Update: On-The-Ground Jewish Solidarity with Masafer Yatta

Thanks to those who attended our webinar “On the Ground Jewish Solidarity with Palestinian Resistance in Masafer Yatta” with Peter Beinart, Awdah Hathaleen, Nur Zahor, and Zack Witus. If you didn’t have a chance to see it, you can watch the recording. The testimony by our panelists was emotional and powerful.

It was apparent that the expulsion of Palestinians from Masafer Yatta is happening right under our noses in daily increments. Many left the webinar wanting to take action. Below are resources and suggested actions for you to take today!

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Join us for an exciting webinar, moderated by Peter Beinart, exploring the role of Jewish activists as they join Palestinian-led resistance to the escalating violence of the Israeli occupation. Together, they stand against the state policy enabling daily army and settler violence, home demolitions, and mass expulsions in Masafer Yatta.

The webinar will focus on the connections between Jews (diaspora and Israeli) and Palestinians in the justice movement in Masafer Yatta. We will discuss the imbalance of power and the responsibility Jewish activists have in standing in solidarity, the personal transformations that take place through this work together, how each of the speakers carries this work forward, and the central importance that this joint struggle activism has. Going beyond personal connections, the work creates space for us to stand up together against Israeli settler and army violence and oppression, and make an impact today and in the future.

  • Peter Beinart, moderator – journalist and professor of journalism at CUNY.
  • Nur Zahor – an Israeli Arabic and Hebrew teacher and activist in Masafer Yatta.
  • Awdah Hathaleen – Palestinian Human rights activist, English teacher, and journalist from Masafer Yatta
  • Zak Witus – Young Leadership & Education Coordinator for New Israel Fund and a recent participant in the Center For Jewish Nonviolence Sustained Solidarity Hineinu delegation in Masafer Yatta.

South Hebron Hills Watch is a group of Israeli American volunteers who forged a strong connection with Palestinian residents of the South Hebron Hills and Jewish activists who are providing witness and physical support to these communities. We are not affiliated with any political party or organization but partner with like-minded people and organizations that support nonviolent activity on the ground and amplify the plight of these Palestinian families in the face of a broader effort to remove them from their lands. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Israeli soldiers arrest Hafez Huraini of Masafer Yatta

BREAKING: Hafez Huraini, 52, was arrested by Israeli soldiers after he was brutally attacked by settlers who broke his arm and disabled his ambulance in the village of Tuwani. He is still detained.

Hafez is the father of Sami Huraini, a Palestinian law student and coordinator of Youth of Sumud, activists from the At-Tuwani area opposing Israeli home demolition and settler violence. Israeli soldiers continue to harass and incarcerate residents as part of a policy to steal their land.

#FreeHafezHuraini!    #DefendMasaferYatta!

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Israel’s top court rejects 2nd petition to release Awawdeh

A video showing Khalil Awawdeh and the toll his detention has taken on his body was shared on Monday, where he urged the world to stop Israel from detaining Palestinians without charge.

Awawdeh was detained on 27 December last year near Hebron in the southern West Bank [Getty]
Awawdeh was detained on 27 December last year near Hebron in the southern West Bank [Getty]

New Arab Staff, 30 August, 2022

The Israeli Supreme Court has rejected a second petition to release Khalil Awawdeh, a Palestinian prisoner detained without charge by Israeli forces, on the 171st day of his hunger strike to protest his administrative detention.

The Israeli government, judiciary and military continue to illegally practice administrative detention, according to rights group Adalah, and are consequently endangering Awawdah’s life.

Administrative detention is “incarceration without trial or charge, alleging that a person plans to commit a future offense,” according to B’TSelem’s website, a Jerusalem based human rights organisation.

“The systematic violation of the most basic human rights of Palestinians amounts to crimes against humanity, which necessitate immediate international action,” tweeted Adalah on Tuesday. 

A video of Khalil Awawdeh was shared by the Samidoun Network on Twitter on Monday, showing the toll his detention and hunger strike has taken on his body. 

“Oh, free people of the world,” Awahdeh said in the video, “this suffering body, of which nothing remains but skin and bones, does not reflect a weakness and vulnerability of the Palestinian people, but rather is a mirror reflecting the true face of the occupation which claims to be a ‘democratic state’, at a time when it holds a prisoner without any charges in the brutal administrative detention, taking a stand against it, to say: No to administrative detention! No to administrative detention!”

“We are a people who have a just cause that will remain a just cause, and we will always stand against administrative detention, this injustice, even if the skin is gone, even if the bone deteriorates, even if the soul is gone,” he added. 

Awawdeh was detained on 27 December last year near Hebron in the southern West Bank. He has since been abused by prison authorities, and subjected to solitary confinement.

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Khalil Awawdeh’s time is running out


Palestinian detainee Khalil Awawdeh

Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, 30 Aug 2022

Geneva – Palestinian administrative detainee Khalil Awawdeh is suffering from an acute case of dyspnea and severe problems in all his vitals due to his continued hunger strike. His time is rapidly running out, Euro-Med Monitor said in a statement.

Awawdeh's health condition has become more critical than ever as he has been on hunger strike since 3 March (more than 170 days) in protest of the Israeli authorities’ refusal to release him.

The detainee emphasized that his continued detention, given his deteriorating health, means he is sentenced to a slow death.

Awawdeh's case requires immediate intervention from all parties involved to preserve his life and end his ongoing suffering since his administrative detention on 27 December 2021.

   The suffering of Palestinian detainee Khalil Awawdeh from severe breathing difficulties clearly indicates that his life could end at any moment   

Nour Olwan, Euro-Med Monitor’s Chief Media Officer

Today, the Israeli Supreme Court will hear an appeal by Awawdeh's lawyer to release him, based on a medical report documenting his significant deterioration in recent days.

The wife of Awawdeh, who lies at the Israeli Assaf Harofeh hospital, told the Euro-Medi Monitor team that her husband has major breathing problems, a sharp drop in haemoglobin and blood sugar levels, and he is unable to speak, walk, or move his limbs. Moreover, he suffers from a significant decline in awareness and cognition and severe weight loss.

Following his arrest last year, an Israeli court issued a six-month administrative detention order against Awawdeh, which was later extended for another four months.

On 19 August, an Israeli court froze the administrative detention order against him but refused to release him, meaning he could be transferred from the hospital back to the prison if his health improves.

Khalil Awawdeh, 40, is from Idhna in the Hebron governorate in the southern West Bank. He has four daughters, the oldest of whom is nine years old and the youngest is one and a half.

Following a widely practised policy of administrative detention in the Palestinian territories, Israeli authorities arbitrarily confiscate the freedom of Palestinian civilians. As of August, the number of administrative detainees has surpassed 720.

Administrative detainees are held for months or years without indictment, and lawyers are frequently denied access to the evidence the court relies on for extending detention orders. The evidence is allegedly classified intelligence information, in blatant violation of fair trial guarantees and conditions.

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Israeli occupation soldiers close the main gate of Qortoba school in Hebron

The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project has helped build playgrounds for both Qortuba Elementary School and the Al Samud Shuhada Street Kindergarten

Human Rights Defenders, 30th of August 2022

Hebron, Palestine 🇵🇸

The Israeli occupation soldiers close the main gate to the students of CorToba School and Shuhada Street Kindergarten in the center of Hebron, and they are being detained for a while without any reason.

And the Israeli settlers make fun of Palestinian children during their detention.

This is a violation of the right to education, the right to freedom and the right of childhood according to international laws.

جنود الإحتلال الإسرائيلي يقوموا بإغلاق البوابة الرئيسية لطلاب مدرسة قرطبة وروضة شارع الشهداء في وسط مدينة الخليل ،و يتم احتجازهم لفترة من الوقت دون سبب يذكر.

والمستوطنين الإسرائيليين يقوموا بالسخرية من الأطفال الفلسطينين خلال فترة احتجازهم.

وهذا انتهاك الحق في التعليم ،والحق في الحرية وحق الطفولة حسب القوانين الدولية.

تصوير المتطوع : زيدان الشرباتي

Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) are people who, individually or collectively, work peacefully on behalf of others to promote and defend internationally recognized human rights. They are defined by their actions rather than their profession, job title or organization.

Winning Lawsuit Against Major Israeli Newspaper

We just won a defamation case against a major Israeli newspaper!
We made Israel Hayom retract its lies!

This is a rare success of holding Israeli tabloids accountable for their publications of lies about Palestinians.

The newspaper had published obvious lies against Palestinian Human Rights Defender Issa Amro after his play “How To Make A Revolution” opened in Tel Aviv. The play was centered around his trial in military court and was directed by Israeli playwright Einat Weizman in coordination with Issa himself.

Israel Hayom (“Israel Today” in English) is a right-wing Israeli tabloid owned by the family of Sheldon Adelson and is a publication friendly of ex-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In 2016, it formally endorsed the presidential campaign of Donald Trump. It has a circulation of around 250,000 readers.

The civil lawsuit forced the newspaper to retract their claims and issue a formal correction, seen below in Hebrew. The newspaper had published lies that Issa was charged or convicted of security offenses, had spent time in prison and that his cousin was the murderer of an Israeli baby. All of this is false and Israel Hayom withdrew these lies after losing the lawsuit and issued a correction that Issa is recognized as a Hebron activist committed to nonviolence and opposed to the occupation.

Justice is usually absent for Palestinians in the Israeli legal system, especially in the separate military court system.

Israel Hayom’s lies were the same lies about Issa that have often been perpetrated by the Israeli settlers in Hebron who terrorize the local Palestinian population on a daily basis in the city. These lies show that the newspaper had gotten used to publishing slander promoted by settler populations about Palestinians without any consequences, promoting these narratives without any actual journalistic standards or investigation.

Few Palestinians have the ability to mobilize a lawsuit, leaving no consequences for lies.

How many more direct lies have gone unnoticed?

Meanwhile the violations in Hebron continue. On August 9th, Israeli soldiers shot two 16-year-old Palestinian boys, wounding one and killing the other.

The soldiers dragged away the boy who survived after they shot him and left him to cry and scream behind the checkpoint without any medical care for more than half and hour.

Five days ago, soldiers were also seen conducting military drills inside inhabited Palestinian neighborhoods.

Friends of Hebron has a U.S.-registered IRS 501(c)3 charity status. Donations are tax-deductible.

With peace,

Friends of Hebron
Working for Peace and Justice

During these tense times, please consider supporting our work on the ground in Hebron by donating. Friends of Hebron is a U.S.-registered IRS 501(c)3 charity. Donations are tax-deductible.

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Jewelry for Clean Water Campaign, 7/22/22

Jewelry Sales for Clean Water is an emergency campaign by Palestine Partners to support members of the Women in Hebron cooperative in constructing a desperately needed cistern to assure access to clean water. (At last report, $3500 of the $6000 goal has already been reached!)

About the campaign

Laila lives with 14 members of her extended family in a small house near the city of Al Khalil/Hebron, in occupied Palestine. For two summers now they have been without safe water. Recently, three of seven small children and two pregnant women have fallen seriously ill. The youngest children, only 9 and 14 months old, have been hospitalized after drinking water that doctors say may have been chemically contaminated or stored too long in the heat.

Her West Bank village has rudimentary municipal water, but Israel has seized control of the Palestinian aquifer in order to supply its illegal settlers there with unlimited amounts of water. This results in restricted, interrupted, or non-existent water flow to Palestinian villages. Palestinians must buy water, either from small trucks in often unsanitary containers, or from water trucks capable of filling underground cisterns. Laila’s house has no cistern, so her family has been forced to rely on the risky small containers rather than water from the safer and more reliable large trucks

Laila is selling hand-made earrings and necklaces to raise the $6000 needed for materials so that her sons can build a sealed water cistern that will enable the family to purchase safe water from a reputable source year-round, instead of small unsafe containers of water at hugely inflated cost. But she needs our help NOW to sell enough of her work to purchase the construction materials, so that her sons can begin the work.

Links to
Learn More,
Make Donations,
Shop for Jewelry, or
Buy a Gift Certificate!

7/22/22
Work has begun. They got the space dug out and all went well with that; Laila got a good excavator and nothing crumbled or caved in. Now they are getting ready to pour the concrete bottom of the cistern.


Demolitions in Masafer Yatta

Occupation forces carried out the demolition of homes and agricultural facilities

Alliance for Human Rights, Facebook, July 20, 2022

From the early morning hours occupation forces carried out a demolition campaign against homes and agricultural facilities. They demolished the house of the Nawajah family in Jawaiah and two tents of Sawi and Abu Tabikh. In addition water containers in Al Mirtabah near Al Jawaiah were confiscated.

In spite of the very hot weather and in the midst of this heat wave they don’t care that they make people homeless.

The Plight of Palestinians in Masafer Yatta

Ayman Mohyeldin, MSNBC, Jul 15, 2022

On his first Middle East trip as president, Joe Biden began by visiting Israel, a country he’s been to 10 times since he was a senator in 1973. On this latest trip, Biden discussed how to address Iran’s nuclear program, and re-stated his support for a two-state solution.

But one thing he didn’t cover when he met with Israeli leaders is what’s happening in Masafer Yatta, a region of the occupied West Bank where mass evictions are taking place. And it encapsulates the plight of Palestinians in a way few other stories do.