The Gaza Strip is among the most densely populated places in the world. More than two-thirds of its inhabitants are refugees, and more than half are under eighteen years of age. Since 2004, Israel has launched eight devastating “operations” against Gaza’s largely defenseless population. Thousands have perished, and tens of thousands have been left homeless. In the meantime, Israel has subjected Gaza to a merciless illegal blockade.
Based on scores of human rights reports, Norman G. Finkelstein’s new book presents a meticulously researched inquest into Gaza’s martyrdom. He shows that although Israel has justified its assaults in the name of self-defense, in fact these actions constituted flagrant violations of international law.
Author Bio Norman G. Finkelstein received his doctorate from the Princeton University Department of Politics. His many books, including The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Human Suffering and Knowing Too Much: Why the American Jewish Romance with Israel Is Coming to an End, have been translated into fifty foreign editions. He is a frequent lecturer and commentator on the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Edited video. Links to full documentation at the bottom.
On the night of 22 February 2018, at approximately 1:00 A.M., about twenty Israeli soldiers entered the city center of Jericho in the West Bank. According to the military, they were on a mission to carry out arrests in the city. Some fifteen minutes later, several soldiers entered a home and searched it, while others waited at the entrance to the alley where the house was located. The soldiers’ presence led to clashes in which Palestinians threw stones at the soldiers. At some point, Yassin a-Saradih (35) ran with an iron bar attached to a car wheel rim towards the soldiers who were standing at the entrance to the alley, in an attempt to attack them.
In video footage captured by security cameras of nearby stores, a-Saradih is seen running towards the soldiers with the bar. A soldier then shoots him in the lower body at point blank range. After the shooting, three other soldiers emerge from the alley and all four forcefully kick a-Saradih, who is lying on the ground. The soldiers are seen beating him with their rifles and dragging him into the alley. There, they continue to drag him along face down and then lean over him, shine flashlights on him, kick him lightly and move him with their feet. After about ten minutes, during which time they offer the wounded man no medical assistance, one of the soldiers fires a tear-gas cannister at the entrance to the alley. The soldiers are then seen dragging a-Saradih into the alley, out of the cameras’ range, apparently to avoid the tear gas that drifted their way.
About fifteen minutes later, the soldiers are seen again outside the alley, this time carrying a-Saradih by his arms and legs. They hoist him onto a military jeep that drives up and he is driven away.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit changed its version of the event several times. In its first response, the unit stated that a-Saradih had attacked the soldiers, armed with a knife, and had attempted to grab their weapons, and that during his arrest he had sustained an injury and received first aid. In a second announcement issued later that day, the unit stated only that he had tried to attack the force, which “responded with gunfire, confronted the terrorist from close range and managed to stop him”, and that a knife had later been found on a-Saradih’s body. The next day, the military claimed that he had apparently died from tear gas inhalation.
According to the autopsy results published that day by the media, a-Saradih was shot with live ammunition in the abdomen and may have died of blood loss. Nevertheless, the military continued to claim that the paramedics who treated him saw no sign of bullet entry.
This is a particularly grave incident: The soldiers forcefully kicked a severely wounded man lying on the ground and beat him with their rifles in the head, upper body and groin. Then they dragged him along an alleyway as though he were not a human being and did not offer him crucial medical aid for more than thirty minutes.
In light of this unacceptable conduct, the attempts made by the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit to justify the incident with one excuse or another are equally disturbing – as is the resounding silence of military and civilian officials. The absence of a firm, unequivocal statement by the military that such conduct will not be tolerated effectively condones the soldiers’ actions, allowing such incidents to recur in the future. The announcement that a Military Police investigation has been launched, as reported by the media, is meant merely to create the illusion that the military is treating the incident with all seriousness. Based on years of experience, the investigation is unlikely to result in any indictment of the persons responsible for the killing and ill-treatment of a-Saradih – certainly not among the higher ranks.
Al Hirbawi, supplier to the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project
The kaffiyeh is a traditional Arab headdress and a symbol of the Palestinian struggle. Today, it continues to represent an important part of Palestinian heritage. Unfortunately, the Al Hirbawi factory is the last remaining institution in the Palestinian territories producing the original kaffiyeh. Brothers Jouda, Abdelazim and Ezzat have been working in the factory since they were kids, inheriting the family business and continuing the proud legacy.
November 29th is the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people. These days, the global Palestinian solidarity movement has deepened and grown with powerful expressions of joint struggle with other movements around the world.
“Who would have thought in 2002 when Israel started building its apartheid Wall that today we would have nearly 70 walls around the world built to militarise borders or to annex occupied lands? Who would have thought it possible that exactly one year ago Donald Trump won the presidential elections by promising a Wall?
Walls are key elements in today’s racist policies aimed against migrants, including refugees, to criminalise and keep them out or kill them. Walls are ever more pervasive in cities and societies to segregate, control and repress. Ideologies of hatred and supremacy are growing together with these walls and the profits of an entire industry of walls, fear and exclusion are rising exponentially. By 2022, the border security market is expected to rise to $52.95 billion globally.”
Stop the Wall Campaign is a Grassroots International partner in Palestine focused on stopping and dismantling the Wall in the West Bank, resisting Israeli occupation, and defending Palestinian communities’ rights to land and water.
The #WorldwithoutWalls actions included new chances for shared struggle as a delegation from the US, Mexico and Palestine traveled from Oaxaca to Nogales at the US/Mexico border as part of an International Caravan, while a delegation of activists from Mexico and the US traveled to the West Bank.
Our allies at the Border Agricultural Project and our partner La Via Campesina shared this statement:
“Sunday, November 5th, 2017 – From the border of Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico and El Paso, Texas, United States, La Vía Campesina, its members participating in the V International Meeting on Migration and Wage Labour, its guests and allies, the academic and public institutions that accompanied the encounter as well as the border community, we send you a fraternal message of solidarity to all migrants and people suffering walls of apartheid; and we tell you that you are not alone, that from November 2 to 5 we have met on this border to make a commitment to fight with all our conviction for the full human rights of all migrants and border people and against the current anti-migrant attacks by bad governments, against the walls of exclusion, violence and criminalization for the mere fact of being migrants or border people.”
And they shared a photo (at the top of this blog) of Juslene Tyresias, a leader of Grassroots International’s partner the Peasant Movement of Papaye in Haiti, speaking out against the US/Mexico wall. Several other partners of Grassroots International are shown including the Association of Rural Workers in Nicaragua.
Jamal Juma, Coordinator of the Stop the Wall Campaign shared:
“The rising number of physical walls around the globe, many of them inspired or built by Israeli technology, are the symbolic centerpiece in a world full of visible and invisible walls of injustice.
As Palestinians we don’t only feel, we are, directly connected to all those struggling against walls of injustice. Israel promotes its ideology of apartheid, colonialism and war as well as the technologies to implement them globally.
We are determined not only to tear down Israel’s apartheid Wall but to join hands with all those that resist walls of injustice.”
Two days before he was killed, Ibrahim Abu Thurayyah filmed a message to the Israeli army.
“I am passing a message to the Zionist occupation army,” the 29-year-old double amputee, who lost both of his legs and a kidney in a 2008 Israeli air raid, said.
“This land is our land. We are not going to give up. America has to withdraw the declaration it made.”
Before his death, the wheelchair-bound Abu Thurayyah had become a staple figure at protests along the Gaza Strip‘s border with Israel.
Since December 6, he and his fellow demonstrators decried US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In photos, Abu Thurayyah can be seen climbing an electricity pole and sticking a Palestinian flag on it.
On December 15, Abu Thurayyah was fatally shot in the head by an Israeli sniper.
WATCH: Funeral of Palestinian amputee killed by Israeli fire
Another Palestinian, Yaser Sukkar, was killed the same day while protesting at Gaza’s border. Two others were killed by the Israeli army in the occupied West Bank, bringing the death toll since Trump’s decision in the first week of December to eight Palestinians.
On Saturday, funerals were held for Abu Thurayyah and the three other Palestinians killed a day earlier.
Al Jazeera’s Alan Fisher, reporting from Abu Thurayyah’s funeral procession in Gaza, said thousands of people had taken to the streets to pay their respects for “unlikely figure of Palestinian resistance and defiance”.
“He would often leave his wheelchair at home and attend rallies in protests around Gaza City just carrying his Palestinian flag,” said Fisher.
“He was carrying that flag when he was shot by the Israelis.”
Mourners carry Abu Thurayyah’s body during his funeral in Gaza City on Saturday [Suhaib Salem/Reuters]
Ashraf al-Qidra, the spokesman for Gaza’s health ministry, said in a statement on Saturday that the Israeli army has been using snipers armed with explosive bullets and indiscriminately firing tear gas canisters.
“The army also uses gas bombs of unknown quality, which has led to the injury of dozens in the form of convulsions, vomiting, coughing and rapid heartbeat,” he said.
Qidra also noted that Israeli forces have been using excessive violence against civilians and deliberately targeting paramedics, ambulances and news crews.
In April 2008, Abu Thurayyah was sitting with several friends in al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza when he was hit by the Israeli air raid that cost him his legs and kidney. Seven people were killed in the attack.
As the sole breadwinner for his 11-member family, which consisted of his two, sick parents, six sisters and three brothers, Abu Thurayyah, who was a fisherman before the Israeli air raid, was forced to find new work to pay the bills for their home in the camp.
He found work washing cars, earning 50-70 shekels ($14-20) a day. Sometimes he also sold vegetables in the market to make ends meet.
In an interview with Shehab News Agency a few years ago, Abu Thurayyah outlined his hopes and dreams for the future.
Jerusalem is arguably the most contentious city in history. From the Crusades to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, a lot of civilizations and peoples have tried to claim the land. But the recent history of Jerusalem has made the city more than just contentious – it’s made it one of the greatest symbols of modern conflict, at the heart of the 50-year-long Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.