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PHOTOS: Palestinians mark Prisoners Day, IDF responds with live fire

Thousands of Palestinians mark Prisoners Day across the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. President Abbas calls for releasing Palestinian prisoners, while Hamas calls for kidnapping Israelis.

By Oren Ziv / Activestills and Haggai Matar

Hundreds of Palestinians, Israelis and international activists marched in the West Bank village of Bil’in on Friday to mark Palestinian Prisoners’ Day. Additional demonstrations took place in Ni’ilin, Nabi Saleh, Kafr Qadum, Ma’asara, as well as in front of the United Nations offices in Gaza. On Thursday, Palestinians also protested outside Ofer Military Prison to show solidarity with Palestinians being held in Israeli jails.

The demonstration in Bil’in began after Friday prayers. The army shot dozens of tear gas canisters well before the protesters could reach the Separation Wall. Most of them retreated, while a few remained and threw stones at the soldiers. At some point, soldiers used live fire (tutu bullets), wounding a young Palestinian in the chest. He was evacuated to a hospital in Ramallah.

Soldiers also used live fire on demonstrators in Ni’ilin, wounding three Palestinians in their legs.

In Bil’in, protesters marched with photos of Bassem Abu Rahmah, who was killed by a tear gas canister shot by Israeli soldiers six years ago this week. Despite video evidence and ballistic analysis, which showed that the canister was shot directly at Abu Rahmah — in contravention of the army’s open-fire regulations — the Military Advocate General decided to close the case for “lack of evidence.”

According to Addameer, a Palestinian NGO that works to support Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli and Palestinian prisons, there are currently 6,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. Among them, 434 are being held in administrative detention, which means they have not been sentenced nor stood trial. Of those imprisoned, 23 are women and 163 are minors. Seventeen members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (the Palestinian parliament in Ramallah) are also being held by Israel, as well as 20 journalists.

More than 800,000 Palestinians have sat in Israeli prisons 1967. Almost every single Palestinian family has been affected in one way or another, making the issue of Palestinian prisoners central to the Palestinians struggle. This past week, the High court rejected a petition by several prisoners who asked to allow them to be allowed to study in the Open University, similar to the other prisoners. The High Court justices ruled that...

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PHOTOS: Answering tear gas with flowers

Photos and text by Oren Ziv /

Every Friday residents of the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, along with Palestinian, Israeli and international activists, attempt to march to the village’s spring. The small spring was taken over by Israeli settlers from the nearby settlement of Halamish years ago, and the Israeli army now prevents Palestinians from reaching it.

Before the protest this past Friday, children from Nabi Saleh placed flowers they picked from the surrounding hills into spent tear gas canisters fired at protesters in weeks past. The children of Nabi Saleh take part in the protests against the occupation on a weekly basis.

Special Coverage: Children Under Occupation

The installation was set up near the village’s main junction, near the home of Neriman and Bilal Tamimi, central activists in the village’s struggle. A week earlier, the Israeli army shot Manal Tamimi in the leg with a live bullet.

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How the Israeli army obfuscates its use of live fire against Palestinians

Recent statements by unnamed military sources attempt to confuse the issue of lower-powered but completely lethal ammunition used against Palestinians.

Text and photo by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/

Let’s be clear: the Israeli military uses many kinds of weapons to kill and maim Palestinians in the West Bank. Many of them are “less-lethal” weapons intended to disperse crowds at demonstrations. Sometimes the people shot are among those throwing stones or Molotov cocktails. Sometimes they’re not. Every once in a while they’re journalists or human rights observers. Often these weapons are employed in routine violation of the regulations that are supposed to govern their use. B’Tselem wrote a report about the habitual illegal use of such weapons. Amnesty International titled a similar report, “Trigger-happy: Israel’s use of excessive force in the West Bank.”

One aspect of this troubling trend is the increasing use of live ammunition as a crowd control weapon. A new layer of this lethal trend is an accompanying attempt by military sources to obfuscate their nature and justify their use. Ido Kenan recently wrote about how unattributed military sources are frequently steno graphed by Israeli media. Two recent likely examples — striking because the phrasing is so similar in two different newspapers — appear in reports on the death of Palestinian youth Ziad Awad, who was shot dead by Israeli forces in clashes following his cousin’s funeral last week:


The force reported it opened fire with tear gas and stun grenades, and later fired at four Palestinians using a certain type of bullet, a 22 caliber known as “Ruger” fired from a special weapon designed for just that purpose, which have less powerful effects compared to regular live ammunition.

Jerusalem Post:

Soldiers responded by firing 0.22 caliber bullets from a Ruger rifle, which fires weaker shots compared to live fire, according to the sources. Non-lethal crowd control measures were also deployed during the incident.

Both papers cite anonymous — and therefore unaccountable — military sources who describe these smaller bullets as somehow not the same thing as “live fire.” The Jerusalem Post even includes this unattributed direct quote:

“The incident is still being checked. We did not use live fire,” one army source added.

First, there is the striking...

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PHOTOS: Palestinians protest settler marathon in West Bank

Israeli ‘Biblical Marathon’ shuts down main West Bank road connecting Ramallah and Nablus, ‘is part of an apartheid policy,’ says Abdullah Abu Rahmeh.

Several dozen Palestinians demonstrated against the closure of the West Bank’s main traffic artery due to an Israeli “biblical” marathon on Thursday. Road 60, which connects the major Palestinian cities of Ramallah and Nablus, was closed to traffic from 5:30 a.m. until shortly before noon.

Marathons are generally held on Sundays, and on Fridays in Israel, in order to minimize the interruption to commutes and commerce on the roads. While Thursday is a half-day for most Israelis because it is the eve of a holiday, it is a regular work day for Palestinians.

Applying runners’ wisdom to the fight for human rights
Palestinian village demands end to restrictions on movement

Israeli soldiers prevented the Palestinian activists from approaching the marathon itself and they protested near the village of Turmus Aya. The “Biblical Marathon’s” organizers, which includes a number of government bodies, billed it as an historic recreation of the first-ever marathon in the world.

“Everything the army and the settlers do in the occupied territories is part of an apartheid policy, and we cannot accept the fact that they are shutting down a major road,” said Abdullah Abu Rahmeh, one of the protest organizers, adding that the demonstration was held under the banner of freedom of movement.

Two weeks ago the third-annual Palestine Marathon took place in Bethlehem. Runners in the Palestine Marathon were forced to essentially run laps on a track made of city streets because organizers were unable to find an uninterrupted 42-kilometer (26 mile) mile stretch of road under Palestinian control.

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PHOTOS: Soldiers fire live ammo, wound two in Nabi Saleh protest

Photos and report: Anne Paq /

Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition against nonviolent Palestinian protesters in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh on Friday. Two Palestinians were wounded, including activist Manal Tamimi.

Tamimi was shot in her leg as she was standing and talking to her friends, only minutes after the protest had begun, along with another young Palestinian. Both were transferred to a Ramallah hospital where they received treatment for their wounds.



Activists report that the army has stepped up its use of live ammunition in the village over the past few months. Nariman Tamimi, a prominent activist in the village’s Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, was shot with live ammunition on November 22, 2014. She is still recovering.

Nonviolent protests in Nabi Saleh began in 2009 after residents from the nearby settlement Halamish took took control over the Ein al-Qaws spring — owned by a resident of the village — preventing Palestinian access to their land.




On Passover, IDF collectively punishes West Bank village of Nabi Saleh
Film on Nabi Saleh’s kids competes for int’l awards

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The Month in Photos: Gaza, elections, and Land Day

Palestinians mark Land Day across Israel and the West Bank, politics take center stage in Israel, laid off workers take to the streets, a number of social and political struggles intensify, Gaza struggles to recover from last summer’s devastating war, and Palestinians and Israelis continue popular resistance against the occupation.

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PHOTOS: Running between the walls in the Palestine Marathon

Palestinian and international runners criss-crossed the West Bank town of Bethlehem under the banner of ‘Right to Movement.’

Photos and text by: Ahmad Al-Bazz/

Under the theme “Right to Movement,” about 3,200 participants from all over Palestine—and more than 50 countries around the world—joined the third annual Palestine International Marathon on Friday, which took place in the West Bank city of Bethlehem.

The marathon aimed to highlight the restriction of Palestinian movement under Israeli military occupation. The route also included Aida refugee camp, where hundreds of Palestinians have lived since the Nakba, the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians from their homeland, before, during and after the 1948 war.Palestinians and internationals of all ages competed in either 10K, half marathon or full marathon versions of the race. Like every year, runners had to complete two laps of the same route, since organizers were unable to find a single course of 42 uninterrupted kilometers under Palestinian Authority control in the city, which is surrounded by the separation wall, checkpoints and Israeli settlements.

Ali Sami, a Palestinian participant, said: “I am happy to see people from around the world here in solidarity with Palestine. It is unique to see this number of internationals at such a local event.”

“It’s good to run for Palestine,” said one Spanish participant. “Every time I see the wall I feel trouble, but I am amazed today to see hope in the Palestinians’ eyes while running around their city.”










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A Week in Photos: Survivors, art and destruction in Gaza

Ten photos from Gaza — of survivors and the devastated urban landscape seven months after the last Israeli offensive.

Photos by Anne Paq/

This week marks seven months since Israel’s war in Gaza last summer, “Operation Defensive Edge.” During the course of the war, over 2,200 Palestinians were killed. Tens of thousands are still homeless due to Israeli strikes. Almost no reconstruction has taken place because of Israeli and Egyptian restrictions on the import of raw materials into the Strip.

The following are images from the Gaza Strip in the past week, March 17-25, 2015, showing the destruction, the lives of survivors, memories of the dead and daily life in the besieged strip of land.



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PHOTOS: Hundreds mourn Palestinian youth shot dead by Israeli soldiers

By: Ahmad al Bazz /

Hundreds of Palestinians gathered to take part in the funeral of Ali Safi in the Jalazun refugee camp near Ramallah Thursday. Safi, 18, was shot with live bullets by Israeli soldiers during clashes near the refugee camp on Wednesday, March 18. He was taken to a hospital in Ramallah and placed in the ICU until he died on Wednesday night.

Palestinian medical sources reported that the bullet exited Safi’s body through his back, leaving him in a coma. At least three other Palestinian were wounded by live fire during the clashes.

According to Ma’an News Agency, the clashes erupted last week after a protest against the construction of a wall between the nearby Israeli settlement of Beit El and Jalazun.





PHOTOS: Clashes follow funeral of 14-year-old Palestinian-American
PHOTOS: Police kill Bedouin man, wound dozens at funeral
PHOTOS: Palestinians mourn woman who died after inhaling tear gas

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PHOTOS: Joint List marches for unrecognized Bedouin villages

Arab leaders begin four-day march across Negev to pressure Israeli government to recognize dozens of villages that lack electricity and running water.

Photos: Oren Ziv, text: Yael Maron

Dozens of members of the Joint List — including chairman Ayman Odeh, Dov Khenin and other future members of Knesset — marched alongside other Arab leaders Thursday on a four-day trip through the Negev/Naqab’s unrecognized Bedouin villages. They were joined by representatives of the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee and the Regional Council of Unrecognized Villages. The march is set to end at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem on Sunday.

Odeh, who opened the march in the unrecognized village of Wadi Al-Na’am, just south of Be’er Sheva, told the marchers: “Nearly 100,000 citizens live in the Negev in poor living conditions. Can you imagine your life without electricity? Without running water? Where your children have to drive kilometers, on poor roads, just to get to school?”

“The reality in the unrecognized villages is unbearable, and it is our responsibility to struggle together in order to bring about real change for these citizens. I invite all citizens of the country, Arabs and Jews, to join us in our call to recognize all the unrecognized villages, and to invest in a joint future for all residents of the Negev.”

Odeh organized the march as part of his pre-election promise to support the years-long struggle of the unrecognized villages. The plan is to present President Reuven Rivlin with an operative plan for recognizing the Bedouin villages of the Negev, which will emphasize the benefits that such recognition will have on both the Jewish and Arab populations of the Negev.

Fady Masamra, who heads the Regional Council of Unrecognized Villages, spoke to +972 at the beginning of the march: “The issue of recognizing the villages has been up in the air for too many years. This march is just the beginning of the recognition process. The 100,000 residents of the unrecognized villages have suffered enough. Children have lived without water and electricity for long enough — now it needs to stop. This is a call for everyone who believes in human rights to come march with us and join the struggle of the Negev’s indigenous people.”

Hadash MK Dov Khenin also spoke to +972, saying: “We are marching today from the place that most acutely represents the injustice and danger of the unrecognized villages....

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PHOTOS: Israeli army arrests 7 in action against E1 settlement

While Israel was headed to the polls, Palestinian, international and Israeli activists protested Israeli construction in the E1 area of the West Bank near Jerusalem.

Text and photos by Ahmad Al-Bazz /

Palestinian, international and Israeli activists protested against Israeli plans to seize and build in the E1 area, which would cut off the northern and southern parts of the West Bank. Held on the same day as Israeli elections, the protest was aimed at attracting international attention to the progress of illegal Israeli construction and the planed displacement over 15,000 Palestinians and Bedouin communities living in 45 communities in the area.

Resource: What is the E1 area, and why is it so important?

About 10 activists managed to enter the construction area and climb onto Israeli bulldozers. Israeli soldiers shot tear gas and sound bombs at the protesters. Activists also tried to erect two protest tents but failed as Israeli forces soon closed off the area. A total of seven activists were arrested during the action and put in a closed construction container for two hours before they were taken in an army jeep. The Israeli activists among them were later released on bond, the Palestinians were scheduled to be brought to the Ofer Military Court.

One of the participants, Mustafa Bargouthi, general secretary of the Palestine National Initiative (PNI), said: “We don’t care about the Israeli elections whatsoever. We are here to prove that the struggle is the only way [to achieve] freedom.”

An Israeli activist from activist group Anarchists Against the Wall group, said: “I didn’t vote this morning because I don’t believe that we can change anything from inside an apartheid system.” She added: “I support my friends who voted for the Joint List, but I don’t believe they will succeed in the election.”

Another Israeli activist had a different opinion: “I voted this morning and now I’m in my second democratic duty for the day, although there is no real democracy in this country. Look at the protest; when people take part in a peaceful march to stop bulldozers working on their land, they get shot and arrested.”

In the last two months, Palestinians staged a protest tent in the area and termed it  “Jerusalem Gate.” The tent was destroyed by Israeli forces and rebuilt by the Palestinian activists over seven times.

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Army arrests unconscious activist at Corrie commemoration

During an olive planting action to commemorate the 12th anniversary of the death of American activist Rachel Corrie, Israeli forces arrest two Palestinians–one of them while unconscious.

Text and photos by: Ahmad Al-Bazz/

Marking 12 years since the death of Rachel Corrie, activists planted 40 olive trees in the threatened lands of the West Bank village Qaryut, which is surrounded by many Israeli settlements and outposts. Corrie, an American activist, was killed in 2003 by an Israeli military bulldozer in Rafah, Gaza Strip, as she tried to block the demolition of a Palestinian home. Activists hung pictures of Corrie on the newly planted trees. Pictures of Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni and the British activist Thomas Hurndall were also hung trees. By the end of the event, Israeli forces arrested two Palestinians—one of them while unconscious.

The activists chose the village of Qaryut to plant trees in order to support the village’s protest against the blocking of the main road connecting the village to Road 60, which leads to two main cities in the West Bank, Nablus and Ramallah. The road was blocked one year ago, forcing villagers to take a different road and making their trip 20 kilometers longer. The road was closed dozens of times in the recent years, according to locals.

In the midst of the event, Israeli military jeeps came to the area and clashes with some Palestinian youth erupted. Palestinians threw stones at the soldiers while soldiers fired tear gas. A group of about 10 soldiers came through the village and surrounded the Palestinians. At one point, soldiers started to shoot live bullets in the air in order to repress the activity.

Soldiers tried to arrest many Palestinians but village women managed to protect most of them. Soldiers decided to arrest an unconscious Palestinian who fell while he was running away. Villagers and activists tried to convince the soldiers to release him and demanded a Palestinian ambulance, but the soldiers refused.

“I know you are trying to mislead us! You will be arrested!” soldiers shouted at the unconscious Palestinian. The soldiers eventually took him and the other detainee by the military jeep through the mountains, more than 200 meters away from the village.

A response from the Israeli army spokesperson went unanswered at the time of this report. It will be published here if and when received.

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In Photos: Int'l Women's Day in Israel-Palestine

Photos by Yotam Ronen, Anne Paq, Basel Yazouri, Oren Ziv, Faiz Abu Rmeleh, Ahmad al-Bazz, Keren Manor /

From asylum seeker struggles to the assault on Gaza, women were on the front lines of some of the major struggles in Israel/PalestineIn honor of International Women’s Day, Activestills brings you the best photos of the women who pushed for justice between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. 

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Illustrations: Eran Mendel