May 20, 2022
Shireen Abu Akleh on WORT

Esty Dinur discusses Shireen Abu Akleh and related issues with Osama Eliwat of Combatants for Peace in Jericho.

Combatants for Peace is a non-profit organization of ex-combatant Israelis and Palestinians who have laid down their weapons and rejected violence. We are working together to end the occupation of Palestine, bring just peace to the land, and demonstrate that Israelis and Palestinians can work and live together.

Update: Madison-Rafah Annual Fundraising Drive

Al Samud Playground Dedication

Al Samud Playground Installation

Fundraising for the playground is not complete, but Playgrounds for Palestine has installed equipment to hold the space in the face of settler encroachment. We will be reimbursing them as soon as possible.


This year we are collaborating again with Playgrounds for Palestine to install the Al Samud Playground at a kindergarten on Shuhada Street in Hebron, in the West Bank area of Palestine.

This new playground will be adjacent to the one we helped install at the Qortuba Elementary School in 2016 (Select “Qortuba” at Playgrounds for Palestine).

The Al Samud playground will serve 32 students ages 3 to 5 who live nearby. The area is constantly threatened by militant Israeli settlers who, under the protection of the Israeli army, seek to drive Palestinian families out of the Old City and seize their land and properties. The playground is a rare outdoor play space for the children, but currently lacks equipment. In recent months both children and playground have come under physical attacks.

 Help change this . . .. . . into THIS!

Our friends in Hebron are asking us to help them hold and improve this critical play space by installing playground equipment. The total cost will be around $7,000. Materials and labor will be sourced as locally as possible to support the Palestinian community.

You can donate to the playground project
Online via Playgrounds for Palestine. Write “Al Samud Hebron Playground” in the notes. Playgrounds for Palestine will send you a receipt.
Mail a check payable to MRSCP and marked “Hebron Playground” to:
MRSCP
P.O. Box 5214
Madison WI 53705
MRSCP will send you a receipt.
Online via the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project. Square charges a fee of about 6%, so please consider adding that to your contribution. MRSCP will send you a receipt.

Wright Middle School Outdoor Space

Here in Madison, we are encouraging you to contribute to the Wright Middle School Outdoor Space Project. Those of us who have visited the playground area in Hebron have been struck by how similar the current outdoor space at Wright Middle School looks to the area in Hebron.

In particular, we were moved by this statement from a Wright MS student who was asked why middle schools need playgrounds:

“Right now, when children and families look at our playground, it looks like a prison yard.”

Wright Middle School Outdoor Space

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Why Did Israel Execute Shireen Abu-Akleh?

They attacked the mourners because they weren’t in the casket

Steve Salaita, May 13, 2022

Immediately after Israeli soldiers executed Al-Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu-Akleh and fired at a group of her colleagues, observers began asking how such a horrible thing could happen. Why would Israel murder a journalist well-known throughout the Arab World? A noncombatant wearing appropriate press gear? A high-profile Palestinian with U.S. citizenship? At best, it seemed like a terrible PR move. It didn’t make any sense.

Except it did make sense. In fact, from a certain point of view killing Abu-Akleh was painfully sensible.

It’s natural to seek rational explanations for what appear to be mindless acts of violence. Explanation is contingent on material conditions, though, and so we have to understand the situation in context of Zionist settler colonization. Using the humanistic logic prevalent in most civil societies, Israel’s conduct was baffling. Its soldiers murdered a civilian in full view of people whose job is to report news. Those soldiers had to know that they couldn’t keep their act a secret, that targeting journalists would result in worldwide outrage. And yet they did it anyway.

Why?

To arrive at an answer, we have to discern the colonizer’s psyche. We’re not dealing with normal civil society standards, first of all. The relevant context is military occupation. In such a context, gratuitous state violence is normal. Obviously, killing Abu-Akleh has the immediate benefit of silencing a prominent voice of Palestinian resistance, one that had long exposed Israeli crimes of aggression.

There is more to the story, however.

We also have to explore the assumptions underlying a desire for simple explanations. By asking for reasons over and over again, observers seek answers to incongruous questions. In so doing they’re apt to tacitly implicate the victims in their own suffering. The journalists must have done something. There had to be a provocation. Israeli soldiers don’t just shoot innocent people for the hell of it.

But that’s exactly what Israeli soldiers do. Israel has murdered around fifty journalists over the past two decades. One or two might be an aberration. Fifty is a policy.

We needn’t turn to the victim’s behavior for answers to the colonizer’s violence. He is violent because of colonization.

So there’s no need to seek legible reasons for Abu-Akleh’s murder according the rationale of civic decency. The settler doesn’t need a “reason” to kill the native. The settler kills because deracinating the native is a precondition of his social identity. It is a function of his legal status and class position. Israeli forces viciously attacked a crowd carrying Abu-Akleh’s coffin—abusing our beloved martyr even in death—which only affirms the fact that the settler kills precisely when confronted by the native’s vulnerability. There is a higher purpose to his violence. The settler doesn’t kill simply to produce death; he kills to negate the native’s existence.

Israeli forces attacked Abu-Akleh’s corpse because killing her wasn’t enough. They needed to expunge her from a land they claim by divine mandate. Her body impedes a mythological birthright underlying the settler’s entire sense of self. She has to be rendered nonexistent in order for the settler to survive. Such is the logic of desecrating ancient Muslim cemeteries and planting flora over the ruins of ethnically cleansed Palestinian villages.

The same forces attacked hundreds of mourners not because they were unruly, but because they weren’t also in the casket.

The settler’s violence, in short, is endless. It is the only way he knows how to be a good citizen. And it is the only way, in the end, he can imagine a meaningful existence.

Steve Salaita is a scholar, author and public speaker born in Bluefield, West Virginia.

Israeli police ​attack funeral procession for shot journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh

TV images show Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Aqleh’s coffin falling as police grab Palestinian flags from crowd

Sufian Taha, The Guardian, 13 May 2022

Jerusalem — Israeli forces have attacked a funeral procession for a Palestinian American journalist shot dead this week, kicking and hitting people with batons and causing mourners carrying her coffin to lose balance and drop it to the ground.

Police said mourners were “disrupting public order”. Footage showed the coffin of Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Aqleh on mourners’ shoulders outside St Joseph’s hospital in Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem as police rushed in and attacked people, several of whom held Palestinian flags. The sound of a stun grenade could be heard.

Israel forbids public displays of Palestinian flags and often prevents people from hoisting them at rallies and protests in the city.

A senior Palestinian figure, Hanan Ashrawi, tweeted that “savage Israeli ‘special forces’ viciously attack the funeral procession bearing the coffin” of Abu Aqleh as it left St Joseph’s hospital. “The inhumanity [of] Israel is on full display,” said the former Palestine Liberation Organisation official.

Police said they had held talks with Abu Aqleh’s family in order to “enable a respectable funeral. Unfortunately, under the auspices of the funeral and taking cynical advantage of it, hundreds of people began disrupting public order before [the funeral] even began.

“As the coffin was about to exit the hospital, stones began to be thrown at officers from the hospital’s plaza, and the officers were forced to use riot dispersal means.”

Police released a video in which an officer outside the hospital grounds addresses the crowd. “If you don’t stop these chants and [Palestinian] nationalistic songs we will have to disperse you using force and we won’t let the funeral take place,” the officer says.

Abu Aqleh’s coffin left the hospital grounds by vehicle and arrived at a Jerusalem church for her funeral.

The 51-year-old reporter was shot in the head on Wednesday morning in the West Bank city of Jenin during what her colleagues at the scene said was a burst of Israeli fire on a small group of journalists covering an expected Israeli military raid.

The Israeli military said its troops shot back after coming under “massive fire” in Jenin and that “there is a possibility, now being looked into, that reporters were hit – possibly by shots fired by Palestinian gunmen”. However, the Israeli military chief, Lt Gen Aviv Kochavi, later appeared to back away from those assertions, saying: “At this stage we cannot determine by whose fire she was harmed and we regret her death.”

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The Killing of Shireen Abu Akleh

Shireen Abu Akleh was fatally shot while covering an Israeli army raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank. Credit: Al Jazeera, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Video broadcast by Al Jazeera, Shireen Abu Akleh’s employer, captures the sound of gunfire and yelling as Ms. Abu Akleh and her colleagues came under fire while covering an Israeli army raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday.

The footage does not show the moment when Ms. Abu Akleh was shot, but after audible gunfire in the first few seconds, a man can be heard yelling: “Ambulance! Ambulance!”

The filmer moves closer, and Ms. Abu Akleh is seen lying motionless face down as a man and another journalist, identified by the network as Shatha Hanaysha, try to reach Ms. Abu Akleh but are forced back by gunfire.

In the footage, both women are wearing protective vests marked “Press” and helmets.

Another Al Jazeera journalist in the group, Ali Samoudi, was shot in the back. From the hospital, he said that they were clearly identified as journalists before the attack. “We were obvious,” he said.

— Sarah Kerr, New York Times

Shireen

Amer Zahr, The Civil Arab, May 11, 2022

Today, Israel assassinated Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. Shireen is the face of Palestine for Al-Jazeera, the world’s most-watched Arabic-language media outlet.

 

Early this morning, she dressed in her press vest and helmet to once again cover the everyday horrors of Palestinian life under brutal occupation.

 

To be clear, Shireen was not simply executed by a single bullet precisely delivered by a single sniper. She was executed by a racist apartheid movement built on the notion that Palestinians are foreigners in our own land. Based on the belief that we don’t deserve life. And if you’re American, like I am, like Shireen is, that sniper’s bullet, and his elite training, were paid for by you and me, with the full support of our leaders.

 

Shireen is a daughter of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. She is a voice for the voiceless. An example. She is every Palestinian’s sister. She has told the truth about Palestine for over twenty years. And today, Israel decided that she had said enough.

 

And yes, I will keeping talking about Shireen in the present tense. I will never say “was” about her. That’s what they want. But they don’t get to steal her from us.

 

And they don’t get to steal her truth either. As if on cue, Israel immediately started telling everyone she was shot by Palestinians, while a number of Palestinian eyewitnesses and fellow journalists all told the same story: There were no Palestinians, only Israeli military, in the area.

 

But see, this has been Israel’s game for 74 years. They have always tried to convince you that we Palestinians have all been telling the same, unchanged, coordinated lies since 1948.

 

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