B'Tselem's executive director speaks to +972 Magazine about his organization's decision to describe the demolition and displacement of Palestinian villages as 'war crimes,' and the role of international pressure in changing Israeli policy in the West Bank. By Joshua Leifer and Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man The international diplomatic and human rights community often couches its criticism of Israeli policies vis-à-vis the Palestinians in softened, diplomatic terms. For years the U.S. State Department called Israeli settlements “unhelpful.” EU diplomats described the planned forced displacement of entire Palestinian communities as “contrary to Israel’s obligations” under international law. [tmwinpost] There are other words to…Read More... | 13 Comments
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…Read More... | 4 Comments
Around the world, dozens of communities are organizing activities to draw the connection between Sukkot — a holiday in which Jews commemorate the physical insecurities experienced by their ancestors — and the need to protect Palestinian villages in danger of destruction by Israel. By Micah Friedman Israeli demolitions have left 256 Palestinians homeless in the West Bank this year. Two hundred and fifty-six souls were driven from the safety of their homes, forced into internal exile. Since 2006, 5,849 Palestinians living in Area C, under full Israeli military control, have lost their homes due to demolitions. [tmwinpost] Now, Israeli Defense…Read More...
Netanyahu vowed this week that Israel would not uproot any more Arab communities. He seemed to forget two Palestinian villages fighting for their existence at this very moment. On the way back from Susya, a small Palestinian hamlet in the south Hebron Hills, we pass by a major traffic jam caused by the 50th anniversary celebration of the occupation. It was at those festivities that Prime Minister Netanyahu vowed that he would not uproot any more communities — neither Jewish or Arab. Tell that to the residents of Susya, Mr. Prime Minister. [tmwinpost] Susya is one of two Palestinian communities…Read More... | 3 Comments
Like the children of countless American Jewish families, throughout her childhood Ayelet Waldman was told that trees were being planted in her name across Israel, something very few people questioned back then. “This is the first time I have ever planted a tree for Palestinians,” she says as she looks out at the West Bank village of Susya on a balmy day in the middle of June. “My grandmother would donate money to the Jewish National Fund, which would then plant trees in my name. She had no idea that the money she was giving would go toward the settlement…Read More... | 6 Comments
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…Read More... | 21 Comments
Threatened with their village's destruction, Palestinians in Susiya live in a political and psychological limbo. While working, studying and trying to lead a normal life, the residents are also fighting to stop their home from disappearing. By Max Schindler When asked what her family will do if the army demolishes her village, Soraya, 16, hesitates: “We’ll go to Yatta,” she says, gesturing towards the nearby West Bank market town. “No,” her mother interrupted. “We’ll stay here. Don’t say that.” It’s a question on the mind of every resident of Susiya, a Palestinian village made up of tarpaulin huts and sheep pens…Read More... | 4 Comments
What happens when dozens of Jewish American activists come to Palestine to practice civil disobedience alongside Palestinians struggling against the occupation? In the summer of 2016, dozens of Jews from the U.S. and other countries came to Palestine, at the request of Palestinian activists, to use nonviolence, civil disobedience, and their privilege as Jews to help oppose the Israeli occupation. Under the banner of "Occupation is not my Judaism,” the activists helped rebuild homes demolished by the Israeli army, facilitated an entire displaced Palestinian village's return to to its former homes, and put their bodies on the line to challenge…Read More... | 61 Comments
Authorities will begin demolishing the unrecognized Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran on Tuesday morning — in order to replace it with a Jewish town. The Israel Land Authority (ILA) announced on Monday that the demolition of Umm al-Hiran, an unrecognized Bedouin village in southern Israel, would begin the next day, following a 13-year legal struggle. The state plans to build a Jewish town atop the remains of the Bedouin village. [tmwinpost] Following the announcement, Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel filed a last-minute request with the Be'er Sheva Magistrate's Court to freeze the demolition process, which…Read More... | 2 Comments
Israeli authorities have demolished more Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank thus far in 2016 than in any other calendar year in the last decade. Israeli authorities destroyed 33 structures, 20 of them homes, across the West Bank since the beginning of August. The demolitions have left 53 people, including 25 minors, homeless, according to Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. The demolitions began on August 4th in the Al-Mu’arrajat community in the Jordan Valley, where four homes were destroyed and 14 people were left homeless. On August 8 authorities bulldozed two homes in the village Fasayil in the Jordan Valley,…Read More... | 1 Comment
With demolitions pending in four Palestinian villages, solidarity activists must recognize the overarching agenda that unifies the seemingly different struggles. By Penina Eilberg-Schwartz Four Palestinian villages reached out to Israeli and international activists last week, requesting urgent support. All four villages — Umm el-Kheir and Susya in Area C in the West Bank, and al-Araqib and Umm el-Hiran in the Negev — notified us that demolitions are more probable than usual in the near future. While each village has its own history and circumstances it’s important to look at both the particularities and the broader narrative arc that emerges between them. Each village…Read More... | 1 Comment
North American and European activists from the Center for Jewish Non-Violence accompany the Palestinian residents of Susya to the site of their former village, from which they were expelled three decades ago. A group of American and European Jews on Thursday accompanied Palestinian residents of Susya to the former site of their village, from which they were expelled 30 years ago and which today is an Israeli-administered archeological park. Many of the 80 Palestinian residents of Susya who took the trip on Thursday had never been back to the site of their former village, where much of the older generation was born…Read More... | 7 Comments
Located inside Israel proper, a tent encampment belonging to residents of a yet-to-be-built Jewish town — meant to replace an existing Bedouin village — is being managed by a West Bank settler council. By Noam Rotem The state’s behavior in the saga of Umm el-Hiran, a small Bedouin village inside Israel’s sovereign borders, is in many ways reminiscent of the way it builds settlements on the other side of the Green Line, in the occupied West Bank. Expulsion orders, reneging on past promises, ignoring local leaders, ignoring the needs of the local population, and bringing in a Jewish population to…Read More...
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