Join Silwan activists Sahar Abassi and Zuheir Rajabi online to find out how you can help.
June 12, 13, or 16
1:00 – 2:30 pm Central
Participants in this Virtual Delegation will see the ways in which Palestinians in Silwan, East Jerusalem, are resisting Israeli occupation and displacement. In Silwan, Israel and its tourist and archeology industries seek to link the bible story of King David to the modern Israeli state. This controversial reading of archeology and history supports the illusion that Jerusalem has an exclusively Jewish history and that therefore Jews are entitled to the city. This delegation is being co-sponsored by Madaa Creative Center and Art Forces.
Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan tells Haaretz why he welcomes a new Israeli government, even one led by a right-winger like Naftali Bennett who has renounced the two-state solution
Wisconsin Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan. Andy Manis / AP
WASHINGTON – How does a lawmaker go from surface-level familiarity with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to being one of the most vocal proponents of Palestinian rights in the history of Congress?
It starts with Humpty Dumpty.
Rep. Mark Pocan had visited Israel on congressional trips since entering office in 2013, where he spent a bit of time in the West Bank. But it was always through an Israeli lens. After learning more about the conflict from the pro-Israel left-wing J Street organization, the progressive Wisconsin Democrat went again in 2016 on the first-ever congressional trip to Palestine organized by the Humpty Dumpty Institute.
Despite being organized by an NGO that Pocan jokingly admits has “one of the worst names in Washington,” it provided him with a first opportunity to see the land from a Palestinian perspective.
“Having a chance to see things from that perspective opened my eyes about what was going on, and the barriers in getting to a two-state solution that I have advocated for,” he tells Haaretz. “Seeing and talking to people in Palestine firsthand and walking through all the different issues really mattered a lot.”
UW Library Mall
Join us to mourn the lives lost, show solidarity to the Palestinian people, and condemn U.S military aid to Israel.
Bring your flags, signs, and keffiyehs!
Free and open to the public.
Israeli historian Ilan Pappé: “language is very important. The way you frame a situation can affect your chances of changing it..we should understand that Israel is *colonizing* #Palestine. It started colonizing it in late 19th century & still colonizing today”
— Assal Rad (@AssalRad) May 29, 2021
Why are these advanced fighters used against Palestinians?
Israeli Forces spokesman Zilberman announced the start of the bombing of Gaza, specifying that “80 fighters are taking part in the operation, including the advanced F-35s” (The Times of Israel, May 11, 2021). It is officially the baptism of fire for the US Lockheed Martin’s fifth-generation fighter, whose production Italy also participates in as a second-level partner.
Israel has already received twenty-seven F-35s from the US, and last February decided to buy no longer fifty F-35s but seventy-five. To this end the government has decreed a further allocation of 9 billion dollars: 7 were granted by a US to Israel free military “aid” of 28 billion, 2 were granted as a loan by the US Citibank.
While Israeli F-35 pilots were being trained by the U.S. Air Force in Arizona and Israel, the US Army Engineers built in Israel special hardened hangars for the F-35s, suitable for both fighters’ maximum protection on the ground, and their rapid take-off on attack. At the same time, the Israeli military industries (Israel Aerospace and Elbit Systems) in close coordination with Lockheed Martin enhance the fighter renamed “Adir” (Powerful): above all its ability to penetrate enemy defenses and its range of action which was nearly doubled.
These capabilities are certainly not necessary to attack Gaza. Why then are the most advanced fifth-generation fighters used against Palestinians? Because it serves to test F-35s fighters and their pilots in real war action using Gaza homes as targets on a firing range. It does not matter if in the target houses there are entire families.
The F-35s, added to the hundreds of fighter-bombers already supplied by the US to Israel. are designed for nuclear attack particularly with the new B61-12 bomb. The United States will shortly deploy these nuclear bombs in Italy and other European countries, and will also provide them to Israel, the only nuclear power in the Middle East with an arsenal estimated at 100-400 nuclear weapons. If Israel doubles the range of F-35 fighters and is about to receive eight Boeing Pegasus tankers from the US for refueling the F-35s in flight, it is because it is preparing to launch an attack, even nuclear, against Iran.
The Israeli nuclear forces are integrated into the NATO electronic system within the “Individual cooperation program” framework with Israel. Although not a member of the Alliance, Israel is integrated with a permanent mission in the NATO headquarters in Brussels. In the same framework, Germany supplied Israel with six Dolphin submarines. modified for launching nuclear missiles (as Der Spiegel documented in 2012).
Italy’s military cooperation with Israel has become a law of the Republic (Law No. 94 of May 17, 2005). This law establishes comprehensive cooperation, both between armed forces and military industries, including activities that remain secret because they are subject to the “Security Agreement” between the two parties.
Israel has supplied Italy with the Opsat-3000 satellite, which transmits very high-resolution images for military operations in distant war theaters. The satellite is connected to three centers in Italy and, at the same time, to a fourth center in Israel, as a proof of the increasingly close strategic collaboration between the two countries.
Italy supplied Israel with thirty Leonardo Aermacchi fighters for pilot training. Now it can provide Israel with a new version of the M-346 FA (Fighter Attack), which – Leonardo Industry specified – serves at the same time for training and for “ground attack missions with 500-pound drop ammunition, and precision-guided ammunitions capable of increasing the number of targets to hit at the same time “. The new version of the fighter – Leonardo Industry underlined – is particularly suitable for “missions in urban areas”, where heavy fighters “are often used in low-paying missions with high operating costs”. The ideal for the next Israeli bombings of Gaza, which can be carried out with “a cost per flight hour that is reduced by up to 80%”, and will be very ” cost-effective “, that is, they will kill many more Palestinians.
This article was originally published in Italian on Il Manifesto. Manlio Dinucci is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.
This article is from the Safe Skies Clean Water Wisconsin coalition. Our mission is to stop the harm that basing F-35 fighter jets at Truax Field in Madison will inflict. We work to stop the pollution and force the clean-up of water contamination by the base.
An eviction in East Jerusalem lies at the center of a conflict that led to war between Israel and Hamas. But for millions of Palestinians, the routine indignities of occupation are part of daily life.
Israeli soldiers firing tear gas towards Palestinian protesters in the town of Kfar Qaddum. Samar Hazboun for The New York Times
JERUSALEM — Muhammad Sandouka built his home in the shadow of the Temple Mount before his second son, now 15, was born.
They demolished it together, after Israeli authorities decided that razing it would improve views of the Old City for tourists.
Mr. Sandouka, 42, a countertop installer, had been at work when an inspector confronted his wife with two options: Tear the house down, or the government would not only level it but also bill the Sandoukas $10,000 for its expenses.
Such is life for Palestinians living under Israel’s occupation: always dreading the knock at the front door.
The looming removal of six Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem set off a round of protests that helped ignite the latest war between Israel and Gaza. But to the roughly three million Palestinians living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which Israel captured in the 1967 war and has controlled through decades of failed peace talks, the story was exceptional only because it attracted an international spotlight.
For the most part, they endure the frights and indignities of the Israeli occupation in obscurity.
Even in supposedly quiet periods, when the world is not paying attention, Palestinians from all walks of life routinely experience exasperating impossibilities and petty humiliations, bureaucratic controls that force agonizing choices, and the fragility and cruelty of life under military rule, now in its second half-century.
Underneath that quiet, pressure builds.
If the eviction dispute in East Jerusalem struck a match, the occupation’s provocations ceaselessly pile up dry kindling. They are a constant and key driver of the conflict, giving Hamas an excuse to fire rockets or lone-wolf attackers grievances to channel into killings by knives or automobiles. And the provocations do not stop when the fighting ends.
Home on the Edge
No homeowner welcomes a visit from the code-enforcement officer. But it’s entirely different in East Jerusalem, where Palestinians find it nearly impossible to obtain building permits and most homes were built without them: The penalty is often demolition.
Mohammed Sandouka amid the ruins of his home in East Jerusalem. Dan Balilty for The New York Times
Mr. Sandouka grew up just downhill from the Old City’s eastern ramparts, in the valley dividing the Temple Mount from the Mount of Olives.
At 19, he married and moved into an old addition onto his father’s house, then began expanding it. New stone walls tripled the floor area. He laid tile, hung drywall and furnished a cozy kitchen. He spent around $150,000.
Children came, six in all. Ramadan brought picnickers to the green valley. The kids played host, delivering cold water or hot soup. His wife prepared feasts of maqluba (chicken and rice) and mansaf (lamb in yogurt sauce). He walked with his sons up to Al Aqsa, one of Islam’s holiest sites.
Palestinian citizens of Israel protesting the passage of the Jewish nation-state law. Tel Aviv, August 2018. (Photo: Reuters)
Basic facts & figures
- There are 1.9 million Palestinian citizens of Israel (as of December 2019), comprising 21% of Israel’s population.
- 83% of Palestinian citizens of Israel are Muslim, 9% are Christian, and 8% are Druze, according to Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel.
- Most Palestinian citizens of Israel live in three areas: the Galilee in the north, the so-called “Little Triangle” in the center of the country, and the Negev desert (Naqab to Palestinians) in the south.
- There are more than 60 Israeli laws that discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel.
- There are 60,000 to 70,000 homes (as of 2020) belonging to Palestinian citizens of Israel that are threatened with destruction by the government because they were built without official permission, which is extremely difficult for them to obtain.
Who are Palestinian citizens of Israel?
- In 1948, approximately 750,000 indigenous Palestinians were expelled from their homeland by Zionist militias and the new Israeli army during Israel’s establishment as a Jewish majority state. Approximately 150,000 Palestinians remained inside Israel’s borders following the armistice that ended the resulting war, many of them internally displaced and denied the right to return to their homes, most of which were destroyed by Israel.
- Most Palestinians who survived the expulsions were granted Israeli citizenship but between 1949 and 1966 they were governed by repressive military rule, forced into segregated “ghettos,” had most of their land taken from them for the use of Jewish Israelis, and severe restrictions were imposed on their freedom of movement, speech, and ability to earn a living.
- Military rule was lifted in 1966 but today Palestinian citizens of Israel continue to have their land taken from them and homes destroyed, and suffer from widespread, systematic discrimination affecting almost every aspect of their lives.
Systemic discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel
- As part of an effort to maintain the Jewish majority created by the expulsions of 1948, Israel has passed a series of laws to limit the growth of the remaining Palestinian population and their towns and villages, and marginalize them politically. Today, there are more than 60 laws that discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel directly or indirectly, based solely on their ethnicity, impacting virtually every aspect of their lives, including housing, employment, education, healthcare, and who they can marry.
- In 2018, the Israeli Knesset (parliament) passed the “Jewish nation-state” law as one of the country’s quasi-constitutional Basic Laws, which was widely condemned as racist and entrenching apartheid in Israel. Among other things, it declares:
“The right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.”
“The state views the development of Jewish settlement [segregated housing for Jews-only] as a national value and will act to encourage and promote its establishment and consolidation.”
- Israel’s Basic Laws also bar political candidates and parties from advocating for a secular democracy in which all citizens are fully equal, regardless of their religion or ethnicity, by calling for an end to Israel’s system of Jewish privilege. In 2018, legislation calling for Israel to become a state based on full equality for all citizens introduced by Palestinian citizens of Israel was banned by a committee and prevented from even being debated by the Knesset. A Knesset legal advisor explained the bill was rejected because it included “several articles that are meant to alter the character of the State of Israel from the nation-state of the Jewish people to a state in which there is equal status from the point of view of nationality for Jews and Arabs.”
Confiscation of Palestinian property, destruction of Palestinian homes, ‘Judaization’ of Palestinian land in Israel
- Since 1948 when the state was established, Israel has used laws such as the British Mandate-era Land (Acquisition for Public Purposes) Ordinance law and the Absentee Property Law to confiscate millions of acres of Palestinian land for the use of Jewish Israelis. The Absentee Property Law, passed in 1950, allows the government to expropriate land belonging to Palestinians, including Israeli citizens, who were forced from their homes during Israel’s establishment and prevented from returning. Israel also declared large amounts of land belonging to Palestinian citizens of Israel “closed military zones,” and then used a law dating from the Ottoman Empire era to take it over. According to one estimate, of 370 Jewish towns established by Israel between 1948 and 1953, 350 were built on confiscated Palestinian land.
- After displacing tens of thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel, destroying many of their homes and villages, and taking most of their land for the use of Jewish Israelis, Israel made it extremely difficult for them to build or expand their homes or the boundaries of their towns. In May 2020, Human Rights Watch issued a report entitled, Israel: Discriminatory Land Policies Hem in Palestinians; Palestinian Towns Squeezed While Jewish Towns Grow, concluding:
“Decades of land confiscations and discriminatory planning policies have confined many Palestinian citizens to densely populated towns and villages that have little room to expand. Meanwhile, the Israeli government nurtures the growth and expansion of neighboring predominantly Jewish communities, many built on the ruins of Palestinian villages destroyed in 1948.”
These restrictions have caused serious overcrowding in many communities. When Palestinian citizens of Israel are then forced to build without government approval to meet the natural growth of their families, Israel destroys the structures. In 2018, Israel passed the “Kaminitz Law” to expedite the process of destroying Palestinian homes built without official permission. According to the Arab Center for Alternative Planning, as of 2020 there were an estimated 15%-20% of Palestinian homes in Israel lacking difficult to obtain permits, and between 60,000 and 70,000 homes at risk of being totally destroyed by Israel as a result. As of 2015, 97% of the demolition orders issued by Israeli courts were against Palestinian citizens of Israel, even though they only made up about 20% of the population.
Lee Matz for the Wiscosin Muslim Journal
A crowd gathered Thursday evening at “The Calling,” the orange sunburst artwork on the east end of Wisconsin Avenue, for a “Free Palestine” rally planned by a coalition of organizations.
A post on the Wisconsin Chapter of Bail Out the People listed the sponsors: American Muslims for Palestine, Islamic Society of Milwaukee, Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition, Jewish Voice for Peace, Voces de la Frontera, Rohingya American Society, several mosques, and Students for Justice in Palestine chapters from Marquette University, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, and Muslim Student Association chapters from MU and UWM.
Hundreds, possibly 1,000, shouted “Free Palestine,” “End the Seige on Gaza” and other chants to the beat of a snare drum. Big green, white, black and red Palestinian flags waved and signs announced: “We Can’t Breathe Since 1948,” “Pakistan for Palestine,” and “Justice is our Demand,” among countless others. Many wore keffiyehs, the black and white Palestinian scarfs. Passersby in cars honked and waved.
Speeches in front of “The Calling” bookended a march down Prospect Avenue that stretched from the east end of Wisconsin Avenue almost to Juneau Avenue. Mahdi Jaber, a recent UWM graduate, and others led the lively crowd in chanting between speakers and from the back of a truck as marchers followed.
The Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU) is a non-profit organization that offers journalists facts, analysis, experts, and digital resources about Palestine and Palestinians.