Palestine
Standing Together

Israeli activists mobilize to protect aid trucks

For months, groups on the Israeli far right have traveled to the crossings where aid is moved from the West Bank to the Gaza border in an effort to disrupt the shipments—even attacking drivers and attempting to destroy the supplies. But now, other groups of Israelis are boarding buses from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and heading to those crossings to try and help the trucks complete their passage into Gaza to deliver the aid. This has sparked stand-offs near the border between right-wing groups such as Tzav 9 and pro-coexistence groups such as Standing Together. Activists from Standing Together have helped clear roads and reload boxes of humanitarian aid that had been thrown off trucks by Tzav 9 followers. (Photo: Standing Together via Times of Israel)

Palestine
almawasi

Hamas accepts ceasefire; Israel strikes Rafah

Hamas has announced that its leaders have told Egyptian and Qatari mediators that they accepted the most recent Gaza ceasefire proposal. Israel’s war cabinet responded by voting to continue the planned military operation in Rafah, and the IDF announced air-strikes on targets in the southern Gaza city. The strikes came as Palestinians in Gaza were celebrating Hamas’ announcement, and Israeli protestors joined families of the hostages to demand that Israel accept the deal. (Image: Workers set up tents donated by the Qatari Red Crescent in al-Mawasi, an Israeli-designated “safe zone” in Gaza. Credit: Mohamed Soulaimane/TNH)

Palestine
settlement

UN condemns increase in West Bank settlement

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker TĂĽrk released a statement condemning Israel’s latest expansion of settlements in the West Bank as well as the marked increase in “illegal” Israeli settlements over the last year, along with increasing extremist settler violence against Palestinians residing in the territory. TĂĽrk stated: “The West Bank is already in crisis. Yet, settler violence and settlement-related violations have reached shocking new levels, and risk eliminating any practical possibility of establishing a viable Palestinian State.” (Photo: delayed gratification via New Jewish Resistance)

Palestine
Jerusalem

Podcast: the electoral dilemma in apartheid Jerusalem

Amid the mounting horror in Gaza, Israel held municipal elections—which saw gains for the ultra-Zionist right, including in Jerusalem. But the city for the first time saw a Palestinian council candidate—Sondos Alhot, a pro-coexistence activist who ran with a new list called Kol Toshaveha (All Its Residents). Her candidacy, which came in defiance of a boycott called by the Palestinian leadership, nonetheless posed a challenge to the system of apartheid Israel has imposed in the Holy City. In Episode 215 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg explores what this electoral question may tell us about the prospects for an eventual just peace in historic Palestine. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: RJA1988 via Jurist)

Palestine
IDF

UN rights experts warn against arms exports to Israel

A statement released by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on behalf of United Nations rights experts warns countries against the transfer of war material to Israel, as such transfers could constitute violations of international humanitarian law if weapons are used contrary to the Geneva Conventions. Invoking the recent Word Court orders concerning Israel’s siege and bombardment of Gaza, the statement asserts that “states must accordingly refrain from transferring any weapon or ammunition—or parts for them—if it is expected, given the facts and past patterns of behaviour, that they would be used to violate international law.” (Photo: IDF via Flickr)

Palestine
Gaza

UN experts call for Gaza war crimes investigation

UN experts called for prompt, transparent and independent investigations into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the Gaza Strip, since Israel’s new military offensive began last month. “Independent investigators must be given the necessary resources, support and access required to conduct prompt, thorough and impartial investigations into crimes allegedly committed by all parties to the conflict,” the experts said, calling on Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the de facto authorities in Gaza to cooperate fully with investigations. (Photo: Maan News Agency)

Palestine
Gaza

Israeli official broaches nuclear strike on Gaza

A member of the Israeli cabinet broached a nuclear strike on the Gaza Strip, making outraged headlines in the Arab world. Jerusalem Affairs & Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu of the ultra-nationalist Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) party said in a radio interview that there are “no non-combatants in Gaza,” and using a nuclear weapon on the Palestinian enclave is “one of the possibilities.” The comment was immediately repudiated by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who issued a statement saying that Eliyahu has been suspended from cabinet meetings “until further notice.” Nonetheless, this comes as the death toll in nearly a month of Gaza bombardment approaches 10,000, with increasingly genocidal rhetoric voiced by Israeli officials up to and including Netanyahu. And despite a supposed relaxation of international tensions after Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s highly anticipated speech was less bellicose than expected, the nuclear-powered (and presumably nuclear-armed) submarine USS Florida has arrived in the Middle East. The Ohio-class submarine is now operating under the command of the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, which polices the Persian Gulf, Red Sea and Arabian Sea—a clear signal to Iran and its regional allies. (Photo: Maan News Agency)

Greater Middle East
Sahrawis

Podcast: from the West Bank to Western Sahara

In Episode 184 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg notes that Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s address to Congress was happily boycotted by members of the “Squad,” and comes as even establishment voices are calling for a cut-off of US aid in light of the deep political crisis in Israel. Unhappily, Rep. Pramila Jayapal was forced to issue an apology for having called Israel a “racist state”—which is a mere statement of political reality. In contrast, Ron DeSantis was not forced to issue any such apology for openly embracing Israel’s illegal annexationist designs on the West Bank—even as they are protested by UN international law experts. All this comes as Israel has joined the US as the only countries on Earth to recognize Moroccan annexation of Western Sahara, a condition of the so-called Abraham Accords. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: Kirby Gookin/Western Sahara Resource Center)

Palestine
settlement

Defiant Israel to expand West Bank settlements

Israel’s right-wing nationalist government announced new plans to approve the construction of thousands of new buildings in the occupied West Bank, despite pressure from both the USand EU to halt settlement expansion. Far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who has just been granted authority over approval of West Bank settlement construction in a cabinet decision, tweeted in explicitly annexationist language: “The construction boom in Judea and Samaria and all over our country continues.” The Palestinian Foreign Ministry called for US and international action to press the Israeli government to backtrack on the decision. (Photo of settlement outside Za’atara: Ralf Roletschek via Wikimedia Commons)

Palestine
Jerusalem

Israel’s paramilitary plan advances

The Israeli cabinet authorized plans for a paramilitary “National Guard” sought by far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir to target violence and unrest in Palestinian communities within Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said that a committee comprised of Israel’s existing security forces is to determine the Guard’s responsibilities, and whether it will be subordinate to the Israel Police or take orders directly from Ben-Gvir, as he demands. Opposition leader Yair Lapid responded by calling the plan an “extremist fantasy of delusional people,” and slammed a decision to cut budgets from other ministries “to fund Ben-Gvir’s private militia.” (Photo: RJA1988 via Jurist)

Palestine
khan al ahmar

New Israeli admin in West Bank propaganda ploy

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan met in Jerusalem with President Isaac Herzog, signaling continued US support for Israel’s new far-right government—despite the Biden administration’s supposed opposition to its policies such as settlement expansion and annexation of the West Bank. The trip coincided with Israel’s eviction of a wildcat settler outpost in what Israeli authorities call the “Samaria” region of the West Bank. Simultaneously, the Israeli government announced it is preparing to demolish the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem, home to at least 180 people. Khan al-Ahmar lies within a key corridor stretching to the Jordan Valley, where Israel aims to expand and link settlements, effectively cutting the West Bank into two. (Photo: B’Tselem)

Palestine
tel aviv

Israel: protests mount against far-right government

Anti-government protests have mounted in Israel each week since the new far-right administration led by Benjamin Netanyahu took power at year’s end. The most recent saw over 100,000 march in Tel Aviv, while thousands more filled the streets in Jerusalem, Haifa and other cities. The protests have won support from Israel’s traditional political establishment as well as the left opposition. While Israeli flags and slogans such as “Israel, we have a problem” predominate, some demonstrators have raised the Palestinian flag in defiance of an order from new National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir to remove all Palestine flags from public places. The demonstrations have included an “anti-apartheid bloc” calling for a secular state and decolonization of Palestinian lands. (Photo via Twitter)