Masafer Yatta Instagram Live!

Tune in to learn how you can stand in solidarity with Palestinian people as they defend Masafer Yatta from Israel’s violence. We’ll be joined by Sami Huraini, a Palestinian activist and co-founder of Youth Of Sumud / شباب صمود, based in Masafer Yatta.

Since June of 2022, the Israeli regime has been demolishing multiple homes and an elementary school for Palestinian children in Masafer Yatta. The Palestinian people in Masafer Yatta have existed and tended to their land for generations. Now, within a matter of minutes, Israeli forces could uproot the lives of nearly 1,000 Palestinian people in Masafer Yatta through demolitions, arrests, and constant attacks on their lives.

Please be sure to join us on Monday at 7:00 PM Palestine time/12:00 Noon ET to learn how you can help defend Masafer Yatta. Our collective action can and will make a difference, and it is up to us to show up for Palestinian people now and for future generations.

#DefendMasaferYatta

End-of-Year Appeal: Help with Rafah Family Home

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Dear Friends of MRSCP,

We hope you will consider contributing to our year-end fundraising drive to renovate and repair a family home located in the Tal al Sultan neighborhood of Rafah, where we previously installed a playground.  This house is one of 20 that the U.S. organization Rebuilding Alliance has selected for their new Gaza Family Guided Home Construction Project which involves each family as well as local agencies and contractors in design and construction of their particular space.

We are also asking you to support a housing solution here in Madison: Occupy Madison’s Tiny Houses project.

 
Help Provide Shelter in Gaza

As you are probably aware, the housing crisis is just one of many afflicting the over 2 million men, women and children trapped in Gaza. The fifteen year-long Israeli-US-Egyptian blockade has made it virtually impossible to keep up with the demand for proper shelter created by population growth, or to recover from the devastation of either massive demolitions along the borders or Israel’s periodic devastating military bombardments.

Rebuilding Alliance has launched this pilot program to implement low-cost housing solutions for 20 families which will (1) improve access to water & sanitation facilities; (2) decrease overcrowding and allow more privacy by adding upstairs rooms; and (3) upgrade heating and ventilation.

The home that MRSCP hopes to renovate is occupied by two parents and three children. The father has become disabled and the mother works to try to keep the family afloat.  Their small apartment is desperately in need of roof repairs, interior renovations especially to the main living area and bath, and the addition of another room–especially now that the cold and rains of winter have arrived.

The project will be completed in three stages. As of this writing, we have raised $960 of the $3080 needed for Phase 1. The total cost of all three phases is $10,064.
Contributions to the Rafah home project can be made online via Global Giving.
 
If you prefer, send a check payable to MRSCP marked “Rafah House” to MRSCP, P.O. Box 5214, Madison, WI 53705.
 

AND… 
 
Help Provide Shelter Here in Madison

Once again, we also ask your support for a local project that is related to our campaign in Rafah. Please consider donating to Occupy Madison’s Tiny Houses, addressing the housing crisis right here at home.

Occupy Madison has built two tiny house villages that house 30 formerly homeless individuals and is in the process of buying a third property. Self-governed by the people who live there, the goal is to become self-sustaining by selling goods made in a wood shop, home-grown flowers and plants, crafts and jewelry and soon, a coffee cart!  There is a very long waiting list for these houses. 

Your donation will help support the current villages and build new houses for another village.

You can donate online to Tiny Houses here. (Please include a note in the comment box that the donation is for the Tiny Houses.) 
 
You can also send a check made out to Occupy Madison marked “Tiny Houses” to Occupy Madison, 304 N. Third Street, Madison 53704.

We hope you are able to help support these two projects. And as always, we thank you for your support! Continue reading

The Zionist Cossacks Have Been Released on the Palestinians

What are we – anti-colonial Israelis, Jews of conscience and international supporters of Palestinian rights – going to do about it?


Jeff Halper, ICAHD, 16 December 2022

Benjamin Netanyahu, due to return as Israel’s prime minister within the next few days, has one overriding concern: evading conviction and possible imprisonment in the three corruption cases for which he is currently being tried. After last month’s election in which the fascist settler party Religious Zionism won 15 seats – absolutely critical if Netanyahu is to set up a coalition government – he entered into a Devil’s Deal that has shaken even members of his own Likud party. In return for helping to pass legislation to “reform” the judicial system, including legislation that would annul Netanyahu’s trial and invalidate the ability of the Supreme Court to override the overtly illegal reforms Netanyahu needs, he has agreed to give virtually unchecked power to the settlers to complete their eviction of the Palestinians from Area C, the 62% of the West Bank controlled by Israel in which the settlements are located, and to employ the army, police, militias and the prison service to violently repress any Palestinian resistance.

To save his own skin, Netanyahu has done exactly what Russian Czar Alexander III did in the 1880s. Just as the Czar handed over his country’s Jewish population to the murderous and antisemitic Cossacks, which initiated 20 years of pogroms that killed thousands and drove millions of Jews westward, so too has Netanyahu done so by handing over the fate of the Palestinians to murderous settlers dedicated to driving them out of the Land of Israel, taking their lands – and not hesitating for a second to kill as many as necessary in the process.

Not that the settlers have a monopoly over murderous ethnic cleansing. Benny Ganz, the “moderate” outgoing Defense Minister, opened his electoral campaign bragging of many thousands of “terrorists” he killed in Gaza. When he became Ganz’s Chief of Staff, Aviv Kokhavi promised a more “lethal” IDF – and delivered. Besides repeated assaults on Gaza, 2022 saw over 150 Palestinians killed, including 33 innocent children, the highest in many years.

In preparing for his incoming government, Netanyahu has dismantled the Ministry of Defense in order to pass control of the Palestinians to the Religious Zionist Party This party is headed by Bezalel Smotrich, a known racist, who founded Regavim, a pro-settler organization that lobbies the government to demolish Palestinian homes (registered as a charity in New York state). He will now be in charge of the Civil Administration, the actual government of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). It will have several key functions including the demolition of Palestinian homes that have not been granted building permits by the Israeli authorities. So far, some 60,000 homes, schools, mosques, businesses and farm structures have been demolished in the OPT since 1967 and now no obstacles will exist to ethnically clearing Area C, confining three million Palestinians of the West Bank to tiny bantustans, until they are expelled (or “induced” to leave).

Itamar Ben Gvir, leader of the far-right Otzma Yehudit party, has been appointed “Minister of National Security” in Netanyahu’s new government. He is a fascist Kahanist living in Hebron whose hero is Barukh Goldstein, his neighbor who murdered 29 Palestinian worshippers at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. That means Ben Gvir will have augmented authority over the Israeli police – the only force that until now gave (minimal) protection to Palestinians – plus control over the Border Police, a combined army/police militia which will now be his private army in the OPT.

The most immediate response to the pogroms to which the Palestinians are now facing must be a demand for the UN to urgently deploy a Protection Force in the OPT, something that the Palestinian Authority has formally called for. Israel opposes that, of course, wanting a free hand to Judaize the West Bank. And, indeed, every time a resolution to establish such a force has been brought before the Security Council, the US has vetoed it.

This is the time, in my view, that every Palestinian support group in the world should set aside the important campaigns they are pursuing in order to focus on this most urgent need: establishing a UN Protection Force for a Palestinian population whose very existence is in immediate peril.

Longer range, we must get political, focusing our efforts on dismantling Israeli apartheid so that we can move on to a new post-colonial reality.

Whatever, Zionism’s final push to cleanse Palestine of its Arab population and transform it from an Arab to a Jewish country is being launched. What are we – anti-colonial Israelis, Jews of conscience and international supporters of Palestinian rights – going to do about it?

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ACT NOW: Prevent water cistern demolition in Sfai, South Hebron Hills

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December 24, 2022

In this time of Hanukkah, while Jews celebrate the miracle of the oil that lasted 8 days, the Palestinian village of Sfai in the desert of Masafer Yatta is about to have its water cisterns demolished. There could not be a more cruel irony. No water means no life.

We are supporting our friends at Rebuilding Alliance in their campaign to ask Congress to intervene in the demolition. On December 26th (the 8th day of Hanukkah), Israel’s Army is scheduled to respond in court to the appeal filed by the village of Sfai seeking to protect their water storage system. That means the judge can rule as early as the 27th — when Congress is out of session. The attorney believes that political intervention is needed now more than ever.

It’s easy to act. We are asking you to do three things today:

  • Send a form Email to your Representatives and Senators with one easy click HERE.
  • Call your Representative HERE.
  • Call your Senators HERE.

Your phone call to a congressional office is very influential, even if you just leave a voicemail. Here is the script for your call:

My name is ________ and I live at _______. As your constituent, I need your help tostop the demolition of water storage cisterns in the Palestinian village of Sfai and prevent the escalating demolition of humanitarian infrastructure in Masafer Yatta. This is urgent: please call the Israeli Embassy State Department today or tomorrow at the latest.

  • In June of last year 2021, the village of Sfai’s water mains were demolished by the Israeli Army, leaving only the water cisterns to sustain the community.
  • Now, the water cisterns are at risk of being demolished.

Please have your staff call the Israeli Embassy and the U.S. State Department on my behalf as a constituent. Fast track Congressional intervention has prevented the demolition of Palestinian villages and schools.

FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM NOW

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 , Instagram, and Twitter. Subscribe to our mailing list.

 

Palestinians resisting forced removal by moving into caves

The people of Masafer Yatta are using ancestors’ caves to resist Israel’s home demolitions


Members of Palestinian Masafer Yatta communities determined to remain on their land despite Israeli forced evictions, south of Hebron in the West Bank, May 7, 2022. (Mamoun Wazwaz-Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Katherine Tangalakis-Lippert, Business Insider, October 23, 2022

  • Palestinians are resisting Israel’s Supreme Court order that they be removed from their homeland.

  • The people of Masafer Yatta are relying on their history of living in caves to resist eviction.

  • The United Nations says the forcible removal of the Palestinians could be a war crime.

In an effort to resist their forced eviction by Israeli authorities — which the United Nations has said may be a war crime — some Palestinians are living in caves to remain in their homeland.

“We have no home to live in and no tent — we have no option but to live in the cave,” The New York Times reported Wadha Ayoub Abu Sabha, 65, a resident of the village of Khirbet al-Fakheit, said. “The beginning of my life was in the cave, and the end of my life will be in the cave.”

The semi-nomadic people of the Masafer Yatta region have, for generations, lived in small homes and caves along the hillside as they migrated livestock across the area. The desert region, located at the southern tip of the occupied West Bank, is home to 33 villages where some residents, now facing the destruction of their homes by Israeli forces, have moved their families into the old caves to resist being displaced.

The caves are dusty and hot, The Guardian reported, with stone walls and improvised lighting attached to generators. Though their ancestors once used the caves willingly, residents now feel stuck, facing full Israeli control and the demolition of their existing homes.

“In these days we are jailed in our caves, we cannot move,” Indian news outlet EastMojo reported Hajja Halima Abu Younis, an 82-year-old woman from the Jinba village, said. “We are afraid the Israeli army will kill someone while they are conducting military training. The army trains tanks around our village. The sound of the bombs and shots scare the children and the flocks of animals. My son Issa cannot graze his 150 sheep during the military training. How can a shepherd be a shepherd if he cannot graze his sheep?”

In May, Israel’s Supreme Court approved the removal of the people of the Masafer Yatta villages, home to approximately 1,200 residents, in order to allow the country’s Army to use the land for a live-fire military training ground. The landmark decision was one of the largest removal rulings made by the court since Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories began in 1967.

“About 1,200 people, including 580 children, are now at imminent risk of forced eviction and displacement,” read a United Nations statement released shortly after the decision. “They stand to lose their homes, belongings, access to water, livelihoods, primary health facilities and schools. This could amount to forcible transfer, a grave breach of international humanitarian law and, thus a war crime.”

Read the original article at Business Insider

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No Government Has the Right to Pass Such Laws

Dr. James J. Zogby, Arab American Institute, October 17, 2022

During the past month Israel has held 800 Palestinians under administrative detention orders, expelled several Palestinians from East Jerusalem, seized more Arab-owned land from areas around Hebron and in the Jordan Valley turning much of it over to settlers, and instituted a lockdown of many Palestinian areas during Jewish religious days. All of this passed without notice in the US press because Israel policies, such as these, have long been routine features of the 55 year-long occupation.

What’s important to note, however, is that all of these practices are in violation of international law, and all have a disturbing history in Israel/Palestine.

Many of them were initially put in place by the British as part of their effort to squash the Great Palestinian Revolt of 1936-1939. Back then, as Palestinian rebels at the peak of their uprising had gained control of significant areas of the country, the British put in place what they termed the “Emergency Military Administration in Palestine.” Under the provisions of this new regime, thousands of Palestinian rebels were arrested and detained without charges, hundreds were expelled, villages were subjected to collective punishment, and Palestinian properties were confiscated and/or destroyed—all in an effort to end the Revolt.

While these repressive measures did play a role, what finally ended the Revolt was a combination of false promises by the British that they would consider Palestinian demands for independence and the naïveté of some Arab leaders who accepted these British pledges and, therefore, urged the Palestinian fighters to disarm.

After World War II, when faced with a new threat from a Zionist armed insurgency, Britain reinstated the Emergency Administration — this time directed against the Jewish militias. In response, Jewish leaders rose up in outrage. One noted attorney, Ya’acov Shimshon Shapiro (who later served as Israel’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice) criticized these British laws as “unparalleled in any civilized country.”

There were, he said, “no such laws even in Nazi Germany. . . There is only one form of government which resembles the system in force here now — the case of an occupied country. . . It is our duty to tell the whole world that the Defense Laws passed by the British Mandatory Government of Palestine destroy the very foundation of justice in this land.”

He concluded by noting that “no government has the right to pass such laws.” Given this outrage and condemnation, it might be seen as ironic that immediately upon assuming state power in 1948, the State of Israel would adopt these very same laws, applying them to the Palestinian population that remained after the Nakbah & mdash; without any protest from Jewish jurists.

From 1948 until 1965 the Emergency Defense Laws (EDL) & mdash; as they were now called & mdash; were in place in order to control the captive Palestinian community in Israel. Collectively, these laws functioned to: establish a military administration over the Arab sector, give the state the power to institute collective punishment, intern Palestinian citizens of Israel without judicial process, expel Palestinian citizens without recourse, confiscate Arab-owned land, and impose curfews and lockdowns over entire regions.

While the EDL were formally lifted in 1965, they were resurrected and rehabilitated in 1967 & mdash; this time to be applied, even more harshly, to the areas of Palestine that had been occupied in the 1967 war. Collective punishment of entire villages was widespread, as was the use of administrative detention. No political parties or expressions of Palestinian national identity were allowed. Well over 1,200 Palestinian leaders & mdash; mayors, college presidents, labor leaders, and clergy & mdash; were expelled. Substantial areas of Arab-owned land were confiscated, placed under Israeli control and declared either “green spaces” or “security zones” & mdash; off limits to Palestinians, later given over to Israeli settlement construction. And since any Palestinian construction required Israeli permission, which was rarely forthcoming, homes and community buildings were routinely demolished.

Even after the Oslo Accords, which Palestinians hoped would lead to an independent state, provisions of the EDL remained in place as accepted legal practice by the Israeli occupation authorities.

Given that these Israeli “laws” have been in place for more than seven decades, it might not be surprising that Western media and political leaders have become inured to these Israeli repressive measures. This, however, only adds insult to injury.

Palestinians are not “children of a lesser god.” They are human beings, deserving of the rights guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Geneva Conventions. Israel’s “security concerns” (like those of the British in the 1930s and 1940s) do not excuse their wholesale trashing of international law and conventions. And they do not absolve the silence of the West in the face of this total disregard for Palestinian rights. To repeat the quote from Israel’s first Attorney General, these laws “destroy the very foundation of justice in this land. . . no government has the right to pass such laws.”


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Arab American Institute. The Arab American Institute is a non-profit, nonpartisan national leadership organization that does not endorse candidates.

Note: To discuss this column with me, please register here for my next ‘Coffee And A Column’ event Wednesday via Zoom.

Arab American Institute Foundation1600 K Street, NW, Suite 601Washington, DC 20006United States

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Emergency Zoom on Conditions in the West Bank

In this time of crisis, I invite you to an

Emergency Zoom Forum with the UN: Conditions on the Ground in the West Bank
Sunday, October 16th, at 1pm CT
Register for Sunday’s Zoom Forum

Who: Our guest speaker is the U.N.’s West Bank Field Coordinator, Jonathan Whittall, who will be calling in from Jerusalem.

  • Before he joined UNOCHA, he spent 5 years as Director of the Humanitarian Analysis Department at Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, also known as Doctors Without Borders)
  • As head of the humanitarian innovation team supporting MSF operations in conflict, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Syria, Ukraine and South Sudan, focusing on negotiating humanitarian access

What: In this hour long Zoom forum, Jonathan Whittall will focus on the West Bank — including the recent escalation in violence, Israeli Military closure of Palestinian communities, loss of life, and the ongoing humanitarian crisis — and encourage discussion of ways to de-escalate and ensure the safety and security of all.

Why: A midnight phone call with the U.N. helped shed light on something that might help: Congressional intervention. Now is the time when calls from your members of Congress can ease tensions and ensure the safety and security of all, especially for Palestinian children and families. I fear Congress won’t do the right thing unless you, their constituents, ask.  

Email Congress Now to express your concern and invite them to their own RA Zoom briefing with the U.N.

The Sunday Zoom Forum is an important opportunity for you to hear about what is happening on the ground in the West Bank, ask questions, and share ideas.

Click this link to register for the Zoom Forum on Sunday

We look forward to seeing you on Sunday.

Sincerely,Donna Baranski-WalkerFounder and Executive Director, Rebuilding Alliance

P.S. Al Jazeera in Jerusalem reported this in Arabic on Friday, 10/14, ‘In light of prominent Palestinian models for decades, civil disobedience SUCCEEDS in breaking the siege of Shuafat camp’It includes a history of Palestinian nonviolent civil disobedience movements. You can use Google Translate to read it.

Urgent Call to Defend Khallet ad-Dabe’ from Destruction

Stop the Wall, 26 September 2022

A whole village with over 90 residents is at the brink of being ethnically cleansed. The Israeli Supreme Court set September 29 as the date the demolition of Khallet Ad- Dabe’ can begin. The demolition orders include all homes and most livelihood structures in the village. 

If no action is taken to thwart Israeli demolition plans,
a whole village will be ethnically cleansed. 

Your action is crucial now!

Khallet ad-Dabe’ is one of the eight Palestinian villages in Masafer Yatta that apartheid Israel has classfied as a firing zone for its occupation forces. 20 Palestinian villages in the area have been struggling against ethnic cleansing policies for more than 40 years. 

The demolition of Khallet ad-Dabe’ village is part of a huge and systematic effort to deprive Palestinians of their lands in order to cement Jewish dominance over Masafer Yatta. If implemented, it would be Israel’s largest ethnic cleansing since 1968. 

In order to expel the indigenous Palestinian population, Israel destroys homes and schools, confiscates the land and steals natural resources as it expands illegal settlements and persecutes human rights defenders and residents.

Palestinians in Khallet Ad-Dabe’ are armed with hope, popular resistance, and local and international support. Their steadfastness on the ground is the fundamental element to protect their existence on their ancestral land. 

People struggle every day to reach their lands, jobs or schools. They are subjected to attacks by settlers and the military, beatings, abuse and murder. Families are fighting to defend their right to exist. 

What is happening in Masafer Yatta is the result of the failure of world powers to act to end Israel’s impunity, hold those responsible for Israeli apartheid, occupation and settler-colonialism accountable and ensure respect of International Law and Palestinian human rights.

Here is what you can do to defend Khallet ad-Dabe’:

  1. Join us on Wednesday September 28 on social media! On our website, twitter, facebook and instagram you will find posts to share. Here below can download graphics, info and messaging to share and raise awareness on the imminent destruction of Khallet ad-Dabe’ on social media. Use the hashtag #DefendMasaferYatta and #UNinvestigateApartheid.
  2. Write to your government’s foreign ministry and diplomatic missions and ask them to urgently take all actions at their disposal to stop the ethnic cleansing of Khallet ad-Dabe’ and Masafer Yatta. Find a model letter below.
  3. Mobilize support from human rights organizations, political parties, members of parliament, trade unions, church, and other civil society groups, asking them to help you put pressure on your government to stop the demolition of Khallet ad-Dabe’, #DefendMasaferYatta and impose sanctions on Israel to #DismantleApartheid.
  4. Build BDS campaigns to pressure the bulldozer companies to stop profiting from and enabling Israeli demolitions. 

Model letter to your government or diplomatic mission:

To: [….]

Subject: A request for urgent action to defend the Palestinian village Khallet ad-Dabe’ from Israeli demolition

A whole village with over 90 residents is at the brink of being ethnically cleansed by Israel. On September 9, the Israeli Supreme Court set September 29 as the date the demolition of Khallet Ad- Dabe’ , occupied West Bank, can begin. The demolition orders include all homes and most livelihood structures in the village. 

If no action is taken to thwart Israeli demolition plans, a whole village will be ethnically cleansed. 

Khallet ad-Dabe’ is one of the eight Palestinian villages in Masafer Yatta that apartheid Israel has classfied as a firing zone for its occupation forces. 20 Palestinian villages in the area have been struggling against ethnic cleansing policies for more than 40 years. 

The demolition of Khallet ad-Dabe’ village is part of a huge and systematic effort to deprive Palestinians of their lands in order to cement Jewish dominance over Masafer Yatta. If implemented, it would be Israel’s largest ethnic cleansing since 1968. 

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