She slapped an Israeli soldier and was sent to prison. Now a Palestinian teen is free — and in the limelight

“We can change people’s minds
by defending our cause”

She slapped an Israeli soldier and was sent to prison. Now a Palestinian teen is free — and in the limelight
Ahed Tamimi sits July 30 in the backyard of her family house in the West Bank village of Nebi Saleh, near Ramallah. (Nasser Nasser / Associated Press)

Noga Tarnopolsky, LA Times, Aug 02, 2018

Nebi Saleh, West Bank — Two days after her release from an Israeli jail, the 17-year-old Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi sat in her parents’ yard, wearing jeans and a tired expression, the front of her mane of blond curls tied in a bun atop her head.

TV crews from the United States, Turkey, Germany and Norway vied for on-camera interviews with her. Since her release, her representatives say, she has responded to questions from about 175 media outlets. She has six media advisors, one of them Israeli, and they have worked hard to make her the face of the Palestinian resistance.

In December, Israeli authorities detained Ahed, then 16, after she was filmed slapping and kicking a soldier. She had just learned that a cousin had been shot and wounded with a rubber bullet by Israeli soldiers. It was not her first time in the spotlight: She had been filmed confronting soldiers in 2012 and again in 2015.

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Israeli Authorities Ban Fuel and Gas into the Gaza Strip

Tightening Closure For 3rd Time in Less Than Month

Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), August 2, 2018

Ref: 80/2018

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns the Israeli authorities decisions to tighten the closure imposed on the Gaza Strip, completely close the sole commercial crossing “Karm Abu Salem” and ban the entry of fuel, gas, goods and basic needs for the Gaza Strip population. PCHR warns of the catastrophic consequences of these decisions on the lives of 2 million Palestinians suffering from serious deterioration of humanitarian, economic and social conditions resulted from these measures. PCHR calls upon the international community, especially the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, and all humanitarian organizations to immediately intervene in order to stop these decisions, lift the closure, and open all crossings to ensure the entry of all the Gaza Strip population’s needs, especially basic goods. Moreover, PCHR affirms that these decisions were the culmination of several previous decisions that the Israeli authorities have implemented since June 2007 in the context of a plan to tighten the closure imposed on the Gaza Strip.

According to PCHR’s follow-up, on 01 August 2018, the Israeli Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, issued a decision to ban the entry of fuel and gas into the Gaza Strip through Karm Abu Salem crossing starting from Thursday until further notice. According to the Israeli statement, this decision was taken in response to the continued firing of incendiary balloons and the ongoing Return demonstrations’ activities near the Gaza Strip borders. The Israeli authorities previously issued a decision on 16 July 2018, to completely close Karm Abu Salem crossing, except for the entry of food, medical supplies, fuel and gas only when needed. Upon the same decision, the Israeli authorities reduced the fishing area in the Gaza Strip to 3 nautical miles instead of 6. The Israeli authorities also claimed that this decision was taken in response to flying incendiary kites and balloons by Hamas towards the areas adjacent to the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli authorities have tightened the closure imposed on the Gaza Strip, which entered its 12th consecutive year in mid-June since Tuesday, 10 July 2018, and decided to close Karm Abu Salem crossing and prevent the entry of goods into the Gaza Strip, except for the entry of some humanitarian goods, including food, medicine, fuel, and gas. Furthermore, the Israeli authorities imposed a complete ban on exporting and marketing goods from Gaza Strip. Upon the same decision, the Israeli authorities reduced the fishing area in the Gaza Strip to six nautical miles instead of nine.

The closure measures threaten all aspects of life in the Gaza Strip, and PCHR is concerned over the collapse of all basic services needed by the Gaza Strip population. These services already suffer from a serious deterioration for years due to the closure imposed on the Gaza Strip.

Concerning the health sector, and taking into account the dependence of hospitals and medical facilities on fuel to operate generators in light of the power outage for more than 20 hours a day, the Ministry of Health has taken austerity measures as it reduced providing services for civilians. This reduce included providing diagnostic services and conducting surgical operations. The number of delayed operations during the past 3 months was about 7000 surgeries. Furthermore, the lives of about 2000 patients staying in the Gaza Strip hospitals are in real danger. Patients, particularly cancer, cardiac, and dialysis patients and preterm infants in the nursery sections and Intensive Care Units (ICU), are mostly exposed to danger, in light of the deterioration of the health services.

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Israel’s Unequal Citizens

Israelis marching at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem in May to mark the occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967 (Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images).

Sayed Kashua, New York Times, July 30, 2018

We were driving our rental car out of Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv.

“Dad,” my oldest daughter said as we listened to the radio, “what’s the Nationality Law?”
“It’s a law that says Israel is a Jewish state,” I replied.
“But wasn’t it always that way?” she wondered, and rightly so.
“Yes. Bottom line, it’s always been that way.”
“I don’t get it,” my middle son said. “I thought you said we were citizens.”
“We are,” I answered.
“But we’re not Jewish, right?”
“No, we’re not.”
“Then I don’t get it,” my youngest son complained.
“It’s a little complicated,” I tried to explain.

And it really was complicated to explain the law that Israel’s Parliament passed earlier this month without using terms like “racial segregation,” “discrimination” and “supremacy.” How was I going to explain to a 12-year-old that he is a citizen of a state that holds that he is inferior because of his non-Jewish origins? “Not everyone in the country is Jewish,” I said. “At least 20 percent of the citizens are not. But it’s a country where Jews enjoy rights that others don’t have. Meaning, non-Jews are less equal than Jews.”

“Can’t we be Jewish then?” my youngest son asked, as if he’d instantly solved the inequality problem.

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July 21, 2018
Maia Water Project at the Midwest Waterfest

10 am – 6 pm
Common Ground
2644 Branch Street, Middleton

MRSCP will be tabling for the Maia Project at the Midwest Waterfest, A Celebration of Life – music, speakers, food, activism, information, fun!

Stop by to check out the Waterfest events and stop by our table, we’ll be selling olive oil & olive oil soap, earrings, kuffiyehs, and small embroidery items, and raising money to install a Maia Project water filter serving 3,250 students and their families in Gaza at two adjacent schools in Rafah.

July 22, 2018
Community Immigration Law Center Presentation

1:00 pm
First Unitarian Society
900 University Bay Drive, Madison

First Unitarian Society and Congregation Shaarei Shamayim invite you to attend a program on July 22 at FUS to learn how you can help members of our Madison community who have immigration difficulties.

Lawyers from the Community Immigration Law Center, which operates a free clinic for people in need, will be our guest speakers. There are all kinds of tasks volunteers can help with so that the attorneys are freed up to serve more clients. A light lunch will be served at 12:30 PM for program participants.

July 26, 2018
Palestine and Us: Grassroots Mobilization with Rev. Graylan Hagler

ONLINE from The Palestine Center
Washington, DC
12 noon – 1 pm Central

Pastor and activist Rev. Graylan Hagler will highlight the intersections between the Palestinian cause and other contemporary social movements. His work has focused on Black liberation, economic justice, community organizing, and mobilizing faith communities.

Watch the event live online.

Biography of Speaker
Rev. Graylan Hagler, an African-American pastor and activist, was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. Hagler received a Bachelor’s Degree in Religion from Oberlin College, Ohio, in 1976. Rev. Hagler is presently the Senior Minister of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington, D.C., and the Immediate Past National President of Ministers for Racial, Social and Economic Justice (MRSEJ). Rev. Hagler is a long-time social justice advocate and active in the Palestine solidarity movement. He recently returned from an all-Black delegation trip to Palestine consisting of Hip Hop and Spoken Word artists as well as an activist in the labor movement, and academic on Black Liberation and a survivor of the Rwandan genocide.

Israeli Law Declares the Country the ‘Nation-State of the Jewish People’

A vote of 62 to 55 with two abstentions

Arab lawmakers protesting as Parliament passed a law on Thursday that defines Israel as the “nation-state of the Jewish people.” (Olivier Fitoussi/Associated Press)

David M. Halbfinger and Isabel Kershner, New York Times, July 19, 2018

JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has long demanded that the Palestinians acknowledge his country’s existence as the “nation-state of the Jewish people.” On Thursday, his governing coalition stopped waiting around and pushed through a law that made it a fact.

In an incendiary move hailed as historic by Mr. Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition but denounced by centrists and leftists as racist and anti-democratic, Israel’s Parliament enacted a law that enshrines the right of national self-determination as “unique to the Jewish people” — not all citizens.

The legislation, a “basic law” — giving it the weight of a constitutional amendment — omits any mention of democracy or the principle of equality, in what critics called a betrayal of Israel’s 1948 Declaration of Independence, which ensured “complete equality of social and political rights” for “all its inhabitants” no matter their religion, race or sex.

The new law promotes the development of Jewish communities, possibly aiding those who would seek to advance discriminatory land-allocation policies. And it downgrades Arabic from an official language to one with a “special status.”

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Democracy Now’s Yemen Report


Just Foreign Policy, July 19, 2018

This morning, Democracy Now had a hard-hitting report on the U.S.-Saudi war in Yemen. They combined highlights of the PBS Newshour series with an interview with Jane Ferguson, the PBS Newshour journalist who “smuggled” herself into Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen to report on conditions there.

You can watch [and share] the Democracy Now segment here:
PBS Report from Yemen: As Millions Face Starvation, American-Made Bombs Are Killing Civilians

What’s crucial about the Democracy Now report, compared to most other [far too infrequent] reports in the U.S. media, is that it squarely places responsibility for the war on the government of the United States, and highlights the need for political action in the U.S. to end the war now. The report makes clear that the war is perceived correctly in Yemen as a U.S. war, that the war would not be possible without the participation of the United States, and that the U.S. government can end the war anytime it wants, by cutting off U.S. participation and by pressuring its “allies” Saudi Arabia and the UAE to end the war and agree to a political resolution. The report also makes clear that if the war is not ended this year, millions more human beings will be pushed to the brink of starvation.

This last fact, what will happen to civilians in Yemen if the war doesn’t end this year, is crucial. There’s a lack of urgency in Washington right now about pressing for action to end the war, even though the fate of millions of human beings hangs in the balance. There are many causes for this lack of urgency, but one key cause is the political season in Washington. With mid-term elections approaching in four months, the foremost concern for many people in Washington about any issue now is: how will this issue affect mobilization for our team in the mid-term elections? If it’s not obvious how raising an issue would help the Democratic team or the Republican team mobilize for the mid-term elections, it’s hard to generate interest for it in Washington right now.

But millions of human beings in Yemen can’t wait until after the mid-term elections for action to end the war. They need action to end the war now.

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