The Residents of Firing Zone 918


This morning, residents of Haifa, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv awoke to find posters depicting the faces of Palestinians from Massafer Yatta splashed across their cities.

Since the late 1990s, the Israeli army has been trying to operate a military training zone (Firing Zone 918) in Massafer Yatta. After a twenty-year legal battle to remain on their land, a final decision could be taken by the Israeli Supreme Court in March 2022. If the court rules against the residents, it would be one of the largest displacements of Palestinian communities in decades – with over 1300 people being forcibly transferred from their land.

The inhumanity of occupation is often justified under the guise of Israel’s ‘security needs’ but we must see through this. There is no justification for ethnic cleansing or stealing Palestinian land. Forcible transfer is a war crime. Solidarity with the residents of Massafer Yatta #savemassaferyatta

Learn more and get involved at SaveMasaferYatta.com

Photo credits: Activestills

Amnesty Condemns Settler Attack on Palestinian Playground


Jewish settlers try to destroy a Palestinian playground near Hebron. (Photo: via Social Media)

The Palestine Chronicle, November 8, 2021

Amnesty International has condemned an attack by Israeli settlers and soldiers against Palestinian children in a playground in the occupied West Bank village of Susya, near Hebron (Al-Khalil), according to the Middle East Monitor.

The incident took place on Saturday when Israeli soldiers prevented the children and their mothers from having access to the playground in their village.

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November 8 – 11
The Other Israel Film Festival

The Other Israel Film Festival
Streaming two films from Breaking the Silence

The First 54 Years: An Abbreviated Manual for Military Occupation
The latest from Director and Breaking the Silence Executive Board member Avi Mograbi has been making the rounds at film festivals around the world. Based on testimonies of former IDF soldiers and officers who served in the occupied territories since 1967, the film analyzes the various methods put in place to keep the occupied Palestinian population under control, as a case study in how to maintain a prolonged, and even perpetual, military regime.

This extraordinary journey from the birth of the occupation until today, told through first-hand accounts, is woven together through Mograbi’s outstanding storytelling, and is well worth watching for anyone interested in how the occupation came to be what it is today.

To see the film online, purchase a ticket through 10:45 pm Central on Nov. 11. (Use discount code BREOI21 for 20% off.)

Mission: Hebron
One of three shorts in the festival, this film is based on a series of interviews with Breaking the Silence testifiers who speak about their service in the city of Hebron, the second largest Palestinian city in the West Bank with an Israeli settlement in its center. Together, they describe a horrifying yet mundane routine of manning checkpoints, invading homes, nighttime arrests, shooting protesters and so on. This fast-moving short film, directed by the renowned Israeli director Rona Segal, has been featured at film festivals around the world including the highly prestigious IDFA Festival in the Netherlands, and won the best short documentary prize at the Jerusalem Film Festival. It has recently been longlisted for an Academy Award.

Admission is free, but register before 10:45 pm Central on Nov. 11.

September 12, 2021
South Hebron Hills online tour and event

A lot of media focus has rightfully been given to Sheik Jarrah and Gaza recently, but in the South Hebron Hills similar human rights violations are going on which don’t garner as much attention. We invite you to join us and our friends at the Good Shepherd Collective and the Youth of Sumud to explore this important part of the country and the topic of settler/IDF violence.

South Hebron Hills online tour and event

We’ll explore several small Palestinian communities gradually being surrounded by Israeli settlements.

Because of the on-going violence, Palestinian children in Atwuani require a military escort to go to school. The local organization, Youth of Sumud, has led the popular nonviolent resistance struggle against the illegal settlement encroachment. They also re-established a Palestinian village in Sarura after the community had been abandoned for 20 years.

Palestinians in the South Hebron Hills live in fear, not knowing when the bulldozers will come for their homes. Demolition orders are not limited to houses, but also extend to things like the wood burning stones where villagers bake bread and lavatories.

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What Happens to a Palestinian Who Protects His Land

Home Invasions and False Arrests: Aref Jaber defies settlers’ attempts to take over his plot of land near Hebron, and finds himself facing harassment from the army too

Amira Hass, Haaretz, Aug. 28, 2021

On December 11, a structure made of wood and cinder blocks appeared on a piece of land belonging to Aref Jaber of Hebron. Just before he found the structure, relatives told him that Israeli Jews were squatting on his land, on a hill east of Hebron in the West Bank, in an area called al-Bak’aa.

Since that day, Jaber and his family have been constantly harassed: raids on his land and home, other illegal structures going up and being demolished, intrusive drones, imposter Israel Police officers saying they’re from the Shin Bet security service, and false arrests by the army and police.

Israeli soldiers killed an 11-year-old Palestinian boy

Then, during his funeral, they killed someone else


YUMNA PATEL, Mondoweiss, JULY 29, 2021

Moayyad al-Alami loved bringing his three children along with him when he would run errands in his hometown of Beit Ummar in the Hebron district of the southern occupied West Bank. 

It was something he enjoyed doing, as it was a chance for him to spend time with his kids when he wasn’t working. So on Wednesday afternoon when his wife asked him to pick up some groceries before lunch, Moayyad took his three children, Mohammed, 11, Anan, 9, and Ahmed, 5, along with him. 

“We arrived at the entrance of our street, and Mohammed asked me to turn around and go back to the store, because he forgot to buy a snack that he really wanted,” al-Alami told Mondoweiss, adding that there were Israeli soldiers in the area — not an uncommon site for the family, who live right next to a permanent Israeli military base at the entrance of the town. 

“So I put the car in reverse and started turning around, and all of a sudden I heard shouting and gunshots,” he recounted. “I just started driving away, and yelled at the kids to put their heads down. I didn’t know what to do”

After driving for about 200 meters, with his head ducked down beneath the steering wheel, al-Alami lifted his head up to turn to the back seat and see if his kids were okay. 

“I saw Ahmed crouched on the floor, and Mohammed was laying in his sister’s lap,” he said. “I started telling Mohammed that he could get up, and that the soldiers were gone, but he wouldn’t get up. And then I saw the blood.”

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Channel 12 News report: Settler violence in the South Hebron Hills

Breaking the Silence, Jul 26, 2021

Last Friday night, 15 minutes of the main evening news broadcast on Channel 12 – one of the programs with the highest viewer ratings in Israel – were dedicated to journalist Yigal Mosko’s report on the unbelievable reality of the South Hebron hills. The report covered several of the main issues we have been campaigning on for years: Palestinian children who need military protection in order to get to and from school every day because of the very real threat of being attacked by settlers; military training exercises taking place inside Palestinian villages; frequent demolitions of Palestinian homes and confiscation of their property; settler violence against Palestinians, while soldiers protect the attackers; and the presence and constant construction of more and more settler outposts – illegal even under Israeli law but connected to Israel’s water and electricity infrastructure.

None of this would be possible if it weren’t for the State of Israel’s complicity, and sometimes even its active encouragement. Children wouldn’t need to be accompanied to school by soldiers every day for the past 17 years if the law were enforced on their settler attackers in the first place. Homes wouldn’t have to be demolished if Israel’s Civil Administration weren’t to reject 97% of requests for permits by Palestinians. And of course, none of this would be the case if Israel weren’t to maintain a military regime in the territories for all of these years.

It’s been far too long since any of this was given the proper, prime-time attention it deserves, exposing the Israeli mainstream to some of the ugliest aspects of the occupation. But people outside of Israel need to be aware of this reality too.

At the start of this post we called this reality ‘unbelievable’ – because it’s so far away from any of the most basic norms that any of us would take for granted in a democratic country. You really need to see it to believe it. Take 15 minutes to watch the report, and once you’ve done so, download our new collection of soldiers’ testimonies on settler violence, many of which describe the exact same reality as shown in the report.

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Breaking the Silence is an organization of veteran soldiers who have served in the Israeli military since the start of the Second Intifada and have taken it upon themselves to expose the Israeli public to the reality of everyday life in the Occupied Territories. We endeavor to stimulate public debate about the price paid for a reality in which young soldiers face a civilian population on a daily basis, and are engaged in the control of that population’s everyday life. Our work aims to bring an end to the occupation.

July 29, 2021
Webinar: What’s happening in the South Hebron Hills?


In the South Hebron Hills, the southernmost region of the West Bank, there are about 122 communities of shepherds and farmers totaling about 80,000 inhabitants. The communities settled there in the early 19th century in order to be close to the pastures and agriculture they owned. In recent decades Palestinian residents have suffered abuse from violent settlers, which the army either turns a blind eye to or cooperates with. Living in a land declared as a ‘closed military zone’ by the army, Palestinians in the area experience daily the expropriation of their land, the demolition of their homes, and the cutting of their water pipes. (tv.social.org)

What’s happening in the South Hebron Hills? Perspectives from the ground
July 29, 2021 12:00 PM Central Webinar

Join Just Vision and +972 Magazine on Thursday, July 29 at 1pm ET / 8pm Jerusalem time for a conversation on what’s happening in the South Hebron Hills, speaking with activists who have been organizing in the area for years.

In the South Hebron Hills (known locally as Masafer Yatta) in Area C of the West Bank – which the Israeli military has full control over – authorities demolish homes and infrastructure on a regular basis while refusing to grant building permits. For residents of the area, fear of violence from the Israeli settlers that surround their villages is ever-present, and the heavy military presence only leads to greater impunity for the settlers.

In the face of this decades-long struggle, Palestinian residents of the South Hebron Hills, with support from Israeli and international activists, are using tools – from journalism and social media, to storytelling and non-violent direct action – to resist ongoing annexation and draw local and international attention to the injustices they experience or witness daily.

Speakers for this event include Basil Al-Adraa, a Palestinian journalist, activist and resident of the area; Yuval Abraham, an Israeli reporter for Local Call, our Hebrew-language news site co-published with 972 Advancement of Citizen Journalism; and Natasha Westheimer, Australian-American water management specialist and anti-occupation activist based in Jerusalem. The discussion will be moderated by Just Vision’s Executive Director and Local Call Co-Publisher, Suhad Babaa.

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Welcome to the 12th Annual Open Shuhada Street Campaign

OSS13.jpg

On this page, you will find information about the Open Shuhada Street campaign in 2021. Please go to our calendar page for events.

Join the international campaign led by local Palestinian volunteers to call for an end to the restrictions in the city of Hebron — call for the reopening of Hebron’s main street, an end to the segregation in Hebron, an end to the human rights violations, and an end to the Israeli occupation.

Please follow the campaign on Youth Against Settlements’ Facebook and Twitter.

Book a speaker: [email protected]

MATERIALS HERE

Every year since 2010, local Palestinian volunteers with the Hebron-based Youth Against Settlements (YAS) group have been launching a campaign calling for an end to the closures in the city and an end to the Israeli military occupation of Palestine. Please follow the campaign on YAS’s Facebook and Twitter.

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February 10, 2021
Jim Zogby Talks with Human Rights Advocate Issa Amro


Wednesday, February 10, 2021 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m CT

In the months we have been gathering weekly for Coffee & a Column, I have welcomed our substantive conversations each week. I’ve also been thinking about how to expand our community and it is with that in mind that I am excited to share with you the special format for this Wednesday.

We will begin at 2:00 PM with discussion of the two violent acts in the past 20 years that have shaken American democracy: the terrorist attacks on 9/11/01 and the Capitol insurrection on 1/6/21. In “Our Democracy Was at Risk,” I speak about the weaknesses each event exposed in our democracy and the differing actions our leaders took after each, and why.

At 2:30, Issa Amro will join us to discuss the ongoing non-violent protests he is helping lead in opposition to the occupation and Israel’s politically motivated prosecution against him.

An Israeli military judge was set to rule against Issa and as Issa recently said, “we have no choice but to resort to civil disobedience until we win our right to freedom, justice, equality and a life of dignity.” Issa is a critical voice in Palestine and he will be with us to provide the latest on his case and the broader work being done in support of Palestinian human rights.

Please register here to receive the dial-in information for the Zoom call Wednesday, February 10, 2021 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m ET sharp. After you register, you will automatically get the dial-in information for the call.

Regards,

Jim Zogby