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, Imgur.com is the 48th most popular website in the world. [Read more…]

UK news anchorman makes emotional plea for Gaza after visit left him ‘deeply scarred’

Jon Snow, a British journalist and television presenter for Channel 4 News, traveled to the Gaza Strip to document the tragedy that continues to unfold as more and more Palestinians die from Israeli attacks. Israel launched its latest offensive against Gaza, dubbed “Operation Protect Edge,” on July 8. Since then, at least 1,023 Palestinians have been killed, including nearly 200 children.

Snow’s coverage of the invasion has been refreshing to say the least. In a recent interview with Israeli Prime Minister spokesman Mark Regev, Snow asked hard-hitting questions about Israel’s seemingly indiscriminate targeting of Palestinian civilians. In the interest of time, Snow narrowed his focus to the shelling of Gaza’s Al-Wafa rehabilitation and geriatric hospital as well as the shelling of a beach that killed four young boys — all related — and injured a fifth.

Despite Regev’s flustered attempts to deflect Snow’s challenging questions with the usual talking points about how ‘Hamas is to blame for the outcome of Israeli strikes,’ Snow makes it clear to him and to viewers that “you [Israel] are deliberately targeting neighborhoods in which you know there are women and children. And if your sightings can’t see boys playing football in a huge, wide beach, then there’s something wrong with your equipment.” [Read more…]

Controversial, illegal, and documented: Israeli military strategies in Gaza


Israel commenced its invasion of the Gaza Strip with air strikes on more than 200 sites, killing 24 Palestinians on the first day. Above, an Israeli missile hits a building just south of Gaza City on July 8, 2014. Photo credit: Mohammed Saber, EPA

As Israel rolls deeper into its military offensive against the Gaza Strip, its tactics against the territory’s densely-packed civilian population are becoming more and more clear. Over the last 17 days, the death toll has risen to at least 797 Palestinians, most of whom were civilians and nearly two hundred of whom were children. Despite near-global condemnation, Israel has not dialed down the brutality. The following is a list of ten documented Israeli military strategies that are responsible for the disturbingly high casualty count.

1. Israel is one of the best equipped militaries in the world and its weapons industry is responsible for many technological advancements in modern warfare. It should come as no surprise, then, that Israel has the capacity to strike its targets with extreme precision. In the past, Israel has assassinated Hamas members so precisely that others riding with them in their cars or walking alongside them have survived. This has not been the modus operandi for Israel’s last three major offensives against the Gaza Strip, particularly this latest one. Even U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry commented on Israel’s military strategy, sarcastically calling it one “hell of a pinpoint operation”.

2. Israel contends that it warns Gaza residents of imminent air strikes and shelling campaigns and instructs them to flee. However, the crippling siege and total blockade that Israel has imposed on the territory means that Palestinians have no place to go. This allows Israel to kill two birds with one stone, as the saying goes. It can publicly claim that it works to minimize civilian casualties while at the same time killing Palestinians wantonly and with impunity. [Read more…]

Running into death: Gaza woman risks her life to save another

The following four photographs depict a story of tragedy and courage deep inside the Gaza Strip. Captured on July 20, day one of Israel’s intense shelling of the densely-packed Shuja’iyya neighborhood of Gaza City, the images show Palestinians running for their lives through the neighborhood’s rubble-filled streets.

As the woman in the photograph sprints ahead, she turns to spot a young boy injured on the ground. His left leg had been broken below the knee by a blast moments before the first image was captured.

The woman runs back toward the boy and helps him up, risking her life to save his. As recently uncovered footage from Shuja’iyya shows, the shelling was relentless.

[Read more…]

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