U.S. Backing Has Given Israel License to Kill & Maim

Re: U.S. Backing Has Given Israel License to Kill & Maim

Postby admin » Fri May 21, 2021 12:36 am

“It Is Apartheid”: Rights Group B’Tselem on How Israel Advances Jewish Supremacy Over Palestinians
by Amy Goodman
MAY 20, 2021
https://www.democracynow.org/2021/5/20/ ... _palestine

Hagai El-Ad: executive director of the human rights group B’Tselem.
Gideon Levy: Israeli journalist and author, columnist for the newspaper Haaretz and a member of its editorial board.
Noura Erakat: Palestinian human rights attorney, legal scholar and assistant professor at Rutgers University.
Hagai El-Ad on Twitter
Gideon Levy at Haaretz
"We Can Keep Lying to Ourselves on 'Apartheid,' but Israel Has Crossed the Line.”
"Israel has chosen a two-tiered society. Violence is the inevitable result."
"A regime of Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This is apartheid"

As Israel faces international condemnation for its assault on Gaza, we look at growing accusations that Israel is an apartheid state. Hagai El-Ad, executive director of the human rights group B’Tselem, describes the findings of their report that details how Israel is committing “apartheid.” Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is “not complicated,” El-Ad says. “Believe your eyes. Follow your conscience. The reason that it looks like apartheid is simply because it is apartheid.” We get response from Israeli journalist Gideon Levy, columnist for the newspaper Haaretz and a member of its editorial board, who wrote a recent piece, “We Can Keep Lying to Ourselves on 'Apartheid,' but Israel Has Crossed the Line.” We also speak to Noura Erakat, Palestinian human rights attorney and legal scholar.


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The Quarantine Report. I’m Amy Goodman.

As Israel faces international condemnation for its assault on Gaza, we turn to look at growing accusations that Israel is an apartheid state. Earlier this week, New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, “Apartheid states aren’t democracies.” In March, the organization Human Rights Watch said for the first time Israel is committing the crimes of apartheid and persecution in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Before that, in January, the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem issued a report titled “A regime of Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This is apartheid.”

Earlier this week, I spoke with Hagai El-Ad, executive director of B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights group, and I asked him about this landmark report.

HAGAI EL-AD: B’Tselem was founded back in 1989. We’ve been analyzing human rights violations in the Occupied Territories since then, for more than three decades by now. And throughout this period, we’ve only looked at human rights violations in the Occupied Territories, in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and in the Gaza Strip.

We came to the conclusion that to continue to analyze the situation separately, as if there are two distinct regimes — a democracy inside the Green Line and a temporary occupation attached to it but somehow separate from it in the Occupied Territories on the other side of the Green Line — that that worldview of democracy plus occupation has become untethered from reality. And it’s incumbent on us to be factual and to wake up to reality.

If one desires to continue to hold on to that big lie, then you need to ignore a lot of things. You need to ignore the passage of time, that Israeli control over the entire territory has been going on for more than 50 years. You need to ignore the fact that there are more than 600,000 Israeli Jewish settlers living on the other side of the Green Line in the occupied West Bank, as if they’re living inside Israel proper. You need to ignore the fact that part of the occupied territory has been formally annexed — I’m talking about East Jerusalem — with the rest of it being de facto annexed. You need to set aside a lot of facts in order to continue to hold on to that bankrupt worldview.

But the key thing is that to hold on to that, you need to ignore the key aspect, which is there is one organizing principle that is applied by the Israeli regime between the river and the sea, and that principle is the supremacy and domination of one group of people — Jews — over another group of people — Palestinians — with all this happening in a situation of demographic parity. There are 14 million people that live between the river and the sea. About half of them are Jews. About half of them are Palestinians. But the system, the regime is structured so that that demographic parity will not translate into parity in political power or in access to the resources of this land or to protection or rights.

Now, one of the most important aspects of this reality has been Israel’s ability to fragment this space for Palestinians, while keeping it intact for Jews. Right? So, if you’re a Jewish individual, like myself, no matter where you live between the river and the sea, whether it’s inside Israel proper or in the Occupied Territories, the state will — within one of the more than 200 illegal settlements that Israel has reestablished in the last half-century-plus, then the state will do everything in its power to provide you with the same set of rights, privileges and protections. Right? So, that’s the treatment for Jewish Israelis. But, for Palestinians, it makes a very big difference if you live as a second-class citizen inside the Green Line or as a permanent resident in occupied and illegally annexed East Jerusalem or in the rest of the West Bank as a Palestinian subject or one of the 2 million Palestinians that are living in that large open-air prison that is the Gaza Strip. So, there are different categories of Palestinians, from Israel’s perspective, and in each and every one of those, there is a different subset of rights, always less rights, always a degree of oppression. But nowhere between the river and the sea, there is a single square inch in which a Jewish person and a Palestinian are equal. It is always structured in this way that’s domination and supremacy for the Jewish half of the population.

And it’s incumbent on us to connect the dots. So let me try and do that. Look at Israel’s bombings of Gaza. Do these strike you as proportional? Look at Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. Does it strike you as temporary? Look at Israel’s drive to cleanse East Jerusalem neighborhoods from Palestinians. Does that strike you as legal? Look at Israel’s oppression of Palestinian citizens as second-class. Does that strike you as equal treatment under the law? It’s not proportional. It’s not temporary. It’s not legal. It’s not equal. And it’s not complicated. Believe your eyes. Follow your conscience. The reason that it looks like apartheid is simply because it is apartheid.

AMY GOODMAN: Hagai El-Ad, what is the response within the Israeli Jewish population to your critique, now calling what’s happening in Gaza war crimes, and to your apartheid report from January?

HAGAI EL-AD: Yeah, the response is definitely not — not welcoming or popular in any shape or form, which also is not new. But fighting for human rights is not a popularity contest. And I am encouraged by the way in which, first internationally, the understanding of the situation here as apartheid is becoming more and more mainstreamed. This is the result of efforts by Palestinian colleagues. Palestinian scholars and NGOs and activists have been making this point already for many years, right? And then, much more recently, the B’Tselem report in January and the Human Rights Watch very broad legal determination that Israeli officials are guilty of the crimes of apartheid and persecution, in April. And I think, thanks to that, and thanks to reality being what it is, it’s becoming less and less possible to obscure it and to hide it and to continue to lie about it. We’re hearing key figures in U.S. politics and media saying the truth out loud. And with that, I think it will also eventually resonate back here. And Jewish Israelis will need to come to terms with the fact that the world is waking up to what is going on.

And that’s really the the central aspect, because what is happening now in Gaza, it has to stop. This kind of bombings, it just has to stop. That’s the most essential aspect to save human lives. But that’s not sufficient. The people responsible need to be held accountable, because, otherwise, it’s just going to be allowed to continue the same way that this has been allowed to continue, which has brought us to this assault on the Gaza Strip. But also, it’s essential that we do not go back to the status quo. The status quo is a false term. It’s never static. And the status quo is not justice. The status quo is apartheid. So, yes, the bloodshed that is happening now has to stop. But the bloodshed is related to the underlying reality, to the overarching reality, to the condition of apartheid that has to end.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s Hagai El-Ad, executive director of the human rights group B’Tselem. He’s speaking to us from Jerusalem. To see the full interview, you can go to democracynow.org, and we’ll link to the B’Tselem report, “A regime of Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This is apartheid.”

This is Democracy Now! We’re spending the hour with Noura Erakat, the Palestinian American human rights attorney and legal scholar, and Gideon Levy, Israeli journalist, columnist for Haaretz, member of the Haaretz, the Israeli newspaper’s editorial board.

Gideon, one of your recent pieces is headlined “We Can Keep Lying to Ourselves on 'Apartheid,' but Israel Has Crossed the Line.” Talk about the sensitivity of Israel to this accusation. Palestinians and many others around the world have leveled it for a long time. It’s increasingly been adopted, that term, by mainstream organizations, like Human Rights Watch — and we just saw B’Tselem. The significance of calling it this, and how it changes?

GIDEON LEVY: Unfortunately, it’s a very, very, very slow process. And the way is still long to go, very long to go, because, Amy, Israel, as you know, is a society in total denial. People live here in denial. I cannot recall one society which lives in such a denial like the Israeli Jewish society in the last 20 years or so.

Nothing from the occupation gets into our daily life. The occupation seems to be somewhere else, beyond the oceans, in another continent, if at all. Israeli life is not affected by the occupation, not affected by the apartheid. We live our lives in our bubble, which is very pleasant and even, I would say, very democratic. And nobody cares to know what happens 15 minutes away from our homes, half an hour away from our homes. Most of the Israelis never travel there. Most of the Israelis are not informed about what’s going on there.

And the information which does get to Israelis is always this official, false information portraying the Palestinians always as the terrorists, nothing but terrorists, and portraying us as the ultimate victims, the only victims. Even now, when we are speaking now, most of the Israelis are sure that the big victims in this war are the Israelis, because they have to sit in shelters. The fact that the people of Gaza don’t even have shelters doesn’t cross the mind of anybody, doesn’t touch to the heart of anybody.

It is so hard to make Israelis feel something about the Palestinians. See them as human beings is a luxury here, because most of the Israelis don’t see. Tell them about dead children. What can you say about the fact that out of over 200 victims, almost 100 are women and children? Can you still claim that this is inevitable? Can you still claim that this is moral? Can you still claim that they were territories? No. But do you think that anybody is shaken by this in Israeli society or even in Israeli media? Nothing, because we live in denial.

And therefore, as long as people will call us apartheid — so immediately they are labeled as anti-Semites, so it’s their fault, not our fault. And Israel will continue to live in this denial, even though, you know, it penetrates slowly, slowly, much too slow, into the discourse.

AMY GOODMAN: Noura Erakat, you have Hamas and other militant Palestinian groups sending — shooting something like 3,000 missiles into Israel. Twelve people in Israel have died, two of them Thai migrant workers. You have Israel bombing Gaza. Hundreds of Palestinians have died, more than 60 children, killed by the Israeli attack. You have described what’s happened in Gaza Strip as an outright massacre. Can you talk about the effect on the ground? And you have a friend, for example, who is a Harvard Law graduate, who just lost 15 members of his family. Describe this to us, and then the overall context of what is happening, for people to understand this, what David Cameron, former British prime minister, described as an open-air prison, Gaza.

NOURA ERAKAT: Thank you for lifting up the story of Husam al-Qawlaq, who is the Harvard Law graduate and a dear friend of mine. Numbers indicate that he actually lost 21 members of his family, the eldest being age 90, the youngest being age 6 months. This is four generations of Palestinians wiped out in a single instance. That is more death in terms of civilian casualties in one strike than Hamas has meted out in this current conflagration.

The important thing I want to emphasize about Husam’s story is that he hasn’t met his family. He’s based in the United States and is not granted entry. This is a feature of Palestinian life, which is the forced fragmentation between Palestinians, aimed at undermining the singular national identity of Palestinians as an indigenous population to this land. He intended to meet them, and now cannot, upon his return to Palestine.

What’s even more tragic is that he and his family, or his parents, anyway, had fled Gaza to the United States for chances of a better life, and yet their pursuit of that life in the United States, which is the primary patron of Israel, primary imperial patron, is part of the structure — as is my life in the United States, and yours and everyone who is watching here from the United States — is part of the structure of violence that continues to be meted against Gaza.

I want to emphasize something about Israel’s use of force. There is no parity here. We understand that. In regards to Hamas rockets, I also want to emphasize that we should distinguish that Hamas may be using rockets that can’t target. And you can critique that for its recklessness, and it, too, can be tantamount to a war crime. But they have already been punished. They have been designated as terror organizations by the United States and the EU. They have been subject to siege. It becomes redundant and irrelevant to continue to condemn that and demand some sort of false parity.

What I want to emphasize about Israel’s use of force is, within the framework of jus ad bellum, Israel does not have the right to self-defense against a population that it occupies. It cannot usurp enforcement, law enforcement power from the native population, impose a siege, govern the airspace, govern the seaports, govern the perimeter, govern entrance and exit, govern how much caloric intake Palestinians have — and then shoot missiles onto a besieged population. It cannot do both. This has been established by legal scholars, such as Christine Gray, on the law of self-defense. It is an old trope that was condemned in the 1970s, when Portugal, South Africa and Israel tried to claim the right to self-defense in order to protect its colonial territories. You cannot dominate another people and then use the claim of self-defense in order to protect that domination. Israel is not protecting itself or its citizens. It is protecting its domination. It is protecting its occupation.

So, the first thing that needs to happen in the aftermath — one, this is a form of aggression. But the first thing that needs to happen, in any outcome after this, is that the siege must be lifted. We cannot endure another scene like this, another massacre, where it becomes theater for politics and news media, and then not demand that the siege be lifted as the bare minimum of what happens next.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to break, and when we come back, we’re going to talk about the issue of solidarity. Angela Davis recently released a statement on what’s happening in Palestine. We’re speaking with Noura Erakat, who is a Palestinian American scholar, assistant professor at Rutgers University. Gideon Levy is with us from Tel Aviv, Israeli journalist, award-winning columnist for Haaretz, sits on the Israeli newspaper’s editorial board. Stay with us.
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Re: U.S. Backing Has Given Israel License to Kill & Maim

Postby admin » Fri May 21, 2021 12:39 am

Angela Davis & Noura Erakat on Palestinian Solidarity, Gaza & Israel’s Killing of Ahmad Erekat
by Amy Goodman
MAY 20, 2021
https://www.democracynow.org/2021/5/20/ ... mad_erekat

Noura Erakat: Palestinian human rights attorney, legal scholar and assistant professor at Rutgers University.
Gideon Levy: Israeli journalist and author, columnist for the newspaper Haaretz and a member of its editorial board.
Noura Erakat on Twitter
Gideon Levy at Haaretz
"Justice for Some: Law and the Question of Palestine"
"The Punishment of Gaza"

On Sunday, many Arab, Muslim and Palestinian communities boycotted President Biden’s virtual Eid celebration. We play a statement of solidarity from legendary activist and scholar Angela Davis on Sunday for “Eid with Palestine: A Protest of the White House Eid Event.” Davis also co-wrote piece for The Nation with our guest Noura Erakat about how Erakat’s 26-year-old cousin Ahmad Erekat was shot by Israeli occupation forces after his car appeared to have accidentally crashed into a booth at a checkpoint in the occupied West Bank while he was on the way to pick up his mother and sister on her wedding day. Erakat says Israel still refuses to release his body to his family. “All Palestinians are deemed a threat for their mere existence,” says Erakat. “What we see happen to Ahmad has been a pattern.”


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The Quarantine Report. I’m Amy Goodman.

On Sunday, many Arab, Muslim and Palestinian communities boycotted President Biden’s virtual Eid celebration. A letter to the White House from the Muslim Delegates and Allies Coalition said, quote, “In lieu of flowers or condolences for martyred Palestinian children or even a White House Eid celebration, we request the United States recognize dignity rights worldwide. A first step in recognizing our humanity would be to not allow a policy of mass slaughter in the sacred Islamic month of Ramadan.”

We turn now to the legendary activist and scholar Angela Davis, author of many books, including Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement. She recorded this message of solidarity for an event on Sunday called “Eid with Palestine: A Protest of the White House Eid Event.”

ANGELA DAVIS: I join the many individuals and organizations around the world in expressing grief and anger and protest in light of the acceleration of violence by the Israeli government and the settlers they protect in Sheikh Jarrah. We protest the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the extensive and brutal bombing of Gaza. And we call attention to and protest the Biden-Harris administration’s collusion with the Israeli government, even as the Biden government participated in the celebration of Eid and at a time when Palestinians the world over have been commemorating the Nakba.

People all over the U.S., and indeed throughout the world, expressed their outrage when George Floyd’s and Breonna Taylor’s lives were extinguished by racist police violence. We know that shortly after these murders occurred, Ahmad Erekat was shot down on his sister’s wedding day at a checkpoint between Bethlehem and Abu Dis, outside of occupied East Jerusalem. This was clearly a state-sanctioned execution that we now recognize as a harbinger of the current violent assaults on Palestinians in East Jerusalem and Gaza, where over a hundred people, including children, have already been killed. This is unconscionable.

In 2011, I had the opportunity to visit Sheikh Jarrah with a delegation of Indigenous and women of color activists, scholars and artists. We talked with a Palestinian family who had been evicted from their home, where they had lived for many decades. Jewish settlers had moved into the main rooms of their house, and they, the rightful owners, were relegated to a small area in the back of the house. Progressive Jews were conducting demonstrations every week to protest the eviction of Palestinians from their homes.

What we witnessed 10 years ago is now happening on a much larger and more threatening scale. We should now understand that as these evictions continue, they prove that Israeli settler colonialism will only be halted when people all over the world demand that the rights of the Palestinian people in occupied Palestine be respected. Here in the U.S., we must make our demands for justice in Palestine resonate as powerfully as our demands for an end to racist police violence. Stop the evictions. Stop the demolitions. Stop the bombing. And end the occupation. Justice for Palestine.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s professor Angela Davis. She and our guest Noura Erakat were part of a conversation, published in The Nation magazine, “Was the Killing of Ahmad Erekat an Extrajudicial Execution?” And Angela referenced his death. And I wanted, Noura, for you to — if you could, because I know it is still so painful — talk about your cousin, the investigation you have done of his death at an Israeli checkpoint, and then, as we begin to wrap up, put that in the larger context of what’s happening today in the Occupied Territories.

NOURA ERAKAT: Thank you for lifting up Ahmad Erekat, my cousin. Again, he was shot at a checkpoint separating two Palestinian cities, Abu Dis and Bethlehem, on the day of his sister’s wedding. He had a mechanical error in the car, shot dead, six times above the waist in two seconds, with his arms above his head, left on the pavement even as the Israeli ambulance came to treat the lightly wounded Israeli soldier manning the checkpoint, refused to treat Ahmad. His body was not moved. The Israeli army also refused to allow a Palestinian ambulance to treat him. The car was compounded. There was no autopsy conducted on his body.

And he remains in an Israeli refrigerator at Tel Aviv University, held hostage, to punish the family, as well as other Palestinians, in a sign that even after death they will be treated cruelly. He is one of 62 Palestinians held in this way, in response to our advocacy to just get the body back, that included the forensic architecture investigation, that demonstrated, scene by scene, that Ahmad was probably decelerating — far from accelerating, was decelerating — as the car comes out of control; in response to mobilizing the Erakat family across the United States, who have also sought refuge here — six senators, we asked to intervene on the family’s behalf with the Israeli government. In response, Defense Minister Benny Gantz became more cruel and said not only would they not release the body, but that they would dig up Palestinian bodies accused of participating in resistance activities, to hold them hostage, as well.

The way that this fits within the larger frame has to do with Israel’s expanding use of force. We have to be careful when we’re calling for international law and to describe what Israel is doing as war crimes, because Israel’s work is also in the battle of changing what the law means. It is shrinking who counts as a Palestinian civilian. It regards Palestinians as already always being a threat until proven innocent. All Palestinians are deemed a threat for their mere existence in challenging the Zionist settler-colonial mythology of uninterrupted Jewish spacial and temporal presence.

What we see happen to Ahmad has been a pattern and practice that the U.N. has documented and said that Israel shoots as a matter of precautionary measure. In some cases, they have placed weapons alongside the Palestinian bodies. We saw this manifest most cruelly during the Gaza March of Return, when snipers shot down hundreds of Palestinian Gandhis, so to speak — for all those who keep saying, “If only Palestinians would be peaceful.” We have been nothing but. The question to ask is: How have Palestinians not been more violent, frankly, given this atrocious treatment? They shot hundreds of Palestinians, 90% of which in the head, in the neck, in the back, in the torso, as they were fleeing — medics, children. And the Israeli Supreme Court said that this was justified? Because even the peaceful protests are, quote-unquote, “Hamas’s new tactic” of warfare against Israel. They have securitized our entire life, our entire existence.

And the bare minimum of what an international community watching now, that just cares about the violence during these spectacular moments — if you really, really sincerely care about the violence, you must place sanctions on Israel. You must demilitarize Israel. You must force Israel to sign the Non-Nuclear Proliferation Treaty. You must hold Israel to account. Otherwise, you are only asking Palestinians to die quietly.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to go now to Gideon Levy in Tel Aviv. As you listen to Noura Erakat, your latest piece in Haaretz, “A Pampered Israel Carries Out Violence Because It Can.” If the U.S., if Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the first Palestinian American Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib succeeded in stopping the expediting of $735 million of precision-guided weapons to Israel, would this have an effect, or Senator Sanders calling for a ceasefire? What kind of impact does this have on Israeli society? Do you think this could stop the bloodshed?

GIDEON LEVY: Let me tell you, Amy, that if there would have been an administration, American administration, who would like not only to stop this violence, but to put an end to the occupation, it could do so within months. The problem is that we’ve never faced an administration who’s really decisive or who’s really caring about the continuance of the status quo.

You know, Biden is now labeled in Israel as a hostile president. This war — Joe Biden, he signed on this war quite a lot, because if it would be a decisive American president, he would put an end to it at once. Don’t forget that Israel is so depending on the United States, politically, militarily and financially. But Israel learned that the United States is in its pocket, that the support is unconditioned, that the money will come and the check is open no matter what Israel does. That’s the lesson of Israel after many years. And that’s the way that the United States had corrupted Israel, because if you get this free supply of arms, like a free supply of drugs, you become addicted, and you become totally corrupted, because you know there are no one to put limits to your behavior.

What I wrote today in Haaretz was that Israel is by far too strong. Would Israel be less strong, it would be much of a moral state, because Israelis are not bloodthirsty, they are not monsters, but they do all those things because nobody stops them, because this overall power makes people arrogant. They can provoke the Palestinians in Jerusalem, and they can kill Ahmad Erekat in the checkpoint, and they can continue to steal their land and to do all those things, and the world just hugs Israel. And if the world hugs Israel, Israel continues.

There will be no resistance from within Israel. I mean, Israelis will never wake up one shining morning and say, “Oh, this is not so nice, this occupation. Let’s put an end to it.” Why would they, after 53 years in which they were told that without the occupation, Israel will not survive?

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to have to —

GIDEON LEVY: The only way — sure.

AMY GOODMAN: We have five seconds.

GIDEON LEVY: Just, I’ll last say that the only way to put an end to it is to make Israelis pay and be punished, and then it will be their choice if they are ready to take this price. And I can assure you most of the Israelis then will say no.

AMY GOODMAN: Gideon Levy, Israeli journalist, columnist for Haaretz, a member of the editorial board of the paper, and Noura Erakat, Palestinian American human rights attorney and legal scholar.
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Re: U.S. Backing Has Given Israel License to Kill & Maim

Postby admin » Fri May 21, 2021 5:29 am

Video Of 10-Year-Old Palestinian Girl Crying After Gaza Attack Goes Viral
May 17, 2021

A 10 year old Palestinian girl was seen crying helplessly during the Gaza attack by Israeli Military Airstrikes in which her neighbour's house was completely destroyed killing 8 children and two women. "I what to be a doctor or anything to help my people but I can't" she expressed her despair in an interview.

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Re: U.S. Backing Has Given Israel License to Kill & Maim

Postby admin » Tue May 25, 2021 3:06 am

Jailed at 14, Shot Dead at 17: The Story of Obaida Jawabra’s Childhood Under Israeli Occupation
by Amy Goodman
MAY 21, 2021
https://www.democracynow.org/2021/5/21/ ... eli_forces

Mariam Barghouti: Palestinian writer and researcher.
Defense for Children Palestine
Watch the Full "Obaida" Video

Defence for Children Palestine
Apr 24, 2019

What does it feel like to be led away from your home by a soldier, while blindfolded? What happens when a military occupation looms over an entire childhood?

OBAIDA, a short film by Matthew Cassel, explores a Palestinian child’s experience of Israeli military arrest. Each year, some 700 Palestinian children undergo military detention in a system where ill-treatment is widespread and institutionalized.

For these young detainees, few rights are guaranteed, even on paper. After release, the experience of detention continues to shape and mark former child prisoners’ path forward.

"Sheikh Jarrah highlights the violent brazenness of Israel's colonialist project"
Mariam Barghouti on Twitter
Image Credit: Defence for Children Palestine

Israeli forces shot and killed Obaida Jawabra, a 17-year-old boy, earlier this week in the al-Arroub refugee camp located near the occupied West Bank city of Hebron. Obaida was shot in the chest, and witnesses say Israeli soldiers blocked an ambulance from reaching the teenager. He was taken to a local hospital by private car and later pronounced dead. Obaida, who was arrested by Israeli soldiers multiple times and featured in a 2019 short film, “Obaida,” about Israeli soldiers detaining Palestinian children, is at least the fourth Palestinian teenager shot dead by soldiers in the occupied West Bank this year. The killing of Obaida Jawabra “shows the brutality of the Israeli army when they target these children,” says Palestinian writer and researcher Mariam Barghouti. “Obaida — and I say this with complete sorrow — is just one name in a long list of many.”


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The Quarantine Report. I’m Amy Goodman.

As Israel and Hamas agree to a ceasefire, we turn to look at the tragic death of one Palestinian teenager this week. His name is Obaida Jawabra. Israeli forces shot the 17-year-old dead Monday in the West Bank’s al-Arroub refugee camp, where Obaida grew up. He was the subject of a short film in 2019 produced by the children’s human rights group Defense for Children Palestine. In the film, Obaida shares his experience as a Palestinian child facing violence under the Israeli occupation. Despite his young age, he was detained at least three times by Israeli forces, starting at the age of 14. This is Obaida in his own words. At the time, he was just 15 years old.

OBAIDA JAWABRA: [translated] My name is Obaida Akram Jawabra. I’m from Arrouub refugee camp north of Hebron. I’m 15 years old, and I like to cook. Arroub refugee camp is full of small houses with big families. When you open your window, you’ll see your neighbor in your face. Its streets are narrow, but its people are friendly and brave. They stand with you when you’re in trouble. Life is tragic for children here. They can’t play like they’re supposed to. There’s no freedom.

I’ve been arrested twice by Israeli forces. The first time was really difficult. I was on my way to the store when they arrested me. When they took me for interrogation, they bound my hands in plastic cords. They used two of them so that I couldn’t move my hands at all. My eyes were covered in a thick blindfold. It also covered my nose and made it hard to breathe. When you’re walking and can’t see anything, you feel dizzy. You’re scared, and you hesitate. The soldiers told me there were steps, but there were none, so I’d fall. The soldiers would beat me in places that would leave no marks, so there wouldn’t be any evidence on my body that I could use to testify against them.

A lot happened to me in prison. And when I left, I noticed a lot changed. I had a lot of schoolwork to catch up on. I didn’t know which subjects I was going to choose. I chose a vocational school, because the schoolwork had piled up. I couldn’t catch up. They gave me exams for two months, and I struggled a lot. Every day I had to finish a book to catch up.

TEACHER: [translated] When it produces a spark, you have to pull your hand back a bit. OK?

OBAIDA JAWABRA: [translated] I wanted high grades to prove to the school administration that the effort they put into me was not for nothing, to show that prison will not affect me now.

RASHID ARRAR: [translated] I’m Rashid Arrar, the vocational counselor at Arroub vocational school.

As you can see, there’s Route 60. Many Israeli settlers use it, and they cause a lot of problems for us. We are located in an area that sees a lot of friction. Sometimes the Israeli forces assault the children. Sometimes there are arrests and raids on the school.

Some of the children have been to prison, and some are arrested while they are students here. In both cases, we find that when these students come back to us, they can have trouble fitting in. It’s not easy for them to interact with others or build relationships. A boy might have an unpredictable reaction to something. We help them restore some balance, get along with others and focus on school, and help them get rid of some of their habits that could have negative effects on them.

OBAIDA JAWABRA: [translated] I started to think, “Why are we so different from other children in the world? Why are we detained when we’re young, and made to suffer, while others are happy playing sports and with many opportunities that we don’t have? Why are they like that, and why are we like this?” To this day, no one can answer me.

AMY GOODMAN: Those are the words of Obaida Jawabra in a short film made by Matthew Cassel for Defense for Children Palestine. At the time, Obaida was 15 years old. Israeli military shot him to death on Monday, just a month shy of his 18th birthday. In the short film, Obaida said he had dreams about becoming a chef, after learning to cook while in Israeli military detention.

OBAIDA JAWABRA: [translated] They brought in a cook from the other section of the prison, and he was looking for two or three to be his assistants. So we worked with him, and he taught us step by step. I learned how to cook and to work with others and how to be polite and respectful.

I feel freedom, but it’s not complete freedom. We first have to be liberated from the occupation, before I can feel I am truly free. I feel freedom in that I can come and go, hop in a taxi, talk to anyone I want, argue with anyone I want. You have personal will. You can do whatever you want. This was something that I missed when I was in prison. But we’re not liberated, so how can I be fully happy? Only a part of my happiness has been fulfilled.

AMY GOODMAN: The words of Palestinian teenager Obaida Jawabra, speaking when he was 15 years old. Israeli forces shot him dead Monday, just a month shy of his 18th birthday.

We go now to the West Bank, where we’re joined by Mariam Barghouti, a Palestinian writer and researcher.

Mariam, welcome to Democracy Now! Can you tell us more about Obaida and what happened to him?

MARIAM BARGHOUTI: Hi. Thank you for having me, Amy.

Obaida was shot near al-Arroub refugee camp in Hebron, and he was shot to the chest with a bullet by an Israeli soldier from not a very — the distance was not very far. And it kind of shows you the brutality of the Israeli army when they target these children, especially after having been arrested multiple times by the Israeli army.

Obaida later succumbed to his wounds, but he is not the only Palestinian that was killed by the Israeli army and settlers. Since 2008, 1,220 Palestinian children were killed. And this is just from 2008. Of that, 1,152 were from Gaza. They were killed with the bombings that kept falling, that Israel keeps claiming as Hamas.

We need to also remember Obaida is in Hebron. He lived in an area that is notorious for the settler violence that happens there. Hebron in 1994 witnessed a brutal massacre at the Ibrahimi Mosque, where an Israeli settler, Baruch Goldstein, went and fired at worshipers at dawn, under the protection of the Israeli army. Obaida — and I say this with complete sorrow — is just one name in a long list of many.

AMY GOODMAN: And can you put that into the context of what we’re seeing today — what’s being hailed around the world, a fragile ceasefire; the deaths in Gaza alone, it looks like 243, about a quarter of them children, over 60 children; and then, as a result of Hamas and other militant groups, 12 people dead in Israel, two of them children, two Thai workers?

MARIAM BARGHOUTI: Right. I mean, with this argument about Hamas, let’s remember, before 2007 and the takeover of the Strip by Hamas, Israel was still killing Palestinian children. Since 2000, 2,191 Palestinian children were killed. The Israeli army constantly targets Palestinian youth and children, but that’s inevitable, because we are a youthful population. More than 45% of Palestinians in Gaza are under the age of 18, most of them under 15 years of age.

The Israeli brutality in Gaza was unprecedented, and this comes after many aggressions. The ceasefire right now, we celebrate it. We welcome it. We are so sick of counting the names of our dead, being killed in the most savage way. But let’s remember that this is a pause. What the ceasefire is is a pause.

Right now we need accountability for children like Obaida. We need accountability for all the children that were killed in Gaza. If it’s too difficult for the world to call for accountability for the killing of us adults, then at least the children. Let’s focus on that maybe a little bit.

Palestinians who are detained by the Israeli military experience brutal torture and repression. I was detained in 2014 — and I was 20 years old — for just a week, and it still lingers with me. That experience still lingers with me. So imagine a 10-year-old, a 12-year-old, a 13-year-old, going through that experience. So, I really think right now let us hesitantly celebrate the ceasefire, but let us know that this is just one step in accountability for Palestinians.

AMY GOODMAN: Mariam Barghouti, we want to thank you for being with us. And, of course, we’re going to continue to cover what is happening in Israel and Palestine. We will also link to your piece in The Washington Post that you co-wrote, headlined “Sheikh Jarrah highlights the violent brazenness of Israel’s colonialist project.” Mariam Barghouti, speaking to us from Ramallah in the West Bank.
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Re: U.S. Backing Has Given Israel License to Kill & Maim

Postby admin » Tue May 25, 2021 3:08 am

“We Want Real Dignity and Freedom”: Gazans Welcome Ceasefire But Demand End of Siege & Occupation
by Amy Goodman
MAY 21, 2021
https://www.democracynow.org/2021/5/21/ ... efire_gaza

Raji Sourani: award-winning human rights lawyer and director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza.
Orly Noy: Israeli political activist and editor of the Hebrew-language news site Local Call.
Raji Sourani on Twitter
Orly Noy on Twitter

In Gaza, thousands of people have taken to the streets to celebrate after Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire, ending Israel’s 11-day bombardment of the territory. At least 243 Palestinians, including 66 children, were killed in the airstrikes and bombings. Rockets fired from Gaza also killed 12 people in Israel. Raji Sourani, director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza, welcomes the ceasefire but stresses Palestinians demand more than just the end of bombing. “We need [the] end of occupation, end of the blockade, self-determination, independence, dignity and freedom,” Sourani says. We also speak with Israeli political activist and journalist Orly Noy, who says U.S. President Joe Biden is still clinging to false claims about Israel’s self-defense. “This was not about the protection of the Israeli citizens,” says Noy, editor of the Hebrew-language news site Local Call. “Over 240 casualties in Gaza had nothing to do with the security of Israeli citizens. Over 60 children dead in Gaza had nothing to do with the security of Israel.”


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Israel and Hamas have agreed to a ceasefire brokered by Egypt and Qatar. This comes after Israel bombarded Gaza with airstrikes and shelling for 11 days, killing 243 Palestinians, including 66 children. Twelve people died during the same period inside Israel in rocket attacks from Gaza. While residents of Gaza celebrated the ceasefire, bodies are still being pulled from the rubble. Al Jazeera reports at least nine bodies have been found today, including the body of a 3-year-old girl. The ceasefire went into effect at 2 a.m. local time in Israel. President Biden spoke on Thursday and commended Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: In my conversation with President Netanyahu, I commended him for the decision to bring the current hostilities to a close within less than 11 days. I also emphasized what I’ve said throughout this conflict: The United States fully supports Israel’s right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks from Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist groups that have taken the lives of innocent civilians in Israel.

The prime minister also shared with me his appreciation for the Iron Dome system, which our nations developed together and which has saved the lives of countless Israeli citizens, both Arab and Jew. I assured him of my full support to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome system to ensure its defenses and security in the future. …

The United States committed to working with the United Nations, and we remain committed to working with the United Nations and other international stakeholders to provide rapid humanitarian assistance and to marshal international support for the people of Gaza and the Gazan reconstruction efforts. We will do this in full partnership with the Palestinian Authority — not Hamas, the Authority — in a manner that does not permit Hamas to simply restock its military arsenal.

AMY GOODMAN: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to visit the region soon. While international leaders praised the ceasefire, calls are growing for Israel to lift its blockade on Gaza. On Thursday, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki spoke at the United Nations and accused Israel of committing genocide.

RIYAD AL-MALIKI: [translated] To those who say that Israel has the right to defend itself, what right are you talking about exactly? Israel is the colonizing power. It is occupying our land. It is persecuting a whole people. Israel would ask you, “What would you have done if missiles were targeting your cities?” But Israel forgets that its occupation is the root cause of the violence. So I would like to ask you: What would you do if your territory is occupied, if your people were displaced, if your people were killed, detained, arrested, persecuted? How can an occupying power have the right to defend itself, when the whole people under occupation is deprived of the very same rights? How can some rush to issue statements to condemn the killing of one Israeli at a time when the whole world stays silent and turns a blind eye to the genocide of whole Palestinian families?

AMY GOODMAN: We are joined right now by two guests. In Gaza City, we’re with Raji Sourani, award-winning human rights lawyer, director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza, the 2013 Right Livelihood Award laureate. And joining us from Jerusalem, Orly Noy. She’s an Israeli political activist and editor of the Hebrew-language news site Local Call, a member of B’Tselem’s executive board, the leading Israeli human rights organization.

We welcome you both back to Democracy Now! Raji, let’s begin with you in Gaza. Talk about the response to the ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, and the effects of this 11-day bombardment.

RAJI SOURANI: Thank you, Amy.

It’s good to have, I mean, a ceasefire. It’s good to have an end for this belligerent, unprecedented attack against Palestinian civilians and civilian targets. We have 11 days of ongoing terrorism all over 2.2 million people. And the harvest, immense, huge — the harvest of life, of killings, injuries, destruction. And there was no safe haven in Gaza. So, to stop this aggression, that’s very important, and that’s needed.

But we don’t want this to have been once and again. This was repetitive; in 2008, 2012, 2014, always civilians, civilian targets, in the eye of the storm. We don’t want humanitarian aid for Gaza. We appreciate rebuilding Gaza, helping us in rebuilding Gaza, but we are not national beggars.

We want end of this belligerent occupation. We want end for this criminal, illegal blockade on the Gaza Strip. We want real dignity and freedom, which is very well deserved for the Palestinian people who survived under this belligerent occupation for the last 54 years. This is not the issue of Gaza. This is issue of Palestinian people, in Gaza, in West Bank, in East Jerusalem, in Sheikh Jarrah. We want to have an end for this criminality.

In the history, nobody talked about just, fair or right occupation. Occupation, a crime of aggression. And ICC, International Criminal Court, said it rightly: Israel is suspected of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity and persecution against Palestinian people, not in this war, but in other previous wars. And that’s why they opened investigation.

So, what we really need is ceasefire, but we need end of occupation, end of the blockade, self-determination, independence, dignity and freedom.

AMY GOODMAN: On Thursday, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, spoke in front of the U.N. General Assembly after the Biden administration repeatedly blocked U.N. Security Council resolutions that would censure Israel.

LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Over the past two weeks, the United States has approached this crisis in Israel and Gaza with a singular focus: bringing an end to the conflict as quickly as possible. We have not been silent. In fact, I don’t believe that there is any country working more urgently and more fervently toward peace.

AMY GOODMAN: Your response, Raji Sourani?

RAJI SOURANI: This is a big shame. We want an end for this conflict. We want peace. And I don’t think any on Earth appreciate peace and security more than the suppressed and the oppressed and those who are subject, on their skins, for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

But U.S., all the way long, supporting Israel blindly. We were bombed, unfortunately, with F-35, the most high-tech jet,, and we were bombed with the most high-tech bombs, both made in the U.S. and given free of charge to Israel, and they are using effectively against us. And they are responsible about this massive destruction and killing of the Palestinian people.

U.S. do provide Israel with full legal, political immunity. And that happened at the Security Council. Chapter VII, it’s there to guarantee peace and security in the world, and U.S. vetoed that, like if our blood is obscene, it has no value. Even press release wasn’t released by the Security Council condemning this criminality, condemning this aggression, where civilians, civilian targets were at the eye of the storm. U.S. provided full legal immunity for Israel by not allowing and issuing an executive order by ex-President Trump — even when Biden administration said, “We are revoking this,” they said, “We will make guarantee that Israel not be held accountable at the most important court on Earth, the International Criminal Court.” Though some think, you know, Palestinians invented that, some think it’s our own court, this is the crème de la crème of the human experience, where we guarantee those who committed crimes, crimes against humanity and persecution, be subject to trial and in a court of law.

So, U.S. provide all that to Israel. How can they be honest brokers? I suspect that very much — I hope I’m wrong, but facts, history, past and present, tell us President Biden doesn’t mean really what he says. He says, “My Holy Qur’an for my presidency: rule of law, democracy and human rights. I’ll make this happening, and I would like to make this sure. This is our policy.” Why Israel the exception to the rule? Why Israel allowed to do all these war crimes and crimes against humanity?

On the 37th anniversary of al-Nakba, happening — what’s happening in Sheikh Jarrah? This is a big shame. Once and again, Palestinians are refugees. What’s happening in Jerusalem, at the Dome of the Rock, Masjid Al-Aqsa? Knesset members, ministers, seculars, police, border police shooting, insulting inside the mosque, the Palestinian prayers at the holiest time of Ramadan. And they assume Palestinians has no dignity and has no right even to pray at their own mosque. And they insult, intimidate them and deal with them like if they have no dignity. Even other places, like the Green Line — Lod, Ramla, Haifa, even Nazareth, Umm al-Fahm — they revolted, and they said, “We need protection.” That’s what the Palestinians in the society inside Israel wrote to the secretary-general of the U.N. and to Human Rights Council because of the level of discrimination.

Is it the fate for Palestinians to accept occupation? Is it our fate to accept this new brand of apartheid Israel is doing? Is it our fate to be good victims with no dignity or freedom? Enough is enough. American administration should understand. We have no right to be good victims. We have no right to give up. Palestinians deserve dignity and freedom. We paid heavily for it. But everybody should recognize — it’s called, in English, this is right of self-determination. With the support of free, committed people across the globe, with the world civil society, we hope that rule of law be part of this conflict and be the basic for settling this conflict. Stop supporting Israel.

AMY GOODMAN: We are moving from Gaza now to Jerusalem, which isn’t an easy trip for Palestinians who live in Gaza, to say the least. We’re joined by Orly Noy, the editor of the Hebrew-language news site Local Call. And, Raji and Orly, just as we are reporting this right now, breaking news from Al Jazeera: Israeli police have stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City. They’re reporting they fired stun grenades, smoke bombs and tear gas; saying witnesses inside the compound said, after Friday prayers, many Palestinians stayed at the premises to celebrate the ceasefire between Hamas and the Israeli government. Orly, if you can talk about what is happening in Jerusalem? Talk about the fact that a number of Israelis are also celebrating, both sides saying they won. What does that mean?

ORLY NOY: Well, it means exactly that, that both sides are trying to present that ceasefire as a victory. And both sides have very — it’s a very bitter, of course, quote-unquote, “victory” for both sides.

I think that what we are seeing right now in these minutes in East Jerusalem, in the mosque of Al-Aqsa Mosque, tells us how this bombarding of Gaza, how this terrible massacre in Gaza, should be framed. It is incredibly unfortunate that President Biden is helping to frame that war on Gaza in the false narrative of Israel’s right to protect itself. This was not about the protection of the Israeli citizens. Over 240 casualties in Gaza had nothing to do with the security of Israeli citizens. Over 60 children dead in Gaza had nothing to do with the security of Israel. What happened in Gaza and what is happening in these minutes in Jerusalem, in East Jerusalem, in Al-Aqsa Mosque, are part of the logic of the apartheid that is being implemented in the entire territory under Israeli control between the river and the sea.

And I do want to emphasize the America part here, because what President Biden is doing right now is allowing Israel and allowing the Israeli public to keep avoiding the important questions. What triggered that horrible round of violence? It was exactly what is happening right now in East Jerusalem, the Israeli provocations in Al-Aqsa Mosque, in Sheikh Jarrah. And in about 30 minutes, the weekly demonstration in Sheikh Jarrah is about to start, and I can promise you that we will see the same sort of police violence there, as well.

So, these are the questions that the Israeli public can very comfortably avoid, because the Israeli politicians, except for a very small margin, is framing it as Israel’s right to self — to defend itself, and because the Israeli media is completely collaborating with this narrative. And I think that now is the moment to ask these questions. How are we to avoid the next round of violence? What can guarantee that in four years, in three years, we will not see another round of death and massacre in Gaza? How is it possible that the world is still collaborating and cooperating with the occupation, funding it, doing arm deals with Israeli weapons that have been tested on besieged people of Gaza? These are the questions that should be asked today, but nobody, unfortunately, is allowing them to even be brought up to the table right now.

AMY GOODMAN: Orly Noy, we want to thank you for being with us, editor of the Hebrew-language news site Local Call, and Raji Sourani, director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza, won the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award years ago.

Coming up, we’ll go to Ramallah. We will look at the tragic death of Obaida Jawabra, a Palestinian teenager shot to death by Israeli forces on Monday. Two years ago, he was featured in a film about Israeli military jailing Palestinian youth. Stay with us.
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Re: U.S. Backing Has Given Israel License to Kill & Maim

Postby admin » Tue May 25, 2021 3:09 am

Amid Gaza Ceasefire, Israel Arrests Hundreds & Continues “Colonial Violence” in Occupied Palestine
by Amy Goodman
MAY 24, 2021
https://www.democracynow.org/2021/5/24/ ... re_tension

Mohammed El-Kurd: Palestinian writer and poet who is organizing to save his family’s home in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem.
Mohammed El-Kurd on Twitter
"Rifqa," by Mohammed El-Kurd

The United Nations is appealing to the world to address the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza following the 11-day Israeli assault that killed 248 Palestinians, including 66 children, and injured more than 1,700 people. The U.N. is estimating that at least 6,000 residents of Gaza were left homeless after their homes were bombed by Israel, which has maintained a blockade on Gaza for the past 14 years. Tensions also remain high in Jerusalem, where dozens of Jewish settlers backed by Israeli security forces stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound Friday and Israeli authorities are continuing the campaign to forcibly evict Palestinians from their homes so Jewish settlers can move in. Mohammed El-Kurd, a Palestinian writer and poet who is organizing to save his family’s home in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem, says Israeli aggression against Palestinians has continued despite the ceasefire. “Colonial violence is still business as usual in occupied Palestine at large,” El-Kurd says.


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: The United Nations is appealing to the world to address the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza as the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas is holding for a fourth day. The 11-day Israeli assault on Gaza killed 248 Palestinians, including 66 children, there. More than 1,700 people were injured. The U.N. is estimating at least 6,000 residents of Gaza were left homeless after their homes were bombed by Israel, which has maintained a blockade on Gaza for the past 14 years.

Meanwhile, tension remains high across the region. On Sunday, dozens of Jewish settlers backed by Israeli security forces stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the third-holiest site in Islam. On Friday, Israeli security forces fired stun guns and rubber bullets at Palestinians outside the mosque.

Israeli prosecutors have also filed terrorism charges against three Jewish men who pulled a Palestinian man out of his car in the city of Bat Yam two weeks ago and viciously beat him. A police official said, quote, “The three defendants engaged in inciting the mob before the victim arrived. They stole, looted from and destroyed stores owned by Arabs. When they saw an Arab, they carried out an extremely merciless beating,” unquote. Some initial press reports had mistakenly said the victim was Jewish.

Meanwhile, in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, Israeli authorities are continuing their campaign to forcibly evict Palestinians from their homes so Jewish settlers can move in.

We go now to Sheikh Jarrah, where we’re joined by Mohammed El-Kurd. He’s a Palestinian activist and poet who’s organizing to save his family’s home. His debut book, Rifqa, will be released by Haymarket Books later this year.

Mohammed, welcome back to Democracy Now! Can you talk about the ceasefire, now in its fourth day, what it means and the wreckage in its wake? And then we’ll talk about what’s happening to you, your family and the other residents of Sheikh Jarrah.

MOHAMMED EL-KURD: Thank you. Thank you, Amy. It’s good to be back.

I think the ceasefire means a lot of things. First, it means that the resistance, the Palestinian resistance, be it grassroots or otherwise, has been able to accomplish its own conditions, has been able to withstand a brutal nuclear superpower that is senselessly carpet-bombing a strip where people, 2 million people, are besieged. But in its fourth day, we are seeing that the Israeli authorities did not respect the ceasefire conditions. Al-Aqsa Mosque has been invaded more than once. There has been a mass arrest campaign, and Sheikh Jarrah is still under an illegal blockade. And colonial violence is still business as usual in occupied Palestine at large.

AMY GOODMAN: Explain in more detail what happened at the Al-Aqsa Mosque starting on Friday, and explain the significance of this mosque in Islam.

MOHAMMED EL-KURD: Well, Al-Aqsa Mosque, for Palestinians who are Muslim, it’s the holiest site in Palestine, and it’s the third-holiest site in Islam. And it is continuously raided and stormed by the Israeli police and army, the occupation forces working with Israeli settlers that are usually armed. And what happens is that oftentimes worshipers are met with brute force inside the mosque. This is stun grenades, rubber-coated bullets, sometimes live ammunition. People are detained, harassed, hit, brutalized.

And the images we have been seeing of this violence are not unique. What’s been unique is that finally Palestinians are making noise about what’s happening. We’re finally recording, and the world is finally listening. Yesterday, over, I believe, a hundred-and-something Israeli settlers stormed the mosque to incite violence, to provoke Palestinians. And, of course, the occupation authorities ransacked the mosque, ransacked the worshipers and wounded many.

AMY GOODMAN: Explain Sheikh Jarrah — it seems now the world has heard about your neighborhood in East Jerusalem — your own situation, you and your twin sister Muna. I wanted to play that clip, that went viral, for people to understand what’s taking place. But first, if you can put it into context? How is it possible that a Jewish settler has been living in your house for years? Go back in time.

MOHAMMED EL-KURD: Of course. I mean, I think there’s two things to be said about Sheikh Jarrah: the then and the now. The then is that it is a microcosm of the Israeli reality, the Israeli settler colonialism in Palestine at large. It is absurd to people to hear that there’s a settler from Long Island that’s squatting in my house, but he wouldn’t be able to do that without being emboldened by the Israeli occupation forces, by an Israeli judicial system that is inherently colonial and supremacist, and by American tax dollars. The person in my house has been there, much like many Israelis have inhabited homes that belong to Palestinians that were thrown out of them, that were massacred, that were forced to flee. And this is the situation in the entire neighborhood. You have settler organizations, that are registered in the United States, that are working and collaborating with the Israeli authorities to fabricate documents to throw out Palestinians. I think it’s important to put in context that we are a community of refugees that is facing a billionaire-backed settler organization that is working in different countries.

And what’s happening in Sheikh Jarrah is not just in Sheikh Jarrah. It’s happening in Silwan, where more than 800 Palestinians are about to be made homeless and a hundred homes will be destroyed, demolished. It’s happening in the South Hebron Hills. It’s happening in Issawiya, where the Israeli authorities are building, quote-unquote, “national parks” to behave as colonial borders, to prevent natural community growth in Palestinian communities. There’s many and a million ways in which Palestinians in Jerusalem are dispossessed. And sometimes it’s a judicial system, sometimes it’s artillery and weapons, and sometimes it’s national parks. But it all behaves in the same way.

I also want to just make a quick note that Sheikh Jarrah has been under an illegal blockade for the past three weeks. No Palestinians — no Palestinians, not even medics, not even journalists —are allowed into the neighborhood, except the people that live there. And even those of us who live there are still harassed and questioned and shoved around. I’ve been shoved around more times than I can count. And that’s been the same reality for other people. This is all happening. The neighborhood is blockaded, barricaded with cement barriers. Meanwhile, Israeli settlers can just walk in, no questions asked. And oftentimes, if not most of the time, they are armed with their rifles or pistols.

AMY GOODMAN: So, I want to go to that viral video showing your twin sister Muna confronting the Israeli settler who’s been living in part of your home for 12 years.

MUNA EL-KURD: Jacob, you know this is not your house.

JACOB FAUCI: Yes, but if I go, you don’t go back. So what’s the problem? Why are you yelling at me? I didn’t do this. I didn’t do this.

MUNA EL-KURD: But you —

JACOB FAUCI: It’s easy to yell at me, but I didn’t do this.

MUNA EL-KURD: You are stealing my house.

JACOB FAUCI: And if I don’t steal it, someone else is going to steal it.

MUNA EL-KURD: No, no one is allowed to steal it.

AMY GOODMAN: So, this Jacob says, “If I don’t steal it, someone else will.” Where does he live in your house?

MOHAMMED EL-KURD: So, he lives — so, the houses, the 28 houses of the Sheikh Jarrah housing project, were built in 1956. And we have built an extension to our house in the year 2000. The extension, of course, was closed immediately upon building, because 94% of building permits presented by Palestinians in Jerusalem get rejected. Actually, the councilman who rejects and accepts these permits is the same person that went viral for another video, saying that their goal is to make East Jerusalem like West Jerusalem, and if it happens at the expense of the Palestinians, it’s no big deal. So, Jacob, from Long Island, Jacob Fauci, lives in that extension of my house and has lived there for, I think, a decade now.

AMY GOODMAN: So, let’s go to what happened in Gaza, the Hamas-Israel ceasefire. You’ve got over 200 Palestinians killed, over 240 Palestinians killed. About a quarter of them are children. More than 60 of those dead in Gaza are children, as a result of the Israeli bombardment. Now President Biden says that the U.S. will contribute to rebuilding Gaza. I want to play that clip for you. President Biden saying that they will contribute money, and, of course, the United Nations is also calling for a Gaza rebuilding fund. Your response?

MOHAMMED EL-KURD: I think — you know, I believe there was a condition that the resistance must be disarmed. And I just think it’s ridiculous that the United States, of all countries, would talk about disarming what they call terrorism, when they have unleashed more terror onto the world than any other nation.

And I think if we’re going to talk about disarming terrorism, I think Israel is a great place to start. The world seeing Gaza get carpet-bombed was a great presentation — of course, a heart-wrenching and terrible presentation, but nonetheless a good presentation — that the Israeli myth of self-defense is more and more penetrable, that they’re not really defending against anything.
And those manipulations of language, those red herrings they throw in the way of Palestinian advocacy, are not strong enough to contrast the images of them targeting densely populated civilian areas, are not strong enough to contrast the intent — the confessions made by Israeli officials about, you know, flattening the Strip or venting out their frustrations by leveling residential towers.

So, I think Israel is losing the battle in the public eye. And I hope no more Palestinians have to be killed before the world takes action against Israelis and against the Israeli authorities, the occupation authorities, who have been getting away with impunity for decades.

AMY GOODMAN: Is there an Israeli peace movement that is expressing solidarity with the Palestinians?

MOHAMMED EL-KURD: I don’t think there’s an Israeli peace movement that directly addresses the Israeli occupation authorities as a form of colonial violence. And I think that’s where the issues stem. I think any Israeli peace movement’s intentions are welcome, but they must reflect the wishes and the self-determination and the self-articulation of the Palestinian street, the voices of the Palestinian youth. And I don’t think — I don’t believe that’s present nowadays.

AMY GOODMAN: The significance of the overall solidarity around the world, what that has meant for you? I mean, we just played a clip of someone in London. Something like 180,000 people protested. That was, rather — yes, that was in Paris.

MOHAMMED EL-KURD: Yes, Amy, that was — the videos in London and Paris, all over the world, have been heartwarming to me as a Palestinian and to many, many, many Palestinians, to see this huge, unprecedented shift in public opinion. And we know that it will have reverberations and accumulations in the coming future. We know that these protests are going to continue and be developed into actions and sanctions and boycotts and initiatives and letters. And I ask the people who are protesting to continue doing so, because we must the stubborn in the face of Israeli colonialism.

We’re also already seeing punishment for these advocacy campaigns, for these protests. Fourteen hundred Palestinians who hold Israeli citizenships have already been arrested in the past two weeks. Yesterday, the Israeli authorities announced a campaign of what they called “law and order,” where they will be arresting 500 more Palestinians to — and I quote — “even the score.” Of course, no Israelis that took part in the lynch mobs were arrested or will be arrested in that campaign. To look at this mathematically, if you’re arresting 500 Palestinians, that means you’re terrorizing 500 families, 500 streets, where you’ll be ransacking, raiding people’s homes, terrorizing them.

This sends a clear message to us Palestinians who have been feeling a sense of national unity across historical Palestine: If you protest colonial violence, you’ll be met with more colonial violence. But it is also — this campaign of, quote-unquote, “law and order” is also an indication that the Israeli occupation authorities are losing control.

AMY GOODMAN: Mohammed El-Kurd, I want to thank you for being with us, writer and poet from Jerusalem. He’s organizing to save his family’s home in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem.
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Re: U.S. Backing Has Given Israel License to Kill & Maim

Postby admin » Tue May 25, 2021 3:13 am

Joe Biden’s Hit and Run on the Palestinian People
by Amy Goodman & Denis Moynihan
MAY 20, 2021

U.S. taxpayers who want to see their tax dollars at work should look no further than the Gaza Strip, the besieged enclave where 2 million Palestinians live in what former Conservative British Prime Minister David Cameron described as “an open-air prison.” Israel has launched another of its horrific, periodic bombing campaigns against the embattled Gazans —- slaughters that Israeli commentators have long called “mowing the grass” -— leaving hundreds dead, including scores of children. At least 17 hospitals and clinics have been damaged, including Gaza’s only COVID-19 testing facility, clean water has been cut to hundreds of thousands, schools have been destroyed, and a major high rise building hosting media organizations including Al Jazeera and the Associated Press was leveled. The United States enables all this by providing Israel with billions of dollars in aid annually and unparalleled access to sophisticated weaponry.

Jewish Voice for Peace, a grassroots human rights group, asked of American Jews in a recent press release, “Do we accede to a future rooted in denial and continue to allow apartheid, ethnic cleansing and massacre in our names? Or do we engage with hard truths and bring our whole selves to the struggle of teshuva, of repair for these harms?” Israel has long enjoyed vigorous, bipartisan support in the U.S. Now, with a new, more diverse generation of elected representatives, popular resistance to Israel’s occupation of Palestine is finding a voice in Washington.

“I am the only Palestinian American member of Congress now, and my mere existence has disrupted the status quo,” Congressmember Rashida Tlaib, Democrat of Detroit, said during an emotional address on the floor of the House of Representatives. “I am a reminder to colleagues that Palestinians do indeed exist, that we are human, that we are allowed to dream. We are mothers, daughters, granddaughters. We are justice seekers and are unapologetically about our fight against oppressions of all forms.”

Tlaib was speaking on Eid al-Fitr, the celebration that follows the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, and just two days before the Palestinian commemoration of Nakba Day. The Nakba, or, in English, the Catastrophe, was the violent expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians that accelerated following the May 15th, 1948 founding of Israel.

Since then, Israel has systematically expanded its illegal military occupation of Palestinian land, killed thousands of innocent Palestinians, and imprisoned tens of thousands more without charge. None of this could have been accomplished without the robust support and approval of the United States.

In the past, Rashida Tlaib might have been a lone voice. Now, she has a groundswell of support. Democratic Congressmembers Alexandria Ocasio-Cortéz of New York and Mark Pocan of Wisconsin joined Tlaib in offering a joint resolution to Congress, opposing the pending $735 million sale to Israel of so-called “smart” bombs, the Joint Direct Attack Munitions, or JDAMS, manufactured by Boeing. Sen. Bernie Sanders is introducing a similar resolution in the Senate.

John Ossoff, the first Jewish Senator elected from Georgia, led 28 Democratic Senators in calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, from both Israel and Hamas, whose missiles have killed 12 people inside Israel. Thousands of people have been rallying across the United States, demanding a cease fire.

On Tuesday, Biden made a trip to Detroit, Rashida Tlaib’s home district, to visit the plant where Ford’s all-electric vehicles will be manufactured. Tlaib met him on the airport tarmac. NPR reported that an aide to Tlaib summarized Tlaib’s comments to Biden as, “Palestinian human rights are not a bargaining chip and must be protected, not negotiated…The U.S. cannot continue to give the right-wing Netanyahu government billions each year to commit crimes against Palestinians. Atrocities like bombing schools cannot be tolerated, much less conducted with U.S.-supplied weapons.” Biden praised Tlaib in his speech at the Ford plant, adding, “I pray that your grandma and family are well.”

Palestinian grandmothers living under Israeli occupation don’t need Biden’s prayers; they need his intervention.

As Biden was about to test drive an electric truck, he had this exchange with a reporter:

“Mr. President, can I ask you a quick question on Israel before you drive away, since it’s so important?”

“No, you can’t–not unless you get in front of the car as I step on it. I’m only teasing,” Biden replied. He then tore off, reportedly hitting 80 mph. For the millions of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation, it is as if they are hit daily by a truck driven by the American government.

Israel’s latest deadly assault has driven more people around the world into active solidarity with the Palestinian people in their resistance, rejecting what the late, great Palestinian scholar and activist Edward Said described as the “gregarious tolerance for the way things are.”
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Re: U.S. Backing Has Given Israel License to Kill & Maim

Postby admin » Thu Jun 10, 2021 12:45 am

Sheikh Jarrah Residents Face Legal Defeat; Israel Arrests Thousands of Palestinians to Quell Dissent
by Amy Goodman
Democracy Now
JUNE 07, 2021
https://www.democracynow.org/2021/6/7/i ... ss_freedom

Mariam Barghouti: Palestinian writer and researcher.
Mariam Barghouti on Twitter

Israel is cracking down on Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank, occupied East Jerusalem and inside Israel amid the ongoing ceasefire between Israel and Gaza. Israeli police have arrested nearly 2,000 Palestinians over the past month in an attempt to quell protests and uprisings against the occupation, according to the newspaper Haaretz. “Israel is criminalizing our right to say we’re Palestinian, our right to say we want to live in our homes in dignity, our right to be free,” says Mariam Barghouti, a Palestinian writer and researcher.


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman.

While the ceasefire continues to hold between Israel and Gaza, Israel is cracking down on Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank, occupied East Jerusalem and inside Israel. The newspaper Haaretz reports Israeli police have arrested nearly 2,000 Palestinians over the past month in an attempt to quell protests and uprisings against the occupation.

On Saturday, Israeli police arrested Al Jazeera reporter Givara Budeiri as she covered a protest in Sheikh Jarrah. During the arrest, officers broke her hand and destroyed the equipment of her camera operator. She was also reportedly beaten while being taken to an Israeli police interrogation center.

On Sunday, police in East Jerusalem detained both Muna and Mohammed El-Kurd. The 23-year-old twins have been helping to lead efforts to fight the eviction of Palestinians living in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem where their families live. Jewish settlers already live in part of their home. Mohammed spoke out after he and his sister were released Sunday night.

MOHAMMED EL-KURD: What happened today was a clear tactic of intimidation. The Israeli occupation clearly doesn’t want anybody to be speaking about the abuses it’s doing against the Palestinian residents in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan. But we are not afraid. We are unintimidated. We are going to continue to speak out against all of these injustices. And we’re going to continue to protect our homes.

AMY GOODMAN: Just as we went to air on Democracy Now!, residents of Sheikh Jarrah were dealt a legal setback, making it more likely the Palestinians will be evicted.

We go now to the West Bank city of Ramallah, where we’re joined by Mariam Barghouti, Palestinian writer and researcher.

Mariam, welcome back to Democracy Now! Explain what the Israeli attorney general just ruled.

MARIAM BARGHOUTI: Hi. Thank you for having me again, Amy.

So, right now the attorney general of Israel basically said that they will not be involved with the case of Sheikh Jarrah and the decision is left to the Israeli Supreme Court. The excuse is that the case of the families is “too weak” to actually solicit successful resolution for the families, the Palestinian families of Sheikh Jarrah. But at the same time, this is an entire legal system that is built on ensuring the erasure of Palestinians, so of course the case is going to be too weak. And I think it would have been false to also assume that the attorney general of Israel would help in bringing out any other result for Palestinians.

AMY GOODMAN: So, right now what does this mean for people like, well, the Palestinian twins, Muna and Mohammed? They were arrested yesterday, first Muna, and then Mohammed turned himself in. What were they interrogated about? They have been released since.

MARIAM BARGHOUTI: They have been released since then. And in terms of the interrogation, well, the charges that they are — that are being put in front for the twins, who are 23 years old, is participating in activities which impact the security of the state of Israel and in participating in riot acts with a nationalistic motive. And let’s emphasize on this, this nationalistic motive is basically any Palestinian saying, “We’re Palestinian,” especially for those who hold Israeli citizenship or a Jerusalem ID.

Israel’s interrogation tactics are for intimidation. They are for coercion. And often they have Palestinians sign false confessions in Hebrew, knowing very well that the person in front of them, the Palestinian, doesn’t speak Hebrew. So, it’s not just Mohammed and Muna El-Kurd. This is the same tactic that’s being used against all Palestinians. Two others were also arrested with them, Iyad Abu Sneineh and Zuhair Rajaby, who are from Silwan. And it shows you how Israel is targeting all Palestinian neighborhoods that are confronting their forced expulsion.

AMY GOODMAN: Some people might be very surprised to hear all of this. They might be saying, “Wait a second. I thought there was a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza, that the violence is over.” That’s how it’s described in the mainstream media. So, if you can describe what continues to happen since? You have Mohammed reporting on Saturday that Jewish settlers were throwing stones at his house, that the Israeli police were standing by. If you can talk about the settler-police relationship and also what happened to the Al Jazeera reporter?

MARIAM BARGHOUTI: Right. So, in terms of Givara Budeiri, she was violently attacked by Israeli police in Jerusalem as she was trying to cover the developments happening in Sheikh Jarrah, knowing very well that Israel is trying to give a blackout on Palestinians.

And in terms of the ceasefire, this is a ceasefire where Israel agrees not to bomb Gaza, but the besiegement of Gaza continues. The healing and rebuilding and recovery process is inapplicable right now, until the siege is lifted and removed.

In terms of attacking Palestinians in the West Bank, in Jerusalem, in other Palestinian cities, such as Haifa and Safad and Akka, it continues. And the Israeli police basically provides protection for settlers but also joins them in the violence. Three weeks ago, you had Israeli police dressed in civilian clothing so they can join the settler mobs chasing Palestinians, screaming “Death to Arabs!” So, it’s continued.

And Givara Budeiri, the Al Jazeera correspondent, who was violently attacked and taken into interrogation despite being press — let’s remember Israel bombed Al Jazeera offices, Associated Press offices in Gaza on live television. And just yesterday, they threw a stun grenade on another correspondent with Al Jazeera, Najwan Samri, which injured her in the leg.

And these violations are just systemic. And we often assume that just because you’re in the police, just because you’re an Israeli lawyer, you’re not participating in the ethnic cleansing. But they are colluding together.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to go to Givara herself, the Al Jazeera journalist Givara Budeiri, describing her arrest and the breaking of her hand on Al Jazeera.

GIVARA BUDEIRI: They broke my hand. I spent all the night in the hospital. My back hurt me a lot. And here, my hand, from the cuffs, also they hurt so much, because the soldiers in the car were tightening it all the time. I have a headache. And my leg — I can’t walk very well.

AMY GOODMAN: So, if you can also talk about, overall, the cracking down on Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank, in occupied East Jerusalem, inside Israel, thousands of arrests in the last month?

MARIAM BARGHOUTI: That’s true, there have been thousands of arrests. Just this morning, 17 Palestinians were taken into arrest overnight in raids on their homes, where families were beaten, children were terrorized. I know a couple of incidents with friends who are speaking how their children are just completely horrified of the violence of Israeli forces.

And this is all coming as part of Israel trying to “settle the score,” as the police said, for everyone that spoke up against their ethnic cleansing. Israel is criminalizing our right to say we’re Palestinian, our right to say we want to live in our homes in dignity, our right to be free. And it is doing it by using legal violence. It is doing it by using economic violence. A lot of the detainment of Palestinians is also so they can fine them or let them pay bail. So, they’re trying to sustain these horrifying measures by letting Palestinians or forcing Palestinians to kind of cover the expenses of it.

AMY GOODMAN: So, as we speak — and we just have a minute and a half to go — I wanted to ask you about the forming of this new government, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claiming, without evidence, sounding exactly like Trump, that the election was rigged, Trump saying it right about the same time in his first speech that he gave in North Carolina. Netanyahu was saying that the election was marred by the biggest election fraud in the history of any democracy, his remarks drawing comparisons, of course, to Trump. But I wanted to ask you about the new government, the deal that would see far-right politician Naftali Bennett serve as prime minister for two years, followed by the opposition leader Yair Lapid for two years after that. Bennett previously led the Israeli settler movement in the occupied West Bank, calling for annexation of Palestinian lands, opposes a Palestinian state, has compared Palestinian citizens of Israel to a fifth column.

MARIAM BARGHOUTI: Right. Well, I think the new — quote-unquote, “new” government isn’t really new. It is just a lot more blunt in its racist measures. It’s a lot more blunt in its colonial measures. Let’s not forget that Netanyahu used to constantly say that they are the ones that dictate the rules, and Palestinians will remain Palestinian subjects.

I think we will see a lot more violence right now. It will be in the form of detainment, mass detainment. It will be in the form of criminalizing the Palestinian voices. It will be in the form of the continued impunity of settlers and police that shoot down Palestinians and aren’t held accountable.

And also, in terms of the settler movement, let’s not forget that many of these settler organizations — and they are terrorist organizations — are based out of the U.S. So we need to also look at the role of that in terms of continuing the cycle of violence we’re experiencing here.

AMY GOODMAN: And also, if you could talk about, for the first time, the United Arab List joining this coalition that would rule?

MARIAM BARGHOUTI: Right. So, at this point, what we need to look at is the demands of Palestinians for justice and freedom. Anyone that doesn’t represent that, we need to look at as aiding and abetting Israeli apartheid and persecution of Palestinians. So, sometimes we might get misguided in the labels, but, in the end, let’s look at the reality on the ground, on the actions on the ground, and holding accountability for Palestinians against the criminals that are perpetuating this.

AMY GOODMAN: Mariam Barghouti, I want to thank you so much for joining us from Ramallah, Palestinian writer and researcher. I’m Amy Goodman. Stay safe.
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Re: U.S. Backing Has Given Israel License to Kill & Maim

Postby admin » Thu Jun 10, 2021 12:57 am

Israeli Bombs Killed 66 Kids in Gaza Including 12 Who Were Getting Help for Trauma from Past Attacks
by Amy Goodman
Democracy Now
MAY 28, 2021

Jan Egeland: secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council.
Jan Egeland on Twitter

As the United Nations human rights chief warns Israel may have committed war crimes in Gaza, we look at how Israel killed 12 Palestinian children being treated for trauma from past Israeli bombings. Jan Egeland, secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, says Gaza has become “the home of hopelessness,” particularly for young people in the besieged territory. “We humanitarian workers are sick and tired of building and rebuilding and see it all torn down again,” Egeland says of Israel’s repeated attacks on Gaza. “We are accumulating rubble, we’re accumulating dead children, and we’re accumulating hopelessness, if it continues like this.”


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: The United Nations human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, the former president of Chile, says Israel may have committed war crimes during its 11-day bombardment of Gaza, which killed at least 253 Palestinians, including 66 children. Bachelet spoke before the United Nations Human Rights Council.

MICHELLE BACHELET: Such strikes raise serious concerns of Israel’s compliance with the principles of distinction and proportionality under international humanitarian law. If found to be indiscriminate and disproportionate in their impact on civilians and civilian objects, such attacks may constitute war crimes.

AMY GOODMAN: The U.N. Human Rights Council approved a resolution Thursday to launch a sweeping international investigation into war crimes committed in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The resolution was drafted by the Organization of Islamic States.

KHALIL HASHMI: Regrettably, the self-professed global champions of human rights continue to shield the occupier from global accountability and literally provide arms and ammunition for its widely reported war crimes and crimes of apartheid against the Palestinian people. Let us be clear: There is no legal and moral equivalence between the occupier and the occupied.

AMY GOODMAN: The Biden administration has vowed to help rebuild Gaza, but at the same time it’s moving ahead with a plan to sell $735 million worth of bombs to Israel despite congressional opposition.

Earlier this week, I spoke to Jan Egeland, the secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, which works in Gaza. Last week, the council revealed 11 of the children killed in the Israeli bombing of Gaza were taking part in a program to help them deal with trauma from previous Israeli attacks. Egeland is the former humanitarian relief coordinator at the United Nations. He spoke to us from Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where tens of thousands have evacuated fearing another volcano eruption. We also talked about the crisis in the DRC, but I began by asking him to talk about the situation in Gaza.

JAN EGELAND: Well, Gaza has become the home of hopelessness, where people are crammed together, 2 million people, in a tiny place. It’s smaller than the municipality of Oslo, where I normally live. There is no way people can leave the place. Israel and Egypt control the borders, and they don’t let anybody out, really. They let only a bit of humanitarian aid in.

During this onslaught, we didn’t only have the 11 ones you talked about, Amy. There was a 12th little girl killed. All of those, we were trying to treat for trauma from the previous conflicts. There’s been five wars since 2006. So, a child would have grown up with nothing but violence, nothing but hopelessness. That’s why we need Blinken and Biden and the leadership of the U.S. now to lead to a solution to this senseless repeat of conflicts where Palestinian children die.

AMY GOODMAN: So, you have the United States providing the weapons for Israel to bomb Gaza and now committing to the rebuilding of Gaza. Can you talk about the problem with this?

JAN EGELAND: Well, it seems futile, really. There seems to be a logical third path — namely, for the U.S. to lead the international community — the U.S., Europe and the Arab countries — to have some kind of an arbitration, when you have an Israeli leadership and Palestinian leaderships incapable of solving the underlying conflicts that lead to repeat violence and insecurity for both peoples. So, could the U.S. lead us, please, in reaching, you know, political solutions, an end to the occupation and so on? We just had an earthquake here in Goma. That’s why it’s shaking.

We need in Gaza to have an end to this serving hopelessness to children, who will grow up with more and more bitterness and chaos. And I’m telling you, we humanitarian workers are sick and tired of building and rebuilding and see it all torn down again.

AMY GOODMAN: You co-signed a letter with 11 other heads of international humanitarian organizations to Secretary of State Blinken about the situation in Gaza. Talk about the issues you’ve raised. I mean, you had this constant bombardment, where the president of the United States, President Biden, would not demand of Netanyahu a ceasefire, said he might like one, he would urge one, but not make that diplomatic demand, particularly important since Israel is the largest recipient of U.S. military aid in the world.

JAN EGELAND: Yeah, we, the 12 nongovernmental organizations serving Palestinians on the ground, the civilian population, especially children, women and the most vulnerable — we urged, in our letter, the United States to take the lead in ending the occupation, getting humanitarian access to all consistently, to all in need, ending the underlying injustice that means that we have this confrontation. But we’re also trying to tell that we need help to be able to be active for all Palestinians, irrespective of where they are in Gaza. Too often the borders close in our face, and we cannot then even help the people in need.

AMY GOODMAN: Secretary General, last week, you tweeted, quote, “We are devastated to learn that 11 of the children we help in #Gaza with trauma from previous violence are now killed by Israeli missiles. Israel must stop this madness: children must be protected. Their homes and schools must not be targets.” We also spoke with the head of UNRWA, the U.N. agency in Gaza, about the devastation and the number of schools and hospitals that were attacked. Tell us more about these children and what it means that you’re funding trauma help for them.

JAN EGELAND: Well, we’ve been to Gaza for a very long time. I personally also visited it regularly over the last 30 years. So, during all of my visits to Gaza, where we have 50 humanitarian workers now working around the clock, as they have been for a very long time, the strongest impression is this hopelessness, this bitterness, this sense that the youth do not believe it will become better, it will become worse. So, it’s bitterness. They’re giving up.

We also then saw that too many children were having learning problems in school. I mean, they are having so much nightmares at night that they cannot really follow education. So we started a Better Learning Program, as we call it, which is an excellent psychosocial program, and these children then started to learn better. They were making progress in school. And the Palestinians are like their neighbors, the Israelis — very diligent, very talented, very organized.

So, we were a bit optimistic before this last repeat violence. And through these 11 days of madness, we got news every single day, nearly, of new children killed, 12 now in total, who were in our, you know, psychosocial program. They were then killed with their families, with their dreams, and their nightmares, that we were treating them for.

I think that’s a very strong symbol also of it cannot continue like this. The United States has to get the parties out of this repeat cycle of violence. Would we want to come back every three, four, five years, for eternity, with more bombing of urban areas? We’ve seen that — our estimate is that 13,500 homes have been either damaged or even destroyed. We are accumulating rubble, we’re accumulating dead children, and we’re accumulating hopelessness, if it continues like this.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about what Israel, in a lot of the mainstream media, at least in the United States — you’re based in Norway — the equivalency of the Hamas missiles and the Israeli bombardment that killed over 250 Palestinians, a quarter of them — it’s what? Something like 66 children dead?

JAN EGELAND: Well, this is disproportionate warfare. There is one occupier, and that is strong. And there are people then having also now extremist organizations among themselves, trying to inflict as much damage on the other side as they can. But, of course, there were more than five times the number of dead Palestinian children as total fatalities, military and civilian, of all ages, on the Israeli side.

So, again, the U.S. military might that is given to Israel makes it be so much stronger than the other, and therefore we feel they should now reach out and try to make peace with their neighbors. It’s not going to be easy, because there’s a lot of extremism now. And there will be more extremism, because there is more bitterness and more hatred each time you have these kind of military campaigns.

AMY GOODMAN: Jan Egeland, the secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, speaking to us about Gaza earlier this week from Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where tens of thousands have fled their homes fearing another volcanic eruption. We also talk about the crisis in Yemen and vaccine apartheid, when we come back with him.
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Re: U.S. Backing Has Given Israel License to Kill & Maim

Postby admin » Sat Jun 12, 2021 12:14 am

Undercover Israeli Forces Kill Three Palestinians in West Bank Raid
by Amy Goodman
Democracy Now
JUN 11, 2021

In the occupied West Bank, Israeli forces killed three Palestinians during a predawn undercover raid on Wednesday. The Israelis were dressed to look like Palestinians. The dead included two military intelligence officers with the Palestinian Authority. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned what he called a “dangerous Israeli escalation.” Israeli forces also raided the headquarters of the Palestinian Union of Health Workers Committee on Wednesday and ordered the group’s Ramallah office to remain closed for six months. Amnesty International warned Israel’s action could have “catastrophic consequences” for Palestinians needing healthcare.


Shocking Video Shows Israeli Guards Brutally Assaulting Palestinian Prisoners
by Amy Goodman
Democracy Now
JUN 11, 2021

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz has published shocking video of Israeli prison guards brutally kicking, punching and beating shackled Palestinians inside a prison in the Negev Desert in 2019. The video shows guards throwing dozens of men into a large pile on a concrete floor; 15 were later hospitalized. The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem said today, “The case proves, yet again, that Palestinian victims of violence by Israeli security forces cannot achieve justice via Israeli systems and can hope to do so only in an international court.” No Israeli guards faced charges over the assault. The warden on duty was later promoted.
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