‘I thought I would die’: Settlers abduct, brutally attack Palestinian teen

Tareq Zbeideh (left) and his father Abed a-Razeq seen in their family home after Tareq was abducted and brutally attacked by settlers near the former settlement of Homesh, Silat a-Dahr, West Bank. (credit: Oren Ziv)
15-year-old Tareq Zbeideh describes how he was kidnapped, tied, and beaten by settlers while picnicking with his friends near a settlement outpost.

By Oren Ziv and Ahmad Al-Bazz | +972 Magazine | Aug 26, 2021

Homesh [former settlement] was supposed to return to Palestinian hands, but in recent years settlers have set up a new outpost there.

For the last two weeks, Tareq Zbeideh has been lying wounded in his bed in the northern West Bank town of Silat a-Dahr for the past week, after being kidnapped and brutally attacked by Israeli settlers on July 17.

According to Zbeideh, 15, he was enjoying a picnic with friends near the former settlement of Homesh — one of the four Israeli settlements removed from the occupied West Bank during the Gaza Disengagement in 2006 — when settlers hit him with their car and tied him to the vehicle, before dragging him to an isolated area and beating him. The attack lasted half an hour, during which Zbeideh says the settlers tied him to a tree, beat him with a belt, sprayed him with pepper spray, electrocuted him, and then burned him with the car’s cigarette lighter.

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What to know about the spying scandal linked to Israeli tech firm NSO

The logo of NSO Group displayed on a building where the Israeli cybersecurity company previously had offices, in Herzliya, Israel, in 2016. (credit: Daniella Cheslow / AP)
Palestinian advocates say Israel is a laboratory for spy technology, where young recruits in the military’s most secretive intelligence units monitor Palestinians.

By Daniel Estrin | National Public Radio | Aug 25, 2021

“The defense industry and the high-tech industry are the two sacred cows of the Israeli economy.”
— Shay Aspril, Israeli journalist 

JERUSALEM — Israel takes enormous pride in its high-tech industry. But one of its star cybersecurity companies, NSO Group, is at the center of an international spying scandal that has concerned U.S. officials, and the Israeli government plays a role.

The Pegasus Project, a consortium of international media outlets, says a leaked list of some 50,000 phone numbers showed that governments around the world sought NSO’s cellphone hacking technology Pegasus to spy on people or mark them as potential targets, whether inside or beyond their own borders.

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Americans split on military aid to Israel, say political status quo unacceptable

Naftali Bennett
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett attends a cabinet meeting at the prime minister’s office in Jerusalem, Sunday, August 1, 2021. (credit: Abir Sultan / Pool Photo via AP)
Ahead of Prime Minister Bennett’s first visit to Washington, new poll data show partisan divides on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, support for a Palestinian state.

By Dina Smeltz and Emily Sullivan | Chicago Council on Global Affairs | Aug 25, 2021

…overall opinion divides closely on whether the United States should (50%) or should not (45%) restrict US military aid to Israel to prohibit its use in military operations against Palestinians.

In recent years, the US-Israel relationship was stewarded by Israel’s longest-serving leader, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the man whom he referred to as “the greatest friend that Israel has ever had in the White House,” former President Donald Trump. This week, the first meeting between the two countries’ newly elected leaders, President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, will set the tone for a new era of US-Israel relations.

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West Bank church stands with unjustly incarcerated parishioner Layan Nasir

Layan Nasir
The story of Layan Nasir’s baptism as an infant to her detention as a university student reveals the arbitrariness of the Israeli occupation.

By Fadi Diab | Mondoweiss  | Aug 23, 2021

Layan and other students are accused of belonging to an “unlawful association” at Birzeit University. The “unlawful association” is a union of students acting per the rules of their university and the Palestinian Ministry of Higher Education.

Layan Nasir, a parishioner at St. Peter’s Anglican/Episcopal Church in Birzeit, Palestine, is a 21-year-old Nutrition and Dietetics student at Birzeit University. A remarkable young woman with a calm demeanor, tender spirit, and incredible potential, Layan was raised in a devout Anglican family to live her faith in the midst of the whatever challenges may come in life.

The story of Layan’s baptism as an infant embodies the Palestinian experience of faith under colonial domination. On the day of her baptism, Israeli forces blocked the road between Ramallah and Birzeit, a short 12 kilometers away. The Anglican priest in Ramallah, Fr. Samir Esaid, serving the community in Birzeit, was stopped at the checkpoint and denied passage. He explained the situation to the soldiers to no avail. So, Fr. Esaid called the Catholic priest in Birzeit, Fr. Eyad Twal. Layan and her brother were baptized in an Anglican church by a Catholic priest.

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House Democrats urge Biden to ensure aid enters Gaza from Israel and Egypt

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A Palestinian police officer searches a truck slated for export at Kerem Shalom crossing in southern Gaza Strip on 21 June 2021 (credit: AFP)
Lawmakers decry lack of clarity over what materials are allowed into Gaza by Israel, call for full reopening of border crossings.

By MEE staff | Middle East Eye | Aug 19, 2021

Israel has prevented the import of raw materials, building materials, electrical appliances and equipment, as well as wood, metal and plastic equipment into Gaza, while imposing strict restrictions on exports, allowing only small quantities of produce and fish to come out of the Palestinian territory.

More than 50 House Democrats have called on the Biden administration to work with Egypt and Israel to ensure the delivery of aid into Gaza, as the lawmakers cited concerns over the prohibition of materials entering the besieged strip months after Israel’s offensive left a devastating humanitarian toll on the country.

The group of 53 lawmakers sent a letter to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday, urging him to push for a full reopening of the Kerem Shalom, Erez, and Rafah border crossings into Gaza, adding that the Rafah crossing at Egypt’s border was not enough.

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The wounds of occupation

Huwarra checkpoint in the West Bank, 2010 (credit: Harry Gunkel)
A retired pediatrician speaks out about the wounds of the Israeli occupation that are bloodless and invisible, but which will eventually find their way to pierce the heart.

By Harry Gunkel  | Mondoweiss  | Aug 19, 2021

But how will we calculate and honor the misery of despair, the emptiness of careers lost because of forbidden opportunities, the sadness of unrealized dreams, the ruin of relationships?

Between July 26 and 30, three Palestinian teenagers were killed by Israeli forces. During the same week, a fourth died of gunshot wounds suffered some weeks before. These four children were among the many killed in the West Bank so far in 2021, along with 66 children killed by Israel’s attacks on Gaza in May. Within hours, punctuating that week of unabashed violation of international law, human rights and morality, Israeli forces raided the Ramallah offices of Defense for Children International – Palestine in the dark early morning hours of July 29, forcing entry and confiscating computers and confidential client files. On August 16, four Palestinian young men, two of them teenagers, were murdered by Israel forces in Jenin.

More killings of Palestinians without reason, without remorse, without punishment or responsibility. No chance for families to grieve or mourn properly while scrambling to protect other children and waiting for the next assault on their neighborhood or village or city.

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In Israel, the cold-blooded killing of Palestinians is met with silence

Ruba al-Tamimi is comforted by her son Mahmoud, as they mourn her other son Muhammad during his funeral procession in Deir Nizam, west of Ramallah city in the occupied West Bank, on 24 July, 2021.  (photo: AFP)
Scores of unarmed Palestinians, including children, have been murdered since the end of Israel’s May assault. Yet this is now so normal, the Israeli media and army barely mention it

By Gideon Levy | Middle East Eye | Aug 17, 2021

Behind all this is contempt for Palestinian lives. Nothing is valued less in Israel than the life of a Palestinian

Superficially, things are relatively quiet these days in the Israeli-occupied territories. There are no Israeli casualties, almost no attacks in the West Bank and certainly not inside Israel. Gaza has been quiet since the end of Israel’s latest offensive there, Operation Guardian of the Walls.

In the West Bank, the despair-inducing routine of daily life grinds on during this so-called period of quiet – which is precisely the irony crying out for our notice in this terrifying statistic: since May, more than 40 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank.

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CIA chief Burns brings a more polite tone in Israel visit

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PM Naftali Bennett’s meeting with director of the CIA. (photo: Amos Ben Gershom, GPO)
These meetings reflect Bennett’s desire to appear more reasonable than Netanyahu, but don’t expect any substantive changes.

By Mitchell Plitnick | Responsible Statecraft  | Aug 16, 2021

Burns’ deep knowledge of policy and his expertise in diplomacy, earned over nearly four decades in the Foreign Service, means he has the president’s ear on policy decisions in a way most other CIA directors haven’t.

In the coming weeks, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is expected to visit the White House for his first meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden. The new administrations in both countries have been working to reset the relationship between them in the wake of their personality-driven predecessors. The visit this week of Central Intelligence Agency Director Bill Burns was a key moment in that process.

Burns brings an unusual perspective to intelligence. A career diplomat who reached the highest ranks of the State Department before taking this position, Burns comes to an allied country to discuss policy as much as intelligence and security, more so than many of his predecessors. His selection was part of Biden’s effort to reinvigorate U.S. diplomacy after it had been crippled during the four years of Donald Trump’s presidency.

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Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism ignores Palestinian rights, narrative

Protesters outside the Labour party headquarters in London, Sept. 2018
A new, “improved” definition of antisemitism still fails to acknowledge the history of Palestinian dispossession.

By Kathryn Shihadah |  If Americans Knew/ Israel-Palestine News | Aug 14, 2021

Proponents of justice and racial equality would do well to remember that while anti-Semitism has its victims, Zionism in the last half century arguably has had more…

The Jerusalem Declaration on Anti-Semitism (JDA) was released in March as a progressive variant of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) “working definition” of anti-Semitism – a definition that, despite its wide acceptance, is deeply problematic.

Progressives agree that JDA is a huge improvement over IHRA. JDA acknowledges that support for the Palestinian cause is “not on the face of it” antisemitic; it also leaves room for opposition to Zionism, criticism of Israel (including use of the word “apartheid,” or a “double standard” framing), and even the BDS (boycott, divest, and sanction) movement.

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Water wars in the West Bank

Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli security forces during the attempt to evacuate the sit-in protesters on Mountain Alarmah, in the West Bank village of Beita on February 29, 202. (credit: Shadi Jarar’ah / APA Images)
The ongoing protests in the West Bank village of Beita are for land rights, water rights and basic human rights.

By Ramzy Baroud | Mondoweiss | Aug 11, 2021

“Israel even controls the collection of rainwater throughout most of the West Bank and rainwater harvesting cisterns owned by Palestinian communities are often destroyed by the Israeli army,”
— Amnesty International Report, 2017

There is an ongoing, but hidden, Israeli war on the Palestinians which is rarely highlighted or even known. It is a water war, which has been in the making for decades.

On July 26 and 27, two separate but intrinsically linked events took place in the Ein al-Hilweh area in the occupied Jordan Valley, and near the town of Beita, south of Nablus.

In the first incident, Jewish settlers from the illegal settlement of Maskiyot began construction in the Ein al-Hilweh Spring, which has been a source of freshwater for villages and hundreds of Palestinian families in that area. The seizure of the spring has been developing for months, all under the watchful eye of the Israeli occupation army.

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