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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/Activestills.org

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/Activestills.org

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 / Activestills.org

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.

 

 

 

 

Related:
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 / Activestills.org

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/Activestills.org

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 / Activestills.org

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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A Month in Photos: Popular struggle, come hell or high water

Editors’ picks of the top photos from Palestine, Israel and beyond for the month of February. This month, Palestinians establish a new protest tent, ultra-Orthodox Jews protest military recruitment, Israeli factory workers protest job cuts, a 14-year-old Palestinian girl is released from prison after 44 days, Negev Bedouin mourn their lost ones, Bil’in marks 10 years of popular struggle, LGBTQ activists speak up against homophobia, and a second wave of snow blankets the holy city.

Photos: Oren Ziv, Ahmad al-Bazz, Keren Manor, Yotam Ronen, Basel Yazouri, Keren Manor, Shiraz Grinbaum, Faiz al-Bazz, Ryan Rodrick Beiler / Activestills.org

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PHOTOS: Activists re-establish Tel Aviv social protest tent

Photos by Oren Ziv / Activestills.org

Four years after the 2011 social protest movement brought hundreds of thousands of Israelis into the streets, the tents are back on Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard.

Approximately 200 people re-established the tent protest Sunday evening, in a demonstration against the high cost of living and housing in Israel.

Shay Cohen, who organized the protest, told +972 Magazine:

“I have a baby at home, but we need to go to the streets — otherwise nothing will change. I call on everyone who is sitting at home to join us. I am 40 years old and have no apartment.

“Two weeks ago, I was speaking with a few friends about what I wanted to do for my birthday. We agreed that we cannot celebrate without a bit of rage and sadness. Four years after the movement that we all took part in, the price of housing went up, and it seems that the political establishment is simply apathetic toward the things that matter to Israeli citizens.

“Politicians are speaking about Iran and the Islamic State while we cannot make a decent living and have no solutions for housing.”

Related:
Where is the social protest movement in the Israeli elections?
A failed revolution: Why Israel’s next social protest will be a violent one

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PHOTOS: Israel cuts off Palestinian power twice in one week

Photos and text by Ahmad Al-Bazz

At the height of a harsh winter season, the Israel Electric Company cut power to two major Palestinian cities in the West Bank twice over this past week. Nearly 650,000 people were left without power for an entire hour in the middle of the day in Jenin, Nablus and 18 villages in the area.

The decision comes as a response the Palestinian Authority’s unpaid debt to the company, which totals some 1.9 billion shekels ($483 million). However, the Palestinian electricity company in the north of the West Bank claims that the numbers Israel provided are inflated, and that the decision to cut the power supply is strictly political, coming on the heels of the Israeli government’s decision to withhold the PA’s tax revenues. It is worth noting that according to the Oslo Accords and the Paris Protocols, the Palestinian Authority is required to buy its electricity from Israel.

The Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights urgently contacted the CEO of Israel Electric Company and the head of the Civil Administration, demanding them to refrain from disconnecting West Bank cities from electricity. According to Adalah, cutting power leads to the violation of various constitutional rights, especially the right to life and health, and emphasized that these violations are only exacerbated by the fact that power was cut during a cold spell and an especially harsh winter.

In her letter to the Israel Electric Company and the Civil Administration, Attorney Sawsan Zaher from Adalah wrote that the Palestinian Authority’s debt to the electric company does not justify taking steps such as cutting off power from hundreds of thousands of people — especially in light of the fact that Israel Electric Company is the main source of power to the West Bank. Zahar further emphasized that, “since the West Bank is under full Israeli control and occupation, it has the obligation to maintain a decent life for the civilian population and take into account its well-being. Violating this obligation is a violation of Israel’s responsibility as an occupying power under both Israeli and international humanitarian law.

Adalah further noted fact that the CEO of the Israel Electric Company did not call to disconnect debtors in Israel due to difficult weather conditions, stating that “the reasonable conclusion is that disconnecting Palestinians from power was intended as collective punishment, which joins a list of steps taken against...

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WATCH: From Ofer prison to the Knesset?

Attorney Gaby Lasky spends her days fighting the occupation in Israel’s military courts. Now she is fighting to make it into the next Knesset with the left-wing Meretz party. An elections special.

Video by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org

For Palestinians in the West Bank, Ofer Military Court has come to be known as a symbol of the banality and injustice that lies at the heart of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. For Attorney Gaby Lasky, however, Ofer is where much of her day-to-day work takes place. Lasky — a human rights attorney who previously served as the General Director of Peace Now, a current Tel Aviv council member and number seven on the left-wing Meretz party’s list for the upcoming elections — has spent much of the last decade defending Palestinian who lead the popular struggle against the occupation and the separation barrier in the West Bank, as well as the Israeli Jews who join them.

Activestills joined Lasky in Ofer for a hearing for popular struggle leader Abdullah Abu Rahmah, where she spoke about the “justice” of Israel’s military court system, why it is still important to fight in a court where 99.7 percent of suspects end up with convictions and the possibility of a Knesset without Meretz.

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Bil'in: Photographing a decade of popular struggle

Activestills photographers have been documenting the popular struggle protests against the Israeli Wall in the West Bank village of Bil’in from their inception in 2005. The following is a selection with personal stories marking 10 years of their work in the village.

The village of Bil’in will mark a decade of nonviolent protests and popular struggle on Friday, February 27, 2015.

By Keren Manor

The first time I came to Bil’in was in 2005, with the Anarchists Against The Wall group. It was also my first time in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and one of the events that completely changed my life. My strongest memory from that initial experience was the shocking realization that everything I thought and believed about the political situation in Palestine and Israel was distorted.

At the time I was studying photography and I came to the protests with my black and white film camera. I got to know more photographers, Oren, Yotam and Eduardo Suteras, who like me, kept going to the demonstrations week after week. We all shared a desire to show what was happening and try to influence public opinion in Israel and internationally. This was the point that connected us and from which the Activestills collective was founded. For me, marking 10 years of the struggle in Bil’in also marks 10 years of working together as a collective.

This picture was not taken during a demonstration but during one of my visits to the village on an off-protest day. At the time, we participated in every Friday protest, but it was important for me to also visit the village when there were fewer cameras around. I got to know the people who used to be figures in the papers, usually portrayed in a scary way. People who opened their homes and their hearts for me, whose pain I felt and in time I became their partner.

By Oren Ziv

This photo was taken at my first protest in Bi’lin. Hundreds of Palestinians and around 10 Israeli activists from Anarchists Against the Wall were marching from the center of the village to the planned route of the wall. At the time, the bulldozers had only just started their work.

I was really nervous about not knowing the area and not knowing what to expect; we were walking fast trying to keep up with the activists who led the march. As we arrived, the Israeli soldiers were...

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Oslo 'Ring of Peace' organizers slammed for Palestine solidarity

Muslim youth inspire more than 1,000 Norwegians to stand in solidarity at an Oslo synagogue. But not everybody’s feeling the love.

Text and photos by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org

A group of Muslim youth successfully organized a globally publicized event in solidarity with Norway’s Jewish community on Saturday. In the wake of anti-Jewish violence the previous week in Denmark and earlier attacks in France, they flooded the street in front of the Oslo Synagogue with more than 1,000 supporters to form a symbolic “Ring of Peace.”

The response in Norway and around the globe was almost universally positive. Almost, because — gasp —these Muslim youth also support Palestine and criticize Israel. Norway’s version of AIPAC, ADL, and CUFI all rolled into one is called MIFF (Med Israel for Fred, “With Israel for Peace”). And yes, they were miffed that Hajrah Arshad, the 17-year-old dynamo who organized the event with several friends had an image on her Facebook page calling for a free Palestine that did not include 1967 borders. Because as we all know, the 1967 borders are sacred to all card-carrying Zionists. And the Israeli Tourism Ministry’s own maps, which are about as honest of a representation of Israel’s version of the two-state solution as you’ll ever see (hint: no West Bank border, only Areas A and B).

By contrast with MIFF, prominent Jewish leaders including Ervin Kohn, president of the Jewish Community of Oslo, were “extremely positive” about the support demonstrated by Arshad and her friends.

“I have been very impressed,” said Jewish Community board member Michael Gritzman. “I hope this will spread to other countries.”

Binyamin Ben Katzman of Jerusalem expressed a more charitable attitude toward the teen organizer’s Palestine solidarity in a Facebook comment: “As an Israeli and a Jew, I want to say thank you to Hajrah Arshad. Maybe we will disagree about Israel, but what you are doing brings pride and unity to Muslims and Jews.”

“The organizers did not want this event to be a platform for a debate on Israel and Palestine,” said Kathrine Jensen, chair of the Palestine Committee of Norway, “a decision we supported fully since we make a clear distinction between Israel and Jews. This event was about protecting our Jewish minority. We find it unacceptable that Jews feel unsafe in Norway. They are Norwegian citizens and should not be held responsible for Israeli politics.”

More serious...

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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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Illustrations: Eran Mendel