Alerts and Reports 

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 S. RES. 171: Expressing the sense of Congress regarding restoring United States bilateral assistance to the West Bank and Gaza. It is worth a try to press Congress to restore aid, but all recognize that if the President chooses not to disburse it, it won't matter.
  2. The cut in US aid is so staggeringly big — and Palestinian children in the West Bank and Gaza are going hungry. What exactly is the impact of cuts in US funding for food for Palestinians? Raed at Global Communities explained that they are no longer distributing any US funded food in West Bank at all. They had been distributing food to 197,000 families as part of the World Food Program through a USAID contract. That’s now cut to only 93,000 families and only in Gaza. 60,000 at-risk families in the West Bank are now without US food aid. In Gaza, 44,000 families are going without US food aid. The World Food Program asked other countries to fill the gap.

Gaza families need our help. The Palestinian Authority had been providing a social affairs grant of $400 every 3 months to at-risk families in Gaza. They ended this program five months ago — and now, there is no safety net at all. Rebuilding Alliance, through our NGO partners is being asked to help extreme cases. I think there's a way to create an Emergency Response fund, in full accordance with US law, to offer specific, measurable ways to help. I look forward to sharing more in the days and weeks to come.


Democracy, Israeli Style/Hagai El-Ad

An election, a peace plan and an endless occupation

When will the “deal of the century,” as President Trump has called his forthcoming plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace, finally be unveiled? Certainly not before April 9, when Israel holds its next election. But how soon after? “In less than 20 years,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo noncommittally told a congressional committee recently.

In any case, American peace plans are nothing new. Does anyone recall, for instance, the Rogers Plans, named after Secretary of State William P. Rogers, who served under President Richard Nixon 50 years ago? When the second of his plans was discussed in the Knesset in 1970, one Israeli legislator confidently projected that “it won’t be long — a year, a year and a half, two at most — before the thing called ‘the held territories’ is no more, and the Israel Defense Force pulls back into Israel’s borders.”

Needless to say, that “thing” is far from being “no more.” While the Rogers Plans have since all but disappeared from memory, erased by a string of plans put forward by successive American presidents, reality in the occupied Palestinian territories didn’t simply halt. Israel’s occupation has deepened and evolved. Gaza has become the world’s largest open-air prison, bombed into submission every few years; East Jerusalem was formally annexed by Israel; the West Bank has become an archipelago of Palestinian Bantustans, surrounded by settlements, walls and checkpoints, subject to a mix of state and settler violence. Yet Israel’s real feat has not only been achieving all of this but doing so with impunity, triggering minimal consequences from the rest of the world, all the while somehow holding on to its valuable public relations label as a “vibrant democracy.”

The history of these past 50 years is what we should recognize as the real deal: the one that is already in effect, the deal of the half-century. In this deal, as long as Israel advances its occupation enterprise while applying a measure of brutality just below the level that would prompt international outrage, it is allowed to carry on, while still enjoying various international perks justified by grand, but obviously hollow, commitments to — as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently put it — the “shared values of liberty and democracy.”

Which brings us to April 9, when Israelis will cast their votes for a Parliament that rules both Israeli citizens and millions of Palestinian subjects denied that same right. Israeli settlers in the West Bank don’t even need to drive to a polling station inside Israel to vote on their Palestinian neighbors’ fate. Even settlers in the heart of Hebron can vote right there, with 285 registered voters (out of a total population of about 1,000 settlers), surrounded by some 200,000 Palestinian nonvoters. Or as Israel calls it, “democracy.”

The writer is the executive director of B’Tselem. Published also in New York Times.

Break open the world's biggest prison - the Gaza Strip!

Today, Saturday March 30 at 7.30 PM, Gush Shalom activists will be joining a demonstration in solidarity with the people of Gaza, opposite the Defense Ministry (HaKirya) in Tel Aviv .

Already for a whole year, the two million inmates of the world's biggest prison - the Gaza Strip - are beating against the bars of their prison cell - and are answered by the live bullets of Israeli Army snipers.

This evening, Israeli demonstrators in Tel Aviv will share in commemorating a year to the "Great March of Return" demonstrations at the fence surrounding Gaza.

We will call for:

  • Full civil and political rights for the Palestinians living under Israeli control and occupation
  • An end to the systematic shooting of unarmed civilians
  • An end to criminal bombings
  • An end to the siege which is suffocating Gaza's economy and society

Transportation from Jerusalem - 6.00 at Gan Ha'Paamon (Liberty Bell Park) Register here https://forms.gle/PRGmBAbgunKXVatZ6

Contact: Yosef Kitton +972-(0)54-4777063


From truck driver to conscientious objector

The Israeli army has sent Roman Levin to Military Prison 6, after he arrived at the military base where he had served for a year and a half and informed his commanding officer of his refusal to continue any further military service.

I have been serving as a truck driver, and many of these drives have been through the Occupied Territories. When I was drafted I thought the military serves the interests of the citizens of Israel, but after serving in the Occupied Territories I have realized that what the army is doing there does not serve my interests or those of all working Israelis. Especially not after the continuous killing of the protesters on the Gaza fence.

I have come to the conclusion that one must choose - you cannot both object to the occupation, racism and capitalist order, and serve in the military that perpetuates these.

On the morning of Monday, Feb. 25, activists mobilized by the Mesarvot Nework and the Yesh Gvul movement accompanied Roman Levin to the gates of the Ben Ami Transport Camp (Bayt Nabala), and held a support vigil there. Inside, Levin made his statement to the officers, and was subjected to an instant trial lasting about five minutes - culminating with his being sent to 30 days in Military Prison 6. From past experience it can be expected that at the end of these 30 days, a second such instant trial would be held and he would be returned to the prison.

In such trials there is nothing remotely resembling due process - the accused cannot have a lawyer or call any witnesses, the procedure is held in camera at the commanding officer`s bureau, with no access to the public or media, and as noted it rarely lasts more than five minutes. There is no legal limit on how many times the army can repeat the procdure. Repeated 30-day terms can accumulate into years of imprisonment, with never any real legal process. The only limit is in the amount of solidarity and public attention given to an imprisoned CO. Past practice has shown that, when a prisoner gets public attention and support, in Israel and abroad, the military authorities eventually let him or her go - though it often happens only after numerous repetitions of the instant trial routine.

The topography around Military Prison 6, located at Atlit - on the coastal plain between Tel Aviv and Haifa - gives an important advantage to refuser support activists. Near the prison is a mountain: not very high as mountains go, but high enough that people standing at the top - waving banners and hands, shouting and chanting - are clearly visible and audible inside the prison compound. Thus the prisoner, fellow inmates and prison staff are all made well aware that this prisoner does not stand alone, but has an active support network on the outside; this has direct implication on the military authorities decision on how long they intend to keep hold on this prisoner.

The tradition of support demonstrations on the mountain opposite Military Prison 6 was established back in 1982, when numerous reserve soldiers refused to take part in the first Israeli invasion of Lebanon. It has been continued for numerous objectors, such as those who refused to take part in suppressing the First Intifada in 1988 and the Second one in 2000. On Saturday,March 16, it is going to be invoked on behalf of Roman Levin. Probably, it will need to be repeated several times before he is set free.


When Roman Levin was three year old, his family took the decision to move from the Ukraine to Israel. They settled at Bat Yam, a lower middle class suburb of Tel Aviv. A year and a half ago, Roman reached the age of 18 and enlisted in the army. At the time he was highly motivated, believing that by performing military service he would be contributing to Israeli society and fulfilling his civic duty. His experiences during a year and half in the army caused a profound change of mind - leading to his declaring his refusal to continue serving, while knowing that this would inevitably result in going to prison.

In his refusal letter, which he composed before being imprisoned, Roman Levin wrote: Currently there is a civil war going on in the Ukraine, and when I visited there a few months ago, I met soldiers who did not know what they were fighting and dying for. I empathized with them because I too have no confidence whatsoever in the Israeli military policy - the focus of which is the preservation of the occupation. This experience made me rethink the significance of my own military service. In the Ukraine I encountered people who disparaged me as a Jew, while in Israel I was disparaged as `a Russian.

I served in the military as a truck driver, and many of my drives have been through the occupied territories. When I was drafted I thought the military serves the interests of the citizens of Israel, but after serving in the occupied territories I have realized that what the military does there does not serve my interests or those of all working Israelis. Especially not after the continuous killing of the protesters on the Gaza fence. The Jewish-Nation Law increased my understanding of this. I have come to the conclusion that one must chose - you cannot both object to the occupation, racism and capitalist order, and also serve in the military that perpetuates these.

Economically speaking, it would have been better for me and my family if I were to finish my service and gain at the army`s expense the expensive truck driver license, which could provide me with decent livelihood in later civilian life. But for most Palestinians, and especially those in the Gaza strip, such option for social and economic advance are not open. While the noose tightens around the neck of the Palestinian people, Inside Israel the gap between rich and poor also grows. The poverty that drains the hope for a better future from working Israelis, the government justifies with war. The state spends 70 billion Shekels a year on the defense budget, instead of investing in education, health and welfare.

Roman Levin is supported by Mesarvot - a network supporting politically-motivated refusal, and coordinates the activity of refuser groups and the signatories of refuser letters which appeared in last few years. The network supports conscientious objectors who choose to not enlist in the occupation army, and takes into account the gender aspects which compulsory enlistment brings to Israeli society. There is gender discrimination and sexual harassment inside the army, which influence and impact Israeli society as a whole. There is also the army`s program of opening to women soldiers greater options of combat service, which leads to their being directly involved in oppressing the Palestinian population, including the oppression of Palestinian women - which is why an increasing number of young female refusers reject out of hand this form of women`s empowerment. The network works in cooperation and assistance from the older Yesh Gvul Movement, whose history goes back to the First Lebanon war in 1982.

Dror Mizrahi Mesarvot (Refuseniks) Media | Strategy | PR Cell: +972-50-7248688 Email: dror@dror-mizrahi.org


March together against evictions, settlements and Judaizing Sheikh Jarrah

We will again march together against evictions, settlements and Judaizing Sheikh Jarrah; we will march together for justice for East Jerusalem

Forty members of the Sabagh family received eviction notices from their home in Sheikh Jarrah. Last week, over 150 activists from marched together from West Jerusalem to the family’s house in Sheikh Jarrah, to stand in solidarity and support the family’s and the broader neighborhood’s struggle.

This week we will meet at 14:00 in Sheikh Jarrah.

Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/293449287981071/

Meanwhile, tomorrow (Wed.) at 13.30 there will be a judicial hearing on Sheikh Jarrah at the Magistrate's Court, 6 Heshin St., Jerusalem.


Three Palestinians shot and killed in non-existent "incidents"

December 2018: Israeli forces shoot and kill three Palestinians on the grounds that they intentionally ran over Israelis - in incidents that never occurred

Over the course of nine days in December, Israeli security forces shot and killed three Palestinians in the West Bank, alleging that they had attempted to attack Israelis by car - incidents that never occurred. All three victims were shot although they were not endangering the lives of the security forces or of anyone else. Their death is a direct outcome of the reckless and illegal open-fire policy that permits, and retroactively supports, lethal fire in situations that do not justify it.

11 Dec. 2018: 'Omar 'Awwad (24) was fatally shot in the back by security forces as he was driving away from them, on his way back from work smelting copper. The police claims that the forces fired live bullets at ‘Awwad’s back because they suspected he had attempted to run them over. None of the forces were injured. None provided ‘Awwad with medical assistance.

13 Dec. 2018: Hamdan ‘Ardah (58) was fatally shot by soldiers while he was driving to the industrial zone in al-Birah, apparently after he was startled by their presence. According to media reports, ‘Ardah accidentally ran into a soldier, who was lightly injured. The soldiers fired at ‘Ardah intensively and did not stop even after he had been hit and the car had come to a halt. They prevented a medical crew that arrived on the scene from approaching ‘Ardah.

20 Dec. 2018: Qassem ‘Abassi (17) was fatally shot in the back as the car he was traveling in with three relatives, as part of a leisure trip to Nablus, was driving away from the Beit El-DCO checkpoint. The soldiers were in no danger – neither when the car was near the checkpoint nor as it drove away.

These incidents are the direct, predictable outcome of the reckless and illegal open-fire policy applied in the West Bank. This policy allows security forces to use lethal force even in situations in which real danger is not posed to anyone. The appalling disregard for the lives of Palestinians is continued with the forces not providing medical aid for the injured or allowing medical crews to do their job.

Following the killing of ‘Abassi, the third victim, the Commander of the Judea and Samaria Division, Brigadier General Eran Niv, stated: “We are killing people that we didn’t mean to kill.” Yet this accurate remark by a senior officer is unlikely to have any impact on the ground. Although the ramifications of this criminal policy have been known for a long time, it remains in force and the orders have not been changed. Moreover, hundreds of previous deaths caused by this policy have been whitewashed in the past, and the MAG Corps can be expected to do a thorough job of whitewashing these three latest cases as well. Given the lack of accountability, combined with a public atmosphere fed by the statements made by politicians and policy makers who encourage opening fire, unjustified lethal shootings of Palestinians who are not endangering anyone are sure to continue.

From the top clockwise: Qassem ‘Abassi, Hamdan ‘Ardah and 'Omar 'Awwad. Courtesy of their families.

The killing of ‘Omar ‘Awwad, west of the town of Idhna, 11 Dec. 2018:

At about 8:00 A.M. on Tuesday, 11 Dec. 2018, ‘Omar ‘Awwad, 24, who lives in the town of Idhna, west of Hebron, traveled to an area close to the Separation Barrier to smelt copper, which he sells for a living. At about 9:00 A.M., as he was driving back, he reached an intersection on the western outskirts of Idhna where a security force vehicle was blocking the right turn. ‘Awwad turned left, to a road that goes up to the town. Two security forces personnel who were standing by the vehicle that was blocking the intersection opened fire on his car from a distance of about 15 meters, while it was moving away from them. ‘Awwad was hit, swerved off the road and stopped. According to testimonies taken by B'Tselem, ‘Awwad was still alive at this point, but the security forces personnel on the scene did not provide him with any medical treatment. Residents who arrived there attempted to remove him from his car, but it was about 15 minutes before he was taken to hospital in a Red Crescent ambulance. He was pronounced dead upon arrival. According to information provided to B'Tselem, he was injured in the back by live bullets.

Immediately after the incident, the police made the following announcement: “A short while ago, Border Police fighters opened fire at a Palestinian vehicle suspected of attempting to run them over while they were securing Civil Administration operations in the town of Idhna. No-one was injured in the incident.”

The killing of Hamdan ‘Ardah, al-Birah, 13 Dec. 2018:

On Thursday, 13 Dec. 2018, a Palestinian opened fire at a hitchhiking stop near the entrance to the settlement of Givat Assaf, east of Ramallah. He killed two soldiers and seriously injured another soldier and a woman. Following the attack, the military undertook searches in al-Birah, north of Ramallah.

At about 4:30 P.M., Hamdan ‘Ardah, 58, a resident of Ramallah, was driving from his home towards the the al-Birah industrial zone, where there is a factory he managed. A group of soldiers were standing behind a sharp bend in the road, while another was conducting a search in a nearby building owned by a commercial company. When ‘Ardah reached the sharp bend, he slowed and changed course towards the entrance to the building, presumably after the surprise of finding soldiers on the scene. The soldiers shouted at him and immediately opened heavy fire at his car. According to media reports, the car hit one of the soldiers, injuring him lightly. A video segment obtained by B'Tselem clearly shows that the shooting at ‘Ardah continued after he had been hit and his car had stopped. About ten minutes later, an ambulance from the Palestinian Red Crescent arrived on the scene, but the soldiers prevented the medical crew from approaching the car. After about 20 minutes, a military ambulance arrived and evacuated ‘Ardah. Israel is holding his body and refuses to return it to his family.

On the day of the incident, the IDF Spokesperson claimed that “a terrorist attempted to use his vehicle to run over IDF fighters engaged in operational activities. One IDF fighter was lightly injured. The security forces on the scene responded by shooting and neutralizing the terrorist.”* However, according to media reports, the military has not defined this incident as a “vehicle attack.”

*This is the translation of the military's Hebrew tweet

System Message: WARNING/2 (<string>, line 441); backlink

Inline emphasis start-string without end-string.

The shooting at ‘Ardah continues even after his car had stopped The killing of Qassem ‘Abassi, Beit El-DCO checkpoint, 20 Dec. 2018:

On the evening of Thursday, 20 Dec. 2018, four members of the ‘Abassi family, who live in Ras al-‘Amud, east of Jerusalem, were traveling toward Nablus. Near the Givat Assaf intersection, the four encountered a traffic jam. A police officer who was standing nearby informed them that the road to Nablus was blocked, and they turned around and drove toward Ramallah, through an area with which they were unfamiliar. When they reached the roundabout close to the Beit El-DCO checkpoint, they turned right toward the village of Beitin. After realizing that they were going the wrong way, they turned around and headed back toward the roundabout. The soldiers called out to them to stop and fired live ammunition, which the military claims was fired in the air. When the four returned to the roundabout near the checkpoint, they again mistakenly turned toward Jerusalem. Other soldiers in the vicinity of the checkpoint fired live ammunition directly at them. The shots struck the left doors and wheels of the car, and hit two of the passengers. Qassem ‘Abassi, 17, who was sitting behind the driver, was killed. The driver was injured by shrapnel but managed to continue driving. After about a minute, when the car was hundreds of meters from the checkpoint, a military jeep approached from behind and ordered the driver to stop. Two soldiers got out of the jeep and ordered the passengers to get out and to remove Qassem ‘Abassi.

‘Abassi was taken away in a military ambulance. After about an hour, the other three occupants of the car were also taken away in an Israeli ambulance that arrived. According to media reports, the autopsy results show that ‘Abassi was shot in the back from behind. The same evening, the military claimed that “a short while ago, a vehicle broke through the Focus Checkpoint… a force on the scene opened fire in response.” The next day, the military announced that the car had not, in fact, broken through the checkpoint.

For additional information: Amit Gilutz, +972-54-6841126, amit@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


Following 107 days incarceration, CO Hillel Garmi is released

The IDF’s Consience Committee decided to exempt conscientious objector Hillel Garmi, of Yodfat in northern Israel from military service. Garmi, one of the initiators of the High School Students’ Letter, was released following seven sentences since his first appearance at the Induction Center this July, when he first declared his refusal to serve.

Upon his release Garmi said, “The five months I have spent in prison have been dedicated to the struggle against occupation and siege, to the five million Palestinians who effectively live under the rule of the Israeli government but do not have the chance to elect it.”

Garmi added: “Throughout the nights and days I spent in prison, I tried to imagine the suffering of the Palestinians undergoing the ongoing siege of the Gaza Strip, including the lack of drinking water, food and medicine, or that of the Palestinians under occupation in the West Bank, who suffer the theft of their lands, road blockages, arbitrary search and arrest. Some people have told me that my refusal amounts to evading responsibility for the security of the citizens of Israel, but I believe rather that this act is one of taking responsibility for all those affected by my deeds, Israelis and Palestinians, by not joining in the cycle of violence and not hurting any of them, and by convincing others to act likewise.”

Upon entering prison Garmi said that his decision to refuse was inspired by the actions of Ahmed Abu-Ratima, the Gazan organizer of the Great Return March, and that Abu-Ratima had written him in support of his act.

Conscientious object Adam Rafaelov (18) of Kiryat Motzkin is currently in prison, having already served 97 days for refusing to join the army.

Garmi and Rafaelov are accompanied by Mesarvot – A political refusing network that writes letters and initiates refusing groups from the last few years to joint action. The network supports conscientious objectors that choose to not enlist in the occupation army, while knowingly acknowledging the gend