Tuesday, 26 June 2018
IOP Report {No 3 for September 2017} Print
Wednesday, 06 September 2017
While Occupation and blockade are business as usual for Israel, there should be no business with Israel

In Occupied Palestine

Zionism in practice

Israel’s Daily Toll on Palestinian Life, Limb, Liberty and Property

(Compiled by Leslie Bravery, Palestine Human Rights Campaign, Auckland, New Zealand www.palestine.org.nz) [If you have difficulty with the display of this report, it may be better viewed on our website]

NB: We shall always do our utmost to verify the accuracy of all items in these IOP newsletters/reports wherever possible – but please forgive us for any errors or omissions (not of our own making) that may occur! L & M.

Due apparently to the current Eid holiday, there have been no recent daily situation reports available from the Palestine Monitoring Group. Thus, we shall continue, as below, with our IOP Reports until we are able to continue with the IOP daily newsletters:

IOP Report {Number 3 for September 2017}

Israel continues to arm

Myanmar’s military junta

                   Israel forces its curriculum

                      upon Palestinian schools

                      in East Jerusalem

EU academics urged

to stop working with

Israeli torturers

                     Canada's largest

                       private-sector union

                         adopts BDS motion

Recent news updates:

notes to eternity – A documentary feature film with Noam Chomsky • Sara Roy • Norman Finkelstein • Robert Fisk, notes to eternity has its British premiere in London next month. Sara Roy is going to attend, which is great. She also went to the Belfast Film Festival in April. The film will also be screened in Birmingham and Glasgow. This British Premiere is part of the #DirectedByWomen2017 season. Director Sarah Cordery, as well as Sara Roy (Senior Research Scholar at the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University) will be present for a post-screening Q&A. Notes to eternity is an impressionistic meditation on the Israel-Palestine conflict centreing on the lives and ideas of four renowned critics of Israel: Noam Chomsky, Sara Roy, Norman Finkelstein and Robert Fisk. All four have strong personal connections to the issue that traverse and transcend historical and cultural lines. Chomsky, Roy and Finkelstein are Jewish, while Roy and Finkelstein are also the children of Holocaust survivors. Robert Fisk is a foreign correspondent based in Lebanon who has spent over thirty-five years covering conflicts in the region. World-renowned scholar and activist Noam Chomsky is central in the film. From a profoundly Jewish background, he is remarkable for his long-standing support for Palestinian justice. This is the first feature-length documentary to focus more fully on his life-long involvement with the Israel-Palestine issue. https://genesiscinema.co.uk/GenesisCinema.dll/WhatsOn?Film=8558703 Introductory video to notes to eternity: http://www.notestoeternity.com/

Israel continues to arm Myanmar’s military junta. haaretz.com

Israel forcing Israeli-controlled curriculum on Palestinian schools in East Jerusalem. http://www.jonathan-cook.net/2016-02-19/how-israel-is-turning-palestinians-into-zionists/

Canada's largest private-sector union, Unifor, adopts BDS motion. The union has over 310,000 members across Canada. According to reports from the Canadian Jewish News, Unifor, Canada's largest private-sector union, adopted a BDS motion at its convention two weeks ago. The motion, which passed “easily”, was entitled “Palestinian Self-Determination and the Movement for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions” and calls for the organisation to utilise BDS with regard to “sectors of Israel's economy and society which profit from the ongoing occupation of the occupied Palestinian territories.” After the convention, held in Winnepeg, Unifor published a press release saying that it was following in the footsteps of the Palestinian trade union movement. In response to the motion, Shimon Koffler Fogel, the CEO of Canada's Centre for Israel Affairs said: “It is appalling that Unifor has allowed itself to be drawn into the anti-Semitic, divisive and counter-productive BDS campaign against Israel. The resolution that passed last week at Unifor’s Canadian Council is misguided and shameful, and it suggests that Unifor has a complete lack of understanding of the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” He continued, saying that: “BDS has been roundly rejected by all major federal political parties”, referring to the 2016 condemnation of BDS supporters by both the Liberal and Conservative Parties in Canada. http://www.haaretz.com/world-news/americas/1.810255

Stop working with Israeli torturers, Palestinians urge EU academics. Palestinian academics are urging their European counterparts to end their co-operation with a European Union project that funds Israeli torturers. The Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees and PACBI, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, are calling on Belgium’s KU-Leuven University and Portugal’s INESC-ID Research Institute to pull out of the EU-funded LAW-TRAIN programme. They also urge three British academics listed as advisers – Portsmouth University’s Claire Nee, and Jo Taylor and William Finn, both of the College of Policing – to end their roles in the project. Read More

The Writing on the Wall:

Signs of Occupation in Hebron

By Issa Amro | 29 August 2017


I was born in the ancient Palestinian city of Hebron in the Occupied West Bank in a home around the corner from the entrance to Shuhada Street, the main thoroughfare and marketplace in the city. The name of our neighbourhood was Bab el-Khan. Today, hanging on the stone walls of my old Bab el-Khan neighbourhood is a sign in Hebrew and English reading “Emek Hebron.” The houses and streets are empty. Israeli soldiers stand guard to secure ease of movement for illegal Israeli settlers to travel from our confiscated Palestinians' homes to the synagogue they created after taking over half of our mosque. There are between 600 and 850 settlers, many of them extremists, living in downtown Hebron, with around 1,500 soldiers to protect them. For more than a decade, settlers have been installing these new Hebrew and English signs throughout Hebron as part of an effort to assert their dominance over Palestinians in the city and erase our identities. Over the past two years, the number of signs has rapidly increased.

Throughout Shuhada Street are directional signs in Hebrew and English: Chabad Cemetery, Old Jewish Cemetery, Ancient Tel Hebron. In the middle of the street are a series of murals. Above the murals are signs posted by the settlers with political statements declaring that Hebron belongs to them. Their signs are illegal, even under Israeli law, which requires, according to the Hebron Protocol signed in 1997, that the Palestinian identity of the city be protected. In addition to changing street names from Arabic to English and Hebrew, many of the signs are mounted on private Palestinian shops and homes without the owner’s consent. This is not only erasure, it is incitement. As part of an effort to have the signs removed, Rabbis for Human Rights has partnered with my organisation, Youth Against Settlements, in filing a suit against them in an Israeli court. Given the illegality of the signs, we had requested the Israeli Army secure the area so we could remove them. The Army refused to grant our request, citing fear of violence. Now we are taking the case to Israel’s high court in Jerusalem. Our petition reads: “In a systematic, deliberate manner, the Committee of the Renewal of the Jewish Community of Hebron erases Palestinian cultural identity from Hebron’s Shuhada Street and replaces it with a narrative consistent with the position of its members. This has been accomplished through exploiting the painful reality where most of the local Palestinian population has fled their homes as a result of severe restrictions imposed on them by the Israeli security forces.”

But the conversion of my old neighbourhood from Bab el-Khan to Emek Hebron is only one of many actions by Hebron’s settler population to erase the Palestinian identity from our city and pressure us to leave our homes. In 1994, Brooklyn-born Israeli settler, Baruch Goldstein, entered the Ibrahimi Mosque and opened fire, murdering 29 Palestinians as they prayed, and injuring 125 more. Israel responded by banning Palestinian cars from driving down Shuhada Street, once the heart and soul of downtown Hebron, and dividing the Ibrahimi Mosque.

In 2000, during the Second Intifada, and following a demand from settlers, the Israeli military banned Palestinians from walking on Shuhada Street, while Jewish settlers continue to walk and drive on the street freely. There are now around 100 barriers controlling Palestinian movement in Hebron and 20 permanently-staffed Israeli Army checkpoints. Palestinian shops remain closed, their front doors welded shut. Palestinian families who remain on Shuhada Street can only reach their homes by climbing up to rooftop entrances and going through back alleyways, while many others have given up and moved away. Through their co-ordination with the Israeli military, the settlers in Hebron control all aspects of Palestinian life. The have the Army raid our homes, close streets and arrest activists such as me. In 2013, the settlers submitted a letter to the Army demanding they get rid of me. I was immediately arrested. In 2016, the demands of the settlers to get rid of me were strengthened. Now I face 18 false charges in an Israeli military court. Though Amnesty International has said that all of the charges against me are baseless and 34 members of US Congress and 4 Senators have signed letters in support of me, I will probably be sentenced to a significant amount of time in an Israeli prison for my efforts to defend Palestinian human rights in Hebron.

Let me be clear. I am not opposed to Jews coming to Hebron. It is the violent, hateful and illegal settler presence, protected by a hostile foreign army, that I am opposed to. It is decades of a colonial project that works day and night to erase my Palestinian identity and displace me from my land and birthplace that I am opposed to. Because of the illegal settlers, unemployment in Hebron’s Old City, the area under Israeli military control, is over 70%. That is even higher than in Gaza. Having control of our religious sites and historic streets and marketplaces, combined with the removal of the Israeli military and their checkpoints and movement barriers, could create a booming tourist industry for our city, for which, without a doubt, Jews would be among our most frequent visitors. The goal of all the restrictions, closures, barriers and Hebrew signs is to make life so difficult for Palestinians that they leave willingly. This has been Israel’s goal throughout all of Occupied Palestine, but Hebron is one of the places we feel it most intensely because settlers have implanted themselves directly in our midst.

On Saturday afternoons, dozens of them, protected by soldiers, parade through the Palestinian marketplace. Twice a year, settlers demand to march into the area of the city that is under Palestinian Authority control. They claim that the tomb of one of their prophets is located in the basement of a Palestinian home there. They demand a ‘sterile’ (a term used by the Israeli Army) street without any Palestinians while they walk. Soldiers drive armoured vehicles into the street and force Palestinian merchants to close their shops. A couple of weeks ago, they occupied a private Palestinian home, claiming they had purchased it despite the case still being in Israeli court. Soldiers immediately set up protection for them to remain in the home. They have already put a sign describing the home as Jewish property. Though I am glad that our case to remove the settlers’ signs is going to court – as I believe in always seeking accountability – I have little faith that Israel will enforce its own legal rulings, even if they were to decide in our favour. The safeguarding of our identities and lands as Palestinians will not come from the very same Israeli systems built to oppress and erase us.

In addition to this court case, we must make all efforts ourselves to strengthen our civil society and protect our history, identity and homes. And we need even more solidarity from our progressive allies across all communities to help us place our signs of truth, justice and accountability. We know this will not come easily and will not be without sacrifice. But the possibility of returning the street of my birth from its Occupied name of Emek Hebron back to its rightful name of Babs el-Kahn is worth the effort.


Issa Amro is a human rights defender living in Hebron.


The Palestine Yearbook 2015

The genocide the world ignores

by Diana Lodge

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See this In Occupied Palestine newsletter at: the PHRC website: www.palestine.org.nz

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