Channel 12 News report: Settler violence in the South Hebron Hills

Breaking the Silence, Jul 26, 2021

Last Friday night, 15 minutes of the main evening news broadcast on Channel 12 – one of the programs with the highest viewer ratings in Israel – were dedicated to journalist Yigal Mosko’s report on the unbelievable reality of the South Hebron hills. The report covered several of the main issues we have been campaigning on for years: Palestinian children who need military protection in order to get to and from school every day because of the very real threat of being attacked by settlers; military training exercises taking place inside Palestinian villages; frequent demolitions of Palestinian homes and confiscation of their property; settler violence against Palestinians, while soldiers protect the attackers; and the presence and constant construction of more and more settler outposts – illegal even under Israeli law but connected to Israel’s water and electricity infrastructure.

None of this would be possible if it weren’t for the State of Israel’s complicity, and sometimes even its active encouragement. Children wouldn’t need to be accompanied to school by soldiers every day for the past 17 years if the law were enforced on their settler attackers in the first place. Homes wouldn’t have to be demolished if Israel’s Civil Administration weren’t to reject 97% of requests for permits by Palestinians. And of course, none of this would be the case if Israel weren’t to maintain a military regime in the territories for all of these years.

It’s been far too long since any of this was given the proper, prime-time attention it deserves, exposing the Israeli mainstream to some of the ugliest aspects of the occupation. But people outside of Israel need to be aware of this reality too.

At the start of this post we called this reality ‘unbelievable’ – because it’s so far away from any of the most basic norms that any of us would take for granted in a democratic country. You really need to see it to believe it. Take 15 minutes to watch the report, and once you’ve done so, download our new collection of soldiers’ testimonies on settler violence, many of which describe the exact same reality as shown in the report.

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Breaking the Silence is an organization of veteran soldiers who have served in the Israeli military since the start of the Second Intifada and have taken it upon themselves to expose the Israeli public to the reality of everyday life in the Occupied Territories. We endeavor to stimulate public debate about the price paid for a reality in which young soldiers face a civilian population on a daily basis, and are engaged in the control of that population’s everyday life. Our work aims to bring an end to the occupation.

No More Weapons for Israel

Defense for Children Palestine, July 21, 2021

In May 2021, Israeli forces launched an 11-day military offensive against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip dubbed Operation Guardian of the Walls. The Israeli military used U.S.-manufactured weapons in a massive assault that resulted in the deaths of at least 256 Palestinians, including 67 children. More than 91,000 Palestinians were forcibly displaced at the height of the bombardment, all while the COVID-19 pandemic continues to dangerously spread in the Gaza Strip. 

In the midst of Operation Guardian of the Walls, the Biden administration approved a $735 million weapons sale to Israel, which included the same kinds of weapons used against Palestinians in Gaza. The State Department approved the sale before Congress could debate and vote on it, despite joint resolutions of disapproval being introduced in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. 

Additionally, Israeli Minister of Defense Benny Gantz is reportedly asking the United States for $1 billion in emergency military assistance to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome aerial missile system. 

The United States already sends Israel $3.8 billion in unconditional military assistance annually, and approving even more military assistance and weapons sales in light of the recent assault on Gaza is unconscionable. 

International humanitarian law prohibits indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks and requires all parties to an armed conflict to distinguish between military targets, civilians, and civilian objects. While Israel relies on the principle of self-defense to justify military offensives on Gaza, Israeli forces are bound to customary international law rules of proportionality and necessity. As the occupying power in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the Gaza Strip, Israel is required to protect the Palestinian civilian population from violence.

For more information, read Defense for Children International – Palestine’s reporting on the Gaza Strip.

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Gaza Is Still Under Attack — but You Wouldn’t Know It From the Media

A young medical student speaks out about life in the besieged Strip, the persistence of Israeli attacks, and the need for real solidarity.


Flames are seen after an Israeli air strike strikes in Gaza City, Gaza, on June 15, 2021. (Photo by Ali Jadallah / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Amal Haddad, The Nation, JULY 6, 2021

In mid-May, as the Israeli military pummeled the Gaza Strip with shattering force, a medical student in the southern city of Rafah sent a plea to a friend, who shared it with another friend, who shared it with The Nation. The students name was Noor Alshaer, and she was desperate to to speak up—“for our voices to be heard, for our story to be out,” as she wrote.

“I have lived through three heinous wars only to live up to the fourth that already feels worse than all the previous three piled up together,” she continued. “Safety is not option in the strip, and it hurts me so much reading the news on the Western media, seeing how the stories are all one-sided.”

In June, I finally had the chance to speak with Alshaer from her home in Gaza. Though she has lived in the coastal Strip since birth, her family is originally from Bir al-Saba, an ethnically cleansed Palestinian town conquered by Israel in 1948 through aerial bombardment. (Over 70 percent of Palestinians living in Gaza are refugees from other parts of Palestine.)

For two brief years, Alshaer studied neuroscience at Washington and Lee University in Virginia but she had to return home during the Covid-19 pandemic. Israel did not allow Alshaer to leave the Strip to return to school—Palestinians must apply for a permit to leave Gaza, and are rejected more often than not—so she enrolled in medical school in Gaza.

It was as a medical student as well as a civilian that Alshaer experienced the 11 days of Israel’s latest bombing siege. During that time, Israeli precision-guided airstrikes killed 256 Palestinians, including 66 children, while over 72,000 Gazans were made homeless; 13 Israelis, including two children were killed. While Israel and Hamas agreed to a cease-fire, the violence faced by Palestinians has not ceased—in the West Bank, Jerusalem, Israel, or of course in Gaza. There, in the besieged Strip, people are not only struggling with the aftermath of the onslaught, but also with ongoing bombing. Continue reading

Black-Palestine solidarity is making its way to Capitol Hill

Progressive Black Democrats are reviving a radical tradition of Palestine solidarity in Congress, challenging Black leaders in their own party and Washington’s support for Israeli state violence.

Black Lives Matter protest in Century City, California on June 6, 2020. (Brett Morrison/CC BY 2.0)
Black Lives Matter protest in Century City, California on June 6, 2020. (Brett Morrison/CC BY 2.0)

Alex Kane, +972 Magazine, June 16, 2021

On May 13, something remarkable happened on the floor of the U.S. Congress: 11 Democratic representatives delivered blunt speeches criticizing Israel for its military assault on Gaza and its crackdown on Palestinian protests in Jerusalem. Perhaps the most powerful speeches came from two Black Congresswomen — Ayanna Pressley and Cori Bush — who connected the Black freedom struggle in the United States to the Palestinian movement for liberation.

“When Black Lives Matter protesters took to the streets to demand justice, they were met with force,” said Pressley, who represents the Boston area in Massachusetts. “They faced tear gas, rubber bullets, and a militarized police just as our Palestinian brothers and sisters are facing in Jerusalem today.” Her fellow Congresswoman Bush, who represents St. Louis, Missouri, said “When heavily militarized police forces showed up in Ferguson in 2014… our Palestinian siblings showed up too.”

The speeches signaled the growing prominence of a small bloc of Black Democrats — which includes Reps. Jamaal Bowman and Ilhan Omar, in addition to Bush and Pressley — who are drawing on their support for the Black Lives Matter movement to denounce Israel’s human rights abuses against Palestinians. While there have been past Black Democrats who were openly critical of Israel — figures like former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney — the current crop of Black representatives are more robust in numbers and far more influential within the party and its base.

“My heart instinctively goes out to the minority group that’s being harmed by a government that’s made clear its disdain for them, and it’s why I believe the world needs to value Palestinian life the way that we value Israeli life,” Congressman Bowman, who represents parts of the Bronx and Westchester County in New York, told +972. “When I say Palestinian lives matter, much like when I say Black Lives Matter, I’m highlighting an unjust status quo that inflicts disproportionate harm on a specific group of people.”

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SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN RETRACTED PRO-PALESTINE ARTICLE WITHOUT ANY FACTUAL ERRORS


A Palestinian child, wounded by Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip, receives treatment at Al-Shifa Hospital on May 19, 2021 in Gaza City, Gaza. Fatima Shbair/Getty Images

Murtaza Hussain, The Intercept, July 1 2021

After right-wing outrage, the esteemed journal removed an opinion piece expressing solidarity with Palestinians under Israeli bombardment.

Sabreen Akhter felt an urge to help in whatever way she could. Like many people around the world this May, Akhter was following news of war in the Gaza Strip, where Israeli bombardment was exacerbating a humanitarian crisis in the territory. Scanning her social media feed, Akhter, a doctor from Chicago, made contact with a few other health care professionals across the United States who had also been posting news online about the crisis.

Akhter set up a call to discuss what they could do, on behalf of their profession, for Palestinians. They settled on the idea of writing an article together as a group of medical workers concerned about the medical situation in Gaza and pitching it to Scientific American, where Akhter had published in the opinion section in the past.

“We didn’t know each other previously but had all been watching all of this violence and devastation happening in Palestine and were feeling helpless about it,” said Akhter. “I remembered that there had been an article published in The Lancet in 2014 about health care workers speaking up for Palestine. I thought it was really powerful at the time and remembered that a lot of people in the health care field had responded to it when it was published.”

On June 2, following an extensive editing and fact-checking process with the publication, the article ran in Scientific American under the headline “As Health Care Workers, We Stand in Solidarity with Palestine.”

Less than two weeks later, on June 11, the article was removed from Scientific American’s website without warning. A short editor’s note appeared in its place. “This article fell outside the scope of Scientific American and has been removed,” the note said. That same day, an editor from the publication emailed Akhter and the others, informing them of the retraction and apologizing for any “confusion” caused by the initial decision to publish the article.

“We were shocked, completely shocked. We all got on a call together and talked about it,” Akhter said. “We sent an email back to the editor later stating that we were disappointed and asking to clarify what they meant that the article had fallen ‘outside the scope,’ but we never got a response.”

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Ben & Jerry’s: Stop supporting apartheid in Palestine

SumOfUs, June 28, 2021

Last month, during the eleven-day assault by Israeli military on the Gaza Strip, 256 Palestinians, including 66 children, died. And last week, thousands of right-wing nationalists paraded around Jerusalem shouting ‘death to Arabs’.

The only way to stop the never-ending cycle of settlement expansion and violence is to make the economic cost of this illegal occupation too high to bear. 

Ben & Jerry’s has been one of the world’s most progressive companies since its inception, but they continue to sell and operate on stolen Palestinian land. 

And if we can get them to stop supporting the apartheid regime, other global companies like Puma and Motorola will be forced to follow suit.

Tell Ben & Jerry’s: stop supporting the brutal occupation of Palestine.

The recent violence in the region is just the latest in the chapter of oppression of Palestinians — a conflict that is marked by decades of apartheid, colonization, land theft, forced evictions, demolitions, and displacement of Palestinians by settlers waving Israel’s flag.

While Israeli settlers on stolen Palestinian land use freezers to store Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, people in Gaza have no choice but to use them to store the bodies of dead Palestinians babies as was the case after the deadly assault when close to 2,000 were killed in 2014.

The company’s normally active social media has been silent since the eleven-day assault. We know from inside sources that Ben & Jerry’s is deciding right now whether to pull out of Israel for good.

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Israel launches air strikes on Gaza putting fragile ceasefire in jeopardy

Air raids pound Gaza Strip after Palestinians in besieged enclave reportedly sent incendiary balloons into southern Israel


Israeli jets bombed areas across the besieged Palestinian enclave early on 16 June (AFP)

Middle East Eye, 16 June 2021

Israel launched air strikes on the Gaza Strip early on Wednesday in response to incendiary balloons reportedly launched from the besieged Palestinian enclave, Israel’s military said.

Potentially shattering a fragile ceasefire that came into effect last month, the air strikes followed a provocative nationalist march through occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City by Jewish nationalists that had drawn threats of action by Hamas, the Palestinian movement that governs Gaza.

The Israeli military said the strikes, which attacked Hamas compounds in Khan Younis and Gaza City, came in response to the launching of the balloons, which reportedly caused 20 fires in open fields near the Gaza border, Haaretz reported.

The Israeli army added that it was “ready for all scenarios, including renewed fighting in the face of continued terrorist acts emanating from Gaza.”

A Hamas spokesman, confirming the Israeli attacks, said the Palestinians would continue to pursue their “brave resistance and defend their rights and sacred sites” in Jerusalem.