The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project

Meanwhile in the West Bank

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The past days have been horrific for the residents of Majaz, one of the villages in Masafer Yatta, and inside the area claimed by Israel as firing zone 918.

Israeli soldiers, and settlers dressed as soldiers, invaded the village on the night of February 14.

The soldiers landed a helicopter and entered the village. Later after midnight armed Israeli settlers in uniform also arrived.

They destroyed homes, terrorized the people, slaughtered sheep and goats, destroyed kitchens, food, animal feed and sleeping areas and broke up household furniture.

They also entered and desecrated the mosque. Residents reported that that Israeli soldiers and settlers sang and danced inside the mosque as they destroyed the furniture and carpets. Residents found the Qur’an torn and scattered on the ground after the soldiers left.


Killing Palestinians in the West Bank with “near total impunity”

Amnesty International candle logo

The New York Times: Amnesty finds that Israli forces are killing Palestinians in the West Bank with 'near total impunity.' Read the latest report.

Under the cover of the relentless bombardment and atrocity crimes in Gaza, Israeli forces have simultaneously unleashed a new, brutal wave of unlawful violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank — including unlawful killings, unnecessary lethal force against protesters, and the denial of medical assistance to injured people in the West Bank.1

In our new report, Amnesty researchers investigated four cases that resulted in the unlawful killing of 20 Palestinians, including seven children:

  • In one case, two eyewitnesses told Amnesty that Israeli forces opened fire without warning on a crowd of at least 80 unarmed Palestinians peacefully demonstrating in solidarity with Gaza. A few minutes later, Israeli forces also opened fire in the direction of two journalists even though both were wearing vests clearly marked as Press.
  • On multiple occasions, Israeli forces hindered or prevented those seriously injured in demonstrations and raids from receiving critical medical assistance. In a recent incident, soldiers carried out a raid masquerading as medical staff. They also shot at people trying to help, including medics tending to the wounded.
  • Over the past four months, deadly raids have increased in the West Bank, with an unrelenting use of unlawful force that has spread fear in communities. Among those killed during the raid was 15-year-old Taha Mahamid, whom Israeli forces shot dead in front of his house as he came out to check whether Israeli forces had left the area. Evidence verified by Amnesty showed that Taha was unarmed and posed no threat. An eyewitness shared that Israeli forces then shot Taha’s father in the back when he tried to carry his son to safety.

'They did not give him a chance. In an instant, my brother was eliminated. There were no confrontations...there was no conflict.' - Fatima, Taha's sister


Massacring, targeting, and deliberately killing civilians are war crimes. The research in this investigative report further cements the fact that Israeli forces are committing widespread human rights violations and doing so with impunity.

The international community has a responsibility to take action to prevent war crimes — and Amnesty is doing everything we can to demand action that will save lives and end the suffering.

Thank you for showing up for people in need. Thank you for calling for a ceasefire. We’ll continue to keep you updated on our latest findings and share opportunities for you to take action.

In solidarity,

Elizabeth Rghebi
Advocacy Director, Middle East North Africa
Amnesty International USA

P.S. With increasing attacks and violations across the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Amnesty’s Crisis Evidence Lab is a powerful force for making sure that crimes do not go unchecked.

We count on supporters like you to ensure our research and advocacy remain strong. Will you make a donation today to help us continue to expose injustice and advocate for human rights?

We’re also continuing to urgently call for a ceasefire in Gaza — please, raise your voice with us today.


© 2024 Amnesty International USA
311 W 43rd Street, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10036 | 1-800-AMNESTY

Don’t Let Us Feel Alone

January 11, 2024
Josh Ruebner: “Palestinian Nakbas: from Truman to Biden”

Indiana Center for Middle East Peace, Inc.
Plymouth Congregational Church of Fort Wayne
6:30 PM to 8:30 PM EST
5:30 PM to 7:30 PM CST

Josh Ruebner is a leading US Middle East policy analyst. He has worked at the Congressional Research Service, the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, and American Muslims for Palestine. Presently a PhD candidate at University of Exeter’s European Centre for Palestine Studies. Also a Fellow, Middle East Institute. Author: Israel: Democracy or Apartheid State? and Shattered Hopes: Obama’s Failure to Broker Israeli-Palestinian Peace.

This event is free and open to the public.

This program will be livestreamed on our Indiana Center for Middle East Peace public group Facebook page, open to anyone on or off Facebook:

This program will also be recorded and posted on our ICMEP YouTube channel shortly after the event.

January 11, 2024
South Africa presents its case against Israel

South Africa’s oral argument in the ICJ will take place on Thursday, January 11 from 10am-12pm (Central European Standard Time) which is 3 – 5 am CT, and Israel’s oral argument will take place on Friday January 12 from 10am-12pm (Central European Standard Time). The hearings will be streaming live on the ICJ’s website and on UN Web TV.

They’re Calling Ethnic Cleansing “Voluntary Migration” Now

Violently coercing someone to do something and killing them if they don’t is the opposite of “voluntary”

Palestinians inspect the damage following an Israeli airstrike on the El-Remal aera in Gaza City on October 9, 2023. Israel continued to battle Hamas fighters on October 10 and massed tens of thousands of troops and heavy armour around the Gaza Strip after vowing a massive blow over the Palestinian militants’ surprise attack. Photo by Naaman Omar/apaimages

Caitlin Johnstone, January 2, 2024

Listen to a reading of this article (reading by Tim Foley):

Israeli officials are now openly admitting that they’re working on “encouraging” the migration of Palestinians from Gaza, ridiculously claiming that this migration would be “voluntary” despite their having deliberately made the enclave uninhabitable over the last three months.

The Times of Israel reports:


“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s two senior far-right partners endorsed the rebuilding of settlements in the Gaza Strip and the encouraging of “voluntary emigration” of Palestinians on Monday, while hawkish opposition MK Avigdor Liberman called for Israel to reoccupy southern Lebanon.

“Speaking during their parties’ respective faction meetings in the Knesset, National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich presented the migration of Palestinian civilians as a solution to the long-running conflict and as a prerequisite for securing the stability necessary to allow residents of southern Israel to return to their homes.

“The war presents an ‘opportunity to concentrate on encouraging the migration of the residents of Gaza,’ Ben Gvir told reporters and members of his far-right Otzma Yehudit party, calling such a policy ‘a correct, just, moral and humane solution.’

“‘We cannot withdraw from any territory we are in in the Gaza Strip. Not only do I not rule out Jewish settlement there, I believe it is also an important thing,’ he said.

“The ‘correct solution’ to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict is ‘to encourage the voluntary migration of Gaza’s residents to countries that will agree to take in the refugees,’ Smotrich told members of his Religious Zionism party, predicting that ‘Israel will permanently control the territory of the Gaza Strip,’ including through the establishment of settlements.”

The repeated use of the word “encourage” stands out in these remarks, given that encouraging Gaza’s inhabitants to flee their homeland is exactly what Israel’s actions since October have been doing. Once you’ve made 90 percent of Gaza’s inhabitants homeless with internal displacement, forced half the population into starvation via siege warfare, destroyed the enclave’s entire healthcare system to the point where disease is now running rampant, all while raining death and destruction from above in a wildly unpredictable manner with airstrikes routinely hitting designated safe zones, you’re offering the population some very strong “encouragement” indeed to vacate the region as soon as possible.

This obviously makes the argument for the “voluntary migration” of Gazans completely nonsensical, since violently coercing someone into doing something and ensuring that they’ll die if they don’t do it is the exact opposite of what the word “voluntary” means.

But that’s the slogan we’re seeing pop up again and again as Israel draws closer to its final solution to the Palestinian problem in Gaza. Netanyahu and his cohorts have been repeatedly uttering phrases like “voluntary resettlement” and “voluntary migration” to describe the plan for Gaza’s Palestinian inhabitants to either move to refugee camps set up in the adjacent Sinai Peninsula in Egypt or to be taken in by other nationsaround the world. 

Netanyahu has said that a team must be established to “ensure that those who want to leave Gaza to a third country can do so.” Iraq invader Tony Blair was reportedly being eyed as a potential leader of such a team by Israeli officials, though Blair has denied this.

Mitchell Plitnick wrote the following on the absurdity of the “voluntary migration” talking point in an article for Mondoweiss last month:

“The term ‘voluntary emigration’ is likely to be heard quite a lot in the coming weeks and months, and it is one of the most cynical, dishonest terms one can imagine. There is, of course, nothing voluntary about people leaving Gaza. Israel has made the place unlivable, and that was before the current bombardment.

“Now, they are essentially being forced to leave under the threat of imminent death. The people of Gaza did not suddenly lose their attachment to Palestine. They will die if they stay, as will their children. If you cut off water, electricity, food, and medical care, destroy all the shelter, and then ask a person, ‘Would you still like to stay?’ their decision to leave is obviously not voluntary.”

But that’s the narrative they’re going with apparently. 

And it’s nothing new; Israel has been falsely claiming for generations that its violent forced expulsion of Palestinians known as the Nakba was voluntary as well. In 2000 Palestinian academic Ghada Karmi wrote that “The Israeli version of history — that the Palestinians left voluntarily or under orders from their leaders and that Israelis had no responsibility, material or moral, for their plight — has been successfully marketed to the world community for decades.”

The plot to relocate Palestinians from territories desired by Israel is also far from new. In a 2002 article for The Guardian titled “A new exodus for the Middle East?”, Israeli historian Benny Morris writes that the agenda to “transfer” Palestinians to other countries has existed for as long as modern Zionism:

“The idea of transfer is as old as modern Zionism and has accompanied its evolution and praxis during the past century. And driving it was an iron logic: There could be no viable Jewish state in all or part of Palestine unless there was a mass displacement of Arab inhabitants, who opposed its emergence and would constitute an active or potential fifth column in its midst. This logic was understood, and enunciated, before and during 1948, by Zionist, Arab and British leaders and officials.

“As early as 1895, Theodor Herzl, the prophet and founder of Zionism, wrote in his diary in anticipation of the establishment of the Jewish state: ‘We shall try to spirit the penniless [Arab] population across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying it any employment in our country … The removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly.’”

This is a very, very old agenda, being presented as something brand new that is only just occurring to Israeli officials just now. They didn’t just come up with this. It’s been fantasized about for as long as Israel was a twinkle in its founding fathers’ eyes. 

This is the real objective in Gaza. Not the “elimination of Hamas” (whatever the hell you want to pretend that would look like in practice), but the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip. 

Hamas is not the target in Gaza. Hamas is just the excuse.


My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece here are some options where you can toss some money into my tip jar if you want to.  Go here to buy paperback editions of my writings from month to month. All my work is free to bootleg and use in any way, shape or form; republish it, translate it, use it on merchandise; whatever you want. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. All works co-authored with my husband Tim Foley.

Palestinian residents of West Bank being driven out by Jewish settlers

NBC News, Dec. 26, 2023

In the village of At-Tuwani in the West Bank, residents say Jewish settlers have become far more aggressive since Hamas’ October 7 terror attacks in their long campaign to drive Palestinians from this land. NBC News’ Richard Engel visited the area and reports on the high tensions among the two groups.

Israel is not targeting “terrorists” hiding behind “human shields.”

On the contrary, it’s targeting the “human shields” themselves.


Media performer Sam Harris recently appeared on Piers Morgan’s program. Effecting a flat affect—cool, rational—he used this platform to weigh in on irrational, fanatical Muslims. A clip was first shown of a Muslim (he is identified as the offspring of a Hamas leader) who expostulates that all Muslims are evil. This apparently deranged (or highly remunerated) fellow is a throwback to the days when Peter Lorre, eyes screwed up, was a stand-in for the wily, sinister Other. Mr. Harris seizes on this Archetypal Muslim as proof positive that “It should be obvious to everyone that we have a vast number of people in the Muslim community worldwide … who are powerfully deranged.” His evidence for this sweepingly “obvious” fact? Except for the hapless (or, if he’s generously compensated, very happy) Muslim exhibited on the program, and the fact that Mr. Harris is introduced as “one of the world’s great thinkers” (he’s Jewish, so the praise is redundant), the only proof adduced by Mr. Harris is that the Muslim world produces a prodigious number of suicide bombers—not least, children whose parents have been “rigging them to explode.” He cites no numbers or statistics. Indeed, he cites nothing. There is, of course, by now a vast scholarly corpus on suicide bombers—their origins, motivations, the support they garner. But Mr. Harris doesn’t engage it. Instead: here’s a clip of an apparently deranged Muslim saying Muslims are deranged; Mr. Harris is a genius (he’s Jewish, isn’t he?); ergo it’s “obvious” that he’s right.

To be sure, it’s clearly possible that a large swath of a population can be unhinged; at any rate, temporarily. Witness Germany and Japan from the peak to denouement of World War 2. Or, to consider an example closer at hand: Israel. The Jewish state has launched a war of annihilation against the people of Gaza. The number of genocidal statements uttered by prominent Israelis at every level of the state and civil society since October 7 can by now fill a hefty chunk of cyberspace. But Mr. Harris is not in the least perturbed. Why is that?


First, as a pop secular prophet, indiscriminate mass killing only outrages Mr. Harris’s moral sensibility if it springs from religion. But the protagonists on all sides in the unprecedented bloodlettings of WW1 and WW2—and for that matter the Vietnam War, presided over by “the best and the brightest”—were secular or in thrall to secular ideologies. Was that really better? Indeed, it’s gone over Mr. Harris’s bigoted skull that the most lethal ideologies in the modern epoch have sprung not from religious but secular fanaticism. Hitler, Stalin, Kissinger: they can rightly be accused of many things but pathological religiosity is not one of them. In any event, the animating ideology in Israel is a heady brew of terrestrial calculation and super-terrestrial frenzy. Just a “tiny minority of Jews in Israel,” Harris caveats, “are motivated by their religious fanaticism.” Even were that so (which is most doubtful), it’s hard to figure why maniacal laicism isn’t also odious. Prime Minister Netanyahu has repeatedly gestured to the Old Testament as he avows that Israel is waging a war against “Amalek”—i.e., every man, woman, and child in Gaza—“a war between the children of light and the children of darkness.” Does it really matter whether the register of this genocidal invocation is secular or theocratic?

Short of wiping out the entire population in one fell swoop—not easy with the social media at high alert—Israel’s repeatedly stated next-best objective has been to make Gaza uninhabitable. “Whoever returns here, if they return here after, will find scorched earth,” a senior Israeli official in Gaza projected. “No houses, no agriculture, no nothing. They have no future.” Israel implemented a total blockade of Gaza barring entry of any food, water, fuel or electricity; in other words, it’s relying not on prayers exhorting the Almighty’s wrath but on a resolutely secular recipe for genocide that passes Mr. Harris’s taste-test. Unsurprisingly, mass starvation and the spread of lethal diseases have ensued. Israel simultaneously unleashed a biblically indiscriminate (but also targeted) campaign of death and destruction that, by every metric—intensity of bombing and payload size; pace and level of devastation; total civilian casualties as well as women and children versus men killed—puts the hecatomb Israel has inflicted on Gaza in a category all its own in the 21st century; and, by some measures, it occupies a unique category going as far back as World War 2 (if compared, e.g., to the Allied terror bombing of German cities). “Gaza is one of the most intense civilian punishment campaigns in history,” a U.S. military historian observes.

The U.N. relief chief describes the humanitarian situation in Gaza as the “worst ever” in his long career, while the European Union foreign affairs chief calls the situation “catastrophic, apocalyptic.” Israel has killed at least 20,000 Gazans, seventy percent of them women and children. The proportion of men, women and children killed roughly approximates the distribution of men, women, and children in Gaza’s total population—which shouldn’t surprise if the massive bombing and artillery fire is largely indiscriminate. On average, Israel has killed 160 children per day in Gaza; the next highest number among conflict zones in the world is seven (in Syria), while as many children have already been killed in Gaza as in all conflict zones for the three years 2020, 2021, 2022 combined. In order to make Gaza uninhabitable, Israel has reduced to rubble Gaza’s civilian infrastructure. The Financial Times reports that Israel has already achieved half its objective: “Israel’s incursion has left northern Gaza virtually uninhabitable.” Its methodical targeting of Gaza’s hospitals has breached, in the annals of modern warfare, a negative threshold of barbarism.

Notwithstanding this ghastly record, nearly 60 percent of Israeli Jews believed a month into the assault that Israel had deployed too little force in Gaza, while less than two percent believed that Israel used too much force. Israel has a citizen army. Its combatants executing singly and en masse this genocide are broadly representative of Israeli Jewish society. In other words, overwhelmingly, Israeli Jews are either by their actions or vicariously war criminals. But there’s more. Consider the Jewish diaspora. As the genocide proceeds apace, fully 81 percent of American Jews oppose and just 12 percent support a ceasefire. (I would be remiss if I didn’t pay tribute to the deeply inspiring Jewish youth who have stood in the forefront of the resistance to Israel’s genocide.) Based on these salient data points, it would appear “obvious that a vast number of people in the Jewish community worldwide … are powerfully deranged.” Mr. Harris kvells that “There are 15 million Jews on Earth, most of them are impressively secular.” It happens that they are also in the grip of an impressively genocidal rage. “Most of them,” he reassures, “believe very little that would motivate them to die for their religious identity.” But they manifestly do believe enough to kill with abandon the people of Gaza on account of their religious (or is it secular—for the love of Yahweh, what difference does it make?!) identity.

It has been purported in extenuation of ordinary Germans that the Nazis installed a totalitarian state that repressed all dissent and concealed the genocide in the fog of war. Of course, ordinary Germans who wanted to know did know that if not exactly a genocide then still something monstrous was unfolding on the Eastern front. But later on, Germans could still cling to the alibi—in varying degrees disingenuous—that they didn’t know (or fell victim to ubiquitous Nazi propaganda about a “Judeo-Bolshevik conspiracy”), and wouldn’t have approved if they did know (or couldn’t but obey coercive orders). Israeli (as well as diasporan) Jews don’t have these excuses. Israel was no doubt traumatized by October 7. But the facts remain that they democratically elected the government and overwhelmingly support the government’s prosecution of a genocide; that they have ready access to information about the genocide in a free and open media both inside and via the Web outside Israel. The genocide in Gaza is unfolding in real time in broad daylight before the eyes of Israeli (and diasporan) Jews and 60 percent literally can’t get enough of it.

But, lo!, we mustn’t miss the forest from the trees. Not the Jews, counsels our cool, rational Jewish genius (redundancy duly noted) but, on the contrary, it’s the Muslims who “it is obvious … are powerfully deranged.”


Second, if there are “so many casualties” in Gaza, Mr. Harris explains—parroting with consummate insipidness every other apologist—that’s because Israel

is fighting a terrorist organization … that is using its own population as human shields. It has strategically embedded itself among civilians…. It put its headquarters under a hospital. It prevents civilians from leaving to safer areas…. This is the issue: we are dealing with a suicidal death cult.

But stepping outside this secular jihadi’s tent, isn’t it—dare I say—obvious that, if Israel has inflicted unprecedented death and destruction on Gaza, that’s because that’s its objective? It is not “fighting a terrorist organization,” it is fighting the people—the existence—of Gaza. The media reflexively declare that this is an “Israel-Hamas War.” But that is already swallowing the Big Lie of Israeli propaganda. Israel is not targeting “terrorists” supposedly hiding behind “human shields.” On the contrary, it’s targeting the “human shields” themselves.

Of course, Israel wants to liquidate Hamas, but it rightly apprehends that another, more deadly Hamas will emerge in its place. If Hamas were eliminated, it would still be a Pyrrhic victory. Gaza itself must be destroyed. Indeed, that speck of land has always been a thorn at Israel’s side as Gazans stubbornly resisted Israeli repression. Israel eventually alit on the objective of subjugating Gaza by reducing it—in the words of Amira Hass—to a “giant concentration camp.” In large part it succeeded. Head of Israel’s National Security Council Giora Eiland in 2004 himself pronounced Gaza a “huge concentration camp.” But when Hamas won democratic elections in 2006 and consolidated its hold over Gaza, Israel confronted a new dilemma. Hamas was feeling its way towards a comprehensive settlement with Israel on the consensus basis of international law and U.N. resolutions. In other words, Hamas was engaging in another of those dastardly “peace offensives” that have always filled Israeli leaders with holy terror. They will only accept a victor’s peace; not one among equals under the law. So Israel imposed a suffocating economic blockade on Gaza and periodically “mowed the lawn” in order to rupture the spine of any resistance to its rule.

But on October 7, the reality lit up that Israel’s strategy had failed. The people of Gaza refused to languish and die in a concentration camp. The slaves had gone into revolt. And like our own homegrown Nat Turner revolt, they (in part) struck out indiscriminately at their oppressors. It created a crisis for Israeli society but also—to recycle the old cliché—presented an opportunity. To once and for all rid Israel of the Gaza thorn. To free itself not just of this generation of “terrorists” but as well the more than one million children in Gaza representing the next “terrorist” generation. Israel initially set its sights on dumping Gaza’s inhabitants in the Sinai desert but Egypt nixed the ethnic cleansing. Israel next proceeded to repurpose Gaza concentration camp as a death camp. (The Nazis turned to genocide when the advent of world war preempted the deportation of Jews.) It did scrape against the limits imposed by the formally genocide-intolerant international community. But that factor, critical as it was, bore on the genocide’s efficiency quotient (Israel couldn’t outright nuke Gaza), not on the genocidal intent. And Israel could always count on useful idiots abroad to disguise and defend its genocide by endlessly reciting the incantation: “Israel is fighting a terrorist organization … that is using its own population as human shields.”

If Human Rights Watch reports that Israel is systematically targeting hospitals without military justification, that’s because Israel is “fighting a terrorist organization … using its own population as human shields.” (Memo to Mr. Harris: a detailed investigation by the Washington Post has debunked the agitprop that Hamas “put its headquarters” under al-Shifa hospital.) If the U.N. reports that the number of its staff killed by Israel in Gaza is unprecedented in the organization’s history, that’s because Israel is “fighting a terrorist organization … using its own population as human shields.” If the Committee to Protect Journalists reports that Israel not only killed more journalists in Gaza during the first 10 weeks than have ever been killed in a single country over an entire year, but that it has also targeted the families of journalists, that’s because Israel is “fighting a terrorist organization … using its own population as human shields.” If Israel has killed more healthcare workers in Gaza than the total number killed across all conflict zones every year in recent memory, that’s because it is “fighting a terrorist organization … using its own population as human shields.” If Israel murders in broad daylight bare-chested civilians hoisting a white flag, that’s because it is “fighting a terrorist organization … using its own population as human shields.” If Israeli snipers assassinate Christian women seeking refuge in a church, that’s because Israel is “fighting a terrorist organization … using its own population as human shields.” If CNN reports that “Israeli soldiers raiding a hospital … desecrated the bodies of dead patients with bulldozers, let a military dog maul a man in a wheelchair, and shot multiple doctors even after vetting them for terror links,” that’s because Israel is “fighting a terrorist organization … using its own population as human shields.” If Human Rights Watch reports that Israel is “using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare,” that’s because it is fighting “a terrorist organization … using its own population as human shields.” If the New York Times reports that Israel dropped 2,000-pound bombs on areas that Israel itself designated safe havens, that’s because it is “fighting a terrorist organization … using its own population as human shields.” (Memo to Mr. Harris: There are no “safer areas” in Gaza.) And on and on. However incongruous, however absurd, however ludicrous, however preposterous—however utterly divorced from and irrelevant to unfolding reality the recitation of this mantra has become, it still doesn’t faze these crazed cult members as they keep repeating it day in and day out. Om. Hari Krishna. Hara Kiri….

But Mr. Harris doesn’t just extenuate the genocide. He implicitly endows it with a positive content. Every Muslim—including every Muslim child—he enlightens listeners, is an actual or potential suicide bomber imperiling Western civilization. Isn’t it only a flea’s hop to infer that Israel is doing the (secular) Lord’s work in Gaza as it wages a civilizational war against “deranged” Muslim culture and even if one million children—pardon me: children who have been “rigged to explode”—might die? Mr. Harris somehow construes that it takes enormous moral courage to expose this Muslim peril on Piers Morgan’s program. Indeed, it takes as much courage as the German professor in the midst of the Nazi holocaust who sounded the alarm that “parasitic” Jewish culture was imperiling Aryan civilization.

Mr Harris proclaims that “This is the issue: we are dealing with a suicidal death cult.” I’m afraid, however, that the real issue is this: We are dealing with a Ziontology murder cult; and Mr. Harris is one of its gurus.

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How Israeli settler violence is forcing Palestinians to flee their homes

Bethan McKernan, Kyri Evangelou, Mariam Dwedar and Temujin Doran, The Guardian, 14 Dec 2023

Masafer Yatta, the most rural and desolate area in the West Bank, is home to about 1,000 Palestinians. The community are mostly herders who raise goats and sheep, and have steadfastly refused to leave their homes despite the mounting difficulties posed by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers on the one hand and radical Israeli settlers on the other.

But after weeks of intense settler violence in the aftermath of the Hamas attack on Israel on 7 October – and despite the decades-long fight to remain in their homes – these communities are now being forced off their land. Some have described it as “a new Nakba.”

The Guardian’s Bethan McKernan travelled to Masafer Yatta and heard from Palestinian families how armed settlers – some in reservist uniforms, others covering their faces – have begun breaking into their homes at night, beating up adults, destroying and stealing belongings, and terrifying children. These West Bank settlements are illegal under international law.

Click here for the latest on the Israel-Gaza war

‘They Came in the Dark’: Settler Violence Intensifies in the West Bank

Matthew Cassel, Mark Boyer and Santiago García Muñoz, New York Times, November 30, 2023

Since the Oct. 7 attacks in Israel, extremist settlers in the West Bank have been emboldened, displacing more than 1,000 Palestinians, according to the United Nations.

“Since 7th of October, the soldier came and sit down under this tree. And they put the Israeli flag here. And right now, if we try to cross 10 meters, the soldier will start to run, chasing us to go back here. And if we say, ‘This is my land,’ they start to shoot live.”

Since the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks in southern Israel, violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank has intensified. Extremist Israeli settlers have been emboldened in what Palestinians say is an increased effort to seize their land with support from the Israeli Army.

On Oct. 13, Sami Hourani’s cousin Zacharia al-Adara was shot and wounded by an Israeli settler in the Palestinian village of at-Tuwani. It happened just a hundred meters from Hourani’s home.

“The settler was holding a gun and he was clearly with civilian dress coming towards my village, he was attacking a house. The settler started to walk towards Zacharia and just shot him. Zacharia is since the 13th of October in the I.C.U. in the hospital. And the most scary part now is that if this will be the new reality that they want to do after the war.”

Since Oct. 7, the U.N. has recorded more than 280 attacks by settlers in the occupied West Bank, opening fire on Palestinian villagers, destroying their farmland and setting fire to their businesses and homes. Observers say the attacks are part of the campaign for settlement expansion.


“The closed house is here in front of us. Here is the village of Tuba, and that up there, there is the settlement of Ma’on.”

Across the West Bank, there are more than 700,000 Israelis living in settlements that most of the world considers illegal. The Israeli Army says that it takes the violence very seriously and that it’s taken action to apprehend those responsible. However, human rights groups say arrests are rare, and soldiers have been seen accompanying settlers during some attacks, including the man who shot al-Adara on Oct. 13.

Zvi Sukkot is a member of Israel’s Parliament representing the far-right religious Zionist party. He’s become a prominent voice in the movement to expand Israeli settlements. Sukkot first started making headlines more than a decade ago as a member of the hilltop youth, young Israelis who would squat areas of the West Bank with the hope of claiming the land for eventual new settlements.

In 2012, Israel’s Security Agency accused him of leading covert and violent activity against Palestinians, and he was temporarily banned from entering the West Bank. But after Oct. 7, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed him to lead a committee handling security issues in the territory.

Reporter: “What changed for you after the Hamas attacks of October 7?”

Reporter: “Do you condemn the acts of violence being committed by Israeli settlers against Palestinians?”

But for Palestinians that claim to the land means displacement. In the past seven weeks alone, the U.N. says more than 1,000 villagers have been forced to leave their homes due to settler violence across the West Bank.

Dalal al-Awad and her family are farmers from a village called Tuba. They’ve survived multiple attacks by settlers who told them to leave. For now, the family has little choice but to pack up and move to the hills every night, sleeping outside, away from their home.

‘Military camp’: Palestinian town of Huwara under 55-day Israeli closure

Once-vibrant Huwara has become a ghost town since October 5, the start of the Israeli assault on Gaza made it worse.

Huwwara nov 2023
Abdelrahman Dmaidi, a 21-year-old journalist living in Huwara, said the town is now ‘a closed military zone’ [Al Jazeera]

Nablus, occupied West Bank – There are at least seven Israeli military points and countless heavily armed soldiers on the mere 6km (3.7-mile) stretch of road that runs through the Palestinian town of Huwara.

For the past 55 days, the town, which sits south of Nablus city, has been under a suffocating closure imposed by the Israeli army and settlers that residents liken to a prison.

On a roundabout in the centre of town, soldiers have taken over a large building under construction and stationed snipers and sandbags on all four floors. Big Israeli flags are draped over the hulking concrete structure.

“Huwara is living through the worst state in recent history,” Mansour Dmaidi, a 65-year-old lawyer and resident told Al Jazeera. “It wasn’t even this bad during the Al-Aqsa Intifada [2000-2005].”

While Huwara has suffered recurring closures over the past year and a half, the restrictions were re-enforced on October 5, days before the Gaza-based armed group Hamas launched an attack on Israeli territory, killing some 1,200 people.


Israeli forces said a Palestinian shot at a settler’s car that day, causing no injuries. The man was shot dead by soldiers at the scene.

Hours later, Israeli settlers attacked homes in Huwara and shot dead a 19-year-old Palestinian, Labib Dmaidi, while he was standing on the roof of his uncle’s house.

Since then, the area has been turned into a ghost town, with life only getting more difficult for the town’s 8,000 residents since October 7, after which Israel killed over 15,000 Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip, the majority of them women and children.

Huwara, which lies on the highway running north-south from Jenin to Hebron, was once one of the busiest commercial centres for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, its local businesses relying heavily on travelling Palestinians from out of town.

Over the past two weeks, about 80 of the Huwara’s 800 businesses have been allowed to open by the army, including gas stations, bakeries, pharmacies and supermarkets.

But the road closures and heavy militarisation of the area, which affects hundreds of thousands of people, means movement and business remain stagnant.

“Huwara was considered the gateway to Nablus. It is an urban commercial centre. And now the town has been transformed into a military camp,” said Mansour.

Divided geography

At least 700,000 Israeli settlers live in fortified illegal settlements among, and surrounding, Palestinian neighbourhoods, cities and villages in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. The vast majority of Israeli settlements are built either entirely or partially on stolen private Palestinian land.

The settlers always come with heavy militarisation and closures. Prior to the events of October 7, there were at least 645 Israeli military checkpoints, roadblocks and other obstacles to Palestinian movement in these areas.

Much like the Shuhada street in the Old City of Hebron, most of the shops in Huwara were forced to shut and residents were forbidden from even walking on the town’s main road until less than two weeks ago.

Huwwara nov 2023
Palestinian shops in Huwara have remained shut since October 5, 2023 [Zena Al Tahhan/Al Jazeera]

“We’ve been open for a few days. Look at the state of the town – it is depressing… It makes you want to cry,” said Mansour.

The situation is a microcosm of daily life for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank since then.

As it launched an ongoing military assault on the besieged Gaza Strip, the Israeli army imposed severe movement restrictions on the occupied West Bank.

The further closure of Huwara and the surrounding towns means residents are forced to use mountainous backroads through Palestinian villages to access basic items. What was once a 10-minute journey by car now takes hours.

Abdelrahman Dmaidi, a 21-year-old journalist from Huwara, said it is now essentially a military zone.

“Huwara has been divided into north, south, east and west. Before the limited opening, I had to walk for 2km [1.2 miles] through the fields to find a car to take me to Beita to buy groceries and come back,” Dmaidi told Al Jazeera.

“Towns to the southwest of Nablus have to buy from the villages of Einabus and Jamma’in, for example. Those to the west have to go to Beita and Aqraba villages.

“The settlers want our shops closed so they can pass through without any friction. They have destroyed our economy,” said Dmaidi, noting that commerce is at “15 percent of what it used to be” before the recent closure.

Huwara and the villages south of Nablus are among the Palestinian towns in the occupied West Bank most affected by Israeli settler attacks.

They lie in the midst of four illegal settlements, known to be some of the most violent in the West Bank, and have suffered under blatantly racist Israeli ministers in recent years.

On February 27, hundreds of settlers rampaged through Huwara, carrying out what was described as a “pogrom” that left a 37-year-old Palestinian man dead, hundreds of others injured, and dozens of cars and homes burned down.

The attack alone caused at least 18 million shekels ($5m) in damages in Huwara. Closures since then have added to the burden.

Shortly after the attack, Israel’s Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who also has authority over the army, called for the town to be wiped out, further emboldening settlers.

In many documented settler attacks, particularly in Huwara, the Israeli army and settlers have been seen working in coordination, sometimes firing live ammunition at Palestinians simultaneously.

Settlers only

On November 12, Israeli authorities opened a “bypass road” in Huwara – a road built for settlers to bypass driving through Palestinian villages. To construct the 7.5km (4.7-mile) road, Israel stole private Palestinian land from the villages of Huwara, Burin, Beita, Awarta, Yasouf, Yatma, and as-Sawiya.

It serves four settlements: Yitzhar, Itamar, Har Bracha and Elon Moreh, with a combined population of only 8,000 settlers.

“The Huwara Bypass Road is being developed for the benefit of some thousand settlers living in an area with approximately one million Palestinians,” rights group Peace Now said.

After the bypass road’s inauguration, the Israeli army decided it would reopen the Huwara main road and allow shops to open, but settlers blocked the decision.

Until days ago when the main Huwara road was opened to extremely limited traffic, both routes were closed to Palestinians.

Mohammad Dmaidi, the father of the slain teen Labib, not only lost his son, but he also has been without work for the past 55 days.

“The settlers until now are demanding that the main road and our shops remain closed, even though a bypass road was opened for them,” Mohammad, who is distantly related to the journalist Abdelrahman Dmaidi, told Al Jazeera.

“There are at least 800 shops. That’s at minimum 1,200 heads of household, meaning that at least 4,000 people are living off of these shops,” explained Mohammad.

“We don’t know where things are headed – no one knows. Everyone is focused on Gaza while Huwara has been suffering for over a year, but no one is talking about it.”

TAA Statement on Palestine: “A Call for Palestinian Liberation”

TAA Statement on Palestine: “A Call for Palestinian Liberation”

The following statement was written and approved by the general membership of the TAA on November 15th, 2023.

A Call for Palestinian liberation

WHEREAS The Teaching Assistants’ Association (TAA; AFT [American Federation of Teachers] Local 3220) recognizes that the Zionist Israeli state is a reactionary tool of Western imperialism, funded for their own cynical aims. Israel can accurately be described as an apartheid state, as documented by many human rights experts and organizations, including UN officials, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International agree with this description.

WHEREAS Israel’s response to Hamas’ attack has been indiscriminate and disproportionate violence toward Palestinians. As of November 13, 2023, Israel has murdered over 11,000 Palestinians, nearly half being children. Upon his recent resignation, the Director of the New York Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Craig Mokhiber, stated that Israel’s actions are “a textbook case of genocide.”

WHEREAS Israel’s bombing campaign has been carried out without regard for the lives of hostages, further exposing the cynicism of justifications based on the October 7 attack. Similarly, American liberal and progressive politicians continue to cry crocodile tears for the victims of Hamas and remain silent on the victims of Netanyahu.


WHEREAS Israel’s genocidal attacks are exacerbating the inhumane living conditions and mass unemployment in Gaza. The civilians of Palestine deserve fundamental human rights, including, but not limited to, security, freedom from foreign occupation, access to housing, clean water, healthcare, and employment. 

WHEREAS The October 9 press release from AFT National, titled, “US Education Leaders Condemn Hamas Attack, Stand with Israeli People,” and the resolution recently adopted by [American Federation of Teachers]–Wisconsin (AFT–W) inadequately condemn Israel’s colonialist regime and fail to acknowledge colonialism as the root cause of the current conflict. These statements fail to use the terms, “colonialism,” “apartheid,” “ethnic cleansing,” and “genocide” to characterize Israel and its actions, which is out of step with several human rights experts/organizations and undermines the severity of Israel’s oppression. Furthermore, these statements fail to call on the US government to halt the sale and funding of arms for Israeli forces. Unless we address the core of this conflict and end our support for the Israeli offensive, the US will remain complicit in the occupation and genocide in Palestine. Given the status quo of US support for Israel’s oppression of Palestine, the shortcomings of AFT’s statements make them pro-Israel and anti-Palestine by default. Therefore, be it;

RESOLVED The TAA considers Israeli and Western imperialism ultimately responsible for the recent violence.

RESOLVED The TAA condemns Israel’s settler colonialism, apartheid, occupation, ethnic cleansing, and genocide in Palestine. We condemn Israel’s indiscriminate bombing of Gaza, which has been a death sentence for thousands of innocent Palestinian civilians and has displaced over a million more. This collective lethal punishment breaks international law and constitutes war crimes.

RESOLVED We call for the collective liberation of the Palestinian people from Israeli oppression. 

RESOLVED We stand in solidarity with the following people:

  1. The people of Palestine, who have suffered at the hands of US, British, and Israeli imperialism for over 100 years;
  2. Palestinian trade unions who have called on the international working class to take action in the face of Israel’s assault on Gaza and the mass killing of the Palestinian people;
  3. Israeli workers and unions who break with their ruling class to stand unconditionally on the side of the oppressed;
  4. The many Jewish workers around the world who condemn Zionism and stand steadfast with Palestinians;
  5. Victims of oppression on the basis of religion or ethnicity around the world including victims of rising islamophobia and antisemitism.

RESOLVED We demand the US government and the Biden administration use all available diplomatic means to end the genocide of Palestinians, including but not limited to ending all funding and arms sales to the Israeli government. We must immediately end our moral and material support for Israel’s human rights abuses and war crimes.

RESOLVED We condemn the US veto of a ceasefire resolution brought forward by Brazil to the UN Security Council to allow humanitarian aid to enter Gaza. We are appalled that the US was the only country to veto the resolution. Although a ceasefire doesn’t go nearly far enough, this is the bare minimum that we expect from the UN.

RESOLVED We call on workers in the US to organize to halt any production and shipment of weapons to Israel. Organized action and the building of mass movements by the international working class will be necessary to end the occupation. We should take inspiration from the two Intifadas, as well as the American workers who have already physically obstructed the shipment of arms to Israel from ports in the Northwest.

RESOLVED We demand that the University of Wisconsin system direct the State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB) to divest the ~$512 million (as of 2021) that the UW system has invested in BlackRock, the massive US-based asset manager that owns large portions of weapon manufacturers and military contractors such as Boeing ($5.42 billion), Lockheed Martin ($5.13 billion), Northrop Grumman ($3.06 billion), and General Dynamics ($2.47 billion). These US companies manufacture the weapons, jets, and surveillance systems that the Israeli government uses to kill Palestinians.

RESOLVED We demand that AFT retract its endorsement of genocide enabler Joe Biden for US president in 2024 given his administration’s complicity in war crimes. He is a particularly ruthless cheerleader of Israeli war crimes, even among the American ruling class. The same should be done for all endorsements of anti-Palestine politicians.

RESOLVED The TAA action commits to the following actions:

  1. Mobilize our membership to participate in rallies, protests, and marches in support of Palestine, including but not limited to: hosting events, amplifying Palestinian voices (including by supporting SJP events and by supporting the demands of the BDS movement in a reiteration of the TAA’s existing position), and to contact representatives in support of a ceasefire in Gaza and for collective liberation for the Palestinian people.
  2. Continue to recognize that an injury to one is an injury to all, and that the American working class will never be free while Palestine is in chains;
  3. Refuse to support politicians and parties that oppose Palestinian liberation;
  4. Call on the labor movement as a whole to mobilize its resources to fight American imperialism on all fronts.
  5. Protect and support all workers and organizations (such as Students for Justice in Palestine and Madison for Palestine) who face retaliation due to their support for Palestinian liberation.