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West Bank village wakes up to no water

The municipal council of Qarawat Bani Hassan was not warned that their water supply was going to be nearly shut off for days, and attempts to get answers from Israel, through the Palestinian Authority, did not bear any fruit.

Text and photos by: Ahmad al-Bazz /

Last Wednesday, without any prior warning, the majority of houses in the West Bank village of Qarawat Bani Hassan, near Salfit, woke up to find that they had no running water. Municipal workers checked the village’s main water valve, located on Road 505, a few meters from the illegal Israeli settlement outpost of Ma’ale Israel.

“We discovered that the main water valve was almost shut off, [and locked in place] with a lock and chain in order to limit our portion of water and prevent anyone from increasing it,” said Hosam Asem, the manager of Qarawat Bani Hassan municipal council.

“We contacted the Israeli side through the Palestinian authority but we didn’t get any answers or explanations for such a step,” He added. “It’s odd that the Israelis didn’t inform us beforehand.”

According to the municipal council, the supply of water for each villager has now been reduced to about two liters per day, as all of the neighboring Palestinian villages now receive a total of 97 cubic meters per hour. The four surrounding Israeli settlements, Barkan, Revava, Kiryat Netafim and Ma’ale Israel were reportedly not affected by the crisis.

Those villagers who own small water wells beside their homes decided to put them to use, while others were forced to buy water in tanks from other villages. After four days, 90 percent of the homes were back to being supplied with the normal amount of water. The remainder were still waiting a solution for their problem.

According to Ewash, Palestinians currently utilize no more than 10 per cent of the West Bank’s shared water resources, while Israel exploits the remainder. The coalition of 27 organizations working in water and sanitation in the occupied territories argues that under international law, the water resources should be shared equitably and reasonably by Israel and Palestine. The average domestic consumption rate for Palestinians living in the West Bank is 70 liters per day. The “absolute minimum” recommended by the WHO is 100 liters per day. In Israel, the average is 300 liters per day.

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PHOTOS: When Israel decides to cut Palestinian farmers off from their land

The Israeli army decided last week to close the main gateway Palestinian farmers from four villages use to access their lands — which Israel cut them off from with the separation fence. After a protest the army re-opened the gate, but the incident shows how Israel controls every aspect of Palestinian life.

Photos and Text: Ahmad al-Bazz /

Since Israeli started building its separation barrier in the West Bank, Palestinian farmers living along the fence have been cut off from their agricultural lands t

When Israel started building its separation wall and fence through the West Bank over a decade ago, the route it chose cut many Palestinian farmers off from their lands. As a result of legal appeals and other arrangements, the army built gates in the fence and wall through which it permits the farmers to reach their lands on certain days and during certain hours.

Read also: A journey into the dark heart of Israel’s permit regime

Last week, the Israeli army’s Civil Administration, the military government in the West Bank, informed Palestinian farmers from four West Bank villages — Kafr Jammal, Kafr Zibad, Kafr Abbus and Kafr Sur — that the gate they use to reach their lands, which lie on the other side of the fence.

In order to reach their lands, the army told the farmers that they would have to use another gate near the village of Jayyous, about 15 kilometers from their usual gate near the village of Falamya. Some of the farmers told Activestills they believed the decision was the beginning of an attempt to confiscate their land. Israeli authorities often exploit an Ottoman law that permits the state to confiscate land that hasn’t been cultivated for a number of years.

At 6 a.m. on Sunday the farmers arrived at their usual gate near Falamya, the gate their were told would be closed. They staged a demonstration demanding that the gate be re-opened.

Following the protest, the army decided to re-open the gate, saying that the closure was a pilot program, which was scrapped in light of the residents’ protests.

On a normal day, Israeli soldiers open the gate at 6 a.m. to let the farmers access their lands and reopen it at noon, allowing them to come back. Sometimes, when the farmers finish their work early, they have to wait for hours until the soldiers come...

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PHOTOS: Jerusalem Day brings tensions in divided city to the fore

The traditional ‘march of the flags’ on Jerusalem Day, marking the ‘reunification’ of the city under Israeli sovereignty, has more to do with domination over Palestinians than celebration.

Photos and video by Oren Ziv, Keren Manor, Faiz Abu-Rmeleh, Tess Schaflan, Yotam Ronen /
Text by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man

Jerusalem Day is billed as a celebration of the city’s “reunification” in 1967. In practice, it is a day for Israeli nationalists, draped in flags, dancing in circles, singing and chanting “death to Arabs” as they march through East Jerusalem and the Old City. Many of the Jewish demonstrators are bused in from right-wing yeshivas in Israel and the West Bank.

Palestinian shopkeepers are told to shutter their stalls and stores and Palestinians are cleared from the streets ahead of the march in order to prevent the ultra-nationalist participants from attacking them.

The international community does not recognize Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem, including the Old City. And although Israel annexed the territory and included it in the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem, its residents were not granted citizenship; they hold permanent residency, which can be revoked for any number of reasons, often at the discretion of the Israeli interior minister.

Israel has revoked the residency 14,416 East Jerusalem Palestinians since it seized control of the territory in the 1967 Six Day War, which rights groups have termed a policy of quiet deportation. In 2014, it revoked the residency of 107 East Jerusalem Palestinians, including 56 women and 12 minors, according to information provided to and published by Hamoked — Center for Defence of the Individual.


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PHOTOS: West Bank villagers protest: Open our gate!

A-Zaim’s only gateway to East Jerusalem has been closed since a 16-year-old resident carried out an alleged stabbing attempt last month.

By Ahmad al-Bazz /

Residents of A-Zaim, a village in the West Bank, protested on Friday against the ongoing closure of a gate in the separation wall, which is their only gateway to East Jerusalem.

Barring two hours a day, the gate has been closed since a 16-year-old Ali Abu Ghannam allegedly tried to stab a Border Police officer at the adjacent checkpoint two weeks ago. His family claims that Abu Ghannam, who was fatally shot, was killed in cold blood.

Protest against movement restrictions, Al Zaeem, West Bank, 8.5.

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A month in photos: Bringing the struggle to Tel Aviv

Separately, thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel and Jewish Israelis of Ethiopian descent protest against institutional discrimination and racism in Tel Aviv’s central stage: Rabin Square. Palestinians mark Israeli Independence Day with a ‘March of Return,’ two Palestinian teens are shot dead by Israeli forces, Palestinian journalists denounce Israel’s imprisonment of reporters, and West Bank villages continue their struggle against the Separation Wall and the occupation.




















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Ethiopian-Israelis' protest against police violence is met with police violence

Police use stun grenades, violence against protest in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, sparked by video of two officers beating a black Israeli soldier. Dozens reported injured, at least 26 arrested.

Photos by Oren Ziv, Yotam Ronen, Keren Manor / Activestills
Text by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man

A protest by Israelis of Ethiopian descent against discriminatory police brutality was met with police violence for the second time in a matter of days, this time in central Tel Aviv on Sunday.

Police used stun grenades, water cannons, riot officers and mounted officers to disperse several thousand protesters who arriving in Rabin Square some five hours after the demonstration began elsewhere in the city.

There were dozens of injuries reported by protesters and police. A police spokesperson later said that 26 people were arrested. Activists indicated that more protesters were in police custody.

The protest followed a similar demonstration in Jerusalem Thursday night, which was a response to video of Israeli police beating an Israeli soldier of Ethiopian descent.

Protesters flipped over a police car in Rabin square and were throwing plastic bottles at officers.

A number of members of Knesset joined the protest when it started. The protesters soon descended onto Tel Aviv’s main freeway, blocking traffic in both directions for hours.

Eventually police used force to clear the freeway and the protesters continued marching toward the city’s most famous square, Rabin Square.

“I was in the Border Police and I’ve never seen stun grenades used at a protest [in Israel],” protester tells Channel 10. “We’re Israelis, we’re Jews.”

Even in the most tense and violent days of Tel Aviv’s social protests in 2011 and 2012, in nights when bank windows were broken and 90 people arrested, police did not use crowd control means generally reserved for the West Bank and Arab protesters.

In late 2014, intense protests against discriminatory police violence took place in the northern Israeli town of Kafr Kana after Israeli police killed an Arab man while he was fleeing. Earlier this year, massive protests took place after police killed two unarmed Arab men in the southern city of Rahat.

Joint List chairman MK Ayman Odeh was one of the only public figures to make the connection between the various struggles against police violence directed at specific racial or ethnic groups in Israel.

“As a member of the Arab population,...

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PHOTOS: Hundreds protest deportation of asylum seekers in Tel Aviv

The Israeli government announced plans to offer asylum seekers a stark choice: self-deport to a third country or face indefinite imprisonment. Residents of south Tel Aviv, where many asylum seekers live, stage a counter-protest.

By Oren Ziv/

Some 300 Israeli activists staged a protest against the Israeli government’s stated future policy of deporting asylum seekers back to Africa Saturday night in central Tel Aviv’s Habima Square. Around 100 residents of Tel Aviv’s southern neighborhoods, where many asylum seekers live, staged a counter-protest.

Click for +972′s full coverage of asylum seekers in Israel

Refugee activists shouted, “no to deportation,” and called for “solutions for the neighborhoods, not deportation and Holot.” The counter-protesters held signs blaming the New Israel Fund for the situation in South Tel Aviv, and demanding the deportation of the asylum seeker population in Israel.

A large number of police officers stood between the two protests.

“Our message is simple: it is not acceptable for asylum seekers, who are [guaranteed] protection under international law, to be deported from Israel,” said Sigal Avivi, one of the activists who organized the protest. “They are not examining their asylum requests.”

Well aware of the criticism against left-wing activists, who sometimes do not address the problems in south Tel Aviv, she added: “We agree that not all the asylum seekers should live in such a small place, an area that was discriminated against for so many years.”

But the south Tel Aviv residents didn’t appear convinced.

Seffi Paz, a resident of the southern neighborhood of Shapira, and one of the counter-protest organizers, said: “We call them infiltrators but they (the left-wing activists) call them refugees. We speak about crime in the neighborhoods and they say it is for survival. We say immigration police, we say detention center, they call it a concentration camp.”

Not many asylum seekers attended the protest, which was held with out a police permit. Nadim Omar, an asylum seeker from Sudan, was one of the few who did chose to come.

Read also:
Uganda denies agreement with Israel on asylum seekers
ISIS executes three asylum seekers deported by Israel
Likud minister: Drowning of migrants justifies Israeli policy

“I don’t think the is such a thing as ‘voluntarily leaving’,” Omar said at the rally. “The Israeli government sent asylum seekers from the cities to the Holot detention center,...

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Ethiopian-Israeli protest against police brutality is met with violence

This isn’t Baltimore. This is Jerusalem, on Thursday night. 

Photos by Oren Ziv and Tali Mayer/

Thousands of young Ethiopian Israelis demonstrated against police brutality in Jerusalem on Thursday, in a vigil that spiraled into violent clashes with police.

The protesters congregated in the afternoon under the banner: “Down with racism! A black person will not be brought down.” The protesters blocked major roads in the capital — including Highway 1, the road that links Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

When the protest approached the Prime Minister’s Residence a few hours later, police gloves were off. Officers fired tear gas and stun grenades at the crowd, with some present reporting via social media that riot control forces had brought out the dreaded “skunk” spray, generally only used in Palestinian protests in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Some 15 protesters were reportedly injured.

Thursday’s protest came against the backdrop of a video in which a policeman was seen brutally beating an Israeli soldier of Ethiopian heritage in Holon. Ethiopian Israelis have been victims of repeated police violence in recent years.

The protesters demanded that the police officer stand trial, and called for Netanyahu’s immediate intervention. They also called for Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino’s resignation.

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Learning to photograph while running in Gaza

Opening at Jaffa Theatre on Thursday as part of Tel Aviv’s Solidarity Festival, an exhibition will feature the work of Activestills, including Gaza photographer Basel Yazouri. Having joined Activestills a few months before last summer’s offensive, his work has been published in various international platforms, including +972 Magazine.

But unlike his Israeli colleagues, the 19-year-old Gaza City resident is prevented from attending his own exhibition. We interview him about living and working in Gaza, and documenting one’s own community in wartime.

Tell us about covering the last war in Gaza.

It was my first intense photographic experience. I used to cover day-to-day life before the attack and then, when it came, I had to be in the field – not only to support other photographers, but also as a professional. I had to deliver the message and tell the story like it was. For me, it was also to help people, not just to get the word out.

On the photography side, it was extremely hard in the beginning. It was my first time photographing in this kind of situation. I had to learn on the fly.

Sometimes you have to decide whether to take the photo or run for your life. The first day of the attack I went to Shujaiyeh [one of the worst-hit areas during the war], there was a bombing near the cemetery while people were to burying martyrs. Fifty meters from us missiles were falling. I just ran, without taking any photos. Later on, I got used to it and learned to take photos while running.

Which photos or events are the most memorable to you?

The one of a woman sitting by her injured child at Al-Shifa hospital. She had just survived a bombing in which the Israelis shelled an entire street. The Israeli missiles contain nails that spread everywhere. That caused a lot of injuries. It was very messy.

I also remember going to Khuza’a. The attack started at 9 p.m., and we got there at 7 a.m. We saw the tanks and the soldiers, who were about 300 meters away. We couldn’t get near them. It was very hard to photograph. Then there was of course Shujaiyeh, where people were fleeing their homes. That was horrible.

How are local photographers different from intentional ones?

I see my work as very different from Anne’s [Actviestills' Anne Paq]. She is a journalist, who cares about Gaza very much, more then any journalist I...

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PHOTOS: Thousands protest policy of home demolitions in Tel Aviv

Some 50,000 Palestinian homes in Israel are under threat of demolition. The Israeli government is not addressing the serious housing crisis among the Arab population, activists and politicians say.

Photos by Oren Ziv/

Several thousand Palestinian citizens of Israel held a demonstration in the center of Tel Aviv Tuesday evening, demanding an end to home demolitions that overwhelmingly target Arab citizens.

The demonstration coincided with a one-day general strike among the Palestinian population in Israel, called for by the Higher Monitoring Committee, a group that historically mobilizes the community politically.

Related: Israel demolishes homes in unrecognized Palestinian village

Higher Monitoring Committee representative Jarayis Matar accused the government of failing to find solutions to the acute housing crisis in Arab locales, instead escalating home demolitions.

“Take for example that in 2014 the Israel Land Administration issued tenders for 38,261 housing units in Jewish municipalities compared to only 1,844 units in Arab cities,” noted Joint List chairman Ayman Odeh.

Only 41 out of 139 Arab municipalities have updated master plans, Odeh added, “700 Jewish towns have been built since 1948 and in the Center and the North not one Arab city.”

“There are 50,000 Arab homes under the threat of demolition as a result of this policy that forces people to build without permits,” Odeh said.

Read also:
Why the Arabs are coming to Tel Aviv
Justice unlikely in deadly Kafr Kanna police shooting

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WATCH: Israeli officer attacks, throws stones at photojournalists

Video shows Israeli photojournalist and AFP photographer being attacked by Israeli soldiers at the weekly protest against the occupation in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh. One Palestinian protester is reportedly shot with live fire.

Text by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man
Video by Miki Kratsman/

Israeli soldiers threw stones at and attacked Israeli and Palestinian photojournalists during a protest in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh on Friday, during which the army used live fire against protesters. One Palestinian was reportedly shot in the head.

Palestinians in Nabi Saleh hold weekly protests every Friday against the occupation and to demand access to the village’s spring, which was taken over by Israeli settlers.

In a video of the event, a soldier can be seen throwing a stone at Israeli photojournalist Haim Schwarczenberg and a Palestinian photographer who works for AFP as they attempt to comply with soldiers’ orders to leave the area. In 2011, Schwarczenberg photographed the close-range shooting of Mustafa Tamimi with a tear gas projectile fired from a military jeep in Nabi Saleh. Tamimi later died of his injuries.

As he walks away, an officer runs after him and pushes Schwarczenberg to the ground. When he gets up and moves further away from them, the officer throws another stone at Schwarczenberg and the AFP photographer.

Schwarczenberg told +972’s and its Hebrew site, Local Call, that he was standing on a hill photographing Palestinian stone throwers when his colleague, Abbas, told him to get close to the ground because soldiers were shooting live bullets at the stone throwers.

“One of the soldiers suddenly appeared from behind us and shouted, ‘get out of here before I shoot you’,” Schwarczenberg said. “Abbas and I got up to go but then the soldier shouted, ‘lay down!’, and pointed his weapon in our direction [at the stone thrower behind us].” The stone thrower escaped.

“At that point [the soldier] began pushing me and Abbas, another soldier joined him and threw a stone at us that didn’t hit me,” he continued. “Right after that he threw me and my cameras to the ground.”

A few minutes later the soldiers shot a Palestinian man in the head, Schwarczenberg said.

+972 contacted the IDF Spokesperson to get a response to the video and offered to send the army a copy of the video for review. The Spokesperson...

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PHOTOS: Palestinian journalist held in administrative detention

Israel is currently imprisoning and detaining 20 Palestinian journalists, group says.

Photos and text by Ahmad Al-Bazz/

Palestinian journalists and activists protested against the administrative detention of Palestinian journalist Amin Abu Wardeh earlier this week. The demonstrators stood outside the Red Cross offices in the West Bank city of Nablus and demanded that the organization intervene and help release him.

Israel is currently imprisoning and detaining 20 Palestinian journalists, according to the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate. Abu Wardeh was also arrested in 2011 and held under administrative detention for 10 months. He runs the Asda’ news website.

Israeli forces arrested Abu Wardeh in the early morning hours of April 15 during a large arrest campaign that saw 27 Palestinian civilians arrested in Nablus and its suburbs. Those targeted in the arrest campaign included former prisoners, a journalist, engineers, university lecturers and the wife of a former prisoner. The majority are members of Hamas.

Palestinians described the arrest campaign as a political step, while Israel claimed the detainees had recently been involved in “Hamas activity.”

Under Israel’s “emergency regulations,” the state can hold Palestinians without charge or trial under administrative detention for six-month periods, which can be renewed indefinitely. Most administrative detainees do not know of what they are accused, and have no way of defending themselves.

Under international law, administrative detention should only be used in the most extreme cases.

According to Palestinian sources, the soldiers also seized tens of thousands of shekels in cash, a vehicle, laptops, cellphones.

IDF: Nothing illegal in Gaza strike that killed three journalists
Who will protect Palestinian journalists?
Editorial: Demanding freedom of movement and access for Palestinian journalists

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PHOTOS: Hundreds gather to protest dire conditions of south Tel Aviv

Hundreds demonstrated in central Tel Aviv against the dire living conditions for the residents, refugees and foreign workers who live in south Tel Aviv.

Photos and text: Oren Ziv /

Approximately 300 Israelis, asylum seekers and foreign workers protested Sunday evening at Habima Square in central Tel Aviv against the living conditions in south Tel Aviv, which have led to the death of five refugee children in makeshift daycare centers over the past few months.

“We will not be silent as children die. Children deserve a life of dignity,” Shula Keshet, an activist from south Tel Aviv and one of the organizers of the rally, told the crowd. “The conditions in the ghetto of south Tel Aviv are killing all of us, especially children. We saw the horrible conditions of Jews in the ghettos of Europe. I see life here on Rothschild Boulevard, and I say we must bring down the walls between Rothschild and south Tel Aviv, while people are dying there.”

The daycare center – also known as “babysitters” in the community – are often run in private homes, in unsanitary conditions, with few, untrained staff members, poor food and no proper equipment.

South Tel Aviv stories: ‘I left Sudan due to war and I’m still in a war’
Israel’s ‘backyards’: First south Tel Aviv, then Holot

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+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.

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