Monday, March 30, 2009

Today is Land Day!

Today, March 30th is Land Day and is in commemoration of the first Land Day that occurred in 1976. In 1976 on this day a general strike was called by the Palestinian leadership inside of Israel (by Palestinians who had remained inside of Israel's borders after the 1948 War and had become Israeli citizens). On this same day, marches and demonstrations were also held in protest against the Israeli government's decision to confiscate thousands of acres of land owned by Palestinian citizens of Israel for Jewish Israeli use.

During clashes with the Israeli Army and police, 6 Palestinians were killed, 96 Palestinians were injured, and over 300 Palestinians were arrested. Palestinian villages in Israel were declared closed military zones and curfew was imposed.

Palestinian land in Israel and the West Bank continue to be confiscated by Israel today. Land continues to be confiscated in the Galilee, in East Jerusalem (i.e. the al Bustan neighborhood in East Jerusalem scheduled for demolition), and in the West Bank to build the Wall or Separation Barrier, to build roads that only settlers can use, to expand settlements, and to create new illegal settlements.

Protests are being held all over Israel/Palestine and in cities across the world today calling for action to be taken against these illegal confiscations.

Check out IMEMC's article about Land Day today
This is an informative article about the background of Land Day

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


One can only describe Israel’s obsession with demolishing Palestinian homes in light of the exclusive Jewish claim to the entire Land of Israel harking back a century or more. It is not a policy specific to any particular time or place, nor is it confined to the Occupied Territories. In 1948 and for years after, Israeli governments systematically demolished more than 500 entire villages, towns, urban centers and neighborhoods, both to prevent the return of the Palestinian refugees and to take their lands and properties. Since the Occupation began in 1967, another 24,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished, including 4000 in the latest attack on Gaza. And in 2004, the Israeli government announced the establishment of a Demolition Administration within the Ministry of Interior; targeted for destruction are 20-40,000 homes of Israeli (Arab) citizens classified as “unrecognized villages.” (One Bedouin village in the Negev, al Twazil, has been demolished 18 times.)

It must be stressed that Israel has never explained or justified its long-standing practice of demolishing Palestinian homes by security. For the most part it has offered no explanations at all, treating the phenomenon as a purely internal matter. Occasionally it justifies the wholesale destruction of homes in military operations as “collateral damage.” According to Ha’aretz (15.2.09), “Israel Defense Forces investigations into last month's offensive in the Gaza Strip indicate the army could face significant difficulties justifying the scale of destruction of civilian homes during the fighting. A military source involved in the investigation told Haaretz, “It's clear to us that in a small portion of the combat sectors immeasurable damage was caused, and that is very difficult to justify from a legal perspective, particularly if such justifications are called for in legal proceedings with international organizations.” As for the thousands of homes demolished due to a lack of building permits, which Israel justifies on a legal basis, it neglects to say that its explicit policy since 1967 has been to deny permits to Palestinians, or to restrict them severely.

When one surveys the consequences of Israel’s house demolition policy from 1948 until the present, the conclusion is inescapable: a systematic and ongoing campaign is being waged to either rid the country of its Palestinian population or, failing that, to confine the remaining Palestinians to tiny, delimited, disconnected and impoverished enclaves, in Israel as well as in the Occupied Territories.

At this very moment, together with the “routine” demolitions that are the Palestinians’ daily fare, 88 homes in the Silwan neighborhood of Jerusalem – the entire al Bustan quarter – are threatened with immediate destruction, as are two apartment buildings housing 34 families in the adjacent al Abbasiyya quarter. House demolitions in occupied East Jerusalem are illegal under international law, serve no obvious purpose, have severe humanitarian effects and fuel bitterness and extremism. They also violate the first phase of the Road Map. The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) calls on the international community to enforce its stated opposition to this cruel policy and end it immediately.

The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions is based in Jerusalem and has chapters in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Please visit the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions' websites:

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Amazing Video by CPT members in the Hebron area of the West Bank

Take a look at this discussion between an international and an Israeli soldier!

The same day that US citizen, Tristan Anderson was shot with a tear gas cannister by the IDF during a demonstration, the IDF attacks more demonstators

On the 13th of March 2009, in Burin village (Nablus district), the Israeli army repressed a peaceful and non-violent demonstration by shooting live ammunition and teargas canisters aimed directly at protesters.

The protesters decided to hold ground, before a group of twenty Israeli soldiers started to chase the demonstrators down to the village, beating up the Palestinians demonstrators, including a journalist, and international activists. They also set about illegally confiscating all the cameras and a video recorder that previously were being used to document the soldiers’ actions.

Between seventy and a hundred people took part in the demonstration against the expansion of the illegal settlement in the village, that will result in the confiscation of much of the village’s lands.

This is again a blatant example of Israel's refusal to allow the freedom of expression of the Palestinian people and Israel's attempt to prevent journalists or internationals to report and document the illegal Israeli occupation.
You can see the settlements (in blue) surrounding the Palestinian village of Burin in the West Bank on this Btselem map.

This article is from the ISM website

This map and many other useful maps can be found at the Btselem website

Friday, March 13, 2009

U.S. Citizen shot in head by Israeli army in West Bank

Please pray for Tristan Andersen, from the Oakland, California area, as well as for his family and friends. Tristan is in a hospital near Tel Aviv in extremely critical condition after being shot in the head with a high-velocity tear gas canister by the Israeli Defense Forces while participating in a demonstration against the construction of the wall in the West Bank village of Ni'lin.

An updated press release is available from the website of the International Solidarity Movement. This press release contains links to other media reports and updates on Tristan's condition. PLEASE NOTE that the video footage included on these sites is graphic.

This incident comes almost exactly six years after the Israeli military killed American nonviolent activist Rachel Corrie by crushing her with a Caterpillar D-9 bulldozer on March 16, 2003.

Ni'lin has been the site of regular weekly protests against the Wall. Since 2008, four Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli army while demonstrating against the Wall in Ni'lin:

Ahmed Mousa (10) was shot in the forehead with live ammunition on 29th July 2008. The following day, Yousef Amira (17) was shot twice with rubber-coated steel bullets, leaving him brain dead. He died a week later on 4 August 2008. Arafat Rateb Khawaje (22), was the third Ni’lin resident to be killed by Israeli forces. He was shot in the back with live ammunition on 28 December 2008. That same day, Mohammed Khawaje (20), was shot in the head with live ammunition, leaving him brain dead. He died three days later in a Ramallah hospital.

Please pray for their families and for the family of Tristan Andersen.

As soon as action suggestions are available, we will post them here.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Learn More About Sabeel!

Meet the Rev. Naim Ateek, the founder and director of Sabeel: Watch this short video from a Sabeel conference prepared by Friends of Sabeel North America. Bishop Desmond Tutu, a good friend of Sabeel and the Rev. Naim Ateek speak out against the apartheid like injustices that Palestinian Muslims and Christians encounter on a daily basis.

Understand Sabeel's politics: Sabeel's Jerusalem Document outlines the movement's vision for a just peace. This document was written in 2000 but is still representative of Sabeel's position today.

Sabeel promotes nonviolence and condemns all forms of violence, Israeli and Palestinian: One form of nonviolent action that Sabeel promotes is morally responsible investment. Learn how as an individual or as an organization, you can make a difference by reading this Sabeel document.

During this Lenten season, Sabeel is organizing community Lenten programs in Jerusalem and the West Bank to encourage spiritual growth during this time of reflection. Today the program was held in East Jerusalem.

Before the participants went to the Melkite Church, everyone went to Silwan (the area called, al Bustan, mentioned in my last post, is inside of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan) to demonstrate solidarity with the residents threatened with eviction (see the March 5th post on this blog). Rabbi Arik Ascherman, from Rabbis for Human Rights, was also there and spoke out against the injustices that the eviction notices constitute.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Demolition orders for the East Jerusalem neighborhood of al Bustan

Israel has issued orders for the demolition of an entire neighborhood in East Jerusalem called al Bustan which would uproot 2,000 people and replace their homes open park. The demolition orders are for 80 Palestinian homes that the Israeli authorities claim were built illegally. However, many of these homes were built BEFORE Israel's occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967.

As for construction after 1967, Israel has employed a policy of planning, development, and building that severely restricts construction by Palestinians creating a situation in which Palestinians are unable to obtain permits to build or even make additions to existing homes. Because of this, many Palestinians are forced to build without a permit because they have no other way to provide shelter for their families.

On the U.S. Secretary of State's visit to Israel, Clinton stated that activities like the demolition orders are "unhelpful" and "not in keeping with the obligations entered into under the road map." While Clinton's remarks are an understatement and the demolition orders are not only destroying the peace process but also in clear violation of Humanitarian Law, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat responded by charging the Palestinians with feeding Clinton misinformation and that the land had been set aside as open space and parks (apparently after the land had already been built on before 1967 when Israel acquired the land).

For more information about these particular demolition orders please follow these links:

ICAHD article about this neighborhood

PNN article about this neighborhood