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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“You Can Be the Last Leaf” by Maya Abu Al-Hayyat

Maya Abu Al-Hayyat directs the Palestine Writing Workshop on the West Bank. She’ll read poems & be in conversation with poet Deema Shehabi.

    A Virtual Book Celebration!
    October 29, 2022, 1 PM CT
    Benefit for the Palestine Writing Workshop, Tickets $10
    RSVP and share!

Maya Abu Al-Hayyat is a Palestinian writer, storyteller, and mother based in occupied East Jerusalem. Each day she passes through Israeli checkpoints, like the infamous Qalandia checkpoint, to direct the Palestine Writing Workshop, one of MECA’s partner organizations. Maya and her team at the Palestine Writing Workshop have published award-winning Arabic children’s books and led hundreds of interactive workshops from Nablus to Silwan to Gaza for children, youth, librarians and parents on reading aloud, creative writing, and storytelling. Her work is grounded in the belief that art and literature can change lives and aims to improve Palestinian children’s literacy and also encourage their imaginations. She is a gifted storyteller who captures the attention of children of all ages (and adults too!). Maya also runs writing courses for former prisoners, helping them transform trauma into art.

She has published four collections of poems, four novels, and numerous children’s stories, including The Blue Pool of Questions. She contributed to and wrote a foreword for A Bird Is Not a Stone: An Anthology of Contemporary Palestinian Poetry, and she is an editor of The Book of Ramallah. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Cordite Poetry Review, The Guardian, and Literary Hub. Please join us to learn more about Maya’s work and life in Palestine!

Deema K. Shehabi is the author of Thirteen Departures From the Moon and co-editor with Beau Beausoleil of Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here, for which she received the Northern California Book Award’s NCBR Recognition Award. She co-authored Diaspo/Renga with Marilyn Hacker and won the 2018 Nazim Hikmet poetry competition. Her work has also appeared in Literary Imagination, the Kenyon Review, Literary Hub, Poetry London, and Crab Orchard, and has been translated into French, Farsi, and Arabic; she has been nominated for the Pushcart prize several times.

Cosponsored by Middle East Children’s Alliance and Sacramento Bethlehem Sister City. Info: meca@mecaforpeace.org, 510-548-0542.

PRAISE FOR “You Can Be The Last Leaf”

“The Palestinian poet’s U.S. debut gathers two decades of her intimate testimony about private life in a public war zone, where ‘those who win by killing fewer children / are losers.’”—New York Times

“Al-Hayyat’s latest devastating and courageous collection captures the precarious everyday lives of Palestinians with enormous empathy and glistening clarity . . . The vivid translations by Fady Joudah will jostle readers into discomfort and pin Al-Hayyat’s stunning voice into their ears.”—Booklist

“Abu Al-Hayyat explores the broader political and geographic aspects of Palestinian life under colonial rule while at the same time interweaving the quotidian aspects of life and loss in such settings. Within these frictions of exterior trauma and private contemplations, large constraints and small freedoms, these poems soar.”—Chicago Review of Books

Gaza: The Longest Siege in Modern History


Video recorded October 3, 2022

In 1948, the tiny Gaza Strip was cut off from the rest of historic Palestine, absorbing a huge number of Palestinian refugees who were ethnically cleansed from their ancestral lands.

In 1967, it was militarily occupied by Israeli forces, its inhabitants suffering from a plethora of colonial domination techniques and movement restrictions over the subsequent decades.

An unprecedented land, air, and sea blockade was imposed on Gaza since June 2007, constituting the longest siege in modern history.

As the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 has noted in her latest report: “Israel’s apparent strategy is the indefinite warehousing of an unwanted population of two million Palestinians, whom it has confined to a narrow strip of land through its comprehensive 15-year-old air, land and sea blockade.” 

The outcome has been a harrowing process of de-development resulting, as the UN Special Rapporteur notes, “in a 45 percent unemployment rate, a 60 percent poverty rate and with 80 percent of the population dependent on some form of international assistance, in significant part because of the hermetic sealing of Gaza’s access to the outside world”. 

Besides this siege imposed by the Israeli state with Egyptian state collusion, the Palestinian people living in Gaza have been assaulted and bombarded by Israeli forces from land, sea, and air on a regular basis. Their cities, villages, and refugee camps have suffered from several Israeli military invasions, which have led to the killing of thousands and the maiming of tens of thousands of Palestinians. Centering the voices of Palestinian scholars and intellectuals from Gaza, this panel examines the political and historic context of this process, accounting for its enormous human toll but also highlighting the ongoing will to resist this oppressive colonial present.


Hosted by Darwish Visiting Professor in Palestinian Studies, Abdel Razzaq Takriti

Panelists:
Jehad Abusalim, PhD candidate, History and Hebrew and Judaic Studies Joint Program, New York University
Aya Al-Ghazzawi , Writer, English language teacher, Palestinian Ministry of Education
Swee Chai Ang , Orthopedic surgeon, Author
Hadeel Assali, Postdoctoral Research Scholar, Lecturer, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Columbia University
Fady Joudah, Physician, Poet, Translator 

Update: Back-To-School Backpacks For Rafah Kids

135 backpacks to Rafah by MECA on our behalf
More MECA photos from Gaza

 


 

The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project is partnering with the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) to provide back-to-school backpacks to 2000 poor children in Gaza, including Rafah and Rafah camp which suffered significant damage and casualties in the latest Israeli assault.

Our goal is to provide at least 100 Gaza-produced backpacks that MECA will distribute at schools and kindergartens in Rafah. The backpacks cost $17.50 each for a total of $1,750. MRSCP will match half the cost of the first 100 backpacks before the end of August, when school resumes in Gaza. 100 percent of your donation will go to this project.

The people of Gaza suffered terribly from the recent Israeli bombardment, which was just the latest in a series of what Israeli officials callously refer to as “mowing the grass” — periodic military assaults on the two million people (one million of them children) with no safe place to hide in what has been called the world’s largest open-air prison.

But even when bombs are not falling, Gazans struggle to survive under the Israeli land, air and sea blockade that deprives them of safe drinking water, medical care, employment, and fuel, and which kills and traumatizes them day in and day out through this cruel policy of deliberate deprivation.

Your tax dollars are paying for this outrage. Please consider partially offsetting them by contributing to the backpack campaign.

 

School Backpacks for Gaza!School backpacks for Gaza

Send a check payable to “MRSCP”
and marked “Backpacks” to:
MRSCP
P.O. Box 5214
Madison, WI 53705
or donate online:

Donate

Thank you for helping the children of Gaza.

 

AND…Here at Home:

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Let’s Build A Playground in the Bordertown of Sásabe

MRSCP is passing along an unusual opportunity to help build a playground for migrant children in the Mexico-US border town of Sásabe. We have installed similar playgrounds in Rafah and Hebron in Palestine, and we know firsthand how much these simple facilities mean to the children who use them.

Infrastructure For the Youth, For the Future. No More Walls.

School of the Americas Watch, August 27, 2022

Sásabe is a small rural border town in Sonora, Mexico only a short distance from the border. Since the implementation of Title 42 in March 2020, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) has been dropping hundreds of migrants and asylum seekers at the doorsteps of the citizens of Sásabe every week. Even though the town had nothing in place to help support these vulnerable people, they helped as much as they could with very limited resources. The town reached out to Dora Rodriguez (Salvavision) and Gail Kocourek (Tucson Samaritans) and asked for their help. Dora was already involved with providing aid to Nogales, Sonora.

In response to the request, in 2021 Dora and Gail opened a Resource Center (Casa de la Esperanza) in Sásabe. Only walking distance from the port of entry, it is a space for migrants who need aid and refuge. “Our mission is to restore some of their dignity with a hot meal and a little hope” says Dora.

Dora and the Mayor of Sásabe asked Mike Tork, a Veterans For Peace (VFP) national board member, who also works with the School of Americas Watch (SOAW), if it would be possible to build a playground for the children, those living in Sásabe and those dropped off by CBP.

Mike has assembled a team to build the playground. “This is about reclaiming space and filling it with kindness and compassion. It’s a way to resist hatred, racism and to be in solidarity with vulnerable people and communities” he said.

We will follow the guidance of Dora, Gail and the community. Construction is planned to begin in the fall (Sept/Oct) once the weather is cooler.

Please donate generously. Funds will go towards the playground and to help support Casa de la Esperanza.

    To make a tax-deductible donation via check or money order, please include “Playground” in the memo line, make payable to “SOA Watch,” and mail to our address:

      SOA Watch
      225 E 26th St, Suite 7
      Tucson, AZ 85713

      or Donate Online


Rashida Tlaib’s historic resolution to recognize the Nakba

Please read this letter to North Carolina’s US Congressional Representatives from VJP leadership urging them to co-sign.

May 23, 2022

Dear Representative,

We are Voices for Justice in Palestine, a North Carolina-based nonprofit working for a just and lasting peace in Israel-Palestine. We are a nonpartisan 501c3 working with interfaith and diverse social justice partners. Our membership consists of citizen-activists, scholars, scientists, pastors, theologians, and professionals who have studied this issue extensively and traveled widely in the region. We focus on education, legislative advocacy, and media presence in order to raise awareness of issues and perspectives largely absent from the public conversation in American society.

We are writing to you to ask you to co-sponsor Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan)’s historic resolution recognizing “The Nakba” (“catastrophe” in Arabic), commemorating the 750,000 Palestinian men, women, and children who were driven from their homes and their land in 1947-1949.

The resolution calls for:

  • Congressional recognition of the Nakba and to commemorate the Nakba through official recognition and remembrance,
  • Reject efforts to enlist, engage, or otherwise associate the US government with denial of the Nakba,
  • Encourage education and public understanding of the facts of the Nakba,
  • Continuation of the support for the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA), the refugee aid society dedicated to helping the 6 million Palestinian refugees,
  • Support the implementation of Palestinian refugees’ rights as enshrined in the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

We strongly support this resolution because it has significant educational value. Our research indicates that a great many North Carolinians are poorly informed about Palestinian history. They know little or nothing about the catastrophe that befell the Palestinian people in the Nakba. Those who have heard of it have been misled by myths and disinformation that obscure the truth. We view Rep. Tlaib’s resolution as an important public service that will lead to better understanding of this tragedy. The more knowledgeable our citizens are about this history, the more likely we are to progress toward a just and lasting peace in Israel-Palestine.

It would also establish a stronger basis for Congress to support humanitarian assistance programs for Palestinian refugees, which are desperately needed.

We are sending this letter to all of your colleagues in the North Carolina congressional delegation, both Republicans and Democrats. This is not a partisan issue. A just and lasting peace in this conflicted land that three major religions call holy transcends politics and demands our most compassionate and well-informed response.

Thank you for your consideration.

Respectfully yours,
The Governing Board of Voices for Justice in Palestine

May 15, 2022
Madison Nakba Rally

This coming weekend marks 74 years since the Nakba (Catastrophe) of 1948, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine that continues to this day.

There will be a rally in Madison on Sunday, May 15, 1:30 pm at Lisa Link Peace Park, 452 State Street.

Please join us and wear your traditional Palestinian clothing and keffiyehs, and bring your flags!

Need a keffiyeh? Stop by Palestine Partners (Booth 78 on State Street between Gorham and Johnson Streets) at the Madison Night Market on Thursday, May 12th to buy a genuine Palestinian Hirbawi keffiyeh and to check out all the great items made by Women in Hebron!

It is especially important this year to show opposition to the Israeli court decision that just cleared the way for mass expulsions of thousands of Palestinians in the Masafer Yatta area of the West Bank and the destruction of their homes, farm and community buildings, lands, and flocks. In fact, Israel has just destroyed over 20 structures in the area.

If you haven’t already, please sign the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) petition to Congress opposing the destruction of the eight villages in Masafer Yatta.

And be sure to watch Palestine 1920: The Other Side of the Story, a fantastic new 45 minute documentary from Al Jazeera that explains how Palestine was prosperous, fully occupied, and as modern as any other part of the region before British and then Israeli colonialism took it over.

Because in the words of comedian Amer Zaher, Palestine was Akhaduha Mafroosheh: Fully Furnished.

We call hypocrisy on PUMA

Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), April 6, 2022

PUMA enacted swift measures to hold Russia accountable for its illegal weeks-long military invasion of Ukraine. Yet PUMA has been hiding behind the flimsy excuse of not getting involved in politics for years now to justify its ongoing support for Israel’s decades-long apartheid regime. Take action now to call out PUMA’s hypocrisy. 

Hypocrisy.

That’s the only way to describe PUMA’s actions.

PUMA enacted swift measures to hold Russia accountable for its illegal weeks-long military invasion of Ukraine. PUMA first ended a sponsorship contract with the Russian Basketball Federation and subsequently suspended its operations in Russia.

Yet PUMA has been hiding behind the flimsy excuse of not getting involved in politics for years now to justify its ongoing support for Israel’s decades-long apartheid regime.

Never has PUMA’s “we don’t do politics” excuse fallen flatter. Never has its hypocrisy been more exposed.

Tell PUMA: No more hypocrisy. End support for Israeli apartheid now. 
    

Puma continues to maintain its sponsorship contract with the Israel Football Association, which governs and advocates on behalf of teams in illegal settlements forcing Indigenous Palestinians off their land in the occupied Palestinian territory.

More than 200 Palestinian sports teams have called on PUMA to end its support for Israel’s military occupation. According to a leaked PUMA memo, an increasing number of PUMA’s own business partners and ambassadors are raising ethical concerns.

Take action now to call out PUMA’s hypocrisy.

Hey PUMA, now that you “do politics,” stop supporting illegal Israeli settlements
  

PUMA should take action now to end its complicity in oppression and suffering everywhere. Selective action is just another stain on its tarnished image.

In solidarity,
Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)

ps: We’re planning actions ahead of the PUMA shareholders meeting in early May. Mark your calendars and please get in touch if your group would like to join.

The nonviolent BDS movement for freedom, justice and equality is supported by the absolute majority in Palestinian society. BDS rejects all forms of racism and racial discrimination.

March 28, 2022
Land Day Event by the Palestinian Feminist Collective

Palestinian Feminist Collective

Online Monday, March 28th at 4PM Pacific, 6PM Central and 7PM Eastern

This event features PFC members Lila Sharif, Ayah Hamdan, Sherene Seikaly, and Noura Erakat, moderated by Selma Al-Aswad, discussing what we are fighting for — Land, Life, Love and Liberation.

Held during International Women’s Month, with this event we also commemorate Palestinian Land Day, the one-year anniversary of our release of the “Pledge that Palestine is a Feminist Issue” and our work and growth over the past year.