Israel’s War Against Palestine: Documenting the Military Occupation of Palestinian and Arab Lands

anti-Occupation

Palestinian filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad: “I want my films to put fear into Israelis. My job is to disturb their dreams, to wake them from the fantasy that there is no occupation.”

Ten years ago, Aisha Mershani began a project to document the lives of everyday Palestinians non-violently resisting Israeli occupation. Since 2003, she have photographed and gathered testimonies from Palestinian communities that have resisted the building of the Wall. After six years away, she is returning to the West Bank in the summer of 2013 to complete this project. Thus far, Aisha has self-funded her work; she is now asking for your support with the completion of the last stage of this ten-year project.

IOA Editor: We highly recommend supporting Aisha’s work.

We are all part of the same old story, nothing has changed since the bad old days of apartheid South Africa and Segregated America. We must stand united with all our brothers and sisters against racism, colonialism, segregation and apartheid.

This is actually a wonderful opportunity for you to learn about something sorrowful, and amazing: that our government (Obama in particular) supports a system that is cruel, unjust, and unbelievably evil. You can spend months, and years, as I have, pondering this situation. Layer upon layer of lies, misinformation, fear, cowardice and complicity. Greed. It is a vast eye-opener into the causes of much of the affliction in our suffering world.

In a society where graduates fresh out of high school are required to participate directly in military occupation at an early age, saying no can be a way of showing another path is possible, and retrieving one’s humanity in the process.

Journalist Amira Hass drew heavy criticism from Israeli media about her op-ed in last week defending the right of Palestinians to throw stones, and was accused of incitement to violence by the Yesha Council (of West Bank settlements), appeared on Democracy Now this week to discuss her article.

Statements challenging the national narrative aren’t exactly common in Israel on Holocaust Remembrance Day. So it was particularly refreshing to read … about a different sort of speech delivered in honor of the day.
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Israelis have been revelling in the prospect of an Oscar night triumph next week, with two Israeli-financed films among the five in the running for Best Documentary. But the country’s right-wing government is reported to be quietly fuming that the films, both of which portray Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories in a critical light, have garnered so much attention following their nominations.

Matzpen co-founder Akiva Orr died last week in Israel. He is remembered by friends and comrades around the world.

However futile the activists’ efforts prove to be on this occasion, the encampment indicates that ordinary Palestinians are better placed to find inventive ways to embarrass Israel than the hidebound Palestinian leadership. Senior PLO official Hanan Ashrawi extolled the activists for their “highly creative and legitimate nonviolent tool” to protect Palestinian land. But the failure of PA officials, including Saeb Erekat, to make it to the site before it was cordoned off by Israel only heightened the impression of a leadership too slow and unimaginative to respond to events.

Last week, in one of the first actions of its kind, activists released the names of Israeli soldiers involved in the killing of a Palestinian protester. Mustafa Tamimi, a 28 year-old demonstrator from the village of Nabi Saleh, was killed when a soldier shot a tear gas canister at his face in December last year.

A statement by a group of Columbia University professors in response to recent comments by the newly appointed chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley, Nicholas Dirks, wherein he equated the criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism.

New Matzpen website

4 September 2012

IOA Editor: For 50 years now, Matzpen, an Israeli anti-Zionist activist organization, has been a leading voice for Palestinian rights, and against the Israeli occupation. Its new website covers decades of steadfast, principled opposition to injustice. Please visit the new Matzpen website, help disseminate it, and link to it from your website or Facebook profile/page. Thank you!

A brilliant work by Shimon Tzabar (1926, Palestine – 2007, London), an artist, writer, poet, satirist, amateur mycologist, and a vocal fighter against the occupation of Palestinian land by Israel. As relevant today as it was when it was first published in 1968, well before the term ‘racial profiling’ was known.

On June 2nd, Wafa Tiara, a Palestinian agricultural worker organized under the Ma’an union was supposed to address Israel’s J14 social justice movement. The protest was meant to serve as an indicator of whether this movement, which began last summer, could restart after its quiet winter months.

Over 1500 activists from 15 countries attempted to fly to Ben Gurion Airport to travel to Bethlehem in the occupied Palestinian territories. They were invited by Palestinian activists to help build a school and protest Israel’s control of all access points to the occupied territories. Hundreds were prevented from even boarding their planes and instead staged protests at various airports. Dozens were deported upon arrival and dozens arrested and transferred to Israeli prison. Israeli activists attempted to hold signs welcoming them at the airport but were immediately removed.

Palestinian and international cyclists were brutally attacked by the Israeli occupation forces on Saturday as they attempted to bike up Route 90, the main North-South highway running through the Jordan Valley. The cyclists were demonstrating against Israeli apartheid policies in the Jordan Valley, which limit Palestinian access to roadways as part of an ongoing campaign of ethnic cleansing against the indigenous Bedouin communities of the Valley.

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As citizens of Israel, we feel great respect and appreciation for our international activists who come to visit the West Bank and express solidarity with the Palestinian residents, living under occupation and apartheid… We will greet them with open arms, in a feeling of deep appreciation and a personal friendship with some of them. We will hold ‘Welcome’ signs, balloons, flowers, chocolates, and copies of the drawings of Palestinian children from Bethlehem. We welcome them in the harsh reality where Palestinians are excluded from meeting their invited guests and escorting them from the airport – not to mention, of course, being excluded from themselves flying from this airport.

In June, Norman Finkelstein will mark 30 years of criticizing Israel. He remembers the exact day – the beginning of the Lebanon war, which ended his indifference to the Middle East’s troubles. He’ll have a new book coming out – “Knowing Too Much: Why the American Jewish Romance with Israel Is Coming to an End” – that focuses on Jewish public figures who represent, in his view, the narrative of beautiful Israel that’s coming to an end. He is sure to make a lot of people mad again.

Dear Mr. Tzabar

25 March 2012

A short film about the late, celebrated Israeli journalist, poet, artist and satirist Shimon Tzabar and his last public protest against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, made shortly before his death in 2007 after forty years of self-imposed exile in London.

The world watches as tragedy unfolds beneath its gaze. Khader Adnan is entering his 61st day as a hunger striker in an Israeli prison, being held under an administrative detention order without trial, charges, or any indication of the evidence against him. The Palestinian prisoner’s case is a microcosm of the unbearable cruelty of prolonged occupation.

Coverage of Khader Adnan, a Palestinian prisoner held by Israel under administrative detention, as his hunger strike enters its 61st day.

Yitzhak Laor on the inability of social-networks-based movementsto bring about a lasting change:

The blogosphere is a salient expression of this hermetically closed system… a ridiculous extension of the cage [the Internet and television]: “I live among people who are like me so as not to fear people who are unlike me”… You do not take the power you have gathered onto the streets, in order to build an organization that will transcend the street and reach former opponents who have experienced a turning point in their lives.

Sarah Leah Whitson: “Israel should end, today, before it’s too late, its almost two-month-long refusal to inform [Khader] Adnan of any criminal charge or evidence against him.”

To the government of the state of Israel: We are Anonymous. For two long we have tolerated your crimes against humanity and allowed your sins to go unpunished. Through the use of media deception and political bribery, you have amassed the sympathies of many. You claim to be democratic, yet in reality this is far from the truth, in fact your only goal is to better the lives of a select few while carelessly trampling the liberties of the masses. We see through the propaganda that you circulate through the mainstream media and lobby through the political establishment.

Khader Adnan has already broken a Palestinian record for the longest solo hunger strike. Yesterday he passed his 50th day as a hunger striker, protesting what he regards as humiliating practices exercised by Shin Bet security service interrogators. Posters displayed at support rallies have above his portrait the statement: “Dignity above food”, a statement repeated in a Facebook page titled “We are all Sheikh Khader Adnan.”

Anonymous Hackers: “@haaretzprint we are sorry , we didn’t know that haaretz is a good newspaper,we sorry about this , and be sure no one will attack u again.”

IOA Editor: In an interesting twist, rightwing extremist MK Arieh Eldad quipped that the “anti-Israel hate messages” left on the Haaretz website by the hackers “will probably become the paper’s draft editorial for tomorrow’s copy.” The only problem: no hate messages of any kind were placed on the website.

Despite the focus on my new book and writing, this was not about me; it is all about targeting a Palestinian citizen who is determined to use the legal means available to her in order to fight for her people – whether they are Israeli citizens, inside the Occupied Territories, or expelled refugees.

Marwan Barghuti: “The conflict will be finished the moment the Israeli occupation ends, and there is a full withdrawal to the 1967 borders and a Palestinian state is established… I call on the great Palestinian people to embrace unity and cohesion and to establish a national unity government and also to embrace popular, peaceful resistance to end the occupation.”

Palestinian Knesset member Haneen Zoabi is known for her fierce opposition to Zionism, to the concept of Israel as a Jewish state which she sees as inherently racist and unjust, and to the Israeli occupation. Instead, she envisions Arab-Jewish co-existence in Israel/Palestine, based on justice and equality, under a state for all its citizens. She also advocates replacing the Israeli occupation by a Palestinian state, and protecting the rights of Palestinian refugees.

Jonathan Cook and the IOA Editor sat with Haneen Zoabi at her Nazareth home in mid-December 2011 for an extended interview covering these issues and much more.

Activists said the artwork was the start of a campaign which will target other locations in Jerusalem and may spread across Israel. It is a message “to both our occupiers and our people here in Palestine and around the world, we are still here and our voice is still loud.”

In a letter penned in jail to the Palestinian people, commemorating his Fatah party’s 47th anniversary, Barghouti said peace negotiations with Israel are finished, “and there is no point to make desperate attempts to breathe life into a dead body… Fatah … should be in the leadership of the peaceful popular resistance now.”

Anyone who has been harmed by the Israeli dictatorship feels alone, weak, angry and desperate. But every family in its own way cultivates its humanity. In a curious and moving way – despite internal rivalries, an unfair distribution of the burden, manifestations of ignorance and opportunism and disappointing leadership – the ability to remain steadfast and social solidarity are the overall result.

The Palestinian people are under occupation. It doesn’t surprise me that the media has not raised the issue of the thousands of prisoners who are in prison. They have never given us any sense of value or consideration. It was Shalit who was the one who was oppressed. He was the one paying the price. The whole world was talking about Shalit. But no people can ever be victorious as long as the value of an individual is not respected. Up until now, we are worthless to the international community. Because it is westerners who have ‘value.’

Palestinian activists will attempt to peacefully board segregated Israeli public transportation in the occupied West Bank to travel to East Jerusalem in action reminiscent of the Civil Rights Movement’s Freedom Rides to the US South. UPDATED

The Tribunal finds that Israel subjects the Palestinian people to an institutionalised regime of domination amounting to apartheid as defined under international law. This discriminatory regime manifests in varying intensity and forms against different categories of Palestinians depending on their location. The Palestinians living under colonial military rule in the Occupied Palestinian Territory are subject to a particularly aggravated form of apartheid.

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Download the full findings of the Russell Tribunal session HERE

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