Palestine

 

NAKBA DAY-  Nakba 74- 74 years of Palestinian resistance. It's also known as the Palestinian Catastrophe, which was the destruction of Palestinian society and homeland in 1948 by Israeli colonialism.  

We do no forget the mass displacement of the Palestinian people from their cities and villages, massacres of civilians, and the razing to the ground of many Palestinian villages that occurred in 1948. For centuries, Palestinians had been living in vibrant towns and cities in Palestine. But in 1948, people who wanted to establish Israel on land where Palestinians were already living forced nearly 75% of the Palestinian population out of their homes and off their land, separating families and destroying entire communities. Today, the Palestinians are among the largest displaced population with over 2 million people who can't return to their homeland.

Palestinians mark 68th 'Nakba Day'Nakba Day - WikipediaComrade - May 15, 1948 - Nakba Day, "Day of the Catastrophe." It's an  annual day of commemoration of the mass displacement of the Palestinian  people from their cities and villages, massacres

NAKBA DAY-  Nakba 74- 74 years of Palestinian resistance. It's also known as the Palestinian Catastrophe, which was the destruction of Palestinian society and homeland in 1948 by Israeli colonialism.  


The testimony of Du’aa al-Masri, whose daughter Fatimah died at the age of 19 months after Israel refused to allow her to exit Gaza for medical treatment

ears, Du’aa and Jalal al-Masri unsuccessfully tried to have children. Du’aa underwent multiple miscarriages and many expensive, painful treatments. Until finally, in 2020, their firstborn daughter, Fatimah, pictured here on a family outing to the Gaza beach, came into the world. At nine months old, she needed lifesaving treatment, but Israeli policies have rendered the healthcare system in Gaza unable to provide the care she needed. 

Israel would even not let her leave Gaza to receive treatment elsewhere. Fatimah passed away on March 25, 2022, at the age of 19 months. In a testimony she gave B'Tselem field researcher Olfat al-Kurd on 30 March Du’aa al-Masri recalled: 


My husband, Jalal al-Masri (38), and I got married in 2012. For eight years, we unsuccessfully tried to have children. I’ve had several miscarriages and went through lots of treatments, which we sold everything we had to pay for. In the end, I managed to conceive and have Fatimah in 2020, after eight years of suffering from the treatments and medications. She gave me such joy.

Fatimah was born healthy, but at nine months old, she started coughing. A cardiologist who examined her found she had a hole in her heart. She was discharged from the hospital with an inhalation device that was supposed to help her breathe.

Last October, the doctors told us the hole had grown, and she had to go get treatment at al-Makassed Hospital in East Jerusalem. We got a referral for treatment outside the Strip right away.

We made an appointment for her for 28 December 2021, and put my mother’s name down as an accompanying person - Yasmin al-Masri (46). The evening before, my mother got a text message that the application was still under review. We had no choice, and we made another appointment for 6 January 2022, but all we were told was that the application is still under review, so we made an appointment for 13 February 2022, and we missed it again - again we were told the application was under review.

Over this time, Fatimah’s condition deteriorated, and she became very sick. The doctors suggested we try to expedite the application. We made another application and got an appointment for 27 March 2022, but the Israeli DCO rejected it because it was less than 14 days since we made the last application. I went back to the hospital and asked for a coverage guarantee for a later date and a new medical report. We filed the application again and got an appointment for 5 April 2022. Fatimah died before, on 25 March 2022.

On that day, at 10:30 A.M., Fatimah woke up and had breakfast. I picked her up and washed her face. She said to me: Mama, I love you. I love baba. As I held her, I felt she was already unconscious. I opened the door of the house and started screaming. My brother-in-law Adham (40) took her from me, and we drove to the hospital right away. At the hospital, they told me she had died. I felt that Fatimah passed while still in my arms. I started screaming and crying.

I can’t get over the shock and the pain. Fatimah was everything to me. Her voice has gone from the house, and I’ll never hear it again. She won’t call me mama and won’t call her father baba.

I can’t look at her toys. I gave them all away, her clothes too. Saying goodbye to Fatimah was hard. She lay in front of me for an hour. I looked at her innocent face. I cried. I held her.

My baby died because Israel wouldn’t let her get treatment. All of this time, we kept getting calls from al-Makassed Hospital, telling us they were waiting for us. Every time, we told them the application was being reviewed by the Israeli coordination.

Fatimah was an innocent baby. If they had told me I had to send her without


Peace Action statement on the murder of Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh and Israeli police riot at her funeral

May 13, 2022

Peace Action shares in the widespread grief and outrage over the killing of Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh, and the subsequent Israeli police attack on her mourners and pallbearers. 

US Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), a proud Jewish American and one of the staunchest supporters of Israel in Congress, has called for an independent investigation into the murder.

Peace Action agrees with the need for an independent investigation, and further, calls for re-invigoration of peace efforts to end the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and a halt to further US military aid to Israel. Peace Action supports legislation to advance measures to ensure Palestinian rights while under occupation, such as US Representative Betty McCollum (D-MN) bill, The Palestinian Children and Families Act (H.R. 2590), which creates accountability around how U.S. tax dollars are used by Israel. It’s a modest but powerful step that boils down to the boldest piece of U.S. legislation ever introduced on Palestinian human rights.

Here is a first hand description of Shireen Abu Aqleh’s murder, from the website Mondoweiss:

Palestinian journalist, and Mondoweiss contributor Shatha Hanaysha was next to Abu Akleh when she died. Here’s how she described the terrible scene to Middle East Eye:

We made ourselves visible to the soldiers who were stationed hundreds of metres away from us. We remained still for around 10 minutes to make sure they knew we were there as journalists. 

When no warning shots were fired at us, we moved uphill towards the camp. 

Out of nowhere, we heard the first gunshot.

I turned around and saw my colleague Ali al-Sammoudi on the floor. A bullet hit him in the back but his wound was not serious and he managed to move away from the fire. 

A scene of chaos followed. 

My colleague Mujahed jumped over a small fence nearby to stay away from the bullets. 

“Come over here,” he told me and Shireen, but we were on the other side of the street and couldn’t risk crossing. 

“Al-Sammoudi is hit,” Shireen shouted, standing right behind me, as we both stood with our backs to a wall to take cover. 

Right then, another bullet pierced Shireen’s neck, and she fell to the ground right next to me. 

I called her name but she didn’t move. When I tried to extend my arm to reach her, another bullet was fired, and I had to stay hiding behind a tree.

That tree saved my life, as it was the only thing obstructing the soldiers’ view of me. 

According to Hanaysha, the attack was no accident. “What happened was a deliberate attempt to kill us,” she said. Whoever shot at us aimed to kill. And it was an Israeli sniper that shot at us. We were not caught up in crossfire with Palestinian fighters like the Israeli army claimed.”

Peace is Every Step,

Kevin Martin, President 
Peace Action and Peace Action Education Fund

Ramallah, May 12, 2022—Israeli settlers attacked a human rights field researcher from Defense for Children International - Palestine today near Jenin.

A group of at least 10 Israeli settlers accompanied by Israeli forces attacked Hani Nassar, a field researcher at DCIP, around 5:15 p.m. today on Route 60 near the evacuated Israeli settlement of Homesh, south of the northern occupied West Bank city Jenin. Nassar was physically assaulted by the Israeli settlers then Israeli forces sprayed him with pepper spray, according to information collected by DCIP. A large group of at least 50 Israeli settlers approached Nassar and other Palestinians nearby, attacking people and their cars. Nassar was transported to a health clinic in Silat Ad-Dhaher, a Palestinian village located nearby, where he was treated and released.

“Settler violence is state-sanctioned violence as Israeli forces aid and protect Israeli settlers as they carry out attacks against Palestinians,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “This incident accentuates how rampant and unchecked settler violence against Palestinians is due to systemic impunity.”

Nassar joined DCIP as a field researcher in 2011 and works to document human rights violations against Palestinian children living in the northern occupied West Bank. At the time he was attacked, Nassar was driving south toward Nablus after attending a meeting in Jenin and working to document a case involving ill-treatment of a Palestinian child detained by Israeli forces. 

 

 

While Homesh was officially evacuated in 2005, a group called Homesh First established a Jewish seminary at the site soon after the evacuation, according to Haaretz. The Israeli settlers there are known to be extremely violent, Haaretz reported.  

In August 2021, Israeli settlers from Homesh abducted and brutally assaulted 15-year-old Tareq Z. The settlers pursued and struck Tareq with their car, tied him to the vehicle’s hood, hung him by his arms from a tree, and beat him until he lost consciousness, according to information collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine.

 

Israeli settlers commit violence against Palestinians and their property daily throughout the occupied West Bank. Between January 1 and April 18, 2022, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Aid (OCHA) documented 181 Israeli settler attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property. 

Israel has an obligation as the Occupying Power under international humanitarian law to protect the Palestinian population living under Israeli military occupation. However, DCIP documentation shows that Israeli forces frequently fail to intervene to stop or prevent Israeli settler attacks. Often, Israeli forces protect the Israeli settlers as they carry out attacks and acts of violence against Palestinians and their property. 

While they are civilians, Israeli settlers are issued firearms by the Israeli government and many subscribe to ultra-nationalistic beliefs that manifest in extreme violence towards Palestinians, including children. Israeli settlers who attack Palestinians are motivated by the drive to dispossess Palestinians of their land, according to Israeli human rights group Yesh Din.

Despite living in the same territory, Palestinians in the occupied West Bank are subject to Israeli military law, while Israeli settlers living illegally in permanent, Jewish-only communities built on Palestinian land are subject to the Israeli civilian legal system. Since Israeli forces occupied the West Bank in 1967, Israeli authorities have established more than 200 Jewish-only settlements that house around 700,000 Israeli citizens, according to the Times of Israel.

Impunity is rampant for Israeli settlers who attack Palestinians. According to Israeli human rights group Yesh Din, 91 percent of investigations into ideological crimes against Palestinians are closed with no indictments filed. 

Israeli authorities consistently fail to investigate complaints filed against settlers. According to Yesh Din, between 2005-2019, 82 percent of investigative files on ideological crimes against Palestinians were closed due to police failures. 

It is rare for charges to be filed and even rarer for Israeli settlers to be convicted for violence or offenses against Palestinians. One recent exception was when an Israeli court found Israeli settler Amiram Ben-Uleil, 25, guilty of the racially motivated murder of a Palestinian toddler and his parents. In the early hours of July 31, 2015, Ben-Uleil and another masked man threw firebombs into the home of 18-month old Ali Dawabsheh, four-year-old Ahmad, and their parents, Saad and Riham, in the northern occupied West Bank village of Duma. Only Ahmad, who sustained burns to over 60 percent of his body, survived.

Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits Israel, the Occupying Power, from transferring its civilians to the Occupied Palestinian Territory. It also prohibits Israel from transferring Palestinians, the protected population, unless necessary for the protected population’s security or out of military necessity. Violations of Article 49 are grave violations of international humanitarian law and amount to war crimes. 

The United Nations Security Council reaffirmed the prohibition on establishing settlements in Security Council Resolutions 446, 452, 465, and most recently, 2334. Despite this prohibition, Israel began establishing Jewish-only settlements for Israeli civilians shortly after it occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip in 1967. Israeli authorities frequently displace Palestinian communities and appropriate Palestinian lands to establish these Jewish-only settlements.


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

Occupied Palestinian territory: Protection of Civilians Report | 5-18 April 2022

Latest Developments (after the reporting period)

  • On 22 April, an 18-year-old Palestinian man succumbed to wounds sustained on 9 April, when shot by Israeli forces during a search-and-arrest operation in Al Yamun.

  • On 19 and 20 April, a Palestinian armed group in Gaza fired two rockets towards Israel; three Israeli civilians were reportedly injured while seeking shelter, and damage was reported. Subsequently, Israeli forces launched air strikes hitting military positions in Gaza; there were no Palestinian injuries, but damage was reported.

Highlights from the reporting period

  • In continuing violence in Israel and the West Bank, 15 Palestinians and three Israelis were killed, and 945 Palestinians and 23 Israelis were injured; multiple search-and-arrest operations and violent clashes took place, and severe access restrictions were implemented. The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, issued a statement on 19 April expressing his concern at the violence and urging leaders to “reduce tensions, create the conditions for calm and ensure the status quo at the Holy Sites is protected.”

  • Two Israelis were killed, and eleven were injured, in two Palestinian attacks; both perpetrators were subsequently killed. On 7 April, a Palestinian man from Jenin refugee camp shot and killed two Israelis and injured ten others in Tel Aviv (Israel); the next day, one of those injured died of his wounds, and Israeli forces shot and killed the assailant in an exchange of fire. On 10 April, a Palestinian woman allegedly stabbed an Israeli border policeman at the entrance of the Ibrahimi Mosque in the H2 area of Hebron city and was shot and killed by Israeli forces. According to eyewitnesses, soldiers prevented medical teams from reaching the woman for about half an hour. Following the attack, Israeli forces intensified restrictions on the entry of Muslim worshippers to the mosque. The bodies of both Palestinians are withheld by the Israeli authorities, as of the end of the reporting period. On 12 April, a Palestinian man from Hebron was shot and killed by Israeli police during a raid on a workplace in Israel suspected of employing Palestinians without Israeli-issued permits. Israeli officials said that the man had stabbed an Israeli police office; Palestinian eyewitnesses said he was asleep and had showed no resistance.

  • Following the shooting attack in Tel Aviv, Israeli military operations intensified across the West Bank; eleven Palestinians, including three children, were killed by Israeli forces and others were injured during multiple search-and-arrest operations and other circumstances. On 9 April, in Jenin refugee camp, from which the shooter had come, Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian man and injured another ten, including a 17-year-old child, who died two days later of his wounds; an exchange of fire with Palestinians reportedly took place during the operation. On 10 April, in Husan (Bethlehem), Israeli forces shot and killed an unarmed 45-year-old Palestinian woman with vision impairment after she ignored their calls to stop approaching them, according to Israeli authorities, who opened an investigation into the incident. Also on 10 April, in Al Khadr (Bethlehem), a 21-year-old man was shot and killed after he reportedly threw a Molotov cocktail at Israeli vehicles, according to Israeli sources. In three separate search-and-arrest operations on 13 and 14 April, Israeli forces shot and killed four Palestinians and injured another six, including a 17-year-old boy who died of his wounds days later. The three search-and-arrest operations took place in Silwad (Ramallah), Kafr Dan (Jenin) and Beita (Nablus), triggering clashes which erupted over the course of these operations. On 14 April, another 14-year-old boy was killed by Israeli forces at the entrance of Husan (Bethlehem) where Palestinians threw stones at Israeli forces positioned at the entrance of the village, and Israeli forces fired live ammunition, rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters. On 18 April, a Palestinian woman died of wounds she sustained while in a taxi during an exchange of fire between Palestinians and Israeli forces on 9 April in Jenin.

  • Another Palestinian man was killed by Israeli forces near Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus on 13 April, which has been a source of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces who have been accompanying Israeli settlers to the site over the years. On 9 April, Palestinians vandalized the compound, setting fire to part of it. The Palestinian Authority announced its intention to repair the structure; however, on 13 April, Israeli settlers and Israeli forces accessed the compound to carry out the repairs. While doing so, Israeli forces fired sound bombs and Palestinians threw stones at them. Subsequently, the forces shot live ammunition, rubber-coated metal bullets and teargas canisters, injuring 26 Palestinians. The man who was killed was in his car taking his nephews to a nearby school when hit by a bullet. On 10 April, Palestinian forces shot and injured two settlers who tried to access Joseph’s Tomb without military accompaniment, and another Israeli settler ran over and injured a Palestinian man while fleeing the area in his vehicle.

  • Since the beginning of Ramadan, on 2 April, Israeli forces have intensified their presence in and around the Old City of Jerusalem. On 15 and 17 April, Israeli forces raided the Haram Al Sharif/Temple Mount and used force to evacuate Palestinians. According to the Israeli Police Commissioner, this took place after Palestinians attacked a police station and threatened the safety of Jewish worshipers at the Western Wall. Israeli forces shot stun grenades, sponge-tipped bullets and beat Palestinians with batons, including children, women, journalists and others who were demonstrably not involved in any stone-throwing. A total of 180 Palestinians, including 27 children and four women, were injured. According to Israeli media, three members of Israeli forces were injured by stones. During the 15 April operation, Israeli forces arrested 470 Palestinians, including 60 children, the majority of whom were released later that day.

  • In addition to the 180 injured in East jerusalem above, another 765 Palestinians, including 35 children, were injured by Israeli forces across the West Bank, representing a 73 per cent increase from the previous reporting period. Most of the injuries (485) were recorded in different demonstrations. These included some 201 injuries reported in eight anti-settlement protests near Beita, Beit Dajan, Burqa and Qaryut (all in Nablus), and Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya). Another 284 injuries resulted from demonstrations against the high number of fatalities, with some participants throwing stones and Israeli forces firing teargas canisters, rubber bullets and live ammunition. Another 212 injuries were recorded in 16 search-and-arrest operations across the West Bank, including in Beita (Nablus), when 147 people were injured in a single operation. In total, Israeli forces carried out 109 search-and-arrest operations and arrested 108 Palestinians. On 12 and 13 April, Israeli forces raided the Palestine Technical University in Tulkarm, where they opened fire at students, injuring 68 of them as well as one security guard, who Israeli officials said was suspected of being involved in an attack against Israelis. Of all the Palestinian injuries, 85 were hit by live ammunition, 90 were by rubber bullets and most of the remainder were treated for inhaling teargas.

  • A total of 130,000 Palestinians holding West Bank IDs entered East Jerusalem on the first and second Fridays of Ramadan (8 and 15 April) through the four designated checkpoints along the Barrier, according to official Israeli figures. The Israeli authorities allowed men above 50 years of age, women of all ages and children below 12 years of age to enter East Jerusalem without permits. This year, the Israeli authorities did not grant Ramadan or Easter permits for residents of Gaza.

  • The Israeli authorities demolished, confiscated, or forced people to demolish five Palestinian-owned structures in Area C of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, citing the lack of Israeli-issued building permits. As a result, eight people including four children were displaced and the livelihoods of about four others were affected. The decline in demolitions and confiscations witnessed in recent weeks is consistent with the practice in most previous years during the month of Ramadan.

  • Israeli settlers injured two Palestinians, and people known or believed to be settlers damaged Palestinian property in twelve instances. On 9 April, settlers physically assaulted a Palestinian man grazing livestock near Kafr al Labad (Tulkarm) and another man in the H2 area of Hebron city. Three additional attacks occurred in Qaryut (Nablus), Ras at Tin community (Ramallah), and Wadi Fukin (Bethlehem), including breaking into livelihood structures, stealing agricultural equipment and water tanks and causing damage to a water facility and pipelines. In two incidents, settlers attacked Palestinian herders and their cows in Hammat al Maleh community in the northern Jordan Valley (Tubas) and Palestinian farmers in Kafr ad Dik (Salfit), causing damage to crops. In another five incidents, stones were thrown at Palestinian vehicles near Jerusalem, Hebron and Nablus, causing damage to at least eight vehicles.

  • People known or believed to be Palestinians injured 13 Israeli settlers and damaged seven Israeli vehicles travelling on West Bank roads by stone-throwing near Nablus, Ramallah, and Jerusalem. Israeli-plated vehicles and buses were damaged by stones or Molotov cocktails thrown at them in eight incidents.

  • On 18 April, for the first time in over three months, Palestinian armed groups in the Gaza Strip fired a rocket towards southern Israel. The rocket was intercepted by the Israeli military. Subsequently, Israeli forces launched air strikes hitting a military training site in the southern Gaza Strip. No injuries were reported in either incident.

  • **Also in the Gaza Strip, on at least 38 occasions, Israeli forces opened warning fire near Israel’s perimeter fence or off the coast, presumably to enforce access restrictions. **In two incidents, Israeli forces arrested seven fishermen at sea, injured one of them and confiscated three fishing boats

This report reflects information available as of the time of publication. The most updated data and more breakdowns are available at ochaopt.org/data.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.

View the film "Caging Childhood"
https://nwttac.dci-palestine.org/documentary_caging_childhood

Caging Childhood was produced by Defense for Children International - Palestine and premiered on November 20, 2021, World Children's Day.


NWTTAC Stages of Detention Poster

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 Ramallah, February 3, 2022—Today, Defense for Children International - Palestine joined other leading Palestinian human rights and civil society organizations to file a procedural objection to the decision by Israeli military authorities declaring DCIP and other groups “unlawful associations.”Ramallah, February 3, 2022—Today, Defense for Children International - Palestine joined other leading Palestinian human rights and civil society organizations to file a procedural objection to the decision by Israeli military authorities declaring DCIP and other groups “unlawful associations.”

https://www.dci-palestine.org/dcip_demands_israeli_military_cancel_declaration_as_unlawful_association

 

https://english.alaraby.co.uk/news/palestine-carter-center-backs-six-ngos-banned-israel


On the fourth anniversary of the Great March of Return and on Palestinian Land Day, join Adalah Justice Project and American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) for a conversation with Palestinian activists Soheir Asaad, Mariam Barghouti, and Ahmed Abuartema as we share reflections and analyses of the current situation on the ground across Palestine, and what recent moments of popular resistance mean in the broader context of the Palestinian struggle for liberation. Moments and movements such as the 2018 Great March of Return in Gaza and the 2021 Unity Intifada are but two examples from the last few years of a growing movement of popular mass mobilization across Palestine. The first Land Day took place in 1976, when Palestinians organized large demonstrations and a nation-wide strike against Israel's plan to expropriate large swaths of Palestinian land for Jewish-only settlements. They were met with brutal Israeli repression that ultimately led to the massacre of six Palestinians. This resistance to Israel's occupation and expansion is ongoing today— from Gaza and the West Bank, to '48 and the diaspora. Our speakers are Ahmed Abu Artema, Soheir Asaad, and Mariam Barghouti. The panel was moderated by Sandra Tamari, Executive Director of the Adalah Justice Project.

The No Way to Treat a Child campaign's first webinar of the year was on Jan 13, 2022. It was a jam-packed hour that included updates on Palestinian children in Israeli military detention, new resources and tips to help you advocate for Palestinian human rights, an inside look at how AROC pushed Rep. Lee to cosponsor H.R. 2590, and more. If you missed the live webinar or would like to share the recording with a friend, here's the YouTube link.

Watch the webinar recording »

Approximately 2.9 million Palestinians live in the occupied West Bank, of which around 45 percent are children under the age of 18.

Palestinian children in the West Bank, like adults, face arrest, prosecution, and imprisonment under an Israeli military detention system that denies them basic rights.

Since 1967, Israel has operated two separate legal systems in the same territory. In the occupied West Bank, Israeli settlers are subject to the civilian and criminal legal system whereas Palestinians live under military law.

Israel applies civilian criminal law to Palestinian children in East Jerusalem. No Israeli child comes into contact with the military courts.

Israel has the dubious distinction of being the only country in the world that automatically and systematically prosecutes children in military courts that lack fundamental fair trial rights and protections. Israel prosecutes between 500 and 700 Palestinian children in military courts each year.

Ill-treatment in the Israeli military detention system remains “widespread, systematic, and institutionalized throughout the process,” according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report Children in Israeli Military Detention Observations and Recommendations.

Children typically arrive to interrogation bound, blindfolded, frightened, and sleep deprived.

Children often give confessions after verbal abuse, threats, physical and psychological violence that in some cases amounts to torture.

Israeli military law provides no right to legal counsel during interrogation, and Israeli military court judges seldom exclude confessions obtained by coercion or torture.

From testimonies of 739 Palestinian children detained by Israeli forces from the occupied West Bank and prosecuted in Israeli military courts between 2013 and 2018, DCIP found that:

  • 73 percent experienced physical violence following arrest
  • 95 percent were hand tied
  • 86 percent were blindfolded
  • 49 percent were detained from their homes in the middle of the night
  • 64 percent faced verbal abuse, humiliation, or intimidation
  • 74 percent of children were not properly informed of their rights
  • 96 percent were interrogated without the presence of a family member
  • 20 percent were subject to stress positions
  • 49 percent signed documents in Hebrew, a language most Palestinian children don’t understand

Since 2000, an estimated 10,000 Palestinian children have been detained by Israeli forces from the occupied West Bank and held in the Israeli military detention system.

Israel in 1991 ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which requires that children should only be deprived of their liberty as a measure of last resort, must not be unlawfully or arbitrarily detained, and must not be subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Despite sustained engagement by UNICEF and repeated calls to end night arrests and ill treatment and torture of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention, Israeli authorities have persistently failed to implement practical changes to stop violence against child detainees.

Reforms undertaken by Israeli military authorities so far have tended to be cosmetic in nature rather than substantively addressing physical violence and torture by Israeli military and police forces.


A Call to Action: Environmental Justice Has No Borders


Our campaign to end greenwashing trips to apartheid Israel is ongoing. Today, alongside our partners in the movement, we put out a call to all organizations, groups, and institutions committed to environmental justice to take a pledge to refuse participation in nature trips on colonized land. 
Take Action!

Israel Is Committing the Crime of Apartheid. What Should We Do About It?

When Amnesty International released its report “Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians: Cruel System of Domination and Crime Against Humanity” earlier the month, it was clearly part of a rapidly expanding trend. Palestinian human rights defenders, members of Congress and faith leaders in the United States, academics, and activists of the Palestinian rights movement around the world have long recognized and condemned Israeli apartheid, and called for accountability.

More recently, influential human rights organizations and experts have produced a spate of reports analyzing and condemning the phenomenon. Amnesty’s report emerged after acclaimed Israeli human rights advocacy organizations published their reports: 18 months after Yesh Din’s “The Occupation of the West Bank and the Crime of Apartheid: Legal Opinion,” and a year after B’tselem’s “A Regime of Jewish Supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This Is Apartheid.” Amnesty’s arrived eight months after Human Rights Watch published “A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution.

Read the full article at Common Dreams.


Gaza pays the price for Jewish state in Palestine

Children wearing birthday hats sit on rubble

A new statistical report on Israel’s most recent assault on Gaza shows the unbearable price paid by Palestinians for the maintenance of a Jewish state in Palestine.

Authored by three Palestinian human rights organizations – Al Mezan, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights and Al-Haq – the report examines the full-scale military offensive endured by Gazans for 11 days in May last year.

The extensive damage that Israel wrought on Gaza “further compounded the long-lasting humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip” after 14 years of intensified closure and economic blockade – a form of collective punishment prohibited under international law.

Israel meanwhile closed its crossings with Gaza during the May escalation. Two children referred for medical treatment outside the coastal enclave “died waiting for access,” according to the human rights groups.

A rigorous field survey by those groups found that 240 Palestinians were killed by Israeli occupation forces during the 11-day offensive.

Of them, 151 were civilians and 89 belonged to armed groups, though 10 of the latter were not actively participating in hostilities when they were killed.

Among the 151 civilians killed, 59 were children, 54 were men and 38 were women. The vast majority – 111 people – were killed by weapons fired from Israeli fighter jets.

Nearly half of the total of 240 people killed in Gaza during the war, and all but one of the women killed, were at home at the time of the Israeli strike that ended their lives.

One-third of the total of 240 people killed were engaged in military action at the time.

The human rights groups note the “large number of casualties compared to the short duration of the military operation, and the overall number of civilians, including children and women, killed.”

The use of overwhelming force against civilians is a key Israeli military strategy.

That strategy – the “Dahiyeh Doctrine” – is named for the Beirut suburb heavily bombarded by Israel in 2006, when it was roundly defeated by Hizballah.

By using indiscriminate and disproportionate force, Israel aims to restore deterrence and turn the targeted civilian population against the armed resistance, whether it be Hizballah in Lebanon or Hamas in Gaza.

In both places, the Dahiyeh Doctrine has failed to turn the people against the resistance, which has in both Lebanon and Gaza increased its capacity and capabilities.

During May last year, Palestinian unity across geographic and political divides galvanized in ways not seen in years and inspired renewed global solidarity.

The May war began after Israeli police stormed Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque while it was filled with worshippers, injuring hundreds. Tensions had been brewing in the city for weeks as Israel sought and continues to seek to expel Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and hand them over to Jewish settlers.

Resistance groups in Gaza fired volleys of rockets towards Jerusalem that night after a warning from the leader of Hamas’ armed wing over attacks in the city went unheeded by Israel.

Israel began striking northern Gaza, where at least 20 Palestinians, including nine children, were killed on that first day.

The 11-day escalation ended with no decisive Israeli defeat against the resistance in Gaza – an automatic victory for the latter in the context of anti-colonial guerrilla warfare.

Twelve people in Israel were killed, including two Palestinian citizens of the state, three foreign workers and one soldier.

The Dahiyeh Doctrine hasn’t achieved what Israel intends though it has inflicted profound harm on targeted civilians.

“We will have to kill and kill and kill”

But so long as Palestinians rightly refuse to submit to their removal and replacement with foreign settlers, Israel as the colonizing power requires a horrendously violent policy like the Dahiyeh Doctrine.

That was admitted to by Haifa University demographer Arnon Soffer, a close adviser to the late Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, ahead of the latter’s unilateral withdrawal of settlers from Gaza in 2005 and tightened blockade on the territory two years later.

Soffer anticipated that Palestinians in Gaza, isolated and closed off, and with little other means of leveraging pressure on Israel, would rely on firing projectiles to resist what has become a medieval siege enforced by one of the world’s strongest militaries against a population of more than two million stateless people.

“We will tell the Palestinians that if a single missile is fired over the fence, we will fire ten in response. And women and children will be killed and houses will be destroyed,” Soffer explained.

Anticipating the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, Soffer added, “The pressure at the border will be awful. It’s going to be a terrible war. So if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day.”

This violence is necessary to guarantee “a Jewish-Zionist state with an overwhelming majority of Jews,” as Soffer explained.

That is the logic underlying Israel’s violence last May, when defense minister Benny Gantz warned that “no person, area or neighborhood in Gaza is immune.”

And so 14 families lost three or more members when Israel bombed their homes.

Half of all fatalities during the May war occurred in Gaza City, where Israel targeted densely populated neighborhoods and wiped out multiple generations of individual families.

In addition to those killed, nearly 2,000 people in Gaza were wounded, among them 941 men, 630 children and 397 women.

Meanwhile, more than 1,300 residential units were destroyed and 6,367 sustained significant damage, mainly in northern Gaza and in the Gaza City area.

Some 420 hectares of agricultural land was damaged by Israeli missiles and artillery shells, or because of obstruction to access, affecting more than 5,350 people.

Additionally, more than 220 livestock and poultry farms were damaged, as were 24 water wells, 169 vehicles, 59 manufacturing plants, 483 commercial facilities and 871 other facilities including banks, daycare centers, private offices, schools, houses of worship and government offices.

“Intent to dominate”

The rights groups that authored the statistical report point to Israel’s “broader policy of harm adopted at the highest levels.”

“In particular, the widespread targeting of family homes in Gaza has appeared as a key feature of Israel’s military attacks,” they add.

This conduct “forms part of Israel’s institutionalized system of racial discrimination and intent to dominate and oppress the Palestinian people as a whole – a policy that amounts to the crime of apartheid.”

Amnesty International recently joined Palestinian human rights groups calling on the International Criminal Court to “investigate the commission of the crime of apartheid.”

In Gaza, Israel subjects Palestinians to a “blanket ban on movement” as part of its “intent to separate and divide Palestinians and thereby to assert its domination over them, in furtherance of its overarching settler-colonialist agenda,” according to Al Mezan.

The tightened blockade since 2007, along with repeated Israeli military assaults, have “forced Gaza into profound levels of poverty, aid dependency, food insecurity and unemployment, and led to the collapse of essential public services, including healthcare and water, sanitation and hygiene,” Al Mezan adds.

Indeed, according to the human rights group, Israel’s actions have “rendered Gaza all but uninhabitable.”

Israel has killed more than 5,200 Palestinians, including some 1,200 children, during four full-scale military offensives in Gaza since 2008.

The worsening water crisis in the territory is meanwhile tied to Israel’s demographic engineering in Palestine.

As Al Mezan notes, Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas in the world, with two-thirds of its people refugees denied their right to return to their lands on the other side of the Gaza-Israel boundary fence.

Israel’s targeting of Palestinian homes in Gaza, killing their inhabitants, creates a “ ‘coercive environment’ in which families have no choice but to move,” Al Mezan adds.

“This has caused the forced internal displacement of tens of thousands of Palestinian families, a number of whom remain without safe, adequate and/or affordable permanent housing today.”

Israeli officials have admitted that the state is “encouraging” emigration from Gaza. Facing some of the highest unemployment rates in the world, and few prospects, young people with the means of leaving Gaza are doing so.

Al Mezan observes: “The aim has been to create and maintain an Israeli Jewish superiority, consolidating effective control and dominance, with the aim of gradually eradicating the indigenous Palestinian people.”

One missile, one bullet and one destroyed future at a time.

 


Rejecting Piecemeal Approaches, Secretary-General Says Concrete Steps Urgently Needed to Achieve Two-State Solution, as Palestinian Rights Committee Begins 2022 Session

Israel Imposing Apartheid Regime against Palestinians, Speakers Stress, Noting 2021 among Deadliest Years in Over a Decade for Civilian Population

Intensified efforts are urgently needed to resolve the Israel-Palestine situation with a view to reaching the overall goal of two States living side by side in peace and security, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said today at the first formal meeting of the Palestinian Rights Committee in 2022.

“There is no plan B,” he told members of the 25-member entity, known formally as the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, which the General Assembly established in 1975.  “Time is running short.  We cannot lose sight of the long-sought goal of ending the occupation and realizing a two-State solution.  All parties must take concrete steps to improve the prospects of a negotiated solution and achieve a just and lasting peace.”

Piecemeal approaches to the question of Palestine will only ensure that the underlying issues perpetuating the conflict remain unaddressed, he said, emphasizing that unilateral steps and illegal actions that drive the conflict must stop.  Concerned about continued violence across the Occupied Palestinian Territory, he said all settlement activity is illegal and must stop.  Continued human rights violations against Palestinians significantly impede their ability to live in security and to develop their communities and economy, he continued, also calling on all parties to preserve the status quo at the holy sites in the Old City of Jerusalem.

While working towards reviving the political process, he said the international community must support efforts to improve the economic and humanitarian situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  The United Nations Humanitarian Flash Appeal for Gaza has received vital support, reconstruction efforts in Gaza are ongoing and the Organization’s system continues with critical COVID-19 response efforts on the ground.  At the same time, concerns remain about the dire fiscal situation facing the Palestinian Authority, which is undermining its institutional stability and ability to provide services to its people.  In addition, the existential financial threat facing the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is affecting the rights and well-being of Palestine refugees across the region.

Calling on Member States to increase their financial support to the Palestinian people and their contributions to UNRWA, he said Israeli decisions to increase the movement of goods and people in and out of the Gaza Strip is not enough.  For sustainable improvement to lives and livelihoods in Gaza, it is important to expand such steps and work towards a full lifting of the closures in line with Security Council resolution 1860 (2009).  For its part, the United Nations is committed to supporting Palestinians and Israelis to resolve the conflict, he said.

Feda Abdelhady-Nasser, an observer for the State of Palestine, regretted to note that 2022 has begun the same as 2021, as the occupation continues amid violence, displacement and trauma against the backdrop of a global pandemic.  Leading human rights organizations have reached the same conclusions:  that Israel is imposing an apartheid regime against the Palestinian people.  As such, the international community must be clear:  this is not about antisemitism, but about human rights, based on facts and international law.  Citing such incidents as the Gaza blockade, she said there is ample proof that war crimes are being committed.  Emphasizing that it is time to change this, she said that without action, the situation will become more deplorable as Israel becomes more bold in its impunity.

The Palestine leadership has proven that it is a partner for peace, she said, reiterating its commitment to using all diplomatic means to bring an end to occupation and achieve freedom and rights for all Palestinians.  Calling on the international community and civil society to take action to resolve these serious concerns, she asked the Committee to address the root causes of the current injustices and to work towards achieving a just solution, with two States based on General Assembly resolutions.  Reiterating an appeal for assistance for UNRWA, she expressed gratitude to the Secretary-General and the Committee for their tireless efforts and anticipated working with members towards achieving peace.

Cheikh Niang (Senegal), speaking upon his re-election as Committee Chair, thanking members for their hard work and commitment to the Palestinian cause, said the Committee is constantly working to improve and reinvent itself against an ever more uncertain backdrop.  In 2021, the Palestinian people faced a particularly challenging year amid the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the further advancement of Israeli settlements, continued movement restrictions and the disproportionate use of force by Israeli security forces, which led to heavy human and material losses in May.  As it stands committed to a peaceful settlement of the conflict, the Committee condemns all forms of violence and incitement to hatred, regardless of their perpetrators.

Urging both parties to return to the negotiating table to pursue a lasting peace through the creation of two sovereign States, he underlined the need to shore up the international community’s commitment to a two-State solution, which requires a relaunch of the peace process.  The international community and in particular the Middle East Quartet should support the Palestinian Authority in working to bring an end to the conflict, and in facing such challenges as terrorism, poverty, violence, and exclusion.  Warning against any unilateral steps by any party, he underlined the need for respect for the region’s holy sites, as well as the right of Muslim people to prayer at them.  Meanwhile, UNRWA also needs support to continue providing critical services in education, health care, humanitarian assistance and sustainable development.  The Committee will continue to engage with all stakeholders and support any initiative aimed at realizing the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people in line with a two-State solution.

Highlighting some of the work ahead, he said the Committee will hold several virtual events during the session, including one in March on the issue of “apartheid” in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, featuring prominent human rights organizations, including Amnesty International.  Other virtual events include a panel on the margins of the annual session of the Commission on the Status of Women and a discussion on illegal Israeli settlements, with a focus on the case study of Hebron.

The Committee re-elected Pedro Luis Pedroso Cuesta (Cuba), Arrmanatha Christiawan Nasir (Indonesia), Neville Melvin Gertze (Namibia) and Jaime Hermida Castillo (Nicaragua) as Vice-Chairs.  The Committee is still in consultation to fill the vacant posts of Rapporteur and one Vice-Chair.

Mr. Pedroso Cuesta (Cuba), one of the Committee’s newly elected Vice-Chairs, took the floor to stress that resolving the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory requires renewed efforts by the international community.  Noting that 2021 was one of the deadliest years for the Palestinian people in more than a decade, he declared:  “Israel is criminalizing and attacking civilians and humanitarian workers, and nothing happens.”  Emphasizing that the Palestinian people are facing a situation of genuine apartheid, he said it is the global community’s obligation to put an end to such colonial situations.  Against that backdrop, he cited the Committee’s 2022 busy programme of work and pledged to work tirelessly towards a two-State solution that will finally ensure the Palestinian people the crucial right to self-determination.

In other business, the Committee adopted its programme of work for 2022 (document A/AC.183/2022/L.2).

The Committee will reconvene at a date and time to be announced.

Discussion

Several Committee members took the floor to express their views on the body’s 2022 programme of work and on its mandate more broadly, as well as on the situation on the ground in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

The representative of Egypt, congratulating the newly elected and re-elected members of the Bureau, said the Palestinian cause is currently at a critical juncture and facing a range of serious new threats.  While neither side currently wishes to see a change in the status quo, recent months have seen increasing Israeli violations at holy sites in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, as well as accelerating settlement activities.  The Committee has a role to play in ending that worrying situation, including through its awareness-raising activities and by supporting a return to negotiations, he said.

India’s representative said his delegation has long supported the international community’s quest for a two-State solution, as reflected by its support to UNRWA and its bilateral work with the Palestinian Authority.  Voicing concern over the deteriorating situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, he warned against unilateral measures that alter the situation on the ground and pose serious challenges to the resumption of peace talks.  Urging the parties to focus on constructive measures, he reiterated India’s calls for a resumption of dialogue leading to the establishment of two sovereign States living side by side in line with international agreements and pre-1967 borders.

The representative of Tunisia echoed other speakers in calling for an end to the long-standing Israeli occupation and the establishment of an independent, sovereign Palestinian State.  Expressing support for the Committee’s 2022 programme of work, he welcomed its openness to hearing the voices of civil society members, non-governmental organizations, women leaders, and a range of other crucial stakeholders, while pledging Tunisia’s support for its planned activities and events over the course of the year.

The representative of Indonesia, pointing out that the situation on the ground remains extremely distant from the vision of a two-State solution, urged the international community to redouble its concerted efforts to achieve that goal.  As a member of the Bureau, he pledged his country’s unwavering support to the Palestinian people and vowed to work in defence of their inalienable rights.

Lebanon’s delegate noted the Committee’s outstanding efforts to keep the Palestinian question in the spotlight through conferences, seminars, workshops and activities, as reflected in its programme of work for 2022.  Commending efforts to increase the world’s attention and interest in the situation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory and to shine a spotlight on the daily struggle of Palestinians, he said the Israeli practices of house demolitions, uprooting Palestinians from their homes, arbitrary detention and daily humiliation and aggression continue unabated.  “Despite international efforts, multiple peace initiatives and relevant United Nations resolutions, the reality on the ground for the Palestinians has worsened over the last 70 years,” he said, as Israel continues to disregard international law.

The representative of China, joining other speakers in commending the Committee’s efforts to carry out its mandate, said 2022 marks the seventy-fifth year that the Question of Palestine will feature on the United Nations agenda.  “Let’s hope that 2022 will not be another year without much progress on this file,” he said, urging the two parties to engage in direct negotiations as soon as possible and voicing support for efforts to enhance the Palestinian Authority’s authority in such areas as security and financing.  Settlement expansion, evictions and forced demolitions — as well as violence against civilians — only further erodes mutual trust and exacerbates the situation.  In that context, he called for the urgent holding of an international peace conference under the auspices of the United Nations and expressed his country’s support for a two-State solution and the peaceful coexistence between Palestine and Israel.

Also speaking were the representatives of Jordan, Turkey, Bangladesh and Venezuela.

logo

On 1 February 2022, Amnesty International released a report based on four years worth of research and documentation, acknowledging that Israel is committing the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people, under international law. The report builds upon decades of Palestinian activism and work, documenting Israel’s regime of racial domination, cruel control and oppression. Amnesty is joining a long list of organisations charging Israel with the crime of apartheid, including  Palestinian civil society organisations such as Al-HaqAl-Mezan, and other landmarks including Human Rights WatchUN ESCWA and B’Tselem

Here are some of the Palestinian takes on the Amnesty apartheid report findings:

The report, taking into account Palestinians’ lived experiences, acknowledges that the system of apartheid originated with the creation of Israel in 1948, i.e, the Palestinian Nakba, and that it is ongoing to this day:

  • The enforcement of the Israeli apartheid regime through its governmental and military institutions are not limited to the OPT. On the contrary, it has no geographic restrictions as it is also imposed on the Palestinian refugees and their descendants by continuously negating their right of return; and on ‘48 Palestinians whose citizenship is conditional to facilitate domination and ensure Jewish supremacy over Palestinians wherever they may be.
  • “Since its inception Israel has pursued a policy of erasure of Palestinians from this land to maintain a Jewish majority” in this short video, Salem Barahmeh breaks down the many ways these crimes have been on full display for decades.
  • Read these slides to learn more about how Israel imposes its apartheid rule and practices based on who is Jewish or Palestinian.
  • Following Agnes Callamard’s comment: “This is my first visit to Israel/Palestine, it has shocked me to my core. Why? It’s not the act of violence, I have seen violence before. It is the cruelty of the system, its sheer banality, and at times absurdity.”
  • Mohammad Al Saffin agreed by saying that “spectacular violence makes the news. The quiet cruelty in between (what Western reporters often refer to as 'calm'), is much harder to show because it permeates every detail of our lives.”
  • During the Amnesty’s press conference on the report, some reminded that the Israeli occupation forces were committing additional war crimes by demolishing a Palestinian family home in Shufat refugee camp in occupied Jerusalem. 

On how the Israeli system of apartheid, racial domination and control is maintained:

  • Israel’s status quo of apartheid is not done independently. Rather, it is emboldened by its international allies through trade of surveillance tech and military equipment, enacting normalization agreements, financing illegal annexation, and supporting the silencing of Palestinian voices through false allegations of terrorism or antisemitism.
  • Rep. Rashida Tlaib chimed in by demanding once again that: “US foreign aid should not go to apartheid governments, period”, making implicit reference to the U.S military funding to Israel, amounting 3.8 billion USD a year. 

“Spectacular violence makes the news. The quiet cruelty in between (what Western reporters often refer to as 'calm'), is much harder to show because it permeates every detail of our lives.”

 

Mohammad Al Saffin 

While many welcomed the analysis of the report, Palestinians highlighted the limitations of the apartheid framework under international law:

  • In this article, scholar Yara Hawari, reminds of the shortcomings of the international law framework, which omits the context of settler-colonialism and its ongoing consequences. 
  • The discourse on apartheid  risks fixating the Palestinian struggle as one of equality rather than one of decolonial liberation. Scholar Lana Tatour captured this already in 2021, following B'tselem’s report: “By confining ourselves to international law, we risk talking only about racial domination and ignoring colonial domination.”
  • The Adalah Justice Project welcomed the report, but raised the question on why Amnesty insists on justifying Israel’s assertion as “Jewish state” instead of choosing to challenge the assertion that settlers have a right to self-determination on stolen land. 

 

Censorship and recognition of Palestinian voices, civil society, and international solidarity efforts:

  • The publication of such report wouldn’t have been possible without the crucial work of Palestinian experts and activists for many years, which came at great personal and professional expense. Journalist Yuman Patel expands more on this in a short thread.
  • For decades university students worldwide have been organizing an annual Israeli Apartheid Week as an act of international solidarity to educate on the reality of Palestinians and challenge their institutions on complicity with Israel. In her tweet, Palestinian scholar Mezna Qato credits these students: ”You were railroaded, arrested, expelled, stigmatized, cancelled, and blacklisted. You are the bravest report.”
  • Anti-Palestinian racist remarks from the Israeli regime already surfaced prior to the publication of the report, claiming that Amnesty is an anti-Semitic institution, capitalizing, once again, on pro-Palestinian international support to silence Palestinian voices, and deny the Palestinian experience under ongoing oppression and colonization. 

Palestinians have been publicly sharing and documenting their realities living under Israel’s apartheid and settler-colonial regime for decades. As the world turns increasing to reports finally acknowledging Israel’s apartheid regime, Palestinians should remain the central voice and authority documenting the daily torment and oppression under which they live, and which they resist against daily.

Nonetheless, it is crucial that international allies and organizations amplify Palestinians’ lived reality, and to hold Israel accountable and support the Palestinian struggle in bringing it closer to accountability, justice and liberation.  


VIDEO: H.R. 2590 EXPLAINED IN ONE MINUTE

Rep. Betty McCollum introduced H.R. 2590, the Palestinian Children and Families Act, on April 15, 2021. Here's what you need to know about this landmark legislation, explained in under a minute.

https://youtu.be/_j50zh3iQTs

Demolish Apartheid Not Homes!

H.R. 2590 LEGISLATION OVERVIEW

On April 15, 2021, Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) introduced H.R. 2590, the "Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children and Families Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act," or the Palestinian Children and Families Act. 

H.R. 2590 seeks to promote justice, equality and human rights for Palestinian children and families by prohibiting Israeli authorities from using U.S. taxpayer funds to detain and torture Palestinian children, demolish and seize Palestinian homes, and further annex Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank.

WHAT DOES THE PALESTINIAN CHILDREN AND FAMILIES ACT DO?

H.R. 2590 aims to promote and protect the human rights of Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation and to ensure that United States taxpayer funds are not used by the Government of Israel to support the military detention of Palestinian children, the unlawful seizure, appropriation, and destruction of Palestinian property and forcible transfer of civilians in the occupied West Bank, or further annexation of Palestinian land in violation of international law.

WHAT ACTIVITIES DOES THE PALESTINIAN CHILDREN AND FAMILIES ACT PROHIBIT USING U.S. FUNDS?

The bill specifically notes that funds will be prohibited for the following uses:

1. Supporting the military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment of Palestinian children in violation of international humanitarian law or to support the use against Palestinian children of any of the following practices:

  • Torture or cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment
  • Physical violence, including restraint in stress positions.
  • Hooding, sensory deprivation, death threats, or other forms of psychological abuse.
  • Incommunicado detention or solitary confinement
  • Administrative detention, or imprisonment without charge or trial
  • Arbitrary detention
  • Denial of access to parents or legal counsel during interrogations
  • Confessions obtained by force or coercion

2. Supporting the seizure, appropriation, or destruction of Palestinian property and forcible transfer of civilians in the Israeli-controlled and occupied West Bank in violation of international humanitarian law.

3. Deploying, or supporting the deployment of, personnel, training, services, lethal materials, equipment, facilities, logistics, transportation, or any other activity to territory in the occupied West Bank to facilitate or support further unilateral annexation by Israel of such territory in violation of international humanitarian law.

HOW DOES THE PALESTINIAN CHILDREN AND FAMILIES ACT HOLD ISRAELI AUTHORITIES ACCOUNTABLE?

The bill requires the Secretary of State to certify annually to the Foreign Affairs Committees and Appropriations Committees in both the House of Representatives and the Senate that U.S. financial assistance to Israel was not used to support any of the prohibited activities.

Additionally, the Secretary of State will need to submit reports on a description of the nature and extent of detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment of Palestinian children by Israeli military forces or police in violation of international humanitarian law; the seizure, appropriation, or destruction of Palestinian property in the Israeli-controlled and occupied West Bank by Israeli authorities in violation of international humanitarian law; and Israeli settlement activities, including an assessment of the compliance of the Government of Israel with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 (2016). 

Finally, the bill requires the Comptroller General to submit an annual report to Congress that identifies the specific programs and items funds for offshore procurement in Israel have been allocated to, including specific armed forces branches, units, and contractors; assesses executive branch compliance with legislative requirements governing offshore procurements in Israel; identifies, in detail, all end-use monitoring the Government of Israel is subject to with respect to United States-origin defense articles; and analyzes the effects of offshore procurements on Israel’s military budget and domestic economy since 1991, including an assessment of the manner and extent to which these funds have directly or indirectly supported illegal Israeli settlement activity in the occupied West Bank.

HOW IS THE PALESTINIAN CHILDREN AND FAMILIES ACT DIFFERENT FROM H.R. 2407 IN THE 116TH CONGRESS?

H.R. 2590 is the fourth piece of legislation that Rep. Betty McCollum has introduced focusing on Palestinian human rights, and the third that clearly highlights Palestinian children's rights and the Israeli military detention system.

H.R. 2407 sought to amend the Leahy Law, an amendment to Section 620M of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, while H.R. 2590 focuses on certification and reporting in order to enhance transparency regarding financial assistance to Israel, similar to H.R. 4391 in the 115th Congress. 

H.R. 2407 included an authorization to the Department of State to provide funding to nongovernmental organizations to monitor and assess incidents of Palestinian children being subjected to Israeli military detention, and provide treatment and rehabilitation for Palestinians under 21 years of age who have been subject to military detention as children. H.R. 2590 does not include a similar authorization.

BACKGROUND ON PALESTINIAN CHILDREN IN ISRAELI MILITARY DETENTION

Children under 18 years old represent around 45 percent of the 2.9 million Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank.

Israel has the dubious distinction of being the only country in the world that systematically prosecutes between 500 and 700 children each year in military courts that lack fundamental fair trial rights and protections.

Children within the Israeli military detention system commonly report physical and verbal abuse from the moment of their arrest, and coercion and threats during interrogations. Under Israeli military law, Palestinian children have no right to a lawyer during interrogation.

Ill-treatment of Palestinian children arrested by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank has been widely documented. In 2013, UNICEF released a report titled Children in Israeli military detention: Observations and recommendations. The report concluded that “ill-treatment of children who come in contact with the military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized throughout the process, from the moment of arrest until the child’s prosecution and eventual conviction and sentencing.”

Subsequent UNICEF reports show that widespread ill-treatment of Palestinian children detained by Israeli forces is the norm rather than the exception.

Regardless of guilt or innocence, children in conflict with the law are entitled to special protections and all due process rights under international human rights law and international humanitarian law.

International juvenile justice standards, which Israel has obliged itself to implement by ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1991, demand that children should only be deprived of their liberty as a measure of last resort, must not be unlawfully or arbitrarily detained, and must not be subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Despite sustained engagement by UNICEF and repeated calls to end night arrests and ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention, Israeli authorities have persistently failed to implement practical changes to end violence against child detainees.

Reforms undertaken by Israeli military authorities so far have tended to be cosmetic in nature rather than substantively addressing physical violence and torture by Israeli military and police forces.

In a military detention system where fair trial guarantees are denied and nearly three out of four Palestinian children experience some form of physical violence after arrest, failing to demand Israeli authorities comply with international law simply works to enable abuse and perpetuate injustice against Palestinian children.


 

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Demand Israeli authorities immediately end solitary confinement of Palestinian child detainees

Israeli authorities routinely detain Palestinian children in solitary confinement solely for interrogation purposes, a practice that amounts to torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, as documented by Defense for Children International - Palestine. 

Join us in urging the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom to demand that Israeli authorities immediately end the practice of using solitary confinement on Palestinian child detainees, whether in pretrial detention for interrogation purposes or as a form of punishment. The prohibition must be enshrined in law.

Over a four-year period, between January 1, 2016, and December 31, 2019, DCIP documented 108 cases where Palestinian children detained by the Israeli military were held in isolation for two or more days during the interrogation period. All were boys aged 14-17. Children were isolated for an average of 14 days and Israeli authorities held one child in solitary confinement for 30 days.

Evidence and documentation collected by DCIP overwhelmingly indicate that the isolation of Palestinian children within the Israeli military detention system is practiced solely to obtain a confession for a specific offense or to gather intelligence under interrogation. DCIP has found no evidence demonstrating a legally justifiable use of isolation of Palestinian child detainees, such as for disciplinary, protective, or medical reasons. Solitary confinement has been used, almost exclusively, during pre-charge and pretrial detention. Solitary confinement is designed to psychologically break children and coerce them into confessing.

Israel has the dubious distinction of being the only country in the world that automatically and systematically detains and prosecutes children in military courts that lack fundamental fair trial rights and protections. Israel detains and prosecutes between 500 and 700 Palestinian children in military courts each year. Nearly three out of four Palestinian children detained by Israeli forces experience some form of physical violence, according to documentation collected by DCIP.

President Joe Biden, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson:

We, the undersigned, urge you to demand that Israeli authorities immediately end the practice of using solitary confinement on Palestinian child detainees, whether in pretrial detention for interrogation purposes or as a form of punishment. The prohibition must be enshrined in law.

https://nwttac.dci-palestine.org/petition_end_solitary_confinement


 

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Dear Pamela Richard,

 

On 1 February 2022, Amnesty International released a report based on four years worth of research and documentation, acknowledging that Israel is committing the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people, under international law. The report builds upon decades of Palestinian activism and work, documenting Israel’s regime of racial domination, cruel control and oppression. Amnesty is joining a long list of organisations charging Israel with the crime of apartheid, including  Palestinian civil society organisations such as Al-HaqAl-Mezan, and other landmarks including Human Rights WatchUN ESCWA and B’Tselem

 

Here are some of the Palestinian takes on the Amnesty apartheid report findings:

 

The report, taking into account Palestinians’ lived experiences, acknowledges that the system of apartheid originated with the creation of Israel in 1948, i.e, the Palestinian Nakba, and that it is ongoing to this day:

  • The enforcement of the Israeli apartheid regime through its governmental and military institutions are not limited to the OPT. On the contrary, it has no geographic restrictions as it is also imposed on the Palestinian refugees and their descendants by continuously negating their right of return; and on ‘48 Palestinians whose citizenship is conditional to facilitate domination and ensure Jewish supremacy over Palestinians wherever they may be.
  • “Since its inception Israel has pursued a policy of erasure of Palestinians from this land to maintain a Jewish majority” in this short video, Salem Barahmeh breaks down the many ways these crimes have been on full display for decades.
  • Read these slides to learn more about how Israel imposes its apartheid rule and practices based on who is Jewish or Palestinian.
  • Following Agnes Callamard’s comment: “This is my first visit to Israel/Palestine, it has shocked me to my core. Why? It’s not the act of violence, I have seen violence before. It is the cruelty of the system, its sheer banality, and at times absurdity.”
  • Mohammad Al Saffin agreed by saying that “spectacular violence makes the news. The quiet cruelty in between (what Western reporters often refer to as 'calm'), is much harder to show because it permeates every detail of our lives.”
  • During the Amnesty’s press conference on the report, some reminded that the Israeli occupation forces were committing additional war crimes by demolishing a Palestinian family home in Shufat refugee camp in occupied Jerusalem. 

On how the Israeli system of apartheid, racial domination and control is maintained:

  • Israel’s status quo of apartheid is not done independently. Rather, it is emboldened by its international allies through trade of surveillance tech and military equipment, enacting normalization agreements, financing illegal annexation, and supporting the silencing of Palestinian voices through false allegations of terrorism or antisemitism.
  • Rep. Rashida Tlaib chimed in by demanding once again that: “US foreign aid should not go to apartheid governments, period”, making implicit reference to the U.S military funding to Israel, amounting 3.8 billion USD a year. 

“Spectacular violence makes the news. The quiet cruelty in between (what Western reporters often refer to as 'calm'), is much harder to show because it permeates every detail of our lives.”

 

Mohammad Al Saffin 

While many welcomed the analysis of the report, Palestinians highlighted the limitations of the apartheid framework under international law:

  • In this article, scholar Yara Hawari, reminds of the shortcomings of the international law framework, which omits the context of settler-colonialism and its ongoing consequences. 
  • The discourse on apartheid  risks fixating the Palestinian struggle as one of equality rather than one of decolonial liberation. Scholar Lana Tatour captured this already in 2021, following B'tselem’s report: “By confining ourselves to international law, we risk talking only about racial domination and ignoring colonial domination.”
  • The Adalah Justice Project welcomed the report, but raised the question on why Amnesty insists on justifying Israel’s assertion as “Jewish state” instead of choosing to challenge the assertion that settlers have a right to self-determination on stolen land. 

 

Censorship and recognition of Palestinian voices, civil society, and international solidarity efforts:

  • The publication of such report wouldn’t have been possible without the crucial work of Palestinian experts and activists for many years, which came at great personal and professional expense. Journalist Yuman Patel expands more on this in a short thread.
  • For decades university students worldwide have been organizing an annual Israeli Apartheid Week as an act of international solidarity to educate on the reality of Palestinians and challenge their institutions on complicity with Israel. In her tweet, Palestinian scholar Mezna Qato credits these students: ”You were railroaded, arrested, expelled, stigmatized, cancelled, and blacklisted. You are the bravest report.”
  • Anti-Palestinian racist remarks from the Israeli regime already surfaced prior to the publication of the report, claiming that Amnesty is an anti-Semitic institution, capitalizing, once again, on pro-Palestinian international support to silence Palestinian voices, and deny the Palestinian experience under ongoing oppression and colonization. 

Palestinians have been publicly sharing and documenting their realities living under Israel’s apartheid and settler-colonial regime for decades. As the world turns increasing to reports finally acknowledging Israel’s apartheid regime, Palestinians should remain the central voice and authority documenting the daily torment and oppression under which they live, and which they resist against daily.

Nonetheless, it is crucial that international allies and organizations amplify Palestinians’ lived reality, and to hold Israel accountable and support the Palestinian struggle in bringing it closer to accountability, justice and liberation.  


 

HOW ISRAEL’S OCCUPATION OF PALESTINE INTENSIFIES CLIMATE CHANGE

Above Photo: Bedouin protesters clash with Israeli forces following a protest against an afforestation project by the Jewish National Fund in the Negev Desert, Jan. 13, 2022. Tsafrir Abayov / AP.

“Israel’s Actions Over The Last Almost 75 Years Demonstrate That There Is Very Little Regard For The Indigenous Landscape, The Indigenous Flora And Fauna, The Wildlife Population, And The Indigenous People.” – Zena Agha, Middle East Institute.

Al-Naqab — On Sunday, roughly 200 activists demonstrated outside Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office in Jerusalem against the Jewish National Fund’s (JNF) tree-planting project in al-Naqab, maintaining the forestation is an attempt to displace the indigenous Bedouin population.

Contracted by the Israeli government, the JNF razed fruit trees and seeded fields in al-Naqab in January to “make the desert bloom” with non-native plants. The purported environmental project has been met with fierce protest from the local villagers, with more than 60 Bedouin arrested in the last few weeks.

JNF maintains that its actions in al-Naqab encourage sustainability, but other organizations disagree. The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel took the JNF to the Supreme Court last year after its research found that JNF’s afforestation will harm the area’s biodiversity. The High Court sided with the JNF.

Greenwashing is a cornerstone of the Zionist movement, in which Israel tries to paint Palestine as a desolate wasteland in need of a Jewish green thumb. While these environmental projects might appear well-intentioned in an area warming faster than the global average, experts and activists agree that Israel’s occupation is making climate change worse.

The Environmental Issue In Palestine

Palestine is particularly vulnerable to climate change. ClimaSouth, a European Union-funded project supporting climate-change mitigation in Mediterranean countries, predicts annual rainfall will drop by 30% in the eastern Mediterranean region by the end of the 21st century. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that the southern and eastern Mediterranean areas will warm at a higher rate than the rest of the world over the next century. According to the United Nations Environment Program, Palestine may see an increase in temperature of more than 7 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100. Sea levels are also expected to rise by 1.2 to 3.3 feet by 2100.

Zena Agha, Palestinian-Iraqi writer and non-resident scholar at the Middle East Institute, explained that these climate change effects translate to significant political consequences for Palestinians:

Although Palestinians and Israelis inhabit the same territory — whether they’re settlers living in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian citizens of Israel living on the seafront, or Palestinians living in Gaza — Palestinians will always suffer the effects of climate change more starkly as a direct response to Israeli policy.”

Israel Wrecking Palestinians’ Climate Resilience

Palestine’s location makes it particularly susceptible to global warming, but for a people under military occupation the threat of climate catastrophe is multiplied and their ability to adapt to it is severely impacted.

Climate-related hazards have already manifested as a result of Israeli policy. Research from Visualizing Palestine, an organization developing data-driven tools to better understand Palestine, found that Palestinians are experiencing food insecurity, land and soil degradation, and water scarcity owing to the occupation. According to figures cited in their “Environmental Justice in Palestine” visual series, 85% of the West Bank’s water resources are controlled by Israel, and 69% of Gaza and 33% of West Bank households are food insecure.

In mid-January, Gaza’s streets were ravaged by flooding after several days of heavy rainfall. The municipality of Gaza City blamed Israel’s assault on the Strip in May for damaging its infrastructure, making it more prone to flooding.

During a webinar hosted by Visualizing Palestine, Asmaa Abu Mezied, an economic-development and social-inclusion specialist working with Oxfam, explained how Israel’s 14-year blockade on Gaza — in which the state controls what goes in and out of Gaza — has also dramatically affected the besieged Strip’s resilience to climate change. “What the Palestinians are witnessing in Gaza is their adaptive capacity has already been exhausted financially, socially, and economically over the past decade because of the blockade, and that would leave them much more vulnerable to floods,” Abu Mezied said.

Natasha Westheimer, a water-management specialist, explained to MintPress News how Israeli policy restricts Palestine’s ability to develop sustainable and reliable water resources:

The occupation makes it really difficult for Palestinians to build resilience to the climate crisis because it essentially removes capacity for self-determination and for building out resources that can support in building preparedness to adapt to the impacts of climate change. And you see that pretty acutely with the water sector.”

Westheimer explained that this injustice is demonstrated on both the local scale and on the national level. In the southern West Bank, communities don’t have access to a continuous supply of water and so rely on expensive water trucks or rainwater collection. Yet their water infrastructure is often targeted and destroyed by the Israeli military and settlers.

Nationally, 97% of Gaza’s coastal aquifer — the area’s main water supply — is unfit for drinking. The Strip’s efforts to expand its water access through a desalination plant are hampered, moreover, by the Israeli blockade. Westheimer explained that most materials needed for a desalination plant are considered dual-use materials by Israel, meaning they can be used for civilian and military purposes, and so the state puts restrictions on these materials’ import into Gaza. “The project faces a number of what Israel calls bureaucratic obstacles, but is mainly a system of blockade, seizure, and control, and it’s eliminating Gaza’s ability to meet the basic needs of its population,” Westheimer said.

In addition to harming its adaptive capabilities, Israel’s near 74-year occupation has also drastically deteriorated Palestine’s environment. Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh, founder and director of the Palestine Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability of Bethlehem University, detailed the myriad of ways Israeli control has damaged ecosystems.

He cited the razing of native trees to plant European pine trees; diversion of the Jordan Valley’s water; draining of wetlands; how the building of the apartheid wall uprooted more than 2 million trees; and how industrial settlements have turned the West Bank into a toxic waste dumpsite. “All of this has damaged the Palestinian environment and transformed the landscape and transformed the communities,” Qumsiyeh told MintPress News.

As explained in Visualizing Palestine’s webinar and illustrated in its Environmental Justice in Palestine infographics, Israel’s environmental racism and green colonialism has made the land almost uninhabitable for Palestinians.

Israel uses parks and nature reserves to hide the ruins of Palestinian villages depopulated during the Nakba, Israel’s ethnic cleansing campaign of Palestine in 1947-48. These green spaces also act as a way to further displace Palestinians and restrict their development.

Fifteen Israeli facilities process waste in the West Bank, in violation of international law. Settlement industrial zones in the West Bank also adhere to less rigorous environmental standards. Israeli control of building permits in Area C of the West Bank has stunted the area’s ability to develop proper waste infrastructure. How Israel treats waste here has then turned the West Bank into a land plagued by garbage.

Israel is a militarized and industrialized society. These two factors, Qumsiyeh explained, have increased its greenhouse gas emissions. “Like the United States, [Israel] has a very big military compared to its GDP. And the military is one of the largest producers of greenhouse gas emissions,” Qumsiyeh said. “The Palestinian areas being dedeveloped and deindustrialized contribute very little to the global greenhouse gases, but we are more impacted by climate change.”

Greenwashing Apartheid

According to the most recently available data, Israel released more than 56 million tons of fossil CO2 gasses in 2020. By comparison, Palestine released 2.9 million tons of CO2 gasses in 2020Israel’s ecological footprint stood at 5.5 global hectares per person in 2017, as reported by the Global Footprint Network, while Palestine’s was 1.8.

Jessica Anderson, deputy director at Visualizing Palestine, stressed how this environmental measurement illustrates the extreme inequality produced by occupation and oppression.

“Israel is not unique in its contributions to climate change,” Anderson said. “It’s part of this global cadre of governments and corporations that exacerbate the climate crisis through their heavy military investments, resource hoarding, overconsumption, and extractive economies.”

Last year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference (or COP26) exemplifies how the international community is approaching the climate issue, Anderson said, in a way that ignores indigenous populations. While Israel was able to send 120 delegates to the conference, Palestinians from the occupied territories couldn’t participate because their vaccines weren’t recognized.

“Platforms like this are marginalizing people that are on the frontlines of the climate crisis while providing a platform for governments and corporations to greenwash their image,” Anderson said. “So, there’s a failure to grapple with the systemic and political dimensions of the climate crisis that leaves Palestinians out and allows Israel to be highlighted.”

During Visualizing Palestine’s webinar, Agha stated the relationship between the international community and the Palestinian Authority (PA) warrants scrutiny. She emphasized what she labeled the paradox of the PA, whereby the international community is applying the same metrics to Palestine and Israel in assessing their environmental progress.“ The PA has little sovereign jurisdiction over its natural resources nor over large swathes of its territory,” Agha told MintPress News. “It wields no independent political will over how to manage climate change, yet it’s still tasked with addressing climate change.”

Palestine’s fragmented political landscape, in which Gaza is ruled by the political party Hamas and the West Bank by the political party Fatah, also weakens its ability to manage a crisis of this magnitude.

For Agha, the international and donor communities’ treatment of the climate crisis in Palestine as a socioeconomic catastrophe and not a political catastrophe is part of the problem and creates unproductive solutions. But from her perspective, it’s important to remember the real culprit here: occupation. “Israel’s actions over the last almost 75 years demonstrate that there is very little regard for the indigenous landscape, the indigenous flora and fauna, the wildlife population, and the indigenous people,” she sai