Raise your Palestine I.Q. with these 6 good reads

Raise your Palestine I.Q. with these 6 good reads

Read up on the Palestine issue: a bit of history, a hostage’s account, thoughts on censorship and genocide, quick stops in Germany and the US, then back to Gaza.

Israel’s Long Trail of Duplicity – How Western Support Sowed the Seeds of Gaza Genocide

Israel has never had any intention of abiding by any UN resolution that did not suit its territorial and strategic interests, which basically meant all of them, a pattern that has continued until the present day.

by Jeremy Salt, excerpt reposted from Palestine Chronicle, March 22, 2024

No club in the world except the United Nations allows a member to violate its charter and rules indefinitely. In other clubs, the member will be warned once, twice, and three times but if the rules are still being violated despite warnings, the member will be thrown out. This should be, and probably would, be Israel’s fate were not the US on hand to blunt any attempt to punish it for the gross crimes it has committed over the past 76 years.

Living permanently outside the law, Israel has now gone so far that even its relationship with the US is fraying, a problem Netanyahu expects to be solved when Trump replaces Biden in November. This might not happen, but Netanyahu is rolling the dice in the expectation that it will and that he can hang on until then, by keeping Israel in a state of war.

Israel’s refusal to abide by the rules shaped its existence even before it became a state. It used the 1947 UN resolution 181, the Partition of Palestine, to justify its existence and then ignored it. Allocated 54 percent of the land it took 78 percent; Jerusalem was to be an international zone, but Israel attacked the city and took the western half before being stopped by international intervention in the form of truce negotiations.

While it was Lehi (the Stern Gang) that assassinated the UN Security Council’s mediator Folke Bernadotte in September 1948, his removal from the scene removed an obstacle in the way of the Zionist leadership, which had no intention of accepting the partition recommendation on Jerusalem.

The truth was that Israel had no intention of abiding by any UN resolution concerning the Palestinians, and the states around Palestine, that did not suit its territorial and strategic interests, which basically meant all of them, a pattern that has continued until the present day…[more]


Israeli soldiers stand by a truck packed with shirtless Palestinian men and one woman in the besieged Gaza Strip on 8 December 2023
Israeli soldiers stand by a truck packed with shirtless Palestinian men and one woman in the besieged Gaza Strip on 8 December 2023 (pphoto)

Beaten, tortured and buried alive: What happened to the woman on the Israeli truck

Hadeel al-Dahdouh was separated from her breastfeeding son for more than 50 days when she was thrown into the back of an Israeli truck. She tells Middle East Eye she was subjected to horrific torture

by Maha Husseini in Gaza, excerpt reposted from Middle East Eye, March 28, 2024

It’s an image that has provoked shock and outrage.

Dozens of Palestinian men, bound, blindfolded and stripped to their underwear, crammed in an open-top Israeli truck in the besieged Gaza Strip.

The photo showed shellshocked Palestinians looking cold, hungry and traumatised amid the chilly and rainy December winter weather.

But just to the right of the centre of the scene, one person stood out.

Hadeel al-Dahdouh, a mother of two, is the only woman known to have been abducted by Israeli soldiers when they stormed the Zaytoun quarter of Gaza City late last year.

Speaking to Middle East Eye in Rafah after her lengthy detention, she said that she, along with her husband, in-laws and neighbours, were injected with unknown substances and subjected to prolonged and violent interrogations and even mock executions while in Israeli captivity.

Choking back tears, Dahdouh, who is still wearing the same “prayer dress” from when she was first detained, is overcome with grief when recounting the degradation she endured.

Her testimony, which is drawn from her detention in parts of occupied Gaza and Israel, appears consistent with that of other former detainees abducted by Israeli forces following the 7 October attacks.

Israel’s conduct of its war against Hamas in Gaza is already the subject of an International Court of Justice case in which it stands accused of genocide and an ongoing war crimes investigation by the International Criminal Court.

‘If I moved, they would beat me’

Dahdouh told MEE that her harrowing ordeal began when Israeli forces laid siege to her area with tanks and other armored vehicles, forcing her family – consisting of her husband, children, in-laws, and two members of the al-Mughrabi family – to seek shelter at their small home.

“We were taking shelter in the basement when Israeli soldiers bombed one of the walls and entered. They took us all outside and separated the men from women,” she said.

“One of the officers called me and said: ‘Come here, we’re going to perform a test on you.’ I asked him what kind of test – he then told me that it would be a small test on my hand and that I would be returned to my children.

“I was terrified. I was scared for my children’s safety.”

Dahdouh said that before she left her basement she handed her four-year-old son Muhammad and nine-month old son Zain to her mother-in-law as she feared the worst.

“Israeli soldiers then took us to another home that was evacuated in the Zaytun neighborhood. Once we entered the house, they immediately started beating and torturing us,” she said.

“They kept us there for a while before a soldier came and gave the men [some kind of] sedative injection in their lower backs. Shortly after, they started hallucinating and were not fully conscious…[more]

Read another compelling story of survival here: War on Gaza: One Palestinian woman’s journey through death and destruction


A Palestinian woman reacts as she cradles a victim after Israeli bombardment in central Gaza City on March 18, 2024
A Palestinian woman reacts as she cradles a victim after Israeli bombardment in central Gaza City on March 18, 2024 (photo)

Opinion: Censorship is a crucial complement of genocide

This is why, as a genocide continues unabated in Gaza, we all have a responsibility to insert ‘Palestine’ and ‘Palestinians’ into every conversation.

by Somdeep Sen, excerpt reposted from Al Jazeera, March 20, 2024

In February on the BBC’s flagship news program, Newsnight, author and journalist Howard Eric Jacobson complained that Britain’s public broadcaster had been showing too many images of Palestinian suffering in Gaza. He added that in televising Palestinian suffering in this way, BBC was “taking a side” and that while it was “agonizing to see what is happening…there are reasons for it”.

And this was hardly the first expression of this sentiment. A few weeks prior, a discussion was under way on the professional networking platform LinkedIn on whether there were “too many Israel/Palestine posts” on the site and whether this should change. Many responded that it should – they wanted people to stop talking about Palestinians being starved, bombed and buried under the rubble.

It may seem odd that people like Jacobson are acknowledging the massive levels of suffering in Gaza, but in the same breath demanding the world hears less about it.

But this is not at all surprising. Censorship has always been a necessary complement of genocide.

With the ongoing genocide in Gaza, efforts to silence those who have sought to raise the alarm have taken a variety of forms.

A lot has been said and written about Israel’s refusal to allow foreign journalists to enter freely into Gaza to cover the genocide and its targeted attacks on Palestinian journalists there who risk life and limb to show the world the reality of what is being done to their people. But even the journalists who are thousands of miles away from the Palestinian enclave have been punished for daring to talk about the genocide.

Last December, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) sacked presenter Antoinette Lattouf for re-sharing a Human Rights Watch (HRW) post claiming that “Israel was using starvation as a weapon of war in Gaza”. The ABC had itself reported on the HRW claim, which has since been repeated by the United Nations. Lattouf, believed to be the first Arab-Australian woman to work as a reporter on commercial television, says she fears the ABC buckled under pressure from pro-Israel groups who had been accusing her of “anti-Semitism and bias” due to her support for Palestinian rights and criticism of Israel since she was first hired. She is suing the ABC for unfair dismissal.

Throughout this genocide, teachers and university professors across the world who tried to stand in solidarity with the Palestinians have also been silenced.  An Israeli teacher was fired from his job, arrested, and placed in solitary confinement for criticizng the actions of Israel’s military. Meir Baruchin’s only “crime” was a Facebook post he made the day after Hamas’s attack on Israel that said: “Horrific images are pouring in from Gaza. Entire families were wiped out … Anyone who thinks this is justified because of what happened yesterday, should unfriend themselves. I ask everyone else to do everything possible to stop this madness. Stop it now. Not later, Now!!!”

And earlier this month, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem suspended Law Professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, who is a Palestinian citizen of Israel, for criticising Israel’s war on Gaza and Zionism in general.

The silencing of teachers and university lecturers has not been limited to Israel, either…[more]


People take part in a demonstration in support of Palestinians in Gaza, in Berlin, Germany, on November 10, 2023
People take part in a demonstration in support of Palestinians in Gaza, in Berlin, Germany, on November 10, 2023 (photo)

‘We Jews are just arrested; Palestinians are beaten’: Protesters in Germany

In Germany, phrases including ‘from the river to the sea’ are banned and police are arresting people for using them.

by James Jackson, excerpt reposted from Al Jazeera, April 1, 2024

German-Israeli activist Iris Hefets was arrested for the first time in Berlin just a few weeks after the start of Israel’s war on Gaza last October – for holding a sign which read, “As a Jew and Israeli, stop the genocide in Gaza”.

That time, the police told Hefets, a 56-year-old psychoanalyst who is a member of the anti-Zionist activist group Jewish Voice for Peace, it was down to a blanket ban on pro-Palestinian demonstrations.

She was released shortly afterwards but says: “I didn’t think I would get detained for that – I was naive it turns out.”

She was arrested a second time on November 10 for “inciting racial hatred” when she held the same sign – her charge was recently dropped. Her third arrest was for a sign warning that “Zionism kills”. Again, she was released soon after but, this time, her sign was confiscated.

Hefets has lodged a complaint with the police to get her sign back, and intends to put it in a future “museum of Palestinian liberation”, she says.

She believes that, for the latter two arrests at least, the decision to detain her was made on the advice of a new special police task force which “is the contact point available for all police forces in connection with the Middle East conflict”, a Berlin police spokesman confirmed to Al Jazeera. The task force was set up on October 30 last year – shortly after Israel’s war on Gaza began.

This “Besondere Aufbauorganisation” (BAO) task force, which is part of the Landeskriminalamt (LKA) – the police intelligence centre – keeps an eye on “left-wing and foreign ideologies”, including communist groups and pro-Palestine groups, the police spokesman confirmed. It issues guidance and instructions to police forces about what phrases and words used by activists may be deemed illegal. For example, the Berlin police spokesman told Al Jazeera that, in Berlin, using the phrase “from the river to the sea” is currently considered a crime.

“The criminal classification of .. slogans is carried out in close consultation with the Berlin public prosecutor’s office,” the Berlin police spokesman said.

Free speech under attack in Germany

Palestinian protesters seem to be bearing the brunt of police crackdowns on protests in Germany – “We Jews are just getting arrested, the Palestinians are being beaten,” Hefets says. One example was the brutal arrest of a hijab-wearing protester at a sit-in in Berlin central station this past weekend, which was captured on video and posted to social media channels…more]


People supporting Palestine take part in the 'March for Gaza' in Washington DC, on 2 March 2024
People supporting Palestine take part in the ‘March for Gaza’ in Washington DC, on 2 March 2024 (photo)

More young Americans favor Palestinians than Israelis, new poll says

Pew poll finds that half of Americans don’t know the Palestinian or Israeli death toll in Gaza war

by Middle East Eye staff, excerpt reposted from Middle East Eye, March 22, 2024

More young Americans have favourable views of Palestinians than they do of Israelis in the current war in Gaza, while about half of the US population doesn’t know which side has a higher death toll, according to a new poll by Pew Research Center.

The poll is the latest research conducted on American attitudes toward Israel’s war, which began in October. It found that 60 percent of Americans between the ages of 18-29 expressed favourable views of the Palestinian people, while 46 percent had favorable views of the Israeli people.

Pew’s findings come after a Gallup poll published earlier this month found that 38 percent of young adults between the ages of 18-34 had favorable views of Israel, a drop of 26 percent from the year prior.

Still, while attitudes appear to be shifting among younger Americans, more broadly the poll found that most Americans were unaware of the realities on the ground in Gaza.

The Pew poll found that 48 percent of Americans did not know whether the death count in the war was higher for Israelis or Palestinians.

The death toll for Israel in the 7 October attacks led by Hamas is around 1,200 people, while more than 32,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in Gaza.

Some journalists have blamed US media coverage for the lack of awareness of either death toll, which Palestinian Americans have criticised as being largely skewed in Israel’s favor…[more]


Smoke rises over the residential areas following the Israeli attacks as Israel’s air, land and sea attacks continue on the Gaza Strip on March 24, 2024 in Gaza City, Gaza.
Smoke rises over the residential areas following the Israeli attacks as Israel’s air, land and sea attacks continue on the Gaza Strip on March 24, 2024 in Gaza City, Gaza. (photo)

At least 3,000 unexploded bombs in Gaza in first 3 months of war

Out of 45,000 bombs dropped on Gaza, and estimated 6.7% have not detonated – they are “explosive remnants of war contamination”

Excerpt reposted from Middle East Monitor, March 26, 2024

At least 3,000 of the 45,000 Israeli bombs dropped on the Gaza Strip between 7 October and mid-January have failed to explode, according to estimates by Handicap International, an NGO specializing in mine action.

“Of these 45,000 bombs, 3,000 have not exploded, and it is in fact these that will cause additional danger, particularly for civilians, when humanitarian aid is deployed,” said Jean-Pierre Delomier on Radio France Internationale.

This number, estimated by the Mine Action Area of Responsibility, a working group composed of non-governmental organizations active in the area, including Handicap International, covers the period between 7 October and mid-January. Israel has continued to bomb Gaza since then.

Delomier spent several days in Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah, on the Egyptian border, where about 1.5 million Palestinians reside, most of whom are displaced.

He considered in particular that only a ceasefire would be enough to give more “visibility” to rights groups to “begin the work of clearing mines and explosive remnants of war contamination”.

At the beginning of March, the French-based organization defending people with conflict-related disabilities sent two experts for 15 days to begin assessing de-mining needs in the Gaza Strip…[more]


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