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Cultural Newsletter N°41 (March 2019)

"Fifty years ago, on October 29, 1956, 49 Palestinian residents of Kafr Qasem were murdered by Israeli border police who at that time were officially attached to the military. Countless more were wounded and left bleeding and unattended. Their families were unable to offer aid because of a 24 hour curfew lasting for some two days and three nights. Violation of the curfew was punishable by death...  This deliberate massacre had been planned in advance to coincide with the Israeli and Anglo-French attack on the Suez canal." (Picture and text by Samia A. Halaby, "MEMORIAL on the 50th Anniversary of the Kafr Qasem Massacre", 1998; see also: "Drawing the Kafr Qasem Massacre", Amsterdam, 264p., Schilt Publ., 2016. OnSamia Halaby and her art: click here).



Actions and Calls -- Agenda -- Analyses -- Arts, Culture, Heritage -- BDS -- Current Affairs -- EU, US, World -- Gaza -- Israel -- Occupation -- Prisoners -- Resources -- Videos

Actions & Calls:

Samidoun: "Last night in Berlin: The attack on Rasmea Odeh is an attack on Palestine" (March 16):

Protest motion from BACBI CC (17/03/2019)"The coordinating committee of BACBI, the association of Belgian academics and cultural workers in solidarity with Palestine, strongly condemns the violent intervention of the Berlin police against Ms. Rasmea Odeh, a Palestinian former prisoner and renowned activist. At the request of, among others, the American and Israeli ambassadors and complying with the witch-hunt against her by the German extreme right, she has been physically prevented by the police from speaking at a meeting calling for the liberation of Palestinian women in Israeli captivity. A visa that had been granted to her has been revoked and she was prohibited from political activity. This unacceptable crackdown on her and on a peaceful manifestation is a stain on Berlin's reputation as a beacon of democracy, anti-racism and freedom of expression."

Votre candidat aux Européennes va-t-il soutenir la Palestine ? (ECCP):

Questionner des acteurs politiques locaux, régionaux et nationaux quant à leur position sur la complicité européenne avec les crimes contre le peuple palestinien est une activité très importante en ce moment. Dans la période pré-électorale, engager des candidats et des partis sur des questions en lien avec les relations euro-israéliennes, peut avoir un impact particulier. Nous demandons à tous les défenseurs des droits des Palestiniens de demander des comptes à leurs candidats pendant les élections européennes.

Wies Descheemaeker, "Waarom we Eurovision dit jaar moeten boycotten" (Rekto:Verso, 1 maart): 

In mei zullen de camera's op het Eurovisionfestival in Tel Aviv gericht zijn, terwijl het zich voltrekt bovenop de ruïnes van verdwenen Palestijnse dorpen. Als het Eurosongfestival al een apolitiek imago beoogt, dan dient het hier als rookgordijn om onze blik aan schending van mensenrechten te onttrekken.

"Palestinian Civil Society Calls on the UN High Commissioner to Release the UN Database of Businesses Engaged in Activities Related to Israeli Settlements" (Al-Haq, Feb 28). For the Letter (pdf, 4p.): click here!

On Thursday, 28 February 2019, more than 200 Palestinian non-governmental organisations, trade unions, and institutions, endorsed by several regional and international human rights organisations, sent a letter to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.


# Brx, Thursday, March 21, 18h-21h: "Belgian money for Israeli Weapons?" Org.: Intal Globalise Solidarity & Intal Palestina Brussel. In cooperation with ECCP – European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine. Venu: Haachtsesteenweg 53, 1210 Sint-Joost-ten-Node. Speakers: David Cronin, Ewa Jasiewicz, Jean Guy Greilsamer. See Facebook.
As a part of the Israeli Apartheid Week 2019, Intal Globalise Solidarity invites you to an event discussing Belgian complicity in Israel's war crimes against the Palestinian people.

# Tournai, samedi le 23 mars 2019, 14:00 - 22:00: " 8 heures pour Mustapha Awad."  Lieu: La Petite Fabriek, Rue du Moulin 16, 7503 Doornik. Org.: Free Mustapha & ABP Wallonie picarde.

Programme : 14 h : Accueil --15 h : Théâtre "Made in Palestine" par le théâtre Croquemitaine -- 16 h 30 : Danses par Raj'een Dabkeh Group, la troupe de Mustapha -- 18 h : Conférence de Léa Tsemel, son avocate israélienne -- 20 h : Repas (sur réservation avant le 18 mars : et musique palestinienne par Alaa Shublaq, de Gaza.

Analyses & Comments:

Jan Tervoort, "Ja maar de Westelijke Sahara dan? En Tibet? Noord-Cyprus?" (The Rights Forum, 13 maart):

De onevenredig grote aandacht voor het Israëlisch-Palestijns conflict in vergelijking met andere conflicthaarden is een van de gronden waarop de Israël-lobby haar belangrijkste wapen in stelling brengt: de insinuatie van antisemitisme. Die aandacht is echter inhoudelijk en historisch te verklaren.

Ray Hanania, "Violence is fundamental to Israel's 'democracy' and always has been" (Middle East Monitor, March 1):

The UNHRC report details the most outrageous conduct by a government engaged in entirely punitive acts and killing civilians in the process. Israeli officials have never killed Palestinians for the sake of justice or international law; they almost always do so purely for the sake of revenge or to quell their anger. This is not the behaviour of a law-abiding democratic state. Violence, it seems, is fundamental to Israel's "democracy", and always has been.

Tine Danckaers, "Geen vrede mogelijk zonder Palestijnse staat" (MO*, 28 feb):

'De visie van Oslo is nog altijd geldig vandaag, ook al zijn velen de principes en doelstellingen ervan vergeten.' Een week geleden pende Federica Mogherini, hoge vertegenwoordiger van de EU voor Buitenlandse Zaken, liefst vier volle pagina's bij elkaar in The Cairo Review, in een pleidooi om de hoop voor vrede in het Midden-Oosten zuurstof te blijven toedienen.

Jean Cooren, "Waar komen de autistische kinderen van Palestina terecht?'" (MO*, 27 feb):

Als je naar Palestina gaat moet je geen moed hebben, maar wel geld voor een vliegticket en een Europees paspoort. Naar de Palestijnse Gebieden ga je meestal niet als toerist, maar om iets te proberen achterhalen van wat zich afspeelt achter de Israëlische Muur die de horizon verbergt, en achter de bekende clichés die we vaak in de media lezen.

Peter Beinart, "Debunking the myth that anti-Zionism is antisemitic" (The Guardian, March 7):

All over the world, it is an alarming time to be Jewish – but conflating anti-Zionism with Jew-hatred is a tragic mistake. It is a bewildering time to be a Jew, both because antisemitism is rising and because so many politicians are responding to it not by protecting Jews but by victimising Palestinians. [Peter Beinart is associate professor of journalism and political science at the City University of New York and a senior columnist at Haaretz. His books include The Crisis of Zionism (2012)] 

Jannie Schipper, "Conflict Israël-Palestina is ook heel erg een woordenstrijd" (NRC, 4 maart):

Nadat in de afgelopen maanden diverse Europese staten, waaronder Nederland, Hongarije en Frankrijk, in rap tempo achter elkaar de (IHRA-) definitie over antisemitisme hadden aangenomen, leefde de discussie in alle hevigheid op, ook in NRC. Te meer toen de Israëlische premier Benjamin Netanyahu deze landen daarvoor prees.

Johan Depoortere, "Zionisten zoeken meer en meer steun bij openlijke antisemieten" (De Wereld Morgen, 26 feb):

De Israëlische premier Netanyahu omarmt drie extreem-rechtse partijen om zich op die manier van een meerderheid te verzekeren na de verkiezingen die op 9 april moeten plaatsvinden. "Joods fascisme" noemt de liberale krant Haaretz de nieuwe coalitiepartners die de premier al een post in de volgende regering heeft beloofd.

Arts, Culture & Heritage:

"Samia Halaby: An Artist at Once Palestinian and Universal" (Heba Elkayal, Al-Fanar Media, Aug 10, 2018):

Palestinian-American artist Samia Halaby's spacious loft-studio in New York's TriBeCa neighborhood is a sanctuary from the noise and bustle of New York City. The walls of the kitchen are painted in the same speckled style as many of her canvases and books and dictionaries in multiple languages line shelves that snake their way back to the studio.

The Freedom Theatre, Press Release: "Arrest of Zakaria Zubeidi":

In the early morning of Wednesday 27th of February, the Israeli Occupation forces arrested Zakaria Zubeidi one of the founders of the Freedom Theatre and one of the students of the Stone Theatre, that was destroyed during the second Intifada. Zakaria co-founded The Freedom Theatre with Juliano Mer-Khamis who was murdered outside the theatre on the 4th of April 2011.

Alaa ElBurai, "How this youth band from Gaza helps other musicians" (Al-Monitor, Feb 26):

 In cash-stripped Gaza, opportunities are few for a youth band. There aren't many festivals and sponsors, and instruments are either not available or too expensive, and even a studio to practice may be a luxury. Gaza's Sol Band makes his voice heard in concerts and on the internet, but an album just needs to wait.

Ahmad Melhem, "Ramallah's got talent: A new platform presents it" (Al-Monitor, Jan 25):

'Sard' (the word means "to narrate") is a Ramallah-based creative initiative geared toward forging a community of young writers, poets and musicians in the West Bank. They read short stories, present songs, rap, perform skits and create visual works of art.

"2 Palestinian photojournalists win awards at prestigious competition" (Ma'an News Agency, Feb 15):

Muhammad Salem Jadallah and Muhammad Asad, both based in the besieged Gaza Strip won awards at the 76th Pictures of the Year International (POYI) of the Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia, Missouri, United States, one of the most prestigious schools of journalism worldwide.

"Abu Shakra, pioneer of Palestinian art in Israel, dies at 73" (Naama Riba, Haaretz, March 6):

Palestinian Israeli artist Abu Shakra came from a family of prominent artists in Umm al-Fahm and took to projects that focused on Palestinians' connection to their lands. (He) was the first Palestinian to study at an Israeli artschool, an opportunity funded by a pair of Holocaust survivors.

"Asked to strip by security guard, Palestinian artist refuses to fly to Israel" (Naama Riba, Haaretz, March 18):

The Israeli-Palestinian artist Nasreen Abu Bakr, due to participate in an exhibition called "The Moon's Reflection on the Asphalt," at the Beit Hagefen Arab-Jewish cultural center in Haifa, underwent what she called a "degrading, exhausting and bizarre interrogation" by El Al airlines security personnel at the Berlin airport.

Entsar Abu Jahal, "Palestinian women entrepreneurs compete for professional assistance" (Al-Monitor, Feb 28):

The Ministry of National Economy in the West Bank city of Ramallah recently launched a competetion targeting women working in the food industry in order to encourage their efforts and support national products.


"Senator calls for Irish boycott of Eurovision song contest in Tel Aviv" (Marie O'Halloran, The Irish Times, March 7):

A Sinn Féin Senator has claimed Israel is using the Eurovision song contest to "present its prettier face and to whitewash and distract attention from war crimes". Fintan Warfield called for an Irish boycott of the contest as RTÉ prepares to announce the country's entry for the 64th annual competition, which takes place in Tel Aviv on Saturday May 18th.

"Eurovision : Israël arrête la vente de billets" (CAPJPO EuroPalestine, 3 mars):

Un scandale chasse l'autre au pays de l'apartheid : après l'annonce de la prochaine inculpation du Premier Ministre Netanyahou pour corruption, voilà que la direction de la télé publique décide l'arrêt de la vente des billets pour la finale de l'Eurovision, pour cause de fraude massive !

"Israel could ban Icelandic Eurovision entrant over political views" (Far Out, March 10):

Iceland's representative for this year's Eurovision Song Contest, Hatari, may be banned from entering Israel, if the Israeli "lawfare" organisation Shurat HaDin get their way. In a statement, Shurat HaDin's founder Nitsana Darshan-Leitner said: "We received information that the band representing Iceland supports a boycott of Israel."

John Legend: "For too long it has been out of balance for progressives to speak up for the rights of Palestinians" (Ma'an via Informed Comment, Feb 20):

American award-winning singer, songwriter, and producer, John Legend, recently spoke out about standing up for human rights for Palestinians while on the "Real Time With Bill Maher" show.

Current Affairs:

Netta Ahituv, "Endless trip to hell': Israel jails hundreds of Palestinian boys a year. These are their testimonies" (Breaking the Silence via Haaretz, March 16):

They're seized in the dead of night, blindfolded and cuffed, abused and manipulated to confess to crimes they didn't commit. Every year Israel arrests almost 1,000 Palestinian youngsters, some of them not yet 13.

Amira Hass, "Israel says "No" to clean running water for Palestinian villages" (Haaretz via IAK, Feb 25):

On February 13, 2019, Israeli forces arrived near the village of a-Tuwani in the South Hebron Hills. The forces used excavating equipment to unearth and destroy stretch of pipe, which was laid just months ago and supplied water to over 1,000 Palestinians. Residents say that without the system, "water has become every family's largest expense."

"EU veroordeelt huisuitzettingen Palestijnse gezinnen in Oost-Jeruzalem" (The Rights Forum, 26 feb):

Israël moet direct stoppen met het op straat zetten van Palestijnse inwoners van Oost-Jeruzalem, stelt de EU. De uitzettingen en het overnemen van woningen door Israëlische kolonisten zijn onrechtmatig. Meer dan 180 Palestijnse gezinnen lopen op korte termijn het risico op straat te belanden.

EU, UN, US & the World:

Jonathan Cook, "Once again, the UN has failed to name firms that profit from Israel's illegal settlements" (March 10):

It is this Israeli exceptionalism that is so striking. The more violent Israel becomes towards the Palestinians and the more intransigent in rejecting peace, the less pressure is exerted upon it. Not only does Israel continue to enjoy generous financial, military and diplomatic support from the US and Europe, both are working ever harder to silence criticisms of its actions by their own citizens... The hypocrisy of these states - urging peace in the region while doing their best to subvert it - is clear. Now the danger is that UN leaders will join them.

Edo Konrad, "Movement for Black Lives backs leaders hit with anti-Semitism smears" (+972, Feb 25):

The Movement for Black Lives comes out in support of Black progressive leaders such as Ilhan Omar, Angela Davis, and Marc Lamont Hill, who have been targeted for speaking out in favor of Palestinian rights.

"South Africa to downgrade Israel diplomatic mission" (Middle East Monitor, March 9):

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has said that his government is planning to downgrade its diplomatic mission to Israel. This, he said, comes in response to recommendations from the National Conference of the National African Party which was held more than a year ago, Safa news agency reported yesterday.


UN HRC: "No Justification for Israel to Shoot Protesters with Live Ammunition" (28 Feb 2019):

The UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on the protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory today presented its findings. The report focuses on the demonstrations in the Gaza Strip. "The Commission has reasonable grounds to believe that during the Great March of Return, Israeli soldiers committed violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. Some of those violations may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity, and must be immediately investigated by Israel," said the Chair of the Commission, Santiago Canton of Argentina.

OCHA Occupied Palestinian Territories, "Humanitarian snapshot: casualties in the context of demonstrations and hostilities in Gaza | 30 March 2018 - 31 January 2019". Overview (March 8):

Since 30 March 2018, the Gaza Strip has witnessed a significant increase in Palestinian casualties in the context of mass demonstrations and other activities along Israel's perimeter fence with Gaza, taking place as part of the "Great March of Return" (GMR), as well as during hostilities and access related incidents.


Mairav Zonszein, "'Breaking the Silence': Inside the Israeli Right's Campaign to Silence an Anti-Occupation Group" (The Intercept, March 3):

The political persecution of 'Breaking the Silence' is a testament to the settler right's consolidation of power and permeation into the mainstream over the last decade; allegations against the group have found their way into the talking points of Israel's most powerful leaders. [New BtS booklet: "Occupying Hebron. Soldiers' Testimonies from Hebron 2011-2017" (70p.). "The testimonies reveal the violence and discrimination that have become an inextricable part of life in Hebron"]

"Disenfranchised: Thousands of Bedouin citizens prevented from voting in upcoming Israeli election" (Adalah, The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Feb 11):

Eleven unrecognized Bedouin villages in Israel's Naqab (Negev) southern desert region have no polling stations or public transportation and some of their thousands of residents will have to travel up to 50 kilometers to vote in the upcoming national elections on 9 April 2019.

"Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel is 'not a state of all its citizens'" (The Guardian, March 10):

PM has been accused of demonising Israeli Arabs in lead-up to April election. "Israel is not a state of all its citizens," he wrote in response to criticism from an Israeli actor, Rotem Sela. "According to the basic nationality law we passed, Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people - and only it."

Philip Weiss, "No Israeli Jewish party can form a coalition with a Palestinian party (and yes there's something wrong with that)" (Mondoweiss, Feb 28):

When the leading party in the Israeli elections, 'Blue and White', says it won't work with Arabs to form a coalition, and the Labor Party announces its new agenda of 'Three Paths to Separation from Palestinians', you'd think there's something wrong with the Israeli Jewish polity. But liberal Zionists can't catch a clue...


Sawsan Ramahi, "On International Women's Day, stand with the Palestinian women of Jerusalem" (Middle East Monitor, March 8):

We must stand with the Palestinian women in Jerusalem who are suffering at the hands of the Israeli occupation of the Holy City. Jerusalemite women have been and still are the first line of defence in Jerusalem against the Israeli occupation, which aims to expel them, their children and their husbands from their own land so that the Muslim and Christian Arab presence in the city is erased without a trace.

Maureen Clare Murphy, "How Israel makes Palestinians foreigners in their own land" (EI, 26 Feb):

One of the most insidious aspects of Israel's military occupation is also one of its most overlooked: its deliberate fragmentation of Palestinian society. While the spectacle of violence is typically the focus of media attention - when international media cover Israel's oppression of Palestinians at all - the reach of Israeli control over Palestinian family life falls under the radar.

Ramzy Baroud, "War on in Al-Aqsa: What Price Netanyahu's Victory" (CounterPunch, Feb 28):

On February 18, members of extremist Jewish groups raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Occupied Al-Quds (Jerusalem). They clashed with Palestinian worshippers, as the settlers attempted to shut down the gate of Al-Aqsa itself. The clashes involved the Israeli army and police as well, who opened fire and brutally assaulted Palestinians, leading to scores of injuries.

"Palestine in Pictures: February 2019" (The Electronic Intifada, March 1):

Israeli occupation forces killed four Palestinian children and one adult during the month of February. A sixth Palestinian, Ahmad Ghazi Abbas Abu Jabal, 30, died on 3 February from wounds sustained during protests along Gaza's boundary with Israel the previous month...


"Khalida Jarrar freed from Israeli prison after 20 months of administrative detention" (Samidoun, Feb 28):

Palestinian national leader, parliamentarian, feminist and leftist Khalida Jarrar was released early Thursday morning, 28 Feb, after 20 months of imprisonment without charge or trial under administrative detention. In an interview [video below with English subtitles] given immediately after her release, Jarrar said that "the prisoners are an integral part of the Palestinian people's movement, and their message is always unity."

Brad Parker, "Palestinian Children in Israeli Military Detention" (Americans for Middle East Understanding, "The Link", Vol. 51, Issue 5, Dec 2018, 16p.): 

[Brad Parker is a staff attorney and international officer at Defense for Children International-Palestine and leads its legal advocacy efforts on Palestinian children's rights.]


@ UN HRC: "Report of the independent international commission of inquiry on the protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory." UN Human Rights Council, 40th session, 25 February-22 March 2019, Agenda item 7, Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories (pdf, 22p.)

@ UN OHCHR: "Israel's exploitation of Palestinian resources is human rights violation, says UN expert" (UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights, March 18):

Israel's exploitation of natural resources in the Occupied Palestinian Territory for its own use is in direct violation of its legal responsibilities as an occupying power, says UN Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk... "Israeli practices in relation to water, extraction of other resources, and environmental protection, raise serious concerns. With the collapse of natural sources of drinking water in Gaza and the inability of Palestinians to access most of their water sources in the West Bank, water has become a potent symbol of the systematic violation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory," the Special Rapporteur said.

@ "Between the Hammer and the Anvil: Women's Right to Health in the Gaza Strip" (Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, March 2019). Author: Mor Efrat.

A new report by PHRI issued to mark International Women's Day reveals how the closure of Gaza and the criteria for granting exit permits affect women patients, among other things due to delays and unresponsiveness by the Israeli authorities, women's relatedness to family members residing outside the Gaza Strip, or their relatedness to members of Hamas. For the report (pdf, 19p.): click here!

"The Index of Racism and Incitement in Israeli Social Media 2018: An inciting post against Palestinians every 66 seconds" (7amleh Center, March 11):

In 2018, 474,250 inciting posts against Palestinians were written. Legislation about the Nation-State Law was the main engine of racism for hate speech via Facebook. Palestinian politicians and Palestinians Citizens of Israel are most vulnerable to incitement. The results of the Index of Racism and Incitement in Israeli social media, released annually by 7amleh - The Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media, shows a staggering rise in incitement and Israeli racism against Palestinians on social networks in the past year (2017 - 2018).

@ "Israel's military checkpoints: 'We live a life of injustice'."An interactive photo essay by Activestills (AlJazeera, 2018):

Every morning, before dawn, tens of thousands of Palestinian workers cross Israeli military checkpoints on their way to their workplaces, in Israeli and Palestinian cities beyond the Green Line. There are some 11 checkpoints through which Palestinians with Israeli work permits can cross into Israel. They are overcrowded and humiliating, lacking infrastructure and sanitation. Due to their extreme confinement in such small places, some Palestinian labourers have been crushed to death. 

@ BROCHURE 2019 : "Enfances brisées - Les enfants palestiniens, cible privilégiée de la répression israélienne" (Plateforme des ONG françaises pour le Palestine, 5 février 2019): format A5, 38 p., éd. janvier 2019, 2 EUR l'exemplaire (1 EUR plus de 10 ex.).

La Plateforme Palestine publie une nouvelle brochure sur les détentions d'enfants palestiniens, tirée du rapport " Enfances brisées " publié en 2016 et soumis au Comité contre la torture de l'ONU qui était le fruit d'une recherche de terrain et de témoignages d'enfants et de leur famille.

@ Palestina Solidariteit, Nieuwsbrief Nr 54 (maart 2019):


Interview with Khalida Jarrar after her liberation, 28 February 2019

UN condemns Israel as Palestinians bury their dead: The truth is out about Israel's lethal actions in Gaza. Will the world listen?


Belgian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel

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


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