Zoom: Dilemmas of Rebuilding Gaza

A Conversation between Sara Roy and Salem Al Qudwa

Thursday, January 12, 11 a.m. CT

AFSC will host regular webinar conversations with Palestinian writers from our anthology Light in Gaza: Writings Born of Fire in 2023.

In our first webinar in January, Dr. Sara Roy and Salem Al Qudwa will discuss development and rebuilding in Gaza. The webinar will focus largely on Al Qudwa’s work as an architect, and his chapter “Ethical Implications of Environmental Design on Affected Communities in the Gaza Strip,” in Light in Gaza: Writings Born of Fire. They will address what recovery and rebuilding has looked like in Gaza after Israeli bombing campaigns. What are the challenges and obstacles rebuilding Gaza? What are the opportunities? 

Salem Al Qudwa is an award-winning architect and university lecturer, exploring everyday architecture as a resource for positive social transformation. He is a Fellow in Conflict and Peace at the Harvard Divinity School, and contributor to the book Open Gaza: Architectures of Hope (American University in Cairo Press, 2021). 

Sara Roy is a senior research scholar at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University. A distinguished political economist, she is the author of numerous books on Gaza, including Unsilencing Gaza: Reflections on Resistance (Pluto Press, 2021), and The Gaza Strip: The Political Economy of De-development (1995). 

Accommodations: This webinar will take place on Zoom from 12 to 1 PM EST. To request accommodations such as captioning, please contact our meeting support team at events@afsc.org.
 

231 Palestinians were killed this year. These are their stories.

2022 has been the deadliest year for Palestinians living under Israeli occupation in decades. We kept a record of all those who were killed by Israeli state and settler violence.

YUMNA PATEL, MONDOWEISS, DECEMBER 31, 2022

Some of the Palestinian martyrs from 2022. (Illustration: Yumna Patel/Mondoweiss)

2022 has been the deadliest year for Palestinians living under Israeli occupation in decades. In the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem specifically, this year marked the highest number of killings of Palestinians in the territories since the UN began recording fatalities in 2005. 

The killings began almost instantaneously, with the first two Palestinians killed within the first week of January — one by an Israeli soldier, and one by an Israeli settler. From then on, the killings did not stop. 

Since the start of the year, Mondoweiss has kept a record of all the Palestinians killed by Israeli forces and settlers. As part of our documentation efforts, we have cross referenced the numbers and names of those killed with reports from the Palestinian Ministry of Health, local and international news agencies, and independent journalists.  

At the time of publication, the total number of Palestinians killed in 2022 stood at 231. This number also includes 53 killed in Gaza, 49 of whom were killed during Operation Breaking Dawn in August, and five Palestinians with Israeli citizenship who were killed inside the territory of the Israeli state. 

The vast majority of the deaths this year, however, came from the occupied West Bank, with 173 Palestinians killed. For the purpose of this report, we will focus on those who were killed in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, or those who were residents of the West Bank and Jerusalem but were killed in other parts of occupied Palestine. 

This list does not only include Palestinians who were shot dead by Israeli soldiers, or run over by Israeli settlers. It also includes Palestinian political prisoners who died inside Israeli prisons as a result of “direct medical negligence,” or those who died while resisting Israeli apartheid and colonialism, and are thus considered “martyrs” — those who died for the cause — by the Palestinian public.

Among the 173 killed in the West Bank and East Jerusalem were 39 children aged 17 and under, making them close to 27% of the total deaths in the territory. 

According to our documentation, the least amount of Palestinians killed in a month this year was six, and the highest number was recorded in October, when 30 Palestinians were killed — almost one person every day on average.

Within the West Bank, the highest number of casualties occurred in two specific regions: Nablus and Jenin, representing 19% and 34% of the total casualties, respectively. The particularly high number of deaths in the two regions of the northern West Bank can be attributed to the resurgence of armed resistance witnessed in both areas, which the Israeli military focused its efforts on quashing this year. 

In late 2021, the Israeli army amended its already loose open-fire regulations in the occupied West Bank, officially allowing troops to shoot at Palestinians who had thrown rocks or Molotov cocktails at civilian vehicles, even if the Palestinian no longer presented an immediate threat. 

The military spokesperson has maintained that the amended regulations only apply when rocks or fire bombs are thrown towards civilian vehicles, not when such objects are thrown towards forces during military raids, and that soldiers are to follow a protocol in which the use of deadly force is a last resort. The nature of the killings this year, however, tell a different story. 

According to documentation collected by Mondoweiss, the vast majority of those killed were shot by Israeli police, border police, and the military during confrontations with Israeli forces. While there was a significant rise in armed confrontation between Palestinians and Israeli armed forces this year, many of those killed were shot while unarmed, or while throwing stones or Molotov cocktails towards Israeli army vehicles and armed soldiers. In many cases, rights groups deemed that those killed did not pose an explicit threat to the lives of the Israeli soldiers when they were killed.  

These are the names and faces of every Palestinian who, according to our records, was killed or died as a result of Israeli military, settler, and colonial violence in 2022. 

Occupied West Bank & East Jerusalem

Total deaths: 173

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End-of-Year Appeal: Help with Rafah Family Home

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Dear Friends of MRSCP,

We hope you will consider contributing to our year-end fundraising drive to renovate and repair a family home located in the Tal al Sultan neighborhood of Rafah, where we previously installed a playground.  This house is one of 20 that the U.S. organization Rebuilding Alliance has selected for their new Gaza Family Guided Home Construction Project which involves each family as well as local agencies and contractors in design and construction of their particular space.

We are also asking you to support a housing solution here in Madison: Occupy Madison’s Tiny Houses project.

 
Help Provide Shelter in Gaza

As you are probably aware, the housing crisis is just one of many afflicting the over 2 million men, women and children trapped in Gaza. The fifteen year-long Israeli-US-Egyptian blockade has made it virtually impossible to keep up with the demand for proper shelter created by population growth, or to recover from the devastation of either massive demolitions along the borders or Israel’s periodic devastating military bombardments.

Rebuilding Alliance has launched this pilot program to implement low-cost housing solutions for 20 families which will (1) improve access to water & sanitation facilities; (2) decrease overcrowding and allow more privacy by adding upstairs rooms; and (3) upgrade heating and ventilation.

The home that MRSCP hopes to renovate is occupied by two parents and three children. The father has become disabled and the mother works to try to keep the family afloat.  Their small apartment is desperately in need of roof repairs, interior renovations especially to the main living area and bath, and the addition of another room–especially now that the cold and rains of winter have arrived.

The project will be completed in three stages. As of this writing, we have raised $960 of the $3080 needed for Phase 1. The total cost of all three phases is $10,064.
Contributions to the Rafah home project can be made online via Global Giving.
 
If you prefer, send a check payable to MRSCP marked “Rafah House” to MRSCP, P.O. Box 5214, Madison, WI 53705.
 

AND… 
 
Help Provide Shelter Here in Madison

Once again, we also ask your support for a local project that is related to our campaign in Rafah. Please consider donating to Occupy Madison’s Tiny Houses, addressing the housing crisis right here at home.

Occupy Madison has built two tiny house villages that house 30 formerly homeless individuals and is in the process of buying a third property. Self-governed by the people who live there, the goal is to become self-sustaining by selling goods made in a wood shop, home-grown flowers and plants, crafts and jewelry and soon, a coffee cart!  There is a very long waiting list for these houses. 

Your donation will help support the current villages and build new houses for another village.

You can donate online to Tiny Houses here. (Please include a note in the comment box that the donation is for the Tiny Houses.) 
 
You can also send a check made out to Occupy Madison marked “Tiny Houses” to Occupy Madison, 304 N. Third Street, Madison 53704.

We hope you are able to help support these two projects. And as always, we thank you for your support! Continue reading

How the Israeli government will turn its Jewish critics into dissidents

The transformation of Israeli leftists into dissidents is a reminder that no one is safe from the attempts to turn the ‘wrong kind’ of Jews into enemies.

Edo Konrad, +972 Magazine, December 16, 2022

Israeli activists hold a protest in Tel Aviv against Israeli military rule over Palestinians in the West Bank, September 23, 2021. (Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org)
Israeli activists hold a protest in Tel Aviv against Israeli military rule over Palestinians in the West Bank, September 23, 2021. (Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

Most left-wing Israeli Jews do not generally think of themselves as political dissidents, and have likely never aspired to such a status. Despite the lavish praise they receive for their bravery, Israeli-Jewish leftists have the ability to speak out without suffering the consequences faced by Palestinians, not to mention activists in other undemocratic states. Leftist Jews have very often been afforded the privilege of being opponents of the right, rather than its enemies.

But all that seems like it may change, and far quicker than even the biggest pessimists in my camp anticipated. In just the last month, since Itamar Ben Gvir was appointed as presumptive national security minister, Bezalel Smotrich given the power to lord over the day-to-day lives of millions of Palestinians in the occupied territories, and Avi Maoz granted the power to implement his homophobic agenda in school curriculums, the shifts have been palpable for Jewish critics of the state and its occupation. The government has not yet been formed, but it is clear to everybody which way the wind is blowing.

Israeli police have since summoned Israel Frey, a left-wing Haredi journalist, for interrogation over a tweet praising a Palestinian who sought security forces, rather than civilians, for a planned attack (Frey has thus far refused to appear before the police). Israeli soldiers attacked and threatened leftists, some of them journalists, during a tour in occupied Hebron (a routine event for Palestinians in the city). Right-wing activists managed to pressure the Pardes Hanna-Karkur Local Council to cancel a screening of my colleague Noam Sheizaf’s new film on the occupation due to his politics. And on Thursday, during a hearing by the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, Likud MK Hanoch Milwidsky interrupted Breaking the Silence Executive Director Avner Gvaryahu to call him a “traitor” and an “informant” who should “be imprisoned.”

The path to this moment was paved long ago. While loud and unabashed, there have been relatively few Jewish left-wing dissidents in Israeli history who have challenged the Israeli regime — from conscientious objectors, to nuclear whistleblowers, to groups such as the Israeli Black Panthers and the smattering of other independent left-wing groups — while most have focused on reforming specific policies. Meanwhile, Israel has an increasingly right-wing public that has become accustomed to managing an endless military dictatorship over the West Bank and a lethal siege on Gaza, and has little patience for anyone who criticizes it, or even speaks about it openly. The political right, from former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett — the hero of the “government of change” — to Smotrich and Ben Gvir, believe in forcing Palestinians to kneel before Israel (lest we forget that Bennett’s government dissolved over his coalition’s failure to re-authorize separate West Bank legal systems for Palestinians and Israeli Jews).

(From right) Members of Knesset Bezalel Smotrich, Itamar Ben Gvir, Dudi Amsalem, and Ofir Sofer seen during a vote for the new Knesset speaker, Jerusalem, December 13, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

(From right) Members of Knesset Bezalel Smotrich, Itamar Ben Gvir, Dudi Amsalem, and Ofir Sofer seen during a vote for the new Knesset speaker, Jerusalem, December 13, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Meanwhile, much of the Zionist left no longer has anything of value to say about the occupation, and very often closes ranks with its opponents on the right in attacking Palestinians and the radical left. In Jewish-Israeli society, this has left behind a shrinking cadre of left-wing Jewish activists who recognize that dismantling apartheid and colonialism is the only way to move toward a more just future for Palestinians and Israelis.

Into that vacuum left by the Zionist left swept far-right groups with connections to the Israeli government that have made it their duty to seek out those Jewish Israelis who refuse to toe the party line. A little less than a decade ago, these organizations were behind a chillingly concerted bottom-up effort to delegitimize anti-occupation groups such as Breaking the Silence, B’Tselem, Ta’ayush, and others because they refused to remain silent in the face of Israel’s human rights abuses. What seemed like a novel phenomenon in 2015 is now part of the playbook for every single aspiring right-wing politician. In this sense, the attacks of the last month are not new, but they carry a great deal of weight given the makeup of the new government.

Over the last few weeks, we have witnessed how, time and time again, it is Palestinians who are repeatedly on the front lines of Israel’s repression, most prominently in the story of Dr. Ahmad Mahajna, who is still fighting for his job after he was falsely accused of handing sweets to a 16-year-old Palestinian who carried out a stabbing attack and who was in his care at Hadassah Medical Center. For over a month, Mahajna was ceaselessly attacked by the media and far-right activists for his so-called support for “terrorism,” until enough people came forward to put an end to the witch hunt. If left-wing Israeli Jews are being transformed into dissidents, Palestinians are always one false move from being labeled enemies of the state, simply by their very existence.

Yet this transformation of Israeli leftists into dissidents is a reminder that no one is safe from Ben Gvir, Smotrich, and Maoz’s attempts to suss out the “wrong kind of Jews.” After they come for Palestinians — particularly in Area C of the West Bank, so-called mixed cities, and the Naqab/Negev — they will come for the anti-apartheid activists. After that, it could be anyone who resists the religious coercion of the agents of Jewish theocracy.

Jewish dissidents-to-be need to know the path will be fraught and often dangerous. Some of us will inevitably leave (plenty already have), while others, particularly those without anywhere to go, will either stay and fight alongside Palestinians, asylum seekers, the LGBTQ community, and any other group this government comes after, or step away from activism altogether. Those looking from the outside at what is transpiring on the ground at lightning speed need to know that we are only at the very beginning.

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Tragedy in Gaza after 21 people die in fire

The Abu Rayya tragedy is a direct result of the blockade, as frequent power cuts have forced families in Gaza to use alternative fuel sources to fight the dark, often in hazardous conditions.


MOURNERS ATTEND THE FUNERAL OF 21 PALESTINIANS WHO DIED IN A FIRE THAT BROKE OUT IN AN APARTMENT IN JABALYA REFUGEE CAMP IN THE NORTHERN GAZA STRIP, NOVEMBER 18, 2022. (PHOTO: ASHRAF AMRA/APA IMAGES)

TAREQ S. HAJJAJ, MONDOWEISS, NOVEMBER 19, 2022

It was a rough night in Jabaliya refugee camp, north of Gaza City. Neighbors could not sleep peacefully after what they saw on Thursday, November 17 — the image of the woman holding the steel bars of the window on the fourth floor, screaming and pleading for help as the fire raged on in the room behind her, lighting up the area with red flame. In a second, she was engulfed by the flames and fell down.

Neighbors tried to get into the building to help her and her family, but the locked steel doors shut them out. The fire burned alive her extended family of 21 people, leaving the exact cause of the fire uncertain.

They had all gathered inside a single apartment to celebrate one of the family’s sons who had completed his PhD and arrived from Egypt a week earlier, as well as the birthday of one of the grandsons. The father, Subhi Abu Rayya, 51, the mother Yusra Abu Rayya, 44, and their sons and families, were among the dead.


Palestinian firefighters extinguish a fire that broke out in an apartment in the Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza strip, on November 17, 2022. A large fire that ripped through a home north of Gaza City killed at least 21 people, including seven children, official and medical sources said. (Photo” Palestinian Ministry of Interior/APA Images)

Neighbors in the area told Mondoweiss that a huge flame had gone up and people were trying to go into the apartment to help, but were unable due to the locked doors. The police were the first to arrive and break the doors down, while firefighters and their trucks took over 40 minutes to arrive on the scene.

The tragedy of the Abu Rayya family quickly became what everyone in Gaza was talking about, as speculations abound as to the origins of the fire. Thousands of people came from all over the Gaza Strip to participate in the funeral.

“Everyone is so shocked. Look at their faces, look at how it has affected them,” Abdulnasser Abu Rayya, 41, a family relative of the victims, said as he walked through the funeral procession on the way to the cemetery. Abdulnasser has tried to understand what happened, but all that comes to his mind is a flashback from when entered the apartment that day as it was already on fire, witnessing his relatives burning alive.

“One mother was holding her two kids. Both of them were lying down on her lap. It looked like the mother was trying to protect her children from the fire. They were in there for an hour before the fire was extinguished,” Abdulnasser said. 

The Internal Ministry in Gaza commented on the accident, stating that initial results from investigations have confirmed that the family was storing a large amount of gasoline inside the apartment, which presumably is what caused the huge conflagration.  

“When we entered the apartment, we could not definitively figure out what caused this fire,” Abdulnasser told Mondoweiss. “We start to ask whether they kept gasoline in the house, or whether the cooking gas had leaked at the same time.” Abdulnasser confirmed that no sound of an explosion had been heard at the time of the fire.


Mourners attend the funeral of 21 Palestinians who died in a fire that broke out in an apartment in Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, November 18, 2022. (Photo: Ashraf Amra/APA Images)

Using alternative fuels to fight the dark

Storing deadly materials in living quarters, such as gasoline, unsaved electricity cables, and batteries to light up glow-lamps during power outages, are fairly common in Gaza, explained by the 15-year blockade that has harshly restricted power sources in Gaza. 

Due to frequently scheduled power cuts, people use alternative energy sources to fight the darkness and light up their homes. In 2006, 3 kids in the Al-Hindi family burned to death in their room at Al-Shati refugee camp, in a fire that was caused by a candle they used in their room. 

Abu Rayya’s neighbors said the family used a generator that ran on gasoline, which is likely why the family had stored reserves of it in the house.

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Rafah Family Guided Home Construction

A fundraiser by the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project

Our goal is to raise $10,064 to renovate a family apartment in the Tal al Sultan neighborhood of Rafah, where in 2005 we funded a playground for local children.

This family consists of a father, mother and three children. The father has become disabled and the mother works to try to keep the family afloat. Their small apartment is desperately in need of roof repairs, interior renovations to the main living area and bath, and the addition of another room — especially now that the cold and rains of winter have arrived.

The building condition directly affects the family’s health and well being. The family covers the roof panels with cloths to try to keep out the rain, but that’s not enough to keep the rooms dry. They cannot afford to repair the concrete ceiling.

The family was nominated by the Al Amal Society for Rehabilitation, a Palestinian Non-Government Organization in Gaza that has partnered with Rebuilding Alliance since 2017. Our grant will be transferred to and administered by this partner organization. Rebuilding Alliance’s Site Engineer, Heba El Khozondar, will supervise the project to sign-off for each phase.

The project will have three construction phases, each commencing as soon as enough funds have been donated:
▪ Phase 1: $3,080  Poured concrete roof repair
▪ Phase 2: $3,555  Main Living Space
▪ Phase 3: $3,429  Adjacent new room
$10,064  Total

Donate Online

You can also mail a check to MRSCP marked “house repairs” to
MRSCP
P.O. Box 5214
Madison, WI 53705

Mailed contributions will NOT count toward the Global Giving match on November 29.

As always, thank you for your support.

Gaza Background
Israeli raids in Gaza and the humanitarian fallout, December 16, 2022
Gaza archaeologists find ‘complete’ Roman-era cemetery, 12 December 2022
Caged Sparrows: Palestinian Stories from the Gaza Sea, December 12, 2022
Israeli warplanes attack Gaza as EU calls for ‘accountability’, 4 Dec 2022
Photos: Gaza struggles to accommodate the living and the dead, 6 Oct 2022
Fifteen years of the blockade of the Gaza Strip, 03 July 2022


Gaza’s olive harvest from farm to table

Widely regarded as the most blessed time of the year, Palestinian families in Gaza wait all year for the olive harvest season.


A Boy in the Shahin Family Helps His Family Pick Olives During the Olive Harvest Season in Gaza, October 2022. (Photo: Mohammed Salem)

Tareq S. Hajjaj, Mondoweiss, October 28, 2022

The Shahin family sits happily in a circle in their home, located in the Shuja’iyya neighborhood east of Gaza City. The house is warm and lively, and the smell of the meal inside the oven fills the whole room. Everyone can barely contain their excitement at tasting the season’s new olive oil. On the menu is musakhan, a traditional Palestinian dish utilizing the freshly harvested olive oil to make a layered dish of taboon bread, onions cooked in copious olive oil and sumac, and often topped with chicken.

Widely regarded as the most blessed time of the year, Palestinian families in Gaza wait all year for the olive harvest season. Starting in October, families prepare harvest tools, mats, plastic rolls, high ladders, and pails, venturing out in the early morning to visit their lands, finally able to pick the olives after an entire year tending to the trees. 

The Shahin family picking olives (Photo: Mohammed Salem)

Everyone in the Shahin family participates in the harvest, considered the most important season of the year. They spend weeks on end together, enjoying the olives, and the resulting fresh and thick green oil, as an accompaniment to their meals. “When I dip the first piece of bread into the oil we made, I feel all the effort we put into harvesting melting away,” Amr Shahin, 13, says from his family farm.

He is part of a group of teenagers participating in the harvest. As they continue to pick up olives from the ground, Hassan, 12, points his finger to his cousin Mahmoud, a year older.

“Take Mahmoud for instance,” says Hassan. “If he doesn’t have olive oil for a week, he will die!” They all snicker, coming down from their ladders to participate in the interview.

The Shahin family harvest their olive trees in Gaza, October 2022 (Photo: Mohammed Salem)

The olives go through a short process to be ready for consumption, either as pickled olives or as fresh-pressed oil. The family all joins together under the tree to carry out a designated task within the division of labor necessary for olive picking. 

Picking as a family tradition

The Shahin family owns eleven acres of land, home to three hundred olive trees. They work daily, from afternoon to sunset, taking advantage of the presence of the young boys after they get off from school to climb up the tall ladders and pick the olives from the top of the trees.

Their mothers wait for them to get back from school. They have their lunch at home quickly, then get to work. Mothers sit under the tree while the boys are up on the ladders, picking the olives and letting them fall down amid their mothers and sisters, who pick it up and separate the olives, dividing the green and black olives into separate bags. After harvesting, the olives are taken home in plastic bags. The family sells a few bags to their neighbors when they get back home.

The Shahin family harvest their olive trees in Gaza, October 2022 (Photo: Mohammed Salem)

The fastest way to prepare the olives for eating is to smash them with the flat side of a rock, without breaking the pits. Then the olives are mixed with salt and red pepper, and stored in containers for a week. After the curing period, the olives are ready.

And when the family judges the quantity it harvests to be enough, they send it over for pressing. 

Olives into oil

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Light in Gaza Speaking Tour in Milwaukee


Light in Gaza: Writings Born of Fire book cover. (Photo: AFSC)

American Friends Service Committee, Sep 27, 2022

    11/17/22 update: WORT’s Gil Halsted talks with Yousef Aljamal and Asmaa Abu Mezeid, two of the Light in Gaza authors now on tour in the U.S.

Light in Gaza: Writings Born of Fire brings together sixteen essays and poems by twelve Palestinian writers. The book includes political essays, personal narratives, economic analysis, and poetry. The book is edited by American Friends Service Committee staff Jehad Abusalim, Jennifer Bing, and Mike Merryman-Lotze and published by Haymarket Books. Read the full press release here.

AFSC is excited to host a speaking tour featuring Asmaa Abu Mezied and Yousef Aljamal, contributors to the Light in Gaza anthology.

Join us for a discussion of this new literary anthology featuring two of the book’s co-authors: Asmaa Abu Mezied and Yousef Aljamal.

This book imagines what the future of Gaza could be, while reaffirming the critical role of Gaza in the struggle for Palestinian liberation.

“This is a different view than most Americans see in the news.  Usually we see people in Gaza being killed or living without electricity. So they are either victims or superhumans. You miss the everyday family gatherings, the importance of nature. We hope this book inspires people to want to learn more,” said Jennifer Bing, director of the AFSC Palestine Activism Program in Chicago and editor for the Light in Gaza book project.

We will talk with the authors about their contributions to the book, and discuss the current conditions in Gaza. We will also be discussing the role that we here in Turtle Island can play in support the struggle for Palestinian liberation.

This event is co-sponsored by: Milwaukee 4 Palestine (milwaukee4palestine@gmail.com); Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition, Party for Socialism and Liberation (Milwaukee), Jewish Voice for Peace (Milwaukee), Students for Justice in Palestine (UWM), Students for Justice in Palestine (Marquette University).

About the speakers:

Asmaa Abu Mezied is economic development and gender expert working to address issues of gender, development, and climate change.  Her main area of focus is women’s economic justice through gendered economic policies, women’s rights in economic sectors, unpaid care and domestic work campaigning, inclusive markets, and feminist economics in fragile and conflict areas. Asmaa is a beginner gardener in the Gaza Strip and is interested in the intersection of Palestinian political, agricultural, and environmental identities. Asmaa is a policy member and a current fellow at Al Shabaka, a Palestinian think tank.  She was an Atlas Corps Fellow with U.S. President Obama’s Emerging Global Leaders, a Gaza Hub-Global Shaper Alumna in the initiative of the World Economic Forum, and a 2021 Mozilla Foundation Wrangler at “Tech for Social Activism” space. 

Yousef M. Aljamal is a Palestinian refugee from Al-Nusierat refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. He has obtained an MA degree from the Department of International and Strategic Studies Department at the University of Malaya. He is now a PhD Candidate at the Middle East Institute at Sakarya University in Turkey. Aljamal, besides his research interests in diaspora, security, and indigenous studies, has contributed to a number of books which highlight the Palestinian narrative. He translated two books on Palestinian prisoners entitled The Prisoners’ Diaries: Palestinian Voices from the Israeli Gulag (2013) and Dreaming of Freedom: Palestinian Child Prisoners Speak (2016). He also co-edited the book A Shared Struggle Stories of Palestinian and Irish Hunger Strikers (2021). Aljamal has published a number of journal articles on topics that include Palestinians in the diaspora, travel restrictions imposed on Palestinians, and struggles for liberation. Over the years, he has spoken at various forums and platforms to highlight the plight of Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation.

Amnesty Says ICC Israel Probe Should Include ‘Crime Against Humanity of Apartheid’

“Israel’s apartheid remains the root cause of Palestinians’ suffering,” said the group.


Palestinians inspect the ruins of a collapsed building destroyed by an Israeli air strike in Gaza City on August 6, 2022. (Photo: Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

JULIA CONLEY, Common Dreams, October 25, 2022

Calling for the International Criminal Court to open a new investigation into possible war crimes by Israeli military forces in Gaza in August, Amnesty International on Tuesday said the court must also include Israel’s illegal apartheid policies against the Occupied Palestinian Territories in its probe.

“As well as investigating war crimes committed in Gaza, the ICC should consider the crime against humanity of apartheid within its current investigation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”

The organization’s call centered on the three-day offensive launched by Israel between August 5-8 in the Gaza Strip, with advocates saying its research suggests three specific attacks could amount to war crimes.

Seventeen civilians were among the 49 Palestinian people who were killed by Israeli forces during the offensive, while seven were determined to have been killed by Palestinian rockets that were likely misfired. The group could not determine which side was responsible for the deaths of seven other civilians.

Amnesty noted that Israel, which claimed the attacks were “preemptive” and targeted the Palestinian Islamic Jihad organization, has set the stage for such deadly assaults on civilians for years by imposing a blockade and other apartheid policies on Gaza.

“These violations were perpetrated in the context of Israel’s ongoing illegal blockade on Gaza, which is a key tool of its apartheid regime,” said Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s secretary general, in a statement. “Palestinians in Gaza are dominated, oppressed, and segregated, trapped in a 15-year nightmare where recurrent unlawful attacks punctuate a worsening humanitarian crisis.”

“As well as investigating war crimes committed in Gaza, the ICC should consider the crime against humanity of apartheid within its current investigation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” Callamard added.

The group said Israel’s policies—including military control of Palestine, restrictions on the movement of millions of people in the West Bank, and denial of essential services—are the “root cause of Palestinians’ suffering.”

The call comes eight months after Amnesty outlined Israel’s apartheid system in a report, saying “the international community and the ICC should all investigate the commission of the crime of apartheid under international law.”

In its report released Tuesday regarding the three-day offensive that took place in August, the group said it had interviewed 42 people including attack survivors, family members of those killed, eyewitnesses, and medical professionals. A fieldworker, the organization’s evidence lab, and a weapons expert determined that at least three of the 17 attacks Amnesty documented should be investigated by the ICC as possible war crimes.

An Israeli tank fired a projectile on August 5, hitting the home of 22-year-old art student Duniana al-Amour and her family in the southern Gaza Strip. Al-Amour was killed and her mother was wounded. Amnesty concluded in its analysis that the family’s home had been “deliberately targeted,” even though there is “no evidence that any members of the al-Amour family could reasonably be believed to be involved in armed combat.”

Five children were killed on August 7 when a missile struck Al-Falluja cemetery, near the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza. The children ranged in age from four to 16.

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