Saturday, 22. September 2018

An Israeli High Court injunction preventing the forced displacement and demolition of the Arab-Bedouin community of Khan al-Ahmar expired at midnight on Tuesday this week. Israeli army bulldozers may now show up at any time to destroy the West Bank Palestinian village, strategically situated between Jerusalem and the Israeli settlement of Ma’ale Adumim.

Israeli occupation forces detained on Sunday, September 9, Ayman Nasser, a senior staff member of Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer, the human rights organization has reported.

Nasser, 48, the coordinator of Addameer’s legal unit, was seized by soldiers at his home in the occupied West Bank and is currently being held without charge or trial in the Ofer military prison.

About 140 artists, including musicians, writers, actors, directors, novelists, and poets from around the world have signed a letter calling for the boycott of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest, which is scheduled to be held in Israel next spring. The group of artists , including six Israelis , are demanding the song contest should be boycotted if it is “hosted by Israel while it continues its grave, decades-old violations of Palestinian human rights.” Their letter has been published by the British newspaper The Guardian.

Among those who signed the letter are musicians Roger Waters, Brian Eno, Nosizwe, Bugge Wesseltoft, Lars Klevstrand, Trond Ingebretsen, Jos M rio Branco, Chullage, Dror Feiler, Christy Moore, Charlie McGettigan, Kimmo Pohjonen, Paleface, and actors Candy Bowers, Daan Hugaert, Marijke Pinoy, Chokri Ben Chikha, Tove Bornhoeft, Anne Marie Helger, Tommi Korpela, Krista Kosonen, and novelists Manuela Bosco, Gerard Mordillat, Jose Luis Peixoto, and others.

Two weeks ago, Amir Dahan, the judge of the Jerusalem Magistrate Court, ruled in favor of the Jerusalem Municipality’s request to evict Barbur Gallery from the locale it has been operating from for the past 13 years. Judge Dahan admitted that there are political forces that have been trying to interfere with the exhibitions displayed at the gallery and silence the voices emanating from there and force it to close. Nevertheless, the judge decided to curtail the right to free speech even further and denied the gallery the right to defend itself and present its arguments, and ruled that it must vacate the premises by February 1, 2019.

Israeli officials pressured the European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini in recent weeks to cancel her meeting with Joint List Chairman MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash) regarding the racist Nation-State Law. Haaretz claimed the Israeli officials tried to convince Mogherini to have a lower-level EU official meet with Odeh in her stead.

Israeli Border Police detained on Friday, August 30, two senior members of the anti-occupation organization Breaking the Silence near the illegal outpost of Mitzpe Yair in the occupied Palestinian territories. The group’s executive director, Avner Gvaryahu, and communications director, Achiya Schatz, were detained for questioning by border police. Attorney Michael Sfard was also detained for questioning.

A demonstration against Rodrigo Duterte, who will be making the first visit to Israel by a president of the Philippines, will be held tomorrow, Tuesday September 4, at 9:30 am, at Hanassi Street 3 in Jerusalem, the official presidential residence. The protest will be held during Duterte’s meeting with the Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.

Duterte wants to improve “security cooperation” with Israel, which has sold the Philippines three radar systems and 100 armored vehicles. Manila is now looking to sign an aircraft deal with Israel.

The following op-ed piece by Hadash MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Joint List) was published by Haaretz last Friday, August 31. MK Touma-Sliman is a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Israel and heads the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality.

Many good people were furious this week that we, members of the Joint List, dared defy the people the Nation-State Law defines as the lords of the land. Instead of sufficing with the crumbs of rights that Prime Minister Netanyahu and his government might deign to grant us, we declared that the nation-state law is an apartheid law. With temerity, that doesn’t suit people whose language is unworthy of official standing in their homeland, we went to the United Nations to protest the law that defines us, Palestinian citizens of Israel, as second-class citizens, legitimizes the occupation and perpetuates Israel’s place in the dubious company of ethnocentric, discriminatory and exclusionist countries.

Three people were killed Thursday night, August 30, in two separate shooting incidents in Arab communities in Israel. A man and his fiancée were shot in their car at the entrance to the city of Tira. In the second incident, 33-year-old Faysal Raddad was killed in Jisr as-Zarqa.

The couple, Mahmoud Hajaj and Rima Abu Hayat, both aged 20, were driving together when several shots were fired at them, police say. After being hit, Hajaj lost control of the car and crashed into a nearby store. The shooting in Tira came a few months after another murder in the city. In May, Zubeida Mansur, 19, was shot to death in her home. Mansur lived with her four brothers in their parents’ home.

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