In the face of an onslaught of nationalist, anti-Arab laws, one lawmaker is proposing a simple alternative: transforming Israel into a state for all its citizens. A few years ago, my colleague Noam Sheizaf conducted a fascinating interview with the executive director of Adalah, Hassan Jabareen, in which the former raised the idea that the rise of nationalist and anti-democratic legislation was actually a response to the Palestinian-Israeli public taking its citizenship more seriously — both its rights and the obligations that that citizenship entails. Considering the conduct of the government, as well as that of the Arab public in Israel over…Read More... | 2 Comments
Progressive American Jews may be willing to stand alongside American Muslims, but are they ready to demonstrate the same solidarity for Arab citizens of Israel? Ayman Odeh, the head of the Joint List, is a test case for where 'pro-peace' Jews draw the line. Progressive American Jews have had a hard time in recent years finding an Israeli political movement they can truly stand behind. As long as there was a peace process, it was fairly easy for a “pro-peace” supporter to know whom to back. Without a peace process, without even the prospect of a peace process, the main metric…Read More... | 27 Comments
Over 5,000 people marched in Tel Aviv in one of the largest Arab-Jewish demonstrations the city has seen in years. Over 5,000 Arab and Jewish demonstrators from across the country marched together on Saturday night in Tel Aviv against home demolitions and in support of equality for all. The demonstrators called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan to step down, after months of incitement against Palestinian citizens of Israel. The demonstration was organized by a large coalition of organizations and political parties, including "Standing Together," Hadash, Meretz, "Yad B'Yad," "Sikuy," and others, was the largest…Read More... | 6 Comments
When MK Ayman Odeh received a head wound during clashes in Umm el-Hiran a fortnight ago, witnesses contradicted the police claim that he had been hit by stones. A new forensic report throws the official narrative further into doubt — and police spokespeople are now denying their original statements. When the news came out that MK Ayman Odeh was injured during "clashes" in Umm el-Hiran two weeks ago, shortly after Yaqub Musa Abu Qi’an and police officer Erez Levy were killed, almost all Israeli media outlets reported the police claim that Odeh had been wounded by stones, while noting that Odeh himself claimed he was hit…Read More... | 6 Comments
The majority of Israeli journalists simply copied the official police version of the deadly events in Umm el-Hiran last week, effectively painting 20 percent of Israeli citizens as terrorists. Kudos to the state: the Israeli media is now taking an active part in the government's incitement. [tmwinpost] Last week we were lucky enough to read news reports so ludicrous that they actually posed a danger to the average thinking mind. It was clear that aside from those who were present at Umm el-Hiran when Yaqub Abu Al-Qi'an was shot to death by police, no one actually knows what exactly happened. Thus, the majority of…Read More... | 2 Comments
Israeli authorities begin demolishing the Bedouin village of Umm el-Hiran in preparation for its replacement with a Jewish town, following violence which left a Bedouin man and an Israeli police officer dead, and a Palestinian MK wounded. Photos by Keren Manor and Faiz Abu RmelehRead More... | 20 Comments
Although all evidence points to wounds from sponge-tipped bullets, police claim Joint List head Ayman Odeh was hit by stones thrown by Bedouin protesters in Umm el-Hiran. If the police are proven wrong, it means they shot the leader of the third-largest party in Israel in the face without any justification. UPDATE: This post was updated with a photo of Ayman Odeh's back showing his injury to be consistent with that of a wound from a sponge-tipped bullet, and that he is filing a complaint with the Department of Internal Police Investigations. The debate continues to rage over the killing of an Israeli police officer and…Read More... | 4 Comments
Hundreds of Palestinian citizens demonstrate against the demolition of homes in the Arab town of Qalansuwa earlier this week. In a week during which the Israeli media focused mostly on itself and Benjamin Netanyahu's latest corruption scandal, we in the Arab community focused on our homes, and our basic right to live on this land. This past week the government destroyed 11 homes in the town of Qalansuwa, striking a blow against a fifth of the population. The prime minister shared a Facebook post titled "Our forces destroyed Arab homes," unleashing the venom of his followers, hungry for revenge and driven…Read More...
The differing approaches to suspected law-breaking by Netanyahu and Palestinian MK Basel Ghattas expose just how selective the rule of law in Israel really is. Law is a deceptive concept. We like to take pride in being “law-abiding citizens,” and so tend to reject and condemn members of our community who have broken the law. Joint List head Ayman Odeh, for example, was quick to voice his disapproval of the news concerning Basel Ghattas, a Knesset member in his party who is suspected of smuggling cellphones to Palestinian prisoners. Immediately after the reports regarding Ghattas surfaced in December, Odeh emphasized…Read More... | 2 Comments
Hundreds of Palestinian citizens demonstrate across the country after Israeli authorities demolish 11 homes in the central Arab town of Qalansuwa. Photos by Keren Manor / Activestills.org Palestinian citizens of Israel called a one-day general strike on Wednesday to protest the demolition of 11 homes in the Arab town of Qalansuwa by Israeli authorities the previous day. Businesses, schools, and local government offices were closed in Arab municipalities across the country Israel, with local activists announcing they would organize a march in the town on Friday against the demolitions. The owners of the homes said they received notices two days before the demolitions and were not given…Read More...
After a year in which the government incited against Arab society and the media pandered to the Right's agenda, the attempt to expel Joint List MK Basel Ghattas points to a worrying future. By Abed Abu Shehada When the Knesset passed the so-called “expulsion law” last summer, widely seen as targeting Arab lawmakers, many believed it didn't matter, because no vote on expelling a member of the Knesset would reach the two-thirds majority (90 MKs) needed. They also said it was the media’s role to be objective and to cover the news reliably, so as not to become a tool in…Read More... | 2 Comments
The police has yet to declare a single wildfire an act of terrorism, the commissioner says arson is a self-fulfilling prophecy, and many cases of suspected terrorism turned out to be nothing more than negligence. This, of course, does not bother Israel's leaders or media. Now that the rain has started pouring, bringing an end to the wildfire season, it is imperative that we stop and look back at just what happened last week — before everything is forgotten. Or worse: before everything that happened is remembered as a story of terrorist attacks by Arab citizens against Jews. Only a week ago did…Read More... | 3 Comments
Despite the racism and violence, Palestinian citizens must not despair. Instead they should nonviolently challenge the majority as part of a discussion on rights, democratic values, and opposition to the occupation. By Marzuq Al-Halabi Although there exists a multitude of Palestinian political parties and movements in Israel, there are three main currents among them that cross boundaries, find expression in different organizations and lifestyles, and crop up in day-to-day practice and discussions. However, the borders between these currents have hardened as a result of internal social, local and national developments. [tmwinpost] The central current tries creatively and with all its might to reconcile its Israeliness with…Read More... | 8 Comments
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