Israel’s decision to put Ahed on trial could backfire

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Ahed Tamimi at Ofer Military Prison. (photo: Jerusalem Online)

Arrested in December for slapping an Israeli soldier who had entered her yard, 17-year-old Ahed Tamimi was later arrested in the middle of the night, is currently being held in a military prison, and is being tried in a closed military courtroom.

By Loveday Morris | The Washington Post | Feb 13, 2018


“The Israeli military supposes by arresting Ahed Tamimi they can silence their activism. But although painful, it’s definitely put a spotlight on Palestinian children in detention.”
— Fadi Quran, senior campaigner with the activist group Avaaz


Slouching in her chair and mouthing messages to her friends and family from under a cascade of strawberry-blond curls, Ahed Tamimi in many ways appears to be an everyday teenager.

But the tussle of television cameras and photographers that crowded in for a shot of her in the dock of a small Israeli military court in Ofer for a bail hearing last month was a reminder that she is far from it.

Ahed, who recently turned 17, was arrested after a video of her slapping and kicking two Israeli soldiers who had entered her front yard went viral last year. On Tuesday, after nearly two months in detention, she went on trial on 12 charges, including assault of a soldier and incitement.

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Israel deports 14-year-old girl to Gaza, without telling her parents

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An electric cart provides transportation through the 900-meter caged terminal spanning the restricted access zone at the Erez border crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip, Jul 2, 2012. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler / Activestills.org)

Ghada had spent her entire life in the West Bank, yet somehow found herself deported to the Gaza Strip after being arrested by Border Police officers.

By Edo Konrad | +972 Magazine | Jan 31, 2018


“It should be noted that the girl and her father are illegal immigrants in Israel, and therefore she was sent to Erez Crossing . . . entered the Gaza Strip.”
— Israel Prison Service statement


Israeli authorities deported a 14-year-old epileptic Palestinian girl from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip earlier this month, without notifying her parents, and despite the fact that she has never lived there a day in her life.

Ghada, who was born in Ramallah where she has lived much of her life, was arrested by Israeli Border Police officers on January 13 for being in Jerusalem without a military permit. She was traveling back to her home in a-Ram, just northeast of Jerusalem where she lives with her mother and siblings, from her aunt’s home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya.

Her father, though originally from the Gaza Strip, currently lives in the West Bank as well, her mother told Israeli human rights group HaMoked, which is representing the family. When Ghada was born, Israeli authorities listed her address as Gaza for an unknown reason.

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As long as occupation exists, soldiers will continue to speak out

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Palestinians clash with Israeli soldiers in Al-Fawwar refugee camp, south of the West Bank city of Hebron, Dec 31, 2017. (photo: Wisam Hashlamoun / Flash90)

We must make our voices heard sharply and clearly — speaking out is not merely an option, it is a moral duty.

By Avner Gvaryahu | +972 Blog | Jan 26, 2018


It [is] important to remind the Israeli public why soldiers continue to break their silence. After all, the central reason for breaking the silence is the occupation. As long as there is an occupation, there will be those who choose to expose what the government is trying so hard to hide.


Like many who served alongside me, I preferred to remain silent. I preferred to forget, not to speak about the Palestinian homes I broke into in the middle of the night, forgetting the violence I carried out at checkpoints and the passivity required of me when settlers freely broke the law. When I was released from the army, I preferred to repress those three years, to put them behind me.

Only after I joined a Breaking the Silence tour to the South Hebron Hills did my eyes open. Only then, I chose to speak. That is how I learned that I wasn’t alone. I learned there are others like me — soldiers who see the situation the same way and choose to take responsibility and change the way they and their society, our society, talk about the occupation.

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Holy city of sterile streets

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An Israeli soldier on a street that separates an Israeli settlement and a Palestinian neighborhood in the West Bank city of Hebron. (photo: Chris McGrath / Getty Images)

To settlers, this is the first Jewish city in the biblical hills of Judea; to the Palestinian majority, this is their centuries-old home under relentless military occupation.

By Roger Cohen | The New York Times | Jan 20, 2018


“You are treating families in a way you would not want your own family to be treated. It’s as simple as that.”
— Anonymous IDF soldier


The Israeli soldier stands at the entrance to Shuhada Street. The street is deserted, its stores shuttered, doors welded shut. The old center of Hebron has been a ghost town for many years. The Israel Defense Forces refer to “tzir sterili,” or sterile roads, because no Palestinian is allowed on them, whether in a car or on foot.

The occupation of the West Bank is a half-century old. That’s a long time. Jews did not go to the Holy Land to deploy for another people the biological metaphors of classic racism that accompanied their persecution over centuries. But the exercise of overwhelming power is corrupting, to the point that “sterile” streets, presumably freed of disease-ridden natives, enter the lexicon.

The soldier at the checkpoint is a young man with a ready smile. He tells me he’s visited New York. He asks where I bought my watch. I ask him what he’s done to merit the punishment of Hebron. He laughs, a little uneasily. He’s clearly uncomfortable with his mission, enforcing segregation, and wants to connect. No doubt he’d rather be on the beach in Tel Aviv enjoying a beer.

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Volunteer opportunities at the Tent of Nations

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A memorial for Bishara Daher Nassar at the Tent of Nations near Bethlehem, with a settlement visible in the background. (photo: HolyLandJustice.org)

If you’re interested in spending some time in the West Bank, please consider volunteering with our friends at Tent of Nations.

By Glenna Kay Plitt (via email) | FOTANNA | Jan 18, 2017


  • Mar 19–30, 2018 — Camp 1: Tree Planting Camp
  • Jun 4–14, 2018 — Camp 2: Cave Renovation Camp
  • Jun 25–Jul 7, 2018 — Camp 3: Children’s  Summer Camp
  • Jul 30–Aug 9, 2018 — Camp 4: Almond Harvest Camp
  • Aug 27–Sep 7, 2018 — Camp 5: Fig and Grape Harvest Camp
  • Oct 22–Nov 2, 2018 — Camp 6: Olive Harvest Camp

High school students look for gap-year experiences, retired people look for short-term volunteer projects, college students look for international travel experiences for credit or for internships, people between jobs look for something new and different to add to their résumés — many people are searching for meaningful ways to make a difference in a world that feels very topsy-turvy right now. FOTONNA is here to help you make that difference.

We are offering any and all of you an opportunity to participate in a small but meaningful way through volunteering on the Nassar family farm (Daher’s Vineyard, outside Bethlehem) or enabling someone you know to go in your stead. I know that you are all familiar with the Tent of Nations Peace Project, and Daoud Nassar is in need of volunteers to help in both small and big ways. With the current unrest in the area (which is an understatement), there is an even greater need today to have an international presence on the farm at all times. You can find out more by visiting Daoud’s website — www.tentofnations.org — and clicking on the Volunteer tab. Continue reading

Israeli settlers turn archeological sites into political tools

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The Biyar Aqueduct has become a tourist attraction for Israeli settlers. (photo: Duane Vander Klok)

Every year, some 100,000 women, children and men visit the Biyar Aqueduct, built some 2,000 years ago to supply water to Jerusalem and the Jewish Temple.

By Akiva Eldar / Al-Monitor / Oct 3, 2017


“There is clear evidence at the Biyar Aqueduct — as there is at other sites — of the presence of the sons of the Judean Kingdom or of Jews at various periods. The problem is that these sites are being used as propaganda tools to establish the right of Jews to those lands, and the multicultural aspect of thousands of years of history is sidelined or even wiped out of the whole story.”
— Archaeologist Yonathan Mizrachi


The Israeli left made no bones about its glee over the empty bleachers at the September 27 jubilee celebration of the liberation of Judea, Samaria, the Jordan Valley and Golan Heights organized by the settlers in the occupied West Bank. The left views the photos of the empty seats as proof of the settlers’ failure to occupy the hearts and minds of the general Israeli public. The leftists argue that not only did the billions poured by successive Israeli governments into the settlements for 50 years lure fewer than 5% of Israelis to live there — about 400,000 according to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics — the vast majority avoided the wasteful “liberation festival.”

Yet the pleasure taken by the left in the seeming failure of the settlers and their patrons is somewhat pathetic. Granted, the right-wing concept of a return to the land of the forefathers has not created a major demographic shift of Israelis moving to the settlements. Nonetheless, the notion has ingrained itself in the minds of broad swathes of the Israeli public and of tens of thousands of visitors from around the world. It happens daily in Jerusalem’s Old City and throughout the West Bank.

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