Alerts and Reports 

Protest vigil today: No more destruction of Palestinian Homes!

PROTEST VIGIL TODAY (THUR. JULY 25) 8.00 PM AT PRIME MINISTER'S RESIDENCE, JERUSALEM: NO MORE DESTRUCTION OF PALESTINIAN HOMES! Initiator: Standing Together, Jewish-Arab action groups

The demolitions in Wadi al-Humos: The excuse – security, The strategy – a Jewish demographic majority.

This morning, Monday, July 22, 2019, the Israeli authorities began demolishing buildings in the neighborhood of Wadi al-Humos, the eastern extension of Zur Baher in East Jerusalem. The move came after the Israeli Supreme Court rejected the residents’ appeal and ruled there was no legal barrier to the demolitions.

Israel intends to demolish a total of 13 buildings, including at least 14 apartments, the vast majority of which are in various stages of construction. Until this morning, the buildings were home to two families including 17 people, of which 11 are minors.

Some of them were built in Area A, with building permits issued by the Palestinian Authority, which holds planning powers in those areas. Wadi al-Humos is outside of Jerusalem’s municipal boundary and constitutes the main land reserve for the development of Zur Baher. The Zur Baher committee estimates that 6,000 people currently live in that neighborhood – a quarter of the total population of Zur Baher.

In 2003 the Zur Baher committee petitioned the Supreme Court against the route of the separation fence, which was set unilaterally by Israel to serve its interests. The route was supposed to run near Jerusalem's municipal boundary and thereby disconnect all of the homes of the Wadi al-Humos neighborhood from Zur Baher.

Following the petition the State agreed to reroute the fence a few hundred meters eastward into West Bank territory. In 2004 and 2005 a “light” version of the separation fence was erected:. Instead of a concrete wall, as in most of the route of the fence in East Jerusalem, Israel built a two-lane patrol road with wide shoulders and another fence.

The fence surrounds the neighborhood of Wadi al-Humos, which may not have been cut off from Zur Baher, but which was cut off from the rest of the West Bank by the fence, even though the land on which it was built was never annexed to Jerusalem's municipal territory.

The Wadi al-Humos neighborhood is not considered part of Jerusalem, and therefore the Jerusalem Municipality does not provide the neighborhood with services, except for garbage collection. The Palestinian Authority does not have access to the neighborhood and therefore cannot provide it with any services, except for planning and providing construction permits. The neighborhood's residents built its infrastructures themselves, including roads and water pipes from Zur Baher and Beit Sahur.

On the southeastern edges of the enclave, which were defined by the Oslo Accords as areas A and B, the Palestinian Authority has planning and building jurisdiction. But most of it is defined as Area C, where the Civil Administration is responsible for the planning, and where, just like in the rest of the West Bank, it refrains from drawing up outline plans that would allow the residents to build legally.

This Israeli policy, which completely limits Palestinian construction in East Jerusalem, causes a severe housing shortage for the city's Palestinian residents, who are forced to build without permits.

In December 2011, about six years after the separation fence was erected in the area, the Israeli Military issued an order forbidding construction in a strip measuring 100-300 meters on either side of the fence. The Military argued such an order was necessary in order to create an “open barrier area” it needed for its operations, because the Wadi al-Humos area is a “weak point of illegal entry” from the West Bank into Jerusalem.

According to the Military's figures, at the time the order was issued, 134 buildings already stood on the land designated as a no-building zone. Since then dozens of additional buildings were built, and by mid-2019 there were already 231 buildings in the zone, including high-risers built only dozens of meters from the fence, and distributed between areas designated as A, B and C.

In November 2015 the Military announced it intended to demolish 15 buildings in Wadi al-Humos. About one year later, in December 2016, the Military demolished three other buildings in the neighborhood. In 2017 the owners and tenants of the 15 buildings under the threat of demolition petitioned the Supreme Court through the Society of St. Yves – Catholic Center for Human Rights.

The petition argued, among other things, that most of the buildings had been built after receiving building permits from the Palestinian Authority, and that the owners and tenants were not even aware of the order prohibiting construction.

During the hearings on the petition, the Military agreed to cancel the demolition orders against two of the buildings. As for the 13 other buildings, the Military announced that for four of them the demolition would be partial. On June 11, 2019 the Supreme Court accepted the State’s position and ruled that there was no legal barrier to demolishing the buildings.

The Supreme Court ruling, written by Justice Meni Mazuz, fully accepted the State's framing of the issue as one of purely security matter. It thereby completely ignored Israel's policy of limiting Palestinian construction in East Jerusalem, and the planning chaos in the Wadi al-Humos enclave that allowed the massive construction in the area – of which the Israeli authorities were fully aware.

Like in many past cases, the judges did not discuss in their ruling the Israeli policy almost completely preventing Palestinian construction in East Jerusalem, with the purpose of forcing a Jewish demographic majority in the city – a policy that forces the residents to build without permits. The severe building shortage in East Jerusalem, including in Zur Baher, was at the basis of the village's demand to reroute the separation fence eastwards. Instead, the judges ruled that the home demolitions were necessary for security considerations, because construction near the fence “can provide hiding for terrorists or illegal aliens” and enable “arms smuggling."

The judgment also clarifies the extent to which the “transfer of powers” to the Palestinian Authority in areas A and B as part of the interim agreements has no practical meaning – except for the need to promote Israeli propaganda. When it serves its own convenience, Israel relies on that “transfer of powers” to cultivate the illusion that most of the residents of the West Bank do not really live under occupation, and that actually, the occupation is almost over. Whereas when it is not convenient for Israel, like in this case, it sets aside the appearance of “self-government,” raises “security arguments,” and realizes its full control of the entire territory and all of its residents.

The judges rejected, almost flippantly, the argument by the petitioners that they did not know of the existence of the order forbidding them to build, and that they built after they relied on permits they received from the Palestinian Authority, and ruled that the residents “took the law into their own hands." According to the court, the residents should have known about the order. The judges relied for this point on the provisions of the order requiring that its contents be brought “as much as possible” to the knowledge of the residents, among other ways by hanging it, along with low-resolution, difficult-to-understand maps, in the District Coordination Office, as well as on the State representatives' arguments before them.

In doing so, the judges completely ignored the relevant facts: that the Military took no action to bring the order to the knowledge of the residents before November 2015, that the order was issued years after the construction of the fence and the construction of the buildings, and even then – nothing was done for the first years to enforce it, and no real effort was made to ensure that the residents knew about the existence of the order – not even as obvious and simple an action such as pasting it to the residents' walls.

This Supreme Court ruling may have far-reaching implications. In various places in East Jerusalem (such as Dahiat al-Barid, Kafr Aqab, and the Shuafat Refugee Camp) and other parts of the West Bank (such as a-Ram, Qalqiliyah, Tulkarm, and Qalandia al-Balad), numerous residential homes were built near the separation fence. Furthermore, as a result of the Israeli planning policy that prevents Palestinians from receiving building permits, many other buildings were built without permits, there being no other choice.

The latest ruling gives Israel legal authorization to demolish all of the these houses, while hiding behind “security arguments” in order to carry out its illegal policy.

For additional information: Roy Yellin, +972-54-354332§, ryellin@btselem.org

Our mailing address is

B'Tselem, The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories

P.O. Box 53132, Jerusalem 9153002


Forwarded message from: Palestinian Center for Human Rights To: pchrgaza-e@pchrgaza. ps

Hundreds Lose Shelter as Israeli Forces Destroy Dozens of Housing Units in Sour Baher in occupied East Jerusalem

On Monday morning, 22 July 2019, Israeli military forces launched a large-scale destruction operation against civilian property in Wadi al-Humus neighborhood, in Sour Baher in the southern part of occupied East Jerusalem. Hundreds of Israeli soldiers and machinery carried out the destructions that resulted in hundreds of civilians losing their shelter. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns this crime against civilians and considers it on par for ethnic cleansing, and holds the Israeli government accountable for escalating the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).

PCHR calls upon the international community to hold its legal and moral responsibility and intervene effectively to stop Israeli crimes against Palestinian civilians and to provide necessary protection.

According to PCHR’s documentation, at approximately 2:00 on Monday, 22 July 2019, hundreds of Israeli soldiers moved into Sour Baher village with dozens of construction vehicles. They stationed in Wadi al-Humus neighborhood, closed its entrances and cut all power supplies. Israeli soldiers then forcefully vacated buildings in the neighborhood, used physical violence against them and banned them from taking any of their belongings with them. At approximately 06:00, destruction machinery took to work and preliminary numbers assert that at least 8 houses and buildings were destroyed, and explosives were planted in a 10-story building in order to destroy it. The destroyed houses include:

  1. Isma'il 'Ebeidiyah: a 2-sotry house built on 250 square meters and sheltering a 7-member family, including 5 children;
  2. Ghaleb Hawan and his son Monther: a 2-story house built on 210 square meters and sheltering a 10-member family, including 6 children;
  3. Belal al-Kiswani: a 1-story house sheltering a 5-member family, including 3 children;
  4. 'Alaa' 'Amirah: a 2-story house built on 400 square meters (uninhabited)
  5. Mohammed Idris Abu Teir: a 7-story building comprised of 40 residential apartments (under-construction)
  6. Ja'afar Abu Hamed: a 1-story house (under-construction);
  7. Mohammed Salem al-Atrash: a 4-sotry building (under-construction); and
  8. 'Ali Khalil Hamadah: a 4-sotry building (under-construction)

It should be mentioned that on 13 June 2019, the Israeli High Court approved the Israeli military’s decision to demolish 16 residential buildings comprised of 100 apartments in Wadi al-Humus neighborhood under the pretext of being near the annexation wall which was established on the village's lands. On 20 June 2019, the Israeli forces handed tens of residents notices to self-demolish their property by 18 July or the Israeli forces will later do so. On 21 July 2019, the Israeli High Court rejected the appeal filed by the residents to freeze the demolition orders, and within hours the Israeli forces stormed the neighborhood and started the demolitions.

Wadi al-Humus neighborhood (area: 3,000 dunums; population: 6000) is located on the edge of Sour Baher, south of occupied East Jerusalem. The neighbourhood is not within Jerusalem's municipal boundaries and most of its lands are classified in Area A that is under full control of the Palestinian Authority according to the Oslo Accords; thus, the buildings’ owners obtained construction licences from the Palestinian Ministry of Local Governance.

Following the construction of the annexation wall in 2003, the neighbourhood was split as some houses ended up in the Israeli side but not under jurisdiction of the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem.

PCHR deeply condemns the Israeli forces' violations against Wadi al-Humus neighbourhood and affirms that:

First: the international community's silence towards the Israeli violations, especially the destruction of an entire neighbourhood and displacement of its residents, reflects the inability of international bodies to protect international humanitarian law, as well as hundreds of United Nations resolutions issued over the past seven decades relevant to the Palestinian cause.

Second: PCHR reiterates that the Israeli judicial system, including the High Court, acts in support of the occupation and legitimizes its violations of IHL when the issues concern Palestinian victims.

Third: PCHR stresses that East Jerusalem is an occupied territory, and all measures taken by Israel since 1967 do not change its legal status as an occupied territory.

Fourth: Article (49) of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention prohibited the Individual or mass forcible transfer or deportation of persons from their places of residence, unless it was for their own interest, such as protecting them from the dangers of armed conflicts. Article 7.1.d of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court stipulates that Deportation or forcible transfer of population be considered a crime against humanity when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population. This is also emphasized in articles 6, 7, and 8 of the Rome Statute.

PCHR calls upon the international community and UN bodies to intervene to stop Israel’s crimes and violations of Palestinians’ human rights, and to provide them with protection.


---------- Forwarded message --------- From: Norwegian Refugee Council

Demolitions in Sur Baher set dangerous precedent for Palestinian communities

Jerusalem, 22 July 2019 — The demolition of 10 buildings by Israeli forces in the Sur Baher neighborhood in East Jerusalem today, totaling around 70 apartments, is a grave breach of international humanitarian law and sets a dangerous precedent, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said today.

The majority of the structures are located in Areas A and B, which fall under Palestinian civil control, including for planning and building matters, as designated by the Oslo Accords.

“Israel’s security arguments to justify these demolitions sets a dangerous precedent that leaves thousands at heightened risk,” said NRC’s Palestine Country Director, Kate O’Rourke. “The commission of grave breaches of international humanitarian law must be challenged by the international community.”

An Israeli military order issued in 2011 designated a buffer zone of 100 to 300 meters on both sides of the separation barrier in Sur Baher and prohibited construction in the Wadi al-Hummus area of the neighborhood as a security measure. While the number of structures facing similar risk is difficult to estimate, local residents say that roughly 100 additional buildings could be at heightened risk of demolition in Sur Baher alone.

Sur Baher land in Area A, B, and C remain part of the West Bank, but the route of Israel’s separation barrier left them on the Israeli side, preventing the Palestinian Authority from accessing or delivering services to these areas. Nonetheless, the Palestinian Authority still issues building permits to the residents as permitted under the Oslo Accords.

Residents, represented by attorney Saher Ali and the Society of St. Yves, a Jerusalem-based human rights organization and local NRC partner, petitioned the Israeli High Court of Justice to request the cancellation of the military order prohibiting construction or, alternatively, a reprieve from demolishing the structures. On 11 June, the court dismissed their petitions.

The developments in Sur Baher come amid renewed momentum to further entrench and tighten Israeli control over key locations across East Jerusalem. Since the beginning of the year, Israeli authorities have demolished 140 Palestinian-owned structures in the city, according to OCHA. Together with an increase in eviction cases, these demolitions point toward an intent to accelerate forcible transfer of Palestinian communities in East Jerusalem and alter the demographic composition of the city.

Israel’s destruction of property in Sur Baher breaches its obligations under international humanitarian law and other peremptory norms of international law, including the duty to maintain territorial integrity and the prohibition on acquisition of territory by force.

Background

On 11 June 2019, the court dismissed the petition by residents of Sur Baher, citing a “military-security justification to restrict the construction.” The ruling canceled two orders, reduced four to partial demolition, and upheld six for complete destruction. The court also confirmed stop work orders against three landowners with prepared foundations for construction. According to OCHA, “the demolitions would displace three households, comprising 17 people, including nine children, and would otherwise affect an estimated 350 people.”

On Sunday, 21 July, the High Court of Justice denied all requests to delay the demolitions. Israeli authorities declared Sur Baher a closed military zone effective from 22 to 24 July.

The Fourth Geneva Convention outlines the protection of property in occupied territory, prohibiting any destruction of real or personal property, except when military operations render such destruction absolutely necessary. Unlawful and wanton destruction of property amounts to a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

An advisory opinion in 2004 on the separation barrier, issued by the International Court of Justice, stated that the course Israel has chosen for the barrier was unnecessary to attain its security objectives. International law requires third states to take measures to ensure Israel ceases the wrongful conduct, makes full reparation for the loss, and guarantees non-repetition.

For interviews or more information, please contact:

NRC's media hotline: info@nrc.no, +47 90562329


Latest victim of reckless open-fire orders: a 9-year old

Contrary to military statement: ‘Abd a-Rahman a-Shteiwi, 9, was shot in the head with live ammunition

B`Tselem investigation published today proves a soldier fired live ammunition, hitting ‘Abd a-Rahman a-Shteiwi, 9, in the head. A-Shteiwi was injured last week while playing in the entrance to a home in Kafr Qadum during the weekly demonstration in the village. Now hospitalized in critical condition, he is the latest victim of the reckless open-fire policy that allows soldiers to use live fire even when neither they nor anyone else is in any danger.

‘Abd a-Rahman a-Shteiwi. Photo courtesy of the family. At about 1:30 PM on Friday, 12 July 2019, the regular weekly demonstration against the closure of the main access road from Kafr Qadum to the regional capital Nablus took place. The military blocked the road in the early 2000s, following the expansion of the adjacent settlement of Kadum. Since then, residents have been forced to use a bypass road that lengthens the journey by about half an hour.

During the demonstration, a few dozen youths threw stones at a number of soldiers deployed along the ridge on the outskirts of the village, several dozen meters from the demonstrators. The soldiers fired rubber coated metal bullets at the protestors, but, in a departure from previous practice in Kadum protests, this time, they also fired a large number of live rounds in the air.

At a distance of about 200 meters from the main protest, about ten protestors threw stones at four soldiers who were a few dozen meters away from them, on another hill on the same ridge. About 100 meters away from this group, further down the road, a resident of Kafr Qadum was sitting under an olive tree with his two 10-year-old children. Opposite them, about 10 meters away, ‘Abd a-Rahman a-Shteiwi, 9, was sitting at the entrance of one of the homes on the edge of the village playing with a piece of wood.

At about 2:20 PM, as the main demonstration, some 200 meters away from ‘Abd a-Rahman a-Shteiwi, began to disperse, a soldier fired a live bullet. It hit boy’s head and he immediately fell to the ground. The resident who was sitting nearby and a young man who was in the area evacuated the boy to an ambulance waiting some 50 meters away down the road. ‘Abd a-Rahman was taken unconscious to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus and underwent head surgery. Two days later, on 14 July 2019, sedated and ventilated, he was transferred to the intensive care unit at Sheba Hospital in Tel Hashomer.

In its statements to the media, the military denied that soldiers used live fire, and even rejected any responsibility for the incident. A response the military released claimed that the soldiers had used “various crowd-control methods” and that “a report was received of an injured boy aged around ten.” However, 9-year-old A-Shteiwi’s injury is a direct result of the open-fire policy implemented by the military in the Occupied Territories. This policy illegally and without any justification permits the use of live fire against Palestinians who are not endangering anyone. The policy remains in force despite the fact that it has resulted in hundreds of Palestinian deaths and thousands of injuries.

The military prides itself on regulations restricting the circumstances in which live fire may be used, while at the same time claiming that the law enforcement system will take action against soldiers who violate the regulations. However, these statements are hollow and meaningless. In many cases, the open-fire regulations are completely disregarded. Meanwhile, the law enforcement system is actually a whitewashing system intended to create the illusion of investigations. A-Shteiwi is the latest victim of this policy, but unless it is changed, it is only a matter of time before the next victim is added to the list.

By Amit Gilutz - B`Tselem


Volunteers needed for protective presence in Isaawiya

Update from Issawiya (East Jerusalem) and call for volunteer shifts

Following the large police operation in Issawiya last night during the funeral procession and the arrest of three residents, residents of Issawiya have requested international and Israeli activist presence within Issawiya for the evenings of the rest of the week, starting tonight.

Our presence last night was noted by residents and police, and we would like to continue monitoring police interactions with residents. This is also a great way to build relationships with !the community of Issawiya, especially the young people there

If we succeed in getting five volunteers, we will go into Issawiya and stand in a central area that has been designated ahead of time. We will remain with residents who will escort us from the beginning to the end of the shift and will also have two experienced Israeli activists with us who have strong ties with the community.

If someone would like to participate in shifts but does not feel comfortable entering the village, there is still the option of doing a shift at the entrance to Issawiya! Police might still be stationed there harrassing residents and giving out large fines for the smallest traffic violations.

Please sign up with the link below for shifts and please don't forget to include your number and preference for shifts inside the village or at the entrance. Feel free to share this link with anyone who might be interested.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Y9gLwFswVkbBXtyLOnppFdvKp3iAPz6BvOPsvkrK95I/edit?usp=sharing


Women in Black: special protest vigils for 52nd year of the occupation

On the 52nd year of the occupation, Women in Black will hold special protest vigils

On Friday, June 7, 2019 at 13:00

In four locations:

Jerusalem, Hagar Square (Paris Square)

Gan Shmuel, at the entrance to the kibutz

Tel Aviv, at the corner of King George St. & Ben Zion Blvd

Haifa, at the corner of Ben Gurion and Hagefen St.

Women and men - join us to protest

52 years of one long disaster!

END THE OCCUPATION!


On the Eurovision eve - protest the Gaza siege

Today Tue. 14 May, marking one year after 64 protestors were shot dead during the Great March of Return Protests in Gaza, we will take to the streets to demand an end to the siege on Gaza and a better future for all of us. We will meet uesday, May 14, 2019 at 7 PM in Habima square, Tel Aviv .

Buses will leave Jerusalem (Bell Park), Beer Sheva (Teachers Center Parking Lot), Haifa (Romema stadium ).

https://www.facebook.com/events/1061762164012173/

One year ago, as hospitals in Gaza were overflowing with wounded protesters, the masses in Tel Aviv celebrated Netta Barzilai’s Eurovision victory. This year we will not take part in this absurd and cynical performance. We refuse to continue “business as usual”, while less than 100km away, millions of people on both sides of the fence pay the price of our apathy. On 14 May, marking one year after 64 protestors were shot dead during the Great March of Return Protests in Gaza, we will take to the streets to demand an end to the siege on Gaza and a better future for all of us.

The consequences of the past year’s events are devastating : over 250 Palestinians are dead and tens of thousands wounded, the entire region is under constant threat of escalation, and residents of southern Israel are subject to frequent attacks. The pressing need for a courageous decision is clear – we must put an end to the cycle of violence. Sporadic “relief efforts” are not a solution. A life of dignity for all the people in the region is not optional – it’s a demand that cannot be ignored.

Israel’s new government must change its policy concerning Gaza. It must recognize its responsibility and obligations towards the civilian population, remove the blockade and respect the rights of the people of Gaza: freedom of movement, freedom of profession, the right to protest, the right to health and above all, the right to live in dignity.

The hackneyed claim that the Great March of Return Protests are a threat initiated by Hamas overlooks the democratic character of the demonstrations and the greater context they are taking place in: the ongoing Israeli blockade and the ensuing humanitarian crisis, within a history of over fifty years of military occupation and over seventy years of displacement and exile.

The crisis in Gaza as well as the price paid by citizens of southern Israel is neither decreed by fate nor a natural phenomenon. It is time to end the siege on Gaza. It is time to bring back the hope that a just solution can and must be reached – for all our sakes.

We will meet at HaBima Square at 19:00 and then we will march together to Meir Garden, where activists from Gaza and the south will speak.

מסרבות Mesarvot, Combatants for Peace חד"ש Hadash פורום מרצ למאבק בכיבוש Meretz fight the occupation forum, Coalition of Women for Peace All That's Left: Anti-Occupation Collective Other Voice קול אחר صوت آخر الشبيبة الشيوعية הנוער הקומוניסטי Communist Youth Amnesty International Israel פורום המשפחות השכולות Parents Circle Families Forum منتدى العائلات الثكلى Ta'ayush תעאיוש تعايش אקדמיה לשוויון Academia for Equality أكاديميون من أجل ألمساواة זזים - קהילה פועלת ززيم- حراك شعبيّ תנועת יש גבול Yesh Gvul Movement


'Dare to Dream – of Freedom': Anti-occupation Billboard Greets Eurovision Tourists

Breaking the Silence invite tourists to Israel to visit Hebron and 'see the full picture;' Israeli minister blasts 'lies'

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/eurovision/.premium-dare-to-dream-of-freedom-anti-occupation-poster-greets-eurovision-tourists-1.7224739

BDS = Beautiful, Diverse, Sensational: Israel fights Eurovision boycott campaign using Google ads


A billboard protesting Israel's occupation of the West Bank was put up Sunday on the road leading from Ben-Gurion International Airport to Tel Aviv, two days ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest, by anti-occupation NGO Breaking the Silence.

The billboard features on one half of it the Tel Aviv Eurovisionofficial slogan, "Dare to dream," with the city's coastline in the background, and the words "of freedom" on its second half, with the West Bank separation wall and an Israeli military watch tower in the background.

Breaking the Silence's Executive Director Avner Gvaryahu said: "We invite Eurovision guests from all over the world to celebrate with us in Israel, and join a tour of Hebron to see the full picture."

The organization, which gathers testimonies by Israeli soldiers who were stationed in the West Bank and Gaza, runs regular tours to the Palestinian city of Hebron. The organization said dozens of people already booked places for its tours in the upcoming week.

Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan, who is tasked with combatting the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, called Breaking the Silence a "despicable hate organization," saying "it once again finds the time to spread lies against the State of Israel."

"Here's a tip," Erdan added, "Instead of inciting against the pioneering settlers in the City of the Patriarchs, take tourists on an introductory tour of the dreadful human rights violations by the Hamas government in Gaza, or a tour to get an impression of the Palestinian Authority, which insists on sponsoring terrorists and praising despicable murderers."

The online protest against holding the song contest in Israel has intensified over the past few days, but failed so far to score any major achievements.

"The Palestine Project," a Facebook page with over 75,000 followers, has been consistently posting messages arguing that Eurovision is being used to whitewash the Israeli occupation. It noted Expo Tel Aviv, where the contest is held, stands on the lands of Palestinian village Sheikh Munis, conquered by Israeli forces in the 1948 war.

Israel has launched a PR campaign to counter calls for a boycott, using Google ads which refer to the boycott but lead to a glossy website extolling Israel. Internet advertisements on Google featuring the words "boycott" and "Eurovision" encourage searchers to click on a link that, in fact, leads them to a pro-Israel website which – in a play on the BDS initials – extols Israel as "Beautiful, Diverse, Sensational".

The advertisement makes no obvious mention of the Israeli government. But the Strategic Affairs Ministry - which runs the government's anti-BDS taskforce – confirmed to Reuters that it was behind the campaign "to promote the positive aspects" of Israel.


Dear All,

The bombing in Gaza has stopped – and, incredibly, one of the reported reasons is that Israel doesn’t want fighting during next week’s Eurovision song contest when millions of TV viewers will tune in.

For months the Israeli government has pulled out all of the stops to make Eurovision a huge moment for ‘Brand Israel,’ even recruiting one of the world’s biggest stars to perform: Madonna.

But Madonna has publicly supported Palestinian freedom and denounced the killing of children in Gaza in the past. And we need to make sure that she sees the devastating bombings last weekend as proof for her to put those values into action.

Add your name – and then your tweets – to call on Madonna to cancel her Eurovision performance:


Choose Freedom: Boycott Eurovision, Madonna!

The decision to stop the bombing shows just how important Eurovision is to the Israeli government as an anchor event of its enormous PR effort to whitewash its horrific war crimes and racist law making.

And Madonna’s performance is a critical part of that effort. Israel desperately hopes that Madonna's performance will help distract from the controversy surrounding Eurovision. They even brought in a BDS-hating Canadian billionaire to cover all of her costs.

Now there’s just days to go, so we’ve got to move fast. Let’s appeal to Madonna to make a huge statement for freedom and equality and live up to her past positive statements of support for Palestinians by refusing to lend her brand to distract the world from Israel’s brutal treatment of Palestinians.

Add your name to say #MadonnaDontGo

Thanks for all you do, and for taking action,

Granate Kim Communications Director

Jewish Voice for Peace is a national membership organization inspired by Jewish tradition to work for the justice, equality, and dignity of all the people of Israel/Palestine. Become a JVP Member today.

Donate Facebook Twitter www.Jewishvoiceforpeace.org

Jewish Voice for Peace P.O. Box 589 Berkeley, California 94701


PA demands Israel remove Jerusalem from Eurovision promo videos Ramallah accuses Israel of ‘propaganda’ which ‘wipes the State of Palestine from the map’ over image of Temple Mount seen in clip By AFP and TOI STAFF

A clip for Eurovision by the Kan public broadcaster that angered the Palestinian Authority (screenshot) A clip for Eurovision by the Kan public broadcaster that angered the Palestinian Authority (screenshot) The Palestinian Authority called Saturday for Jerusalem to be cut from videos promoting Eurovision, accusing Israel of “propaganda” ahead of Tel Aviv hosting the international song contest.

The Kan public broadcaster aired a clip Friday aimed at tourists traveling to the country for Eurovision, which features a shot of East Jerusalem’s Temple Mount compound, the holiest place in Judaism, referred to as the Noble Sanctuary by Muslims, where the Al-Aqsa Mosque stands.

The video also refers to Jerusalem as “our beloved capital.” Palestinians claim the eastern sector as the capital of their future state. East Jerusalem was captured by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed in a move never recognized by most of the international community. The US recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017, and moved its embassy to the city last May.

The PA’s foreign ministry said Israel was using the song competition to “entrench its colonial occupation by effectively normalizing the global acceptance of its unlawful conduct.”

“The promotional material published in the context of the Eurovision contest and approved by EBU, is unacceptable,” the ministry said, in reference to the European Broadcasting Union, which runs the event.

Writing on Facebook, the ministry said it had contacted the EBU about what it termed Israeli “propaganda material” which “wipes… the State of Palestine from the map.”


Supreme Court removes the ban!

Israel's High Court of Justice accepted the petition of the Israeli-Palestinian Joint Memorial Day Ceremony organizers and allowed the entry of 100 Palestinian participants to the ceremony, which will take place today.

Att. Gaby Lasky: "Justice was served in court today, and it will be served again tomorrow evening, when about 100 Palestinians will enter the gates of HaYarkon Park in Tel Aviv."

The organizers of the Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day Ceremony, Combatants for Peace and The Parents Circle-Families Forum, respond to the Israeli Supreme Court decision to allow Palestinian families to enter Israel and attend the ceremony in Tel Aviv tomorrow:

“Once again, the Supreme Court has demonstrated that the powers of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense remain in check, and that the idea of denying Palestinian families, many of whom are bereaved, the right to participate in a memorial ceremony dedicated to peace, reconciliation and hope—is flatly absurd.

In a more just reality, we would have had no need to submit such a petition to the Supreme Court and in a more just reality, we would have no need for such a memorial ceremony at all. We are in a year when the number of people mourning the dead on both sides has grown. We call upon the public to join us at the ceremony and amplify our message, which we have been proud to deliver for the past 14 years: no to apathy, yes to hope.

A statement From Attorney Gaby Lasky, who represented the petition : “Justice has been served by the Supreme Court, and tomorrow evening justice will be served once again when 100 Palestinians will enter the Yarkon Park in Tel Aviv to participate in a meaningful event, which has been taking place for 14 years, and continue to provide a spark of hope during turbulent times.”

Dror Mizrahi Cell: +972-50-7248688 Email: dror@dror-mizrahi.org

TEL AVIV-JAFFA, ISRAEL


Sharing Sorrow: which always lives within us

Bringing Hope: creating a better future for everyone. For the 14th year, we will be holding the Israeli-Palestinian Joint Memorial Day Ceremony on Yom Hazikaron (Israeli Memorial Day). This ceremony that has become one of the strongest statements against the militarization of our society, war and occupation. Together we work towards reconciliation, equality and peace.

We appeal to you to be partners in this work and to help us hold this most important ceremony. The Ceremony started in 2005 with 70 people. This year we plan to host 10,000 attendees. Every year we draw larger and larger crowds. Together we can build a better future.

To contribute to this joint effort, click here: http://afcfp.org/get-involved/memorial-campaign/


Save Khan al Ahmar! And - give a bit of hope to Gaza!

There are so many good reasons not to demolish a village. Israel’s High Court of Justice has set Wednesday, May 1st as the deadline for the State of Israel to explain why the Palestinian Bedouin Village of Khan al Ahmar has not yet been demolished. This is an especially good moment for Congress to weigh-in, privately or publicly.

The following is what we ask, if your are an American citizen. If you are not, but know some American(s) - please pass this on!

So, we ask of all Americans reading this: please take a moment to ask your Senators and Congresspeople to call the Israeli Embassy and the US State Department on your behalf.

Click Here to Email Congress Now https://actionnetwork.org/letters/urgent-action-khan-al-ahmar?link_id=0&can_id=fa0afcca4b7b5214628b4a86bed3c432&source=email-action-alert-urgent-press-congress-to-safeguard-khan-al-ahmar-village-now&email_referrer=email_536526&email_subject=action-alert-urgent-press-congress-to-safeguard-khan-al-ahmar-village-now

Your email enumerates the many good reasons to stop plans to demolish Khan al Ahmar, and to urge recognition of this village's own, really wonderful, master plan.

Then, take another minute today or on Monday morning, to please call them. Call Representative Jared Huffman at (202) 225-5161, Senator Kamala D. Harris at (202) 224-3553, and Senator Dianne Feinstein at (202) 224-3841.

When you call, ask to speak with the senior staff for foreign policy, and ask them to make two calls on your behalf, to the Israeli Embassy and to the U.S. State Department. Draw on the letter below (the template for the one you're emailing) to explain why their call is so important. Benjamin Franklin said that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Well that certainly applies here. Thanks for your help to assure the villagers of Khan al Ahmar, and their wonderful school, a good future. Sincerely,

Donna Baranski-Walker Founder and Executive Director, Rebuilding Alliance

P.S. Here's the template letter to your Senators and Representative. You are welcome to make changes - click here to email if you haven't done so already. Please draw on this when you make your call:

Dear ,

As your constituent, I’m writing to urge you to take urgent action, TODAY, to prevent demolition of the Palestinian Bedouin refugee village of Al Khan al Ahmar and its famous school. Specifically, I ask you to make two calls on my behalf: to the State Department and the Israeli Embassy to express concern.

Israel’s High Court of Justice has set Wednesday, May 1st as the deadline for the State of Israel to explain why Al Khan al Ahmar has not yet been demolished. Here are some of the many good reasons:

Khan al Ahmar village worked with the best planning experts in Israel and the West Bank to develop its own master plan and it’s a good one. Their eco-village, built to code, would be a source of pride, providing fresh goats’ milk and cheese to the neighborhood.

The Planning Committee has no Palestinian representation and the village's plan still awaits review. Judge Melcer at the High Court confirmed that the village’s master plan was rejected by the head of the Planning Committee in violation of standard zoning plan review procedure. Instead of allowing the Judea and Samaria Planning Committee to review the plan, it went to the chairman of the appeals committee where it was dismissed without reviewed, thus barring any appeal.

Not committing a war crime is the best reason not to; Without grazing access, huge impoverishment and denial of rights result. Women are especially harmed.

The people of Al Khan al Ahmar have been there since the ‘50s, well before the Israeli settlements surrounding them. The land, which they lease, belongs to Palestinians in the town of Anata and is not State land (hence the temp appropriation orders issued by the IDF for roads in the area); Their culture is of desert. They have much to teach their neighbors in this time as temperatures rise throughout the region and desertification increases. Demolition leads to disintegration of a rich and valuable culture.

The 174 children attending Khan al Ahmar's famous school (made of compressed earth and tires) began their school year on July 16th as scheduled. They safely cross the desert hills from four villages to attend. Sadly their school is one of more than 42 Palestinian schools in the West Bank’s Area C that have been issued demolition or stop work orders by the Israeli government, in violation of International Law.

Demolition of this peaceful village undermines prospects for a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and recklessly endangers Israeli and regional security.

Please make your calls to the Israeli Embassy and the State Department as soon as you receive my letter. The State Department has called this an internal matter, but because the Israeli High Court noted that the village’s own master plan was improperly reviewed, please ask the State Dept. to press for reconsideration.

Please urge fair review and approval of Khan al Ahmar's master plan and say that the villagers should be permitted to remain. Please get back to me with confirmation that you made these calls on my behalf and let me know their replies.

Sincerely,


Dear All,

I write with gentle greetings to offer an opportunity for hope, an immediate way to help, and more opportunities to help, soon.

Not long ago, in February, Rebuilding Alliance brought Palestinian children to speak to Congress. Our #ICareAboutPeace Congressional Briefing was sponsored by Senator Dianne Feinstein. In a private discussion with the Senator’s staff, the child from Gaza fell into tears, asking, “What about Gaza?” Unfortunately, the reality is that there will be no change in the foreseeable future. There is no way to restore U.S. aid. *

No government — not ours, not anyone’s — should ever build policy that results in the hunger or neglect of children. When that happens, it is up to us to take action. As Americans who care deeply about human rights, justice, and the safety of children, how can we help when our government won’t?

Time and again, Rebuilding Alliance ‘starts small and starts where it counts’ — and when it comes to Gaza, we have been asked by our team and partners in Gaza to “Focus on projects that provide jobs, and find ways to deliver food first, then clothes, light, and housing.”

At the end of March, we brought a Gaza Trade and Aid Delegation to meet with 54 members of Congress (including 23 Republicans) to ask their help to open the blockade in particular and immediate ways — they listened and promised to make calls to help. Now we're working through the details to open the blockade to bring Gaza fresh herbs to New York City. Why? Because 150 people, mostly women, would have jobs.

There are many ways to help. Start here:

  • Building Understanding

Bid Now on the Gaza in Color Art Auction. When last in Gaza, I met with and carried out paintings by six Gaza artists. Together with the artists, we’ve opened an online art auction to bring the Gaza in Color: Stories from Behind the Wall to you. The auction will close at 9pm Pacific time on May 2nd. New works are arriving by mail from Gaza each day, so be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom to see and bid — and share the Auction on Facebook to build buzz.

Join us, virtually or in-person, for a Dinner to Celebrate Gaza in Color Artists on Thursday, May 2nd with the wonderful people of Sacramento when we’ll close the auction. The artists will pop-in by teleconference, and you can join in via Facebook Live, starting at 7pm Pacific time. We’ll fill the trees with solar lights to send a #GazaLightMessage. Please Buy a dinner ticket if you're nearby, or join us on Facebook to attend virtuallyvia Facebook Live!

  • Building Change

Global Giving Competition: Donate now to Build an Inclusive Just Climate Community in Gaza. This remarkable project was selected by Global Giving to compete for a year- year-long slot in the GlobalGiving Climate Fund. The two projects with most donors will automatically win a place in the fund, so please Give Now — we'll need 200 donations (large or small) by Monday April 29th at 4pm Eastern time to secure this opportunity.

We're scheduling our next Congressional Staff Leadership Learning Mission to Jerusalem and the West Bank for the week of Saturday, June 29 through July 6th. This will be after Ramadan, and just after the President's Peace Plan is made public — an important time to go.

  • Building Justice

Expect an Action Alert very soon to ask your help to press your members of Congress to intervene to keep the Palestinian Bedouin Village of Khan al Ahmer safe from forced relocation. The Khan al Ahmar Villagers developed an inspired Master Plan that went overlooked by the Israeli government — your calls to Congress can still help keep them standing.

  • Helping Children in Need

My team and I have been working non-stop to develop the details of a food** and clothing program for Ramadan to help Gaza's children. We'll launch the program in the next few days. If you would like to partner with us to bring this Ramadan opportunity to your community, please hit 'Reply' to reach me by email.

Because of my three visits to Gaza in the past year, seeing hunger, I bear the challenge of the messenger. Please join us to take action and please continue to find ways to share our common humanity in these dangerous times. May the Gaza in Color art, give you joy.

Sincerely,

Donna Baranski-Walker Founder and Executive Director, Rebuilding Alliance

P.S. Two of Rebuilding Alliance's papers were selected for presentation at the Rights Con Human Rights in the Digital Age Conference in Tunisia in June! If our work is of value to you, please give now to support Rebuilding Alliance, Click Here.


Footnotes:

  1. Earlier this month, Senator Feinstein joined six other Senators, all Democrats, to cosponsor