BREAKING: 200+ Palestinians, Israelis, and American Jews protest to #SaveMasaferYatta


Growing up, I was told over and over: “You need to take responsibility for Israel. It’s your responsibility as a Jew.”

Now, I would say: “It’s unconscionable what’s happening in my name in Israel/Palestine, and as an American Jew, I am uniquely positioned to do something about it.”

That’s why I’ve spent the past week in the West Bank, meeting and working with Palestinians who are persevering to stay on their land and in their homes. I’m on a delegation with the Center for Jewish Nonviolence, an organization building networks of solidarity and co-resistance with Palestinians.

We’ve been working with community leaders in Masafer Yatta, a region south of Hebron where more than 1,500 Palestinians are facing expulsion from their homes. This would be the largest mass expulsion of Palestinians in sixty years.

Click for more via Instagram or Email

As I’ve traveled from community to community, alongside our Palestinian partners, I’ve heard two things over and over again:

One: Work with us. A young Palestinian organizer, Tariq, told me this:

“The fact that Palestinians and Jews are working together – that scares them. It threatens the forces that maintain occupation.”

Two: Share our stories. As one community leader put it:

“We need you to come here to hear our stories, and we need you to go home to share them.”

Today, I saw firsthand how Jews and Palestinians working together threatens this violent system.

But before I tell you what happened today, I need you to take one step to help Palestinians struggling to stay on their land. If enough of us are paying attention and speaking out, 1,500 people could remain in their homes.

If you have Instagram, follow the fight to #SaveMasaferYatta here via Instagram, or here via email.

This morning, I joined a Palestinian led-protest of over 200 Palestinians, Israelis, and diaspora Jews – including IfNotNow members – working together to re-open a road illegally blocked by settlers. The plan was to roll aside the massive boulders that settlers had put in place, which had cut Palestinians off from vital travel.

When settlers harassed us, the soldiers stood by and watched. They even detained Israeli activists and released them next to the settlers, who threw stones at them, broke their car window, and injured the activists inside.

When our group of nonviolent protesters tried to clear the road, the army responded with tear gas & stun grenades.

Now, I need you to spread this story. Follow along on Instagram, or sign up for email updates about what’s happening in Masafer Yatta.

Onwards,
Ari

Continue reading

June 14, 2022
No Way to Treat a Child Webinar

Please join the #nowaytotreatachild campaign co-leaders from Defense for Children International – Palestine and American Friends Service Committee for a webinar on June 14 at 8 p.m. Eastern / 5 p.m. Pacific time.

The webinar will share updates on Palestinian children’s human rights, including updates on Palestinian children who have been detained, killed, used as human shields, and had their homes demolished by Israeli authorities. We’ll also discuss how to approach our advocacy work in the long term to ensure it is sustainable while keeping grassroots supporters and elected officials engaged.

Background

Approximately 2.9 million Palestinians live in the occupied West Bank, of which around 45 percent are children under the age of 18.

Palestinian children in the West Bank, like adults, face arrest, prosecution, and imprisonment under an Israeli military detention system that denies them basic rights.

Since 1967, Israel has operated two separate legal systems in the same territory. In the occupied West Bank, Israeli settlers are subject to the civilian and criminal legal system whereas Palestinians live under military law.

Israel applies civilian criminal law to Palestinian children in East Jerusalem. No Israeli child comes into contact with the military courts.

Israel has the dubious distinction of being the only country in the world that automatically and systematically prosecutes children in military courts that lack fundamental fair trial rights and protections. Israel prosecutes between 500 and 700 Palestinian children in military courts each year.

Ill-treatment in the Israeli military detention system remains “widespread, systematic, and institutionalized throughout the process,” according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report Children in Israeli Military Detention Observations and Recommendations.

Children typically arrive to interrogation bound, blindfolded, frightened, and sleep deprived.

Children often give confessions after verbal abuse, threats, physical and psychological violence that in some cases amounts to torture.

Israeli military law provides no right to legal counsel during interrogation, and Israeli military court judges seldom exclude confessions obtained by coercion or torture.

    ABOUT #NOWAYTOTREATACHILD’S WEBINARS AND ZOOM:
    For this webinar, we will be using the Zoom platform. Additional instructions and details for joining the webinar will be shared by email with individuals that have registered.

    WHEN
    June 14, 2022 at 8:00pm – 9pm
    WHERE
    Online via Zoom
    CONTACT
    Brad Parker · info@nowaytotreatachild.org

    Register for the Webinar

Continue reading

Save Masafer Yatta

change.org, 5 May 2020

Update: Israel’s High Court of Justice dismissed all the petitions against the forcible transfer of up to 1,200 Palestinians in a large part of Masafer Yatta that Israel has declared a closed military zone.


Masafer Yatta is an area in the South Hebron Hills of the West Bank, which is home to twelve Palestinian villages totaling about 1,300 residents. The area is spread out over about 35,000 dunam of land, where agricultural communities have lived for generations.
In opposition to international law, which prohibits the expulsion of a population from its land and the use of occupied land for military training, in the early 1980s, the Israeli army declared the area Firing Zone 918, in order to dispossess Palestinians from their homes and strengthen Israeli settlements in the area.

Since this declaration, residents have lived under the daily threat of demolitions, evictions, and dispossession. Families in Masafer Yatta are denied access to their land, roads, sources of water, schools, medical services, and hospitals. This is in addition to nearly daily violence from settlers in the region.

The legal outcome for the area remains a question, as residents await a court ruling which will determine their futures. On March 15, 2022, the Israeli Supreme Court held a hearing to discuss the fate of the communities of Masafer Yatta. In the coming months, the court is likely to make a final decision in the case and determine whether hundreds of families will be forcibly expelled from their lands and homes. If the Supreme Court decides to permit the expulsion of residents, it will be one of the largest expulsions carried out by the State of Israel in recent decades, an alarming precedent that could lead to further expulsions across the West Bank, and a further escalation of Israel’s policies of annexation and Apartheid.

We must not stand by quietly as Israel evicts entire communities. We cannot allow Apartheid to go unchallenged.

Sign the petition.

Please join our Facebook group to receive updates on the situation.

A Word from Jeff Halper on “Jerusalem Day”

Jeff Halper, ICAHD, May 29, 2022

Today, Sunday, May 29, the Jewish state of Israel will carry out a government-sponsored pogrom on the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem. “Jerusalem Day,” the annual Israeli celebration of the conquest and illegal annexation of the Old City and “East” Jerusalem, has been called the “national holiday of the settlers.” If Independence Day on May 15 marks the UN vote in 1948 that approved (with no authority) the establishment of the state of Israel on the majority of historic Palestine, then Jerusalem Day, by contrast, marks the displacement of the Palestinians from Palestine — the Judaization of Palestine whose flip-side is de-Arabization, the erasure of the very Palestinian Arab presence in the country. Just two weeks ago the Israeli police attacked the funeral of the murdered Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and tore the Palestinian flag off her casket; it is illegal to display a Palestinian flag in an Arab city in a historically Arab country that still has an Arab majority despite Israel’s massive expulsions and displacement.

It is not enough to displace Palestinians from their lands, homes and communities (more than 530 entire Palestinian villages, towns and urban areas were systematically demolished inside what became Israel in 1948, and 85% of the Palestinian population driven from the country; since 1967, Israel has demolished 60,000 Palestinian homes, schools, mosques, agricultural facilities and community structures). It is not enough to replace the Palestinian population with Israeli settlers. It is not enough to eliminate by force and by law every expression of Palestinian resistance to their own national erasure. Israel must send “the Arabs” – Israelis do not say “Palestinians” – a clear message: You have three choices: submit and accept the fact your country is now a Jewish state and you will never have civil rights, get out, or die.

Jerusalem Day is when Israel annually reaffirms this message, and it uses the religious settlers as its eager messenger. The Russian government and the others of Eastern and Central Europe sponsored hundreds of pogroms against their Jewish communities with exactly the same message, albeit with the emphasis on “get out or die.” Jews were ideally controlled, contained and intimidated into submission by the population rather than by the military or police, populations inculcated with virulent anti-Semitism. Israel uses its religious settler population, including pupils from virtually every Jewish religious school in the country, for the same purpose, supported by governments elected by an Israeli Jewish population inculcated by a virulent hatred of “Arabs,” seen as “terrorists” whose elimination is therefore justified.

Pogroms against Palestinians are daily occurrences, of course. Even the United States has protested against “settler violence,” the euphemism used for progroms. But government-sanctioned pogroms – military attacks on densely-crowded refugee camps or the Gazan concentration camp of 2 million people; the displacement of entire populations such as that of Masafer Yatta, approved by the Supreme Court; massive demolitions of Palestinian homes and confiscation of land; nightly raids on sIeeping families to “demonstrate a presence”; detention of thousands of Palestinian children and teens; a virtual hunting season on Palestinian men; the storming of al-Aqsa mosque – are carried out by official arms of Israeli state terrorism, whether the legal system and the courts, the military or police, or their settler agents.

Tomorrow’s pogrom will see thousands of religious Israelis (primarily kids, the ones still in need of indoctrination) carrying Israeli flags through the Damascus Gate and down the main street of the Muslim Quarter shouting “Death to Arabs!”, damaging stores, businesses and homes, and attacking any Palestinian they find in their way. True, there will not be mass murders tomorrow as there were in European pogroms, but there will be mass murders, simply spread out over the mini-pogroms carried out daily. Diluted rather than concentrated killings. Israel killed 319 Palestinians in the Occupied Territory in 2021, 71 of them children, according to the Israeli human rights organization, B’tselem.

Your media may or may not cover the “March of Flags” on tomorrow’s Jerusalem Day. But a state-sponsored pogrom is about to happen.

Thank you for your continuing support.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@ICAHDU)
Email us at: info@icahdusa.org

ICAHD-USA
119 N. Fairfax Avenue, #486
Los Angeles, CA 90036-2110

Speak Out Against Forced Displacement in Masafer Yatta

Americans for Justice in Palestine Action (AJP Action) firmly condemns Israel’s plans to ethnically cleanse the city of Masafer Yatta in the West Bank. We call on Congress to demand the State Department rebuke Israel for the forced displacement of over 1000 Palestinians, a clear and reprehensible violation of international and human rights law.

YOUR VOICE MATTERS. TAKE ACTION!

Capping off a 20-year-long legal battle between Palestinians and Israeli occupation courts, Israel’s high court announced that over 1000 Palestinians can be forcibly displaced from Masafer Yatta, a city in the West Bank. These Palestinians are victims of Israel’s ethnic cleansing, displaced from their homes in order for their land to be repurposed for Israeli military use.

The Israeli high court’s decision is one of the biggest forced expulsion rulings since Israel began occupying Palestinian territories in 1967.

Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes and businesses constitutes a “grave breach” of international humanitarian law, specifically the Fourth Geneva Convention which cites “extensive destruction and appropriation of property” and “unlawful deportation or transfer” as grave breaches of international law. As a result, Israel’s actions are subject to criminal liability. Moreover, the legal concept of universal jurisdiction obligates State Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to arrest and prosecute those responsible for grave breaches of the Convention.

Thank you for taking action against injustice and standing for Palestine; we won’t stop until it’s free.

Contact Congress Here!

Sincerely,
Americans for Justice in Palestine Action

AJP Action, an affiliate of American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization lobbying for legislation that supports the human rights of the Palestinian people.

Rights groups slam Israeli ruling that allows razing of villages

Israel’s top court rejects the petition against the expulsion of Palestinian residents from villages in the West Bank.


A demonstrator holding a Palestinian flag gestures as he stands next to Israeli forces [File: Mussa Qawasma/Reuters]

Al Jazeera, 5 May 2022

Rights groups have decried a decision by an Israeli court that paves the way for Israeli forces to forcibly expel Palestinian Bedouin communities in Masafer Yatta, an area in the southern occupied West Bank.

Israeli human rights group B’Tselem called on the international community on Thursday to prevent the transfer from happening, in what would be one of the largest single displacements of Palestinians in decades.

The call came a day after Israel’s high court rejected a petition against the forcible displacement of more than 1,000 Palestinians who reside in the area.

“The justices have thus proved once again that the occupied cannot expect justice from the occupier’s court,” the group said in a statement.

“The decision, weaving baseless legal interpretation with decontextualised facts, makes it clear that there is no crime which the high court justices will not find a way to legitimise.”

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has described the development as “dangerous”.

“The damage this decision will inflict on people’s homes and source of livelihoods is irredeemable. People could be made homeless overnight with nowhere for them to go,” Caroline Ort, NRC’s country director for Palestine, said in a statement on Thursday.

“This is a dangerous step that must be reversed. If followed through, it would constitute a violation of international law which prohibits Israel as an occupying power from transferring members of the occupied population from their existing communities against their will,” Ort added.

Masafer Yatta spans some 36km (22 miles) and is comprised of 19 Palestinian villages that are home to more than 2,000 people.

The Israeli military designated part of the area a closed military zone for training in the 1980s, and “they have sought to remove the communities on this basis”, according to the United Nations.

The court said in its ruling that the Palestinian residents had not been permanent residents of the area when the Israeli military first declared it a firing zone.

Masafer Yatta’s Mayor Nidal Younes was quoted by Palestinian news agency Wafa as saying that the court ignored all evidence provided by the families in the area that shows they resided there prior to the 1980s.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) said the verdict would have “unprecedented consequences“.

Call to international community

Continue reading

April 26, 2022: Webinar on the Palestinian Solidarity Movement


Presented by the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions (ICAHD) and Mondoweiss.

Bob Herbst is a civil rights lawyer, co-chair of the ICAHD-USA board, and a member of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and the Westchester, New York, Peace and Action Coalition (WESPAC).

Phil Weiss is a senior editor at a website that covers Israel/Palestine issues and Zionism, Mondoweiss.net. He lives in the Hudson Valley in New York and has long been a writer, working for mainstream news organizations until his opposition to the Iraq war and criticism of Israel made him persona non grata and he began writing on the internet. He is learning music.

Environmental Justice Has No Borders

A Call to the Environmental Justice Movement

Sign the Pledge

NDN Collective

Israel violently forces Indigenous Palestinians out of their homes and off their land, and harms the environment in the process. Join us in supporting Palestinian freedom and environmental justice by signing and sharing the Environmental Justice Has No Borders Pledge. Together, we can center Indigenous rights and oppose Israel’s settler colonialism.

THE PLEDGE

Guided by the release of NDN Collective’s Position Paper on Palestine (https://ndncollective.org/right-of-return-is-landback/), we invite organizations and individuals to join us in principled solidarity with Indigenous communities on Turtle Island and with the Palestinian people and commit to:

No greenwashing apartheid Israel! That means:
1. Boycott propaganda trips to Israel
2. Refuse to participate in events or actvities that cover up, or “greenwash,” Israel’s ongoing violence against the Palestinian people
3. Instead, recognize that Palestine is an issue of environmental justice and commit to principled solidarity

ORGANIZATIONAL SIGNERS:

Adalah Justice Project
Adalah-NY
American Muslim Bar Association (AMBA)
Arab Resource & Organizing Director (AROC)
Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC)
Australians for Palestine
Baltimore Nonviolence Center
Catalyst Project
Church Women United in New York State
Daarna
East Michigan Environmental Action Council (EMEAC)
Eyewitness Palestine
Gods' Grace Outreach Ministries, International
Grassroots Global Justice Alliance
Jewish Voice for Peace
Jewish Voice for Peace-Boston
Jewish Voice for Peace-New Haven
Jewish Voice for Peace-Twin Cities
Little Village Environmental Justice Organization
Lutherans for Justice in the Holy Land
Minnesota BDS Community
Movement for Black Lives
Mujeres Unidas y Activas
NDN Collective
Peace Action WI
Sari-Sari Women of Color Arts Coup
St. Louis Friends of Bethlehem
Terra Advocati
The Art Odyssey
Uprooted & Rising
US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR)
Visualizing Palestine
Vote Climate

WHY PLEDGE TO UPHOLD ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE ACROSS BORDERS?

The fight for environmental justice has no borders. Ensuring the survival of land and people anywhere requires that we oppose settler-colonialism, militarism, land theft, and environmental destruction everywhere.

This pledge is being released on Land Day, a day marking Palestinian protest against violent Israeli removal from their lands, and comes in the aftermath of an incident that highlighted the dangerous persistence of support for colonialism in the environmental justice movement. Recently, the Sierra Club canceled its March trips to Israel. That was the right thing to do: propaganda trips to Israel are harmful to Palestinians and the land they live on, and help cover up Israel’s oppression of Palestinians. But after facing backlash, The Sierra Club, an organization with a history of violence toward Indigenous communities in the U.S., backtracked on its commitment to cancel its trips. The Sierra Club’s reversal is an insult to Indigenous communities everywhere.

Israel was built on top of Palestinian land, just as the U.S. was built on top of Native land. Zionist paramilitary forces bombed and destroyed Palestinian towns and cities, and forced out 75% of the Palestinian population from their homes and their land. Palestinians were separated from their loved ones and from their natural resources and spiritual and cultural connection to the land. Palestinians call this the Nakba, which means catastrophe in Arabic.

Conservation trips to apartheid Israel help the Israeli government cover up, or greenwash, the injustices of the Nakba and Israel’s ongoing oppression of Palestinians.

The Israeli government claims to be environmentally friendly but in reality, Israel is stealing Palestinian land and destroying the Palestinian environment. Indigenous Palestinians have cultivated and cared for the land for centuries and their call for solidarity should be respected. Just two examples of Israel’s impact on the environment:

1. Forests: Israel has uprooted over 800,000 native olive trees owned by Palestinians and planted forests where nearly 9 in 10 of the trees planted are invasive species that harm the land and the people. Israel’s planting of non-native trees has resulted in rapid desertification.
2. Water: In 1967, Israel took control over Palestine’s water resources and continues to restrict Palestinians’ access to water. Israel sinks wells and taps springs, forcing Palestinians to buy back their own water. This is harmful to Palestinian farmers and all Palestinians.

As a coalition of racial and social justice organizers, we call on the Sierra Club to uphold its basic responsibility to stop harming Indigenous struggles and drop these greenwashing trips. We invite other environmental justice and conservation organizations to be guided by NDN Collective’s new Position Paper on Palestine (https://ndncollective.org/right-of-return-is-landback/), and sign our Environmental Justice Has No Borders pledge. The pledge asks organizations and individuals in the environmental justice movement to center Indigenous rights by heeding the Palestinian people’s call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) of apartheid Israel, including ceasing “greenwashing” activities and propaganda trips.

This is a moment of deeper reckoning for the conservation and environmental justice movements writ large: Indigenous peoples know intimately the violence of dispossession, displacement, and settler-colonialism, and most organizations remain complicit in this violence. Our collective call-out of Sierra Club only highlighted the need for justice that was long past due: Environmental, climate, and Indigenous justice all necessarily require divestment from the U.S. military, the single largest consumer of fossil fuels globally that enforces the occupation of Indigenous sovereign lands, from Turtle Island to Palestine. Repairing harm to Indigenous communities starts with actively resisting settler colonialism through concrete commitments to resist militarism, including refusing to participate in the propaganda that props up these policies.

Colonization and erasure of Indigenous people is never green—it's deadly to people and the planet.

Sign the Pledge

Continue reading

Israeli settlers seize and fence off land in Sheikh Jarrah

The area is on high alert following the demolition of a Palestinian house north of the neighbourhood, which has been widely condemned


Israeli settlers install a fence while seizing land in the Palestinian neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem (Supplied)

Middle East Eye Staff, 21 January 2022

Israeli settlers seized a land plot in occupied East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood on Friday, accompanied by police and the deputy mayor of Jerusalem municipality.

The settlers set up fences around the land that the Palestinian Salem family in Sheikh Jarrah said belonged to them.

Local media reported that Israeli police pushed locals and attacked protesters. A Palestinian woman from the Salem family claimed to have suffered a broken arm after Arieh King, the deputy mayor of Jerusalem municipality, attacked her.

The area has been on high alert over the past week, following the demolition of a Palestinian house north of the neighbourhood, which has been widely condemned.

Sheikh Jarrah has been a significant flashpoint over the past year after Israel tried to expel Palestinian families from the area last May to make way for Israeli settlers.

On Friday, settlers claimed ownership of the land and the Salem family’s house. The Nahalat Shimon settler group had been active in pursuing eviction orders issued by Israeli courts against Palestinian families. 

Nahalat Shimon is the Hebrew name of Sheikh Jarrah. Settlers say that Jewish families lived in the area before 1917, and that the properties belong to them.

Fatima Salem, 73, said she had been living in the house in Sheikh Jarrah with her son and daughter and their families for decades. In 1988 they were ordered by an Israeli court to vacate their property but froze the decision that year. In 2015, the Israeli court reactivated the eviction orders for the house. 

She told Middle East Eye that settlers had beaten her son, Ibrahim, and shoved her while they tried to face them on Friday morning. The Salems were woken up by the neighbours on their day off, to see settlers busy fencing the land.

“The Israeli police were standing and did not stop [it]. They were standing with the settlers against us and let them fence it, and then attacked us, my son and I was shoved pushed from my chair,” she said.

Fatima added that King, who is pro-settlement, told them that the house and land belong to the settlers.

“They told us that they will take the house from us. This is injustice, I say this to all the world. They evicted the Salhiya family and demolished their home and now it’s our turn. All of [Palestinians] in Sheikh Jarrah will be evicted,” Fatima told MEE.

“Only God can beat them, but we will not leave the house, this is our life, our memories, let them shoot us inside, we will not leave.”

Wafa news agency reported that Israeli settlers had uprooted several trees on the land in the past week, and fenced it. The families removed the fence afterwards.

Continue reading