Photos and text: Basel Yazouri / Activestills Sixty-year-old Ibrahim Abu Odeh, otherwise known as Abu Alaa, lives in Beit Hanoun, Gaza. He was forced to flee his house with his family and the rest of the residents of Beit Hanoun, who ran in search of “anywhere close, safe, and provides shelter” when the Israelis began striking it. Abu Alaa lives in a three-story building with six apartments. Each one is occupied by one of his five married sons and their families. That makes 33 people in total, 21 of them children. “We were all gathered on the ground floor,” he…Read More... | 4 Comments
Photos by: Basel Yazouri and Anne Paq/Activestills.org Text by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler The most commonly cited statistic from Gaza is the death toll, now rising past 1,814, according to UN figures. Such numbers can be numbing, as absorbing the reality of so many faces and names is impossible. Yet another staggering figure that is difficult to comprehend is the number of people displaced from their homes, which the UN estimates at 520,000. Gaza's half-million displaced residents are one of the most obvious refutations of the the accusation that Hamas uses "human shields." The Guardian has reported "large numbers of people fleeing…Read More... | 23 Comments
“Thank you for asking about us,” he says. “It seems the rest of the world only cares when the bombs are falling.” His name means “struggle.” From his apartment window in Gaza City, Jehad films the flames consuming flesh. As we speak, concussive boom-after-boom carries his voice to a shrill, and we are both short of breath. I try to change the subject. “Remember the orange trees, Jehad?” But this, too, is on-topic. The trees came from Shejaiya, the neighborhood now framed by Jehad’s lens. He is live streaming, and the news can’t catch up with the scene – five…Read More... | 8 Comments
The Palestinian village of Irqit was depopulated in the 1948 war and then almost entirely razed. Now new generations of its original residents are trying to resurrect the town and realize a decades-old High Court ruling recognizing their right to return. Text and photos by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org It would seem that Israeli authorities conspired to intertwine the story of Iqrit with the Christian narrative. As the season of Advent approached in November 1948, the Israeli military forced residents of Iqrit and the neighboring village of Kufr Bir’im—all citizens of the newly created state of Israel—to leave their homes near…Read More... | 12 Comments
The Prawer-Begin Plan was shelved. But the idea that you can forcefully transfer an indigenous population and determine where it can legally reside -- looks and smells like a plan pulled from the dusty drawer of Hendrik Verwoerd, architect of Apartheid South Africa. And that didn’t work out so well. By Hilla Dayan Sadly, it was too early to celebrate the downfall of the Prawer-Begin Plan. The victory of suspending the Knesset vote following the the “day of rage” protests on November 30 was short lived. The dark threatening cloud of ethnic cleansing still hovers over the Negev's Bedouin population. Nevertheless,…Read More... | 13 Comments
Heavy clashes at anti-Prawer protests were anything but unforeseeable. Unfortunately, the way the media and politicians are responding is only likely to make things worse. HURA -- "Can you please explain what it is you're so angry about?" That was the question an Israeli reporter with a camera crew posed to several Bedouin at the Hura anti-Prawer "day of rage" demonstration Saturday evening. The dark desert evening in the picturesque background of the television news spot was illuminated by burning tire barricades on the roads and police flares and stun grenades. Clashes between local youth and police had been going on…Read More... | 7 Comments
The High Court of Justice declines to make a ruling on the evictions of over 1,000 Palestinian villagers from what Israel calls 'Firing Zone 918.' Villagers' attorneys say referral to mediation process is a sign the court wasn't satisfied with the state's arguments. International writers sign petition against evictions. Israel's High Court of Justice referred to mediation a petition against the eviction of dozens of West Bank Palestinian families to make room for a military training area in the West Bank on Monday, pending the State's acquiescence to the suggestion. The courtroom was packed with representatives of the Palestinian villagers,…Read More... | 3 Comments
Parties agree to put a five-year time limit on the evacuation of the unrecognized Bedouin villages. Rights groups warn that if the government plan is implemented, some 30,000 Palestinian-Bedouin will be expelled from their homes and resettled in unsuitable townships. Members of the four leading coalition parties have reached an agreement that would further cut the land designated for resettlement of the Bedouin population in the Negev (Naqeb), Israeli daily Maariv reports. Israeli governments have been working on a policy that would solve the issue of the unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev for the past decade. Under the latest…Read More... | 28 Comments
Palestinian citizens of Israel return to the village of Al-Ruways, which was destroyed by Zionist military forces during the Nakba. Photos by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org The Israeli group Zochrot organizes many tours of Palestinian villages depopulated during the Nakba of 1948. What made this Saturday's tour of Al-Ruways particularly remarkable was the large number of displaced Palestinians and their descendants who made the event more of a return than a simple tour. Zochrot, whose name means "remembering" in Hebrew, aims to educate Israeli Jews about the history of the Nakba and the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees. Typically, they will…Read More... | 29 Comments
The third generation of the displaced community of Iqrit decided that they'd had enough of waiting for authorities to allow them to return to their village lands, taking matters into their own hands. Last August, they set up their base in a room adjacent to the old church and haven't left since. In 1948, the Christian Orthodox village of Iqrit surrendered to the IDF without a fight. When soldiers ordered residents to leave for two weeks for security reasons, considering the village is extremely close to the Lebanese boarder, nobody thought twice about it. Three years later, in July 1951,…Read More... | 8 Comments
The internally displaced community of Bir'em found abusive graffiti, stars of David and the word 'revenge' sprayed on its church, graveyard and other buildings. Yet the act of vandalism is but one of the community's problems, as it continues its struggle for return. Last week, several days after they celebrated Christmas, the former residents of Bir'em discovered the graffiti, as well as flammable liquid that had been poured at the entrance of the Church of Our Lady in the village, which has been mostly demolished. As reported in Haaretz, the Committee for the Uprooted of Kafar Bir'em filed an official…Read More... | 23 Comments
Introducing: A new regular feature from the Activestills photography collective. Each week, we will bring you a selection of our most compelling images from movements for political and social change throughout Palestine and Israel. Activestills is a collective of Israeli, international and Palestinian photographers, united by a conviction that photography is a vehicle for political and social change. To stay updated on our latest images, like Activestills on Facebook or follow @activestills on Twitter. You can also visit our flickr photostream.Read More... | 38 Comments
Photos by: Oren Ziv, Yotam Ronen, and Keren Manor/Activestills.org Al-Araqib is one of the 45 “unrecognized” Bedouin villages in the Negev desert of southern Israel. Since July 27, 2010, the village has been demolished 39 times. Despite daily harassment, ongoing house demolitions and the Israeli government's determination to forcefully transfer the Bedouin population out of their historical land, the residents of Al-Araqib continue to struggle. Following the 1948 War, the Bedouin population in the Negev (Naqab) Desert, in southern Israel, was forced to change its way of life. Prior to that time, Bedouins wandered freely in the deserts which are…Read More... | 6 Comments
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Assault on Gaza
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When Israel grabs land, the U.S. grabs a thesaurus [satire] http://t.co/IZsJQ6IUNZ by @AmiKaufman, cc @StateDept
'Suspects in brutal beating of two Palestinians tied to anti-miscegenation group’ http://t.co/04OkMB4trf by @MairavZ
'Despite reforms, IDF still mistreating Palestinian children’ http://t.co/OkjFmslncf
A full report of the major incidents during the Gaza war in which freedom of speech in Israel was crushed: http://t.co/QxEq2flob3
How freedom of speech was crushed during Protective Edge: http://t.co/QxEq2flob3
Why does Israeli media insist on portraying the West Bank as the Wild West & its Palestinian inhabitants as savages? http://t.co/wOCMi9cHIp
Israel confiscates 990 acres of land near Bethlehem in largest land seizure since 1980s (via @peacenowisrael)