‘Every day is worse than the one before’

30 Sep

– a Palestinian community fights for survival

Zaynab Mohammed Ayoub plays next to the rubble of her demolished home. [Quique Kiersenbaum/Guardian]

One of the biggest expulsion decisions since the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories began in 1967 has left an entire community at risk.

By Bethan McKernan and Quique Kierszenbaum in Masafer Yatta, West Bank, the Guardian, 29 September 2022

The new school year has started and harvest season is just around the corner, but some of the men and boys of Masafer Yatta are busy working on a different project – moving into a cave.

In Khribet al-Fakhiet, a remote village deep in the occupied West Bank, residents were using an improvised winch mounted on a pickup truck to help clear out a cavern housing sheep and goats. Buckets lowered through the entrance and a hole in the ceiling came back out filled with straw and dung; the dusty, hot interior was lit by lamps powered by a generator. Faced with the demolition of their home, livestock pens and other structures, one family is preparing to relocate into the cave before winter comes.

Mohammed Ayoub, 46. Photograph: Quique Kierszenbaum/The Guardian

“We have no choice,” said Mohammed Ayoub, the head of an extended family of 17. “We have been sleeping in the village clinic since our home was destroyed, but we have to find an alternative.”

The Guardian met the family in May, just after the Israeli supreme court decision that has turned life upside down for the 1,000 or so Palestinians living in Masafer Yatta’s collection of hamlets. The Ayoub house was demolished by bulldozers in an operation supervised by the Israel Defence Forces a few weeks after the ruling, leaving them living in a tent all summer.

Israel designated this 3,000ha (7,410 acre) area of the barren south Hebron hills as a military training zone – Firing Zone 918 – in the 1980s. After decades of legal battles, however, four months ago the supreme court finally agreed with the IDF’s argument that the people living in Masafer Yatta could not prove they were residents before the firing zone was established.

The ruling, which contravenes international law, was one of the single biggest expulsion decisions since the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories began in 1967. Now, the homes and livelihoods of the entire community are at risk, and the army, together with illegal Israeli settlers, is increasing the pressure to try to get the Palestinians to leave.

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How western media language misrepresents Palestinians, shields Israel

13 Sep

VIDEO: Palestine Chronicle, 13 September 2022.

In this episode of ‘The Palestinian View’, Palestinian intellectual and editor of The Palestine Chronicle Dr. Ramzy Baroud discusses how US, western mainstream and corporate media remain biased in favour of Israel, although they often behave as if they are a third, neutral party.

6-year-old Palestinian dies after Israel denies him access to treatment outside Gaza

3 Sep
Six-year-old Farouq Mohammed Abu Naja died in the Gaza Strip after Israeli occupation authorities denied him access to medical care at Hadassah Medical Centre in occupied Jerusalem in August 2022

Six-year-old Farouq Mohammed Abu Naja died in the Gaza Strip after Israeli occupation authorities denied him access to medical care at Hadassah Medical Centre in occupied Jerusalem in August 2022

By Wafa Aludaini , Gaza, Middle East Monitor, 1 September 2022

Six-year-old Farouq Mohammed Abu Naja died in the Gaza Strip after Israeli occupation authorities denied him access to medical care at Hadassah Medical Centre in occupied Jerusalem.

A press release issued by Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights condemned the discriminatory restriction on movement and the arbitrary permit system imposed by the Israeli occupation on Palestinian patients obstructing their access to hospitals outside Gaza.

We tried all possible ways to treat him, but all the doctors informed us that there is no cure for him here, in Gaza

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Urgent medical aid appeal for Gaza

11 Aug

There is an urgent need for medical aid for GAZA after Israeli bombing attacks on the densely populated area last week. 44 Palestinians have been killed – 15 of them children – and over 300 injured.

A few days ago PSNA had an online meeting with Dr Medhat Abbas from the Gaza Ministry of Health.

Dr Medhat Abbas said: As well as dealing with the hundreds of injured Palestinians from Israel’s latest attacks on Gaza the area’s health services have to cope with power outages (only 4 hours power each day), closed borders preventing medical supplies getting through and seriously degraded hospital services from 17 years of Israel’s inhuman blockade.

We are asking supporters to donate generously to this fundraising appeal which will provide practical support and relief for Palestinians fighting for freedom.

Donate to:

Account Name: Kia Ora Gaza Trust
Account Number: 03-0211-0447718-000

Email: office@kiaoragaza.net with your deposit details so we can send you an e-receipt.

Please forward this email on to people who you feel may be willing to consider donating to this appeal.

This appeal is supported by Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa (PSNA), Kia Ora Gaza, Palestinians in Aotearoa Coordinating Committee (PACC), Palestine Youth Aotearoa (PYA), Palestine Human Rights Campaign Aotearoa (PHRC).

Latest Israeli attacks exacerbate hardships of life in Gaza

10 Aug

Palestinian homes and workplaces destroyed during the latest attacks by Israeli forces on Gaza [Abdelhakim Abu Riash/Al Jazeera]

By Maram Humaid, Gaza, AlJazeera, 10 August 2022

Gaza City – As life returned to the streets of the Gaza Strip following the truce between Israeli forces and Palestinian fighters, Yasser Awadallah went to his workplace which has now been reduced to rubble.

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Jewish groups across the globe condemn Israel’s unprovoked bombardment of Gaza

9 Aug

Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle

Statement posted by Marilyn Garson for Sh’ma Koleinu – Alternative Jewish Voices of Aotearoa New Zealand. http://ajv.org.nz/ 9 August 2022

We, member groups of the International Jewish Collective for Justice in Palestine, are filled with sorrow and outrage at Israel’s unprovoked aerial bombardment of the community of Gaza, Palestine. We condemn it and its dishonest rhetoric.

This is not a dispute between two sides. An occupying military is attacking an occupied, blockaded community. Israel called this a ‘pre-emptive’ assault, although it provided no evidence for its just-in-case bombardment of crowded cities. Israel has no legal right to military aggression to bolster a blockade which is, itself, in violation of law. This has nothing to do with Israel’s self-defense. We saw with our eyes that it is occupied Gaza that needs defense, and has the right to defend itself.

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Palestine needs ‘new vision for liberation’ as Israel bombs Gaza

9 Aug

Ramzy Baroud, co-editor of newly released book, explains to Anadolu Agency the need for a new Palestinian political discourse

Palestine needs ‘new vision for liberation’ as Israel bombs Gaza

Dr Ramzy Baroud, co-editor of ‘Our Vision for Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders & Intellectuals Speak Out’ (AA Photo: Riyaz ul Khaliq)

By Riyaz ul Khaliq, Istanbul, Anadolu Agency, 9 August 2022

As Israel bombs, kills and wounds innocent Palestinians in fresh air raids, a new book has called for moving past “stale discourse” and engaging in new discussions on Palestine.

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The names & faces of the children killed by Israeli raids

9 Aug

Gaza ceasefire: ‘This is going to happen again’

8 Aug

The death toll from Israel’s unprovoked assault on Gaza has risen to at least 44, including 15 children. More then 300 people have been injured.

Electronic Intifada’s Ali Abunimah discusses the recent Egyptian-brokered ceasefire. VIDEO: AlJazeera, 8 August 2022.

Photos: Gaza death toll rises as Israel continues attack

7 Aug
Family members mourn the killing of 19-year-old Noor Zweidi from Beit Hanon after he was targeted in front of his house in the northern Gaza Strip in an Israeli air raid [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]

By Hosam Salem, Gaza City, AlJazeera, 7 August 2022

Israeli air raids levelled homes in Gaza and Palestinian rockets targeted southern Israel for a second day, stoking fears of another major escalation 14 months after the last war.

Warplanes stepped up attacks with direct hits on four residential buildings in Gaza City, all locations allegedly linked to Islamic Jihad fighters.

Another air attack on Saturday destroyed a car, killing a 75-year-old woman and wounding six other people. Israeli fighter jets dropped two bombs on the house of an alleged Islamic Jihad member.

At least 24 Palestinians, including six children, have been killed and 203 wounded during the two days of attacks, according to the Gaza health ministry.

More than 400 rockets were launched at Israel, most intercepted, setting off air raid sirens and sending people running to bomb shelters. There were no reports of serious casualties, the Israeli ambulance service said.

More than 400 rockets were launched at Israel, most intercepted, setting off air raid sirens and sending people running to bomb shelters. There were no reports of serious casualties, the Israeli ambulance service said.

Palestinian Raed Rajab, right, receives medical treatment at Al-Shifa Hospital after he was wounded on Friday in the bombing of Palestine Tower. [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]
Israel destroyed a civilian vehicle in the Jabalia refugee camp on Saturday. Five Palestinians, including three children, were killed with Israel saying the deaths were caused by a failed rocket launch and Palestinians blaming it on an air raid. [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]
A five-storey home was completely destroyed after it was bombed in an Israeli raid. [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]
Relatives mourn after Noor Zweidi, 19, was killed in Israel’s attack in Beit Hanon in the northern Gaza Strip. [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]
Islamic Jihad fighters launch a barrage of rockets towards Israel after it attacked Gaza. [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]
Ghassan Abu Ramadan lies on a bed in Al-Shifa Hospital after he was wounded on Friday in the Israeli attack on the Palestine Tower in central Gaza City. [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]
Relatives carry the body of Noor Zweidi, 19, after he was killed in an Israeli raid. [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]
The Shamalakh family home was bombed and destroyed on Saturday in the Shiekh Ejleen area in the western Gaza Strip. [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]
Palestinians try to salvage belongings after their home was destroyed in Israeli raids on Saturday. [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]
Palestinian children look over the destruction in the Shiekh Ejleen area. [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]

Rallies will also condemn Israeli attacks on Gaza to boost Yair Lapid’s election chances

6 Aug

The PSNA rallies around New Zealand today in solidarity with Palestinians resisting ethnic cleansing at Masafer Yatta will also call for the New Zealand government to condemn Israeli airstrikes against the densely-populated Gaza strip which killed 10 Palestinians – including five-year-old Alaa Abdullah Riyad Qaddoum – in the last 12 hours.

Alaa Abdullah Riyadd Qaddoum (5yrs) – Killed by the Israeli military today

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid is wanting to appear “tough” to the Israeli electorate in the leadup to Israel’s November elections.

“Using Palestinian blood to bolster election campaigns is typical of the casualised racism and brutality which dominates the apartheid state of Israel” says John Minto, National Chair of PSNA. “Holding Israel to account for its war crimes against the Palestinian people is the only moral position for the Aotearoa New Zealand government to take”

Hundreds of Palestinians and dozens of Palestinian children have been murdered by Israeli forces this year and not a peep from the Labour government.

John Minto, National Chair, Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa. www.PSNA.nz

[See post below for rally details – ‘Join the campaign to defend Masafer Yarra’]

Israel hits Gaza with air attacks as tensions escalate

6 Aug

At least 10 people killed – including an Islamic Jihad commander and a young girl – and 55 wounded in a series of missile attacks throughout Gaza.

Firefighters put out a blaze following Israeli air attacks on Gaza City [Mohammed Abed/AFP]

By Maram Humaid, Gaza, AlJazeera, 6 August 2022

Gaza City – Israel attacked the besieged Gaza Strip with warplanes on Friday, killing at least 10 people including a commander of the Islamic Jihad group and a young girl.

Taysir al-Jabari, a commander of the al-Quds Brigades, the military arm of the Islamic Jihad, died in an air raid on an apartment in the Palestine Tower in the centre of Gaza City, the group said.

The health ministry in Gaza said at least 10 people were killed including al-Jabari and a five-year-old girl. At least 55 people were wounded and being treated at hospitals as a result of the Israeli raids.

The five-year-old girl, Alaa Qaddoum, was killed in a missile attack along with her father while they rode a motorcycle to go shopping for groceries.

The Guardian News video report 6 August 2022

“Her mother Rasha is in great shock. She lost her daughter and her husband in a blink of an eye and left behind three children. We are all shocked. What is the fault of an innocent five-year-old girl to be killed in this way?” family member Mohammad Abu Jabal told Al Jazeera.

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Israel deploys ‘attack drones’ over Gaza after arrest of Islamic Jihad leader

5 Aug

Isreali soldiers operating a Skylark drone. (Photo: Cpl. Zev Marmorstein, IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, via Wikimedia Commons)

Palestine Chronicle, August 5, 2022

Israel deployed attack drones and increased its surveillance over the besieged Gaza Strip, fearing retaliation after its arrest of a Palestinian leader earlier this week, Haaretz reported on Thursday.

In an escalation of its 15-year-long siege, Israel shut all crossings into Gaza on Tuesday after it arrested Bassam al-Saadi, a senior member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).

The shutdown has stopped the transport of goods and aid into Gaza and prevented workers from crossing into Israel.

Gaza’s only power plant is also at risk of imminent shutdown as the trucks that supply it with fuel cannot cross.

Saadi was arrested Monday in an Israeli raid in the West Bank city of Jenin, during which a Palestinian teenager was killed.

After the arrest, the PIJ sounded full alert among its fighters – implying a threat of imminent retaliation – after footage circulating on Israeli media appeared to show Saadi may have been injured during his arrest.

Senior security officials told Haaretz they believe Israel underestimated the possible implications al-Saadi’s arrest could have on the situation on the Israel-Gaza border.

Immediate de-escalation appears unlikely, with Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid saying Thursday that Israel “will not shy away from using force to restore normal life in the south of the country, and we will not stop the policy of arresting terrorist operatives in Israel”.

(The New Arab, PC, SOCIAL)

Join the campaign to defend Masafer Yarra

2 Aug

Israel has begun its ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Masafer Yatta – an area with eight Palestinian villages and over 1,200 people.

This is Israel’s largest ethnic cleansing operation against Palestinians since 1967.

It is part of Israel’s colonial project – to ethnically cleanse Palestinians from their land in favour of Jewish settlers.

Aotearoa New Zealand is joining the international campaign to fight Israeli racism and apartheid by running a Nationwide Rally on Saturday August 6th.

Come and rally to Defend Masafer Yatta – see rally details above.

Israeli military drills in Masafer Yatta turn Palestinian villages into a shooting range

29 Jul

Don’t let the Israeli suspension of military training in Masafer Yatta during Biden’s visit fool you. The threat we continue to face is very real.

BY ALI AWAD, Mondoweiss, 28 July 2022

Israeli soldiers during military training in Masafer Yatta (Photo: Ali Awad)

ISRAELI SOLDIERS DURING MILITARY TRAINING IN MASAFER YATTA (PHOTO: ALI AWAD)

We have lived through more than a month of live-fire military exercises with inside Masafer Yatta following an Israeli High Court decision on May 4. 

U.S. President Joe Biden has spoken clearly of his commitment to human rights since he began his presidency, and we had hoped that he would at least acknowledge what could soon become the largest forced displacement of Palestinians ever since 1967 during his recent visit to Palestine. However, the day before President Biden landed in Tel Aviv, the Israeli army canceled live ammunition training in our villages for the duration of his visit. It is now clear for everyone to see that the only time the daily injustices against us are paused is when it helps the US administration to ignore its complicity in the violation of our human rights.

Make no mistake, the danger is real: last week, bullets from a machine gun reached the roof of a family’s house in the village of Halat al-Dab’a.

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UN failing to protect Palestinian children

20 Jul

Image: Reuters

RAMZY BAROUD, New Arab, 19 July 2022

A UN statement released last week, which urged the Israeli government to release Palestinian prisoner Ahmad Manasra, included the words: “We regret we failed to protect you.” Only 14 years old at the time of his arrest and torture by Israeli forces, Manasra is now 20. His case is a representation of Israel’s overall inhumane treatment of Palestinian children.

The UN experts’ statement was forceful and heartfelt. It accused Israel of depriving Manasra “of his childhood, family environment, protection and all the rights he should have been guaranteed as a child.” It referred to the case as “haunting,” considering Manasra’s “deteriorating mental conditions.” The statement went further, declaring that the case “is a stain on all of us as part of the international human rights community.”

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Israeli warplanes attack several locations in the Gaza Strip

17 Jul

Palestine Chronicle, 17 July 2022

Israeli warplanes on Saturday morning attacked several locations in different parts of the besieged Gaza Strip causing heavy damage but no injuries, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

WAFA correspondent said Israeli warplanes fired 10 missiles at a location near a tourist resort in Sheikh Ijjileen, southwest of Gaza City in the north of the Gaza Strip, causing serious damage to houses in its vicinity. Heavy smoke was seen coming out from the area of the attack.

Warplanes also fired two missiles at another location west of the Nusseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, damaging homes nearby.

Israel claims the attacks came in retaliation for firing rockets from Gaza into southern Israel.

Gaza, with a population of 2 million, has been under a hermetic Israeli siege since 2006, when the Palestinian group Hamas won the democratic legislative elections in occupied Palestine. Since then, Israel has carried out numerous bombing campaigns and several major wars, that resulted in the death of thousands of people. 

(WAFA, PC, Social Media)

Israeli forces open fire at Palestinian fishermen off Gaza

17 Jul

The Israeli army regularly detains and opens fire on unarmed Palestinian fishermen. (Photo: Mahmoud Nasser, The Palestine Chronicle)

Palestine Chronicle, 17 July 2022

Israel’s navy opened fire at Palestinian fishermen off Gaza on Saturday, causing them to abandon their work and head back to land, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

Nobody was injured in the shooting, but the vessels turned back out of concern for safety or being detained, according to local sources.

Meanwhile, Israeli forces shot at Palestinian farmers and shepherds from an observation tower near Khan Yunis city in southern Gaza, forcing them to leave the area.

Israel often fires at Palestinian fishermen in the waters off Gaza and at farmers near observation towers.

While fishing is an important part of Gaza’s economy that helps sustain thousands of families, Israel has placed tight restrictions on the industry.

As part of its siege of Gaza, which began in 2007, Israel limits the areas in which Palestinian fishing boats can operate. The blockade has been slammed as a form of illegal collective punishment by rights groups.

There are around 1.5 million people in poverty in Gaza, which in May 2021 faced a brutal 11-day Israeli bombing campaign.

(The New Arab, PC, Social Media)

From Raglan to Palestine – let our voice be heard

13 Jul

Palestinian children wave the national flags at the West Bank village of Masafer Yatta. Photo / AP

By John Minto, Opinion, NZ Herald, 13 July 2022

During World War I, the New Zealand Government took a big area of land at Raglan from the local Tainui Awhiro people to build an airfield and bunker as part of the local war preparations. 

The airfield was never built and, instead of returning the land to the people, the government used the Public Works Act in 1928 to give legal justification for the Crown keeping the land.

In 1967, local iwi were evicted from the land and forced to rebuild nearby with the Government then selling the land for the Raglan Golf Course.

In the early 1970s, Tainui Awhiro, led by Māori activist Eva Rickard, began the fight to have the land returned and after much protest, marches, petitions, lobbying, occupations and arrests on the golf links themselves they were finally successful in 1983. The land was handed back – but not until they had fought off a government “offer” requiring them to buy their land back from the Crown.

It was my first experience of being part, in a very small way, of a Māori land protest.

One of the important things I remember from Raglan, Bastion Pt and those early land protests were the messages of support and solidarity which came in from around the country and all over the world. Typically, these would be read out at the start of a protest hui and local iwi and supporters took great heart from them. They lifted spirits and warmed hearts when things sometimes seemed bleak.

We have a long way to go in decolonisation in Aotearoa New Zealand but we have come a significant way from the crude government behaviour at Raglan.

On the other side of the world, colonisation in Palestine is continuing apace since the mass expulsions of Palestinians from their land in 1948 (more than700,000 people evicted from their homes and land by Israeli militias from more than 500 villages with dozens of civilian massacres along the way).

Every day for the past 74 years, more Palestinians have been evicted from their land using all manner of spurious, creative justifications, backed by a court system run by the Israeli colonisers.

In the spotlight today are 12 Palestinian villages with more than 1000 people who face eviction from their land in an area of the South Hebron Hills called Masafer Yatta.

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Why Israel’s 15-year siege on Gaza has failed

6 Jul

     

Israeli soldiers clash with protesters during a demonstration against eviction of Palestinian villages in West Bank. (AFP)

RAMZY BAROUD, Arab News, 5 June 2022

Fifteen years have passed since Israel imposed a total siege on the Gaza Strip, subjecting nearly 2 million Palestinians to one of the longest and cruelest politically motivated blockades in history.
The Israeli government at the time justified its siege as the only way to protect Israel from Palestinian “terrorism and rocket attacks.” This remains the official line. However, few Israelis — certainly not in government, the media or even ordinary people — would argue that the country is safer today than it was prior to June 2007.


It is widely understood that Israel imposed the siege as a response to Hamas’ takeover of the Strip following a brief and violent confrontation with its main Palestinian political rival Fatah, which still dominates the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.


However, the isolation of Gaza was planned years before the Hamas-Fatah clash or even Hamas’ legislative election victory of January 2006. Late Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had long been determined to redeploy Israeli forces out of Gaza. What finally culminated in the Israeli disengagement from Gaza in August-September 2005 was proposed by Sharon in 2003, approved by his government in 2004 and finally adopted by the Knesset in February 2005.


This “disengagement” was an Israeli tactic that aimed to move a few thousand illegal Jewish settlers out of Gaza to other illegal settlements in the West Bank, while redeploying the Israeli army from crowded Gazan population centers to the border areas. This was the actual start of the Gaza siege.

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