The Siege On Palestinian Life

By AFSC

The daily life of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza is full of struggle and restrictions, a life under siege.

The siege severely restricts civilian freedom of movement between Gaza and the West Bank and within the territories. It prevents families from seeing each other for months and years. Traveling even short distances often entails a lengthy, costly, and potentially dangerous journey.

Detours to avoid blockades, checkpoints, and closed areas frequently take civilians miles out of their way and involve the risk of being turned back, harassed, beaten, or sometimes shot.

The lack of freedom of movement leads to the suffering of basic services like medical care and education. It complicates routine acts such as purchasing goods, visiting relatives, and studying at a university. In many cases, these routine acts are impossible. Economic development under military occupation is severely hampered, and often impossible.

As the UN Secretary General said, “Palestinians have waited too long for an end to occupation.” The siege on Palestinian life is not a guard against violence, it is a systematic form of violence. Read the full report here.

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Palestinian Women Agony Under Israeli Occupation

Excerpt from the article by Jumana Al Tamimi

Palestinian women are increasingly suffering under the Israeli occupation, and until their anguish ends with the end of the occupation, Israel should be held responsible for Palestinian misery as an occupying power, activists and lawyers have said.

Women in occupied Palestine
Israeli occupation forces attack Palestinian homes in violent ways

Palestinian women find themselves shouldering two burdens: the social one and one emanating from the occupation.

In many cases, women suddenly became the sole breadwinners of their family, or a single parent because their fathers or husbands were killed or arrested by Israel. In other cases, women find themselves responsible for a family whose land has been confiscated or house demolished.

“From 1967 until this day, women are suffering as a result of the arrest of their male relatives, deportation, house demolitions, checkpoints, and the separation wall,” said Halimah Abu Soulb, a Palestinian lawyer and activist.

“All these measures are affecting women’s rights to education, health services, and free movement,” she added.

With the obstacles growing, the suffering is also increasing, she said.

“We didn’t have [as many] checkpoints before as we do now. We did not have a wall in the past, now we do. Today, they [Israelis] are confiscating more Palestinian land to open new roads,” Abu Soulb said.

Moreover, activists explained, Palestinian women in occupied East Jerusalem also suffer from the additional threat of having their identity cards confiscated, and also the impossibility of getting a clearance for their husbands to live in occupied Jerusalem, if they are from the West Bank.

Further, the night raids, which aim to intimidate civilians as part of a systematic strategy to maintain authority, leave long-lasting psychological impact on women and their children.

In short, Palestinians women face violence, threats, intimidation, restriction on movement, and discrimination from Israeli forces on a daily basis and Israel continues to impose policies which strictly violate international humanitarian and human rights law.


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US Preparing For A Post-Israel Middle East?

Excerpt from the article by Franklin Lamb

A paper entitled “Preparing For A Post Israel Middle East” is an 82-page analysis that concludes that the American national interest in fundamentally at odds with that of Zionist Israel. The authors conclude that Israel is currently the greatest threat to US national interests because its nature and actions prevent normal US relations  with  Arab and  Muslim countries and, to a growing degree, the wider international community.

The study was commissioned by the US Intelligence Community comprising 16 American intelligence agencies with an annual budget in excess of $ 70 billion. The IC includes the Departments of the Navy, Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Defense Intelligence Agency, Departments of Energy, Homeland Security, State, Treasure, Drug Enforcement Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Security Agency, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, National Reconnaissance Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency commissioned the study.

Middle East Map Without Israel
Middle East map without Israel originally published by CNN caused an uproar

Among the many findings are the following:

  • Israel, given its current brutal occupation and belligerence cannot  be salvaged any more than apartheid south Africa could be when as late as 1987 Israel was the only “Western” nation that upheld diplomatic ties with South Africa and was the last country to join the international boycott campaign before the regime collapsed;
  • The Israel leadership, with its increasing support of the 700,000 settlers in illegal colonies in the occupied West Bank is increasing out of touch with the political, military and economic realities of the Middle East;
  • The post Israeli government is deeply complicit with and influenced by the settlers’ political and financial power and will increasingly face domestic civil strife which the US government should not associate itself with or become involved with;
  • The Arab Spring and Islamic Awakening has to a major degree freed a large majority of the 1.2 billion Arab and Muslims to pursue what an overwhelming majority believe is the illegitimate, immoral and unsustainable European occupation of Palestine of the indigenous population;
  • Simultaneous with, but predating, rapidly expanding Arab and Muslim power in the region as evidenced by the Arab spring, Islamic Awakening and the ascendancy of Iran, as American power and influence recedes,  the US commitment to belligerent oppressive Israel is becoming impossible to defend or execute consistent given paramount US national interests which include normalizing relations with the 57 Islamic countries;
  • Gross Israeli interference in the internal affairs of the United States through spying and illegal US arms transfers. This includes supporting more than 60 ‘front organizations’ and  approximately 7,500 US officials who do Israel’s bidding and seek to dominate and intimidate the media and agencies of  the US government which should no longer be condoned;
  • That the United States government no longer has the financial resources, or public support to continue funding Israel. The billions of dollars in direct and indirect aid from US taxpayers to Israel since 1967 is not affordable and is increasingly being objected to by US taxpayers who oppose continuing American military involvement in the Middle East. US public opinion no longer supports funding and executing widely perceived illegal US wars on Israel’s behalf. This view is increasingly being shared by Europe, Asia and the International public;
  • Israel’s segregationist occupation infrastructure evidenced by  legalized discrimination and increasingly separate and unequal justice systems must no longer be directly or indirectly funded by the US taxpayers or  ignored by the US government;
  • Israel has failed as a claimed democratic state and continued American financial and political cover will not change its continuing devolution as international pariah state;
  • Increasingly,  rampant and violent racism exhibited among Jewish settlers in the West Bank is being condoned by the Israeli government to a degree  that the Israel government has become its protector and partner;
  • The expanding chasm  among American Jews objecting to Zionism and Israeli practices, including the killing and brutalizing of Palestinians under Israeli occupation,  are gross violations of American and International law and raise questions within the US Jewish community regarding the American responsibility to protect (R2P) innocent civilians under occupation;
  • The international opposition to the increasingly  apartheid regime can no longer be synchronized with American claimed  humanitarian values or US expectations in its bi-lateral relations with the 193 member United Nations;
  • The Draft ends with language about the need to avoid entangling alliances that alienate much of the World and condemn American citizens to endure the consequences.
Middle East Map Without Israel 2
Maps without Israel popping up everywhere

Interestingly, it notes Iran as an example of a country and people that have much in common and whose citizens have a real interest in enjoy bilateral associations (here an apparent reference to Israel and its US lobby) not determined by the wishes of other countries and their agents.

It also highlights the need for the US to undertake the repairing of relations with Arab and Muslim countries, including the drastically curtained use of drone aircraft.

Note: The author is able to disclose that the source is a staffer with a certain research unit of the CIA.


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500 Artists From 17 Latin American Countries Take A Stand Against Israel

By Palestinian Performing Arts Network (PPAN)

The Palestinian Performing Arts Network (PPAN) warmly welcomes the statement by more than 500 artists from 17 Latin American countries taking a stand in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle by refusing to perform in Israel or collaborate with Israeli-funded events.

Daniel Devita
Mega Argentinian Rap Star Daniel Devita joins the boycott

The statement comes as Israeli army snipers are brutally implementing a shoot-to-kill-or-maim policy against unarmed Palestinians in the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip. Tens of thousands have taken part in peaceful protests against Israel’s siege, which is literally taking the life out of Gaza, and to assert the UN-sanctioned right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes from which they were ethnically cleansed during the 1948 Nakba.

Among the dozens killed by Israeli gunfire is photographer and cameraman Yaser Murtaja, whose dream of simply being able to travel outside the open-air prison of Gaza was never fulfilled.

Israel’s regime of military occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid works tirelessly to impede Palestinian cultural development, one of our strongest tools of resistance. It regularly denies Palestinian artists their right to travel, both within the occupied Palestinian territory and abroad, detains performers without charge or trial, and has repeatedly raided Palestinian festivals and closed down Palestinian cultural centers.

This stand of solidarity from our brothers and sisters in Latin America gives us hope.

  • Hope to those in occupied Jerusalem and throughout the West Bank struggling against Israeli home demolitions, expanding colonial settlements and ongoing ethnic cleansing.
  • Hope to families with children and relatives detained and tortured in Israeli prisons.
  • Hope to Palestinian citizens of Israel living under a legalized and institutional system of racial discrimination that meets the UN definition of apartheid.
  • Hope to millions of Palestinian refugees holding strong to the keys of their homes and their homeland.
  • Hope to Palestinian artists working to express Palestinian dreams and nightmares, joy and miseries, and to ensure Israel’s attempts at erasing Palestinian identity and heritage fall flat.

As was the case in the international boycott of apartheid South Africa, effective solidarity from conscientious artists around the world, who refuse to allow Israel to use their talents to drown out or airbrush over its attacks on Palestinian life, is growing.

By publicly expressing their support for the Palestinian-led nonviolent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, these conscientious and principled Latin American artists are helping to chip away at Israel’s shield of impunity and exposing its shocking disregard for Palestinian life.

We salute our Latin American colleagues. Adelante!


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George Washington University Students Vote To Divest From Companies Complicit in Violations of Palestinian Rights

By Divest This Time at GW, impact 

The student senate successfully passed “The Protection of Palestinian Human Rights Act”. It demands the university divest from corporations that “provide goods and services to Israeli military forces” used “to bomb hospitals in Gaza, bulldoze Palestinians’ homes, construct illegal Apartheid walls, and further suppress and violate Palestinian human rights.”

GW Students

The George Washington University Student Association Senate has voted YES to Divest from corporations invested in the ongoing occupation of Palestine, in spite of efforts to challenge the integrity of the bill. These 9 multibillion-dollar, multinational corporations — the largest portion of which are weapons manufacturers — provide goods and services to Israeli military forces, which are deployed and utilized to bomb hospitals in Gaza, bulldoze Palestinians’ homes, construct illegal Apartheid walls, and further suppress and violate Palestinian human rights.

These efforts to divest will give the university an opportunity to uphold its principles of inclusion and safety, and no longer be invested in corporations that cause harm to our students and their families at home.

Two and a half years ago, the GW administration adhered to a call for the removal of a Palestinian flag from inside a students dorm room. One year ago, students declared that the Palestinian flag had no place at the walkout against Trump.

With this yes vote, the Student Association will be the voice of encouragement and the voice to lead effective conversations with administration in regards to the treatment of Palestinians on campus. We would like to thank the Student Association for standing on the right side of history, and standing up for Palestinian human rights.

When The George Washington University was called on to stand in opposition to South African Apartheid, the University failed. This resolution gives the administration an opportunity to correct this wrong, and be on the right side of history. It is an opportunity to create a campus that calls for diversity, is socially responsible, and that wholeheartedly stands with Palestinians and their strive for liberation.

Our next steps will be to further communicate our demands to the administration in regards to both, divesting from the 9 corporations as well as the general safety of Palestinians on our campus. This will be led by members of our coalition, as well as endorsing organizations, and we expect that our combined efforts will yield favorable results.

This has been a long and hard journey, but definitely one that has been well fought. We thank our Palestinian members that have engaged in and experienced an absurd amount of emotional labor. We would like to thank our members and allies alike for their time and labor that was put into this campaign. Congratulations to The George Washington University Student Association on standing in solidarity with Palestine.

We demand that the University administration #DivestThisTime.

In Solidarity,

Divest This Time


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Oscar Celebrities #SkipTheTrip To Israel

By Ramah Kudaimi, USPCR

Brad Pitt
Acknowledge it, too

Israel had offered all-expenses-paid trips to 2016 Oscars host Chris Rock and 25 top nominees including Mark Ruffalo, Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Matt Damon, Mark Rylance, and Cate Blanchett. The Israeli tourism ministry organized the trip with hopes that the superstars would use their platforms to show Israel in a positive light, countering worldwide outrage over Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.

So what happened? It was an utter failure. Now, it appears that not a single star visited Israel. The AFP wire service even ran this extraordinary headline appearing in many media outlets, “Israel invited 26 Oscar stars to visit. So far none has.

Bringing celebrities to Israel has long been part of a “Brand Israel” strategy to improve the country’s image abroad. As Israeli tourism minister Yariv Levin explained last year, “These are the most senior people in the film industry in Hollywood and leading opinion-formers who we are interested in hosting. Their visit will have enormous resonance among millions of fans and followers, including social media.” But as of now, the Israeli tourism ministry would not confirm any visits by the stars, and there was no evidence of trips on social media.

It seems that the harder Israel tries to improve its image, the worse it fails. That news comes on the heels of former Super Bowl star Michael Bennett and several other NFL stars also choosing to #SkipTheTrip that they were offered by Israel.

Far from achieving their desired effect, these propaganda trips give us an opportunity to create broader awareness about the Israeli government’s brutal policies and attempts to whitewash them. While not every celebrity will turn down such offers, our cultural boycott campaigns are ensuring that every celebrity facing the choice must now consider the Israeli government’s cynical motivations and the impact on Palestinian communities struggling to survive.

That’s why days after the Oscars trips were announced last February, the US Campaign helped organize a coalition of Palestinian, Israeli, European, and U.S. organizations to launch a #SkipTheTrip campaign including a petition to the stars, individual letters to actors, and a comprehensive social media strategy. The dynamic campaign included creative memes, a comical video, and a satirical invitation from the legendary Brian Eno highlighting the types of “holiday” experiences one could have visiting Palestine like being interrogated, tear-gassed, beaten, and shot at.

Our efforts caught the attention of the Academy, which quickly distanced itself from the gift bags that included the trip and filed a lawsuit against the company that put them together. Then, when we tried to place an ad with member group Jewish Voice for Peace in Variety — the most important paper in the entertainment industry — calling on performers to #SkipTheTrip, we were censored! We were not about to be stopped. We called out Variety’s double standard and placed a full-page ad in the LA Times, generating headlines worldwide.

In the end, Israel’s big Oscars outreach campaign to showbusiness ended up netting them a bunch of no-shows instead.

Congratulations to everyone whose efforts led to a great victory. And if you want to be a critical part of future successful campaigns like this one, please consider making a contribution to the US Campaign today.


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A Special Relationship Born In Hell

Excerpt from the article by Philip Giraldi

The United States should cut all ties with war criminal Israel.

If you want to understand what the “special relationship” between Israel and the United States really means consider the fact that Israeli Army snipers shot dead seventeen unarmed and largely peaceful Gazan demonstrators on Good Friday without a squeak coming out of the White House or State Department.

Some of the protesters were shot in the back while running away, while another 1,000 Palestinians were wounded, an estimated 750 by gunfire, the remainder injured by rubber bullets and tear gas.

Gaza Protest

The offense committed by the Gazan protesters that has earned them a death sentence was coming too close to the Israeli containment fence that has turned the Gaza strip into the world’s largest outdoor prison.

President Donald Trump’s chief Middle East negotiator David Greenblatt described the protest as “a hostile march on the Israel-Gaza border…inciting violence against Israel.” And Nikki Haley at the U.N. has also used the U.S. veto to block any independent inquiry into the violence, demonstrating once again that the White House team is little more than Israel’s echo chamber. America’s enabling of the brutal reality that is today’s Israel makes it fully complicit in the war crimes carried out against the helpless and hapless Palestinian people.

So where was the outrage in the American media about the massacre of civilians? Characteristically, Israel portrays itself as somehow a victim and the U.S. media, when it bothers to report about dead Palestinians at all, picks up on that line. The Jewish State is portrayed as always endangered and struggling to survive even though it is the nuclear armed regional superpower that is only threatened because of its own criminal behavior. And even when it commits what are indisputable war crimes like the use of lethal force against an unarmed civilian population, the Jewish Lobby and its media accomplices are quick to take up the victimhood refrain.

Gazans are demonstrating in part because they are starving. They have no clean drinking water because Israel has destroyed the purification plants as part of a deliberate policy to make life in the Strip so miserable that everyone will leave or die in place. And even leaving is problematical as Israel controls the border and will not let Palestinians enter or depart. It also controls the Mediterranean Sea access to Gaza. Fishermen go out a short distance from the shore to bring in a meager catch. If they go any farther they are shot dead by the Israeli Navy.

Hospitals, schools and power stations in Gaza are routinely bombed in Israel’s frequent reprisal actions against what Netanyahu chooses to describe as aggressive moves by Hamas. Such claims are bogus as Israel enjoys a monopoly of force and is never hesitant to use it.

Let me speak plainly. The current Israel is an evil place that Americans should be condemning, not praising. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should not be receiving 29 standing ovations from Congress. He should be rotting in jail. Israel’s shoot-to-kill policy and dehumanization of the Palestinian people is nothing to be proud of. That the United States is giving this band of racist war criminals billions of dollars every year is a travesty. That the reputation of America has been besmirched worldwide because of its reflexive support of anything and everything that this rogue regime does is a national disgrace.

The message should be clear to every American. There is no net gain for the United States in continuing the lopsided and essentially immoral relationship with the self-styled Jewish State. There is no enhancement of American national security, quite the contrary, and there remains only the sad realization that the blood of many innocent people is, to a considerable extent, on our hands. This horror must end.


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