body that approves planning and construction in West Bank settlements, is set to convene on Sunday in order to give final approval for the construction of 2,500 housing units. The planning council will be convening for the first time in eight months. Continue...

Prisoners :

"74 days of hunger strike: Maher al-Akhras continues battle for freedom #SaveMaher #DignityStrike" (Samidoun, Oct 8):

On 8 October, Maher al-Akhras is entering his 74th day of hunger strike for dignity and freedom. The Palestinian prisoner is in serious condition as he continues his strike in protest of his imprisonment without charge or trial under Israeli administrative detention. These detention orders - first introduced to Palestine by the British colonial mandate and used routinely by the Israeli occupation - are indefinitely renewable, and they are used to jail Palestinians for years at a time. There are currently approximately 350 Palestinians jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention among a total of 4,400 Palestinian political prisoners.
Israel's routine and systematic use of administrative detention against Palestinian civilians constitutes a serious violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and Articles 9, 10 and 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as constituting war crimes and crimes against humanity under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Since 1967, at least 50,000 administrative detention orders have been issued by Israeli military officials and courts.

"Palestinian Teen Sentenced to Five Years in Prison" (IMEMC News, Sept 28):

Israeli military court sentenced, on Sunday, a Palestinian child from Jenin refugee camp, in the northern occupied West Bank, to serve 5 years in prison, the Palestinian Information Center reported. Samer Abdul-Karim Awais, 17, was detained by Israeli forces on April 15, 2019, and for 2 months, was isolated and tortured in the Petah Tikva detention center. Continue...

Refugees :

Jaber Suleiman, "Palestinian Refugees and Lebanon's Multilayered Crisis" (Al-Shabaka, Sept 29:

The disastrous explosion that struck Beirut's port on August 4, 2020, greatly exacerbated the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which followed on the heels of the severe financial crisis that had led to massive popular protests in late 2019... This policy memo discusses the effect of this multilayered crisis on the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, the oldest refugee community in the country. Specifically, it examines their coping strategies and addresses the question of responsibility to mitigate the consequences of this crisis on refugees. Continue...

Resources : Books, Documents, Reports...

"The October 2000 Killings (October Uprising)"
(Adalah, 30 Sept 2020):

Between 1 and 8 October 2000, Israeli police officers shot dead 13 young unarmed Palestinian men, 12 citizens of Israel and one resident of Gaza. The 13 deaths and hundreds of injuries occurred when Israeli police opened fire on Palestinian citizens who had taken to the streets to protest against the Israeli military's killing and wounding of scores of Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (West Bank and Gaza) at the outbreak of the Second Intifada. Although the use of lethal force against unarmed protestors is illegal, and none of the individuals shot posed a danger or threat to life to the police or to others, all case files on the killings have since been closed without any of the police officers, commanders, or political leaders responsible being prosecuted or otherwise held to account. The October 2000 killings - also known as the October 2000 Uprising - underscored how precarious is the citizenship status of Palestinian Arab citizens, and how readily the state perceives and treats them as "enemies within". Continue...

# Report: "Reclaiming the PLO, Re-Engaging Youth."

An Al-Shabaka Policy Circle Report (August 2020, pdf, 41p.)

Introduction: The Palestinian national movement is in an acute state of crisis, facing unprecedented obstacles to its quest for self-determination. The Oslo Accords of the 1990s and the statehood project they produced have failed on every count to secure justice for the Palestinian people. On the contrary, Israel is tightening its military control of the Palestinian territory it occupied in 1967 and expanding its illegal settlement enterprise. Meanwhile, annexation of the rest of the occupied territory is rapidly becoming reality.  

Newsletters & Websites:

@ "palestine," Trimestriel bulletin de l'Association belgo-palestinienne /Wallonie-Bruxelles asbl. N°85 - Juillet/Août/Septembre 2020, 47p. Dossier: "Le futur de la Palestine vu par sa jeunesse." S'inscrire au Bulletin Palestine : cliquez-ici. S'inscrire à la Newsletter: cliquez-ici.

@ "Charleroi pour la Palestine", site Web de la Plate-forme Charleroi-Palestine.; s'inscrire à la Newsletter: cliquez-ici.

@ "Palestina Solidariteit", website van Palestina Solidariteit vzw, Lokale groepen: klik hier. Voor dNieuwsbrief: klik hier.

@ "The Rights Forum," (NL) website: Op de Nieuwsbrief inschrijven kan op elke pagina van de site.


"COVID-19 in Palestine: Refugee Camps At Risk" (Mondoweiss)

"Israel and the World Refugee Crisis" (If Americans Knew)

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 (KU Leuven), 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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