Humor under Israeli Occupation and traumatised jokes

25 Jan

By Yousef Aljamal, Politics Today, 25 January 2022

Read how Palestinians seek refuge in humor to release their stress and bring joy to their lives.

An Israeli policeman checks a Palestinian young man at the Damascus Gate at the entrance of the Old City in east Jerusalem on October 13, 2015 as security measures are increased. [Photo by Ahmad Gharabli, AFP via Getty Images]

Jokes can reflect how people think of themselves and their future, and tell us a great deal about culture, politics, and ideology. On occasion, they can spread faster than rumours. Given the constant upheavals and instabilities, the Middle East, in general, and Palestine, in particular, are popular topics of political humor.

Life in parts of the Middle East has become miserable with conflicts and civil wars on the rise, and ordinary people often resort to humor to escape the dreadful reality of dark days. For a Middle Easterner, it is humor that helps them make fun of and ultimately forget their daily agonies. As politics become ever more complicated, people escape their reality and resort to humor. If you can’t change your life, then simply mock it.

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How Israel’s ‘Facebook Law’ plans to control all Palestinian content online

21 Jan
In this photo illustration, the Meta logo is displayed on the screen of an iPhone in front of a Facebook logo on 29 October 2021 [Chesnot/Getty Images]

In this photo illustration, the Meta logo is displayed on the screen of an iPhone in front of a Facebook logo. [Chesnot/Getty Images]

By Dr Ramzy Baroud, Opinion, Middle East Monitor, 21 January 2022

It is ironic that even former right-wing Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, had rejected a Knesset (Israeli Parliament) bill which proposed to give the government greater power to control and suppress online content. This was in 2016, and the bill wasintroduced by Netanyahu’s Likud party rival, Gideon Sa’ar.

Some analysts argued that Netanyahu had feared that a law aimed at suppressing Palestinian freedom of speech online could be exploited by his enemies to control his own speech and incitement. Now that Netanyahu is no longer in the picture, the bill is back, and so is Sa’ar.

Gideon Sa’ar is currently Israel’s justice minister and deputy prime minister. While his boss, Naftali Bennett, ismoving rapidly to expand settlements and to worsen already horrific realities for Palestinians on the ground, Sa’ar is expanding the Israeli military occupation of Palestinians to the digital realm. What is known as the ‘Facebook Law’ is set to grant “Israeli courts the power to demand the removal of user-generated content on social media content platforms that can be perceived as inflammatory or as harming ‘the security of the state,’ or the security of people or the security of the public.”

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HRW: Israel doubled down on policies to repress Palestinians in 2021

17 Jan

A Palestinian father carries the body of his son, who was killed by Israeli bombs in Gaza. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour, the Palestine Chronicle)

Palestine Chronicle, January 16, 2022

Israeli occupation authorities doubled down on policies to repress Palestinians and privilege illegal Jewish settlers during the last year, Human Rights Watch stated in a new report.

“The government’s policy of maintaining the domination of Jewish Israelis over Palestinians across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), coupled with the particularly severe repression against Palestinians living in the OPT, amounts to the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution,” the report reads.

Human Rights Watch said it documented serious violations of the laws of war and apparent war crimes during the May 2021 Israeli aggression on Gaza, including Israeli strikes that killed scores of Palestinian civilians and destroyed four high-rise Gaza towers full of homes and businesses, with no evident military targets in the vicinity.

“These attacks took place amid Israel’s sweeping restrictions on the movement of people and goods into and out of Gaza. With rare exceptions, Israel’s closure policy, which is not based on an individualized assessment of security risk…, rob the more than two million Palestinians of Gaza of their right to freedom of movement, severely limit their access to electricity, health care, and water, and have devastated the economy,” the report adds.

“In June, a broad range of political parties formed a new Israeli coalition government, with Naftali Bennett as prime minister. This government continued to facilitate the transfer of Israeli citizens into settlements in the occupied West Bank, a war crime. In October, it advanced plans and issued tenders for more than 4,000 new settlement units,” the report continues.

The report further says that “during the first eight months of 2021, Israeli authorities demolished 666 Palestinian homes and other structures in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, displacing 958 people, a 38 percent increase compared to the same period in 2020, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).”

(Sources: WAFA, PC, Social Media)

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Solidarity with Palestine in Stadiums:

8 Jan

When Sports and Politics Conjoin

Chants of solidarity show that sports can’t be separated from politics and losing a game by withdrawing for political reasons can be a powerful victory.

Fans wave the Palestinian flag during the FIFA Arab Cup 2021 group C football match between Morocco and Palestine at the Al-Janoub Stadium in the Qatari city of Al-Wakrah on December 1, 2021. [Photo by Karim Sahib, AFP via Getty Images]

MIDDLE EASTBY YOUSEF M. ALJAMAL, Politics Today, 5 January 2022

Palestinian football history is rich and goes back to British Mandate Palestine when the Palestinian national team played against Australia’s football team in Sydney on July 2, 1939.

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Israeli Media: Agreement Reached to End Palestinian Prisoner’s Hunger Strike after 141 Days

5 Jan

Palestinian hunger-striking prisoner Hisham Abu Hawwash. (Photo: via Social Media)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff, 5 January 2022

An agreement was reportedly reached Tuesday afternoon to end Palestinian prisoner Hisham Abu Hawwash’s hunger strike after 141 days, after negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian officials with Egyptian mediation, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.

Abu Hawwash has completed his 141 days of hunger strike in an Israeli prison in protest of imprisonment without trial, known as ‘administrative detention’.

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New generation of Palestinians made its mark in 2021

1 Jan

By RAMZY BAROUD, Arab News, 31 December 2021

At the onset, 2021 appeared to be another ordinary year, one of unrelenting Israeli occupation and Palestinian misery. While much of that remained true, the dynamics of the Israeli occupation of Palestine were challenged by an unprecedented sense of popular unity among Palestinians, not only in the Occupied Territories, but among Palestinian communities in historic Palestine too.

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Life as a young journalist in Palestine

30 Dec

VIDEO: Watch the new episode of Palestinian Kids Talk, prepared by 16th October Group/ Palestine, directed by Wafaa A. AlUdaini and presented by Nadin Abdullatif.

In this episode, met the youngest journalist in the world from Palestine, Janna Jihad, who explains why and how she became a journalist while a child under the Occupation, as well as how this work threatens her life. For more, click on the link above.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu – friend of Aotearoa New Zealand & champion of Palestinian human rights – dies aged 90

27 Dec

Palestine has lost a champion of the struggle against Israeli apartheid with the death today of South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, aged 90.

Tutu is known internationally as a leader of the struggle against while minority rule in South Africa and won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work reconciling South Africans after the end of its brutal apartheid regime.

He was the moral conscience of the country and sometimes highly critical of South Africa’s ANC-led government saying that some in the ANC leadership had stopped the apartheid gravy train “just long enough to jump on”.

Relationship with New Zealand

Archbishop Tutu was a warm friend of New Zealand and many New Zealanders across our political divides will feel a deep sadness at his passing.

In the early 1980s when Tutu faced court action from the South African authorities, a delegation of church leaders from New Zealand, led by former Anglican Archbishop of Aotearoa New Zealand, the late Sir Paul Reeves, went to South Africa in an act of international solidarity. This was deeply appreciated by Tutu.

During the protests against the 1981 Springbok tour one of the three Auckland protests squads was called Tutu Squad in his honour.

Later he came to New Zealand and at one point gave evidence as an expert witness on apartheid during a trial arising from 1981 tour protests. Such was his charisma, his mana and the deep respect he commanded everywhere that when he was called to the witness stand by Hone Harawira the entire courtroom stood.

In this case all the activists on trial were acquitted after the jury deliberated.

PSNA National Chair meeting Tutu in South Africa in 2009

Support for Palestinians

Tutu was outspoken against injustices all around the world and in particular he condemned the racist policies faced by Palestinians from the Israeli regime. He frequently described Israel’s treatment of Palestinians as “worse” than that suffered by black South Africans.

He said international solidarity with Palestinians such as through BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) is critical to ending injustices like apartheid.

“I have witnessed the racially segregated roads and housing in the Holy Land that reminded me so much of the conditions we experienced in South Africa under apartheid,” said Tutu.

“We could not have achieved our democracy without the help of people around the world, who through… non-violent means, such as boycotts and disinvestment, encouraged their governments and other corporate actors to reverse decades-long support for the apartheid regime”

In relation to Israeli policies towards Palestinians Tutu said the world should “Call it apartheid and boycott!”

In honouring Tutu’s legacy, freedom-loving people around the world should follow his advice and spurn Israel till everyone living in historic Palestine has equal rights.

Aotearoa New Zealand, the Palestinian struggle and the world have lost a dear friend and a great humanitarian.

John Minto

National Chair Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa

Former National Chair HART (Halt all Racist Tours)

Freedom Flotilla-sponsored ambulance serves disabled patients in Gaza

23 Dec

VIDEO: The ambulance sponsored by Freedom Flotilla Coalition campaigns on the international Miles of Smiles solidarity convoy, is now busy serving the needs of disabled patients in Gaza.

The specially fitted ambulance has been assigned to the Outreach programme of the Benevolent Society for Disabled People to transport patients to and from rehabilitation and medical services throughout the Gaza Strip.

The Benevolent Society has produced this short video (above) showing the ambulance at work.

During a recent hand-over ceremony in Gaza the Freedom Flotilla Coalition was presented with an appreciation certificate, which was received on behalf of FFC by Enas Ghannam from We Are Not Numbers – one of FFC’s partner organisations in Gaza.

Enas Ghannam (right) received an appreciation certificate for the Freedom Flotilla Coalition.

At the awards ceremony, Dr. Ghazi Hamad, Gaza deputy minister of the ministry of development (pictured above) said “a lot of efforts were made to get this aid convoy in. Many associations were contacted to help in cultivating and allowing these ambulances into Gaza. You will all be mentioned in the Palestinian history as the people who supported our steadfastness. We hope that you continue to be supportive to our cause always and forever. You will always be remembered every time an ambulance moves to save a life. Thank you.”

Abdullah Al-Hajjar (above) from the International Medical Relief Society MDEX in Palestine and the media spokesman for the medical aid convoy in the Gaza Strip explained that the convoy of 37 new fully-equipped ambulances eventuated as a response to Israel’s “direct targeting of medical staff and damage medical aids that offer health services” during their May 2021 offensive.

“There was a campaign by colleagues in the International Medical Relief Association MDEX Turkey (Medics Worldwide) to cooperate and partner with Miles of Smiles to prepare a huge medical aid convoy.”

“There were positive and effective responses from over eleven countries including USA, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Indonesia, Algeria, Tunisia, Turkey and many countries that responded to this [call for] humanitarian relief and towards facilitating this convoy.”

Al-Hajjar also thanked colleagues in Egypt “for their efforts to overcome all obstacles and difficulties and to allow us the opportunity to enter this convoy [into Gaza] to enhance the work of the health sector system in Palestine.” He expected this convoy to have “a great impact on the Gazan citizens to alleviate suffering and mitigate the effects of the negative siege that [has been] imposed on the Gaza Strip for more than 15 years.”

Noura Barzek (above) from Adara International Relief Foundation Indonesia said “This convoy is represented by many countries of the world in support of the Palestinian people after Israel’s last war on Gaza, which targeted ambulances.”

“We hope that the world will also stand, like the partners in this convoy, to serve the Palestinian people and to continue and intensify efforts to build the support, God willing.”

The ambulance sponsored by Freedom Flotilla campaigns at work in Gaza, serving the needs of people with disabilities.

Video: How Israeli bombing poisoned Gaza’s water

15 Dec

The Electronic Intifada, Gaza, 15 December 2021

“It’s unreal, unbelievable,” Suhair Khudair, an owner of Khudair Group, told The Electronic Intifada.

“Some people said it looked like Hiroshima.”

On 15 May, the sixth day of its 11-day bombing campaign in Gaza, the Israeli military bombed a massive fertilizer storage facility in the northern city of Beit Lahiya.

That evening, Israeli artillery positioned north of the coastal enclave fired dozens of shells at the warehouses of the Khudair Group, setting them on fire.

Gaza’s first responders were unable to contain the fire at the time owing to its “magnitude and the intensity of Israeli shelling at the time,” Al Mezan, a human rights group in Gaza, stated.

It took weeks to fully extinguish.

The warehouses, which housed 300 tons of highly hazardous agricultural products, were completely destroyed.

The group was responsible for importing and supplying around 35 percent of Gaza’s agricultural products.

The Khudair family founded the company in 1985.

The company purchased new supplies prior to the 15 May bombing, all of which were destroyed, leaving the company in serious debt. The damage is estimated at $13 million, according to the UN monitoring group OCHA.

The loss of livelihoods affected at least 100 family members, most of them children.

In addition to the immense material loss, Israel’s bombing caused an environmental catastrophe in the area.

The fires caused “high concentrations of smoke that lasted for days,” Al Mezan said.

“The burning chemicals also released an unpleasant smell that forced nearby residents to leave their homes.”

Even seven weeks later, “the smell of chemicals was still unbearable,” OCHA said.

Resident Iyad Khudair

Some people developed rashes, and nearby residents were hospitalized for respiratory problems.

Several days after the incident, a woman miscarried her baby, which medical staff at Gaza’s Shifa hospital attributed to chemical inhalation.

“All we want is for the chemicals to be removed,” Mahmoud Khudair told OCHA.

“If we did, it would be a disaster for all of Gaza. Now, it is a disaster for us and everyone living in the vicinity.”

A team from the UN development program began removing hazardous waste on 22 September.

A lack of capacity and expertise in the area delayed the response, OCHA said.

Video by Mohammed Asad and Tala Kaddoura.

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Justice denied in The Hague

11 Dec

In 2014, six members of Ismail Ziada’s family were killed during Israeli’s 51-day assault on Gaza. On Tuesday, a judge in The Hague told him he has no right to seek justice from the Israeli military officers most directly responsible.

Ismail Zaida outside The Hague, December 7, 2021 (Photo: David Kattenburg)



For those who contemplate ideas vague and theoretical in nature, ‘The Hague’ and ‘Den Haag’ readily conjure up notions about justice and the rule of law. Indeed, Vrede en Recht (Peace and Justice) are emblazoned on the Dutch capital’s municipal coat of arms.

Sadly, yesterday morning here in The Hague, Ismail Ziada was left stone-faced and empty-handed.

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Israel encircles Gaza with new high-tech fence

9 Dec
The six metre high wall surrounds the Gaza Strip

We Are Not Numbers, Gaza, 9 December 2021

The Israeli occupation government has recently finished encircling the #Gaza Strip with a fence above the ground extending to tens of meters below it and installing highly sensitive monitoring devices that monitor the movement of people around the clock.
In fact, the Israeli occupation is collectively punishing 2 million #Palestinians inside the largest open-air prison in the world.

Israel’s security wall extends out into the Mediterranean Sea.

See also earlier report:

Israel completes ‘iron wall’ underground Gaza barrier

8 Dec

Israeli defence minister says the ‘technologically advanced project’ includes hundreds of cameras, radar and other sensors over a stretch of 65km.

Israeli soldiers stand on guard by the fence along the Gaza Strip near Moshav Netiv HaAsara in southern Israel [Menahem Kahana/AFP]

AlJazeera, 8 December 2021 (Abridged)

Israel has announced the completion of a sensor-equipped underground wall on its side of Gaza, a countermeasure developed after Hamas used tunnels to repel its troops during a 2014 invasion of the besieged Palestinian territory.

Israel went public with the project, which also includes an above-ground fence, a naval barrier, radar systems and command and control rooms, in 2016.

“The barrier, which is an innovative and technologically advanced project, deprives Hamas of one of the capabilities it tried to develop,” Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said, according to a ministry statement.

“[It] places an ‘iron wall’, sensors and concrete between the terror organisation and the residents of Israel’s south,” he said of the project, which beefs up an existing fence.

The ministry said the barrier, which includes hundreds of cameras, radar and other sensors, spans 65km (40 miles) and 140,000 tonnes of iron and steel were used in its construction, which took three-and-a-half years to complete.

It said the project’s “smart fence” is more than 6 metres (20 feet) high and its maritime barrier includes means to detect infiltration by sea and a remote-controlled weapons system. The ministry did not disclose the depth of the underground wall.

Gaza also has a 14km (8.7 miles) long border with Egypt, which has also clamped down on crossings, citing security concerns. Since 2013, Egyptian forces have demolished smuggling tunnels while Hamas, on its side, has stepped up patrols.

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VIDEO: Palestinian youth call for international action to release prisoners

7 Dec

Palestinian activists take part in a protest in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners. (File photo via MEMO)

VIDEO: Palestinian youth in Gaza call for international action for the release of political prisoners held in Israeli jails.

Video by 16th October Media group, Gaza, 7 December 2021.

Message from Samidoun – Palestinian Prisoners Solidarity Network.

Israel’s mass surveillance of Palestinians is more than an obsession

6 Dec

Israeli forces stand guard at a checkpoint during a demonstration by Palestinians on a call from Sheikh Jarrah locals in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem on May 22, 2021. Photo by Mostafa Alkharouf. Anadolu Images.

OPINIONBY YOUSEF M. ALJAMAL, Politics Today, 4 December 2021

Israel monitors the Gaza Strip through unlimited numbers of cameras planted on the wall it built to keep Palestinians away.

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Video: Palestinian writer, Mohammed El-Kurd’s moving speech to the UN today

30 Nov

Video by TRT World – key points, 30 November 2021

The entire speech recorded by HW News

29 Nov

Why the Palestinian voice should take centre stage

26 Nov

A Palestinian man sits on the rubble of a destroyed house in the Gaza Strip after 11 days of violence in May. (Photo: Mahmoud Issa/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

We Do Exist: Why the Palestinian Voice Should Take Centre Stage

For Palestine to be free, for the Palestinian people to achieve their full rights and for the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees to be honored, the story of Palestine has to be told by the Palestinians themselves.

By RAMZY BAROUD, Opinion, Common Dreams, 25 November 2021

At a recent New York event, the President of the Foreign Press Association Ian Williams declared, before an approving audience, that it is time “to reclaim the narrative on Palestine”.

This phrase—’reclaiming the narrative’—is relatively new to the Palestinian discourse. Years ago, the concept, let alone its implementation, were quite alien: the pro-Israel crowd refused, and still refuses, to acknowledge that Palestinians, their history and political discourse matter; some in the pro-Palestinian movement relegated Palestinian voices as if they were simply incapable of articulating a coherent narrative.

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Raids, arrests and death threats: Israel’s strategy of silencing human rights defenders

21 Nov
Benny Gantz, Israel's defense minister in Jerusalem, Israel, on Tuesday, October 12, 2021 [Kobi Wolf/Bloomberg via Getty Images]

Benny Gantz, Israel’s defense minister in Jerusalem, Israel [Kobi Wolf/Bloomberg via Getty Images]

Dr Ramzy BaroudRomana Rubeo, Middle East Monitor, 19 November 2021

On 21 October, Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz announced the issuance of a military order designating six prominent Palestinian human rights groups as ‘terrorist organizations’. Gantz claimed that they are secretly linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a socialist political group that Israel considers, along with most Palestinian political parties, ‘a terrorist organization.’

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Why are children in Gaza dropping out of school?

20 Nov

Mondoweiss, 20 November 2021

Gaza Strip: The Latest situation overview

  • 331 schools damaged
  • 2,173 homes destroyed or damaged beyond repair
  • 10 damaged hospitals; 23 damaged or destroyed medical clinics
  • 14 hours of electricity a day

This week we are taking you to Gaza where we will focus our attention on the confluence of an economy in “free fall,” damage to infrastructure from successive hostilities [from] Israel, and massive layouts during the pandemic. This has wrought new depths of economic devastation, but a report out this week from Al Mezan, a Gaza-based human rights group, has turned our attention to how all of this impacts children. We learned that these stressors are leaving children unable to focus at school and they are increasingly dropping out.

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