Health of Palestinian prisoner Hisham Abu Hawash deteriorates as he enters 135th day of hunger strike.
Abu Hawash is protesting his indefinite incarceration without trial under Israel’s controversial administrative detention practice. pic.twitter.com/kSUMvMtCKo
— Middle East Eye (@MiddleEastEye) December 28, 2021
The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project supports the efforts of the Wet’suwet’en nation to exercise their rights as a sovereign nation to manage and protect their lands and waters. In particular, they have the right to disallow construction of the proposed TC Energy Coastal GasLink pipeline.
As advocates for human rights in Palestine, we see the struggle of the Wet’suwet’en nation as another face of the same colonial theft of land that has caused the Palestinian people to be deprived of basic human rights in their own country. We are especially appalled by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s repeated use of force against the Wer’suwet’en people, including the forced removal of Indigenous people from their land at gunpoint and the cruel and violent treatment of prisoners.
We call on the government of Canada to stop this violence against the Wet’suwet’en nation and to respect their sovereignty.
JOIN THE WET’SUWET’EN RESISTANCE 🔥
For the third time in three years, the Wet’suwet’en have faced militarized raids on our ancestral territory. One month ago today, the RCMP violently raided unceded Gidimt’en territory (Nov 18-19, 2021), removing Indigenous people from their land at gunpoint on behalf of TC Energy’s proposed Coastal GasLink pipeline. The Wet’suwet’en enforced our standing eviction of CGL by closing roads into the territory November 14-17. Following the raids, arrestees received cruel and violent treatment in prison. The conditions set forth by the court are human rights violations to Indigenous peoples.
We call on all nations, allies, accomplices, and supporters everywhere to RISE UP in solidarity. We must employ all the collective strength in our hearts and minds to stop the machine of global empire that is destroying us. The time on the world clock is NOW to unify around our common goal as beings on this planet, to honor Indigenous sovereignty and put an end to end of history! We are in this fight for the long haul and we will not back down. This pipeline will never be built. Join the WET’SUWET’EN RESISTANCE!
🔥 Come to Camp yintahaccess.com/come-to-camp
🔥 DEC 20 WEEK OF ACTION TOOLKIT: https://bit.ly/3IYHKBR
🔥 Issue a solidarity statement from your organization or group. Email to: email@example.com
🔥 Pressure the government, banks, and investors yintahaccess.com/take-action-1
🔥 Donate. https://www.yintahaccess.com/donate
🔥 Spread the word.
More information and developing stories:
Facebook: Gidimt’en Checkpoint
Youtube: Gidimten Access Point
#ShutDownCanada #WetsuwetenStrong #AllOutForWedzinKwa #ExpectUs
#indigenous #landback #decolonize #mmiw #mmiwg #waterprotectors #landdefenders #defundcgl #climateaction #wetsuweten #wetsuwetensolidarity #sovereignty #tierra #terre #resistance
American Muslims for Palestine honors the legacy of a moral giant, an icon of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He left a legacy of unwavering commitment to justice for oppressed people everywhere. From his efforts to calm the political violence in Kenya in 2007, to characterizing the Iraq war as “immoral,” to his vehement opposition of the Apartheid regime in South Africa, to his ironclad support for the global Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, he has showcased his consistent advocacy for the oppressed and downtrodden.
Desmond Tutu understood the parallels of what he personally experienced under South African apartheid, and what he observed firsthand in Palestine. An outspoken defender of Palestinian rights, he issued a statement in 2014 in support of the Palestinian struggle against Israel’s Apartheid regime, part of which read:
“In South Africa, we could not have achieved our democracy without the help of people around the world, who through the use of non-violent means, such as boycotts and divestment, encouraged their governments and other corporate actors to reverse decades-long support for the Apartheid regime. My conscience compels me to stand with the Palestinians as they seek to use the same tactics of non-violence to further their efforts to end the oppression associated with the Israeli Occupation.”
Referred to as “South Africa’s Martin Luther King,” who once stated that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” Desmond Tutu was a true representation of that message, as he stood for justice everywhere. We send our deepest condolences to his family, to the people of South Africa, and to all the free people of the world who are struggling against oppression, racism, and bigotry.
His legacy will live on…
Online Hub Provides Information and Calls to Action Aimed at Reversing Ban on Six Palestinian NGOs
14 December 2021, Ramallah – The Palestinian civil society organizations (CSOs) targeted by the Israeli government alongside partners have today launched a new website www.PalCivilSociety.com as part of their #StandWithThe6 campaign. This follows Israel’s escalation of its systemic efforts to shrink civic space, defund, criminalize human rights defenders (HRDs) and civil society.
This culminated in Israeli Minister of Defense, Benny Gantz outlawing the six organizations on 19 October 2021 under Israel’s domestic Anti-Terrorism Law (2016), and as “unlawful organizations” on 3 November 2021, by the Israeli Military Commander in the West Bank. These baseless accusations aim to effectively outcast and discredit the work of leading Palestinian CSOs, placing them and their supporters at imminent risk of reprisals, including cutting off funding, office closure, and arrest of staff members.
In response to the designation, the international community including world leaders, UN representatives, celebrities, funders and international NGOs have condemned the designation as a blatant threat to human rights. However, Israel continues to firmly maintain its unlawful designation, and by not calling for an immediate reversal of this policy, governments are allowing this dangerous attack to go unchallenged, putting all HRDs at risk, in Palestine and globally.
The website consolidates the efforts of the six Palestinian CSOs and partners, and provides resources for supporters outlining the full context of Israel’s ongoing harrasment campaigns to silence and diminish Palestinian civil society overall. The website will be a central space where supporters can mobilize in solidarity with civil society, starting by sending emails to US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, and Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy asking them to take decisive action to force Israel to reverse the unlawful designation.
As jointly stated by the six organizations, “this designation is only the latest of a series of attacks against us and certainly won’t be the last. This continued assault on Palestinian human rights defenders is also accompanied by systematic use of cybersurveillance technology to hack our phones and surveil us. It’s clear that Israel’s intention is to silence and harrass Palestinian human rights defenders who criticize Israel’s apartheid and settler-colonial regime and call for holding Israeli authorities accountable for their human rights violations, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Through this common digital space we invite all supporters of human rights and freedom around the world, to take action and show solidarity with Palestinian civil society.”
Many South Africans see a boycott of the Miss Universe pageant in Israel as a chance to stand up for Palestinians and against injustice
Lalela Mswane walks across the stage during the Miss South Africa beauty pageant in Cape Town, South Africa on Oct. 16, 2021. AP
JOHANNESBURG — When Lalela Mswane glided across a Cape Town stage in a red satin ball gown at the finals of the Miss South Africa pageant in October, she moved with the poise of someone who commanded her country’s attention.
But in the days after the 24-year-old law student and model was crowned, that gaze took on a sharp edge.
Pro-Palestine activists began demanding she boycott the Dec. 12 Miss Universe pageant because it will be held in Israel. In mid-November, the South African government withdrew its support for Ms. Mswane’s entry, so she will compete without her country’s backing.
“The atrocities committed by Israel against Palestinians are well documented and Government, as the legitimate representative of the people of South Africa, cannot in good conscience associate itself with such,” wrote the Department of Sports, Arts, and Culture in a statement. The pageant organizers, meanwhile, soldiered on, stating that Ms. Mswane “would not be bullied” into boycotting the pageant. (The Miss South Africa organization and Ms. Mswane did not respond to requests for comments for this story.)
The Miss Universe competition may seem an unusual place for a government to stake a major geopolitical stand. But in South Africa, activists say the anti-apartheid movement taught them that the struggle against injustice takes place everywhere, from parliamentary debates and mass marches to boycotts of sports games, grapefruits, and yes, even the stage of a beauty pageant.
“It was not our wisdom and strength as South Africans that ultimately delivered us from apartheid – it was the support we had from the international community that backed us up,” says Duduzile Mahlangu-Masango, a board member of Africa4Palestine, formerly known as the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement, which advocates in support of Palestinian rights in South Africa. “We learned then that when you speak the big language of politics, you don’t bring everyone along. But when you talk about things ordinary people care about, you bring the issue closer to them.”
For those like Ms. Mahlangu-Masango, that kind of activism has a long history. For decades, boycotts and cultural isolation were a major weapon in the war against apartheid.
In the 1960s and ‘70s, activists fought to have South Africa barred from major sporting events like the Olympics and World Cup, and advocated for Europeans and Americans to stop buying South African fruit and cigarettes. The liberation movement asked international musicians to boycott South Africa.
In 1976, after a massacre of schoolchildren in Soweto, near Johannesburg, turned the world’s attention to South Africa’s atrocities, nine countries announced they would boycott the Miss World pageant for allowing South Africa to participate. A second boycott followed the next year, forcing the organizers to ban South Africa.
“These calls to isolate South Africa culturally were very important” because they reinforced the country’s exclusion from the global community, says Ottilia Maunganidze, head of special projects at the Institute for Security Studies, a South African think tank.
Fast forward 45 years and activists are using the same arsenal of tools to try to isolate Israel, she says.
The calls for Ms. Mswane to boycott Miss Universe started almost as soon as the crown was placed on her head in mid-October. Activists staged a protest at the Miss South Africa offices in Johannesburg, and the hashtag #NotMyMissSA began trending on social media. Its supporters, including Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Zwelivelile “Mandla” Mandela, called on the beauty queen to draw parallels between Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands and the dispossession and violence committed against Black South Africans under apartheid.
Zwelivelile Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s eldest grandson, speaks during a protest calling for Lalela Mswane to withdraw from the Miss Universe pageant, outside the Miss South Africa headquarters in Johannesburg, Nov. 19, 2021. Many South Africans draw parallels between their own history of apartheid and Israeli treatment of Palestinians. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters)
“We must persist in isolating Apartheid Israel in the same way that we isolated Apartheid South Africa,” wrote Mr. Mandela on Instagram.
For many former anti-apartheid activists, including those now in government here, the question of Israel and Palestine is a particularly evocative one because it calls up vivid memories of their own history.
“The first time I set foot in Palestine, it was like setting foot into the world I grew up in,” says Ms. Mahlangu-Masango, who was raised during the dying years of apartheid in the 1970s and ‘80s. “I really cannot understand a South African who chooses to forget the history of where we come from.”
For supporters of Ms. Mswane, however, the anger at her misses the mark.
“Lalela will be a role model to young women – not just across the country, but across the African continent,” wrote Stephanie Weil, CEO of the Miss South Africa organization, in a statement on Instagram. “Anyone who wants to rob Lalela of her moment in the spotlight is unkind and short-sighted.” Ms. Mswane herself has not spoken publicly about the controversy over her competing.
Meanwhile, former Greek delegate Rafaela Plastira announced on social media in November that she would boycott the competition in support of Palestinians. (Several days later, the organization in charge of Miss Greece distanced themselves from Ms. Plastira and stated that she was not their delegate.)
“Humanity ABOVE beauty pageants!” she wrote in an Instagram post. Greece is sending Sofia Arapogianni to Israel as the country’s delegate.
“There have been arguments that you shouldn’t politicize a beauty pageant,” says Ms. Maunganidze of the Institute for Security Studies. “But the very act of hosting it in Israel is an act of politicization. For many people, it legitimizes what Israel is doing in Palestine. Or at the very least, it says, let life go on.”
An earlier version of this story omitted to mention controversy that has emerged about the candidacy of Greek beauty queen Rafaela Plastira.
A visit by Reps. Jamaal Bowman and Mark Pocan to my Palestinian village affirmed the value of politicians learning about Israel’s policies on the ground.
Palestinians protest the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin to the heritage site of ancient Susya, in Yatta, near the West Bank city of Hebron, March 14, 2021. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)
When U.S. Congressman Andy Levin visited my village of Susiya in 2019, he witnessed a live illustration of the unjust reality that Palestinians in the occupied West Bank experience daily.
As we stood at the entrance of the village, looking toward the illegal Israeli settlement of the same name that has turned Susiya’s ancient ruins into an archeological park, Mekorot, Israel’s water utility company, was busy laying down pipes. The water, of course, would not be accessible to us or the other Palestinian communities in the area; it is meant to serve the outposts and settlements on the hilltops that surround us.
The congressman saw firsthand how water, a basic service which should be guaranteed as a human right, is in fact a precious commodity here in the South Hebron Hills. Do you know how much a cubic meter of water costs in your neighborhood? In Susiya, it costs NIS 35, approximately $11. For Israeli Jews — including those who live just hundreds of meters from us in the Israeli Susiya — the average price is just NIS 7, about $2.
Currently, most of our water cisterns are located in a “security buffer zone” that we cannot access. We are thus forced to buy water at five times the price, while Israelis living in settlements enjoy the same privileges as if they were living in the heart of Tel Aviv.
Last month, U.S. Congressmen Jamaal Bowman and Mark Pocan, together with their colleagues, visited Susiya and witnessed these injustices, too. I stood with them in our playground, which on the previous Shabbat had been invaded by settlers who were escorted and protected by the Israeli army.
Today @JamaalBowmanNY & I visited w/ Nasser of Susia in Palestine today to discuss Israeli settler violence to his village. We will be watching to make sure no violence occurs this weekend or anytime. Thanks @jstreetdotorg @BtSIsrael! @Israel @IDF pic.twitter.com/JzfNDzWrFZ
— Mark Pocan (@MarkPocan) November 10, 2021
For us Palestinians, such settler violence is commonplace. It would be easy to condemn these attacks as the actions of a few radicals on the fringes of Israeli society, but it is clear that the Israeli government benefits from their violence. Why else would it expect soldiers to accompany and protect them while they terrorize our communities on a near-daily basis?
My village is one of close to 30 communities in the South Hebron Hills that are unrecognized by Israeli authorities. The daily hardships and indignities that derive from this condition are part of the Israeli government’s policy of clearing Area C in the West Bank, which is under full Israeli military control, of its Palestinian populations. The government hopes to push us into urban enclaves that are surrounded and fragmented by Israeli settlements. This is the same policy that has led to my community being displaced five times since the occupation began in 1967.
Furthermore, we are subjected to a discriminatory planning system that was designed by Israel to prevent the development of Palestinian presence in Area C. Because of this, every home and structure in my village has a demolition order. The threat of the army arriving early in the morning and razing our entire village is a permanent feature of our lives.
Faced with this reality, it is not the Israeli legal system that we look to for protection. While we have indeed taken our struggle to remain in our village to the courts, we do not expect to find justice there; after all, the judge presiding over our case is a West Bank settler who lives in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc. For Palestinians, this is not a High Court of Justice, but a High Court of Racism.
At this present moment, the main factor protecting Susiya from erasure is international political pressure. When my grandfather was expelled from our ancestral village of Qaryatayn during the Nakba in 1948, and when my father was expelled from Susiya in 1986, there was no one listening when they told their stories. I, like many other Palestinians today, now have a voice with an audience to hear me. I will not let Israel turn my children into refugees in their own land.
This is why we were so encouraged when Congressmen Bowman and Pocan and their colleagues visited our village. Speaking to them affirmed the value and necessity of international lawmakers and activists to witness the occupation on the ground, and for them to speak out and promote legislation that will hold Israel’s actions accountable. We are grateful for their support in our ongoing struggle to remain on our land.
We hope that other political representatives will follow their lead in the coming months and years, and invite anyone who is able to visit Susiya and witness what is taking place here in the occupied territories.
Israel relies on the silence and ignorance of the international community and the Jewish-Israeli public to enable this injustice. And so, it is vital to ensure that those in power know our story. We need more members of Congress and other politicians visiting Area C and acting to prevent another round of expulsions. They must show Israel that its actions against Palestinians, against villages like mine, have consequences.
Nasser Nawaja is a resident of the Palestinian village Susiya, and a community organizer and field researcher for the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem.
Screening & discussion
Sun, Dec 12, 2021, 1:00 PM CST
With severe medicine shortages and an overstretched health care system in Gaza, children in need of medical treatments can only find them outside the strip. Yet Israel’s convoluted, arbitrary permit process leaves them waiting in pain, often missing life-saving care. To Treat Kids Like Me (produced by Donkeysaddle Projects and +972 Magazine) follows the family of Mohamed Saleh and several other children in the Gaza Strip as they navigate the often Kafkaesqe process of getting permission from the Israeli army to leave the besieged strip for medical treatments that are unavailable there.
The 5th offering in DSP’s Freedom Film Series will be followed by a discussion with filmmaker Jen Marlowe and special guests:
Tickets by donation. 50% of ticket proceeds go to Palestine Grassroots Distribution Project, including Mohamad Salah’s medical care.
Sponsored by Donkeysaddle Projects. Co-sponsored by Just Vision & Defense for Children International-Palestine.
Rasmy Hassouna, a Palestinian American, is suing the state over a provision that bans him or his company from protesting Israel or its products
Rasmy Hassouna: ‘If I don’t want to buy anything at WalMart, who are you to tell me not to shop at WalMart?’ Photograph: Courtesy Rasmy Hassouna
For more than two decades, Texan civil engineer Rasmy Hassouna was a contractor for the city of Houston. Hassouna has consulted the city on soil volatility in the nearby Gulf of Mexico – a much needed service to evaluate the structural stability of houses and other buildings.
He was gearing up to renew his government contract when a particular legal clause caught his eye: a provision that effectively banned him or his company, A&R Engineering and Testing, Inc, from ever protesting the nation of Israel or its products so long as his company was a partner with the city of Houston.
For Hassouna – a 59-year-old proud Palestinian American – it was a huge shock.
“I came here and thought I was a free man. It’s not anybody’s business what I do or what I say, as long as I’m not harming anybody,” he told the Guardian. “Were you lying all this time? If I don’t want to buy anything at WalMart, who are you to tell me not to shop at WalMart? Why do I have to pledge allegiance to a foreign country?”
But Hassouna’s reaction did not stop at anger. He took action, launching a case that is challenging the Texas law and – by example – similar provisions that have spread all over the US that seek to stop government contractors from boycotting Israel and can be found in more than 25 US states. Along with the Arkansas Times newspaper, A&R Engineering and Testing Inc is now one of only two companies fighting this kind of law in the nation.
Hassouna’s case – which was filed on his behalf by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) – will be heard in federal court on Tuesday and is based on the idea that such laws violate free speech. If ruled unconstitutional, the 2019 ban on boycotting Israel will be illegal in the state of Texas.
But Hassouna’s decision to sue is not without a price. It could cost him a substantial amount of his yearly revenue, his lawyer said.
“They weren’t counting on Rasmy Hassouna from Gaza, whose family has suffered so greatly. He believes that Americans have the right to boycott whatever entity, foreign or domestic, that they want to. That’s what he’s doing – putting his money where his mouth is,” said Gadeir Abbas, a senior litigation attorney for CAIR who is representing Hassouna.
Hassouna first set foot on American soil in 1988. Like many immigrants, Hassouna’s first experience of the US was New York’s JFK airport. However, his final destination was the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, the university at which he planned to study civil engineering. “Regardless how long it was going to take or how hard I had to work, I was going to keep aiming toward my goal,” he said.
As a Palestinian under Israeli occupation, Hassouna had no claim to citizenship, so he had to get permission from Israeli officials in order to leave his home in Gaza, an area described by humanitarian organizations and politicians as an open-air prison.
“For almost two months every day, I left the house and I took a cab to the center of Gaza city. I gave [Israeli officials] my government application, my ID. I went to the gate and waited from 7 in the morning until 5 in the evening. You’re looking at the month of June and July in the sun, just standing there.”
After two months Hassouna finally secured clearance to travel to the United States for his university studies. Since Palestine is not recognized as a country, he was not issued a passport, but rather an Israeli travel document that stumped customs agents at every step of the journey.
When the time came for Hassouna to leave for the US, his neighborhood in Gaza was placed under a curfew. This meant that he had to escape under the cover of night if he was to make his flight. He recalled walking five miles behind his father, luggage in tow, to his cousin’s house, an area just outside the designated curfew zone. That was the last time he saw his father, who died before they could meet again.
Hassouna’s college experience was not unlike that of most American students. He recalled living with three roommates and surviving off the modest stipend from his teaching assistant position.
After graduating, Hassouna moved to Houston, Texas, in August 1992. Though he had a comprehensive background in his field, Hassouna’s early career was uncertain and tumultuous. He worked odd jobs at a Stop N Go gas station and convenience store before becoming a technician.
“Back then, I would work 11-7 at the convenience store and 8-5 at the company. One of my students [from South Dakota] was my supervisor, making three or four times what I was making. She used to come and ask me for advice.”
Finally, he was hired for an engineering position at another company with a starting pay of $24,000 – what he described as half of what most engineers were making at the time.
Hassouna has come a long way since then. Along the way, he got married and had two now-teenage sons. His mother died a few years after his father, but due to travel and visa restrictions for Gaza, Hassouna was unable to see her or attend the funeral. In 2005, Hassouna became an American citizen. His place of birth listed on his certificate of citizenship read ‘Israel,’ a statement with which he took issue.
“I went to the lady who was giving the certificates away and told her I didn’t want Israel on my certificate. She told me to go to the immigration center and that they would take care of it. I explained to them that my place of birth was not Israel, it was the Gaza Strip in Palestine. They told me ‘Palestine was not in the system.’”
Hassouna handed the certificate back to the immigration official and asked them to return his green card to him, explaining he would rather not be a citizen than be designated as Israeli by birth. After much deliberation, the immigration office conceded and mailed him a new certificate with his place of birth listed as ‘Gaza Strip’.
In 1999, he and his friend Alfred started their own company, A&R (Alfred and Rasmy) Engineering. Together, they secured contract work for the city of Houston. Some 25 years later, Alfred has sold his share in the company to Hassouna, who is now the sole owner.
Now, Hassouna’s loyalty to his homeland is being tested. After reading the most recent city contract, he wrote a letter to the city asking them to remove the Israel boycott ban clause from the contract, arguing that it was his constitutional right to boycott Israel if he so desired. City officials said it was out of their hands.
Now it is in the hands of a judge. If things don’t go Hassouna’s way, he said he is more than prepared to suffer the financial consequences.
“I want to stay working with the city and any other government entity. The thing is, I want to do it with my freedom intact and my dignity intact,” he said.