DESTINATION: OCCUPATION
by Amnesty International

DIGITAL TOURISM AND ISRAEL’S ILLEGAL SETTLEMENTS IN THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

Allowing some properties and attractions to be listed as being in “Israel”, as Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia and TripAdvisor do, not only deceives users, but also helps conceal information that can help reveal the illegal nature of the settlements.

In this report Amnesty International exposes how four leading online tourism companies and global brands — TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Expedia and Airbnb — are listing places to stay or things to do in illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

They are promoting these listings, and profiting from them, despite knowing that these Israeli settlements are illegal under international law and are at the root of a wide range of human rights violations suffered by Palestinian communities.

Amnesty International is calling on these companies to stop providing these listings, and on governments around the world to take regulatory action to prevent companies such as these from doing business in or with Israel’s illegal settlements.

Amnesty Intl MDE1594902019ENGLISH

‘No to Apartheid’

Palestinians block Israel’s new ‘Apartheid Road’

Yumna Patel, Mondoweiss, January 23, 2019

Over a dozen Palestinian activists, along with Israeli and international supporters, blockaded the entrance to Israel’s new ‘Apartheid Road’ in the central occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem on Wednesday morning.

The group of activists closed the gates to the newly opened road and formed a human chain, raising banners in Arabic, English, and Hebrew saying “No to Apartheid” and “No to Annexation.”

Israeli forces approach activists at the entrance to the ‘Apartheid Road’ on January 23, 2019 (Photo, PSCC Facebook)

Israeli forces arrived to the scene, which is located adjacent to an Israeli military base, shortly after the activists closed the road and attempted to forcibly remove them.

Two protesters were arrested and at least four others were injured. One of the detained protesters was identified as Ibrahim Musalem, from the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem.

Palestinian activist Ibrahim Musalem was arrested by Israeli forces (Photo: Munther Amira, Facebook)

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Collective Punishment Against Families

Israeli Forces Blow up Building Belonging to Abu Hmeid Family for the Third Time

Ref:135-2018, December 15, 2018

As part of the collective punishment policy adopted by the Israeli forces against the families of Palestinians accused of carrying out attacks against Israeli soldiers or/and settlers, on Tuesday early morning, 15 December 2018, the Israeli forces blew up a building belonging to the family of prisoner Islam Abu Hmeid in al-Am’ari refugee camp in central al-Bireh. Blowing up the building came two days after the Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netenyahu’s decision to expedite the demolitions of the houses belonging to Palestinians carrying out attacks. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) accordingly condemns this new crime, which is added to the series of Israeli crimes committed in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). PCHR also emphasizes that the crime is part of the Israeli forces’ collective punishment policy against innocent Palestinians in violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention that prohibits collective penalties and reprisals against protected persons and their property. PCHR calls upon the international community to offer protection to the civilians in the oPt and ensure the application of the aforementioned convention.

According to PCHR’s investigations and eyewitnesses’ accounts, at approximately 01:30 on the abovementioned day, Israeli forces backed by military vehicles and around 150 soldiers moved into al-Am’ari refugee camp in central al-Bireh. The soldiers stepped out of their military vehicles and deployed between houses while around 30 of them topped the roofs of many houses. A large number of the Israeli soldiers raided a residential building belonging to the family of prisoner Islam Abu Hmeid to apply the demolition decision which the family was informed of previously under the pretext that a marble stone was thrown on the head of an Israeli soldier during an incursion into the camp on 06 June 2018 and led to his death. Dozens of the camp’s residents and Palestinian activists along with International human rights defenders and Chairman of the Colonization and Wall Resistance Commission, Minister Waleed ‘Assaf, stood in front of the building attempting to prevent the demolition. However, The Israeli soldiers forced them, including the 60-year-old mother of Islam, who was alone living in the building, to evacuate the building by firing sound bombs and teargas canisters directly at them while they were inside. The Israeli soldiers also beat up and pushed them, including photojournalist Mohammed Hamdan after breaking his cell phone, with the firearms’ muzzles.

Following that, a large number of Israeli soldiers raided and searched the residential houses in the vicinity of the building. They forced the residents to evacuate them immediately and forcibly, causing fear among them. The residents were forced to leave towards al-Bireh School, in the center of the camp, where they were detained for 3 consecutive hours before the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) crews were allowed to transfer them to the PRCS office adjacent to the camp. They were more than 500 civilians, including children, women and elderlies, detained in a very cold place. In the meantime, dozens of young men and boys gathered and threw stones and empty bottles at Israeli soldiers who deployed throughout the camp. The soldiers fired heavily rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at them, wounding 6 young men with rubber bullets in addition to other civilians and journalists suffering tear gas inhalation and fainting. Meanwhile, an Israeli military force was demolishing the internal walls of the building with special equipment and planting a large quantity of explosives inside it in preparation for blowing it up. At approximately 06:50, the 150-square-meter building comprised of 4 floors was blown up and completely destroyed. It is noteworthy that the Israeli forces demolished the house of the Abu Humaid family for the third time as the first time was in 1994 and the second in 2003. Moreover, the family of Abu Hamid had a son who was killed previously by the Israeli forces and has 6 prisoners serving their sentences in the Israeli prisons, the last one was Islam who was arrested on 13 June 2018.

PCHR again condemns the crime of blowing up the abovementioned building and maltreatment of Palestinian civilians as both are part of the collective punishment policy adopted by the Israeli forces against the Palestinian civilians. PCHR again emphasizes 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.

December 6, 2018
Film: 5 Broken Cameras

The Marquee Cinema, Union South
1308 West Dayton Street , Madison
7:00 pm

Join UW Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the UW Middle East Studies Program, and the Wisconsin Union Directorate Film and Society & Politics Committees for a screening of the documentary Five Broken Cameras.

The documentary will be followed by a moderated discussion and Q&A with Professor Nevine El Nossery. Five Broken Cameras follows the resistance of one Palestinian farmer and his village against encroachments by the Israeli army.

Airbnb Stops Listing in Illegal West Bank Settlements

CodePINK, November 19, 2018

This is a huge victory! Moments ago, Airbnb announced they will no longer list vacation rentals in illegal Jewish-only West Bank settlements. It’s been exactly two years since we took the stage at Airbnb Open to confront actor Ashton Kutcher. “Airbnb is profiting off the displacement of Palestinians and human rights abuses.”

It might seem sometimes that we are speaking into the wind, but we know that when we are persistent, our work pays off. In celebration of successfully getting Airbnb to end support for Israeli apartheid, join our next campaign for Palestinian rights: Tell pop superstar Ed Sheeran to support Palestinian rights by refusing to perform in Israel. Share our Ed Sheeran petition with your friends and colleagues and on social media. Help us tell him how important it is to support Palestinian rights.

The Airbnb campaign showed that when we work together, WE WIN. The Stolen Homes coalition that formed over two years ago to work on getting Airbnb out of the settlements, included us, Jewish Voice for Peace, American Muslims for Palestine, the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, Sum of Us and more. Together we protested, wrote articles and took to social media. Today our persistence paid off. Every single person who supported this campaign deserves credit and that means you!

We won’t stop campaigning until Palestine is free. So, take a moment to toast this success and then get busy working on our next win: Tell pop superstar Ed Sheeran not to perform in Israel.

Mabrouk (congratulations) to us all,
Ariel and Ursula and the entire CODEPINK team: Ann, Brienne, Carley, Caroline, Farida, Jodie, Katie, Kelly, Kirsten, Lily, Mark, Maya, Medea, Nancy, Paki, Ryan, Sarah, and Tighe

Sep 11, 2018
United Nations Association Lecture on Palestine

Madison Central Library
201 W Mifflin St
7:00 pm, 3rd Floor

Since 2006 the speaker has been spending from one to three months per year accompanying Palestinian children to school past Israeli settler checkpoints in the village of Tuwani and the surrounding South Hebron Hills of the West Bank. She initially volunteered with Christian Peacemaking Teams, but more recently has served with the Italian organization Operation Dove, both of which began their work in Tuwani at the invitation of the village and in response to Israeli settler attacks on schoolchildren and shepherds. She will speak about her experiences and current developments in Palestine.

More information: UNA Public Lecture — Conflict in Palestine

UNRWA Crisis: Beyond Dollars and Cents

Zaha Hassan, Palestine Square | Institute for Palestine Studies, August 3, 2018

“Continuing services to refugees is a right, not a handout.”

This was the message last week of one of the thousands in Gaza who came out to protest the UN Relief and Works Agency’s (UNRWA) decision to not renew 154 employment contracts in the occupied Palestinian territory. Despite UNRWA’s best efforts, it has not been able to make up its current $250 million budget shortfall resulting from the U.S. decision to slash its contributions to the refugee agency.

Almost 12,500 Palestinians in Gaza are dependent on an UNRWA paycheck, which in many cases helps sustain more than just the nuclear family in the enclave where the unemployment rate is over 40%. It is unclear whether there will be enough funding for the 262,000 children in Gaza’s UNRWA schools to return to their classrooms this academic year.

The existential threat facing UNRWA is deliberate, and so are the dire consequences for the 5.3 million registered refugees it serves. President Donald Trump and his Middle East Team headed by advisor, Jared Kushner, have latched onto the idea that humanitarian relief may be used as leverage to force the Palestinian leadership back to a negotiating table set by Israel. Leaked details of the Kushner-crafted peace plan indicate that it is nothing more than a souped up, donor-infused version of the status quo that Israel seeks to have legitimated with the signature of President Mahmoud Abbas. The Palestinian leader has infuriated the Administration by refusing to engage with it on these terms and so the Administration—along with the Republican-controlled Congress—has been tightening the financial noose around Palestinians.

[From the Journal of Palestine Studies | UNRWA and the Refugees: A Difficult but Lasting Marriage]

The idea of weaponizing humanitarian assistance provided to Palestinians is not new but it has never before found the currency it now has in the White House. Of late, right-wing think tanks, pro-“Greater Israel” Washington lobby groups and the “no daylight between Israel and the U.S.” politicians have been peddling the fiction that humanitarian relief to Palestinian refugees has been growing by leaps and bonds. They argue that aid money that maintains the camp infrastructure and enables the provision of essential services and work opportunities perpetuates refugeehood.

Of course, no Palestinian, or any other person for that matter, chooses to live as a stateless person in the squalor of a refugee camp dependent on food aid. The plight of Palestinian refugees is a result of a concerted effort by pre-state Zionist leaders and successive Israeli governments to avoid reaching a political solution based on international law and precedent. One need only look back on the remarks of Abba Eban, Israel’s representative to the UN, during the debate over whether the UN ought to accept Israel’s twice-rejected application for UN membership. Eban, though loathe to definitively state that Israel would permit the return of the 750,000 Palestinian refugees to their homes, promised that Israel would take no action “inconsistent with the resolutions of the [UN General] Assembly and the Security Council.” Furthermore, he stated that the refugee issue could only be solved within the United Nations and that acceptance of Israel as a member would make it easier to reach the desired political solution. He argued, however, that the timing for refugee return was premature; a peace agreement between Israel and the Arab states was required first so that borders could be established and repatriation could be implemented.

Seventy years and two peace agreements between Israel and two of its Arab neighbors later, Israel has neither defined its borders nor allowed a single Palestinian refugee to return home. Palestinian refugeehood started with Israel’s depopulation of 418 Palestinian villages, expelling approximately 750,000 Palestinians from their homes, and it will only end when Israel is compelled to implement repatriation and reparations. This is what the international community required of Israel in 1949 as a condition for its admittance as a member of the UN.

[From the Journal of Palestine Studies | Between Occupier and Occupied: UNRWA in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip]

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She slapped an Israeli soldier and was sent to prison. Now a Palestinian teen is free — and in the limelight

“We can change people’s minds
by defending our cause”

She slapped an Israeli soldier and was sent to prison. Now a Palestinian teen is free — and in the limelight
Ahed Tamimi sits July 30 in the backyard of her family house in the West Bank village of Nebi Saleh, near Ramallah. (Nasser Nasser / Associated Press)

Noga Tarnopolsky, LA Times, Aug 02, 2018

Nebi Saleh, West Bank — Two days after her release from an Israeli jail, the 17-year-old Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi sat in her parents’ yard, wearing jeans and a tired expression, the front of her mane of blond curls tied in a bun atop her head.

TV crews from the United States, Turkey, Germany and Norway vied for on-camera interviews with her. Since her release, her representatives say, she has responded to questions from about 175 media outlets. She has six media advisors, one of them Israeli, and they have worked hard to make her the face of the Palestinian resistance.

In December, Israeli authorities detained Ahed, then 16, after she was filmed slapping and kicking a soldier. She had just learned that a cousin had been shot and wounded with a rubber bullet by Israeli soldiers. It was not her first time in the spotlight: She had been filmed confronting soldiers in 2012 and again in 2015.

Video of the 2017 incident went viral, igniting an international debate about the nature of nonviolent resistance, the behavior of the soldier — who did not react — and the legality of child arrests.

She is, by now, the most recognized member of the Tamimi family, whose 300-plus members populate the tiny West Bank hamlet of Nebi Saleh. Her family has gained fame and notoriety for the weekly Friday protests her father, Bassem, leads against encroachment from a neighboring Jewish settlement.

Ahed Tamimi speaks sitting between her father Bassam and mother Nariman during a press conference on the outskirts of the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh on July 29, 2018.
Ahed Tamimi speaks sitting between her father Bassam and mother Nariman during a press conference on the outskirts of the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh on July 29, 2018. (Majdi Mohammed / AP)

Palestinians celebrate Ahed for her grit and courage; Israelis view her as a provocateur, if not a terrorist.

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Israeli lawmaker stands by call to shoot Ahed Tamimi

Tamara Nassar, The Electronic Intifada, 25 April 2018

Ahed Tamimi’s lawyer called for an investigation into sexual harassment during the teenager’s interrogation. (Oren Ziv, ActiveStills)

Israeli lawmaker Bezalel Smotrich published a tweet on 21 April calling for a Palestinian child prisoner to be shot.

Smotrich wrote that he was “very sad” that Ahed Tamimi is in jail because she “should have gotten a bullet, at least in the kneecap.”

“That would have put her under house arrest for the rest of her life,” the lawmaker added, according to the newspaper Haaretz.

Smotrich is a member of the extreme right-wing nationalist party Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home).

He has advocated a plan for the expulsion of Palestinians that a noted Israeli Holocaust expert has described as potentially genocidal.

That expert also said that Smotrich’s values resemble those of the Nazi SS.

Smotrich was responding to Israeli journalist Yinon Magal, who wrote, according to Haaretz, “I’m watching this clip again and I am so glad that Tamimi is still in jail. Sometimes, it’s good that the mill of justice grinds slowly.”

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