How an Israeli raid on a Palestinian rights group unfolded

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A screenshot taken from CCTV footage of an Israeli raid on the office of the Palestinian human rights group Al Haq on Aug 18 shows soldiers taking selfies, at right. (Credit: Courtesy of Forensic Architecture)
Many questions raised about a military operation against a civil society organization.

By Miriam Berger | Washington Post  | Sept 16, 2022

“…there is something about crossing the line for targeting the organizations that are responsible for criticizing centers of power. It’s the height of subjugation and domination.”
— Michael Sfard, an Israeli lawyer

The soldiers can be seen busting down doors and rummaging through documents. They casually take selfies and mockingly distribute business cards.

CCTV footage from an Israeli raid last month on the leading Palestinian human rights group sheds new light on the operation and challenges the official narrative about why the organization was targeted.

The Aug. 18 early morning raid on the Ramallah office of Al Haq, as well as six other rights groups, drew diplomatic backlash and international condemnation of Israel’s tightening restrictions on Palestinian civil society.

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Israel pressuring Biden to accept terrorist designation for Palestinian NGOs

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Joe Biden speaking at the 2019 Iowa Federation of Labor Convention. (credit: Flickr / Gage Skidmore)
An Israeli delegation recently traveled to Washington, D.C. to pressure the Biden administration into accepting its terror designation for six Palestinian human rights groups.

By Michael Arria | Mondoweiss | Sept 14, 2022

“The Biden administration has repeatedly failed to take action and stand up for Palestinian civil society and human rights organizations increasingly under attack by the Israeli government. We have no reason to believe this meeting between Israeli and U.S. officials will result in a different outcome.”
—Brad Parker, Defense for Children International – Palestine

Last week an Israeli delegation was in Washington, D.C. trying to pressure the Biden administration into accepting its terror designation for six Palestinian human rights groups. “Israeli officials told me the delegation that went to Washington last week included officials from the Shin Bet domestic intelligence agency, the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Defense financial intelligence unit that was spearheading the designation of the NGOs,” reported Axios’ Barak Ravid.

According to Ravid, Israeli officials met with the State Department, CIA and the office of the Director of National Intelligence to present them with updated intelligence about the six groups.

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Seeking Justice and Peace for All in the Middle East

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8 September 2022, Karlsruhe, Germany: Participants in the closing prayer service of the 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches, held in Karlsruhe, Germany. The August 31-September 8 Assembly’s theme is “Christ’s Love Moves the World to Reconciliation and Unity.” (Photo: Paul Jeffrey / WCC)
Statement of the World Council of Churches 11th Assembly in Karlsruhe, Germany.

By World Council of Churches | Sept 8, 2022

The expanding Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, especially those encircling East Jerusalem, are illegal under international law and threaten fundamental demographic and political changes to the region.

The World Council of Churches (WCC) looks to the Middle East region as the place of the historical origins of our faith where Jesus Christ was born, crucified and resurrected. The worldwide ecumenical fellowship has always sought to be in active solidarity with the Christians of the Middle East, who are living in continuation of an unbroken line of faithful Christian witness in the multi-religious contexts of their countries, making vital contributions to the vibrant diversity and development of their societies.

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Has the fight against Antisemitism lost its way?

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Peter Beinart speaking at Temple De Hirsch Sinai, Seattle, Washington, May 23, 2019 at an event sponsored by J Street (CC by Joe Mabel via Wikimedia)

By Peter Beinart | The New York Times | Aug 26, 2022

Defenders of repressive governments often try to discredit the human rights groups that criticize them.

Over the past 18 months, America’s most prominent Jewish organizations have done something extraordinary. They have accused the world’s leading human rights organizations of promoting hatred of Jews.

Last April, after Human Rights Watch issued a report accusing Israel of “the crimes of apartheid and persecution,” the American Jewish Committee claimed that the report’s arguments “sometimes border on antisemitism.” In January, after Amnesty International issued its own study alleging that Israel practiced apartheid, the Anti-Defamation League predicted that it “likely will lead to intensified antisemitism.” The A.J.C. and A.D.L. also published a statement with four other well-known American Jewish groups that didn’t just accuse the report of being biased and inaccurate, but also claimed that Amnesty’s report “fuels those antisemites around the world who seek to undermine the only Jewish country on Earth.”

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‘NYT’ and UN Security Council platform apartheid charge against Israel

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Daniel Levy speaking to the UN Security Council on the Palestine question on August 25, 2022. (screenshot)
Influential Jewish organizations who denounce as antisemitic the reports accusing Israel of apartheid are a “threat to freedom,” Peter Beinart writes in the New York Times.

By Philip Weiss | Mondoweiss | Aug 28, 2022

Here’s the crucial section of Levy’s “wake-up call” speech. There’s just one state, and it’s apartheid.

It goes without saying that Jewish voices have greater weight on the Israel question in the U.S. discourse, and that Zionist voices even greater weight. Well, on Thursday and Friday this week, two leading Jewish former Zionists granted credibility to the apartheid charges against Israel– in the New York Times and at the UN Security Council — and both statements have gotten wide pickup.

The former Israeli negotiator Daniel Levy gave a speech to the United Nations Security Council urging powerful nations to wake up to the fact that their dream of partition is dead. And “the increasingly weighty body of scholarly, legal and public opinion that has designated Israel to be perpetrating apartheid in the territories under its control” is gaining traction among nations around the world.

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The Holy Land – What’s Next?

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Please join The Mideast Focus Ministry of Saint Mark’s Cathedral, the Bishop’s Committee for Justice & Peace in the Holy Land, and Kairos Puget Sound Coalition for this symposium, which brings together prominent voices from different religious backgrounds to ask where the struggle to achieve justice and peace in the Israel-Palestine goes from here.
Date: Saturday, September 24, 2022
Time: 1:00 – 4:00pm PDT
Location: St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Bloedel Hall, 1245 10th Ave E, Seattle WA. Both in-person and on-line (see registration)
Information: Event information here
Tickets: Free, Registration Here
Event Details

Participants will include:

  • Rev. Naim Ateek – Founder, Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center
  • Rev. Richard K. Toll – Founding Exec. Director, Friends of Sabeel North America
  • Rev. Don Wagner, former National Program Director, Friends of Sabeel N.A.
  • Jonathan Kuttab, Executive Director, Friends of Sabeel North America
  • Mark Braverman, Ph.D. – Executive Director, Kairos U.S.A.
  • Alice Rothchild, M.D. – Jewish writer and social activist for peace
  • Ranna Harb – Co-Founder, Falastiniyat (Palestinian diaspora collective)

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Jerusalem: Diocese condemns Israeli attack on Anglican church

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St Andrew’s Church, Ramallah (credit: ICN)
The Israeli raid on Al-Haq left a church community in terror.

By Independent Catholic News | Aug 19, 2022

The community living inside the church compound felt unsafe during the assault: The sound of gunshots, stun grenades, and the smashing of doors caused terror among the families living inside the compound.

The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East has condemned a “shocking” raid by Israeli soldiers on the premises of their church in Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, in the early hours of Thursday morning.

In the following statement released later in the day the actions of the Israeli forces involved in the incident are described as “a violation of international law and a terroristic act against the entire community”

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#StandWithThe6: Statement in response to Israel’s overnight raid

(Video) FOSNA Executive Director Jonathan Kuttab, one of the founders of Al Haq, spoke with our National Organizer Rev. Chad Collins about last night’s raids. Watch now to get a clear understanding of what happened and what it means for human rights work in Palestine and around the world.

By Jonathan Kuttab | FOSNA | Aug 18, 2022

To label these organizations “terrorist” is to say that any documentation of or peaceful resistance to the Israeli occupation is illegal and will not be allowed.

Last night, Israeli forces raided the offices of all six civil society organizations that it previously labelled as “terrorist organizations,” including Al Haq. Israel ransacked the offices and then sealed the doors by welding them shut. While Al Haq said nothing of theirs was taken, other NGOs had many of their belongings confiscated. On the doors were left notices declaring that each organization is a terrorist organization and, as such, are no longer allowed to operate. Hundreds of soldiers were involved in this operation and tear gassed everyone who approached the buildings.

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A Reading with Don Wagner: Glory to God in the Lowest

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Join our brother Don Wagner for a personal, political, and religious journey from Evangelical Christian faith and conservative politics to solidarity with the poor and advocacy for anti-war, anti- racism, and Palestinian rights.
Date: Friday, September 23, 2022
Time: 7:30pm
Location: Phinney Books, 7405 Greenwood Ave. N, Seattle WA
Information: Event information here →
Tickets: Free
Event Details

After serving for five years as a pastor in a remarkable Black church, Donald Wagner comes to fully understand the original sin of racism. As his journey continues, he encounters another marginalized people—the Palestinians—and witnesses their struggle for justice and equality. Touched by their resilience and fight against injustice, he leaves the pastorate to assume full time work as an advocate for Palestinian political and human rights.

The memoir begins in mid-September 1982, with a gut-wrenching day interviewing survivors of the Sabra-Shatila massacre in Lebanon, as they wept and waited for the bodies of family members to be pulled from the rubble. Donald Wagner’s conversation with the local Imam ended with a challenge: “You must return home and tell what you have seen. This is all we ask. Go back and tell the truth.”

Glory to God in the Lowest is a metaphor for his counter intuitive journey with the victims of the “chosen people” in the “unholy land,” also called historic Palestine or Israel. The irony of the journey reminds us that God is everywhere especially with the disinherited, the victims of the powerful, including the victims of Israeli oppression.

The memoir touches on history and includes political analysis and theological reflection. In it, Donald Wagner describes Israel’s continued colonization and destruction of Palestinian lives and chronicles his involvement in a grassroots movement of resistance that demands justice based on full equality, an end to the Israeli military occupation and settler colonization project, the right of return for Palestinian refugees, and full political rights for the Palestinian people.

Filled with stories—some humorous and some shocking—as well as encounters with people of every race, gender, and religious affiliation working below the radar, this book will inspire, challenge, and offer a narrative that envisions a transformed “unholy land,” where justice, liberation, and equality for all is the reality for every citizen.

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The line separating Israel from Palestine has been erased—What comes next?

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Separate but not equal: the settlement of Modiin Illit rises behind the Apartheid Wall while a protestor waves a Palestinian flag in 2012. (credit: Majdi Mohammed / AP)
For 55 years, the Green Line has shut down our political imagination. Its disappearance gives us a chance to do things differently.

By Meron Rapoport | The Nation | Aug 10, 2022

The collapse of the Green Line, and no less important the collapse of the ability to imagine it, has set a new stage in the decades-long conflict.

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL-PALESTINE—More than a year after a wave of violence, rage, and resistance swept through the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, the events of May 2021 are still very much present in the minds of Israeli Jews and Palestinians. Two hundred and eighty-six Palestinians, most of them in Gaza, and 13 Israelis were killed during the 11 most intense days, but it was not only the number of casualties that left a mark. It was also the fact that the drama unfolded all over historical Palestine: in Jerusalem, in Gaza, in the West Bank, and most important, in Israel’s “mixed cities” such as Lydd, Ramle, Acre, and elsewhere, which was almost unprecedented since 1948.

Continue reading “The line separating Israel from Palestine has been erased—What comes next?”