Stanford students stage civil disobedience, shut down bridge

Students from Stanford University joined forces with community members and shut down the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge earlier this evening to protest police brutality in Ferguson, institutionalized racism against Black Americans, and state-sponsored violence in Palestine and Mexico, which the United States government staunchly supports.

No less than 68 Stanford students were arrested by California Highway Patrol officers. Of the 68, 11 were jailed and the rest were released with citations.

The civil disobedience occurred on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. According to participants, the action intended to ‘reclaim MLK’ and to draw valuable connections between struggles against oppression within the United States and around the world. In the words of recent Stanford graduate Kristian Davis Bailey, who was quoted by The Stanford Daily, “it was time to put my body on the line and use my privilege as a Stanford student to elevate the issues of Black Lives Matter.” [Read more…]

Match Report: Despite valiant debut, Palestine falls short to Japan

Palestine made its AFC Asian Cup debut on Monday against reigning champions Japan. Despite playing passionately for the entire match, the Palestinians fell short to the Blue Samurais, conceding three goals in the first half and a fourth goal at the start of the second half.

Palestine did not expect to win against Japan but they certainly played as though they had every intention to. Their defense was, for the most part, very capable of marking Japan’s stealthy forwards and disrupting their offensive tactics. Despite an awkward start, goalkeeper Ramzi Saleh showed the 15,000 spectators why he is the most suitable player to captain the Palestinian national team. His quick hands and swift dives kept Japan from pulling away with a much greater lead. One memorable performance happened in the second half during a long scramble in front of the goal when Saleh and the Palestinian defensive backs successfully protected their net from at least three consecutive shot attempts.

Palestine’s valiant efforts did not go unrecognized by the Japanese players, the commentators, and especially the fans, who maintained a very party-like atmosphere for the duration of the game. Palestinian flags waved alongside flags of their “Middle Eastern cousins,” as one commentator put it, and familiar nationalistic chants could be heard booming from the supporter’s section even during the match’s slowest moments. “Free, free Palestine” chants took over the stadium in Newcastle after the final whistle.

Overall, Japan dominated the match from the outset. Endo led Japan’s midfield while Honda and Okazaki controlled the pace of the game up front. The Japanese side came out in full force and played a heavy attacking game in the first half that was largely successful. But Palestine took on the second half with a renewed sense of poise and came out swinging.

Considering the fact that this is Palestine’s first match at this top tier of play, this experience will certainly provide them with valuable experience to take on Jordan on Friday and Iraq on Tuesday. The players were able to identify weak points and will seek to fill those gaps before their next two group stage matches. [Read more…]

Inspiring: Gaza man displays utmost integrity despite crushing personal circumstances

A crippling siege could not erase the integrity of an entire people, as evidenced by one Palestinian man earlier this week.

Jawad Mansour is a father of five who has fallen on tough times. It appeared that luck was working in his favor when he stumbled upon a stash of $30,000 USD on his way to work. But despite his difficult financial circumstances, he made sure that every single dollar was returned to its rightful owner.

Mansour, known also as Abu Waseem, even refused to accept the reward, citing personal principles.

Abu Waseem has worked for eight years as a municipal caretaker in the Gaza Strip. He can often be found sweeping streets and watering plants along the road for a mere $200 USD per month.

He makes barely enough money to provide for his family.

On his way to work on December 29, Mansour found $30,000 USD abandoned on the road. He immediately set off to find the money’s owner.

That same day, a man identified as Abu Muhammad filed a report with Gaza police. He had attempted to make a deposit at a local bank when he found that he was short $30,000 USD. [Read more…]

Footage: Racially-charged exchange on Israeli bus further contextualizes hanging of Palestinian bus driver

On Sunday night, Yusuf Hassan Al-Ramouni’s body was found hanging inside of a transit bus in Jerusalem. The 32-year-old Palestinian father of two worked for Egged, an Israeli transit bus company, and his shift was set to begin at 9:20 pm. But his bus never left the depot, and in the middle of it hung his body by a thin cord.

Despite initial reports that Yusuf had been attacked and lynched, the Israeli police ruled the death a suicide. The police later issued another statement saying that an autopsy report revealed no evidence of foul play.

However, a medical expert speaking anonymously told Ma’an News that the autopsy suggested Yusuf was the victim of “an organized murder”. Aside from his intact first verebtra, which would have likely been dislocated in the case of a sucide by hanging, Yusuf’s body also showed that livor mortis was found in the buttocks of the body, indicating that he was sitting rather than hanging when he died.

Additionally, photographs circulating the internet purport to show extensive bruising on Yusuf’s body.

Several of Yusuf’s colleagues have spoken up about the abuse faced by Palestinian bus drivers on Israeli transit services. But Palestinian drivers are not the only individuals at the receiving end of racially-charged abuse.

Footage published online just days before Yusuf’s death shows a group of Israeli passengers ganging up against a Palestinian citizen of Israel. The Israeli passengers demand that the Palestinian give up her bag to be checked. There appears to be no reason why she is being targeted except for the fact that she is Arab. It is not clear which city the bus is driving through.

Toward the end of the exchange, one of the two armed Israeli soldiers on the bus attempts to be a voice of reason and says that because he has studied “a lot about Islam and Qur’an,” he can “identify” with Arab culture and, presumably, with the Palestinian passenger. He goes on to say that “Israelis are in a very tense situation now,” as if to reassure her that there is justification behind the intimidation. [Read more…]

Photo of the Week: Jerusalem doors that might no longer stand

Photo credit: Ammar Awad
Date taken: November 6, 2014
Location: Jerusalem, Palestine

Palestinian youth take cover behind doors during clashes with Israeli soldiers and police in Jerusalem. Tensions in the Holy City have risen dramatically after Israeli authorities closed the Aqsa Mosque compound to Palestinians for the first time in over a decade. Most recently, the Israeli government has announced plans to demolish the homes of Palestinians responsible for the hostilities. [Read more…]

Etsy removes items ‘of Syrian origin’ despite humanitarian consequences

As the month of October wound down, one Etsy user received a particularly disturbing email from Etsy’s Marketplace Integrity team. Without any forewarning, the team had removed two items “of Syrian origin” from her shop.

Jumana runs Watan, a personal project through which she creates and then sells Palestine-themed art. The name comes from the Arabic word for ‘homeland’, and Jumana’s handmade art pieces explore the deeper and more personal connections Palestinians share with their country.

Watan is hosted on the popular e-commerce site Etsy, and her storefront features a sketch of the iconic Baha’i Temple in Palestine, framed calligraphy pieces, and an assortment of traditional Palestinian embroideries shaped into pins and pendants. Her sales include bracelets, posters, and phone cases — all designed in ways that celebrate and in some cases even teaches about her heritage. [Read more…]

The marriage that defied Israel’s invasion of Gaza

Guest contribution

A United Nations school in the Gaza Strip is the most unlikely wedding venue for the most talked about wedding of the year. Over 88 UNRWA schools across Gaza are currently sheltering nearly 250,000 internally displaced Palestinians who have lost their homes during Israel’s latest military offensives. About 150,000 more Palestinians are displaced, seeking refuge in NGO offices, hospital gardens, and homes belonging to family friends, distant relatives, and even strangers.

Two of these displaced Palestinians decided that they would no longer allow Israel’s invasion to put their lives on hold. One week ago, Heba Fayad and Omar Abu Namar found unimaginable strength in such exceptional circumstances and held their wedding at a UN school in Gaza City’s Shati Refugee Camp.

Heba, 23, did not get the wedding of her dreams. This was a ceasefire wedding in the final hours of the temporary truce — the threat of air strikes still loomed overhead. She did not get to leave for her wedding from her home in Beit Lahiya — a warplane destroyed it. Heba did not get to obsess over every detail of her big day — destruction and shattered lives surrounded her, and everything she had prepared for the wedding was covered in soot. She did not get to make a playlist with all of her favorite songs — she wanted to respect the two thousand dead in Gaza. [Read more…]

List of Middle East governments critical of Israeli human rights abuses in Gaza

What did you expect? [Read more…]

List of op-eds calling for the elimination of Gaza

This list includes only those editorials published since Israel commenced its 2014 operation against the Gaza Strip on July 8. We have been made aware of many others that were published before then and we are working on publishing another list with those editorials and articles included.

1. “My Outline for a Solution in Gaza”
Author: Moshe Feiglin, Member of Knesset
Publisher: Arutz Sheva
Summary: “Quiet” Gaza permanently by attacking whoever and wherever without any consideration.
Link to article

2. “When Genocide is Permissible”
Author: Yochanan Gordon
Publisher: The Times of Israel, The Five Towns Jewish Times
Summary: If genocide is the only action that will quiet Gaza once and for all, so be it.
Link to The Times of Israel article (taken down)
Link to The Five Towns Jewish Times article (taken down)
Link to reprint

3. “Into the fray: Why Gaza must go”
Author: Martin Sherman
Publisher: The Jerusalem Post
Summary: Depopulate the Gaza Strip, relocate only the ‘good Arabs’, and annex the territory.
Link to article

4. “1 Samuel 15:18″
Author: Irwin E. Blank
Publisher: The Times of Israel
Summary: There is a religious obligation to make “the war more horrific for the people of Gaza”, to destroy Gaza once and for all, so that Israel will never feel threatened ever again. After receiving criticism, the author published a clarification for giving the impression that he advocates genocide.
Link to article

5. “Hamas’s Civilian Death Strategy”
Author: Thane Rosenbaum
Publisher: The Wall Street Journal
Summary: The rules of war do not apply to Israel’s invasion because there are no civilians in Gaza, and all of them are legitimate if not necessary targets.
Link to article

6. “In Gaza, there is no such thing as ‘innocent civilians'”
Author: Giora Eiland
Publisher: Ynet News
Summary: Israel’s generosity in supplying food, fuel, and electricty to the enemy is absurd: Gaza must be dealt with swiftly and totally.
Link to article

7. Untitled
Author: Ayelet Shaked, Member of Knesset
Publisher: (Self-published on Facebook)
Summary: The Palestinian people as a whole are the enemy; they are snakes who deserve to die, every single one of them.
Link to reprint

If you are aware of any other editorials calling for the destruction of Gaza or supporting the elimination or mass transfer of its population, please comment below with links.

Imgur: ‘Gaza looks like actual hell on earth’

The brutality of Israel’s latest invasion on the Gaza Strip is making itself known on Imgur.

Overnight and early into the day, the popular image hosting website’s front page featured a photograph of an air strike on Gaza City. The caption reads, “New photo from Gaza today looks like actual hell on earth”.

Images of all kinds, from photographs to meme sets to animated GIFs, are uploaded to the website. “Imgurians,” members of the Imgur community, interact with the image by ‘upvoting’, ‘downvoting’, and commenting on it.

The website’s most popular images make it to the front page. According to Alexa, which provides traffic data and other information on over 30 million websites, is the 48th most popular website in the world. [Read more…]


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