Though tawjihi, matriculation, celebrations seem light on the surface, they point to a bleak political reality in the West Bank. I heard the first gunshots at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, 30 minutes before the “humanitarian ceasefire” went into effect. My elderly landlady stuck her head out the window. “What’s going on?” she shouted to where I sat in the garden. She speculated that it could be clashes in Dheisheh refugee camp, which is within earshot of our house. But when we heard fireworks and horns honking, we figured it was a celebration. “Maybe,” I told her, “it’s because of the…Read More... | 5 Comments
In the wake of the kidnapping of three Israeli teens last week, the Israeli army began an extensive campaign in the occupied territories. Thousands of soldiers have descended upon cities, towns and villages in the West Bank, including in Area A, as part of Operation Brother's Keeper. Photos: Yotam Ronen, Ahmad Al-Bazz, Oren Ziv, Mustafa Bader / Activestills.og, text: Yael Marom Over 300 Palestinians have been arrested since the operation began, among them Hamas charity workers, Hamas-affiliated journalists and the head of the Palestinian Legislative Council, who is a member of the party. Hundreds of thousands of residents of Hebron…Read More... | 2 Comments
Israeli authorities destroyed some 1,500 fruit trees on a Palestinian farm near Bethlehem. The family has ownership documentation dating back to the Ottoman period. Text and photos by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org The sign at the entrance to the Nassar family farm reads, "We refuse to be enemies." In 2000, they named their land Tent of Nations and launched a program “to bring people of various cultures together to build bridges of understanding, reconciliation, and peace.” They invite youth from around the world, especially from areas of conflict, together for face-to-face interactions and host solidarity movements, churches, youth organizations, and tourist…Read More... | 11 Comments
The IDF has installed a new crowd-dispersal weapon on top of the separation wall in Bethlehem. The new weapon, which is remote-controlled and shoots "skunk" water (putrid-smelling liquid), began operating over the last month. According to the IDF Spokesperson's Unit, the weapon can also fire tear gas, among other crowd-dispersal means. [Update, 22.4: A separate response issued today by IDF to B'Tselem states that the device cannot fire tear gas but only water]. In the past month, Palestinian residents of Bethlehem began noticing the new weapon perched on top of the separation wall in an area near where most of the…Read More... | 29 Comments
Last week's Christ at the Checkpoint conference in the West Bank town of Bethlehem brought evangelical Christians together with their Palestinian sisters and brothers to ask what their faith has to say about the Israeli occupation. Christian Zionists aren't happy about their answers. Text and photos by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org Two of the most potent forces insulating Israel from any political accountability for the occupation are right-wing lobbying groups, most notably AIPAC, and the Christian Zionist movement of which the largest U.S. organization is Christians United for Israel (CUFI). Recent months have seen cracks in AIPAC’s influence, most notably defeats…Read More... | 1 Comment
A disturbing encounter at a Jerusalem mall reminds Mya Guarnieri that speaking a second or third language does not mean you have to give up your own. Living in Bethlehem, working at a Palestinian university, studying Arabic; writing about the occupation and Israel’s treatment of migrants; standing by my partner, who is under intense pressure from his family to leave me because I’m Jewish. All of this could be considered “political work.” But maybe this isn’t the type of work that affects change. Maybe change happens on a smaller scale? With smaller seeds? I was in Jerusalem's Talpiyot neighborhood running…Read More... | 39 Comments
This week: solidarity with asylum seekers, animal rights activism, denouncing against attacks on transgender people, return of Palestinian militants' remains, tear gas in Aida Camp, military training in the Jordan Valley, Palestinian steadfastness in Khirbet Makhoul, protests against medical privatization, and weekly demonstrations against the occupation.Read More... | 2 Comments
As 2013 comes to a close, +972 Magazine's editors and bloggers took time to look back at the year that was, and share the articles that most resonated with them - in no particular order. 'They're all named Mohammad nowadays' In one of the most heartfelt posts of the year, Mya Guarnieri describes the difficulties of confronting discrimination, identity politics and occupation while searching for an apartment in Bethlehem. Read the article here. 'I am pro-Israel too': Reflections on +972's use of the term When some +972 writers used ‘pro-Israel’ to negatively describe right-wing politicians and activists, Dahlia Scheindlin stood up,…Read More... | 1 Comment
This week: Former hunger striking Palestinian prisoner gets a taste of freedom; African asylum seekers march through central Tel Aviv and the Negev desert demanding recognition as refugees and an end to detentions; an art exhibit in Bethlehem brings occupation to pilgrims, one tear gas canister at a time; a week after massive storm, Gaza residents still struggle to recover from floods; Afghan asylum seekers march in Belgium; Tel Aviv homeless activists face eviction from tent encampment; and, Israeli journalists demand better wages and work conditions.Read More... | 2 Comments
Text by Ryan Rodrick Beiler On the same day that Bethlehem's minister of tourism noted that the US government provided $400,000 to decorate the city for Christmas, local activists brought a few more US-sponsored ornaments to show to visitors in this West Bank town at the height of its tourist season. The activists delivered used tear gas grenades — that had been fired by Israeli forces at Palestinian youth less than two kilometers away in Aida Refugee Camp that same day — and hung them on a tree in Manger Square. One activist from Aida Camp was arrested for his participation in…Read More... | 4 Comments
Mya Guarnieri confronts discrimination, identity politics -- and the occupation -- as she searches for an apartment in Bethlehem. Read her previous post, 'Reflections on one state from the West Bank.' Not knowing much about my background, the elderly landlord who doesn’t rent to Jews called and asked me to come sign a lease. Despite my reservations, I agreed. The landlord ushered me in and we sat on a couch on her large, enclosed balcony. “First, I must ask you,” she began. “What is your religion?” “I don’t see how that’s really relevant.” While I understand that she and her family have…Read More... | 26 Comments
This week: A pattern of Israeli arrest raids resulting in the death of Palestinians continues, as do housing problems in Tel Aviv, resistance against the separation wall, and settlement construction in occupied Palestinian territory.Read More... | 3 Comments
The first time I went to my current sublease in Bethlehem, I noticed something strange on the floor — the Star of David. When I moved into the place and looked closer at the pattern, I noticed a menorah. Here I was, in the heart of a Palestinian city, and the floor was “Jewish.” My apartment is in a home that is at least 100 years old. Hand-painted floor tiles were common in wealthy homes — Christian, Muslim, and Jewish — throughout pre-state Palestine. While I know that the land wasn’t always divided, the current context makes it hard to…Read More... | 33 Comments
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