New legislation promoting human rights for Palestinian children

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An Israeli soldier detains a Palestinian boy during a protest against Jewish settlements in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah Aug 28, 2015. (photo: Reuters)

This legislation would prohibit US funding from supporting Israeli military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment of Palestinian children.

Press Release / Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn) / Nov 14, 2017


“[We] strongly endorse Rep. Betty McCollum’s Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act. In order for the US to play a constructive role in bringing about a comprehensive and sustainable end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we must ensure we are not supporting the continued trauma inflicted on Palestinian youth entangled in the Israeli Military Detention system.”
— Churches for Middle East Peace

“Jewish tradition teaches that each and every single person has inherent dignity and worth and must be treated accordingly. This legislation recognizes and acts upon the inherent dignity and worth of Palestinian children and sends the message that the United States is committed to a future with freedom, safety, and equality for both Palestinians and Israelis.”
— Jewish Voices for Peace


Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL-Minn.) today introduced legislation — the Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act — to prevent United States tax dollars from supporting the Israeli military’s ongoing detention and mistreatment of Palestinian children. The full text of the bill can be found here.

An estimated 10,000 Palestinian children have been detained by Israeli security forces and prosecuted in the Israeli military court system since 2000. Independent monitors such as Human Rights Watch have documented that these children are subject to abuse and, in some cases, torture — specifically citing the use of chokeholds, beatings, and coercive interrogation on children between the ages of 11 and 15. In addition, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has found that Palestinian children are frequently held for extended periods without access to either their parents or attorneys.

“This legislation highlights Israel’s system of military detention of Palestinian children and ensures that no American assistance to Israel supports human rights violations,” Congresswoman McCollum said. “Peace can only be achieved by respecting human rights, especially the rights of children. Congress must not turn a blind eye the unjust and ongoing mistreatment of Palestinian children living under Israeli occupation.”

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NJ community center targeted in Facebook hate campaign

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Students doing homework at the Palestinian American Community Center in Clifton, NJ. (photo: Viorel Florescu)

In just a few hours, more than 400 Facebook posts accused the community center of being “terrorists, terrorist sympathizers and liars.” Many of the posts came from Israel.

By Hannan Adely / NorthJersey.com / Oct 11, 2017


“It was very shocking because of the fact that it has nothing to do with the center. It was blatant that it was people who don’t know our center and have never been to our center writing these hateful comments. . . . It’s very clear that it’s hate speech. “It’s a group of people that don’t like the general idea of what we’re about and they’re being hateful for it.”
— Rania Mustafa, Executive Director of PACC


Hundreds of negative online messages flooded the Facebook pages of a community center in Clifton and a Rutgers student group over the weekend, in what appeared to be an organized effort targeting them for their support of Palestinian causes.

Some commenters accused the Palestinian American Community Center and the Rutgers chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine of being terrorists, terrorist sympathizers and liars — allegations the groups dismissed as politically motivated smears.

Rania Mustafa, executive director of the community center, said 400 posts were written on the center’s Facebook page over just a few hours on Sunday morning. The posts were attached to one-star reviews that drove the community center’s rating from a 4.8 out of five to a 1.8.

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Israel’s Problem Isn’t Palestinian Nationalism — It’s Palestinians Themselves

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Border police officers stand in front of Palestinians as they wait to cross from Qalandiya checkpoint outside Ramallah, West Bank, into Jerusalem. (photo: Activestills.org)

Most of the circumstances that made the Israeli-Palestinian conflict ripe for resolution — or at least made the peace process attractive to both parties — have all but disappeared over the past decade.

By Noam Sheizaf / +972 Magazine
August 20, 2017


A national movement requires genuine mass engagement in a political vision and a working project that cuts across boundaries of region, clan, and class, and a defined and acknowledged leadership with the legitimacy and representative standing that empowers it to act in its people’s name. This no longer holds for Fatah, the P.A., or the P.L.O.


Many Israelis were likely happy to read The New Yorker article titled “The End of This Road: The Decline of the Palestinian National Movement” earlier this month. The piece is of particular interest due to where it was published — the liberal elite’s most prominent magazine, which generally champions the Zionist Left and the American-backed two-state solution.

The identity of its authors is also noteworthy: Ahmad Samih Khalidi was involved in Israeli-Palestinian talks for years; Hussein Agha is a close associate of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who was charged with holding secret talks with Yitzhak Molcho — Netanyahu’s chief envoy to the negotiations — and Obama’s former Middle East envoy Dennis Ross in the run-up to John Kerry’s peace initiative in 2013.

For the same reason we should also take the authors’ main argument, according to which Abbas is the last remaining Palestinian who can sign a final-status agreement, with a grain of salt. Yet the headline is not misleading, and it joins a long list of publications that rightfully declare the end of the Oslo peace process.

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South African Leaders Hunger Strike in Solidarity with Palestinians

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Activists speak at a gathering to break their solidarity fast, Johannesburg, May 15, 2017. (photo: News24)

Cabinet ministers and anti-apartheid campaigners once imprisoned on Robben Island take part in symbolic 24-hour fast.

By Bethan McKernan / Independent
May 18, 2017


“To many of us our solidarity in this campaign is very personal because of our own experience under apartheid. We too, like the heroic Palestinians, were once called terrorists. We, like the Palestinians, were detained. We, like the Palestinians today, embarked on hunger strikes from our prison cells in protest against apartheid South Africa’s human rights violations. We also note the growing number of South African Jews who have joined this 24-hour fast and are in protest against Israel’s discriminatory policies. They remind us of our own white comrades who refused to let the apartheid government speak in their name.”
— Nomaindia Mfeketo, South African Deputy Minister of International Relations and Co-Operation


More than a dozen South African politicians and several anti-apartheid activists and public figures have completed a day-long fast to draw attention to the fight of hunger-striking Palestinians protesting conditions in Israeli prisons.

Cabinet members including deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa and deputy minister of international relations and co-operation Nomaindia Mfeketo — who herself was detained several times in the 1980s for anti-government activism — did not eat or drink for 24 hours from Sunday evening to Monday evening in solidarity with Palestinians who have now entered their second month of a hunger strike.

The “Freedom and Dignity” strike involving about 1,600 Palestinian prisoners in eight jails is over a range of issues, from access to telephones, lawyers and better medical care to ending solitary detention.

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Israel’s New Bill “Portrays Institutional Racism as Entirely Normal”

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Among its provisions, the legislation revokes the status of Arabic as an official language, even though it is the mother tongue of one in five citizens (photo: Reuters)

Israel’s Knesset has passed its first vote on a new bill defining Israel as “a national home of the Jewish people.”

By Jonathan Cook / Al Jazeera
May 11, 2017


“The aim is to portray institutional racism in Israel as entirely normal, and make sure the apartheid reality here is irreversible. . . . It is part of the right’s magical thinking — they are in denial that there is an indigenous people here still living in their homeland. We are not about to disappear because of this law.”
— Haneen Zoabi, a Palestinian member of the Israeli parliament


New legislation to cement the definition of Israel as a state belonging exclusively to Jews around the world is a “declaration of war” on Palestinian citizens of Israel, the minority’s leaders warned this week.

The bill, which defines Israel as the “national home of the Jewish people,” passed its first vote in the Israeli parliament on Wednesday, after it received unanimous backing from a government committee on Sunday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to get the measure on to the statute books within 60 days.

Among its provisions, the legislation — popularly known as the Jewish Nation-State Bill — revokes the status of Arabic as an official language, even though it is the mother tongue of one in five citizens.

Israel’s population includes a large minority of 1.7 million Palestinians.

The legislation affirms that world Jewry has a “unique” right to national self-determination in Israel, and calls for the government to further strengthen ties to Jewish communities outside Israel.

It also increases the powers of so-called “admissions committees” that block Palestinian citizens from living in hundreds of communities that control most of Israel’s land.

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The Longest-Serving Palestinian Prisoner in Israel

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Nael Barghouti as a prisoner in 1993 (right) and as a long-haired youth in 1978. (photo: Alex Levac / Haaretz)

He was released in a prisoner swap after serving 33 years, then sent back in on a technicality.

By Gideon Levy / Haaretz
April 29, 2017


[After being returned to prison,] Nael was sentenced to 30 months in prison for violating the conditions of his release. But when that term ended, he was not set free. Then, two months ago came the astounding news that he would have to complete his life-plus-18-years sentence, originally meted out in 1978.


The three photographs on the chest of drawers at the entrance to the living room tell the whole unbelievable story. The first shot, from 1978, shows a long-haired youth. The second, taken 15 years later, is a portrait of a prisoner between his two aged parents, both of whom lean on canes. It was taken the last time they met. The third is of an elderly man, at the time of his release from prison.

Thirty-nine years separate the first and third images, and Nael Barghouti, the man in all of the photos, spent most of that time incarcerated in an Israeli prison for murdering Mordechai Yakoel, a bus driver, in 1978. There is no longer-serving prisoner than Barghouti, and no crueler arbitrary treatment by the authorities than that demonstrated in his case. Continue reading

Mr. Friedman, Where Do You Stand on the Demolition of a Palestinian Village and School?

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Students at Khan al Ahmar village school, Palestine (photo: Vento di Terra)

An open letter to Donald Trump’s nominee to be ambassador to Israel.

By Donna Baranski-Walker / Mondoweiss.net
March 8, 2017


My question: Do your own donations to support education in the Israeli settlement of Beit El and President Trump’s trust in you put you in a unique position to stop Israel’s demolition of Palestinian communities?


David Friedman, esq.
Nominee for U.S. Ambassador to Israel

Dear Mr. Friedman,

I am writing with urgency. I have asked my Senators Feinstein and Harris to forward my questions to you and request your reply. I am bringing these questions forward because although many speculate about what shape peace between Israelis and Palestinians will take in the future, I am most concerned with how you will assure a future for Palestinians who are being forced from their land right now.

The stakes were always high, but since January 2017, this situation is critical. These past two weeks, I have once again been urging everyone I know to write to their Senators and Representatives to urgently request that they call the Israeli Embassy and the U.S. State Department to prevent the imminent demolition of a West Bank Palestinian school and village, this time the village of Khan al Ahmar. Simultaneously we await word of the State of Israel’s position re the appeal by the Palestinian village of Susiya, calls are arriving from the village of Umm al Kheir about the Israeli Army’s demolition of water catchment cisterns in their area, and more.

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