IN PHOTOS ~~ NAKBA DAY IN NEW YORK

On Israel’s Independence Day, New Yorkers remember who lost theirs

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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Still to come ….

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NAKBA DAY MARCH FOR RESISTANCE AND RETURN
Sunday, May 15
1:30 pm
Rally at City Hall Park in Manhattan followed by March on Brooklyn Bridge to Cadman Plaza Park
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1720235081568888/

On the 68th anniversary of the occupation of Palestine, and as the Palestinian people enter the 68th year of dispossession and exile, we call on all Palestinians, friends of Palestine and supporters of justice and liberation to come together to march and rally, commemorate the Nakba, stand against the continuing Nakba, and call for the right of return for Palestinian refugees and freedom for Palestine.

68 years after the Nakba – the war of 1948 in which over 800,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes and land and the state of Israel created on that land – Palestinians continue to struggle for their right to return, for freedom from occupation, for justice, and against the Nakba that continues today.

After a rally at City Hall, we will march over the Brooklyn Bridge for an afternoon of Palestine-focused and family-friendly activities at Cadman Plaza Park.

SILENCING THE LAMBS …. YET AGAIN

 First there was THIS …..
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Famous entertainer and civil rights activist Paul Robeson loses his court appeal to try to force the Department of State to grant him a passport. The continued government persecution of Robeson illustrated several interesting points about Cold War America.
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Robeson was seen as a danger because he often interspersed his performances with comments about race relations in the United States. Before and after his performances, he gave numerous interviews condemning segregation and discrimination in America. For some U.S. policymakers, who viewed America’s poor record of race relations as the nation’s “Achilles’ heel” in terms of the propaganda war with the Soviet Union, having a well known African-American denounce segregation and praise the Russians was unacceptable.
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Full report HERE
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Now THIS …..

Israel has officially refused to renew the travel document of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement co-founder Omar Barghouti in a move that amounts to a travel ban and is an escalation of its attacks on Palestinian human rights defenders who nonviolently advocate for Palestinian rights under international law.

Image by Carlos Latuff

Israel imposes travel ban on BDS co-founder

Israel imposes travel ban on BDS co-founder

 

Israel imposes travel ban on BDS movement co-founder Omar Barghouti 

Israel has officially refused to renew the travel document of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement co-founder Omar Barghouti in a move that amounts to a travel ban and is an escalation of its attacks on Palestinian human rights defenders who nonviolently advocate for Palestinian rights under international law.

Barghouti, who lives with his family in Acre, has Israeli permanent residency and requires an Israeli travel document to be able to travel in and out of Palestine/Israel. His immediate reaction was: “I am unnerved but certainly undeterred by these threats. Nothing will stop me from struggling for my people’s freedom, justice and peace”.

Israel’s decision not to grant a renewal of the travel document on baseless bureaucratic pretenses is being viewed by human rights experts as the first step towards revoking Barghouti’s permanent residency.

Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri had threatened as much at a recent anti-BDS conference held in Jerusalem when he disclosed that he was “inclined to fulfill” a request he had received from a far-right Israeli member of parliament to revoke Barghouti’s permanent residency.

The travel ban follows thinly-veiled incitement to physical violence against Barghouti and BDS activists by Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz and Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan. Katz called on Israel to engage in “targeted civil eliminations” of BDS leaders, while Erdan described BDS activists and leaders as threats and called for them to “pay the price” for their work, following this with a clarification that he does not mean “physical harm”. Defending “campaigns to hold Israel accountable for human rights and other international law violations”, Amnesty International has expressed its concern for “the safety and liberty of Palestinian human rights defender Omar Barghouti” following these threats, “including of physical harm and deprivation of basic rights”.

As a leading volunteer with the BDS movement, Barghouti regularly travels internationally to raise awareness about Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights and to advocate for BDS as an effective strategy to end Israel’s regime of occupation and apartheid. Rooted in a long heritage of Palestinian popular resistance, BDS is also inspired by the global boycott movement that helped to end South Africa’s apartheid regime and by the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.

The Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council has recently affirmed “the right of all individuals to participate in and advocate for boycott, divestment, and sanction actions”, calling on states and businesses to “uphold their related legal responsibilities”.

Mahmoud Nawajaa, the general coordinator of the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the broadest coalition in Palestinian civil society that leads the global BDS movement, said:

“Having failed to stop the growth of BDS in the mainstream, Israel is now launching a desperate and dangerous global war of repression on the movement. After losing many battles for the hearts and minds at the grassroots level, Israel and its well-oiled lobby groups are pressuring western states to implement patently anti-democratic measures that threaten civil liberties at large”.

“By banning our colleague Omar Barghouti from travelling and threatening him with physical violence, Israel is showing the lengths it will go to in order to stop the spread of the non-violent BDS movement for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality”.

The international BDS movement aims to pressure Israel, as South African apartheid was pressured, to comply with international law. It has attracted the support of mainstream unions, churches and political parties across the world and compelled large corporations, including Veolia and Orange, to end their involvement in Israel’s human rights violations.

Prominent artists including Ms. Lauryn Hill and Roger Waters have refused to perform in Tel Aviv; several academic associations in the U.S. and thousands of academics in Europe, South Africa, North America and Latin America have endorsed a comprehensive boycott of Israeli universities. The authors of a recent UN report said that a 46% drop in foreign direct investment in Israel in 2014 was partly due to the impact of BDS.

At Israel’s request, governments in the UK, France, Canada and state legislatures in the U.S. are introducing anti-BDS legislation and taking other anti-democratic measures to repress BDS activism. In France, one activist was arrested simply for wearing a BDS t-shirt.

Israel is also using its security services to spy on BDS activists across the world, as repeatedly reported in the Israeli media and by the Associated Press. This espionage is likely to involve monitoring of citizens’ communications in violation of domestic laws.

Journalist and constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald, known for breaking the NSA surveillance story, has described this well-orchestrated series of draconian measures against the BDS movement as the “greatest threat to free speech in the West”.

Mahmoud Nawajaa added:

“The western governments that are repressing BDS activism at home are giving Israel a green light to continue its violations of international law with impunity. We urge governments, parliaments and human rights organisations to follow Amnesty International’s lead and uphold his rights as a human rights defender under threat”.

Find out more about Israel’s attacks on the BDS movement here.

Source Palestinian BDS National Committee  VIA

#Justiceforall ~~ SIGN OF THE TIMES

IN PHOTOS ~~ REMEMBERING THE ‘OTHER’ SIX MILLION

Image by Carlos Latuff

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Umm Akram and Amena are among six million Palestinians not living in Palestine. They are citizens of no country.

VOICES FROM THE NAKBA

Monday, May 2
6:00PM
NYU School of Law

On May 14, 1948, 18-year-old Mariam Fathallah, her family, and the rest of the Palestinian town of Al-Zeeb were forced out of their homes and into Lebanon. By the end of the year, their 4,000 year-old community was leveled and half of all Palestinians in Palestine had been killed or expelled. Palestinians know this event as the Nakba (“the catastrophe”). Mariam, now 86 years old and respectfully known as Umm Akram, has spent the last 68 years in crowded, makeshift refugee camps, where she has raised three generations of children who are waiting to return to their homes in Palestine. She has lived through 5 Israeli invasions of Lebanon and the 1976 Tel Al-Zaatar camp massacre which killed 2,000 refugees.

Amena El-Ashkar, 23, is the granddaughter and great granddaughter of Nakba survivors and has known no home other than a refugee camp.

Umm Akram and Amena are among six million Palestinians not living in Palestine. They are citizens of no country.

Photos © Bud Korotzer

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IN PHOTOS ~~ NEW YORKERS GO ALL OUT FOR PALESTINE ON MAY DAY

Happy Labour Day to all the Palestinians who are challenging the Israeli occupation for their living.

Happy Labour Day to all the Palestinians who are challenging the Israeli occupation for their living.

Photos © Bud Korotzer

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ADL Vs. JEWS OF CONSCIENCE

Police arrested seventeen activists denouncing the “Jewish establishment’s support of the occupation of Palestine” on April 20 in the lobby of the Anti-Defamation League during one of a series of Passover protests organized by anti-occupation group If Not Now.

Gili Getz

Gili Getz

17 Jewish Activists Protesting Israeli Occupation Arrested at ADL Headquarters

Police arrested seventeen activists denouncing the “Jewish establishment’s support of the occupation of Palestine” on April 20 in the lobby of the Anti-Defamation League during one of a series of Passover protests organized by anti-occupation group If Not Now.

Before they were cuffed and shuffled into New York Police Department vans, the young activists had sat cross-legged on the lobby floor, leading a larger crowd in their version of a Passover Seder.

They banged on the floor, danced in circles and sang familiar Hebrew songs. The Seder’s ten plagues included “subjecting Palestinians to daily humiliation” and “destroying the Palestinian economy.” A hand-drawn cardboard Seder plate rested next to a sculpted tinfoil goblet, reserved for Elijah.

“We act now to build a Jewish community that recognizes that we cannot be free absent the freedom for Palestinians,” the text of one handout read.

Passersby paused, snapping photos on their cameras, to take in the unusual scene — around 100 Jewish activists singing and dancing in the glass-walled lobby of a midtown office. One young woman turned to the assembled crowd as she was led away by police, so that her shirt was in full view. “No liberation with occupation,” it read.

If Not Now, which formed two years ago to protest the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict and Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank, staged several other Passover-themed events this week.

Six were arrested in Boston, where they rallied outside the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. In Washington D.C., activists gathered outside Hillel.

But the New York protest took on another layer of significance as one prominent New York activist has been at the center of national controversy.

Simone Zimmerman, an If Not Now co-founder, made headlines last week when she was named Jewish outreach coordinator for Bernie Sanders’ campaign. Her peers celebrated. But, just days later, she was suspended from that position after an old Facebook post resurfaced, in which Zimmerman had used profanity and insulted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Abe Foxman, former head of the Anti-Defamation League, denounced Zimmerman and the Zionist Organization of America followed suit.

“She is entitled to say what she wants, but there is something bizarre about making her the liaison for the Jewish community,” Foxman said in a Wednesday interview with the Forward. “Either she wasn’t vetted — or worse, she was.”

Foxman said he took issue with Zimmerman’s criticism of Israel during the 2014 Gaza conflict. Her comments “go to the essence of questioning and challenging Israel’s credibility.”

Foxman declined to comment about the 17 activists’ arrest, deferring to the ADL, which did not respond to requests for comment.

Zimmerman stood in the background at Wednesday’s protest. She declined to speak with the Forward, but her friends rallied around her, posing for photos and intoning her name during the rally.

“Simone speaks for my kind of Judaism,” said Gabrielle Egan, an If Not Now activist from Canada.

If Not Now first took shape online in 2014, as a rallying hash tag on social media during the latest Israel-Gaza conflict. Many participants had been involved in J Street, but had become dissatisfied with that organization’s position on the conflict. Several activists describe their involvement with If Not Now as a sort of Jewish homecoming.

“These are people who grew up in a post-peace process environment,” said Peter Beinart, a mentor to Zimmerman and a leading voice in liberal Zionism. “If you look at If Not Now, there is a deep alienation, a dissatisfaction with the Jewish community’s lack of discussion.”

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: IN DEFENSE OF BDS

Amnesty International is urging the Israeli government to end its threats and attacks against Palestinian and Israeli human rights defenders, including leaders of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

A European coalition is campaigning to protect the right to speak out in support of Palestinian rights. (Ryan Rodrick Beiler) / ActiveStills

A European coalition is campaigning to protect the right to speak out in support of Palestinian rights. (Ryan Rodrick Beiler) / ActiveStills

Amnesty condemns Israel’s threats against BDS activists

Amnesty International is urging the Israeli government to end its threats and attacks against Palestinian and Israeli human rights defenders, including leaders of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

Meanwhile, European civil society groups are launching a new campaign to defend freedom of speech from efforts to curtail it by Israel and European leaders allied with it.

“An escalation of acts of intimidation by the government and attacks and threats by settlers and other non-state actors have created an increasingly dangerous environment” for human rights defenders in Israel and the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, Amnesty said on Tuesday.

The group expressed particular concern for the “safety and liberty of Palestinian human rights defender Omar Barghouti, and other boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) activists, following calls alluding to threats, including of physical harm and deprivation of basic rights, made by Israeli ministers.”

The threats were made at the “Stop the Boycott” conference held in Jerusalem on 28 March and attended by Israeli leaders as well as by EU and US diplomats.

“An especially alarming statement came from Israeli Minister of Transport, Intelligence and Atomic Energy Yisrael Katz who called on Israel to engage in ‘targeted civil eliminations’ of BDS leaders with the help of Israeli intelligence,” Amnesty stated.

It noted that the term Katz employed “alludes to ‘targeted assassinations’ which is used to describe Israel’s policy of targeting members of Palestinian armed groups.”

Amnesty also condemned statements by Israel’s public security minister Gilad Erdan that activists including Barghouti should “pay the price” for their work, although Erdan denied he was calling for physical harm.

Similarly, interior minister Aryeh Deri threatened to revoke Barghouti’s residency permit.

“Slightly safer”

Amnesty described these statements as the most serious examples of “threats and intimidation” to date, and called on Israeli ministers to uphold human rights and avoid “inflammatory public remarks” against Barghouti and other human rights defenders.

Israel should also “withdraw [the] threat to arbitrarily restrict his freedom of movement and cancel his permanent residency in Israel,” Amnesty added.

Barghouti has welcomed Amnesty’s public intervention.

“I already feel slightly safer, having received this clear position by Amnesty International,” Barghouti told The Electronic Intifada.

“It not only criticizes the Israeli government’s intimidation and violent threats against me and my BDS colleagues, it defends our right to engage in the nonviolent BDS movement to defend the rights of the Palestinian people under international law,” Barghouti added.

Barghouti, a co-founder of the BDS movement, also renewed his call for Israel to be isolated.

“The UN and all states must strongly reject Israel’s well-oiled attempts to delegitimize the BDS movement and support our right to BDS,” he said. “The most effective way for them to hold Israel’s regime of oppression accountable for its grave crimes against the Palestinian people is through imposing sweeping sanctions on it similar to those adopted against apartheid South Africa.”

In contrast to Amnesty’s stance, Ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen, the top EU envoy in Tel Aviv who participated in the Stop the Boycott conference, has refused to condemn the Israeli threats.

Legislating silence

Amnesty noted that the threats against BDS activists come in the context of a broad assault on Palestinian and Israeli human rights defenders by government and non-state actors aimed at suppressing freedom of expression and assembly.

Incidents mentioned by Amnesty include the death threats against Imad Abu Shamsiyeh, the Palestinian whofilmed the point-blank execution of a Hebron youth by an Israeli soldier on 24 March; the series of death threatsagainst the staff of the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq; the arrests of Hebron anti-settlement activistsIssa Amro and Farid al-Atrash; the imprisonment of Palestinian parliamentarian Khalida Jarrar and “vicious” invective and threats directed at Breaking the Silence, an Israeli group that collects and publishes anonymized confessions of abuses by Israeli soldiers.

Amnesty also pointed out that in recent years, “the Israeli authorities have passed a number of laws that restrict the space for opposition to Israeli government policies and actions.”

Currently making their way through parliament are additional laws “that appear to be aimed at curtailing freedom of expression and freedom of association,” Amnesty stated.

These include the so-called transparency bill, a measure seen as an attack on groups critical of Israel’s human rights record.

Another is the “Loyalty in Culture” bill which would give the government the power to retroactively withdraw funding from cultural activities that “contravene the principles of the state.”

The right to BDS

This week a coalition of European civil society groups launched a new campaign to support freedom of speech and political action for Palestinian rights.

The European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine (ECCP) is calling on human rights organizations, civil liberties groups, social movements, trade unions and political parties to sign a petition to the European Union “opposing government-led attacks on free speech and civil liberties that are being implemented in order to undermine civil society’s human rights initiatives in support of the Palestinian people’s struggle for freedom, justice and equality.”

“As Israel is increasingly unable to defend its regime of apartheid and settler colonialism over the Palestinian people and its regular massacres of Palestinians in Gaza, it is seeking supportive governments in Europe and the US to undermine free speech as a way of shielding it from criticism and measures aimed at holding it to account for its gross violations of international law,” ECCP states, citing recent repressive acts by authorities in the UKand France, as well as the threats by Israeli ministers.

“Regardless of their position on BDS, human rights organizations and citizens of the world who care about civil rights and human rights have to take a clear stand to defend the right to advocate for BDS as a matter of conscience and free speech and a nonviolent means of civil society to advocate the fundamental rights of the Palestinians,” ECCP adds.

#BDS ~~ WHY THE CULTURAL BOYCOTT IS GROWING

Israeli government is no “Champion” of freedom of expression

Over 100 Writers, Including Pulitzer Winners Junot Díaz, Richard Ford, and Alice Walker, and Award-Winning Author Louise Erdrich, Call on PEN American Center to Reject Israeli Government Sponsorship

PEN Refusing to Drop Sponsorship, According to a
Letter to its Members

New York, NY, April 5, 2016 – In a letter made public today over 100 writers, including Pulitzer Prize winners Junot Díaz, Richard Ford, and Alice Walker, and award-winning author Louise Erdrich, have called on the PEN American Center “to reject support from the Embassy of Israel” for PEN’s annual World Voices Festival. The seven-day Festival takes place from April 25 to May 1 in New York City. In promotional materials, PEN lists the Israeli Embassy as among the “Champions” of the Festival, and as a sponsor of one of the Festival’s panels.

The letter asserts, “It is deeply regrettable that the Festival has chosen to accept sponsorship from the Israeli government, even as it intensifies its decades-long denial of basic rights to the Palestinian people, including the frequent targeting of Palestinian writers and journalists.” The letter was sent to PEN privately on March 29 by Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel, with 62 individual and 11 organizational signatories. The list of signers has since grown to more than 100 individuals.

In addition to Díaz, Erdrich, Ford and Walker, other prominent writers who have signed the letter include Palestinian writer Dr. Ahmad Qatamesh, whose imprisonment without charge by the Israeli government was criticized by PEN International; writer and activistAngela Davis; American writers Russell Banks, Deborah Eisenberg and poet Eileen Myles; Palestinian-American novelists Susan Abulhawa and Randa Jarrar; former President and Vice President of English PEN Gillian Slovo and Kamila Shamsie; Egyptian British author Ahdaf Soueif; and South African writers Dr. Don Materra,Ronnie Kasrils and Breyten Breytenbach. Thirteen participants at the World Voices Festival have signed the letter, including Laura Flanders, Saleem Haddad, Laila Lalami, Solmaz Sharif, Yuri Herrera, Jordan Camp, Christina Heatherton, Arun Kundnani, Maaza Mengiste, Burhan Sönmez, Francisco Goldman, Jennif(f)er Tamayo, andLinh Dinh. Two other participants signed the letter and withdrew from the Festival.

Author Alice Walker commented, ”I signed the letter because, as a PEN member, I want this organization that is supposed to be a champion of writers’ rights to stand up for Palestinian writers, academics, and students who are suffering under a repressive Israeli regime that denies their right to freedom of expression. The last thing PEN should be doing is partnering with and promoting a government that denies Palestinians basic human rights.”

The letter is the latest effort to expose Brand Israel, a government public relations initiative launched in 2005 that uses cultural productions to distract from Israel’s systematic violations of Palestinian rights. Following a major Israeli attack on Gaza in 2009, the deputy director general for cultural affairs at Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairsexplained to The New York Times, “We will send well-known novelists and writers overseas, theater companies, exhibits… This way you show Israel’s prettier face, so we are not thought of purely in the context of war.”

A few hours after the letter was sent to PEN American Center, the organization emailedsome of its members, justifying its decision to maintain Israeli government funding by citing a policy against subscribing “to cultural boycotts of any kind” and the need to “promote dialogue.”

“Even if PEN opposes all forms of boycotts, PEN should have policies and ethical standards in place forbidding partnerships with significant human rights abusers,” saidMarilyn Hacker, Recipient of PEN Voelcker Award for Poetry and PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. “On that basis alone, PEN should rule out a partnership with the Israeli government.”

Omar Barghouti, a founder of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality, added, “We are disappointed and concerned that PEN is choosing to stand with Israel’s repressive government rather than with a civil society initiative for freedom and human rights. PEN’s response avoided the issues we raised. We focused on PEN’s partnership with the Israeli government and explicitly said we are not calling to boycott or deny the freedom of expression of individual Israeli writers. For years, Palestinians have been told to engage in ‘dialogue,’ but the stronger party, Israel, has used ‘dialogue’ as a smoke screen behind which it ramps up repression and denies Palestinians’ their fundamental rights.”

Novelist Ru Freeman, editor of an anthology on Palestine, Extraordinary Rendition: (American) Writers on Palestine, commented, “PEN American Center’s leadership has repeatedly tarnished the World Voices Festival by accepting the sponsorship of an occupying force that oppresses our Palestinian peers, and refused to speak out against that oppression. The board of PEN should recognize that this violates the foundational principles of the organization. PEN has the resources to fund the participation of Israeli writers—which we support—without compromising its principles by associating with an apartheid government.”

PEN American Center, the Festival organizer, is a US branch of the writers’ freedom of expression organization PEN International. In 2015, over 200 writers wrote to PEN American Center criticizing the organization’s decision to give a freedom of expression award to the magazine Charlie Hebdodue to its racist content. Controversy has also arisen in past years over Israeli government sponsorship of PEN’s World Voices Festival.

IN PHOTOS ~~WOMEN’S BOAT TO SAIL TO GAZA IN SEPTEMBER 2016

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Getting ready for the sendoff in New York …

Photos © Bud Korotzer

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THE GAZA 5K ~~~ STILL TIME TO REGISTER

SIGN UP NOW FOR THE GAZA 5K

Last year we raised about $150,000 in Brooklyn for the Gaza kids.  Hope we can do at least that again.

5k

NYC, DC, are you ready?! The rumors are true, and we’re thrilled to announce that registration for the 2016 Gaza 5K is officially OPEN! 

Sign up now and join us at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, on Saturday, March 26 and Rock Creek Park in Washington DC on Saturday, May 21 for a morning of movement and solidarity.

Why wait when you can start now? This year, we need you to register EARLY! It’s the only way to guarantee a race shirt. Rates will increase by $15 in the weeks leading up to the race, and we guarantee both races will sell out! 

Fundraising is the key to our efforts and impact. So once you’re registered, start your fundraising immediately. We have more than just trophies this year! If you raise $500 or more, you will receive a beautiful classic keffiyeh from the Herbrawi Textile Factory, the last remaining keffiyeh factory in Palestine. Complete with a “made in Palestine” tag, these traditional scarves are the living memory of Palestine. Let that inspire you to push your fundraising to the next level!

Remember the reason why we run. Beyond showing solidarity, proceeds from the Gaza 5K support UNRWA’s Community Mental Health Program and provides critical counseling sessions to help vulnerable refugee children cope with the extreme challenges they face on a daily basis in Gaza. A program that, without your help, may not be possible. 

We hope you’ll come out to show these children how much Americans care! 

In solidarity,

Abby, Laila, Sarah, Nada & Lena

Team UNRWA USA

NYC RACE
MARCH 26
REGISTER NOW
DC RACE
MAY 21
REGISTER NOW
PS—Chicago and San Francisco, we’re coming for you! Stay tuned.

 

Official race hashtag: #Gaza5K (See more videos from last year’s run)

NEW DRESS CODE IN FRANCE ~~ IF YOUR T-SHIRT CRITICIZES ISRAEL, IT’S ILLEGAL

European ‘Democracy in action …

The activist was taking part in a march for International Women’s Day in Paris last Sunday when undercover police swooped in and detained her for wearing a piece of clothing with the words “Boycott Apartheid Israel” printed on it.

Undeterred by arrest of an activist days earlier, members of BDS France wear “illegal” t-shirts calling for the boycott of Israel, during a protest outside Airbnb’s office in Paris on 10 March. (Courtesy of BDS France)

Undeterred by arrest of an activist days earlier, members of BDS France wear “illegal” t-shirts calling for the boycott of Israel, during a protest outside Airbnb’s office in Paris on 10 March. (Courtesy of BDS France)

Woman arrested in France for T-shirt critical of Israel

France has ratcheted up its draconian repression of free speech about Palestine with the arrest of a woman for wearing a T-shirt supporting the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

The activist was taking part in a march for International Women’s Day in Paris last Sunday when undercover police swooped in and detained her for wearing a piece of clothing with the words “Boycott Apartheid Israel” printed on it.

According to the newspaper L’Humanité, officers from the Renseignements Généraux, the intelligence service of the French police, were involved in monitoring the demonstration in which numerous social justice and leftist groups took part.

France remains under the state of emergency severely limiting public freedoms that was declared after last November’s atrocities by suspected Islamic State extremists who killed 130 people in Paris.

The young woman was taken to Paris’ 3rd district police station for questioning.

Hundreds of marchers halted their procession and demonstrated loudly outside the police station for an hour until she was released, as a video posted on Facebook.

Political repression

The woman has been summoned back to the police station for questioning at 2pm on Monday on suspicion of “inciting hatred by reason of [national] origin, through writing,” according to L’Humanité.

Supporters are planning to demonstrate outside the police station at that time.

The feminist collective 8 Mars Pour TouTEs denounced the arrest and pledged support for the activist and for the BDS movement.

The arrest was evidence of the “criminalization of political struggles,” the group said, vowing to mount strong solidarity in response to “the police state and political and racist repression.”

The left-wing grouping Ensemble has condemned the arrest, describing it as a consequence of the “security climate” in France.

The Palestine solidarity group BDS France noted that the day after the arrest, Prime Minister Manuel Valls tolda dinner hosted by the Israel lobby group CRIF that “anti-Zionism is nothing more than a synonym for anti-Semitism and the hatred of Israel.”

“Today, politicians who support the Israeli apartheid regime are out of arguments,” BDS France said in a statement.

“They conflate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism and terrorism, and take all the Jews of the world hostage, stubbornly insisting that they become accomplices of the war crimes and apartheid of a state which is foreign to them,” BDS France added.

The campaign group said that with the growing global success of BDS, “a nonviolent, anti-racist citizen movement for the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people,” Israel and its allies in the French government had no recourse but to try to smear it as anti-Semitic.

Court rulings and government decrees have outlawed calls to boycott Israeli goods, prompting defiance from French civil society.

Undeterred

BDS France is also vowing not to fold under government repression.

On Thursday, dozens of activists handed in an international petition at the Paris offices of Airbnb to protest the company’s profiting from the renting out of vacation homes in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

As the photos published by BDS France show, the activists were proudly wearing their “Boycott Israeli Apartheid” T-shirts.

On Saturday, activists will hold rallies all over France against the state of emergency. An action alert from BDS France urges supporters to wear their T-shirts at those marches too.

#AntiApartheidWeek ~~ RAPPING WITH REMI

Wonderful party last night at Columbia U.  Totally packed. Lots of young people dancing the night away to Palestinian music, many of the women in embroidered Palestinian dresses.  These young diaspora Palestinians all knew their folk dances very well, as well as their food and art.  And they seem to fully recognize the importance of keeping these memories.

This was performed by Remi Kanazi …

Nor·mal·i·za·tion: a “colonization of the mind” whereby the oppressed subject comes to believe that the oppressor’s reality is the only “normal” reality…and that the oppression is a fact of life that must be coped with.

Those who engage in normalization either ignore this oppression, or accept it as the status quo that can be lived with.

In an attempt to whitewash its violations of international law and human rights, Israel attempts to re-brand itself or present itself as “normal” — even “enlightened” — through an intricate array of relations and activities encompassing hi-tech, cultural, legal, LGBT and other realms.

Normalization applies to relationships that convey a misleading or deceptive image of normalcy, symmetry, or parity despite a patently abnormal and asymmetric relationship of colonial oppression and apartheid.

THE BELL TOLLS FOR THE 1st AMENDMENT IN CHICAGO

R.I.P.

R.I.P.

ZIONISTS LITERALLY KILL THE 1st AMENDMENT

Despite the Lamar Advertising Company’s policy of defending the 1st Amendment ….

Lamar had written earlier that over its more than 100 years in business, the firm has “developed a strong commitment to supporting the First Amendment right of advertisers who wish to use our medium to promote legal products and services or to convey noncommercial messages such as the one in Chicago.”

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…. A billboard in Chicago calling for a boycott of Israel will be removed following a public outcry.

The billboard in question ....

The billboard in question ….

Company to Remove Chicago Billboard Calling for Israel Boycott

Bella Ciao :(

Bella Ciao😦

A billboard in Chicago calling for a boycott of Israel will be removed following a public outcry.

Lamar Advertising, which leases billboards throughout the country, announced in a Facebook post on Friday that it would remove the billboard “as soon as possible.” Earlier in the day, also in a statement on Facebook, the company said it had received a “large number” of social media comments and hundreds of telephone calls protesting the billboard located on a major highway about five miles from O’Hare Airport.

The billboard sponsored by the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign, or SEAMAC, is part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. It reads: “Boycott Israel until Palestinians have equal rights.”

Lamar had written earlier that over its more than 100 years in business, the firm has “developed a strong commitment to supporting the First Amendment right of advertisers who wish to use our medium to promote legal products and services or to convey noncommercial messages such as the one in Chicago.”

“We do not accept or reject copy based upon agreement or disagreement with the views presented. We think SEAMAC has a right to present their views and would also support the right of those who disagree with SEAMAC.”

After saying it would take down the billboard, Lamar said it “tried to contact SEAMAC to discuss these issues but have not received a reply to our telephone and email messages.”

In a post Saturday night on Facebook, SEAMAC said it received one phone call from Lamar Advertising, early in the morning due to the time difference between Seattle and Chicago, and that there were no emails or other attempts by the company to contact the organization.

The group is raising money to put the ad on public buses in several U.S. cities.

Only YOU can get a stay of execution by ….

A TASTE OF PALESTINE AT MY DOORSTEP

Supporting the BDS Movement , boycotting Israeli products, specifically those from the illegal settlements in the Occupied Territories is a great way to help the growing economy of Palestine and showing your solidarity with its people.

But now, thanks to the initiatives of the Northern California branch of the International Solidarity Movement, you can purchase products made in Palestine itself. They created a ‘shopping site’ called PALBOX

Ordering from them is one of the greatest ways of showing solidarity with the people of Palestine, especially its farmers and those involved in cultural activities.

Palestine is literally across the road from where I live, but the infamous wall and checkpoints make it impossible for me to go on a shopping spree there, so I ordered from PALBOX and my treasures arrived today ….

The box you will find at your doorstep ...

The box you will find at your doorstep …

The treasures inside included …..

Palestinian Olive Oil

oil-2

The olive tree is the virtual lifeline of Palestine, hence it is one of the major targets for destruction by zionism itself. Some of the trees are over a thousand years old and have provided a livelihood for hundreds of Palestinian families. Every drop of oil in the bottle is precious and represents all that Palestine stands for.

Also included were 2 bars of Olive Oil Soap ….

100% pure olive oil soap from Palestinian olive trees. No perfumes, no sulfates, no harsh chemicals, nothing to dry out your skin, just the gentile and moisturizing properties of olive oil.

 No perfumes, no sulfates, no harsh chemicals, nothing to dry out your skin.

That’s not all …..

Za’atar

Za'atar (thyme)

Za’atar (thyme)

No better way to enhance the taste of your salads and enjoy the taste of Palestine itself.

HERE are some easy recipes that I found online using Za’atar.

And from the Artistic Community ….

A beautiful handcrafted necklace made by Katie Miranda, resident cartoonist at Mondoweiss. Many of her works appeared on the pages of this Blog.

Gorgeous Arabic calligraphy on sterling silver.

Gorgeous Arabic calligraphy on sterling silver.

Katie studied the art of Arabic calligraphy with a master calligrapher while on a three year Solidarity Mission to Palestine with the International Solidarity Movement.

The necklace would be a perfect gift for the special woman in your life.

Her beautiful creations can be ordered separately from THIS site

And finally …. a treasure to enjoy over and over again ….

From Palestinian Artists …. a Gift of Music

Included is an album of music sung but Dr. Haidar Eid, BDS activist, and professor of Postcolonial and Postmodern Literature at Gaza’s al-Aqsa University.

Thanks to the electronic media, the cultural treasures of Palestine cannot be blocked by any wall or blockade. Become a part of this.

Here’s how to get your virtual treasure box ….

Click HERE to get to PALBOX’s order page.

Keep the following in mind when you order ….

Palbox helps Palestinian farmers, artists and artisans, as well as entire communities that benefit from Fair Trade community development. Second, downloadable music and visual art bypasses the Israeli blockade of Gaza, and provides a living for Palestinians under siege. 100% of your purchase goes to the Northern California chapter of the International Solidarity Movement, which has been participating in Palestinian nonviolent resistance to Israeli repression since 2001.

The songs are dedicated to the courage and resistance of the Palestinian people on the journey to justice and freedom. All proceeds from sales of the songs will be donated to the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. 

The ISM is a Palestinian led movement dedicated to resisting the Israeli occupation through non-violent means. In addition, Norcal ISM pays bail money for Palestinians arrested for political reasons, and gives travel grants to volunteers going to Palestine. 

Is there a better way to support the Palestinian Cause? I think not!

This page with it’s links will remain on the SideBar for future reference

DESERTPEACE STANDS IN SILENCE TODAY FOR THE PASSING OF A TRUE WOMAN OF VALOR

 

Anne Yellin / Photo by Matt Weinstein

Anne Yellin / Photo by Matt Weinstein

This morning I received an email from Sue, the daughter of the woman pictured above, informing me of the passing of her mother Anne Yellin yesterday, just a month short of her 99th birthday. She lived a full life and changed the lives of many who knew and loved her, including my own.

Anne played a special role in my life and I credit her more than anyone else for making me what I am today. It was she that handed me the leaflet in front of Woolworth’s in 1960 …. the leaflet that changed my life as can be seen in THIS post from the archives.

Anne was a pillar of the community I grew up in, known to all and loved by all. She was predeceased by her loving husband Jack, a veteran of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, in his own right, a true hero. She is survived by two loving daughters and Sue and Nancy and their children. May they all be comforted in the knowledge that the memory of their mother and grandmother will live on for years to come.

Bella Ciao dear Comrade and Friend!

My dear friend Matt Weinstein adds the following …

A good friend and one of the great “old-timer” activists and champions of peace and justice passed away today: Ann Yellin. She was a friend of my parents and a doting mom to her two daughters, Sue and Nancy as well as a very loving grandma. Ann, an RN by trade who worked for many years at Coney Island Hospital, was married to Jack Yellin, a veteran of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade—those courageous premature anti-fascists who fought in Spain before WW II, standing up to Franco and his backer, Hitler. And she was very proud of him. He died a long time ago but Ann carried his memory with her as the years passed and that memory helped bolster her to carry on. Ann was active throughout her life—she was a member of the Brighton Beach and Manhattan Beach chapter of Women Strike For Peace, fighting for a world free of the nuclear threat and then later in the Shorefront Peace Committee—its successor. Strongly opinionated but never wavering in her commitment, Ann Yellin was a strong partisan of socialism and with that as her goal she was one of those rare women who translate their beliefs and world outlook into concrete action on behalf of humanity. She was a beautiful woman—inside and out. We won’t soon forget her and the larger than life contributions she made for a better world.Ann died a month before her 99th birthday.

In honour of Anne’s 90th birthday, Matt wrote the following … (Click on link)

THE GREATEST GENERATION~~ A GUEST POST

Matt and Anne in happier times ...

Matt and Anne in happier times …

And finally, a Biblical tribute to our wonderful Woman of Valor …

Eshet Chayil אשת חיל (Psalm 31 Hebrew and English text translation)

#FreeGaza ~~ THE WINNING LOGO

Freedom Flotilla

We are pleased to announce the final logo choice by S. African activist Atiyyah Mohamed

We are pleased to announce the final logo choice by S. African activist Atiyyah Mohamed

The Women’s Boat to Gaza (WBG) is a Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC*) initiative that seeks not only to challenge the Israeli blockade but to also show solidarity and bring a message of hope to the Palestinian people.

The initiative was launched with a call to all artists/designers globally for submissions of a criterion based logo for the WBG that represented the undeniable contributions and indomitable spirit of Palestinian women who have been central within the Palestinian struggle.

The deadline of logo submissions was extended to the 25th of January 2016. We received and compiled approximately 40 logo submissions from different artists and organisations, after which a shortlist was created and collectively voted on by the media and steering committee of the WBG on the 31st January 2016.

We would firstly like to thank all the artists/designers and applicants who gave their time and effort  toward the logo submissions which were carefully reviewed and considered individually.  Your creativity and drive is noted and much appreciated.

We are pleased to announce the final logo choice by South African graphic designer and activist Atiyyah Mohamed. Atiyyah’s involvement in the project was initiated through her enthusiasm for human rights and peace around the world and which centres directly around the struggle of Palestinian women in particular. Atiyyah is a member of the Palestine Solidarity Alliance youth league and is involved in digital activism as well. Her logo was selected on the base of clarity and *-representation of the core message of the WBG.

The logo may be used in all WBG related campaigns and organisations and by individuals in support of the project. Should you require the logo in a specific format, or for any other information, enquiries or to engage in the campaign please do not hesitate to contact us via email at mediawbg@gmail.com.

We encourage all participation in the Women’s Boat to Gaza – together we will break the blockade!

In solidarity!

FFC is composed of civil society organizations and initiatives from many countries. We have been challenging the illegal and inhuman Israeli blockade of Gaza for years and are committed to continue the struggle until the blockade is unconditionally lifted and the Palestinian people everywhere regain their full rights.

MR. APARTHEID LOCKS HIS DOORS RATHER THAN FACE THE MUSIC

More photos can be seen HERE

More photos can be seen HERE

On the spot observation by Chippy Dee

Our Leviev Valentine’s event was yesterday – we shut him down again – they were supposedly closed for inventory (on a Saturday?). Again there were some crazies carrying on, screaming, grabbing someones phone and throwing it.  The NYPD was there and refused to arrest him because the phone was still working.  All of us ‘law & order types’ were chanting, “Arrest him!” but they didn’t.  Of course if that was a Black kid he’d be at Sing-Sing by now or on a coroner’s gurney. 

See the ugly face of zionism here …

Some background on why we demonstrate FROM

Love Under Apartheid at Leviev in New York City, Valentine’s 2016

A week before Valentine’s Day, as couples in many countries prepare to celebrate their love for one another, at our protest at Leviev diamonds in New York City we remembered that Palestinians do not have the freedom to love whomever they choose due to Israel’s apartheid policies. We celebrated through the stories below the many Palestinians who dare to defy apartheid with love. Leviev, by building Israel settlements, contributes to Israel’s apartheid program. For more information see

Palestinians — whether living in Israel as Israeli citizens or in Jerusalem, the West Bank or Gaza, live under Israeli rule. Israel assigns separate ID cards to the Palestinians living in each area, and each ID card carries a different status and different rights. While this impacts Palestinians in many ways, one of the most intrusive and harmful results is the separation of loved ones.

Palestinians do not have the freedom to love whomever they choose because multiple Israeli policies prevent them from doing so. For instance, if someone from the West Bank fell in love with someone from Gaza, they could not be together, because one carries an Israeli government-issued “West Bank only” ID and the other a “Gaza only” ID. This is despite the fact that both the West Bank and Gaza Strip are designated as Palestinian territories.

The Israeli Citizenship Law, which was enacted in 2003, prevents Palestinian citizens of Israel from marrying the spouse of their choice. This law affects thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel, and many couples have been forced to leave the country as a result, leaving behind their homes and their families.

Here are a couple of stories from the Love Under Apartheid campaign:

Taiseer and Lana, affected by Israeli Citizenship Law

Taiseer is a Palestinian citizen of Israel from the city of Akka and his wife Lana is a Palestinian from the city of Jenin. Taiseer is an anthropologist and Lana is a librarian. Though they were already married, once the Citizenship Law was put in place, Lana was placed in a new legal category. She lives constantly in fear that she could be separated from her husband and their three young children.

Taiseer says: “We have the right to love and live just like any other people in the world. We are not any less than any people who choose whom, how or where they love.”  

Lina, affected by Military Order 1650 

Lina’s parents met while they were college students in the West Bank in the 1980’s. They fell in love, got married and had children. Lina’s mother has a West Bank ID and her father is a British citizen and originally from Gaza. In the 1980’s, Palestinians were more free to live and travel between the Palestinian territories, but in 2009, Israeli Military Order 1650 changed everything. One day while traveling for his work as a journalist, Lina’s father was stopped at checkpoint, arrested by soldiers and deported to Gaza, without a chance to say goodbye to his family.

Lina says: “One day we found our family split right in the middle…for my parents not to see each other…it was really emotional watching the effects on them…My dad would send me text messages at the most random hours of the day. I knew he was unable to sleep, thinking ‘I had my family with me, I had a job, I had a house, and overnight that completely changed.'”

These stories offer just a glimpse into life under Israeli policies. Palestinians are forced to adjust their lives every time a new policy is in place, every time a border shifts around them. These couples and families don’t break the law, the law breaks them. Still, despite these obstacles, Palestinians choose to love, and choose to fight for their rights every day.

NEWS AND ACTIONS THIS COMING WEEK IN HYPOCRISY LAND

palestine-360x200

Hypocrisy land news and Actions this coming week:
Compiled by Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

The Israeli Knesset rejected a bill that calls for equality (after all
all this must remain a state by and for Jews). And a video emerged of
Israeli prime minister Netanyahu praising Israeli Fascist Group Im
Tirtzu which believes in "Jewishness" of Palestine and acts and
supports to effect ethnic cleansing of native Palestinians in favor of
European and other Jewish colonization. The Zionist leaders attacked
Ban Ki Moon for mildly speaking about the need to end the occupation
and let Palestinians live free. The heads of the EU misssions in
Jerusalem issued a report saying that Israel must respect human
rights. They explained that 660 Palestinians are being held without
charge or trial. They also mention Mohammad AlQeeq, a Palestinian
Journalist on hunger strike for 70 days since his illegal detention.
The tragedies around us continue and we sympathize with suffering
people seeking freedom from tyranny and from terrorism (much of it
emanating from the USA through its its "protectorates" like Israel and
Saudi Arabia).

My students struggle to come to class through tear gas and other
challenges of Israeli repression. This past week I gave courses on
research, critical reading, and writing for master students in tourism
and also for diploma students in drug education and prevention at BU.
In good news, more and more people acting on their convictions to
challenge oppression and/or build a better future. For example the
boycott campaign continues to grow around the world (for examples of successes ). 
Do act to promote BDS. in the media work and other actions. We were impressed
with the action of distribution of over 10,000 "spoof" New York Times
(major US newspaper). This biased newspaper not reporting on Israeli
colonialism but parroting Israeli propaganda about terrorism was
taught a good lesson by this action and thousands of New Yorkers
appreciated the gesture (electronic version of spoof here

PHOTO ESSAY OF REBELLIOUS PALESTINIAN YOUTH

Portraits of Palestine’s youth rebellion

“Nobody organizes us. We do not want to depend on anyone or have money involved. It’s better to be independent.” East of al-Bureij refugee camp, Gaza Strip

“Nobody organizes us. We do not want to depend on anyone or have money involved. It’s better to be independent.” East of al-Bureij refugee camp, Gaza Strip

“We are here to prove to the occupier that we will not accept them. We won’t live in peace with the occupier and we will keep resisting until they leave.” Bethlehem

“We are here to prove to the occupier that we will not accept them. We won’t live in peace with the occupier and we will keep resisting until they leave.” Bethlehem

“Whoever comes here knows they will be either be arrested, or martyred or injured. But in the end, I don’t think anyone is afraid.” North of Ramallah, near the Beit El settlement

“Whoever comes here knows they will be either be arrested, or martyred or injured. But in the end, I don’t think anyone is afraid.” North of Ramallah, near the Beit El settlement

“Any rational person understands that stone throwing will not damage a military jeep or kill a soldier. However, we use stones to show they are the enemy.” North of Ramallah, near the Beit El settlement

“Any rational person understands that stone throwing will not damage a military jeep or kill a soldier. However, we use stones to show they are the enemy.” North of Ramallah, near the Beit El settlement

Bethlehem

Bethlehem

“They fire a lot of tear gas into the [Al Azzeh refugee] camp.They want families there to stop us. But the families understand that; they support us and take care of us.” Bethlehem

“They fire a lot of tear gas into the [Al Azzeh refugee] camp.They want families there to stop us. But the families understand that; they support us and take care of us.” Bethlehem

Gaza Strip, east of al-Bureij refugee camp

Gaza Strip, east of al-Bureij refugee camp

“We cover our faces because the occupying authority might [otherwise] arrest us. We also fear our own [Palestinian] authority would arrest us in the same way.” Bethlehem

“We cover our faces because the occupying authority might [otherwise] arrest us. We also fear our own [Palestinian] authority would arrest us in the same way.” Bethlehem

“The [peace] agreements didn’t work. The older generations should have changed them. Our role, you can say, is to refuse these agreements. We are against them, because they do no good to us and our land.” North of Ramallah, near the Beit El settlement

“The [peace] agreements didn’t work. The older generations should have changed them. Our role, you can say, is to refuse these agreements. We are against them, because they do no good to us and our land.” North of Ramallah, near the Beit El settlement

North of Ramallah, near Beit El settlement

North of Ramallah, near Beit El settlement

Bethlehem

Bethlehem

“There is a lot of pressure now. We look at the videos of the women in al-Aqsa who cannot enter. The occupation wants al-Aqsa. Why can Jews enter and I cannot? It’s only 10 kilometers from here, and I have not been able to go to Jerusalem since 2008.” Bethlehem

“There is a lot of pressure now. We look at the videos of the women in al-Aqsa who cannot enter. The occupation wants al-Aqsa. Why can Jews enter and I cannot? It’s only 10 kilometers from here, and I have not been able to go to Jerusalem since 2008.” Bethlehem

“In the night, at around 1am, the Israeli army comes and arrests men. They also threaten families that their homes will be demolished if their sons will continue to go to throw stones.” Bethlehem

“In the night, at around 1am, the Israeli army comes and arrests men. They also threaten families that their homes will be demolished if their sons will continue to go to throw stones.” Bethlehem

“The [PA’s] Presidential Guard stood in our way. We had an altercation with them. They were kind of embarrassed. Then they told us their work there was only for an hour and a half and then they would allow us in. We refused and kept going.” Bethlehem

“The [PA’s] Presidential Guard stood in our way. We had an altercation with them. They were kind of embarrassed. Then they told us their work there was only for an hour and a half and then they would allow us in. We refused and kept going.” Bethlehem

Gaza Strip, east of al-Bureij refugee camp

Gaza Strip, east of al-Bureij refugee camp

“This land is for everyone, not just the men. Of course the women can participate in the clashes.” Bethlehem

“This land is for everyone, not just the men. Of course the women can participate in the clashes.” Bethlehem

Bethlehem

Bethlehem

“The Palestinian Authority exists by agreement with Israel. The Palestinian Authority only exists to make Israelis feel safe. They work hand-in-hand with the Israeli military. In the West Bank, nobody loves them.” Bethlehem

“The Palestinian Authority exists by agreement with Israel. The Palestinian Authority only exists to make Israelis feel safe. They work hand-in-hand with the Israeli military. In the West Bank, nobody loves them.” Bethlehem

“Sometimes, our families try to talk to us and make us stay home. But every home has someone who has been arrested or killed. So you are also ashamed if you prevent your son from going to the clashes. My mother asked me to come back after one hour, just so she can see I am alright.” Bethlehem

“Sometimes, our families try to talk to us and make us stay home. But every home has someone who has been arrested or killed. So you are also ashamed if you prevent your son from going to the clashes. My mother asked me to come back after one hour, just so she can see I am alright.” Bethlehem

A Palestinian youth in Bethlehem wearing a t-shirt with the hashtag “Bahamish” written on it. “Some shout ‘Bahamish’ to the soldiers. It means ‘it’s ok’ or ‘nevermind.’ But if they kill us, this is not ‘bahamish;’ it’s important.”

A Palestinian youth in Bethlehem wearing a t-shirt with the hashtag “Bahamish” written on it. “Some shout ‘Bahamish’ to the soldiers. It means ‘it’s ok’ or ‘nevermind.’ But if they kill us, this is not ‘bahamish;’ it’s important.”

“The resistance started 100 years ago. I hope we will get our freedom and return to our villages. There is a future for Palestine. But there is no future with occupation.” Bethlehem

“The resistance started 100 years ago. I hope we will get our freedom and return to our villages. There is a future for Palestine. But there is no future with occupation.” Bethlehem

For nearly four months, popular protests, violence and general unrest have buffeted the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, leading some commentators to suggest a third intifada or uprising.

Most of this is driven by restive and young people tired of endless and evidently pointless negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel that have brought no end to Israel’s military occupation and only seen its illegal settlements expand.

“This is our land. We must do anything to free it from occupation,” says Mahmoud, 26, from al-Azzeh refugee camp in the West Bank city of Bethlehem.

Mahmoud (not his real name, since Israel frequently arrests protesters) has been a regular participant in demonstrations against the military occupation, in which youth confront Israeli forces with stones and, less frequently, Molotov cocktails. The army tries to suppress these protests with tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets and live ammunition.

Since the beginning of last October, which witnessed increased confrontation with the occupation, more than 160 Palestinians and approximately two dozen Israelis have been killed. A United Nations monitoring group recorded a weekly average of 1,000 Palestinian injuries at the hands of the Israeli army during the last quarter of 2015.

Approximately one-third of those Palestinians killed, and many of those injured, were hit by live ammunition while taking part in demonstrations or while they were in the vicinity of protests.

Risks

The youths confronting the Israeli army know all too well the risks involved.

“I have mixed feelings during clashes. Sometimes you are afraid of dying,” Mahmoud explained. “But it’s also good to get the anger out. I have two children. I am married. In the night, I start to think about them, what they will do if I do not come back. But during the clashes, I try not think about it.”

The protests are led by youth and not any particular political party.

Khaled (also a pseudonym), a 21-year-old student from the Ramallah area, said the Palestinian Authority’s only role has been to try to stop them.

“Their role is to bring down the spirit of the people. It does not support us,” he said.

Palpable frustration

Their frustration is palpable and has sparked a debate among analysts and journalists whether this could be termed a third intifada. But the youths themselves seem not to care much about designation.

“First intifada, second intifada, it doesn’t matter. The intifada is connected to the occupation,” said Mahmoud, “and so it will continue. It is an ongoing process.”

The above series of photographs were taken at protests in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the past four months. The quotations included are from the two Palestinian youths interviewed, neither of whom are featured in the photos.

Images by Activestills photographers Anne Paq in Bethlehem, Ezz Al-Zanoon in the Gaza Strip, Mohannad Darabee in the Ramallah area, Oren Ziv in Bethlehem and the Ramallah area. Photo editing by Shiraz Grinbaum.

Activestills is an independent collective based in Israel/Palestine which uses photography as a tool for social and political change.

TIME TO RUN FOR GAZA AGAIN

IT’S TIME TO REGISTER FOR THE GAZA 5K

Last year we raised about $150,000 in Brooklyn for the Gaza kids.  Hope we can do at least that again.

5k

NYC, DC, are you ready?! The rumors are true, and we’re thrilled to announce that registration for the 2016 Gaza 5K is officially OPEN! 

Sign up now and join us at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, on Saturday, March 26 and Rock Creek Park in Washington DC on Saturday, May 21 for a morning of movement and solidarity.

Why wait when you can start now? This year, we need you to register EARLY! It’s the only way to guarantee a race shirt. Rates will increase by $15 in the weeks leading up to the race, and we guarantee both races will sell out! 

Fundraising is the key to our efforts and impact. So once you’re registered, start your fundraising immediately. We have more than just trophies this year! If you raise $500 or more, you will receive a beautiful classic keffiyeh from the Herbrawi Textile Factory, the last remaining keffiyeh factory in Palestine. Complete with a “made in Palestine” tag, these traditional scarves are the living memory of Palestine. Let that inspire you to push your fundraising to the next level!

Remember the reason why we run. Beyond showing solidarity, proceeds from the Gaza 5K support UNRWA’s Community Mental Health Program and provides critical counseling sessions to help vulnerable refugee children cope with the extreme challenges they face on a daily basis in Gaza. A program that, without your help, may not be possible. 

We hope you’ll come out to show these children how much Americans care! 

In solidarity,

Abby, Laila, Sarah, Nada & Lena

Team UNRWA USA

NYC RACE
MARCH 26
REGISTER NOW

 

DC RACE
MAY 21
REGISTER NOW

 

PS—Chicago and San Francisco, we’re coming for you! Stay tuned.

 

Official race hashtag: #Gaza5K (See more videos from last year’s run)

 

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