Israel issues demolition notice for Palestinian cave home

‘I didn’t make the cave. It has existed since antiquity,’ says Ahmed Amarneh from West Bank village of Farasin

Ahmed Amarneh and a neighbor chat outside his home, built in a cave in the village of Farasin, west of Jenin, in the northern West Bank on August 4, 2020. (Photo by JAAFAR ASHTIYEH / AFP)Ahmed Amarneh and a neighbor chat outside his home, built in a cave in the village of Farasin, west of Jenin, in the northern West Bank on August 4, 2020. (Photo by JAAFAR ASHTIYEH / AFP)

Agence France-Presse (AFP) and Times of Israel, 10 August 2020

Ahmed Amarneh’s home, with a wooden door opening onto cushion-lined rooms, is not the first Palestinian residence in the West Bank to receive a demolition notice from Israel.

But it may be the first built inside a cave that the Jewish state threatened to destroy.

Amarneh, a 30-year-old civil engineer, lives with his family in the northern West Bank village of Farasin, where Israel requires permits for any new residential construction and can tear down homes built without approval.

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I No Longer Believe in a Jewish State

For decades I argued for separation between Israelis and Palestinians. Now, I can imagine a Jewish home in an equal state.


Israeli soldiers interacting in the West Bank last month with a Palestinian woman protesting the demolition of an unapproved animal shed. (Abed Al Hashlamoun/EPA, via Shutterstock)

Peter Beinart, The New York Times, July 8, 2020

I was 22 in 1993 when Yitzhak Rabin and Yasir Arafat shook hands on the White House lawn to officially begin the peace process that many hoped would create a Palestinian state alongside Israel. I’ve been arguing for a two-state solution — first in late-night bull sessions, then in articles and speeches — ever since.

I believed in Israel as a Jewish state because I grew up in a family that had hopscotched from continent to continent as diaspora Jewish communities crumbled. I saw Israel’s impact on my grandfather and father, who were never as happy or secure as when enveloped in a society of Jews. And I knew that Israel was a source of comfort and pride to millions of other Jews, some of whose families had experienced traumas greater than my own.

One day in early adulthood, I walked through Jerusalem, reading street names that catalog Jewish history, and felt that comfort and pride myself. I knew Israel was wrong to deny Palestinians in the West Bank citizenship, due process, free movement and the right to vote in the country in which they lived. But the dream of a two-state solution that would give Palestinians a country of their own let me hope that I could remain a liberal and a supporter of Jewish statehood at the same time.

Events have now extinguished that hope.

About 640,000 Jewish settlers now live in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and the Israeli and American governments have divested Palestinian statehood of any real meaning. The Trump administration’s peace plan envisions an archipelago of Palestinian towns, scattered across as little as 70 percent of the West Bank, under Israeli control. Even the leaders of Israel’s supposedly center-left parties don’t support a viable, sovereign Palestinian state. The West Bank hosts Israel’s newest medical school.

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Palestinian civil society calls for sanctions to stop Israel’s annexation and apartheid

The Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council renews the call for targeted sanctions

Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council, BDS National Committee, July 1, 2020

Israel’s extremist government decided today to keep everyone in the dark about if and how it will make use of the “golden opportunity” offered by the Trump administration to embark on de jure annexation of large swathes of the occupied Palestinian West Bank. No one should be misled, however. Israel will continue to quietly de facto annex occupied Palestinian territory, as it has done for decades, while trying to appease its Western allies. But as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said, “Annexation is illegal. Period. Any annexation.”

Hundreds of international law scholars agree. They write that Israeli annexations of occupied territory are “null and void, entail consequences of international wrongfulness, and – under certain circumstances –  lead to individual international criminal liability,” regardless whether such annexations are effected “through ‘extension of sovereignty,’ ‘extension of law, jurisdiction, and administration,’ or explicit annexation.” They concluded, “de facto annexation entails the same legal consequences as de jure annexation.”

For over a thousand European parliamentarians, “Failure to adequately respond [to Israeli annexation] would encourage other states with territorial claims to disregard basic principles of international law,” undermining “the most basic norms guiding international relations, including the UN Charter.”

The international community must therefore impose lawful, targeted and immediate sanctions on Israel in response to its ongoing annexation, illegal military occupation and apartheid regime of racial discrimination, segregation and territorial expansion that is enshrined in Israel’s domestic law.

With its silence, Israel hopes to silence global mobilizations that have compelled the international community to consider accountability measures and to safeguard its impunity. Israel, after all, is well aware that the climate of international complicity and lack of accountability is what has enabled its colonization, apartheid and de facto and de jure annexation of Palestinian territory to continue for decades.

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Letter to Biden (and Trump) Campaigns Regarding Israel and Palestinian Rights

This letter, signed by more than 100 progressive, anti-war, and faith-based U.S. organizations, urges presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden (and Donald Trump) to adopt a principled foreign policy towards Israel and the Palestinian people based on justice, freedom, equality, and human dignity. 

Endorsers of the letter include American Friends Service Committee, American Muslims for Palestine, CODEPINK, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Demand Progress, If Not Now, Jewish Voice for Peace, Just Foreign Policy, Kairos USA, PAX Christi USA, Peace Action, and Win Without War.

The letter comes in the context of the 2020 Democratic primaries having experienced a monumental shift in leadership positions towards the state of Israel and the Palestinian struggle for freedom. Despite this, on May 19, the Biden campaign released a revolting statement of support for Israel and Jewish Americans. The letter began by conflating American Jewry with support for Israel. It promised to continue attacking the nonviolent boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement, bragged about having increased military assistance to Israel at the end Obama’s term, and referred to Palestinian “choices” to commit violence. 

Within days of the May 19 Biden campaign statement being released, so much backlash had accumulated that the degrading language of Palestinian “choices” had been removed. This signals an opportunity for us as progressives to influence and shift policy positions regarding Palestinians and Israel. We hope that this letter representing millions of Americans helps do that. See the letter to Trump here

Add your organization here! 


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Update: June 27 – 30, 2020
Upcoming Online Events


Saturday, June 27
Local Letter Campaign to End Violence Against Black People
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM CDT

Damita Brown, Restorative Justice Director for the Dane County Time Bank’s Restorative Justice Program, will lead this action opportunity via Zoom.

Sponsored by Building Unity, Dane County Time Bank, Freedom Inc. and Wisconsin Network for Peace, Justice, Sustainability (WNPJS). For more information see the Facebook page or register here.

NOTE: The sponsors are looking for people or groups to host similar sessions. You can get a Co-conspirator Toolkit that shows you step by step how to host your own letter writing party for friends, neighbors, colleagues, family, co-workers and others. For more information, write to Damita Brown: damita at danecountytimebank.org



Sunday, June 28
Counter CUFI with FOSNA
6 PM CDT

Christian Israeli lobbies like Christians United For Israel (CUFI) leverage their political power to ensure the US gives moral and political cover to Israeli colonization, war crimes, and ethnic cleansing.

This Sunday, June 28th, Friends of Sabeel-North America (FOSNA) is launching a nationwide effort to counter this deadly lobby and challenge its undue influence on American politics. Join us for a powerful day of action as we raise our voices in opposition to CUFI’s annual summit!

Registration and event details



Sunday, June 28
Livestream: Singing Out for Refugees with Peter Mulvey
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM CDT

Peter Mulvey returns to the Threshold stage, this time virtually, to share his music, his insights, and his generosity with Open Doors for Refugees, an all volunteer not-for-profit organization that welcomes and supports refugees coming to the greater Madison area.

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Gantz-Netanyahu deal legitimizes annexation

The possibility of further Israeli annexation of occupied territories has received legitimacy from the Israeli government, pushing even further into the abyss the slight possibility of a two-state solution.

The Palestinian village of Nazlat Isa in the Israeli-occupied West Bank is seen behind the Israeli barrier from the Arab-Israeli village of Baqa al-Gharbiyye, Israel, Feb. 1, 2020. (REUTERS-Ammar Awad)

Daoud Kuttab, Al-Monitor, Apr 21, 2020

After over 53 years of occupation, an Israeli government is on a path to further annex occupied Palestinian territory. On June 28, 1967, the Israeli Knesset approved a decision to annex East Jerusalem to Israel and on April 20, 2020, the government partnership agreement laid the groundwork for what officials call “extension of Israeli sovereignty.”

The agreement signed April 20 between former Israeli army chief Benny Gantz and caretaker Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu places some conditions before this is to take place. Under the deal, the Israeli government or the Knesset can begin annexation proceedings July 1 based on the peace plan of the Donald Trump administration.

PLO Executive Committee Secretary-General Saeb Erekat reacted angrily to the deal, saying it rules out any negotiated peace agreement. “A government coalition based on a commitment to annex more occupied Palestinian territory is a threat to a rules-based world order in general, but to peace, security, and stability in the Middle East in particular,” Erekat said in a statement following the announcement of the new Israeli government.

Hanan Ashrawi, a PLO Executive Committee member, said the Israeli political establishment has united on the agenda of permanent colonization and annexation. “It is now very clear that Israeli political parties are unequivocally committed to the entrenchment and permanence of the conflict as well as the perpetual oppression of the Palestinian people with the full support and backing of the Trump administration, which is clearly intent on implementing its dangerous and objectionable plan.” 

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