Man assaulted handing Women of the Wall a Torah scroll threatens legal action
(article in Haaretz)
An American immigrant who was detained by police last week for passing a Torah scroll from the men’s section of the Western Wall to members of a feminist prayer group is threatening to take legal action if his name is not cleared.Charlie Kalech, the owner of a digital marketing company in Jerusalem, suffered injuries to his head when he was physically assaulted by a man on the scene who identified himself as an employee of the organization that administers the Jewish holy site. Kalech was detained by police after he filed a complaint against his assailant and in the process revealed the circumstances surrounding the confrontation.
Jerusalem hosts gynecology conference – but no women allowed
(article in Haaretz)
A rights group in Israel is calling on the country’s medical association to forbid doctors from taking part in a Jerusalem women’s health event scheduled for Tuesday that is closed to women participants.The event is co-sponsored by one of Israel’s leading – and publicly funded – HMOs, Meuhedet, and the ultra-Orthodox medical institute Yad HaRamah. It is meant to focus on research and innovation in women’s health, bringing together medical experts, rabbis, teachers, and experts in Jewish law for dialogue and discussion.
A spokesperson for the conference told the Ynet news website that not only were women absent from the roster of speakers and panelists at the event, but that they were barred from the audience as well.
Yedioth Ahronoth covered this long-running controversy in 2012: Gynecology convention excludes female lecturers
Women’s exclusion hits new low: Not one female doctor has been invited to speak in a conference on gynecology and halacha scheduled to take place next week. Only male doctors will speak in the meeting, including senior physicians, as organizers claim female doctors where shunned after rabbis prohibited their participation.
Protesters, police clash at Ethiopian Israeli demo against police brutality
(story in Haaretz)
The protest in front of the national Israel Police headquarters was prompted by a video of an incident on Sunday in the Tel Aviv suburb of Holon in which a policeman is seen pushing an Israeli soldier of Ethiopian descent, Demas Fekadeh, to the ground after he didn’t initially move at the policeman’s request. (Police were attempting to clear the area due to a suspicious object.) Another policeman is then shown in the video pummeling Fekadeh.
Ethiopian-Israeli protest against police brutality is met with violence
(story in +972mag)
Thousands of young Ethiopian Israelis demonstrated against police brutality in Jerusalem on Thursday, in a vigil that spiraled into violent clashes with police.The protesters congregated in the afternoon under the banner: “Down with racism! A black person will not be brought down.” The protesters blocked major roads in the capital — including Highway 1, the road that links Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
When the protest approached the Prime Minister’s Residence a few hours later, police gloves were off. Officers fired tear gas and stun grenades at the crowd, with some present reporting via social media that riot control forces had brought out the dreaded “skunk” spray, generally only used in Palestinian protests in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
International Workers’ Day: The most invisible workers in Israel
(story at B’Tselem)
A couple of week ago we spoke with a number of Palestinian workers who live just a few dozen kilometers from where they work in Israel, but the difficulties involved in reaching their place of work mean they remain at their place of work all week, away from their families and home environment. At times, they must confine themselves to living in rough conditions at their workplace, with no option of leaving it. As one worker told us: “I feel like I’m working in a small prison”.
Israel sends aid to Nepal, but what about Gaza? On Israel’s selective compassion
(Opinion in Haaretz)
More than eight months after the war that decimated Gaza’s civilian infrastructure, killed 2,132 Palestinians (and 72 Israelis) and displaced thousands, the reconstruction is still stalling, according to a report by the Association of International Development Agencies. More than 12,000 homes are still waiting to be rebuilt, and 100,000 people are still homeless.
Yet Israel is acting as if it’s more concerned with the disaster in Nepal — a remote country known to Israelis mostly for tourism and surrogate pregnancies — not the place festering on the border. “Since Saturday, we have all become Nepalese,” wrote commentator Boaz Bismuth in the daily Israel Hayom.With the war all but forgotten and Gaza far removed from Israeli minds, Israel and its politicians are hardly interested in Gaza’s troubles.
Who’s the real racist in the Knesset?
(Opinion in Haaretz)
Not only does Odeh demonstrate greater sensitivity than Jewish MKs toward the Knesset and its symbols, but he also demonstrates a deeper understanding than Arens when he says “It seems the Jews don’t feel like a majority … When there’s a majority that feels like a minority and is strong but feels weak and threatened, we pay the price” (Ofra Edelman, April 26).
Rivlin and Netanyahu refuse to meet Jimmy Carter over his ‘anti-Israel stance’
(article in Haaretz)
According to the senior official, the Foreign Ministry recommended that Rivlin and Netanyahu not meet with Carter because of what they termed his “anti-Israeli stance” over the last few years, particularly during the summer war in Gaza.During the war, Carter voiced harsh criticism on Israel and called to remove Hamas from the American State Department’s list of terror organizations.
Jimmy Carter cancels Thursday visit to Gaza
(article in Jerusalem Post)
Former US President Jimmy Carter called off his visit to the Gaza Strip, according to Palestinian sources on Wednesday. No reason for the cancellation was given.Carter was scheduled to arrive on April 30 in Gaza to meet with Hamas leaders, and then with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to help mediate between the two factions’ stalled national reconciliation. The status of Carter’s visit to the West Bank is still unknown and so far has not been cancelled.
One person shot at protest against Israel’s cancer-causing chemical plants in Tulkarem
(International Solidarity Movement)
Around fifty Palestinians and international activists gathered today in Tulkarem, east of Nablus, to protest the presence of 11 Israeli chemical plants located in the city. The protest took place outside the Gishuri chemical plant on what is locally referred to as the “death road” due to the health problems caused by the Israeli plants.
A representative from the Palestine Technical University (PTU), which neighbors the Gushiri chemical plant to the south and the Apartheid Wall to the west, said today that the smell is “unbearable” after 3 pm, which explains why most residents of Tulkarem always keep their windows shut. Residents living near the factories have also developed health issues including asthma, reduced lung capacity, skin ailments and eye infections. This is especially true for elementary students.
ICC prosecutor: Low-ranking Israeli soldiers, as well as Palestinians, could be prosecuted for war crimes
(story in Haaretz)
“If an investigation is opened in any given situation, my office will be guided by a policy of investigating and prosecuting those most responsible for the commission of mass crimes,” Bensouda wrote [Fatou Bensouda, prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague].“That is the general rule. In accordance with my office’s new strategic plan, where appropriate, we may indeed investigate and prosecute notorious perpetrators whose conduct has been particularly egregious or a number of lower- or mid-level perpetrators, building upwards, and thereby bringing stronger cases against those most responsible.”
Hamas victory in student vote reflects shifting mood
(article at al_Jazeera)
Often seen as a bellwether for national politics, the elections at Birzeit University, near Ramallah, saw Hamas supporters defeat rivals aligned with Fatah. The results came as a surprise at a campus historically known for its allegiance to factions aligned with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), especially Fatah, the ruling party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.For years, Palestinian leaders have been promising general elections, which have not been held since Abbas was elected in 2006. This has lent credence to these student elections, which are often used as a litmus test for support for politicians and parties, especially at Birzeit, an institution known for its political activism and academic prominence.
Some observers called the results a win-win situation for both parties, and for the Palestinian public in general.
“Fatah has to be pleased, because the defeat rids it of the permanent ruling-party mindset,” said Saleh Masharka, a professor of media at Birzeit University. “Hamas, on the other hand, will have to become more realistic and responsible, and decrease its reliance on slogans.”
The Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions (ICAHD) is a small NGO. They had their intern write an essay titled: Report on a One State Solution. It’s interesting because it polls numerous activists and thinkers for their thoughts on the subject.
Zakaria Odeh is the executive director of the Civic Coalition, which is the steering committee for several human rights organizations in Palestine.
According to Odeh, the “one state solution is the only viable solution”, as ”there is nothing left to create a Palestinian state”. In our interview he explained that the West Bank and East Jerusalem have been so fragmented by Israeli policies that a Palestinian state could only be ”a group of communities separated by settlements”, which would be unable to support itself economically and would suffer from a lack of resources. For Odeh, a Palestinian state ”is not fair or realistic on the ground”.Odeh is among many thinkers who believe that a one state solution should be structured as a secular democracy, namely with one person per vote elections.
Bob Lang, an American-Israeli who is the spokesperson for the Efrat settlement in the West Bank and a previous advisor to Netanyahu, also believed that a ”one state is the direction we should be going in”. In our interview, Lang expressed the typical right wing Israeli perception of a future one state, namely a Greater Israel. Lang argued that eventually what is now ‘’Little Israel’’ will annex “Judea and Samara”, and that the ‘’Arabs living there now could become citizens of Israel if they want to’’. He specified, however, that about 20-30% of these Arabs could not be considered for citizenship due to their collaboration with Hamas and PLO, and thus what he believed was their involvement with terrorism. […] He suggested that if Israel were to annex Judea and Samara today, the country would have a 35% Arab population and 65% Israeli population. In contrast to common knowledge on the subject he argued that the birthrate of Arabs is going down, and the birthrate of Israelis is increasing. Thus he was not concerned about demographics in the Israeli state in the near future.
Moriel Rothman-Zecher, an American-Israeli activist and writer, summed up these perspectives on popular opinion in his email response to my question, stating that the main obstacle to a one state solution is, ”nationalistic/xenophobic sentiments on both sides, and dearth of leadership. Too much of both publics are uninterested in creating a real, pluralistic, shared society, and we don’t have the leadership in place (a la Mandela) at this juncture to move the publics in that direction.”
Sahar Vardi [an Israeli activist from Jerusalem ] also pointed to the international community as an obstacle to creating a one state solution. She explained that Israel’s allies are all predominantly white western countries, who want Israel as a white voice of democracy in the Middle East. According to Vardi, these allies would have problems with any one state solution, as there would be a majority of Arabs that would most likely want to integrate more into the Arab world.
I asked one person living in the Jordan Valley what he thought about a one state solution. He replied that he could not care less about talking about solutions and what they could look like. All he wants are the basic human rights for his people and for them to stop being harassed.
I agree with Yahni that we must focus on two things before even thinking about anything else, breaking the impunity of the Israeli regime and securing the basic human rights of Palestinians. It seems to me that right now, focusing on anything else is meaningless.
Wadi Qana – From Palestinian agricultural valley to settlements’ tourism park
(analysis at B’Tselem)
Wadi Qana is one of the tributaries of the Yarkon River. The central section of the wadi, to the east of Qalqiliyah, is in Area C and includes several springs. The land in the wadi in this area is owned by Palestinians, mainly by residents of the nearby village of Deir Istiya who use the land for farming and grazing. Over the course of many generations, and up to the 1990s, village families used to live in the wadi, relying on the springs for drinking water and for irrigating vegetable patches and citrus trees. To this day, residents of Deir Istiya and other neighboring villages go for a dip in the stream and relax on its banks.
In 2006, the Kana Stream Restoration Authority was established with the goal of restoring the wadi and developing tourism in the area. The authority is made up of four member entities: the settlement of Karnei Shomron, Israel’s Ministry for Environmental Protection, Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA), and the Civil Administration. Members of the settlement’s council told the media that one of the goals of the restoration plan was to boost Jewish presence in the area, in response to “Palestinian elements [who are] attempting to take control of the stream.”
Even if it is right to declare a nature reserve in the area, such a reserve must first and foremost serve the Palestinian public to whom it belongs. In practice, however, the declaration of a nature reserve in Wadi Qana, as elsewhere in Area C, is mainly intended to exclude Palestinians from their land. Hundreds of thousands of hectares of Area C land – 14% of Area C – have been declared nature reserves or national parks. In all these areas, Israeli authorities keep Palestinians from building and developing and restrict their use of the land, just as they do elsewhere by declaring firing zones and state land.The displacement of the Palestinian farmers from their land in Wadi Qana violates their right to property and to a livelihood. They are being forced out on the pretext of safeguarding local nature, yet no one keeps the settlements from grossly trampling this very same nature. The plans to transform the wadi into a park studded with scenic routes, footpaths, and visitors expose the true purpose underpinning the actions of the INPA and the Civil Administration: strengthening Israeli control of the wadi and appropriating it for the settlements.
Gaza Protesters Beaten and Detained by Hamas Security Officials, Witnesses Say
(story at NY Times)
A rare show of defiance against Hamas, the militant Palestinian group that controls Gaza, was quelled on Wednesday as men who appeared to be Hamas security officials beat some protesters and detained others, witnesses said.Men in plainclothes believed to be Hamas security officials interrupted the demonstration, beat men and women with sticks and herded people into jeeps, said one protester, Fadi al-Sheikh Yousef. There were no reported injuries among the crowd, estimated at 150 to 200.
MK says advocating for two-state solution is treason
(story at +972mag)
Freshman Jewish Home MK Yinon Magal accuses a former Israeli Foreign Ministry director of committing a capital offense: advocating for a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Israeli army officers punished for attacking photographers
(article in Haaretz)
Two Israel Defense Force officers who were captured on video assaulting press photographers at a demonstration last Friday in the Palestinian West Bank village of Nabi Saleh in the Ramallah area have been sentenced in disciplinary proceedings, in which footage from one of the news photographers was used. One of the officers was sent to military prison for 14 days while the other was confined to base for 30 days.
First demolition in Nabi Saleh: Warning shot or ominous sign?
(story in +972mag)
Four years ago, the residents of the village received demolition orders, but they were never carried out. On Monday, bulldozers razed an uninhabited house. Now the villagers, who have been protesting every week since 2009, fear that the army will carry out the rest of the demolition orders to collectively punish them.
But the residents of Nabi Saleh are convinced that the army’s actions are merely a form of collective punishment. “When they gave the orders four years ago, they told us: ‘If you stop the protests, we will stop the demolition orders’,” says Manal.
+972mag covered this story and posted footage: Israeli officer attacks, throws stones at photojournalists
Israeli soldiers threw stones at and attacked Israeli and Palestinian photojournalists during a protest in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh on Friday, during which the army used live fire against protesters. One Palestinian was reportedly shot in the head.
Palestinian teenager shot in head at Nabi Saleh demonstration by IDF
Photos at Int’l Solidarity Movement document the protest and
Zoological terrorism? Israelis up in arms over ‘Palestine Gazelle’
(story in +972mag)
A Facebook post livid at the fact that the Palestine Gazelle at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo is being listed as such has been making some waves on Israeli social media today. The status was posted by Israeli right-wing protofascist Yoav Eliassi, who goes by “The Shadow” (and was involved in violence against leftists protesting the Gaza war last summer in Tel Aviv).The Shadow posted a photo of the sign at the zoo on his Facebook page and next to it the caption: ”At the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo!!!!!!” (By the way it says “Israeli Gazelle” in Hebrew and just “Palestinian” in Arabic).
South Hebron Hills – farming under occupation
Photos at Int’l Solidarity Movement provide a photo montage of life next to a settler outpost.
When my Gazan friend saw a private swimming pool for the first time
(article in Haaretz)
There are no swimming pools in the Gaza Strip because, among other things, there’s not enough water. Nor enough electricity; it’s only supplied six to eight hours a day. The two visitors took pictures of the pool and had themselves photographed next to it, as though not wishing to miss any detail, as though to make every moment last and live it to the fullest.That was they way they acted in general, throughout the two days in which we traveled around the country together, from the lost village of their forebears in the south to Rosh Hanikra in the north. Two days of vacationing and of freedom after all the years of siege and after the horrific summer residents of the Strip endured last year. Two days of an emotional roller coaster, for them and for us, too.
They’re not likely to forget this outing anytime soon. They took in the landscapes of Israel, without displaying the least sign of hatred, without an iota of envy, without so much as a word of bitterness. A few times they said, “If only we could get out of Gaza once a year and come here.” The words left us speechless and shamed. A feeling of unease hung in the air during the excursion, in the restaurants, the markets and the mosques: Can’t things be like this all the time? Isn’t this the way they should be? A trip with friends from Gaza in our country, which is also their country, as an everyday occurrence.
Dweik endured the horrors of the Israel Defense Forces’ Operation Protective Edge last summer in his home in the town of Beit Lahia, which was on the front line. His home wasn’t hit, but fear and dread were pervasive, especially after a dud Qassam rocket landed near his house; everyone was afraid to remove it. All his beehives, which he had placed next to the border, so the bees would avail themselves of Israeli pollen – there are hardly any trees or flowers in Gaza – were destroyed.
Four Israeli soldiers arrested for suspected gang rape
(article in Haaretz)
Four Israel Defense Forces soldiers were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of gang-raping a female soldier serving with them on the Hatzerim Air Force Base.The female soldier filed a complaint with the Military Police at the urging of her commanders and family. According to the complaint, two weeks ago the four soldiers entered her room on the base and raped her, one after the other.
U.S.: It will be hard to support Israel in UN if it steps back from two-state solution
(article in Haaretz)
U.S. Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman on Monday warned Jewish leaders that if the new Israeli government does not demonstrate its commitment to the two-state solution, the U.S. will have a difficult time continuing to assist its efforts to halt international initiatives on the Palestinian issue at the United Nations.
The big risk of course is that the “special relationship” with Israel becomes just like the special relationships we have with every other beleaguered minority in the Middle-East. You know, the Kurds, Armenians, Azeris, Alawis, etc who have at various times been useful allies for the US, and then at other times found us MIA because we don’t have a strategic interest at that point in time.
This is a roundup of news related to Palestine with a particular focus on grassroots action and peaceful civil disobedience in the Occupied Territories and within the borders of Israel proper. The goal is to provide a bi-weekly update on the non-violent resistance movement.
Diplomatic negotiations and actions by armed resistance groups are covered quite widely by the mainstream press and in other diaries on DKos so they will rarely be included.
We use the name Filasṭīn, since this is the pronunciation used by Arabic speakers (irrespective of faith) for their homeland. The more familiar Palestine is the Hellenic or Roman variant. Filasṭīn refers to the geographic entity roughly encompassing Israel and Palestine. It is a likely cognate of “Philistine”, the name used in the Hebrew bible to describe a rival of the Jewish kingdom of that era.
April 26, 2015: Filastin: No Arabs Allowed; Christian cemetery vandalized; Annual March of Return
April 19, 2015: Filastin: Shooting kids in the back, segregating female soldiers, state-sanctioned theft
April 12, 2015: Filastin week: Yarmouk refugees, NYU divestment letter, Terrorizing Children
April 5, 2015: Filastin Week: Segregated Streets in Hebron, Palestinians observe Land Day
March 29, 2015: Filasṭin Week by Week: A March for the Bedouin, A License to Kill & To Teach the Nakba