10 years since the Israeli wall declared illegal, debunking persistent myths

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Though obscured by the ongoing massacre in Gaza, a recent milestone in Israel’s flouting of international law was the 10th anniversary of the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) declaration that Israel’s separation wall is illegal. Yet even after 10 years, myths about the wall’s rationale and route continue to proliferate in Western media. …

The repeated claim that the wall stopped suicide bombings is rooted in a logical fallacy which wrongly assumes that correlation proves causation and ignores more significant factors that explain the drop in attacks.

As early as 2006, Haaretz, citing Shin Bet sources, was reporting that:

. . .

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In Iraq with Gaza on my mind: What ‘no country in the world’ should tolerate

A child stands  amid the rubble of the destroyed Al Dalu family home, Gaza City December 3, 2012. Ten members of the Al Dalu family were killed, as well as two neighbors, by an Israeli air strike on their three-story home on November 18, 2012. Four of those killed were children, and four were women.

I got sick of hearing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his spokespeople repeating the specious line that “no country in the world” would agree to live under the threat of rockets from Gaza. As if that threat somehow excused the overwhelming violence that his military was unleashing on so many innocent civilians. So I wrote this essay for +972 Magazine, accompanied by photos of past Gaza bombardments and the current situation in Iraq. Check it out. . . .

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VIDEO: Bethlehemites deported to Gaza after 2002 church siege

An Israeli tank occupies Bethlehem's Manger Square in front of the Church of the Nativity in 2002.

My first visit to Palestine was a little over 12 years ago, just days after the end of the siege of the Church of the Nativity by Israeli forces. Following the siege, 13 Palestinians were exiled to Europe and 26 to the Gaza Strip. In my last visit to Gaza this year, I happened to meet some of the Bethlehemite deportees as they rallied in front of UN offices to present a similar petition to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. In this video, spokesman Fahmi Kanan explains the situation faced by Bethlehem deportees in the open air prison that is Gaza. . . .

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A sample of my ‘Keef Gaza?’ exhibition

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One of my last projects for the Alternative Information Center was a photo exhibition titled, “Keef Gaza? (How’s Gaza?)” which opened on June 10 but as far as I know is still hanging in their lecture hall for the time being. The title and the concept came from the phenomenon that because so few Palestinians (or foreigners) outside Gaza are able to visit, the first question I’d hear after mentioning that I’d been there was usually, “how is Gaza?” A broad question because so little gets told about the coastal enclave other than occasional escalating violence from Israel . . .

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Israeli forces destroy a family’s 1,500 fruit trees

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The sign at the entrance to the Nassar family farm reads, “We refuse to be enemies.” In 2000, they named their land Tent of Nations and launched a program “to bring people of various cultures together to build bridges of understanding, reconciliation, and peace.” They invite youth from around the world, especially from areas of conflict, together for face-to-face interactions and host solidarity movements, churches, youth organizations, and tourist groups, each year—many of whom come to volunteer on the farm. Though they’ve been fighting a legal battle to resist confiscation of their land by Israeli authorities since 1991, they . . .

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Another Palestinian shot in Gaza’s border zone

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In my visit to Gaza in February, I visited the family of a Palestinian worker who was shot and killed while salvaging building materials near the eastern border with Israel. As I reported at the time, such shootings are part of an ongoing pattern of Israeli military shootings of unarmed civilians who pose no threat that would even remotely merit a lethal response. During another recent visit to Gaza, I met with another worker who was shot. Fortunately, this time the injury was relatively minor, and the worker, Nizar Abdallah Al-Wan, is expected to make a full recovery. He’s . . .

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Nakba commemorations and clashes from Gaza to Galilee

Children from Aida Refugee Camp carry keys symbolizing the right of return toward the Israeli separation wall during a Nakba commemoration event, Bethlehem, West Bank, May 14, 2014.

During this year’s Nakba Day commemorations, I was able to attend events in the destroyed village of Lubya in the Galilee region in the north, Maghazi Refugee Camp in Gaza, Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem, and a march to the Green Line in the West Bank village of Al Walaja. For those unfamiliar with Palestinian history, the Nakba, Arabic for ‘catastrophe,’ is the term given to the forced displacement of some 750,000 refugees from 500 Palestinian communities by Zionist militias before, during and following the 1948 War. . . .

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Going through hell to get to Holy Fire

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I’ve experienced the Holy Fire (or Saturday of Light) previous Easter seasons in Jerusalem, but always in the streets, and never inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. This year I was able to get a special pass through a connection in the Armenian Orthodox Church.

But for those without a special pass as I had, both Palestinian Christians and international pilgrims face Israeli barriers and harsh treatment by officers as they attempt to celebrate the Easter season in Jerusalem. In scenes similar to previous years, thousands of worshipers were denied entry to the Old City by police barricades . . .

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VIDEO: Who has the moral authority to define apartheid?

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Noticeably absent from most coverage of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s use of the term “apartheid” are the voices most qualified to make the comparison with Israel. The Daily Beast article that broke the story helpfully quotes the 1998 Rome Statute, the definition of apartheid under international law: “inhumane acts… committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.”

However, this and other reports rely exclusively on white Western politicians and pundits to discuss . . .

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A pre-independence poetic public service announcement

Activists from an organization calle "Zion Fighters" wave American and Israeli flags at a Glenn Beck rally in Jerusalem.

Inspired (provoked) by a Haaretz headline admonishing leftists to “recapture the Israeli flag”, informed by a recent action in Jaffa in which said flag was spattered with symbolic blood, and with Israeli refuser Moriel Rothman’s poetry flup-flup-flupping in my memory, in anticipation of my own nation’s flag-flupped Selective Memorial Day and Independence BBQ and Fireworks Day in the coming weeks and months, I offer the lines of poetry that immediately came to mind in the midst of this mish-mash. . . .

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