Google was at the center of a storm recently, after a group of Palestinian journalists claimed that the tech giant had removed ‘Palestine’ from its map. As the statement was picked up and circulated, the hashtag #PalestineIsHere went viral on Twitter, and international media outlets covered the story.
Following the social media frenzy and press coverage, Google stated that ‘Palestine’ had not been removed because it had never been there in the first place. Instead, Google claimed, a “bug” had removed the labels for ‘West Bank’ and ‘Gaza Strip,’ which would be restored shortly. Read more
Late on Sunday night, the Israeli Air Force launched dozens of airstrikes against targets in the Gaza Strip – as many as 50, according to an official source – after a single rocket had struck Sderot earlier in the day, causing no damage or injuries.
The airstrikes, which primarily struck sites used by Hamas’s al-Qassam Brigades (AQB), constituted, in the words of one analyst, a “deliberate escalation” by Israeli authorities. Read more
Early on Tuesday morning, Israeli forces – three battalions worth, according to press reports – invaded the al-Fawwar refugee camp, located south of Hebron.
An Israeli military spokesperson said the raid was an “operational activity to uncover weaponry”. Palestinian residents described it as an unprecedented attack on a beleaguered refugee camp. Read more
The so-called ‘Israeli-Palestinian conflict’ is not an ancient, tribal conflict, or millennia-old grudge match. Nor, as some propose, is it a tragic clash of competing nationalisms, or a cycle fuelled by religious extremism. The Zionist political project in Palestine has been, and is, a form of settler colonialism. Understanding it as such is important for three reasons. Read more
In recent years, Israel’s military court system has been the subject of well-deserved – and long over-due – scrutiny, thanks to its almost 100 percent conviction rate of Palestinians in the West Bank. The military courts are a key part of an apartheid regime that sees Israeli settlers tried in civilian courts, while Palestinians – including hundreds of children per year – are subjected to military show-trials.
But what about Israel’s civilian courts? Comparatively little attention has been paid by human rights groups to the plight of Palestinians tried for ‘security offenses’ in Israeli courts, which includes Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, and, since the 2005 ‘disengagement’, Gaza residents. Read more
In recent days, Israeli authorities have announced charges against two, Gaza-based employees of international NGOs – one from World Vision, one from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Each individual faces accusations of varying degrees of assisting Hamas.
Many have expressed scepticism about the charges, particularly given the lack of due process. Mohammed Halabi, for example, was detained without charge for 50 days and alleges that he was tortured by Shin Bet officials during his interrogation. He was also denied access to a lawyer for three weeks. Read more
Last week, the Israeli Security Agency (ISA) – or Shin Bet – announced serious charges against a Gaza-based Palestinian employee of the global Christian charity, World Vision.
According to Shin Bet, Mohammad el-Halabi, the head of World Vision’s Gaza office, funnelled tens of millions of dollars of aid money to Hamas’ al-Qassam Brigades in an elaborate, years-long scheme.
Israeli officials wasted no time in publicising allegations that boost Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government’s narrative that Hamas is exploiting naive, or nefarious, international aid groups. Read more
“[Israeli] settlement activity…is corrosive to the cause of peace,” the statement began, describing Israel’s recent steps as merely “the latest examples of what appears to be a steady acceleration of settlement activity that is systematically undermining the prospects for a two-state solution”.
Settlement construction and the demolition of Palestinian homes, it went on, “is part of an ongoing process of land seizures, settlement expansion, legalisations of outposts, and denial of Palestinian development that risk entrenching a one-state reality of perpetual occupation and conflict”. Read more
The Israeli government and its supporters routinely play down the significance of West Bank settlements as an obstacle to peace with the Palestinians. One recent example of this came from a Jewish Agency spokesperson, who tweeted: “Jewish communities in the West Bank take up under 2% of the land; that is, over 98% of the West Bank contains no Jewish residents at all.”
So is this true – and exactly how much of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) do Israel’s settlements take up? Read more