Analysis News

What Palestinian media is saying about the Jerusalem violence

From the murder of Muhammad Abu Khdeir to unrelenting settlement expansion and police harassment, the sources of anger in East Jerusalem are many. But the aspirations and provocations of right-wing Israeli Jews to change the status quo in the Aqsa Mosque compound seems to the driving force. A survey of major Palestinian newspapers.

By Henriette Chacar

Palestinian youth take cover behind a door as they shoot fireworks toward Israeli Border Police during clashes at a checkpoint between the Shuafat refugee camp and the rest of Jerusalem, November 6, 2014. (Photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Palestinian youth take cover behind a door as they shoot fireworks toward Israeli Border Police during clashes at a checkpoint between the Shuafat refugee camp and the rest of Jerusalem, November 6, 2014. (Photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Many Palestinians are calling it the “Car Intifada.” In the span of just a couple of weeks, three Palestinian residents of east Jerusalem made their vehicles into weapons and ran over pedestrians, killing four Israelis and wounding dozens more. This is hardly a new terror tactic, but the proximity of the attacks on top of intensifying tensions in Jerusalem all contributed to it its name — to it even being given a name.

So what’s going on in Jerusalem? Why is this happening now? And what is the Palestinian media’s narrative of the latest events in Jerusalem?

Since Israel seized control of Jerusalem’s Old City in 1967, during the Six Day War, Israel has vowed to maintain the status quo at the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif. That arrangement stipulates that non-Muslim visitors may visit but may not pray at the site. Over the years Israeli authorities have largely enforced those rules, although a series of recent events has made Palestinians increasingly suspicious of Israel’s intentions.

Photos of the month: The holy city nears its boiling point

Palestinian media was reporting perceived Israeli challenges toward the status quo on the Noble Sanctuary since early June, even before the war in Gaza broke about. The June 3rd headline in Palestine’s most widely read broadsheet, Al-Quds, read: “Israel bans Muslims, allows Jews to enter al-Aqsa Mosque.” Citing local sources, the news item mentioned that, “more than 60 extremist settlers stormed the mosque courtyards on Tuesday and performed Talmudic rituals under police protection. Meanwhile, Palestinian worshipers were prohibited from entering al-Aqsa...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

Censorship in the American Jewish community

Support for groups like JVP has grown significantly since the latest war against Gaza. Disenfranchising this ever-growing segment of concerned American Jews will only escalate the decline in our community.

By Seth Morrison

A protest condemning the Israeli assault on Gaza outside the Israeli consulate in downtown Chicago, July 16, 2014. (Photo by Tess Scheflan/Activestills.org)

A protest condemning the Israeli assault on Gaza outside the Israeli consulate in downtown Chicago, July 16, 2014. (Photo by Tess Scheflan/Activestills.org)

The past year has seen increasing efforts within the American Jewish community to censor anybody who believes that boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) are the way to end the occupation — censorship that is most often targeted at Jewish Voice for Peace. And yet, JVP continues to grow.

JVP is not anti-Israel, it is anti-occupation. Our belief that that the people living in Israel-Palestine are the ones who must decide on their own political formulations does not negate that we are committed Jews acting according to Jewish teachings of how to treat your neighbors. We support any solution that fully recognizes and respects the human rights and aspirations of both peoples — and that includes people with varying political visions for the end of the conflict.

Within JVP I have met many people who like me think that a two-state solution is best, many who believe in a single state with strong guarantees for all, and an increasing number who would like to see a two-state solution but believe that Israel has closed that door in the last few years.

Read also: ‘As U.S. Jews, we need to figure out what leverage we have in ending the occupation’

Whenever I have expressed my support for a two-state solution to JVP members, responses have always been respectful. I have never been shut down, accused of being anti-Palestinian or called names. Yet some of my Jewish friends have totally cut me off, refuse to interact with me online or in person and have called me a traitor, accused me of ignoring the Holocaust or called me names that I won’t repeat. I expected some pushback and honest debate, but censorship and alienation are dangerous to the future of the American Jewish community.

JVP Boston activists protest the Veolia transportation company for operating bus lines...</img></div><a href=Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

Who will put an end to the murder of Arab women in Israel?

Ten women from the same family have been murdered since 2000. In failing to protect them, we have failed in coming to terms with the fact that women are independent, free human beings who have exclusive ownership over their bodies.

By Samah Salaime Egbariya (translated by Sol Salbe)

The first documented murder of a woman in Palestine occurred in 1930. A young Christian woman returned to her village on horseback while being held by one of the Arab fighters. He claimed that he gave her a ride to the village when a deluge of rain caught her in the fields. Someone from the village concluded that an act of forbidden love was involved. The next day that young woman’s body was found in a cave near the village. Her virgin body was buried in the cave; her tomb became a pilgrimage site because she was pure when she was murdered. The warrior, of course, continued to fight for occupied Palestinian land, and lost the battle as we know.

Women shout slogans during the International Women's Day march in Qalandiya, West Bank on March 8th, 2014. Around 400 women and supporters marched to the Israeli checkpoint holding signs and shouting slogans against the occupation, calling to boycott Israel. The demonstration was dispersed by Israeli forces with tear gas and shock grenades.

Women shout slogans during the International Women’s Day march in Qalandiya, West Bank on March 8th, 2014. (Activestills.org)

Eighty years have passed. In the meantime the State of Israel was founded, and the Palestinian minority within it is still fighting for its civil rights and its Palestinian Arab identity. Since then many women have been murdered by men in their family who were angry about something that didn’t seem quite right in their behavior as women. Somehow the honor killing of that Christian girl has become Islamized, yet Muslim sheikhs rush to absolve Islam after each murder. The “heroic” men have been transformed into anonymous masked men who are paid in advance by other men for the murders. The rage and the irrepressible wrath has been transformed into a carefully crafted deed carried out by a criminal gang armed with illegal weapons. It determines who is going to be killed, when and how. The very same men who appoint themselves “the honor guard” of the family...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

How Likud became the Almighty's contractor at the Temple Mount

For Israel’s ruling party, Zionism was first and foremost about settlements and security rather than religious salvation. The growing interest in the Temple Mount, however, reflects a complete transformation of Israeli politics as we know it. Welcome to the end times.

By Tomer Persico

The attempted assassination of Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick, to whom I wish a speedy recovery, comes at the height of a growing trend among the Israeli public. It is a trend that finds clear expression amongst the ruling Likud party, and one that Glick was a leading advocate of. In recent years the Temple Mount movements have acted intensively to increase the number of visits by Jews, while concurrently raising awareness about the situation at the Mount. This situation includes a de-facto ban on public Jewish prayer, and an increase in violence (mostly verbal) by Palestinian Muslims toward Jewish visitors. Among the most prominent achievements of the Temple Mount proponents has been obtaining the explicit support of nearly half of Likud’s Knesset members for their struggle.

Right-wing activist Yehuda Glick holding a book depicting the Jewish Temple while standing in front of the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, May 21, 2009. (Photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Right-wing activist Yehuda Glick holding a book depicting the Jewish Temple while standing in front of the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, May 21, 2009. (Photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

The Likud movement has always had a fondness for national myths, but even among its members, Zionism was first and foremost about settlements and security rather than religious salvation. The growing interest in the Temple Mount among Likud members embodies the change that has taken place in Israeli political discourse – one that if not properly understood, will render our view of the current tensions and violence in Jerusalem incomplete. At that very same convention where Glick (who ran for Knesset on the Likud ticket two years ago) was shot, under the title “Israel Returns to the Temple Mount,” Chair of the Interior Committee of the Knesset, MK Miri Regev, and the Deputy Speaker of the Knesset Moshe Feiglin, both of Likud, called for a return of Jews en masse to the Mount. Regev tied “our right to pray on the Mount” together with “our right to the land,” demonstrating in clear fashion the mythical coating that covers the...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

A pretense of progress for children in Israel's military courts

A new amendment requiring military authorities to videotape interrogations of Palestinian minors may seem like a step in the right direction. That is, until you read the fine print.

By Gerard Horton

Youth from Aida Refugee Camp rest during a lull in clashes with Israeli forces near the separation wall in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, November 16, 2013. The wall, which divides Bethlehem's land is a frequent entry point for incursions by Israeli forces into Aida Refugee Camp, and often a site of clashes with camp youth. (Photo by Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

Youth from Aida Refugee Camp rest during a lull in clashes with Israeli forces near the separation wall in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, November 16, 2013. The wall, which divides Bethlehem’s land is a frequent entry point for incursions by Israeli forces into Aida Refugee Camp, and often a site of clashes with camp youth. (Photo by Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

Change has been afoot since UNICEF published a report finding that the ill treatment of children held in Israeli military detention “appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized.” Most recently that change has come in the form of a new military order (Military Order 1745), which requires Israeli police in the West Bank to audio-visually record interrogations of minors.

The order also stipulates that interrogations should be conducted and documented in the language of the accused.

Up until now the recording and documentation of interrogations of Palestinian minors by Israeli authorities in the West Bank has been unsatisfactory to say the least. While according to the authorities nearly one-third of minors detained in 2013 had at least part of their interrogation audio-visually recorded, none of the tapes were handed over to defense lawyers at an early stage in proceedings.

In other cases where the interrogations were only audio recorded, defense lawyers report significant discrepancies between the tapes and the statements ultimately signed by the minors.

And perhaps most disturbingly, in a recent report released by Military Court Watch, 69 per cent of Palestinian children reported that they were shown, or made to sign, documentation written in Hebrew, a language they do not understand, at the conclusion of their interrogation.

Read +972′s full coverage of children under occupation

The use of audio-visual recording during the investigative process is...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

Solitary confinement: A common denominator in Jerusalem attacks

Israel held over 3,000 prisoners — in over 5,000 incidents — in solitary confinement over the course of last year. Over 200 minors were sent to solitary. Experts call the practice cruel and inhuman treatment, and agree that it causes severe psychiatric problems. With two attacks in Jerusalem within the span of a week committed by men who spent significant period of time in solitary, it merits a closer look.

By Noam Rotem (translated from Hebrew by Einat Adar)

Illustrative photo of Palestinian prisoners in an Israeli military prison (By ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock.com)

Illustrative photo of Palestinian prisoners in an Israeli military prison (By ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock.com)

On Wednesday night, October 29, a man arrived on a motorcycle to a conference organized by a Jewish right-wing movement to promote the building of a new temple on the Temple Mount and shot three bullets at Yehuda Glick, a central figure in the movement. A few hours later, Shin Bet forces invaded the Abu Tor neighborhood in Jerusalem and shot and killed Muataz Hejazi, a Palestinian recently released from jail, who they claimed was responsible for shooting Glick. But the story is more complicated than that.

Hejazi, a resident of Abu Tor, was sent to prison in December 2000 — during the Second Intifada — after being convicted of an attempt to set fire to an electrical box in a settlers’ house. His acquaintances claim that he was not a member of the Islamic Jihad organization, as claimed by the state, but admitted to being a member after he was tortured by Israeli investigators. During his time in jail – and, according to the same sources, after he and family members visiting him were humiliated in prison — he attacked a prison officer with a razor and beat up an investigator who, according to his family, was among those who tortured him.

In response to these incidents the jail authorities decided to hold him in solitary confinement. According to the Palestinian Prisoners Club, a Palestinian NGO that supports prisoners and their families, Hejazi spent 11 years in Israeli prison, 10 of which were in solitary confinement.

When he was released in June 2012 he suffered severe psychiatric disorders which, according to sources close to him, were caused by his long stretch of solitary confinement. Hejazi was...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

Who is really fanning the flames in Jerusalem?

By publishing false news stories that perfectly align with the government’s agenda, the Israeli media is guilty of sowing violence in a city already on the edge.

By Yael Arava

“Trying to fan the flames? The Palestinian prime minister went to visit the grave of the terrorist from the [Jerusalem light rail] attack, and then entered a mosque in order to strengthen the ties between the Palestinians in East Jerusalem and the Arabs of Ramallah.”

These words were published by NRG, a website owned by the right-wing, religious Makor Rishon newspaper, which was recently bought out by Sheldon Adelson, earlier this week. The question in NRG’s headline remains unanswered. Who exactly is trying to fan the flames? Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah never even visited the grave of the terrorist behind the attack.

Israeli policemen arrest a Palestinian protester during a protest outside Jerusalem's old city against the Israeli authorities' policy in resent weeks to limit access for Muslim worshippers to the al-Aqsa mosque compound, October 15, 2014. At least four protesters were arrested after Israeli police dispersed the protest. Muslim men and women over 50 are allowed to enter the compound in recent weeks, as Jewish right-wing activists enter al-Aqsa mosque compound with police escort. (Activestills.org)

Israeli policemen arrest a Palestinian protester during a protest outside Jerusalem’s old city against the Israeli authorities’ policy in resent weeks to limit access for Muslim worshippers to the al-Aqsa mosque compound, October 15, 2014. At least four protesters were arrested after Israeli police dispersed the protest. Muslim men and women over 50 are allowed to enter the compound in recent weeks, as Jewish right-wing activists enter al-Aqsa mosque compound with police escort. (Activestills.org)

But fanning the flames becomes very easy when public opinion is influenced by disinformation. On Thursday Mahmoud Abbas said that Israel is doing just that through incitement, while the Israelis continue to blame the Palestinians for fanning the flames. So who is really responsible?

The balance between the government and the press is what lies at the heart of democracy. When there is a breach in that balance, the reader can be influenced by certain political agendas. In these cases, one does not receive information which allows him or her to draw conclusions based on the reality on the ground. When disinformation blatantly becomes the headline of a...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

Jailed Israeli conscientious objector starts hunger strike

Udi Segal, who refuses to enlist in the IDF due to its human rights violations in the occupied territories, declares he will go on hunger strike until his release from military prison.

By Yael Marom

Udi Segal (right) arrives with supporters to Tel Hashomer army base. (photo: סרבניות נגד הכיבוש)

Udi Segal (right) arrives with a supporter at Tel Hashomer army base. The sign reads: ‘Refuseniks against the occupation.’  (photo: Refusenik’s Against Enlistment)

Israeli conscientious objector Udi Segal, who announced his refusal to join the Israeli army three months ago, was sentenced to his fifth prison term on Thursday. Prior to his sentencing, Segal announced that he would begin a hunger strike until he is released from the IDF. Segal released a statement explaining the motivation behind his strike:

Three months ago, on my conscription date, I announced that I am unwilling to serve in the army for ideological reasons. Since then I was imprisoned four times. I sat 50 days in prison.

Tomorrow I will be sentenced for the fifth time and sent to prison again. Because of my repeated imprisonment, the continuing deprivation of my freedom, I decided to start a hunger strike until I am released from the army.

I refused because serving in the army contributes to an oppressive system, to which the army is an executive branch. I will not take part in the denial of the liberties of Palestinians.

I will not contribute to a situation in which four million Palestinians live in territories under a regime they did not elect, a regime which is oppressing me too. I consider my refusal as an act of solidarity with all those the Israeli regime hurt, both in Israel and the Occupied Territories.

I went to a Jewish-Arab school for eight years. Towards my conscription date, I realized that if I join the army I am throwing away everything I was taught in school, this whole attempt to create coexistence. Coexistence and occupation are things that can’t go together.

Segal arrived at the Tel Hashomer base in central Israel on Friday morning, where he once again declared his hunger strike, as well as his refusal to serve in the army. Segal was sentenced to 10 days in military jail.

Hunger striking is the only tool of nonviolent protest allowed for prisoners....

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

Netanyahu's status quo strategy: Thwarting a Palestinian state

The Americans got it wrong. By seemingly doing nothing but trying to preserve his seat in power, the Israeli prime minister is in fact advancing a process that makes a Palestinian state an impossibility.

By David Zonsheine

In his Atlantic article on the growing crisis between Jerusalem and Washington, Jeffrey Goldberg quoted American officials slamming Netanyahu, one now-famously called him “chickenshit.” The substance of the criticism was that he lacks the “guts” to strike Iran and is only interested in “protecting himself from political defeat.”

Beyond the damage Netanyahu and his government are causing Israel in the international community – hurting ties crucial for a small country with limited resources in a complicated region – I disagree with the American diagnosis. In Netanyahu’s case, preserving his rule without any apparent progress towards a clear goal is part and parcel of his plan to deepen the deeply-ingrained process of preventing a Palestinian state in the West Bank and splintering the Palestinian people. Even if Netanyahu did not start these steps, he is propelling them with pristine efficiency.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem. (Photo by Haim Zach / GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem. (Photo by Haim Zach / GPO)

Every day that Netanyahu tries to maintain his seat is another day of settlement construction in the West Bank, another day of Palestinian displacement, of destroying Palestinian assets and other grave human rights violations; another day in which Netanyahu’s strategic goals are being achieved.

Unlike the objective of peace and ending occupation, Netanyahu’s objectives don’t have a big fan base in the international arena. He knows this all too well, and this is why he cunningly operates to maintain the status quo. Ostensibly this means doing nothing; in practice it means rapidly changing facts on the ground in the West Bank.

His declaration of support for the two-state solution at Bar Ilan University and the negotiations led by Kerry were conducted in parallel to government actions on the ground – constituting an integral part of his strategy.

Netanyahu surely must have taken the Americans’ criticism as a complement. They thought they were insulting him but in fact they were praising him. They revealed that they do not understand Netanyahu’s strategy – mistaking his effective methods for...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

Why the status quo on the Temple Mount isn't sustainable

Israel’s tightening grip on the Temple Mount — and reactions to it — cannot be disconnected from the wider political reality. Tensions on the Temple Mount lead to unrest in the streets of East Jerusalem, many argue, not the other way around.

By Yonathan Mizrachi

A sign warns of the destruction of Al-Aqsa mosque sat Najah National University in Nablus, West Bank, September 26, 2013. The signs were hung by students in protest of visits by Jewish nationalists to Al-Aqsa Mosque and suspected Israeli intentions to divide the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount between Muslims and Jews. (Photo by Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

A sign at Najah National University  in Nablus warns of the destruction of Al-Aqsa mosque, Nablus, September 26, 2013. The signs were hung by students in protest of visits by Jewish nationalists to Al-Aqsa Mosque and suspected Israeli intentions to divide the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount between Muslims and Jews. (Photo by Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

With the escalating violence and tensions in Jerusalem in recent months, the Temple Mount has become a major item on the social and political agenda. Aspirations of apparent extremists to change the status quo on the Temple Mount / Haram al-Sharif are raising concern among many Israelis, the Arab world, and the international community — which seeks to maintain the status quo there; that is, to maintain the autonomy of the Muslim Waqf in managing the complex, while allowing Jews to visit the Mount on certain occasions.

Some argue that the tension in East Jerusalem is tied to the question of sovereignty over the Temple Mount: that is, tension on the Mount leads to unrest in the streets, not vice versa.

If we examine the history of the Temple Mount over the past 2,000 years, we see that its rulers have changed many times, and each sovereign altered the situation on the ground. In the first century CE, the Jewish temple was destroyed, but already in the second century CE, the Romans had built a pagan temple in its place.

When Christianity became the official religion of the Byzantine Empire in the fourth century, the Temple Mount became a waste area — seemingly out of disrespect for its status, yet the Christians’ need to turn the mount into a place outside of the boundaries of the city attests to their desire to redefine it.

View article: AAA
Share article

Photographed punching an Arab woman? Sue the photographer

A freelance photographer who documented three young Jewish women attacking an Arab woman in Jerusalem is being sued for defamation after Israel’s most popular television news channel published her photos. Now she is asking for the public’s help to fund her legal defense.

By Oren Persico / ‘The 7th Eye

The incident in Jerusalem, as photographed by Dorit Jordan-Dotan. (Screenshot from the fundraising campaign.)

The incident in Jerusalem, as photographed by Dorit Jordan-Dotan. (Screenshot from the fundraising campaign.)

Dorit Jordan-Dotan, who last year photographed a group of Jewish women attacking an Arab woman in Jerusalem, launched a campaign last week to fund her legal defense; the Jewish women whom she documented in the scuffle are suing her for NIS 300,000 (roughly $80,000) in damages. Under the banner, “Political lawsuit against freedom of expression,” Jordan-Dotan is asking for the public’s help — through an Israeli website similar to Kickstarter — in funding her legal defense. At the time of writing, she had raised over two-thirds of the requested amount (NIS 30,000).

In February 2013, Jordan-Dotan, an independent documentary photographer, saw a scuffle break out at the Kiryat Moshe light rail station in Jerusalem. She picked up her camera and documented what she saw. According to the three plaintiffs, Shafra Richter, Ruth Meshulami and Chen Alfas, who are being represented by Attorney Doron Nir-Zvi, Jordan-Dotan caused them great harm by distributing the photos in which they can be seen striking the Arab woman, “without putting forth the photographs from when the incident began, from which it would be possible to see that the plaintiffs were defending themselves against the same Arab woman.” According to them, Jordan-Dotan “provided the deceptive photographs to media outlets that distorted reality, whereas the light rail security cameras show that it was actually the Arab woman who started the skirmish.”

Another claim of theirs touches on the fact that Jordan-Dotan did not blur the young Jewish women’s faces, despite the fact that they were minors at the time of the incident, and she therefore committed a criminal offense and violated their privacy. The plaintiffs also claim that in an interview to Channel 2 News, Jordan-Dotan said that the Arab woman was the victim of an attack, which they claim, is contrary to reality. Channel 2 News is also...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

A life of forced labor: Why Israel's Eritrean refugees fled home

Is Eritrea’s brutal dictatorship on the verge of collapse?

By Elizabeth Tsurkov

Israel is home to about 35,000 Eritrean asylum-seekers. While the Israeli government claims that they are work migrants, so as not to violate its own laws, Israel does not forcibly deport Eritreans back to their country of origin. As long as Eritrea is ruled by the current regime, the millions of Eritreans living outside of their homeland cannot return, but is it possible that the regime in Eritrea will soon collapse?

Recent reports from Eritrea and refugees who recently fled the east-African country indicate that the regime is struggling to maintain its control over the population. The regime relies on repression, its most extreme fashion being open-ended national service, to scare the population into submission. At the same time, revenues from mining, nearly free slave labor and taxes Eritreans abroad are forced to pay, allow the regime to sustain itself economically. In recent years, however, these pillars of the regime’s stability have begun to crack.

Read +972′s full coverage of refugees in Israel

National service in Eritrea starts in the 11th grade and ends when the person is no longer capable of performing his service, usually around the age of 50. Eritreans who fought in the country’s war of independence from Ethiopia (which ended in 1991), for example, are still mobilized. The 400,000-strong military and national service force makes up about 10 percent of the population. The servicemen and women are rarely involved in military-related activity, as Eritrea hasn’t fought a war since 2001. Instead, according the UN Special Rapporteur on Eritrea, the servicemen and women carry out “manual labor on agricultural farms or construction sites… A large number of draftees… work in civilian administration, infrastructure projects, education and construction.”

The International Crisis Group (ICG), a think-tank, adds: “national service is used as a source of free, forced labor for ‘parastatal’ farms or companies directly in the hands of individual generals.” Since most of the duties performed by Eritrean draftees has nothing to do with military service and the service is open-ended, the International Labor Organization (ILO) has labeled the national service in Eritrea as forced labor, which is prohibited under numerous ILO conventions that Eritrea has ratified.

Soviet tank abandoned by Ethiopian forces retreating from northern Eritrea in 1991. (Photo...</div><a href=Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

Israel increases pressure on nonviolent struggle's flagship village

Whether as a result of the violence in Jerusalem or just because there’s a new commander in town, the Israeli army is once again increasing its oppressive measures in the West Bank village of Bil’in.

Palestinians, international and Israeli activists demonstrate against the separation barrier and the occupation in the West Bank village of Bil'in, October 17, 2014. (Photo by Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

Palestinians, international and Israeli activists demonstrate against the separation barrier and the occupation in the West Bank village of Bil’in, October 17, 2014. (Photo by Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

By Roy Wagner

There’s nothing new under the sun in Bil’in.

If you take a look at the Wikipedia page on Bil’in, you’ll see that the last updates about the village’s struggle against the separation wall refer to 2012. B’Tselem’s page on Bil’in was last updated almost two years ago. One could easily be led to believe that the struggle is over. But Bil’in continues to demonstrate.

Perhaps updating Wikipedia and B’Tselem’s website isn’t necessary. The situation in Bil’in remains as it was. Veteran protesters even experience flashbacks to 2008, when the demonstrations took place near the old route of the wall. This is the same route that stole nearly half of the village’s agricultural land, and which the High Court later ordered be dismantled and moved west. This was before the new route was built and introduced in 2011 — the same one that steals only one third of the village’s land.

Demonstrator overlooking wall and settlement in Bil'in (Haggai Matar)

Demonstrator overlooking wall and settlement in Bil’in (Haggai Matar)

Over the last several weeks, however, Israeli soldiers have been waiting for the protesters on the old route, near the monument for the late Bassem Abu Rahmah, who was shot and killed at close range by a high-velocity tear gas grenade. As far as I can tell from the videos and testimonies, Abu-Rahme was likely murdered intentionally. (The IDF closed its investigation into the killing without indictment.) From high positions the soldiers fire barrages at the protesters who try to make their way along the “Freedom Road.” Afterward, the soldiers descend toward the built-up areas of the village and fill people’s homes with tear gas.

Soldiers recently set on fire a...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article
© 2010 - 2014 +972 Magazine
Follow Us
Credits

+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

Website empowered by RSVP

Illustrations: Eran Mendel