Media Watch November 1, 2020
Welcome to the Health and Human Rights Media Watch. During the Coronavirus pandemic, we are curating a weekly timeline/update on the impact of the virus on Israel/Palestine and all related submissions to Media Watch will be folded into that report. Please follow at https://www.jvphealth.com/covid-19. Health and human rights news unrelated to the pandemic is included here. If you want to be involved in this JVP Health Advisory Council Media Watch project, please contact me at email@example.com.
MONTHLY HUMAN RIGHTS HERO AND VIOLATION
HERO: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
On September 25, US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) withdrew from an October memorial to Yitzhak Rabin, based on Rabin’s personal role in atrocities, including the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine and the brutal crackdown against Palestinians protesting military occupation during the first intifada. Her action prompted condemnation from multiple pro-Zionist organizations: Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, called it “sad” and “wrong” for Ocasio-Cortez to withdraw from the Rabin event honoring “a heroic Israeli leader.” But Beth Avedon Miller of JVP Action responded, “Across the world, movements are demanding we more closely examine the legacies of lionized political leaders and be more honest about their actions...Palestinians have continually shared out their stories of the pain, violence, and displacement caused by Rabin’s policies and the rest of us need to listen.”
Palestinian teen dies after being ‘beaten by Israeli soldiers’
www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/10/25/palestinian-teen-dies-after-assault-by-israeli-soldiers https://apnews.com/article/middle-east-israel-ramallah-west-bank-17ee69cc179e03e954ae57ebf32fc057 https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20201025-palestinian-teen-beaten-to-death-by-israeli-settlers/
Eighteen-year-old Amer Abedalrahim Snobar has died of his injuries after being beaten by Israeli forces on the evening of 24 October, according to eyewitnesses. The army said its forces were responding to reports that Palestinians were throwing stones at vehicles on a West Bank highway near a village north of Ramallah, and that "upon the arrival of the troops… two suspects tried to escape by foot. While fleeing, one of the suspects apparently lost consciousness, collapsed and hit his head.”Ahmed al-Bitawi, director of the Palestine Medical Complex, confirmed that “there were visible signs of beatings on Snobar’s neck,” consistent with being beaten with the butts of Israeli soldiers’ rifles.
· The Egyptian navy killed two Gaza fishermen for allegedly breaching territorial waters last week. A third fisherman, wounded but not killed, has not been released from custody.
· People in Gaza are searching through rubbish to find food as Palestinians battle unprecedented levels of poverty, according to the head of UNRWA Philippe Lazzarini. He added the organization of 30,000 staff is never more than four or five weeks away from running out of funds. In 2018 the Trump administration cute $300 million from UNRWA’s budget over an alleged “lack of respect” by Palestinian leadership.
· In a statement on October 13, the UNRWA spokesperson declared food distribution in Gaza to be the largest emergency intervention by UNRWA currently supporting 1.14 million Palestinian refugees. Ensuring adequate funding for this key operation is a priority in all discussions between UNRWA and UN member states. UNRWA is doubling its efforts to secure US$ 15 to cover uninterrupted food delivery until the end of this year and order food for the beginning of next year, covering all registered Palestinian refugees in Gaza. New decisions applicable in 2021 include adding newborn children and removing those with a guaranteed and stable income, such as UNRWA and government employees. New plans are underway to revitalize the Social Safety Net Programme, which will provide cash assistance to identified groups among the most vulnerable.
· https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WC3RWonm_JM&feature=youtu.be - an animation on a woman from Gaza, as she tries to access treatment and care but faces barriers at every stage. Information on breast cancer in the occupied Palestinian territory is here.
· A report in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health by a team of researchers from Gaza, Qatar, Finland, and Italy, analyzed the impact on infants, young children, and their mothers of heavy metal contamination caused by Israeli military offensives in 2008-9, 2012, and 2014. Offensives with advanced weaponry, much of it supplied by the US, have killed thousands of Gazans (more than 700 of them children) and wreaked massive destruction on homes, schools, hospitals, mosques, municipal buildings, and industrial area, agricultural lands, and the vital infrastructure for water, sewage, and electricity.
· Al Mezan, the Palestinian human rights organization, has condemned escalating violence between disputing families in Gaza, and calls on local authorities to uphold the rule of law. Violent family disputes and retaliatory attacks have been increasing, resulting in casualties and property damage. Among other steps, Al Mezan has urged the relevant authorities to limit the proliferation of small arms and light weapons.
· On October 18, the First Instance Court in Gaza City sentenced three men to death by hanging after they were convicted of murder, attempted murder, unlawful use of a weapon, and destruction of property. Al Mezan documented that this was the thirteen death sentence issued in the Gaza Strip in 2020, and noted that Gaza’s High judicial Council recently announced a new plan to speed up judicial proceedings and trials in ongoing murder cases. While condemning all serious crimes and acts of murder, Al Mezan persists in denouncing the use of the death penalty, which is considered ineffective in preventing or discouraging serious crimes and to be an inhuman form of punishment.
· A report led by Save the Children: “The survey of 300 children, young people and caregivers in five governorates across Gaza revealed high levels of severe emotional distress, with many children and young people living in fear and having nightmares every time they slept…while children and young people in Gaza are resilient, they are vulnerable to toxic stress and are at high risk of developing serious and long-term mental health issues. More positively, a significant number of children and young people reported that their families are a key source of support in their current circumstances, and it is this that is holding them back from the brink of a mental health crisis. But caregivers say their capacity to support their children is being pushed to the limits by the blockade, chronic poverty and insecurity, and would most likely be utterly destroyed in the event of another conflict. There is however still hope, and the report makes a number of recommendations for actions to be taken urgently by duty bearers, the international community, donors and humanitarian agencies working in Gaza."
· In the Gaza Strip, a growing number of women and girls have been using social media to share their experience with domestic violence, with five campaigns launched by activists in two months. Women write their stories on social media, and activists then share them and work to protect the women’s rights and rid them of abuse. Rates of violence against women recently escalated in Gaza, with the death of 11 women since the beginning of the year, according to the 2020 Domestic Violence Survey by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. The survey found that 29% of women in Palestine face a form of violence during their lifetime. “The Gaza governorate registered the highest rate of violence by husbands against married and divorced women,” registering a rate of 41%.
· This article outlines the crises of poverty, food insecurity, lack of clean water, pollution of the beaches, inability to get medical permits for care, rising drug addiction, war trauma that is seen in Gaza. The public health crisis has only deepened under the strain of the pandemic and recent political developments. These daunting facts bring us back to the question of Gaza’s “liveability.” For years, well-intentioned reports have cautioned about the strip’s “impending” collapse. But this endless forecasting has only given cover to the public health crises that exist right now, stalling our impetus for action until it was too late. These crises are unacceptable in the current pandemic, but they were just as unacceptable at any point in the last 20 years.
· Stuck in an endless conflict, young Palestinian authors reflect their own lives through some of their darkest work, with fleeting glimpses of hope. According to Atef Abu Seif, Palestinian Culture Minister, “Young writers ‘grew more attached to their inner worlds as a way of speaking about the world at large.” This article reviews writing emerging from the Gaza Strip, which features themes of pain, fear, loss, and depression. Award-winning poet Anees Ghanima, 28, reflects that “We all live under the same conditions… the writer is able to express it, others just suffer in silence.” In one poem, he writes: “I belong to all those wounded who lost their hearts in the war.”
· A group of nurses from the besieged Gaza Strip have staged a protest in a public square, saying an Israeli travel ban has led the Jerusalem hospital they worked at for many years to fire them. Seven nurses, who worked at the Makassed Hospital in Jerusalem for at least 20 years each, gathered in Gaza City on Wednesday, wearing lab coats and holding banners that said: “Firing us is a death sentence for our profession and families.” They are angry at Israel – which has heavily restricted the ability of Palestinians to leave the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, even for work – and at the decision by Makassed to lay them off. “We never expected that Makassed would dismiss us arbitrarily,” said Baher Lulu, 53, a critical-care nurse who said he joined the hospital 30 years ago when travel from Gaza to Jerusalem did not require Israeli permission. “This has hurt us and our families, who rely heavily on this income.”
· The small streets of the refugee camp in the Gazan city of Deir al-Balah were plunged into sadness on September 28, as family and neighbors attended the funeral of two fisherman killed by the Egyptian navy for allegedly crossing territorial waters and not heeding its warning calls. Despite Covid-19 policies imposed in Gaza, a large group of people came to pay their respects for the two brothers, Mahmoud and Hassan al-Zaazou, who, with their brother Yasser, took out their new boat to make a living for themselves and their parents. The Egyptian navy claimed it opened fire after the fishermen did not respond to a warning. Mahmoud and Hassan were killed while a wounded Yasser was detained.
· Tiny and overcrowded, Gaza is one of the least suited places for road cycling in the world. Yet that is where Alaa al-Dali, Palestine’s top cyclist, lives and trains. When al-Dali qualified for the 2018 Asian Games, he inevitably feared he would lose this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity because of border retaliations. On March 30, 2018, al-Dali went to the March of Return with his bike, wearing his cycling gear. An Israeli sniper shot him in his right leg as he stood alone watching the demonstration approximately 300 metres from the separation fence, according to a UN Human Rights Council. After his permit to exit Gaza for healthcare was denied by Israeli authorities, al-Dali was told he would still die if his leg was not amputated above the knee. Now he’s making a comeback as a para-cyclist.
· Concluding its participation in the 45th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Al Mezan highlighted the urgent situation of Gaza, where in recent weeks violence has escalated, after Israel launched a series of additional punitive measures against the civilian population, in parallel to the spread of COVID-19. Israel as the Occupying Power has continued to tighten restrictions on the Gaza Strip -- among other ways, by closing the Karam Abu Salem crossing in August, as well as further restricting the fishing zone, thereby preventing Palestinian fishers from accessing 60 % of their maritime areas. Al Mezan
· A border policeman who killed an autistic Palestinian in May could stand trial for reckless homicide pending a hearing, the Justice Ministry announced Wednesday. Eyad al-Hallaq, a 32-year-old resident of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi Joz, was shot dead on his way to the special needs school where he studied and worked. A case against the border policeman's commanding officer was closed out of lack of guilt. A statement from the Justice Ministry unit that investigated the affair said that "The deceased posed no danger to police and civilians in the area," and that the officer who shot him did so against orders. Haaretz
· Many dozens of civil society groups, including the Palestinian human rights organization Al Mezan, have urged the UN Human Rights Council to support Salah Hammouri, a 35-year-old Palestinian-French human rights defender and lawyer with Addameer Prisoner Support Association. Earlier in September Hammouri was officially notified of the intention to revoke his permanent Jerusalem residency for so-called "breach of allegiance" to the State of Israel. Previously, Israel had banned him from the West Bank for nearly 16 months and deported his wife, Elsa Lefort, a French national, separating him from his wife and son.
EAST JERUSALEM & WEST BANK
· Israeli occupation forces arrested 14 Palestinians, including at least one child, in night raids across the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club (PPS) reported. According to the PPS, at least four Palestinians were detained when Israeli soldiers broke into and ransacked their homes in occupied East Jerusalem. One of those detained was a 15-year-old child from the Isawiyeh neighbourhood. In Bethlehem, Israeli forces barged their way into Dheisha refugee camp, south of the city, where they rounded up four others, including a 42-year-old man. Similar raids took place in Qalandia refugee camp north of Jerusalem and Hebron, as well as Nablus. Wafa news agency said that the raid triggered confrontations with local residents during which soldiers opened fire on protestors. No injuries were reported.
· The death of 18-year-old Palestinian Amer Snobar early Sunday morning sparked outrage and raised questions across the occupied West Bank. Abdelrahim Snobar, Amer’s father, received a call from Palestinian security around 1 a.m. and the family rushed to the scene, where they were stopped by armed Israeli soldiers. There appeared to be no medical care provided until Palestinian ambulances arrived and Amer died before they arrived in Ramallah. Local Palestinian media and the family said Amer and a friend were collecting tin cans and other metal items to sell to local blacksmiths. The Palestinian health ministry said that Amer Abedalrahim Snobar arrived at the hospital after being “severely beaten on the neck.” Middle East Eye
· Dozens of Palestinians were wounded in clashes with Israeli soldiers who arrived to make arrests at a refugee camp near Ramallah on Sunday. According to the Red Crescent, 53 people were treated medically, all in light to moderate condition, including ten people wounded by live rounds. Thirteen others were suffered wounds from rubber bullets and the rest by tear gas, the Red Crescent said.
· Dozens of Israel Defense Forces soldiers staged a nighttime raid among the houses of a tranquil Palestinian village, some of whose inhabitants were fast asleep, as part of a training exercise. The troops didn’t enter any of the homes, but wandered about, armed, in backyards and streets, peeking through windows and terrifying the occupants.
· A Palestinian man lost an eye after he was struck with a rubber bullet fired by Israeli soldiers during clashes that erupted last week in a village near Nablus, when soldiers entered the village in response to complaints by settlers claiming residents were shining blinding laser beams at them. Adham Sha’er, a resident of the nearby village of Burqa, said he was not involved in the clashes at the West Bankvillage of Sebastia, and was struck while sitting in a coffee shop with his friends trying to avoid the riots.
· 27-year-old Palestinian Samir Hamidi was killed by Israeli soldiers near the northern West Bank settlement of Einav after allegedly throwing petrol bombs. The Israeli army said it was holding the body of a Palestinian shot dead in the occupied West Bank earlier this week, ending days of uncertainty over his fate. The announcement follows a policy change last month in which Israel said it would not return the bodies of any Palestinian killed during or as a result of an anti-Israeli attack. Hamidi’s family called on human rights organizations to pressure Israel into releasing his body and returning it to his family.
· An Israeli court on Thursday ordered the demolition of a new Palestinian school in Area C of the occupied West Bank. The court ruled that Ras al-Tenneen school in eastern Ramallah city was built without the necessary construction permit and rejected an appeal against its imminent demolition, according to Abdullah Abu Rahma, a Palestinian activist. Fifty children were already enrolled in the school, which was recently built and is run by the Palestinian Education Ministry. Palestinian activists have started gathering at the school to prevent Israeli officials from razing the structure. According to Palestinian activists and officials, Israeli authorities have torn down more than 500 Palestinian buildings and structures this year.
· 32 Palestinians held in custody at Ofer prison began an open-ended hunger strike in solidarity with Maher al-Akhras. Al Mezan calls on the international community to uphold its moral and legal obligations towards the Palestinian people and to exert pressure on Israel as occupying power: 1) to respect the international legal standards related to the protection of persons deprived of their liberty; 2) to immediately release al-Akhras and all other administrative detainees; and 3) to completely abolish the policy of administration detention.
· Repression is not the only tool used by prison officials in Israel; the prisons themselves are not fit for human life. Nevertheless, there are countless ways that the Israelis abuse Palestinian prisoners, including psychological torture, deprivation of adequate food and failure to provide the proper medical treatment. The latter has led to the death of many prisoners, the most recent of whom was the martyr Dawood Al-Khatib. False pretenses are also used to prevent families from visiting prisoners.
· Israeli settlers flooded Palestinian-owned land with sewage and wastewater in the village of Deir Al-Hatab in Nablus governorate. The flooding has disrupted the local olive harvest. According a Palestinian official in charge of the settlements’ portfolio in the northern West Bank, settlers from the illegal Israeli settlement of Elon Moreh were responsible for flooding the land and damaging the trees. He explained that most of this land is planted with olive trees, which means that this year’s crop of olives is threatened. This has happened in other villages.
· Palestinians in Kisan, in the occupied West Bank, are installing a video surveillance system to keep an eye on nearby Israeli settlers who they accuse of at least 450 attacks on people and property. The camera project is funded through an initiative called 3al Ard -- on the ground, in Arabic -- founded by Palestinian-American businessman Bashar Masri.
· At home on the outskirts of the West Bank village of Na’alin, a 73-year-old armer, Khalil Amira, is nursing a head wound he suffered when settlers stoned him while he harvested olives in his grove – in front of his daughter and grandchildren. About an hour’s drive south, in the village of Jab’a, two other aged farmers are lamenting the damage wrought to their olive trees by other thugs. And these are only three recent examples of the dozens of Palestinian harvesters who are being assaulted on their lands on an almost daily basis.
· In dozens of villages, the harvest has become life-threatening, and Israel prevents Palestinian security forces from protecting farmers. Volunteers with the Palestinian group Faz3a accompany olive harvesters to protect them from attacks by settlers. The Oslo accords bar the Palestinian Authority’s security forces from operating in the West Bank’s areas B and C. Volunteers temporarily fill the vacuum, but settler violence isn’t limited to three weeks a year. Israeli authorities have documented five violent assaults against Palestinians and the destruction of 62 olive trees during the first week of the olive harvest, according to data obtained by Haaretz. The Yesh Din human rights organization reported 25 incidents linked to the annual harvest since it began earlier this October, including assaults, the destruction of trees, and thefts.
· Palestinians with babies born since the Palestinian Authority halted security and civilian coordination with Israel cannot register their infants in the Israeli population registry, preventing the children from receiving a passport and leaving the West Bank to travel abroad. In recent months, the Israeli rights group Hamoked has received dozens of requests for help from families in arranging the registration. Because of insufficient staffing, Hamoked has passed on only 15 of these requests to Israel’s Civil Administration in the West Bank, and so far, only three of the requests have been approved. Haaretz ***
· A return to school in September meant that for Palestinian students living near illegal Israeli settlements, journeys to school and schooldays would once again be marred by violence at the hands of Israeli soldiers and settlers. Stationed throughout the occupied West Bank, Israeli soldiers, police, and private security staff protect settler populations. Unlike other Israeli civilians, many Israeli settlers are armed. This creates a hyper-militarized environment that results in the infliction of disproportionate physical and psychological violence against Palestinian children. During the 2019-2020 school year, which was cut short due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, DCIP documented 134 violent incidents by Israeli forces between August 20, 2019, and March 6, 2020, impacting at least 9,042 students and teachers.
· On the International Day of Rural Women, Al Mezan has put the spotlight on women in Gaza's access-restricted areas, with whom the NGO has launched a collaboration aiming at education and empowerment. The project has, among other achievements, produced a video in which participants called for expanding their legal, economic, and civil protections and a fact sheet documenting the particular way that Israel's unlawful closure policy impacts the over 6,000 female farmers in the Gaza Strip, many of whom struggle simply to access their lands, and even at times to keep their lives, in face of the recurring Israeli shootings stationed at the "perimeter fence," or during Israeli incursions into the Strip.
· Israeli occupation authorities have demolished more than 500 Palestinian buildings in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip since the start of 2020, (31 per month) according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The UN agency said that 506 buildings were razed to the ground by Israeli occupation forces in the West Bank on the pretext that they did not have building permits, and a total of 134 structures have so far been demolished in occupied East Jerusalem in 2020 alone. UNOCHA said that the Israelis brought down 22 buildings over the past two weeks, displacing 50 Palestinians and affecting around 200 others. Eight demolitions out of the 12 in East Jerusalem were carried out by the owners themselves in order to avoid fines and fees imposed by the Israeli occupation authorities. The other 10 demolished structures were located in Area C, which accounts for around 61 per cent of the occupied West Bank. Middle East Monitor
· Al Haq
ISRAEL & OCCUPIED TERRITORIES
· The Palestinian Disability Coalition, Al-Haq, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, and the Center for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights “Hurryyat” welcomed the United Nations (UN) Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities’ (CRPD or ‘the Committee’) List of Issues on Israel, published on 17 September 2020, which highlighted Israeli policies and practices of the obligations of Israel, the Occupying Power, under the Convention towards persons with disabilities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Addameer
· A 14 year old boy was detained by Israeli forces last month after being accused of stone-throwing. In custody, he tested positive for the virus. It is unclear if he contracted it in custody or before, but his treatment in custody disregards his health in general and especially during this pandemic when prisoner conditions can only exacerbate a virus. A director at DCIP says that this is recklessly endangering children. It is known that the conditions of children imprisoned by Israeli authorities are not sanitary. Earlier in August another young boy was found positive for the virus while in custody as well. Members of the United Nations have called for authorities to release all child detainees and to end arrests during this pandemic, but that has not been followed. Defense of Children International Palestine
· Israeli ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, is claiming that textbooks used by schools run by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) contain inciteful content, the latest move in a long campaign against the humanitarian organization. Based on an agreement signed with UNESCO, UNRWA is required to use the curriculum of host states for the Palestinian refugees it helps.
· In a further attempt to disrupt the work of human rights organizations, Israeli politicians have proposed new legislation to broaden the definition of "foreign agents": anyone knowingly in contact with such an "agent" without sufficient explanation would be subject to a 15-year sentence. The net effect of the proposed changes would be to criminalize the work of Palestinian human rights organizations, keeping them constantly under the radar of Israeli persecution, accusations, and threats.
· At a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, the Israeli government attempted to silence civil society groups for condemning Israel's imposition of apartheid on the Palestinian people. The Israeli move came in the wake of growing international recognition by dozens of UN human rights experts, governments, and global civil society that Israel's systematic discrimination against and exploitation of the Palestinian people constitutes the crime of apartheid. While Israel accused the NGO's of inappropriate language contradicting UN standards, the Director General of Al Mezan, noted that "Condemnation of an apartheid regime, as a crime against humanity, is certainly well within the bounds of acceptable language for the forum of the Human Rights Council.
· “No one cares”: Palestinian citizens decry Israeli inaction on gun violence, +972mag writes how, with casualties rising, Palestinian citizens of Israel say the police are refusing to address the root causes of crime and violence in their communities. In 2019 Palestinian citizens accounted for 65% of murder and manslaughter victims, with 89 killed. According to the 2019 Personal and Community Index by the NGO Abraham Initiatives, 83% of Palestinian citizens regarded crime and violence as their highest concern, with 82% worried about shootings and the use of firearms
· Almost every time Israeli soldiers kill a Palestinian in the territories, the army announces the opening of an investigation by the Military Police. But a look back at incidents reported in Haaretz over the past year reveals that such inquiries rarely conclude – if they ever began.
· Adalah legal campaigners have demanded Israel end the culture of impunity surrounding the killing of Palestinian citizens by the security services, saying the perception of Palestinians as "the enemy" encourages deadly police violence. Specifically, they called for the security services to be held accountable for the killing of 13 Palestinians by Israeli police at demonstrations in October 2000, as well as the 2017 killing of Yaakub Abu al-Qian, a Bedouin math teacher. “These cases rely on the same policy of no criminal charges filed against law enforcement authorities, including the police, in cases involving the killing of Palestinian citizens of Israel, even where there is clear evidence of the illegal use of force.”
· The hunger strike by Palestinian Maher Akhras against his administrative detention continues, and doctors fear for his life. Doctors are refusing to force-feed him despite approval from the Israeli government. This is the third time Ahkras has been arrested. The entire Israeli justice system is complicit. Al Mezanhas urged Israel to respect the international standards on the Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty. There are currently 350 persons in administrative detention among the 4,400 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.
· Israeli and Palestinian human rights organizations called for release of Maher al-Akhras, hunger striking since July and close to death, protesting his administrative detention without public charges, based on a video of him which garnered widely publicized concerns of incorrect translation. Israel has jailed him repeatedly and he has spent a total of five years in its prisons.
· Israel's High Court of Justice ruled to suspend the administrative detention of Palestinian prisoner Maher Akhras, who is on a three-month hunger strike. Akhras, 49, who hails from the village of Silat ad-Dhahr near Nablus, will remain in Kaplan Hospital in Rehovot. The justices ruled that if Akhras is released from the hospital, the remainder of his detention will be reconsidered, and the prosecution will need to make this announcement at least 48 hours in advance. al-Akhras daughter Tazkeer announced the family was joining her father in his hunger strike until he was released.
· The Palestinian Prisoners Club has said around 224 Palestinian detainees have died in Israeli prisons since 1967, of whom approximately two-thirds died after experiencing torture, medical neglect, or both. This analysis urges the Palestinian leadership to place greater emphasis on the plight of imprisoned Palestinians. Mondoweiss
· Twenty years ago, an Israeli police officer shot and killed unarmed 17-year old Asel Asleh. "There Is A Field" is a play about Asel's life. Now you can watch the play performed by activists, artists and organizers from the Movement for Black Lives. Check out the trailer, and read the post to learn how to watch the whole thing.
· In Israel’s ‘silent transfer’ of Palestinians out of Palestine, Al Jazeera investigates how Israel has succeeded to revoke and subsequently uproot more than 14,200 Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem.
· Following the June release of a list of companies that operate in Israel’s illegal settlements, Israel has denied visas to staff of the UN’s human rights agency OHCHR. Omar Shakir, the Human Rights Watch Israel/Palestine head who was forced to leave Israel when his visa was denied last year, said “Denying visas in order to punish critics has now become a central tool in Israel’s sustained assault on the human rights movement.” OHCHR Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights with 17 other groups underlined Israel’s “… targeted campaign – both overt and covert – of defamation, denunciation, and expulsion against Palestinian, Israeli, and international organizations…false allegations of anti-Semitism, aiding terrorism, and a host of other lies to silence criticism and enable Israel’s continued occupation, oppression and dispossession of Palestinians without being held accountable for its actions….designed to silence criticism over grave and widespread human rights violations in the oPt…” In a further escalation of repressive steps taken against human rights defenders, Israeli Likud MKs Avi Dichter, Mattan Cohen and others recently proposed a bill to amend Article 114C of Israel's Penal Law, broadening the definition of foreign agents, so as to criminalise the work of human rights organisations and human rights defenders
· The evidentiary state of the trial of a minor accused of the 2018 killing a Palestinian woman, Aisha Mohammed Rabi, by throwing a stone at the vehicle in which she was traveling in the West Bank, began.The defendant, a resident of the West Bank settlement of Kokhav Hashahar, is standing trial for manslaughter at the Central District Court in Lod, with the hearing taking place behind closed doors.
· Among the Adalah letters sent in October were: follow-up on petition to the Supreme Court demanding Israeli education and communications officials immediately provide Internet in unrecognized Bedouin villages in order to allow 26,000 children remote access to education; demanding provision of computers to 150,000 Arab children; protesting the Israeli Health Ministry’s move to criminalize violations of COVID-19 relgulations, demanding key health information and updates be provided in Arabic on public health websites, and demanding the halt of home demolitions in the West Bank.
· (Lebanon)…mobilized “…the ‘community mothers’ – a team of volunteer mothers trained by us to deliver awareness messages – to distribute brochures about breast cancer while providing information to women in refugee camps of Ein el Helweh and Rashidyeh. More than 800 women were reached this way…(and) organised a competition where community members send or post videos and photos with key information about breast cancer. Voting for the best posts will take place at the end of the month and winners will receive gifts." (this with partner organization Naba’a).
· The Palestine Feminist Working Group writes, “From our standpoint as Palestinian feminists who confront Israeli colonial occupation and dispossession, we assert that the voices, experiences and narratives of Palestinian women have long been surveilled, policed and targeted as part of the same structure of violence that targets our bodies, sexualities, lands and lives.” Mondoweiss
· On September 23, 2020 Zoom blocked an online open classroom featuring Palestinian freedom fighter Leila Khaled. The panel, titled “Whose Narratives? Gender, Justice, and Resistance: A Conversation,” was co-organized by Professors Rabab Abdulhadi and Tomomi Kinukawa and co-sponsored by the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies Program (AMED) and the Department of Women and Gender Studies at San Francisco State University. Part of AMED's Teaching Palestine: Pedagogical Praxis and the Indivisibility of Justice series, the webinar was the first of a two-part series focusing on gender and sexual justice in Arab, Muslim and Palestinian communities. The incident became a shameful display of the role that technology companies can play in the larger landscape of racist, patriarchal and Zionist repression of Palestinian speech.
· The Trump administration is considering declaring that several prominent international NGOs — including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Oxfam — are anti-Semitic and that governments should not support them. But the proposal is drawing opposition from career State Department employees. Among the opponents are department lawyers who warn that it is on shaky grounds due to free speech concerns, could lead to lawsuits and might even lack a proper administrative legal basis.
· The scientific journal Molecules has taken steps to avoid normalization of Ariel University, an Israeli academic institution located in an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied Palestinian territory in violation of international law.
· Arab grants and financial aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) have decreased since the beginning of this year by more than 81% compared to last year, exacerbating the financial crisis facing the PA. Al-Monitor
· The Palestinian human rights organization Al Mezan welcomed the recent report of the UN Secretary General addressing attacks by the Israeli government against human rights NGO's and their defenders which are critical of Israel's practices and policies toward the occupied Palestinian territories. Such attacks and repressive actions by Israel form part of an on-going smear and intimidation campaign aimed at undermining the work and credibility of such organizations in their efforts to implement international law-based mandates in behalf of the oPt -- in particular, by deterring donors and aiming to defund the NGO's.