South Hebron Hills Update

Expulsion by a thousand cuts

Dear Friends,

The last weeks have been busy and challenging in the South Hebron Hills. Young Palestinians, with international and Israeli peace activists, have planted hundreds of trees. But this is also a difficult time. Soldiers and settlers have repeatedly forced shepherds off of Palestinian grazing land located near settlements and outposts, settlers have harassed schoolchildren and shepherds, and just last night Settlers uprooted more than 20 young olive trees.


christadelphia.org

The creativity, resilience and commitment to nonviolent resistance is more amazing here each year.

Here are a few recent events and photos.

On the night of February 4 Israeli settlers from the illegal outpost of Havat Ma’on uprooted 23 olive trees on Palestinian land near Tuwani in Humra Valley. The trees have were recently planted during a nonviolent demonstration of Palestinians and Israeli and International activists.

On January 23 Israeli army and civil authorities used a bulldozer to destroy an agricultural field in the Palestinian village of Khalaya Al-Moghrabi. The farmer was already unable to work his land because Israeli authorities had confiscated his tractor.


The Palestinian road to Jinbah and the villages of Massafer Yatta

On January 31 the Israeli army used a bulldozer to destroy two sections of the road that connects the city of Yatta to Jimba village and the other villages of Massafer Yatta, making access to school, health care, commerce and other services even more difficult for the families living in the villages located inside the area claimed by Israel as Firing Zone 918.


School in Khallet Athaba

On January 30 The Israeli Civil Administration (DCO) issued demolition orders for the school and two private family houses in the Palestinian village of Khallet Athaba and a stop work order for a house in the village of Tuba.


Palestinian child from Tuba

Israeli authorities delivered a stop work order for the home of this child’s family in the village of Tuba. It is impossible for families to get building permits. And stop work orders are often followed by demolition orders.

As West Bank Violence Surges, Israel Is Silent on Attacks by Jews

Israel’s right-wing government has remained silent, wary of alienating settlers in an election year


The funeral last Sunday for Hamdy Naasan, who was killed in a melee involving Jewish settlers. The Israeli government has been reluctant to address a rise in attacks by settlers. (Mohamad Torokman/Reuters)

Isabel Kershner, New York Times, Feb. 2, 2019

AL MUGHAYIR, West Bank — A gang of a dozen or so armed Jewish settlers descended from a hilltop outpost to the Palestinian village below and opened fire, witnesses said. Israeli soldiers arrived, and instead of stopping the settlers, the witnesses said, they either stood by or clashed with the villagers.

In the melee, Hamdy Naasan, 38, a Palestinian father of four, was shot and killed.

The killing last Saturday was the latest in a wave of settler violence. Attacks by settlers on Palestinians, their property and Israeli security forces increased by 50 percent last year and have threatened to ignite the West Bank, Israeli security officials say.

Days earlier, the Israeli authorities charged a 16-year-old yeshiva student from another Jewish settlement with manslaughter and terrorism, accusing him of hurling a four-pound rock that killed Aisha al-Rabi, a Palestinian mother of eight, one night in October as she rode in her family car along a nearby highway.

While Palestinian and United Nations officials have condemned the violence — Nickolay E. Mladenov, the United Nations envoy to the Middle East, described the shooting in Al Mughayir as “shocking and unacceptable” — Israel’s right-wing government has remained conspicuously silent, wary of alienating settlers and other potential supporters in an election year.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is seeking a fifth term, is vying with other right-wing rivals for the settlers’ support. He is facing bribery investigations and his strongest political challenge in years.

“Thou shalt not murder?” Tamar Zandberg, leader of the left-wing party Meretz, wrote in a Facebook post, noting the resounding lack of condemnation from government officials. “Silence. Everyone sees the election on the horizon, and the settler lobby is stronger than any moral standard.”


The settler outpost Adei Ad sits on a hill overlooking the Palestinian village of Al Mughayir in the West Bank. (Menahem Kahana/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images)

By contrast, after a Palestinian home in the village of Duma was firebombed in 2015, killing a toddler and his parents, Mr. Netanyahu and right-wing leaders issued strong condemnations and said Jewish terrorism would not be tolerated.

This time the loudest voices have risen to the defense of the Jewish suspects. Israel’s domestic security agency, the Shin Bet, has found itself on the defensive, accused by right-wing organizations of trampling on the rights of those suspected in the stoning.

Honenu, a right-wing legal aid organization, denounced the fact that the five youths initially detained in the woman’s attack had been denied access to legal counsel for days under court-approved counterterrorism laws. About 100 rabbis, including prominent voices in the religious Zionist and settler establishment, signed an open letter in support of the youths.

The justice minister, Ayelet Shaked, called the mother of one of the detainees, telling her to “be strong” and saying she had discussed his case with the state prosecutor. One legislator from the governing Likud party compared the Shin Bet to the K.G.B. Four of the youths were ultimately released.

Mr. Netanyahu rebuffed the attacks on Shin Bet, praising its efforts to thwart Palestinian terrorism, but did not address the settler violence.

For over a decade, radical young settlers known as the hilltop youth have practiced the doctrine known as “Price Tag,” which calls for exacting a price through violence or vandalism in revenge for Palestinian attacks on Jews or for army or police moves against rogue settlement activity.

A week before the stoning attack, a Palestinian gunman fatally shot two Israeli workers in an Israeli-run factory in the West Bank. In December, two Palestinian attacks on a West Bank road killed two Israeli soldiers and critically wounded a third soldier and a pregnant woman. Her baby was delivered early and died three days later.


The yeshiva Pri Haaretz, which the authorities say has links to messianic radicals, is in the West Bank settlement of Rehelim, which also runs a boutique winery. (Jim Hollander/EPA, via Shutterstock)

Continue reading

Congressmen are trying to stop Rep. Rashida Tlaib from leading a delegation to the West Bank


Rashida Tlaib, elected to 13th Congressional District of Michigan, stands in front of US Capitol Building

Daily Kos, January 31, 2019

Every year, the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC sponsors an all-expense paid trip for Congressional members, seeking to bolster support for Israel. In most recent years, the Democratic trip has been led by Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer (MD-5). Incoming Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (CA-32) is expected to lead the Republican delegation.

These junkets gloss over the daily, decades-long pervasive violation of Palestinian’s rights by the Israeli government. They serve as a platform for the Israeli government to present its views unchallenged. AIPAC and the Israeli government prioritize new legislators, hoping to influence their formative views.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), who is the first Palestinian-American woman elected to Congress announced last month that she will not participate in this one-sided propaganda trip. Instead, she plans to lead a competing delegation on a tour of the West Bank.

Well, it seems this is not sitting well with several of her colleagues, who consider it dangerously presumptuous of a Palestinian-American woman to lead a delegation to her family’s home.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., told Al-Monitor this week that he’s against a West Bank delegation.

Instead of her talking about things, she’s new here, she ought to listen and learn and open her mind and then come to some conclusions,” Engel told Al-Monitor. “If you’re going to be close-minded and have your views, no one’s going to change her views. But I would hope that once you’re elected to Congress, you would at least care to see the other side of the coin.” — www.al-monitor.com/…

Official Congressional delegations must be approved by the House speaker or the chair of a committee the Representative sits on. Though Rep. Tlaib isn’t on Rep. Engel’s committee, since he sits on Foreign Affairs, his views carry weight with others. Rep. Tlaib knows this.

Rep. Tlaib is showing an enormous amount of maturity here.

TAKE ACTION: If you’re a constituent, write Rep. Tlaib’s office here to let her know you support her delegation. If you’re not, write your Representative and ask that they accompany Rep. Tlaib.

There is no value in powerful US lawmakers receiving one-sided views. Yet, that is exactly what many others in Congress want.

Continue reading

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)

Palestinian activist Munther Amira, who participated in the protest, said “any shame the [Israeli] Occupation may have had of its apartheid policies is now completely gone with this road. We must not and will not allow for their plan of ethnic cleansing in the outskirts of Jerusalem.”

Israeli authorities opened the ‘Apartheid Road’ or ‘Eastern Ring Road’ earlier this month to widespread Palestinian and international criticisms.

The four-lane highway features two separate road divided by a concrete wall – one for Israeli settlers and the other for Palestinians.

While the Israeli lane allows settlers quick and easy access to the center of Jerusalem, the Palestinian lane is designed to separate Palestinians off through an underpass, diverging to different areas of the West Bank.

In a statement regarding the protest, the Palestinian Popular Struggle Coordination Committee (PSCC) criticized Israel’s plans to expand the road to the south, saying it would “further entrench the two separate and unequal systems of transportation in the West Bank.”

The road is a key infrastructural part of implementing Israel’s ‘Greater Jerusalem’ or ‘E1’ plan, which seeks the de facto annexation of the three settlement blocs adjacent to Jerusalem city – Gush Etzion to the South, Ma’ale Adumim/E-1 to the east and Givat Ze’ev to the north.

Continue reading