ACTION ALERT: The Israeli army closes Youth Against Settlements Community Center

Friends of Hebron (FOH)

Dear Friends,

The Israeli army showed up and closed our community center! The house belongs to Human Rights Defender Issa Amro, who is now left alone and isolated while under threat from the nearby Israeli settlement and army base. Tell the U.S. State Department to act now!

While Americans were celebrating Halloween, Israeli soldiers enforced a special closed military zone order onto Issa’s house, which doubles as the Youth Against Settlements (YAS) center.

A closed military zone order (CMZ) means that no one can enter—no journalists, volunteers, family members, or medical personnel. Issa is left alone, isolated, and fears for his safety. He has already received multiple death threats from settlers and soldiers.

The CMZ order specifically targets Issa’s house, as this satellite image shows.

Please sign the petition and don’t forget to donate! 

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.

The house is a meeting point for international and Israeli delegations, a training center for local volunteers, and a community center for Palestinians living in Hebron’s most restricted areas.

YAS were in the middle of a campaign to help local Palestinian famers harvest olives from their trees. Israeli settlers assaulted and harassed the farmers and volunteers multiple times during this period. Mr. Amro attempted to file a complaint at the local Israeli police station, but was refused. His house was closed the following day.

Help us call on the U.S. State Department to pressure Israel to lift the closure!

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Webinar: Unrooting the Jewish National Fund

November 20
12 Noon Central
Zoom Registration

The Jewish National Fund (JNF) owns the land where over half the population of Israel lives.

It is best known around the world for its forestation, tree planting, and environmental conservation efforts. This ethical image is contrasted by the central role the JNF plays in the ongoing dispossession of Palestinans on both sides of the Green Line.

Join the Green Olive Collective in conversation with human rights activists Maya Rosen and Daniel Roth, whose recent report sheds light on the greenwashing tactics of the JNF and the way its deliberately opaque structure facilitates the expropriation of Palestinian land for Jewish settlement.

Presented by Green Olive Collective.

Online Film and Discussion: The Settlers

    November 13
    2 pm Central
    Zoom Registration

    After registration you will receive a link to watch the film prior to the discussion.

Combining history and headlines, THE SETTLERS is the first comprehensive look at the sensitive issue of Israel’s continued construction of settlements in the West Bank, which is at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Radicals, idealists, messianic fanatics, true believers and political opportunists, living on the fault lines of an age-old conflict, come face to face with history itself. Today, the settlers threaten to destroy what little peace remains in the Middle East.

Register now and join us for a discussion of the film with:

  • Shimon Dotan – Filmmaker, university instructor on Political Cinema and Film Directing
  • Rabbi Yaakov Shapiro – Scholar, author, and Board Director at International Council for Middle East Studies
  • Moderator Lara Freidman – President, Foundation for Middle East Peace.

Presented by Voices from the Holy Land Film Series.

This is no “terrorist wave,”
it is an uprising

Gush Shalom, October 18, 2022

The State of Israel is going
to general elections,
but in the election campaigns
there is virtually no mention
of the main, existential problem
facing all who live in this country.

The West Bank is on fire,
as are the neighborhoods
of East Jerusalem.

This is not “a wave of terrorism”.

This is an uprising
of young people
making a simple
and self-evident demand:
to be a free people
in their country.

Armed with stones
and a few light arms,
young Palestinians are facing
the strongest army
in the Middle East.

Many of them pay
with their lives —
and they are not deterred.
They continue their struggle.

Two soldiers were killed this week.
A young man and a young woman,
Israeli contemporaries of
the Palestinians they face.

These soldiers were not “murdered”.
They were not “victims of terrorist attacks”.
They fell in the battle to which
the State of Israel sent them.

They fell in an unjust war,
a war for maintaining
an oppressive occupation regime,
a war for the settlers
who steal Palestinian lands.

A war which is not worth fighting
and certainly not worthy
of sacrificing one’s life.

The real heroes
of Israel 2022
are the refusers and
conscientious objectors,
held behind bars
at the Kfar Yona military prison.

The prison to which the army gave
the Orwellian name “Abode of Justice”.

Young men who refuse to wear
the uniform of
an army of occupation and oppression
and prefer to go to prison.

Young women who reject with disgust
the distorted idea that for Israeli women,
taking part in the oppression of
Palestinian women and men
is some sort of
“Women’s Empowerment”.

They are the last remaining Israelis
in whom one can take pride.


Gush Shalom (Hebrew: גוש שלום, The Peace Bloc) is an Israeli peace group founded by Uri Avnery, a former journalist and Irgun and Knesset member. The organization has been controversial for sending a relief convoy to Gaza under Hamas administration, and the mainstream Israeli media has described it on occasion as “radical” and “extreme”. In 2010 the American Friends Service Committee said the group was “one of Israel’s most influential peace organizations”.

An olive harvest lynching

Yuval Abraham, OCTOBER 20, 2022

This article originally appeared in “The Landline,” +972’s weekly newsletter. Subscribe here.

On Wednesday afternoon, a group of masked settlers lynched a 70-year-old Jewish Israeli woman who was accompanying a Palestinian farmer for the olive harvest in the occupied West Bank. Her name is Hagar Geffen. They attacked her with clubs until she bled, after which they beat her in the head with rocks.

She is currently hospitalized in Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center with broken ribs and a punctured lung. I wasn’t able to speak with her, but Yasmine, a Palestinian activist who was with Geffen, saw everything.

The settlers arrived from a settlement named Ma’ale Amos, located next to the Palestinian village of Kisan, less than 20 kilometers south of Jerusalem. Hagar was in Kisan, along with other Palestinians and Israelis, to accompany Ibrahim, an elderly Palestinian whose land is located next to the settlement, as he harvested his olives.

Below is Yasmine’s testimony from the attack. Her words are backed up by testimonies from three other people who were present during the attack, and with whom I also spoke.

The following contains graphic depictions of violence.

***

When we approached the farmer’s land, there were eight settlers — teenagers — with clubs. They didn’t attack us, they only cursed. We passed them and saw that they had stolen all the olives and sprayed a toxic chemical on the trees in order to kill them.

They sprayed 180 olive trees. As a farmer myself, I know that this chemical first affects the leaves, then moves to the rest of the tree, and finally to the trunk. It kills everything.

Ibrahim, who is an elderly man, began crying and shouting. I quickly started pouring water on the trees in order to save them. I knew that it takes time for the chemical to kill them.

The eight settlers tried to expel us. We sang. We didn’t speak a word to them. We only tried to calm the farmer who could not stop crying.

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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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Israeli Apartheid: A Breakdown

Israel applies an oppressive, separate, and unequal regime on Palestinians. There is only one word for this: Apartheid.

Omar Baddar, Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU), Oct 14, 2020

Omar Baddar is Director of Communications for the Institute for Middle East Understanding, and past Deputy Director of the Arab American Institute.

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!

Resource Links

TAKE ACTION NOW


REGISTER HERE

 

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 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.