Israeli Apartheid: A Breakdown

Israel applies an oppressive, separate, and unequal regime on Palestinians. There is only one word for this: Apartheid.

Omar Baddar, Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU), Oct 14, 2020

Omar Baddar is Director of Communications for the Institute for Middle East Understanding, and past Deputy Director of the Arab American Institute.

Israeli occupation soldiers close the main gate of Qortoba school in Hebron

The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project has helped build playgrounds for both Qortuba Elementary School and the Al Samud Shuhada Street Kindergarten

Human Rights Defenders, 30th of August 2022

Hebron, Palestine 🇵🇸

The Israeli occupation soldiers close the main gate to the students of CorToba School and Shuhada Street Kindergarten in the center of Hebron, and they are being detained for a while without any reason.

And the Israeli settlers make fun of Palestinian children during their detention.

This is a violation of the right to education, the right to freedom and the right of childhood according to international laws.

جنود الإحتلال الإسرائيلي يقوموا بإغلاق البوابة الرئيسية لطلاب مدرسة قرطبة وروضة شارع الشهداء في وسط مدينة الخليل ،و يتم احتجازهم لفترة من الوقت دون سبب يذكر.

والمستوطنين الإسرائيليين يقوموا بالسخرية من الأطفال الفلسطينين خلال فترة احتجازهم.

وهذا انتهاك الحق في التعليم ،والحق في الحرية وحق الطفولة حسب القوانين الدولية.

تصوير المتطوع : زيدان الشرباتي

Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) are people who, individually or collectively, work peacefully on behalf of others to promote and defend internationally recognized human rights. They are defined by their actions rather than their profession, job title or organization.

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


Daniel Levy: Apartheid Label Must Be a Wakeup Call

Daniel Levy, President of the U.S./Middle East Project

Meeting of the United Nations Security Council, Thursday, August 25, 2022
“The Situation in the Middle East Including the Palestinian Question”

I would like to thank the Council and the Chinese presidency in particular for allowing me to share some thoughts with you today. The events of earlier this month covered in detail by Special Envoy Wennesland are as concerning as they are predictable. To be very clear, Israelis deserve security; Palestinians deserve security.

Mr President, month in and month out the Council meets to repeat its familiar condemnations, formulas and slogans. I want to use this opportunity to rethink and re-appraise some assumptions and beliefs that may inadvertently contribute to the intractability in Israel-Palestine—to consider afresh, reasons why this conflict remains so prone to stalemate and human suffering.

I suggest to do this through 5 concepts that may assist us in such an endeavour:

First, Justice: The permanent dispossession and denial of the most basic rights and freedoms to the Palestinian people will never be a recipe for achieving sustainable security: this, the illegal blockade of Gaza and the unlawful occupation, represents forms of structural violence and collective punishment that we cannot ignore.

While the need for a political horizon is acknowledged, the dimensions of that horizon shrink and shrivel, becoming ever less ambitious.

There can be no effective or prolonged approach to Gaza in isolation—it is part of broader Israeli-Palestinian realities—in terms of security, the separation policy and closure. And crucially, there is a need to respect international law across the board—whether in state responses to armed threats or partisan resistance against state occupation.

Also in this context, there is a need for Palestinian political renewal, internal reconciliation and overcoming of divisions as well as an international need to engage all relevant actors without applying unrealistic and selective preconditions.

Second, Equilibrium: Any attempt to resume negotiations between the parties without addressing power asymmetries is a hollow and redundant exercise. As Comfort Ero, president of Crisis Group—with whom my organization the U.S./Middle East Project cooperates extensively—noted to this Council recently— “the structural power imbalance between an occupying state and an occupied people must be acknowledged.” A focus on relations of power rather than both sides-ism offers a path to clarity of thinking and policy.

As an example, attempts at economic confidence building measures are consistently too little, too late, and too ephemeral when attempted under conditions of a permanent, relentless and expanding matrix of occupation. This defies principles of harmony and reciprocity.

Especially with global resources stretched thin, the Palestinian economic predicament must be understood primarily as a function of politically imposed obstacles—on movement, borders, access to land, confiscations, demolitions and ever-expanding settlements—rather than an absence of charity. Economic palliatives under occupation deepen dependence and enmity.

We have heard the briefing of UNRWA Commissioner General Lazzarini. There must be an
economic commitment to a predictably resourced UNRWA capable of delivering services, not only a security necessity but also a political commitment to the Palestinian refugees who continue to be denied a solution.

Third, Accountability: I have previously highlighted to this Council two core problems; a legitimacy deficit in Palestinian politics and an accountability deficit viz Israel’s policies. It is Israel’s actions as the powerful occupying party that pre-eminently determine the direction of travel of this conflict.

Profound shifts are occurring as a result of the unwillingness to hold Israel to account not least on settlements.

Recent months have witnessed a disturbing intensification of that trend as Israel has targeted those least able to protect themselves and those most in the frontline bearing witness to violations of international law.

Following the shock expressed by Secretary General Guterres over the number of Palestinian children killed and maimed by Israeli forces last year, we have continued to see the same trend and suffering among the very young in Gaza this month.

We have witnessed the killing of those who report on and expose these crimes, Shireen Abu Akleh, being the latest journalist to pay with her life. And now the assault on those who document abuses and defend human rights, as well as community service providers, with Israel’s actions against six prominent Palestinian civil society organizations.

Following a terror designation having been made against the six NGOs by the Israeli authorities, a number of countries went on record that compelling evidence had not been forthcoming. Now in the past week, the offices of these organizations have been raided and shuttered and their workers interrogated.

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Gaza is Not a Breaking News Cycle



The Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy

August 11, 2022

 

Good Morning,

As you might have seen or heard, Israel launched yet another assault on the besieged Gaza strip, with bombardments and airstrikes killing 45 Palestinians and injuring more than 360, so far.

With the announcement of yet another precarious ceasefire, the international community’s attention is likely to move away from Gaza, yet again, leaving its people to mourn and rebuild in isolation under Israel’s 15 years of ongoing military siege. With this being Israel’s fifth assault since 2009 it is crucial to educate and inform ourselves and each other on Gaza, and to fight against its invisibilization and its dehumanization as mere periodical news cycle. Gaza has an ancestral history that is an integral and enmeshed part of Palestinian history. We must fight to keep it as part of the whole, and look ahead with a long-term vision, united against Israel’s intention to fragment and isolate Palestinians everywhere. 

This is why we are sharing with you again our latest Palestinian Takes email from June on Gaza, marking the passage of 15 years of Israel’s military siege. The email includes various Palestinian perspectives and resources on Gaza’s present and past, intertwined to bring us to the current moment.

The Nakba in 1948 and “the Gaza strip”:

  • Gaza has been inhabited since around 1500 BC, a thriving port for multiple cultures. Right before the Nakba of 1948, Gaza was one of many of Palestine’s districts, including the areas of Bir Al Sabi’ (Beersheba). As Israel’s ethnic cleansing operations began, 49 villages of the Gaza district were destroyed and more than 200,000 Palestinians were expelled from the southern and coastal areas of Palestine to smaller parts of Gaza district, which came to be known as the Gaza strip, as we learn in the Interactive Encyclopedia of the Palestine Question.
  • Since 1948, Gaza has become the epitome of the Palestinian refugees’ right of return movement, embodied more recently by the Great March of Return, that was co-initiated by Ahmad Abu Artema: “I wondered what would happen if 200,000 protesters gathered near the Israel fence with Gaza Strip, and entered the lands that are ours”.

The centrality of Gaza to iconic Palestinian food and land cultivation:

  • At home, on the sidewalks or dangling from the roofs of the shops at the markets or crossroads, this is how the branches of the unripe dates, called the “red gold”, announce they’re in season, a fruit after which the city of Deir Al-Balah (Land of Unripe Dates) is named.
  • Famous recipes have been curated by Palestinian chef Laila Haddad in The Gaza Kitchen cookbook, documenting people’s history and daily life through traditional dishes like the Rumaniyya (eggplant lentil pomegranate bowl) and Dagga (hot tomato and dill salad).
  • With its long Mediterranean coastline, fishery became a major source of food culture and sovereignty for many families. Yet, following the Israeli blockade in 2007, fishermen were systematically prevented from accessing the sea beyond 20 nautical miles, which gradually decreased to 3 nautical miles, while regularly being targeted and shot at by the Israeli naval army.
  • “In a few years there will be no more fishing at all, we will have to forget our profession and become traders”, said Gaza fishermen in a documentary on the topic.

    Fishermen on a Gaza Beach, 1987
    (Palestinian Museum Digital Archive)

A testing ground for apartheid, weapons and colonial repression:

  • In 1948, Palestinian refugees “were not expecting that their exodus would be prolonged for seven decades, and that they would be subjected to condescending efforts to void their right to return.” writes Jehad Abu-Salim.
  • In the span of two decades, the Israeli regime has led four aerial bombardment campaigns, killing and injuring thousands of Palestinians in the besieged Gaza, intentionally treating it as a testing ground for its military capabilities before it is exported all over the world.
  • “All the injustices Palestinians in Gaza face are a direct consequence of the continued denial of freedom, dignity and return. Overshadowing it with a humanitarian crisis is depriving the people in Gaza of their political will and reducing them to poor, powerless and passive subjects.” – writes Abir Kopty.
  • This thematic chronology by the Interactive Encyclopedia of the Palestine Question is an important resource covering how main events unfolded in the Israeli assaults on Gaza in 2008-2009, 2012 and 2014-2015.
    This visual by Visualizing Palestine explains how the Israeli closure on Gaza started long before the blockade and in the height of the 1990s peace process.

We will never forget and never forgive: Palestinian testimonies from under the rubble:

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Gaza Is Palestine

As salaamu alaykum.

The Gaza Is Palestine campaign, led by us and Adalah Justice Project, is an effort to build upon the historic global movement that took on new life in spring 2021 — and we want you to take part.

Massive global demonstrations in solidarity with Palestinians are changing the tides — and we can build on that momentum together.

This summer marks 15 long years of the blockade and siege on Gaza.

We’re proud to join Adalah Justice Project in launching a new 3-minute video, narrated by Palestinian artist Malak Mattar, imploring those in the U.S. to take action to stop the congressional funding that makes the siege of Gaza possible.

Watch the video:

Share it on Twitter.

The goal is not perpetual resilience, perpetual rebuilding after violence. The goal is freedom.

Palestinians in Gaza must be free to travel, to study, to work, to dream, to live, to start a family without the fear they will be taken.

Earlier this month, the 2023 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill was released.

This funding bill represents the United States’ global priorities for health, infrastructure, and security. As expected, the draft budget contains $3.3 billion for Israel (with an additional $500 million for weapons expected in the defense appropriations bill). That’s $3.8 billion for apartheid Israel.

In contrast, all funding for addressing climate change and other environmental issues globally is set at $3.6 billion.

Last year, we saw unprecedented support for Palestinian life swept the mainstream media, our progressive movements, and even the halls of Congress.

It’s up to us to make sure that we don’t move backwards. Share the video now.

Thank you for being in the struggle with us.

In solidarity,
Ishraq, Lau, Granate and the MPower Change team

P.S. You can send an email to your member of Congress right now if you haven’t before, making it clear to them: Congress needs to stop funding the blockade and attacks on Gaza. Thank you.

Tell Secretary Mayorkas Israel is Not Eligible for the Visa Waiver Program

The United States cannot grant them a free pass

Dear Friend,

Americans for Justice in Palestine Action (AJP Action) firmly stands against Israel’s entry into the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). 

TAKE ACTION: Tell Secretary Mayorkas NOT
to admit Israel to the Visa Waiver Program

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced it will begin the process to admit Israel to the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP). The VWP is administered by the DHS and allows nationals of specific countries to travel to the U.S. for tourism, business, or while in transit for up to 90 days without having to obtain a U.S. visa.  

One of the core principles of the Visa Waiver Program is “visa reciprocity,” meaning that Israel must provide the same benefit to ALL U.S. citizens without discrimination. However, there is ample evidence that Israel engages in discrimination against Americans of certain ethnic and religious backgrounds, including discrimination as a matter of stated policy against Palestinian-American citizens who hold residency status in Palestine. 

Admitting Israel into the program wouldn’t just violate the program’s reciprocity requirements, but would inexcusably signal this administration’s approval of Israel’s policy of systemic discrimination against American citizens of Arab and Muslim backgrounds, effectively treating them like second-class citizens who are not entitled to the protection or concern of their own government.

Even the U.S. State Department, in its own words, notes that “some U.S. citizens of Arab or Muslim heritage (including Palestinian-Americans) have experienced significant difficulties and unequal and occasionally hostile treatment at Israel’s borders and checkpoints.” This included Israel’s indefensible denial of entry for two sitting members of the US Congress, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, because of their opposition to Israel’s discriminatory policies targeting Palestinians and denying them their basic human rights.

Just a few weeks after the Israeli military killed Shireen Abu Akleh, with absolutely no accountability for this crime, the U.S. should not be rewarding Israel by affording it the special privilege of bypassing the Visa Waiver Program requirements while it mistreats and abuses U.S. citizens.

Contact the Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas now – the United States should not provide an exception for Israel to join the Visa Waiver Program while continuing to discriminate against Palestinian Americans.

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Act Now: Israel is trying to prevent us from visiting Palestine

Rep. Rashida Tlaib and other progressives are pushing back against Israel’s new procedures


Americans for Justice in Palestine Action

Did you know that new Israeli procedures set to be implemented next month will greatly restrict our ability to travel to the West Bank, live, work, teach, study, and reunite with family members there? They’ll even force U.S. citizens to provide Israel with incredibly intrusive information about the personal details of anyone we plan to visit in the West Bank, as well as any property our family stands to inherit. 

These procedures are meant to cut off relations between Palestinians in the West Bank and everyone in the outside world, deepen Israel’s pervasive surveillance of Palestinians, and to further dispossess Palestinian Americans of their land. 

Fortunately, some Members of Congress, led by Rep. Rashida Tlaib, are pushing back against these procedures and demanding information from the Biden administration to ensure that Israel reverses its discriminatory policies toward US citizens.

TAKE ACTION: Call & Email your Representative
& ask them to sign this Dear Colleague letter

These new Israeli procedures are even more outrageous considering that Israel desperately wants to join the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), which would allow visa-free entry of Israeli citizens to the U.S.

However, this program requires that participating countries provide reciprocal, non-discriminatory treatment to U.S. citizens. Instead of ending Israel’s discriminatory policies, these new procedures would dramatically increase the discrimination it metes out to U.S. citizens based on their ethnicity, national origin, religion, and political opinions, something which even the State Department acknowledges has been a huge problem for decades! 

Rep. Tlaib’s Dear Colleague letter seeks to ensure that the U.S. complies with its own laws and refuses to allow Israel to enjoy this privilege at the same time it is ramping up its discriminatory entry policies.

TAKE ACTION today to make sure they join
this important congressional initiative.

How do we know that these procedures are discriminatory? Because they explicitly only apply to Palestinian-Americans, people wishing to visit or live with Palestinians in the West Bank, and study or teach at Palestinian universities. 

Of course, Israel will continue to allow U.S. citizens to live, work, visit, teach, or study in illegal settlements built on stolen Palestinian land. Another example of Israeli apartheid in action!

We can’t let this stand. Let’s build political pressure by getting your Representative to oppose these discriminatory Israeli policies!

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

Sincerely,
Americans for Justice in Palestine Action

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ENSURE ISRAEL NO LONGER DISCRIMINATES AGAINST AMERICAN CITIZENS

AJP Action calls on Secretary Blinken to demand Israel end the disparate treatment of American travelers as a non-negotiable condition in the bilateral relations between the two countries.

The United States has consistently provided unlimited and unconditional political, economic, and military support to Israel, in violation of international law, international humanitarian law, and the laws of the United States. No country, let alone a beneficiary of American taxpayer dollars, should get a free pass for discriminating against American citizens based on their origins and political views. This, alone, MUST immediately and unequivocally disqualify Israel from being admitted to the US Visa Waiver program.

Join us in making this demand by signing our petition!
TAKE ACTION NOW

AJP Action’s stance on Israel’s admittance to the US Visa Waiver program is clear: states that engage in egregious human rights abuses, uphold apartheid, and maintain an occupation cannot and should not participate.

In February 2022, Israel’s Coordinating Office for Government Affairs in the Territories (COGAT), the Israeli Defense Ministry’s military administration responsible for issuing orders and policies concerning the entry of foreign nationals to the occupied Palestinian territories, published a 97-page mandate called “Procedure for Entry and Residence for Foreigners in Judea and Samaria Area.

Effective May 22, 2022, the mandate complicates and formalizes previous written and unwritten restrictions for entry and requirements for foreigners wanting to visit, do business, reunite and reside with their Palestinian families, work or volunteer in those parts of the occupied West Bank under Palestinian Authority (PA) civil and security administration, or study or teach at Palestinian academic institutions.

The new rules represent a clear Israeli intention to restrict, track, and trace the travel of foreign nationals to the occupied Palestinian territories, control Palestinian population growth, and keep data on the land claims of Palestinians holding foreign nationality. They blatantly differentiate between Americans of Palestinian origin, those with roots in the occupied Palestinian territories, and other Americans. In addition, they differentiate between travelers visiting Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and those visiting Jewish residents of Israeli illegal settlements there. Most notably, the new rules no longer treat the occupied West Bank as a separate geographic unit from Israel.

Israel’s record of human rights abuses, illegal annexation of lands, and the institutionalization of a system of apartheid are all contrary to the most basic of American values, let alone international law.

Take action now.
Sign AJP Action’s petition
and pass it on!