Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

Refugees hold 'slave auction' outside Knesset to protest deportation

Israel plans to begin deporting tens of thousands of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers within weeks. Activists hope the action will raise awareness of what awaits them.

By Oren Ziv

A group of Eritrean asylum seekers and Israeli refugee advocates staged a mock slave auction outside the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, while a conference on government plans to begin mass deportations of asylum seekers took place inside Wednesday morning.

Around 10 asylum seekers stood on make-shift auction blocks made of milk crates, while an auctioneer called out, “get your slaves, slaves for half price,” over a megaphone. A single member of Knesset, Dov Khenin, came outside to support the asylum seekers, and called Israel’s refugee policy inhumane and unacceptable.

Israeli officials have stated that starting in a matter of weeks, tens of thousands of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers in Israel will face a stark choice: indefinite imprisonment or agree to be sent to Rwanda or Uganda. Asylum seekers who have left Israel for the two countries in recent years have not received any legal status there, and faced dangerous conditions and choices, including heading toward Europe through Libya, where human trafficking and other types of violence is a constant danger.

Vowing to choose prison over deportation, Awad, one of the Eritrean asylum seekers who took part in the protest action as a would-be slave on the auction block, appealed to Israelis to listen and learn. “Before you deport us let’s sit and talk about our problem. Learn about what the problems are in Eritrea,” said Awad, who asked not to use his last name. “We are refugees, not infiltrators, not work migrants — we are refugees. We will stay here, in prison.”

Human rights and refugee advocacy organizations in Israel and abroad have condemned the Israeli government’s plan and pledged to fight the deportations.

“The asylum seekers that are deported from Israel end up in Libya — end up being sold. This is not just an idea, this is what happens to them actually once they are deported from Israel,” said Sigal Avivi, an Israeli refugee rights activist who helped organize the action outside the Knesset on Wednesday. “Their lives are in danger. We came today to the Knesset to reinforce that message.”

A similar mock slave auction was held outside Tel Aviv’s main shopping mall, Dizengoff Center, a few weeks earlier.

View article: AAA
Share article

Nur Tamimi upon her release from prison: 'I have no regrets'

Hours after she is released from military prison, Nur, who was arrested along with her cousin Ahed following the release of a now-viral video, speaks about her arrest, her time in prison, and why she isn’t deterred.

By Oren Ziv

“It’s normal, it happens every day in Palestine, that soldiers enter our village and our homes. But this time, the Israeli media made a big deal about the story and it got a lot of shares on social media,” Nur Tamimi said in an interview with +972 Magazine, hours after she was released from prison last Friday. Tamimi, 21, from Nabi Saleh, was arrested nearly two weeks ago following the publication of a video showing her and her cousin, Ahed, attempting to push soldiers off of the porch of the Tamimi family’s home. Ahed, 16, and her mother, Nariman, have been denied bail and remain in prison as they await trial.

On Thursday around midnight, after the Israeli military court of appeals rejected the prosecution’s appeal against her release, Nur was taken from the Sharon Prison to the Jabara checkpoint, and then to her home, where her family was waiting for her.

I spoke with Nur on Friday morning at her home, where her relatives, supporters, and Palestinian media had gathered. Among the visitors who came to support Nur was Mohammed Tamimi, 15, whom Israeli soldiers shot in the head with a rubber-coated bullet an hour or so before the now-famous video of Ahed and Nur was filmed. The weather was stormy, and so there wasn’t a protest in the village like most Fridays. Nevertheless, Israeli soldiers were deployed at the entrance to Nabi Saleh — presumably to remind the residents what would happen if someone dared step outside despite the rain.

“It was not an easy arrest because it was my first, but in jail I met many women who for many years have been fighting for their day-to-day survival there,” she said. “The most difficult experience was being in the prisoner transport vehicle. They would take us from the Sharon Prison at two in the morning and bring us back at 11 at night. We spent most of the time before and after the hearings in those vehicles, where it’s very cold and there’s no access to food, water, or restrooms.” Ahed was held in a cell separate from the other jailed Tamimi women because she is minor. Nur...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

WATCH: Israeli troops train assault rifles on medics and journalists

After arresting and wounding a Palestinian protester, Israeli Border Police attack medics who try to reach the detained man, as well as the photographers covering the arrest.

By Oren Ziv / Activestills.org

Israeli Border Police officers trained their assault rifles on medics and journalists during a protest at the DCO checkpoint on the outskirts of Ramallah last Friday, December 22. Since Trump’s Jerusalem declaration, the checkpoint has been the site of near-daily protests and clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians.

The video shows the area around the main square, where Israeli forces arrested a Palestinian demonstrator. During the arrest, Israeli troops beat and wound the Palestinian man. A large group of photographers covering the protest moved in to document the incident, while several medics attempted to reach the man who had been arrested. Even though there were no protesters around during the time of the arrest, Israeli forces released stun grenades and used their weapons to hit the journalists and the medics.

One of the medics says he was hit in the chest and then shot with a rubber-coated bullet from close range (the shooting does not appear in the video). Several minutes after the video, Israeli forces took the man they had arrested into their jeep and drove away.

Campaign banner 2

The protest began after the Friday noontime prayer, when around 100 Palestinian youth attempted to block the road leading to the checkpoint by burning tires. The army fired tear gas and started moving towards the protesters. At some point, a small group of Israeli Border Police managed to get close to the protesters from the side, firing tear-gas and rubber-coated bullets at them.

For three consecutive weeks, Palestinians in East Jerusalem, Gaza, and the West Bank have protested Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announcement that the U.S. embassy will move to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. Israeli forces killed have killed at least eight Palestinians, including double-amputee Ibrahim Abu Thuraya, 29, and wounded hundreds more since the protests began.

View article: AAA
Share article

Israeli army court orders Ahed Tamimi imprisoned for five more days

The Palestinian teenager from Nabi Saleh was arrested after being filmed confronting Israeli soldiers outside her home. Israeli forces have since arrested her mother and an another relative; her father Bassem received a summons while in court.

By Oren Ziv and Yael Marom

The Israeli army’s Ofer Military Court extended by five days the detention of 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian teen who was arrested for confronting Israeli soldiers outside her home in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh. Video of the confrontation made headlines around the world. Police had asked the court to extend Ahed’s detention by 10 days.

Attorney Gaby Lasky, who is representing Ahed Tamimi, argued that even if the police intend to continue their investigation against her client, it is unnecessary to keep Ahed in prison.

“The police claim this is a unique incident carried out shamelessly and spitefully. But obviously neither shamelessness nor spite justify imprisonment,” Lasky said. “Israeli hilltop youth (settlers) have engaged in similar behavior and the police and the army chose not to arrest them or to consider their behavior such that requires keeping a minor under arrest.”

Lasky also criticized the manner in which Tamimi was arrested, as well as the request by the police to carry out the hearing behind closed doors. “Given that the incident in question occurred during the day, it would have been possible to carry out the arrest during the time of the incident or a few hours later. Instead, the army and the police chose to carry out an illegal, offensive, nighttime raid.”

“It is unacceptable that the military authorities decided to video-tape the arrest of a minor and send the clip to media outlets as punishment,” Lasky said of the state’s request to hold the hearing behind closed doors. “Now the police are suddenly worried about protecting the rights of a minor […] It seems that this is all to prevent anyone from seeing what happens inside the courtroom.”

Crowdfunding campaign banner

Israeli Border Police officers arrested Ahed in a night-time raid on the Tamimi family home in the early  hours of Tuesday. Her mother, Nariman, was arrested while accompanying Ahed to an Israeli police station.

Tuesday...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

WATCH: Israeli troops stop Palestinian would-be suicide bomber

Israeli soldiers shoot and kill a Palestinian man wearing an explosive belt during clashes at a checkpoint near Ramallah. Three more Palestinians are killed during protests across the occupied territories.

By Oren Ziv / Activestills.org

Israeli Border Police officers shot and wounded a Palestinian wearing an explosive belt during clashes at the DCO checkpoint near Ramallah on Friday. The man, who was standing alongside the journalists while filming the demonstration on his phone, ran over to the officers and stabbed one of them with a small knife, wounding him lightly, upon which the officers opened fire and seriously wounded the man.

As he hit the ground, the man revealed a suicide vest strapped to his body underneath a large coat, causing the officers to retreat. As opposed to a statement put out by Israeli police, the attacker never wore a press vest to try and blend in with the journalists.

After collapsing, Palestinian medics evacuated the unconscious man to the ambulance. The soldiers prevented the ambulance from driving to the hospital, and removed him from the vehicle. After several minutes of arguing, the medics carried the man on a stretcher to a nearby private vehicle, which drove him toward Ramallah.

The officer who was stabbed was evacuated to Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem. According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, the Palestinian attacker is in critical condition.

The attack comes as daily clashes have raged across the occupied territories, following President Trump declared the United States would recognize Jerusalem as the official capital of Israel. Two Palestinian protesters were killed by Israeli soldiers during clashes in the Gaza buffer zone on Friday, a week after Israel killed two other Palestinians during last Friday’s demonstration the border between Israel and the Strip. Another Palestinian was shot and killed during protests in the Palestinian village of Anata in northern Jerusalem.

Crowdfund campaign banner

Since the start of the protests, hundreds of Palestinians across the West Bank have been detained, and hundreds of others have been wounded by live fire, rubber bullets, and tear gas. Meanwhile, the Israeli army conducted dozens of night raids, arresting top Hamas members, and has established over 100 flying checkpoints across the West Bank.

Meanwhile, the Israeli Air Force and Palestinian militants exchanged...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

PHOTOS: How the two Jerusalems marked Trump's embassy speech

While Israeli West Jerusalem celebrates, Palestinian East Jerusalem protests — with lights.

Photos by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org
Text by +972 Magazine Staff

In the minutes leading up to U.S. President Donald Trump’s speech Wednesday recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and announcing his intention to move the American embassy there from Tel Aviv, authorities in East and West Jerusalem used light in starkly different ways to mark the occasion.

The Jerusalem Municipality projected American and Israeli flags onto the walls of the Old City, which Israel occupied in the 1967 Six-Day War.

Inside those walls, at Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Jordanian Waqf, which oversees the holy Muslim site, shut off all the lights that normally illuminate one of Jerusalem’s most recognizable landmarks — the golden dome atop the mosque.

Ironically, both displays took place in occupied East Jerusalem.

 

The Palestinian Authority and Hamas both called for several days of rage to protest the decision. In the hour or so after Trump’s speech, many Palestinians in the Old City also turned off their lights in protest, as can be seen in this tweet by Quds News Network.

In Bethlehem, meanwhile, municipal authorities reportedly shut off the lights on the massive Christmas tree erected in Manger Square each year.

 

Crowdfund campaign banner


View article: AAA
Share article

Palestinians in Jabal al-Baba protest Israeli expulsion order

The small village is located in E1, an area in which the U.S. and Europe have long demanded Israel not build new settlements, because doing so would cut the West Bank in two.

Around 100 demonstrators  joined the Palestinian community of Jabal al-Baba on Thursday, November 23, in the E1 area of the West Bank adjacent to the Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim, to protest a new Israeli-military order that would displace the entire community. On November 16, members of the community received the military order to leave their homes and take with them all of their belongings—the first step in the eventual demolition of their homes. Thursday was the day they were supposed to leave, according to the order.

The West Bank area known as E1, where Jabal al-Baba is located, is the site of an Israeli plan to build several thousand settlement housing units. For over a decade the United States and European Union have demanded that Israel halt the project, which would connect annexed East Jerusalem with the settlement of Maaleh Adumim, thereby making a geographically contiguous Palestinian state all-but impossible.

The demonstrators were joined by members of the Palestinian Authority, the popular committees, and Bishop Atallah Hanna of the Greek Orthodox Church. They marched from the village to a nearby hill, surrounded on one side by Jerusalem and the settlement of Maale Adumim on the other, where they placed a Palestinian flag.

The community consists of 60 families, or more than 280 people, 151 of whom are children. Residents of the community, members of the Jahalin Bedouin tribe, released a statement declaring that they do not intend to comply with the military order. They called on the public to support their struggle.

Since the beginning of November, similar evacuation orders have been issued against the villages of Ein al-Hilweh and Umm Jama in the Jordan Valley.

The latest orders are part of a larger trend of evictions and demolition orders issued to Palestinians living in Area C, the 60 percent of the West Bank where the Israeli military controls not only security but also civil matters. Palestinians are prohibited from building on around 70 percent of the land in Area C, most of which is designated for Israeli settlements and military use, and it is virtually impossible for Palestinians to obtain building permits in the remainder of the territory.

So far in 2017, the...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

Hundreds of Palestinians on the brink of expulsion: ‘We just want to live'

Three hundred Palestinians have been ordered to leave their homes and take with them all their belongings within the next eight days. Where are they supposed to go? The military order provides no answers. In the meantime, they wait for the rain that refuses to come.

By Keren Manor / Activestills.org

They are about to be expelled from their homes but every person I met on our visit to the community of Ein al-Hilweh in the Jordan Valley asked us if there was news of rain. The farmers and shepherds in Ein al-Hilweh and in the neighboring village of Umm Jamal are worried. It is the middle of November, and without water, their herds of cattle, sheep, chicken and other animals are beginning to die of hunger. There is no water to drink. The dry earth does not provide food for pasture. The small community, which is not connected to running water, depends on rain to grow the crops that provide the little food off of which they and their livestock survive.

Because Israel has designated most of the land in the Jordan Valley as as military firing zones, nature preserves, or security areas for settlements, the villagers are forbidden from going almost anywhere; they risk the confiscation of their tractors and livestock by the army if they do. They are forbidden to approach the springs closest to their homes because of the presence of soldiers and the settlers.

The absurdity of the situation reached its peak, the villagers recount, with the construction of a water pipe by Mekorot, Israel’s national water company, that runs next to the village and provides water to the settlements in the area. The pipe leaks, but if the villagers dare to approach it with their flocks, they risk their livelihood being confiscated by the army. In the reality of the occupation, better to waste water than quench the thirst of the wrong population.

The Palestinians are left with two options: to suffer dehydration or pay NIS 120 (nearly $35) for four cubic meters of water from the nearby villages of Bardala or Ein al-Beida—almost five times what the residents of the settlements pay, and 15 times what Israeli farmers pay for a cubic meter of water for agricultural use.

“It is difficult to make a living from livestock. The situation here is difficult,” said one of the members of the Daragma family, with whom...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

Israel cuts off water to Palestinian village for a week

Ein al-Beida is one of only a few Palestinian villages in the Jordan Valley area of the West Bank that are even connected to the water grid.

Photos and text by Ahmad Al-Bazz / Activestills.org

Some 50 Palestinians from the northern West Bank village of Ein al-Beida staged a protest last week against an Israeli decision to cut off the water supply to their village for over a week. The protest, which ended with no violence or arrests, was held by mostly local farmers.

Mustafa Foqaha, head of the village council, said the amount of water the Israeli water company, Mekorot, allocates to the village has been decreasing over the years, reaching as little as 245 cubic meters per hour prior the full cut-off last week. By the time water was restored on Monday, the supply was even less, a village spokesperson said.

He described it as “not enough” amount for a village of 1,600 inhabitants that is mostly dependent on agriculture. Ein al-Beida is one of only a few villages in the Jordan Valley area of the West Bank that are even connected to the water grid. Other Palestinian villages are forced to truck in water at considerable expense, or drill their own wells or connect unauthorized connections to existing water infrastructure.

Foqaha suggested that the cutoff this past week was a result of Israeli authorities deciding to punish the residents of the area after discovering unauthorized water connections in the nearby village of Bardala. An Israeli military spokesperson told +972 Magazine that the cutoff was indeed part of an operation to remove pirated connections in the area.

Similar Israeli actions took place in the village last April, which were also explained at the time as enforcement actions against pirated water connections.

“Although, no [unauthorized] connections were found in our village, the Israelis want to punish the whole area,” one farmer from Ein al-Beida said. “What they call ‘stealing’ is not a real stealing. It’s an attempt from those who lost their water resources to get more amounts due to the limitations by the Israeli occupation.”

Local farmers said some of their crops could be damaged if no solution would come soon.

Ein al-Beida is the site of one of the main water drilling sites used to supply Israeli settlements in the area by the Israeli water company, Mekorot. In 1982, the Israeli military transferred ownership of the Palestinian water...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

'I was arrested for asking the PA to stop intimidating journalists'

Amro, a Palestinian activist known for opposing settlements in the West Bank city of Hebron, was arrested by the Palestinian Authority for criticizing its recent arrests of journalists. Upon his release, Amro called on Mahmoud Abbas to revoke or revise a new law that’s been used to target journalists and activists.

By Oren Ziv/Activestills.org

A Palestinian Authority court on Sunday released prominent activist Issa Amro on bail following his arrest last week for criticizing the PA’s detention and intimidation of journalists. A host of international organizations and lawmakers had condemned the Palestinian Authority for arresting Amro and called for his release over the past week.

Amro was received Sunday afternoon by around 50 fellow activists and supporters outside the Hebron court and later at the headquarters of Youth Against Settlements, a local anti-occupation group he co-founded and runs.

Upon his release, Amro said he will not stop his work fighting the occupation and settlements, and defending Palestinian rights. “This detention will not stop me from resisting the occupation — or the freedom of speech of the Palestinian people,” Amro said.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas recently signed an “Electronic Crimes” decree, effectively curtailing what little free speech existed for Palestinians under Palestinian law, and which was believed to target online dissent against the PA, particularly on social media. The new law was roundly criticized by rights groups in Palestine and around the world. Israel also regularly arrests Palestinians for posts on social media.

Amro called directly on Abbas to revise the new law so that it “respects freedom of speech and freedom of expression for all journalists and all Palestinians.”

Asked for which particular social media post he had been arrested, Amro said: “I was arrested for [publishing] a post on my Facebook account asking to stop intimidating Palestinian journalists and Palestinian human rights defenders.”

Amro was released on bail for 1,000 Jordanian dinars ($1,410 USD).

Amnesty International put out a statement last Monday calling for Amro’s immediate release, saying it was “outrageous that a prominent human rights defender has been arrested simply for voicing his opinion online.”

“Criticizing the authorities should not be a criminal offence,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty. “Issa Amro’s arrest is the latest evidence that the Palestinian authorities are determined to continue with their repressive campaign against free speech.”

On...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

In Walajeh, Palestinian residents mobilize against Israeli demolitions

Villagers temporarily stopped one round of demolitions earlier this month by blocking bulldozers from entering the village, but local activists expect the demolitions will eventually take place.

Photos & text by: Ahmad Al-Bazz / Activestills.org

Dozens of Palestinian residents of Walajeh, a Palestinian village nestled between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, demonstrated last Friday against the planned demolition of 14 structures by Israeli authorities. According to the demolition notices, the structures were built without the necessary permits.

The villagers were first informed of the imminent demolitions on August 2, after which they declared they would resist any attempt to implement the orders. One such attempt earlier this month was indeed thwarted by residents who blocked Israeli bulldozers and jeeps entering the village.

Following the 1967 war, Israel annexed Walajeh’s land to Jerusalem — but not its residents. The vast majority of them are registered as West Bank Palestinians without Israeli residency rights part of the reason it is nearly impossible for the villagers of Walajeh to obtain building permits from the Jerusalem municipality.

Mohammed Abu Rezeq, whose home is under threat of demolition, told +972 Magazine that a court temporary halted the demolition orders until September 1. However, he expects the orders to be implemented piecemeal eventually, due to the relatively high number of structures slated for demolition.

Ali Araj, spokesperson for a local committee leading the struggle against home demolitions, told +972 Magazine that the demolitions of the 14 homes are ones that, at least so far, have been approved by Israeli courts. He expects the number to grow considerably, since many of the homes are currently under review.

“It’s not a building permit issue,” says Araj. “What we are seeing here is part of the Israeli project to implement ‘Jerusalem 2020’ project.’” Araj indicated, referring to a plan by the Jerusalem municipality to connect the Jewish neighborhoods of the city, while maintaining Jewish demographic domination. Walajeh, according to Araj, is one of the main obstacles facing the project.

Arab MK Ahmad Tibi, who took part in the protest, told the demonstrators: “They demolish in Walajeh, in Qalansuwa, in the Negev, because this is the Zionist ideology: a land without people.” According to Tibi, home demolitions across the country are an extension of Israel’s “settler colonial project.”

Walajeh is no stranger to crises. During the 1948 events, all of its 1,600 inhabitants were displaced from their original village, and 75 percent its land...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

Two years after stabbing, 20,000 participate in J'lem pride march

Police arrest man carrying a knife, two years after 16-year-old Shira Banki was stabbed to death at the Jerusalem pride march.

Over 20,000 people took part in the annual Jerusalem pride march on Thursday afternoon, two years after 16-year-old Shira Banki was murdered at the march by a religious extremist.

Hundreds of police officers were on hand, forcing every participant to undergo inspection before entering Liberty Bell Park, where the march to was set to begin. Police arrested 22 people at the march, one of whom was carrying a knife. According to Haaretz, police summoned right-wing activists classified as “under watch” for clarification and warning talks prior to the march.

A 33-year-old man was banned from Jerusalem on Thursday afternoon after police said he had published a Facebook post he had made that potentially threatened the march’s security.

Meanwhile, radical right-wingers, led by Kahanist activist Benzi Gopstein held a protest against the parade across from the park.

 

 

 

 

 

View article: AAA
Share article

PHOTOS: Palestinians return to Al-Aqsa after week of violence

On Thursday, thousands of Muslim worshippers entered the compound for the first time in almost two weeks, where they clashed with Israeli security forces after boycotting the site due to Israeli restrictions.

Photos by Faiz Abu Rmeleh, Martin Barzilai, Yotam Ronen, Heidi Motola, Oren Ziv / Activestills.org

Protests and clashes in Jerusalem’s Old City over tensions at the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif calmed on Friday, after a week of violence claimed the lives of six Palestinians and three Israelis in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza.

Police announced for the second straight week that men under 50 would not be allowed in, closing several gates to the compound. Meanwhile a 25-year-old Palestinian who was shot by Israeli forces in Ramallah earlier this week succumbed to his wounds. Israeli soldiers also reportedly shot and killed a protester near the border with Gaza.

Israeli authorities removed controversial metal detectors at the entrance to Al-Aqsa compound earlier this week, following intervention by Jordan. On Thursday, thousands of Muslim worshippers entered the compound for the first time in almost two weeks, where they clashed with Israeli security forces, after boycotting the site. Some 115 Palestinians were treated for wounds both inside the compound and in the surrounding area, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent.

Israel installed metal detectors and at the mosque, the third holiest site for Muslims, after an attack by three Palestinian citizens of Israel on July 14, in which they fatally shot two Israeli Border Police officers.

Palestinians viewed the restrictive measures as an encroachment of Israeli control over the holy site and a form of collective punishment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

View article: AAA
Share article

The stories that matter.
The missing context.
All in one weekly email.

Subscribe to +972's newsletter