Yolande Knell & David Gritten, BBC News, 26 January 2023
Jenin & London — Nine Palestinians have been killed during an Israeli military raid in the occupied West Bank – the deadliest in years – Palestinian officials say.
A woman aged 61 was reported among the dead in the flashpoint town of Jenin.
The Israeli military said its troops went in to arrest Islamic Jihad militants planning “major attacks”.
The Palestinian presidency accused Israel of a “massacre” and later announced it had ended co-ordination with Israel on security matters.
A 10th Palestinian was meanwhile shot and killed during a confrontation with Israeli troops in the town of al-Ram, near Jerusalem, as residents protested against the Jenin raid, Palestinian officials said.
Monday, January 9th
11:00 am Central
Join us for an urgent Instagram live!
Tune in to learn how you can stand in solidarity with Palestinian people as they defend Masafer Yatta from Israel’s violence. We’ll be joined by Sami Huraini, a Palestinian activist and co-founder of Youth Of Sumud / شباب صمود, based in Masafer Yatta.
Since June of 2022, the Israeli regime has been demolishing multiple homes and an elementary school for Palestinian children in Masafer Yatta. The Palestinian people in Masafer Yatta have existed and tended to their land for generations. Now, within a matter of minutes, Israeli forces could uproot the lives of nearly 1,000 Palestinian people in Masafer Yatta through demolitions, arrests, and constant attacks on their lives.
Please be sure to join us on Monday at 7:00 PM Palestine time/12:00 Noon ET to learn how you can help defend Masafer Yatta. Our collective action can and will make a difference, and it is up to us to show up for Palestinian people now and for future generations.
2022 has been the deadliest year for Palestinians living under Israeli occupation in decades. In the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem specifically, this year marked the highest number of killings of Palestinians in the territories since the UN began recording fatalities in 2005.
The killings began almost instantaneously, with the first two Palestinians killed within the first week of January — one by an Israeli soldier, and one by an Israeli settler. From then on, the killings did not stop.
Since the start of the year, Mondoweiss has kept a record of all the Palestinians killed by Israeli forces and settlers. As part of our documentation efforts, we have cross referenced the numbers and names of those killed with reports from the Palestinian Ministry of Health, local and international news agencies, and independent journalists.
At the time of publication, the total number of Palestinians killed in 2022 stood at 231. This number also includes 53 killed in Gaza, 49 of whom were killed during Operation Breaking Dawn in August, and five Palestinians with Israeli citizenship who were killed inside the territory of the Israeli state.
The vast majority of the deaths this year, however, came from the occupied West Bank, with 173 Palestinians killed. For the purpose of this report, we will focus on those who were killed in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, or those who were residents of the West Bank and Jerusalem but were killed in other parts of occupied Palestine.
This list does not only include Palestinians who were shot dead by Israeli soldiers, or run over by Israeli settlers. It also includes Palestinian political prisoners who died inside Israeli prisons as a result of “direct medical negligence,” or those who died while resisting Israeli apartheid and colonialism, and are thus considered “martyrs” — those who died for the cause — by the Palestinian public.
Among the 173 killed in the West Bank and East Jerusalem were 39 children aged 17 and under, making them close to 27% of the total deaths in the territory.
According to our documentation, the least amount of Palestinians killed in a month this year was six, and the highest number was recorded in October, when 30 Palestinians were killed — almost one person every day on average.
Within the West Bank, the highest number of casualties occurred in two specific regions: Nablus and Jenin, representing 19% and 34% of the total casualties, respectively. The particularly high number of deaths in the two regions of the northern West Bank can be attributed to the resurgence of armed resistance witnessed in both areas, which the Israeli military focused its efforts on quashing this year.
In late 2021, the Israeli army amended its already loose open-fire regulations in the occupied West Bank, officially allowing troops to shoot at Palestinians who had thrown rocks or Molotov cocktails at civilian vehicles, even if the Palestinian no longer presented an immediate threat.
The military spokesperson has maintained that the amended regulations only apply when rocks or fire bombs are thrown towards civilian vehicles, not when such objects are thrown towards forces during military raids, and that soldiers are to follow a protocol in which the use of deadly force is a last resort. The nature of the killings this year, however, tell a different story.
According to documentation collected by Mondoweiss, the vast majority of those killed were shot by Israeli police, border police, and the military during confrontations with Israeli forces. While there was a significant rise in armed confrontation between Palestinians and Israeli armed forces this year, many of those killed were shot while unarmed, or while throwing stones or Molotov cocktails towards Israeli army vehicles and armed soldiers. In many cases, rights groups deemed that those killed did not pose an explicit threat to the lives of the Israeli soldiers when they were killed.
These are the names and faces of every Palestinian who, according to our records, was killed or died as a result of Israeli military, settler, and colonial violence in 2022.
In this time of Hanukkah, while Jews celebrate the miracle of the oil that lasted 8 days, the Palestinian village of Sfai in the desert of Masafer Yatta is about to have its water cisterns demolished. There could not be a more cruel irony. No water means no life.
We are supporting our friends at Rebuilding Alliance in their campaign to ask Congress to intervene in the demolition. On December 26th (the 8th day of Hanukkah), Israel’s Army is scheduled to respond in court to the appeal filed by the village of Sfai seeking to protect their water storage system. That means the judge can rule as early as the 27th — when Congress is out of session. The attorney believes that political intervention is needed now more than ever.
It’s easy to act. We are asking you to do three things today:
Send a form Email to your Representatives and Senators with one easy click HERE.
Your phone call to a congressional office is very influential, even if you just leave a voicemail. Here is the script for your call:
My name is ________ and I live at _______. As your constituent, I need your help tostop the demolition of water storage cisterns in the Palestinian village of Sfai and prevent the escalating demolition of humanitarian infrastructure in Masafer Yatta. This is urgent: please call the Israeli Embassy State Department today or tomorrow at the latest.
In June of last year 2021, the village of Sfai’s water mains were demolished by the Israeli Army, leaving only the water cisterns to sustain the community.
Now, the water cisterns are at risk of being demolished.
Please have your staff call the Israeli Embassy and the U.S. State Department on my behalf as a constituent. Fast track Congressional interventionhas prevented the demolition of Palestinian villages and schools.
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 , Instagram, and Twitter. Subscribe to our mailing list.
Israeli activists hold a protest in Tel Aviv against Israeli military rule over Palestinians in the West Bank, September 23, 2021. (Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org)
Most left-wing Israeli Jews do not generally think of themselves as political dissidents, and have likely never aspired to such a status. Despite the lavish praise they receive for their bravery, Israeli-Jewish leftists have the ability to speak out without suffering the consequences faced by Palestinians, not to mention activists in other undemocratic states. Leftist Jews have very often been afforded the privilege of being opponents of the right, rather than its enemies.
But all that seems like it may change, and far quicker than even the biggest pessimists in my camp anticipated. In just the last month, since Itamar Ben Gvir was appointed as presumptive national security minister, Bezalel Smotrich given the power to lord over the day-to-day lives of millions of Palestinians in the occupied territories, and Avi Maoz granted the power to implement his homophobic agenda in school curriculums, the shifts have been palpable for Jewish critics of the state and its occupation. The government has not yet been formed, but it is clear to everybody which way the wind is blowing.
Israeli police have since summoned Israel Frey, a left-wing Haredi journalist, for interrogation over a tweet praising a Palestinian who sought security forces, rather than civilians, for a planned attack (Frey has thus far refused to appear before the police). Israeli soldiers attacked and threatened leftists, some of them journalists, during a tour in occupied Hebron (a routine event for Palestinians in the city). Right-wing activists managed to pressure the Pardes Hanna-Karkur Local Council to cancel a screening of my colleague Noam Sheizaf’s new film on the occupation due to his politics. And on Thursday, during a hearing by the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, Likud MK Hanoch Milwidsky interrupted Breaking the Silence Executive Director Avner Gvaryahu to call him a “traitor” and an “informant” who should “be imprisoned.”
The path to this moment was paved long ago. While loud and unabashed, there have been relatively few Jewish left-wing dissidents in Israeli history who have challenged the Israeli regime — from conscientious objectors, to nuclear whistleblowers, to groups such as the Israeli Black Panthers and the smattering of other independent left-wing groups — while most have focused on reforming specific policies. Meanwhile, Israel has an increasingly right-wing public that has become accustomed to managing an endless military dictatorship over the West Bank and a lethal siege on Gaza, and has little patience for anyone who criticizes it, or even speaks about it openly. The political right, from former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett — the hero of the “government of change” — to Smotrich and Ben Gvir, believe in forcing Palestinians to kneel before Israel (lest we forget that Bennett’s government dissolved over his coalition’s failure to re-authorize separate West Bank legal systems for Palestinians and Israeli Jews).
(From right) Members of Knesset Bezalel Smotrich, Itamar Ben Gvir, Dudi Amsalem, and Ofir Sofer seen during a vote for the new Knesset speaker, Jerusalem, December 13, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Meanwhile, much of the Zionist left no longer has anything of value to say about the occupation, and very often closes ranks with its opponents on the right in attacking Palestinians and the radical left. In Jewish-Israeli society, this has left behind a shrinking cadre of left-wing Jewish activists who recognize that dismantling apartheid and colonialism is the only way to move toward a more just future for Palestinians and Israelis.
Into that vacuum left by the Zionist left swept far-right groups with connections to the Israeli government that have made it their duty to seek out those Jewish Israelis who refuse to toe the party line. A little less than a decade ago, these organizations were behind a chillingly concerted bottom-up effort to delegitimize anti-occupation groups such as Breaking the Silence, B’Tselem, Ta’ayush, and others because they refused to remain silent in the face of Israel’s human rights abuses. What seemed like a novel phenomenon in 2015 is now part of the playbook for every single aspiring right-wing politician. In this sense, the attacks of the last month are not new, but they carry a great deal of weight given the makeup of the new government.
Over the last few weeks, we have witnessed how, time and time again, it is Palestinians who are repeatedly on the front lines of Israel’s repression, most prominently in the story of Dr. Ahmad Mahajna, who is still fighting for his job after he was falsely accused of handing sweets to a 16-year-old Palestinian who carried out a stabbing attack and who was in his care at Hadassah Medical Center. For over a month, Mahajna was ceaselessly attacked by the media and far-right activists for his so-called support for “terrorism,” until enough people came forward to put an end to the witch hunt. If left-wing Israeli Jews are being transformed into dissidents, Palestinians are always one false move from being labeled enemies of the state, simply by their very existence.
Yet this transformation of Israeli leftists into dissidents is a reminder that no one is safe from Ben Gvir, Smotrich, and Maoz’s attempts to suss out the “wrong kind of Jews.” After they come for Palestinians — particularly in Area C of the West Bank, so-called mixed cities, and the Naqab/Negev — they will come for the anti-apartheid activists. After that, it could be anyone who resists the religious coercion of the agents of Jewish theocracy.
Jewish dissidents-to-be need to know the path will be fraught and often dangerous. Some of us will inevitably leave (plenty already have), while others, particularly those without anywhere to go, will either stay and fight alongside Palestinians, asylum seekers, the LGBTQ community, and any other group this government comes after, or step away from activism altogether. Those looking from the outside at what is transpiring on the ground at lightning speed need to know that we are only at the very beginning.
The violence was indescribable. Something they had never witnessed before.
That is what the Palestinian residents of Hebron told Mondoweiss days after what they described as a settler “rampage” through their city in mid-November.
“It was like a sea of settlers, and all of them were filled with hate in their eyes,” Bader al-Tamimi, a local shop owner and municipality worker, told Mondoweiss from the doorway of his souvenir shop in the heart of Hebron’s Old City.
“There were hundreds, thousands of them, with even more soldiers protecting them, and they just started attacking anything Palestinian – people and shops,”al-Tamimi said.
Al-Tamimi was describing the events of Saturday, November 19, when tens of thousands of Israeli settlers from around the occupied West Bank gathered in Hebron for the annual march throughout the city in honor of the Torah reading from the Book of Genesis where Abraham purchases a plot of land in Hebron in which to bury his wife, known as ‘Shabbat Chayei Sarah’.
The annual march typically draws the most fanatic, right-wing, and religious settlers, who use the event to partake in unbridled attacks against the local Palestinians.
This year, however, was different.
“They came out from this gate right here,” al-Tamimi said, pointing to a large steel gate next to an armored military tower covered in Israeli flags. The gate, which sits opposite al-Tamimi’s shop, is one of the entrances to the Israeli-controlled area of the city, where hundreds of extremist Israeli settlers live in the former homes of Palestinians, now Jewish-only settlements.
“They immediately started throwing things at us and attacking our shops. They tried to break everything and tried to assault us,” al-Tamimi said, referring to himself and his neighboring shopkeeper, who defied Israeli army orders that forced Palestinian shops in the area to shut down for the weekend.
“When we tried to defend ourselves, the soldiers who were with them started beating us up,” he said, pointing to a bruise on his arm that he said was left after an Israeli soldier hit him with the butt of his rifle.
“Instead of stopping the settlers, the soldiers attacked us instead and let the settlers continue on their rampage.”
Defiling a mosque, vandalizing shops, assaulting Palestinians
As the hundreds of settlers passed al-Tamimi’s shop, they made their way through the Old City of Hebron, through the clothing and vegetable markets in the heart of the city, before continuing on to the Bab al-Zawiya area of Hebron, which is under control of the Palestinian Authority.
Alarming developments in coalition agreements and promised ministerial appointments following the Israeli elections in November have left many of us rightfully worried about the future of Israeli democracy and human rights in the region.
The incoming government, comprised of far-right extremist and Jewish supremacist politicians, is shaping up to give their parties profound power and control over a wide range of politically sensitive and explosive issues in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and within the Green Line.
What does this mean for Jerusalem and the prospects for peace?
Ir Amim (“City of Nations” or “City of Peoples”) invites you to join us for a virtual event exploring the implications of the incoming government on Jerusalem and what it means for civil society organizations active in pursuing justice, equality, and the end of the occupation.
OUR GUESTS Professor Naomi Chazan – Professor Emerita of Political Science, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Former Member of the Knesset Nivine Sandouka – Regional Chief of Staff, Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP) & Board Director, human rights NGO Hoqoqna (“Our Rights”)
This zoom event by Ir Imim explores the implications of the incoming Israeli government on a wide range of politically sensitive issues in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and within the Green Line and what it means for civil society organizations active in pursuing justice, equality, and the end of the occupation.
Green Olive Tours sponsors a panel discussion featuring Christian Palestinian perspectives on liberation and theology.
Join members of Sabeel, the ecumenical liberation theology center in Jerusalem, to explore the ways they draw on Christian narratives and teachings as a source of resilience in the face of violent military occupation.