Israelis Stop Planting, Destroy Olive Tree Seedlings


I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

By Joyce Kilmer

‘Today They Took My Son’–a film by Farah Nabulsi

Posted on January 31, 2017

A new film, soon to be released by Farah Nabulsi, the daughter of diaspora Palestinians. In June of 2016, Nabulsi launched , a project in which she brought together a website and a short film with the aim of drawing attention to the many injustices faced by Palestinians, especially children. Now in 2017, she hopes to raise awareness even further with this, her second short film, “Today They Took My Son.”

A screening is set to be held in London on February 5, 2017. You can find out more about it here.

israeli Soldiers Open Fire On Homes In Southern Gaza, Strike Six-Year-Old Girl

Israeli Soldiers Open Fire On Homes In Southern Gaza, Strike Six-Year-Old Girl

gaza-fence-soldiers-e1471134740984Ma’an – January 20, 2017

GAZA – A Palestinian child was reportedly injured on Friday evening after being struck by an Israeli bullet in Beit Lahiya in the north of the Gaza Strip after Israeli forces opened live fire at homes in the area.

According to medical sources, the six-year-old girl was injured in her stomach, and described her injury as moderate.

The child was taken to al-Shifa hospital in Gaza city and was later transferred to a hospital in the north of the besieged enclave.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an she would look into reports on the incident.

PCHR Weekly Report: 67 civilians abducted, including 10 children; one woman shot and wounded

08 JAN
1:55 AM

In its Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the week of 29 Dec. 2016 – 04 Jan 2017, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) found that Israeli forces continued systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Israeli forces conducted 74 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and a limited one in the Gaza Strip. 67 civilians, including 10 children, were abducted. 10 of them, including 6 children, were abducted in occupied Jerusalem.

Israeli attacks in the West Bank:

In the West Bank, Israeli forces stationed at Qalandia checkpoint at the northern entrance to occupied Jerusalem opened fire at Jihan Hashimah (35) from al-‘Issawiya village, northeast of the city. As a result, she was hit with 3 bullets to the leg and then abducted. The aforementioned woman was walking near the cars track when she was shot. Israeli forces claimed she had a knife.

During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 74 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. During these incursions, Israeli forces abducted at least 67 Palestinian civilians, including 10 children. Ten of them, including 6 children, were abducted in occupied Jerusalem. Moreover, two civilians were abducted while participating in Kufor Qaddoum weekly protest in addition to arresting the wounded woman at Qalendia checkpoint. Therefore, during this week, the number of abducted civilians mounted to 70, including 10 children and a wounded woman.

On 02 January 2017, in light of the cold and rainy weather during these days, Israeli forces and their heavy equipment demolished 11 dwellings built of tin plates belonging to al-Jahalin Bedouin family in Sneisel Valley area in al-Khan al-Ahmar, east of occupied Jerusalem, rendering 87 individuals homeless. Most of them were children and women.

On 04 January 2017, Israeli municipality bulldozers demolished a house comprised of two apartments belonging to ‘Adnan Shweiki in Sho’afat neighbourhood, north of occupied Jerusalem. The 300-square-meter house sheltered two families comprised of 14 members, including 10 children, with a rental contract.

On the same day, Israeli municipality bulldozers demolished a house belonging to the family of ‘Amer ‘Ebeido in Beit Hanina village, north of the city. The two-storey house sheltered two families of 8 members, including a child.

Dozens of temporary checkpoints were established in the West Bank and others were re-established to obstruct the movement of Palestinian civilians. 2 Palestinian civilians, one of them was a child, were abducted at military checkpoints.

Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip:

In the Gaza Strip, in the context of targeting fishermen in the Sea, on 01 January 2017, Israeli gunboats opened fire at Palestinian fishermen, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, and chased them. The shooting recurred in the same area on 03 January 2017 and on 04 January 2017 in the western side of Jabalia. The boats were sailing in those incidents within 3 nautical miles. However, neither causalities nor damages to the boats were reported.

On 04 January 2017, an Israeli gunboat hit a fishing boat manned by Mohammed al-Hessi (33) from al-Shati’ refugee camp. As a result, the boat capsized and the fisherman is so far missed. The boat was sailing within 5 nautical miles off al-Soudaniyah shore in the northern Gaza Strip.

In the context of targeting the border areas, on 01 January 2017, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel opened fire at agricultural fields to the west of the fence. The shooting recurred on 01 January 2017. No casualties were reported.

The illegal closure of the Gaza Strip, which has been steadily tightened since June 2007 has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian and economic situation in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli authorities impose measures to undermine the freedom of trade, including the basic needs for the Gaza Strip population and the agricultural and industrial products to be exported. For 9 consecutive years, Israel has tightened the land and naval closure to isolate the Gaza Strip from the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, and other countries around the world. This resulted in grave violations of the economic, social and cultural rights and a deterioration of living conditions for 2 million people. The Israeli authorities have established Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shaloum) as the sole crossing for imports and exports in order to exercise its control over the Gaza Strip’s economy. They also aim at imposing a complete ban on the Gaza Strip’s exports. The Israeli closure raised the rate of poverty to 65%. Moreover, the rate of unemployment increased up to 47% and youth constitutes 65% of the unemployed persons. Moreover, 80% of the Gaza Strip population depends on international aid to secure their minimum daily needs. These rates indicate the unprecedented economic deterioration in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli settlement activities:

Israeli Settlement activities continued in the West Bank. On 03 January 2017, Israeli forces and its heavy equipment demolished 14 dwellings and 22 other facilities in Kherbet Tana, east of Beit Foriq village, east of Nablus. Those facilities belong to 15 families comprised of 86 members, including 33 children. It should be mentioned that the Israeli forces demolished dwellings in Kherbet Tana 4 times before in 2016 in order to Empty them of their original inhabitants and seize them under the pretext that they are located within Area C.

Israeli attacks against non-violent demonstrations:

Israeli troops engaged in the use of excessive force against peaceful demonstrations protesting settlement activities and the construction of the annexation wall.

Following the Friday prayer, on 30 December 2016, dozens of Palestinian civilians and Israeli and international human rights defenders organized demonstrations in Bil’in and Ni’lin villages, west of Ramallah, and al-Nabi Saleh village, northwest of the city, protesting against the annexation wall and settlement activities. Israeli forces forcibly dispersed the protests, firing live and metal bullets, tear gas canisters and sound bombs. They also chased the protesters into olive fields and between houses. As a result, many of the protesters suffered tear gas inhalation while others sustained bruises as Israeli soldiers beat them up. Israeli forces also abducted Jamil al-Barghuthi (45) from Deir Abu Mash’al, northwest of Ramallah, and Ghaleb Helmi Shtaiwi (25) from Kafer Qadoum village, while both were participating in the weekly demonstration of Kafer Qadoum village.

Recommendations to the international community:

Due to the number and severity of Israeli human rights violations this week, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) called on the international community to follow certain recommendations. Among these were a recommendation that the international community act to stop all Israeli settlement expansion activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories through imposing sanctions on Israeli settlements and criminalizing trading with them.

In addition, PCHR calls upon the United Nations to confirm that holding war criminals accountable in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is a precondition to achieve stability and peace in the regions, and that peace cannot be built at the expense of human rights.

Click here for the full text of the report.

Palestine news

15-Year-Old Palestinian Girl Denied Visa for US Speaking Tour


[ Ed. note – Ahed Tamimi is the blond-haired Palestinian girl who has been seen in countless videos and who always seems to stand out–not only because of her striking looks and young age, but also because of her persistent determination in resisting the Israeli occupation. That’s her in the photo above–taken, I think, about five or six years ago. Here is a much more recent photo of her:


Tamimi was slated to be part of the No Child Behind Bars/Living Resistance speaking tour that is to tour the US beginning on January 15, 2017, but according to an email sent out yesterday by the Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA), she has been denied a visa to enter the country. I guess the thinking at the State Department is that anyone who bunches their fist and shakes it in the face of an Israeli soldier must be a terrorist.

Of course it isn’t difficult in the least to figure out why the Israeli government would prefer not to have someone like Ahed–described by FOSNA as “charismatic and articulate”–going from city to city in America discussing the brutal injustices she and others her age are subjected to on continuing daily basis. It would take a fair bit of mainstream media bellowing about “Hamas rockets” to offset the public relations disaster.

But the tour, it seems, will proceed anyway, and even though Ahed will not be here physically, plans nonetheless are being made to link her to US audiences via live-stream video. Of course the girl is subject to arrest any time–or alternately Jewish settlers could just happen to attack her home in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh before the video teleconferencing is set to begin. You never know how these things are going to work out. About all I can do is say a prayer for Ahed and her family, and I encourage others to pause now and do likewise.

The email from FOSNA:

Living Resistance Tour Update

 photo fosna_zpseeaslq8w.jpg

Dear Friends,

It is with great sadness that we share that the U.S. Consulate has failed to provide a visa for Ahed Tamimi to travel to the United States at this time. Though we will continue to advocate for Ahed to gain access to the United States for future speaking opportunities, it does not at present look as though Ahed will be able to join us in person for the Living Resistance Tour.

 photo livresist_zpsaq1jahwr.jpg

Efforts to silence voices such as Ahed’s only serve to motivate us at FOSNA to amplify Palestinian struggle and resilience. We will not give up. Arrangements will be made to bring Ahed to each of the tour cities via video to speak on the situation on the ground and share her story. We will amplify her voice, even though she cannot be with us in person. Ahed will be joined by Amanda Weatherspoon, a Unitarian Universalist minister whose ministry is centered on collective liberation and cross-movement solidarity between oppressed peoples. Together, these powerful women will connect state-sponsored violence and the criminalization and incarceration of youth in the United States and Palestine. Nadya Tannous, a writer and organizer in the Bay Area who has researched the detention of Palestinian minors since 2013, will join the tour to provide additional insight into the realities Palestinian minors face within the Israeli detention system.

Despite this setback, we will move forward with the tour to build coalitions that will organize around halting state repression and state-sponsored violence. To see when the tour will travel to a city near you, check out the Living Resistance website. To help organize publicity and audience outreach in your city, get in touch with the tour organizer, Nadya Tannous. Finally, you are always able to financially support this effort via this link.


Tarek Abuata

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Palestine news

Australian lawmakers urge end to israel’s abuse of Palestinian children

Australian lawmakers urge end to Israeli abuses of Palestinian children


Some of the 49 members of Australia’s parliament who signed a letter urging Israel to end its military detention of Palestinian children participate in a press conference organized by the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network in Canberra, 28 November. (via Facebook)

One in five members of Australia’s parliament is calling on Israel to end its systematic abuses of Palestinian children.

“Israel is the only country in the world that automatically prosecutes children in military courts. And only Palestinian children,” dozens of members of the Australian house of representatives and senate say in a letter released by the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network on Monday.

“Up to 700 Palestinian children are arrested each year by the Israeli military, and this number is increasing,” the 49 lawmakers add, citing United Nations reports that ill-treatment of Palestinian children is “widespread, systematic and institutionalized.”

The lawmakers call on Israel to comply with its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and “to not arrest or detain Palestinian children unless this is a last resort, and if they are detained, to immediately institute protections for those children including that their safety and best interests are prioritized, and that they are permitted a fair trial.”

Growing debate

The letter is part of a growing debate on Israel’s human rights abuses. Earlier this month, Maria Vamvakinou, a member of the main opposition Australian Labor Party, introduced a motion calling on Australia “to raise concerns with the Israeli government about the treatment of Palestinian children.”

Though parliament has yet to vote on the measure, a number of lawmakers have given speeches calling on Israel to end its abuses of Palestinian children:

“We are very encouraged to see this issue resonating with members of parliament in Australia,” Beth Miller from the human rights group Defense for Children International-Palestine told The Electronic Intifada. “The situation on the ground for Palestinian children is increasingly dire. This is a welcome sign that more leaders are ready to take bold action to ensure justice and accountability.”

International success

The initiative in Australia was the result of international cooperation among advocates for Palestinian rights.

Over the summer, members of APAN – the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network – contacted the No Way to Treat a Child campaign about its successes in winning US congressional support for Palestinian children’s rights.

Led by the American Friends Service Committee and Defense for Children International-Palestine, the No Way to Treat a Child campaign has gained traction in notoriously difficult political territory for those working to hold Israel accountable for its abuses.

“We were thrilled that organizers in Australia heard of our advocacy with members of the US Congress about Palestinian children in Israeli military detention,” Jennifer Bing of the American Friends Service Committee told The Electronic Intifada. “We had several email and Skype exchanges to share strategies and effective messaging with those often silent about Palestinian human rights.”

In June, 20 US lawmakers urged President Barack Obama to send a “clear signal” to Palestinian children that their lives are valued.

In a letter initiated by Minnesota congresswoman Betty McCollum, the lawmakers urged the president to appoint a special envoy to protect the rights of Palestinian children under Israeli occupation.

A year earlier, 19 US lawmakers called on Secretary of State John Kerry to “prioritize the human rights of Palestinian children” in relations with Israel.

While Obama did not act on the lawmakers’ request, and unconditionally awarded Israel the biggest US military aid package in history earlier this year, the lawmakers’ willingness to speak out is a sign of the greater openness and contestation over Palestinian rights within the Democratic Party.

One of the signers of the letter to Obama was Minnesota congressman Keith Ellison, a leading contender to be chair of the party’s top governing body, the Democratic National Committee.


Is Trump Encouraging the ‘Most Extreme Elements’ of the Israeli Government?

[ Ed. note – In the view of the guest interviewed in the above video, the answer to the question posed in the title of this post seems to be yes. It’s hard to disagree.

Earlier this month Jason Greenblatt, co-chairman of Trump’s “Israel Advisory Committee,” gave an interview in which he stated, “It is certainly not Mr. Trump’s view that settlement activities should be condemned and that it is an obstacle for peace, because it is not an obstacle for peace.”

One wonders: if the settlements are not an obstacle to peace, what exactly, in Greenblatt’s (or Trump’s) view, is the obstacle? Is it that the Palestinians haven’t given up enough of their land? They haven’t allowed enough of their homes to be demolished, or their olive trees and farmlands destroyed?

Maybe Greenblatt (or Trump) feels the Palestinians should be reasonable: and give the Israelis carte blanche to detain and torture as many of their children as the Israelis see fit. And of course, it goes without saying that the Israelis have the right to blockade Gaza and machine gun Gaza fishermen anytime their boats get beyond three miles from shore. Why can’t the Palestinians understand these things? Maybe they just need Greenblatt (or Trump) to spell it out for them?

Many people, myself included, hoped that Trump’s election signaled a change for the better. Whether that is the case remains to be seen. But things are certainly not looking good at this point for the Palestinians. ]


Image of Trump posted at a souvenir shop in Jerusalem as Israeli border guard passes nearby

Protests in Central Hebron Against Child Arrests


Monday 21 November at Ibn Rushd Square, youth from Hebron gathered together with adults at a protest against the Israeli detention of Palestinian children. The protest was organized by the Prisoners Club and human right defenders who shared their information about over 350 Palestinian children in Israeli prisons with the public.

Since 2015, the Israeli occupation forces detained more than 2,000 Palestinian minors, at unexpected nightly arrest-raids and raids in refugee camps, or just kidnapped them from the streets. The numbers are rising and their treatment gets worser ( see: Addameer , Human Right Watch , Aljazeera , and the recently released statistics by B’tselem )

Israeli investigators are using torture techniques, both physical, emotional and psychological, to extract confessions from arrested children, who then will still be admitted in courts as evidence. Some Palestinian children receive life sentences by Israeli courts. Many others were sentenced to 10 or 20 years in prison.

At the protest meeting, the children showed pictures of their imprisoned age companions.

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