Category: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

In depth coverage and daily reports from inside the occupied territories.

Bob Dylan’s embrace of Israel’s war crimes

Controversially, musical genius Bob Dylan received the Nobel Prize for literature last week.

Even some critics who acknowledged his musical brilliance have argued that awarding a musician was a step that too dramatically expanded the definition of literature. What few dispute is that his music inspired millions in the midst of the anti-war and civil rights movements.

But there is also a less pleasant, less known side to the artist, particularly his views on Israel, Meir Kahane and the Jewish Defense League.

In 1983, in The New York Times, Stephen Holden described Dylan’s album Infidels as “a disturbing artistic semirecovery by a rock legend who seemed in recent years to have lost his ability to engage the Zeitgeist.”

Israel Limits Palestinian Villages Water to “Two Hours a Week”

As the water shortage in Palestinian territory continues; new reports show the Palestinian people are getting less water than ever.

Israeli rationing of water is now essentially a summer tradition in Palestine but this year has been unprecedented. Currently, some territories in the West Bank are under such tight water rations that they have only been getting water “for one hour, twice a week.”

Israel keeps Bilal Kayed in ‘administrative detention’

After spending nearly 14 and a half years in an Israeli prison for his affiliation with the left-wing Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Bilal Kayed was due to be released on 13 June – but he wasn’t.

Instead, on that day, Bilal was told that he would be held in administrative detention, which amounts to imprisonment without charge or trial.

Kayed’s detention was to last six months, with the possibility of renewal for an indefinite period of time.

Two days later, on 15 June, he began a hunger strike in protest of his continued imprisonment.

The military court ruled that, based on secret evidence gathered about his activities before his initial arrest and his intentions upon release he continued to pose a threat to Israel’s security.

Israeli Occupation is Cutting Palestine’s GDP in Half. Will the World Care Now?

The UN released a report on Monday stating Palestinian territory could “easily produce” twice the GDP it’s currently producing if Israeli occupation were to end. Unsurprisingly, unemployment and poverty would drastically be reduced as well. Here’s a summary of the studies the UN and why they matter.

Natural Resources & Trade

Even in non-occupied territories, Palestinians do not have access to their own ground water supply and are restricted from digging wells. Israel confiscates a whopping 82% of the Palestinian water supply and Palestinians are forced to buy back their own water by importing it from Israel.

My First Day in Occupied Palestine

Today was my first full day as an ISM’er in Al-Khalil (Hebron).

A regular part of our work is to monitor Israeli checkpoints beside schools in the mornings since the teachers ask for an international presence. Often there can be problems with violence between Israeli forces and Palestinian children. Another reason ISM is there, is to count the number of school children using the checkpoint, to see how many children are suffering from this daily stress, which sadly, is part of normal life under the occupation. The data we collect is passed on to NGOs who collects data on children in the whole of Palestine. It is necessary for children living in the H2 area to pass through this checkpoint to reach their school. The Palestinian children are often subjected to intimidation and harassment as they are searched in claustrophobic rooms within the highly militarized structures. This morning i was monitoring Qeitun checkpoint with two other ISM’ers.

Around 120 children, mostly boys, passed through the checkpoint in the first half an hour. There were clearly armed Israeli solders stationed in heavily armored towers overlooking the checkpoint, creating an intimidating atmosphere. There was an older Palestinian man encouraging the children to go through the checkpoint as a few of them were nervously waiting in front of them. In the midst of our counting of children we heard shouting from around the corner and saw a group of Palestinian children being chased by heavily armed Israeli border police, although we were in H1, out of Israeli jurisdiction. A few of the children thew stones towards the invading border police and before we knew what happened a soldier lobbed a stun grenade directly at the children. This grenade exploded a few metres in front of the children standing at an entrance to a junior school. I was down the street but the loud noise really reverberated through my body and sent my heart racing. It was the first time I had experienced this kind of weapon and moments after, I was still terrified. The grenade sent the children fleeing in all directions and one of them dropped his school bag. An Israeli soldier stole his bag and took it with him. As he walked past us an ISM activist asked him “why have you taken his school bag?’, the soldier muttered “to check it”. Of course this was a lie as they did not open it and I found it infuriating that heavily armed, grown men would steal the school bag of a child as some sort of immature intimidation technique.

Palestine: Crackdown on Journalists, Activists

Chilling Effect on Free Expression

The Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and Gaza are arresting, abusing, and criminally charging journalists and activists who express peaceful criticism of the authorities. The crackdown directly violates obligations that Palestine recently assumed in ratifying international treaties protecting free speech.

“Both Palestinian governments, operating independently, have apparently arrived at similar methods of harassment, intimidation and physical abuse of anyone who dares criticize them,” said Sari Bashi, Israel and Palestine country director at Human Rights Watch. “The Palestinian people fought hard to gain the protections that accompany membership in the international community, and their leaders should take their treaty obligations seriously.”

Israelis Raid Palestinian Village, Injure Several

Several Palestinians have sustained injuries after Israeli troops raided a village in the central part of the occupied West Bank.

Israeli troops broke into Palestinian houses in the village of Jab’a, located eight kilometers southwest of the city of Jenin, on Thursday, local media reported, according to Press TV.

They used tear gas during the raid and looted the houses. Nearly a dozen Palestinians were reportedly arrested during the operation.

Google Sparks Outrage by Abolishing Palestine on Maps

Journalists and activists have excoriated Google for wiping Palestine completely off its map app, depicting the entire occupied Palestinian territories as part of the Israel, pan–Latin American satellite television network TeleSUR reported on Tuesday.

The Palestinian Journalists’ Forum initiated an online campaign to pressure the internet giant to reconsider its stance. The organization accused Google of being “part of the Israeli scheme to establish its name as a legitimate state for generations to come and abolish Palestine once and for all.”

“The move is also designed to falsify history, and geography as well as the Palestinian people’s right to their homeland, and a failed attempt to tamper with the memory of Palestinians and Arabs as well as the world,” the statement continued.

Why I’m Not Discussing Genocide in Jerusalem

Jerusalem is not just a site of ‘conflict’, as the INOGS conference programme says. It is a site in which questions of ‘genocide’, the deliberate destruction of communities, are all too live.

The International Network of Genocide Scholars (INOGS) is holding a conference in Jerusalem this weekend. The initiative has attracted an attack by Israel Charny in the Jerusalem Post under the lurid heading, ‘Genocide scholars who minimize the Holocaust – and some who are coming to town’. This summarised his article published in the pseudo-academic Journal for the Study of Antisemitism, reporting a flawed survey of his friends and acquaintances interested in genocide about their attitudes to the Journal of Genocide Research (JGR), the premier journal in the field which is sponsored by INOGS.

Anti-Israeli Occupation Group Struggles to Reconcile Movement Building and Allyship

The security guard didn’t look angry, but instead bemused. A hundred or so young Jews — replete with skinny jeans and matching white t-shirts — circled his desk, hand-in-hand, singing. They’d come to the glass-enclosed lobby of a high rise in midtown Manhattan to protest one of its tenants: the Anti-Defamation League, a pro-Israel Jewish organization.

They’d also come to celebrate the holiday of Passover, drawing a parallel between the Jewish exodus from Egypt and the liberation of Palestinians in the occupied territories. An air of unabashed jubilance, on account of the festivity, seemed to cause the guard some discomfort. Mere demonstrators, he may have encountered before. These Jewish 20-somethings, however, began to dance.

Soon enough the cops arrived, arrests were made, and the crowd dispersed.

Deadly Spite: Israel Shuts Off Water to West Bank During Ramadan

With heat indices spiking near 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) and local residents fasting in observance of the Muslim holy month, the latest act by Israel risks loss of life and a fierce response.

The Palestinian-occupied West Bank faces the threat of mass casualties from extreme dehydration and heat stroke as residents face an unseasonably hot start to summer without clean water, during a time when devout Muslims are already fasting in observance of Ramadan.

The Israeli state-owned Mekorot water company cut water supplies to the West Bank more than 40 days ago, forcing locals to rely on untreated groundwater and wastewater to survive. The water shutoff appears to be a premeditated act against the Palestinian people, with Israeli officials saying over one month ago that no technical defects exist on the waterline.

Water shutoffs in the West Bank correspond with Israeli officials boasting about surplus water supplies and plans to export water abroad to improve relations with neighbors. One such deal for exporting Israeli water supplies has already been made with neighboring country Jordan.

Gaza: A City No One Wants

The Gazans have been abandoned and left in the hands of Hamas to do with them as they please. This policy is transforming Gaza slowly but steadily into a hotbed of radicals.

As Palestinians commemorate the 68th anniversary of the Nakba, “catastrophe” in Arabic, when the indigenous people of Palestine were driven into exile and the Israeli State was established, a new Nakba takes place. This new Nakba is the political division between Hamas and Fatah.

The day to day life of the people of Gaza is best represented by the running joke: “Police have arrested a Gazan who has hope”. No hope. No future.

The Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt recently opened for two days after a three-month closure. Registered travelers numbered at more than 30,000, but Egyptian border security only allowed 747 into Egypt. A journey, which under usual circumstances should only take five minutes by bus or one hour, including bureaucratic procedures, now takes over 24 hours sometimes 48 hours, leaving hundreds of Palestinians in prison-like areas inside the Egyptian side of the Rafah border, a violation of basic human rights.

Egypt ruled Gaza from 1948 until 1967. Since then, Gazans have attended Egypt’s universities, creating a strong bond with Egypt over time. Nowadays, Egypt’s narrative has changed, and Gazans are treated as enemies.

How to strike back at Andrew Cuomo for his unconstitutional Anti-BDS move

Andrew Cuomo unilaterally decided to halt the state of New York’s business with any organization that opposes Israeli war crimes. Obviously, the court battle will proceed and those leading that charge need the support of all Americans who support Free Speech. Americans must also make a point to corrupt politicians who would stifle peaceful dissent.

Campaign donations are the life blood of all politicians. Placing pressure on those who support Cuomo will bring immediate results. Below is a list of Cuomo’s top financial supporters. BDS should immediately expand their boycott to include all of these organizations. Those who support free speech to make their presence known to all of the financiers behind Cuomo. Imagine the social media accounts of these contributors plastered with the images of Israeli brutality. Imagine these businesses unable to do business without the presence of activists. Soon they’d be calling their government lackey and demanding he change his policy. We always complain that officials are beholden to their campaign contributors. Maybe it’s time to start making those businesses pay for the actions of those they own.

Even if you don’t care about Palestine or Israel’s human rights record, an action like this by a government official must be met with the stiffest resistance possible.

Jordan: Ease Travel for Gaza Palestinians

Restrictions Block Educational, Economic Opportunity

Jordan should facilitate travel for Palestinians seeking to travel from Gaza to third countries, Human Rights Watch said in a letter released today to Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour. A recent apparent tightening of criteria for transit has blocked access to professional and educational opportunities abroad, including for Gaza’s young people struggling with the effects of an Israeli-imposed closure.

“Jordan has gone to great lengths to accept and meet the needs of large numbers of refugees from across the region,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director. “Since last August, however, Palestinians from Gaza have found it increasingly difficult to get permission to transit through Jordan to travel abroad, without any explanation for the change.”

Celebrating Israeli Independence Day From the Other Side of Apartheid Fence

Leaving the meeting I was searching for a safe way to go through the old City of Hebron alone, where there was a celebration of ”Israeli Independence day” going on. I wanted to reach my ISM team members who were already patrolling there. I took off my Kufiya, the Palestinian scarf, because I would probably not be safe wearing it amongst crowds of settlers. I went by taxi to the nearest checkpoint; I got out, passed the checkpoint and descended the hill on the palestinian side.

Loud, happy music had been playing for days and at the main square, there was a stage surrounded by Jewish families cheerfully dancing, clapping hands watching the event going on. Reaching the entrance of the event, even soldiers at the checkpoint were dancing happily.
Only one old palestinian man with a cane was observing the scene melancholically. I felt his grief. Once that had been a palestinian place, with Palestinians celebrating on it. But those days were gone.

I found my friends and we started to walk through the old city, to check on the situation. The streets were empty, houses locked up and you could see Palestinian children behind lattice windows, trying to catch up on some of the events going on outside. Their parents had them made stay at home, being scared of clashes and attacks by settler groups, as they had been in past celebrations of independence day.