The ruling by the International Criminal Court is a game-changer.
From now on, Israeli Army soldiers and officers had better think twice about obeying orders to destroy Palestinian homes.
The judges of the International Criminal Court in The Hague ruled unequivocally that the court has full authority to hear and decide on Palestinian complaints of violations of International Law by the State of Israel and its army. Thereby, the rules of the game have fundamentally changed.
To date, the only judicial authority authorized to hear cases relating to acts by the Israeli Army in the Occupied Territories had been the Supreme Court in Jerusalem. In spite of prolonged wild incitement waged by Israeli right-wing circles against the Supreme Court and its judges, in practice the Supreme Court was and remains extremely forgiving towards the occupation army, rejecting the vast majority of appeals lodged by Palestinians.
When it comes to the judges of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, it's a completely different matter. The Hague Court is bound by the provisions of International Law, specifically by the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 which sets out in detail what an occupying state is allowed - and what it is forbidden - to do in a territory under the military rule of its army. Many of the acts that the IDF routinely undertakes in the territories under its rule may turn out to be serious violations of International Law.
For example: Just a few days ago, on the morning of Monday, February 1, a large military force arrived in the tiny village of Hamsa al-Fouka in the northern Jordan Valley. The soldiers destroyed dozens of residential buildings and sheep pens, leaving 85 Palestinian residents - 45 of them children - homeless and exposed in the open air. The soldiers also demanded that the residents completely leave Hamsa al-Fouka and move to another location that the army would determine for them, threatening that if they did not leave voluntarily, they would be forcibly transferred by the army.
This act of destruction and devastation carried out by the army - and it is certainly not the first of its kind - has gone virtually unnoticed by the Israeli public and political system. Knesset Members who habitually engage in loud and vociferous debates failed to take up this issue. But make no mistake: outside the borders of the State of Israel, there are those who constantly monitor and closely record such acts.
At the International Court, indictments can certainly be filed against IDF officers and settlers as well as against officials and ministers in the Government of Israel. Among other things, acts of wanton destruction – carried out especially against small and highly vulnerable Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley and the South Hebron Hills - can certainly lead to the filing of indictments against everybody involved.
From now on, IDF officers should think twice about obeying an order to participate in such acts of destruction, and risking serious consequences. Officers who nevertheless decide to continue participating in these acts of destruction had better make an effort to keep their identities secret, constantly wear masks regardless of the Covid-19 situation, and in general start acting like law-breakers evading law enforcement - because that is exactly what their legal status is about to become.
Decision-makers in the State of Israel have been well aware in recent weeks that the decision of the judges in The Hague was imminent, and that President Trump - who tried to intimidate the International Court by series of blatant threats - is no longer in the White House. It is surprising that in such a situation the decision-makers continued to order soldiers and officers to go on destroying Palestinian homes, when knowing that those who carry out such orders may have to pay a heavy price.
Defense Minister Gantz should look up from his clashes with the Prime Minister and his party's precarious electoral situation, and think about the consequences of the Hague judges' decision – the consequences for himself personally, both regarding his former position as Army Chief of Staff and his present one as Defense Minister, and the changing judicial situation of the soldiers and officers for whom he is responsible as being in charge of Israel’s military system. .
Contact: Adam Keller, Gush Shalom Spokesperson +972-(0)54-2340749
Wide-Scale Demolition Operation: Israeli Occupation Demolishes 28 Homes And Facilities In Northern Jordan Valley
On Monday morning, 01 February 2021, Israeli occupation forces (IOF) carried out a large-scale demolition operation against civilian properties in Hemsa al-Foqa area in the northern Jordan valleys, eastern Tubas.
Twenty-eight homes and facilities were demolished, displacing 85 Palestinians, including 45 children) in the operation. These demolitions are part of an accelerated campaign by IOF to demolish and destroy Palestinians’ homes and properties in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, under the Israeli annexation and settlement-expansion schemes in what can only be considered an act of ethnic cleansing against the indigenous Palestinian population.
According to PCHR’s investigations, at approximately 08:45 on Monday, IOF accompanied by Israeli Civil Administration SUVs and construction vehicles, moved into Kherbet Hemsa al-Foqa in the northern Jordan valleys, eastern Tubas. Immediately, workers accompanying IOF proceeded to demolish and dismantle civilian homes and sheep barns, loaded them onto their trucks and confiscated their contents.
The demolition included 14 residential tents, 7 tents and 5 barracks for cattle; the destroyed structures belonged to 11 families (85 civilians, including 45 children) who were rendered homeless. IOF told the affected area’s residents to accompany them to be transferred to Ein Shibley area, west of Al-Hamra checkpoint in the central Jordan valleys; however, they refused to leave the area.
IOF threatened the residents that they would return the following day and expel them from Hemsa al-Foqa. It should be noted that on 03 November 2020, IOF conducted a wide-scale demolition campaign in the same area, that included the demolition of 70 homes and facilities and displacing 60 Palestinians (mostly children).
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights condemns the Israeli demolitions and confiscation of Palestinian properties and warns against the threat of the continued Israeli attempts to displace Palestinians and oust them from their lands by destroying their houses and confiscating/demolishing their properties. This is an Israeli systematic policy to impose a fait accompli to enforce its control and sovereignty on parts of the West Bank.
PCHR recalls that Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 prohibits “Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons ..” unless “the security of the population or imperative military reasons so demand.” Additionally, Article 7.1.d of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court stipulates that “Deportation or forcible transfer of population when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population is a crime against humanity.” Also, Article 6, 7, and 8 of the Rome Statute assert that “Deportation or forcible transfer of population” is a war crime.
PCHR calls upon the international community and United Nations bodies to uphold their legal and moral duties, and to urgently intervene to stop the Israeli occupation’s crime against Palestinians and to guarantee their protection.
Palestinian Centre For Human Rights
Help Harun Abu Aram, young Palestinian severely wounded by Israeli troops
Please Help Harun Heal!
On New Year’s morning, a tragic video shook us, posted by our colleague, social worker Fatma. A young man was shot at point-blank range when he and his family tried to pull their small generator back to stop confiscation by the Israeli Army.
Harun Abu Aram is a young Palestinian man from the South Hebron Hills fighting for his life after being shot in the neck by Israeli soldiers on New Year’s Day, which is also his birthday. His doctors say the bullet severed his spinal cord, and he will likely be paraplegic. He was planning to get married to his fiancée, Du’a, in two months.
Please give now for his medical care, for travel for his family to the hospital and rehab center in the long months to come, for the family's lost income — Harun's, and also his father, and his brother if they are denied work permits in Israel — and to rebuild their home and enable it to be accessible for his disability.
According to Amira Hass and Hagar Shezaf in Haaretz, his family’s home was one of five homes in their neighborhood demolished in the past three months. One New Year's Day, drones spotted their neighbor finishing his sheep pen; Israeli settlers alerted the IDF who came to their village, Khirbet al-Rakiz in the South Hebron Hills, and barged into his neighbor's house without a warrant.
They confiscated the generator. Palestinians who live in the area aren't allowed by the Israeli Civil Administration to connect to the electrical grid or water supply, even though nearby settlements have ready access to utilities. When his neighbor shouted, Harun and his father went over to help. The neighbors were unarmed. Warning: this is the video shows what happened:
From Haaretz: "Since Friday, dozens of people have come to visit every day to show their solidarity with the family and the village...Israel has been demanding that residents of 12 villages permanently vacate their homes so that the area can be used for military exercises.
Khirbet al-Rakiz, [where the Abu Aram family is from], has been officially excluded eventually from this list, but the ban on any construction and connecting to the water and electricity infrastructure is still on. The Civil Administration considers the Hebron Hills a priority for enforcing demolition orders, as the head of the Civil Administration, Ghassan Alyan recently told a Knesset hearing.
In November, the Civil Administration demolished a house that the Harun's family had completed there two weeks earlier. For decades, the family had been living in a cave that was plagued by leaks and deterioration. They have now returned to the cave."
Rebuilding Alliance is organizing this fundraiser and will be working with the family to meet their needs. We are a U.S. 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that works to realize a just and enduring peace in Palestine and Israel founded upon equal rights, equal security, and equal opportunity for all.
Here are some of the organizations who are working to help the family:
Alliance for Human Rights Villages Group Physicians for Human Rights Israel Women's Association of South Hebron Hills
If your group would like to co-sponsor this fundraiser for Harun Abu Aram and his family and be listed here, please email us at
Thank you for your trust and your help for Harun.
Donna Baranski-Walker Founder and Executive Director, Rebuilding Alliance
Please donate online now by clicking this link
https://actionnetwork.org/fundraising/help-harun-heal or, if you prefer,
Please make your check out to Rebuilding Alliance with 'Help Harun Heal' in the memo line and mail it to
Rebuilding Alliance 50 Woodside Plaza Ste. 627 Redwood City CA 94061
"A cynical deal between Israeli occupation and Moroccan occupation"
The agreement between Israel and Morocco announced by President Trump at the very last moment of his term, is a cynical and despicable deal worthy of all condemnation. It is an alliance between Israeli oppression on the West Bank and Moroccan oppression in the Western Sahara, a criminal handshake between two oppressors.
Already for many years, the Moroccan government has been imitating the Israeli occupation policies, oppressing the inhabitants of Western Sahara and flooding their country with settlers. The State of Israel is now becoming an official and public partner to the oppression of the inhabitants of Western Sahara, people who have never harmed Israel or threatened it in any way.
This agreement has nothing to do with peace. We are an Israeli peace movement striving for peace based on ending Israeli occupation and oppression and giving Palestinians the opportunity to establish their independent state alongside the State of Israel. We are opposed to all occupation and oppression, anywhere on Earth. As an Israeli peace movement, we strongly oppose this "peace" with Morocco.
It is very that the "matchmaker" announcing this dark deal is Donald Trump, a President who refuses to recognize the democratic decision of the citizens of the United States and who on this very day trying in effect to carry out a coup and asks the US Supreme Court to help him retain power against the voters' decision at the polls. .
We call on the Knesset Members to reject with disgust the abominable agreement with Morocco and to vote against it when it comes to a vote in the Knesset plenum.
For details: Adam Keller, Gush Shalom spokesman 054-2340759
The US released Pollard – Israel should release Mordechai Vanunu!
Gush Shalom, the Israeli Peace Bloc, calls upon the Government of Israel to emulate the United States, which removed the limitation placed upon Jonathan Pollard, and remove the limitations which it itself placed on Mordecahi Vanunu.
Jonathan Pollard and Mordecahi Vanunu were both arrested in 1986, in the US and Israel respectively. Both were charged with espionage, though on very different grounds.
Pollard had passed on to an Israeli agent classified information to which he had access due to his work in the US Naval Intelligence. Vanunu had provided to the London Sunday Times information about the production of nuclear arms at the Dimona Nclear Pile, which he gained while working there as a technician.
Both were duly convicted of Espionage. In the case of Vanunu the question arose whether passing classified information to a newspaper counts as “espionage”. The judges ruled that it does, since “publishing in the newspaper is tantamount to giving it to all enemy agents at once”. The US Government and large parts of the American public opinion denounced Pollard as “a traitor”. The same – even more vociferously – was how the Israeli Government and much of public opinion treated Vanunu.
Nevertheless, both of them gained groups of devoted supporters and adherents – on very divergent grounds. Peace activists and opponents of nuclear arms worldwide – and some also in Israel - warmly took up the case of Mordecahi Vanunu, hailing him as a heroic whistleblower. Vanunu was several times put up as candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize, and he did win the Right Livelihood Award (“The Alternative Nobel Prize”) and various other awards and honors.
Jonathan Pollard gained support in an entirely different quarter, mainly from right wing Nationalist Israelis, who regarded him as a Jewish Zionist hero and even as an Israeli Patriot. Under intensive lobbying from this direction, the government of Israel granted Israeli citizenship to Pollard, still held in the American prison.
When Vanunu emerged from sixteen years behind bars, the government promptly imposed severe restrictions on him – the order for these restrictions signed by the Interior Minister, citing Emergency Powers left over from the time of British colonial rule. Vanunu had to report to the police any time he changed address, and was forbidden to leave Israel, to come near to any Embassy and also forbidden to speak to foreigners. In one case, he was detained and charged with having broken the restrictions in having had “a long conversation with a foreigner”. The “foreigner” in question turned out to be Vanunu’s Norwegian girlfriend.
Some years later, Pollard ended his own long prison term in the US – and the American authorities, too, hastened to impose severe restrictions. Pollard was forbidden to leave the United States and go to Israel, which was what he wanted. If fact, he was restricted to the city of New York and forbidden to go outside its boundaries.
This week, the restrictions on Pollard were finally lifted. He is now free, whenever he wants, to board a plane to Israel where he can be sure of welcome. But the Government of Israel, which lobbied the Americans and achieved this gesture for Pollard from the outgoing President Trump, itself has the power to end Vanunu’s restrictions, too. All that is needed is one signature of the Interior Minister on one paper.
This step should be taken with no further delay. Mordechai Vanunu has spent more than half his lifetime paying for an act which broke Israeli law but which he felt was morally justified – a view shared by many others.
Vanunu had asserted many times that he had already disclosed all classified information he ever had to the Sunday Times, and it had already become known to the whole world thirty-five years ago. Even if he does have any more information in his possession, it is very obsolete information, decades out of date.
There is no reason, except for pure vindictiveness, for forcing Vanunu to go on living in Israel, a country from which he feels alienated. He needs and deserves to be set free, to be allowed to fly off to Norway – a country which already years ago agreed to host him and where he can expect to be welcomed and live the rest of his life among friends.
Contact: Adam Keller, Gush Shalom Spokesperson, +972-(0)54-2340749
Tel Aviv crowd cheers US elections result.
Aviv Gefen at Rabin memorial: I want to thank our brothers and sisters in America for giving us hope!
The news of the Biden victory arrived just before the annual Tel Aviv rally to commemorate the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin, exactly 25 years ago. As every year, the rally concluded with Aviv Gefen singing "Let's march into the dream / Let's conquer peace / And not territories".
But this year, after his song, Gefen remained on the podium and made a short impromptu speech: "On this very special day I want to thank our brothers and sisters in America. I want to thank them for showing us that you can defend democracy and overcome the forces of disruption. To thank them for giving us hope! Forward to Victory! " And there was an enormous cheer.
All of us in Gush Shalom, the Israeli Peace Bloc, congratulate Joe Biden and Kamela Harris for their hard-fought victory. This is a great day for the whole world. We congratulate American democracy which managed to shake off and oust a President who trampled on the most basic of democratic norms and still persists in futile efforts to cling to his fading power. As Israelis, we welcome the removal of a false friend who caused enormous damage to the State of Israel by pushing our country ever deeper into the mire of occupation and oppression, who distanced Israel from peace with its Palestinian neighbors - the vitally needed peace which is essential for our future and without which agreements with distant countries are completely worthless. We hope that President Biden, though having many other urgent tasks awaiting him, will return the Palestinian issue to the forefront of US policy in the Middle East and that he will act in accordance with the UN Security Council resolution stating that West Bank settlements are illegal. Biden himself, as the Vice President in the Obama Administration, was among that resolution's' prime movers.
Tel Aviv, November 7, 2020
Stand with Conscientious objector Hallel Rabin!
Conscientious objector Hallel Rabin was sent to the military prison because of her refusal to join an army of occupation which oppresses the Palestinians.
She has asked - and fully deserves - for public support for her struggle.
The army's method of dealing with refusers and conscientious objectors (male or female alike) is incremental sentences of a month at a time, After each term the objector is again ordered to enlist, refuses again and is sent again to prison.
Hallel Rabin is now undergoing the third such one-month term, and many more can follow,
Using this method enables the army to avoid a court martial which would be held in public and where the defendant can be represented by a lawyer and call witnesses.
Instead, the cumulative one-month terms are issued at "instant trials" held in camera at an officer's bureau and lasting about five minutes.
'Mesarvot' and 'Yesh Gvul' invite the public to attend a protest vigil in support of Hallel and decrying her incarceration,
Today, Saturday October 31st, 2020 at 12:30
On the mountainside facing Military Prison 6, from where protesters are visible - and audible - to prisoners (and to their guards).
For those coming from the Tel-Aviv/Gush-Dan or Jerusalem areas, transportation is available; register at: https://forms.gle/Li7qte4yFVxUTL8EA
A short interview with Hallel about her background and the process she has gone through in reaching her decision to refuse military service: https://tv.social.org.il/en/hallel-rabin-i-refuse
Contact: Yishai Menuchin +972-(0)54-3355373 +972-(0) 54-4860050
Ariel U. study rejected because author refused to remove 'written in Israel'
An activist group asked the journal to change the address to say "Ariel University, illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel, Occupied Palestinian Territory."
The international open-access science journal Molecules has canceled the publication of a study by Dr. Mindy Levine from Ariel University after she refused to erase the word “Israel” in the address of the university, according to Israeli activists.
The study was originally meant to be featured in the journal’s January 2021 edition. Levine marked the address in the study as “The Department of Chemical Sciences, Ariel University, Ramat HaGolan 65, Ariel, Israel.” Read More Related Articles
A group of chemists from around the world complained to Molecules that Ariel is located in occupied territory and not in Israel. The group is led by Prof. George Smith, winner of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, and Prof. Malcolm Levitt, a fellow of the Royal Society. The group asked the journal to change the address to say “Ariel University, illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel, Occupied Palestinian Territory,” according to the “Palestinian No Academic Business as Usual with Ariel University” initiative.
After the complaint was issued, the editors of Molecules asked Levine to remove the word Israel from the address at the head of the study, but Levine refused and the journal canceled the publication of the study. Levine is an olah (immigrant) from the US who was at the University of Rhode Island, Columbia, MIT and other universities before arriving at Ariel in 2019, according to a profile on Ariel University’s website.
The group led by Smith and Levitt has worked for years to prevent cooperation with Ariel University, claiming that the university is illegal and built in an illegal settlement.
“All we asked in the original petition was for Professor Levine to correct the address of her university to comply with international law: Ariel is an Israeli Jewish settlement in Occupied Palestinian Territory, not a town in Israel,” said Smith in response to the cancellation, according to the initiative.
“Sadly, she has refused, effectively choosing pro-occupation propaganda over her own academic freedom and the larger interest of the global science community in unfettered publication of scientific ideas and results. The editors of Molecules are to be commended for taking the only responsible course of action in the circumstances.”
Later, speaking not on behalf of the organization but of his own accord, Smith told The Jerusalem Post that he has nothing against the professor. “The fact that she was invited by Molecules to guest-edit an entire issue devoted to her field suggests that she is a well-respected scholar,” he said. “I probably would have been happy to have her as a colleague at my own university, regardless of our political differences. I wish her career well.”
But he added that “Hiding the occupation from readers by giving Ariel’s location as Israel rather than occupied Palestinian territory is typical of this propaganda campaign.”
“All that was asked of Dr. Mindy Levine was that she be more exact with facts. Ariel is not part of the State of Israel. That is not a political statement, it is a simple fact,” Gush Shalom movement spokesman Adam Keller said in a statement. “Ariel is not part of the State of Israel, not according to international law and also not according to the laws of the State of Israel itself.”
Keller stated that the full legal process, including a decision by the government and the passing of an annexation law by the Knesset, would need to be carried out for Ariel to be considered part of Israel. “A process such as this has never been carried out concerning Ariel,” stressed Keller, pointing to the planned annexation announced earlier this year that would have affected Ariel, but was never carried out.
“Therefore, the factual situation is clear – Ariel is not a part of the State of Israel and also does not stand to become a part of the State of Israel in the foreseeable future,” Keller said.
“Molecules has put politics over science,” said Prof. Eugene Kontorovich, Director of International Law at the Jerusalem-based Kohelet Policy Forum, in response to the event. “It requires all authors to provide a mailing address; whatever one thinks of the politics, ‘Ariel, Israel’ is indeed the correct mailing address, as one can discover by sending a letter. The purpose of a contact address – to allow communication with the author – has been turned into a geopolitical judgment by chemists unqualified to make it.”
“Papers from authors in other contested areas have been published without any insistence on any ‘legally correct’ description,” he continued. “Now Molecules must revise its policies for several territories, or stick with a Jewish-only double standard.”
“Scientists are obligated to be precise with facts – this is a basic and self-evident duty for all chemists as in any other science,” Keller said. “The publication of the address ‘Ariel, Israel’ at the head of an article would constitute a blatant and obvious factual distortion to any eye, and would call into question the factual credibility of all the research that followed it.
“It is a pity that a talented and active researcher, who gained a reputation in the American universities where she lectured and engaged in research, chose to move to a university in occupied territory and thus cast a heavy shadow on the continuation of her scientific work.”
Justice to Iyad al-Hallak
To mark 3 months to the day when Iyad al-Hallak was killed in the Old City of Jerusalem, we will be demonstrating in front of The Department of Internal Police Investigation.
We will demand justice for Iyad, his mother Rana, his father Kheiri, all his family and supporters. We will demand that all the photographic evidence and the findings of the investigation be released to Iyad's family and to the wider public.
We will meet on Wednesday, September 2, at 6:00 PM, in front of The Department of Internal Police Investigation, Hartom St 8, Jerusalem.
This week in the Occupied Territories
August 2-9, 2020 – in the Occupied Territories
South Hebron Hills
The violent riots by settlers in the South Hebron Hills have escalated since the erection of the new outpost at Umm Zaitouna.
This week, they expelled Palestinian shepherds from their grazing grounds on Tuesday morning, and again in the afternoon, on Thursday morning, and on Saturday afternoon.
On Wednesday, an armed settler came from the outpost into the encampment of the Taghla community and demanded that a search be conducted there. The Palestinian inhabitants called the police, and until a military force arrived, the settler had left.
On Saturday morning, activists accompanied the shepherds, and there the outpost settlers summoned the army to do the job for them. The army officers and DCO representatives present would not show maps and documents that prevent the Palestinian shepherds from grazing there, and instead showed a ‘closed military zone’ order which they, naturally, imposed on the shepherds only, not on the settlers.
The new outpost evidently has begun to erect vast sheep pens, and apparently the settlers intend to bring a large herd to the site.
On Saturday afternoon, settlers broke into Sarura, near Tawane, while the inhabitants accompanied shepherds in the Harouba area. According to the report we received, the settlers destroyed the solar power system and stole parts of it, vandalized water pipes, uprooted trees, and vandalized equipment stored in the caves and outside them.
On Thursday the occupation forces demolished a dwelling at Wadi Jheish near Susya, and cut water pipes near Tawane. On Saturday activists visited Wadi Jheish, documented the destruction, and coordinated work to remove the rubble next Saturday.
On Tuesday, August 4, opposite the entrance to Tawane, army and police forces attempted to confiscate a vehicle (mashtub). The soldiers and policemen exerted harsh violence against the passengers, one of the soldiers threatened them with a weapon, and a policeman – with a taser. The forces also threw out equipment and products which the vehicle’s passengers were carrying.
An elderly woman sitting inside the vehicle refused to disembark, and many inhabitants arrived to protest this action. Finally the forces gave up, and did not confiscate the vehicle.
On Friday, August 8, a police van chased a vehicle driving towards Umm Al Kheir. The vehicle managed to escape, and the frustrated policemen decided, instead, to confiscate two vehicles parked in Umm Al Kheir that were not connected to the event.
In response, inhabitants came out, blocked the police van, the army and the tow-truck, and made them release the two vehicles and leave.
Around the settlement of Negohot, too, a protest by Palestinians succeeded on Wednesday in stopping the work of settlers’ heavy equipment trying to prepare a new track on the Palestinians’ land.
About vandalism by settlers since the beginning of the present year, see the new report published by OCHA:
To join Ta'ayush in The South Hebron Hills this Saturday call 055-2770168
Please make an effort to register no later than Thursday evening, so we can organize the transportation and the activity properly. Unfortunately, we will not be able to guarantee registration afterwards.
Please bring an ID/passport, a hat, water and food for the day.
It is advised to take into consideration cultural differences in the choice of clothing.
The Palestinian Jordan Valley
In the northern Palestinian Jordan Valley, on Wednesday activists documented the beginning of an erection of a new settler outpost south of the older one called Giv’at Sal’it. Invasions and fencing work were also documented, ascribed to a settler from the Maskiyot area, deep inside a nature reserve and a firing zone.
In the Jiftlik, occupation forces demolished three structures this week, and uprooted dozens of palm trees.
In Auja, in the southern Palestinian Jordan Valley, activists accompanied Palestinian shepherds several times this week, and usually grazing went unhampered.
At Rashash, on the West Bank hill range, activists documented continued work at the settler outpost erected in Wadi Rashash, inside a nature reserve and firing zone. In addition to structures, tree planting is also taking place there now.
To join activity in the Palestinian Jordan Valley, please contact Arik: 050-5607034
Ramallah and Salfit districts
At Turmus Aia (Ramallah district), activists joined a protest action of inhabitants on Friday, against the invasion of settler-colonists into their lands, and the army’s refraining form preventing it. The army chose not to enable such protest and prevented the protestors from exiting the village in the direction of their own fields. Confrontations ensued in which the army used teargas and stun grenades.
In Hares too (Salfit district), in past weeks activists have been joining the inhabitants’ weekly protest, ever since “anonymous” persons uprooted a grove of 200 fully-grown olive trees during the recent Eid al Adha holiday.
Although the vandalized grove is adjacent to the settlement of Revava, the occupation authorities claim they "have no idea who committed the act". Ever since, for the past two and a half months the villagers have been holding a protest prayer every Friday noon.
Lately the army begun to block the exit of protesters from the village, in order to prevent their accessing the ruined grove. Therefore the protest takes place in front of the army blockage. Usually it takes place without incident.
Last Friday the protesters managed to exit the village towards the grove, but then came army troops and forced them back into the village. An Israeli activist was arrested, and released a few hours later.
For joining the weekly protests in Hares, please contact Aviv: firstname.lastname@example.org
In Jerusalem, on Sunday August 2, a protest action took place inside the KKL-JNF building, against the JNF intention to dispossess the Somarin family of its home in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem and pass it on to the settler association Elad.
The protesters blocked the stairs inside the building and tied themselves to the railing. Police summoned to the site removed the protesters without exerting violence, and arresting 9 activists who were released later on that day, under conditions limiting their presence around the JNF building.
Even during the massive protests around the Israeli Prime Minister’s residence in Jerusalem, the occupation forces found time to demolish in East Jerusalem. This week three buildings were demolished in Issawiya, two in Silwan, one in Beit Hanina and one in Jabal Mukabar.
The weekly protest in Sheikh Jarrah continues to take place every Friday, adhering to the Coronavirus procedures. The residents of Sheikh Jarrah are protesting their violent evictions from their homes, the taking over of the neighborhood by the settlers, and the Judaization of East Jerusalem.
They call upon each and every person who supports their struggle to join them
We will meet at the Sheikh Jarrah Garden, Nablus Road and Dahlmann St. at at 4 p.m
Tisha b’Av and the Politics of the Temple Mount
This week holds a confluence of two important holy days for residents of Jerusalem and Jews and Muslims around the world. Tisha b’Av, the day of Jewish mourning for both the destruction of the Temple 2,000 years ago and a series of other tragedies that befell the Jewish people on the same date, is acknowledged through a 25-hour fast that begins Wednesday evening.
Eid al-Adha, a festival honoring Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his beloved son, Ishmael, for G-d also begins at the end of the week and lasts until Monday evening. On a normal year, this would lead to tens of thousands of Muslims arriving to the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif prayers during the holiday.
In a better world, the convergence of these two holy days would be an opportunity to celebrate the religious wealth with which Jerusalem and this land are blessed. But in our world, things are – unfortunately – different.
Since 1967, Israel has respected Muslim holidays and has not allowed visitors – neither Jews nor tourists – to go up to the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif during these days. But last year, when Tisha B'av fell exactly on the first day of Eid al-Adha, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided that was reason enough to violate the decades-long arrangement and allow Jews to enter the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif on the Muslim holiday.
Netanyahu is playing a duplicitous game: on one hand, he claims that he and his government are committed to upholding the status quo on the Temple Mount / Haram al-Sharif (whereby the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif functions as a place of worship for Muslims alone and Jordan's custodianship of the holy place is respected by Israel) while on the other hand he is constantly chipping away the tenuous links holding the status quo together. To put it simply, if Jews arrive at the holy place as visitors and not for religious practice, then a Jewish holy day cannot serve as an excuse to allow them to enter the site on Eid al-Adha.
Fortunately, due to the movement of the Jewish and Muslim calendars – both of which are lunar but with differing lengths of months – this year the conflict was avoided; however, it is nevertheless important to understand how state authorities work together with Temple Movements to erode the status quo of the Temple Mount / Haram al-Sharif.
The Temple Movement activists claim that actualizing the Jewish affiliation with the Temple Mount / Haram al-Sharif will not come at the expense of Muslims nor of Muslim ties to the holy site, and that Muslim opposition to Jewish presence on the Temple Mount / Haram al-Sharif is a result of fanaticism and incitement; yet to be convinced by this naïve claim one would have to be blinded by ignorance. After all, in every location under Israeli control, from Silwan to Hebron to the Jordan Valley, the introduction of Israelis gives rise to the repression and dispossession of Palestinians in the area.
When addressing the general public, Temple activists say that, “we simply want to pray in the holiest site of the Jewish people,” – a statement with which, in other circumstances, it would be easy to sympathize. But those who listen and read what is presented within the groups themselves soon realize that the true intentions of this movement are much less amicable. Here are a few examples – all drawn from the last few days: “We will continue our struggle until the presence of the Waqf [Islamic religious trust] is removed from the Temple Mount”, wrote Students for the Temple Mount in the launching a new crowdfunding campaign. They explain that they are working “to return the Temple Mount to the People of Israel.” The Temple Organizations Coalition published a declaration in preparation for Tisha B’Av with the statement, “our goal is for this mourning to end. Our mourning can only end by us redeeming the site. May we merit the building of the Third Temple.”
This week, Jewish groups stood by the Dome of the Rock and, like almost every week, lamented the “idol placed in the Temple” (Mishna Taanit 4:6) and the need to “abolish [heathen] shrines ” (Kings II, 18:4). In other words, as explained by one of the videos published this week, the goal is to “ascend the Temple Mount and conquer it. We will not stop until the Temple is rebuilt!” And these are statements made just within the last week.
Among every group, there is always an extremist faction that calls for a violent abolition of the opposition, except here we are talking about the rhetoric of the core of the Temple Movements, who are not at all considered extremist by the Israeli authorities. The organizers of the Temple Movements hold coordination meetings with the police and have the ear of the Knesset and government.
This is how Likud MK Minister and Netanyahu confidante, Ze’ev Elkin became a speaker at a Tisha B’Av event two years ago, saying “[In order to] ‘renew our days like those of old’… we have to throng to the Temple Mount exactly as was done in the days of old. With the help of G-d, we will reach the renewal of our days like those of old and we will be able to take this rally over the same stones on which Jews climbed 2,000 years ago to ascend to the Temple Mount. This, too, will happen if we are determined.”
And thus, a year ago, we reached the situation where Netanyahu granted for Jews on Tisha b’Av a special status, in violation of his alleged commitment to respect the status quo on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif. Netanyahu ordered that the Temple activists be allowed to enter the holy site, even though the date coincided with Eid al-Adha and multitudes of Muslims had gathered at the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif for the holiday.
Thousands of Muslims stood quietly in front of the entrance to the Temple Mount, blocking it with their bodies – resistance to the contentious decision, but clearly non-violent resistance. In this case, the ones who chose to use violence were the police and special anti-riot forces sent to quell the “disturbance”.
This must be understood: the realization of the intentions of the Temple Movement will, in fact, come at the expense of Muslims as Israeli forces utilize violent tactics against Palestinians, just as we saw on Tisha b’Av last year.
This year, the calendars are in our favor and the two holy days miss one another by a day. But the roots of the problem continue to exist and grow ever deeper from year to year.
It doesn't have to be like this.
We have to recognize and respect the longstanding arrangements of the holy sites; only then can we hold and fulfill the vision of celebrating the religious diversity with which Jerusalem and this land are blessed. A meaningful Tisha b’Av and an Eid Mubarak,
Aviv Tatarsky - Ir Amim Field Researcher
The article was originally published in Hebrew in Sikha Mekomit.
Racist football fans threaten to attack tonight's anti-Netanyahu rally.
Protest organizers: we will be there, in greater numbers than ever Police to deploy undercover, special forces as far-right mobilizes opposition to anti-government rally planned for Thursday
The Israel Police “won’t allow any violence against protesters, civilians or officers,” acting commissioner Motti Cohen said on Thursday, ahead of planned anti-government demonstrations in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Similar rallies have been met with increasingly harsh police response, as well as attacks on protesters by far-right activists.
“We will continue to allow demonstrations across the country, regardless of their messages or the identity of protesters,” Cohen said, vowing to stamp out “rioting.”
According to him, “The police are not a political body…We will ensure every citizen’s freedom of speech and freedom of protest, within the bounds of the law. The majority is protesting lawfully, and we, as police officers, must ensure they can exercise their rights.”
The police are expected to bolster their presence as groups from the far-right, primarily the La Familia fan club of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team, have called on members to come out and show anti-government protesters that "the rules of the game have changed."
La Familia - the group's name chosen deliberately due to its association with the Mafia - , has already taken part in two counter-demonstrations in Jerusalem and its members were accused of assaulting protesters. Now the group instructed its members in a Facebook post to gather at Jerusalem's First Station complex on Thursday night, not far from the protest hub near the official residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The statement continued, "Pay attention leftist wimps: The rules of the game have changed from here on in."
Accounts obtained by Haaretz show that La Familia members were invited by Netanyahu's Likud to protests the party had organized. In a video obtained by Haaretz, one of the pro-Netanyahu protesters can be heard calling them "A group of heroes" and saying that the "left is done for." He can also be heard calling on viewers to "share how La Familia came here and this will be the end of them.”
During the protest, a young member of La Familia was called to the microphone, and called left-wing demonstrators “the worst of the trash," and added "they aren’t Jews, they aren’t Jews, this is a religious war, simply a religious war and you’re a bunch of sons of bitches.”
The Israel Police are preparing to bolster their presence at the protest Thursday night in light of La Familia's call. Due to the concern that the group will try to attack demonstrators and the violent assault of protesters at a demonstration in Tel Aviv on Tuesday night, police will likely send more officers to the First Station complex and the Prime Minister's Residence, including undercover and special forces in both locations.
They have also founded the "Protest Watch" group, which has a number of goals: guarding the protesters on their way home, finding the provocateurs and preventing vandalism. “If a single stone is thrown, the protest has been destroyed, and a single poster of Netanyahu in an SS uniform also destroys it,” Dvir Kariv, a Protest Watch member, said. Kariv worked for 33 years in the Shin Bet, nearly 20 of them as part of the unit that investigates Jewish extremists. Kariv was also the first to question Yigal Amir after he assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
"If we spot a provocation and a provocateur who won’t stop their actions despite our requests we surround them with Israeli flags and call the police," Kariv said. He relates that one woman at a Jerusalem protest had a bottle thrown at her head. The incident was never reported because she wasn't hurt, he said, but "it creates a phenomenon where people are afraid." The group's goal, then, is to diffuse this fear by giving protesters an escort and calling the police if tension rises.
In another project, started by political activist and television presenter Emilie Moatti, left-wing activists raised money to hire a security firm to protect protesters. Some of the money will be used to buy body cameras for volunteers. “I woke up this morning to many messages about friends who took punches at the protest in Tel Aviv," Moatti said. "In the beginning I tweeted that maybe we should organize some security for these people. Afterwards, I thought we needed to do it instead of writing about it.” Within three hours of sharing the donation link, she raised 30,000 shekels.
The organizers are advising protesters to attend in large groups and to keep emergency telephone numbers handy. “Contrary to the person accused of criminal wrongdoing (Netanyahu) we car