On Facebook Live: A Conversation With Roger Waters!

Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), July 7, 2017

On Saturday, July 15, tune in on Facebook and join us for a live, hour-long conversation on the cultural boycott of Israel with one of today’s leading musicians!

Live on Facebook: A Conversation with Roger Waters

Saturday, July 15, 2017
8pm Palestine / 5pm GMT / 12pm CDT
Live on the BDS National Committee’s Facebook page

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) is excited to host a conversation with Roger Waters on his support for the cultural boycott of Israel and Palestinians’ rights.

Roger Waters is an English rock musician, singer-songwriter, and composer. He is best known as the bass player, co-lead vocalist, lyricist and the principal songwriter in the rock band Pink Floyd.

The conversation will be facilitated by Noura Erakat, a Palestinian human rights attorney and activist.

We are honoured to host Roger Waters for this conversation, and hope you can join us!

We will broadcast live from the Palestinian BDS National Committee’s Facebook page. Tune in on Saturday, July 15 at 5pm GMT / 12pm CDT for an hour-long conversation with one of today’s leading musicians.

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) was initiated in 2004 to contribute to the struggle for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality. PACBI advocates for the boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions, given their deep and persistent complicity in Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights as stipulated in international law. Visit PACBI’s website and follow us on Twitter @PACBI

Mennonite Church (USA) Says No Investing in Occupation!


, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, 06 Jul 2017

Big news! Minutes ago, the Mennonite Church (USA) voted to create an investment screen for the purpose of “withdrawing investments from companies that are profiting from the occupation.” The resolution was approved near unanimously, with approximately 98% of the 548 voters supporting it. Click here to say thank you to the Mennonites!

The comprehensive resolution lifts up the rights of Palestinian refugees, citizens of Israel, and those living under occupation, calling for an end to U.S. military aid; urging church agencies and members to review their own investments; and encouraging individuals and congregations boycott products associated with violence or military occupation; among other things.

This is the largest margin yet by which such a vote has passed in a U.S. denominational assembly. Congratulations to
US Campaign member group Mennonite Palestine Israel Network (MennoPIN), who led this extraordinary initiative!

With this vote, the Mennonite Church (USA) joins the fast-growing list of denominations that have engaged in economic acts of conscience in recent years to support justice for Palestinians, including the Quakers, United Methodists, Presbyterians, United Church of Christ, Unitarian Universalists, Catholic Conference of Major Superiors of Men, the Alliance of Baptists, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

The US Campaign was proud to support this crucial effort alongside several Palestinian friends, leaders, and organizations; and member groups Friends of Sabeel – North America, Jewish Voice for Peace, and the American Friends Service Committee.

I have been on the ground at the Mennonite Church USA convention here in Orlando, Florida with MennoPIN, working around the clock supporting their preparations, talking with delegates, providing strategic support, bringing lessons learned from the many church votes that came before this one, and speaking at delegate receptions.

But I couldn’t have been here without people like you investing in the US Campaign’s critical role in connecting, strengthening, resourcing, and lifting up amazing member group-led initiatives and successes like this.

Today, please be a part of these extraordinary victoriesand invest in many more to come — with a donation to the US Campaign.

Israel seizes solar panels donated by Dutch government

Israeli soldiers carried out raid on solar farm which allegedly did not have proper building permits

solar-panels-west-bank.png

Bethan McKernan, The Independent, 3 July 2017

The Netherlands has lodged a complaint with the Israeli government after dozens of Dutch solar panels donated to a West Bank village were confiscated by Israeli authorities.

The hybrid diesel and solar power electricity system was installed last year in remote Jubbet al-Dhib, a village home to 150 people in an area of the West Bank occupied by Israel.

The panels were not built with proper permits and permissions, the authorities said, confiscating equipment belonging to the £307,000 humanitarian project last week.

Critics points out that building permissions for new Palestinian homes and infrastructure are almost impossible to obtain.

The village mayor told Palestinian outlet Ma’an News that the panels were destroyed, although Comet-ME, the aid organisation which installed the panels, said that between 60 and 90 were taken away intact and other equipment at the site destroyed and left behind by Israeli forces.

The Dutch Foreign Ministry has asked for the equipment to be returned to Jubbet al-Dhib and is considering what “next steps can be taken”, according to a report in Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz published on Saturday.

The issue has sparked anger both in the Dutch government and in the Palestinian territories over how it was handled.

Cogat, the Israeli military agency responsible for coordinating Israeli policy in Palestinian areas, said that several work-stop orders were issued before the day of the raid. Villagers maintain that they did not know the site had been targeted until Israel Defence Force (IDF) soldiers showed up.

Of particular note is that Jubbet al-Dhib is very close to Israeli outpost villages – settlements illegal under both Israeli and international law – which enjoy a full connection to the main power grid.

Cogat said in a statement that the village had “other electricity sources” other than the “illegal electricity room”. Haaretz said that before the solar panel system was installed, the 150 residents relied on a couple of “old and noisy” diesel generators for three hours of power a day.

More than 300 structures in the occupied West Bank demolished by the Israeli authorities in 2016 were at least in part funded by the EU or international NGOs, an Israeli military official said earlier this year.

Last year also saw the highest number of Israeli demolitions of Palestinian structures since rights groups began records.

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The Spoils of War

Illustration by Lynne Foster

Israeli companies are making a killing off technology perfected over 50 years of occupation

Alex Kane, The Indypendent, Jun 3, 2017

On March 5, Gov. Andrew Cuomo flew to Israel to show solidarity with Jews amidst an uptick in anti-Semitism in New York.

But the trip also doubled as the kick-off for a new project meant to bring Israel and New York closer together.

Inside the opulent King David Hotel in Jerusalem, Cuomo announced the creation of the New York-Israel Commission, an initiative to strengthen the already-robust ties between Israel and the state with the largest number of Jews in the United States.

A key part of the commission will focus on connecting New York law enforcement with Israeli security forces. Cuomo wasted no time in starting that initiative.

An hour after the King David press conference, the New York governor stood outside Jerusalem’s Old City police headquarters alongside Gilad Erdan, Israel’s Minister of Public Security and Strategic Affairs, marveling at Israel’s ability to keep Jerusalem safe. He said Israeli security forces’ use of technology is “something that we can learn from,” and also said that he wanted New York law enforcement to learn from Israel about combating “lone wolf” terror threats.

The New York cops won’t be alone in learning from Israel. Since 2001, hundreds of American police officers have been flown to Israel, most on the dime of pro-Israel groups, to tour the country and speak with Israeli security forces about how they keep their country safe.

These police delegations, and Cuomo’s praise for the Israeli police, highlight how Israel is seen as a world leader in security. Because of this reputation, Israeli weapons and surveillance companies — a core part of the Israeli economy — have become well-known in far-flung countries. Such companies export billions of dollars worth of armaments and spy tools to virtually every region in the world.

But why are security companies in Israel, as opposed to any other country, so coveted?

“All of the Israeli companies would immediately answer the question: We have actual experience, and we have tested these weapons on human beings,” said Shir Hever, an Israeli researcher and author of the book The Political Economy of the Occu­pa­tion.

June 5, 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War, a conflict in which Israel defeated Arab armies and captured the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem — the occupied Palestinian territories — as well as the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula and the Syrian Golan Heights. While Israel has since withdrawn from the Sinai Peninsula, it remains the occupying power in parts of the Golan Heights and in all of the Palestinian territories.

The Palestinian territories have become a testing ground for new weapons and surveillance tactics which are then exported to other countries.

As the years of occupation ticked by, the Israeli army, border guard and police developed increasingly sophisticated ways to keep Palestinians in check. And Israel has cashed in on its expertise in occupation and policing. Israeli arms and surveillance companies are typically founded by combat and intelligence veterans who have expertise in maintaining Israel’s regime of control in the occupied Palestinian territories. After their military service — which is required for most Israelis at the age of 18 — many young veterans either form or join up with arms or spy companies, trading in on their army service in order to make huge profits by selling weapons of repression.

To critics of Israeli security forces, this process has led to a grotesque outcome: The occupied Palestinian territories have become Israel’s “lab” — a testing ground for new weapons and surveillance tactics that are then brought to other regions bent on keeping their own populations in check. The self-proclaimed “light unto the nations” has instead brought dark tools of repression to many countries.

Israeli exports became particularly coveted around the globe after the Sept. 11 attacks, which led governments — ­particularly the Bush administration — to spend heavily on the homeland security industry, according to Hever.

“The technology that the Israeli army, police and secret police can boast is surveillance technology, technology of control and riot gear, which became very much in demand after Sept. 11,” he told The Indypendent.

Hever maintains that the allure of Israeli security products has waned in recent years.

“All of this amazing technology, and all of these very expensive gadgets that they’re developing — they don’t do anything, because they do not create security,” Hever said. “That’s mainly the reason for the decline in sales, because customers from various countries in Eastern Europe, they go to these fairs and look at these sophisticated cameras and weapons and ask, is Israel a safe place to live? There’s not a sense of security.”

Nevertheless, Israeli surveillance tools and weapons remain prominent around the world.

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#ObliteratedFamilies – Al-Louh Family

During the 2014 Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip, 142 Palestinian families lost three or more members. Some of the families were wiped out entirely.

The #ObliteratedFamilies project tells the stories of some of these families, their loved ones who were killed and those left behind.

I will meet my fate
Al-Louh Family, Deir al-Balah
8 people killed
August 20, 2014

Buseina put the kettle on the stove. Every day she got up before the morning prayer to make tea. Steam was rising and the aroma of boiling mint escaped the teapot. Buseina’s husband Mustafa emerged from the bathroom and came into the kitchen. Phones barely worked, the network was down. Electricity was scarce, but the radio could run on batteries and could therefore always be relied on those days. “What’s the news?” he asked. “They hit the house of the al-Dalu family,” she answered. The strike was meant for one of the top military commanders of Hamas’ military wing, Mohammed Deif, or so the Israeli army claimed. Instead, the Israeli pilot killed Deif’s wife and his seven-month-old son, along with a 48-year-old woman and her two sons. Fifteen people were injured.

Both Buseina and Mustafa held on to their usual daily habits throughout the Israeli offensive. Buseina would get up before the morning prayer to make tea, and Mustafa would join her in the kitchen soon after.
Both Buseina and Mustafa held on to their usual daily habits throughout the Israeli offensive. Buseina would get up before the morning prayer to make tea, and Mustafa would join her in the kitchen soon after.

Since the beginning of the war, Mustafa al-Louh, a tall, slender 61-year-old man, had been sleeping in a small shed wedged between two houses. On one side was the house of Mustafa’s son Rafat and his family. On the other side lived Mustafa’s wife and their kids. A five day ceasefire had just finished the day before. Mustafa felt the war’s end was nearing. When the muezzin of Deir al-Balah called, he got up. He usually woke up before the call to prayer, a habit established over the decades since his youth. But after weeks of sleepless nights, stress and fear, he was just too exhausted.

Down a sandy road, in a nearby house about 50 meters away, his 19-year-old niece, Iman, also got up to pray. She too struggled with waking up on time. Iman had a lot on her mind. Despite the war, she had been preoccupied with her future. Academically brilliant, she would soon have to choose what to study at university. Iman had been considering theology. She got out of bed after the call to prayer had ended, and her sisters had already finished with fajar – the prayer at dawn. Her mother, who woke up earlier, turned on the radio. The latest news was the bombing of the al-Dalu home.

Iman had a lot on her mind. Despite the war, she had been preoccupied with her future. Academically brilliant, she would soon have to choose what to study at university.
Iman had a lot on her mind. Despite the war, she had been preoccupied with her future. Academically brilliant, she would soon have to choose what to study at university.

Ahmed, Mustafa’s son from another marriage, had stayed over at Rafat’s place. They had to go to work early in the morning. At 6 am, they would have to be on their way to the market in Khan Yunis to buy watermelons and bring them back to Deir al-Balah. The entire summer, every day of the war, the half-brothers travelled on the Salah al-Din road spanning the length of the Gaza Strip. Most days, the road would be nearly deserted. It was risky to drive there. Once back in Deir al-Balah, Rafat and Ahmed would load the watermelons onto a cart and push it through the sandy streets, announcing their arrival through a loudspeaker.

Rafat was an employee of the Palestinian Authority. Like thousands of other people in the Gaza Strip employed by the Palestinian government seated in Ramallah in the West Bank, he stopped going to work in 2007, when Hamas won the parliamentary election and came to power in Gaza. They all kept their modest salaries, not enough for Rafat to feed his family, though. He had three little kids. Two boys: the eldest 10-year-old Mustafa, named traditionally after his grandfather, Maysara, 7, and a daughter Farah, 6. His wife Nabila was pregnant. Rafat was forced to take out a loan. Mustafa, their father, was worried. He asked Ahmed and Rafat not to go to Khan Yunis, but his grown-up sons, one with a family of his own, would not listen. They had never been targeted on the road. Anyways, calculating what would be more risky – staying at home or driving around – had become impossible in Gaza during that time.

Rafat, Mustafa's son, had three little kids. Two boys, the eldest ten-year-old Mustafa, named traditionally after his grandfather, Maysara, seven years old, and a daughter named Farah, six years old. His wife Nabila was pregnant at the time of the attack. The photo of 10-year-old Mustafa is missing.
Rafat, Mustafa’s son, had three little kids. Two boys, the eldest ten-year-old Mustafa, named traditionally after his grandfather, Maysara, seven years old, and a daughter named Farah, six years old. His wife Nabila was pregnant at the time of the attack. The photo of 10-year-old Mustafa is missing.

Mohammed, Rafat’s younger brother, often helped them with selling watermelons. He even saved up some money working over the summer. But the closure of the Gaza Strip left him feeling suffocated. Sometimes, it seemed he had given up. He had refused to get married. He kept saying it did not make sense, because he would die anyway. Walaa’, his twin sister, did get married. It was the first time their paths in life split. Walaa’ moved out to start a life with her husband and Mohammed stayed at home. As is the case for nearly half of Gaza’s population, most of the time he was unemployed. He passed his days walking around the neighborhood. Walaa’ often looked out the window to find her twin brother down in the street. She used to shout to him: “Come upstairs, let’s drink some coffee!” “You know I am too lazy to climb up to the third floor,” he would answer. She used to smile at this little ritual of theirs and go downstairs to sit with her brother in the backyard.

With the money he saved up selling watermelons, Mohammed had bought a new bed and wardrobe for his room. Throughout the entire war he had slept on a mattress in the corridor of their house – a strategic location, furthest away from the windows and from other houses that were possible targets. His mother Buseina and his two siblings Wafaa’ and Momen slept there too. After the ceasefire, he lost his patience and insisted on trying out his new bed. Just before going to sleep, his mother pleaded with him to stay with them in the corridor. “I will meet my fate, whatever it is. I want to die,” he said and went to his room.

THE MORNING OF THE BOMBING

Iman got up to pray a bit late. She was standing in the middle of the bedroom, while her sisters sat around her. The electricity was off and they could barely see each other. Mustafa and Buseina were talking in the kitchen about the al-Dalu family’s fate. Mohammed was enjoying his new bed, sleeping in his room. Momen and Wafaa’ were still asleep, in the corridor, further away from the street and other houses. Ahmed and Rafat were going to make their risky trip of the day in a little while, but for now they were still tired from the hard work and sleeping soundly in the early hours of the morning.

An Israeli pilot dropped a half-ton bomb.

A slab of cement flew through the window into the room where Iman was praying. It missed the head of Iman’s sister by centimeters and flew straight towards her. She died a few days later in a hospital. Mustafa and Buseina survived because they got up early. The shed where Mustafa had been sleeping moments before was a deep hole full of rubble. Seven trucks of sand were not enough to flatten the land again. Mohammed was killed. His bedroom was very close to where the bomb landed, causing a wall to collapse onto him. Momen and Wafaa’ were injured, but alive.

Mustafa in the ruins of his family's bombed homes.
Mustafa in the ruins of his family’s bombed homes.
Seven trucks of sand were not enough to fill the bombed-out crater where Rafat's house once stood.
Seven trucks of sand were not enough to fill the bombed-out crater where Rafat’s house once stood.

“I heard Wafaa' screaming from under the rubble. I could see only her toes moving. I tried to remove the stones that fell on her, but it was too much. Instead, I started to dig beneath her and managed to pull her out. She was wounded in her head, bleeding from her eye. Her arm was also injured. Momen was three meters away from Wafaa'. He was also screaming.” - recalls Mustafa.
“I heard Wafaa’ screaming from under the rubble. I could see only her toes moving. I tried to remove the stones that fell on her, but it was too much. Instead, I started to dig beneath her and managed to pull her out. She was wounded in her head, bleeding from her eye. Her arm was also injured. Momen was three meters away from Wafaa’. He was also screaming.” – recalls Mustafa.

The explosion was so massive that it sent people and chunks of concrete flying in all directions, especially the small kids. Maysara’s body was thrown onto a nearby roof, Mustafa’s to a balcony; Fara fell on a tree in the neighbor’s courtyard, breaking its branches. Everyone in Rafaat’s house, the kids, Nabila, Rafat and Ahmed, was killed. The bomb fell straight on them.

Ibrahim, the smaller of the twin brothers on the photo, says he misses his best friend, seven-year-old Maysara al-Louh. The two boys, Ibrahim and Abdallah, are standing in their destroyed bedroom, in Deir al-Balah, right in front of where the al-Louh family home used to stand. Their bedroom was damaged in the bombing that killed Maysara and seven other members of al-Louh family.
Ibrahim, the smaller of the twin brothers on the photo, says he misses his best friend, seven-year-old Maysara al-Louh. The two boys, Ibrahim and Abdallah, are standing in their destroyed bedroom, in Deir al-Balah, right in front of where the al-Louh family home used to stand. Their bedroom was damaged in the bombing that killed Maysara and seven other members of al-Louh family.

WHOSE MARTYRS?

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