Webinar: Unrooting the Jewish National Fund

November 20
12 Noon Central
Zoom Registration

The Jewish National Fund (JNF) owns the land where over half the population of Israel lives.

It is best known around the world for its forestation, tree planting, and environmental conservation efforts. This ethical image is contrasted by the central role the JNF plays in the ongoing dispossession of Palestinans on both sides of the Green Line.

Join the Green Olive Collective in conversation with human rights activists Maya Rosen and Daniel Roth, whose recent report sheds light on the greenwashing tactics of the JNF and the way its deliberately opaque structure facilitates the expropriation of Palestinian land for Jewish settlement.

Presented by Green Olive Collective.

Online Film and Discussion: The Settlers

    November 13
    2 pm Central
    Zoom Registration

    After registration you will receive a link to watch the film prior to the discussion.

Combining history and headlines, THE SETTLERS is the first comprehensive look at the sensitive issue of Israel’s continued construction of settlements in the West Bank, which is at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Radicals, idealists, messianic fanatics, true believers and political opportunists, living on the fault lines of an age-old conflict, come face to face with history itself. Today, the settlers threaten to destroy what little peace remains in the Middle East.

Register now and join us for a discussion of the film with:

  • Shimon Dotan – Filmmaker, university instructor on Political Cinema and Film Directing
  • Rabbi Yaakov Shapiro – Scholar, author, and Board Director at International Council for Middle East Studies
  • Moderator Lara Freidman – President, Foundation for Middle East Peace.

Presented by Voices from the Holy Land Film Series.

Mazin Qumsiyeh: Palestine Is a Climate Justice Issue

Join us to learn the environmental reality in Israel/Palestine today, what is being done by the land’s indigenous protectors. and what we can do to support their efforts.

We are honored to have one of Palestine’s leading voices on Palestinian activism and resistance, Mazin Qumsiyeh, an authority on the natural world of Palestine and environmental justice. Dr. Qumsiyeh is the founder and director of the Palestine Museum of Natural History and the Palestine Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability at Bethlehem University.

The world’s climate and environmental crisis touches every corner of the globe.The most vulnerable and marginalized populations of the world are bearing the brunt of climate change and suffering daily environmental injustice. Nowhere is that more true than in Israel/Palestine. For Palestinians, climate change is not just a natural phenomenon, but a political one. Israel‘s regime of occupation and apartheid, which denies Palestinians the right to manage their land and resources, greatly heightens the impact of the climate crisis for Palestinians, making them more vulnerable to all climate-related conditions.

Yet Israel cultivates an image worldwide as an environmentally conscious, “green” society. It is even considered to be an environmental leader for the world. The reality is dramatically different.

He is also the author of several books, including Sharing The Land Of Canaan: Human Rights and the Israeli-Palestinian Struggle and Popular Resistance in Palestine: A History of Hope and Empowerment, and he has been called “the most important chronicler of contemporary popular resistance in Palestine.”

When we gather online with Mazin Qumsiyeh, representatives from around the world will be meeting in Egypt for the United Nations’ global climate conference, COP27. As we will see on November 9th, the fight for climate justice for all is directly connected to the Palestinian struggle.

Sponsored by Methodist Federation for Social Change and United Methodist Kairos Response.

Palestinians resisting forced removal by moving into caves

The people of Masafer Yatta are using ancestors’ caves to resist Israel’s home demolitions


Members of Palestinian Masafer Yatta communities determined to remain on their land despite Israeli forced evictions, south of Hebron in the West Bank, May 7, 2022. (Mamoun Wazwaz-Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Katherine Tangalakis-Lippert, Business Insider, October 23, 2022

  • Palestinians are resisting Israel’s Supreme Court order that they be removed from their homeland.

  • The people of Masafer Yatta are relying on their history of living in caves to resist eviction.

  • The United Nations says the forcible removal of the Palestinians could be a war crime.

In an effort to resist their forced eviction by Israeli authorities — which the United Nations has said may be a war crime — some Palestinians are living in caves to remain in their homeland.

“We have no home to live in and no tent — we have no option but to live in the cave,” The New York Times reported Wadha Ayoub Abu Sabha, 65, a resident of the village of Khirbet al-Fakheit, said. “The beginning of my life was in the cave, and the end of my life will be in the cave.”

The semi-nomadic people of the Masafer Yatta region have, for generations, lived in small homes and caves along the hillside as they migrated livestock across the area. The desert region, located at the southern tip of the occupied West Bank, is home to 33 villages where some residents, now facing the destruction of their homes by Israeli forces, have moved their families into the old caves to resist being displaced.

The caves are dusty and hot, The Guardian reported, with stone walls and improvised lighting attached to generators. Though their ancestors once used the caves willingly, residents now feel stuck, facing full Israeli control and the demolition of their existing homes.

“In these days we are jailed in our caves, we cannot move,” Indian news outlet EastMojo reported Hajja Halima Abu Younis, an 82-year-old woman from the Jinba village, said. “We are afraid the Israeli army will kill someone while they are conducting military training. The army trains tanks around our village. The sound of the bombs and shots scare the children and the flocks of animals. My son Issa cannot graze his 150 sheep during the military training. How can a shepherd be a shepherd if he cannot graze his sheep?”

In May, Israel’s Supreme Court approved the removal of the people of the Masafer Yatta villages, home to approximately 1,200 residents, in order to allow the country’s Army to use the land for a live-fire military training ground. The landmark decision was one of the largest removal rulings made by the court since Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories began in 1967.

“About 1,200 people, including 580 children, are now at imminent risk of forced eviction and displacement,” read a United Nations statement released shortly after the decision. “They stand to lose their homes, belongings, access to water, livelihoods, primary health facilities and schools. This could amount to forcible transfer, a grave breach of international humanitarian law and, thus a war crime.”

Read the original article at Business Insider

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No Government Has the Right to Pass Such Laws

Dr. James J. Zogby, Arab American Institute, October 17, 2022

During the past month Israel has held 800 Palestinians under administrative detention orders, expelled several Palestinians from East Jerusalem, seized more Arab-owned land from areas around Hebron and in the Jordan Valley turning much of it over to settlers, and instituted a lockdown of many Palestinian areas during Jewish religious days. All of this passed without notice in the US press because Israel policies, such as these, have long been routine features of the 55 year-long occupation.

What’s important to note, however, is that all of these practices are in violation of international law, and all have a disturbing history in Israel/Palestine.

Many of them were initially put in place by the British as part of their effort to squash the Great Palestinian Revolt of 1936-1939. Back then, as Palestinian rebels at the peak of their uprising had gained control of significant areas of the country, the British put in place what they termed the “Emergency Military Administration in Palestine.” Under the provisions of this new regime, thousands of Palestinian rebels were arrested and detained without charges, hundreds were expelled, villages were subjected to collective punishment, and Palestinian properties were confiscated and/or destroyed—all in an effort to end the Revolt.

While these repressive measures did play a role, what finally ended the Revolt was a combination of false promises by the British that they would consider Palestinian demands for independence and the naïveté of some Arab leaders who accepted these British pledges and, therefore, urged the Palestinian fighters to disarm.

After World War II, when faced with a new threat from a Zionist armed insurgency, Britain reinstated the Emergency Administration — this time directed against the Jewish militias. In response, Jewish leaders rose up in outrage. One noted attorney, Ya’acov Shimshon Shapiro (who later served as Israel’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice) criticized these British laws as “unparalleled in any civilized country.”

There were, he said, “no such laws even in Nazi Germany. . . There is only one form of government which resembles the system in force here now — the case of an occupied country. . . It is our duty to tell the whole world that the Defense Laws passed by the British Mandatory Government of Palestine destroy the very foundation of justice in this land.”

He concluded by noting that “no government has the right to pass such laws.” Given this outrage and condemnation, it might be seen as ironic that immediately upon assuming state power in 1948, the State of Israel would adopt these very same laws, applying them to the Palestinian population that remained after the Nakbah & mdash; without any protest from Jewish jurists.

From 1948 until 1965 the Emergency Defense Laws (EDL) & mdash; as they were now called & mdash; were in place in order to control the captive Palestinian community in Israel. Collectively, these laws functioned to: establish a military administration over the Arab sector, give the state the power to institute collective punishment, intern Palestinian citizens of Israel without judicial process, expel Palestinian citizens without recourse, confiscate Arab-owned land, and impose curfews and lockdowns over entire regions.

While the EDL were formally lifted in 1965, they were resurrected and rehabilitated in 1967 & mdash; this time to be applied, even more harshly, to the areas of Palestine that had been occupied in the 1967 war. Collective punishment of entire villages was widespread, as was the use of administrative detention. No political parties or expressions of Palestinian national identity were allowed. Well over 1,200 Palestinian leaders & mdash; mayors, college presidents, labor leaders, and clergy & mdash; were expelled. Substantial areas of Arab-owned land were confiscated, placed under Israeli control and declared either “green spaces” or “security zones” & mdash; off limits to Palestinians, later given over to Israeli settlement construction. And since any Palestinian construction required Israeli permission, which was rarely forthcoming, homes and community buildings were routinely demolished.

Even after the Oslo Accords, which Palestinians hoped would lead to an independent state, provisions of the EDL remained in place as accepted legal practice by the Israeli occupation authorities.

Given that these Israeli “laws” have been in place for more than seven decades, it might not be surprising that Western media and political leaders have become inured to these Israeli repressive measures. This, however, only adds insult to injury.

Palestinians are not “children of a lesser god.” They are human beings, deserving of the rights guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Geneva Conventions. Israel’s “security concerns” (like those of the British in the 1930s and 1940s) do not excuse their wholesale trashing of international law and conventions. And they do not absolve the silence of the West in the face of this total disregard for Palestinian rights. To repeat the quote from Israel’s first Attorney General, these laws “destroy the very foundation of justice in this land. . . no government has the right to pass such laws.”


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Arab American Institute. The Arab American Institute is a non-profit, nonpartisan national leadership organization that does not endorse candidates.

Note: To discuss this column with me, please register here for my next ‘Coffee And A Column’ event Wednesday via Zoom.

Arab American Institute Foundation1600 K Street, NW, Suite 601Washington, DC 20006United States

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Emergency Zoom on Conditions in the West Bank

In this time of crisis, I invite you to an

Emergency Zoom Forum with the UN: Conditions on the Ground in the West Bank
Sunday, October 16th, at 1pm CT
Register for Sunday’s Zoom Forum

Who: Our guest speaker is the U.N.’s West Bank Field Coordinator, Jonathan Whittall, who will be calling in from Jerusalem.

  • Before he joined UNOCHA, he spent 5 years as Director of the Humanitarian Analysis Department at Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, also known as Doctors Without Borders)
  • As head of the humanitarian innovation team supporting MSF operations in conflict, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Syria, Ukraine and South Sudan, focusing on negotiating humanitarian access

What: In this hour long Zoom forum, Jonathan Whittall will focus on the West Bank — including the recent escalation in violence, Israeli Military closure of Palestinian communities, loss of life, and the ongoing humanitarian crisis — and encourage discussion of ways to de-escalate and ensure the safety and security of all.

Why: A midnight phone call with the U.N. helped shed light on something that might help: Congressional intervention. Now is the time when calls from your members of Congress can ease tensions and ensure the safety and security of all, especially for Palestinian children and families. I fear Congress won’t do the right thing unless you, their constituents, ask.  

Email Congress Now to express your concern and invite them to their own RA Zoom briefing with the U.N.

The Sunday Zoom Forum is an important opportunity for you to hear about what is happening on the ground in the West Bank, ask questions, and share ideas.

Click this link to register for the Zoom Forum on Sunday

We look forward to seeing you on Sunday.

Sincerely,Donna Baranski-WalkerFounder and Executive Director, Rebuilding Alliance

P.S. Al Jazeera in Jerusalem reported this in Arabic on Friday, 10/14, ‘In light of prominent Palestinian models for decades, civil disobedience SUCCEEDS in breaking the siege of Shuafat camp’It includes a history of Palestinian nonviolent civil disobedience movements. You can use Google Translate to read it.

Israeli Apartheid: A Breakdown

Israel applies an oppressive, separate, and unequal regime on Palestinians. There is only one word for this: Apartheid.

Omar Baddar, Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU), Oct 14, 2020

Omar Baddar is Director of Communications for the Institute for Middle East Understanding, and past Deputy Director of the Arab American Institute.

Urgent Call to Defend Khallet ad-Dabe’ from Destruction

Stop the Wall, 26 September 2022

A whole village with over 90 residents is at the brink of being ethnically cleansed. The Israeli Supreme Court set September 29 as the date the demolition of Khallet Ad- Dabe’ can begin. The demolition orders include all homes and most livelihood structures in the village. 

If no action is taken to thwart Israeli demolition plans,
a whole village will be ethnically cleansed. 

Your action is crucial now!

Khallet ad-Dabe’ is one of the eight Palestinian villages in Masafer Yatta that apartheid Israel has classfied as a firing zone for its occupation forces. 20 Palestinian villages in the area have been struggling against ethnic cleansing policies for more than 40 years. 

The demolition of Khallet ad-Dabe’ village is part of a huge and systematic effort to deprive Palestinians of their lands in order to cement Jewish dominance over Masafer Yatta. If implemented, it would be Israel’s largest ethnic cleansing since 1968. 

In order to expel the indigenous Palestinian population, Israel destroys homes and schools, confiscates the land and steals natural resources as it expands illegal settlements and persecutes human rights defenders and residents.

Palestinians in Khallet Ad-Dabe’ are armed with hope, popular resistance, and local and international support. Their steadfastness on the ground is the fundamental element to protect their existence on their ancestral land. 

People struggle every day to reach their lands, jobs or schools. They are subjected to attacks by settlers and the military, beatings, abuse and murder. Families are fighting to defend their right to exist. 

What is happening in Masafer Yatta is the result of the failure of world powers to act to end Israel’s impunity, hold those responsible for Israeli apartheid, occupation and settler-colonialism accountable and ensure respect of International Law and Palestinian human rights.

Here is what you can do to defend Khallet ad-Dabe’:

  1. Join us on Wednesday September 28 on social media! On our website, twitter, facebook and instagram you will find posts to share. Here below can download graphics, info and messaging to share and raise awareness on the imminent destruction of Khallet ad-Dabe’ on social media. Use the hashtag #DefendMasaferYatta and #UNinvestigateApartheid.
  2. Write to your government’s foreign ministry and diplomatic missions and ask them to urgently take all actions at their disposal to stop the ethnic cleansing of Khallet ad-Dabe’ and Masafer Yatta. Find a model letter below.
  3. Mobilize support from human rights organizations, political parties, members of parliament, trade unions, church, and other civil society groups, asking them to help you put pressure on your government to stop the demolition of Khallet ad-Dabe’, #DefendMasaferYatta and impose sanctions on Israel to #DismantleApartheid.
  4. Build BDS campaigns to pressure the bulldozer companies to stop profiting from and enabling Israeli demolitions. 

Model letter to your government or diplomatic mission:

To: [….]

Subject: A request for urgent action to defend the Palestinian village Khallet ad-Dabe’ from Israeli demolition

A whole village with over 90 residents is at the brink of being ethnically cleansed by Israel. On September 9, the Israeli Supreme Court set September 29 as the date the demolition of Khallet Ad- Dabe’ , occupied West Bank, can begin. The demolition orders include all homes and most livelihood structures in the village. 

If no action is taken to thwart Israeli demolition plans, a whole village will be ethnically cleansed. 

Khallet ad-Dabe’ is one of the eight Palestinian villages in Masafer Yatta that apartheid Israel has classfied as a firing zone for its occupation forces. 20 Palestinian villages in the area have been struggling against ethnic cleansing policies for more than 40 years. 

The demolition of Khallet ad-Dabe’ village is part of a huge and systematic effort to deprive Palestinians of their lands in order to cement Jewish dominance over Masafer Yatta. If implemented, it would be Israel’s largest ethnic cleansing since 1968. 

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Update: On-The-Ground Jewish Solidarity with Masafer Yatta

Thanks to those who attended our webinar “On the Ground Jewish Solidarity with Palestinian Resistance in Masafer Yatta” with Peter Beinart, Awdah Hathaleen, Nur Zahor, and Zack Witus. If you didn’t have a chance to see it, you can watch the recording. The testimony by our panelists was emotional and powerful.

It was apparent that the expulsion of Palestinians from Masafer Yatta is happening right under our noses in daily increments. Many left the webinar wanting to take action. Below are resources and suggested actions for you to take today!

Resource Links

TAKE ACTION NOW


REGISTER HERE

 

Join us for an exciting webinar, moderated by Peter Beinart, exploring the role of Jewish activists as they join Palestinian-led resistance to the escalating violence of the Israeli occupation. Together, they stand against the state policy enabling daily army and settler violence, home demolitions, and mass expulsions in Masafer Yatta.

The webinar will focus on the connections between Jews (diaspora and Israeli) and Palestinians in the justice movement in Masafer Yatta. We will discuss the imbalance of power and the responsibility Jewish activists have in standing in solidarity, the personal transformations that take place through this work together, how each of the speakers carries this work forward, and the central importance that this joint struggle activism has. Going beyond personal connections, the work creates space for us to stand up together against Israeli settler and army violence and oppression, and make an impact today and in the future.

  • Peter Beinart, moderator – journalist and professor of journalism at CUNY.
  • Nur Zahor – an Israeli Arabic and Hebrew teacher and activist in Masafer Yatta.
  • Awdah Hathaleen – Palestinian Human rights activist, English teacher, and journalist from Masafer Yatta
  • Zak Witus – Young Leadership & Education Coordinator for New Israel Fund and a recent participant in the Center For Jewish Nonviolence Sustained Solidarity Hineinu delegation in Masafer Yatta.

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 and Twitter.

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