Last week, Egyptian President Abd al-Fatah al-Sisi announced the opening of the Rafah border crossing with Gaza for the entire month of Ramadan, which he said was “in order to ensure the easing of the burdens on the brothers in the Gaza Strip.” Mondoweiss spoke to several Palestinians — students going abroad to study or in search of jobs, people traveling to reunite with families, and injured protesters seeking treatment in Jordan — as they waited for their chance to leave Gaza. The journey out of Gaza is far from simple, as only a select number of Palestinians with permission are allowed to leave.
Protests have taken ahold of Haifa over the last few days as Palestinian citizens of Israel demonstrate against the actions of the Israeli military in Gaza. They were met by police who rights groups say used excessive force, including breaking the knee of one protester. “The first reaction of the police to stop the demonstration was to use violence,” Bashar Ali, 22, told Mondoweiss. “We can’t be surprised by this when at the same time Israeli soldiers are using deadly weapons on nonviolent demonstrations near Israel’s separation fence in Gaza.”
On May 18, Rabbi Jill Jacobs published an essay in the Washington Post suggesting that Steven Salaita is anti-Semitic. Here is the essay that he wrote in response that the Post refused to run. “Sloppy accusations of anti-Semitism betray visceral attachment to a country performing violence rather than empathy for those on its receiving end,” Salaita writes. “But it won’t deter us. Indeed, it serves as fuel to work even harder so that we might one day enjoy the same freedom as those who appoint themselves chaperones of our anger.”
Phil Weiss interviews Jim Zogby to mark the joint Mondoweiss-Arab American Institute publication of Zogby’s important book ‘Palestinians: The Invisible Victims’, a critical examination of the ideology and practice of Political Zionism. ‘Palestinians: The Invisible Victims’ will be available on June 1, but you can pre-order it now.
According to the Palestinian Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip, since the Great Return March protests started on March 30th:
– Israeli soldiers have killed 112 Palestinians, and injured 13,190
– 13 Palestinian children have been killed and 2,096 have been injured
– 502 Palestinians were shot in the head and neck.
– 283 Palestinians were shot in the chest and back.
– 225 Palestinians were shot in the abdomen and pelvis.
– 1,117 Palestinians suffered various cuts and bruises to several parts of their bodies.
– 27 of the wounded Palestinians suffered amputations of their legs, one of his arm, and four others had fingers severed by Israeli fire.
San Francisco State University Professor Rabab Abdulhadi is fighting off yet another attack by the Lawfare Project, the Zionist group that maliciously sued her last year. Her attorneys write: “Lawfare’s stunt has exposed the fundamental weakness in Zionist arguments that advocacy for Palestinian freedom is equal to discrimination against Jewish students. The lawsuit lays bare that Israel advocates prefer to silence and bully campus critics of Israel rather than confront the policy issues raised by Israel’s denial of freedom and equality to Palestinians.”
Sandra Tamari joined a delegation of Palestinian human rights defenders to attend the opening of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, an ambitious project to give witness to formerly enslaved Black people terrorized by lynching in the South. “Truth-telling about the past is a requirement to finding a path to justice,” Tamari writes. “The Palestinian struggle for freedom, equality and justice is interlocked with other freedom movements in this country and around the globe. We celebrate the National Memorial for Peace and Justice because it brings the the truth-telling within it brings the U.S. one step closer towards finally, truly abolishing slavery and lynching. And we celebrate it because it brings Palestinians closer to our own freedom.”
Adoration of Donald Trump is nearly universal among Jewish Israelis in Jerusalem. “Trump is an amazing president. What he promises he makes to happen,” says Rami, 45. “He doesn’t’ care about the opinion of other people. This is how the president of the biggest country in the world needs to act.”
Riham Darwish debunks the most common misconceptions , fabrications, and lies she has encountered about Gaza’s Great March of Return.
Ilan Pappe writes: “American peacemakers, whether cynical or genuine in their efforts, have consistently failed to understand the essence of the conflict in Palestine. If they ever want to solve it, they need to revisit the dispossession of Palestinians that occurred in 1948 and understand its significance and the fact that 70 years later, Israel continues to systematically displace Palestinians from their homes.”
Canadian physician Dr. Tarek Loubani was shot in both legs by Israeli soldiers while treating Palestinians injured during the Great March of Return on Monday: “One paramedic, Musa Abuhassanin, was killed while attempting a victim rescue under fire. One hour before he was shot in the thorax and killed, Musa was one of my rescuers when I was shot by live ammunition.”
In their defense of the Israeli military’s recent actions in Gaza, Israeli political leaders and pro-Israel commentators have articulated a belief that guides Israeli thinking: the existence of the Jewish state requires that Palestinians remain locked in their Gaza prison, with all the violence this entails. The sooner Palestinians accept that, the closer we will come to peace.
James Loeffler’s essay, “The Zionist Founders of the Human Rights Movement,” published in the New York Times on the day the U.S. Embassy moved to Jerusalem–the same day Israel killed 60 Palestinian protesters–argues that Zionism and human rights are historically intertwined. Liz Rose writes, “The only way that Loeffler can justify the compatibility of Zionism and human rights is to ignore Palestine completely.”
Rawan Yaghi: “The opening ceremony of the embassy, as well as the nauseating tweets of Trump and Netanyahu, confirm and conclude Israel and the US view Palestinians as unworthy of the basic right to live, let alone speak. For Gaza, it was a sad day from which people woke up in shock. Our lives only too real, not science fiction.”
Celebrities are outraged over Israel’s killing of protesters in Gaza. At the Cannes Film Festival in southern France actor Benicio del Toro joined about a dozen Palestinians for a minute of silence, while many other stars are tweeting their grief and frustrations.
After more than 70 years of the Nakba, Gaza refugees have raised their voices through the Great March of Return. A day after the bloodiest day in Gaza since the 2014 war, Ahmad Kabariti asked protesters what they were thinking about on this Nakba Day.
For Rana Askoul’s entire life she had identified as a Palestinian, yet was never allowed to return to her homeland. That changed when she acquired a new passport. It was her turn to return: “For the last 35 years of my life, my home had been out of reach, denied, held hostage and destroyed. For 35 years, I watched closely all the videos of all those who returned to visit the ruins of our northern Palestinian village. For 35 years, I tried to memorize the geography of the place, to figure out the scent of its red dirt and to imagine what it would have been like if it all didn’t happen. And I could reach it now. In less than 3 hours. But my heart raced, and my hands clenched into fists. I couldn’t do it.”
Palestinians in Gaza today began holding funerals for protesters killed by Israeli forces at yesterday’s Great March of Return near the buffer zone between Gaza and Israeli, which coincided with the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. Overnight casualties increased to 61, with the youngest killed was identified as 8-month old Laila al-Ghandour who died of tear gas inhalation.
Hundreds of Palestinians took to the streets of Jerusalem in protest as American and Israeli officials celebrated the inauguration of the US Embassy in Jerusalem on Monday, the eve of the 70th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba. “In America, they have the statue of liberty and pride themselves on freedom, but then they come to Palestine and support the racism of the Israeli occupation,” local activist Mohammed Abu al-Hummus told Mondoweiss. “This move shows us that they do not understand the true meaning of democracy.”
At least 58 Palestinians were killed and more than 2,700 wounded by Israeli forces on Monday as protest spread across Gaza in the bloodiest day in the strip since 2014. According to the Great March of Return organizers, around 50,000 protesters were gathered along the Gaza border as the new U.S. Embassy opened in Jerusalem. “I am waiting for those youth if they could pull down the fence, then I will cross with them into my father’s land,” said Ahmed Abu Reyaleh, a 65-year-old retired chemistry teacher, whose family was originally from the Bayt Jirja village (15.5 km northeast of Gaza). “We have not been created to be under occupation for our whole life, so it’s time to say enough.”
Today is unfolding as a horrifying and tragic day in Palestine. The Israeli military has opened fire on Gaza protesters as the U.S. and Israeli governments prepare to mark the move of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.
On Friday, Israeli snipers killed a Palestinian and wounded 170 protesters in Gaza in the final Friday protest before the culmination of the March of Return on Nakba Day, May 15th. “People here are tired of life and futile peace negotiations for 25 years with a state does not want peace and denies right of the other people to exist,” Etaf Wadi, 56, told Mondoweiss. “The United States has used 43 vetoes against the Palestinians, but we have the right to freedom, and the superpowers will not give it to us so that we will take our right by our own hands.”
Reja-e Busailah’s memoir ‘In the Land of My Birth: A Palestinian Boyhood,’ is an unheralded masterpiece of the Nakba. A burgeoning scholar at 18, Busailah was forced out of Lydda with his family in 1948. This book’s poignant portraits of friends destroyed and traumatized by the Zionist militias tops any Israeli’s account of the Nakba.
Francesca Albanese writes that the Great March of Return is a sobering reminder of the conspicuous lack of political will that has been maintaining the Palestinian refugees in a status of oblivion: “It is a reminder to all of us that the Palestinian question was a ‘refugee question’ first and foremost, and without a just solution for the refugees, a resolution of the conflict will not be sustainable.”
“We build, or we don’t build, either way, they, take our money and our dreams. Together we need to find a new way to stay here,” said Mariam, 16, a Palestinian from the Bedouin village of Abu Nuwar.