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Academic Newsletter N°70 (May 2021)

Mourners pray over the bodies of Palestinians killed in overnight Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City on 16 May. Atia Darwish APA images.


Spotlight: Al-Quds (20) -- Gaza Strip (8) -- Calls (9) -- Academy (3) -- International (3) -- Jerusalem (1) -- Resources (2) -- Videos (2)


« Living the Nakba, over and over »

Child killed in the Qana massacre, in an air strike carried out by the Israeli Air Force (IAF) on a three-story building, during the 2006 Lebanon War. 28 civilians were killed, of which 16 were children.

« Remembering 72 years of the Nakba in the shadow of annexation »

When Palestinians commemorate the Nakba they are not simply remembering a past event. They are marking a continued process of erasure and dispossession.

Yara Hawari* (The New Arab, May 15, 2020)

When Palestinians commemorate the Nakba - the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948 - they are not simply remembering a past event in which over 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homeland, over 400 villages and towns destroyed and thousands killed.  
They are also marking a continued Nakba (al-Nakba al-Mustimirrah in Arabic) - an ongoing process of erasure and
 ethnic cleansing which has seen Palestinians ghettoised, fragmented, killed and more.  

* Yara Hawari is the Palestine Policy Fellow of Al-Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network.

Palestinians inspect the Abo Hatab family house after an Israeli air strike struck their house located in al-Shati Refugee Camp without warning during the night, in Gaza City early on May 15, 2021. (Photo: by Ashraf Amra/APA Images)

« From Nakba to Return: Resisting one more chapter in the ongoing Nakba »

The killing and destruction will end only when the root of the problem is addressed: a colonialist regime that continually dispossesses the Palestinians.

ZOCHROT (May 15, 2021):

As we mark the 73rd commemoration day of the Nakba, Palestinians are reliving the events of the Nakba. The killing and destruction will end only when the root of the problem is addressed: a colonialist regime that continually dispossesses the Palestinians.  Dozens dead, hundreds injured, and millions of children, women and men anxious, despaired and in pain. These sights are regrettably familiar, as are the politicians' statements and tactics. One cannot expect a different result if one keeps repeating the same acts - above all, if one's politics is one of denial. 
As a first step, we need to stop focusing on "rounds", "escalations", and "extremist acts", and start recognizing the ongoing routine of the oppression and dehumanization of the Palestinian people - the systematic uprooting and dispossession of Palestinians, every day over the past century. Continue...

The surrender in Ramle in 1948. Credit: David Aldan.

« Jewish Israelis should stop being afraid of the Nakba »

Aluf Benn (Haaretz via Jewish Voice for Labour, May 2, 2021).

JVL Introduction

Aluf Benn is an Israeli journalist, and editor-in-chief of Haaretz. He has a simple thesis in this article, addressed to Jewish Israelis and, by implication, to Zionists worldwide: Israel's multiple crises today go back to the Nakba of 1948 and until that history is taken on board it will be impossible to move on. The facts are known, told by Benny Morris in his 1988 "The Birth of the Refugee Problem." The horror of the expulsions from Ramle and Lod was retold by Ari Shavit in his 2014 "My Promised Land" (still not translated into Hebrew). Continue...

« Israel demolished 58 Palestinian facilities, built 5,000 settlement units in Jerusalem so far this year »

Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor (May 3, 2021):

Israel has demolished 31 homes and 27 Palestinian facilities after plans to construct 4,982 new settlement units were approved, since the beginning of this year, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said in a statement. During the past four months, Israel has escalated its policy of demolishing Palestinian homes and facilities and removing Palestinians from their neighborhoods, while building thousands of settlement units in East Jerusalem. Such a conduct aims to  perpetuate racial discrimination and eliminate the Palestinian Arab presence in the city.  Continue...

Colons israéliens entrant dans une maison de Sheikh Jarrah après l'expulsion des familles palestiniennes qui y vivaient.

« Le nettoyage ethnique s'intensifie à Jérusalem-Est, dans les quartiers de Silwan et Sheikh Jarrah »

(EuroPalestine, 28 avril 2021):

Depuis jeudi dernier, le nettoyage ethnique s'intensifie à Jérusalem-Est, dans les quartiers de Silwan et Sheikh Jarrah. Ainsi, six familles de Sheikh Jarrah ont reçu l'ordre du Tribunal israélien de quitter d'ici le 2 mai les maisons où elles ont vécu pendant près de 70 ans, après avoir été chassées en 1948 de leur terre natale, pour être remplacées par des colons. Ce n'est plus « une terre sans peuple pour un peuple sans terre » mais plutôt « des maisons tout équipées pour un peuple de squatters ».  Continue...

Palestinians in Bethlehem, in the occupied West Bank, stage a protest in solidarity with Palestinian residents of the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah on May 10, 2021 [HAZEM BADER/AFP via Getty Images]

« The untold story of Sheikh Jarrah »

Dr Ramzy Baroud (Middle East Monitor, May 12, 2021)

There are two separate Sheikh Jarrah stories. One is read about and watched on the news, the other receives little media coverage or due analysis. The obvious story is that of the nightly raids and violence meted out by Israeli police and Jewish extremists against Palestinians in the devastated East Jerusalem neighbourhood. For weeks, thousands of Jewish extremists have targeted Palestinian communities in Jerusalem's Old City. Their objective is the removal of Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood. They are not acting alone. Their riots and rampages are directed by a well-coordinated leadership composed of Zionist and Jewish extremist groups, such as the Otzma Yehudit party and the Lehava Movement. Continue...

« Sheikh Jarrah: Zionism Distilled to Its Purest Expression »

Dispossessing Palestinians is Zionism's primary function.

Steve Salaita (May 12, 2021):

Western journalists, always mindful of the limits imposed by the ruling class, have a million ways of minimizing or mystifying Israeli brutality in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, where several Palestinian families are set to be expelled to make way for Jewish settlers. 
It's not so simple as straight-up ethnic cleansing, they declare.  There's a convoluted history to consider, involving Israelis, Palestinians, Ottomans, Englishmen, and Jordanians. The Israeli courts, after all, examined the evidence and determined that the properties in question were Jewish.  The Israelis aren't seizing Palestinian homes at random; they're engaged in a legal project of urban planning. 

The apologists aren't wrong.  The seizures in Sheikh Jarrah, which have been ongoing for two decades, are ratified by the Israeli state.  That's exactly the problem.  The Israeli state isn't a neutral party proffering legal decisions according to impartial, humanistic criteria.  Continue...

Israeli police pins a Palestinian resident of Sheikh Jarrah to the ground during a vigil against the upcoming evictions in the neighborhood, May 4, 2021. (Oren Ziv)

« In Sheikh Jarrah, Palestinian youth are leading the struggle to defend their homes »

Sheikh Jarrah's youth are holding nightly vigils to raise awareness and protect their neighborhood from evictions and gradual takeover by Israeli settlers.

Oren Ziv (+972 Magazine, May 5, 2021):

Every night for the past week, young Palestinians have been gathering in East Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood to protest the imminent forced eviction of local Palestinian families. The youth break their Ramadan fast together, sing, and come together in a show of solidarity with the neighborhood's residents.

Palestinians celebrate outside Damascus Gate. The site is known in Arabic as Bab al-Amud and in Hebrew as Sha'ar Shekhem - Nablus Gate. Credit: AMMAR AWAD/ REUTERS

« The New Tahrir Square: Damascus Gate Is Latest Symbol of Palestinian Protest »

The beautiful Old City gate has always played a central role in the lives of Palestinians in Jerusalem, but the closure of the plaza during Ramadan has turned it into the epicenter of impassioned demonstrations.

Yanal Jbarin (Haaretz, May 3, 2021)

The epicenter of the clashes in Jerusalem's Old City in recent weeks has been its Damascus Gate. This is a wide plaza surrounded by stairs that regularly attracts large crowds of Muslims - young and old, men and women - during the holy month of Ramadan. They come every night to hear the prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque marking the end of the daily fast.
But this year, due to a decision by the Israel Police to close off the stairs to pedestrians, the plaza became the scene of a battle that included large numbers of police officers, including mounted ones, wielding water cannons to disperse gatherings at the site.

Israeli forces walk near the Dome of the Rock during a crackdown on Palestinian protests at Al-Aqsa compound against the possible forced expulsion of several Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of Jerusalem on May 7, 2021 [File: Ammar Awad/Rreuters]

« Jerusalem, the unfolding tragedy »

For Netanyahu, Jerusalem and Gaza are the gift that keeps on giving.

Marwan Bishara (Al Jazeera, May 11, 2021):

Israel is a colonial war machine that never sleeps. Its mounting provocations in Jerusalem in recent weeks have predictably driven Palestinians to the streets in protest. Hence, the short answer to the question, "why?", is simply, "why not?", considering that every new Israeli day brings along more Palestinian dismay. The Israeli occupation, repression, disruption, discrimination, property confiscation or home demolition are a decades-long daily affair. Likewise, racist and violent provocations by Israeli fanatics are common practice in the occupied Palestinian territories.  Continue...

Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem is one of Islam's holiest sites. REUTERS/Ammar Awad.

« Netanyahu's Hidden Hand Hovers Over Al Aqsa Pogrom »

Richard Silverstein (Tikun Olam, May 9, 2021)

The past two nights have witnessed scenes of horrific violence with Israeli Border Police thugs assaulting Al Aqsa, the third holiest site in Islam.  They threw stun grenades, ransacked the sacred sanctum, and fired rubber bullets indiscriminately.  Nearly 300 worshippers have been injured, many seriously... Today's post is meant to clarify not only who is at fault, but the ultimate reason for the Israeli provocation. Israel's incitement did not start on Friday night, when 200 were injured in the most savage violence the city has seen in several years.  It actually went back to the beginning of Ramadan. Continue...

Israeli security forces detain a Palestinian protester in Jerusalem's Old City on 29 April 2021 (AFP)

« Jerusalem protests: The mob 'breaking faces' learned from Israel's establishment »

A quarter of Israeli Jews recognise their rule over Palestinians as 'apartheid'. The question is whether they think that's a bad thing.

Jonathan Cook (Middle East Eye, May 4, 2021):

Inside the Israeli parliament and out on the streets of Jerusalem, the forces of unapologetic Jewish supremacism are stirring, as a growing section of Israel's youth tire of the two-faced Jewish nationalism that has held sway in Israel for decades... For days, these Jewish gangs of mostly youngsters have brought the lawless violence that has long reigned, largely out of sight in the hills of the occupied West Bank, into central Jerusalem. This time, their attacks haven't been captured in shaky, out-of-focus YouTube videos. They have been shown on prime-time Israeli TV. Equally significant, these Jewish mobs have carried out their rampages during Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting. Continue...

Police stand in front of demonstrators from the Jewish supremacist group Lehava at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem on April 22, 2021. (Photo: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

« 'Death to the Arabs': racialized violence has always defined Israel »

Recent racist anti-Palestinian riots in Jerusalem show that settler-colonial violence is fundamental to Israeli society.

Zarefah Baroud (Mondoweiss, May 3, 2021):

Settler violence is just as old as Israel and acts as an imminent threat to Palestinians on a daily basis, rooted in European settler entitlement to Palestinian land. In fact, during the Nakba, the original mass expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians to create room for the Jewish state, was materialized not only by the Zionist forces, but by settlers who promply replaced the native population, building homes on the ruins of the exiled and protected by the developing Zionist regime and the British government before them. Continue...

'Israeli forces have launched a series of violent assaults on unarmed protesters at al-Aqsa mosque in East Jerusalem.' Israeli police outside the mosque on 7 May. Photograph: Xinhua/REX/Shutterstock.

« Defiance in the face of Israeli aggression gives Palestinians everywhere hope »

The violence in Jerusalem is part of a plan to repress Palestinian life in the city. Yet there is a heartening refusal to be cowed.

Ziad Al-Qattan (The Guardian, May 11, 2021):

As a Palestinian watching the scenes unfold in my homeland on social media, I have been consumed by a range of conflicting emotions. I have felt pain and despair at these violent restrictions on basic Palestinian rights and freedoms; but I have also noticed a spirit of care and solidarity among Palestinians that has been inspiring.
How did we get here? Over the past week, thousands of Palestinians have been gathering to pray at al-Aqsa compound - one of the holy sites of Islam - in East Jerusalem, which has been occupied by Israel since 1967. But they have also been standing alongside the residents of Sheikh Jarrah, the neighbourhood from which numerous Palestinian families are facing eviction, in a move by Israel the UN has described as
a possible war crime, given that it involves the transfer of "an occupying [power's] civilian population into the territory that it occupies". 

« Jerusalemites send letter to ICC to investigate Israeli attempts to forcibly displace Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood »

(Days of Palestine, April 25, 2021):

Representatives of 28 Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied Jerusalem, in addition to the 191 organizations supporting them, sent a letter to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, calling for the urgent action of their imminent forced displacement from the neighborhood, as part of the ongoing investigation into the situation in Palestine. Continue...

Protesters in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem, yesterday. Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg.

« Arab Citizens of Israel Show Unprecedented Involvement in Jerusalem Protests »

Traditionally, Arab citizens of Israel have refrained from joining the struggles of Palestinians. The recent protests in Jerusalem, however, mark a dramatic shift.

Nir Hasson, Yanal Jbareen, Fatima Khamaisi (Haaretz, May 9, 2021):

According to Sireen Jbareen, 25, a leading figure in the young Arab citizens of Israel protest movement, more than 250 protesters from the Israeli Arab city of Umm al-Fahm alone took part in the protests in Sheikh Jarrah on Friday. In addition, hundreds of the protesters who clashed with police in the Al-Aqsa mosque compound on Friday evening came from northern and central Israeli Arab towns. The relationship, however, between East Jerusalem Palestinians and Arab citizens of Israel, is complex. Continue...

A truck burns at the entrance of the Jewish-Arab city of Lod, where a state of emergency has been declared following civil unrest, on May 12, 2021 (Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP).

« Jewish-Arab violence rolls through cities like wildfire, with police overwhelmed »

Leaders horrified as hooligans fill streets, burning, beating, shooting, smashing; Netanyahu says may send army into towns; Bat Yam mob assault on Arab man decried as 'un-Jewish'.

Itamar Sharon & Stuart Winer (Times of Israel, May 13, 2021):

Israel on Wednesday experienced its worst night of internal Jewish-Arab chaos for many years, amid the ongoing armed conflict with Gaza, as scenes of unrest, rioting, hate rallies and growing social chaos spread throughout numerous cities, some of which were once seen as symbols of coexistence. Violent confrontations erupted in Lod, Acre, Jerusalem, Haifa, Bat Yam, Tiberias and many other locations, with people injured, some of them seriously, leading Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to announce he was looking at deploying the military inside towns to restore order. More than 400 people were arrested. Continue...

Israeli paramilitary border police officers stand guard as Jewish right-wing demonstrators demand the release of three Jews arrested in the shooting death of Mousa Hasoona, outside the District Court in Lod, Israel, Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Heidi Levine)

« Palestinian community in Lydda calls for international protection from Israeli state-sanctioned pogroms »

Open Letter (Mondoweiss, May 13, 2021)

Lydda is a Palestinian city in present-day Israel that was ethnically cleansed of most of its Indigenous inhabitants during the Nakba. Ironically, most of our community in Lydda are refugees who escaped to the city from Jaffa and other ethnically cleansed Palestinian communities during the Nakba [cf. the "Lydda Death March," July 1948, commanded by Yitzak Rabin]. 
In fact, last night, Indigenous Palestinians with Israeli citizenship faced multiple pogroms and lynching attempts perpetrated by Jewish Israeli mobs, with full protection from militarized police forces, and with full encouragement of the Israeli government. These racist attacks against our communities in Jaffa (Yafa), Ramleh, Acre (Akka), Haifa, and elsewhere, are inspired by the April pogrom against our Palestinian siblings in occupied Jerusalem. Continue...

Israeli Border Police operating in the city of Lydda (Lod), May 11, 2021. (Photo: Twitter/@IL_police)

« Israel's illusion of normality collapses: May 2021 »

Haim Bresheeth-Zabner* (Mondoweiss, May 12, 2021):

For decades Israelis have basked in the light of success. After fifty years of brutal, illegal occupation and control of the whole of Palestine, they have managed to habituate the world to the realities of Israeli Apartheid. They even started believing that they have managed to get the Palestinians to accept such success. Israel was gearing up to welcome many tourists in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis in Europe and elsewhere, being one of the only countries which have managed to control the virus successfully. Israel may not have a properly elected government for the last 28 months, its Prime Minister is facing criminal charges in court, and the ICC is preparing its case against Israeli war crimes, but none of this stopped Israel from committing more war crimes daily.  Continue...

* Haim Bresheeth-Zabner is a Professorial Research Associate at SOAS, University of London. His recent book is "An Army Like No Other: How the Israel Defense Forces Made a Nation," Verso, August 2020.

Photograph Source: shimriz - CC BY 2.0

« The Palestinians: "We Shall Not Be Moved" »

Daniel Beamont (CounterPunch, April 16, 2021)

Recent events show that Israeli actions show increasing desperation because Israeli politicians recognize that the tide of history is turning against them. Time is running out for the Zionist project. 
The first of these events is the subject of an article by Raouf Halaby,
"Israelis, In God's Name, Why?" that appeared in CounterPunch in February. Halaby's article described how the Israeli military obliterated a nature reserve that Palestinians created eight years ago. The 98 acre reserve is - or was located until January 27 - in Ainun which is part of Tubas a town in the northeastern West Bank. The nature reserve was a "Greening of Palestine" project overseen by the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture. Palestinians had planted the 400 dunams - about 98 acres, that is - with over 10,000 trees. Among them were several hundred olive trees...On January 27 the Israeli military bulldozed and uprooted the trees. The reason given by the Israeli military was that the reserve was on land classed as a "military zone." 

Gaza: Massacre 'revisited'

Rescuers were still searching for survivors under the rubble in Gaza City on 16 May. Ashraf Amra APA images.

« Israel kills children, doctors in horrific nighttime massacre »

Tamara Nassar (The Electronic Intifada, May 17, 2021):

Israel in the early hours of Sunday night obliterated multiple generations of families when it bombed their homes in Gaza. 
Around 1 am, Israeli warplanes launched a savage bombing campaign lasting at least an hour, firing 50 missiles at the area surrounding al-Wihda street in Gaza City. Without warning, the bombs hit residential buildings, bringing them down on top of those inside. 
The death toll from the attack has risen to 42, including 10 children and 16 women. Fifty more were wounded. Two prominent doctors were among the dead. As of Sunday evening, rescuers were still searching for survivors under the rubble. Continue...

Palestinian firefighters search urgently for survivors and bodies under the rubble after an intensive bombardment of Gaza City by the Israeli air force on May 16, 2021. (Photo by MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)

« Screams under the rubble: 42 said killed in Israeli airstrike in Gaza City »

 Most of those who perished belonged to the same extended family, including young children; no comment yet from Israeli army.

Aaron Boxerman (The Times of Israel, May 16, 2021) 

Most of those who perished were from the extended al-Kolak family. According to the Hamas Health Ministry, a 3-year-old toddler, Adam Izzat al-Kolak. and a 1-year-old baby, Qusai Samih al-Kolak, were among the casualties. The operation appeared to be the single deadliest strike in the ongoing Israeli operation against Gaza terror groups. The Israeli military engaged in an intense bombardment of the coastal enclave early on Sunday morning, tearing up streets in across Gaza City... Israel has said it does not target civilians. According to the Israeli military, most of those killed in Gaza since the start of the current round of violence were either members of terror groups or were killed by errant Palestinian rockets. Continue...

A Palestinian man carries his wounded daughter at an UNRWA school in Gaza City, where families who were displaced by Israeli shelling fled to take shelter, May 14. 2021. (Mohammed Zaanoun/Activestills)

« You are completely helpless in the face of your child's terror »

Palestinians in Gaza were buried alive under the rubble of their homes last night following Israeli shelling that civilians are describing as a massacre.

We Beyond the Fence (+972, May 14, 2021):

Incomprehensible photos streamed out of Gaza endlessly throughout last night. The Hebrew-language media reported on the violence inside Israel in-depth, but the chief site of blood and death between the river and the sea yesterday was Gaza - and the media barely touched on it.
The Israeli army did indeed strike various government offices and Hamas infrastructure and operatives. But Palestinians in Gaza also reported massive shelling of residential neighborhoods - a "massacre against civilians," as people wrote on Facebook and Twitter over and over. Continue...

« The storm which Netanyahu unleashed »

Adam Keller of the Israeli peace bloc Gush Shalom writes

(Redress Information & Analysis, May 13, 2021): 

On the morning of Tuesday 11 May we woke up to the news that 21 Palestinians had been killed in Gaza, nine of them minors, and that two Israeli women had been killed in Ashkelon (one of them, it later turned out, was a migrant worker from India). Since then, the death toll on both sides had more than doubled. Then came the email which I was expecting. Noa Levy of the Hadash party sent an urgent call for protests in Tel Aviv and Haifa. A second message, from the Forum of Israeli and Palestinian Bereaved Families and Combatants for Peace, endorsed the Hadash call and added a Haifa protest venue initiated by the Haifa Women for Women Centre. Continue...

Fire and smoke rises from the Jala Tower as it is destroyed in an Israeli airstrike, Gaza City, May 15, 2021. (MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)

« 'Making the enemy blind': Did Israeli AF destroy Highrise housing AP and
Al-Jazeera to Hide War Crimes? »

Juan Cole (Informed Comment, May 16, 2021):

The Associated Press is flatly denying the Israeli military's cover story for why it bombarded the al-Jala tower in Gaza, which housed media offices of AP and al-Jazeera, and where dozens of journalists were based. Israel maintains that there was a Hamas intelligence unit in the building that was targeting Israel. This Israeli allegation is, of course, ridiculous... So the Israeli military is lying. It actually destroyed al-Jala because it was a highrise that gave AP and al-Jazeera journalists good sightlines for the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip. The Israeli generals don't want those images going out to the world, because they are evidence of war crimes. The AP CEO admitted that the world will know less about what is going on in Gaza because that building was demolished. Continue...

Smoke and flames rise after the Israeli military conducts an airstrike west of Khan Yunis, Gaza Strip, May 11, 2021. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90).

« Israel's top newspapers aren't concerned with the killing of Palestinian kids »

The fate of Palestinian children bombed by Israeli fighter jets in Gaza is barely an afterthought for the Israeli press.

Edo Konrad (+972, May 11, 2021):

Many Israelis who flip through Tuesday morning's newspapers will likely come to the conclusion that Hamas has decided to declare war on Israel, and that like in previous rounds, Israel itself is the victim. Only those who take the time to read - and perhaps do some more research - will discover that according to reports, Israeli forces killed 24 Palestinians, nine of them children, and wounded many more the evening prior. In fact, from the right-wing Israel Hayom to the mainstream Yedioth Ahronoth, the fate of Palestinian children bombed from the sky while living under the cruelty of a 14-year siege is barely an afterthought for the Israeli press. Continue...

Palestinians observe the site after Israeli air strikes collapsed a fourteen-story Palestinian building in Gaza City. (Mustafa Hassona / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images).

« On Palestine, the Media Is Allergic to the Truth »

Once again, the media are trying to depict the fighting between Israelis and Palestinians as a round of meaningless violence from "both sides" of an equally matched contest - the reality on the ground be damned.

Branco Marcetic (Jacobin, May 13, 2021):

There are two ways you could report on the bloody conflict unfolding right now in Israel and Palestine. One would be to put every new headline and story, whether that's about Hamas's rocket attacks or Israel's wildly disproportionate airstrikes, in context. That would mean explaining that the rockets came in the wake of a series of outrageous and criminal Israeli provocations in occupied East Jerusalem: a series of violent police raids on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the third holiest site in Islam during its holiest month, that have damaged the sacred structure and injured hundreds, including worshippers; that Israeli forces were attacking Palestinians who were occupying Aqsa both to pray and to protect it from bands of far-right Israeli extremists who have been marching through East Jerusalem, attacking Palestinians, and trying to break into the compound; and that all of this sits in the shadow of protests against Israel's most recent attempt to steal land from Palestinians in the city, and the ramping up of Israel's theft of Palestinian land more broadly under Trump. Continue...

Calls and Denunciations :

« Cutting off Al Shifa hospital, a military surgical job »
Open letter to the British Medical Journal

(We4Gaza, May 17, 2021):

Up to 9 pm ET of May 16, they are still digging up the victims of the attacks last night on the populated road al Wahda Street, leading to the main and emergency ambulances entrance of the al Shifa hospital.
Shifa is the only hospital equipped for emergency assistance, both in term of personnel, instruments and space. It has received over 490 seriously wounded of the total 1235 wounded in the last few days, and is struggling to cope. There is no other facility capable to cope with this amount of wounded all together, or the needed technical tools anywhere else in the Gaza strip.
In the past few days, the road to the hospital has been bombed and so now there is no way for ambulances to reach Shifa. The rescuers have to walk carrying the wounded over the rubble for at least a few hundred meters... Shifa Hospital itself has not been bombed. This was to avoid a huge outcry from the international community. Yet, blocking the wounded from receiving urgent life-saving care is an equally unacceptable way of creating more deaths and creates more stress to the hospital. Families will have to watch their loved ones die when the hospital is blocked.

We denounce these crimes. We hope that you will give maximum visibility to this killing of innocent civilians and to the deliberate obstruction of the wounded from reaching help by bombing the road to the hospital and the structures around it. Please help to spread this message.

On behalf of many European and US colleagues of the al Shifa doctors and personnel. With list (in Arabic) of 26 victims (at 2pm of May 16) and with 25 signatories.

Doctors Mooein Ahmad al-Aloul and Ayman Abu al-Ouf were killed in Israeli air attacks on Sunday, family and authorities say. [Handout]

« 'Huge loss': Experienced Gaza doctors killed in Israeli attacks »

Bombings killed at least two Gaza doctors, exacerbating a medical expertise shortage in the besieged enclave.

Joseph Stepansky (Al Jazeera, May 17, 2021)

Medical workers and health organisations have decried the killing of two senior doctors - a neurologist and the head of internal medicine at Gaza's largest hospital - in Israeli attacks on the besieged Palestinian enclave. The deaths further exacerbate a medical staff and expertise shortage in the Gaza Strip, the result of a 14-year-long blockade that prevents freedom of movement, causes dire supply and equipment shortages and hinders medical advancement.
Dr Ayman Abu al-Ouf, head of internal medicine at Al-Shifa hospital, was killed along with members of his family in an early morning missile attack in the al-Wehda district of Gaza on Sunday... Dr Mooein Ahmad al-Aloul, a 66-year-old psychiatric neurologist, was also killed in his home during the al-Wehda attacks early Sunday, his brother Mazen al-Aloul told Al Jazeera.

« MAP calls for urgent action to end attacks on Palestinian civilians and healthcare, and support the medical response. »

Medical Aid For Palestinians, May 11, 2021;

Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) urges the international community, including the UK government, to take urgent and immediate steps to protect Palestinians and ensure their access to medical care amid Israeli attacks across the occupied Palestinian territory.
In Gaza, 28 Palestinians, including 10 children, have been  killed by Israeli air strikes according to the Ministry of Health... The deteriorating situation in Gaza comes amid ongoing violence by Israeli forces against Palestinians across the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. According to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS), 714 Palestinians have been injured in the last 24 hours by Israeli forces, who have repeatedly used rubber-coated steel bullets, beatings, tear gas and sound grenades against civilians protesting Israel's discriminatory policies and practices in East Jerusalem. The PRCS report that Israeli forces have persistently impeded the work of their medical teams, preventing access to the wounded and attacking paramedics and ambulances.
MAP's teams are responding to the deteriorating situation on the ground. In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, MAP is providing essential medications, dressings and fluids to the PRCS teams who are treating the wounded. In Gaza, MAP is procuring essential medicines and disposables alongside our ongoing support to the central blood bank.


We are asking you to sign our petition to Stop Israel's Illegal Expulsion of Palestinians in Jerusalem. At the request of American backed/funded Israeli settler organization, Israel is kicking four large Palestinian families out of their homes and off their lands in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in May. 
Supporters (18/5): 296.978
; goal: 300.000. (Adalah Justice Project)


« UNRWA joins other UN entities in raising alarm over eight Sheikh Jarrah families at risk of forced eviction »
(Press release, May 10, 2021):

UNRWA joins other UN entities in raising alarm over eight Sheikh Jarrah families, approximately 75 persons in total, residing in the same named neighbourhood of East Jerusalem that are at risk of imminent forced eviction, placing them at heightened risk of forcible transfer. 
These families are Palestine refugees, who lost both their original homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict. In 1956, these refugee families moved into Sheikh Jarrah with the support of the Jordanian government and material assistance from UNRWA following their displacement. They have resided in these homes for nearly seventy years. They are now at risk of being displaced for the second time in living memory. 

Day Seven: Israeli forces kill 37 Palestinians, obliterating whole families, and destroys 152 homes.

Press release, May 16, 2021:

The number of Palestinian fatalities continues to rise as Israel's military offensive in Gaza enters its seventh consecutive day. On this day alone, Al Mezan's field monitoring shows that Israel's massive use of heavy munitions killed 37 Palestinians, including 12 children and nine women, targeting residential buildings, civil properties, and paved roads. Another 124 people, including 17 children and 21 women, were wounded. In the past 24 hours, Israeli airstrikes targeted 30 residential buildings, including three towers - one of which was completely destroyed - ultimately destroying 152 residential units. Notably, some of these buildings housed news and press agencies, including The Associated Press and Al Jazeera. Similarly, Israel's airstrikes also targeted and destroyed key governmental sites, such as the Palestinian Ministry of Labor and Social Development and the Palestinian Cabinet in Gaza... 
Al Mezan calls on the international community, especially the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, to take firm and swift action to protect Palestinians and ensure the respect of international law by Israel. Al Mezan expresses its deep concern about the postponement of the UN Security Council session, which has further emboldened Israel to commit more of what clearly amount to war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.  In light of extant evidence on apparent Israeli crimes, Al Mezan reiterates its call on the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to urgently proceed with its investigation into the killing of civilians and targeting of civilian objects and with the enforcement of accountability for all those responsible for such crimes

« Updated report on the Israeli massacres during the military attack on the Gaza Strip »

Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, p.r. 16 May 2021:

Geneva - The Israeli Army has killed and maimed many Palestinians in the deliberate targeting of unprotected homes with families inside in inhumane military operations, Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said... One of the most horrific crimes was on Sunday, March 16, at 1:00 p.m., when the Israeli warplanes fired about 50 missiles at buildings, residential homes, and roads in the Al-Rimal neighborhood, west of Gaza City. The raids targeted a residential building belonging to Abu Al-Awf family, another for the Al-Kulak family, and the Ministry of Labor headquarters. The missiles killed 42 civilians, including 10 children and 16 women, while 50 others were wounded, including eight children, and 15 women. Continue...

« Euro-Med Monitor Addresses Europe's Foreign Ministers regarding Israel's attack on Gaza »

(Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, May 13, 2021)

Geneva - The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor called for intervening and ending the violent Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip in an urgent letter sent to the foreign ministers of the European Union countries, the European Commission and European Parliamentary Committees. In the letter, the Geneva-based Euro-Med Monitor expressed its deep concern with the ongoing violent attack on the Gaza Strip, which has led to the death of dozens of civilians, including women and children. Euro-Med Monitor called on all parties to work on a comprehensive treatment of violations, provocations and abuses. That made the escalation in Gaza and the rest of the Palestinian territories possible. Continue...

Bodies of Palestinians killed in an airstrike lie in a morgue east of Gaza City on May 12, 2021 in Gaza City.  Fatima Shbair/Getty Images.

« ICC monitors Israeli-Palestinian violence for war crimes »

Fatou Bensouda, the chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court, says she is monitoring the escalating violence in the Palestinian territories and Israel.

Al-Monitor Staff (Al-Monitor, May 12, 2021):

The chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court says she is monitoring the escalating conflict between Israel and Hamas for potential war crimes.
"I note with great concern the escalation of violence in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as well as in and around Gaza, and the possible commission of crimes under the Rome Statute," Fatou Bensouda said in a statement on Wednesday.

Israeli cordon sealing off the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. Credit: Sarit Michaei, B'Tselem.

« Call for action to halt the evictions of Palestinian Families in East Jerusalem »

Joint statement by CIDSE and ACT Alliance EU (May 11, 2021)

CIDSE and ACT Alliance EU are deeply concerned about the escalation of violence in East Jerusalem and in Gaza, as well as the evictions of families in the Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighborhoods. We call for an  immediate cessation of all violence and urge the EU and member states to protect the Palestinian families of East-Jerusalem at risk of imminent eviction and demand the Israeli government to immediately halt the evictions Continue...

* CIDSE= The abbreviation CIDSE stands for the organization's historical name, originally in French: "Coopération Internationale pour le Développement et la Solidarité". 

Academia :

« Palestine and Praxis: Open Letter and Call to Action »

As scholars, we affirm the Palestinian struggle as an indigenous liberation movement confronting a settler colonial state. The pitched battle in Sheikh Jarrah is the most recent flashpoint in the ongoing Nakba that is the Palestinian condition. Israel has expanded and entrenched its settler sovereignty through warfare, expulsion, tenuous residency rights, and discriminatory planning policies. The ostensible peace process has perpetuated its land grabs and violent displacement under the fictions of temporality and military necessity. Together these policies constitute apartheid, bolstered by a brute force that enshrines territorial theft and the racial supremacy of Jewish-Zionist nationals. And now, as has been the case for over a century, Palestinians continue to resist their removal and erasure...
We affirm that it is no longer acceptable to conduct research in Palestine or on Palestinians without a clear component of political commitment. It is no longer acceptable to study one fragment of Palestine, and claim knowledge of the whole. It is no longer acceptable to speak over Palestinians, or publish without citation of Palestinians scholars. Simply put, it is no longer acceptable to treat Palestine as a playground for intellectual curiosity while its fragmented nation continues to struggle for liberation...
We recognize our role and responsibility as scholars to theorize, read, and write on the very issues unfolding in Palestine and among all oppressed nations today. Scholarship without action normalizes the status quo and reinforces Israel's impunity... 

Therefore, we affirm our commitment to the following actions, and we call on our colleagues to join us in our affirmation of the rights and dignity of the Palestinian people and foundational principles of academic integrity. 

[Nearly 3000 academics have signed in the just few days since its launch]

Benjamin Netanyahu, April 30, 2021, at scene of Mt. Meron stampede. From Prime Minister's office Flickr feed, photo by Kobi Gideon.

« Israel's "right" to defend itself - from itself »

Jonathan Ofir (Mondoweiss, May 13, 2021):

"Israel has the right to defend itself", says Joe Biden. This is the worn-out mantra uttered by US Presidents every time Israel pummels Gaza... But is it even true? Does Israel have the right to defend itself in this situation? In 2014, Noura Erakat* wrote an excellent piece on this legal issue - and everything there is ever so relevant to what happens today: "No, Israel Does Not Have the Right to Self-Defense In International Law Against Occupied Palestinian Territory", is the title.
Erekat explains cogently: "A state cannot simultaneously exercise control over territory it occupies and militarily attack that territory on the claim that it is 'foreign' and poses an exogenous national security threat. In doing precisely that, Israel is asserting rights that may be consistent with colonial domination but simply do not exist under international law." ... Israel, as the occupying power, can alter the situation by relinquishing its occupation. But since it doesn't do that, it can't have its cake and eat it: it can't both occupy and claim victimhood.

* Noura Erakat is a human rights attorney and an Assistant Professor at Rutgers University.

« Over 180 Israeli intellectuals, scientists warn ICC: Don't rely on Israel to probe war crimes »

The 185 signatories to a letter to the International Criminal Court, including 10 Israel Prize laureates, suggest that the court rely instead on information from Israeli human rights groups. 

Nir Hasson (Haaretz, May 6, 2021):

... Thursday's letter from the group of intellectuals goes on to state: "In our assessment, the many acts of discrimination, severe restrictions upon freedom of movement, appropriation of Palestinian lands for the purpose of Israeli settlement, arbitrary collective punishments (such as curfews and blockades), unwarranted arrests ... and the abject failure of the military courts to provide even a semblance of justice - all these and more are eminently worthy of investigation by your Court."
"Sadly, despite Israel's image as a state that maintains a proper and professional legal system, the reality paints a different picture - harsh, discriminatory, and outrageous. The law imposed on the Occupied Territories and the manner in which it is applied by the Israeli enforcement and security agencies effectively allow ongoing acts of moral injustice and prima facie war crimes." the letter asserts. Continue...

  "185 Israeli Scientists, Intellectuals, Israel Prize Laureates, Tell Hague ICC: Don't Trust Our Government" (David Israel,, May 5). Continue....

International :

«For 3rd time, US blocking joint Security Council statement urging ceasefire»

Jacob Magid (Times of Israel, May 17, 2021):

NEW YORK - For the third time in a week, the US is blocking a joint statement from the UN Security Council calling for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, two diplomats involved in the matter said Sunday. The statement was introduced by Norway, Tunisia and China following an emergency session earlier in the day on the fighting in Gaza and generally criticizes both sides for the ongoing violence but makes no mention of Hamas rocket fire...
The Times of Israel obtained a copy of the draft statement early Monday morning. It "expressed [the council's] grave concern regarding the crisis related to Gaza and the loss of civilian lives and casualties, and called for de-escalation of the situation, cessation of violence and respect for international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians, especially children."

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators march in Washington in protest over the planned evictions in Sheikh Jarrah, on Tuesday. Credit: LEAH MILLIS/ REUTERS.

« 25 House Democrats call on Blinken to condemn Sheikh Jarrah evictions »

Jacob Magid (The Times of Israel, May 13, 2021):

Twenty-five House Democrats signed a letter urging U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to publicly condemn the planned eviction of Palestinians from homes in Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood on land claimed by Jewish settlers and exert diplomatic pressure on Israel to prevent the acts from taking place.
According to Haaretz, the letter received far more support than originally expected, in the middle of a week when thousands of rockets have being fired at Israel from Gaza. Continue...

EU diplomat Emanuele Giaufret shoots the breeze with Israeli war criminal Ghasan Alyan. (Via Facebook)

« Les bouchers de Gaza perçus comme des partenaires par l'UE »

David Cronin (The Electronic Intifada via Charleroi pour la Palestine, 11 mai, 2021)

Malgré toutes leurs tentatives de paraître objectifs, les diplomates de l'Union européenne ne sont pas des observateurs neutres, en Palestine. La majeure partie de ce qu'ils racontent tend à légitimer un mensonge. De façon typique, les diplomates ont présenté une image faussée, au moment où la police israélienne a fait irruption dans la mosquée Al-Aqsa lundi matin. Plutôt que de condamner la brutalité d'Israël, l'UE a préféré faire allusion aux « affrontements en cours ». 
Quelque 400 Palestiniens ont été blessés, quand ils ont été attaqués à coups de grenades assourdissantes et de balles d'acier enrobées de caoutchouc. Et l'UE d'insinuer qu'ils ne l'ont pas volé.  Continue...

Jerusalem - Al Quds :

« In Palestina gaat het om meer dan "een geschil over onroerend goed" »

Francis Jorissen (UITPERS, 12 mei, 2021):

"Helaas presenteren de PA en Palestijnse terreurgroepen een geschil over onroerend goed tussen particulieren als een nationalistische zaak om aan te zetten tot geweld in Jeruzalem", vertelde het Israëlische ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken zaterdag.
Dit alles "een geschil over onroerend goed" noemen, is een bijzonder perverse manier om wat er werkelijk gebeurt te minimaliseren. Nahalat Shimon, een kolonistenorganisatie uit de VS, probeert Palestijnen die sinds 1956 in Sheikh Jarrah wonen uit hun huizen te zetten. Zodra ze zijn uitgezet, zou het eigendom - dat sinds 1967 door Israël samen met de rest van Oost-Jeruzalem wordt bezet - worden overgedragen aan Joodse kolonisten onder Israëlisch recht. De zes families die sinds 1982 in een gevecht gewikkeld zijn om hun huizen te kunnen behouden krijgen niets als compensatie. 

Resources : 

« Destroying Palestinian Jerusalem, One Institution at a Time »

Yara Hawari* (Al-Shabaka, Oct 29, 2020):

The Israeli state has actively sought to destroy Palestinian Jerusalem since its creation in 1948. Al-Shabaka's Senior Palestine Policy Fellow, Yara Hawari, examines the July 2020 attacks on three Palestinian cultural institutions in East Jerusalem as part of the Israeli regime's systematic destruction of the city's Palestinian identity. She offers policy recommendations for protecting Jerusalem's Palestinian cultural and political institutions. Continue...

@ Sara Roy, «Unsilencing Gaza. Reflections on Resistance.» Palestinians refuse to be silenced and their struggle must not be ignored.  Pluto Press, June 2021. Pb 288p., ISBN: 9780745341378. Price: £19.99.

Gaza, the centre of Palestinian nationalism and resistance to the occupation, is the linchpin of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the key to its resolution. Sara Roy unpacks this process, looking at US foreign policy towards the Palestinians, as well as analysing the trajectory of Israeli policy toward Gaza, which became a series of punitive approaches meant not only to contain the Hamas regime but weaken Gazan society.


Palestinians hold general strike as Israeli airstrikes and Hamas rocket attacks continue.

"Palestinians have the right to resist" (Ali Abunimah)

"Jewish supremacists march in central Jerusalem"

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. ém. 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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