From science to classical music, Israel clamps down on Palestinian culture

Singers sing at a music concert in Gaza City on November 21, 2013. (photo: Emad Nassar / Flash90)
The last months have seen Israel crack down on cultural figures and intellectuals in the occupied territories. Critics say the attacks are part of a larger strategy of suppressing Palestinian civil society.

By Robert Swift  |  +972 Magazine  | Aug 26, 2020

‘They don’t want Palestinians to be visible to the world; it’s difficult to dehumanize people playing classical music,’
— Suhail Khoury, Jerusalem Society for Music Teaching and Research

Suhail Khoury and Rania Elias were arrested last month by the Jerusalem Police. A married couple, they are, respectively, the Palestinian directors of the Jerusalem Society for Music Teaching and Research, and the Yabous Cultural Center — two East Jerusalem institutions that were simultaneously raided at the time of their arrests. The police accused them of tax avoidance and fraud, but have yet to present them with any charges in relation to the allegations.

Khoury and Elias were not the only prominent figures to be targeted by the Israeli authorities last month. A few days earlier, Palestinian astrophysicist Imad Barghouthi was detained at a checkpoint while traveling from Al-Quds University to his home in the West Bank; he has been charged with incitement and remains in custody. And in late July, Ahmad Qatamesh, a Palestinian author and academic, was released after being held for seven months in administrative detention — a procedure by which Israel holds detainees without due process.

Continue reading “From science to classical music, Israel clamps down on Palestinian culture”

Gaza’s health sector at risk as Israel’s week-long airstrikes continue

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Smoke and flames rise after Israeli war planes carried out airstrikes over Gaza City on August 18, 2020. (photo: Mahmoud Alhende / APA Images)
Disappointment in Gaza over international reaction as Israeli airstrikes continue and civilians are caught in the middle.

By Yumna Patel  | Mondoweiss  | Aug 21, 2020

“We’ve been through this countless times, …But it’s harder now with a global pandemic and the whole world falling apart, no electricity and no water,’
— Omar Ghraieb, 33, a Palestinian journalist

Israel has been bombing Gaza for eight days straight, all as part of what Israel says is a response to incendiary balloons sent from Gaza into Israeli territory.

The night sky in Gaza has lit up in hues of red and orange every night for more than a week, with Thursday marking the eight consecutive night of Israeli airstrikes.

Despite reported efforts by Egyptian officials to mediate a cease fire, the cross-border tensions don’t seem to be stopping anytime soon, with the Hamas movement releasing a statement on Friday saying it “will not hesitate to wage a battle” with Israeli forces, “if the escalation, bombardment and siege [of Gaza] continues.”

Continue reading “Gaza’s health sector at risk as Israel’s week-long airstrikes continue”

Webinar: Abolition and Liberation

Please join our brothers and sisters at Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) and other partners to hear Angela Davis and Jamal Juma’ discuss the connections between the Black Lives Matter (BLM) calls for police and prison abolition and the Palestinian calls for liberation.
Thursday, August 28, 2020
10:00am PST;  1:00pm EST
Webinar on-line
Event information here →
Free, Registration required
Event Details

Our speakers bring years of on-the-ground experience and strategic thinking to the conversation. Angela Davis has been an activist and liberatory scholar since the 1960s. Her 2003 book Are Prisons Obsolete? laid the strategic groundwork for the current abolition movement, as did the first Critical Resistance Conference, which she co-organized in 1998.

She will be joined, from Palestine, by Jamal Juma’, a leading grassroots organizer since Palestine’s First Intifada in 1987. A founding member of the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees, Palestine National BDS Committee, Palestinian Association for Cultural Exchange, and Palestinian Environmental NGO Network, Juma’ is coordinator of the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign and Stop the Wall

Kristian Davis Bailey, who will be moderating their conversation, is a co-founder of Black for Palestine and a co-author of the 2015 Black Solidarity with Palestine Statement signed by more than 1,000 Black activists. He was a member of Black Youth Project 100 and Students for Justice in Palestine. Kristian currently works at Palestine Legal and is a member of LeftRoots.

Kristian Davis Bailey will be moderating their conversation.

More information here →

How Israel wages its war on Palestinian history

A Palestinian refugee camp in 1949. Israeli archives confirm massacres of Palestinian civilians carried out in 1948, the year Israel was established. (photo: Alamy Stock Photo)
The state is using a variety of means to create a perception that its policies vis-a-vis the Palestinians have been driven by security concerns.

By Jonathan Cook |   The National   | Aug 20, 2020

Israel’s archives are being hurriedly sealed up precisely to prevent any danger that records might confirm long-sidelined and discounted Palestinian history

When the Palestinian actor Mohammed Bakri made a documentary about Jenin in 2002 – filming immediately after the Israeli army had completed rampaging through the West Bank city, leaving death and destruction in its wake – he chose an unusual narrator for the opening scene: a mute Palestinian youth.

Jenin had been sealed off from the world for nearly three weeks as the Israeli army razed the neighbouring refugee camp and terrorised its population.

Bakri’s film Jenin, Jenin shows the young man hurrying silently between wrecked buildings, using his nervous body to illustrate where Israeli soldiers shot Palestinians and where bulldozers collapsed homes, sometimes on their inhabitants.

Continue reading “How Israel wages its war on Palestinian history”

Media show little interest in Israeli bombing of Gaza

Smoke and flames rise after war planes belonging to the Israeli army carried out airstrikes over the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah, August 12, 2020. (photo: Said Khatib / AFB via Getty)
The US press has done little reporting on the 11-day (and counting) bombing campaign of Gaza.

By Alan MacLeod | FAIR  | Aug 21, 2020

The story clearly presents the bombing as a reactive Israeli counter-effort—not an attack on Palestine, but a response against Hamas, which it describes not as a political party but as an “Islamist group.’

Israel is bombing Palestine again, although you likely wouldn’t guess that from watching TV news. For the eleventh straight night, Israeli Defense Force warplanes have been bombing the densely populated Gaza Strip. Israel’s bombs have caused considerable damage, forcing the shutdown of the area’s only power plant.

But US corporate media, focused on the coronavirus and election coverage, have shown little interest in the renewed violence in the Middle East. Searching for “Gaza” on the websites of NBC News, CNN, MSNBC and PBS elicits no relevant results. Nor has Fox News addressed the bombings, although it did find time (8/18/20) to cover the archaeological discovery of an old soap factory in Israel’s Negev Desert.

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Palestinian clergy: ‘Annexation could be the final straw for a viable Christian presence in Palestine’

An icon of Mary is painted on the Israeli separation wall in the West Bank town of Bethlehem. (photo: Rrodrickbeiler /
A July letter from Palestinian clergy address crisis of Christian emigration.

By Jeff Wright  |  Mondoweiss  | Aug 20, 2020

‘As any Palestinian—Christian or Muslim—will tell you, it is the Israeli occupation that is making life unbearable for Muslims and Christians alike,’
— Rev. Alex Awad, former pastor of the East Jerusalem Baptist Church 

“Annexation could be the final straw when it comes to a viable Christian presence in Palestine,” declare pastors representing four of the Holy Land’s historic denominations. “For Palestine, Bethlehem and particularly its Christian population… annexation will be particularly catastrophic.”

The July letter sent to diplomatic missions in Palestine/Israel—later released as an Open Letter—denounces Israel’s threatened annexation and calls upon the leaders of the world to “stop this severe injustice.” Written by clergy serving seven Christian congregations in Bethlehem and the neighboring towns of Beit Jala and Beit Sahour, the letter continues, “This is land theft! We are talking about land that is largely privately owned and that our families have owned, inherited and farmed for hundreds of years.”

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Palestinians in Jerusalem stuck between growing COVID-19 threat, Israeli occupation

Palestinian Muslim worshipers perform the Friday prayer inside the al-Aqsa mosque, in Jerusalem’s Old City on July 10, 2020. (photo: Muhammed Qarout Idkaidek / APA Images)
Masks help protect from COVID-19, but there is little protection from Israeli authorities.

By Yumna Patel  | Mondoweiss  | Aug 18, 2020

Despite reports from the Ministry of Health that 60% of the total cases are in recovery, the number of new cases being reported every day are still in the hundreds.


It’s been five months since the first cases of the coronavirus were announced in the occupied Palestinian territories, and Palestinians are still struggling to fight the spread of the virus.

What began as a relatively slow burn, with no more than a few hundred cases within the first three months, quickly devolved into a rapidly growing crisis with the total number of cases in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza surpassing 23,000 cases.

Despite reports from the Ministry of Health that 60% of the total cases are in recovery, the number of new cases being reported every day are still in the hundreds. Continue reading “Palestinians in Jerusalem stuck between growing COVID-19 threat, Israeli occupation”

Historic bill would penalize Israel for annexation and apartheid

People march with placards and flagsPalestinians rally against Israel’s West Bank annexation plans in Gaza City on 1 July. (photo: Ashraf Amra / APA images)

This bill would prohibit U.S. military funding to Israel being used for further annexation of Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank.

By Josh Ruebner  | The Electronic Intifada  |  Aug 17, 2020

This bill is significant because it employs the language of human rights and equality in expressing opposition to Israeli annexation and proposes concrete means of holding Israel accountable should it move forward with annexation.

On Friday, Minnesota Democratic Representative Betty McCollum introduced the Israeli Annexation Non-Recognition Act in the US Congress.

The bill prohibits US recognition of or funding for Israel’s potential annexation of additional Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank.

Continue reading “Historic bill would penalize Israel for annexation and apartheid”

Arab envoy warns Israelis that annexation threatens warming ties

The West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Efraim on the slopes of the Jordan Valley in February. (photo: Ariel Schalit / Associated Press)

In an op-ed article written by an influential Arab diplomat, he warned that normalization with Israel would not survive a unilateral land grab at the Palestinians’ expense.

By David M. Halbfinger / Ben Hubbard | The New York Times |  Aug 14, 2020

‘Annexation will definitely, and immediately, reverse all of the Israeli aspirations for improved security, economic and cultural ties with the Arab world and the United Arab Emirates,’
— Yousef al-Otaiba, the Emirates’ ambassador to the United States

JERUSALEM — In a watershed article in a leading Israeli newspaper, a top diplomat from the United Arab Emirates warned the Israeli public on Friday that unilateral annexation of West Bank territory would endanger Israel’s warming ties with Arab countries.

Writing in Friday’s Yediot Ahronot, Yousef al-Otaiba, the Emirates’ ambassador to the United States, appealed directly to Israelis in Hebrew to deter Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from following through on his promise to annex occupied territory as early as next month.

“It’s Either Annexation or Normalization,” the headline over his op-ed declared.

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‘There is no change in our plan’ to annex West Bank, Netanyahu says, in applauding Israeli-UAE deal that sidelines Palestinians

President Donald Trump talks with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jared Kushner in Jerusalem, May 22, 2017.
President Donald Trump talks with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jared Kushner in Jersalem, May 22, 2017. (photo: Kobi Gideon / GPO)

A historic deal for some, but many see further marginalization for Palestinians.

By Mondweiss Editors | Mondoweiss | Aug 13, 2020

Trump’s press conference on ‘historic deal’ between Israel and UAE has NO PALESTINIAN VOICE (and a room full of ALL MEN) and is all about increasing the pressure on Iran. This is peace?
— Medea Benjamin, Code Pink

Today the White House along with Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced a historic deal, the UAE will normalize relations with Israel; and annexation is off the table– for now. From the announcement:

Israel will suspend declaring sovereignty over areas outlined in the President’s Vision for Peace and focus its efforts now on expanding ties with other countries in the Arab and Muslim World.

The deal for a “Strategic Agenda for the Middle East” is a coup for Jared Kushner, who has been pushing for political wins for his father-in-law, and open economic relations between the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia and Israel– and thereby to shove the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into the margins.

Continue reading “‘There is no change in our plan’ to annex West Bank, Netanyahu says, in applauding Israeli-UAE deal that sidelines Palestinians”