palestine authority

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Book photo via hmhbooks.tumblr.com

At the very start of Hala Alyan’s novel Salt Houses, a woman buys a coffee set — a dozen cups, a coffee pot, a tray. It’s a simple act that unexpectedly becomes painful. The woman is Palestinian — part of a family displaced after the founding of Israel — and the tray reminds her of an old one she lost in one of the family’s many moves.

Alyan builds her story on little moments like that — a peek into the lives of several generations, forced to relocate and resettle. Her characters are lost and looking for a home

She spoke to NPR’s Steve Inskeep about the book – find their conversation here.

– Petra

Basil al-Araj’s Father saluting goodbye to his son, Basil, as he is buried in Bethlehem, Palestine, March 16, 2017 

Basil al-Araj, a 31-year old Palestinian activist and writer from the village of Al Walaja, near Bethlehem. Al-Araj was killed by the Israeli army on March 6th in a house in Ramallah, where he had been hiding in for month after being chased by the IDF. 

Basil was a beacon for Palestinian youth, and a well-respected figure by Palestinians across the spectrum, He was known for his activism and resistance to the Israeli occupation. He led a youth movement against the dangers of normalization with Israel, and simultaneously organized protests in Ramallah against the Palestinian Authority.  

Israel and Egypt are not the only culprits. The Palestinian Authority in Ramallah is using the siege as a bargaining chip to put pressure on its rivals, Hamas, who have controlled the besieged Strip for ten years. Hamas, on the other hand, is reportedly seeking a partnership with its old foe, Mohammed Dahlan, to ease the Gaza siege through Egypt in exchange for making him the head of a committee that is in charge of Gaza’s external affairs. Dahlan is also a foe of Abbas, both fighting over the leadership of the Fatah party for years. Abbas’ requests to Israel to pressure on Gaza via electricity reduction, together with his earlier salary cuts, are meant to push Hamas out of its the proposed alliance with Dahlan. Palestinians in Gaza are suffering; in fact, dying. To think that Palestinian ‘leaders’ are actually involved in tightening or manipulating the siege to exact political concessions from one another is dismaying. While Israel is invested in maintaining the Palestinian rift, so that it continues with its own illegal settlement policies in the West Bank and Jerusalem unhindered, Palestinians are blinded by pitiful personal interests and worthless 'control’ over occupied land.
—  Ramzy Baroud, ‘Pushing Gaza to Suicide: The Politics of Humiliation’, teleSUR

So, let me get this straight…the Palestinian Authority wants to be party to an international tribunal with prosecutorial power against war criminals – as opposed to gaining sovereign rights through terrorism or violence – and Israel decides that this is so unacceptable that it withholds tax revenue earned by and due to the Palestinians? This comes less than a week after the United States and Australia voted down a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for Palestinian statehood.

“I have striven not to laugh at human actions, not to weep at them, not to hate them, but to understand them.” – Baruch Spinoza, Tractatus Politicus, 1676

If we demand that the Palestinians use legal and peaceful means to achieve their ends, I don’t understand what it is we’re asking them to do and how we want them to do it when we actively work to create obstacles for Palestinian statehood and sovereignty. Since the most powerful nation in the world is effectively using their veto power in the United Nations so as not to ruffle the feathers of the Israeli government, what else can the Palestinians do? They decide to try to gain recognition as a sovereign state by joining as many international organizations and signing on to as many treaties as possible, yet that’s still not acceptable. The Palestinian Authority – and through them, the Palestinian people – are, in effect, being punished for attempting to join an international body with a mandate to end genocide, achieve justice for victims of crimes against humanity, and bring war criminals to trial. That’s literally the opposite of a path to peace. Yet we wonder why desperate people with seemingly hopeless causes are driven to terrorism? And we don’t understand why it is often directed towards us?

“Peace cannot be worth its name unless it is based on justice, and not on the occupation of the land of others.” – Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat, speaking to the Israeli Knesset, Jerusalem, November 20, 1977

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Ramallah, Occupied Palestine: Youths and workers protest the ongoing negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli occupation, the impending visit of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, and Washington’s proposal that seeks to liquidate the Right of Return, January 15, 2014.

Via Translators for Palestine

January, 2016 | Bethlahem, Palestine

A picture from the ongoing clashes in Palestine.

“The Palestinian Authority exists by agreement with Israel. The Palestinian Authority only exists to make Israelis feel safe. They work hand-in-hand with the Israeli military. In the West Bank, nobody loves them.”

anonymous asked:

could you explain what's going on with isreal and palestine? i've tried googling and watching the news but i feel like i'm always 2 steps behind, like i've missed something vital because i'm just reading a bunch of words i don't understand, like hamas and basically i can't find a source that just says what's happening and not like a live update. like why are they fighting? i can't find a straight answer. if you wouldn't mind helping me please? <3 <3 <3

Sure, I’ll do my best but there is A LOT going on and there is no way I can cover all the war crimes Israel is committing or encompass the decades of history of this conflict in one post. For background, here is a short summary of how Israel came to be.

For further explanations on Israel’s true motives for this current conflict and a step by step of how Operation Protective Edge came to be, you can watch this video where Dr. Norman Finkelstein, a Jewish American professor and expert on the Israel/Palestine conflict explains it in layman’s terms. Because the origins are more complex and political, I’m gonna ask you refer to the first three minutes of that video because I don’t want to mess it up. A short summarization is that Hamas (an organization and political party dedicated to the liberation of Palestine) joined the Palestinian Authority (another political party) in April and agreed to recognize Israel as a state and was ready to discuss permanent peace talks— an act welcomed by many nations including America. But because the end goal of the Israeli government is the extermination and/or expulsion of Palestinians from their remaining land so Israel can claim that too, this threw a wrench in the Israeli Prime Minister’s plans. He needed an excuse to scapegoat Hamas as the reason peace talks weren’t progressing. Now let’s skip ahead to May.

That last image is the current map of Israel/Palestine. The little green strip on the left is the Gaza Strip and those little green settlements scattered on the right are the West Bank. The Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated places in the world with 1.82 million people living in an area of 360 km^2 (x)

In May, two Palestinian youths were murdered by Israeli forces. It was caught on tape and it has been ruled that there was no justification for their deaths but there were no repercussions. (source) I wish I could say this was an isolated incident but it is notnot at allnot even a little bit. Possibly in retaliation, 3 Israeli settlers were abducted in the West Bank. The Israeli prime minister will later admit they knew they were dead all along and they knew Hamas had nothing to do with it (xx) but that’s after the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) invade the West Bank and murder and arrest hundreds of Palestinians under the guise of finding those 3 settlers. They lied about hoping to find them alive so as to have an excuse to invade and dismantle Hamas’ operations in the West Bank. (xx)

After that, IDF invaded the Gaza Strip. You’ll notice there’s a great deal of distance between West Bank and Gaza and since they had no affiliation with the three deaths to begin with, what is Israel’s justification for invading? There is none. Hamas did not break the ceasefire established in 2012. Israel did. Since 2008, Israel has always been the one to break the ceasefire agreement, according to the Jerusalem Fund, a non-profit in Washington, D.C. On June 29th, Israel hit a Hamas operative and after that Hamas retaliated (just like Israel wanted) with projectile firing (not rockets, projectiles, an atomic scientist called them “upgraded fireworks”). Then on July 8th, IDF forces had a flimsy excuse to invade the Gaza Strip. In the first week, 192 Palestinians were killed. There were “talks” of a ceasefire in Egypt but Hamas knew nothing about them. So basically instead of having Israel and Palestinian officials negotiate a ceasefire on neutral-ish ground (Egypt) like you would think, Egypt and Israel pretended to negotiate peace (how you negotiate peace without both parties is beyond me). The conditions were basically a halt to hostilities on both sides and that’s it. 192 Palestinians would have died and the rest of the Gaza Strip would go back to living under the oppressive rule of Israeli settlers. There would be no repercussions for Israel, no freedoms gained for Palestinians. In fact, Hamas offered a 10 year truce with Israel if they would agree to ten conditions. I won’t list them all out here but as you can see, they’re not even remotely unreasonable. Hamas accepted and abided by the ceasefire agreement after the ‘08/’09 conflict (the same ceasefire Israel did NOT abide byx) and again in 2012 and not only did it not improve living conditions in Gaza, it did not offer them any defense against another ground invasion. So accepting yet another faux agreement meant that Israel could launch another invasion any time it pleased. Why would Hamas or anyone in Palestine feel safe about that when multiple Israeli politicians have called for the extermination of Palestinians? (xxxx) When IDF soldiers gleefully brag about killing Palestinian children? Let alone the already unliveable conditions in Gaza. So the fighting resumed with even more brutality from Israel. The latest numbers show nearly 2000 dead Palestinians, about 75% of them civilians, and 10,000 injured. On the other side, 64 Israeli soldiers were killed in the ground invasion (at least one of whom was killed by friendly fire), and 3 civilians. If that doesn’t paint a stark enough picture, see the discrepancy in damage between Israel and Palestine during a humanitarian ceasefire. That doesn’t even take into account the Palestinian civilians killed and injured during peaceful protests in the West Bank and Israel.

A humanitarian ceasefire is basically a temporary ceasefire during which time people (on the Palestinian side) can (ideally) check on their homes, stock up on food, search for missing relatives, and bury their dead. Israel has repeatedly broken these humanitarian ceasefires as well. Here’s just one incident of them shooting down a civilian searching for his family in the rubble, it was filmed by one of the international human rights activists (yellow vests) he was with at the time. Not only that, but Israel has committed multiple war crimes since the beginning of OPE. They’ve repeatedly hit schools, civilian homes, children, graveyards, mosques, HOSPITALS, ambulances, water tanks, journalists, and United Nations shelters. There is literally no safe place in Gaza for people to go. There are no bomb shelters like in Israel and no place is safe from being targeted. Not only that, but Israelis are literally sitting on the beach watching the “fireworks” in Gaza. So much for that scary rocket fire. (xx)

What’s most important to understand is that there are no “two sides” to this conflict. There is the oppressed and the oppressors, the occupied and the occupiers. Gaza is under an illegal blockade by Israel, making living conditions completely unbearable. And with the indiscriminate destruction of homes, schools, businesses, mosques, hospitals, and water tanks during this offensive, Israel is clearly trying to send a message: get out or you’ll die here. They haven’t just been killing people— innocent civilians and children— they are trying to tear down the infrastructure of life in Gaza. According to the United Nations, Gaza will be unliveable by 2020. There is a dire shortage on medicine and most of the population doesn’t even have clean water to drink. Therefore, it is vital to the survival of the people in the Gaza Strip to demand the blockade be lifted, for Gaza to be allowed the resources to heal and flourish. Israeli historian Ilan Pappe said it best, ”The Egyptian-Israeli ceasefire offer is to continue the siege, the starvation, strangulation and the ghettoization of Gaza. No decent person should accept such a dictate for being incarcerated when the only offence he or she committed is being a Palestinian in Gaza.”

I think that covers most of it. Standwithpalestine is probably the best authority to answer any specific questions and you can also check my Palestine tag for other details. I’m not a political scientist so if anyone has something to correct, feel free to send me a message. I tried to keep this brief but there are so many atrocities being committed in Palestine right now by the IDF that I could have made this 50 pages long with all the details. 

Great places for sources and info:

To keep up with the conflict on Twitter:

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To be honest, “Does My Head Look Big in This?” was the first book I ever read about a Muslim hijabi woman in Young Adult fiction (full credit to my high school librarian at that time, who used it as one of her feature books on the shelf). When I first read it, I was a very new immigrant to America and though I had already been wearing the hijab for a couple of years, I did not understand or relate to most of the story. Having lived in a Muslim dominated country for at least half my life, at that time, I couldn’t relate to her struggles about the “hijab decision”. Nonetheless, I felt connected to the character. She was Muslim. She was hijabi. It was even on the COVER and in a very cheeky, full-of-humor way. In a strange small way, I felt included

Fast forward six years later in America, and I re-read “Does my Head Look Big in This?” and “Ten Things I Hate About Me”. As I muse how “Does My Head Look Big in This?” had a rather weak plot (it was also the author’s first book), I’m also struck by how much books like these are needed. I’m struck by how many girls I know who are navigating lives mirroring those woven through these books. I wonder if these books could be salvation for some girls navigating high school in diaspora,trying to fit in both home and school. I wonder how many non-Muslim Young Adults this book will benefit as it succinctly and candidly goes through different lives, not only portraying Muslim lives as the ordinary yet different, but also holding up mirrors to bullies who may have fallen prey to racist rhetoric. 

No Sex in The City” is a more mature book, chronicling the life of a 28 year old woman who is looking for a relationship rather than trying to keep away from “temptations” like her high school counterparts. What I love about this book though, is that it is not the story of a Muslim woman’s love; rather, it is an ordinary chick flick whose main character happens to be a Muslim woman. The book is about relationships - between parents and their children, between siblings, between significant others, between friends, and between a boss and and an employee. The book calmly explores everyday things like abuse, the rhetoric of victim blaming, and how shame and overcoming it can ultimately make or destroy a life.  

What is refreshing about Randa Abdel-Fattah is that she has not let herself be imprisoned within one genre alone. “Where the Streets Had a Name” and “The Friendship Matchmaker” are two works that are completely unlike any of her other works. “Where the Streets Had a Name” is about life in occupied Palestine, where the author does a pretty good job of showing the complexities of life on the ground as through the eyes of Palestinian children. “The Friendship Matchmaker” is simply about surviving Middle School and friendship where refreshingly, not all of the children are white. 

The more I read by her, the more I fall in love with her writing and look forward to more. All of her works are thoroughly detailed and nuanced, and nowhere are useless stereotypes in sight. Perhaps the best part about her is that I can recommend her to all age groups, and see smiles bloom.