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
One Gazan's war diary, November 14-21. By Ahmed G. Ferwana November 14 I wished my colleagues and students a nice weekend, and left the American International School of Gaza (AISG), where I work as a Language and Literature teacher, for my apartment on Al-Shuhada Street, which I consider to be one of the most beautiful streets in the Gaza Strip. It was a lovely Wednesday, to be followed by a three-day vacation, and I had plans to meet some friends for a barbeque. Then, time and date was all that mattered once I had that moment of silence as a…Read More... | 26 Comments
A new guidebook provides readers with tours of 18 Palestinian villages depopulated in 1948, allowing Israelis to slowly learn the story of Palestine and create a new reality between the river and the sea. By Danit Shaham A book always makes a statement. Whether it’s resting on the table or visible on a shelf, it’s making a statement – cultural, political, or both. Space, on the other hand, represented by maps, hiking trails, signs, is usually viewed as something objective. Neutral. Not subordinated to social, historical or other forms of power. “Once Upon a Land,” published by Zochrot and Pardes, offers 18…Read More... | 20 Comments
A successful indie band whose radical lyrics dealt with Israeli taboos - from the Nakba to militarism - is making a comeback. Photographs by Goni Riskin The basic rules for political engagement in Israel: Yearning for peace is welcomed, criticism of the occupation is tolerated but not really liked, and mentions of the Nakba and refugees are completely taboo. These guidelines are adhered to even in the cultural world: Army Radio will gladly play the Song for Peace, but a tune by a mainstream artist based on soldiers' experiences in occupied Hebron might be banned, and songs about the Nakba…Read More... | 6 Comments
A new documentary aims to decipher some of the anxiety that accompanies the Israeli debate over the events of 1948. A strange thing regarding the debate on the Nakba: the responses it generates in Israeli society are becoming more and more hostile, while at the same time, the Nakba is mentioned more and more often. Those contradicting elements live side by side, as if the more we work to forget the Nakba, the harder it gets - the recent campaign regarding "the Jewish refugees" that the Foreign Office launched is just one example. Israeli-Russian-Canadian journalist Lia Tarachansky (from The Real News) is…Read More... | 29 Comments
Israeli-Jewish identity should be one that pursues justice for the collective and perseveres in the fight against oppression. Plans to destroy hundreds of homes or imprison thousands of refugees defile and contradict all that is good in that very identity. By Moriel Rothman Scenario One. Imagine: You wake up in a place that is not familiar. You are disoriented: this is not your home. And then, it floods over you like a wave: your home was destroyed. So was your brother's home. And your parents' home. And the place that you worked. And your children's school. And your entire village. And the…Read More... | 11 Comments
Calls to define Jews from Arab countries as refugees were silenced in the past by Israeli governments. The change of policy has to do with the relatively new recognition that Israel will not be able to escape its responsibility for the Nakba. But leaders of the new campaign should first learn the history of their unfounded idea. By Yehouda Shenhav In the last three years, we have witnessed an intensive campaign aimed at winning political and legal recognition of Arab Jews as "refugees." The aim of this campaign is to create symmetry in public opinion between the Palestinian refugees and…Read More... | 18 Comments
I’d stepped into the alley to grab a few sage leaves for my tea. In my West Jerusalem neighborhood, the alley is more like a massive, shared garden. Branches loaded with plums, pomegranate, berries, apricots, oranges, lemons and olives bend over fences. Sage and rosemary are everywhere. When I first moved into the neighborhood, I used to ask permission to take fruit and herbs and olives. After some surprised yeses and after noticing others just plucking as they passed, I realized it’s a bit like a kibbutz. The same goes for the people. An elderly neighbor watches my landlords’ children…Read More... | 4 Comments
Israel has gone to great lengths to remove mention of the Nakba - the Palestinian catastrophe of 1948 - from textbooks, public discourse, and the public space. But as state efforts to ban Nakba commemorations increase, so does interest in the issue, with more and more Israelis believing that dealing with the matter is a prerequisite to ending the conflict. This short clip surveys this year's particularly dramatic Nakba Day events. This video was produced by Israel Social TV, an independent media NGO working to promote social change, human rights, social justice and equality, and to mobilize its viewers towards activism.Read More... | 44 Comments
On Monday, the eve of Nakba Day, I attended a book launch for the memoirs of five elderly Holocaust survivors who emigrated from Europe to Canada after the Second World War. The event took place in the main sanctuary of a large, well-established Conservative synagogue in a prosperous area of Toronto, very much like the one I attended as a child in Vancouver. Canadian and Israeli flags hung from flagpoles at either side of the pulpit. The director of the non-profit foundation that edits, publishes and distributes the memoirs gave an eloquent speech; this was followed by a series of…Read More... | 25 Comments
The army used tear gas and plastic-coated steel bullets against stone-throwing demonstrators, at least 200 required medical treatment. [UPDATE: Photo gallery from the Nakba Day demonstrations has been added at the bottom of this piece.] By Max Schindler RAMALLAH – Tuesday's annual Nakba Day commemorations, marking the Palestinian catastrophe of 1948, focused largely on support for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. Until an agreement reached on Monday night, more than 1,500 prisoners had fasted for weeks, demanding an end to administrative detention and for improving their prison conditions. Yesterday, Israel announced that it would meet a few of the prisoners'…Read More... | 5 Comments
Despite what Israeli Jews believe, on Nakba Day, this country's Arab citizens aren't mourning Israel's creation, but rather what it cost them. When left-leaning Haaretz explains in a news story that the Nakba Day events are "commemorating the 'disaster' of Israel's formation," this country has got a problem. If Haaretz doesn't understand that Israeli Arabs are mourning what they and the other Palestinians lost in the 1948 war, not the state the Jews gained by winning it, then the attitude here toward the Nakba is worse than I thought. It's not just that right-wingers are deliberately distorting the Nakba's meaning into something malevolent and traitorous, it's that even well-meaning liberals have come by the same…Read More... | 43 Comments
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On visiting the victims of occupation in the south Hebron Hills http://t.co/YO37AXd75k by @MairavZ (via @haaretzcom)
Court questions law enabling confiscation of Palestinian land in Jerusalem http://t.co/4oGUPJYILt
Israel's A-G laments: Nobody criminally investigates settlers for illegal building http://t.co/O6zmeYz8M1