Palestine is not occupied — it is colonized

Israeli troops screened captured Egyptian troops and Palestinians at the start of the war on Jun 5, 1967, in Rafah in the Gaza Strip. (photo: David Rubinger / Israeli Governement / Getty Images)

Israel’s colonization began when the 19th-Century Zionist movement aspired to build an exclusive homeland for Jews in Palestine.

By Ramzy Baroud | Palestine Chronicle | Jun 6, 2018


The Palestinian Occupied Territories have, long ago, crossed the line from being occupied to being colonized. But there are reasons that we are trapped in old definitions, leading amongst them is American political hegemony over the legal and political discourses pertaining to Palestine.


June 5, 2018, marks the 51st anniversary of the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.

But, unlike the massive popular mobilization that preceded the anniversary of the Nakba — the catastrophic destruction of Palestine in 1948 — on 15 May, the anniversary of the occupation is hardly generating equal mobilization.

The unsurprising death of the “peace process” and the inevitable demise of the “two-state solution” has shifted the focus from ending the occupation per se to the larger, and more encompassing, problem of Israel’s colonialism throughout Palestine.

Grassroots mobilization in Gaza and the West Bank, and among Palestinian Bedouin communities in the Naqab Desert, are, once more, widening the Palestinian people’s sense of national aspirations. Thanks to the limited vision of the Palestinian leadership those aspirations have, for decades, been confined to Gaza and the West Bank.

In some sense, the “Israeli occupation” is no longer an occupation as per international standards and definitions. It is merely a phase of the Zionist colonization of historic Palestine, a process that began over a 100 years ago, and carries on to this day. . . .

Continue reading “Palestine is not occupied — it is colonized”

What would you do if soldiers dragged your son out of bed in the middle of the night?

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A screenshot from the B’Tselem video documenting the raid on the Da’na family’s home in Hebron. (photo: B’Tselem)

After more than half a century of occupation, most Israelis can no longer imagine themselves in the place of the Palestinians. But if we cannot imagine what it is like to live under occupation, we must at least confront its brutal reality.

By Orly Noy | +972 Magazine | Jun 8, 2018


Under an apartheid regime, it makes no sense to ask the white what he would do in the place of the black. To imagine the the tables turned has become impossible.


Twenty years ago, in March 1998, the head of the Labor Party Ehud Barak was asked by Haaretz journalist Gideon Levy what he would do were he a young Palestinian living under occupation. “If I were a Palestinian of the right age, I would, at some point, join one of the terrorist groups,” Barak answered.

Today, not only is it difficult to imagine a Jewish Israeli politician making a similar statement; the question itself sounds imaginary. Can we imagine ourselves as Palestinians? What a strange idea. If there is one thing 50 years of brutal military rule over another people has seared into the Israeli consciousness, it is that there is one law for us, and another for Palestinians — that our destinies as human beings were meant to be different.

When you consistently and systematically abuse the Other for decades, this separation of consciousness becomes a kind of survival mechanism. The fact that we cannot imagine ourselves in the place of those living in Gaza — for example, subject to a siege that forces one to live a life of suffering and extreme poverty — allows us to carry on without pangs of guilt.

Continue reading “What would you do if soldiers dragged your son out of bed in the middle of the night?”

More Arabs than Jews live in Israel and Palestine, according to Israeli Army

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Palestinian women at the Qalandiyah checkpoint, 2016. (photo: AP)

The Israeli Army presented data to the Knesset showing 6.8 million Palestinians now living in Israel-Palestine, but only 6.5 million Jews.

By Yotam Berger | Haaretz | Mar 26, 2018


“Between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean there is an equal number of Palestinians and Jews, and that’s nothing new. That’s why the crossroads where we presently find ourselves is clear: either two states based on 1967, or one state that is an apartheid state, or one democratic state in which everyone has the right to vote. There is no other option, and at least this simple truth has to be stated clearly.”
— Knesset Member Ayman Odeh, head of the Joint List


The Israeli army presented data on Monday to a Knesset panel which show that more Arabs than Jews live between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River.

According to Civil Administration’s deputy commander Col. Haim Mendes, five million Palestinians live in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. This figure does not include the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians living in East Jerusalem, or the 1.8 million Israeli Arabs. According to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, as of September 2017 some 6.5 million Jews live in Israel. . . .

Continue reading “More Arabs than Jews live in Israel and Palestine, according to Israeli Army”

Even in peace, the occupation will never end

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking at the Economic Club of Washington, Mar 7, 2018. (photo: Jose Luis Magana / AP)

Netanyahu envisions a future of permanent military occupation of the West Bank.

By Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man | +972 Magazine | Mar 8, 2018


“I don’t want the Palestinians as citizens of Israel and I don’t want them as subjects of Israel. So I want a solution where they have all the powers they need to govern themselves but none of the powers that would threaten us. What that means is that whatever the solution is, the area west of the Jordan — that includes the Palestinian areas — would be militarily under Israel.”
— Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu


He’s said it countless times before in myriad ways. But he usually only says it in Hebrew. This week, however, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said in English, and on camera, that under his leadership Israel will never end the occupation of Palestine.

Speaking at the Economic Club of Washington earlier this week, Netanyahu dodged a question about whether he supports a one- or two-state solution, and outlined a vision that sounds a lot like an entrenched and enhanced version of the occupation as it exists today.

Continue reading “Even in peace, the occupation will never end”

AIPAC event spotlights settler alternatives to a two-state solution

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Attendees at an off-site conference on settlements and the West Bank during the AIPAC Strategy Conference. (photo: Adelle Nazarian / Breitbart News)

Speakers emphasize moving beyond the two-state solution.

By Adelle Nazarian | Breitbart News | Mar 6, 2018


“The time has come to embrace the 650,000 people who live in Judea and Samaria. The time has come to find an alternative to the two-state solution . . . we are not going to give away our land anymore. We don’t believe in land for peace. It’s been tested and it’s failed.”
— Yishai Fleisher, spokesman for the Jewish settlers in Hebron


Israeli and American leaders from the Jewish and Christian communities spoke at a packed event on Monday at the historic Sixth and I Synagogue in downtown DC, which focused on combating the de-legitimization of Israel through the embrace of Judea and Samaria.

Yishai Fleisher, the international spokesman for the Jewish community in Hebron, was the master of ceremonies for the event, which featured products that are affected by the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement including dates from the Jordan Valley, halva from Ariel, wines from Psagot and Shiloh, Carni Eldad’s book “Yesha is Fun,” and Saboneto soaps and Argon oil.

Partners for the event included the Jordan Valley Regional Council, Yesha Council, Binyamin Regional Council, Hebron, Ariel University, One Israel Fund, Christian Friends of Israeli Communities, Judea and Samaria Chamber of Commerce, and of course the Ministry of Strategic Affairs.

Continue reading “AIPAC event spotlights settler alternatives to a two-state solution”

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.

Continue reading “Israel’s decision to put Ahed on trial could backfire”

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.

Continue reading “Israel deports 14-year-old girl to Gaza, without telling her parents”

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.

Continue reading “As long as occupation exists, soldiers will continue to speak out”

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.

Continue reading “Holy city of sterile streets”

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 “Volunteer opportunities at the Tent of Nations”