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Academic Newsletter N°65 (December 2020)

« We stole the lands of another people, but that's not who we are, we are better than this. »

« We expelled 800,000 of the owners of the land, or made them flee; we renamed their villages and urban neighborhoods and settled our own people in them, but that's not who we are, we are better than this. »

« We uprooted the trees planted by the owners of the land and planted European conifers to cover the ruins of their depopulated villages, which they are not allowed to settle in and many of which we have made our own, but that's not who we are, we are better than this. »

« We massacred the populations of whole villages, tortured their men, raped their women and beat and tortured their children, but that's not who we are, we are better than this ».... [Continue...]

Ronit Lentin, «Traces of Racial Exception,» 2020, Preface.


Spotlight (9) -- Actions (6) -- Academia (6) -- Analyses (8) -- BDS (7) -- COVID-19 (3) -- International (6) -- Israel (7) -- Palestine (12) -- Prisoners (3) -- Refugees (1) -- Resources (13) -- Videos (3)

"Israel's colonialist policy of memoricide"

"Colonialism and the Erasure of Memory"

Nur Masalha, "The Zionist Bible: Biblical Precedent, Colonialism and the Erasure of Memory" (Routledge 2014, p. 148).

"In The Ethnic Cleaning of Palestine the concept of cultural memoricide is deployed by historian Ilan Pappe, where he highlights the systematic scholarly, political and military attempt in post-1948 Israel to de-Arabize and 'ecologicide' the Palestinian terrain, its names, space, ecology, religious sites, its village, town and cityscapes, and its cemeteries, fields, and olive and orange groves an the fruity prickly pears (cactus) famously grown in and around Arab villages and cultivated Arab gardens in Palestine. Pappe conceives of a metaphorical palimpsest at work here, the erasure of the history of one people in order to write that of another people over it; the reduction of many layers to a single layer"

Cf. Ian Pappe, "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine", Ch. 10, "The Memoricide of the Nakba" (2006, pp. 225-234).

Foto: Palestinian Nakba village Dana (Baysan), 2010 (photo: Noga Kadman)

"How Nakba villages sunk into Israeli landscape"

Noga Kadman, "Erased from Space and Consciousness"
(November Books, 2008, Introduction, in: +972 Magazine, May 16, 2011)

The Judaization of the space and memory is manifest in a pattern of marginalizing the Palestinian depopulated villages in every aspect of Israeli discourse examined in this research: the erasing of most of the villages' names and the Hebraization of a majority of the rest; the elimination of many villages from the map and the blurring of the identity of those that appear on it; JNF's and NPA's disregard of the majority of the villages and the suppression of the identity, history and circumstances of depopulation of those that are still mentioned by the organizations; the acceptance of the dispossession of Palestinian villages through establishment of Jewish communities on their sites or lands, while minimizing the interaction with their history, the circumstances of their depopulation, and the question of the moral aspect of using their homes and properties. Continue...

Palestinians flee Qumiya village during the Nakba in 1948 (Archive/Palestine Remembered)

"How do Nakba denial and memoricide impact Palestinian refugees' right of return?"

"The Nakba 72 Years On: The Current Status of the Question of Palestine."

Tamara Kharroub (Arab Center Washington DC, May 15, 2020)

The events of 1948, the start of the Nakba, mark the destruction of historical Palestine and the ethnic cleansing and permanent dispossession of the Palestinian people. This was planned and implemented by Zionist militias through violence, terror, psychological warfare, expulsion, demolitions, land and property confiscation, massacres, and rape -- among other horrific methods of population transfer and demographic engineering -- to make way for the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine...
With the majority of the Palestinian population today living under occupation and apartheid, in statelessness, and under siege, facing discrimination as second-class citizens, in exile, or as refugees, the Nakba is ongoing. The right to memorialization of the Nakba and its ongoing aftermath is not only a human right. It is an essential step in any process of transitional justice and accountability and for a just, lasting, and peaceful resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Only when the Palestinian Nakba is officially recognized can there be steps toward a resolution of the decades-long conflict...

A sticker has been removed but the Arabic remains hidden on a street sign along the central King George Street in Jerusalem. (Ben Reiff)

"The Israeli right is erasing Arabic from Jerusalem, one street sign at a time" 

Ben Reiff (+972, September 24, 2020:

A campaign by right-wing activists to strike off Arabic from Jerusalem street signs goes hand in hand with government attempts to uproot the city's Palestinian identity.
It has been two years since the passage of the controversial Jewish Nation-State Law, which, in addition to asserting Jewish supremacy over the "Land of Israel," officially downgraded the status of the Arabic language in Israel. But while the Nation-State Law was drafted in the halls of parliament, it seems that activists on the ground have taken on its implementation. This is becoming particularly apparent in Jerusalem, where right-wing Israeli activists are attempting to erase Arabic from the city's landscape.

Partial view of of the historical Mamilla Cemetery, Jerusalem [Yoninah/Wikipedia]

"Palestine's Mamilla Cemetery and Israel's colonial project"

Mustafa Fatih Yavuz (Middle East Monitor, Jan 25, 2018):

For centuries, Mamilla Cemetery has been a burial place for Muslims. Some of the Blessed Companions of Prophet Muhammad are buried there, as are some of Salahuddin Al-Ayyoubi's soldiers and generals.
Following the 1967 occupation of the rest of Jerusalem, the Islamic Waqf (Endowment) Department submitted a petition to get the cemetery back and resume burials there.
The Israeli authorities rejected this, and the Jerusalem municipality took the first step to erase Palestinian heritage from the area by turning a large part of the cemetery into a public space, called ''Independence Park''. Many graves were removed in the process, as they were years later when cafés, a car park and, ironically, a "Museum of Tolerance" were planned for the cemetery...
In 2010, the Israeli Land Administration bulldozed 300 Muslim gravestones in the cemetery. The following year, another 100 were destroyed.
Vandals from the "Price tag" settlers' group attacked the cemetery in 2011, spraying ''Death to the Arabs" on gravestones.
''The bulldozing of historic cemeteries is the ultimate act of territorial aggrandisement,"
said Yale University Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology Harvey Weiss, "the erasure of prior residents.'' Continue...

Israeli security forces stand by as Palestinian Muslim worshippers pray outside Lions' Gate, a main entrance to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City, on 24 July 2017 [AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images]

"Israel demolishes historic stairway leading to Al-Aqsa Mosque"

(Middle East Monitor, Nov 30, 2020)

The Israeli Jerusalem Municipality yesterday demolished a historic stairway which leads to the Al-Aqsa Mosque's Lions' Gate (Bab Al-Asbat) and the Old City of Jerusalem.
The head of the Committee for the Preservation of Islamic Cemeteries in Jerusalem, Mustafa Abu Zahra said the Jerusalem Municipality's teams, accompanied by a bulldozer, stormed the Bab Al-Asbat area and demolished the stairway leading to the Yusufia cemetery.

"Israeli Army, Dozens of Settlers Invade Ancient Plot in Sebastia"

(International Middle East Media Center - IMEMC, Nov 25):

The Israeli army, Wednesday, provided cover for dozens of extremist Israeli settlers to invade the archeological site in Sebastia, north of Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank, according to a local official. Mayor of Sebastia, Mohammad Azzem told Palestinian WAFA News Agency that while illegal Israeli colonists stormed the ancient location, Israeli soldiers fired tear-gas canisters and concussion grenades, no injuries were reported. Azzem pointed out that Israeli colonialist settlers have urged others to storm the site often, with the intention of claiming rights to the sacred site.
Israeli soldiers, along with settlers recurrently
invade this plot of land, while Palestinian authorities have no security rights over the site. The Sebastia archeological site is under Palestinian civil control and joint Israeli-Palestinian security control, as categorized under the Oslo Accords, as it is located in "Area B" which makes up 22% of the occupied West Bank.


"Appropriating the Past: Israel's Archaeological Practices in the West Bank"

('Emek Shaveh,' Dec 26, 2017):

The West Bank is an area rich in antiquities - a reminder of the long and varied history of the region. Israel began to take interest in the antiquity sites in the West Bank immediately after it occupied the area in 1967 and has since used archaeology as a central tool for deepening its control over the West Bank. Continue...

Emek Shaveh is an Israeli NGO working to prevent the politicization of archaeology in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Download the full report "Appropriating the Past. Israel's Archeological Practices in the Westbank" (Yesh Din & Emek Shaveh, Dec 2017,pdf, 40p.)

« The memory of dispossession, dispossessing memory. »
Israeli networks commemorising the Nakba.

Ronit Lentin (2008)*

Introduction. In 2005 the British Council sponsored the Dublin production of the Tricycle Theatre's Bloody Sunday: Scenes from the Saville Inquiry (Tricycle 2005: 1). The extraordinary thing about the British Council's support is that this verbatim theatre show documents the inquiry into arguably the worst act of stateviolence against unarmed civilians in Northern Ireland, a statelet (Lentin and McVeigh 2006) still under British rule... The events this memorial theatre performance commemorates raise a parallel with the aftermath of October 2000, when 13 unarmed Palestinians citizens of Israel were shot by Israeli special police sniper units during demonstrations against Israel's oppressive policies against Palestinians in the Occupied Territories after the onset of the al-Aqsa Intifada. Continue...

*[pdf, 13p., Ronit Lentin is a writer, activist and Ass. Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.]

Actions & Calls : 

Khalida Jarrar Smuggles A Letter for 'Palestine Writes'

(Palestine Writes Literature Festival, Oct 17)

From the Israeli Damon prison located at the top of Mount Carmel in Haifa, I extend my greetings to you on behalf of myself and my 40 fellow women Palestinian freedom fighters in Israeli prisons. We extend our salute and due respect is to all writers, scholars, intellectuals and artists who speak the truth and call for the freedom and justice of all people and who defend people’s right to self-determination and oppose the colonial racist domination.
On this occasion, please allow me to also send our greetings and support to all Arab writers, scholars, intellectuals and artists who reject normalization with Israel’s settler colonial system and who have refused to accept the Emirati, Bahraini and Sudanese normalization agreements with the Zionist entity...


Jordan Valley Solidarity has been working with volunteers and the local community to establish a new way-marked walking trail along the valley to highlight the natural beauty of the area, the uniqueness of its wildlife, and the history of its Palestinian inhabitants.

"Help JVS keep moving, despite Israeli repression"

Jordan Valley Solidarity - A Network of Palestinian groups network community from all over the Jordan Valley and international supporters

Dear Friends, Once again we are calling on you to support Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley. Israeli Occupation forces have confiscated our vehicle. Those of you who have visited and spent time with us in the Jordan Valley know that Palestinians cannot use the apartheid public transport system. So, without a vehichle we are stranded!
We urgently need your help to buy a car for the campaign.
All donations matter to us, no matter how big or small - we are strengthened by your solidarity. If you can share with your family, friends or organisations, that also makes a really bid difference!

« One Democratic State Campaign Manifesto »

Preamble: The two-state solution, which is basically an unfair solution, is clearly dead. Israel buried it deep under its colonial settlement policies in the territories that were supposed to become the independent Palestinian state. Israel has imposed a single repressive regime that extends over all the Palestinians who live in historic Palestine, including those with Israeli citizenship...

The Political Program:
1. A Single Constitutional Democracy. One Democratic State shall be established between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River as a state belonging to all its citizens, including the Palestinian refugees. All citizens will enjoy equal rights, freedom and security... Continue...

List of people who already signed the Manifesto (7/12: 208 signatures)
Jef Halper Introduces Call for One Democratic State Campaign (ODSC) (ICAHD, Nov 25).

"ODSC statement on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People" (Nov 29).

"L'accélération du nettoyage ethnique de la Palestine appelle des sanctions immédiates"

Association belgo-palestinienne (Nov 9):

L'Association belgo-palestinienne (ABP) salue la prompte réaction du gouvernement belge aux dernières destructions d'infrastructures civiles en Cisjordanie et l'appelle instamment à joindre la parole aux actes en prenant immédiatement  des contre-mesures contre Israël. 
L'année 2020 aura été particulièrement sombre pour les Palestiniens.


« Palestinian and regional human rights organizations submit joint urgent appeal to UN Special Procedures on the escalating water and sanitation crisis in the Gaza Strip, oPt »

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights (Nov 10, 2020)

Yesterday, four Palestinian and regional human rights organizations submitted a joint urgent appeal to the United Nations (UN) Special Procedures on the escalating water and sanitation crisis in the Gaza Strip, occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). Notably, this appeal highlights the sharp deterioration of the water and sanitation conditions in Gaza resulting from the increased punitive measures imposed by Israel against the civilian population in August 2020. Continue...

Urgent appeal submitted by: ++ 'Al Mezan Center for Human Rights,' ++ 'Al-Haq - Law in the Service of Man,' ++ 'Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies,' ++ 'Habitat International Coalition - Housing and Land Rights Network.'

" Conférence pour une voie palestinienne alternative.
Vers un nouvel engagement révolutionnaire, Madrid - Espagne, Oct - Nov 2021. "

« Si nous sommes des défenseurs infructueux de la cause, alors il vaut mieux que nous changions les défenseurs, et non la cause » (Ghassan Kanafani).

Lundi 2 novembre, plusieurs personnalités et organisations palestiniennes en Palestine occupée et dans la diaspora ont lancé un appel pour l'organisation de la « Conférence pour la voie palestinienne alternative » qui se tiendra à Madrid du 31 octobre au 2 novembre 2021. Cette initiative coïncide avec le trentième anniversaire de la Conférence de Madrid de 1991 qui a ouvert la voie au processus de liquidation des accords d'Oslo. Dans un appel traduit en français, les organisateurs soulignent que « l'approche politique palestinienne représentée par la direction de l'Organisation de Libération de la Palestine qui ont conduits aux désastreux accords d'Oslo, sont arrivés à la conclusion attendue : un échec total. »

Academia :

« Free to Think 2020 »

Scholars at Risk Network (Nov. 18, 2020)

'Free to Think 2020' analyzes 341 attacks on higher education communities in 58 countries between September 1, 2019 and August 31, 2020. The report draws on data from SAR's Academic Freedom Monitoring Project and identifies trends related to attacks on higher education communities.
The Project aims to identify, assess and track incidents involving one or more of six defined types of conduct which may constitute violations of academic freedom and/or the human rights of members of higher education communities: + Killings/violence/disappearances + Wrongful imprisonment/detention + Wrongful prosecution  + Restrictions on travel or movement + Retaliatory discharge/loss of position/expulsion from study + Other significant events.

Regarding the Occupied Palestinien Territories (extracts, pdf): 
ch.7: "Wrongful Imprisonment and Prosecution of Scholars," &
ch. 9, "Global Threats to Student Expression":
click here!

"Centre for Palestine Studies" (CPS)

CPS was established in 2012 under the umbrella of the
London Middle East Institute at SOAS

For SOAS, the study of Palestine and Palestinians has always been a prominent feature of research and teaching, involving a considerable number of staff and students. The CPS provides an institutional home for this work across the various disciplines represented at SOAS, including Politics, History, Development Studies, Economics, Anthropology, Gender Studies, Law, Media and Film Studies, Art, and Music.

« Academia for Equality »

Academia for Equality is a members' organization working to promote democratization, equality and access to higher education for all communities living in Israel.

Solidarity with Palestinian Academia and the struggle against the Occupation.

Our team works to develop in a responsible and ethical way ties and solidarity relations with individual Palestinian academics and academic institutions. We advance solidarity work among other things by turning the spotlight on Israeli academy complicity and collusion with the occupation, militarization, and the repression of Palestinian academia. We protest violations of academic freedoms, as well as of Palestinian basic rights and freedoms. 
We would like to extend an open invitation to colleagues from Palestine, the Palestinian diaspora, and from around the world to get in touch with us and consider us as potential hosts for talks and lectures. Head team: Anat Matar, contact:

« Déclaration sur l'antisémitisme et la question de Palestine »

(Mediapart, 30 nov, avec la liste des 122 signataires):

Nous, soussignés, universitaires, artistes, journalistes, et intellectuels, Palestiniens et Arabes, affirmons par la présente déclaration notre position au sujet de la définition de l'antisémitisme produite par l'Alliance internationale pour la mémoire de l'Holocauste (AIMH), ainsi que sur son adoption, interprétation et diffusion dans plusieurs pays d'Europe et d'Amérique du Nord...

Nous considérons que les principes qui suivent sont fondamentaux à cet égard:

1. Le combat contre l'antisémitisme doit se dérouler dans le cadre du droit international et des droits humains. Il doit être indissociable de la lutte contre toutes les formes de racisme et de xénophobie, y compris l'islamophobie et les racismes anti-arabe et anti-palestinien. Ce combat doit avoir pour finalité d'assurer la liberté et l'émancipation de tout groupe humain opprimé. Il est donc profondément dénaturé quand on le dévie pour servir à la défense d'un État oppresseur et prédateur... Continue...

> David N. Myers, "Yes, Palestinians have the right to speak about antisemitism" (Forward, Dec 4).

"The government should not impose a faulty definition of antisemitism on universities"

David Feldman(The Guardian, Dec 2):

David Feldman is director of the 'Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism'
at Birkbeck, University of London

We all know how the path to hell is paved. But it is a warning worth repeating for Gavin Williamson. The Secretary of state for education intends to rid universities in England of antisemitism, but his intervention not only threatens to provoke strife and confusion - it also places academic freedom and free speech on campus at risk. 
In October,
Williamson wrote to all university vice-chancellors "requesting" they adopt a particular definition of antisemitism: the "working definition" promulgated by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) in 2016. Williamson is not the first minister to write to universities on this matter, but he has been more forceful than his predecessors. His letter demands action by Christmas, and threatens swingeing measures against refusenik institutions that later suffer antisemitic incidents. He threatens to remove funding and the power to award degrees from universities that do not share his faith in the efficacy of the IHRA working definition. The IHRA 'working definition' is confusing and divisive. Forcing its adoption will not help protect Jewish students and staff. Continue...

"Palestinian student prisoner Layan Kayed's message to her family"

(Samidoun, 5 Dec 2020)

Palestinian students continue to face harsh repression in Israeli jails. Layan Kayed, a Bir Zeit university student imprisoned by the Israeli occupation since June 2020, wrote the following letter to her family in December, following her isolation for potential COVID-19 exposure. Before she was seized by occupation forces, she noted: "The occupation knows that students are the most active and dynamic sector of society - especially at a time when political parties are less and less effective." Layan is among dozens of Palestinian university students from Bir Zeit University alone jailed for their political activities, and among 40 women prisoners, including feminist leaders Khitam Saafin and Khalida JarrarShe sent the following moving letter, highlighting the emotional effects of imprisonment on detained Palestinians: "Our relationship with prison is that of a constant attempt to tame us and alienate us..." 

Analyses and Comments :

An undated picture, likely taken in the 1930s, shows the Old City of Jerusalem (AFP)

« Nakba: The forgotten 19th century origins of the Palestinian catastrophe. »

Zionist Jewish colonisation of Palestine was a culmination of European Christian efforts to colonise the country in the 1800s.

Joseph Massad* (Middle East Eye, May 14, 2020) 

The Nakba, Palestinians' loss of their lands and homes, arguably began in the 1880s with the arrival of the first Zionist Jewish colonists, who evicted Palestinians from land the colonists had purchased from absentee landlords... But Zionist Jewish colonisation of Palestine was a culmination of European Christian efforts to colonise Palestine since Napoleon's invasion and defeat in Acre in 1799 at the hands of the Ottomans and their British allies. Indeed, this European Christian colonisation of the country throughout much of the 19th century was the prelude to Zionist Jewish colonisation at the end of it.
Fanatical missionaries. While the Protestant Reformation was the first Christian European movement to call for Jews to be converted and "return" to Palestine, it was the British who began the plans for colonisation and Christianisation pioneered by the fanatical missionaries of the London Society for Promoting Christianity Amongst the Jews (founded in 1809), known popularly as the London Jews Society...   Continue...

* Joseph Massad is Professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History at Columbia University in New York.

"Palestinians and their Leadership: Restoring the PLO."

Marwa Fatafta, Al-Shabaka, 8 Dec 2020).

This commentary is an excerpt from a larger report, "Reclaiming the PLO, Re-engaging Youth," published in August 2020.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause great personal hardship, loss of human life, and financial chaos across the globe, and as Israel remains on the brink of de jure annexation of parts of the West Bank, the Palestinian people must transform crisis into opportunity. Rather than wait for Israel to slowly strangle the Palestinian Authority (PA) that was established as an interim governing body during the Oslo Accords, it is past time to separate the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) from the PA and to work to restore the PLO's mandate, representativeness, and accountability to the people it claims to represent.

Deema Salha, an 11-year-old girl with cerebral palsy and an intellectual disability, in the yard of her home in the Gaza Strip. Deema uses a nebulizer when she has trouble breathing, which she cannot operate without electricity, putting her health at risk. © 2020 Yousef Mashhrawi.

"Gaza: Israeli Restrictions Harm People with Disabilities."
Neglect by Hamas Authorities, Armed Conflict Cause Further Hardship.

Human Rights Watch, Dec 3, 2020.

Israel's 13-year closure of the Gaza Strip along with neglect by Hamas authorities, significantly encumber the day-to-day life of tens of thousands of Palestinians with disabilities, Human Rights Watch said today on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Episodes of armed conflict have compounded the barriers that people with disabilities face, which include lack of accessibility of public spaces and widespread stigma.
Sweeping Israeli restrictions on the movement of people and goods, at times exacerbated by restrictive policies by Palestinian authorities, curb access to assistive devices, health care, and electricity essential to many people with disabilities. Chronic power outages in particular jeopardize the rights of many people with disabilities who need light to communicate using sign language, or need equipment powered by electricity to move, including elevators and electric mobility scooters.

Israeli soldiers search Palestinian houses during a raid in the West Bank al-Fawwar refugee camp, south of Hebron, in August 2016. Photograph: Mussa Qawasma/Reuters.

"Dehumanising: Israeli groups' verdict on military invasions of Palestinian homes."

Critical report details the trauma of families as soldiers describe midnight raids in the occupied territories. 

Peter Beaumont (The Guardian, Nov 29)

A damning report by three Israeli human rights groups has condemned the military's widespread practice of entering Palestinian homes in the occupied territories, often in the middle of the night. The report, which includes testimonies of soldiers, doctors and Palestinian families, claims that Israeli troops enter homes on average more than 250 times every month to conduct arrests but also for other purposes including "mapping" houses, to use roofs for observation posts or to search for money, weapons or for intelligence purposes...  Avner Gvaryahu, the executive director of Breaking the Silence, who himself conducted home invasions while a sergeant in a sniper unit, described the report as exposing part of the occupation more often hidden from wider public view.
"Like checkpoints and the separation barrier it is part of the DNA of the occupation. For soldiers like myself it ended when we walked back to the jeep and went back to camp to sleep. But for Palestinians it is a long-term trauma. What it means is that you cannot feel safe in your own home or bed. For me the last memory is of the piercing looks of fear and hatred." Continue...

Thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel take part in March of Return to the destroyed village of Hadatha, near Tiberias, April 23, 2015. (Activestills).

"For a new political imagination, Israeli Jews must unlearn Zionism."

As Israelis, our task is not only to recognize the expulsion of Palestinians in 1948 - it is to train our imagination to build a shared place to live in freedom and equality.

Norma Musih (+972 Magazine, May 24, 2020).

For Israeli Jews, unlearning Zionism means understanding the ideology not only as a national movement but as a colonial one - in other words, understanding it through the lens of the Nakba. Among other things, this requires learning the history that is not taught in Israeli schools: the dispossession of the native Palestinian population since 1948, the expulsion of over 700,000 Palestinians, and the destruction of hundreds of towns and villages. This is not an easy move for Jewish Israelis, but it remains a necessary one.

"Hagai El-Ad's address at the European Parliament Committee on Human Rights, 16 Nov. 2020" (B'Tselem):

Two weeks ago, on November 3rd, Israel carried out one of its biggest demolition operations in a decade. Khirbet Humsah, an entire Palestinian community in the northern Jordan valley, was demolished within hours. Seventy-four people were left homeless, 41 of them children. Tens of structures, people's homes and livelihood, were destroyed.
Humsah is not alone. For years, Israel has been targeting dozens of Palestinian communities throughout the occupied West Bank. It is a criminal policy of forcible transfer. Israel is turning the lives of these communities into a prolonged nightmare, in order to force them to give up and leave. A nightmare of years of hardship without running water or a connection to the power grid, of home demolitions, of having to repeatedly vacate your home so Israeli troops can train on your land, of ongoing violence by settlers backed by Israeli security forcesAnd sometimes, all this organized state violence is condensed into a few dark hours, as happened in Humsah. But whether it takes years or mere hours, it is a war crime.
The European Union has 'responded' by calling this a "regrettable trend" and saying that "such developments constitute an impediment towards the two-state solution."   

A Palestinian man looks towards the Israeli settlement of Shavei Shomron built next to the Palestinian village of Naqoura, west of Nablus in the occupied West Bank, on 23 November 2020. [JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP via Getty Images]

"Moving past apartheid: one-state is not ideal justice, but it is just and possible"

(Ramzy Baroud, Middle East Monitor, Nov 26):

Once again, Europe's top diplomats expressed their "deep concern" regarding Israel's ongoing illegal settlement expansion, again evoking the maxim that Israeli actions "threaten the viability of the two-state solution"...
The question, then, is: "Why does the West continue to use the two-state solution as its political parameter for a resolution to the Israeli occupation of Palestine while, at the same time, failing to take any meaningful measure to ensure its implementation?"
The answer lies, partly, in the fact that the two-state solution was never devised for implementation, to begin with.  Like the "peace process" and other pretenses, it aimed to promote, among Palestinians and Arabs, the idea that there is a goal worth striving for, despite it being unattainable... Continue...

Visitors seen at the Yad Vashem in Jerusalem ahead of Holocaust Remembrance Day, April 28, 2019. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

"For the Jewish state, the Holocaust is a tool to be manipulated"

Orly Noy (+972 Magazine, Nov 20):

If Zionism previously justified its crimes against the Palestinian people in the name of the Holocaust, today it uses the Holocaust as a tool to justify antisemitism itself in exchange for political profit. More than that: it allows an antisemite to define what antisemitism is. This is the bitter truth we face today - for the official State of Israel, the concept of the Holocaust and antisemitism are purely political means, and as such can be manipulated, distorted, and deceived, just like any other political tool. 

BDS vs Antisemitism:

Leaders of German cultural institutions spoke out against the dangers they see in the Bundestag resolution at a press conference on December 10, 2020. Credit: Itay Mashiach.

« In Germany, a Witch Hunt Is Raging Against Critics of Israel. Cultural Leaders Have Had Enough. »

Scholars are boycotted for signing a petition, artists are subjected to background checks and critical texts are censored. Now, in an unprecedented move, leaders of top German cultural institutions have joined forces to declare: enough.

Itay Mashiach (Haaretz, Dec 12)

Across Germany a fierce campaign is underway against every person, organization or event that holds anti-Israel views, whether real or surmised.
The heart of the matter lies in a resolution passed in May 2019 by the Bundestag, the German parliament. Confirmed by a large majority, the resolution states that BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions), the movement that calls for a boycott of Israel, bears an antisemitic character. In the resolution, which is nonbinding, the Bundestag called on the government "not to financially support any projects that call for the boycott of Israel, or actively support the BDS campaign."
Despite the parliamentary consensus, the passage of the resolution was steeped in controversy. About 100 members of the Bundestag who supported the resolution published personal declarations expressing concern that it would nonetheless impinge on freedom of speech and affect people's ability to criticize Israeli policy. In addition, 240 Jewish and Israeli intellectuals came out strongly against the resolution. Continue...

Le secrétaire d'État américain Mike Pompeo, le Premier ministre israélien Benjamin Netanyahou et le ministre des Affaires étrangères du Bahreïn Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani lors d'une conférence de presse à Jérusalem, ce 18 novembre. (Photo : Menahem Kahana UPI)

"L'administration sortante des États-Unis qualifie BDS d'« antisémite »

Tamara Nassar (The Electronic Intifada),
via Charleroi pour la Palestine, trad. Jean-Marie Flémal (19 nov):

Jeudi, le secrétaire d'État américain Mike Pompeo a formellement qualifié le mouvement de boycott, désinvestissement et sanctions (BDS) en faveur des droits palestiniens d'« antisémite » et a exprimé le souhait de voir l'administration américaine sortante le combattre.
Pompeo a également déclaré que les marchandises produites dans les colonies installées sur les terres palestiniennes occupées devaient être étiquetées « made in Israel » - masquant ainsi le fait qu'elles étaient produites dans les colonies implantées dans les territoires occupés en violation des lois internationales.
Cela s'appliquera à tous les produits de zone C - les 60 pour 100 de la Cisjordanie sous le seul contrôle militaire d'Israël, suite aux accords d'Oslo des années 1990. C'est la zone où sont situées la plupart des colonies israéliennes. Continue...

Allison Kaplan Sommer, "Americans for Peace Now refuses to adopt 'weaponized' definition of antisemitism" (Haaretz, Dec 4):

Americans for Peace Now, a nonprofit whose stated aim is to help find a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is refusing a request from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's working definition of antisemitism. U.S. Jewish nonprofit says the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition is "already being abused to quash legitimate criticism and activism directed at Israeli government policies." Continue...

Protesters stage a demonstration outside Germany's Representative Office in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank following the Bundestag's condemnation of the BDS movement on 22 May 2019 (AFP)

"EU Vows to Fight Antisemitism 'In All Its Forms,' Calling It an Attack on European Values."

Danielle Ziri (Haaretz, Dec 2):

EU says it is committed to "protecting Jewish life and making it more visible as part of Europe' identity," after spike in antisemitic incidents in recent years.
Wednesday's declaration by the EU council reaffirmed its December 6, 2018, declaration on the fight against antisemitism and development of a common security approach to protect Jewish communities and institutions in Europe.

"Boycott des produits israéliens : la France persiste à y voir un délit en dépit de la décision de la CEDH"

Ghislain Poissonnier & François Dubuisson (, 12 déc 2020):

Bien que condamnée par la CEDH pour avoir interdit l'appel au boycott des produits israéliens, la France semble s'obstiner. C'est en tout cas ainsi que l'on peut comprendre une récente circulaire adressée aux parquets par le ministère de la justice. Les explications de François Dubuisson, professeur à l'Université Libre de Bruxelles et Ghislain Poissonnier, magistrat. 

Shlomo Sand : "Antisémitisme ? Dites plutôt judéophobie" (Charleroi pour Palestine, 24 nov): 

Dans mon livre " Une race imaginaire - Courte histoire de la judéophobie " (publié en français chez Seuil, en 2020), je traite de l'histoire de la judéophobie, un terme également utilisé par Leon Pinsker, dirigeant au 19e siècle du mouvement des Amants de Sion et qui, lui aussi, préférait ce terme à "antisémitisme". Continue...

Noa Landau, "Mossad involved in anti-boycott activity, Israeli minister's datebooks reveal" (Haaretz, June 12, 2019):

The datebooks of Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan for 2018 reveal that he cooperated with the Mossad in the fight against the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. The diaries, which were released in response to a Freedom of Information request, show that Erdan met with Mossad head Yossi Cohen about "the struggle against the boycott."  Continue...

COVID-19 in the oPt:

Press Release, Nov 29: "Unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases in the Gaza Strip"

Al Mezan warns of humanitarian catastrophe due to scarce medical resources.

In its latest update on Saturday, 28 November 2020, the Palestinian Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza noted that the last round of COVID-19 testing brought the total to 19,160 confirmed cases, including 90 deaths. The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations rose to 334 cases, occupying 78% of the hospital beds designated for COVID-19 in-patients...
The unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases in Gaza will soon overwhelm the underequipped health sector. Al Mezan warns of a looming catastrophe facing the population in Gaza, and highlights the role of Israel's closure and punitive measures in disrupting the health sector's development. 

Two policemen pray on Al-Rimal St (central Gaza Strip) while taking preventative measures against COVID-19 upon the announcement of the emergence of two cases of Gazan men infected with the virus (22 March 2020). Photo by Samar Abu Elouf.

"In Palestine, the Unequal Effects of an Epidemic in a Settler Colony"

Osama Tanous, Jadaliyya, March 25, 2020:

We are far from comprehending the full scale of potential harm to people's lives and the economy due to the COVID-19 outbreak. In the complicated reality of Palestine/Israel, where the outbreak is just beginning, it requires a deeper analysis... There are conditions that are specific to settler colonialism, a form of colonialism that seeks to replace the original population of the colonized territory with a new society of settlers. Settler colonialism is enacted by a variety of means ranging from violent depopulation of the previous inhabitants, to more subtle, legal means such as assimilation or recognition of indigenous identity within a colonial framework. With Israel being a settler-colonial society, the medical history of colonialism provides some lessons. The current pandemic also exposes how over seven decades of settler-colonial rule, military occupation, checkpoints, and military assaults have engineered a reality of an already dystopian, quarantined, overpopulated, and incarcerated Palestine.

Osama Tanous examining patients and training physicians in Gaza while on a humanitarian medical aid trip in January 2020. Courtesy of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights.

"The Dilemmas of Practicing Humanitarian Medicine in Gaza"

Osama Tanous (MER 12.8.2020).
(Forthcoming in MERIP issue 297 "Health and the Body Politic")

...There is a basic logic to all humanitarian medicine. It goes like this: War and siege cause a humanitarian crisis resulting in a shortage of doctors and medications. Delegations of physicians from outside the war zone deliver medications to ease the suffering and provide humanitarian relief. This logic was shattered during my visits.
Israeli attacks on Gaza tend to fill the media with images of dead bodies, injured families, shattered buildings and pitted streets. Most images of medical aid in Gaza are thus also tied to these wartime scenes and reveal bombed hospitals, war injuries such as burns or amputated limbs and children with severe malnutrition. Everyday life under siege, on the other hand, with its toxicities, anger, frustration and power cuts along with the suffocation of dreams, aspirations and mobility (not to mention the crippling notion that you might live and die without ever leaving Gaza) occupies very little of the outside world's conception of life in Gaza
.  Continue...

[MERIP: Middle East Research and Information Project]

International :

The EU is helping fund a waste treatment plant in the Maaleh Admumim settlement bloc in the occupied West Bank. Mahfouz Abu Turk APA images.

"Why is the EU helping Israel treat its waste in the West Bank?"

Adri Nieuwhof  (The Electronic Intifada, 10 December 2020)

Three European firms are bidding for a role in a new more environmentally-friendly waste-to-energy plant in the Israeli settlement of Maaleh Adumim
The location of the plant - in occupied territory, and therefore illegal under international law - has also not deterred the European Union, which
supports the implementation of a 2030 Israeli strategic waste management plan that includes the Maaleh Adumim plant with $1.8 million. Transferring the treatment of Israeli waste to the occupied West Bank is illegal under international law. It does not in any way benefit the indigenous Palestinian population. The EU should immediately revoke its support for the project.
The twinning project claims it wants "to contribute to the protection of human health and environment in Israel." Apparently, human health, according to the EU, does not extend to Palestinians. 

"Saudi prince: Bully Israel steals land, puts Palestinians in concentration camps" (Raphael Ahren, The Times of Israel,, Dec 6):

A prominent Saudi prince harshly criticized Israel on Sunday at a Bahrain security summit that was remotely attended by Israel's foreign minister. Prince Turki al-Faisal, who led Saudi intelligence for more than two decades and served as ambassador to the US and UK, said any normalization deals needed to help the Palestinians obtain their own independent state. - Prince Turki al-Faisal says Israel is a "Western colonizing power" incarcerating Palestinians in "concentration camps." Continue...

[Picture: Turki al-Faisal bin Abdulziz al-Saud attends the Manama Dialogue security conference in the Bahraini capital, December 5, 2020. Credit: MAZEN MAHDI - AFP]

Noa Landau, "UN votes overwhelmingly in support of Palestinian self-determination" (Haaretz, Nov 20):

While Pompeo makes unprecedented visit to a West Bank settlement, a General Assembly committee redoubled its commitment to a two-state solution. - A UNGA committee endorsed on Thursday by an overwhelming majority a draft resolution recognizing "the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the right to their independent State of Palestine." 163 states voted in favor, including Canada, where Jewish groups were split between condemning the government's decision to vote in favor and applauding it. Continue...

Moshé Machover, "An Immoral Dilemma: The Trap of Zionist Propaganda"

(Journal of Palestine Studies, 47(4), August 2018. Reprinted in: "Dangerous Conflation: Zionism, Israel, and Anti-Semitism," 2019, pp. 6-13):

POLITICAL ZIONISM IS based on the fallacy that there exists a single nation encompassing all the world's Jews. How can Zionism claim that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, since the only attribute shared by all Jews is Judaism, a religion and not an attribute of nationhood in any modern sense of the word? Jews can belong to various nations - a Jew may be French, American, Indian, Argentinian, and so forth - but being Jewish excludes other religious affiliations. Thus, this essay argues, the Zionist claim that all the world's Jews constitute a single distinct national entity is an ideological myth, invented as a misconceived way of dealing with the persecution and discrimination suffered by European Jews, in particular. Indeed, from its earliest iterations and up to the present day, Zionism - a colonizing project - has been fueled by an inverted form of anti-Semitism: if, as it claims, Israel acts on behalf of all Jews everywhere, then all Jews must be collectively held responsible for the actions of that state - clearly an anti-Semitic position. Continue...

"Labour purges veteran Israeli anti-Zionist Moshé Machover"

Asa Winstanley (The Electronic Intifada, 3 Dec 2020).

Three years after he managed to reverse an unjust expulsion from the UK's Labour Party, Moshé Machover has been purged again. The veteran Israeli anti-Zionist and socialist revealed to The Electronic Intifada on Thursday that he has now been suspended. Continue...

Then Vice President Joe Biden addresses the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference in Washington. March 20, 2016. Credit: AP.

"Biden's Opportunity To End The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict"

Alon Ben-Meir (Dec 2)

Recently I had an opportunity to brief a group of European diplomats and journalists on a variety of conflicts, with a focus on the Middle East. During the Q&A I was asked which of the region's conflicts Biden should tackle first. Without much hesitation I said the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, not only because it is over seven decades old, but because it is an increasingly intractable, explosive, and destabilizing situation, which reverberates throughout the Mideast, and several regional powers are exploiting it to serve their own national interests, which sadly contributes to its endurance... Continue...

Peter Beinart, "Obama and the Israel Lobby" (Jewish Currents via Jewish Voices for Labour, Nov 28):

JVL Introduction: In Barack Obama's autobiography, as Peter Beinart explains, the former President gives the reader enough information to glimpse what Washington policymaking on Israel/Palestine is really like. And it bears a remarkable resemblance to the picture Mearsheimer & Walt painted in 2006 in their book The Israel Lobby - roundly attacked at the time  for its alleged antisemitism. The real lesson, perhaps not stated clearly enough, is that Obama tried but failed to change American policy towards Israel because the domestic political cost was too high. Continue...

Israel :

Petition to HCJ: Repeal the Nation-State Law

Association for Civil Rights in Israel to High Court of Justice: Repeal the Nation-State Law.

The petition states that the law (legislated July 18, 2018) worsens persistent damage to the democratic foundations of Israel, transforming ongoing institutional discrimination against the Arab minority into a national value.
On December 22, we will argue in the High Court alongside 14 fellow petitioners before an extended panel of 11 justices to strike down the Nation-State Law, which has quasi-constitutional status, in the name of equality and democracy. Any law seeking to define the Jewish nature of the country that fails to address the Arab minority as deserving of equal status - and falls short of noting Israel's democratic character - is unconstitutional. 

Karmiel, a predominantly Jewish city in an area with a large Arab population. Credit: Yaron Kaminsky.

"Israel invokes Nation-State law in denying transport to Palestinian schoolchildren in Galilee.

(Middle East Eye, Staff, Dec 1):

An Israeli court ruled on Monday in favour of a municipality which has refused to fund the commute of two young Palestinian citizens (a brother and sister aged six- and 10-years-old) a nearby school in the town of Rameh, arguing that the controversial Nation-State law (2018) justified the decision on the grounds of reinforcing the "Jewish character" of the town. The judge of the magistrate court in Krayot wrote in his decision that "Karmiel is a Jewish city intended to solidify Jewish presence in the Galilee". The town was established in 1964 on land expropriated from nearby Arab towns and villages. The city expanded over the years, with the explicit intention of bringing Jews to the Galilee, which then had a growing Arab majority. Continue...

Israeli soldiers throw sound grenades at a group of people including journalists, near a gate leading to Hebron's main al-Shuhada street, closed by troops earlier in February, during an annual demonstration in memory of the 1994 Ibrahimi Mosque massacre, in the divided West Bank city of Hebron, on 22 February 2019. [HAZEM BADER/AFP via Getty Images]

"Israel's growing strategic threat to our freedom of speech"

Asa Winstanley (Middle East Monitor, Nov 27):

There is an old saying that you should not put the fox in charge of the hen house. It makes perfect sense, and yet that's exactly what Western governments are increasingly starting to do when it comes to their freedom of speech policies. All bluster about "cancel culture" aside, the leading threat in the world today to freedom of speech is the ever-increasing crackdown on the right to speak out in support of the Palestinians. 

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men attend the funeral of Rabbi Aharon David Hadash, the spiritual leader of the Mir Yeshiva, in Jerusalem's ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Beit Yisrael on Dec. 3, 2020. (Menahem Kahana/AFP via Getty Images)

"Where Will Israel's Increasingly Right-Wing Youth Take Its Foreign Policy?"

Ryan Bohl (Stratfor, Dec 4):

Israel's youth population is pushing the country decidedly to the political right. As the transition to this age cohort unfolds, the question of which Israeli nationalist party will be in charge comes to the fore. Will they be incrementally expansionist, security-minded, economically-focused types of parties like Likud? Or will they be more ideologically committed to the cause of annexing settlements types of parties like Yamina? Or will they be religiously-focused, culturally conservative, increasingly demographically muscular types of parties like the ultra-Orthodox party Shas? The predominance of one of these three types will have consequences for Israel's regional security posture, on occasion bringing it in line with some new allies in the Gulf while reaffirming enmity with Iran and Turkey.
Who Are Israel's Young Nationalists? Unlike many other democracies, Israel's youth vote is nationalist, comprising the base of right-wing nationalist parties like Likud and of settler-friendly parties like Yamina and the ultra-Orthodox parties like Shas.

Palestinians participate in Great March of Return protests along Gaza’s eastern boundary with Israel in December 2019. Mohammed Zaanoun ActiveStills.

"Israel's self-investigation shields its soldiers"

Maureen Clare Murphy (The Electronic Intifada, 26 Nov 2020):

Only one Israeli soldier has been indicted over the use of live fire against unarmed protesters during the Great March of Return demonstrations held along Gaza's eastern boundary. Israeli forces killed more than 215 Palestinians during those protests, which began in late March 2018 and were suspended last December. The vast majority of those fatalities are still under preliminary review by the Israeli military's self-investigation apparatus, according to a new report by the Israeli human rights group Yesh Din.

Almog Ben Zikri, "Court reduces sum Bedouin must pay Israel for demolition of their unrecognized village" (Haaretz, Nov 25):

The residents of the Negev unrecognized Bedouin village of al-Araqib, who claim historical ownership of the land, have been fighting the government for years over the village's land. The Israel Land Authority and the police have demolished their temporary structures dozens of times, but the residents rebuilt them, leading the government to file a civil lawsuit demanding payment of 1.8 million shekels from the activists in 2011. Continue...

"New Israeli ambassador in Britain describes Nakba as 'Arab lie'" (Middle East Monitor, Dec 8):

Israel's new Ambassador to the United Kingdom, 42-year-old Tzipi Hotovely has used her first speech during an event organised by the Board of Deputies of British Jews to describe the Nakba as "a very strong and very popular Arab lie." Continue...

Palestine Occupied :

The Tunnel Road, as seen from Jerusalem's Gilo neighborhood, Dec 2020.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg.

"Highways to Annexation: Across the West Bank, Israel Is Bulldozing a Bright Future for Jewish Settlers."

What lies behind the extensive West Bank road plans? Another step towards expanding settlements.

Hagar Shezaf (Haaretz, Dec 11):

In an alternative reality, Route 55 could have been a symbol of coexistence. It stretches from the outskirts of the Palestinian city of Nablus in the West Bank to Kfar Sava northeast of Tel Aviv, and on the West Bank side of the road it is used by both motorists with yellow Israeli license plates and white Palestinian ones. It's as if it were natural that the residents of the Palestinian town of Qalqilyah and the nearby Jewish settlements would be spending time together. The road has one lane in each direction, but it will soon look different: it's slated to be upgraded and widened. But the not-so-small details of the project reveal which motorists it seeks to benefit... "Next to a highway there's always a house," said Shlomo Ne'eman, the head of the Gush Etzion Regional Council, in explaining the logic behind for the new roads. " The highways are 100% an engine for development..."
"There's diplomatic sovereignty and there's de facto sovereignty," Shlomo Ne'eman sums up. "Construction, industrial zones, roads, gas, electricity and water - all these things are de facto sovereignty. This also means that within a few years, we'll have a million residents here." Continue...

On 13 October, Israel carried out one of its worst attacks against Gaza's farmers in recent years (Ashraf Amra APA images).

"A harvest of heartbreak"

Abdallah al-Naami (The Electronic Intifada 4 Dec 2020)

Yousif Shaheen went to harvest his eggplant crops early on 13 October. His farm - near the city of Khan Younis - is located a few hundred meters from the fence separating Gaza and Israel. Suddenly, the farmers noticed that Israeli soldiers were driving three bulldozers toward them. The Israeli troops bulldozed about 2.5 acres of Shaheen's land. His entire crop of eggplants and his irrigation systems were destroyed. Shaheen believes that the Israeli troops planned the attack so that it would cause major harm to farmers' livelihoods. "They waited until the eggplants were ready to be harvested," he said. " I was heartbroken seeing my land and my crops obliterated."
At least 10 farmers incurred substantial losses because of the attack. The estimated total cost of the damage was approximately $32,000... Continue...

A Palestinian woman stands next to Israeli border police near the gate of a house in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah from which a Palestinian family was evicted on November 03, 2009. (Mohamar Awad/Flash90)

"Why are Palestinians being forced to prove their humanity?"

For years I policed the language that I used to describe my oppressor. But what is happening in Sheikh Jarrah has a clear name: ethnic cleansing.

Mohammed El-Kurd (+972, Dec 3, 2020):

Over the last few months, the Israeli Magistrates' Court of Jerusalem has ruled to displace at least 12 Palestinian families in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah - including mine. Our homes, at any minute, might be taken by squatters backed by police. And it wouldn't be the first time they do so. In 1956, the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and the Jordanian government built Sheikh Jarrah as a housing project for 28 Palestinian refugee families who had been expelled during the Nakba a few years earlier. Following Israel's conquest of Jerusalem in 1967, settler groups have been attempting to seize the housing project by manipulating history and weaponizing racist laws and policies... Continue...

Palestinian students and teachers wait for Israeli soldiers to allow them to cross a military checkpoint near the Jewish settlement of Beit Hadasa in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron on September 6, 2020, as they go to school for the first day of classes. (Photo: AFP / Hazem Bader)

"Return to school rekindles fear of Israeli soldier and settler violence"

(Defense for Children International - Palestine, Oct 14):

"I was scared at school," 15-year-old Amir H. told Defense for Children International - Palestine. "Whenever I saw soldiers, while on the way to school, I would be scared and try to get away from them as much as possible because I had been stopped before, more than once..."
Stationed throughout the occupied West Bank, Israeli soldiers, police, and private security staff protect settler populations. Unlike other Israeli civilians, many Israeli settlers are armed. In such a hyper-militarized environment, frequent and disproportionate physical and psychological violence is inflicted on Palestinian children who report, among other abuses, regular harassment by Israeli soldiers and settlers on their way to school and attacks against schools.


IDF soldiers arrest Palestinian teen Fawzi al-Junaidi in Hebron, 2017. Credit: Wisam Hashlamoun / Anadolu Agency.

"Israeli Army Vowed to Limit Arrests of Palestinian Minors, but Data Shows Otherwise. "

Hagar Shezaf (Haaretz, Dec 2):

The army's pilot program, it seems, never took off, and hundreds are still being arrested with no warning, usually in the middle of the night.
Six years after the Israeli military said it would experiment with summoning Palestinian minors suspected of crimes for questioning instead of arresting them, hundreds are still being arrested with no warning, usually in the middle of the night.
 Hamoked's executive director, Jessica Montell, said it's clear the pilot has been "virtually unimplemented" over the last six years. "The army continues to use nighttime arrests as its chief - almost exclusive - means of bringing minors in for questioning," she said.  Continue...

Children are seen at a muddy road in Gaza City, Gaza on 5 November 2020 [Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency]

"There's no childhood in occupied Palestine"

Wafa Aludaini (Middle East Monitor, Nov 20, 2020):

As the world marks International Children's Day, Palestinian minors are still living under the constant threat of war, demolition and dispossession at the hands of the Israeli occupation. Decades of occupation, unrest and blockade have taken a heavy toll on the children of Palestine and in particular the children of the Gaza Strip, where regular outbreaks of aggression and the deteriorating living conditions have left a generation in desperate need of psychosocial support, and unable to enjoy or experience childhood.

Israeli forces shot and killed 15-year-old Ali Ayman Saleh Nasser on Friday afternoon in the occupied West Bank. (Photo: Courtesy of Nasser family)

"Israeli forces shoot and kill 15-year-old Palestinian boy."

(Defense for Children International - Palestine, Dec 4):

Ali Ayman Saleh Nasser, 15, was shot with live ammunition in the abdomen while observing clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian youth from the village of Al-Mughayyir, located northeast of the central West Bank city of Ramallah. Ali was reportedly not participating in clashes when he was struck with live ammunition, according to information collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. Ali was transported in a private car to the entrance of Turmus'ayya, a nearby village, where an ambulance subsequently transferred him to the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah. Doctors pronounced him dead shortly after his arrival.

"A Life Exposed: Military invasions of Palestinian homes in the West Bank"

(Yesh Din - Volunteers for Human Rights, Nov 27):

Most of us think of our home as a place of safety. As night falls, we shut the door and gather inside with our family, safe in the knowledge that we are protected from the outside world within our walls. A home gives its dwellers a sense of identity and security. Controlling what goes on inside it is a fundamental condition of personal liberty, perhaps second only to control over one's body... Almost every night, armed Israeli soldiers raid homes, wake women, men and children, and carry out different actions inside the homes of Palestinian residents. According to UN figures, these invasions occur more than 200 times each month. Beyond the harm suffered by individuals and families as a result of the intrusion into their homes, this practice effectively serves as a means to oppress and intimidate the Palestinian population and increase control over it. Continue...

# The Joint Report: see Resources.

"IOA closes investigation of child losing his eye in Israeli shooting"

(Palestinian Information Center, 4 Dec):

The Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) closed on Thursday the investigation file of shooting the child Malik Issa from al-Issawiya town in Jerusalem last February causing the loss of his eye.
Eyewitnesses to the crime confirmed that the Israeli police fired at the child Issa without clashes or stones thrown before that, contrary to the documentation published by the IOA at the time.

Amjad Ayman Yaghi, "20 years on still no justice for Muhammad al-Dura" (The Electronic Intifada, Nov 30):

Somewhere, in the heart of Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, Jamal al-Dura looks at a picture of his son, Muhammad. Like other bereaved parents, the 55-year-old former construction worker will never get over the loss of his child. Unlike other bereaved parents, Jamal also has to live with constant reminders in the media or from strangers. It is now 20 years since the killing of Muhammad al-Dura was caught on camera. And the footage of the 12-year-old boy, crouching behind his father's desperate but ultimately futile attempts to protect him, provided some of the defining images of the second intifada.  Continue...

Euro-Med Monitor: "Arrest of Palestinian activist perpetuates policy of intimidation" (Euro-Med, Nov 22):

The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor condemns the Palestinian security services' arrest of activist Nizar Banat from his home in Dura, Hebron in the West Bank. "The arrest violates the freedom of opinion and expression and curtails the already-restricted space of civic freedoms that the Palestinian Authority (PA) grants to the Palestinians in the West Bank", the rights group noted. On Thursday, November 19, the Preventive Security Service forces arrested Banat after he published a video on Facebook criticising the resumption of relations between the PA and Israel.  Continue...

Omar Karmi, "PA's gift to Biden is return to failed strategy" (The Electronic Intifada, Nov 20):

The news that the Palestinian Authority has decided to restart coordination with Israel after suspending it for six months does not come as much of a surprise. It amounts to a welcome gift to Joe Biden, the American president-elect, while also showing the paucity of thinking within the PA leadership. The decision to end coordination in May came in face of the threat of formal Israeli annexation of some 30% of the occupied West Bank. But right from the start, Palestinian officials let it be known this would be a largely symbolic protest. Continue...

Prisoners :

"Palestinian Student Mays Abu Ghosh Released after 15 Months in Prison" (The Palestine Chronicle, Nov 30):

Mays Abu Ghosh, a 23-year-old Palestinian student from the refugee camp of Qalandiya, is finally free. She was released from the Damon Israeli prison after spending 15 months under harsh physical and psychological conditions. The Palestinian Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association Addameer wrote in its website: "Abu Ghosh was exposed to harsh interrogations, which included repeated bouts of torture," media, and human rights organizations reported... Abu Ghosh, a student at Birzeit University's Media Department, was arrested on August 29 last year and was held in the Moskobiya Detention Center in a small cell without ventilation or a bed, forcing her to sleep on the floor throughout her prolonged interrogation by Israeli Shin Bet's agents. Continue...

"Khalida Jarrar speaks out on women prisoners' struggle as Ramallah protest urges their liberation" (Samidoun, Nov 23):

On Saturday, 21 November, Palestinian organizers and activists from a number of organizations, including youth and student groups and women's organizations as well as members of Samidoun Network in occupied Palestine, joined a demonstration in Manara Square in Ramallah called by the General Union of Palestinian Women to demand freedom for Palestinian women prisoners. Continue...

Military Court Watch: "Evidence update: blindfolds" (3 Nov 2020)

In 2013 UNICEF issued a report on the treatment of Palestinian children held in Israeli military detention and concluded that their ill-treatment was "widespread, systematic and institutionalized." One issue included in the report was the regular use of blindfolds leading UNICEF to recommend that "the practice of blindfolding or hooding children should be prohibited in all circumstances."
Evidence collected by Military Court Watch (MCW) indicates that the use of blindfolds on children is now more prevalent than it was in 2013.  So far in 2020, 96% of children detained report being blindfolded. It is unclear from the evidence how blindfolding these children, who are already handcuffed and securely held in the back of a military vehicles or in military bases, enhances the protection of armed soldiers or reduces the likelihood of escape. However, the evidence does suggest that blindfolding children effectively "softens them up" for interrogation making it easier to obtain a confession. Continue...

Refugees :

"The Vision Document of the Return Councel" (11/2018)

The Council's position paper with regard to realizing the return, ways of implementing it, its costs and benefits.

The Return Council is a forum of Israeli Jews who support the right of the Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons to return, and who act to promote the realization of this right. The Council is not identified with any political party, and is open to all Israelis who believe in realizing the right of return. The Council seeks to influence Israeli public opinion with regard to return through public activities, lectures, conferences, publications, etc. It is informed by the view that the expulsion of this country's inhabitants is the root of the conflict, and that only the return will allow a just, egalitarian and democratic space between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean. Continue...

Resources : Books, Documents, Reports...

# BACBI Culture, Newsletter N°58 (November 2020).

# Report: "A LIFE EXPOSED. Military invasions of Palestinian homes in the West Bank." Nov 2020, pdf, 104p. This report is the product of a joint project by Yesh Din, Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI) and Breaking the Silence.

Most of us feel safe in our homes. As night falls, we turn out the lights, close the doors and gather inside with our families, safe in the knowledge that within our four walls, we are protected from the world outside...

Executive Summary (pdf, 7p.).

# Report "Appropriating the Past. Israel's Archeological Practices in the Westbank." Yesh Din & Emek Shaveh, Dec 2017, pdf, 40p.

The West Bank is an area rich in antiquities - a reminder of the long and varied history of the region. Israel began to take interest in the antiquity sites in the West Bank immediately after it occupied the area in 1967 and has since used archaeology as a central tool for deepening its control over the West Bank. The West Bank is subject to Israeli military occupation and temporarily administered by the Military Commander, under the provisions of both international and domestic law. Within the Civil Administration, archaeology comes under the auspices of the Staff Officer for Archaeology (SOA).

# Report "Selective Conservation" Policy and Funding for Minority Heritage Sites in Israel. Emek Shaveh & The Arab Culture Association, Nov 2020, pdf, 22p.

Written by: Chemi Shiff | Research & Comments: Emek Shaveh staff. Emek Shaveh © | | . This report examines the difference in conservation approaches for heritage sites identified with Jewish heritage as opposed to conservation of heritage sites identified with minority cultures in Israel. Continue... 

# "Defenceless: The Impact of Israeli Military Detention on Palestinian Children."