Does Israel-Palestine need any ‘state’ solution?

Young Palestinian men sit by a section of the separation wall in the West Bank city of Abu-Dis, September 29, 2014. (photo: Miriam Alster / Flash90)
What does it mean to pursue regime change as a path for transformation in Israel-Palestine — and is it enough to bring about justice?

By Diana B. Greenwald | +972 Magazine | July 28, 2021

The state-first approach has, so far, failed to prevent, and, if anything, has enabled the continued abuses of the occupation, asymmetric warfare, authoritarianism within Palestinian institutions, and forcible dispossession and displacement.

As Palestinian demonstrators assembled in the streets of Ramallah, Hebron, and other West Bank cities last month, a familiar, but perhaps unexpected, rallying cry rose from the crowds: “The people want the fall of the regime.” The trigger for the protests was the June 24 killing of Nizar Banat, a prominent activist and frequent critic of the Palestinian Authority, while in the custody of Palestinian security forces. While Banat’s funeral attracted thousands in Hebron, protesters in Ramallah chanted “fall, fall, military regime.” It was PA police officers who shoved fellow Palestinians in the streets, struck protestors with batons, attacked journalists, and harassed female demonstrators and observers.

But regimes are systems, not individuals, and many have argued that the system that enabled agents of the PA to carry out these violations is the same one that targets Palestinians confined in the blockaded Gaza Strip with devastating aerial bombardment; threatens thousands of Palestinians in East Jerusalem with expulsion; repeatedly demolishes the homes, classrooms, and critical facilities of Palestinian Bedouins in the Jordan Valley; and confronts Palestinian citizens of Israel with, alternatively, state neglect or mass arrests. It is one of racial discrimination and gradual ethnic cleansing that has been a dominant feature of Israeli politics since the birth of the state.

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Joint militias: How settlers and soldiers teamed up to kill four Palestinians

A settler, armed with an automatic rifle, aims and opens fire at Palestinian villagers, Urif, May 14, 20201. (photo: Mazen Shehadeh)
A Local Call investigation reveals how on a single day in May, Israeli settlers and soldiers cooperated in attacks that left four Palestinians dead. The unprecedented spate of joint assaults has inaugurated a new era of terror.

By Yuval Abraham | +972 Magazine | July 15, 2021

“While the settlers did all of that, the soldiers covered for them by gunfire,”
— Mazen Shehadeh, head of the village council

Nidal Safadi was a quiet man, his neighbors said. He lived in Urif, a Palestinian village of several thousand people in the West Bank. Just 25, Safadi had three children with his wife and a fourth, a girl, on the way.

Urif is not always quiet. With the Palestinian city of Nablus less than 10 miles away, the occupying Israeli military established a base on a nearby hilltop in 1983. A year later, it was turned over to civilian purposes: part of Israel’s illegal settlement program in the Palestinian territories. Since 2000, the settlement, called Yitzhar, has been home to a yeshiva known for its hard-line Jewish nationalist views; the settlement has become known for its extremism. The so-called outpost settlements it has spurred — illegal even by Israeli law, but nonetheless defended by the Israel Defense Forces — have gradually encroached on villages like Urif. Over the past 10 years, settler aggressions have given rise to violent recriminations between the Israelis and Palestinians living nearby.

Continue reading “Joint militias: How settlers and soldiers teamed up to kill four Palestinians”

Scientific American retracted pro-Palestine article without any factual errors

A Palestinian child, wounded by Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip, receives treatment at Al-Shifa Hospital on May 19, 2021 in Gaza City, Gaza. (photo: Fatima Shbair / Getty Images)
After right-wing outrage, the esteemed journal removed an opinion piece expressing solidarity with Palestinians under Israeli bombardment.

By Murtaza Hussain | The Intercept | July 1, 2021

“I remembered that there had been an article published in The Lancet in 2014 about health care workers speaking up for Palestine. I thought it was really powerful at the time and remembered that a lot of people in the health care field had responded to it when it was published.”
— Sabreen Akhter, MD, Chicago

Sabreen Akhter felt an urge to help in whatever way she could. Like many people around the world this May, Akhter was following news of war in the Gaza Strip, where Israeli bombardment was exacerbating a humanitarian crisis in the territory. Scanning her social media feed, Akhter, a doctor from Chicago, made contact with a few other health care professionals across the United States who had also been posting news online about the crisis.

Akhter set up a call to discuss what they could do, on behalf of their profession, for Palestinians. They settled on the idea of writing an article together as a group of medical workers concerned about the medical situation in Gaza and pitching it to Scientific American, where Akhter had published in the opinion section in the past.

Continue reading “Scientific American retracted pro-Palestine article without any factual errors”

Palestinian leadership looks to engage Israel, US as Hamas’ popularity climbs

Yahya Sinwar (C), Hamas’ political chief in Gaza, attends a rally organized by the representatives of prominent families (mokhtar) in support of “the Palestinian resistance” in Gaza City, on June 20, 2021.  (photo: Mahmud Hams / AFP via Getty Images)
Amid an uptick in popular support for Hamas following recent confrontations in East Jerusalem and the Israel-Hamas war, Fatah and the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah are looking for ways to stay relevant.

By Daoud Kuttab | Al- Monitor | June 21, 2021

“The opportunity is there for the new Israeli government to show they are ready for peace and the end of occupation and not for the continuation of the settlement policies, land confiscations, death and destruction,”
— Mohammad Shtayyeh, Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority

While the new Israeli government headed by right-wing, pro-settler Naftali Bennett starts to settle in, the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah is hoping to engage with them and with the Biden administration.

Reports that the Palestinian government has established a negotiating team has been denied to Al-Monitor by senior officials in Ramallah, but the fact that a story to that effect was published tends to indicate that certain elements within the entourage of President Mahmoud Abbas are looking for ways to be relevant.

Continue reading “Palestinian leadership looks to engage Israel, US as Hamas’ popularity climbs”

The toll of Israeli strikes on Gaza: Mapping the destruction left behind

A building in Gaza City housing the offices of the Associated Press and other media organizations was hit by an Israeli airstrike on May 15. (photo: Khalil Hamra / AP)
Data released by the U.N. this week shows that it could take years for Gaza to rebuild after the Israeli bombings in May.

By Dylan Moriarty and Ruby Mellen  |The Washington Post | June 11, 2021

“It completely blocked the transportation of the patients to the clinics…It really hindered the access to care. They had to walk.”
— Ely Sok, Doctors Without Borders

The destruction to Gaza during the 11-day conflict between Hamas and Israel in May was heavy and widespread, with damage afflicting hundreds of buildings and dozens of roads, an initial United Nations analysis shows.

The data, based on preliminary analysis of satellite imagery taken on May 28, and released by the U.N. Institute for Training and Research this week, underscores warnings from human rights groups and nongovernment organizations that Israeli bombings that the military said targeted Hamas militants severely impaired the territory’s infrastructure, and that it could take years to rebuild.

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From boarding schools to child detention: The lives of children matter

Israeli forces detain five Palestinian children, while they were picking wild vegetables. (photo: via Twitter)
Children everywhere pay the price of our nation state aggression and violence.

By Benay Blend  | The Palestine Chronicle | June 6, 2021

Like settler colonial projects everywhere, including the Americas and Palestine, its “objectives…were always a combination of land appropriation, resource extraction and demographic engineering.”
— Adel Eskander, Assistant Professor of Global Communication at Simon Fraser University

Yes, I am thinking of Palestinian children and undocumented children as well,” mused Diné activist Melissa Tso. “They are literally being killed daily by these settler governments.” As “an essential part of [her] culture,” running helps to “process things,” and so she did the 2.15 run in memory of the 215 Indigenous children who were found in a mass grave at Kamloop residential school in Canada.

On May 29, 2021, Aljazeera reported that the remains of more than 200 Indigenous children, some as young as three, had been found at the site of a former residential school in the western province of British Columbia.

“To our knowledge, these missing children are undocumented deaths,” Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation chief Rosanne Casimir explained. They are among the many victims of mental and sexual abuse, neglect and other forms of violence over a period of 100 years during which church-supported boarding schools operated across Canada.

Continue reading “From boarding schools to child detention: The lives of children matter”

America, human rights, and Israel’s war on Palestine

A Palestinian child stands amidst the rubble of buildings, destroyed by Israeli strikes, in Beit Hanun in the northern Gaza Strip on May 21, 2021. (photo: Emmanuel Dunand / AFP / Getty Images) 
Human rights are human rights, and they are part of international law under the UN Charter. Whether the case is Xinjiang and the Uighurs, Myanmar and the Rohingya, or Israel and the Palestinian Arabs, the correct way to defend international law is through the United Nations, starting with an independent investigation under the auspices of the UN Human Rights Council.

By Jeffrey D. Sachs | Project Syndicate | May 25, 2021

The truth is that the US government’s uncritical support for Israel has come to depend more on evangelical Christians, such as former US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, than on American Jews, who are deeply divided by Netanyahu’s actions.

NEW YORK – Israel’s attempt to justify its latest brutal assault on Gaza rings hollow to anybody familiar with events in Israel, where the government of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, backed by anti-Arab racists, has systematically, cruelly, and persistently violated the basic human rights of the Arab population. Human Rights Watch, a global NGO with many Jewish leaders, has recently condemned Israel for crimes against humanity.

Israel’s behavior puts US President Joe Biden’s administration, which professes a foreign policy based on human rights, under the spotlight. If that commitment is genuine, the administration should support an independent UN investigation of Israeli human rights violations against the Arab population and suspend military aid to Israel until the inquiry is completed and the human rights of the Palestinians are secured.

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Tent of Nations Fire Update

Welcome Stone (photo: Tent of Nations)
A fire at Tent of Nations (TON) is a setback, but Nassar family still focuses on pursuing its mission of building understanding and hope for a better future.

May 25, 2021
Update from Daoud Nassar:

On Friday, May 20, the Tent of Nations farm was struck by a horrendous fire fed by strong winds. Our family, along with the support of many young people from the village, our neighbors and the fire department, were able to control the fire after some hours. Thank God, no one from the family was hurt, but the damage is huge and painful to see. The fire completely destroyed over one thousand new and mature olive, grape, almond, fig and pine trees. Another 700 trees were affected by the heat and the smoke and caused some damage; we are trying to rescue these trees by watering them on a daily basis, using our limited rain-water sources stored in the cisterns you all helped us to build; we are grateful for that. To this moment, we do not know the cause of the fire or who was behind it.

We know that you will want to know what is being planned to restore the loss of so many trees, what is the plan and the timing, and what you can do to help. Tree planting cannot begin until the fall, but there is much to be done to prepare the soil and repair the damage, and we will keep you informed and let you know about the ways you can help. This loss will not deter us and the Tent of Nations from pursuing its mission of building understanding and hope for a better future for our grandchildren.

With gratitude – Daoud

NOTE: Please continue to pray for the Tent of Nations. After June 1, groups and individuals will be allowed to enter the country. Volunteers will be needed to help prepare the land for planting new trees and repairing the damages to the farm (please see the Tent of Nations website in order to sign up for volunteer work or to schedule a visit).

There will be financial support needed in order to restore the land and infrastructure. Contributions (checks made out to FOTONNA) can be sent to the new FOTONNA Finance Director at: Beth Moore – FOTONNA Finance Director – 3436 East Avenue, South – La Crosse, WI 54601. A PayPal option will be made available soon; check the FOTONNA website for more information. You can also access a new Contribution Form on the Website at this time.

Please note that Tent of Nations (TON) is not an NGO. They are a small family-owned farm that welcomes individuals and groups to visit, volunteer, and hear their story.  They are not affiliated with any other organization, and are privately funded through Friends of Tent of Nations.

Facebook’s AI treats Palestinian activists like it treats American Black activists. It blocks them.

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Pro-Palestinian demonstrators rally Sunday in Karachi, Pakistan. (photo: Shahzaib Akber / EPA-EFE / REX / Shutterstock)

Palestinian activists are fighting back against a history of takedowns with one-star reviews and ancient Arabic.

By Elizabeth Dwoskin and Gerrit De Vynck | The Washington Post | May 28, 2021

“Ultimately, what we’re seeing here is existing offline repression and inequality being replicated online, and Palestinians are left out of the policy conversation,”
Jillian York, a director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation

Just days after violent conflict erupted in Israel and the Palestinian territories, both Facebook and Twitter copped to major faux pas: The companies had wrongly blocked or restricted millions of mostly pro-Palestinian posts and accounts related to the crisis.

Activists around the world charged the companies with failing a critical test: whether their services would enable the world to watch an important global event unfold unfettered through the eyes of those affected.

The companies blamed the errors on glitches in artificial intelligence software.

Continue reading “Facebook’s AI treats Palestinian activists like it treats American Black activists. It blocks them.”

As Israel’s dependence on U.S. shrinks, so does U.S. leverage

A man waving the flags of Israel and the United States in front of a rally in support of Palestine last week in Copley Square in Boston. (photo: Joseph Prezioso / Agence France-Presse — Getty Images)

Israel has quietly sought, and perhaps achieved, a large measure of autonomy from its half-century of reliance on the United States.

By Max Fisher | The New York Times | May 24, 2021

Once reliant on American arms transfers, Israel now produces many of its most essential weapons domestically.

Israel, a small country surrounded by adversaries and locked in conflict with the Palestinians, depends absolutely on American diplomatic and military support. By giving it, the United States safeguards Israel and wields significant leverage over its actions.

That’s the conventional wisdom, anyway. For decades, it was true: Israeli leaders and voters alike treated Washington as essential to their country’s survival.

But that dependence may be ending. While Israel still benefits greatly from American assistance, security experts and political analysts say that the country has quietly cultivated, and may have achieved, effective autonomy from the United States.

Continue reading “As Israel’s dependence on U.S. shrinks, so does U.S. leverage”