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Eric Reguly
European bureau chief, globeandmail.com

Palestinian protesters chant slogans as they gather in the city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, on June 26, 2021, during a demonstration against the death of human rights activist Nizar Banat while in the custody of Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces earlier in the week. - Thousands of mourners attended on June 25 the funeral of the 43-year-old Banat, a day after he died in custody following his violent arrest by Palestinian security forces, which sparked outrage in the occupied West Bank. He was known for social media videos denouncing alleged corruption within the PA. 

Nabil El-Kurd is no political hothead or social media expert. He’s an elderly, retired Palestinian. But he knows that the Palestinian protest movement in the Levant has fundamentally changed in the past year, especially in the past few months, and he is thrilled by what he sees. “All of the youth of Jerusalem, Gaza, the West Bank – I am so proud of them,” he said in an interview in mid-June in front of his house in Sheikh Jarrah, the predominantly Palestinian neighbourhood in East Jerusalem experiencing an influx of Jewish settlers. “What they are doing we haven’t seen in 70 years.” Mr. El-Kurd, 77, has a front-row seat to the new dynamic, which some political observers have called a broad-based “youth uprising” or “blossoming” – one with the potential to turn into another Arab Spring, they say. He is the father of Muna and Mohammed El-Kurd, the 23-year-old twins who have emerged as protest leaders and social media phenomena among Palestinians – not just in Jerusalem but across the occupied and blockaded territories and among the diaspora. Muna, a journalist, has 1.6 million Instagram followers; Mohammed, a poet, has 760,000, as well as 222,000 on Twitter.

They use social media to broadcast examples of the “Jewish colonialism” they say is making their lives miserable and robbing them of a secure future. The El-Kurd home is under an eviction order, with Jewish settlers claiming historic rights to parts of Sheikh Jarrah, as they are doing in nearby Silwan, another largely Palestinian area near the Old City of Jerusalem. The accounts of Palestinians fighting to keep their homes have gone global. Both twins were arrested by Israeli police on June 6 for allegedly participating in a riot, triggering international media coverage. They were released hours later, short-circuiting a potential new round of mass demonstrations in Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan, the West Bank and Gaza.

“The new unity among Palestinians shows that the protest movement is not just young men throwing stones,” said Gwyn Lewis, the director in the West Bank of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). “It’s a solidarity movement, and lots of young people are involved. They are channeling that energy into a political process that is echoing across the world.” But young Palestinians are united not just in their resistance to the occupation and the expansion of Jewish settlements – which are illegal under international law – but their rejection of the Palestinian leadership as well. They say that Mahmoud Abbas – the 85-year-old President of the Palestinian National Authority (known as the PA) and chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Organization – the institutions around him and his cronies are sclerotic, inattentive to their political needs and undemocratic. Apparently fearing that he and his Fatah party would lose the first presidential and legislative elections in 15 years, Mr. Abbas simply postponed them and declined to set new dates (officially, he justified the postponement by citing Israel’s silence when asked to allow the elections to be held in occupied East Jerusalem).

Young Palestinians say the old men who run the show are obsessed with their own livelihoods, not those of younger generations looking for a new path and a relationship with the Israelis who control many aspects of their lives. “The Palestinian resistance is not just against Israel, it’s against the Palestinian power structures,” said Fadi Quran, 33, a Palestinian community organizer and campaign director at Avaaz, the global online activist network. Their anger towards the PA intensified on Thursday, when Nizar Banat, an outspoken critic of the PA, died after he was arrested in his home by Palestinian security forces. Mr. Banat’s family said he was severely beaten before being taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The Palestinians’ fight is not so much devoted to pursuing a one-state or two-state solution – concepts that obsess their parents and grandparents – but equality, justice and liberty regardless of the future status of a sovereign Palestinian homeland – or lack thereof. “We don’t care what it looks like as long as we are free,” Mr. Quran said. Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel (where 21 per cent of the citizens are Arabs, with representation in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament) displayed almost no unity in recent decades. The three populations were physically separated, and a power struggle in 2006 and 2007 between Fatah and Hamas, the political and military power in Gaza that Israel, the United States and Canada consider a terror organization, led to a rupture between the two groups that has yet to heal.

While the leaders of Fatah and Hamas continued to squabble, young Palestinians throughout the region began to come together. Some were drawn to Hamas, which broadened its appeal by depicting itself as the protector of Jerusalem. It fired volleys of rockets into Israel on May 10, when clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians on the Temple Mount turned explosive. The ensuing 11-day war killed 263 Palestinians, mostly in Gaza, and 13 people in Israel. The war further unified the Palestinians, though they were already finding common cause by protesting the accelerated eviction attempts in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan.

“The Gaza war was a grand awakening for us,” said Salem Barahmeh, the executive director in Ramallah, the West Bank’s commercial centre, of the Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy and leader of the Generation for Democratic Renewal, a movement that aims to teach democratic values and principles to disenfranchised Palestinian youth by holding virtual elections. “Something clicked. We saw that we are one people united by the segregation imposed upon us by the Israelis.”

Young Palestinians say their new sense of unity is partly motivated by the realization that the PA cannot protect them or give them a voice (the PA declined a request for an interview). Palestinians who are well into their 30s have never had the opportunity to cast a ballot. The lack of elections, the age restrictions – a candidate must be no younger than 28 to join an electoral list – and the cost of running in an election in a generally poor society has led many young Palestinians to seek a different route to political power. That route seems to centre on promoting unity among Palestinians no matter where they live, combined with a robust protest movement propelled by savvy social media campaigns. The El-Kurd twins in Sheikh Jarrah appear to have refined this formula. An early May video in which Muna demanded that a settler leave her family’s property went viral and helped trigger mass anti-eviction demonstrations. “You are stealing my house,” Muna told the settler, to which he replied, “If I go, you don’t go back … If I don’t steal it; someone else is going to steal it.”

Raya Ziadeh, a feminist political activist who lives in Ramallah, said the social media-fuelled protest movement of the young is, in her view, already producing results and generating international sympathy. She believes it helped limit the Hamas-Israel war to 11 days – the highly destructive 2014 war lasted seven weeks – and postponed both the court-ordered evictions and a march through East Jerusalem by Israeli ultranationalists (a scaled-down march went ahead on June 15, and the court proceedings are to resume shortly).

“For the first time, we can see that we have political power,” she said. “The Palestinians started to lose hope that the Palestinian government would protect them. The alternative for us is to become more powerful than the [Palestinian] government itself. I think something very important is happening. We can change what is happening on the ground.”

Source:  https://www.theglobeandmail.com/world/article-fervent-new-palestinian-youth-rebellion-is-aimed-at-both-israel-and/?utm_source=Palestine+Updates&utm_campaign=9586e20537-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_6_22_2018_18_52_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_002b0f7bf9-9586e20537-30376749

Today is the tenth day of Israel’s ongoing offensive against the Gaza Strip. Israel continues to deliberately target civilians and their property, as well as health facilities and basic utilities. Hundreds of people have been killed, and humanitarian conditions are deteriorating.

Tel Aviv /PNN/

In a damning indictment of Israel’s genocidal policies in the occupied West Bank, two former Israeli envoys have termed the regime’s occupation as “apartheid,” drawing parallels with pre-1994 South Africa where racial segregation was legalized.

In an article published in a South African news website, former ambassadors Ilan Baruch and Alon Liel said the situation between Palestine and the Israeli regime was one of “inherent inequality.”

“For over half a century, Israel has ruled over the occupied Palestinian territories with a two-tiered legal system, in which, within the same tract of land in the West Bank, Israeli settlers live under Israeli civil law while Palestinians live under military law,” they wrote in a joint Op-Ed.

The former ambassadors said the Israeli regime has “worked to change both the geography and the demography” of the West Bank through the construction of illegal settlements.

“This has happened alongside the expropriation and takeover of massive amounts of Palestinian land, including Palestinian home evictions and demolitions. That is, settlements are built and expanded at the expense of Palestinian communities, which are forced onto smaller and smaller tracts of land,” they noted in the scathing article.

Referring to the then-minister of military affairs of the Israeli regime, Ariel Sharon, to South Africa in the early 1980s, when Sharon had “expressed great interest” in South Africa’s Bantustan project, the duo write that the map of West Bank “leaves little doubt regarding where Sharon received his inspiration.”

Illegal settlements

Pointing to illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, the duo emphasized that the regime in Tel Aviv was inspired by South Africa’s Bantustan project, which was a product of racial and class discrimination propounded by the white with contempt against the black.

“The West Bank today consists of 165 ‘enclaves’ – that is, Palestinian communities encircled by territory taken over by the settlement enterprise.”

The Bantustans of South Africa under the apartheid regime and the map of the occupied Palestinian territories today, they emphasized, are based on the same idea of “concentrating the ‘undesirable’ population in as small an area as possible, in a series of non-contiguous enclaves.”

“By gradually driving these populations from their land and concentrating them into dense and fractured pockets, both South Africa then and Israel today worked to thwart political autonomy and true democracy,” wrote the former envoys.

‘Wake up, world’

Baruch and Liel argued that their time in post-apartheid South Africa had led them to learn firsthand about the “reality of apartheid and the horrors it inflicted,” calling on the world to stand up for Palestine as they did against apartheid in South Africa in the 1990s.

“It is time for the world to recognize that what we saw in South Africa decades ago is happening in the occupied Palestinian territories too,” they wrote.

“It is time for the world to take decisive diplomatic action in our case as well and work towards building a future of equality, dignity, and security for Palestinians and Israelis alike,” they hastened to add.

They also warn that the Israeli occupation was not temporary and that the Israeli regime had “no political will to end it.”

Liel, the Israeli regime’s envoy to South Africa during the transition from apartheid from 1992 to 1994, also served as the director-general of the regime’s foreign ministry between 2000 and 2001.

Baruch served as the ambassador to South Africa from 2005 to 2008. He also served as an envoy to Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe.

The damning article comes amidst the unfolding political drama in Israel with opposition political figures clubbing together to oust the sitting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu has been under fire at home after the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas inflicted a crushing defeat on the regime during the recent 11-day war on the besieged Gaza Strip.


The Alternative Information Center / Palestine held the General Assembly meeting

By Nassar Ibrahim

In connection with the criminal assassination of the martyr Nizar Banat, and so that his sacrifice is not in vain, we must address the following question: What is the doctrine of the Palestinian security services? What are its sources and foundations? And how can it break from its deeply dysfunctional, current role?

On Monday morning, 26 April 2021, the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) announced the complete closure of Gaza’s fishing zone, apparently in response to the firing of projectiles from the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian refugees - The International Day Of Refugees, 20/06/2021

Violence attributed to Israeli settlers against Palestinians living in the West Bank has worsened in recent months, amidst “an atmosphere of impunity”, UN-appointed independent rights experts said on Wednesday.

بازار المزروعات والمنتجات الوطنية - دعوة عامة
ضمن فعاليات اسبوع الاقتصاد الوطني الفلسطيني وذلك يوم الأثنين الموافق 14-6-2021 من الساعة 11:00 صباحاً ولغاية الساعة 5:00 عصراً في ساحة مؤسسة ابداع - مخيم دهيشة 

Ahmad Jaradat - Alternative Information Center - Palestine
February 18 - 2021

After the publication of our Booklet in 2019 (Hebron - the Impossible City) in Spanish, in cooperation between the Alternative Information Center and the Association Aldus for Solidarity with the People in the Arab Countries that located in the city of Malaga - Andalusia, Spain, with funding from Janta de Andalusia.
The Booklet is an accurate documentation of what is happening in Hebron, and addressing all aspects of what is happening in terms of human rights violations and the political and social dimensions in Hebron, and the state of resilience and courage of the Palestinians in the city.
The brochure, which came in 58 large pages, and to be an educational material and guide for those who are interested, activists, civil society organizations, solidarity activists in Spain, and Spanish speakers. And In the beginning, I thank them, and I especially mention the friend Javier D Moriana for his great efforts, perseverance and valuable follow-up that had a great role in bringing the booklet to light.
Through friends and activists from Brazil who showed their interest in what is happening in Hebron and Palestine, the idea began to develop the booklet to shed light on what is happening in Palestine in general, considering what is happening in Hebron as an intense model of the general Palestinian situation. And if the Palestinian case acquires a unique peculiarity in modern history in terms of its subjection to direct colonialism in the sense, it adds complexity and specificity as an intense level of occupational colonialism and racial discrimination.
What is going on in Hebron constitutes an intense and doubled expression of this specificity and makes it a complex one, as the wide movement of settlement in the heart of the city, and the systematic displacement of Palestinians from it. And the isolations, closures, and daily violations in the city, especially the Old City, which remained under the direct authority of the occupation at all levels according to the Hebron Agreement or Protocol that divided the city.
And from the Brazilian friends came the idea of developing the booklet to be a book that sheds light on what is happening in Palestine, and deep dive into the history of the issue from the beginning of the last century, and the summit of this conflict, the Nakba, in 1948 and the displacement of the majority of the Palestinian people.
The book will serve as an educational guide for Portuguese speaking solidarity people. The first booklet was an introduction to the new book, which was 160 large pages. It also contained an appendix with maps and related pictures.
A number of writers and activists we want to mention and thank them, to the friend, writer Nassar Ibrahim - Director of the Alternative Information Center - Palestine and the friend, the university professor in social sciences and the international coordinator of the Brazilian (Without Land) farmers movement, which includes millions of farmers Marcelio Bozetti, and the Palestinian-Brazilian activist and the friend Khader Othman, Lebanese-Brazilian friend, specialist in agricultural sciences, Dr. Jamil Fayyad, and Lebanese-Brazilian friend, political activist Amir Sadar. And always express thanks to the Lebanese-Brazilian friend Dr.Yasser Fayyad, who enriched the book with his valuable ideas and information. With all their efforts, the book came to light.
Further, we must thank the friends in the Groups of Human Rights Defenders-Hebron , Youth Against Settlements Movement, and Hebron Defense Committee of Hebron, who all gave us many valuable data, and for their patience, great cooperation and breadth during the numerous interviews with them, individually and collectively.
Thanks are always extended to the colleagues in the Alternative Information Center for their efforts for all their support and encouragement throughout the period of writing the Booklet first and the Book second.
It remains to say that the idea of the book came in a discussion that began as normal, but which deepened with the agreement to complete it during a visit by friends Yasser, Jamil and Khadr to Hebron about a year ago. A field visit to the city, especially the old city, to familiarize them with what is going on in the city.

1st edition : Portuguese-   January 2021

Produced by the Movement for the Liberation of Palestine - Ghassan kanafani

Fidayin  Publisher- Florianópolis – Brazil.

The first shell woke us up at 2 a.m. It was a formidable blast. The room’s metal door shook and the smell of smoke filled the air. I got off the mattress. The explosion was so close, you could hear the soldiers downstairs yelling: “Yalla, keep going. Quick.”

Another shell exploded. The Israeli army was conducting a massive training exercise near Jinbeh, a small West Bank village in the Masafer Yatta area of the south Hebron Hills, home to around 150 Palestinians.

The lights in the houses across the village went on. A few frightened residents rushed outside. When silence fell, Hamdan, who was sleeping beside me, said: “That’s it, I think it’s over. Let’s go back to sleep.”

But then there was another blast. The windows rattled, dogs were howling, my body tightened up — and on it went until 4 a.m. None of Jinbeh’s resident got any sleep that night.

The following morning, we discovered a large number of military equipment down in the valley. Thirty tanks and a convoy of heavy trucks piled with shells were climbing up to the village, flattening the narrow dirt road. One by one, the tanks drove past the dozens of families and children who were standing outside, tired from the night before, and in complete shock.

One grandmother who was born in Jinbeh in 1942 told me that she had never seen anything like it. The army has been conducting military training in the area for decades, she said, but not like this. They had never arrived with tanks all the way up to people’s homes.

In 1980, the Israeli army declared the area as Firing Zone 918, even though 12 Palestinian villages, including Jinbeh, resided there long before Israel was founded in 1948. The army’s goal: displace the Palestinian residents.

As the grandmother was talking, one of the tanks crashed into the stone gate of the house next door. One of the children said he was afraid. Another tank driver waved hello to a young girl dressed in purple, and she waved back. A third tank drove into someone’s yard — its driver most likely got confused along the way.

Another tank veered into the old stone house of 60-year-old Ali. The driver, who looked around 19, was embarrassed. An officer with a grey beard clapped his hands in contempt and yelled: “You loser, is that how you keep the route?”

The IDF conducts a military exercise in Jinbeh, a village in the occupied West Bank, February 3, 2020. (Keren Manor/Activestill.org)
The IDF conducts a military exercise in Jinbeh, a village in the occupied West Bank, February 3, 2020. (Keren Manor/Activestill.org)

Ali got closer and saw that the tank had knocked down large rocks that were now blocking the entrance to his building. The driver didn’t move an inch. The officer yelled again: “Snap out of your shock and run out to get tow cables immediately.”

The tanks continued past the other buildings, but Ali remained outside his house. He asked his son to help him drag the rocks out.

Ali, too, was born here in Jinbeh. He told me that he worked as a construction worker in Israel his whole life, mending structures and roads. In Kibbutz Be’eri. In Nahal Oz. Those were his words.

Ali said he has four brothers, all of whom left Jinbeh over the past decade. They abandoned the village they were born in because of Israel’s policies, because of Firing Zone 918, he remarked. He explained that the army is preventing them from paving roads and is refusing to grant them building permits, or let them connect to water and electricity.

Jinbeh is one of more than 200 Palestinian villages in Area C of the occupied West Bank, over which the Israeli military has full control, that are systematically denied building permits — even though the land is privately owned by the residents.

The army preserves only the old stone houses in the village, like Ali’s. Everything else — the clinic, the school, the soccer field — can be demolished at any moment. It’s a violent policy; a way to pressure people into leaving their private land. This is also why the army declared this area a firing zone, even though it rarely trains here: to compound the pressure.

In 1999, under Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s leadership, Israel issued evacuation orders against the residents of Jinbeh and the other villages in the area, on the claim that they live in a firing zone. But the goal of Judaizing the area can be traced back to the 1967 Allon Plan, created by then-Labor Minister Yigal Allon. It was the Labor Party’s blueprint for settlement-building in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The IDF conducts a military exercise in Jinbeh, a village in the occupied West Bank, February 3, 2020. (Keren Manor/Activestill.org)
The IDF conducts a military exercise in Jinbeh, a village in the occupied West Bank, February 3, 2020. (Keren Manor/Activestill.org)

This tactic of using firing zones to Judaize an area isn’t applied only in the South Hebron Hills. Israel has declared about 18 percent of the West Bank as firing zones for military training. This is roughly as large as the West Bank area under full Palestinian control. During a 2014 Knesset subcommittee meeting on “illegal Palestinian construction in Area C,” Col. Einav Shalev, then operations officer of Central Command, admitted that one of the main reasons for increasing military training in these firing zones is to prevent Palestinian construction.

It is important to stress that these are villages that have existed for many decades. The residents have no way of building legally because the Civil Administration, the arm of Israel’s military responsible for governing Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, denies more than 98 percent of permit requests filed by Palestinians in Area C. To even discuss this issue in terms of legal compliance is absolutely ridiculous, since the law is clearly based on ethnic bias.

Jinbeh’s residents petitioned Israel’s High Court on the basis of a very logical argument: if they are sitting on their privately-owned land, how can the state expel them on the claim that the area is a firing zone? The state argued that while Jinbeh’s residents indeed live in that area, they only stay there for part of the year during certain seasons. Therefore, since the village is not their “permanent residence,” the army can declare the area a firing zone and kick out the inhabitants.

This is false. But even if it were true, it’s still their land, their home.

More than 20 years have passed since the petition was filed, and it keeps getting dragged on from year to year without a ruling. But on the ground there is a ruling: slow displacement.

The Civil Administration comes here every month to demolish homes and infrastructure while refusing to grant building permits, and people eventually give up and leave. But this year, the High Court judge presiding over the case is retiring, which means he has to issue a ruling over the next few months and determine whether the state can expel all the inhabitants.

This is the context behind the military exercise. This is why, after years of not training in this firing zone, the army decided to conduct a drill in close proximity to people’s houses. It’s obvious that ahead of the ruling, the state wants to strengthen its presence in the area.

Prior to the exercise, the military pledged not to enter people’s land or interfere with their daily routine. And yet, soldiers and tanks entered agricultural land several times, and the entire drill — from the shell explosions at night to the invading tanks the following morning — severely upended the lives of Jinbeh’s inhabitants.

There were also those who were very pleased with this exercise: the settlers. The South Hebron Hills Regional Council congratulated the IDF for the drill, writing in a message that increased military training “is one of the ways to increase governance, strengthen control, and enforce law and order in the area.”

Increasing governance, meaning, amplifying Israel’s pressure to expel local communities like Jinbeh, that live in areas the state wants to Judaize. Israel is currently focusing on three West Bank areas: the Jordan Valley, south Hebron Hills, and an area known as E1, which connects East Jerusalem to the West Bank. There, Israel systematically denies building permits to Palestinians in order to force them to leave.

A version of this article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

"الحلقة التفاعلية التدريبية الرابعة "الاستيطان مساحات وارقام

RAMALLAH, Saturday, January 16, 2021 (WAFA) – Abdul Muizz Dhib Al-Jubeh, a Palestinian political prisoner in the Israeli prison of Rimon, was moved to Soroka Medical Center today due to health complications resulting from his coronavirus infection, today said the Palestinian Prisoner's Society (PPS).

Al-Jubeh, 59 years old who is serving a life sentence and an additional 20 years in prison, has been in prison since 2004 for resisting the Israeli occupation of his homeland. He is already suffering chronic diseases including diabetes, blood pressure and cardiac dysfunctions.

PPS held the Israeli prison authorities fully responsible for the life of Al-Jubeh and the other sick prisoners in Israeli detention who are facing a greater risk of death due to the coronavirus outbreak in the prisons.

So far, at least 250 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails have tested positive for the disease.

Al-Jubeh is a father of two children, and is the second Palestinian prisoner to develop serious coronavirus symptoms that necessitate hospitalization. Basel Ajaj, a Palestinian prisoner from Tulkarm, is receiving intensive care at Soroka Medical Center due to contracting coronavirus.

Palestinian officials and international organizations have repeatedly called on the Israeli occupation authorities to release the sick and elderly prisoners who are facing greater health risks due to the coronavirus outbreak.



Jonathan Ofir

Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based in Denmark.

60 Israeli teens sign public letter objecting to military service over Israel's policies of apartheid, neoliberalism, and denial of the Nakba

A letter signed by 60 Israeli senior year high school students in which they refused their compulsory enlistment in the Israeli military is now public…It is historical and novel in that for the first time, it addresses not merely the 1967 occupation, but also the 1948 Nakba, the “continuing Nakba”, and the “violent occupation” of “72 years”. That is, it visions and frames the 1967 occupation as a part of the whole Israeli endeavor since its inception. It notes, for example, that: ‘The actions of the Israeli military in 2020 are nothing but a continuation and upholding of the legacy of massacre, expulsion of families, and land theft, the legacy which “enabled” the establishment of the State of Israel, as a proper democratic state, for Jews only.’ 

In Israel, conscientious objectors like these are often jailed. In 2003 five male conscientious objectors were sentenced to about 2 years prison. The longest-serving female conscientious objector is Hillel Kaminer, who was released from prison after 150 days, in 2016. It is doubtful that those to whom the letter is addressed to will be very affected by it. The most ‘liberal’ among them is probably Benny Gantz, former army chief of staff, who has boasted of bringing Gaza back to the “stone age” as his entry card into politics two years ago. Israeli society is “violent, militaristic, oppressive, and chauvinistic”. Yet there are many among us who listen very closely to what these young people are saying. And here they are defining a critical discourse. The 1967 occupation is not the start and it is not the end. It is part of Israel’s overarching project of occupation; it’s the state in its entirety, enacting “Apartheid policies” as part of its very nature. The “proper democratic state” is a sad joke, it is for Jews only.  

Text of the letter:
We are a group of Israeli 18-year-olds at crossroads. The Israeli state is demanding our conscription into the military. Allegedly, a defense force which is supposed to safeguard the existence of the State of Israel. In reality, the goal of the Israeli military is not to defend itself from hostile militaries, but to exercise control over a civilian population. In other words, our conscription to the Israeli military has political context and implications. It has implications, first and foremost on the lives of the Palestinian people who have lived under violent occupation for 72 years. Indeed, the Zionist policy of brutal violence towards and expulsion of Palestinians from their homes and lands began in 1948 and has not stopped since. The occupation is also poisoning Israeli society–it is violent, militaristic, oppressive, and chauvinistic. It is our duty to oppose this destructive reality by uniting our struggles and refusing to serve these violent systems–chief among them the military. Our refusal to enlist to the military is not an act of turning our backs on Israeli society. On the contrary, our refusal is an act of taking responsibility over our actions and their repercussions.

The military is not only serving the occupation, the military is the occupation. Pilots, intelligence units, bureaucratic clerks, combat soldiers, all are executing the occupation. One does it with a keyboard and the other with a machine gun at a checkpoint. Despite all of this, we grew up in the shadow of the symbolic ideal of the heroic soldier. We prepared food baskets for him in the high holidays, we visited the tank he fought in, we pretended we were him in the pre-military programs in high school, and we revered his death on memorial day. The fact that we are all accustomed to this reality does not make it apolitical. Enlistment, no less than refusal, is a political act.

We are used to hearing that it is legitimate to criticize the occupation only if we took an active part in enforcing it. How does it make sense that in order to protest against systemic violence and racism, we have to first be part of the very system of oppression we are criticizing?

The track upon which we embark at infancy, of an education teaching violence and claims over land, reaches its peak at age 18, with the enlistment in the military. We are ordered to put on the bloodstained military uniform and preserve the legacy of the Nakba and of occupation. Israeli society has been built upon these rotten roots, and it is apparent in all facets of life: in the racism, the hateful political discourse, the police brutality, and more.

This military oppression goes hand in hand with economic oppression. While the citizens of the Occupied Palestinian Territories are impoverished, wealthy elites become richer at their expense. Palestinian workers are systematically exploited, and the weapons industry uses the Occupied Palestinian Territories as a testing ground and as a showcase to bolster its sales. When the government chooses to uphold the occupation, it is acting against our interest as citizens– large portions of taxpayer money is funding the “security” industry and the development of settlements instead of welfare, education, and health.

The military is a violent, corrupt, and corrupting institution to the core. But its worst crime is enforcing the destructive policy of the occupation of Palestine. Young people our age are required to take part in enforcing closures as a means of “collective punishment,” arresting and jailing minors, blackmailing to recruit “collaborators” and more– all of these are war crimes which are executed and covered up every day. Violent military rule in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is enforced through policies of apartheid entailing two different legal systems: one for Palestinians and the other for Jews. The Palestinians are constantly faced with undemocratic and violent measures, while Jewish settlers who commit violent crimes– first and foremost against Palestinians but also against soldiers- are “rewarded” by the Israeli military turning a blind eye and covering up these transgressions. The military has been enforcing a siege on Gaza for over ten years. This siege has created a massive humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip and is one of the main factors which perpetuates the cycle of violence of Israel and Hamas. Because of the siege, there is neither drinkable water nor electricity in Gaza for most hours of the day. Unemployment and poverty are pervasive and the healthcare system lacks the most basic means. This reality serves as the foundation on top of which the disaster of COVID-19 has only made things worse in Gaza.

It is important to emphasize that these injustices are not a one-time slippage or straying away from the path. These injustices are not a mistake or a symptom, they are the policy and the disease. The actions of the Israeli military in 2020 are nothing but a continuation and upholding of the legacy of massacre, expulsion of families, and land theft, the legacy which “enabled” the establishment of the State of Israel, as a proper democratic state, for Jews only. Historically, the military has been seen as a tool which serves the “melting pot” policy, as an institution which crosscuts social class and gender divides in Israeli society. In reality, this could not be further from the truth. The military is enacting a clear program of ‘channeling’; soldiers from upper-middle class are channeled into positions with economic and civilian prospects, while soldiers from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are channeled into positions which have high mental and physical risk and which do not provide the same head start in civil society. Simultaneously, women’s representation in violent positions such as pilots, tank commanders, combat soldiers, and intelligence officers, is being marketed as feminist achievement. How does it make sense that the struggle against gender inequality is achieved through the oppression of Palestinian women? These “achievements” sidestep solidarity with the struggle of Palestinian women. The military is cementing these power relations and the oppression of marginalized communities through a cynical co-opting of their struggles.

We are calling for high school seniors (shministiyot) our age to ask themselves: What and who are we serving when we enlist in the military? Why do we enlist? What reality do we create by serving in the military of the occupation? We want peace, and real peace requires justice. Justice requires acknowledgment of the historical and present injustices, and of the continuing Nakba. Justice requires reform in the form of the end of the occupation; the end of the siege on Gaza; and recognition of the right of return for Palestinian refugees. Justice demands solidarity; joint struggle; and refusal.

Source :


 “It is foolish to fight a battle that can be avoided; it is a shame to avoid a fight that must be fought.” (Ernesto Che Guevara)


Protests are growing as Israel becomes the country with the highest per-capita COVID-19 vaccination rate while refusing to facilitate a supply of the lifesaving treatment for the Palestinian territory it controls.

A Change.org petition calls on the Israeli government to “assume its responsibility as an occupying power under international law and stop this blatant act of racial discrimination.” Democrat representative from Illinois Marie Newman tweeted, “The Netanyahu administration has a moral and humanitarian obligation to ensure that both Israelis & Palestinians have access to vaccines.” The activist group CODEPINK followed with an email to its followers, asking them to demand that their own congresspeople “condemn Israeli medical apartheid.” And now, five human rights organizations have lodged a petition with the Israeli Supreme Court challenging the refusal of the minister of internal security to vaccinate Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

Through Jan. 13, 1,814 Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory have died of COVID-19—441 of them in the Gaza Strip. According to the World Health Organization, the positivity rate is much higher in the occupied territory (30%) than in Israel (7.9%). Yet while not even one dose of any of the approved vaccines has made it to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, Israel has vaccinated its own population faster than any country in the world, with around 20% of Israelis receiving the vaccines so far.

“The Israeli government must stop ignoring its international obligations as an occupying power and immediately act to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are equally and fairly provided to Palestinians living under its occupation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip,” said Amnesty International in a statement.

The extended family of Asmaa Tayeh, operations manager for We Are Not Numbers, is increasingly typical of residents there. Twenty-five members of the clan have tested positive for the virus, 15 have fallen ill and three have died.

“Ever since the reports of the virus surfaced in March 2020, we’ve been paranoid,” says Asmaa. “I was scared to death and ran to the market to fetch food so we could prepare to stay home for months. I’d yell at anyone who left the house. But since we didn’t know anyone who was infected, we started feeling a little safer. Then came November and December. More and more of our relatives were infected. On top of that was the fear that we wouldn’t get good medical care, since the Israeli occupation has crippled our health care system.”

Another member of We Are Not Numbers, Nour Yacoubi, was forced to delay her wedding when her future sister- and brother-in-law were hospitalized in the ICU. Meanwhile, WANN’s Gaza manager, Issam Adwan, fought to get his mother, who struggles with a heart condition, tested for the virus when she started showing telltale symptoms. Tests are in short supply, however, and she was initially refused the diagnostic. By the time she lost her taste and smell and was granted the test, almost everyone in her family had been exposed, with many testing positive and several falling ill.

Dr. Ayman Elhalabi, Gaza’s general director of Medical Supportive Services, confirms that testing for COVID-19 still is not broadly available, almost a year after the pandemic swept the world, due to shortages.

“The central laboratory of the Ministry of Health is the only place in the Strip that can perform the COVID-19 test,” he explains. “The lab ran 200 to 300 tests a day in the beginning of this crisis, but now we’re doing between 2,000 and 3,000. Still, it’s not enough. So, we have to prioritize patients by the severity of their condition. Currently, I’d estimate we have enough test kits for 20 more days.”

The shortage of tests is particularly critical since COVID-19 infections are surging at the same time as an emergence of a new variant of the virus now found in up to 32 countries. One study estimates that it is up to 70% more transmissible, although it does respond to current vaccines.

“Gaza’s hospitals are in serious crisis due to the increasing cases of COVID; it’s put a lot of pressure on our capacity to deliver other medical services,” says Dr. Elhalabi. “Many doctors and nurses are working overtime and they are being paid just 50% of their salaries. These are people who need to provide for their families.”

Despite the crisis, few are hopeful that Gaza will get any of the newly-approved vaccines anytime soon.

The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank accused Israel of ignoring its responsibilities to ensure vaccines are available in occupied territory and has struggled to obtain supplies elsewhere. The PA has said it negotiated with British drug giant AstraZeneca to receive a first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine doses in March—far later than other countries and not likely to be sufficient. Most recently, it announced that it has arranged to obtain the Russian vaccine known as Sputnik V, with the first shipment expected to arrive next month. However, its resources are limited and it is unknown how much will be allocated for Gaza, since the PA is at odds with Hamas, which governs the Strip.

Gerald Rockenschaub, head of the World Health Organization’s mission to the Palestinians, told the British newspaper The Independent that it asked Israel to provide COVID-19 vaccines to at least cover Palestinian health workers. Nearly 8,000 Palestinian medics have reportedly been infected by the virus. The Israeli government declined, saying it must take care of its own population first.

“We’re hearing a lot of mixed news,” says Dr. Elhalabi. “Really, I think we are months away from receiving the vaccines. I call on the international and Arab communities to intervene before the situation gets out of control.”

As for Asmaa, she’s not surprised. “The virus will get rid of a good number of Palestinians. This way, Israel won’t have to pay as much as it does in a war to kill us. Plus, we’ll be too distracted by sickness to fight back.”

Anas Mohammed Jnena contriubted reporting to this article

This article was originally published on January 12, 2021, by We Are Not Numbers and is republished with permission.


While the rest of the world is urged to stay at home and stay safe from a vicious virus, Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem have been fighting against being illegally and forcibly removed from their homes, homes they have been living in for generations.

Haidar Eid


Philip Weiss, senior editor and founder of the progressive siteMondoweiss, wrote a hard-hitting analytical piece titled “America’s Whiteness Crisis, and Zionism’s,” just a few hours after a mob of white bigots stormed the Capitol, in which he maintained that it was no coincidence to see Israeli flags brandished at the Capitol Hill riot only because“Israel’s proudly-stated principle of Jewish supremacy, higher Jewish rights to land and office, have long been a model for white supremacists.”  He goes on to argue, eloquently, that there are glaring contradictions between Zionism and democratic ideals as evident in Israel’s more than 60 racistBasic Laws, including the notorious Nation-State Law that defines Israel as the state of Jews only. As per the definition of apartheid under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Israel’s practices towards Palestinians amount to “an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination.” But Trump supporters, like Israeli Zionists, do not give a damn about the ICC and its definitions, nor do they know what basic human rights mean, nor do they see the humanity of the “other”— be it Black, or Palestinian, or Hispanic!


Coincidentally, a couple of days after the Capitol riotوThe Guardian ran a piece by Hagai El-Ad , the executive director of Israel’s most liberal human rights organization B’Tselem, the title of which is very telling: “We are Israel's largest human rights group – and we are calling this apartheid.” El-Ad is blunt about Israel’s apartheid and racism based on the “the systematic promotion of the supremacy of one group of people (the Jewish people) over another (the Palestinians,)” which, he concludes,is“deeply immoral and must end.” Interestingly, different from South African apartheid and American segregation laws, “Israel’s definitions do not depend on skin colour,”but that makes no material difference; what really matters, according to El-Ad is “the supremacist reality which is the heart of the matter.” He does not mince his words and calls a spade a spade: it is “Jewish supremacy!”

In the case of (MAGA,) it is racial supremacy; in apartheid Israel, it is ethno-religious. Hence the love affair between the two of them.

The comparison with the apartheid regime of South Africa and the American South under the Jim Crow Laws is unavoidable. Ideology has its own way, especially when it is hegemonic, one that represents the interests of racial supremacists. The Whites of apartheid South Africa defined the institutions of the country as democratic—albeit white democracy, i.e., by and for whites only. The idea of defining the country as exclusively white and democratic at the same time was never accepted by the international community. But that is the model for Trumps’ supporters, the bigots who stormed the Capitol and who happened to be overwhelmingly white; that is what “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) is all about.


So, what Trump supporters basically want is a state similar to both Israel and white South Africa, a state where the exclusive right of Whites to “self-determination” is guaranteed!Hence the admiration for Israel, and I would add White South Africa and Nazi Germany as well, and the unashamed brandishing of the Israeli flag, Trump flag, and the Confederate flag, all of which have become symbols of the fascist, far-right. But, ironically, the same far-right that admires Israel happens to hate Jews; slogans such as “Camp Auschwitz” and “6 Million Was Not Enough” were spotted, next to the Israeli flag, in Capitol Hill!

To explain this “contradiction,” Philip Weiss quotes Jewish Voices for Peace comment: Many white supremacist groups both hate Jews and love Israel. Depending on their specific ideology, they may admire Israel as a model ethnic supremacist state, share its Islamophobic and anti-Arab views, and/or want Jews to be corralled in their own state far away from the US.


Making America Great Again (MAGA) would ideally lead to specifying the nature of the United State of America as the nation-state of the White people and where;

A-The United Sates becomes the national home of the White people, in which it fulfills its natural, cultural, religious, and historical right to self-determination.

  1. The right to exercise national self-determination in the United Sates is unique to the White people.

Sounds familiar?! That would be America’s Nation-State Law if those far-right fascists got their way.


Hendrik Verwoerd, Jim Crow, Ariel Sharon, and Adolf Hitler must be clapping with joy in their graves!

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