Trapped in deadly fighting between Israel and Hamas, Palestinians in Gaza used their phones to capture the toll of the 11-day war in May.
A young medical student speaks out about life in the besieged Strip, the persistence of Israeli attacks, and the need for real solidarity.
Flames are seen after an Israeli air strike strikes in Gaza City, Gaza, on June 15, 2021. (Photo by Ali Jadallah / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
In mid-May, as the Israeli military pummeled the Gaza Strip with shattering force, a medical student in the southern city of Rafah sent a plea to a friend, who shared it with another friend, who shared it with The Nation. The students name was Noor Alshaer, and she was desperate to to speak up—“for our voices to be heard, for our story to be out,” as she wrote.
“I have lived through three heinous wars only to live up to the fourth that already feels worse than all the previous three piled up together,” she continued. “Safety is not option in the strip, and it hurts me so much reading the news on the Western media, seeing how the stories are all one-sided.”
In June, I finally had the chance to speak with Alshaer from her home in Gaza. Though she has lived in the coastal Strip since birth, her family is originally from Bir al-Saba, an ethnically cleansed Palestinian town conquered by Israel in 1948 through aerial bombardment. (Over 70 percent of Palestinians living in Gaza are refugees from other parts of Palestine.)
For two brief years, Alshaer studied neuroscience at Washington and Lee University in Virginia but she had to return home during the Covid-19 pandemic. Israel did not allow Alshaer to leave the Strip to return to school—Palestinians must apply for a permit to leave Gaza, and are rejected more often than not—so she enrolled in medical school in Gaza.
It was as a medical student as well as a civilian that Alshaer experienced the 11 days of Israel’s latest bombing siege. During that time, Israeli precision-guided airstrikes killed 256 Palestinians, including 66 children, while over 72,000 Gazans were made homeless; 13 Israelis, including two children were killed. While Israel and Hamas agreed to a cease-fire, the violence faced by Palestinians has not ceased—in the West Bank, Jerusalem, Israel, or of course in Gaza. There, in the besieged Strip, people are not only struggling with the aftermath of the onslaught, but also with ongoing bombing. Continue reading
A Palestinian child, wounded by Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip, receives treatment at Al-Shifa Hospital on May 19, 2021 in Gaza City, Gaza. Fatima Shbair/Getty Images
After right-wing outrage, the esteemed journal removed an opinion piece expressing solidarity with Palestinians under Israeli bombardment.
Sabreen Akhter felt an urge to help in whatever way she could. Like many people around the world this May, Akhter was following news of war in the Gaza Strip, where Israeli bombardment was exacerbating a humanitarian crisis in the territory. Scanning her social media feed, Akhter, a doctor from Chicago, made contact with a few other health care professionals across the United States who had also been posting news online about the crisis.
Akhter set up a call to discuss what they could do, on behalf of their profession, for Palestinians. They settled on the idea of writing an article together as a group of medical workers concerned about the medical situation in Gaza and pitching it to Scientific American, where Akhter had published in the opinion section in the past.
“We didn’t know each other previously but had all been watching all of this violence and devastation happening in Palestine and were feeling helpless about it,” said Akhter. “I remembered that there had been an article published in The Lancet in 2014 about health care workers speaking up for Palestine. I thought it was really powerful at the time and remembered that a lot of people in the health care field had responded to it when it was published.”
On June 2, following an extensive editing and fact-checking process with the publication, the article ran in Scientific American under the headline “As Health Care Workers, We Stand in Solidarity with Palestine.”
Less than two weeks later, on June 11, the article was removed from Scientific American’s website without warning. A short editor’s note appeared in its place. “This article fell outside the scope of Scientific American and has been removed,” the note said. That same day, an editor from the publication emailed Akhter and the others, informing them of the retraction and apologizing for any “confusion” caused by the initial decision to publish the article.
“We were shocked, completely shocked. We all got on a call together and talked about it,” Akhter said. “We sent an email back to the editor later stating that we were disappointed and asking to clarify what they meant that the article had fallen ‘outside the scope,’ but we never got a response.”
Last month, during the eleven-day assault by Israeli military on the Gaza Strip, 256 Palestinians, including 66 children, died. And last week, thousands of right-wing nationalists paraded around Jerusalem shouting ‘death to Arabs’.
The only way to stop the never-ending cycle of settlement expansion and violence is to make the economic cost of this illegal occupation too high to bear.
Ben & Jerry’s has been one of the world’s most progressive companies since its inception, but they continue to sell and operate on stolen Palestinian land.
And if we can get them to stop supporting the apartheid regime, other global companies like Puma and Motorola will be forced to follow suit.
Tell Ben & Jerry’s: stop supporting the brutal occupation of Palestine.
The recent violence in the region is just the latest in the chapter of oppression of Palestinians — a conflict that is marked by decades of apartheid, colonization, land theft, forced evictions, demolitions, and displacement of Palestinians by settlers waving Israel’s flag.
While Israeli settlers on stolen Palestinian land use freezers to store Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, people in Gaza have no choice but to use them to store the bodies of dead Palestinians babies as was the case after the deadly assault when close to 2,000 were killed in 2014.
The company’s normally active social media has been silent since the eleven-day assault. We know from inside sources that Ben & Jerry’s is deciding right now whether to pull out of Israel for good.
Air raids pound Gaza Strip after Palestinians in besieged enclave reportedly sent incendiary balloons into southern Israel
Israeli jets bombed areas across the besieged Palestinian enclave early on 16 June (AFP)
Israel launched air strikes on the Gaza Strip early on Wednesday in response to incendiary balloons reportedly launched from the besieged Palestinian enclave, Israel’s military said.
Potentially shattering a fragile ceasefire that came into effect last month, the air strikes followed a provocative nationalist march through occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City by Jewish nationalists that had drawn threats of action by Hamas, the Palestinian movement that governs Gaza.
The Israeli military said the strikes, which attacked Hamas compounds in Khan Younis and Gaza City, came in response to the launching of the balloons, which reportedly caused 20 fires in open fields near the Gaza border, Haaretz reported.
The Israeli army added that it was “ready for all scenarios, including renewed fighting in the face of continued terrorist acts emanating from Gaza.”
A Hamas spokesman, confirming the Israeli attacks, said the Palestinians would continue to pursue their “brave resistance and defend their rights and sacred sites” in Jerusalem.
WASHINGTON, DC — 🔥 Statement & Call to Action:
The US Campaign for Palestinian Rights condemns the state-sanctioned, racist, anti-Palestinian flag march on June 15, 2021 in Jerusalem and continuing bombing of Palestinians in Gaza and calls for the U.S. to immediately stop funding Israel’s ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. USCPR also asks people’s movements and organizations to express their support for Palestinian liberation, in order to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people who, united, defy these Israeli settlers’ attempts to intimidate them.
The flag march is a blatant display of anti-Palestinian racism, in which Israeli settlers chant “Death to Arabs,” a clear call for genocidal violence against the Palestinian people. The United Nations Genocide Convention recognizes that genocide includes the act of killing members of a group “with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.”
The Israeli government backs this violence: the reality of state-sanctioned violence was made extremely clear again today when Israeli soldiers beat a Palestinian young man and a Palestinian woman for raising a Palestinian flag in a sea of Israeli flags, while protecting Israeli Jewish demonstrators calling for burning Palestinian homes. According to latest reports, Israeli forces have assaulted and arrested Palestinian people in Jerusalem today, injuring 33 people, while clearing out shops and closing Damascus Gate for the flag march. This brutal violence cannot be separated from the continuous assaults on the Gaza Strip that have massacred generations of Palestinian families, horrific assaults that Israel is resuming as of 6pm ET today.
Especially at this moment, USCPR calls on members of Congress, leaders, and organizations to condemn this anti-Palestinian racism and violence and to hold Israel accountable for the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. The Palestinian people have been loudly and clearly demanding nothing short of an end to all to all U.S. complicity, but many members of Congress have not even taken the most basic action to support Palestinian rights.
At a bare minimum, members of Congress must cosponsor H.R. 2590, The Palestinian Children and Families Act, which insists on the rights to safety, dignity, and freedom for the Palestinian people: the freedom to thrive, free from child detention, home demolitions, continual Israeli annexation and land theft.
The new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has himself bragged about killing Arabs. The root of violence in Israeli policy is Zionism, Israel’s settler colonial project of displacing Palestinians to create an exclusive Jewish homeland in Palestine. Every Israeli government has advanced Israel’s colonialism and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.
12:30 pm Central
Join Rabet for the premiere of our latest documentary, “One People, Segregated IDs”.
Learn more about how Israel’s apartheid policies, between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, segregate Palestinians based on their ethno-national identity, issuing different types of IDs for Palestinians depending on their location, each with varying freedoms and rights.
The event will include a panel dicussion as well as a live stream of the documentary, followed by a Q&A session on the ways in which the tiered ID system segregates Palestinians and impacts their basic human rights.
We will be joined by the following speakers:
• Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine Director, Human Rights Watch (HRW)
• Maha Abdallah, International Advocacy Officer, The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
Mayss Al Alami, Research and Advocacy, the Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy (PIPD)
For more information and to attend please register here.
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.