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Half a Century of Occupation

Reporting, analysis, and reflections on the 50 years since the Israeli military occupation of West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza Strip and Golan Heights.

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  • After 50 years, military violence is the norm for Palestinian children

    Children under the age of 18 currently make up almost 50 percent of the Palestinians living in the occupied territories — and have grown up with systemic discrimination, settlement expansions, and war. By Jennifer Bing There are two places to visit if you want to know the human impact of Israel’s 50-year military occupation of the Palestinian territories: an Israeli military court and the sitting room of a Palestinian family. I have been to both. [tmwinpost] I work for the American Friends Service Committee, which has been involved in advocacy and humanitarian work with Palestinians for more than 50 years.…

  • When will the Israeli Left accept the occupation started in '48, not '67?

    Only when the Israeli Left accepts that the occupation began in 1948 — and remains an open wound for Palestinians — can Arabs and Jews truly refuse to be enemies. One of the negative characteristics of the Israeli “Left” is how it terms the military rule over the West Bank and Gaza “The Occupation.” Part of the Left even accuses Palestinians who claim there is no difference between Petah Tikva and Ariel of being like the Right, because “that’s what the Israeli Right claims.” For most Palestinians, however, this exaggerated and Orwellian talk of “The Occupation” blurs Israel’s real shame, and…

  • Fifty years of opposition

    Each decade of the occupation has brought changing fortunes to prospects for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and varying levels of opposition to Israel's military rule. After half a century, could there finally be a proposal that stands a chance? Fifty-fever marking the anniversary since the 1967 war has swept both the Israeli Left and the Right. The Right is dreaming up ever more creative ways to celebrate Israel’s triumph — the culture minister recently wore a dress screen-printed with scenes from Jerusalem to the Cannes Film Festival — while the Israeli Left is grasping for ways to remind a…

  • Don't blame the education system for Israel's occupation denial

    Ignoring Palestinians, whether the refugees from the 1948 War or those who remained under military rule in the occupied territories, is part and parcel of our Zionist outlook. By Gil Gertel We love to talk about the occupied territories. Because they are silent and they do not throw rocks at us. We have developed a large arsenal of justifications and explanations that we love to repeat to ourselves: this land was promised to us, we were expelled from them, we always yearned for them, they were empty, we bought them with money, we made them bloom, we protected them with…

  • Half a century of occupation threatens our international legal order

    Israel's policy of cherry-picking legal obligations vis-a-vis Palestinians undermines the credibility of our legal order established in the aftermath of World War II. This could have dangerous implications for the rule of law beyond the region. By Gerard Horton On June 7, 50 years ago, Israeli military forces occupied the West Bank and imposed martial law over the Palestinian population living in the territory. At the time, this measure was legal under the Fourth Geneva Convention (the Convention) which permits the use of martial law under specific circumstances and on a temporary basis. To this day, the military authorities continue to…

  • Palestinians play a lead role in the theater of occupation

    For 50 years, Israelis and Palestinians have lived separately-together under one rule. Only one group has been able to reap the fruits of democracy. By Hagai El-Ad When Israelis vote, Palestinians do not. But they do get to participate: they can watch. Like the residents of the Palestinian village of Beit Ur al-Fauqa in the occupied West Bank, who get to watch as the ballots cast by their Israeli settler neighbors from Beit Horon are shipped to election headquarters – the Knesset that Palestinians do not get to vote for (but whose decisions control their lives) on a highway they cannot use…

  • The man on the heels of Israel's settlement enterprise

    “The story of the occupation is here for everyone to see,” Dror Etkes mutters, half smiling, as we stand on a hilltop in the West Bank settlement of Haresha. "The problem is very few people are willing to see it.” The view from Haresha, one of several settlements that comprise the “Talmonim bloc,” approximately 10 kilometers northwest of Ramallah, is spellbinding in both its beauty and scope. Looking west, the foreground is littered with rows of Jewish settlements dotting the arid hills. Beyond them is a row of Palestinian villages — Ras Karkar, Ein Ayub, and Deir Ammar — lined…

  • 1968 poll shows what Jewish Jerusalemites thought of Palestinians

    A survey of Jerusalem's Jewish residents just months after the end of the Six-Day War showed that, even back then, the majority wanted little to do with their Arab neighbors — and as few reminders as possible that they were there at all. At the close of the Six-Day War in 1967, Jerusalem’s Jewish residents were surely elated, like most Israeli Jews, by the famous words, “The Temple Mount is in our hands.” But when it came to daily life with their new Arab neighbors, most quickly decided they would have preferred a land without a people. [tmwinpost] A survey conducted…

  • '50 years of occupation is 50 years too many'

    As the Right celebrates 50 years of military rule over the Palestinians, the Left must not be afraid to create alliances between struggles and remind Israelis that ending the occupation is everyone's task. By Eli Bitan The following is the full text of Local Call blogger and editor Eli Bitan's speech in front of 10,000 left-wing protesters at Saturday's anti-occupation rally: Today we count 47 days days until the Omer. Today, in the early hours of the morning, we finished counting 41 days since thousands of political prisoners went on hunger strike to protest their conditions. A strike that ended this morning. [tmwinpost] Forty-one days…

  • The Israeli Left must show up to protest 50 years of occupation

    After 50 years of a racist military regime, it's time for the Israeli Left to go out and protest en masse — and, in the face of such an urgent task, to overlook our differences. Things can sometimes be very simple. Read, for example, the following invitation to the anti-occupation protest taking place in Tel Aviv this Saturday night: We will take to the streets en masse to protest against the absence of hope from the right-wing government, against the occupation, against violence and racism. This extremist group in the coalition, drunk on power, cannot be allowed to continue running…

  • Israeli cops assault American Jewish activists in Jerusalem Day protest

    Israeli police forcefully dispersed American Jewish anti-occupation activists, who had gathered in the Old City to protest Jerusalem Day and the March of the Flags. Israeli police broke the arm of an American Jewish activist and injured several other anti-occupation demonstrators while forcefully dispersing a Jerusalem Day protest in the Old City on Wednesday. [tmwinpost] The demonstration, held at Damascus Gate by American and Israeli Jewish activists with IfNotNow, Free Jerusalem and All That's Left, took place during the March of the Flags, an annual right-wing parade that habitually results in violence against Palestinians from both its participants and the Israeli police units…

  • Jerusalem Day: W. J'lm businesses shutter in solidarity with Palestinians

    Each year on Jerusalem Day, Palestinian businesses located along the route of the March of the Flags are ordered by police to shut up shop during the parade. This year, Jewish business owners in West Jerusalem closed up early in solidarity. By Yael Marom On Wednesday afternoon, as on every Jerusalem Day, Palestinians in and around the Old City’s Muslim Quarter were under police orders to shutter their shops and homes during the “March of the Flags,” which sees tens of thousands of young Israeli Jews descending on the occupied city. The day, and the march, celebrate what the Right…

  • Diaspora Jews must place our bodies on the line

    As internationals and Jews, we are unjustly privileged — and therefore obligated to take part in nonviolent direct action in support of the Palestinian struggle for freedom. By Leanne Gale My first protest in the West Bank was in 2012. On the advice of a college professor, I went to a demonstration in Susya, a Palestinian village in the South Hebron Hills. The village was then, as now, under threat of demolition. [tmwinpost] When we arrived, along with a few other American students affiliated with J Street U, there were already around 700 Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals present. The children of…