17 January 2018

Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi enters a military courtroom escorted by Israeli Prison Service personnel at Ofer Prison, near the West Bank city of Ramallah on January 1, 2018 [Ammar Awad/Reuters]

 - It is possible for a single person to engage in an act of resistance against oppression and change the world.

A 16-year-old Palestinian girl named Ahed Tamimi is such an individual. On December 19, in a simple yet profound act of defiance against the occupation, she slapped Israeli soldiers who had entered the yard of her house. Just hours earlier members of the Israeli armed forces had shot her teenage cousin Mohammed in the face with a rubber-coated bullet. The young boy was placed in a medically induced coma as doctors operated on him to remove the bullet fragments embedded in his skull.

Much like American civil rights icon Rosa Parks - who was arrested six decades ago by breaking the law for refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus to a white man - Tamimi has become the face of a nonviolent movement against injustice.

Ahed Tamimi is from the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, where Israelis have confiscate the villagers' water source and land and built settlements. The village of 600 has regularly protested these encroachments, and the Israeli army has shot, maimed and killed Ahed's family members.

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11 January 2018

 - Sixteen-year-old Ahed Tamimi may not be what Israelis had in mind when, over many years, they criticised Palestinians for not producing a Mahatma Gandhi or Nelson Mandela.

Eventually, colonised peoples bring to the fore a figure best suited to challenge the rotten values at the core of the society oppressing them. Ahed is well qualified for the task.

She was charged last week with assault and incitement after she slapped two heavily armed Israeli soldiers as they refused to leave the courtyard of her family home in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah. Her mother, Nariman, is in detention for filming the incident. The video quickly went viral.

Western commentators have largely denied Ahed the kind of effusive support offered to democracy protesters in places such as China and Iran. Nevertheless, this Palestinian schoolgirl – possibly facing a long jail term for defying her oppressors – has quickly become a social media icon.

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4 January 2018

Image result for Musaab Firas al-Tamimi  - Israeli forces have shot dead a Palestinian teen on the northern outskirts of the occupied West Bank town of Ramallah, according to Palestinian officials.

The Palestinian health ministry identified the 17-year-old boy as Musab Firas al-Tamimi from the village of Deir Nitham, where Wednesday's shooting took place. "He died shortly after the occupation forces fired a bullet into his neck," Maria Aqraa, a spokesman for the ministry, told Al Jazeera. "He was transferred to a hospital in Ramallah and he passed away minutes later," she added. Aqraa said Musab was shot during a confrontation with the Israeli army.

Musab was a member of the Tamimi family, who live in the adjacent village of Nabi Saleh, where a prominent teen activist was arrested on December 19. Ahed Tamimi was filmed slapping a soldier was standing outside her home, after Israeli forces had shot her 15-year-old cousin in the face with a rubber bullet.

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31 December 2017

Ahed Tamimi appears at a military court at the Israeli-run Ofer prison in the West Bank village of Betunia on December 28, 2017. - Later on Friday, Israel’s rubber-stamp military court will likely extend 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi’s illegal detention.

Under military rule, she can be held indefinitely uncharged and untried, for maximum six-month periods, renewed as often as Israel wishes to keep Palestinians imprisoned.

If Ahed faces charges, what’s most likely, she could be imprisoned long-term - despite being guilty of no crimes.

A video of her slapping an Israeli soldier went viral on social media. Omitted from the footage shown was Ahed being slapped hard first in response to her gently pushing and demanding soldiers twice her size leave her family property. Seconds later, she responded by slapping one of the soldiers hard. Western and Israeli media lied about the soldiers being restrained. They are trained to be violent and abusive against Palestinians.

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28 December 2017

IDF refuseniks protest in Haifa in 2014 - A group of 63 teens have publicly declared they will refuse to be drafted into the Israel army, Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Thursday morning.

“We have decided not to take part in the occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people,” they wrote in a letter sent to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot and the defense and education ministers. “The ‘temporary’ situation has dragged on for 50 years, and we will not go on lending a hand.”

The high-schoolers criticized the government and the military in the letter. “The army is carrying out the government’s racist policy, which violates basic human rights and executes one law for Israelis and another law for Palestinians on the same territory,” they wrote.

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26 December 2017

Palestinian Orthodox Christians attending Palm Sunday mass at the Saint Porphyrius church in Gaza City on April 13, 2014.  - The Christmas spirit has a hard time competing with the lifelessness of one of the world’s unluckiest places to live, not least as a Christian: The Gaza Strip.

In the old days, Christmas was celebrated with remarkable gusto in the city center, Al-Jundi Al-Majhool. A huge decorate and lit-up tree, parades by the Greek Orthodox Scouts, numerous young people dressed as Santa, some of whom visited patients in the hospitals to present them with bouquets of flowers. The mayor of Gaza City and other prominent officials were always present, and the atmosphere was truly festive.

As despair has slowly infiltrated so many aspects of life in Gaza, festive occasions are now ruins of their former selves. It's no longer possible nor appropriate to produce such large-scale celebrations. Christmas has became a small-scale affair, conducted quietly in minor venues.

Eleven years ago, when the Israeli blockade started and Hamas took control, 3,000 Christians were living in Gaza. Now, less than a thousand are left, and those that remain constantly have to weigh up the price of remaining in their homeland, or going into exile, as most Palestinian Christians have had to do. Today, 500,000 Palestinian Christians live in Chile alone.

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15 December 2017

 - China has voiced its support for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, based on pre-1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

A spokesperson for the foreign ministry made the statement during a regular press briefing, Thursday, while addressing questions on a declaration by Muslim nations asserting East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) made the announcement at a summit in Istanbul, Wednesday, and condemned the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

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10 Decemvber 2017

 - No country in the world recognises Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

US President Donald Trump called Jerusalem the capital of Israel on December 6 and began the process of moving his country's embassy to the city.

The move sparked global condemnation from world leaders.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem at the end of the 1967 War with Syria, Egypt and Jordan; the western half of the holy city had been captured in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

Israel's occupation of East Jerusalem effectively put the entire city under de facto Israeli control. Israeli jurisdiction and ownership of Jerusalem, however, is not recognised by the international community, including the United States.

The status of Jerusalem remains one of the main sticking points in efforts to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

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6 December 2017

 - Donald Trump is expected to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel on Wednesday.

Israel's annexation of East Jerusalem in 1967 and subsequent occupation of the area is still considered illegal by the United Nations.

Help us stop this declaration.

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30 November 2017

 - Russian president Vladimir Putin made the statement in a congratulatory letter marking the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

The Russian President has written a letter to his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas affirming Russia’s longstanding commitment to justice for Palestine which dates back to the 1950s.

In his letter, Putin wrote,

“Russia, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and the Middle East Quartet of international mediators, takes a principled stand in support of the realisation of the Palestinians’ legitimate right to self-determination. We are in favour of a comprehensive and fair settlement in the Middle East on a solid international legal basis, including the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative. It should result in the end of the Israeli occupation of the Arab lands that began in 1967 and the creation of an independent Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem.

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21 July 2017

 - When I first went to Palestine as a young reporter in the 1960s, I stayed on a kibbutz. The people I met were hard-working, spirited and called themselves socialists. I liked them. One evening at dinner, I asked about the silhouettes of people in the far distance, beyond our perimeter.

“Arabs”, they said, “nomads”. The words were almost spat out. Israel, they said, meaning Palestine, had been mostly wasteland and one of the great feats of the Zionist enterprise was to turn the desert green.

They gave as an example their crop of Jaffa oranges, which was exported to the rest of the world. What a triumph against the odds of nature and humanity’s neglect.

It was the first lie. Most of the orange groves and vineyards belonged to Palestinians who had been tilling the soil and exporting oranges and grapes to Europe since the eighteenth century. The former Palestinian town of Jaffa was known by its previous inhabitants as “the place of sad oranges”.

On the kibbutz, the word “Palestinian” was never used. Why, I asked. The answer was a troubled silence.

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11 July 2017

 - “No-one will ever silence me, and I will speak my mind,” says 16-year-old Leanne Mohamad, a British-Palestinian activist, to enthusiastic applause at the Palestine Expo.

“At school, when I was studying geography of the Middle East, Palestine was never mentioned. In history it was never mentioned, in religious studies, it was never mentioned. That’s why Palestinians describe themselves often as the forgotten people.”

“I stand before you today as evidence that children will never forget.”

Mohamad’s speech on Saturday summed up the passion, sumud and strength of the rising generations in both the UK and Palestine during Europe’s largest cultural event on Palestine.

The event that Britain’s Israel lobby tried to ban attracted some 16,000 people over two days. Coordinated by the UK non-profit organization Friends of Al-Aqsa, the event was located within Britain’s political hub, Westminster, in the publicly owned Queen Elizabeth II Centre.

Held on five floors, activities included traditional Palestinian dabke, Palestinian cooking demonstrations, spoken word, film, interactive installations, a large market-place, a food hall and other events.

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1 July 2017

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres takes part in a news conference at the UN headquarters in New York, US, June 20, 2017. (Photo by Reuters) - United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called for an end to Israel’s half-century occupation of the Palestinian territories, stressing that it is the only path that leads to the resolution of the conflict in the region.

Guterres made the plea in a message read out by his deputy Amina Mohammed to a forum held at the UN headquarters in New York to mark the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War.

The Israeli occupation has imposed a heavy humanitarian burden on the Palestinian people as “Generations of Palestinians have grown up in crowded refugee camps, many in abject poverty and with little or no prospect of a better life for their children,” Guterres said.

He also underlined the need for establishing an independent Palestinian state and noted that ending the occupation “is the only way to achieve the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.”

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Calendar of Events

Group distant healing events planned for 2018:

20 March - Equinox

21 June - Solstice

22 September - Equinox

21 December - Solstice

Boycott Israeli Goods