#SaveSheikhJarrah Twitterstorm

Palestine Solidarity Campaign, January 19, 2022 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm GMT

At 3am last night, Israeli security forces raided the Salhiya family house in Sheikh Jarrah, arresting and injuring multiple family members. After the family – who have lived in the house since 1956 –  refused to be expelled, Israeli troops barricaded then stormed their home. By dawn, only the rubble remained.

Over 1500 Palestinians currently live under the threat of home demolitions in occupied Jerusalem. In May of last year, Sheikh Jarrah was the flashpoint from which began the most significant period of protest in Palestine for a generation, now known as the Unity Intifada.

Israel believes that now, whilst the world’s attention is turned away, it can expel the Sheikh Jarrah families one by one. But Palestinians are coming together to resist this threat of ethnic cleansing, just as they did last May.

We must support their grassroots resistance by demanding our own Governments hold Israel accountable for its actions that amount to the crime of apartheid. It’s time to mobilise for Palestine once more. In addition to the emergency protest taking place on Friday, we have organised a Twitterstorm.

JOIN OUR TWITTERSTORM

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‘How do they expect my children to grow up and not be full of hatred?’

Lital Salhiyeh, whose family home in Sheikh Jarrah was demolished on Wednesday morning, has no idea where she and her family will go now.

Yuval Abraham, +972 Magazine, January 19, 2022

The remains of the Salhiyeh family home that was demolished by Israeli authorities, in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, January 19, 2022. (Jamal Awad/Flash90)
The remains of the Salhiyeh family home that was demolished by Israeli authorities, in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, January 19, 2022. (Jamal Awad/Flash90)

Israeli security forces demolished the home of the Salhiyeh family and forcibly expelled its residents in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah during the early hours of the morning on Wednesday.

Police raided the house around 3:15 a.m., violently kicking out the family and activists who had arrived to defend the family home. According to Palestinian and Israeli activists who were at the scene, officers cut electricity to the house, before using stun grenades and arresting 18 people, including members of the Salhiyeh family, Palestinian activists, and five Israeli activists. All of the Israeli activists and some of the Palestinians have been released, while others remain in Israeli custody — including Mahmoud, the family’s father.

Following the expulsion, bulldozers entered and destroyed the family home, where Lital Salhiyeh, her husband Mahmoud, their four children, and Mahmoud’s mother lived. The remains of the home and the family’s belongings, which included photo albums and children’s backpacks, laid strewn out in the rubble.

“All of a sudden we heard booms. I jumped out of bed and turned on the light — but there was no electricity in the house,” Lital told me following the demolition. “I lifted my head, and all I saw around me was hundreds of lights from helmets. It was a terrifying sight.”

Lital, an Israeli Jew who is originally from Rishon LeZion, said she had gone to bed half an hour before police forces burst into her home. Once she heard the booms, she jumped out of bed and began to run. “I was looking for my little daughter Aya, who’s nine years old and was sleeping in the other room with her aunt. I wanted to get to her. A policeman caught me and said, ‘What are you doing?’”

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Killed for Driving While Palestinian

MRSCP Statement on the Death of Omar Abdulmajeed As’ad in Israeli custody

The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project is deeply saddened and outraged by the death of US citizen Omar Abdulmajeed As’ad at the hands of Israeli soldiers.

Mr. As’ad was a Palestinian-American businessman who spent four decades of his life in Milwaukee before retiring with his wife to the Palestinian village of Jiljilya, near Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

He was stopped by Israeli solders in the early hours of the morning as he was driving home after visiting family on January 12. According to eyewitness reports, the soldiers forced him from his vehicle, blindfolded, handcuffed and beat him, then dragged him to a nearby construction site where they left him lying face down on the ground in the cold. Mr As’ad, an elderly man who suffered from heart problems, was clearly not a threat to anyone, was never under arrest and had not been accused of any crime.

We send our condolences to Mr.As’ad’s family in the Milwaukee area and in Palestine. Because Israel has repeatedly shown that it is incapable of investigating itself, we call on the US State Department to conduct its own thorough and public investigation into his death, including interviewing the witnesses, in order to ensure some small measure of justice for Mr. As’ad and his family.

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin has issued a mild statement of concern in this case, as has Rep. Gwen Moore of Milwaukee. We urge them not to stop there but to vigorously pursue this case. We realize that the treatment afforded to Mr. As’ad by Israeli soldiers is no more worthy of condemnation than that routinely handed out to ordinary Palestinians (see for example the recent case of elder Haj Suleiman, who the IDF left fighting for his life and who has now died). Yet our government should have a special responsibility to protect its own citizens regardless of their ethnicity. We urge them to fulfill it.

Resources:
ADC Statement on the Case
Milwaukee Journal Sentinal article, with memorial service pictures
Statement by Rep. Betty McCollum

Iconic Palestinian activist dies after being run over by Israeli forces

Palestinian activist Suleiman al-Hathalin dies at Hebron hospital two weeks after police truck ran him over


Suleiman al-Hathalin pictured in a protests against settlements and land confiscation, near Yatta village south of Hebron city in the occupied West Bank, on 15 January 2021 (AFP)

Shatha Hammad, Middle East Eye,17 January 2022

Ramallah, occupied Palestine — Prominent Palestinian activist Suleiman al-Hathalin succumbed on Monday to wounds sustained when an Israeli police tow truck ran him over two weeks ago

Hathalin was receiving treatment for serious wounds he sustained to the head, chest, abdomen and pelvis at al-Mizan hospital in Hebron in the occupied West Bank, where he was pronounced dead this morning.

The 75-year-old activist and community leader from Masafer Yatta, a collection of Palestinian hamlets in the South Hebron Hills, was run over by an Israeli tow truck on 5 January. 

Police arrived in Umm al-Khair village in Masafer Yatta to seize unregistered and allegedly stolen vehicles. 

After locals tried to stop the tow trucks, Israeli police fired live ammunition and tear gas to disperse the crowds. 

Fouad al-Hmour, an activist with the popular resistance committee in Masafer Yatta, told Middle East Eye at the time that Suleiman was “standing on the side of the road when the tow truck suddenly veered off the road and drove straight into him”.

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“We don’t have another place to go”

Dispossession, Settler Violence, & Resistance in Masafer Yatta

Occupied Thoughts, Foundation for Middle East Peace, 1/12/2022

"We don't have another place to go:" Dispossession, Settler Violence, & Resistance in Masafer YattaIn this episode of Occupied Thoughts, FMEP's Sarah Anne Minkin speaks with activist and author Ali Awad about the threats of dispossession and state-backed settler violence facing Palestinians in the Masafer Yatta area of the South Hebron Hills.

Ali's most recent article, co-authored with Awdah Hathaleen, describes extreme violence against a village elder in a non-violent protest in Masafer Yatta: "Israeli police shattered this Palestinian elder’s bones — and drove away."

Bios

  • Ali Awad is an activist from the village of Tuba in the South Hebron Hills.
  • Sarah Anne Minkin, PhD, is FMEP’s Director of Programs & Partnerships.
  • Original music by Jalal Yaquoub

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Our Tax Dollars at Work: Destroying a Palestinian Family’s Home and Livelihood

Al Fakheit is one of 12 villages located in the Masafer Yatta area that Israel claims as Firing Zone 918. The Palestinians living in these villages have fought a long legal battle to remain in their homes. On January 3 the Abu Sabha family lost their last legal appeal in an Israeli court.


The Abu Sabha family’s home and barn

Mohammed, the father of the family, was born in the village, in a cave home that is over a century old. In the 1990s Mohammed built tents for his family near the home, and in 2016 he built two homes, all on his privately owned land. Eighteen people lived in these homes. On January 3 the Israeli army issued demolition orders for these homes.


The Abu Sabha family’s animal barns


Members of the Abu Sabha family outside their home learn on January 3 that their legal appeals are exhausted.

On the morning of January 12 the Israeli Civil Administration arrived in the village with border police and bulldozers, and demolished 8 Palestinians structures including homes, two sheep barns, and a water well, leaving several families homeless and without shelter from the weather.


Israeli border police force families back from their homes on January 12.


Israeli forces confront a woman whose home is being demolished.

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Omar Assad, a long-time Milwaukee resident, found dead in West Bank after detention by Israeli soldiers

His family wants an investigation

Mourners carry the body of Omar Assad during his funeral in the West Bank village of Jiljiliya, north of Ramallah, Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022. Israel is investigating after Assad, a Palestinian with U.S. citizenship died after being detained by Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank.
Mourners carry the body of Omar Assad during his funeral in the West Bank village of Jiljiliya, north of Ramallah, Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022. Israel is investigating after Assad, a Palestinian with U.S. citizenship, died after being detained by Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank. (Associated Press)

Sarah Volpenhein, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, January 14, 2022

Milwaukee's Islamic community is mourning the death of a Palestinian-American man who lived much of his life in Milwaukee and was found dead Wednesday in the West Bank after being detained by Israeli soldiers.

In a Wednesday press conference, the U.S. State Department confirmed the man's death, identifying him as Omar Assad, and voiced its support for a "thorough investigation into the circumstances" of his death. Assad, 78, was a United States citizen.

"Our family is devastated and heartbroken," Hala Hamad, one of his daughters, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "It leaves a hole in all of us. The pain of losing him is compounded because we know what he endured in his last hours."

Assad lived in the U.S. for about 40 years. He spent most of that time in the Milwaukee area before returning to the West Bank in 2009, his younger brother Nawaff Assad told the Journal Sentinel.

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Palestinian-American man, 80, found dead after Israeli raid in West Bank


Men stand next to a poster announcing the death of Omar Asad in the village of Jiljilya

BBC News Services, January 13, 2022

Omar Asad's relatives say he was out in his village of Jiljilya until late and was returning home when he was detained using rough treatment.

According to Palestinian health officials, he died of a heart attack.

The US says he was an American citizen and has asked Israel for clarification.

The Israeli military say a man was detained in the area after resisting a check, and that he was later released.

Locals say Omar Asad was one of several villagers stopped by Israeli soldiers after they entered Jiljilya, near Ramallah, in the early hours of Wednesday.

Palestinian news agency Wafa cited the head of the village council, Fouad Moutee, as saying that the 80-year-old had been driving home after visiting relatives when soldiers stopped his car, blindfolded him, bound him and led him away to a building under construction.

Mr Asad was found dead in the building after the soldiers withdrew, Mr Moutee added. A plastic zip-tie was reportedly still around one of his wrists.

A local doctor, Islam Abu Zaher, told Reuters news agency he had tried to resuscitate Mr Asad but found no pulse. He said there were no obvious signs of injury and that the cause of death was unclear.

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ADC Statement on Sanctioned Israeli Murder of Palestinian American


ADC Statement on Sanctioned Israeli Murder of Palestinian American

 
Washington, D.C. | www.adc.org | January 13, 2022 – The American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) extends its deepest condolences to the family of Arab-American Omar Abdalmajeed As’ad, who was murdered by Israeli forces on Wednesday January 12, 2022. The news of his death is a devastating and sad reminder of the constant Israeli aggression against Palestinians simply trying to live their lives. Mr. As’ad lived most of his life in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and moved to the West Bank a decade ago. As’ad was detained on Wednesday around 3am during a security check, and found later that day unresponsive with a zip tie around his hands by a neighbor walking by. The circumstances surrounding his death are unclear at best, incredibly suspicious at worst. Mr. As’ad was found like one would find a piece of garbage, astonishingly similar to the victims of the U.S.’s many serial killers.

This murder comes as no surprise, as Israeli forces have continued the illegal detention of Palestinians and murder of innocent children over the past several months. It is important to remember that Israel receives the largest amount of foreign aid- paid by our tax dollars- without any human rights conditions. A country that continues to violate international and human rights laws should not be receiving a blank check from our tax dollars.

The State Department has asked for “clarification” of Mr. As’ad’s death- however, they have not explained what they exactly mean by that. The State Department should demand a more thorough investigation as we demand full transparency. Mr. As’ad was an American citizen and his family deserves the dignity of the truth as to what happened that night. The State Department has failed over and over again to provide answers for Israel’s human rights violations, and that needs to end now.

Israel continues to be a colonial, apartheid state that oppresses Palestinians with illegal detentions, house demolitions, lack of water access, suppressed movement, and unjust murders. A state like this will not be honest or truthful in its actions. “The IDF will investigate this event in a thorough and professional manner, acting in line with our values and protocols,” said spokesperson Lt. Col. Amnon Shefler in a statement to the Washington Post. Yet as we have seen, the values and protocols displayed by the IDF are anything but honorable.

ADC will continue to advocate on behalf of Mr. As’ad and monitor any breaking updates.

Elderly Palestinian-American dies after violent arrest by Israeli forces

Eyewitnesses say Omar Muhammad Asaad, 80, was driving home when he was stopped by soldiers, dragged out of the car, assaulted and left lying unconscious on the ground


Abd al-Ilah Asaad holding a photo of his cousin Omar Muhammad Asaad, 80, who died on Wednesday morning (Shatha Hammad/MEE)

Shatha Hammad, Middle East Eye, 12 January 2022

An elderly Palestinian with US citizenship died of a heart attack on Wednesday morning after he was violently detained by Israeli soldiers during a raid on Jaljulia village, north of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, his family said. 

Omar Muhammad Asaad, 80, was driving home after midnight when soldiers stopped him, dragged him out of the car and assaulted him before leaving him lying unconscious on the ground, eyewitnesses told the family. 

Abd al-Ilah Asaad, Omar’s cousin, told Middle East Eye he spent the night with Omar at a family house nearby. At around 2am, Omar left to go to his home in the village, where he was arrested by Israeli forces, Abd al-Ilah said.

Two young men who were detained in the same location as Omar told the family that he was pulled out of the car and dragged for about 200 meters. Soldiers aggressively handled Omar, handcuffed him, gagged his mouth and forced him to lie on his stomach, they added. 

Later, when the Israeli forces withdrew, the two young men found Omar on the ground with the plastic handcuffs untied and “showing no signs of life”. 

The two young men then rushed Omar to the village’s clinic. Doctors tried to resuscitate him but it was too late, they said. He was pronounced dead shortly after. 

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