March 28, 2020
Webinar: Film Gaza Fights For Freedom by Abby Martin

Social Justice Event Collective, March 5, 2020

Please join us for a film webinar on March 28th, 2020 at 1:00 PM Eastern Time for the screening of Gaza Fights for Freedom, a film by US journalist Abby Martin.

This screening is presented by Social Justice Event Collective and co-hosted by Canadian Boat to Gaza, Independent Jewish Voices-London, Ontario and People for Peace-London, Ontario.

The original event was to be held during Israeli Apartheid Week on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

We have postponed the event to be held through a Zoom online webinar. You may register in advance for this webinar here.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Film-maker Abby Martin will join us after the screening to discuss the making of her documentary, including a questions and answers period. Filmed during the height of the Great March Of Return protests, it features riveting exclusive footage of demonstrations. The documentary tells the story of Gaza past and present, showing rare archival footage that explains the history never acknowledged by mass media. You hear from victims of the ongoing massacre, including journalists, medics and the family of internationally acclaimed paramedic, Razan al-Najjar. At its core, ‘Gaza Fights For Freedom’ is a thorough indictment of the Israeli military for war crimes, and a stunning cinematic portrayal of Palestinians’ heroic resistance.

We will also be joined by a Gaza participant from We Are Not Numbers for a questions and answers period.

The Canadian Boat To Gaza will be accepting donations to help raise funds for the Freedom Flotilla’s sailing in 2020. The donation link is here.

2019 Index of Racism and Incitement in Israeli Social Media

Israeli elections were the primary reason for increasing incitement against Arabs

Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media, 27th Feb 2020

– One violent post against Arabs and Palestinians every 64 seconds
– 495,000 violent posts against Arabs and Palestinians in 2019
– The Joint List and its leaders were the primary subjects of violent discourse in 2019

7amleh – The Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media, published the results of its annual Index of Racism and Incitement in Israeli Social Media in 2019. The research revealed that the peak of incitement against Palestinians and Arabs in 2019 was correlated with the two rounds of Israeli election. It also shows that there was a 14% rise in violent discourse towards Arabs and Palestinians, with one violent post every 64 seconds, and at least one out of every 11 posts about Arabs using inciting language. 

In 2019, there was also a rise in the number and percentage of inciting posts in 2019. Nearly 495,000 out of 5.4 million posts about Arabs were violent posts, including racist and inciting slurs and biased language against the Arab and Palestinian community. These statistics indicate a 5% rise in inciting posts in comparison to 2018 statistics which showed that 464,000 out of 4.7 million posts about Arabs included violent statements. 

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Israeli Military Confiscates School in Susiya


Video Link

Good Shepherd Collective, February 19, 2020

This morning, the Israeli military entered the village of Susiya with a bulldozer in order to confiscate a small, one-room building that served as the children’s school. As you watch the video, consider the perspective of the Palestinian GSC leader who took this video.

After waking up early in the morning to prepare for the possibility of demolitions today, Wednesday, one of the two busiest days of the week for the military and Civil Administration, you are called from your own humble home in the hills of South Hebron to head to Susiya, where the building that serves as an educational space for over twenty children is under immediate threat. When you arrive, you find an entire portion of the village–a village you know well, where you often relax and drink tea with your friends who are residents in the small, quiet space, and play with the little children–swarming with soldiers armed with semi-automatic weapons and gear that looks like they are prepared for a riot. Instead, they are met with distressed, angry, and frightened women, children, and men.

As you prepare to document the disproportionately dramatic removal of this simple space, you are conscious of the fact that only feet away are heavily armed soldiers, watching as you document and waiting for you to make the wrong move. They don’t like that you’re there. Although they have arrived, uninvited, armed with weaponry and the bureaucracy to take away an entire educational facility today, they are searching for violence in the faces and bodies of those from whom they are confiscating. With this in mind, you move slowly and speak in their language, keeping things as calm as possible.

This is the work our leaders on the ground are engaged in every week, sometimes throughout the entire day, starting before dawn. As they document and gather information about demolitions and confiscations, they must push aside their own worries that tomorrow, it could be their family’s school or community center that is taken away or destroyed. The structural oppression within the Israeli zoning and planning regime, and the total rejection of international law in practice, makes all Palestinians in Area C distinctly aware that we are all under near-constant threat of demolition, confiscation, destruction, and violence.

Trump’s “Deal of the Century” Has Led to Violence Not Peace

February 08, 2020

(WASHINGTON, D.C. 2/8/20)—Since President Donald Trump released the details of his much-derided so-called “deal of the century,” a total of five Palestinians, including a teenager, have been killed by Israeli forces while protesting a “peace plan” that has delivered nothing but promises of further dispossession and apartheid. Rather than achieving peace, this plan has only emboldened the Israeli government to continue its policies of land theft and aggression against Palestinians. As AMP warned prior to the release of this “steal of the century,” this atrociously one-sided plan was always a recipe for more bloodshed and a prolonging of suffering. AMP condemns this plan and the inevitable violence it has provoked with Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing supporters, including settlers parading through the Jordan Valley, taunting Palestinians with the impending annexation of their lands. 
 
Within the 1948 borders, Trump and Netanyahu’s Apartheid plan has proposed that an Arab-populated region there be added to a future Palestinian state. Not only is this suggestion tantamount to the illegal forced transfer of people but, like in Apartheid South Africa, it will result in the denaturalization of Israel’s minority population. Netanyahu has already vowed that there will never be a Palestinian state as long as he is prime minister—nothing more than swiss cheese-like Bantustans in which Israel and the Trump administration wish to segregate Palestinians. This racist plan, which deprives Palestinians of every basic right, sets impossible conditions on Palestinians who must prove themselves worthy of existing before any rights may be bestowed on them. 
 
Of course, Palestinians would never accept such a humiliating proposal and have been protesting this initiative since its announcement last week. Israel has expectedly responded with violence, shelling and shooting Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, respectively, and killing young protesters with impunity. The first victim, 17-year-old Mohammad Al-Haddad from Hebron, was shot and killed by Israeli forces while protesting Trump’s plan. In the following days, as Israeli forces began a military incursion in Jenin, a protester who demonstrated against the demolition of a Palestinian home was killed. 

Unsurprisingly, Jared Kushner blamed Palestinians for this escalation in violence in an effort to absolve himself of responsibility for his failed policies. As the region continues to descend into further chaos and instability, the world has begun to recognize that not only is the blood of innocent Palestinians on the hands of Israeli leaders, but also on the hands of the Trump administration which has waged a war on the Palestinian people over the last three years. 

Israeli Occupation Forces Kill 3 and Destroy Home in Less than 24 Hours

February 6, 2020

The newest Israeli killing of Palestinians under its policy of excessive use of force, the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) killed 3 Palestinians and wounded 8 others in less than 24 hours in Jenin and Hebron, north and south of the West Bank. Of the Palestinians killed, 2, including a policeman, were shot and killed during an IOF raid into Jenin to demolish a prisoner’s house, for the second time. This falls under the Israeli policy of collective punishment employed against families of Palestinians accused of carrying out attacks against Israeli soldiers and/or settlers. Meanwhile, the third Palestinian was killed by an Israeli sniper in a protest in Hebron.

According to PCHR investigations, at approximately 1:30 on Thursday, 06 February 2020, IOF, backed by 20 military and construction vehicles, moved into al-Basateen neighborhood north of Jenin. The soldiers were deployed among civilian houses and topped the roofs of some while 30 of them raided Palestinian prisoner, Ahmed Jamal Ahmed al-Qumbo’s, house (220 sqm, home to 8 persons, including 2 children) to execute a demolition order issued by an Israeli court 48 hours prior. Al-Qumbo’ has been arrested since 17 January 2018, and the house was built only 9 months ago following IOF’s earlier demolition. The soldiers did a thorough search of the house with a large number of police dogs; afterwards, the Israeli bulldozers proceeded to level the house to the ground. During the demolition, a number of Palestinian civilians gathered and threw stones and empty bottles at IOF military vehicles present at the scene. Immediately, IOF responded with live and rubber bullets and toxic tear gas canisters; the situation quickly escalated. As a result of the Israeli shooting, 2 Palestinians were killed, one on the spot and the other succumbed to his wounds hours later, and 7 were wounded. The two killed were identified as 1. Yazan Monther Khaled Abu-Tabykh (19), a university student from Wad Bourqin area west of Jenin, was shot with a live bullet in the chest and killed immediately; and 2. Tariq Loay Ahmed Badwan (24), a Palestinian police officer from Qalqiliyah, was shot with a live bullet in the abdomen while inside the police station. He was transferred to the hospital where his condition was classified as critical and he was pronounced dead at 11:40 on Thursday.

It should be noted that IOF detonated prisoner al-Qumbo’s house for the first time on 24 April 2019, under the pretext of being charged with involvement in the killing of an Israeli settler, Arail Shefeh, from “Hefat Gilad” settlement, southwest of Nablus, on 09 January 2018.

At approximately 16:00 on Wednesday, 05 February 2020, an Israeli sniper stationed on a building’s roof near Israeli Military Checkpoint (56) established on al-Shuhada’a Street, fired 3 live bullets at Mohammed Salman Ta’mah al-Haddad (17) from a distance of 100 meters as Mohammed was near an old market, 50 meters away from the checkpoint’s entrance. As a result, Mohammed was shot and injured with a live bullet in the heart and fell on the ground. A number of young men managed to reach Mohammed and transferred him via an ambulance to Hebron Governmental Hospital. Few minutes later, doctors pronounced Mohammed’s death after being shot with a live bullet that penetrated his heart and caused severe bleeding. The shooting was reported during a protest organized by dozens of young men, who threw stones at IOF and burned tires near the abovementioned checkpoint.

These crimes are part of IOF’s grave escalation in the oPt since the U.S President Trump declared his Middle-East Peace Plan known as “the Deal of the Century” on 28 January 2020. IOF suppressed more than 60 protests against Trump’s plan at seam points confrontation in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. As a result, dozens of civilians were shot and injured with live and rubber bullets in addition to many others suffocated due to tear gas inhalation.

PCHR strongly condemns the IOF’s crimes, which prove the ongoing Israeli use of excessive force against Palestinian civilian, who did not pose danger or threat to the soldiers’ lives.

PCHR condemns the crime of demolishing Qombo’s house for the 2nd time as part of IOF’s collective punishment policy against the Palestinian civilians.

PCHR reminds that this policy is internationally prohibited according to Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states that: “No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited. Pillage is prohibited. Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited.”

Therefore, PCHR reiterates its call upon the international community to take immediate action to put an end to the Israeli crimes. PCHR also reiterates its call upon the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations under Article 1; i.e., to respect and ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances and their obligations under Article 146 to prosecute persons alleged to commit grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention. These grave breaches constitute war crimes under Article 147 of the same Convention and Protocol (I) Additional to the Geneva Conventions regarding the guarantee of Palestinian civilians’ right to protection in the oPt.

Violence Surges in Wake of Trump’s Mideast Plan

Clashes, shootings and a vehicle attack erupt in the West Bank and Jerusalem, killing Palestinians and wounding Israeli soldiers.


Palestinians inspected the rubble of a house in Jenin demolished by Israeli troops on Thursday. The home belonged to a Palestinian accused of being involved in the drive-by shooting of a rabbi two years ago. (Majdi Mohammed/Associated Press)

Isabel Kershner, New York Times, Feb. 6, 2020

JERUSALEM — At least three Palestinians were killed during clashes with Israeli security forces in the West Bank on Wednesday and Thursday, and an Israeli soldier was seriously wounded in a car ramming in Jerusalem overnight, in a surge of violence following the release of the long-awaited — and highly contentious — American plan for Middle East peace.

Among the three Palestinians were a Palestinian Authority police officer, whom Israeli forces said they shot by mistake, and a police cadet.

A fourth man armed with a pistol opened fire before noon Thursday on Israeli border police officers outside the Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem, wounding one in the arm.

The attacker, who was shot dead by the police, was an Arab resident of Haifa, in northern Israel. According to Israeli news media reports, he had recently converted to Islam.

As one attack appeared to trigger the next, an Israeli soldier was lightly wounded on Thursday afternoon by Palestinian sniper fire north of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

On Wednesday, Muhammad al-Haddad, 17, was killed by a shot in the chest, doctors said, as youths clashed with Israeli forces in the volatile Palestinian city of Hebron in the southern West Bank.

The Israeli military said that confrontation came after days of clashes in Hebron, with Palestinians throwing stones and firebombs at forces near the Jewish settlement in the heart of the city. The military said its soldiers had fired at an unidentified Palestinian who was seen hurling a firebomb.

In the early hours of Thursday, a Palestinian rammed a car into a group of soldiers on a sidewalk near a popular entertainment district in West Jerusalem, seriously wounding one and inflicting mild injuries on a dozen more, before fleeing the scene. The soldiers, recent recruits, had been on their way to a swearing-in ceremony in the Old City. The car was later found abandoned near Bethlehem.


Israeli security forces clashed with Palestinians in Bethlehem while searching for the suspect of a car-ramming attack in Jerusalem that injured several people. (Musa Al Shaer/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images)

The police cadet, Yazan Abu Tabikh, 19, was killed in clashes before dawn in Jenin, in the northern West Bank, after Israeli troops arrived to demolish the family home of a Palestinian accused of being involved in the fatal drive-by shooting of a rabbi, Raziel Shevach, near his West Bank settlement outpost two years ago. The military said Mr. Abu Tabikh had been shooting at soldiers.

The Palestinian police officer, Tareq Badwan, 24, was shot and mortally wounded as he stood at the entrance of his police station in Jenin.

A spokesman for the Israeli military, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, acknowledged that the officer had been shot by Israeli forces. He said Palestinians had been shooting at Israeli forces in Jenin at the time, including in the area where the officer was killed. He added that the army was investigating the exact circumstances of his death.

Tensions also remained high at the Gaza border, with Palestinians launching sporadic rocket and mortar fire and sending incendiary balloons into southern Israel. In response to mortar fire on Wednesday evening, the Israeli military said, its warplanes struck targets throughout the Gaza Strip overnight, including military infrastructure belonging to Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls the Palestinian coastal territory.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, blamed the escalation on the Trump administration’s Middle East plan, saying in a statement that it had created tension “by trying to impose false facts on the ground that we have repeatedly warned against.”

Mr. Abu Rudeineh added that the Palestinian people and leadership would stand firm against the plan, and would work to foil it “regardless of the sacrifices.”


Israeli police officers and medics at the spot in Jerusalem where a Palestinian was shot dead after, the authorities said, he fired at police officers. (Atef Safadi/EPA via Shutterstock)

The plan, which analysts say is heavily weighted toward Israel, would allow Israel to annex about 30 percent of the West Bank, including all the parts it deems important for security or as part of its biblical birthright.

In return, the plan makes the Palestinians a conditional offer of a truncated state made up of a disarmed Gaza Strip and chunks of the West Bank linked by roads and surrounded by Israeli territory. That arrangement would cast aside longstanding Palestinian hopes for a full-fledged independent state incorporating the vast majority of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

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Youth of Sumud Remembers Tom Hurndall

Youth of Sumud, a group of Palestinians in the South Hebron Hills, believes and is committed to a peaceful, popular resistance as a strategic choice to end the Israeli occupation.

Tom Hurndall (27 November 1981 – 13 January 2004) was a British photography student, a volunteer for the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), and an activist against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. On 11 April 2003 he was shot in the head in Rafah, Gaza by an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) sniper, Taysir Hayb. Hurndall was left in a coma and died nine months later.

Hayb was convicted of manslaughter and obstruction of justice by an Israeli military court in April 2005 and sentenced to eight years in prison. On 10 April 2006 a British inquest jury returned a verdict of unlawful killing. Hurndall’s father told reporters that there had been a “general policy” to shoot civilians in the area without fear of reprisals, as stated by Hayb. Hayb had earlier told a military tribunal that the Israeli army “fires freely in Rafah.” (Wikipedia)

Regeni murder: If only Rachel Corrie and Tom Hurndall had been Italian

Why did the UK and US not react firmly against Israel for the killing of Hurndall and Corrie the way Italy did with Egypt for the death of Regeni?


A foreign peace activist (C) joins Palestinian protesters for a demonstration marking the anniversary of the death of US peace activist Rachel Corrie (poster), who was killed by an Israeli army bulldozer in 2003, at a refugee camp in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on 16 March 2013. (AFP)

Kamel Hawwash, Middle East Eye, 21 April 2016

The world was shocked at the discovery of the body of Italian PhD student Giulio Regeni in a ditch in Cairo on 9 February. His body showed signs of horrific torture which made it difficult even for his relatives to confirm his identity. The 28-year-old Cambridge University student had been kidnapped 10 days earlier while researching labour unrest and independent trade unions in Egypt.

Ironically, he went missing on 25 January, the fifth anniversary of the start of Egypt’s revolution. Egypt’s initial theories for the cause of his death ranged from being a casualty in a road traffic accident to being murdered by a criminal gang and even to being killed in a lover’s argument.  

The reaction of Italy was firm and robust. The Italian interior minister, Angelino Alfano who claimed that Regeni had been subjected to “inhuman, animal-like violence” announced that while Egypt appeared to be cooperating with a team of Italian investigators dispatched to Cairo, Italy wanted justice for Regeni. “We will not settle for alleged truths,” he said. “We want those really responsible identified and punished on the basis of law.” Rejecting suspicions of Egyptian security forces involvement in Regeni’s death, the Egyptian interior minister, Magdy Abdel Ghaffar, called them “completely unacceptable”.

Not satisfied with Egypt’s response the Italian government recalled its ambassador on 8 April for “an urgent evaluation” of what steps to take to “ascertain the truth about the barbaric murder of Giulio Regeni”. In diplomatic norms, recalling an ambassador is a significant step in expressing displeasure at the behaviour of the host nation, in this case Egypt. States use this very sparingly as it can sometimes take months if not years for relations to return to normality, possibly impacting on other aspects of the relationship including trade cooperation. On this occasion Italy saw this move as an appropriate response.

Coverage of Regeni’s death rightly filled many column inches around the world with writers contrasting the significant coverage of his death with that of thousands of Egyptians who lost their lives since the start of the revolution five years ago.

The media also tends to give significant coverage to the death of peace or human rights activists around the world including when this happens in Israel. However, if one compares the action of Italy as a state to the killing of one of its citizens in Egypt to the lack of action by the UK and the US to the killing of their citizens by Israeli forces while protecting Palestinians from Israeli violence one finds a marked difference.

Corrie and Hurndall: A muted response

Take the case of Rachel Corrie, an American citizen from Olympia Washington who decided to spend her senior year at college in Rafah, Gaza to connect it to her home town through a sister cities project. She did not live to see this through as she was run down and killed by an Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) Caterpillar bulldozer as she tried to dissuade the driver from demolishing the home of a local Palestinian pharmacist. Her killing on 16 March, 2003, did not draw a sharp response form the US government.

While US Representative Brian Bard introduced a resolution in the US Congress calling on the US government to “undertake a full, fair, and expeditious investigation” into Corrie’s death, the House of Representatives took no action on the resolution. It was left to Israeli military and legal processes to rule on the reasons for Rachel Corrie’s death.

The Israeli army’s investigation absolved the driver of any deliberate wrongdoing, claiming he could not see Corrie from his cab due to limited visibility. The investigation was criticised by a number of international and Israeli human rights organisations including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and B’Tselem. It took until 2012 for US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro to say that the Israeli investigation “was not satisfactory, and was not as thorough, credible or transparent as it should have been”.

Shapiro said further that the government of the United States is unsatisfied with the IDF’s closure of its official investigation into Corrie’s death. Those were empty words, similar in nature to condemnations or expressions of concern at a new settlement building announcement.

The Corrie family were left to their own devices filing an appeal against the army investigation and holding Israel liable for her death. In 2015, the Israeli Supreme Court rejected the Corrie’s appeal. There were no howls of protest or a recall of the ambassador by Corrie’s home nation the USA despite its dissatisfaction with the original investigation.

The case of British photographic journalism student Tom Hurndall who died in January 2004 having been shot in the head by an IDF sniper on 11 April, 2003, followed an eerily similar path to that of Corrie. Hurndall had only been in Gaza for five days when the IDF opened fire on Palestinian civilians near a checkpoint in Rafah. Tom managed to rescue one child from the line of fire but was shot in the head as he knelt down to pick up another child paralysed by fear.

The Israeli army claimed its checkpoint had come under fire from Palestinian militants and that it was responding to this when Tom was hit. The IDF’s initial “routine internal inquiry” concluded that Hurndall was “shot accidentally in the crossfire”, and suggested that his group’s members were essentially “functioning as human shields”. This was contradicted by witnesses at the demonstration who asserted that he had been hit by a rifle bullet while trying to shield the children rather than having been merely hit in the crossfire.

There was no immediate outrage from the British government at this callous killing and, like the case of Corrie, it was left to the Hurndall family to pursue justice for their son. The British government did support the family through then British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. This combination resulted in the Israeli advocate general ordering the IDF to open a further investigation in October 2003. This led to a military court finally sentencing Hurndall’s killer to 11 and a half years for manslaughter. He eventually served six and a half years. Once again though, a Western government was not so robust in the pursuit of the killers of one of its citizens to consider breaking ties with Israel over the matter or even to recall its ambassador to exert pressure from the outset.

Western supporters of justice for the Palestinian people therefore visit Palestine unsure of what their governments would do to help them if they were arrested, injured or even killed by Israeli security forces. There is little protest and no action by western governments when Israeli soldiers attack European or American citizens as they do here and here or even when settlers attacked US officials.

The only exception to this was Turkey’s reaction to Israel’s attack on the Gaza siege-breaking flotilla on 30 May, 2013, in which 10 Turkish human rights activists on the lead ship the Mavi Marmara were killed by the Israeli military in international waters. Turkey broke diplomatic relations with Israel and to this day those relationships have not returned to the same level they were at before the attack.

Egypt and Israel are allies to the same Western governments but it seems that when it comes to bringing killers of their citizens to account, there is a differential to the way they deal with the two states. What this does is embolden Israel to act at will not only against the helpless Palestinians but also against citizens of its closest allies.

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