As Covid-19 sweeps across the planet, few scenarios are as frightening as an outbreak of the virus in Israeli-occupied Gaza. Four Israelis are refusing to let this happen, and are helping Gazans fend it off. They’ve launched a solidarity campaign to help Gazans out in this most grave crisis — and are calling for an end to Israel’s siege.
PlacesListen, Read, Watch
Hungry for news on the state of the Covid-19 pandemic in Israeli-occupied/colonized Palestine, I reached out by Skype to Rania Muhareb, a researcher with Ramallah-based Al-Haq, one of Palestine’s most prominent and respected human rights organizations. Rania spoke with me from her home in East Jerusalem.
As the Covid-19 pandemic sweeps around the planet, attention has been focused on the fate of the most vulnerable communities: those consigned to crowded urban slums, refugee camps and conflict zones across the Global South. No one more vulnerable to the highly infectious virus than the people of Gaza, under comprehensive Israeli blockade and siege for thirteen years.
Late last January, after over a year of teasing talk and suggestive leaks, US President Donald Trump finally announced his so-called “Deal of the Century,” ostensibly aimed at resolving what is commonly referred to as the Israel-Palestine “conflict.”Predictably, Trump’s deal has been widely referred to in the mainstream media as a “peace plan.” Nothing could be further from the truth.
I met Vivien Sansour for the first time back in 2016, in her home town of Beit Jala, on the southern edge of Bethlehem, in Israeli-occupied Palestine. An anthropologist by training, Vivien has turned to the promotion of food and the cultural sovereignty tied to growing one’s own and saving the seeds, as her life’s work.
In a hyper-polarized world where everyone disagrees about everything and even the most straightforward affairs seem uncertain, an eminently erudite, well-traveled and literate critic is liable to draw a large crowd. Robert Fisk, dean of Middle East journalism, is one such man.
The cedar is Lebanon’s national symbol. But Lebanon’s renowned cedar forests are not what they used to be. Today, all that remains of Lebanon’s cedar forests are a dozen fragmented islands, threatened by livestock grazing and climate change. The key to restoring them is their genetic diversity.
Planet Earth is covered in water. Ninety-seven percent is in earth’s oceans. Most of the rest is frozen solid — locked up in sea ice and terrestrial ice sheets, glaciers and permafrost. Earth’s cryosphere plays a huge role in regulating climate. As our planet warms, its cryosphere is slowly melting, triggering positive feedbacks that make earth scientists worry.
Climate change is a human rights issue. Nowhere is this clearer than in Israeli-occupied/colonized Palestine, where land and natural resources required for climate adaptation are controlled by Israel, and systematically denied to Palestinians. Of all these resources, none are more vital than water.
Long before the ‘intractable conflict’ between Israeli Jews and Palestinians gets resolved, climate change will have thrown everything up for grabs — literally. It already has.
That awful A-word, preceded by the adjective ‘Israeli’. Israel boosters scream ‘antisemitism’ when they hear or read the phrase. Mainstream media avoid it like the plague. The international legal community has no difficulty likening Israel’s system of governance in the colonized West Bank to the South African prototype. Listen to my conversation with Professor Dugard.
A roof over one’s head. A home. Other than food and water, nothing is more essential to human life and health. Conversely, save forced starvation, there’s no better way to eliminate a people than to reduce their homes to rubble. No one knows this better, or carried out the practice more ruthlessly and efficiently, than the State of Israel.
An extended trip to Palestine can be a recipe for despair. How else to respond to the forcible evictions, home demolitions and nighttime arrests routinely reported on social media, or witnessed first hand by the intrepid journalist or political tourist? Despair has an antidote: the realization that what brought down apartheid South Africa will also bring an end to the more advanced and sophisticated Israeli version. More and more people are heeding the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions. David Harel is one of these — albeit in nuanced fashion.
Interviews that go sideways, or south. They tend to end suddenly, in response to the question that shouldn’t have been asked. Such was the case in this conversation with Ha’aretz columnist Amira Hass, in response to a question Amira didn’t let me finish, about the international community’s declared, though deceitful support for a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians. Thankfully, our conversation continued. Very lively.
Is justice served by defending someone’s right to a tiny slice of judicial relief, if victory means a vastly larger act of injustice is sustained, perhaps even consolidated, or should a principled attorney walk away from such a mug’s game? For Israeli human rights lawyer Michael Sfard, the answer is clear.
Some hoaxes — the Alien Autopsy, Fiji Mermaid, Disappearing Blond Gene and Geostationary Banana Over Texas tales come immediately to mind — declare themselves at the door to all but the most pitifully gullible. Now we’ve got the “Deal of the Century,” a snake oil claim if ever there was one.
Why is Israel so afraid of Khalida Jarrar? Does it think she threatens its existence? Or has Israel jailed the 56-year-old Palestinian legislator, feminist, and human rights activist on three occasions simply as a show of power?
Kufr Qaddum is a village of 5000, halfway between the northern West Bank cities of Nablus and Qalqilya. Its agricultural lands encompass about 19,000 dunams (acres), 11,000 of which fall within Oslo ‘Area C’ and are therefore under complete Israeli military control. I travelled to to Kufr Qaddum to observe one of their weekly protests, against the closure of their ancient road.
It’s a perfect storm: horrific bone and tissue-pulverizing wounds from high velocity sniper rounds, a health care system crushed by twelve years of military siege, and traumatic wound infections resistant to all but the most powerful and costly antibiotics. Such is the tempest sweeping tiny Gaza, fifteen months after the launch of protests along the militarized perimeter of what gets called, alternatively, an open-air prison or ghetto.
One day feels like a week in Hebron.The quickest way to get to this beautiful but conflicted West Bank town, from Jerusalem, is from West Jerusalem’s cavernous downtown bus station. Read and listen to the story here.