A Popular Mass Movement Is Again Taking The Lead In Palestinian Resistance

Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images. A Palestinian Muslim woman heading to pray at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City walks past Israeli security forces on July 28, 2017.

By Jesse Rosenfeld for The Intercept – IT WAS SUPPOSED to be a moment of celebration and reflection for one of those too-rare occurrences in the Mideast — popular protests by Palestinians had stymied the imposition of a new facet of Israel’s 50-year-long occupation. Instead, even after Israel backed down on the changes it had imposed at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, the situation in Jerusalem continued to spiral into familiar scenes of security forces chasing scrambling demonstrators. Throngs of Palestinian worshippers flooded through the gates to Al Aqsa Mosque in Occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City last Thursday. They reveled in victory after almost two weeks of boycotting Islam’s third holiest site to oppose new Israeli security measures on the compound. After a brazen assault on July 14, using weapons smuggled into the holy site by three Palestinian citizens of Israel and leaving two Israeli border police dead, Israel had installed CCTV cameras, turnstiles, and metal detectors. The mosque compound is under Jordanian control and administered by the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, a Jordanian-Palestinian Islamic trust. The Waqf had called for the boycott and protests sprang up opposing Israel’s changes to the delicate — and perpetually tense — status quo.

BDS Movement Turns 12, Marks Anniversary With List Of 12 Wins In 2017

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By Staff of Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee – July 9, 2017 marks 12 years since the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement was born. It’s been 12 years since an impressively large and diverse coalition across Palestinian civil society surmounted incredible odds to unify around three basic Palestinian rights and a nonviolent, inclusive, anti-racist path of struggle to achieve them. Despite the fragmentation, military occupation, segregation and dispossession, we came together to assert our people’s right to freedom, justice, equality and dignity. The 2005 BDS Call embodies overwhelming Palestinian support for demanding an end to Israel’s military occupation and the dismantling of its illegal wall, an end to its institutionalized and legalized system of racial discrimination which meets the UN definition of apartheid, and the right of refugees to return to their homeland as stipulated in international law. Inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement and the American Civil Rights Movement, entities representing Palestinians everywhere called on people of conscience worldwide to adopt pressure tactics in support of our struggle for rights. BDS calls for boycott and divestment initiatives in the academic, cultural, economic and sports fields and for pressuring states to implement meaningful sanctions against Israel until it fully complies with its obligations under international law.

New Netanyahu “Peace” Plan Is Straight Out Of Apartheid South Africa

Palestinian citizens of Israel march against home demolitions in Arara, a town in the Wadi Ara region that Netanyahu wants transferred to a Palestinian entity, January 2017. Keren Manor ActiveStills

By Ali Abunimah for The Electronic Antifada – Benjamin Netanyahu is proposing that Palestinian citizens of Israel be stripped of their citizenship under a “peace” deal that would place them in a future Palestinian entity. The Israeli prime minister recently told American officials, according to a report in Haaretz, that “Israeli-Arab communities could move under Palestinian control” as part of a final status agreement. “In exchange,” the Tel Aviv newspaper wrote, “Israel would annex some West Bank settlements.” Commonly referred to as “transfer,” this proposal amounts to ethnic cleansing. It is not a new idea, but Netanyahu’s broaching it represents a further step in the Israeli government formally adopting policies once considered taboo even by many Israelis. The area Netanyahu has in mind – at least initially – is Wadi Ara, a region in the north, including the major town of Umm al-Fahm. Some 1.5 million Palestinians have citizenship in Israel. They are the survivors and their descendants of the Nakba, the Zionist ethnic cleansing of the vast majority of the Palestinian population from what became Israel before and after it was established in 1948. The idea that this would be an “exchange” is clearly absurd since none of what Netanyahu proposes to swap is Israel’s to begin with: West Bank settlers live on land stolen from Palestinians in violation of international law.

The BDS Movement Is Justified And Cannot Be Stopped

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By MIko Peled for his website Tear Down The Wall. Miko grew up in Israel in a family that could be called Israeli royalty: his ancestors were fighting for a Jewish State decades before Israel was created. His grandfather signed the Declaration of Independence, a founding document of Israel. His father became a soldier in the war for independence, the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, and he was a general in the Arab-Israeli war of 1967. He began a military career as a Red Beret in the Israeli Defense Forces but today he is an advocate for Palestinian rights and a critic of Israel. In our interview he explodes myths we commonly hear about Israel explaining it is an apartheid state and not really a true democracy.

HSBC A ‘Crucial Link In Chain’ Of Palestinian Oppression Says War On Want

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By Staff of War On Want – Some of the UK’s best known banks and financial institutions are complicit in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people according to a new report by War on Want. The report, Deadly Investments: UK bank complicity in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people, exposes the business relationship between UK banks and financial institutions, and 19 companies known to supply Israel with weapons and technology used in the abuse of Palestinian human rights, including war crimes. UK banks and financial institutions examined in the report hold shares worth over £10.8 billion in companies that sell weapons, military equipment and technology to Israel, which is used to oppress Palestinians. Additionally, some of them facilitate loans to these companies.

Palestine Is Still The Issue

Pro-Palestinian Activists Protest NY Senators' Support Of Israel

By John Pilger for JP – John Pilger first made the film ‘Palestine Is Still The Issue’ in 1977. It told how almost a million Palestinians had been forced off their land in 1948, and again in 1967. Twenty five years later, John Pilger returned to the West Bank of Jordan and Gaza, and to Israel, to ask why the Palestinians, whose right of return was affirmed by the United Nations more than half a century ago, are still caught in a terrible limbo – refugees in their own land, controlled by Israel in the longest military occupation in modern times. “If we are to speak of the great injustice here, nothing has changed,” says Pilger at the start of the film, “What has changed is that the Palestinians have fought back. Stateless and humiliated for so long, they have risen up against Israel’s huge military regime, although they themselves have no army, no tanks, no American planes and gunships or missiles. Some have committed desperate acts of terror, like suicide bombing. But, for Palestinians, the overriding, routine terror, day after day, has been the ruthless control of almost every aspect of their lives, as if they live in an open prison. This film is about the Palestinians and a group of courageous Israelis united in the oldest human struggle, to be free.”

Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: Reasons To Support BDS

Demonstrators hold up signs during a BDS protest in Melbourne, Australia, in 2010. Wikimedia Commons/Takver (CC-BY-SA)

By Ariella Azoulay for Alternet – The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement is a way to achieve three things: (1) to expose the mechanisms of dispossession, segregation, and legalized discrimination against Palestinians that are part of the Israeli democratic regime; (2) to publicly and internationally express solidarity with the Palestinians as a people, confronting the Israeli regime’s continuous efforts to fragment them into groups that are governed differentially within and beyond the green line; and (3) to mount pressure capable of impacting daily life for the privileged group of the governed population, i.e., Jewish Israelis, in order to radically alter the conduct of the Israeli regime or transform it altogether. A call for boycott is based on the assumption that sovereign states are actors in an international arena, and hence individuals, groups, institutions, and states can suspend their interactions with particular regimes until the justice of certain demands are recognized and adequately addressed. The Palestinian-led BDS movement thus aims to mobilize the international community to respond to a triple call from within that advocates: full equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel…

Israel Makes Request To U.S. To Dismantle Life Support System For 5 Million Palestinians

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By Jonathan Cook for AlterNet – Israeli and US officials are in the process of jointly pre-empting Donald Trump’s supposed “ultimate deal” to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They hope to demote the Palestinian issue to a footnote in international diplomacy. The conspiracy – a real one – was much in evidence last week during a visit to the region by Nikki Haley, Washington’s envoy to the United Nations. Her escort was Danny Danon, her Israeli counterpart and a fervent opponent of Palestinian statehood. Danon makes Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu look moderate. He has backed Israel annexing the West Bank and ruling over Palestinians apatheid-style. Haley appears unperturbed. During a meeting with Netanyahu, she told him that the UN was “a bully to Israel”. She has warned the powerful Security Council to focus on Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hizbollah, instead of Israel. To protect its tiny ally, Washington is threatening to cut billions in US funding to the world body, plunging it into crisis and jeopardising peacekeeping and humanitarian operations.

Fresno State Cancels A Middle East Studies Professorship Amid Alleged Right-Wing Pro-Israel Pressure

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By Murtaza Hussain for The Intercept – LATE LAST YEAR, the California State University at Fresno began soliciting applicants for a newly created Edward Said Professorship in Middle East Studies, a teaching role named after the late Palestinian-American public intellectual. In a job posting, the school described the role as a “tenure-track, academic-year position” teaching courses on the Middle East and helping develop the school curriculum on the region. Said was famously known as an advocate of Palestinian nationalism in the United States as well as the author of the groundbreaking work of cultural criticism “Orientalism.” Last week, however, after months of evaluating candidates, Fresno State abruptly announced that it would not be filling the role this year. While the school cited “procedural errors” as a reason for the cancellation, academics at the school, including one professor who resigned in protest, are claiming that the school is engaging in an act of academic censorship. In a resignation letter issued last week, Vida Samiian, the longtime dean of Fresno State’s College of Arts and Humanities, said that a pressure campaign had targeted the search committee for the professorship, and that the school had balked at having four Arab-American finalists for the role.

Victory For Palestinian Prisoners As 80% Of Strike Demands Met

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By Staff of Tele Sur – “We know that there is a long struggle to come, for liberation for the prisoners and liberation for Palestine,” stated a solidarity network. After more than 1,500 Palestinian prisoners staged a a mass, historic hunger strike for 40 days, the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ officials confirmed Sunday that nearly 80 percent of the prisoners’ demands were met as the strike ended Saturday. Issa Qaraqe, director of the Palestinian Prisoners Affairs Commission, spoke at a press conference Sunday, declaring the victory “an important achievement to build on in the future on the basis of the protection of the prisoners’ rights and dignity.” Among the many conditions prisoners wanted to be improved that the Israeli Prisons Service agreed to include expanding access to telephones; lifting the security ban on hundreds of family members of Palestinian prisoners, including the 140 children who were denied visits from parents; allowing distant family members to visit their imprisoned relatives; and improving the conditions of both women and children prisoners.

Bernie Sanders Throws Palestinians Under The Bus

Senator Bernie Sanders, right, is embraced by Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez at a party rally in Mesa, Arizona, 21 April. (Gage Skidmore)

By Michael F. Brown for The Electronic Antifada – A majority of Democrats now backs economic sanctions or tougher action on Israel over its continued colonization of occupied Palestinian land, a University of Maryland poll revealed this week. But progressive Democrats cannot count on a single member of the US Senate to stand firm for Palestinian rights: not Patrick Leahy, not Kamala Harris and not “progressive” firebrand Elizabeth Warren. Even Bernie Sanders has caved in to pressure from AIPAC. His signature appears with those of all 99 of his Senate colleagues on a 27 April letter reaffirming key talking points of the powerful Israel lobby group. The diverse coalition Sanders brought together will be jeopardized if he thinks Palestinians can be thrown under the bus with no reaction. The letter, addressed to the UN secretary-general, claims absurdly that Israel is being picked on and singled out by the world body – even though Israel has flouted international law and UN resolutions for decades without ever once being subjected to UN sanctions. It also smears UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees, whose overstretched resources mean the difference between subsistence and hunger for a million Palestinians in Gaza, which has been under a decade-long Israeli siege.

The Government Smearing Of Israel’s Critics

Members of Congress rush to greet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he leaves the House chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 3, 2015, after lobbying Congress to kill a peace plan with Iran at all costs. (AP Photo)

By Lawrence Davidson for Mint Press News – “Back in the day,” which in this case was Feb. 8, 2007, the U.S. State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism adopted a “working definition” of anti-Semitism which included the following point: It is anti-Semitic to “deny the Jewish people their right to self-determination (e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor).” This “working definition” has proved to have staying power. Thus, the U.S. Congress has used the State Department document in devising its Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2016, and in December of 2016, the British government adopted an almost identical “working definition,” which listed the same alleged act of denial – the one that links the Jewish people’s “right of self-determination” with the “claim that the existence of Israel is a racist endeavor” as an example of “contemporary anti-Semitism.”The whole definition, including the quoted sentence, was not original with the State Department. It was originally “written collaboratively by a small group of non-governmental organizations” which remained unnamed.

The Prisoners’ Revolt: The Real Reasons Behind The Palestinian Hunger Strike

Palestinian demand release of prisoners in Israeli prisons. (Photo: palsolidarity, file)

By Ramzy Baroud for Politics for the People – Gaza is the world’s largest open air prison. The West Bank is a prison, too, segmented into various wards, known as areas A, B and C. In fact, all Palestinians are subjected to varied degrees of military restrictions. At some level, they are all prisoners. East Jerusalem is cut off from the West Bank, and those in the West Bank are separated from one another. Palestinians in Israel are treated slightly better than their brethren in the Occupied Territories, but subsist in degrading conditions compared to the first-class status given to Israeli Jews, as per the virtue of their ethnicity alone. Palestinians ‘lucky’ enough to escape the handcuffs and shackles are still trapped in different ways. Palestinian refugees in Lebanon’s Ein el-Hilweh, like millions of Palestinian refugees in ‘shattat’ (Diaspora), are prisoners in refugee camps, carrying precarious, meaningless identification, cannot travel and are denied access to work. They languish in refugee camps, waiting for life to move forward, however slightly – as their fathers and grandfathers have done before them for nearly seventy years.

All Of Palestine Is On Strike

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By Mazin Qumsiyeh. Today all of Palestine is on strike in solidarity with the fasting prisoners and tomorrow is a day of indignation, demonstrations, and confrontations with the occupiers. Bethlehem is a ghost town and all shops and public transportation are closed and Israeli helicopters are in the skies. Today, Palestinians and their friends around the world show solidarity with over 1800 Palestinian political prisoners who are on their 11th day of hunger strike. Salt and water is all they will take until their just and rightful demands are met (basic decent treatment in prison based on international law). It sounds simple but this is a profound even in Palestinian and human history. The price one pays for resistance is injury, death or imprisonment.

Palestinian Prisoners’ Hunger Strike

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By James J. Zogby for Lobe Log – One thousand five hundred Palestinian prisoners have been on a hunger strike for almost a week now. They are refusing sustenance in an effort to improve the deplorable conditions faced by the nearly 6,500 Palestinians who are currently imprisoned in Israel. On the day before the strike began, the action’s leader, Marwan Barghouti, published an op-ed in the International New York Times. It was an elegantly written piece in which Barghouti laid out the conditions in Israel’s prisons and the demands of the strikers. These demands include: more regular family visits, better health care, an end to solitary confinement, and end to administrative detention (a practice in which Israel jails Palestinians for prolonged periods without charges or trial—there are currently 500 such detainees), and installing public telephones enabling prisoners to have monitored calls with their families. Barghouti began his article noting that he has been in prison for 15 years during which time “I have been both a witness to and a victim of Israel’s illegal system of mass arrests and the ill-treatment of Palestinian prisoners.”