The times they are a changing

Palestine Update 476

The times they are a changing
Writing in Aljazeera, Anchal Vohra describes how “Israel’s detention of Palestinian activists and journalists is reinvigorating peaceful resistance, launching a new generation of Palestinian activists.” Israel is vigorously pursuing a policy of arrests and detentions of Palestinian activists and journalists. Israel’s policy is rebounding. Rather than deter the Palestinian youth and frighten them off the streets, Israel’s punitive measures are “re-energizing a long-simmering peaceful resistance and launching a new generation of Palestinian icons fighting to protect their homes, as well as advocating self-determination”. 

Armed Settlers have been confronted and accused of being thieves – stealing at random from homes that they raid. Social media has facilitated viewers and users to see the other side of the story rather than learning from mainstream media including BBC, CNN, and other sly supporters of the Israeli narrative.  Quite publicly young Palestinians have told media sources when asked if they support “violent” protests against the IOF, they turn the question around and ask: “Do you support the violent dispossession of me and my family?” Those clips have gone viral. They strike a harmony with Palestinians at home and in the diaspora. Those who ask these questions are the new opinion maker’s in  Palestinian society with a large following on social media.  As Anchal Vohra stresses, “The internet, and effective use of social media, has enabled Palestinians all over the world to transcend geographical separations and make them heard. But, for those inside Israel and the occupied territories, expressing your opinion is still full of risk for Palestinians. “They are an easy target for harassment by Israeli security forces and extremists, but, their public visibility and a significant following on social media make it more challenging for the state to suppress their voices.”

Post-Oslo Palestinians are disengaged from the current Palestinian leadership and Ramallah is not what attracts them. They demand and seek elemental political change which is still evolving in terms of precise goals and strategies. They are driven by the politics of change- change of the old guard which has proven to be blank in content, deceptive in actions, self-oriented, uncaring about the people, and glued to their seat of power. They are determined to unseat them and replace them by a political guard which will take the risks for change. They are paying the price for their resistance: Israeli forces had More than 2100 arrested within Israel, 1800 in the occupied West Bank, Jerusalem and inside Israel. The Ramallah-based Lawyers for Justice reported that 20 Palestinians have been arrested by the PA preventative security, mostly for “inciting sectarian strife” and “slander” against the PA.

To the generation who would rather wait and hope for change to come on its own, the youth are saying, as in the poetry and music of Bob Dylan in his song: ‘The times they are a changing’. Dylan called out: ‘Come mothers and fathers, Throughout the land, And don’t criticize what you can’t understand, your sons and your daughters are beyond your command, Your old road is rapidly aging, Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand, for the times they are a-changing’.

Ranjan Solomon

Israel’s biggest fear is the Palestinian masses gathering
Early last month, Israeli forces stationed on a major highway to Jerusalem halted several large buses carrying Palestinians from the 1948-occupied territories (those forced to carry Israeli passports). The passengers were heading to pray at al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem for Laylat al-Qadr, the holiest night of Ramadan. Israeli police attempted to block the buses, but despite having been fasting and stopped on a highway some 16km from the Old City, passengers began making their way to Jerusalem on foot. Word quickly spread, and Palestinians from Jerusalem hopped into their cars to escort them to the city. In a series of ongoing initiatives, Palestinian activists are working to defy and break Israel’s colonial geographic divisions and oppressive policies After several hours of a major artery being blocked, including a Palestinian protest that broke out, Israeli forces caved in and allowed the buses to pass, spurring a moment of victory and celebration on the streets. It was an entirely spontaneous act of civil disobedience, and a historic moment of Palestinian collective organising. After the violent Israeli crackdown on protests that took place inside al-Aqsa Mosque complex the previous night – of a scale not witnessed in years – Israel was keen to crush any attempts of a further show of Palestinian unity in occupied Jerusalem.

Israel’s strategy is one we know all too well: divide and conquer. Physical and forced separation of Palestinians is at the core of its survival as a colonial state, and has been since its establishment. Two million Palestinians – 70 percent of whom are refugees from the 1948 territories – are caged in the open-air prison of the Gaza Strip, under a 14-year Israeli blockade. They make up about a third of the Palestinian population remaining in their homeland.
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  100 human rights groups urge Biden to halt Israel arms sales
“More than a hundred humanitarian organisations published an open letter published on Tuesday urging US President Joe Biden to ‘immediately halt’ impending arms sales to Israel. Signatories to the letter include the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), Jewish Voice for Peace Action, Democracy for the Arab World Now and Defence for Children International – Palestine. ‘The planned arms sales to Israel would send a signal of support for Israel’s recent conduct in occupied Gaza and East Jerusalem, which includes likely violations of international humanitarian law,’ the co-signed letter read. The groups expressed concern that the ‘situation remains extremely fragile’ with Israeli forces continuing raids on the Al-Aqsa Mosque following a ceasefire agreement between Israelis and Palestinians.”

45% of Democrats favor decreasing military aid to Israel

A poll of likely US voters conducted during the final days of the recent conflict between Israel and Gaza-based terrorist groups found a split among Democrats on American policy toward Israel and the Palestinians, with nearly half wanting to decrease military aid to the Jewish state. In response to the question on financial assistance, 45% of Democratic voters want a decrease in military aid to Israel from the current annual funding level of $3.8 billion compared to 25% of Republicans and 35% of Independents.”

Settlers shot Palestinian and mutilated his body as he lay dying
“Ismail Tubasi was shot on Friday, May 14, just south of Hebron in the occupied West Bank. Tubasi, 27, from the Palestinian village of al-Rihiya, was transferred to a local hospital with severe wounds, where he was pronounced dead. According to evidence gathered by Local Call, it appears Tubasi was shot by Israeli settlers, who may have been accompanied by soldiers, after which he was brutally attacked with sharp objects as he lay incapacitated…The Israeli army refused to provide an official response to the incident, but military sources told the Israeli Public Broadcast Corporation (which picked up the story following Local Call’s initial investigation) that the soldiers arrived at the scene after the shooting. According to the same sources, the army reported to the police that a Palestinian had indeed been shot dead, yet the police has yet to open its own investigation.”

Israeli Supreme Court announces date for Sheikh Jarrah appeal 
 “Israel’s Supreme Court has set a date for a hearing on the planned forced expulsion of dozens of Palestinians from East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood. The hearing will now take place on 20 July. Sami Irshaid, a lawyer for Palestinian families facing expulsion said that an appeal had been presented to the court in the name of the Eskafi, Qasim, Al-Jaouni, and Al-Kurd families. Approximately 550 Palestinians face expulsion from Sheikh Jarrah after Israeli settler organisations laid claim to their homes.

Three Palestinians, PA intelligence officers, killed by Israeli forces 
 “Israeli occupation army and Special Forces killed two members of the Palestinian Authority’s Military Intelligence force during a pre-dawn raid late Wednesday night into Jenin city in the northern occupied West Bank in search of wanted Palestinians, one of whom one was also killed during the raid, according to security and medical sources. The Ministry of Health said Adham Yasser Eleiwi, 23, and Tayseer Ayasa, 32; who are members of the PA’s Military Intelligence force were killed during an Israeli force raid into the city of Jenin in search of wanted Palestinians, one of whom was also killed in the shooting. He was identified as Jamel al-‘Amori, a freed prisoner from Israeli jails. They were killed when Israeli Yamam Special Forces, dressed in civilian clothing, attempted to detain wanted Palestinians outside the headquarters of the PA Military Intelligence Unit headquarters in Jenin. A third member of the intelligence forces was critically injured in the shooting, which necessitated his transfer to the hospital for treatment. A general strike will be observed in the northern West Bank district of Jenin today to mourn the Palestinians killed by Israeli gunfire.”

Amnesty raises alarm as Israel shuts Palestinian health provider
“Israel’s move to shut down a key healthcare body in the occupied territories will have ‘catastrophic consequences’ for Palestinians in need of medical attention, global rights group Amnesty International warned. Israeli army forces raided the Palestinian Union of Health Workers Committee (UHWC) headquarters in Ramallah on Wednesday, breaking down the door, confiscating computers and memory drives, and issuing a military order forcing the office to close for six months…Saleh Higazi, Amnesty’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement.”

Israel Orders Evacuate Settlement Outpost Built on Palestinian Lands
“The Israeli army announced Wednesday a decision to evacuate an ‘illegal’ settlement outpost built on Palestinian lands in the occupied West Bank within a period of eight days. Israelis set the Evyatar settlement outpost in Beita village, south of Nablus, and constructed buildings and facilities there. According to the army decision, no construction materials are allowed into the town during this period. It said it will demolish the buildings after this period if settlers don’t evacuate them voluntarily. Settlers have constructed several houses in the outpost, in addition to building concrete houses in the past days and paving roads between them.”

Arson suspected in Jerusalem, West Bank fires

“Authorities are concerned that fires which raged to the west of Jerusalem Wednesday were man-made, potentially as deliberate acts of arson. Additional fires occurred in the north of the West Bank. While wildfires are common in Israel during the summer months, and human error or negligence could have caused the fires, foul play is being examined as a line of inquiry. ‘We did not see any lightning in the skies over the country today, and we will clarify if this was arson or not later,’ Fire and Rescue Commissioner Dedi Simchi told Channel 13 news.” Also see, from the archives.