Palestinians Can Learn From the African-American Struggle




On Reality Asserts Itself, Ali Abunimah, founder of Electronic Intifada, says that Palestinians need to know that even in a country with formal legal equality, the reality can mean mass incarceration, economic inequality and racism …



Nabi Saleh is a small village of 500 inhabitants, located near Ramallah. It’s an essential component of the Popular Struggle Committee, and one of the most active resistant villages in the West Bank. Since 2009, every Friday, they stage non-violent demonstrations against the Israeli occupation.

On Saturday the IDF declared Nabi Saleh ”closed military zone”, not allowing anyone to get in or out of the village and carrying out violent actions against the residents.

They are now under siege.

The village of Nabi Saleh stays steadfast but calls for NGO’s, human rights organisations/defenders to spread the news, monitor the situation and support them as much as possible.


Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff



Bless them all and may they soon see a FREE PALESTINE!



Ahed Tamimi, a brave Palestinian girl

Ahed Tamimi, a 13-year-old Palestinian girl who stood up to Israeli soldiers who had arrested her brother, was invited to Turkey by the Başakşehir Municipality as a guest of honor.

Ahed Tamimi and her mother Neriman Tamimi landed in Turkey yesterday at around two pm, arriving to Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport on a Royal Jordanian Airlines flight via Amman. Thirteen-year-old Tamimi and her mother were greeted by students with flowers and waving flags from a ‘knowledge center’ named after the late Cevdet Kılıçlar, who was killed on the Mavi Marmara.

While Ahed made the sign of victory to news reporters, students had arrived to the airport wearing t-shirts with images of the young girl standing up to Israeli soldiers.

Expressing how pleased she was to be in Turkey, Ahed Tamimi said, “I love Erdoğan very much. I feel very happy to be in Erdoğan’s homeland.” When asked to relay what happened with the Israeli soldiers, Ahed Tamimi stated, “I wasn’t scared of the Israeli soldiers. I let them feel the Palestinian spirit and fear.”


While in Turkey, Ahed Tamimi will be the recipient of the Handala Courage Award handed out by the Başakşehir Municipality and will also participate in a panel on Palestine where she will provide a child’s perspective on the painful events happening in her nation.

Ahed Tamimi, whose father is already in prison, stood up to Israeli soldiers when they arrested her brother, in a display of courage talked about all over the world.


This video shows Israeli occupation forces shooting Palestinian woman Manal Tamimi with a rubber-coated steel bullet at close range.

Video: Israeli soldier fires at Palestinian woman at close range


After watching their land being raped for over 65 years, Palestinian youth are attempting to take back the night …
The new wave of movements which have gained prominence this summer can be traced back partly to a group of third generation, internally displaced youth from the village of Iqrit, who in August 2012 decided that they would take matters into their own hands and return to their ancestral village.

Palestinian youth assert right of return with direct action

Nadim Nashef*

Summer camps aim to reconnect Palestinian youth to their ancestral villages. (Photograph courtesy of Baladna)


During the summer of 2013 a new grassroots movement burst onto the scene and announced itself as a major development in the long struggle for the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

Activities occurring throughout the Galilee region of present-day Israel have been held which reaffirm the connection of the younger generation of internally displaced Palestinians to their ancestral villages. Events and projects simultaneously take practical steps to realize this long-denied, fundamental right.

The right of return is one of the most evocative and central issues for Palestinians ever since the Nakba (catastrophe) of 1948, which saw the destruction of more than 530 Arab villages and the displacement of approximately 800,000 Palestinians. The majority of them ended up as refugees in neighboring Arab states, or in those parts of Palestine which initially remained outside of Israeli control, namely the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Between 30,000 and 40,000 managed to remain inside the new state of Israel, however, finding refuge in nearby towns which had survived the ethnic cleansing of the majority of Palestine’s villages.

Brutal Israel

Attempts by the original inhabitants to return to their villages in the immediate aftermath of the Nakba were fought against by the new state, which used all the means at its disposal, often brutally.

Dispersed villagers attempting to return from outside the borders of the new state were often shot dead on sight by the Israeli army. Meanwhile, villagers attempting to return who had managed to remain within the borders of the new state were routinely rounded up and deported as “infiltrators.” Legislation such as the Absentees Property Law enabled the confiscation of property of those Palestinians who had been made into internally displaced persons, while denying their rights to live there or even to enter the site of their ancestral lands.

Between 1948 and 1955, the majority of these villages were destroyed by the Israeli army and covered either with pine forests or new Jewish-only settlements. In many cases, a cemetery, mosque or church was the only remaining evidence of a village’s existence.

The new wave of movements which have gained prominence this summer can be traced back partly to a group of third generation, internally displaced youth from the village of Iqrit, who in August 2012 decided that they would take matters into their own hands and return to their ancestral village.

Iqrit’s residents were originally ordered out of their village for two weeks shortly after the Nakba for so-called security reasons. Exceptionally, three years later they obtained Israeli high court approval to return, and received information that they would be able to return on Christmas Day, especially symbolic for the Christian community.

On that day in 1951, as the villagers waited to return, the Israeli army razed the village to the ground.

Potent symbol

Now living in two small rooms built as extensions of the still-standing church, Iqrit’s youth activists today sleep in the village in shifts in order to maintain a permanent presence there. This summer a small football stadium was also built, a potent symbol of the will and permanence of their return.

Iqrit’s community has been organizing summer camps for its younger members annually since 1996; this year approximately 200 youth between the ages of 8 and 16 attended. The aim of the camp was to help the youth develop their identity by teaching them about their own history, and connecting this to the wider Palestinian history before 1948.

In addition to the summer camp and the newly permanent presence, villagers hold religious celebrations during Easter and Christmas in the local church. The village’s cemetery is also still in use.

The youth-led, grassroots approach of Iqrit is very much indicative of the movement as a whole. Youth took the lead in 2013’s “Summer of Return,” ensuring that demands for the right of return find a renewed voice among the latest generation of the dispossessed.

One village which has adopted Iqrit’s strategy of youth-based return is Kufr Birim. Located close to the boundary between Israel and Lebanon — not far from Iqrit — for the past few years Kufir Birim has played host to summer camps for children.

This summer, people with family connections to Kufir Birim have also decided to maintain a permanent presence in the village, centered around the old community’s surviving church. However, their initiative has not been without obstacles.

Refusing to leave

In August, the Israel Lands Authority told the camp’s members that they had to leave within a week or they would be removed by force (“Authorities threaten displaced community’s return to village,” +972 Magazine, 22 August 2013).

On 28 August, Iqrit also received a visit by inspectors from the Israel Lands Authority, accompanied by border policemen. They came during the morning and confiscated tents and beds, uprooted the small garden, removed signs and destroyed property, including the new football stadium.

However, as in Kufr Birim, the youth are not willing to leave their ancestral land.

This summer has also witnessed a very successful summer camp in the village of Ghabisiya, while Baladna (the Assocation for Arab Youth) and a number of other groups initiated the Udna (Our Return) project with the participation of five ethnically cleansed villages: Saffuriyya, Miar, Maalul, Lajjun and Iqrit, with one youth group in each village.

The project aims to educate the new generation with family connections to these villages of their history and rights, with film screenings and storytelling featuring residents who survived the expulsion. Practical approaches to the issue of return such as town planning and logistics were also explored, while musical events by local artists added a cultural feature.

Iqrit, Kufr Birim, Ghabisiya, Saffuriyya, Miar, Malul, Lajjun. These are just seven of the Palestinians towns and villages which were destroyed and whose inhabitants were displaced during the Nakba.

Yet the combined activities of these villages during the summer of 2013 represent the most significant movement in the struggle for return since the years following the Nakba. Far from forgetting their roots and historical injustices, the latest generation of Palestinians inside Israel are showing their dedication to their right of return.

This, combined with the youth’s energy, enthusiasm and innovative approaches, has resulted in a grassroots, youth-led movement unprecedented in the history of activism for the right to return. Whatever the immediate reaction of Israeli authorities to the return of villagers in Iqrit and Kufr Birim, these movements have captured the imagination of people across historic Palestine, young and old.

And while the future of the movement is full of uncertainty, the determination and energy of our youth alone is reason for optimism.

*Nadim Nashef is is the director of the Haifa-based Association for Arab Youth-Baladna.



Written FOR


“Throwing stones is the birthright and duty of anyone subject to foreign rule,” wrote Amira Hass in an April 3 article in Haaretz. “Throwing stones is an action as well as a metaphor of resistance.”
Ground-breaking Israeli journalist Amira Hass accused of incitement

 Amira Hass of Haaretz. The Israeli journalist lives in Ramallah. Photo reprinted from 


SEE ITALICS FOR UPDATE.  In the history of the Palestinian struggle for freedom, stones have played a central role.  The stone was the symbol of the first Palestinian intifada (1987-1993), as children as young as eight years old rained their projectiles down on the occupying Israeli army. Soldiers often responded with live ammunition, killing more than 1,000 Palestinians, about 200 of them children. Youths with stones confronting soldiers with Galils and M-16s:  suddenly Palestinian children took center stage as David against the Israeli Goliath.  The image pricked the conscence of  many Israelis, and citizens and governments around the world, and ultimately helped force Israeli leaders, including the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, to the negotiating table. (The Oslo agreement they forged with Palestinian negotiators proved to be disastrous; nevertheless, there was a palpable sense during the first intifada that the stone would lead to Palestinian liberation.)

Today the stone remains a part of Palestinian resistance to Israel’s occupation, which is more entrenched than ever. And while growing numbers of Palestinians advocate nonviolent resistanceas the most promising path to a just peace, others strongly defend the right of Palestinians to throw stones as a legitimate act of political resistance against an illegal 47-year military occupation.  One of them is an Israeli journalist. Read more, on Truthdig…

“Throwing stones is the birthright and duty of anyone subject to foreign rule,” wrote Amira Hass in an April 3 article in Haaretz. “Throwing stones is an action as well as a metaphor of resistance.”

The article has  generated a political firestorm in Israel.  Moshe Feiglin, a Knesset member from the Likud Party, said that “Haas’ words are condemnable and are considered an expression of disloyalty to the state.”  The loyalty-baiting charges against Hass, daughter of Holocaust survivors, are nothing new, but now she and Haaretz must contend with something more serious:  An incitement charge brought by the Council of Settlements in the West Bank. “Hours after it was published,” reported the Times of Israel, “the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel and the Yesha Council — the umbrella organization of West Bank settlements — filed complaints with the police and Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, saying the piece incited violence.”  The organizations, backed by supporters in the Knesset, want Israel to prosecute Hass.  It’s not clear that that would happen.  In an email to me, Hass doubted that Israeli state prosecutors would accede to the wishes of the settlers’ council and prosecute her and Haaretz. However, given the increasing power of the settlers’ movement in recent years, and of attempts to re-cast and normalize settlements in the public eye as “neighborhoods,” the mere fact that the organizations have acted against Hass is a clear sign of the sharp rightward movement in Israel.

According to ”Attorney Hila Cohen, writing on behalf of the Legal Forum, wrote in the letter to Weinstein that Hass’s comments were serious and constitute an incitement to violence and terrorism, while encouraging murderous terrorism.” Knesset member Orit Strock declared that Hass had made a “dangerous incitement toward violent acts against civilians and an encouragement to assault soldiers.”

This characterization is consistent with the Israeli military’s attempts to re-cast the state in the implausible role as victim of Palestinian violence.  Israeli Captain Eytan Buchman, in an email to me describing one such clash on March 19, labeled it a “violent riot.”  This is a curious description for a clash between well-armed soldiers wearing helmets, face shields and body armor, who use live ammunition against stone-throwers.  The action against Hass, then, seems in the same vein: to describe the soldiers, part of one of the world’s most powerful armies, with its tanks, rockets, and helicopter gunships supplied by the top military power on earth, as victims of Palestinians who throw stones.

In subsequent days, furious readers and columnists in Israel also attacked Hass.

A Maariv columnist opined that Hass’s statements represent “the outpouring of a suppurating abscess of self-hatred, couched in hypocritical moral acrobatics. Her eyes are blind to Jewish suffering and are open only to her friends from Hamas, the champions of human rights.”

Adva Bitton, the mother of a three-year-old who remains in intensive care following the stoning of her car in the occupied West Bank, wrote in Ma’ariv: “I agree with you that everyone deserves their freedom. Arab and Jew alike.  I agree with you that we all ought to aspire to liberty, but there isn’t a person on earth who will achieve freedom and liberty by means of an instrument of death. There’s no reason on earth that Adele, my three-year-old daughter, should have to lie in the intensive care unit now, connected to tubes and fighting for her life, and there is no reason, Amira, for you to encourage that.”

Protestors then showed up at the Haaretz offices in Tel Aviv, unfurling a banner that read, ”Amira Hass, look what a rock can do. Stop encouraging terrorists!”

In her article, however, Hass was defending the right of Palestinians to resist the military occupation with stones, not to throw them at civilians.

Hass, an Israeli who has lived in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for most of the last two decades, cited her fellow citizens’ “concept of eternal victimhood which allows them to be in a state of denial about how much violence is used on a daily basis against Palestinians,” according to The Guardian. “They don’t like to be told that someone has the right to resist their violence.”

In an interview with  The Observer, Hass suggested her article was misunderstood. ”I’m surprised that they don’t read the whole text – and then I’m surprised at myself for being surprised.  She pointed out that she had made “a clear distinction between a citizen [as a target] and a soldier or someone who carries arms.”  In an email to me, Hass added:  ”Whoever reads the article  knows it talks against violence.”

In her article Hass underscored the “right” and “duty” of Palestinians to resist the occupation in the face of “shooting, torture, land theft, restrictions on movement, and the unequal distribution of water sources.”  The Israeli journalist, who unlike nearly every Western correspondent lives in the occupied West Bank, offered this resistance advice:

“It would make sense for Palestinian schools to introduce basic classes in resistance: … how to behave when army troops enter your homes; comparing different struggles against colonialism in different countries; how to use a video camera to document the violence of the regime’s representatives; methods to exhaust the military system and its representatives; a weekly day of work in the lands beyond the separation barrier; how to remember identifying details of soldiers who flung you handcuffed to the floor of the jeep, in order to submit a complaint; the rights of detainees and how to insist on them in real time; how to overcome fear of interrogators; and mass efforts to realize the right of movement.”

Not least of these strategies, Hass asserted in the article that has drawn so much heat, is hurling stones at soldiers: “Stone-throwing is the adjective attached to the subject of ‘We’ve had enough of you, occupiers.’”


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Gideon Levy is no stranger to these pages. His writings in HaAretz have been a direct blow against the occupation and all other moves to discredit or destroy the Palestinian people. He has been showered with praises for his views, THIS being one of the best essays written about him.


Amira Hass, Levy’s co-worker and fellow journalist is another who writes the truth and as Levy often gets in ‘hot water’ over it. This week the hot water boiled over into a full-scale storm because of THIS opinion piece that appeared in HaAretz.


Levy comes to her defense in the following ….


Hass, like me, is against violence. I take the liberty to write that out of deep conviction. Who wants to see children killed by rocks, citizens torn apart by an improvised explosive device, or teenagers who have been shot?

But resistance to violence must be direct, comprehensive and fair. It must include the resistance to the occupier’s violence. There is no need to count the dead and wounded, the physically and mentally disabled − of both nations − to recognize that the greater, and inherent, violence is that of the occupier.


The inner syntax of the storm

Coming to Amira Hass’ defense after her controversial op-ed on Palestinian stone-throwing, Gideon Levy argues that the criticism against Hass laid bare the hypocrisy, or the ignorance, of large swaths of Israeli public opinion.

By Gideon Levy
The storm that was unleashed by Amira Hass’ important opinion piece,“The inner syntax of Palestinian stone-throwing,” was a welcome one. It laid bare at once the hypocrisy, or the ignorance, of large swaths of Israeli public opinion.

Hypocrisy, because the up-in-arms crowd ignores the original, fundamental, institutionalized and methodical violence of the very fact of the occupation and its mechanisms. Ignorance, because the implication is that the impassioned naysayers might not know just how cruel is the military tyranny in the territories.

In addition, those who accused Hass so furiously of “crossing lines” and “inciting murder” did not read her piece all the way through. It contains not incitement to murder, but rather a straight-on, fair and courageous apprehension of the Palestinian liberation struggle that is absent from the Israeli dialogue.

If there is any preaching in her commentary, it is mainly devoted to the nonviolent struggle against the occupation, in the form of calling for documentation, going out to work pilfered lands, and overcoming the fear of interrogations. Even the act of taking up the stone is justified only as an inevitable refuge.

The commentary was published a few days after Jews read from the Haggadah, which tells the story of a different people’s freedom struggle, a struggle that included much more terrible calamities than rocks thrown at the deniers of liberty. Generations of Jews read this text in awe and wonder, telling it to their children. But they are not willing to apply the same basic rule − the same internal justice, according to which resistance, including violent resistance, is the birthright and duty of every vanquished nation, as Hass wrote − to everyone, and not just the Jews.

Rooted deep in the Israeli experience is the idea that what is permitted to the Jewish people is prohibited to others. But there is no need to go back as far as the time of Pharaoh. Ever since then, human history has been paved with freedom struggles against foreign rulers, struggles that earned the respect of history, and that were, in the main, violent, often more violent than the Palestinian struggle. The slogan “We’ve had enough of you, occupiers” is not exclusive to Arabic; it has been voiced down through history in nearly every language, including modern Hebrew.

Hass, like me, is against violence. I take the liberty to write that out of deep conviction. Who wants to see children killed by rocks, citizens torn apart by an improvised explosive device, or teenagers who have been shot?

But resistance to violence must be direct, comprehensive and fair. It must include the resistance to the occupier’s violence. There is no need to count the dead and wounded, the physically and mentally disabled − of both nations − to recognize that the greater, and inherent, violence is that of the occupier.

Palestinian rocks and IEDs have caused great losses to both peoples. The only way to end them is to end the occupation. Unfortunately, that will not happen on its own. In 46 years of occupation, Israel has proved it cannot be forced to stop its evil actions through acts of good.

Now we must ask Hass’ detractors: What do you expect? What are you, patriots and supposed opposers of violence, offering the Palestinians? Do you honestly think they will bow their heads in submission and obedience for another 46 years? Is there an historical precedent for such behavior?

And even if they were to do so, what would happen? Their fight would only be further forgotten. That is the lesson Israel taught them − the hard way.

A stone can indeed be lethal. So can a rubber-tipped bullet, a tear gas grenade, live fire, bombs and shells. The fact that these latter weapons are used by Israel does not dull their violence. The claim that Israel uses them solely for self-defense is just as ridiculous as the claim, also voiced in the heat of emotion, that Israel is the victim of this entire bloody story and that the occupation was in fact imposed (!‏) on it.

Such is the way of self-righteousness, distorted morals and lies, elements of the inner syntax of the Hass storm.


And if you ask the major apologists who work at finessing the truth, you’ll get the answer that, sure, the settlements were Israel’s biggest mistake ever but, they’ll also tell you, Palestinians are the criminals for resisting. And they’ll tell you that those who support their resistance are anti-Semites.

Who may resist (or, ‘Do you see any smokestacks?’)

by Ilene Cohen

For any active colonial enterprise, the answer is that no one may resist, not violently, not nonviolently—not in any way, because the business of a colonial power is to maintain itself as a colonial power. To that end, it demands the passivity, compliance, and collaboration of the colonized people. When, historically, compliance is not forthcoming, the colonial power responds with repression and violence.

Israel—with its relatively small (by the numbers; think India, by contrast) but still very real colonial occupation—is no different. Colonial powers do not acknowledge that there’s anything wrong with what they’re doing; indeed, they defend their actions as legal and just. Thus, it is the resistance that is the crime. Think about American slavery: it was the “lawful” status quo. Violence against slaves (and abolitionists) was the acceptable norm. Escaped slaves—property gone missing—were hunted down and brought back in shackles. A slave uprising (as with a colonial uprising) was the crime; John Brown is the terrorist, not the slave owners.

This is a schematic presentation, I know, but I think it holds.

Regarding today’s Israel, ask the members of Netanyahu’s coalition; ask the members of AIPAC; ask lots of even well meaning American Jews. They’ll insist that Israel, (the unacknowledged) colonial occupier, is the victim and that those who resist must be punished, lest the phenomenon (of resistance to illegal occupation) spread.

And if you ask the major apologists who work at finessing the truth, you’ll get the answer that, sure, the settlements were Israel’s biggest mistake ever but, they’ll also tell you, Palestinians are the criminals for resisting. And they’ll tell you that those who support their resistance are anti-Semites.

It breaks down to whether you support the occupation by justifying it and calling it something else or whether you believe that the occupation must end (and ending the occupation, as they well know, would entail a lot of decolonizing).

Amira Hass has the heart of a lion. She stands apart for her decades-long struggle as a journalist to expose the ugly, suppressed truth about the occupation and to challenge it. Read the comments that accompany her articles and you’ll see the vitriol directed at her. Yesterday she wrote about resistance

Throwing stones is the birthright and duty of anyone subject to foreign rule. Throwing stones is an action as well as a metaphor of resistance. Persecution of stone-throwers, including 8-year-old children, is an inseparable part − though it’s not always spelled out − of the job requirements of the foreign ruler, no less than shooting, torture, land theft, restrictions on movement, and the unequal distribution of water sources.

It has generated the virulent response one would expect, with settlers accusing Haaretz of being anti-settler. See Noam Sheizaf’s commentary at +972

[T]he real issue is the legitimacy of Palestinian resistance in the eyes of Israeli society – or more correctly, the lack of legitimacy. . . .

In the Israeli political conversation, all forms of Palestinian resistance are forbidden. Those advocating for Israel view every Palestinian action as a form of terrorism, and as such, they become inherently illegitimate and justify repercussions and unilateral moves by Israel. The BDS movement – which is clearly non-violent – is often referred to as “cultural terrorism” and “economic terrorism,” the UN statehood bid was “diplomatic terrorism,” stone-throwing is “popular terrorism,” and so on. The Israeli government is taking active measures to suppress all those forms of resistance, and the debate in Israel isolates and punishes those who support them. The sad reality is that by doing so, Israel leaves more and more Palestinians to wonder on the value of such non-violent acts, as opposed to that of the real, armed terrorism.

There is an aversion in Israel to admitting that there is even an occupation (they still babble about “disputed” territories, not occupied territories). But as of June this oppressive occupation will have been running for forty-six years. How can one argue with Amira Hass’s contention that “throwing stones is an action as well as a metaphor of resistance.” Richard Goldstone in his eponymous report acknowledged the right of an occupied people to resist—with the warning that legal resistance did not permit harming civilians. It seems, unfortunately, that in the case at hand it is the occupiers who are permitted to harm civilians, as we see the Israelis doing routinely with international impunity.

For me there was irony in the publication on the same day as the Hass article thepiece by Robert Rozett about Jewish resistance during the war. He is challenging the once regnant Israeli wisdom that the Jewish heroes of the Holocaust were those who engaged in armed resistance, whereas the rest went shamefully like sheep to the slaughter. Rozett says, no, resistance and the struggle to stay alive and human take many forms. In fact this notion is not new; an undergraduate course about the Holocaust that I took at Columbia in 1970 or so had a week or two on the syllabus devoted to readings that the professor understood in this way. But it’s an important point; the macho understanding of resistance is a cruel hoax. In the Jewish world, Jews are valorized for resisting in whatever way, for their amidah (taking a stand); Palestinians, however, may not resist and their sumud (steadfastness) is to be condemned. This, I believe, is unacceptable.

My parents moved to Israel in the late 1970s. My father and I argued vehemently and nonstop about the matter of Palestinians, a Palestinian state, the occupation, and the wars from even earlier, from the mid-1970s until his death four years ago. It was he who, really irritated with something I’d said, countered with, “Do you see any smokestacks?” Meaning that until there are gas chambers and ovens, there’s nothing  to discuss: for him, Palestinians were simply barbaric terrorists. End of story. What a paltry standard of (in)justice it is that allows the prism of the Holocaust to distort everything. I saw my father, whom I loved very much, as a typical Israeli (or, perhaps, he was simply a typical American Jew).

It has become the thing in Israel today to crow about how “quiet” things are in the occupied territories—they boast that there’s no terror even as they exploit talk of terror all the time. In 2012, they tell you, no Israelis were killed at the hands of Palestinians. By contrast, according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, the IDF has already killed eleven Palestinians in 2013. The campaign talk in Israel a few months back was about how it was unnecessary to even think about Palestine: the natives, that is, were not restless. But in fact they are.

It is the right of peoples under occupation to resist. Why should the Palestinians be the only people in the Middle East denied this right?

Written FOR


 J-Street, a Zionist lobby group that explicitly opposes BDS and rights for all Palestinians, and indeed does have a narrow political agenda of preserving Israel as a racist state with a guaranteed Jewish majority at the expense of the rights of Palestinian refugees and Palestinian citizens of Israel.

PLO launches online platform to attack BDS right after sabotaging UN vote on settlements

 Ali Abunimah 

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) today launched a new online forum whose main priority appears to be to undermine the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

This came just days after the PLO sabotaged a UN Human Rights Council resolution that could have hastened international action against Israel for its continued illegal colonization of Palestinian land.

New “Engage” forum launched with attacks on BDS movement

The PLO delegation in Washington launched “Engage,” an online blog hosted on its official website.

Two of the first three posts are attacks on the increasingly successful BDS movement. In “Connecting the Dots on American campuses,” Samer Anabtawi, a graduate student at the University of Chicago, claimed that the Palestinian solidarity movement on campuses is “heavily fragmented” and needed to be unified in a broad network. (Note: Shortly after the publication of this post, the PLO Delegation deleted Anabtawi’s article from its website. Here’s a screenshot of the deleted article).

What is standing in the way of this unification? Anabtawi singled out Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) whose national organizing and support for BDS has made it an increasingly important factor in the struggle.

For many, “Students for Justice in Palestine” might as well be the network they need. However we cannot deny that today’s student movements for Palestine lack an essential element to political engagement in the U.S.: an appeal to a broad base of audiences. The Palestinian network needs to couch its objectives in a rhetoric that resonates with young Americans who cherish liberal values of democracy, individual rights, freedom of speech, and equality.

After this backhanded claim that SJP is out of touch with mainstream values, Anabtawi presses his attack:

To remain true to its causes, the network should refrain from creating a laundry list of policies and political beliefs that its member groups and activists are encouraged to adhere to;

In other words, principles are bad; abandon them. So what does Anabtawi think should happen instead?

rather the network should aim at fostering a healthy debate on how to advance the Palestinian cause. For instance, instead of instructing chapters to support BDS campaigns against Israel, our cause must encourage discussions on the efficacy and morality of BDS and whether BDS is the most effective tool. By doing so, the network would expand beyond a narrow political agenda,allowing it to engage a broader audience.

Anabtawi speaks of SJP as if it is a national organization with chapters who follow “instructions.” In fact, each SJP is autonomously and locally organized, and only in the past two years has a national umbrella been formed. No one “instructs” SJPs or other Palestinian solidarity groups to support BDS.

Anabtawi accuses Students for Justice in Palestine of having a “narrow political agenda,” when in fact the points of unity adopted at the first National Students for Justice in Palestine conference in October 2011 embrace the rights of the entire Palestinian people.

And contrary to his claims, SJP has been very successful at making important new allies for the Palestinian cause. Thanks to the work by SJP activists with their Chican@ and Latino comrades, MEChA, the largest association of Latin@ youth in the US, voted overwhelmingly to endorse the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions last year.

This year’s MEChA conference, attended by SJP representatives, deepened the commitment to joint solidarity work.

Anabtawi even proposes that Palestinians ally themselves with J-Street, a Zionist lobby group that explicitly opposes BDS and rights for all Palestinians, and indeed does have a narrow political agenda of preserving Israel as a racist state with a guaranteed Jewish majority at the expense of the rights of Palestinian refugees and Palestinian citizens of Israel.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Anabtawi was an “Intern at Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Palestine,” a relevant institutional affiliation not disclosed in the blog post.

In the second piece, “BDS Role in Palestinian Economy,” Laila Ikram poses the question of whether “abandoning BDS” is the way for Palestinians to go, before proposing that divestment be “researched” in order to be adopted alongside “positive investment.” Encouraging “positive investment,” it turns out, is the very strategy used by the Israel lobby to undermine and derail divestment efforts.

Of course this is not the first effort by the Palestinian Authority to undermine BDS. In 2010, Salam Fayyad, the externally-imposed Palestinian Authority “prime minister,” launched a call on Palestinians to boycott goods from Israeli settlements.

While this brief campaign grabbed headlines, it was actually an attempt to undermine BDS more broadly because while calling for a boycott of settlements goods onlyPA officials were assuring Israel of their desire to maintain expand econonomic ties with Israel in defiance of the Palestinian BDS call.

PLO cave in leads to “missed opportunity” for Palestinian rights

On 22 March, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a weak resolution on a recent report about Israeli settlements. The resolution was condemned by a coalition of Palestinian human rights groups as a “missed opportunity.”

The human rights groups blamed the “influence of European States in dictating that a stronger, more detailed resolution would not have received consensus support at the Council.”

But this failure was entirely the fault of the PLO delegation, which is effectively a puppet of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah.

As The Electronic Intifada exclusively reported last week, the PLO delegation had the support and opportunity to present a stronger resolution that would undoubtedly have gained a majority and could have led to concrete international action against Israel. But the PLO apparently refused to do so in order to appease its international sponsors.

Start from scratch?

Although the venerable name of the PLO has cachet, and the idea of the PLO still commands the loyalty of millions of Palestinians, in practice this body long ago lost any legitimacy or representativeness among Palestinians.

Its loss of legitimacy is so severe that in a recent analysis for The Electronic Intifada, Osamah Khalil proposed that Palestinians should abandon it altogether and start from scratch.

The latest antics at the UN and with the “Engage” forum can only bolster those who agree with Khalil.

This post was expanded and updated after initial publication.

Written FOR


Six Actions for Peace
Actions speak louder than words so here are 6 actions YOU can take to advance peace (at least select three for this week).
Prepared by Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
We salute and mourn lost comrades.  We mourn the loss of our young friend Mahmoud Al-Teety shot dead by Israeli apartheid forces who invaded his village.*  We mourn President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela who lifted millions out of poverty and showed that governments can serve people needs rather than corporate greed.  We mourn Stephen Hessel, survivor of the genocides committed by the Nazis and a human rights defender who supported Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) on Israel and also helped spread ideas of universal human rights and rejected racist ideas of uniqueness and chosenness. We also commemorate ten years since the murder of our friend Rachel Corrie (US citizen, 23 year old) by Israeli soldiers in Rafah.  May we always remember those who worked for human rights and against tyranny and oppression.
I just returned from my whirlwind tour of South Africa exhausted but energized.  I met with hundreds of people including leadership of the trade union COSATU.  The BDS movement is picking up steam in South Africa thanks to the effort of hundreds of local activists (facing a few rich racist Zionists). I need to digest some information before I write more about this experience (and already it will be useful for a chapter I am working on that talks about Palestinian future options/strategies).  But in the meantime, actions speak louder than words so here are 6 actions YOU can take (at least select three for this week).
Action 1: During Israel Apartheid week kicks off in 250 cities wortldwide.  One of the 95 events in South Africa was hosted by COSATU, and I spoke to labor leaders about the situation on the ground in Palestine.  For more events and information and how you can help, SEE 
Action 2: (from Barbara W) It is clear from the number of elected officials who DECLINED to speak this year at the AIPAC convention (including Obama), that the power of their lobby is eroding.  Code Pink built miniature settlements and a replica of the Israeli Apartheid Wall in front of AIPAC’s convention center.   See just a few of the colorful props, street theater, music and humor.  Jewish Voices for Peace posted billboards all over the D.C. metro system saying, “We are proud to be Jewish and AIPAC does not speak for us”.  Obama is coming to the Middle East and he met with Arab Americans in the US ahead of his visit (we would like him to meet with Palestinian Americans living here and see life of dispossessed Palestinians instead of Presidential Compounds in Ramallah).  There is a lot of work to do in the US as Congress is still Israeli occupied territory and even at state level Zionists infiltrated; Ohio (USA) state treasury used taxpayer money to support Apartheid. So US citizens should write and pressure their government officials to respect human righst and not support apartheid.  The Council for National Interest provides resources.
Action 3: Palestinian Agricultural Organizations and Civil Society Networks Call for Ending International Trade with Israeli Agricultural Companies
Action 5: Please Mark your calendar for Sabeel’s Global Young Adult Festival July 1-6, 2013 
and Sabeel’s 9th International Conference 19 – 25, November 2013 
Action 6: Actipedia is an open-access, user-generated database of creative activism. It’s a place to read about, comment upon, and share experiences and examples of how activists and artists are using creative tactics and strategies to challenge power and offer visions of a better society. Actipedia draws case studies from everywhere: original submissions, reprinted news articles, snippets of action reports. We think that by learning from each other we can learn how to better change the world. Join us! Actipedia is a joint project of the Center for Artistic Activism and the Yes Lab.  You can add your events.
*Photos of the week: Israel killed a friend/peace activist near Hebron
La Luta continua
Stay human



Do not worry if my heart stops. I am still alive now and even after death, because Jerusalem runs through my veins. If I die, it is a victory; if we are liberated, it is a victory, because either way I have refused to surrender to the Israeli occupation, its tyranny and arrogance.


We are fighting for all Palestinians
In jail, my fellow hunger strikers and I are doing battle against the Israeli occupation that humiliates our people
Samer Issawi


Palestinians protest outside the International Red Cross offices
Palestinian families gather in solidarity with hunger-striking prisoners at the Red Cross offices in East Jerusalem. Photograph: Mahmoud Illean/Demotix/Corbis

My story is no different from that of many other Palestinian young people who were born and have lived their whole lives under Israeli occupation. At 17, I was arrested for the first time, and jailed for two years. I was arrested again in my early 20s, at the height of the second intifada in Ramallah, during an Israeli invasion of numerous cities in the West Bank – what Israel called Operation Defensive Shield. I was sentenced to 30 years in prison on charges relating to my resistance to the occupation.

I am not the first member of my family to be jailed on my people’s long march towards freedom. My grandfather, a founding member of the PLO, was sentenced to death by the British Mandate authorities, whose laws are used by Israel to this day to oppress my people; he escaped hours before he was due to be executed. My brother, Fadi, was killed in 1994, aged just 16, by Israeli forces during a demonstration in the West Bank following the Ibrahimi mosque massacre in Hebron. Medhat, another brother, has served 19 years in prison. My other brothers, Firas, Ra’afat and Shadi were each imprisoned for five to 11 years. My sister, Shireen, has been arrested numerous times and has served a year in prison. My brother’s home has been destroyed. My mother’s water and electricity have been cut off. My family, along with the people of my beloved city Jerusalem, are continuously harassed and attacked, but they continue to defend Palestinian rights and prisoners.

After almost 10 years in prison, I was released in the Egypt-sponsored deal between Israel and Hamas to release the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for Palestinian prisoners. However, on 7 July 2012, I was arrested again near Hizma, an area within the municipality of Jerusalem, on charges of violating the terms of my release (that I should not leave Jerusalem). Others who were released as part of that deal were also arrested, some with no declared reason. Accordingly, I began a hunger strike on 1 August to protest against my illegal imprisonment and Israel’s violation of the agreement.

My health has deteriorated greatly, but I will continue my hunger strike until victory or martyrdom. This is my last remaining stone to throw at the tyrants and jailers in the face of the racist occupation that humiliates our people.

I draw my strength from all the free people in the world who want an end to the Israeli occupation. My weak heartbeat endures thanks to this solidarity and support; my weak voice gains its strength from voices that are louder, and can penetrate the prison walls.

My battle is not just for my own freedom. My fellow hunger strikers, Ayman, Tarik and Ja’afar, and I are fighting a battle for all Palestinians against the Israeli occupation and its prisons. What I endure is little compared to the sacrifice of Palestinians in Gaza, where thousands have died or been injured as a result of brutal Israeli attacks and an unprecedented and inhuman siege.

However, more support is needed. Israel could not continue its oppression without the support of western governments. These governments, particularly the British, which has a historic responsibility for the tragedy of my people, should impose sanctions on the Israeli regime until it ends the occupation, recognises Palestinian rights, and frees all Palestinian political prisoners.

Do not worry if my heart stops. I am still alive now and even after death, because Jerusalem runs through my veins. If I die, it is a victory; if we are liberated, it is a victory, because either way I have refused to surrender to the Israeli occupation, its tyranny and arrogance.



Written FOR


 A documentary on a Palestinian farmer’s chronicle of his nonviolent resistance to the actions of the Israeli army.
When his fourth son, Gibreel, is born, Emad, a Palestinian villager, gets his first camera. In his village, Bil’in, a separation barrier is being built and the villagers start to resist this decision. For more than five years, Emad films the struggle, which is lead by two of his best friends, alongside filming how Gibreel grows. Very soon it affects his family and his own life. Daily arrests and night raids scare his family; his friends, brothers and him as well are either shot or arrested. One Camera after another is shot at or smashed, each camera tells a part of his story.

Five Broken Cameras Full Movie
“This documentary should make every decent Israeli ashamed of being an Israeli.”


A documentary on a Palestinian farmer’s chronicle of his nonviolent resistance to the actions of the Israeli army. When his fourth son, Gibreel, is born, Emad, a Palestinian villager, gets his first camera. In his village, Bil’in, a separation barrier is being built and the villagers start to resist this decision. For more than five years, Emad films the struggle, which is lead by two of his best friends, alongside filming how Gibreel grows. Very soon it affects his family and his own life. Daily arrests and night raids scare his family; his friends, brothers and him as well are either shot or arrested. One Camera after another is shot at or smashed, each camera tells a part of his story.



From Rebel Voices


Beit Iksa, surrounded by Israeli settlements, is set to be entirely encircled by Israel’s separation wall, cutting it off from Jerusalem.

When completed, the wall will annex 96 percent of Beit Iksa’s land, according to a study by the Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem.
(Israeli forces raid Jerusalem protest village
An activist holds a Palestinian flag placed near a newly-erected tent
in the West Bank village of Beit Iksa, between Ramallah and Jerusalem
January 20, 2013. (Reuters/Mohamad Torokman)
BETHLEHEM  — Dozens of people were lightly injured on Sunday as Israeli forces raided a newly erected Palestinian protest village in northwest Jerusalem, activists said. 
Local activist Nabil Habana said Israeli forces raided the al-Karamah (Dignity) village in Beit Iksa and issued demolition and evacuation orders. 
Activists tried to prevent soldiers from reaching their tents, with soldiers firing tear gas canisters and sound bombs at the protesters, Habana added. 
Earlier, Israeli troops entered the al-Karamah village at around 7 a.m., photographing the structures and preventing more protesters and supporters from arriving. 
It was the third time troops had entered the area. 
Spokesman for the protest village, Bilal Kiswani, said the repeated incursions by Israeli forces indicate that the al-Karamah village will be demolished soon. 
There are over 100 activists from nearby areas at the protest village, and they will remain on the land despite Israeli orders to leave, he added.

Local groups set up the new tented protest village northwest of Jerusalem on Friday, the second such initiative against Israeli settlement building in as many weeks. 

On Wednesday, Israeli forces tore down the tented village Bab al-Shams, set up to protest Israel’s plans to build the “E1″ settlement on the land, severing the West Bank from Jerusalem. 

Beit Iksa, surrounded by Israeli settlements, is set to be entirely encircled by Israel’s separation wall, cutting it off from Jerusalem. 

When completed, the wall will annex 96 percent of Beit Iksa’s land, according to a study by the Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem.



A flag hangs on a newly-erected tent as a Palestinian activist secures
a rope, in an area known as E1, near Jerusalem January 11, 2013.
(Reuters/Ammar Awad)
Israel blocks activists from returning to E1 protest camp
E1 (Reuters) — Israeli police, using stun grenades, blocked about 50 Palestinian activists who tried on Tuesday to reoccupy a tented protest camp they pitched last week in the West Bank.

Israel has drawn strong international criticism over plans to build settler homes in the area, known as “E1″, which connects the two parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank outside Palestinian suburbs of East Jerusalem.

On Sunday, hundreds of police officers evicted the protesters from the “Bab al-Shams” encampment, and activists said six were hurt in the process. The large, steel-framed tents remained standing at the site pending the outcome of Israeli Supreme Court hearings on Israel’s intention to remove them.

Protesters who tried to return to the tents on Tuesday were confronted by police officers who told them the site had been designated off-limits by the army.

One activist wore a white bridal gown and their cars were decked out in bright ribbons, making the protest look like a traditional Palestinian wedding.

“The protesters continued to make their way up. Police pushed the protesters back down the hill,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. “Two stun grenades were used to disperse the protesters and prevent attempts to climb back up.”

Twenty Palestinians were detained for questioning, he said.

For years Israel froze building in E1, after coming under pressure from former US President George W. Bush to keep the plans on hold.

But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced plans late last year to expand settlements after the Palestinians won de-facto statehood recognition at the United Nations General Assembly in November.

Jewish settlement building in areas captured by Israel in a 1967 war are illegal under international law. World powers have slammed the E1 settlement plan, echoing Palestinians concern such construction could deny them a viable and contiguous state.

E1 covers some 4.6 sq miles and is seen as particularly important because it not only juts into the narrow “waist” of the West Bank, but also backs onto East Jerusalem, the capital of the promised independent Palestinian state.

Ma’an staff in Bethlehem contributed to this report

A report from the Electronic Intifada follows …

Making history in Bab Al Shams

Abbas Sarsour 

The establishment of Bab Al Shams is a direct action against Israel’s settlement enterprise.

(Issam Rimawi / APA images)

A group of local activists, Palestinian and international, informed me of a protest camp we would set up to help community members in Jericho and give support to the surrounding areas. We were told to be prepared to face armed Israeli soldiers. But even so, the instructions were vague. None of us knew exactly where we were going.

At 5am on Friday morning, 11 January, 50 activists took a bus to an area we called Bab Al Shams. One of the group leaders of the camp told us that we were on private Palestinian land termed by Israel as “E-1.” Israel was planning on constructing settlements here, he told us, and our mission would be to camp out in defiance of the occupation forces.

He told us that we were all informed that we would be heading to Jericho, but this was only meant to keep the plan as secretive as possible. “If you’d like to stay, you can. If not, we understand, and you can return with the buses,” he told us after explaining the risks associated with what we would soon be doing.

We started to build tents. After a few hours, four more busloads of activists arrived at the scene. Together, we erected even more tents. By noon, after finishing with the tents, we held Friday prayers for the first time in Bab Al Shams.

Eviction notices

Not long after, we were met by Israeli border police and soldiers who arrived at the location to hand out eviction notices to the residents of this new village. Bab Al Shams, having been founded just hours earlier, had already posed a risk to the Israeli government. The police threatened to return and demolish the tents shortly if we didn’t take them down ourselves. Needless to say, we stood our ground.

Luckily, we had already been prepared for such an occasion. We petitioned against the threatened demolitions to the Israeli high court which then issued a warrant delaying any eviction or demolition for six days. The court would use this time to further assess the situation there. It is important to remember, though, that Bab Al Shams was erected on private Palestinian land.

So there it was. The village of Bab Al Shams with a Palestinian flag standing tall at the highest point of the village.


But the village was quickly put under lockdown. Nothing was going in and nothing went out. We were short on mattresses, blankets and food. Everybody understood the situation and shared whatever they could with one another.

The night was cold and people were freezing in their beds. Thank God for the paramedics who were on site to help us. We also our own security guards in the village who stayed up all night protecting everyone and making sure nothing happened. Bab Al Shams was looking more and more like a village.

The second day, a little after noon, some of the activists who were feeling unwell made the decision to return home for treatment and rest. They walked to the nearest streets where Israeli occupation forces quickly escorted them away from Bab Al Shams. But at the same time, another hundred or so activists arrived from another set of buses to bolster our presence. They brought with them supplies and helped renew our spirits in the cold weather.


As the population grew in size, so did the imminent threat of an Israeli raid designed to stop all activity in Bab Al Shams. At 11pm on Saturday, more than 500 Israeli forces — soldiers and police — surrounded the village. We could see them approaching from all sides as they aimed their bright lights at us.

The armed Israeli forces climbed the hillside up to us and completely encircled us. They were ordering us to leave. Many of the activists tied themselves to the tents. Others put their hands together and sat down in the middle of the small village while chanting in Arabic, “With soul, with blood, we’ll protect Palestine.”

We were outnumbered. Plus, we could see the soldiers burning various items in the village. Soon enough the Israeli forces began their assault on us specifically. Everyone in the village was rounded up and arrested. Many were hit with the butts of Israeli weapons. Others, including myself, were dragged through the sand and dirt and thrown back onto buses.

The buses started their engines about an hour after they were filled. We didn’t know where we were going but we assumed we were going to an Israeli prison.

But we later found that Israeli hummers were escorting the buses to the Qalandiacheckpoint, where we were greeted by other Palestinians and activists in high spirits. We had made history with Bab Al Shams and we continue to refuse to let Israeli construct settlements on Palestinian land.

Abbas Sarsour is a 21-year-old Palestinian from Ramallah currently living in the United States. He is active in various student and community organizations dedicated to Palestinian rights


The village of Bab Al Shams was established last Friday by Palestinian activists, on privately owned Palestinian lands, in an area between East Jerusalem and the settlement of Maaleh Adumim, which Israel refers to as E1.

The Palestinians  may be moved physically, but Palestinian villages, old and new,  will never die so long as they remain alive in the hearts and minds of the Palestinian people and all their supporters worldwide…

Bab Alshams – We Shall Not Be Moved


250 men and women from across Palestine establish this morning
a new Palestinian village named “Bab Alshams” (Gate of the
Sun). Tents were built in what Israel refers to as area E1 and
equipment for long-term living was brought.

The group released the following statement:

We, the sons and daughters of Palestine from all throughout
the land, announce the establishment of Bab Alshams Village
(Gate of the Sun). We the people, without permits from the
occupation, without permission from anyone, sit here today
because this is our land and it is our right to inhabit it.

A few months ago the Israeli government announced its
intention to build about 4000 settlement housing units in the
area Israel refers to as E1. E1 block is an area of about 13
square km that falls on confiscated Palestinian land East of
Jerusalem between Ma’ale Adumim settlement, which lies on
occupied West Bank Palestinian land, and Jerusalem. We will
not remain silent as settlement expansion and confiscation of
our land continues. Therefore we hereby establish the village
of Bab Alshams to proclaim our faith in direct action and
popular resistance. We declare that the village will stand
steadfast until the owners of this land will get their right
to build on their land.

The village’s name is taken from the novel, “Bab Alshams,” by
Lebanese writer Elias Khoury. The book depicts the history of
Palestine through a love story between a Palestinian man,
Younis, and his wife Nahila. Younis leaves his wife to join
the Palestinian resistance in Lebanon while Nahila remains
steadfast in what remains of their village in the Galilee.
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Younis smuggles through
Lebanon and back to the Galilee to meet his wife in the “Bab
Alshams” cave, where she gives birth to their children. Younis
returns to the resistance in Lebanon as his wife remains in
Bab Al Shams.

Bab Alshams is the gate to our freedom and steadfastness. Bab
Alshams is our gate to Jerusalem. Bab Alshams is the gate to
our to our return.

For decades, Israel has established facts on the ground as the
International community remained silent in response to these
violations. The time has come now to change the rules of the
game, for us to establish facts on the ground – our own land.
This action involving women and men from the north to the
south is a form of popular resistance. In the coming days we
will hold various discussion groups, educational and artistic
presentations, as well as film screenings on the lands of this
village. The residents of Bab Al Shams invite all the sons and
daughters of our people to participate and join the village in
supporting our resilience.


This is what happened…




Although established on privately owned Palestinian lands, Israel forcefully expelled residents of the village in a pre-dawn raid this morning. Six required medical attention Shortly before 3 AM, hundreds of Israeli cops and soldiers staged a raid on the newly founded Palestinian village of Bab Al Shams (Gate of the Sun), violently evicting its 150 inhabitants. Use of police brutality is even more objectionable in light of the passive resistance offered by the residents. No arrests were made, and all persons detained were released shortly after.

In light of harsh international criticism over the plan to expand the Maaleh Adumim settlement, and in an attempt to draw away attention from the case, eviction took place early this morning. Following its arrival at the scene, a massive police force began by removing journalists from the residents’ immediate surroundings and proceeded to drag people away, beating some of them. Six Palestinians later required medical care at the Ramallah Hospital.

Following his release, Mohammed Khatib of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee said, “We will not remain silent as Israel continues to build Jewish-only colonies on our land. Bab Al Shams is no more, but during its short days it gave new life and energy to all who passed through it. Israel continues to act in violation of every imaginable law and human decency. In establishing Bab Al Shams we declare that we have had enough of demanding our rights from the occupier – from now on we shall seize them ourselves.”

Last night the state appealed to the High Court to withdraw an injunction prohibiting the eviction. The state argued, among other things, that the very existence of the village may occasion rioting, despite its remote and isolated location. The state further argued that the village was established by the Committees to Resist the Wall (a body which does not exist), also behind a blockade of Route 443 in October 2012. This claim, backed only by an affidavit signed by an Israeli police chief, has never been supported by any indictments or arrests for the questioning of individuals.

The village of Bab Al Shams was established last Friday by Palestinian activists, on privately owned Palestinian lands, in an area between East Jerusalem and the settlement of Maaleh Adumim, which Israel refers to as E1. After the acceptance of Palestine as a non-member state to the UN, Israel announced the approval of a plan to expand the Maaleh Adumim settlement by building some 4,000 residential units in this area. Such construction would effectively bisect the West Bank and effectively cutting it off from Jerusalem.**





 “We intend to carry out the eviction without the use of force,” a police statement said, “but we shall act with determination against anyone who partakes in riots and jeopardizes the security forces.” 

Palestinian sources said that the outpost’s inhabitants sat on the ground as an act of passive resistance when the forces arrived at Bab al-Shams.


Security forces evacuate E1 outpost

Some 150 Palestinians evicted from Bab al-Shams outpost in area E1, without violent resistance, injuries. At least two Palestinians arrested, including Mustafa Barghouti


IDF and police forces evacuated some 150 Palestinians from the Bab al-Shams outpost in area E1 early on Sunday morning.


The Palestinians were placed on buses and taken to theQalandiya checkpoint. Palestinian National Initiative director Mustafa Barghouti was arrested during the eviction as well as at least one other person, according to the Palestinians.


One tent was torched by the outpost’s inhabitants who had complained that officers attacked Arab and Palestinian journalists.  

Earlier, the Shai District Police said that the eviction was part of efforts to implement the closed military zone order. “We intend to carry out the eviction without the use of force,” a police statement said, “but we shall act with determination against anyone who partakes in riots and jeopardizes the security forces.”


Palestinian sources said that the outpost’s inhabitants sat on the ground as an act of passive resistance when the forces arrived at Bab al-Shams.

(צילום: רויטרס)

Forces evict Palestinians (Photo: Reuters)

(צילום: AFP)

Photo: AFP


There were no indications of violent resistance and no injuries were reported during the incident.


“Thousands of Israeli officers surrounded the tents and arrested the inhabitants one by one,” Barghouti told the French news agency. However, police stressed that the Palestinians were “escorted out of the area” and were not arrested for violating the closed military zone order.

Palestinians after arriving at Qalandiya


The IDF spokesman ordered officers to prevent journalists from entering the outpost as per the cabinet’s orders. However, Arab and Palestinian journalists were allowed to get close to the outpost prior to the eviction.

אחד הפלסטינים מורחק מהמקום (צילום: רויטרס)

Palestinian cleared from outpost (Photo: Reuters)

כוחות הביטחון בין האוהלים במאחז (צילום: רויטרס)

Photo: Reuters

כוחות צבא ומשטרה בשטח, אחרי הפינוי (צילום: אוהד צויגנברג)

Forces after the eviction (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)


“An urgent evacuation is required due to a pressing security need,” the State said in a petition filed with the High Court of Justice late on Saturday.


Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein said in the document that the State has issued orders to define the outpost as a closed military zone and to remove squatters from its land.


Weinstein argued that the encampment was set up in order to provoke riots “of national and international consequence,” citing up-to-date intelligence information.



According to the petition, most of the tents have been pitched on the State’s lands, and allowing the protesters to stay where they are will create friction with settlers and could trigger widespread unrest.


The State “indents to act urgently to fulfill the right to evacuate everyone from the area,” Weinstein wrote. The State will then examine whether the law requires the tents to remain or be removed.

המאחז הפלסטיני ב-E1. "לפעול בדחיפות למנוע מהומות" (צילום: AFP)

Bab al-Shams on Saturday night (Photo: AFP)


The document was filed in response to a temporary injunction issued by the High Court in order to bar the State from removing the protesters from the outpost as long as there isn’t an emergency warranting an evacuation. In the meantime, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the routes leading up to the outpost to be closed to traffic, rendering the area a closed military zone.


A group of 200 Palestinians, backed by foreign activists, created the encampment, whose name means “Gate of the Sun,” near Ma’aleh Adumim on Friday, setting into motion a series of legal exchanges between the Palestinians’ representatives and the State.  

מאחז באב אל-שאמס. המדינה מבקשת לפנותו  (צילום: אוהד צויגנברג)

The outpost (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)


On Saturday, the government ordered the leaders of Bab al-Shams to immediately vacate the premises.


The outpost’s leaders then petitioned the High Court to block the warrant, claiming that the encampment was set up on their own private land and it is part of the village of At-Tur, where they reside. The tents, they claimed, where meant to act as a tourist center spotlighting Bedouin heritage. The decision to evict them went against zoning laws because it did not give them a chance to voice their arguments, they said.


The leaders said that if Israeli security forces were to make them leave, they would do so with only passive resistance.


Mahmoud Zawara, of the Popular Palestinian Committees, told Ynet that the 30-tent outpost was set up as part of the “Palestinian struggle” against Israel’s planned construction in the area.




Source and more videos AT


On THEIR land which is in the process of being stolen by the zionists, 200 Palestinians pitched tents in a nonviolent form of resistance that will surely be met by violence ….
 Palestinians erect outpost in E1 zone

Group of 200 Palestinians pitch tents in disputed area connecting Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim. Organizer: Encampment part of non-violent resistance

A group of 200 Palestinians, backed by foreign activists, have been erecting an outpost in the disputed E1 zone, near Ma’aleh Adumim, since the early hours of Friday morning.

The Palestinian outpost, named Bab al-Shams (“Gate of the Sun”), contains 50 tents. Mahmoud Zawara of the Popular Palestinian Committees told Ynet the tent encampment was being set up as part of the Palestinian “struggle.”

He said “we chose this specific area because it is conquered Palestinian land and places a wedge between the northern and southern parts of the West Bank.”

בונים את באב אל-שמס (צילום: אוהד צויגנברג)

Building ‘Bab al-Shams’ (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)  

Zawara said the camp will be used by the Popular Palestinian Committees during activity in the Jordan Valley area in the coming days. “I hope the encampment will be permanent and remain in the E1 area,” he added.

Zawara said the Palestinians do not plan on confronting Israeli security forces, who have yet to arrive at the site. “We came here in the framework of non-violent resistance; we will not resort to any kind of violence,” he told Ynet.

200 פלסטינים ופעילי סולידריות הגיעו ל-E1 (צילום: אוהד צויגנברג)

‘Day without violence.’ Palestinians at camp (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)

“According to international law, and even Israeli law, the Israeli army cannot prevent us from pitching tents.”

"מקווים שהאוהל יהפוך לאוהל קבע" (צילום: אוהד צויגנברג)

‘Conquered Palestinian land’ (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)

Zawara said it was possible that IDF and Israel Police forces would eventually evacuate the Palestinians, but expressed hope that “today will be a day without violence.”

Bab al-Shams is the name of a novel by Elias Khoury about the life of Palestinian refugees inLebanon after theIndependence War of 1948.

A little more than a month ago the Israeli government approved plans to advance construction in the E1 zone, which connects Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim, as a response to the UN’s recognition of “Palestine” as a non-member observer state.

The move drew harsh criticism from the West, including the US, with European countries summoning Israeli ambassadors to express their condemnation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to move settlement construction ahead in E1. However, the Right has accused Netanyahu of postponing the construction plans.



This is a renewed attack upon Palestinian civil society and their struggle against the physical and psychological oppression, land confiscation and ethnic cleansing policies of the Israel.
Action alert: STW office raided by Israeli military
At 1.30am this morning ten armoured jeeps of the Israeli occupation forces and intelligence surrounded and raided the offices of Stop the Wall in Ramallah. Israeli military stole 2 laptops, 3 hard drives and 10 memory cards containing files and photos as well as archive material relating to the work that the organisation does in opposition to Israel’s apartheid wall and the attack on Palestinian human rights that the wall and the settlement represent. This is a renewed attack upon Palestinian civil society and their struggle against the physical and psychological oppression, land confiscation and ethnic cleansing policies of the Israel.
It is no coincidence that the Israeli authorities have chosen this moment to escalate their repression against the Stop the Wall grassroots network of civil resistance against the Wall and the settlements, choosing to act on the same day that the Israeli High Court rejected the appeals of Palestinian hunger strikers Bilal Diab and Tha’’ir Halahleh, imprisoned without charge and without trial, effectively condemning them to death. Israel is fearing popular resistance and at the same time prepares for confrontation and more repression, clearly showing that it is not ready to relinquish any of the international sanctioned rights the Palestinian people are struggling for.
This is a stark reminder of the 2010 office raid and the 2009/10 wave of  arrests of Stop the Wall staff and grassroots leaders. At that time we could count on the solidarity of all our supporters across the globe. Thanks to the steadfastness of Stop the Wall activists and your support internationally, we have been able to staff off the attack and emerge stronger than before.
We once again call upon you to support us by:
  • Spreading the news and publicly express your support to Stop the Wall and our work in the media available to you (and please let us know you did so!)
  • Encouraging your representatives and governments to condemn and report this further repression of civil resistance and human rights defenders organizations.
  • Let Israel know that their walls cannot isolate anybody!
Stop the Wall is one of the most vibrant organizations of human rights defenders in Palestine, and has been promoting, for almost ten years, civil resistance and advocacy campaigns against the Wall and in defense of Palestinian rights to self determination. Human Rights Defenders are internationally recognized as an essential element in political processes and their repression further underlines Israeli unwillingness to achieve a just peace.
This raid on the Stop the Wall offices is a clear message that the Israeli authorities are fearing widespread nonviolent action will challenge their policies effectively.
The courageous steadfastness of the more than 2000 hunger strikers in Israeli jails is underlining once more the power of civil resistance as part of the Palestinian struggle. Almost daily people are out in the streets to protest in solidarity with the Palestinian political prisoners, and the discontent with the fruitless and completely stalled diplomatic processes is growing stronger. At the same time, the Israeli authorities announced in 2011 to UN agencies that throughout 2012 year they will systematically displace the Palestinian population in area C. While the displacement drive is underway in the Jordan Valley, home demolitions are rising and the settlement construction is accelerated, the people across the West Bank are always more constraint behind the cantons of the wall. Israel is preparing for confrontation and more repression, clearly showing that it is not ready to relinquish any of the international sanctioned rights the Palestinian people are struggling for.
This is not the first time Stop the Wall has been the target of Israeli repression. In September 2009 Stop the Wall youth coordinator was arrested and the Stop the Wall coordinator, Jamal Juma’, was arrested a few months later, in December 2009. The Israeli authorities were not able to formulate any accusations against either of them and after a sustained international campaign, that saw the active involvement of the diplomatic missions in Palestine and European foreign ministries as well as countless human rights organizations around the world, both had to be freed in January 2010. This attack was followed only a few months later by an extensive office raid by the Israeli military on February 8 2010 and mass arrests of grassroots human rights defenders in the villages most actively protesting against the Wall.



WATCH: New video shows IDF officer struck several left-wing activists

In clip taken by Palestinian TV, and released by left-wing NGO B’Tselem, Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner seen beating protesters without clear provocation.

Read report HERE
Footage courtesy of the Palestinian TV.
All footage is free to distribute but must be credited to the Palestinian TV.


Rachel never died

By Aisha Aijaz 

 Rachel Corrie, beautiful soul, born in Olympia, Washington was no ordinary child, no ordinary 23 year old student and no ordinary human being. And people, who are extraordinary, never die. They live for ever in the hearts and minds of their followers. They give direction to many and because of them, hope never dies. Because of such crazy and courageous, the ugliness of injustices is exposed.

Her 5th grade speech I am here because I care’ revealed no small dreams. At such a tender age, she talked of the oppressed, the poor and hungry and resolved to eradicate the ugly realities by the year 2000. As a student, she was different and wanted to explore the world especially after 9/11, year 2001. Ditching a beautiful and colourful American dream which she could have lived like many of her age, she travelled thousands of miles to Gaza to act as a human shield, where mercy and humanity is butchered every day and night, where men, women and children are murdered as a part of ethnic cleansing program, where houses are bulldozed, olive trees are cut, help including food and medicines from the rest of the world is denied and flotillas travelling to help humanity are attacked.

‘’Anyway, I’m rambling. Just want to write to my Mom and tell her that I’m witnessing this chronic, insidious genocide and I’m really scared, and questioning my fundamental belief in the goodness of human nature. This has to stop. I think it is a good idea for us all to drop everything and devote our lives to making this stop. I don’t think it’s an extremist thing to do anymore. I still really want to dance around to Pat Benatar and have boyfriends and make comics for my co-workers. But I also want this to stop. Disbelief and horror is what I feel. Disappointment! I am disappointed that this is the base reality of our world and that we, in fact, participate in it. This is not at all what I asked for when I came into this world. This is not at all what the people here asked for when they came into this world. This is not the world you and Dad wanted me to come into when you decided to have me.’’  (28.02.2003)

On the day she died (16.03.2003), she was 23, dressed in a fluorescent orange vest and with a megaphone in her hand she was trying to stop the demolition of a Palestinian home where she lived with the children who were considered family by her and vice versa. She was mercilessly crushed under a military Caterpillar bulldozer which came towards her, knocked her down, crushed her with its blade, backed up, and ran her over again and she died shortly afterwards. ’My back is broken’ were her last words.

What did she have in common with the Palestinian; faith, ethnicity, skin colour, language, social background? Absolutely nothing! What was common was humanity. She had eyes that could appreciate the truth, mind that wasn’t closed because of any bias, heart that would cry on injustice and brutality and a soul that would feel the pain of Nazi-style genocide.

Her emails to her family are a must read in which she accounts Israeli atrocities towards innocent Palestinians.

“I think, although I’m not entirely sure, that even the smallest of these children understand that life is not like this everywhere. An eight-year-old was shot and killed by an Israeli tank two days before I got here, and many of the children murmur his name to me, “Ali”–or point at the posters of him on the walls. The children also love to get me to practice my limited Arabic by asking me “Kaif Sharon?” “Kaif Bush?” and they laugh when I say “Bush Majnoon” “Sharon Majnoon” back in my limited Arabic. (How is Sharon? How is Bush? Bush is crazy. Sharon is crazy.)”

In 2003, Rachel’s news opened a new aspect of Palestinian cause to me. I learnt humanity existed above the boundaries of faith, ethnic origins and languages. I came to learn there are people on this earth who would risk their lives and everything for some other people despite absolutely no worldly strings attached between them. And it’s to date that I have explored a world that is cruel, unjust and merciless, but such people are a reason to live and resist. They give you direction, motivation and energy to challenge the ugly forces of the world.

For me Rachel Corrie is not the name of a person. It’s a phenomenon which embodies humanity, resistance, courage and craziness. Yes, she was as crazy as it needs to be to shake the world and stir the plans of the handful of unjust men ruling this world. And it’s this craziness and madness which is the ultimate requirement to challenge falsehood and malice. Human beings live and die, but phenomena, missions and ideas never die. They’re like beacons of light for generations to come. Rachel Corrie, an American, a peace activist and a trailblazer, will always be my hero.

“Love you. Really miss you. I have bad nightmares about tanks and bulldozers outside our house and you and me inside. Sometimes the adrenaline acts as an anaesthetic for weeks and then in the evening or at night it just hits me again – a little bit of the reality of the situation. I am really scared for the people here’..”When I come back from Palestine, I probably will have nightmares and constantly feel guilty for not being here, but I can channel that into more work. Coming here is one of the better things I’ve ever done. So when I sound crazy, or if the Israeli military should break with their racist tendency not to injure white people, please pin the reason squarely on the fact that I am in the midst of a genocide which I am also indirectly supporting, and for which my government is largely responsible. “I love you and Dad…”  Email to parents ~ 27.02.2003


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