In the village of Salem, as elsewhere in the West Bank, Palestinians are forced to harvest their olives according to the whims and restrictions of Israeli authorities. Photos and text by: Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org As every year in October, Palestinian families in the West Bank head to their groves in order to begin the olive harvest season. The harvest for any given family might take a few days or several weeks depending on the number of olive trees they have. In the village of Salem, near Nablus, the daily olive harvest routine is for families to go out at 6:00 in…Read More... | 32 Comments
The olive harvest is historically a period when settler violence against Palestinians and their trees increase. The name of a local settlement from which two youths were arrested last week is spray painted onto the mosque's wall. A West Bank mosque was set on fire and vandalized early Tuesday morning in what on the surface appeared to be a hate crime attack by Jewish settlers. A local Palestinian official, Hamza Dereya, said that Israeli settlers entered the village of Aqraba before dawn, according to official Palestinian news agency WAFA. The vandals set fire to the village’s mosque and spray painted…Read More... | 7 Comments
With displaced families still living in some schools, and despite severe damage to classrooms, Gaza's children return to school after a summer of Israeli bombardment. Photos by: Anne Paq and Basel Yazouri/Activestills.org Text by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler Despite damaged classrooms and destroyed schools, Gaza’s school year began this week after delays due to the recent Israeli offensive known as Operation Protective Edge. According to Gaza Education Ministry official Ziad Thabet, the first weeks of classes will focus on recreational activities and psychological counseling to help children recover from the trauma sustained during this summer’s attacks. During the seven weeks of…Read More... | 1 Comment
In a move that could strengthen the case for international investigation of alleged Israeli war crimes, B'Tselem says it will no longer share its current Gaza case files with the country's Military Advocate General. Human rights watchdog declares that Israel is unable and unwilling to investigate alleged war crimes committed by its own soldiers. Citing "severe structural flaws" in the Israeli military's internal investigation mechanisms and a history of dismissing criminal allegations against military personnel, leading Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem announced on Sunday that it would not comply with a military request to share details of its independent investigations into alleged Israeli abuses…Read More... | 12 Comments
In an attempt to downplay the severity of nationalist crimes by Israeli citizens, the media refers to the offenses as 'graffiti.' Here are the facts – and it’s not just graffiti. By Yossi Gurvitz for Yesh Din In recent weeks the “Hilltop Youth,” Israeli citizens in general, and their lobby in the Knesset and the media have been experiencing a sense of crisis. The events surrounding Yitzhar and the comments by a resident of the settlement justifying attacks on soldiers have put them on the defensive. In their responses in online comments and in sympathetic articles, they have presented the argument that “Price…Read More... | 2 Comments
Im Tirtzu is about to publish a new 'report.' It’s already on the Internet, but they haven’t yet started publicizing it, so get ready to read about it here for the first time. Let’s start with the only new and refreshing aspect of this report. This is the first time that anyone has issued a report in the format of a children’s book. I want to congratulate Im Tirtzu for this stylistic breakthrough, and to congratulate them on their new graphic artist. However, other than this stylistic innovation, the report is regrettably a pack of lies and mostly a recycling…Read More... | 4 Comments
Abusive soldiers evade justice under the aegis of the slow procedures, as well as some creative excuses. By Yossi Gurvitz for Yesh Din Several weeks ago, Yesh Din attorney Emily Schaeffer received responses from the Military Advocate for Operational Affairs Unit (MAOA) regarding two appeals she submitted years ago on behalf of a Palestinian complainant, Ayman Abd al-Maqtsur Tabieh. In both cases, surprise surprise, the appeals were rejected. Both cases merit discussion, as they shed light on the way abusive soldiers evade punishment. The first incident took place on November 3, 2008, when Tabieh reached the Azoun Atma checkpoint, where…Read More...
Sometimes the daily, petty nastiness of the occupation is encapsulated in the dismal theft of a few farming tools. By Yossi Gurvitz for Yesh Din Ryad, who lives near Bethlehem area, has a small orchard with apricot, hazelnut, olive and fig trees. Near the orchard is an ancient agricultural structure, aged some 100 years, which serves Ryad and his family as a tool shed, as well as a resting place in the far too many hot days. One day, Ryad was asked by his nephew, Khader, to hold a family barbecue by the shed. Ryad agreed. When Khader got there,…Read More... | 17 Comments
Yossi Gurvitz talks to Atty. Emily Schaeffer, coordinator of Yesh Din's criminal accountability of Israeli security forces project, about work, how the IDF investigates its own, the negligible prosecution rate for killing Palestinians, as well as veganism, 'Tikkun Olam' and Passover. By Yossi Gurvitz for Yesh Din Two weeks ago I met with Emily Schaeffer, coordinator of Yesh Din's criminal accountability of Israeli security forces project, for a conversation and interview that should have been limited to the field of her work but ultimately touched upon many other areas. Let’s begin with basics. Who are you? I was born in…Read More...
A group of 10 settlers assaults two Palestinian farmers, with IDF troops standing by. Just another day of occupation. By Yesh Din, written by Yossi Gurvitz The media is in the habit of reporting "price tag" attacks: they're rather easy to report. There's often arson, and the arsonist generally leaves a clear message. It's very photogenic and allows the common Israeli to dismiss those nutcases who use wild violence, not orderly violence like the army does, mutter something about the government being unable to deal with them, and move on. Those who are familiar with the subject of settler violence,…Read More...
Settlers attacked a Palestinian NGO worker in the West Bank village of Burin on Sunday. According to Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights organization that provides legal assistance to Palestinians in the West Bank, the settlers attacked Munir Kadus (a Yesh Din investigator) as he was accompanying a group of Palestinians who were paving a road in the village Burin, south of Nablus. The settlers allegedly came from the direction of Givat Ronen, an outpost neighborhood of Har Bracha. Kadus, who sustained injuries to his arm and both ribs, was released from Rafidia Hospital in Nablus on Sunday afternoon. According…Read More... | 2 Comments
Firing live ammunition at civilians is a crime, more so when minors are involved. Such an incident should not end with a disciplinary procedure but with a criminal investigation. That is not what happened. By Yesh Din, written by Yossi Gurvitz At the end of last July, J., a boy from the village of Silwad, set out with his brother and two other boys to visit family friends in the western side of Silwad, a distance of about one kilometer from his house. One of the boys was asked to deliver a bundle of clothes to the family. They reached…Read More... | 8 Comments
Israeli police in the West Bank manage to avoid carrying out the most basic of investigative actions – even while holding in custody two suspects caught red-handed. By Yesh Din, written by Yossi Gurvitz On July 26, 2010, Israeli civilians – some of whom were seen coming from the direction of the settlements of Yizhar and Har Bracha – went on two rampages in the Palestinian village of Burin. In the first and more severe case, they attacked and destroyed property; when the owner, Ibrahim 'Id, could no longer stand watching his property go up in flames and approached the…Read More... | 8 Comments
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