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IN PHOTOS: A life of constant dread for one Palestinian village

The West Bank village of Hizma, surrounded entirely by the separation wall, is the victim of daily harassment by the army and the police. That hasn’t stopped the residents from opening their homes and businesses to Israeli Jews — even the settlers who live next door.

Text and photos by Tamar Flesichman

For the 7,000 residents of the West Bank village of Hizma, life has become an endless routine of harassment by the Israeli authorities.

Land expropriation, home demolition orders, the total disconnect from East Jerusalem, the checkpoint that serves mainly settlers and forbids the owners of the land from crossing, and the constant harassment at the hands of the army and the police toward the village residents — these are only some of the daily experiences that have led to frustration and rage in the village.

Hizma’s residents have the distinct privilege of living next to both the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Pisgat Ze’ev, and the adjacent checkpoint that bears the village’s name. Hizma checkpoint, like Pisgat Ze’ev and the separation wall that encircles the village, was built on land belonging to the residents.

Despite the separation between Hizma and the surrounding Israeli neighborhoods, a large portion of the village residents’ income is based on the settlers of Pisgat Ze’ev and nearby Adam. “They buy good from us because it is cheap here,” an acquaintance from the village tells me. Many of Hizma’s residents speak perfect Hebrew and welcome Israeli Jews to their homes, even those who are unmistakably religious settlers. Israelis often visit to shop or have their cars fixed in the local garages, stopping to have casual conversations, close deals, and shake hands with the locals.

Suffice it to say the Palestinians’ anger is not against Jews, but rather the Israeli army and police.

And while it is true that Palestinians in the are have previously thrown Molotov cocktails at both the checkpoint and IDF jeeps patrolling the area, none of that justifies the collective punishment of thousands of people.

For years the residents of Hizma have been suffering from harassment by the IDF and Israeli police, often on a daily basis. This is done through what is termed “breaking the routine” — a policy that leaves the civilian population helpless, and includes army raids, arrests of adults and minors, violent patrols at all hours of the day, body searches, and more. In one case a woman who married a resident of Hizma...

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One year on: The Iran deal has fulfilled its promise

Despite what Israel’s prime minister may have you believe, the Iran nuclear deal has succeeded in doing exactly what it set out to do: significantly decreasing the threat of a nuclear-armed Islamic Republic.

By Shemuel Meir

The annual Herzliya Conference made headlines a few weeks back simply due to the fact that former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and former Prime Minister Ehud Barak pulled out a no holds barred attack on Benjamin Netanyahu. It was interesting to hear that Ya’lon told the crowd that “at this point in time and in the near future, Israel does not face any existential threats.” Ya’alon tied his remarks to the Iran nuclear deal, and in doing so fell in line with IDF assessments, which were laid out by IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot in January 2016 during the INSS Conference. In the IDF’s view, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) actually precipitated the decline of the Iranian threat.

Without a doubt this is a great way to begin discussing the one-year anniversary of the deal signed in Vienna on July 14, 2015. Ya’alon ditched the alarmism peddled by the prime minister and right-wing think tanks. His call to put an end to what he sees as baseless fear-mongering — including talks of a “second Holocaust” — are in line with things I have previously published on my Strategic Discourse blog.

Netanyahu responded to Ya’alon’s remarks by reminding us that not long ago, at the Munich Security Conference held in February 2016, the former defense minister claimed that despite the deal the Iranian nuclear threat is tangible and existential.

The exchange between the two took place in the run-up to the one-year anniversary of the deal. The milestone gives us an opportunity to take another look at the events. The deal blocked Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon both through preventing its military from enriching military grade uranium (93 percent) as well as producing plutonium. The agreement also subjected Iran to the most invasive and thorough inspections in the history of nuclear enrichment.

The final report published by the International Atomic Energy Agency ‏(IAEA), which allowed the deal to come into force on January 16, 2016, established that Iran did not divert nuclear material to secret sites. The quarterly IAEA reports published since the deal was signed confirm that Iran has met all the conditions. This is good news that does...

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Dispelling the myths about building in Jerusalem

In Jerusalem, construction of Jewish neighborhoods continues unabated, while Palestinians are still struggling for basic infrastructure.

By Aviv Tatarsky

There is no construction freeze. As opposed to declarations by right-wing politicians such as Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat or Education Minister Naftali Bennett, construction in Jerusalem was never frozen, while the cranes and bulldozers keep working tirelessly in the city’s Jewish neighborhoods located beyond the Green Line. Thousands of housing units in Gilo, Har Homa, Ramot, Pisgat Ze’ev, and Ramat Shlomo. These not only provide housing for Israelis — they establish facts on the ground in order to make partitioning the city, and as well as reaching a two-state solution, all the more difficult. This, of course, does not stop Israel’s ministers from complaining about a “construction freeze.”

There is a freeze on construction plans and tenders in Jerusalem. In 2012 the government approved a plan for over 6,000 housing units beyond the Green Line in Jerusalem. In 2013 and in the first three months of 2014 Israel published tenders for nearly 2,500 units in Ramat Shlomo, Gilo, etc. But since the breakdown in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, lead by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, in April 2014, Israel has hardly published tenders or promoted construction plans. This fact should be taken to heart by all those — on both the Right and the Left — who have eulogized the two-state solution. The solution has yet to reach its expiration date, and if anything is keeping it alive it is sheer political will — not the reality on the ground.

There is a construction freeze for Palestinians. Despite the severe construction shortage the municipality and government repeatedly thwart development plans for Jerusalem’s Palestinian neighborhoods. If you ask city council members, the shortage of classrooms and family health centers is a result of a “lack of suitable land.” Ask the residents of the Old City. Ask the residents of Sur Baher. Ask the residents of Issawiya or their neighbors in A-Tur — neighborhoods where after years of hard work and investing hundreds of thousands of shekels from their own pockets, the municipality decided to go back on its promises: although the master plan was coordinated with the municipality, the city decided to spend the money on a national park in the exact same spot. Meanwhile all the hard work for the betterment of the Palestinians went down...

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Netanyahu's Africa tour: A spit in the face of those Israel helps oppress

The Israeli public and its government need to internalize that ‘Israel’s pride,’ its wildly successful military export industry, has been an unending nightmare for the people of Africa. How can Netanyahu look the Rwandan and Ugandan people in the eyes?

By Itay Mack

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is currently on a tour of African states of Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Kenya.

For decades, Israel’s relationship with the African continent, from South Africa to the Sahara, has been almost entirely based on military and arms exports that have fueled oppression, civil wars and murderous dictatorships.

Until 1967, the State of Israel was recognized in many circles as a success in the anti-colonialist struggle. Independent African states received military and civil aid from Israel, and in return, voted with it in the United Nations. Jerusalem even condemned apartheid, racism and discrimination at the time. Israel’s ties with African states became even stronger following the Suez Crisis in 1956, when Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion developed the “Periphery Doctrine.”

According to that doctrine, in order to weaken the surrounding enemy Arab states, Israel needed to establish alliances with states in the periphery of the Middle East, like Ethiopia, and establish alliances with minority groups in enemy Arab states, like the Christian rebels in southern Sudan. It was in the framework of the Periphery Doctrine that Israel built its strong alliance with Uganda, which at the time — and to this day — served as a channel for the flow of Israeli military aid to South Sudan.

After the 1967 war and the ensuing Israeli occupation of Syrian and Egyptian territory, the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, and the birth of the settlement enterprise, criticism of Israel began to grow in volume. In the eyes of much of the world, the State of Israel had become an occupying and colonialist regime. At the same time, Arab states began sending money and oil to fragile African states.

Soon after the end of the Yom Kippur War in 1973, many unaligned states, and almost all African states, cut their diplomatic ties with Israel. And as Israel became more isolated, it started building security-based relationships with some of the most brutal regimes in Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Caribbean.

Cold War, cold economic interests

The logic behind the military exports to many of these countries was purely economic, like with Burundi and the Central African Republic....

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Police allowed to shoot stone throwers: Botched redaction reveals rules of engagement

Israeli police are pressured to release new rules of engagement for using live ammunition. The document reveals cops are allowed to shoot stone throwers. The kicker: police tried to black out some of the regulations, but their black marker was running low on ink.

Israel Police revealed its live-fire rules of engagement Monday in response to a court petition filed by civil rights group Adalah. Parts of the document were redacted with a black marker, but was done so sloppily that large parts of the redaction is still readable (all of it with a little manipulation in photoshop).

The Israel Police’s rules of engagement and escalation of force regulations, which were secret until Monday, were written and implemented last December, coinciding with increased violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank. The document dictates when a police officer can draw his or her weapon, when he or she can fire it, and in what manner.

The document confirms that police officers are authorized to use live fire against stone throwers and those directing fire-crackers toward officers. The regulations do not, of course, define specific population segments against whom the open-fire regulations are to be used, but according to Adalah attorney Mohammad Bassam, “it is clear that the regulations do not refer to just any stone throwers but that they were written specifically regarding Palestinian youths.”

I have written in the past about the restraint Israeli police and military forces exercise when faced with Jewish stone throwers, restraint that is almost non-existent when it comes to Palestinians engaged in the same activity.

The document published by Adalah on Monday includes regular rules of engagement, but also includes section that refer to very specific situations and cases. The following is a shortened version of the escalation of force regulations, regulations that outline what an officer should do before drawing an using their weapon:

  1. Carefully determine whether it is appropriate to activate the procedure.
  2. Shout in Hebrew, English or Arabic, “Police, stop or I will shoot”
  3. If the suspect does not stop, and after establishing that gunfire does not pose a danger to bystanders or property, fire a warning shot in the air.
  4. If the suspect still does not stop, aim and fire at the suspect’s legs. Do not under any circumstances fire toward the upper body.
  5. It is forbidden to shoot a suspect who does not pose a threat,...
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Police extend gag order on deadly Qalandiya shooting — again

Despite the fact that eye witnesses have provided versions of events that contradict the police narrative, the latter has refused to release CCTV footage of the shooting that killed two Palestinian siblings.

John Brown*

Nearly 70 days after Israeli security contractors shot two Palestinian siblings to death at the Qalandiya military checkpoint outside Jerusalem, a Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court judge has extended a sweeping gag order on the case, raising more and more questions about the case. The gag order covers all details about the investigation and any information that might be used to identify the suspects — the security contractors.

According to the police version of events, the two siblings were attempting to carry out a stabbing attack at the checkpoint that day. Eyewitness accounts collected by human rights groups and journalists tell a different story — namely, that the pair did not pose an immediate threat when they were gunned down.

The two different stories could easily be reconciled with the publication of CCTV footage of the event. Israel Police, however, has thus far refused to publish it citing the ongoing investigation.

Here’s what we do know: on April 27, 2016, the two siblings, 23-year-old mother of two Maram Abu Isma’il and 16-year-old Ibrahim Taha were shot to death at the Qalandiya Checkpoint separating Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Ramallah. Eight days later, at the request of police, Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court Judge Joya Skappa-Shapiro imposed a sweeping gag order on the details of the investigation, “to preserve the propriety of the investigation and to prevent harm to public safety.”

That gag order, already extended a number of times since, was extended yet again this Monday, until August 2, more than three months since the shooting.

According to the police’s version of events, given to journalists and the public that day of the shooting — long before the initial gag order — Maram Abu Isma’il and her brother Ibrahim arrived at the checkpoint on foot that day but went through the lane reserved for cars, as opposed to the adjacent terminal for pedestrians.

“Police and Border Police officers stationed at the Qalandiya checkpoint identified a man and a woman (minorities) walking in the direction of the checkpoint meant for the passage of cars only, with her hand inside a bag she had in her possession, and the [male] terrorist’s hand was behind his...

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The colonialist skeletons in Israel’s closet

Modern believers in the meaning, importance and necessity of Israel as a safe home for Jews had best come to terms with its less-than-organic birth — it did not magically appear on the sands of an empty landscape.

By David Sarna Galdi

A day before the Paris peace summit last month, director general of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, Dore Gold, tried to delegitimize the French plan by comparing it to the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916. “One hundred years ago, two officials by the name of Mark Sykes and Francois-Georges Picot tried to dictate a new order in the Middle East,” Gold said at a specially called press conference. “It was at the apex of the era of colonialism in our area. It utterly failed then and will completely fail today.”

Later that week, in a Haaretz oped, former Israeli defense minister Moshe Arens all but grabbed the baton from Gold: “One hundred years after Francois Georges-Picot and Mark Sykes decided how the two imperial powers would divide the Middle East after World War I, Francois Hollande assembled two dozen foreign ministers in an attempt to dictate to Israel the steps it should take so that a Palestinian state could be imposed on the region.”

The right wing in Israel likes to recklessly hijack history for its faulty arguments. A few months ago Prime Minister Netanyahu claimed that it was Haj Amin Al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, and not Hitler, who came up with the idea for the Nazi annihilation of the Jews — a disgusting distortion of the truth he later retracted.

Gold, Arens, and anyone else attempting to use the Sykes-Picot Agreement as an example of illegitimate, imperialist European interference or colonialism in order to stymie European peace efforts should be careful. If Sykes-Picot is illegitimate, then so is Israel’s existence; the “era of colonialism” or imperialism that produced Sykes-Picot is the same the era that allowed for the rise of Zionism.

Sykes-Picot, a secret agreement negotiated during the First World War between the French and the British, carved up the Middle East in anticipation of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. It aimed to create two French and British controlled zones, as well as a third area, constituting most of Palestine, which was to be under international administration, with its final status to be decided later.

Ever since the First Zionist Congress in 1897, the...

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Attacked by a soldier? Don't expect to hear from the police

A Palestinian resident of Hebron is attacked for trying to protect a child from settler violence. It turns out his attackers were aided by an IDF soldier.

By Yossi Gurvitz, for Yesh Din

Sometimes you run into stories that encapsulate the entirety of the injustice of the occupation. All too often those stories come from the Hebron region, where reality is even harsher than the rest of the West Bank.

Ra’ed Jihad Yakoub Abu Armila owns a souvenir shop in Hebron and works as a photographer for Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem. Around the beginning of May 2016, he stood with two friends near the Al-Ibrahimiya school in the city when he noticed a group of Israelis accompanied by a dog. Abu Armilla feared they were using the dog to intimidate a Palestinian girl who passed by them. As she walked by, the child became very scared and began crying. Abu Armilla did what any photographer would: he pulled out his video camera and began documenting the incident.

The Israeli civilians greatly disliked the idea of becoming instant YouTube stars (it’s doubtful whether there is any other way to ensure steps be taken against them) so they advanced on Abu Armilla and his friends, while siccing their dog on him. Abu Armilla’s two friends retreated — he was left alone.

And then the soldier intervened. Yes, a soldier accompanied the Israeli civilians.

What did the soldier — the representative of the rule of law — do when he saw a group of Israeli civilians intimidating a child and threatening a photographer? He cocked his gun and pointed it at Abu Armilla.

Abu Armilla froze, feeling scared for his life. The soldier pointed the rifle at him and the Israeli civilians used the opportunity to hit Abu Armilla on the head with blunt objects, including from behind. They beat him until he collapsed and lost consciousness.

When he came to, Abu Armilla managed to see the soldier and the Israeli civilians walk away. Shortly after Border Policemen arrived on the scene, helped him walk to a nearby store, provided him with initial medical treatment, and called an ambulance.

Abu Armilla was hospitalized for a day, and when he was discharged the police called him to tell him they needed his testimony. They claimed to have captured the attackers.

Abu Armilla duly went to the police to lodge a complaint, but to his...

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Israel's government wants Facebook to do its dirty work

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan wants Facebook to help run his police state, the army punishes an entire village for the actions of one person, and the interior minister thinks revoking citizenship is the solution to violence. Three comments on collective punishment.

By Noam Rotem

1. Facebook at the Shin Bet’s disposal

In an interview with Channel 2’s Meet the Press, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said that the blood of victims of Palestinian violence “is on Facebook’s hands.” That’s it. We found the newest culprit responsible for the security situation in Israel and Palestine. Forget the fact that over a million of people are living under the boot of the Israeli military lacking rights or freedom for nearly 50 years. The problem is Facebook.

In the past we have written about the ways in which the Israeli army monitors Facebook, and over the past year Israeli authorities have made hundreds of arrests due to posts published on the social network. Erdan’s claim that “Facebook sabotages the work done by Israel Police, because even when the police turns to Facebook, it does not cooperate and has a very high standard for removing content and posts.”

Since 2013 Israeli legal authorities have submitted hundreds of requests to Facebook to reveal information on users and to remove content. However, as opposed to Israeli companies, which do as they are told by the Shin Bet, Facebook is in no hurry to cooperate. The company has responded to only 52 percent of the over one thousand requests to reveal information on users that were submitted between January 2013 and December 2015. This is what angers Erdan.

Erdan wants Facebook to do the dirty work of the police state he seeks to build. He wants the company to report users who speak out against the regime, to censor those things that don’t sound good to the average Israeli ear. This is not a legitimate request to make of any company, and it is certainly not legitimate in any democratic regime. If Erdan wants to build a police state, he should do the honors himself, rather than ask an American company for help.

2. This is what collective punishment looks like

On Saturday Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and Prime Minister Netanyahu announced that they would revoke thousands of work permits given to the residents of the village Bani Na’im, home to the Palestinian...

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Under occupation, Palestinian teens are always killed by 'mistake'

More occupation means demolishing more homes. It means more families who will wake up in the middle of the night. It means killing more Palestinian teenagers. Because we have the power, the weapons, and the law at our disposal.

By Hagai El-Ad

A few hours before Israeli President Reuven Rivlin told members of the EU Parliament that “the current diplomatic, political and regional conditions do not allow Israelis and Palestinians to reach a permanent peace agreement” a few weeks ago, Israeli soldiers shot and killed 15-year-old Mahmoud Badran. They also “mistakenly” wounded four of his friends, who had just come back from hanging out at a local water park. Why were they shot? There are many explanations. There are always many explanations.

And if the conditions do not allow, as our president says (a president who is to the left of the vast majority of the Israeli public) — what are we left with? If now is not the right time for peace, when is right time? If there is no partner, who is the right partner? If we must always be understood and not pressured — with all this, let’s put aside the talk of “direct negotiations” or “conditions.” Because after the mountains of empty words and lies, the significance is clear: more occupation.

More occupation means killing more Palestinian teenagers, since their blood is cheap and we have the power, the weapons, and the law at our disposal. More occupation means demolishing more homes and stealing more land. It means more families who will wake up in the middle of the night, more children who will grow up without running water or classrooms, more dispossession and violence — and all this with the rubber stamp of our legal system. The occupation is everything we are able to physically see: walls, soldiers, dead Palestinians. It is also everything we cannot: permits, residency that can be revoked at any time, different sets of laws for different populations, separate legal systems.

Whatever we can or cannot see — Mahmoud Badran no longer will.

How would you like your occupation?

The public discussion in Israel revolves around the question of how exactly we can continue the occupation. Should we do it by attempting to “improve the Palestinians’ economic situation” or should we step up their dispossession in the West Bank? Should we try...

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Top Israeli minister shuts down TV station for Palestinian citizens

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan orders Musawa, a Ramallah-based television station catering to Israel’s Arab citizens, to be shut down for violating Israeli sovereignty. 

By Makbula Nassar

For the second time in a year, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan has ordered the closure of a Palestinian media outlet.

The satellite station in question, Musawa, was originally launched in March 2015 under the name “Palestine 48,” is broadcasted through the Egyptian satellite company “Nile-Sat,” and receives its funding from the Palestinian Authority. Its broadcasts are based in Ramallah and are catered for Arab citizens of Israel. Today most of its content is produced by Arab producers based in Israel.

Last Thursday the Public Security Ministry announced that the closure order would be signed after it became clear that the station functions on behalf of the Palestinian Authority inside Israeli territory without the proper written permit, as is required by the Oslo Accords. “I will not allow any harm to come to Israeli sovereignty or allow the Palestinian Authority to make a foothold inside state territory,” Erdan said in a statement. The order will remain in effect for six months.

Although Erdan already signed an order to close the station in July 2015, its activities did not actually cease: regular broadcasts continued and talk shows were broadcasted live from Ramallah, all while the guests traveled to PA territory on a regular basis to talk about issues pertinent to Arabs living in Israel. Several months ago the station returned to its studios in Nazareth, using local producers, after it changed its name and branding so as to avoid confrontations with the Israeli authorities.

Ramzi Hakim, a senior news anchor for the station who also works for the Al-Arz production company (which was also shut down by the Public Security Ministry), told +972’s Hebrew sister site, Local Call, that Erdan’s decision has “no legal basis.” According to Hakim, the studios and production services in Nazareth are owned and run by Al-Arz, which provides services to a number of stations in the area and the world, including Musawa. Hakim emphasizes that they are currently continuing as usual.

The language used by the Public Security Ministry hints at the fact that the decision to shut down the station is based on updated intelligence. Yet the fact of the matter is that production, which started anew in Nazareth over the past few months, is not so...

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Israel must apologize to its citizens for lying about Gaza flotilla

Now that Israel has signed a reconciliation agreement with Turkey over the Gaza flotilla incident, it must apologize to its own citizens for its lies and distortions. Five takeaways.

By Yael Marom

1. A Shayetet 13 combat soldier who was among those to raid the Mavi Marmara in May 2010 gave an interview to Ma’ariv Online on Sunday, in the run-up to the reconciliation agreement between Israel and Turkey, in which he said the following: “We were sent to stop the terror flotilla, that was the mission. How can we pay compensation to terrorists who tried to murder us?”

“What kind of message does this send the other combat soldiers?” he asked. “Those who were wounded and thrown off deck by the terrorists who are now getting reparations? Will Shayetet soldiers also be compensated for the trauma they suffered?”

Yes, the soldiers who were sent by the state to take part in a violent action with no justification, who were exploited by cynical politicians — they need to demand compensation from the state for the senseless trauma they endured. For the lies and the fraud. Before all that, however, they must demand the state never send them on idiotic missions that have nothing to do with state security.

Perhaps now is the time for Israel to admit the truth: the Mavi Marmara was not a “terror flotilla,” and the reasons for stopping it had nothing to do with security — they were entirely political. The people on the flotilla did not sail for Gaza in order to attack Israel, but rather to break the siege on the Strip. They were not so naive as to think that they would be able to do so — they wanted to do direct action, a political act that would catch the world’s attention, and remind it that Israel is imprisoning millions of human beings in a narrow and crowded piece of land. In this sense, they succeeded immensely.

The depictions of the Mavi Marmara’s passengers as terrorists armed with guns, bombs, and missiles are entirely fabricated. No arms were found on the flotilla; the passengers used whatever they could find on the boat as weapons — from metal bars to kitchen and box cutters.

No, they did not board the flotilla out of love for Israel, and definitely not out of love for the occupation or the siege on Gaza. They certainly...

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Dozens protest for release of Palestinian poet under house arrest

Dareen Tatour was arrested by Israeli police last year because of a poem she posted to Facebook. Now she lives with an ankle monitor under strict house arrest. 

By Yael Marom

Dozens of Palestinians and Israelis demonstrated at Jaffa’s Clock Tower Square on Saturday evening to call for the release of Palestinian poet, Dareen Tatour, who has been held under house arrest for the past five months.

Tatour, 33, from the Arab village Al-Reineh near Nazereth, was arrested by Israeli police on October 10, 2015 because of a poem she had posted to Facebook, along with a number of other Facebook statuses she published at the height of latest wave of violence between Palestinians and Israelis. She was charged with incitement to violence and identifying with a terrorist organization — all because of her poem.

The main clause of her indictment was based on a poem that she had allegedly posted on YouTube under the title: “Qawem ya sha’abi, qawemhum” (Resist my people, resist them). Another main clause in the indictment relates to a news item, cited in a post on Tatour’s Facebook page, according to which “The Islamic Jihad movement calls for continuing the Intifada all over the [West] Bank…” The same post calls for a “comprehensive intifada.” (Read more about Tatour’s arrest here).

On Saturday night demonstrators held signs and Palestinian flags, while passersby responded with curses and threats. Policemen at the scene prevented any physical confrontations.

Among the protesters was Dareen’s father, Tawfik, who thanked the crowd for standing alongside his daughter. “They are silencing my daughter, there is no other way to put it.” Tawfik told +972’s Hebrew sister site, Local Call. “I did not expect this kind of thing from a democratic state, but it turns out that this is a democracy for some. Dareen is only a poet, all she did was write poems. If you ask me, this should be allowed in a democratic country.”

According to Palestinian prisoners’ organization Addameer, since October 2015 over 150 cases have been brought before Israeli military courts in which sole charge was incitement on social media, or allegations such as “providing a service for an unlawful organization.”

Abed Abu Shehada, a political activist from Jaffa, was more unequivocal: “Anyone who believes they are an activist, whether in the field or on Facebook, whether they are an artist or a poet, needs to know that...

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